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I print off the American Constitution and sit reading it in bed.
'Have you read it?' I ask Catherine.
She's an American, born in New York, so maybe she has. 'Not for a long time,'
'It's the amendments that are the most interesting part of it,' I say to her.
'Yes they are,' she says. Reading, I'm aware that I'm waiting to get to the good bit, the bit about guns, the one we all know, the one that causes us to wonder on the sanity of a country that lets its people run about with guns as they do.
At the market at Langdale Hall Gilly and I are sitting behind the table talking about life when a woman comes past and starts laughing at my cards.
She picks some up from the box on the table and looks at them and laughs. This makes me laugh too.
There's a man with her who isn't laughing.
'These look like my student's drawings,' she says.
She keeps on looking through the cards, laughing at the pictures on them.
'How old are your students?' I ask her.
'16 and 17,' she says.
'Oh, nice,' I say.
'They're special needs,' she says.
She was sitting next to me on the sofa, arms crossed watching someone on the TV talking about an earthquake in China, when a fart ripped itself across the black leather under her arse.
'You're a class act,' I said without looking over at her.
She laughed but didn't look over at me either.
She did look at the cat and say hello darling when it came in and got up on the sofa.
The cat didn't stay.
It stood still for a scond or 2 and then went into the kitchen where I heard it licking at its food.
I stood at the bar looking through the menu, waiting for my pint and thinking about the best burger, the most satisfying one I could have.
The pint came and I ordered.
'I'll have the bean burger,' I said, ' Does it come with chips?'
The barman turned the menu away from me and ran his finger down the list of burgers.
'Um, I don't know,' he said.
'Anyway,' I said, 'I'll have the bean burger, with or without chips,'
'Right then,' he said.
'Thanks,' I said, 'I'll sit over there. Do you bring it?'
'Yes,' he said, 'I'll bring it.'
At the market the woman on the hat stall came over to speak to me.
'I like your shoes,' she says, 'where are they from?' 'Art company,' I say, 'you can buy them online. I got these in a shop though,'
'How much are they?' she asks me?
'These were only 35 because they were half price at the end of the summer,'
'I need high shoes,' she says, 'market traders always have terrible problems with their legs and feet,'
'Oh really,' I say.
'Yes,' she says, 'I used to wear Crocs but they wore down and were too slippery,'
'It's disgusting,' I say, 'Jesus. you should see it,' We're driving past Brighton beach, on the way to the market.
I can see the pebbles on the beach, leading down to the waterfront, are covered in blue plastic bags, white polystyrene containers and empty soft drink bottles.
'How foul the English are in their beaches,' I say. Catherine doesn't say anything.
We pull up at the car park and I go into the kiosk to see the woman who organises the market.
She's putting fold out deck chairs with an ice-cream company logo on them out into the car park.
In the outdoor shop we stand in front of a rack on the back wall. There are 20 tents to chose from, more or less, and I stand staring at them, confusion starting to set in.
I let Catherine deal with the choice.
I stand back and stare at the sales assistant while Catherine asks questions about ground sheets and the assistant gives her answers about water-proofing.
Then we have to chose the gas cooker.
'This one,' I say, 'with 2 burners. And this cooking set,'
Then I see some chairs.
'We need those chairs too,' I say, 'one each.'
Walking up Corn Street I pull the granny trolley behind me.
Catherine is chattering on about a property company she is having dealings with; a company with very poor customer service skills.
They owe her some money and she wants it back.
'Let me call them again,' I say, 'When we get home I'll phone them up and see what's happening,'
Nothing will be happening, of that I'm sure.
The company, said the woman at the companies head office has been sold to someone else and we're now wondering if Catherine will get the 5 thousand pounds they owe her.
At the bar Wendy sits talking to Andrew.
'Hi Wend,' I say and then I say hi to Andrew too.
'Want a Guinness?' Andrew asks me.
'Yes please,' I say.
'Half,' he says.
'No,' I say, 'I'll have an entire pint seeing the wife's not here,'
'I hear you were in here the other day,' says Wendy, 'drinking Guinness, all giggly,'
Andrew gives me the pint he's just poured for me and Robert comes in and sits next to me.
'I'm always giggly, Wend,' I say, 'I don't need pints of Guinness to make me giggle.'
'I'm in a bad mood,' I say. 'Why?' she asks back. 'Everything...' I say.
'Is that all,' she says.
'...and nothing,' I say, 'you should have let me finish,'
'I'm getting in the bath,' she says.
'Fine. I'll talk to you later,'
'Yes, sure,' she says, 'but cheer up. At lest you're not Chinese,'
'Or Burmese.' I say.
After that I go upstairs and wash my face, look for and then when I find them, change my underpants, look at my hair for a while in the bathroom mirror and then go downstairs and watch the morning news on television.
'Do you like ferrets?' Derek asks me.
'I don't know much about them,' I say, 'except they go down holes, don't they, to ferret out rabbits,' 'Yes,' he says.
