Squash-faced at my window I can spy on most of Mill Street – especially anyone who goes into Peter’s shop. Dad’s been in Amsterdam with the Magpie crew. He often gives Mick Robertson a lift to Teddington Studios after dropping me at school. I sit on Mick’s lap, singing tunelessly “one for sorrow…” Dad’s given me a pair of unpainted wooden clogs. I wear them with Mum’s flouncy 1950s petticoat. Peter is always impressed with my outfits when I buy my flying saucers or sherbet dabs. He’s a flabby man with a big moustache, a shiny, rhubarb face and slightly stained, stretchy shirts. Sometimes I wear my Egyptian outfit – made from an old sheet with braid sewn round the splintery edges. Most of the time I’m just a normal girl in my navy blue school uniform, but even though I’m very shy I like to transform, kabam! into someone else.
Mill Street often appears in my poetry and the chance to explore these recollections in a different medium was an interesting challenge which I eventually tackled in a similar way to my prose poetry pieces. I have always been obsessed with history so living in an early nineteenth century house with pottery fragments to unearth in the garden and the ghost of a coconut matting mill haunting the banks of the Hogsmill was paradise. Accessing these childhood memories became a process of pure emotional archaeology, I dug deep, found what I thought might be precious and then polished and polished…