Where do you come from and why do you care?

I’m told it’s Africa. That’s my greatgreatgreats * n.

More recently, and personally, it’s St Thomas’s Hospital in South London. Sunday 20th February 1949 5:45 a.m. local time. So I’m told. I was there; but I was busy and didn’t have a watch and diary.

The nurse, my mother said, announced that from the look of me I would be either a professor or a clergyman. I was told that so often that it has stuck; as has the memory of upsetting her when I said to her, as a teenager, that it was preposterous thing to say and the nurse undoubtedly probably said it to everyone or said one of a set of such things.

Then I came from Vauxhall. That’s where I was fitted out with consciousness and shades of the prison house.

Go back two generations one side and I come from Sussex and two generations before that from S W Cornwall, near Falmouth.

On the other side, two generations, I come from Co Kildare and Scilly.

I have never been to Ireland. I have adopted Scilly as my place of origin.
I can – could – trace my origin back on Scilly to 1750. It’s on record. I have not transcribed it. I am not that interested. An indication of place and ethnicity is enough. I’ll make up the rest.

I lost contact with my nearest Island cousin over 30 years ago. I wrote to him last year and he didn’t reply. Why should he? We have little in common except ancestors. For some months each year we are in the same space, unaware of each other.


Why don’t you listen to what the universe or your mind or your body or your god whispers ever more closely to you?

I do, somewhat. I listen most to my mind and then sometimes my body and sometimes the universe. If I have a god he’s busy with my silent cousin or analogously silent.

I Iisten to my body intermittently. I observe the universe more than listen.


In what way have you betrayed or disappointed yourself or others?

In almost every way. I have disappointed others more than myself. Though I do listen to myself, I may hear what I want to hear.
I have a small sense of my betrayals of myself and the world and am seeking to redress what I can as the sense grows.

A friend, who shared my enforced Roman Catholic upbringing, but got more of it than I, tells me guilt is bad. I say: excess of guilt is bad. Imposed guilt is bad. Awareness of guilt is beneficial or potentially so. Like bearable pain. Pass the pain killers; I’ve got the message.

Anyway, I’m going to have a coffee now.



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