memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Posts tagged ‘photography’

A room with a view

I have just spent most my morning  admiring the sporadic flocks of migrating birds on their way north in the early spring (while at the same time catching up on Radio 4 podcasts of The News Quiz).

The birds winter in North Africa (lucky them) and then rendezvous in the environs of Algeciras in Morocco to await to their turn for streaming funnel of avian life crossing the Dire Straits to Gibraltar and beyond. My particular contingent then wheel west along the Algarve coast until they reach the Cape of Sagres before turning north and eventually crossing in front my bedroom window – left to right using the narrow corridor of pine and eucalyptus forest between the village and the ocean.

later they will build their nests in the bosky fields of Hampshire (lucky them).

A miraculous cycle of nature, a spectacle laid on just for me. The message is clear – relax and be in harmony with nature. Go with the flow.

The view from my bed in the morning

After lunch (stewed chicken with pasta – a culinary mésalliance in my opinion) I return to my room for a nap/siesta/snooze/40 winks from I wake 30 minutes later. I then dutifully carry out my physiotherapeutic exercises. First an isometric routine for beginners (even I, handicapped as I am) can do them in my chair followed by a lurch/stomp/stumble on my walker/Zimmer frame down the corridor outside my room.

Up the corridor to the right is a bathroom into which I enter/slip/pop to lean back against the radiator for my straighten-the-back-to-improve-my-posture exercise (with some deep breathing thrown in). After a while I get tired/bored with the straighten-the-back-to-improve-my-posture exercise and put my hand into my pocket where I encounter my mobile phone (not a «smart» phone but-pretty-intelligent-for-the-price) and take a rather eery picture of myself, taking a rather eery picture of myself, taking a rather eery – OH JUST SHUT UP WILL YOU!

RATHER EEIRY PICTURE OF MYSELF

RATHER EERY PICTURE OF MYSELF

I return back down the corridor to the end and turn right to admire the fine view of our local church (I don’t mean that the church per se is particularly fine – just the view of it).

After tea (the old dears can’t be doing without their tea, you know – it’s a lifetime habit, useful survival skill as well in case they starve to death between the twin fueling stations of lunch and early dinner. They dunk (good word) their bread or biscuits into heavy outsize cups of tea or milky coffee made from turnips (you have to be a weightlifter to be able to raise them to your lips) instead they crouch devotionally in front of the heavy cups and spoon the resultant pap into their mouths) so after tea, I spend time in my atélier working on my lastest painting.

VIEW FROM ATELIER

VIEW FROM ATELIER

Back in my room I’m beginning to run of steam.

«… Fragments, that I have shored up against my ruin»

And at the end of the day the sun sets at the orbiting rim of our world.

My Mother

My mother is a warm feeling of unconditional maternal love.

There is a story, hidden in the weedy undercurrents of family lore, that she was blitzed early on in the war while she was living in a house in north London. A German bomber released a stick of bombs, one of which landed on the front of the house where my mother was in the kitchen at the back. Fortunately the bomb didn’t explode but such was the destructive force of the plummeting projectile that the entire front of the house was destroyed. If the bomb had exploded …

(how to drill a mixed conditional: if your father hadn’t met your mother, would you exist?)

I never heard my mother refer to this event so maybe I’ve imagined it. At the end of her life, while she was in hospital, the doctors decided that she might as well come off the cocktail of medication that she’d been on for so long as she was clearly dying. So she had a few days of great clarity. She told my brother that she’d had a vivid dream: she dreamt that she was in a white room with thin white curtains fluttering before a white open window … everything was white.

On hearing the news of our beloved mother’s death, I flew back from Portugal whither I had just returned to start my family holiday at the spa, for the funeral. During the course of that week one of us contacted our mother’s only sister, who’d been living in New York for many years, to tell her the sad news and she said that she had dreamt about our mother a few days previously and mother had been in a bright place; empathy between sisters?

MY MOTHER (photo by my father taken in driveway of our house in France)

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