What does it feel like to have a spiritual awakening?
What does it feel like to explore the edges of one’s consciousness and sanity?
What do you do next?
Sometimes it felt like the sky was splitting open and sometimes I fell into a state of bliss while staring at leaves. Sometimes I went on extraordinary journeys from within my own living room.
But I spent at least as much time reflecting on and managing the tasks of day to day living and workplace relationships; using everyday life as a vehicle for spiritual growth. Feeling my everyday life infused by this newfound spirituality, and learning to find my own way and read the signs of the universe for myself.
At the same time managing feelings of depression, anxiety and OCD and eventually seeking therapy, the lessons of which are shared here.
Experimenting with religion but ultimately not finding a home there. With my husband, experimenting with different philosophies and spiritual practices, including giving up sex and orgasms. Stretching my mind to the edges of sanity and insanity, or at least, that’s what it felt like sometimes.
This collection, of blog posts and spiritual memoirs, charts a journey of spiritual exploration and self reflection which eventually led to us breaking away from routine, security and family expectations, and selling up and going off on an actual one year trip to India and Southeast Asia, documented in my travel memoir I fell in love with you and I cried.
My husband Anthony John Hill ‘became enlightened’* in 1985 in his mid twenties and the fact that he’s stuck around so long I sometimes take for granted. Remembering explains why I cried so much when I watched the end of The Good Place on Netflix. (*my words not his)
‘I became aware, or more aware, and began to question things, to question the world I lived in, and to see through the facade. It was in 1985 that I realised I was here to ‘bear witness.”
How it started:
‘My girlfriend at the time,** her mother liked me a lot and lent me books; On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Memories, Dreams and Reflections by Jung. Later I found The Electric Kool-Aid Acidtest by Tom Wolfe, about Ken Kesey; Fear and loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson, The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, and, most important of all, Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse’ (which we both regularly mention whenever we feel as if we’ve ‘fallen off the path.’) (**who he remains in contact with to this day)
‘Becoming vegetarian was the big thing. You can read as much as you want but it’s the actual doing something that makes a difference. That was the first thing I actually did in terms of self improvement. From that moment I started questioning things more; I moved away, and started doing courses in personal growth.’
‘Once you wake up the veil is lifted. It’s like being on a hill looking down. You have the opportunity to step out of it and look back and see it as it is. Of course that could be all part of the illusion too, you can’t know. All you can do is be as genuine as you can. I still get angry, I still make mistakes. I can still be unaware at times, a lot of the time, not be full of love to my fellow humans.’
I read Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s book Big Magic, about creativity. In it she mentions ‘those dreams where you dream you suddenly find another room or rooms in your house that you didn’t know you had’, and I thought, really, that’s a thing? I have those dreams regularly. I usually dream about the same flat, not one I have ever had in real life, but in my dreams I return to the same one over and over. It’s one of those old terraced houses divided into flats; messy, lots of other flats around. Each time I dream it, I rediscover a whole other set of rooms that are a bit neglected and that I have simply forgotten about. In the dream I wonder what to do with them, which room to sleep in, what to use the rooms for; I suddenly have all this extra space I don’t know what to do with.
I also have other dreams, where I open a bag of rubbish or I open a drawer and it’s filled with old cat food tins that haven’t been washed and have gone off and are filled with maggots. I have to somehow make myself quickly pick them up and get rid of them without looking at them otherwise I would be unable to do it. And I’ve let all the other rubbish pile up as well, I can’t understand it, the cat food tins or the rubbish, and I am appalled.
In real life I can let my car get very messy, tissues, wrappers, dust and stones. I am somewhat ashamed even though I still do it. So I thought the dream was about that, that I was ashamed of myself.
Worse still, I sometimes dream about caged animals that I have forgotten to look after, that I somehow inexplicably forgotten I had and that are mercifully still alive despite no food or water. I thought all these dreams were about shame, or at the very least, clattiness.
So when I continued reading and Elizabeth Gilbert went on to say that those dreams are all about ‘expansivenessand your life having more possibilities than you previously realised’, that was very pleasing to me. Especially as this was exactlywhat I had been feeling: the evening before I had gone out for dinner with two people that used to work in my team, young women on their first jobs, with me the manager of the team and their supervisor. I had the sweet and rare experience of hearing about what I was like (it had echoes of a child asking its mother what was I like tell me what I was like when I was little…) That was a few years ago so I have probably changed a lot but still, no one really tells you what you are like, you can only guess.
