I won’t claim randomness, something often claimed and seldom achieved, but I will say there’s not a lot of system behind these choices.  This is from a letter from Malcolm dated August 29, 1989.  Malcolm was my first serious boyfriend, and after he moved to London in 1986 I lived with him for about six months in the winter and spring of 1987, taking classes at the Architectural Association, and visited for another month in the summer of 1988.  By 1989 we both had new relationships.  But we still wrote to one another.

Dear Nancy

The tree behind the flat,* a sycamore I think, has had half its branches trimmed off.  Whether it is in preparation of being felled (or dismantled, which is a more appropriate expression given the number of garden fences that would be crushed by chopping it down Paul Bunyan style) or simply to let more light into the garden below, I do not know.

The net result to me is that I can see the church steeple behind more clearly.  Its clangy bells have not rung for several months now — I wonder why.  I can also see more clearly the wood pigeons who like to roost in the tree — they sit about now on the remaining branches looking embarrassed, very exposed, and confused.  They’ve taken to hanging about in the jungle garden next door, ambling around through the overgrown grass and weeds.  If anyone in the triangle bangs a window or makes some other loud noise, they swoosh up into the bare tree with a great flap-flap-flap of their wings.  The cats also like the garden next door, I suppose because they can smooch about there and do those feline things, and no one will disturb them.  The cats and the wood pigeons seem to have established some rota or agreement on use of the garden.  The big birds would be a good match for any cat, even the big tom-cats that sometimes hang about, and they certainly win on numbers . . .

*This would be the flat on Bolingbroke Road, Brook Green, London, where I’d stayed with M the year before.  Why didn’t I want to watch the day the piano was swung into the second-floor windows?  I was difficult.


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