Alexander Averin

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Just a Day in My Life

A Day in the Life of A Boy

U2 A Beautiful Day


What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

Philip Larkin

Purplecoo is a group of writers (and cyber- friends) that meet here in cyber-space. We have set each other the task of writing about a day in our lives.

As my name is near the beginning of the alphabet it befalls upon me to write mine now, in January, in the bleak midwinter, as the dear poet Christina Rossetti would say.

I would prefer to do this task in my favourite month of May because my Spring Self is a different person to the one I am now. She would be full of energy and optimism, her sap would be rising. She would not be huddling, she would be out and about in Nature. With much of interest to report. Her day would be more interesting I am sure.

So please bear with me. Much of what I write will be intensely boring.

My January Winter Self’s longing for hibernation is to the fore. Living without central heating makes keeping warm a preoccupation. She is happiest by the woodburner, watching the flames. Stoking the fire. Reading, writing, eating, that sort of thing. Hot baths, hot chocolate, hot toddies. Sleeping and napping. She forces herself outside as daylight hours are short. The pineal gland needs this light or the dreaded Black Dog comes calling.


Radio 4 is one of my delightful daily companions and I am woken every morning at 7pm by the Today programme. I endure an hour of the latest news, (some kind of masochist this woman you must be thinking?). I especially enjoy it when John Humphries is on, he speaks up for me don’t you know? Because I get riled at lots of things and go into Grumpy Old Woman mode. This gets my blood pressure up anyway and helps get me out of bed .

Today is such a day as the discussion is about those poor twins who got married without knowing they were brother and sister. I am at the moment finishing writing my own memoir of my experience of being an adopted person. I have found four dear half- brothers quite recently (I have six in all) and could quite easily have met up with one of them as we all grew up in the London area. We could have fallen in love and who knows what could have happened?

This denial of one’s identity is a subject that is so close to my heart and I have been banging on about it for years. And those poor souls created artificially by sperm/egg donation have been treated even worse than adopted children

But these poor twins sufferings were twofold, they were separated (that is the wickedest crime in itself) and taken (stolen) for adoption. Then they were denied knowledge of their identity. It breaks my heart, what it has done to theirs beggars belief.

I had better stop now, I could go on.

M brings me a mug of honeyed tea without which I would find it well nigh impossible to get out of bed. The Today hour is intermingled with a little reading, maybe writing/blogging a bit, or more often than not just looking out of the window at the river and the birds etc. I have blogged a lot about this morning routine in the past so many apologies for repeating myself.

I can see the dipper is busy dipping as the river is mighty high. We have had so much rain and much as I love it I do long for snow, Its pure blue-whiteness might brighten my January, I love the beauty of snow and the unique quietness she carries with her, there’s nothing like it is there? The photographs one can take (well M can take) are just pure poetry. Being snowed in is heaven even though I do have to take the time as annual leave from work.

Talking of work, today is Saturday, for most people it’s a day off but for me I have to work the morning. I love my job because I am in my element which is books and I also love my borrowers, all of them. It’s always more relaxed on a weekend, anyone who works in a library will tell you that. I leave a little early this morning as I have to go to the post office (for work) in town. The drive there is amazing as there is blue sky and shafts of sunlight are shining on the mountains in the distance. I can’t believe it, what a treat.

I arrive at the post office and luckily there is not a queue. This establishment is yet another of our rural amenities under constant threat of closure. Now our local arts centre has come under the shadow of the axe. So now it is art centres, schools, libraries, post offices, public toilets (!)tourist information centres….. I wonder what facilities will be left sometimes. The little local bank has been saved in the past as has the Heart of Wales railway line.


When I arrive at work I am greeted by a big delivery box full of books, some new ones and lots of requested titles so I am soon on the phone to the borrowers to tell them their books or books are ready for collection.

We have a lot of book requests from this branch library, issue numbers are still rising as are membership numbers. The writing group has two new members and the book group is still flourishing. We are meeting next Monay evening to compare H E Bates’ Fair Winds for France with Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five which should make for another lively discussion, this time about the realities of war.

