Wednesday, 10 August 2022


 It is a beautiful day today; a clear blue sky, barely a breeze, the air warm and soft. Some memory of the summer of '76 seems to float through my mind. Six weeks of summer holiday from school, day after day of hot sunny weather, the burn at the bottom of our street still flowing but presumably more navigable by kids in wellies. We lived in wellies; up in the mornings and out to play, back only when hungry or called in because it was time to eat or time for bed, all day making dens, damming the burn, flicking green slime weed off the end of sticks on to the bridge over the burn, fishing with nets on bamboo canes for sticklebacks and putting them back. We had rings on our legs where the wellie tops would rub. I recall a steel washing line post in the lane at the back of the terrace of Tyneside flats where we lived. Unpainted, rust pitted and weathered by the elements and use to a semi-silk finish, the polished rust flowing on to the slopping concrete apron in which the post was set... Hot concrete, hot metal, hot lethargic minutes which seemed like hours and hours. And now it's forty-six years on. Other childhood days down the dene and in or on the edge of the burn now a memory. I recall playing with the idea of making a water-wheel to drive my bike dynamo in the burn. I badgered dad - could he not bring me from work a little wheel with some paddles set in it and an axel and a way of attaching to the dynamo splines? I knew he worked in a factory that made turbines for power stations. Surely if they could do that they could make me what I Neeeded. He did bring a wheel of sorts and a shaft of sorts, obviously not what was required but it didn't matter; there was something to try in the water. Although likely disappointed at the lack of suitable resource for the endeavour I must have learned a lot about the difficulties involved. Small steps to the future engineer. Much has unfolded in the intervening years. Time collapses like the remnants of a bubble when memories come like this and the unfolding of one moment in to the next that is life seems to be as much a dream as anything... Concepts such as 'my mind', past, present, self etc. seem to be in some way exposed and questioned, a faint sense of something, some no-thing emerges. Out of nothing or no-thing, emerges everything.

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