Tuesday 1 July

Tomorrow I fly back to London. It is nine months. I will feel a foreigner. This evening I even wondered how I would dress to visit an editor, I couldn’t remember. It is nine months, if Barbara had conceived with that hurried attempt on the morning of my leave, a child would have been born by now. Already the Coombes and Warrens will be accustomed to parenthood. I will slip another cog - maybe in the next generation of friends I will find my place. I have prepared myself to stay a full four weeks this time (even making arrangements to have the rent paid on my Rio apartment if I decide to delay the return) yet I have much less to do this time round - no wedding, no week’s holiday with B. In a way, though, I am already dreading coming back to my hollow life here. There is no struggle - my life is so free of complications, it is unbelievable, so free of complications it’s wicked.

Silvio took me to a cheap and nasty place for lunch because he thought I was poor. I told him my receipts in June were over $4,400 - that shook him about the same amount it once shook me when Charlie told me the same thing. Of course it is out of proportion, since $900 comes from the ‘Shell World’ job in January - but then Charlie’s claim probably was too. Charles Thurston is actually travelling to Brazil in July, just as well I’ll be away: last week’s lead story in N. W. was a Brazil story he’d written on my tip off. I told him I wasn’t going to work for N.W., it wasn’t worth my time.

The Junino festas have been overshadowed by the World Cup - even the boat parade last Sunday was brought forward a few hours because of the cup final, and there didn’t seem as many boats or as much spirit as last year. Nevertheless, it was still a spectacular sight, hundreds of craft - from rowing boats to ferry boats - jockeying for water space in front of the tiny Sao Pedro church here in Urca.

On the Friday afternoon, I strolled over to the Benjamin Constance Institute rather intrigued by the thought of a Junino festival for and by blind people. I was rewarded with a visit inside (I have long wondered what the innards were like). The fair had been set up in the inner courtyard. There were a few stalls, and a central stage with lots of people milling round. Strange that with so many people there seemed to be just two groups - them and us. Them were the ordinary people - friends, relations of the blind, visiting families, charitable workers. Us consisted of me and a girl with a headscalf on (a rare thing here) wondering around alone like me. We seemed to be two of kind - the voyeurs. We should have spoken - and, once, I did smile broadly across at her, but she didn’t recognise it, and I left as shy as ever.

Strelitzia reginae - Bird of paradise

August 1986

Paul K Lyons


Copyright © PiKLe PuBLiSHiNG

1974 1975

1976 1977

1978 1979

1980 1981

1982 1983

1984 1985

1986 1987

1988 1989

1990 1991

1992 1993

1994 1995

1996 1997

1998 1999

2000 2001

2002 2003

2004 2005

INTRO to diaries