Valentine’s Day @ Stafford Castle

There was no alarm ringing me awake in the morning it was just my circadian rhythm opening my eyes. A good nights sleep was needed after Saturday. It was still early but later than it would have been had I been getting up to go to work. I turned the kettle on and made a coffee making note of the almost empty bag of ground beans. Visiting the shop was going to be on my agenda sometime today. 

Writing in the morning is a pleasurable experience for me. For some reason the words flow well after a good nights sleep. The words were definitely flowing as I finished of describing what was otherwise a mundane excursion but was filled with interesting tidbits of activity. At least to me anyways. Sometimes amidst the busy hours of the day we forget that things do happen around us but we just don’t notice them or forget about them soon after they happened. 

Visiting Stafford Castle was going to be my activity today. I had to do something as the day looked nice looking out the window. There was no rush but there was a time constraint as there were conversations to be had later and the shops closed at four. Looking at myself in the mirror and rubbing my face with my hands I knew I had to tackle the growth on my face. Any man knows that after more than a few days grooming takes a while. 

Feeling fresh and clean I collected all the things I needed for the outing. I patted my back pocket where my wallet usually is and it wasn’t there. It wasn’t on my desk and it wasn’t in the drawers that I furiously opened and closed in search of it. A wave of emotion and anxiety washed over me as the implications of this loss filtered in. I tossed the bed and looked behind it. I started to look through the dry laundry that was waiting to be folded on the chair. I cursed loudly and questioned why this was happening to me. Have I completely lost the plot? Can’t I keep it together? Did it slip out as I sat on the train oblivious to the world? I realized that this frantic state was no way to be vigilant and observant. I went downstairs for some fresh air in order to collect my thoughts making sure my keys were in my pocket. There is no need to compound the problem already facing me. Fuck! 

I calmed down a bit standing outside. It isn’t like me to be this forgetful although the past year has been filled with episodes where my attention has been called into question by me. WTF? Anger turned into despair and when I entered the room I started moving things that I’ve searched from one side to another. Then I opened up a drawer that I looked in before and lo and behold there it was. I felt elated. I must have looked inside it before and not noticed it. All that emotion was expelled and the prospect of a decent walk seemed like the best thing I could do to decrease the levels of adrenaline still coursing through my veins. Hunger was now starting to creep in and I knew just where to go to get a passable meal. 

Walking helped relieve the tension. This momentary panic and despair was not what I needed on this day. The sun was out but the wind was chilly as it blew in from the north. The sandwitch or more accurately the breakfast buttie was devoured but the coffee that came with it was savoured as I wrote. The theme was Love and the many aspects of its complicated nature. I was thinking of my Love and the love within that has begun to overflow like water from a spring that has finally reached a surface. It was a period of inspiration that needed just a bit of time to be expressed. 

The coffee shop was busy as people filtered through its doors and rotated through the tables. There were kids playing on the floor and one crying somewhere in the corner. There were couples having a quiet conversation inaudible to me due to the level of ambient noise within this space. It forced me to focus better and now I wonder if my focus on this activity affects my focus on other matters like keeping track of my stuff. 

The wind blew hard as I crossed the bridge over the train tracks. Stafford Castle was somewhere up a hill. It overlooked the city and once was a fortress that guarded the nobility that gave this region it’s name. I kept looking for it as I climbed up the slowly rising hill. The houses that lined the road leading to it were varied and had a bit more space surrounding it than those in the centre of the city. When the turn off for the castle finally appeared there was a cathedral of leafless trees that lead up the hill towards the castle. A green hue filled the area as moss reflected the bright sunshine showering rays from its location in the sky. 

Stafford castle was originally built by the conquering Normans in the late eleventh century. Over time the castle kept getting improvements mostly made out of wood and earthworks. In the seventeenth century during the British civil war the original castle was destroyed by a combination of neglect and deliberate destruction by an army laying siege to it. Following a period of ruin the castle was rebuilt but not to the best standard and over time it slowly deteriorated before being abandoned in 1950. A death of a youth on the grounds in the 1960’s necessitated the demolition of the upper floors for safety reasons. There was an archeological excavation on these grounds beginning in 1978 and lasting for ten years at which point the area was opened up to the public. The grounds are still owned by Lord Stafford. 

There were a few people enjoying the sights that are afforded from this vantage point. It is one of the highest vantage points in the area and in the olde days would have been strategically vital. Having said that it wasn’t a big castle. Not as big as others more prestegious than this one but still important in the historical context of this area. 

There is only so much I could see and I decided to go back so that I can hit up the super shop before it closed. Money is going to be tight for a while. There was a problem with the registration of my company with the hospital. There is a company that handles contracts such as mine on behalf of the hospital and they are real sticklers for detail. My agency gave them the anglicized spelling of my name and not the ethnically difficult one to pronounce. I still have enough to survive but it is going to be tight until those cheques start rolling in. I stocked up with many things that were on offer. There is only so much time I have to cook. 

Back at the flat in my room I looked over the mess I made in my frantic state. The idea to rearrange the room came to me during my walk. I proceeded to put things away as well as rearranging it to open up some more space inside this place. This room is a lot bigger than I would get if I was in London. I think about being there sometimes and I wonder now if I’ll be back there to live and stay. My whole perspective and direction in life has changed. 

That reason, my flower and joy was just waking up now. We had made arrangements to talk over the interwebs. We were both wearing red and smiling at each other as we spoke for a long long time about things and nothing at all. She looked radiant even when pixelated the morning light bathing her skin as it shone through the window of her room. We could have talked all night but there were a few things still yet for me to do before I retired for the night. This was our valentines date complete with a few snacks that we were both eating as we spoke. All I needed was a candle but I’m afraid to light anything inside here for fear of a fire alarm going off. A fire alarm that isn’t found in my room as I inspect the ceiling. The truth is I didn’t think of it until now. It was a nice talk since this development in my life is a positive one and it needs to be nurtured and enjoyed even if we are so far apart physically and yet so close to each other’s heart. 

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