I’m cold and stomping along Somerset Street quickly in the silence not paying a lot of attention to anything until the fox crosses my path. He’s big (I remember a cat called Taboo and wonder if the fox is living off kebabs) but trots softly and purposefully across and down the steps. Which reminds me that the views across Bristol are impressive from up here. City lights. Still too cold to stop for long but much revived.

fox

The Silence Experiment
Silent: Just Me
Site: Somerset Street and beyond, Bristol
State: Walking
Surprises: Look up. Look around. Feel better.

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Replicate a previous silence precisely. Technically, it was well into the wrong day but since I hadn’t been to sleep I’m not worried about midnight as an arbitrary date changer . The bed was the same and the layers of bedding – but nothing else as it turns out. This  time I fell swiftly into worn out sleep . Woke later to the now familiar alarm tone of my galaxy note II as it heralds a silence end.
sleepy 2The Silence Experiment
Silent: Just Me
Site: My bedroom, Richmond Road
State: Trying to fall asleep
Surprises: I did.

Reluctant to engage. So reluctant that I decide to see what it is like doing  a silence as I fall asleep. Of course it means instantly I am awake, not in the least sleepy, although now undressed under a layer of duvet, one of fleecy blanket and a third of sleeping bag, and thus not inclined to get up and do anything. The house is quiet. Is everybody out? I’m not sure and it makes no difference.

sleepy

The Silence Experiment
Silent: Just Me
Site: My bedroom, Richmond Road
State: Attempting to fall asleep
Surprises: I was sure I was tired

I turn off the radio on the drive home, and yes, the sound of the road and the water on the road does grow louder. But what I hear is the sound of the fan heater and the inside of my head. Chasing questions of identity and then watching tail lights. Mapping out meetings and next steps then deciding to pass a lorry. Staring at the radio, my usual companion on the road. I want it back.

night cars

The Silence Experiment
Silent: Just Me
Site: State
State: Driving down the M5 in the dark (it’s not my photo, don’t worry!)
Surprises: I thought I’d enjoy this silence. I didn’t like it at all.

Another rueful silence. Child’s pose – surely the easiest yoga pose to hold. In my lazy wisdom I disdain tidying floor to set down yoga mat and try to do the pose on my bed. I’m under the duvet because it’s cold. The mattress swallows up my knees and chin, and I rock restlessly from side to side grabbing the duvet for warmth – then pushing it away again hot, and ludicrously fearing suffocation. Frustration bubbles noisily.

stick figure doing yogaThe Silence Experiment
Silent: Just Me
Site: My bedroom, Richmond Road
State: Restless
Surprises: That difficult?  Really?

I knew I was getting a cold. A water silence under a steaming hot shower called  out to me. But I hadn’t put the water heater on for long enough. I spent three minutes shivering under a lukewarm rain, washing my hair, and gasping in the hope that it would warm up. It didn’t, so I thundered elephant-like down the stairs to stand in a dripping dressing gown, with my heart beating louder than my hair dryer.

showerhead sketch image

The Silence Experiment
Silent: Just Me
Site: Upstairs bathroom and mid floor bedroom, Richmond Road, Bristol
State: Showering and it’s aftermath
Surprises: Nooo! But I put the water on….

 

Odd, the things you do when following your own rules. I adapt Monday’s pose, kneeling in front of B’s bedroom window that looks out at the lights of Bristol suburbs, with my arms clasped at my ribcage. I wonder if it feels a bit like praying before you go to bed. I wouldn’t know. I thought I would be watching the city but am distracted by my own reflection. My shellac nails are dark against my skin.

mosaiced night skyThe Silence Experiment:
Silent: Me (Ben falling asleep behind me)
Site: Ben’s room, Dunkerry Road, Bristol
State: kneeling and still with arms in almost prayer position
Surprises: wooden floorboards hurt my knees a lot

The duvet cover over my head still doesn’t block out the sound of the outside world, but it does make the sound of my breathing louder. I am aiming for stillness. Meditating I suppose, but less focused. For unknown reasons I have chosen lying in bed with hands folded coffin style over my ribcage, though not peacefully. The dominant sensation is tightness in my chest – causing the posture, not a result of it. I feel faintly silly

blacknessThe Silence Experiment:
Silent: Just Me
Site: My room, Richmond Road, Bristol
State: in the dark attempting a still and wordless silence
Surprises: The seven minutes seems short where I expected it to be long

I have not walked this way from the house before. You can tell it is Bristol, the garages all have interesting, if aging, grafitti. Discarded Christmas trees make obstacle course litter and l walk in the middle of the road, owning the dark. I am looking for a right turn up the hill. There isn’t one, but I do reach a building intriguingly named Montpelier Toilet Saloon. Time runs out as I struggle to take its photo.
  
image
The Silence Experiment:
Silent: Just Me
Site: St Andrew’s Road, Bristol
State: Walking
Surprises: Such a short distance covered

The moss is damp so I choose cold rather than wet and sit on my coat. I am silent but this New Year’s Day woodland is far from it. Crows and other unidentifiable birds are louder than the M32 drone but not as loud as the dogs barking at the mud. Angrily rather than comfortably solitary; I am so preoccupied that I do not notice the lines of pale fungi on the tree in front of me until almost the end.

foot in mud, high contrast weird colour

The Silence Experiment:
Silent: Just me
Site: Nameless woodland beyond Lockleaze Open Space, Bristol
State: Sitting, looking, thinking
Surprises: Can’t see for looking