Saturday, May 06, 2006


Entry into The Dairy of an Intimate Stranger. Dated October 1882.

I sat out on deck and watched my world fade away. The Calcutta poised itself at the end of Bristol Harbour, it's dry oak stern pricking the morning mist with a cargo full of rusty convicts and converts. We were ready to sail. Distant shores beckoned and beyond. The Calcutta was a clipper at the mercy of British East India Company and I was part of its strange cargo of empty ceramic ginger jars, painted with bright blue chinese characters and fading bridges with hanging willows. There were some mixed spices and botancia below.

As the wind picked up, I turned by back on the green hills of my vanquished youth. Farewell Newington with its hedges and daffodils. The cottages and the fire spent. The thatched memories of coal and soiling sheets blowing like the white sails of my modern mistress. We began the crossing accompanied by the some squealing English gulls, gliding, hovering on the cusp of the thin empty air. I was embarking on a journey from which there would be no return.

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