It has now come to the time when I have to think about replenishing the coffers so to speak. It's not at desperation stage yet, but thinking ahead isn't a bad thing. As such, I applied for two jobs over the weekend and in all likelihood will be applying for more over the next few weeks. If nothing comes in a month or so I will revert to temping for a bit.
Today though my mind was elsewhere, so I visited the cinema to see MicMacs, from the director of Amelie. It was good, but not as good as his previous films. Although it still had the range of odd and quirky characters, they were less believable, as was the story itself. Still it was a fun piece of escapism.
Finally, I also submitted a piece of writing to Smoke, a London based semi regular magazine containing articles and stories about London. I did submit a piece a few months ago, but it wasn't accepted for reasons that it didn't quite fit with the magazine (a perfectly valid reason I think). However, that doesn't mean I can't publish it here as it's quite a fun piece.
Oh and yes, there will be more flash stories to come as promised.
Smoke and Ashes
It’s Sunday. The fourth day of the Oval Ashes Test. The sun is streaming through the window, a Bolognese sauce begins to bubble on the stove, and Australia are still only two wickets down. Ponting and Hussey are keeping the England bowlers out. I’m getting nervous. I need a distraction.
Suddenly I remember one of those back copies of Smoke that, between falling in love with a gorgeous Swedish girl and moving house, I’ve neglected for a few months. She doesn’t yet understand Cricket, but I plan to hook her.
I begin to read the first sentence, but immediately my brain is distracted. Aggers has gone crazy; surely Ponting hasn’t got himself run out again? Indeed he has. Tears stream into my eyes, remembering the feeling of the win four years previously, celebrating with my friends in the pub in Euston and then joining in with the singing in Trafalgar Square. Are the Ashes coming our way again?
I listen to four more balls of commentary, and then cast my eyes back to the magazine. But wait...what’s that? Another run out? This is getting ridiculous. I’ve not even started reading yet but suddenly I begin to look at the magazine in a whole new light. I try reading again, still with one ear on the commentary, but all is quiet for a while.
In between stories of pregnant mothers, crime waves and Alexandra Palace, I stir my Bolognese a few times and Australia score a few runs, eating away at some more of those overs. Surely we’ve got plenty of time to bowl them out? My worries are short lived as Prior’s neat work produces a fifth wicket. We’re halfway there.
Tea comes and goes (I decide to suspend reading during the interval since I’m certain now that it’s having an effect and don’t want to waste words) but Australia are just about hanging in. I read about unusually decorated fish and wonder if my sauce is ready yet. The wine I bought following an early morning stroll across Hampstead Heath is opened. I eat, but there are no more wickets.
I’m back in my armchair and pick up Smoke once more. The Brockley monastery intrigues me, but only for a moment as one, then two wickets fall. Surely it’s all over now? I continue reading, wondering if I should slow down or speed up. Will England stop taking wickets when I finish or are they waiting for me to reach the end so that they can reach the end themselves? It’s too much for a Sunday afternoon after a filling dinner and some red wine.
I’m nervous now. I’ve reached the back page. Still no more wickets. But just as I begin...BANG...BANG...and Harmy’s on a hat-trick! I’m wishing I was down in Regent’s Park, but only for a moment. Having experienced the sprawling mass of people the day before, I’m sure it could only be worse today. Besides, it’s far more civilised being able to drink out of a glass bottle in your own home with TMS on the radio.
I’m still on the back page, just below the Walrus picture. There’s still one more wicket to get. In comes Swann, I notice Catford mentioned, what is it about all these animals? But then that’s it, it’s all over, we’ve regained the Ashes and, strangely, I’ve finished the magazine.