Overhanging whoosh
Steady chugging down under
Me sandwiched between

Forlorn pink trash bag
Vending machine spits candy
People chatter on

Rows of red poppies
Bulky chunks of railway tracks
Basking in the sun

Marled coral rooftops
Poking through unbroken green
Cower beneath cranes

News of Manchester
Drifting past the countryside
Slightly incongruous



We got stopped by the police the moment we crossed into Bayern…

….but made a narrow escape with the sheer power of conversational wit (according to Julia).
Our car also screeched to a halt in the dark, deserted high street, because we were waylaid by a hedgehog.


We waded through dangerous waters…


…And then got stalked by a Mexican hiding in the shadows.


We had to survive in the wilds with nothing but a Swiss Army knife.


But through it all, we cooked ate drank talked sang walked; like we owned the whole world.


Because, you know – menschen leben tanzen welt.


A mother herds her little girl onto the the bus. The child is in some sort of dance rehearsal ensemble. Behind them, two girls enter the bus unaccompanied. They split – mother and child make their way to the back of the bus. The two girls swivel in the opposite direction. They settle into seats facing each other.

Barely a few heartbeats later, the first girl hurries down the aisle slides without a pause into the adjacent empty seat, smiling triumphantly at her pals, well pleased with herself. They sit there, not even talking. Just exchanging glances and secretive smiles. Maybe revelling in being cool enough to just hang out with friends, having broken free of close adult supervision.

So I’m learning Mozart’s Das Veilchen for singing lessons, and it turns out the lyrics are a poem written by Goethe – Sturm und Drang, romantic, tempestuous, pride-and-joy-of-Frankfurt Goethe. The poem is about a pretty little violet longing for the love and attention of a cute shepherd girl, and it ends in battered-person tragedy like this:

Ach, aber ach! Das Mädchen kam
und nicht in acht das Veilchen nahm,
ertrat das arme Veilchen.
Es sank und starb, und freut’ sich noch:
und sterb’ ich denn, so sterb’ ich doch
durch sie, durch sie,
zu ihren Füßen doch!

But, cruel fate! The maiden came,
without a glance or care for him,
she trampled down the violet.
He sank and died, but happily:
and so I die then let me die
for her, for her,
beneath her darling feet.

Which is funny because just a couple of days ago we were watching Black Mirror, Season 1 Episode 2, and this song, and Jessica Brown Findlay’s hauntingly plaintive rasp have been stuck in my head ever since:

You can blame me
Try to shame me
And still I’ll care for you
You can run around
Even put me down
Still I’ll be there for you
The world
May think I’m foolish
They can’t see you
Like I can
Oh but anyone
Who knows what love is
Will understand

I don’t condone the mindset in these songs of course, but I derive so much joy when life springs little surprises in the form of motifs like these.


Odd moment when the bus stops in the middle of its route and rumbles to a halt and the conversations and the video playing out loud and the whoosh of passing traffic and the sun’s heat on your face are thrown into sharp relief and wow, this – this is why you live alone – to revel in quotidian moments like these where routines unexpectedly veer off track while you gaze unseeingly out of the bus window expecting to go from point A to B and nothing more; moments that mean nothing to the world or stock prices or headlines and are concealed in your memories not because you can’t reveal them, but because you have absolutely no need to share them and no one is interested, and are therefore purely private and your own. And if memories maketh the person, if you are the sum of your memories, these are the times you feel like a whole person, a person that is not part of an organisation or an ethnicity or a community or a world people make out to be so disappointing, a person not subject to the whims of an environment so beyond control, but a person just being.


“Vlasta is opposed to all forms of extravagance. For her, sitting out in the garden at night just because you feel like it is an extravagance.” – The Joke, Milan Kundera

June 2018
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