Real people


After spending a good part of last year despairing about the state of the world, today was the day that I had arranged to go out and find people to sign my nomination form to stand as a Green candidate in the local elections. This is my small gesture of resistance.
In order to stand you need ten people who live in the electoral district to sign a form saying you are fit to stand. Not a huge number, but still a little daunting as I only had a couple of definites and the rest would require knocking on fairly random doors. What if a door was answered by the real life version of an internet troll?
But it turned out to be one of the more uplifting days of my year so far. Obviously not everyone we approached was willing to sign the form, but everyone was polite and friendly and did not seem to mind being disturbed on their Saturday morning, even if they were still in their pyjamas. People behind the doors of old stone-built houses and neat new-builds and a static caravan were happy to sign the form, clear that they wanted to support the idea of democratic choice (or even to support the Green Party).

So I ended the day having spoken to some total strangers about politics, about pets, about local history, about medicine, about the parlous state of modern democracy, about feeding potatoes to cows… and all of them were civilised human beings – not a troll in sight.



drawing before adding wash

Life has been rather full lately, with work and Easter and getting things to exhibitions … but this morning was clear and calm with a thin frost quickly thawing, in the hedges nesting birds singing and squabbling. The hawthorn is in leaf, green in the sun and there are two swallows on the telegraph wires, newly returned from Africa or other points south. The lambs are getting bigger. Spring is sprung. Time to stop and breathe the clean air.

Indian ink and wash with wax resist
Indian ink and wash with wax resist

Weather – changeable

Today I imagine if you could look down from above

the land would be seen between fast-moving stripes of sunlit cloud.

From down here it has been a series of darks and lights

wind-driven, one minute throwing hail and rain and (now) wet snow at us,

then bright sun, doubly bright as it bounces off the wet road.

At each break in the cloud another optimistic dog walker sets out,

like those figures in a German weather house, to hurry back before they are caught by the next sweep of stinging wetness.

As I write snow is swirling and the sky is sliding from dirty grey to a kind of yellow as the clouds pass

and now over there it’s bright again and a washed blue rises up to high emptiness.

There goes another dog and friend, disappearing up the lane before the sky refills, to hide the setting sun.



Home again, to the quiet house.

Bemused again, by the fact of travelling,

unravelling –

by the power of a decision, a map,

of roadsigns and lines

in green and blue and white

to take us from this weathered gate

(redundant chickenwire on peeling wood –

a particular knack of opening),

to that unmetalled track, between orchard and sheep field,

that tilting gangplank, that home from home,

a country’s length away.


Then moving on (or rather back),

orbiting the unseen city,

to arrive at another place, a numbered house on a named street,

its quirks yet to be discovered

(bus stop debris by the front steps –

backyard littered with hazelnuts donated by a neighbour’s generous tree).


Each destination a particular, precise point on an itinerary,

chosen from uncountably many possibilities,

joining the dots

to come back at last,

after endless, rolling miles of indistinguishable in-between,

to the beginning,

marked by a lingering absence,

to pick up the waiting threads again.


Copyright ©Fliss Watts 2014