An elderly borrower I haven’t seen since the summer comes in she had been poorly and a friend has been collecting her books. I had missed her and seeing her has made my morning.

We have server problems and there is no internet connection, which is a pity as I have to turn people away, especially embarrassing as some are visitors to the town. It is the Saturnalia Beer Festival this weekend, one of the popular green events.

Half of the town was without internet and phone for three weeks recently, we are not top priority for BT in rural mid Wales.

I have the usual mix of visitors, young and old alike.
People interact, share a smile, a joke, a book recommendation. It’s a real meeting place, the library.

It’s a steady Saturday, sometimes it’s so busy that I hardly get a chance to make a cuppa or get to the loo (I work alone). But today it flies by, as always and I lock up well after closing time because there are a few late arrivals, but I don’t mind. There are four children amongst them and one has just completed the Book Crawl and is keen to choose his free book. I always think that even if I get just one child reading and loving books then my job as a librarian will have been worthwhile. Being able to share my passion with others and getting paid for it too - I am very lucky to be in that situation

I’m starving when I get home and I have my usual Saturday lunch, beans and grated cheese on marmite toast topped with chilli sauce…… accompanied by dear old Radio 4 again (Any Questions and Any Answers). M is watching a film but shares some beans with me. I am still hungry so I have two toasted hot cross buns (topped with marmite, you should try it) and two mugs of tea. After that I am really tired (I had another sleepless night last night, a really serious attack of insomnia) so it’s time for a treat, time for a nap…..

It is National Year of the Nap after all…….

I wake exactly two hours later and it’s dark! And raining hard and another day gone. I feel a little groggy as you do after a sleep in the daytime. M makes me a mug of tea. He’s been on the computer, he’s found a site on old Godalming, Surrey, his old hometown and is happily recording a few historical memories of the place. I lived and worked there once and it is where we met, but that was many, many moons ago.

I feed my dear white cat Molly. I feel guilty because I haven’t taken the dogs for a run in the field and it’s too dark and wet now (OK I am too lazy, let me be honest for once!). I will make up for it tomorrow. Aren’t dogs such forgiving animals?

I don’t feel like cooking a meal. Are you like me? I don’t cook with much gusto unless I am hungry. I delay the deed as neither of us is hungry. M opens a bottle of wine, it is Saturday after all. I check the paper to see what’s on TV tonight. Nothing. Do they think everyone goes out on a Saturday? I really must look into Sky Plus so I can record what I want to see and when I want to see it.

I have plenty to read though. I’ve borrowed:

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (library book group’s choice).

Angels Watching Over Me by Jacky Newcomb

Sage-ing while you’re age-ing by Shirley Maclaine

Your Soul’s Compass by Joan Borysenko

I also have at home:

The Almost Moon (great title) by Alice Sebold (love her writing)


The Sad Truth about Happiness by Anne Giardini.

So who needs TV anyway?

I also have a wonderful book called Tracing your Irish Family History by Ryan Tubridy & Anthony Adolph. According to this man my O’Connor line goes back to Noah! Might explain my love of animals and my affinity with rain and boats!

The rest of the evening will be spent catching up on my writing assignment for my OCA course. Wish me luck, I hope to finish my adoption tale this month. From then on I am looking forward to writing from my imagination rather than recording the truth about myself. Perhaps it is too painful, this resurrection of past memories. Much easier to record this day just passing now,

So what will I remember about this glory day?

Its blessings I suppose.

Sunlight and sky, an ever-changing work of art.

The fact that M seems to be feeling a lot better. I have had so many broken nights disturbed by his coughing that I am exhausted! As he is of course.

My lovely borrowers.

Books, books and more books.

A quote I read in the Guardian.

The Dalai Llama says that religion is ‘only kindness’.

How wise is he?

Bye for now,
God Bless,

Before I go here is one more poem.
Shows just one example how our days are blessed indeed compared to others.

