Friday 20th January


Strange how since the passing of the shortest day it’s got darker
in the morning. Waking in what looks like the middle of the night
evoking memories of heading out with dad before sunrise when
he drove oil tankers. The mornings were freezing, he’d start the car
& let it warm through breakfast then wrap me in a blanket for the drive.
The long journey to the depo, on deserted roads through fog then waiting
in the car as he got the lorry started. It was cold & damp but climbing up
into that cab was exciting, always felt good going to work with dad.
When he worked in the factory I could never go beyond
the clocking-in machine. I’d stand at the gates with this deep sense of loss
& longing, watching him disappear down the yard

In that stinky oil tanker cab we’d talk like we never had time to
back home & saw stuff together riding high above the cars with views
over hedges & walls – we were part of an exclusive club, listening
to him recount stories I still remember. One image in particular remains
of driving through low fog, the cab above & the headlights below, pushing
a glowing sea of milky white in front of us – laughing.

Mom would make a big flask of soup & sandwiches & even through
an intense smell of fuel oil which got into your clothes & hair
that soup & sandwich combination tasted better than anything I’d ever eaten –
pulled over in a lay-by for lunch, in the cab of an oil-tanker
with my Dad