‘When I wake I lie and think of what George Brecht once said to me, that nothing is necessarily gained by getting out of bed. So I decide that if I can spontaneously name fifty things worth getting up for, then I will. Here goes:
Blue sky with vapour trail turned golden by the setting sun.
Backlit spider’s web on the kitchen window.
Belisha beacon at midnight on the empty street.
Lionel Hampton solo on Stardust.
Freshly poured pint of Guinness settling on the bar.
White butterfly on purple buddleia.
Cat purring against my ear, her breath on my neck.
Cat stretched full length in sunbeam.
A soft poached egg on soda bread toast.
Clifford Brown’s solo on Sarah Vaughan’s September Song.
Memory of the first time I saw Felicity laugh.
Bessie Smith’s “Yeaaahh!”
Sandpiper running the edge of the surf.
A million stars in the Milky Way.
Pitch darkness. Car headlights on the brow of the hill briefly illuminate a pine tree in descending curtain of light. Then pitch darkness again.
Sparrow hawk hovering.
Sea trout leaps.
Two on off stump which turn past the bat, and then the arm ball. And only five seasons ago. Now I couldn’t bowl an over.
Her hand in mine.
Cat lapping milk.
Sea otter at dusk.
Fuchsia in bloom.
Sunset on the cricket field after the last match of the season. Mist drifting in.
Earl Grey Oolong.
Thousands of migratory birds whirling in the sky above the estuary, one moment a dark mass, the next instant invisible in the reflected light.
First cast of the fishing season.
Cooling sweat after making love.
Fresh fried calves liver and green salad.
Grey mullet swirl in the estuary shallows.
A hand rolled Golden Virginia cigarette.
A deep hot bath.
Gin and tonic.
Hot whiskey, lemon, cloves and honey.
A Gaggia brewed espresso.
Full moon over the sea.
Salt beef on rye with mustard and dill pickle.
A dry martini.
Late cut past gully.
My studio in the morning light.
So that’s fifty and I throw back the covers, swing my legs out of the bed and stand up. Hundreds of shooting pinpoints of light flash in front of my eyes, acidic bile rises up from my stomach into my gullet, and a wave of nausea brings me back to a sitting position on the bed, swallowing gulps of air. And then another day, such as it is, begins.’
Ian Breakwell, April 2005
He died in October that year after losing his struggle with cancer.