When I said that I thought that senior management preferred a man in my team to me because he’s always the same, always unemotional, always smartly dressed, and his car is neat and clean and mine is always messy they looked horrified. Your leadership, your direction, your care, you’re amazing how you get it all done, we were so lucky we had you for support, they both said. They reminded me of all the different tasks I do and the skills I have, and said that if I ever wanted or needed another job I’d have no problem getting one with the agency they work for. The agency pays more so I could work fewer hours. Listening to them, I felt all the possibilities, being able to do healing as well, expansiveness… When I used to just think about all the bad stuff- I am messy, senior management probably disapprove of me, without realising, I actually have skills! One of the women invited me to visit her in Sweden, a genuine invite, and hearing about her life there, how she’d moved there from Suffolk, was so interesting and inspiring and made it sound so easy.
It made it sound so easy to change your life.
On a more down to earth level, it took away my fear of redundancy, knowing there are plenty of jobs and the world is more than just my current workplace. It’s such an amazing gift, the gift of peace of mind, and a sign that I am in tune with the universe.
I realised I had it wrong: those dreams weren’t about my clattiness or my buried shames, they were about the hithererto unknown expansiveness and potential of my own life. I have nothing to be ashamed of. At worst, the unfed animals were a gentle chide or reminder about my sometimes neglected creative work…
Because although I am where I want to be writing wise anyway really, in terms of where I was this time last year and where I am now, undoubtedly I am an inconsistent and unfaithful bride to creativity. I certainly don’t have Liz Gilbert’s dedication and approach; I have other things, true, an absorbing career which is practically a vocation- can you have two vocations, can you have them at the same time? I suppose so, look at Nick Hornby and countless others.
This time last year (Christmas), I did a little review of life and I had an idea for something to write this year. Then I got waylaid in Buddhism and other seeking and beyond seeking, even considering that writing was behind me along with all the different religions I had burned through, because, I had decided: I am to cease all seeking behaviour, and writing is a seeking behaviour. And maybe it was, maybe it is, but isn’t talking, isn’t breathing, isn’t yoga, and who makes up the rules anyway?
The thing that got me writing again after I had abandoned it, was writing a spoken word piece for a friend’s 50th Birthday party, (a night of anything goes performance.) She said it could be about anything, so I wrote a‘my spiritual journey’ thing,the only thing I felt able to write about. I wrote it while listening to Rufus Wainright’s song Go or go aheadon repeat,which he wrote after a crystal meth binge.
Liz G says creative inspiration can either come in a skin tingling rush or it can be quiet and you just get there by following your curiosity and clues and it leads you there. Or it can be like this… I read a book, it mentioned a dream, I listen to a song at just the right moment, I recall a dream, I write it down. And now I am in such a clear eyed clear minded place, isn’t this the perfect place from which to write a book?
Thank you very much for reading
About the author
I am forty nine years old, married to John Hill, we live on a narrowboat in rural Northamptonshire, UK.
In March 2018 after selling our house and giving away 95% of our possessions we embarked on a year of slow travel in India and South East Asia. I’m writing a personal/spiritual/travel memoir of that year.
First published in July 2017. It doesn’t matter that it’s not really Thursday does it?
Feeling roots coming up from the earth and wrapping themselves around me. At the same time the bones and muscles of my body turning themselves into vines. My whole body feeling more plant-like than animal-like.
And in my mind, beyond thoughts, I see a bird’s wing, at its edges iridescent rainbow layered feathers. And out beyond the edges of the bird’s wing, beyond everything, lies the sleek white edge of an aeroplane’s wing. And beyond that: nothing. And then, the why, the what: There is only the moment, you sitting there in the room- the wing enclosing all of it- and beyond it, nothing.
I had come up through the mind, through and beyond thoughts, not even interested in looking at the thoughts on the way; the past just a collection of thoughts after all, like a tangled ball of wool. If you are okay now what does it matter what happened in the past. Memories just seemed like a clump of thoughts, irrelevant, as I went beyond all that to the clean white surface of the aeroplane’s wing…
We are more than thoughts, and I passed through the complex workings of the mind to: Nothing. A bird’s wing closed around the experience, around me, around John, underneath the rainbow feathers a network of bones, complex and strong. Could fly but chooses not to, chooses to encircle, to be a protector instead. Bird’s wing chooses not to fly. Chooses to settle here.
