Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Time Passing in a Vaccum

Sadly the Panther's mother died. A short stint at home after hospital, then a stay in St James' Hospice and a return to home. Life stops, but continues on, if you understand what I mean. Enveloped into a bubble of mourning and support. We went to church and sang, they prayed. There was a Nine Night - huge celebration of life with many people and lots of rum. Panther started a vigil which is to last 9 nights. Different groups of people keep coming down to his mother's house and sharing the outside fire, drinking and reminiscing. I finally went back to work after a long weekend, staying up until dawn and sleeping away the day to begin again the following evening.

Things have happened which passed us by - three people killed by stabbing across London, a man killed his daughter and himself live on Facebook, it snowed up north in April.

Outside life doesn't feel real and inside the bubble is a supportive seclusion. I'd forgotten how it was in the time after. I remember my father and sister watching lots of videos and never leaving the house, while I went to work and put on an appearance of normality while walking through treacle.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017


The spring sunshine is semi-warm - coat is done up but benefits from a warming glow on the back as I walk through Holland Park. I can feel the breeze about my ears, the back of my head and my neck. Chill but not freezing.

The panther's mother is seriously ill, at home with nothing more they can do for her. It brings back all sorts of grief from my mother's death. This is a woman who on first meeting gave me a hug to welcome me to her family. I told her I loved her son and she said she knows.

I woke up this morning feeling foreboding. I'm not sure how to support the Panther, and I'm not sure I can hide how I feel.

Thursday, 23 March 2017


He wears a crisp white shirt with a black bow tie, black suit and black rimmed hat. Woman in a red dress. Next to me a lady takes a selfie from her best angle - from above left. Very tall man leans on his umbrella.

I'm a bit fed up. Working while looking out the window at the sunshine and magnolia trees in full bloom.

And yesterday there was a terror attack on Westminster. It unfurled in real time by social media. People today shocked at the photographers who took pictures but failed to help. Trump Jr being an idiot about Mayor Khan. Ever since I remember London has had some form of threat - the Irish, then the anti-gay nail bomber, 7/7... we are used to it. We don't have as many incidents and deaths as Americans do from gun owners killing their fellow citizens. I wish we could get away from all the mud slinging. Whatever happened to leaders just expressing sympathy to other nations.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Space Oddity

A grey day that started before the alarm went off. He couldn't sleep from discomfort, got up, did stuff. She lay in bed wishing he would come back to her and ravage her with a morning passion. They died his hair red.

In a cafe a man plays chess against himself and a timer. A roll up board. He plays both black and white pieces. I'm not sure where the challenge is. Behind him a young beardy man with crutches eats chocolate cake. A man with half white face and drawn on black curling moustache hands out flyers to a hairdressers. She listens to her music loudly. Nothing gets through.

An albino child walks by, cap pulled low over his head. Skin so flaky he is scaled like some deep sea fish. Fish out of water.

Tom Waits is singing Gods away on business in his deep gravelly, freak show voice. She was on a different route to usual and didn't realise she missed her stop. Not enough people disembarked so she didn't notice. Waiting at a bus stop to correct the tragectory of travel tall chromed heels flick past flashing light about like knives thrown at the circus.

Boring life, who would want it.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Spring is nearing

And to counteract such blatant irritability some signs that spring is coming

Pet irritations of work: Chewing

Open plan office, long benches of workstations, people out of team sit together.
  • Crisps. Nothing offensive about crisps really, apart from the fact that each downward chew is a massive crunch, followed by a battery of follow-up crunches until said mouthful is done. And then the packet rattles and another mouthful begins.  I have had to avoid sitting next to some people.
  • Chewing gum. I've forgotten that people eat that stuff. In front of me this afternoon was one of those chewers who do it slightly mouth open and wet, like we used to do before we learned to do it silently with out mouths shut. I had to refrain myself from leaning round the screen and saying Quietly in my best librarian.
Other people's telephone calls
Shortly followed by other people's telephone ring tones
Then, sniffers
(Wobetide you have more than one horrible habit!)

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Hurricane Doris

Feels a bit like an oxymoron - all the power and threat of a hurricane but named after a little old English lady - perhaps she will slap us in the face with used teabags and drench us in cold tea. On the weather this morning the outside reporter at Blackpool Pleasure Beach was fighting to stay centre screen, with her navy kagool whipping round her and her soaked hair flicking her in the eye as the sea kept coming up and the sculptures bent over frighteningly. In Scotland 15 minutes of dumped snow. Stories of wild commutes, fighting umbrellas, falling buildings, and soaked children abound around the office. Can't really tell looking out - here in Kensington its sunny and the tops of the trees are gently swaying.

