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As in you can't see it for. As in hit the, bite the, cut the, kiss the, gather the. As in when the dust settles. As in not see somebody for. As in dust yourself down and.

Plot and Counterplot is in a box in the boiler room beside the front door. Alan Hill's No Biography is partly behind the sofa and more of it beside the french windows in the lounge. Also behind the sofa are the new PoemCards, racked in sets, the leaflets ready for No Biography and the two Po-Lites and Plot and Cop.

Behind the stairs are more pamphlets. In plastic boxes with the lids firmly on.

Because of the dust. The dust is created by Sandy Kelly. Sandy Kelly is refitting the bathroom upstairs.

There is nothing grand about this house. It's ex-Council or GDC, can't remember which. It's pleasant inside, a bit eighties. Every single bit of it needs redecorating. The conservatory (but at least it has one) leaks in four places. Bits of fitted wainscot fall off every now and again all over the place. Scraps of wall-paper are peeling. It is a national spider protection zone.

But it is about to have a nice upstairs bathroom, and Sandy Kelly is the man. He has been working on the job now for three weeks. The shower is done. The wall tiles are done (but the grouting's not finished). The floor tiles are not in place yet. Nor is the toilet, the washhand basin, the cupboards that go around them. And my mother is coming to stay on Friday for the launch of Plot and Cop in the Scottish Poetry Library.

I've been hoovering and dusting every couple of days (not like me) because of the layer of fine dust that has been settling over everything. It floats down the stairs and then permeates everything. Upstairs, the other pamphlets are in the spare room with the door firmly shut. So are all the bits and pieces that were in the bathroom before, or at the bottom of the stairs gathering dust. How mum will get to the bed in there remains to be seen.

It's only dust. People's houses disintegrate in earthquakes. In Scotland, one of the safest countries in the world, so far as natural disasters go, there's really nothing to complain about.

We are but dust and to dust we shall return. Just not quite yet, I hope.

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Tuesday, 28 March 2023