Beyond the Sphere

Only it isn’t ropey at all… it’s an old, broken, weathered washing line hanging on a wall. It also appears to have three ends in this photo… which, in all reality, it probably doesn’t.

Posted for Becky’s KindaSquares.

Nothing escapes
Not even time
Not even water
Not even wine
Surrounded by darkness
Drawn in with the light:
The sock that went missing
In the washer last night

Just where does the washing machine take those garments it takes a fancy to?

Perhaps it spins the items so fast on the spin cycle that the garment’s molecules vibrate out of our existence, and into the washed out land? The innards of a Black Hole? The dark side of the Moon?

All I know is I’m now down another sock. I’ll need to buy some new pairs at this rate!

The air was thick and humid.

Heat trapped beneath the thickening clouds above made everything feel close. Tense. The light, subdued a little by the cloud cover, had a yellowish tinge to it.

Every so often the silence was broken by a long rumble of thunder. And within the rumbles came the occasional bright flash of lightning. Just a flash, no bolts or streaks.

My legs felt heavy as I walked. It felt as though I was walking against something, as though something was pushing me back every step I made. But I had to keep going. I had to keep moving forward.

I had to get back before the rains came. The signs were all there, a storm was definitely rolling in.

One step in front of the other, clothes stuck to my body as I moved. I had to keep going.

…But the rains would have been welcome.

Bank Holiday Monday

It’s Bank Holiday Monday
That feels like a Sunday
No different from a Saturday
But hey!
Just as Friday
With a hint of Thursday
And a touch of Wednesday
Blended with Tuesday
Four walls
My walls
Keeping the outside out
Not quite a lonely planet
But that’s how it feels

No trip to the beach
No barbecue, I’m glad
No polite conversation
But I’m not sad

It’s Bank Holiday Monday
Or one very long day
From when lockdown started
The outside departed
To today
Life in a ghost town
Gentle silence all around
Nothing much to make me frown
Mostly (apart from what’s going down
In the news)
But that’s always the same
Different players, same old game
Feed the fear
Spread the panic
Everywhere full of the pandemic

But it’s Bank Holiday Monday
So it’s a fun day
A part of one day
When lockdown said hey!
Stick it out

And most, I can say
Did.

Vote of confidence

A Beyond the Sphere election special post.

Without images.

It’s General Election day in the United Kingdom today. They come around more frequently than Leap Years in modern times, and are just as much fun.

We’ve had hours of promises and counter-promises, proper gander and hip hop rap, heartfelt apologies for previously bringing in the wrong thing whilst in a previous government, and sincere promises that this time they’ll do better. We’ve been threatened that one thing will happen if we vote for such a party, and that will happen if we vote for a different one, we mustn’t vote for X because of Y, C can’t stand because of B, W was recorded saying this about Q, P became a block of ice, and blah blah blah…

I’m not politically minded. I can’t stand all the squabbling and bickering that goes on between politicians. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the ‘TV debates’ where nobody was interested in what any of the politicians had to say, but most folk were interested in what they had to say wrong.

I didn’t listen to the opinion polls, because I’m not interested in anybody else’s opinion. I did notice, however, how subtle messages the like of ‘you must vote this way’ came through in the oddest of ways; for example a TV programme review flipped itself round to one of the politician’s interests. I just stopped reading the review there.

But tonight I did my bit and went and cast my vote.

I walked down the dimly lit alley to the polling station. I pushed the door which needed to be pulled to open – they’d covered the ‘pull’ sign with the ‘polling station’ sign. I walked across a vast empty room, to a row of desks that were arranged in an L shape at the far side of the room. A man and a woman sat on the left, and two other women sat behind the tables directly ahead. The polling booth was over to the right.

“Hi” said the man, as I approached the table he was sitting at, not knowing whether I needed to go to him or not. I handed him my polling card as I said “Hello” in return. He asked me to confirm my full name, and then checked that I had gone to the correct polling station, which, luckily for all of us, I had done. It was the address on the polling card, so I couldn’t really have gotten it wrong.

The man gave a series of letters and numbers to the woman sitting next to him, and she announced that she’d written down a completely different set and questioned why she’d done that. She wrote down the correct series, and the man then handed me my polling slip.

“You MUST mark ONLY ONE X” the woman said, pointing to the polling booth at the other side of the room. “And then you MUST bring it back, and pop it INTO THAT BOX there” – this time she pointed at the ballot box beside the end of the table where the man sat.

I walked slowly across the room, noticing how eerily quiet and empty the place was. I marked my paper in the booth as instructed, and folded it as I walked back the ballot box to cast my vote. My slip was half-way into the slot when the man asked “Er… did you get that ballot slip from us?” I did that three way double-take look you do when you ask yourself if you were being asked the question. I looked around the room, and I was still the only person in there. “YES, he did.” said the woman. “Yes, I did” I also replied, not actually sure whether I should have been speaking at that moment but the correct words formed as I did so, so it must have been alright.

I then left the polling station, walked back along the dimly lit alley and then rejoined what felt like reality. This reality. Tomorrow’s may be completely different. Or it may be the same. Or it may appear to be the same, but really be completely different.

We just don’t know.

And by Jiminy will we be told about it for months to come.

Beyond the Sphere now returns to its regular irregular programme.