Give us a sensory tour of 2013. How would you describe the year that’s passing in terms of:
Stars and spots. Blues, yellows, creams and whites, scraps and flounces: a tablecloth, two petticoats, and eight mats.
The late spring, and everything coming out yellow at once: jasmine, dandelions, daffodils, celandine and crocus.
Cyclists, bright in lycra and with long spidery legs.
Cardboard boxes. Flat, folded, full, piled high, taped up, collapsing… Bright-printed fruit boxes, dull brown purpose-bought boxes…
Flowers in winter. Bold scarlet poinsettia, delicate pale-pink cyclamen.
The Pre-Raphaelites, who remembered that colour exists.
Saints and prophets and angels, all the way up the west front, and the sun setting, turning the whole world gold, and the moon rising silver.
Flags and banners and balloons.
The lighted windows of my old office.
Stars again, in frosty December skies.
Birdsong. Road traffic. Late at night, the impatient trumpet of a train whistle.
The metallic, curse-punctuated twanging of rim tape.
Thunder, and wind, and rain.
Welcome aboard the oh-eight-fifteen service to – London Waterloo. Calling at – Worplesdon – Woking and – London Waterloo.
The thrumming, shouting, whistling, vuvuzeling, laughing din that is a march. Pride or protest. Protest and pride.
Scampering, pattering little kitten feet, all through the house, chasing, wrestling, starting all over again.
Seagulls pontificating on the chimney of the next house down.
The scream of impossibly huge, impossibly old, petrol engines, breaking the silence of a Gloucestershire hillside.
I said before: oil, dry grass, warm leatherette.
Damp. Mould. Then the wrong, clean smell, and then it wasn’t home any more.
Rubber. New bicycle tyres, wrestled into position, and the smell lingering on the hands.
Fresh paint. Then whatever it is they put windows in with.
The pear-drop solvent of suede protector spray.
Coffee. Strong and gritty, in the office cafetière. Thick and treacly and deadly, in my new little Moka Pot. Milky and bitter, after church.
Cherries, from the market in Wells. (I bought a pair of gloves, a bottle of beer, and a box of cherries. It might have been five hundred years ago.)
Champagne, and other things with bubbles in. Plenty to celebrate, this year.
Red wine, for love.
Fish and chips, hot and salty and greasy – to watch the cycle races – and after the longest work day – and to move house with.
Apples, almost every day this autumn until we worked out how they microwaved best without exploding.
Sea-water, cold even in August, but salty and calming, swirling around me, holding me up.
The rush of air past me, the juddering of the road under me. Handlebars, responsive, going wherever I tell them, taking me wherever I want.
Needlecord. And velvet. Velvet coat and velvet boots and velvet gloves. Velvet cushion.
The unaccustomed weight of silver earrings.
Scratchy woollen army blanket, laid on the grass for a picnic.
Prayer beads, heavy glass and smooth wood and rough pumice, running through my fingers.
Sinking lower and lower in the air bed. Long and narrow like a mummy in the camp bed. The guest bed, like a cloud.