Sunday, 29 January 2012


Perhaps my ability to access past memories is improving.

The contrast between my recollection of the days were I have consciously remembered memory tags and those before I began this process is like the difference between engaging in a conversation and overhearing someone muttering.

I have images pinned to my mental calendar for the past six weeks, which I can scan back over, stopping and pulling up greater details when I want. Before the 17 December, there is fog.

I look for shapes in the fog. Lying awake last night, after waking for the toilet, and wondering whether I could be bothered to rise again to make some tea, I thought back through my calendar and was able to establish some dates for earlier memories that had been floating free. This not only pinned them down, put gave shape to the surrounding days and events.

For example, I remembered that on the 26 November, a Saturday, my wife and I had gone for breakfast by the docks close to the hotel where we were staying during a conference in a city close to my parents. We visited them afterwards and went shopping in Prentwick, where they live. The memories came flooding back. Where we had gone, where we had lunch. Being trapped in the multi-story carpark by the volume of shoppers trying to leave from Christmas shopping; going back into the shopping centre for coffee because we were going nowhere fast. Finding a place to view the cars crawling down the exit spiral ramp and deciding my mother and wife would take the bus, while my father and I returned to sit in the queue.

These memories are as vivid now as any day with a memory tag. Now the images of breakfast and waiting at the bus stop are pinned to my mental calendar. There is something satisfying in that.

I remembered too that my parents gave us some money that day to buy Christmas presents for ourselves and so it must have been the following Saturday that my wife bought some shoes for country walks, with the intention of taking one to view an art exhibition where our then landlady was showing some of her paintings. I had been wracking my brains trying to remember which particular weekend that had been. Now I have my memory tag for the 3 December.

If I can scratch an opening into the whiteness covering the blank days and make it large enough, it seem the rest of the day can gush out, perhaps even washing away some of the whiteness covering other days.

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