Print of Time(0)

mar 1st 2013

So what the fuck is going on and why do you think I know?


1. The blog is trying to look different this year.

2. I’m hiding.

3. I’m (not) having a Sabbatical.


A) The Blog only appears on Sunday in it’s now (un)acclaimed format of Thought of The Day in which me and him natter – me in non-italics, him in bold AND italics.

B) The blog also appears, each day, hidden away in the pages in which (jan/feb) the title Faits D’hiver was used.

Faits d’hiver was a sort of play on words with the French for celebration of winter mixed with the French for news in brief – I explained that at the beginning of this (very long) page, jan 2nd.

It also reads as facts of winter, which seemed to fit nicely to the first two months of the blog year.

Except, there weren’t many facts.

Mainly there has been a developing tale about a bloke in an old hotel.

When we left him last, at the end of January, he was reading a scrumpled up piece of paper that was being used as a repair for a cracked and snow leaking window.

This piece of paper seemed to contain a poem, so throughout February I tried to find the poem.

Finally I found it on the last day of the month (yesterday).

Which means we had a poetry month!

Since then spring has sprung.

Sure there was snow last week and I even saw some memories of snow in the ditch on the way back from the acupuncturist this morning, but spring is here.

The first bee, lamb, butterfly, forget-me-not and camper van have all been sighted already.

So I’ve updated the title of the page to include Print of Time, which, if you say it very quickly, sounds (a bit) like the French word for spring, printemps.

Meanwhile the tale of the geezer in the hotel continues……..

mar 2nd 2013

The knock on the door was soft; the traveller turned his head and looked at its echo as it fell into the dust at his feet; it could simply have been his imagination. He was lost in the snows of his own memories and he would only have heard silence if he had not been waiting for something to wake him.

It was like listening to the flutter of one cloud bumping into another.

mar 4th 2013

As he rose from the chair he heard footsteps walking away, they were not his.

He sat back down, turning once again to look out of the window into the past. He did not remember that it was snowing but the light from across the street was silver now, the yellows of the fog forgotten. 

How long had he been here?

mar 5th 2013

He heard the footsteps returning hesitantly, and the flutter on the door went almost unnoticed again. This time he did not stand and he did not turn his head.

“Wait’, he whispered, speaking into the mist forming on the window pane from the breath that accompanied his voice; he watched the icicles forming on the window, fearing that they would break.

mar 6th 2013

The whisper almost dropped into the snowdrifts out in the street but the glass, or that which remained, gently pushed it away, past the man who had spoken it and it fell through the key hole at the feet of the person turning, once again, away.

It was tiny, as fragile as spider web and she would never have heard it if she hadn’t been hoping for it. 

It had been a long time since someone had spoken to her and she almost didn’t recognise what it was.

So she stopped.

And waited.

mar 7th 2013

The blizzard from the street swirled into the traveller’s room and for a moment it seemed as if he had disappeared. Then, once he was certain he hadn't, he rose slowly and crossed the room.

It was four steps from the window to the door.

It was morning by the time he reached it.

mar 8th 2013

When he opened the door, she was no longer there.

mar 9th 2013

When he had been a little boy the traveller lived with his father on the edge of a forest far from the mountains. His father was a carpenter by trade, a furniture maker for the folk who lived in the town at the foot of the valley.

One night snow fell unexpectedly and the people woke to discover a white world that excited them, ignorant as they were to its frozen danger, and innocent of the cold death that comes in its wake.

mar 11th 2013

His father took him to the town and together they marvelled at the scene, the townsfolk were on the hill sledging.

They hurried back to his father’s workshop, and he watched as his father, working from memory and using strips of oak and beach that lay on the workbench, fashioned a sledge that if truth were told looked more like a table.

mar 12 2013

 Together they went to the top of the hill and his father, almost young again, showed him how to sit and pull on the leather straps to turn the sledge to the left and the right. Then standing behind him, so close that the traveller could feel the warmth of his father’s breath on the side of his cheek, he pushed his son towards the slope that lead far down to the village square.

mar 13 2013

Nothing happened.

His sledge juddered a few feet then stuck fast, like a ship grounded on hidden shallows.

His father tried again, and again, straining muscle and sinew, gasping in the cold air, his breath swirling around him like little angry clouds until defeated he sank to his knees in the snow.

mar 14th 2013

“You need to add this”, and father and son turned to see a young man, flush from the thrill of his downhill slide holding his own sledge upside down. Two strips of highly polished steel reflected the brightness of the winter sun.

mar 15th 2013
Together they hurried back to the workshop, stripped the metal from the water barrel that stood in the yard and his father polished until they gleamed like newly forged blades. And though it was almost night by the time they had finished they returned once more to the hill.

mar 16th 2013

The villagers had lit lanterns and some had planted burning branches into the snow. A bright, almost magical light danced among the crystals of the snow and when his father pushed, and the traveller flew across the white brilliance, he imagined he was in a wonderland.

mar 18th 2013

The traveller remembered all this as he stood in the corridor, the snow from the storm raging outside swirling through the cracks of the windows.

