j i n g l e

18:17 friday 24 december – gable end , sandhurst

the eve of christmas . my parents’ house . gusts of wind hurl hard rain against the glass and the floodwaters rise all about . by tomorrow the village may be cut off and once more i shall find myself on an island .

i made it to the mainland without hindrance . the seas were not too steep to reach st mary’s and the wind decreased sufficiently to permit flight to newquay . i was the sole passenger on the twenty-seat twin otter , heavily outnumbered by the three pilots . all the customary announcements were made but ” ladies and gentlemen ” was replaced rather self-consciously with ” sir ” . the view along the north cornwall coastline was tremendous , surf crashing on granite .

from the airport , a bleak semi-military concrete bunker , i was driven to truro by a cornishman who spent the journey berating london and its government . how remote , how arrogant , how uninterested in life outside the metropolis . i sat in uncharacteristic silence mumbling assent where it was required . there had been time only for three hours’ sleep , sufficient to dull even my sense of injustice .

the little website on which i’ve spent so many hours is at http://www.simplyscilly.co.uk . the text was written by the council’s tourism officer and only the three photos of st agnes are of my taking .

then london . my final week as a student with the school for social entrepreneurs . i spent the whole period feeling fatigued , sensing how much the previous month’s labours had cost me . i withdrew myself from the closing presentations and sat , a little ashamed , with my cameras . amongst the students there was a sense of beginning as much as ending . sometimes i hardly felt as if i were there .

there were other liaisons besides , friends and accomplices , many glad reunions . but i wanted nothing so much as to rest . by the time i left london , three days ago , i had the beginnings of the chest infection which remains with me now . i have slept almost constantly these last days .

yesterday i went to buy christmas presents for my family . the prospect repelled me but less so than the knowledge of the hurt which would be caused if i did not . this year of solitude has left me more fervently anti-consumerist than i reckoned . shop after shop sent me reeling with nausea from its piles of brazenly worthless trash , fighting for breath amidst the gleefully purchasing hordes . the solitary oasis was a sparsely-stocked interiors place where i spent quarter of an hour talking about travel with its young sri lankan owner .

london . what can i say of london ? the fever is at full flood . one friend commented ” it is germany in the thirties … everyone is clinging onto what they can ” . there is a relentless pre-occupation with trivia , a dangerously indiscriminate desperation for belief , a wilful abandonment of civilisation . but for all this there is hope too .

the scillonia digital wokshop was founded last saturday in my absence . fate determined it would be so . perhaps this was appropriate in any case . another association will come into being in the closing minute of this year , the votes to constitute it cast electronically . this the seas cannot interrupt .

i wish the world joy .

: cH

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