Update - 18:25

So while the wind is windy (reports from home that next door's tree fell on our car - no damage amazingly), there is no rain. However the electricity is stuffed - whilst on the tube making my way round the circle line to Kings Cross we were informed that Euston overland and Underground were shut, then trains were non stopping at Kings Cross from over-crowding, then our train was not stopping after Great Portland Street to Farringdon. Got out and decided to walk to Warren Street and catch the Victoria line. When I got there they were evacuating the station due to an incident. So crammed into a 73 bus, got stuck in a huge traffic jam, inching our way along Euston Road slower than walking...

Everybody Everywhere

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Books on the Underground

Standing proud on the platform's emergency communication device was this book with sticker - Books on the Underground. It looked brand new. I love this kind of book-crossing, give-away thing. Someone at work leaves thrillers on the windowsill by the kitchen which I read and return for someone else. I read the blurb on the back but it didn't tickle my fancy so I left it - hoping someone is reading it though!

Friday, 17 February 2017

Morning Ritual Interrupted

We were sitting at the bottom of the bed drinking coffee and eating cereal singing along to uplifting morning songs and watching the news with subtitles - usual weekday morning routine.

Something crept over my skin and in a fit of alarm I jumped up and screamed (not a whimper, a full-body gut-wrenching scream) and flung what had crept over me away. The Panther stamped on it and we all calmed down. What was it? He wanted to know. A really big black spider walked on me I said not quite confident and hovering in the doorway. We sat back down and carried on.

Moments later the Panther leapt up vigorously brushing something off his head. Its on my head! Where is it? I scarpered to the doorway. We kept looking about, in vain.

Later in the bath I was overcome with laughter. Panther said he didn't know what had happened when I screamed so, and he decided to act out stamping on something just to get me to calm down enough to tell him what it was. I laughed more. I had been convinced he had killed it (there was a wet patch and everything - not that I'm approving of killing spiders you understand). I have no idea how it got from my hand to his head - I must have flung it there, but he claimed it was large, black with yellow bits on it and looked like a tarantula. I'm doubtful. I know Italy has tarantulas now that are smaller than those horrible hairy things in the zoo but even so. Where would it come from? I'm very wary of going in the bedroom now because in both our sudden movements of alarm we just managed to dislodge it and not to capture it and remove it to other environs.

We discussed how neither of us likes to handle spiders, while not normally afraid I can catch one in a glass and put it outside but not with my bare hands.

I remember when we were little staying in a cottage with the family there was a huge house spider in the room I was sharing with my sister, we called for our father while watching it from the safety of the bed, when he arrived and saw it he leapt up there with us and we had to be rescued by our mother who was adept at grabbing them in hand and flinging them out.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Issuing executive orders banning refugees from 7 countries including those with governments fighting against IS and others who are supported by Russia, Trump has, by closing the borders made his supporters very happy and feel infinitely safer in their own land. The fear from outside the USA grows as we watch in intrepidation - Trump is acting like a dictator (as might be expected from the CEO of huge companies who are not used to being told "no"), he is raising the fears of people through hatred of the Muslim faith (more Americans are killed by other Americans than by anyone else), and I suspect this won't make the land any safer - it will cause unrest and lead to potential radicalisation of muslims already in the country.

Remember the destabilisation of the region was caused by the vaccum left by America waging war on terrorists in the first instance (based on a lie and at the hands of war-mongering Bush seeking revenge on behalf of his father). And then there is the anti-abortion stance. And revoking some parts of Obamacare. Decisions women make about their body should not be a state concern. And what does it say about a society when it is unwilling to look after the health of those most in need. Care-less. Heartless.

Philip Roth emails on trump

Who is taking the fight to Trump? Its Dictionary Guy!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Morning after

The morning after the night before.

(A festival of fun - started with watching an open mic comedy session at The Grove in Hammersmith - intimate, friendly and fun - personal favourite was The Establishment. Followed by a crazy car journey across town singing along to a number of favs at the tops of our lungs much to the amusement of the bystanding public. Bohemian Rhapsody anyone? And a late night curry in Mile End. Only marred by loosing my travelcard - had it since I was 18, pouch contained the ticket of Carmen that I saw on 03/10/14 the night I met the Panther and £148 worth of travel).

