Confronting dark secrets and Wellington boots   Leave a comment

The drought continues. This means deluge, thunder, lightning, penetrating rain lasting all day. On Saturday it rained all day. All day. It reminds me of home. I came to the sunny South East to escape from this.

I could not face going out and having the rain seep through the fibres of my raincoat and bag, the steamed up mobile and the damp smell in the tube.

Instead I tackled the house. It has been long overdue. My enthusiasm led me to open the dreaded places I had avoided for  years and take out the bundles of paper that had built up since I moved in. I work in a paper bound world and I am a hoarder. The piles of paper have been my guilty secret for years. I felt like the awful Mr Krook in Bleak House. I had a premonition of being found dead, surrounded by reams of paper and decided to tackle it.

I piled all the paper, files and documents into a corner. They exploded and spread across the whole wall of the room. I was shocked. I spent all day Saturday ploughing through them, getting bogged down in my past, stopping for a moment to go ‘awww’ or ‘wow’ or ‘I forgot that’, feeling waves of emotion, depending on what I found.

It is now Sunday night. I’ve worked through half the wall. The other half remains, staring at me. I promise I will do it. I have to. I’ve messed them up now and they cannot be returned and I cannot hide. I’ve filled up the recycling bag for the week leaving no space for anything else.

Part of me feels invigorated. It’s been bugging me for ages and been on my ‘to-do’ list. To finally start the process and sort out my life is good.

On Sunday morning I needed to get out though. The papers were staring at me accusingly. I donned my raincoat and my Wellington boots, a relatively recent investment. Not the Hunter ones that the cool people wear, or the awful flowery, printed ones – just plain old-fashioned green wellies. I felt like a child wearing them. (They played a big role in my childhood) When I went  out I checked that nobody was looking and then jumped in a puddle and splashed! It was brilliant. I got braver then and spent most of Sunday  deliberately wading through the deepest puddles I could find, looking with contempt at those with ordinary shoes and umbrellas tiptoeing around them. The rain continued but I did not mind.

And then in the afternoon, on the street of a poor west London town, the sun suddenly came out. It was beautiful. Everything sparkled. People looked up. I could see moods change in front of me. People’s steps became visibly lighter. They smiled at each other. It was like the end of Noah’s Flood.

I felt the same. My steps became…. well, actually they couldn’t become lighter…..because of the wellies. They were so awkward and heavy, and became increasingly so. Those that I had scornfully splashed earlier, now looked at me with pity as I dragged my green monsters. And in my head I began to hear the Patrick Kavanagh poem as I trudged along, trapped by my mistaken affection for the wellies, symbolic of my childhood;

“O stony grey soil of Monaghan
The laugh from my love you thieved;
You took the gay child of my passion
And gave me your clod-conceived.

You clogged the feet of my boyhood
And I believed that my stumble
Had the poise and stride of Apollo
And his voice my thick tongued mumble.”

I made my way home, extracted my feet from the sweaty monsters and swore to keep them for the snow in the future.

(The cherry and apple trees are shedding now, creating a snow of blossom and carpets of pink and white. So maybe I’m not too far off the mark.)


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