poet. writer. imposter.
After showering, I walk back to the kitchen stopping in the greenhouse to pick some tarragon for my scrambled eggs. Bit poncey, but why the hell not. That reminds me, I’ve not collected the eggs for a couple of days. I should do that after breakfast, I suppose. I should do it every day, but when it boils down to it, I’m pretty squeamish. I don’t mind the chicken shit and all that stuff but if They have visited overnight and ripped the livestock apart again, clearing up makes me sick for days. Then I have to salvage what I can for food. They’ve been visiting a lot over the last few weeks. They will have young to feed I suppose, assuming that they reproduce like any normal creature.
After breakfast, I played a little Chopin on the piano to an audience of indifferent cats and then made my way to do the chores.
The chickens were fine and I had enough eggs to make cakes and have yolks left for making tempera. I’ve threatened to teach myself painting for too long, so I’m pleased I found the book about painting with tempera. The library had a very good selection of books on art history and technique. I’m glad we brought so many down. I dream of seeing the real paintings rather than the reproductions, but I know that will never happen.
I thought about the library in bed last night and decided to keep it closed; a mixture of practicality and laziness. It would be too much work to open it up, remove the books, reseal it, etc.. It’s pretty solid at the moment. I’m not sure my skill is good enough to make it as sturdy as Miggs could. I’m taking a risk just by opening up the labs. Two weak spots in the defenses might see my end.
It’s a pretty clear day; quite warm. Think I will take one of the bikes and go into town. See what I can salvage.
I’m going to have to find another garage. I’m running low on diesel and the generators are going to start complaining soon. I wish I could find a place that stored oil. Miggs rigged up a good oil based system but I’ve never had to use it, except for back up when the main generators have shut down. I know how to fix the diesel ones, but this oil system seems a bit arcane. He left instructions and a kind of manual, but I’ve not had much in the way of experience with it.
But the point is that diesel garages are getting a bit thin on the ground and I’m almost reliant on diesel base. I’m going to have to find a bigger truck and travel further.
Or find an oil storage facility.
Or maybe look into solar or wind power.
There has to be some usable stuff around what’s left of the town. I could start by salvaging that windmill from the forecourt of the car showroom along St John’s Road. Pull it apart, see how it works, build a new one. Lining the roof with solar panels . . . but I think I’m getting ahead of myself.
Travelling through town is always draining on an emotional level. I remember how it used to look when I lived here before – beautiful Georgian architecture – and even allowing for time and urban renewal, there’s little here that I recognise. The odd building, that’s all. Most of them are just shells; facades and rubble…
Anyway, the trip out was a success. Geiger-counter checks found nothing, as always, and I was able to cut a way into the Library at the Town Hall on Mount Pleasant. One or two of the rooms are still more or less intact and I found some useful books: electronics, some novels and a few about gardening, one of which includes a small section on hydroponics. It’s not what you’d call authoritative, but it should give me some pointers. Best of all, I found a whole rack of sheet music. Maybe the cats might show a bit of interest now. They must be as bored of the Chopin as I am.
It wasn’t easy getting in there. I had to shift a lot of brick and my hands are now scratched and raw. I must remember to take gloves next time I do one of these raids. It’s been a long time since I’ve needed to. I hoped there might be signs of a few people.
Just the debris of a former civilisation, being consumed by nature. No signs of animals, either. No rats or stray dogs. No threats except for the buildings that may collapse. Well, no threats during the daylight hours, anyway.
Before I found myself back here, all I wanted was peace and quiet. And now? Now the silence kills me.
I passed the garden centre on the way back and there are still a few fish tanks that are whole. I also found a whole seam of propagators. Getting them all back home is going to be difficult without breaking them and I’m wondering whether I should clean this space up and do the hydroponics thing here rather than weaken the defences at home. I wouldn’t say this place is secure, but if I rig up some UV lighting, it should at least given them a warning not to approach. I’ll think about it. Whatever I couldn’t get them back today. I need the Bedford to get them back here.
I’ve neglected the greenhouse today. I should spend tomorrow sorting that out.
One of the UV’s by the gym is out. I’ll need to fix that. I don’t want to risk it tonight and there should be enough bleed from the others to make them think twice. I’ll do it tomorrow as a break from gardening.