Down on Watford Farm
Hey, how are you? Lynda and I went down to Richmond in the capital city for a couple of days to stay with Phil Colclough. And captial it was. The weather is a whole pullover warmer down there. The Thames was looking magnificent – more beautiful than I remembered her. We went to Watford to see my skin and blister Marlene. We had seen Marlene in Llandudno earlier in the year when we all met up for dinner. It’s well ages since I saw Watford town, though, and it’s every bit as crap as I recall. I had to meet Phil at Watford Junction station. I walked there from my sisters – it ain’t far – and I cut down the Bridle Path. Well it used to be called the Bridle Path. I don’t know if it still is. Wow! what a dodgy walk that was. It’s amazing how from another place you look when you step off your own manor. Loads of predatory doods about giving me the evil eye. I’m paranoid at the best of times (thank you Father Kif and Mother Skunk) but walking the back alleys of Watford brought it all back home. When ever I had a panic attack in the old days, I used to roll another spliff. What a mistake that was. I only use strictly legal drugs these days: the ones prescibed to combat high blood pressure, and also alcohol. Alcohol must be Ok, no harm at all. I mean, if it was dangerous in anyway, I’m sure it wouldn’t be allowed. Weed must be far worse cuz it’s banned, surely to goodness, innit?
Phil was on good form and Lynda and I had a great time. The big prize for me was the voices. When I told Amy that she asked me, ‘The ones in your head or the ones outside?’ Happily, campers, I mean the voices outside. The buzz of conversation in a Thameside pub brought nostagia home to me on a truck. Man, I could have basked in it for a week or two. The voices of the land that nurtured you must shape you in some way. It’s funny cuz Watford, apart from triggering off some vague and uncomfortable mental state did nothing else for me.
My Watford, the Watford of my childhood: jumping off haystacks, crouched down weeding kale fields for 9/- a day (big big money, believe me), climbing trees, catching adders with a forked stick, fishing, falling in the river . . . just does not exist anymore. The first farm I worked on – a dairy farm – is now a housing estate. The entrance road to it is Cow Lane. But, as Seasick Steve says, ‘That’s all right. I ain’t the same as I used to be either.’ I miss it, though. There is something about working on the land that seems to make more sense of life. It seems a proper thing to do – something not based on airy fairy bollocks and bullshit. Although, I suppose it is literally based quite a lot on bollocks and bullshit, and fairies feature quite a lot in agricultural folk lore too. You know what I mean though, don’t you?
It was good to see Phil and my sister too.
Songs of the Triassic Sea, my cycle of four lyric poems has been handed in to Spaces and has met with their approval. Great. A pleasure and a relief. It was so enjoyable to write. I wish I had commissions like it all the time. It ended up as a film script with a running time of around 20 mins and I am hoping to raise funds to get the film made. In the meantime, Ian banks is bringing his vid camera down to the Coachmakers, on the first Wednesday in October, to record parts ii) and iii) – Ram Your Spike and Winsford Town. These will be posted on YouTube and be the basis, hopefully, for attracting the funding for the full film.
Gotta go. It’s National Poetry Day on Thursday 8th October and I’ve got loads to sort out.
Hope life is treating you.
In Stoke: Tez. In Watford and London: Tel.