Friday, December 08, 2006

Worried about imaginary people who live in my computer, hungry ghosts and looking forward to the weekend

Any language learning programme you could care to wish for always introduces you to a range of native speakers of the language. They generally hang around chatting about really inane stuff so you can pick up how to ask for a coffee and ask directions to the Gare Du Nord without being laughed at by foreign types. As you're probably aware I'm trying to pick up a bit of Welsh at the minute. Don't ask me why, I don't really know other than that it's probably got something to do with my summer-long infatuation with Imogen Thomas. (Not seen her in Heat Magazine for ages. Where is she now I wonder ?). Anyway, in my Welsh learning programme there are a number of different people who met at a Welsh learners week held in Lampeter. There's Matthew, who sounds like a Welsh Brian Blessed. I imagine him having a beard and twinkly, occassionally slightly odd eyes, he's quite intense. Then there's Tom, who sounds younger than Matthew and is slightly camp. Now and again he comes across as a Welsh Graham Norton. Tom works as a solicitor in Cardiff and despite his voice, is actually a happily married man with grown up children. Matthew on the other hand is something of an enigma.

He lives alone, in London where he's been for over five years. He's in his late 20s (although sounds fiftysomething at least to me), and is currently unemployed. This situation arose because he's desperate to get back to Aberystwyth where he originally hails from. Tom and Matthew recently went to play squash together and Matthew couldn't believe that Tom was old enough to have grown up kids. To be honest, neither could I.

There is something of the night about Matthew. I can't quite put my finger on what it is. You just get a feeling about people at times don't you ?

I'm not even sure now if Tom and Matthew are speaking any longer. Last night Tom was telling his course mates how excited he was about the addittion of a new model boat to his model boat collection. That guy has sooo many interests, I don't know how he finds the time. I can imagine him at weekends driving around little villages in South Wales, visiting collectors fairs held in elegant old hotels, chatting about sails, and miniature ropes with like minded people from Monmouth and Chepstow. He then asked everyone else if they collected anything.

One woman collected miniature Welsh dragons which I thought was quite nice in a twee kind of way. Then Matthew spoke. From the pit of his stomach rose his rich baritone voice. No, he didn't collect anything. He thought it would be "silly" to fill his small flat with model boats or dragons ! He almost spat out the line and you could sense the growing tension.

So now I imagine Matthew sitting alone in his tiny, cold, bare of collectibles London flat, unemployed and dreaming of the Mid-Wales coast. His dark grudges against his course mates and their trivial concerns eating away at him. I'm worried that in Unit 14 we're going to learn the Welsh words for "psychopath" , "serial killer" and "helping police with their enquiries."

If my growing concern for Matthew's mental health and the wellbeing of his coursemates and tutor was not enough, last night I was visited by the ghost of Christmases yet to come. I had a lovely,long soaky bath. I ate a couple of oranges. The bath is the only place I can eat oranges. You can just get messy and let it drip all over the place and it doesn't really matter. Anyway, fruit aside, I stuck my head under the water before getting out. Then standing in front of the mirror fashioning the barnet into something resembling reasonable, I was struck by a truly horrifying sight. The hair at the back of my head is thinning in a monkish tonsure kind of way. It only becomes visible when wet, but I know what this means. My grandpa was all but Errol Brown by the age of 40, my dad has done a brave modest combover since his late forties, which is now beginning to enter the realms of ridiculousness. My brother and I are trying to persuade him to go to the barbers for a number 2, but he's quite happy with my sister trimming his increasingly futile resistance. My brother himself has followed that route, it's quite severe and his features are quite gaunt which makes him look hard, even though he's a big softie really.
I gazed transfixed at the mirror. My vision became blurred in the steam of the bathroom, then something strange happened. The face stareing back at me from behind the trapped glass was no longer my own, but the haunted features of the ginger forward combover man from Llandudno. It took all of my self-control and struggling rationality not to run screaming from the bathroom. Last night my sleep was fitful, visited as I was by giant syrup of figs, dancing pensioners with a Brylcreem habit and the vision of my long luxurious late teen locks. Time is cruel, but I'm still here this morning. So too is my hair you'll be relieved to hear.
I'm looking forward to the weekend. This week has been a mare I can tell you. Nothing major, I've just struggled to stay concentrated on my work and have instead been gazing out of the window, arsing around on Myspace, re-arranging ornaments, and considering cleaning the kitchen floor. Only considering mind. This weekend sees the quite lovely Festival Of Angels in York. I can't really explain what it is, so I'll take some photos and stick them on here. Few last minute festive bits and seasonal bobs to purchase, wrapping to be done then we can relax on that score. Husah !
Have a good one whatever you're doing.

1 comment:

Diane said...

I hope your weekend is what you hope for, Martyn. It's nice to have a nice weekend.