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It feels like ages ago now that we were camping, by the stream, beneath the hill. A flat space by the water with the beers left between rocks to cool. We light a fire, set up the tent; there is coal on my fingers. Dusk and the sound of an owl, the engine of the farmers quad straining up the field.

In the hostel nearby a woman leads a girls group from Newcastle. They have been brought from town thirty miles to see the stars and to leave marriages they’ve been forced into. We’re cooking under the eaves sheltering from the rain and one brings us bowls of rice, dahl. My notebook smells of fire and there are damp crinkles where the paper won’t dry out.

It turned autumn over the weekend

On a drive to Bristol the black roads are slick with rain and the wipers are on full. I hold the wheel tight. Moz’s friends feel like mine too now: babies and paint and the tv on in the background with the football playing, sunshine over a festival, half pints of ale in scales of colour and taste.

Into work early and we’ve got a big proposal to work on. The office floor is empty but for one man. He lives in Dorset on the weekend and spends his weekdays like this: 7am into work, 9pm leave, go to the hotel, crash out. Do it all over again. I go to the toilet and look at my face in the mirror – don’t let me have that, don’t let me have that
Finally when I leave, the office has cleared and it gives me the spooks. The evening air is cool in my mouth on the first push of my bike.

Butch has moved to London and we meet on a Sunday – drink bloody Marys around Waterloo with the grey grime of the station, pigeons and steps, backyard of a bar.

Before I go on holiday and because it’s Friday and because we haven’t had chance to hang out much, S and I go for dinner to a table crammed between others, sticky with peach cocktail sugar, wine, licking our fingers.

joel

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