You are a facilitator. Wanting to facilitate John for a change (he is usually the one who supports me as I work through stuff in my head). In life: you are a facilitator. Make life easier, and more peaceful. All I want is to be in touchwith this: my spiritual side. I don’t need to be or to do anything. We come here to remind our self who we really are, and then we go back to the day to day. Neither place is better or worse; it’s cyclical, in and out, like social-alone-together-apart.
Since then my mind has been much quieter. Cracks let the light in. A certain amount of friction, strife, variety and challenge creates learning, and keeps me ‘spiritual’. I am a safe harbour.
I have moved away from throwing myself too much into being something to make up for being me not being enough. I don’t need to go around ‘being a healer’ although I do healing and I like doing it, but I have a tendency to over schedule. And I feel there is something more than me just rushing around being me at work. There’s Me.
Rather than being a collection of labels or skills, being very open and flexible is nice. A facilitator. A safe harbour. Can do healing. Enjoys exploring the mind and ‘spirituality’. Tries to eat a mainly vegan diet. Complex and strong. Like nailing jelly to a wall, but describing self in an open way is nice…
About the author
I am forty nine years old, married to John Hill, we live on a narrowboat in rural Northamptonshire, UK.
In March 2018 after selling our house and giving away 95% of our possessions we embarked on a year of slow travel in South East Asia, mainly India.
I’m writing a personal/spiritual/travel memoir of that year. This is my personal blog.
Thank you for visiting
Follow me on Instagram thisisrachelhill
A book should be an ice-axe to break the frozen sea within us
For Book, you can substitute Love. This is my story:
In 2009 I drove to work in the morning and watched the pink and gold sky split open. Driving home in the evening I passed outrageously lit up lorries that looked like fun fair rides. Somehow I managed to keep one foot in the visible and one foot in the invisible. For the next six years, I followed the trail. I always joke that it was like Eat Pray Love but without the travel.
I meditated and felt as if my skin was being bathed in soap and soft water. I saw situations worked out from behind my closed eyelids. I had the most amazing physical sensations. I took up Yoga. I had deep tissue massage and experienced profound physical and emotional release as she worked my knots out until her fingers got down to my bones.
I practiced Paganism and Wicca, I went for walks and stared at leaves, gathered foliage, wrote spells and held rituals every full moon for almost a year. I was invited to a women and Islam open day. I bought books and began praying five times a day. For a few weeks my life was illuminated.
I chanted the Hare Krishna Mantra every morning for three months. Things led on from each other. I felt purified, and wanted to feel even better. I had trouble with someone at work. In meditation I said, I have no protection against this person. The answer came: ohyes you do, you have this.
I did an evening class in Buddhism. Stepping out onto the top floor of the car park after class, the sky filled with birds, the breeze cool and warm at the same time. Listening to The Stone Roses on the way home: This is the one, this is the one she’s waited for, yes, I thought, yes, this is it. But no sooner had I filled the house with Buddhas than I woke up one day and realised I had burned through that as well. Or it had burned through me, whatever.
I read The Secret and practiced The Law of Attraction. Not to get cheques in the post or to get parking spaces, but just because it made life easy and more beautiful. Simple things like walking up to a crossing and it turns green just as I get there. To the sublime: Arriving home one night I pulled into the car park, and in the second before I turned into the parking space the headlights lit up the hedge in front of me and I saw a mouse on a branch. A mouse on a branch! Almost immediately, the thought came into my head: I hope you enjoyed that, because it won’t happen again. I thought straight back, yeah, I did enjoy it, and no, I don’t expect it to happen again, who would. And I don’t need it to happen again, because I saw it the first time.
As well as experiencing anything and everything I was also searching for a spiritual or scientific explanation that made sense to me. A unifying theory, if you like. After about six years of searching it arrived in my mind fully realised in a dream: We’re all green mist, we created these bodies because without bodies we can’t pick up a pen and write poetry or kiss each other. But the kissing and the poetry are so distracting that we forgot that we’re green mist come down for a human experience… but maybe that’s the point. You can’t enjoy a party if you stand at the door with your coat on and maybe spiritual beings can’t enjoy a human experience on earth unless they fall in feet first and forget their previous incarnation….
I woke up on the massage table as if I had just arrived there and looked at this new person in the mirror: hair everywhere, skin glowing, mind wiped clean of all previous concerns. But you wake up again every moment, and in this moment I can’t imagine anywhere else I’d rather be than right here.
Those of us who are awake to the Universe but who have not adopted or been adopted by a particular faith have to be flexible, I believe, in where we get our support from. The whole world is ours but we need to be discerning in order to read our own Bible from the world around us, as it presents itself, in each moment. It’s like running your fingertips along a fence and on one in every thousand railings there is a message written in Braille that seems just for you.
