I turn my head towards the clock. Four ten. During a ‘creative wave’ I wake up a lot through the night. Usually by four, I give up and get up. Instead I lie still for a little while.
After this particular night, I’ve woken up with a short story in my head about a man who found a crystal set in his attic. According to a local antique shop, the only one complete set left of its kind. The old man in the shop valued it at thirty grand, so he takes the precious crystal-ware to a national auction sale, which is being televised live on this particular day. When his lot comes up, he’s invited to give a little talk about its history; how the glasses danced their way around Vienna and Paris. After his talk he proudly and carefully holds up one of the glasses above his head, when the Auctioneer says ‘bidding starts at four million pounds’….
I chuckle as I swing my legs out of bed, to the imagined sound of shattered crystal. ‘Where did that come from?‘
I walk to the stove and put the kettle on, making a quick note of the story on one of the many paper pads I’ve got dotted around the place. I say ‘Hey Google, Good morning’ and get the time, date, weather. I reprogrammed it yesterday, having decided I don’t need those cookie-cutter meditations, or the news. I’m a master mindfulness practitioner, I need to remind myself of that more.
Of course it’s pitch black outside, and then I realise I’m up just in time for the shipping forecast, and rush to tune in on the Chromebook.
‘Viking, cyclonic four to six, becoming northwesterly five to seven, perhaps gale eight later. Seas slight or moderate, becoming moderate or rough. Showers. Visibility good, occasionally moderate.’
I don’t know what it is about the shipping forecast, but I have a deep affection for it. It’s rhythmic and simple. I imagine fisherman deciding their fate as I’m listening. The kettle, pops off and I get up to make a brew. I should wash my face, brush my teeth, and get dressed, but at this hour it feels wrong.
Instead I open the front curtains, sit down with my brew and put my feet up. Willow hops up to drape herself over my legs as I stare out into the darkness. There are some faint lights out in the water that I can barely make out. I close my eyes to ‘zoom in’ and imagine a fishing boat moving out to sea. The deck hands are hunched over, packing nets. The skipper in his dimly lit wheelhouse has a huge mug of something hot.
‘Lundy. Southwesterly gale force eight expected later. Wind. Southwesterly seven or gale eight at first in southeast, otherwise northwesterly four to six. Sea State. Rough, becoming moderate later. Rain then showers. Visibility. Poor becoming good.’
Willow crawls up to my chest and lies flat, forcing me to put my tea down. It’s her way of telling me it’s too early to be awake. ‘She’s dead right,’ I think, as I close my eyes.