'I saw them asleep in their cage,' I say, 'they look very sweet.'
A few minutes later, from behind, I am handed a ferret.
It's a blonde animal, almost golden and its eyes are pink, albino-like.
'Jesus, fuck me,' I say, it stinks,'
The ferret smells repulsive but I hang on to it because it is rather sweet to look at.
'They stink because they're mating,' says the Russian called Xenia.
I'm visiting the girls who have the dog that my friend Sam called retarded.
It's excited and jumps up, scratching my hand.
'It's excited because my sister's been here. She spoils him, lets him do what he wants,'
'Calm down,' I say to the dog, a pug with pop-out eyes and a dark pink tongue.
We drink coffee and the dog lies under the table, head across its outstretched paw, tongue almost on the floor.
'That tongue is amazing,' I say to the girls.
'Yes.' they say and we all lean down to look under the table at the dog.
At Somerfield I walk around the vegetable section looking for cabbage.
I don't usually shop at Somerfield.
I consider it a poor people's supermarket, or for people who don't care about what they eat.
But today I couldn't face Waitrose so I ended up here, in Somerfield.
Somerfield workers have a drab coloured uniform, the tops made of fleece, oversized, or oversized tee shirts.
Waitrose has a better class of uniform, and Sainsbury's is probably in between.
I remember at Netto they didn't even have uniforms.
But what would you expect from a shop where canned fruit is only 9p.
The first bus is taking ages to arrive so I ask Gilly if we have time to run to the shop.
'Yeh,' she says,' it's just there, where the traffic lights are,'
'I don't want to hang around here for another hour and wait for the next bus,'
'There's time,' she says.
We walk toward the Thresher's where I might get a bottle of water.
The door's open but there's an employee blocking my way.
'We're closed,' he says.
'I just want a bottle of water,' I say.
'We're closed, ' he says again.
Ugly little shit-head I think to myself.
At Cafe Messina I order a croissant and a coffee.
I have the Smalltown Gazette laid out on the table in front of me and I start reading an article about how an event that the mayor of Smalltown has organised for some local teenagers has failed.
Apparently only 2 teenagers attended.
'The event, at 5 ppounds a ticket, opened at 7.30 am but was abandoned by 9.30 due to only 2 teenagers attending.' says the article.
I start laughing.
The article goes on to say that next time the organisers would ask for teenagers help in organising the event.
The letter came through the door just as I walked out of my office.
I knew immediately that it wasn't the right address. It had not only the wrong name, but the wrong town as well.
How the postman had gotten it so wrong was really a puzzle.
He may have been feeling lazy when he sorted the mail, but he really should be on the ball enough to know what town we live and realise that he was delivering the wrong letter.
I didn't bother to call out to him, though he was still walking back toward his van.
I know a man who is a postman. He doesn't do our round.
He does the town round.
He was encouraging me to get a job as a postman.
I applied online and still haven't heard anything back.
I quite like the idea of being a postman, walking for miles everyday or going out on a red bicycle, getting fit, having cups of tea from ladies on my round.
'Make sure you never turn down a cup of tea,' the guy I know who is a postman told me, 'If you do turn it down you'll never get asked again.'
On the way home from the pub someone shouted at me through their upstairs window.
It was a young guy who lives across the road from the pub.
In this house where he lives there are cctv cameras installed pointing inside the house.
The people in the house are under some kind of arrest. The prisons here are all full up so they now keep young offenders at home, aiming cameras at them instead of locking them up.
The young men are always skinny with too much gel in their hair.
The girls have fringes and spots on their face.
In the cafe Mark is sat at the table by the window, with his laptop, writing emails, connected up the to internet by his mobile phone.
'Is that an apple phone,' I say to him.
'Yeh,' he says.
'Can I have a look at it please,' I ask him.
'Yes,' he says and takes it out of its suede holder.
'I have a touch,' I say, 'but not an I phone. I don't have any mobile phone,'
I look at Mark's phone for a couple of seconds and then Catherine comes over and asks Mark a question about fax modems.
Today I had a bath.
I had one because I wanted to shave my legs.
The water was too hot for me to get in so I let the tap run pure cold water for a few minutes until I could tolerate the heat.
Then I got in.
While I was in the bath I thought about how long it had been since I'd last had a bath.
I'd never really enjoyed baths.
I find them boring.
I get bored in them and the sweat on my forehead annoys me by running into my eyes so I don't bother reading.
In the morning I went outside to bring in a recycling bin and felt the sun on my face.
There was cloud cover so the sun must have been fairly strong up there beyond the clouds because it made an impression on the skin of my face.
I brought the bin in and then made lunch.
I made a beetroot salad with sweet corn and chickpeas.
I put in olive oil and pepper and grilled three peppers; one read, one yellow and one sweet orange one.
Then I yelled to Catherine to come and eat in the garden with me.
Wendy comes over and we drink tea in the garden and listen to a burglar-alarm going off in someone's house somewhere.