Day In The Life Of The Parkbench Man

Long til night...mewling,
Sun newborn. Dawned in
Swaddling clouds
Keeping it warm.

A man shuffles the sidewalk,
Picking a penny, eyeing
The date.
Pockets Abe. Snags a
Can some woman dropped...

Bag over-full...heels tic-tacking
Cement. Yesterday...dreams.
Today...peaches. One penny.
Clouds. Raindrops. No sun.

Long til dawn...mumbles
Ancient lips...
Swaddled in newspapers,
Keeping him warm.

Elysabeth Faslund

Last but not least:

The Boss, Bruce Springsteen
Glory Days


Faith said...

I'm reading this in bed with = husband watching tv. He says 'Purplecoo is blue' I say 'Its not Purplecoo its someone's blog'. Then he says 'Where's Bridge over Troubled Water' coming from?' I reply 'Cait's blog' - thinking, why doesnt he shut up. Then he says tell me about Cait, and I do, and I finish by saying.... and she writes gorgeous blogs which I am TRYING TO READ. Then he does shut up.

Thanks for writing it Cait, i enjoyed it. I live not so far from Godalming, pretty place.

Faith x

Grouse said...

Really enjoyed reading about your day- I guess many of us share your passion for books and radio 4.

Beans, cheese, Marmite and chillie sauce? I thought I was queen of strange food combinations: apparently not!

mountainear said...

Where would we be without Marmite and Radio 4? And books of course - can't imagine a life without words.

Lovely blog Cait, and not in the least bit boring. You must do a spring-time day too - as a contrast.

bodran... said...

Marmite URGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH How could you cait i nearly stopped reading!!......... i understand about the forgiving dogs BRILL arnt they, tis raining today so no field for mine either.. Your job sounds lovely really quite fullfilling i suppose. [ are there to many L's in that]. it must be a real pleasure to see children get involved with reading, none of mine have inherited the Gene sadly..
I bought a Digi box before christmas against the shops advice [ they said we had no reception in our area, but i bought it anyway £24 and we can pick up 10 more channels instead of the Blury 4... we had previously, strangely we still don't get S4c... xxx

Exmoorjane said...

Cait, your blogs are always fabulous but with this one you have surpassed yourself... I loved this insight into your day and found myself thinking what a very nice day it was too....
I grew up not that far from a child, it was my idea of 'country' as I lived in suburbia.
Yup, Radio 4 for me too - I'm a late convert but, like most late converts, quite fanatical!
Thank you again - one day I will read your blogs on my laptop, so I can enjoy the sounds too....duh.

lampworkbeader said...

Thankyou Cait. A realy good blog. I loved reading about your life and wow, the Boss too! Glory days indeed.

Suffolkmum said...

Loved this Cait and your day sounds like a half-recognised song - filled with books and wildlife and rivers and good things, I do like the sound of it (except the marmite!) I have been thinking of that Dalai Lama saying recently too, as ever he is absolutely sopt on.

elizabethm said...

Lovely insight into your day. I love Radio 4 too and utterly identify with how different your life is in spring. I read a review of the Shirley Maclaine book and thought she sounded bonkers so would love to know what you think.

Kaycie said...

Your blogs always seem so serene and calm me.

I love Alice Sebold. I'll have to get that book.

A wonderful Sunday to you, Cait.

Frances said...

Hello on a Sunday morning to you, Cait.

Perhaps I should scold you for false advertising, because you said that this day in the life blog was long and boring! Not so, dear Cait.

Your writing always sets such an inviting pace for the reader to join. It has been a pleasure to go along with you through Saturday at home, en route, and at the library and back home ... with music, art, poetry alongside.

I keep forgetting about the true meaning of keeping warm without central heating. You've reminded me of the ridiculous waste that goes on here with our overheated buildings!

One of these days I will buy and try the contents of a tiny Marmite jar. And will write you about it.

