Goddards Pie Shop


So I’m sat in Goddards Pie Shop and I couldn’t be happier.

Drizzle, mizzling outside. Scalding coffee and piles of mash, thick gravy, meat filled pie. £4.50, you can’t go wrong.

I’ve got an MSc I need to get back to; it all seems another world away and another life away; the way long summer evenings seem impossible when you’re in midwinter.

I run out of mood stabilisers tomorrow, my normal GP unavailable until the 16th. I’m seeing any old doctor on an emergency appointment simply to get a script. And I need to talk to someone, talk to someone about the past few weeks; the way I’ve swung from chaos to a kind of fluid stability. Need to talk about what I did. What was done. But I can’t talk to someone new, can’t go over all this again, and that. It’ll have to wait.

I’m sat in Goddards Pie Shop. The place closed down a few years back, I was heartbroken. An institution for over a century. Came here with Amy once, kinda stoned, that nice kinda stoned, cosy and fuzzy. Best pie and mash in the world. Here I am again and I couldn’t be happier.

All this shit, all the shit that happened, explosions in my head; deafening, ringing, thrown to the ground and stunned, life thrown in the air, scattered. I’ve got to sort out uni, I’ve got to sort out drugs. I’ve got to sort out some kind of income and decide if I stay in London with it’s rush and sweet bruising tumble, or return North. To family, to quiet, to space.

But right now I’m in Goddards. Plate clean, mug empty. About to go into the mizzling drizzle. Waterproof jacket and hood.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Nothing wants to be perfect

You fall out of love, sometimes, with life. Or at least I do. You need love to keep you going. Not romantic love or lustful love or hallmark love, but fierce love, primal, furious. Blood-bound love.

Maybe you don’t know or maybe you don’t believe me – fish rarely think about air, after all. But when that love drains away, when you forget how it feels… eventually you forget you were ever in love with the world at all.



So it’s been raining all day today, siling and dripping and spitting. Cooped up in the house, sitting, lying, sitting some more. Sitting will kill me one of these days, if boredom doesn’t get me first.

So it’s been raining all through today and eventually you just have to accept that it’s going to carry on raining. Not that I mind and not that I can complain, but even though I like the rain I’d rather not get wet. But I can’t stay in all day, that’s no good for my no good head, so eventually I set out. Out of the house and along the Thames, rain on river; water, water everywhere.

Rain. The sky grey and the Thames brown, churning. Glistening pavements and puddles, no petrichor – the day has washed it away. The Thames water rushing in, filling the banks up from low tide.


When I first moved to London, there was this story in the press. Two guys had been walking along the banks of the Thames, pissed after a post work drink. Now when mudlarkers used to walk the banks they knew to check the ground before them, stabbing down with a stick. Checking for quickmud.

These drunk guys didn’t know that; you don’t sink in quickmud, but you do get stuck. So they both got stuck, trapped at low tide.

They were rescued. The LFB fireboat pulled them out as the tide was coming in, saved them, saved them from drowning.


It’s been raining all today, and the Thames is rushing in. The smell of mud rises in the rain. And I remember.

I remember the seaside, with dad. Not sandcastles and ice creams and vinegar, but waves smashing; us clambering over boulders, us slipping. Seaweed. Cold bruised fingers and muddy clothes and a chisel and geological hammer.

I’ve not done it for years – for decades – but you get an eye for it: Fossil hunting. I might not be able to ride a bike but I bet you I can still pick the right rock, pick the right place to hit the rock. You never forget.

We found a belemnite, embedded in a boulder, perfect. Belemnites were basically ancient squid things, the way ammonites were ancient nautilus things. And this one – a slender, sleek cone. You don’t get them so close to perfect very often.

We started to chip. Or maybe dad started to chip and I watched, or maybe I started to chip and dad watched. But we started to chip. Careful, slow. Cold and wet and salty, waves smashing, mud and seaweed. Trying to lift the stone from the stone.

But stone is brittle and nothing wants to be perfect; the fossil broke, and broke, and broke again.

I want to say that I displayed a wisdom beyond my years and accepted it, but I remember being upset and dad having to comfort me and I remember being comforted. We carried on together. We could stick it back together once we got home, and broken things can still, in their way, be close to perfect.

Mum and dad still have it at home, among all the other fossils and shells and interesting rocks. I think it sits on the kitchen windowsill, next to an amazing nautilus fossil we found in Wales.


It’s been raining all through today, either pouring or drizzle. I’m not one to complain, really I like the rain. I just don’t want to get wet. But cooped up inside is no good for my no good head, and eventually you have to accept it’s going to keep on raining. I’ve got this waterproof jacket with a hood, hardly the height of fashion but who cares? I put it on, and do it up, and go for a walk by the Thames. Feel the rain. Smell the mud.

And I remember.


No milk for tea.

I’ve been sunny, these past few days. Birthday of Brother #2, tea with friends (I’m cutting back on coffee; besides, tea’s nicer. Amazing, how habit often overrides pleasure). Uni has been going well.

For one reason or another, or several reasons interlocking and which nobody really understands, SSRI antidepressants take 6-8 weeks to kick in. For me, the worst of the side effects – chattering teeth, sweats, anxiety – pass after two weeks.

The world comes back and I come back – not gently, but in strobe light; a jitter-jugger, lurching to life. This all takes time to settle. it’s been sunny, these past few days. But deep down I’ve known I’m yet to settle.

One mistake. One dumb and daft mistake I make yesterday, and I’m crumbling inside, my mind whips ups both fears and rage, rage at myself. I know I’m going nowhere so I go home, the world all sunny and me longing for the comfort of rain. Walk from the station – this is why I’m useless, this is why I’ve failed, this is why I should never, ever try; this is catastrophic thinking, this is the ‘all or nothing‘. Arguing with myself, wishing I’d just shut up. Frustrated; a few more weeks on the citalopram and I’d have been fine.

But right now I’ve been standing unsteady, and a trip leads to a fall. That’s just gravity.


When it’s just a trip, when I just get grazed rather than broken, sleep often works. I force myself under and wake in the morning, strangely reset. Get on with the day, with life.

But all sleep brought was a nasty, choking paralysis which I screamed my way out of, and a morning too sharp and tender.

Forgot to drop by Tesco yesterday. No milk for tea.