'Mandy's cat got run over today,' Wendy says.
'Wasn't it used to cars?'
'Well, yeh, but you know what they say about old cats with kidney trouble. They sometimes try to do themselves in?'
'You mean suicide?' I say.
'Yeh,' says Wendy.
'You think the cat threw itself under the car?'
'Well that's what Mandy and her Mum reckon,' says Wendy.
I start screaming with laughter at the thought of a cat deciding to throw itself under a car.
Walking Foure Street looking for Barbara Hepworth's house, I say I want soup for lunch and ask Catherine if she want it too.
'You want soup?' I say.
'I wouldn't mind a chowdery one,' she says.
'I quite fancy vegetable,' I say, 'to get my bowels going,'
'I'd like some Guinness,' Catherine says.
Round the corner from Barbara Hepworth's, we stop for soup and Guinness in a pub where 2 old dogs are lying on the floor beneath a large wall hanging of a lions head in pressed tin on black velvet.
'Why is pub carpet always ugly?' Catherine says.
In Falmouth we're shopping for a gazebo or shelter extension for the tent.
'Let's go in to Millet's,' I say to Catherine, 'Seeing we bought the tent from them they might have some kind of attachment,'
'Okay,' she says.
'We have a tent with a door that opens in an arc and one that opens straight out,' I tell the salesman, 'we're looking for some poles or something to turn the straight door into a shelter. I was cooking in the annex this morning and the oil caught fire and a pillar of fire hit the ceiling of the tent.'
At the Cafe Veneto Catherine's reading her newspaper and I'm checking my mail when a bunch of old people waddle slowly in the door.
As they noisily sink themselves into the chairs near the door I hear words coming up from them, words like 'church' and worship.
'Were they born in a tent?' I say to Catherine when I see they've sat down leaving the door open.
'They're Americans, that's why,' says Catherine when she gets back from shutting the door.
They don't look like Americans so I listen out for their accents.
'They're not American,' I say, 'they're Welsh.'
Back at the campsite the gazebo lies in a sodden flapping puddle of green plastic.
The wind pushes so hard at the tent that the poles are beginning to split.
'We'll have to pull all the poles out,' I say to Catherine, 'they're starting to split. Pull all the spikes out,'
We run around the tent pulling the poles from their spikes until it collapses.
Then we stand in the windy drizzle looking at the forms it's made; the gas cooker, the food box, the folded canvas chairs.
'It looks like a Christo,' I say.
'What's a Christo?' Catherine says.
Walking up Corn Street the steam coming off the grass carries the smell of warming dog shit.
'Jesus Christ,' I say, 'do you smell that?'
'What?' says Catherine, 'what can you smell?'
'Dog shit,' I say, 'the dog shit's heating up as the sun comes out. Steaming up'
Catherine starts laughing.
'It's dogs shitting and forgetting to pick it up,'
I think about this as we walk home, dogs shitting and forgetting to pick it up, thinking that dogs probably don't care where they shit, don't realise they have to pick it up, but I don't mention this to Catherine.
In the Ship Inn at Porthleven we sit inside and look out at the grayed skies of Cornwall.
There's a man out on the whited porch in front of the pub.
He's drinking a pint, he's wearing a blue flannel shirt and a dark blue beanie.
He looks like a sailor, like a proper sailor.
'It's not cold,' says Antoni, 'why don't we sit out there on the benches?'
So we get up, taking our drinks, to sit on the small porch at the front of the pub, where the man who looks like a sailor sits drinking his pint.
At the motorway services I'm lining up for Burger King.
In front of me stands a young man wearing a Kingston University rugby sweater.
After ordering I stand aside so others can go ahead of me but I keep my eye on the young man because he's wearing a pair of glasses that I'd quite like to have for myself.
He's talking to another young man, loudly, so I decide against asking him where he got the glasses and instead turn my attention to a girl with down syndrome and a beard looking lost at the condiment and cutlery stand.
In the morning there is sun, though it doesn't last long, and this gray sky makes me think I'd like to have soup at some point in the day.
Around lunch time Catherine comes in to ask if we're going out to lunch.
'Are we going out to lunch?' she says, standing at my office door.
'Yes, hang on,' I say, 'just let me finish this that I'm doing and then we'll go,'
'Okay,' she says, 'I'll get my coat,'
While I'm finishing off my typing I start to think about the soup I'll have at cafe Messina, hopefully vegetable.
In the afternoon my feet hurt.
They'd been hurting when I woke up.
'My feet are throbbing,' I'd said to Catherine first thing in the morning.
Catherine didn't reply so I lay there a bit longer concentrating on the throb that was most intense on the balls of me feet just under my toes.
I'd been wearing flight socks for the last few nights, and days, but they've made no difference.
The feet throb on.
Then, luckily for my feet I'm distracted by the news on Al Jazeera that a bomb has gone off in Islamabad at the Danish embassy.
The Tip Jar