online: 23 february 2004

23 february 2004 nesh

14:37 A sunny moment out of the cold northeast wind which is blowing grey clouds together before the days of sub-arctic weather that are forecast... I'm sitting in the outdoor cafe with only 3 or 4 four others - there are dozens eating indoors. Perhaps they haven't noticed that the air in the garden is still.

Just now I feel I could sit here all day - enjoying 'doing nothing' as we say - but of course, like everyone, I'm doing a lot, not consciously but automatically: breathing, pumping blood, digesting a cake and tea, maintaining posture (with help of a seat and gravity and ground), keeping warm (with the aid of clothes, sun, garden wall, and the surrounding trees)... other body functions I'm unaware of...

And of course I'm deploying decades of previous experience of living and writing as I think and inscribe these words from the age of handwriting on this little computer screen. Like every moment or location there is a wondrous complexity half-concealed by familiarity and unawareness.

Rain. Close computer. Time to leave...

...hawthorn in bud, little crinkly green leaves breaking out of the dark purpleish twigs and branches. I feel that today is spring, despite the wintry weather...

...15:50 after a fast walk across heath to Parliament Hill. I'm still in sun as the wind has blown the grey clouds and icy rain ahead of me. They're now over South London. The City towers and the Docklands towers become sunlit as I watch. I'm feeling invigorated by being out, after days indoors becoming too nesh* to go out. I decide to sit here a little longer, continuing the illusion of doing nothing and enjoying the view...

*nesh: my father used to explain that it is an old Mid-Wales word for being reluctant to go out in the cold. In The Shorter Oxford Dictionary it is said to be a dialect word meaning 'delicate, weak; unable to endure fatigue or exposure; sensitive to cold'. That's me.

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