For the past few days I have fallen victim to the disorder known as vacancy-between-the-ears. Contrary to popular belief, this malady does not mean that the head is entirely empty. There are, for example, certain fugitive thoughts that flit through, such as “I think I shall make another cup of tea” or “I shall pop out to the corner shop and spend my latest Old Halob subscription”. But when vacancy-between-the-ears strikes, the victim is hard pressed to have more interesting thoughts than these, and it is the more interesting thoughts that give rise, in the general run of things, to Hooting Yard postages.
So, for example, the idea of nipping out to buy a pouch of acrid Serbian tobacco does not lend itself to paragraphs of tremendous prose, of which postages are wrought. It is, of course, possible that something exciting may occur during the nipping-out, such as the sight of a flock of bitterns, or the inadvertent stepping into a puddle, or perhaps a religious revivalist meeting with hymns and tambourines and hellfire-and-brimstone preaching. But one of the distressing effects of vacancy-between-the-ears is that even diversions such as these fail to set the cranial synapses a-snapping. The scribbler is bereft.
In these circumstances, the best thing to do is to embrace the vacancy and make no effort to cram anything into it. There will be the usual cupboard o’ stuff at The Dabbler on Friday, but otherwise Mr Key has decided to wait for ideas to plop into his head, like manna from heaven.