I decided against blogging this because there was nothing to interest any reader but, regardless of that, have changed my mind.
I baked a gluten-free cake of necessity, since a coeliac and gluten-free birthday cakes are hard to come by to buy. Its bottom was pricked and cointreau laggered in. Finally iced. I’d already bought champagne and other sparkling wines. Food was left to the day, or so, before: a guinea fowl was slow-cooked overnight; stuffed peppers and broccoli and cheese were prepared to be stuffed in the oven birthday morning after I went off to sadistic nurse Nina who was gouging for platelets whose numbers were below normal. That was just after ten. I’d all that food and possibly no one coming to eat it.
Adrian messaged me he was working that day till eight and I learnt how to message by replying he should come after work.
Because she’d sent a card, I wasn’t expecting Michele to turn up. She wanted to take me out by car to Kew but I had to stay in in case people did drop in. John did, overlapping with Michele. I was expecting him because he’d wanted to come on my birthday and I’d sent him the rail tickets, bought online, to do so and a £15 postal order as well to obviate any endangering stealing on his day out of open prison in order to give me a present. He complained about the cost of the bowl of flowers when before he’d just have stolen them. I laughed but when he’s released, on licence, there’s going to be so much temptation all about for him to fall into. It wasn’t just the flowers he complained about. He’s also demanding eg about viagra I’d had to pay for on prescription because not actually impotent though my sexual expression be severely straitened; and he complained the viagra wasn’t blue like viagra but something other. He was also presuming to play with what’s now my phone. He was irritating me and said he would leave if I wanted him to. I didn’t want that. He ate guinea fowl breast, hating leg, and some of the broccoli and cheese, the best food he’d had in a long time. I lowered the oven gas to a peep. He also visited my neighbour Diana for a cigarette and was given a pack.
The viagra wasn’t working on him. In tossing the lubricant aside I hit my glass of champagne and though I stopped its topple with a quick stretch most of its contents spilled over Cicero’s Republic and Laws and onto the carpet. John suggested I should break off to wipe up the spill. “It’s white,” I dismissed. He didn’t come, nor did I. He said he was losing his attraction for me (that he’s never had, so it’s possibly the other way about, that I am for him and not before time). He wanted a coffee and the machine I’d descaled in preparation refused to give it. He complained about that: by the time he got it it was cold and why didn’t I have instant like normal people. He overlapped with an unexpected Jean, who’d wanted to take me out for breakfast next day that I hadn’t seen the point of, and he left a disappointed man. His face looking back kept recurring in my remembrance for the rest of the drop-in though I couldn’t remember who came between Michele and Jean.
Jean’s to inherit my archive which consisted also of the typescripts etc on the shelf in the little lobby above the door to the room but none of the books there except Betty Clark’s ie under the pseudonym, ‘Joan Ure’. She should, however, take the book about keeping archives for obvious reasons. She has a possible thyroid deficiency, affecting her metabolism, though her eating sugar for instant energy can’t help with the weight problem. She was phoned by her daughter, Margot, who’d been let out school early, and about whose safety at twelve years she’s concerned, having been abused herself. Margot didn’t have her key or purse money as usual and wouldn’t say what she wanted while kyboshing all of her mother’s suggestions. Giggling, I made suggestions myself Jean put to her daughter. Nothing availed and by the time all the phoning was done it was near enough time for Jean to pick her up anyway.
Jean overlapped with Kate and John (Anscomb) at the outside door. They’d eaten so didn’t want to eat. Kate talked of having me over for a meal with Christianne who’s reading Baudelaire in order to translate it and compare her version with my poems (in Sacrum Regnum 2) or at least the one missing from that book I took over to read out to Christianne. I’d time with them before Jan came. She drank juice because going on to be a medium at seven or so and she wanted to keep a clear head for the spirits to get through. Then Quentin, one of my publishers, came, making for a cluster. He had some broccoli whose crust of crumbs was slowly blackening from the very low heat keeping them and the stuffed peppers ever ready to eat. He wrote a reproachful tanka on my card, something about being forced into an indefinite moment but he would forget my dream-logic. What? He had to go off home-hunting. Kate and John were thinking of leaving after some stuffed peppers I turned over to conceal their blackness when I asked what time it was: six. The cake was an hour too late for the anniversary of birth. I blew all the candles out with one breath, forgetting the wish I then made. They enjoyed the cake. Jan asked for another glass of juice before leaving. Kate and John let in Fiona as they left.
Fiona, my executrix, had some stuffed peppers, one of which fell off the not rigid enough paper plate but that I scooped back on again. She had two slices of cake and unexpectedly stayed till the end. Adrian unexpectedly brought Charles, a twenty-seven year Frenchman whose face does look a bit froglike, and not Jeff his partner whose partnership with him Adrian believes void unless he upgrades it to gay marriage as of that day. (Fiona and I did not think that likely.) We stood outside as Charles smoked, using the chili plant’s drip tray he mistook for an ashtray until I unceremoniously tipped the lot into the gravel garden imposed on me. Tina, a neighbour, made Magnus, her son, pay his respects. Fiona hung on. Alan’s spending too much time unnecessarily on vicaring and has a skin disease from, the doctor postulated, a sexual encounter. Once she left, I left everything as it was and went to bed. From start to finish the drop-in took thirteen hours.