St Leonard’s and Grimms

I really hope we’re coming to the end of the cold now. The seagulls are back in Brighton, yarking on the roofs and ruffling up their feathers, showing the early stages of horny-seagull that we associate with springtime. Today we walked in Hastings, taking in the eclectic architectural bonanza that forms the backstreets of St Leonards. H Rider Haggard lived there in an old toll booth looking down to the sea, along with Alan Turing down the road, and various dignitaries and suffragettes scattered around in Decimus Burton properties. Even George Bristow gets a plaque. Who’s George Bristow?

He made guns. Then he took his guns to France and shot birds that are rare in the British Isles. Then he stuffed them, took them over the channel back here, said he’d found them in Hastings, and flogged them to enthusiastic twitchers for top dollar, simultaneously enriching himself, killing lots of rare birds and causing a terrible headache for future scientists looking at species diversity. He was long dead when he was rumbled in the sixties. Now he’s got a plaque in St Leonards. The Hastings Rarities Affair. Even cheating taxidermists get a plaque these days. And the white winged snowfinch has officially never been indigenous to the UK and is once again listed as such.

Walking was so cold though, and my feet have mostly been blocks of ice. I’ve crawled into bed now and my toes have got pins and needles where the blood is returning. Enough cold. Enough.

Curled up on the sofa this evening we went to the theatre. Strange and sad to see friends at work and not be with them afterwards. It was lovely though – powerful and atmospheric. Appropriate to the weather, my friends at Creation Theatre are doing a creepy Grimm’s Tales, live streamed on Zoom from all over the country with intricate little sets that they must have posted to the different actor’s homes. It’s lovely to see them still pushing the envelope – they really haven’t stopped and it’s an unusual evening once again. Five little tales interwoven, personally told and smartly too. Lots of death and neglect and inevitability and broken plans, and then a moment of togetherness at the end where we hold candles against the dark and see each other doing the same. Moving, and the best we can manage in this shut down world. It made me long for contact as it made me glad of what I’ve got.

So many things I want to be over. The cold. The dark. The separation. How we all feel is a great illustration of how the internet keeps us together on one level but is empty of true contact on most others. I want hugs from all of you. Actual hugs. Not pictures of hugs.

It’s gonna be ok. The light is coming.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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