Explosions are not comfortable.
“Attention! Attention! Incendie à la raffinerie!”
The gendarmes’ talkie-walkies suddenly sprang into life and a crackly voice announced that a serious fire had broken out at the refinery. My heart in my mouth, I peered through the dirty window of my office in the direction of the refinery. A huge plume of thick black smoke hung like a harbinger of doom in the still air above it. Continue reading
Another reworked chapter of the first book
Saying goodbye is a little like dying.
― Marjane Satrapi
All I can remember of 1968 is greyness. The greyness of the dawn light when I would get up early every Friday to take the early train to Manchester and then on to Liverpool. The grimy greyness of Liverpool itself. The lonely greyness of the small Sheffield flat in which I was spending the rest of my time. The overwhelming greyness of the two clouds hanging over my head. Continue reading
We dream, we wake on a cold hillside, we pursue the dream again. In the beginning was the dream, and the work of disenchantment never ends.
― Kim Stanley Robinson
I suddenly heard the clang of the double gates being thrown open and the tyres of a car screeching down the slight incline to the garage. The only person it could be was T, but it seemed highly unlikely at that time in the morning. He had left for the refinery only a few hours before, as he always liked to be at his desk before the work buses arrived, to set a good example — unlike other managers, who had a tendency to begin the working day nearer lunchtime. Continue reading
It’s hard being left behind. It’s hard to be the one who stays.
― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
I seem to have spent half my life waiting. Not the kind of waiting that brings a sense of calm, of nature taking its course, of things expected — the kind that is soothing to the mind and balm for the soul. No, for me, it was the kind of waiting during which a rising tide of panic would make me feel as though my insides were being twisted in a vice. Continue reading
Dictionary definition of unsuitable: not fitting or inappropriate; out of place, out of keeping, out of character.
“Non, je suis désolé. On n’a pas la pièce qu’il faut. On n’importe plus de pièces détachées.” (No, I’m sorry. We don’t have the part. They’re not importing spare parts anymore.)
I looked at the Sonatrach repair man in despair. It was the early seventies and we had been living in the Clos des Poivriers (Pepper Tree Close) since just before the birth of our son a year or so previously. The Clos, a gated compound containing a dozen white-painted villas, was to be found right on the cliff edge overlooking the Mediterranean, midway between the sleepy rural villages of Bethioua and Ain el Bia, and with nothing between it and the golden stretches of sandy beach but a few terraced vineyards and a meandering, dusty country road. Continue reading
Regarde, Étranger, vers cette île
que la lumière bondissante révèle pour ton délice.
Look, stranger, on this island now
The leaping light for your delight discovers
“So — you don’t like mechanical engineering? It’s either that, or you go home. Your choice.”
T. drew his brows together in consternation. He was sitting in a room in the Sheffield University Students’ Union, across the desk from a representative from the British firm, CJB (Constructors John Brown). He glanced at the man sitting opposite him, then out of the window at the dreary day outside. Continue reading