Caught by the River

Dead Mans Cove Flows Back Down The Absinthe

Dexter Petley | 12th December 2007


dead man’s cove came a-knocking here, a swell on the road, conger lobs washed past and set off speed cameras, fish clinging to wrecked trees just to stay in the rivers.

been pretty much clinging to the raft myself the last fortnight, bronchial and broke, pre-publication inertia. have yet to stock-take 07, round-up the beasts and lost sheep, the aldermaston days you might call them. tea and sergeant majors, a barbel in the afternoon – surely the titles of great unwritten books, the future slightly foxed.
as i write, the 30 day rain has ended. this morning an orange sun rose on the frosted mud. my solar torch recharges in the window. the pond is up to its feeder ditch and the crucians have breakfasted on silt and leafmould porridge. the birds are feasting off the land – under every leaf a worm. yesterday i saw the deer wander out of the forest like the all-clear had sounded, snicking the lush green along its edges after a month on the run. the chickens still churn out eggs, muddy eggs all tarred and feathered, but yokes of winter sunset, pike in your eye, real yellow waistcoats for your boiled egg soldiers, the ones crawling from their dug-outs waving wet grey flags. the garlic went in with seconds to spare – the last one popped down as the first drops fell well before the first inflatable santas went up on the slates. i’ve spinach waving green flags, and leeks still bold if ragged from a random tasting by an escaped cow who left deep rain filled holes all over the garden. another ibook died, but the lost novel came back from the laboratory – 470 euros just for some stainless steel surgeon to run a scalpel round my broken hard disk. all this in just 3 weeks, which makes summing up a year a memoir job. with no views of skid row, no crack-heads, gin swine or teenage pimps within a hundred miles, every minute of my year has wonder. is a wonder. which, think about it, is why i can write the bleakest of fiction. kind of a take on something flaubert said: be regular and ordered in your life so you can be violent and original in your work. even rick wakeman said that. but i will pick out some moments and post them at the years end.
your word-posters for john andrews of arcadia are becoming classics. with a john richardson original design to join bill posters jury, you’d have a collectors piece, one for the archives, it could go on a tin, merchandice, something to put the fishermans friends in.

photo: dead man’s cove under laure’s kitchen window last sunday

roasting spuds on the ceasefire round the birdtable