Journeys away from loved ones, or going to loved ones. They’re the only kind of journey.
Much is written about being away, yet much less is said about coming home.
I was away this weekend. Between the sights, the photo taking, long walks, cups of coffee and sips of beer I thought of home.
That familiarity is not a place. It’s a state of mind, a smell, a single object, it’s a voice.
And we all have that place, but sometimes we have to journey to find it.
Cindy Crawford is pictured on the cover of the latest Marie Claire in homage to the Mexican actress Maria Felix, she of the cigar toting, big smoke loving movie star imagery of the 1950s.
I love cigars. Have done since the age of three when my dad made me puff a big Cuban in the airport lounge in Tel Aviv to amuse my relatives. Since then it’s always meant Bizet’s Carmen, girls rolling cigars on sweaty thighs in a red ripped dress falling down to there, fans spinning and tales of besotted love fallen foul to the piercing horns of a bull, blood spilled on a Traje de Luces.
Its also Hemingway. Floridita. Havana. Burning throat and the icy sting of a daiquiri to cool down for the next tongue roll of smoke. Unforgettable.
Bring me a Cohiba!
I sometimes think my vision of the sea is the clearest thing I own.
Here is another man’s and it sinks just as deep.
JMW Turner is the greatest mimic of the sea.
The perished boats, the frozen souls, the river as a watery M25. These are his most famous and they are on show in a blockbuster at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich open until April 2014.
But my favourites are always the giant canvasses that swallow you in a swell of colour and relentless movement, because the sea isn’t a fixed state, it is a plunge of moving emotions.
Is it the sea you hear in me?
Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?
Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it.
Sylvia Plath, Ariel
I’ve been doing more swimming, which is a bit daft in the winter as it becomes infinitely more annoying to get dressed afterwards (tights on wet legs, jeans stuck round calves).
But there’s something about undressing and getting into water which can take your imagination to a sunnier time, mind wandering between right-arm-over front crawl strokes.
This summer I spent a lot of time in the sunblessed waters of Brixton’s beach (Brockwell Lido) so I close my eyes, head underwater, lungs sucked in hard and swim away from it all.
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?
When your life is as messy as a sty, check into The Pig.
A quiet place, just a quiet place to hide.
A night to sleep deep, listen to sheep chatting in the dark, lie in a boiling bath till your nails go soft and sit by a fire looking, the book spine never broken.
A day to fill your mind up. Walking looking for acorns, mud sucking up your stomping shoes, a choked throat as the therapist kneads you, marveling at giant cabbages, starved for hours and eating apples raw off the trees, cycling till your thighs stop spinning, walking in a wilderness barren like the Yorkshire Moors, horses stopping to talk, pigs lying asleep under trees in the Autumn sun, green every where and that smell of wild things growing.
A meal to make your heart happy for an hour. Innocent pigeon for dinner, pink mash potatoes. Homemade granola with milk from big glass bottles. Sour dough toast and butter dipped in gold yolks that make you miss your home.