The wind from the fan blew lightly onto his bevested back as he sat at the varnished wooden table staring blankly at the line of potted plants atop the wall as the red motorcycle meandered to a stop under the shade of a big bush at the house opposite. Quite who it was or what they wanted he didn’t know and didn’t care. Now was quiet. A time of solitude and aloneness with the power of imagination and thought that that brought with it. Apart from th wind of the fan all was still and a surprisingly weak sun lit things without raising the temperature to normal tropical ones even though the faint breeze of the fan was needed to keep a light perspiration at bay. In the background the chirping of a variety of different birds occasionally interrupted things as did the occasional exchange between the two retired Austrians conversing on the verandah of one of thems houses. It was a normal morning pre-lunch time.
I remember a time. It seems long ago now. When I would lie on the grass in our back garden. It wasnt a large garden, but it was nicely laid out with an apple tree close to the lean-to on the back of the house and a pear tree abutting the fence next to the neighbours joined semi where old Mr. Murphy, who had had his eardrums terminally damaged by depth charges dropped around his Royal Navy submarine in the war, lived with his wife simply known to all as Mrs. Murphy. At least that was the story of how Mr. Murphy’s hearing had ben ruined and he had certainly served on the submarines during the war having left De Valera’s Ireland to volunteer to fight. He never returned to that country, in spite of having a large family presence there, after De Valera signed the condolences book on the death of Hitler at the Dublin based German legate in the last few days of the war.
Mr.Murphy had a large aging alsatian called Rinnie who had once tried to bite me or maybe hadn’t. But whatever the cause I was frightened of Rinnie. But we had the fence and I enjoyed in those warm but not hot English summers at that time to lie on the grass and watch the dainty little clouds skit by high in the deep blue sky, and see high-flying aeroplanes sometimes leave a trail of white gradually dissipating into cotton wool as they crossed the sky high above me on their way to some exotic destination created in my wild imagination. Or sometimes listen to the low flying propeller planes that made a different sound, a buzz as they crossed lower and they were more easy to make out the boxy shape of than the high-flying sleek passenger carriers.
And closing your eyes and listening to the sound of insects buzzing, chirruping and cricketing in the small flower bed between the pear tree and the tool shed. And take in the pleasant aromas of the brightly coloured flowers that wafted over the grass. They were pleasant days. Days that led to nothing except the passage of time and days of a year I couldn’t even name. But days that were long and remembered. Days that inevitably ended becoming more memories at both the day’s end and now a time much later and a time maybe when the pursuit of time is for most, more important than just enjoying a moment that may remain a pleasant memory but in which nothing happened, nothing was achieved.
And now with lunch time arriving he maybe quite surprisingly heard the buzz of the grinder from the house down the soi where some expansion of th house that already filled the plot was being carried out blocking half the lane with sand, wood and cement. The shadows were now short with the sun directly overhead and the heat was rising and even the old green fans whirring efforts could not prevent a bead of sweat from appearing on his brow and slowly meander down his forehead towards one of the bushy unkempt eyebrows. It would soon be time for something to eat and maybe the first cold beer of the day. A day in which nothing was planned and nothing was hoped for. A day for which most people would seemingly do anything to avoid, but for him a day of total perfection.