Perhaps especially for women, with no religion that’s female led or totally okay for women other than Paganism or Wicca or some New Age stuff; and with the toxic nature of much of the news and advertising, we have to keep our ears pricked and eyes wide open for those helpful messages that still abound in listening to Radio 4 on the way to work or seeing adverts at bus stops or watching box sets at home.
I learned almost everything I needed from the streets, the rest I learned from films and books (Mozart in the Jungle watched during a free trial of Amazon Prime over Christmas).
Starve your ego, feed your soul (sign outside Earlham road Norwich shop)
From the moment we’re born we’re seeking (advert on YouTube)
There is no time for regrets, it’s far better to see where you are now and work from there (my stars in a magazine at the hairdresser’s).
We all search in different ways (advert on YouTube).
Charlie Higson on R2 Chris Evans, he said, ‘If you write something that’s good, it will get published, there’s no magic trick or secret doorway.’ (okay, it was advice to kids who want to become writers, but I was listening to it at that moment, so I am taking it).
How do you know it was meant for you: you were listening/looking at the time, no one ‘put it there for you’ you, I don’t believe, to quote Nick Cave, in an interventionist God, it’s all just us, learning to read our path out of all the billions of possibilities that exist within every second.
It’s about being open minded and flexible and the more you notice these things, the more of them appear, so it goes from every thousandth time to every other rail you touch seems to have a message for you…. and then it becomes about balancing keeping your feet on the ground and head in the clouds.
I am noticing that the answers to everything are all around me- sometimes people tell me things directly, sometimes they are chatting or advising each other and I hear. Sometimes it is less immediately interesting to me and then when I review it I notice things for me. This is why it is important not to do too much, not to expose yourself to too much stuff, to be discerning about who you spend time with and what you do and where you go, because, although the energies of the universe are unlimited, the hours in my day are not.
Driving on the dual carriageway, I see ‘DIE’ on the number plate of a lorry and wonder if I should move into the inside lane. But maybe you just see what’s reflected, i.e., everything is there, but you notice what matches what you are feeling- the number plate matches my anxiety about driving. Even the Earlham road shop sign (a blackboard with a different message on each day) that I like so much, why am I so keen on looking at it? What do I want to it to tell me? So maybe signs are just a reflection of what you feel- a visual interpretation of what you feel; useful if you don’t know how you feel, but if you do, then perhaps it’s best to look inside not outside.
Leonard Cohen: You know that I love to live with you, but you make me forget so very much. I forget to pray for the angels, and then the angels forget to pray for us.
From the early days of Rachel and Anthony/ John:
It’s easy, (even for us! as I am fond of saying,) to become bogged down, stressed by the things that don’t matter (decorating, paperwork) and neglectful of the things that do (how we are, how we are together) and before too long a distance is created, one or other or both of us are dissatisfied and then, well, nothing really, we might have a rubbish go at sorting it out the first time and end tense and cranky, me getting defensive and going off to bed, and then the next morning, he leans his leg in, I lean mine, we talk, we make plans. It’s not about what things we were or weren’t doing, it’s all part of it, it’s just about getting back on the path again.
He’d been feeling distance, we hadn’t been doing anything together. I’d thought it was all hearth and home or having ‘gone beyond’ but you never ‘go beyond’; and looking back it had been a bit distant, I mean, I haven’t been feeling that happy either. Then he goes into a charity shop in Dereham (Norfolk) of all places and finds a George Harrison book (I Me Mine) and in the introduction by Olivia his wife it sets out what their lives were like, and John said, That’s like you and me, well, without all the massive fame and wealth and so on. And I should have been happy and I was, but I struggle to appreciate things in the moment sometimes, especially unexpected big stuff and especially when we haven’t yet made up from some tension or distance (but that was him making up or trying to make up from tension and distance) and I poured cold water on it, mentioning his (George Harrrison’s) affairs etc- there was no reason for that, but John was better than me and didn’t appear to notice or mind.
Last night, I forced us to sit and watch something, and he sat through two episodes of a box set the same way a cat does when you are forcing it to sit on your lap when it doesn’t really want to.
He checked the oil in my car on Sunday even though we weren’t really speaking
I had this sense re the margarine left out and the toothpaste lid left off and I suddenly saw it as endearing- wow, how much I’d miss those things if they weren’t there, because they are a marker of him, his presence in my life, in the house. If they were the same as you you wouldn’t notice them or their presence, this shows they are here…
Talking about the shortest day coming and saying after that it will get lighter again, and yet not wanting to wish life and another year away, one less year to live, but John said, if you are truly living in the moment then that doesn’t matter.
