Category Archives: Wanderer

f i r s t l e g

990203.1950 sandhurst

i sit here in an armchair . embers glowing in the grate , emiting an occasional snap . otherwise it is silent , except for the uneven beat of the ancient grandfather clock standing in the hall . the sitting room of my parents’ house . we moved here from cornwall when i was seventeen .

the walls bear testament to a love of that county . screen prints and engravings of favourite places . amongst these , three depict the islands . they were bought from helena wakeham’s studio on st mary’s one easter when i was in the islands with my parents . that must have been twelve years ago . helena and her husband humfrey still live there , looking out across the sound . humfrey is a potter , prodigious mead brewer and chairman of the islands’ environmental trust . i visited him with my friend gaz in the summer and got so pissed that i left my headphones in his studio . they’re still there , waiting for me to pick them up . soon now , soon .

everything worked out ok last night . i met the people from sony in a soho pub . some interesting possilities . then christian came round , helped me dismantle my futon and shared a final spliff in my room . it took me a while to remember where i’d left the van , so we had a pleasant wander round the back streets of kentish town . eventually we located it and took the furniture up to hampstead . then it was time for the big hit . matt came round and helped me load the bigger pieces , then i carried on alone . at half past five i left the house , locked the front door and was ready to go .

it was a clear drive . i had my minidisc recording for the first few minutes . seemed like an important thing to document . i was crossing the cotswolds by the time it started getting lighter .

i arrived here just before eight , passing my father on his way to work as i bumped along the muddy lane .

now i must start making detailed arrangements for the next leg of the journey . mum might come down to cornwall with me . i hope to see my sister anna , who moved back to the county with her husband adam .

: cH

l e a v i n g l o n d o n

990202.1634 kentish town road , london

here i sit , surrounded by boxes and the detritus of five years . almost every object on which my eye rests conjures powerful associations of the experiences which have filled this time . but today is my last as a resident of this city . i shall be here often in the future , i am sure . but it will be different .

this will be the last thing i write before disconnecting the big old macintosh which has , if you like , been the hearth of the successive places i have made my home . a transit van was delivered to my door earlier , which i had then to drive around the crammed streets hereabouts for the next hour before finding a parking spot . i hope i can find the place again , and that the vehicle is there still . first there are my trusty futon , my coffee tables and a lovely old florentine chair of my aunt’s which i had reupholstered , all to be delivered to my friend christian’s loft-ish apartment in hampstead . i’m trying not to think of all those stairs . but i could not wish a better home for these beloved objects .

then the big one . my friend matt uncomplainingly agreed to help me load everything into the van . i’ll have to take the front door off its hinges to get my desk out . eventually it’ll all be done and i’ll set off for my parents’ house in gloucestershire . i’ll stay there a few days , sorting out all my stuff . i want to take as little as possible to the islands . i’ve been steadily accumulating belongings since my time at cambridge . it’s time to start shedding them now . time to travel light . i expect to travel the final leg , to penzance , st mary’s , st agnes , on sunday or monday .

so how does it feel ? it’s hard to say . these last days and weeks have been numbing . there has been so much for me to do , so many different threads to pursue , so many pitfalls to avoid . and i really hate the stress of moving house . i’m just longing for it to be over , to be there ready to start adapting . or perhaps that adaptation has begun already . perhaps it began last august when i decided , out of the blue , that this was how i intended to spend 1999 . at the time i didn’t know how , but i knew i would make it happen .

i am very aware that this is not going to be easy . so much that i have taken for granted is about to be stripped away . small remote communities can be vicious places , inward-turned and jealous . i shall be more conspicuous there than i have ever been , and that is saying something .

but in my heart i am inflamed with excitement . i know it is time for this new adventure . this will be a formative year for me .

to you first few members of this group , welcome . your presence , whether invisible or visible , will be an important anchor for me . i look forward to writing for you over these days weeks months .

and now i have work to do .

: cH