The corridor was long, there were many cracks and the snow lay heavily on the carpet, it had been years since anyone had tried to clear it.

mar 19th 2013

He looked at the footprints disappearing away from him into the shadows, and far, far away just a hint of light that shone from underneath a door that he could not see but which he imagined looked the same as the one by which he stood.

mar 20th 2013

And he remembered the last thing he had heard his father say as he had pushed him down the snowy slopes of his distant childhood.

mar 21st 2013

It was his mother’s name and it was the last time he had seen his father alive.

mar 22nd 2013 editors note- this is a day late, sorry.

They said it was the first day of spring yesterday so I thought – right, what the fuck, let’s throw caution to the winds.

Except I was working all day yesterday so I had to wait this morning so I thought- right, what the fuck and let’s throw caution to the wind again – and I took my bowl of muesli and pot of tea and went outside for breakfast.

There is a breeze breezing about my bare ankles under the table and I can report that it’s warm. Birds are singing in the trees and the few clouds left in the sky look embarrassed and are disappearing into the southeastern skies.

A bee just buzzed by.

By the way, do you know why bees hum?

Because they don’t know the words!

Juvenile jokes, a sure sign of spring.

I told three yesterday, family thought I was mad.

I can’t see any blossom from where I sit, but I know it’s out there, having fun.

Another bee buzzes by.

Suddenly the wind drops, there’s a wind and a breeze and they don’t seem to be together.

And then there is a moment of silence and the warmth of the sun on my shoulder speaks loudly.

“I’m here, put a t-shirt on”.

Last nights dreams sit alongside me here on the terrace, impossible dreams of hope and love declared that bare no link with reality yet reveal the inner yearnings of a soul struggling to wake from a long, long winter.

In the dream I hid from their power.

I felt exposed.

Today I think, what the fuck, let’s throw caution to the wind.

mar 23rd 2013

mar 25th 2013

First impression? It’s cold out.


Then I sit on the terrace and find that the air is not cold, it’s fresh.

Fresh with the longing of spring.

Undertones of leaving your tent one morning at a summer camp after the night’s rain mingled with late evening barbeque.

That sort of thing.

The woods are slowly filling with the songs of birds waiting for the leaves to appear so they can conceal their nests; the ditches already pregnant with cowslip, daisy and forget-me-not. The grass on the banks is interlaced with the first violets.



Sort of.

It’s filtered through brooding clouds, but the heat is turning yesterday eve’s rain into a memory of holidays in the tropics.

Not that I've had one.

mar 26th 2013


Her voice sounded distant, fragile as if it was ready to break and uncertain that she had heard his knock. Later he thought it had sounded frightened.

mar 27th 2013

“Hello I’m Josh, I’m in room 17 along the corridor, I have something that might be yours.”

mar 28th 2013

For a while nothing happened, here was no sound and no movement; just the soft sound of snow falling in the carpeted corridor.

mar 29th 2013
Josh raised his hand to knock again just as the door opened and the movement left him with his palm touching her long black hair, it felt like a raven’s wing at sunset.

“Oh, sorry”, he blushed as he let his arm drop to his side.

She smiled. 

mar 30th 2013

“The old man downstairs gave me this to block my window, but I think it’s yours’, and he offered her the rolled up poem.

She looked straight at him for the first time with eyes the colour of the tides, “I no longer need it; it was a long time ago and you can use it if it helps.”


april 1st 2013

They stood there in the corridor snow falling around them in a darkness lit only by the soft light escaping from the room behind, and for a moment nobody spoke. 

Then Josh realised he could hear other sounds apart from the snow; the toc of an unseen clock, a sigh somewhere deep within him and her breathing, soft like a young forest deer’s. It reminded him of the forest where he had grown up and how he had lain hidden listening to the animals as they emerged at dawn. 

And behind her in the room Josh heard the flutter of flames from an open fire and he became aware of the smell of roasting fish; he could not smell her perfume.

april 2nd 2013

april 3rd 2013

“Thank you”, she said and closed the door.

april 4th 2013

Josh stood and looked at the door. It was wooden, like his, covered in cracked and peeling paint the colour of hotel corridors everywhere. Nothing about the door was special yet Josh tried to store every detail in his memory. I’m not sure how long he stood there but when he turned and made his way back along the corridor the footprints of his coming were no longer visible under the fresh fallen snow.