I thought about that later when we had a few cross words and I was sulking and he was angry and I laid in bed wondering what to say to elevate us above this situation and change it, at the same time as going over the evening, how we got there, who said and did what, etc, etc, analysing it… but then I remembered, it is only the present moment, and do I want to spend it like this or do I want to change it? And I realised, before I can change us or him I have to change myself, so I lay and just focussed on my breathing and slowly, slowly I felt myself calm and come back to calmness, felt love come in again, felt love go out to him, then finally I rolled over and put my arms around him and said I love you, I’m sorry. I never normally apologise and like magic, it was all washed away and everything was as it was.
In meditation: warning for the future: you had everything and you threw it all away; So do the opposite, really nurture all that I have, appreciate it, give it my attention.
I don’t want your thanks. I just want your time and attention.
(When I was in meditation, thinking, I should pray, I should say thank you)
When I first got together with John, I had a student who had been to Japan, and she ran a calligraphy group, I did John’s name, it means ‘God has given’ in Japanese. I had forgotten that. God has given, why would He take away?
The problem with living together is that your moods don’t coincide: I come home high after listening to Jeff Buckley track 10 of Grace over and over. I walk in, he’s about to go to bed and also is very grumpy.
I guess that’s why people have date nights, so you both gear yourselves up to be happy and looking forward to seeing each other so both in a good mood at the same time rather than leaving that to chance, as well as you both being feeling like going out at the same time, which it seems is too much to hope for- both wanting to go out and both being in a good mood, all at the same time!
Still, I coped; my bubble might have been burst- from being in the car, feeling full of love and magic. But I wasn’t distraught. And maybe the still space I had was useful- I stayed up a little, read some Elizabeth Gilbert stuff online. Maybe it was for me to do that, a little bit of stuff for me, or maybe it was just a reminder that my mood need not, must not, depend on his.
A few weeks later we went for a bracing January walk on the beach and we spoke a little about the day where we hadn’t spoken all day, he couldn’t remember what it was he’d been pissed off about, but it certainly wasn’t watching two episodes of Twin Peaks. I had made up a whole schema around it and it wasn’t even true. He said, Seriously, you don’t ever have to worry about days like those, about silly arguments, about moods. Nothing you can ever do will stop me loving you. You have nothing to worry about.
Nice evening paying cards with John. Played several games, me totally relaxed, even winning some hands, and him seeming so pleased- ‘look at you, I’ve created a monster’, etc. It’s the small things that count. So I am so glad I learnt to play despite how hard it was for him/me. (I have a real aversion to learning and playing games). He said connecting with the person you are in a relationship with is a spiritual practice. He appreciates: dinner, sex, playing cards, watching films with him.
‘God has given’ what to do? Answer: all we have to do is love and allow ourselves to be loved.
Is the nature of a marriage all to do with your own energy field, it’s just you, reflected back at yourself? And if you aren’t careful you can blame the other person for things- convenient- but if you look back honestly you realise those things have always been there, your own problems or ways of doing things that you don’t like, you might think getting married will sort them all out, but of course it can’t, you don’t realise any of this consciously though, and then when things or problems arise, as they would have done anyway, it’s easy to blame the other person, as you have conveniently forgotten how you/your life used to be before you met them.
I went for a walk to the church, John said, Say a prayer for me, for my soul. I didn’t actually go to the church in the end, my legs took me along the footpath, past the big ivy covered trees that marked the start of my spiritual awakening. I said a prayer anyway though: I pray that John will be happy and free from worries and that I will be able to rise above the day to day worries and stresses that sometimes cloud things between us, and connect again to that force of love that brought us so spectacularly together in the first place. Anyway, it worked: he said this morning, ‘let’s have an early night, let’s go to bed before we are tired so we can talk’ (!) and sent me nice messages at work. I like the way one of us always comes forward, or should I say back. Like sometimes I think he’s moody and distant and sometimes I try to be loving and cuddly and sometimes I am distant and stressed and he is all compliments and cuddles and come ons. But we get there, the two of us, thank God.
There’s a theory in magic/paganism that there are times for spells and otherworldly things and there are times for just concentrating on ‘hearth and home’. Neither is considered better than the other, both equally ‘spiritual’. Like my favourite saying, one foot in the visible and one foot in the invisible, that I used to keep me sane enough or behaving sane enough to not to mess up all my jobs and relationships, but it was at the same time exhausting to do this.
