A Bentley glided past the road end today as I waited to turn out. It was painted pale blue and silver like a 1960s space rocket, and was about the size of a small aircraft carrier, but it had four wheels and a Bentley badge so I deduced it was a car. Things have come a long way from the days when they were best known for their victories at Le Mans and for racing the Blue Train.
Tim Birkin, who is mentioned as one of the Bentley Boys in the Le Mans link came from Nottingham. The Wiki entry is a bit patchy – he actually had two brothers. Archie was killed in practice for the 1927 Isle of Man TT races and the place of his death is now known as Birkin’s Bend, a fact that seems to have escaped the notice of the person who wrote the Wikipedia entry, despite there being an entry for it. There was also another brother, Thomas, who doesn’t seem to get a mention in Wiki. He was killed in a flying accident in France in 1917.
The most famous member of the family is Jane Birkin. I thought of her recently when Charlotte Gainsbourg appeared in a film I was watching. It was Independence Day: Resurgence, an example of why sequels are not always a good idea. I liked the original film, even though it wasn’t great literature. The sequel would have been greatly improved by moving the opening and closing credits closer together. Ideally, 120 minutes closer together.
My spell-checker is a little more highbrow than I am – it is trying to correct Gainsbourg to Gainsborough. Clearly eighteenth century portraiture is more to its liking than scandalous 1960s pop music, or designer hand bags.
Of course, from Jane Birkin to Kylie Minogue is just a small step from one synapse to another. Pop singers, living in France – easy link. Kylie Minogue doesn’t come from a Nottingham lace-making family, but she is a more prolific pop star.
I hummed a few bars of Spinning Around before Can’t Get You Out of My Head appeared. There’s something evil about that song and it’s still hovering there ten hours later.
They have been ploughing some of the central reservations on the ring road, which might be something to do with the management of wild flowers for bees. Or it might be something else entirely. It seems too late to sow and too early to cut, so I’m not sure what is happening. There is a lot of ragwort growing, which is poisonous to horses. I’m waiting for someone to mention this, as you sometimes see concerned horsey types on roadside verges pulling it up.
Of course, you don’t find many horses on Nottingham ring road so it’s probably safe.
The truth is that live ragwort isn’t a problem as animals tend to leave it alone. This is why we haven’t all died out by eating poisonous plants. It can make them sick if it’s cut and dried in hay, but that’s not likely to be a problem if you were making hay from the contents of our roadside verges old crisp packets and discarded shoes are likely to be a bigger problem. I’m surprised by the number of old shoes you see on the road in the course of a year. I never see anyone limping by the roadside with one shoe missing, which makes it even more mysterious.
Nearly as mysterious as the missing gas men. They were all over the place last week, blocking off the front of the shop and being a general nuisance.
Today, nowhere to be seen. The equipment is there, the cones and the disruption. Even the diversion signs and the holes in the road. But there were no workers. It is like the Mary Celeste put out a call for crew members and a ghostly set of roadworks is the result…
Perhaps an alien space craft came to call, possibly disguised as a Bentley, and they all walked up a ramp and disappeared into the boot.
At that point, I drew up on the shop forecourt and, still humming that bloody song, turned my brain over to thoughts of work.
Later, as I write this, I feel that I need to mention that these thoughts still left me plenty of time to drive safely, avoid accidents and smile sweetly at the bad driving of others. Yes, it was strangely out of character, but it was a pleasant morning.
I break for the evening meal. Julia has cooked and she has caramelised the roasted vegetables perfectly. She is much better at that than I am.
The sky outside my window is clearer than last night, and streaked with a weak attempt at a sunset.
And finally, when I went to search for the link to the old shoe haibun, I did actually find my name on Google, which was nice. The link was broken and I had to search the archive, but it was still nice. I may be many things to many people (many of them tinged with failure), but to the internet I am, and always will be, a poet.
The photos are some that Julia took as we drove back from the Mencap garden. There is a lot of it in Sneinton, and it is regularly renewed. I keep meaning to take more photographs of it. The final one was an attempt at artistic blur. It didn’t quite work but we did get the artistic lines across it. This was an accident caused by Julia’s stripy shirt reflecting in the car window.