When your mental state constantly fluctuates between low anxiety and high anxiety, when every tomorrow is a day to be feared, writing becomes difficult. If I may resurrect the simile: Imagine how tiresome breathing would be if you had a leather strap fastened tightly around your chest so that your capacity for lung expansion was greatly reduced. That should explain it.
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Maybe I might mention that I watched the movie Red Dragon tonight. (I realised that I’d seen it before, but I’d largely forgotten the detail so it still kept me amused for a couple of hours.) What surprised me was that they employed three British actors – feigning presumably acceptable America accents – in three of the leading roles. I wondered why they didn’t just use three American actors. I have to say, however – and I do apologise for having to say it – that Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Watson acted everybody else off the screen. But then they did have the most interesting parts.
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So now let me think whether there’s anything to say about my shopping trip to Ashbourne. OK:
1. I sometimes see a little scrufty dog tied to a dog bar outside a store with his much bigger lurcher friend. He always barks aggressively at me and gets a wide birth in consequence. Today he leapt at me, thrusting his front paws against my thigh, and the purpose of his barking became more transparent. I realised that it meant: ‘Will you please stroke me like you do my big friend? Please?’ And so I did, and he seemed very happy with the attention.
2. I passed the Lady B’s mother and sister in the street and we exchanged a greeting. (I think it was cordial.) Few of the restricted thrills available in Ashbourne afford more pleasure than exchanging a greeting with the Lady B’s mother and sister.
3. A young woman shop assistant who addressed my query showed distinct signs of nervousness – the hurried speech, the anxious smile, the eyes seeking approbation, the hint of a flush in the cheeks, the sense that she was about to perspire slightly… That was very odd. It’s not as though she was uncertain of her ground because she’s worked there for years and was perfectly at ease with the information. And I’m sure there isn’t anything remotely intimidating about me, so maybe it was the frown that I’m told I wear even when I don’t mean to. Maybe that was it. I sometimes wish I didn’t notice such things. I’m sure life would be less confusing.
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I just had a spinach and mayo sandwich on stoneground wholemeal bread. If that isn’t a sign of refined taste, I don’t know what is.
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And I wrote something. Hooray. Maybe tonight I’ll remember to pull the shower curtain across before I turn on the shower. A few nights ago I was too absent minded and forgot, and the resultant pool of water on the rug has only just dried.