At the yoga class I do at the Buddhist centre sometimes, she gives little slips of paper out about mindfulness and metta in our day to day lives. I have one at home, one in my car, and one on my monitor at work. Thinking about it now, all that just made it harder for me: it was harder for me to manage at work if I was simultaneously trying to hold onto something of what I did outside of work spiritually, it was doing two things at once, which isn’t very mindful, and it didn’t always help. Whereas hearth and home implies more a switching between states, and doing one or the other, not both at once.
Contrast this with a period just leading up to Christmas, when I was driven with energy and did all the objectives for the year, loads of client contact, staff appraisals, etc, and felt almost like I was on the edge of mania (fear again: just like when you first tip into a spiritual journey/awakening and fear that you are going mad, just like when things are going really well and I start worrying about how things could go wrong, this is just a nasty habit that a bit of the mind, or some say the ego, has a tendency to do) and just was totally immersed in work while I was there, and that was so much better in terms of how I functioned. If we are on a spiritual path, then isn’t everything we do a spiritual practice? And isn’t the best way to do a spiritual practice to totally devote oneself to it in the time you are doing it, whether that be meditating or replying to an email?
It’s like when people who are alternative outside of work try and express themselves at work and fight the dress code instead of just going with it. Maybe it’s easier to forget about the other worldly stuff… Just as I thought this, an outrageously lit up lorry passed me, then immediately after, just in case I hadn’t got the message, another one. Validation that I am thinking along the right lines, or reminding me that the otherworldly is everywhere, always, whether I think about it or not. Or even, reminding me that this is the otherworldly…
What is my life’s purpose/mission? I just want to pray all the time, to drop to the floor and say: Thank you. I’m here. What can I do?
For sensitive people, the smallest things can set you off on the path to growth again. That’s why you sometimes see those little articles in magazines that suggest things like sleeping up the other way (head to toe not upside-down like a bat) or walking to work a different way. Even ‘awake’ people can find a seemingly conventional event can do the trick. In fact, if you are used to thinking unconventionally, maybe the conventional really can knock you sideways.
We got given a red sofa, it had been handmade in Tunbridge Wells, we collected it from a mature, wealthy couple who lived in a huge and breathtakingly expensive looking barn conversion. They were nice to us and only wanted a donation to the local arts centre, and even invited us to a party they were having. The sofa had a small cigarette burn in the arm, evidence of a previous party. We borrowed a friend’s van and got it in with barely an inch to spare.
For a few weeks, no one ate on the sofa, and we somehow kept the rest of the house cleaner too, and even told each other not to sit on it in old clothes, ‘You have to consider we have a middle-class sofa now you know.’ We bought a new carpet after years of living with a filthy one. (In an insane fit of optimism I had bought a cream carpet when I moved in, with the idea that everyone would ‘step up’ and keep the super smart environment clean. This didn’t work on a teenager let alone a dog, and the once-cream carpet was stained with blackcurrant juice and years of carelessness. I said to Anthony, do you think we will look back at the time we got the red sofa as some kind of locator beacon, before and after, that was before, that was after. Will it mark some kind of change?
But since a sofa is where you sit it’s natural that it is the home of all the big stuff. My previous sofa was big and blue with removable cotton covers and big squashy cushions. I had bought it from a man who lived in some very nice riverside retirement flats, it was in immaculate condition and was a very good price. It came apart so I could fit it all in my little car. I got a parking ticket but it was still worth it and didn’t dent the happiness I felt.
Scenes from the blue sofa:
Newly in love, lying with each other
‘It doesn’t matter if you’re happy balanced on the edge,’ Anthony- he was actually referring to our position on the sofa
Telling him of my childhood shame; DIY therapy for PTSD
Later when it had completely bottomed out and broken, Anthony took it out into the front garden and chopped it up with an axe.
This exemplifies/perfectly illustrates our lifestyle: for a few weeks all talk was about The Field, but then that is quickly dropped- when Anthony finishes the book and we begin talking about something else, but also, we don’t always talk about stuff like that- the sofa was almost as much of an event, in some ways.
Photograph: the red sofa a few years later, in the next house. The previous occupant had left behind 1970’s furniture which we kept, and we bought the old black record player from a charity shop. One night we played Are ‘Friends’ Electric by Gary Numan and Tubeway Army and for a few minutes we were transported back to the 1980s. Oh and the cats! You can’t take a cat in a backpack around India (sob).