All day long, in this city, I see so many people with earphones, or cell phones held firmly to ears, and wonder how it is that we keep ourselves to ourselves. Much of what you've written about in your blogs, not just today's, is about how people can connect.

I feel that your approach to life is quite inspiring, Cait.


Wooly Works said...

To work in a library must be heaven! I got stuck on the part about the twins who wanted to marry. No matter what else I read, I couldn't move past the injustice of it all--to be denied a relationship as children and now to be denied the chance to marry the one you love just seems too much for anyone to have to endure. Seems much more merciful to just tell children who they really are rather than keep it all a secret. Thankfully, being adopted doesn't carry the stigma it did several years ago so perhaps parents are more willing to share this information?

I always love reading your blog. I don't always comment but I always read.

Anonymous said...

Very enjoyable read, Cait. I always wanted to work in a library so I do admire you doing that job.

Thank you for the poem.

Crystal xx

Milla said...

very readable and well-paced. As you warned, not much "happens" but I could have carried on reading about "not much" for pages and pages, so lulling was the rhythm. I have to admit that I turned the music down, as I wanted to read YOU and not be distracted by THEM! Hope you don't mind!

Elizabethd said...

Not one whit boring Cait. Lovely.
Marmite is my comfort food.

Casdok said...

A lovely read - and to be surrounded by books, how wonderful!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oooo Cait that was lovely. There was a calmness about your day.

Have you ever tried hot cross buns cheese and marmalade . . . .

When I was a teenager and into very early 20's I used to work in a library too in Harlow in Essex . . .you clearly enjoy your job - not sure I put as much into mine as to reap the benefits that you do.

Hope the insomnia passes - very difficult thing to live with.

Fern said...

It must be wonderful to live beside a river. I really enjoyed reading about your day and the poems. Philip Larkin has been a favourite of mine since doing "At Grass" for O level!

Preseli Mags said...

Such a beautiful, calm and serene blog. I too am addicted to Today and agree about John Humphreys. As for all those books - what joy!

Withy Brook said...

A really lovely day, Cait. You really bring it to life so that I felt I was living it with you. It most certainly was not boring. It would be strange if every day in our lives was full of unusual events. A day in the life of.. should be the routine one. What worries me is that you all write so beautifully!!!!!!!

bradan said...

Cait, that was NOT boring, your day sounds so serene and ordered (apart from the Marmite!!) and the place where you live sounds like heaven.

CAMILLA said...

Your Blogs are never boring Cait, they are truly wonderful to read, you are a talented writer.

I share your love of books and Radio 4, oh and so too Marmite.

I loved reading about your day Cait, and the river and wildlife, accompanied by wonderful poems and music. I would love to work in a Library to be surrounded by books, and I do believe that Philip Larkin was once for a short time a Librarian in Cumbria.

Thank you for letting us share a day in your life Cait, all very beautiful.


Inthemud said...

Dear Cait,

Just found your "Day in my Life " and had to read it, it's so beautifully written and so interesting, not boring at all.

I'm with you on the sitting by the Wood burning stove, we do have central heating but the cost of usig it is prohibitive, it is only on briefly. This is the worse month of the year , oh to be able to just hibernate!

You brought joy to my wet windy morning.
Much love Elaine

Tattie Weasle said...

Felt like curling up close to the radiator to read this snuggly warm while it blows outside and the rain pitter pats on the window.
You've inspired me Cait - I am going to take The Boy to the Library in town - there's so many threats to these wonderful facilities that if we don't use them they'll vanish. It will be our treat before we pick up The Littlest.
Yep wake to the dulcet tones of Mr Humphries but wouldn't go so far as to put marmite on tea cakes yeurghh - actually not even on toast!!!!

ChrisH said...

Very beautifully written - how am I going to follow that?? Totally with you on Radio 4 and Marmite!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

marmite on hot cross buns???? I thought I was a marmite fan but obvioulsy not that much!
Lovely relaxing blog Cait ...loved it ...envious of your days in the library ...always fancied that as a job after being library monitor at school.