Monday, 25 August 2008


A much needed visit to Manchester to meet my wound maker / healer last week has left in its wake a strange trail. For the duration of that day, I was someone else. Someone unfamiliar to myself. Manchester does that to me. In itself it is a constantly changing city; a proper hermit crab - now with extra jewels encrusted on its shell. The changes made me weary, like I didn't belong anymore. Indeed ask a few people and they'd tell you I now class Birmingham as my home. Strange roots are planted here.
That day was as magical as I could've asked it to be. Unashamedly walking the corridors of my memory, crossing the same wooden floors I did over two decades ago. Taller now, quieter, more observant of my surroundings. More eager to project remembered conversations and meanings upon static, stuffed exotic birds: Mantiq al-tair by Farid al-din Abi, being one. Or noticing the strange colour of the muslin that housed two mummies; still excellently preserved. And of course the Lion. He hasn't changed in four years, and still gives me the fantods. And the giant Japanese Spider Crab that has always been synonymous with the museum for me. When alone, I chanced upon a diorama that drew attention to the fact that museum categorization is flawed. I was impressed. Back to late afternoon tea...and a sore throat.
Now I am sad. Going away always entails having to face the return. How much like Heyst do I wish to extricate myself from the tangle. Maybe I don't want to come back.

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