In the distance he thought he imagined a softly spoken voice; “wait”.

april 5th 2013

april 6th 2013


Got drunk

Hadn’t for four months

He’d been a good boy

Lost it tonight



Saw her picture

Lost it

Opened a bottle of bubbles

Shouldn’t have

Should have hung in

Shouldn’t have let the past sweep over him.


april 8th 2013

The best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray.

Robert Burns, 1785.

(Though, to be honest, he actually said: “Gang aft agley”, being as he was Scottish).

What a difference a day makes eh?

Maria Grever, 1934.

(Though to be honest she said: “Cuando vuleva a Tu Lado”, being as she was Mexican).

Still, one hundred and forty nine years  - that’s a lot of difference and I bet things weren’t the same.

And there’s a big difference between 2013 and 1937 now you come to mention it.

76 years!

And a lot can happen in that time.

Stuff you may not even be aware of.

Lucky I’m here!

I wonder what you do at the end of a long day when you’re tired, missing the comforts of elsewhere and it’s pouring with cold icy rain?

Yes? Hmm…. Wow… really? Interesting?

Guess we’re not the same then.


Diversity, being as it is, a good thing.

I decided to run a bath, stinking hot, and went off to the van – repository of comforts from elsewhere – and returned with a copy of ‘William the Fourth’ a novel written by Richmal Compton in 1924, though my edition – the twentieth reprint - is the 1937 one.

Then I got my glasses, dipped them in the steaming water, and slid in alongside.

Nothing can beat a chapter of William to put me back in place.


Nothing that is, EXCEPT, a chapter of William in a hot steaming tub.


I put my glasses on.

They steamed up.

Couldn’t see a thing.

I dipped them in the water once again.

Put them back on.

Read a page.

They steamed up.


Turned the page.


Am I bleeding?

Red stripe across page two.

My glasses steamed up again.


Two red stripes!

Check hands.

Glasses steamed up.


Turn the page.

Three red stripes!

Covers of books published as a twentieth edition in 1937 were not designed for the sauna.

The cover was bleeding.

I gave up.

Thought about Robert Burns.

Thought about Maria Grever.

Toweled off, went to the sofa instead.

Switched on the hi-f (Not the wi-fi) and chose vinyl.

Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle, ‘One From The Heart’.

april 9th 2013

april 10th 2013

This road leads straight to Spain.


I like Spain.

The road is grey, the day is grey and I’m heading for the edge of town.


Suddenly the sun comes out, it’s warm and it’s Spring.

I have a tank full of petrol and I’m all alone, no one here to say no.

This road leads straight to Spain. 

april 11th 2013

april 12th 2013

Let’s talk about this station.


Or outside?

Inside I can sit with those waiting and those sheltering.

Outside I can sit with the smokers under the rain.

It’s not cold but one outside is dressed as if it was summer, it isn’t. Bare legs in the briefest of skirts, open sandals (golden) and a token of a jacket; only the flame of her fag can be giving her warmth.

Inside a man waits with his bike. His bike and his bag. His bike, his bag and his other bag. And his plastic container. And his bag with a bag inside it. And his three other bags on the left handle bar. And the two shopping bags on the right. And his woollen hat. And his bag on the back. And the bag on top of that. 

And his umbrella.

He’s asleep…..

april 13th 2013

april 15th 2013

On a day of extremes - starting as it did with me smothering myself in suntan lotion for the first time this year and ending as it did with me catching a cold in heavy dark rain whilst running through the forest – I’m not sure where this is going to lead.

So let’s just run with it and see what comes out.

I had wished her dead so many times when she was alive and healthy that I now feel compromised that she isn’t.

A death will always leave someone somewhere with layers of love and grief that they will struggle with for always and which will ultimately mould them into what they truly are and I think I should probably leave things there.

april 16th 2013

april 17th 2013

I hate this town.

I hate the roads, I hate the pavements and I hate the people.

I wish I hadn’t come today.

I hadn’t for almost two years and I had forgotten how much I hate the place.

I hate the houses.

I hate the streets.

I hate the lights.

And they won’t let me park my car.

Two years ago I could, today you can’t.

And everyone looks so self-righteous.

It makes me want to spit.

If I lived here I would finish things in the river.

It’s beautiful.

But sad.

Because I wouldn’t be the first.

I think I should go home.

april 18th 2013

And sleep,

Brings the night

That offers hope that the day will bring something new.

It doesn’t.

So we sleep.

april 19th 2013

april 20th 2013

She stands alone at the checkout.

The contents of her shopping basket betray the fact that she will probably be alone outside the supermarket too.

