Colours quarrel

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I wrote this in December 2015, when the windows were completed, but I had no image of the glass taken in the evening.

“Linden has given me some squares of glass for Christmas. These will be fitted into and around my front door which receives a drench of light every afternoon. I imagine a cathedral, but really this is just my front door. I had my colours organised, but the glass artist changed them because he said my colours were not going to obey me. He said that colours quarrel. My dark rich colours would go black and sulk.

He changed my panes to rose, champagne, sage green, ice and an invisible gold. I complained that now there was no colour. And there wasn’t. He said there would be, that now the colours would cooperate and allow each other a fair go in the light, and that they would change as the light changed and show all of their personalities. My dark colours would just turn their backs because didn’t have enough space.

I said I didn’t know. He replied that it was understandable, everyone is busy. But there is nothing so busy with its own concerns as a piece of stained glass. Each piece of glass thinks it’s right. They needed to be treated subtly and with cunning to get them to all do what you want without them knowing.

Well, my glass panels are up and fat with warmth and light –  and they are beautiful; the artist, with his dreadlocks and tools and dusty workshop was absolutely right. In the morning they are quiet and smooth and rich, in the evening they are hilarious, and show blue and purple even though this is impossible.”

Is this a bookstore?


Two people went by the windows of the shop this morning, laden down with bakery and one said as he went past: is this a bookstore?
His companion answered without looking: yeah, just kiddies’ books by the looks.
He was also carrying a can of paint and he stopped to change the paint bucket to his other hand and to transfer his lunch to the opposite side. And he dropped the meat pie. Then he juggled the pie, his keys, the paint, his phone and he called out: just fucking wait a minute, and his companion is not waiting, just keeping on going and eating his food as he walks.
My window is a field of activity. It is a viewing glass.
One man said, looking through: it’s amazing how many books have been written about London. His wife did not answer, she kept walking.

Once, outside, a man was shouting into his phone: some of them just attack you.
A man tapped on the glass and said to his son that Jeffrey Archer is the best writer in the world today and this is because there are no swear words in his books. His teenage son did not look up from his phone.
An old couple parked just outside the door and through their car window I could see an enormous zucchini. When they opened the back door of the car, the zucchini fell out onto the road. She said: well, why didn’t you pack it in properly? It took him some time to pick the zucchini up because he couldn’t bend down that low.
Today Yvonne opened the door to show me Marco’s new collar and to ask after my grandsons. She has a new hat with a long feather poked through the brim.

There are motorcyclists seated around a small table outside the bakery. One is angry: he says: I told him not go that way. One of his companions says: take it easy.

Some people walk by and come back. They stare at the wooden cat in the first window and then keep going again. They don’t look at any books. Children will tap the glass; the cat might be alive. One lady bent, peering through window for a long time. Then she said to her friend; come along, there’s nothing useful in there.

One man read my opening times on the door and said: what a cracker!

On a certain excellent afternoon, two people with a pair of huge dogs thundered past my door and on past the bakery tables and the large dogs waded into a group of diners and started a fight with two small dogs that were sitting correctly next to their owners. The small dogs screamed a single continuous high note of excitement and the large dogs danced backwards in shock and the walkers shouted whoa and back here and the diners repeated and repeated that it didn’t matter and then sat angrily back down again and looked at their cakes and coffee that were all over the ground.



Noah looks out of the window…


Noah is looking out at his ordinary front yard at an ordinary road in a country town.

There is much work to be done. (But there will always be work to be done. Even at the end of the last task, there is still work to be done.)

There is a smooth lawn to be planted, a shed to be built, a clothes line, some trees, a sandpit and somewhere to leave his bike out in the rain.

There might be a pathway, a cubby house, somewhere for mud and water, somewhere to hide, somewhere for sorrow and somewhere for fury.

There might be a corner, designated for nothing, tangled and of no use, immensely valuable.

There will be a place to leave toys out to rust. He will help dig holes. He might hang washing with the hoist wound down, using 18 pegs for one small shirt.

When he is growing he might say with certainty: this place is shit.

When he is grown he will puzzle over and appeal to the curious things of worth.

And when he has a child of his own he will then begin with urgency, the ordinary lawn.


Blest, who can unconcernedly find

   Hours, days, and years slide soft away,

In health of body, peace of mind,

                            Quiet by day,

Alexander Pope, Ode to Solitude