Anxiety and the Common Barking Man

I just emailed a friend about a visit I made a week ago with Caroline, just before the VT killing, to Stourhead, a beautiful National Trust park near here. We saw a really strange incident. We were trekking round the grounds, and we reached the remote King Alfred’s Tower where there’s a Victorian folly, a car park, quite a few people about, an ice cream van, some trees, and not much else.

On the track back from the tower, a couple piled out of a car in front of us with the woman holding a camera presumably filming. The man ran up to some bushes with her following, ripped a branch off with his bare hands, and then pretended it was a machine gun, gunning her down, which was noisy and a bit mad. But then he hit her with the branch so it really hurt, and she cried but carried on filming. He looked seriously glassy-eyed and out of control.

Now, just before that, as we’d approached the place, I’d just been saying that beauty spots made me a little anxious generally. It’s that, ‘someone’s walked over my grave’ feeling, a tiny frisson of something I don’t like, anxiety. I was walking a friend’s dog once, when suddenly it wouldn’t cross an open field. While I was trying to persuade it to cross, a horse came galloping across the field with its saddle slipped. It crossed a horribly busy road, a near miss for several motorists. It was amazing that the dog had picked up the anxiety of the out-of-control animal from distance.

I wrote it in a story, Nobody Told the Horse, and it was published by Surprising Stories. The link’s at the top in My Fiction as well. We were talking about mad people that evening in the pub. Everyone had a mad person story. We didn’t know that on the Tuesday, everybody across the world would be exchanging stories. They still are here. I just went into the town, and I heard people still talking about “the guy in America” a week on.

Today, I trod on my head set and broke it. It’s not a tragedy, but when added together with online ordering of inkjet cartridges not getting authorisation from my credit card company, and someone who made an offer for the house on Friday pulling out today, it was one too many little things.

I’m onto the synopsis for my second novel. 1500 words. I’m also plugging Friction Fiction 39, which is really why I’m here to upload the show. This week I’m playing music from Plastic Dave, Zero Pilot, Brett Dennen, Dust, and Camille Miller, and reading some of my poems from What You Will See: Barking, Role Play and Role Models. There’s a new one too.

Next thing is, there are some new people coming to view the bungalow tomorrow, so now I’m running around tidying up again.

Enjoy the show.