But she cares.

Her selection is fresh, vegetal and she has a packet of Jordan’s muesli.

She cares about her hair too, some of those colours are new and the cut is neat.

She is not from here; she stands as if she does not belong.

She fumbles at the credit card reader, struggling to read the numbers on the keypad. She should be wearing her glasses.

But she still cares.

Or maybe, distracted, she forgot where they are.

There is a shadow on her cheek; it is not makeup.

She has been crying.

april 22 2013

april 23rd 2013

There hasn’t been any talk, neither here nor there, of grammar recently… so we’ll let this sentence go uncommented upon and start again..

It has been a very long time since we have heard anything about Ms Penny on this blog.

Just to remind anyone who doesn’t know, Ms Penny is the head archivist here at Bitsnbobs and someone who toils day and night, and the moments in between, to.. er… well… archive.

We last heard of her (here) when she closed the door on The (newly discovered) Turbulent Chambers with her on the inside surrounded by swirling pieces of paper.

And then nothing.

Not a peep.

Until today!

News has just reached us that during her self-imposed isolation the floors of the chambers gave way and she plunged into the abyss of what has turned out to be a hitherto unknown subterranean storage.

For seven months, surviving only on words and punctuation she has been sorting and sifting, so busy that she forgot to call for help.

She’s in hospital now recovering and the builders are adding structural changes so that the place will be safe for summer visits.

She has asked that the subterranean storage be forthwith known as The Tunnels of Times, and none of us at the editorial staff headquarters can find a reason to disagree.

april 24th 2013

april 25th

I just told you that - about Ms Penny the day before yesterday - because when she arrived in the hospital we found this crumpled up in her hand. (the editor)

I‘m reading two books at the moment – one is about an old man who has set out on a journey to visit a distant friend who sent him a letter out of the blue, the other is about a young girl who is searching for the missing writer of a book in which she was named after one of the characters.

Two different souls searching for meaning.

I wonder if it means something.

I’m reminded of the Joni Mitchell song –I am on a lonely road and I am travelling, travelling, looking for the key to set me free.

I hate you some.

I love you some.


Spring is surfacing, through the snow in fact – two days ago temperatures were minus six, today they are 10.

This morning I was greeted by ice and sunshine.

I hate you some.

I love you some.

april 26th 2013

april 27th 2013

Where to begin?

The sunset?

Or the swallows?

They are here in Cataluyna.

april 29th 2013

april 30th 2013

I haven’t stood in this spot for a long time.

Ten years maybe.

Can it really be that long?

I have imagined standing here many times during those ten years but nothing prepared me for this.

The campsite has gone. Of the hotel there is no sign. Poppies grow among the long grass where once the tents stood. The caravans, weekend homes for the Spanish families that fished all day and cooked all night, perhaps never existed- though I know they did.

The lady who worked in the campsite shop, where is she now?

And how can a hotel disappear?

How many times did I holiday here?

And does returning to find everything gone, and myself alone with memories, mean that I too no longer exist?

may 1st 2013

I'm wondering...

May i disable comment moderation?

Have the sploggers given up and gone away?

May i? May 1st. 

Let's find out....

may 2nd 2013

may 3rd 2013

may 4th 2013
may 5th 2013
may 6th 2013
may 7th 2013
may 8th 2013
may 9th 2013
may 10th 2013
may 11th 2013
may 13th 2013
may 14th 2013
may 15th 2013
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may 18th 2013
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may 30th 2013
may 31st

(a shadow of my former self.)


Mary said...

Hello from over here!

I guess the daily photos are from your current/latest trip to Spain? Other?

Though it takes less time to read -- Am missing text and context. Have been reading Hamlet with my son as part of his Grade 12 English course and came across this exchange between the Prince and Polonius.

[Aside] How say you by that? Still harping on my
daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I
was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and
truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for
love; very near this. I'll speak to him again.
What do you read, my lord?

Words, words, words.

What is the matter, my lord?

Between who?

I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here
that old men have grey beards, that their faces are
wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and
plum-tree gum and that they have a plentiful lack of
wit, together with most weak hams: all which, sir,
though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet
I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down, for
yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab
you could go backward.

[Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method
in 't. Will you walk out of the air, my lord?

Into my grave.

Indeed, that is out o' the air.
How pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness
that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity
could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will
leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of
meeting between him and my daughter.-- My honourable
lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.

You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will
more willingly part withal: except my life, except
my life, except my life.

God the Bard had a way with words -- even a small bit of plot is given so much care in the writing.

Got any words for us to help fill our stressful week-days?


popps said...

the words will be back Mary, just be patient!
this is photo-may, and every picture tells a story