Dear Kent,

Due to my youngest, Lana, having Scarlet Fever, I am having a somewhat glorious day off work. Luckily, the drugs have kicked in and she has been much better these last two days. Pretty certain she could be in school, but no harm in keeping her home another day or so. It’s not like she’s not enjoying herself: eating trifle, watching TV, standing on her head ( she is a gymnastic nutcase). The only thing she considers a shame is that she’s missing her school play. She had a one line part which she was very excited about. Since she won’t be able to perform for us there, last night she decided to perform the whole caboodle, playing all the characters, bouncing from one side of the bed to the other to demarcate a change of character. Sang all the songs, etc. ( Oh, she’s nine – until Sunday, at least.) I was mighty impressed that she remembered the whole play. More than what I could do. Though I do remember when I was at school I did learn the whole of Waiting for Godot. But that was because I had a huge ( at least three sizes too big) second hand dinner suit that I used to wear out, hoping to impress the girls, which made me a spitting image for Estragon. Knowing the play meant that my 8 mile walk home, alone and somewhat drunk, along the backroads was at least entertaining since I could perform it in my head.

What am I doing with my free day? Well, I was gifted with an old leather armchair on Sunday. It is huge. I wanted it to fit into my book room (which is small) and whose door is even smaller. The old second-hand (actually it is fourth-hand) rocking chair that I have had these last years has had its day, sadly. I managed to get this leather one in, but only after taking off the legs, emptying and shifting an entire bookcase, removing three trunks and assorted suitcases from behind the door, etc. Hell of a pain. Did my back in a little as well. But the thing is, since I had to shift the books off this one bookcase, I got to thinking I could organise things better. (The chair is so big that once in place I won’t be able to move it anywhere else, nor get to the book shelves behind it, meaning anything in them will be off limits for the duration.) Which means that I have piles and piles of buggering books collapsing everywhere I stand or attempt to move. Never ending. It’s the third day now and things are only getting worse. It does mean that I am sorting books by one author (mostly poets in there) to stand together, and permitting me to decide who should go by who.  I don’t think it will end being alphabetical. The wall immediately opposite the chair will contain the books that I need to be able to read at will. Maybe I should put your books beside Bob Arnold? Just to thaw things a little! Or maybe David Miller…He wrote earlier saying that he had fired something a little ‘off’ to you. David is a good man. The only poet in this country who I know and call a friend. So, forgive him! He wrote you took it in good heart. Jesus, who hasn’t just walked in, where is this letter going?

Oh, I wasn’t in a woods while writing my last letter to you. The closest thing to a wood around here is the one lone tree at the bottom of our garden. It is growing too high and soon the council will be at me to cut it back, since it is becoming entangled in the telephone wires. My plan is to wait for it to fall. Being a firm believer in nature taking its course. Your confusion must have arisen due to me mentioning the shed I built, or some such, or more likely yet a malfunction of my language. It is a fine shed, even if I say so myself, but is rotten from the bottom up. Due to me not knowing what I was doing. As well as using mostly salvaged wood to begin with. The plan was for Eva to use it ( my eldest) as a play shed ( I even put in a little sleeping area higher up). However, we forgot to consider the amount of crap that we keep. So she only ever entered it about once. We had a little celebration meal on the floor. Back before I put the door on. In fact, it is now the resting place of my old rocking chair – precariously balanced, upside down, on everything else chucked in there.

Yes, certainly, I will send some poems for you to consider. Not sure if anything I have will fit what you want for Dispatches. Please, don’t hesitate to refuse! I’m sending enough for you to at least have the semblance of choice. Hopefully, one might hit the mark. No trouble digging out some more of a different ilk, if required. I never really know what others might take a fancy to. As usual with my stuff, it seems there’s a lot of anal gazing involved. (If that’s what you’re after!)

Get back to me sometime.

Love, John