annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Day 200

Day 200? Two fucking hundred? Jesus man, I'd never have made it this far if I'd known at the beginning how long it would last. And we don't even know when it will be over, do we? Or over enough for us to mix with other people without fear. Fucking hell.

Anyway. Wednesday writing group was on the theme of magic as she wanted to escape from all this too. We started with a list of song titles to do what we liked with. I chose Magic Bus by The Who.

It was the 409 from Dormansland to Forest Row via East Grinstead. One an hour. The only bus to get you out of Dormansland, the dreariest village on earth for a teenager like me. I caught the 409 to and from school all through that long year and into town (the seething metropolis of East Grinstead) on a Saturday. No buses on Sundays in the 1970s, obviously.

There'd never been anything magic about it till one Saturday when I dropped a tab of acid, thinking I'd be in Forest Row with my mates by the time I came up, but I got into an argument with my sister, missed the bus and found myself sat on the kerb at the bus stop hallucinating like a mad, wild thing.

It was the pebbles laid into the tarmac that caught me - to this day I have never seen anything more beautiful and fascinating than this particular stone... oh no, look at this one! wow! and this one - amazing - the colours, man, look at the colours! And so on.

The bus finally arrived and there was Geoff, one of three possible drivers, all of whom knew me quite well, though not quite as well as they thought.

"No man, I'm staying here - can't leave these stones yet. I'm not finished with them... No, I'm not joking... Yes, I'm fine... Really... No, you go on, I'll come next time, when you get back."

That was when I started humming 'Magic Bus' to myself - "Geoff's bus, the magic bus, get on the bus, have to leave you..."

I did indeed spend the whole trip sat on the kerb inspecting and communing with the pebbles until the sun went down, the light faded and I came down and shambled off home.


After that we were invited to write  a spell, or a piece with a spell in. I found Bella again, with a slightly different backstory. I felt happy with the responses to it, encouraged to continue to see where we get to with this.

Bella looked at the woman. Megan, the tall, elegant woman with the unfeasibly kind face. She wanted this. She wanted this flat so much. She wanted this woman, this Megan, to be her landlady. She felt sick with the wanting, the unfamiliarity of actually caring about something.

“I’ll let you know, then.” Megan said as she closed the door on Bella and all her hopes and dreams. “There’s a couple coming round for a viewing later, then I’ll let you know, OK?”

“Mmghmm,” Bella’s attempt at cheery confidence came out as a strangulated squawk and she hurried round the corner, out of sight, collapsing onto a garden wall, head in hands.

Everywhere else she’d seen had been awful, mostly because of the smells – as soon as the front doors had been opened she’d felt the urge to run away, mostly from a nasty cabbage-y, sweaty, mouldy, horrible stench, but once, that place opposite the beach, it was aftershave, rank, chemical, poisonous, making her gag.

This place was so perfect. She could even put up with the child, that bloody child who talked bollocks at 90 mph. She wanted it. This was where she wanted to live.

She remembered Sheila, her keyworker, who believed in affirmations. Bloody magic, Bella had thought, but maybe Sheila knew something. She had her life pretty well sorted. Maybe Bella needed a spell.

What the fuck was a spell, though? Supercalifragilistic and all that, but that was just a film. Mary Poppins – if she was real it would be a different bloody world, full of kites and dads who spent time with their kids.

There was Macbeth – eye of newt and something of frog. Maybe she could make one up.

Eye of cat and hair of dog – no that was for a hangover.

Eye of cat and tail of dog – but then what? Wasn’t she meant to gather them up under the light of a silvery moon or something and then boil them in a cauldron, whatever the fuck a cauldron was.


She blushed with shock as Megan appeared round the corner, waving a bunch of car keys. “Oh, hello! You’re still here – well, the couple who were coming later cancelled so the flat’s yours if you’d like it.”

Bella could only stare.


In other news the plumber came and almost plumbed in a new bath. She said we're not to use it yet as ... didn't listen, so don't know why not. She hasn't finished. I haven't had a bath in years, at least five years. I didn't live in a house with a plumbed-in shower till I was over 40 - I'd always just had those ones you attach to the bath taps and spend hours fucking about between freezing and boiling water - so when I finally got a decent shower I was off baths for ages. But they're nice sometimes, especially when your body is aching and weary. I plan on getting something really lush for my first bath. No idea what.

Three good things today: coming off the diet for a bit - just got fed up and confused, sure I've been doing it wrong, so thought fuck it, went to cafe, had full English breakfast with toast and marmalade, then had shepherd's pie for dinner with potato topping - too tired and miserable to go without carbs right now; had a lovely giggly phone chat with Daughter this evening; listened to a great podcast about teaching, talking about 'cultural capital' - confirmed that I was right to show my Year 11s Some Like It Hot as a Christmas treat. They hated it at first, black and white, what kind of shite is that - but by the end, they were all dancing round the school humming this: Fuck, can't get a good night after it, so good night here xxx

11:47 p.m. - 30.09.20


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