And how does it feel one more time?

There are those of us who – when we fall – fall spectacularly.

I used to lodge in a South London townhouse where my friends, Ann and Hans kindly allowed me to use the shed at the bottom of their garden.

This was my writing hut.

With awning windows that opened to sultry air and sunlight, and a corrugated roof that drove off the more brazen elements, there was ample room for a desk, a bookcase, and – as a place for my (since forsaken) pipe collection – an art nouveau sideboard.

The paraffin heater may have been useless but through clever wiring there was 220-voltage for an archaic Adler Electric typewriter, a battered radio, and my Gaggia espresso machine.

While some months were flusher than others (as evidenced by the growing collection of rejection slips papered to the walls) my writer’s hut never lost the aroma of sweet Cavendish tobacco and bitter ristrettos.

In early, out late, the merry spin of the grindstone was nonetheless rivaled by that of the social calendar.  Ann and Hans could be sociable, as could I, and the parties were legendary.

Unquestionably that was the promise one May day when a British Bank Holiday happened to correspond with a certain shipment from Germany.

Ländle-born Hans had a friend who drove a lorry and he was arriving by ferry with a 30-litre keg of Pilsner, a 20-litre keg of Special Bock, and 100 Thüringer sausages. What better way to celebrate the onset of spring than a garden party with 50 of your chummiest chums?

And what a day it was. The sun was shining, the grill glowing, the beer strong. Everyone was in rare spirits.  I just had to get a picture.

As I’d often done, I climbed on top of the shed and raised my camera. Then ‘C-R-A-S-H’ the asbestos roofing shattered like a pane of glass. Rather discomfiting in front of all your guests who, as I could now see through the windows, were rushing my way.

Then I noticed the blood. No hiding it, I’d nicked an artery right between my eyes and it was spurting like a squirt gun with every beat of my heart.

“Just a flesh wound,” I tried to usher everyone back to the party. “Isn’t it time we tapped that Special Bock?”

Hans wasn’t buying.  “Winnie, just look at your clothes.”  My white linen jacket was streaked with red. Dammit. I pulled it off.

Then someone ran up with a dishcloth to staunch the bleeding and someone else appeared with a raincoat from the closet. “Put it on, Winnie. You’ve got to stay warm.”

I put it on and reached for another beer.  “Not until you’ve been to Urgent Care,” Ann took the glass from my hand while Hans led me to his car for the short drive to St. George’s Hospital.

As far as I’m concerned a loss of control is the main ingredient of a Bad Day and this was swiftly becoming an epic one.

Accidents are embarrassing.  Worse still the party was reaching its stride while – tick, tick, tick – poor Hans and I were wasting away in triage.

Dayzz 1

“How many beers? No anesthesia for you,” the physician finally fixed that jagged poke with some stitches.

We made our triumphant return just after dusk. No more sausages. No more pilsner. The party had moved inside. But there was still plenty of that Special Bock and, lo, it was having a jolly effect.

Normally a distinguished concert pianist, Santiago was performing a headstand in the corner to demonstrate how to properly consume a pint upside down. Naturally some of us had to follow suit. And – pain, what pain? – so descended another celebration.

The next afternoon while “scratching my head to Strasbourg” I forked out £50 for the latest in corrugated, polycarbonate, see-through roofing.

And for the rest of the time I occupied that space I’d spare a moment to look at the stars or watch the rain falling from above.  Not that my writing got any better.

Over 30 years on and the scar’s still there; a subtle reminder that like all else under the sun bad days never last.  In fact sometimes they barely make it past dusk.

Bad Day

Written and recorded by Canadian singer Daniel Powter in 2002, it wasn’t until 2004 that “Bad Day” was finally released … for use in a French Coca-Cola commercial.  After that Warner Brothers offered Powter a contract and – “Where is the moment when we need it the most?” – in 2005 the track became the lead single from his eponymous debut album.

Where is the moment when we need it the most?
You kick up the leaves, and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue sky’s faded to gray
They tell me your passion’s gone away
And I don’t need no carrying on

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You’re faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life’s been way off line
You’re falling to pieces every time
And I don’t need no carrying on

‘Cause you had a bad day
You’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know
You tell me don’t lie
You work at a smile, and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don’t lie
You’re coming back down, and you really don’t mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Well you need a blue-sky holiday
The point is they laugh at what you say
And I don’t need no carrying on

You had a bad day
You’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know
You tell me don’t lie
You work at a smile, and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don’t lie
You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind
You had a bad day

Sometimes the system goes on the blink, and the whole thing it turns out wrong

You might not make it back and you know that you should be well, oh, that Strong

And I’m not wrong

So where is the passion when you need it the most?
Oh, you and I
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost

‘Cause you had a bad day
You’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know
You tell me don’t lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You see what you like
And how does it feel one more time?
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Had a bad day, had a bad day, had a bad day

2 thoughts on “And how does it feel one more time?

  1. “You had a bad day” is a good choice. I know
    the story but not the no pain killer for
    stitches…didn’t feel it?
    When you and Linda are ready to start
    looking at the south count on our home
    as your home base. Freedom to come
    and go, and we’d love to have you!
    xoxo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s