1. the now traditional crawl thru somerset darkness, train to train to bus, no taxi at the rank... a ten-minute totter from ghost town centre (such as it is) to outskirts, a silent cul-de-sac.
2. the usual gradual decompression of the family reunion.
3. my sister, suddenly size sixteen, bopping queasily in her seat to the castro track i played her. on a raft of anti-psychotics (sulpiride, olanzapine, trazodone) that make her eat... (a small price, since they've silenced her internal duologue almost completely - she's so much happier, she's so much less troubled, but not doped, not stilled to nothing, not erased - i cd be evangelical about these chemicals if i wasn't so worried about their long-term effects).
4. also habitual ritual of reciting poetry post-dinner in the kitchen, while they're firng up the teevee next door. this year: goethe and pushkin (in translation).
5. i think my highlight was mum's solemn recitation of how my great-grandfather, unnamed unfortunate that he apparently was, was killed in hospital during a routine operation by a - fucking - falling - NAZI! - BOMB! (this version spoilt a touch when she dated his death to, uh, 'some time in the fifties'). she's verifying the dates, but i'm keeping everything crossed - am i related to the absolute last fatality of WWII? (hey, they dropped some of those bombs from pretty high up...)
6. also read short stories wodehouse, borges. corrected and annotated proto-draft of 'back to the sea' every day until the day before i was leaving. really dogged this year, really proud of me.
7. couldn't sleep. couldn't sleep at all... my mother's single bed... think my bodyclock has given up, gotten so screwed, so estranged from the way normal people live.
8. beaten by mother at chess (3-2) and sister at magnetic darts