Dropped at the station, held up for a lingering kiss  - a morning joy that is hard to tear myself away from. Taxi driver hanging out his window says, "put 'er down, mate".

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Men waiting

I think I posted this because it reminded me of a play - some modern thing with an ensemble cast. They were standing in such a specific spot on the platform, in close proximity largely, and all male.
It struck me as almost choreographed, and yet it was random.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Feel free

Androgynous, can't tell if they are a young man or teenage girl. Hiding in sports clothes and woolly hat, small feet in black suede trainers. Ring through the nose like a bull. Feel free tattooed on the fingers of both hands - one letter per finger. Is it a statement of mind, a life motto? Or something more sinister? A damaged soul used to performing tasks they don't want to. 

And then they are gone...

Monday, 16 January 2017

Tube talk

"She wants to go theatre"
"What does she want to see?"
"Um.... err....", he scratches his head, thinking hard, "Dunno. I'm supposed to be buying tickets. Have you ever been theatre?"
"What did you see?"
"We will rock you - queen musical"

Friday, 13 January 2017


Of the London variety - after much talk all day yesterday of snow (weather claimed there was a 100% likelihood of snow by last evening's rush hour) when it finally came it was mixed with cold rain and didn't settle at all. Its now snowing again - dry flakes drifting horizontally in the breeze but it doesn't look like its settling. So unlikely to be cross-country skiing home this evening either. People are drifting over the windows taking pictures of the white precipitation - its about as good as it gets usually here.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Getting to work in a tube strike

So I do work on the edge of zone 1. The opposite edge than where I live. The bus from home wasn't bad until it terminated early at Newington Green. Where the bus full of disgruntled passengers alightened to join the already crowded pavement. Then got lucky and caught a 73. It goes to Victoria. Might just ride it all the way there and catch a bus from there to work....

Change of heart. Got off at the top of Gower Street. 
Tall man ties his bike to a railing outside the university. 
Thin, pale woman with deep red lips walks past the back entrance of UCH hospital in black spike heel ankle boots, clutching a document that looks about a ream thick. 

Was thinking to catch a 27, but it's a 14minute wait so jumped on an 18. 

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Happy Bloody New Year

So we welcomed the new year with a round of parties - four stop offs in total. There was family,  champagne and gin cocktails, sparklers, and lots of dancing. I made a dress to celebrate in - a red dress, Japanese kimono influence. Much approval of the dress.

The Panther's mother was in hospital the whole holiday season - receiving cancer treatment. We had to pop to her house around the new year and discovered there had been an upsurge due to a blocked stack pipe blocking all the sewerage from four flats - her ground floor was awash with dirty toilet water, used toilet tissue, baby wipes that someone was flushing down the toilet (they don't break down - they had clogged the whole system), and excrement. Each time someone upstairs flushed their loo a little bit more flooded out over the top of his mothers downstairs toilet. Dismay. Then action - borrowed sandbags from the waste team at the end of the road. They got us through to the emergency service to come and unblock the drain (finally came about midnight - after Thames Water had tried and failed to unblock it - its only at times like these that you struggle to understand the pipe ownership issues that exist).

Then I had a resurgence of the cold that had clung to me since November. It hit us both with a vengeance. We were stricken and took to our bed, not to surface for four days (due back at work on the 5thbut didn't make it). Finally started to feel better after feeding ourselves chicken broth heavy with garlic, ginger and chillis.

And then I discovered that what I thought were mosquito bites ( I know - it's January and they don't like the cold) were actually bed bugs. Ewwwww. Almost at last straws....

Saturday, 31 December 2016

2017 Here We Come

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Ceramic sale

So we decided to show and sell my pots at the Tottenham Ploughman Winterfest at Bruce Castle a week ago. Having never shown them to anyone I was a bit nervous but I had lots of positive feedback, some potential opportunities and some happy buyers. Good all round. This is what I sold.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

New world

We have a reality TV star as the next President, the campaign was all about the lowest common denominator, people were rubbished because of the way they looked or sounded. Have you ever seen the film Idiocracy? 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Eating Out

I'm in a Turkish restaurant, the panther has gone in search of tobacco and I'm listening to a couple who are on a date. A white man with cane rowed hair and a black woman wearing a long straight hair wig. He is telling her about Samson and Delilah, particularly about how his strength was in his hair. And using it to illustrate why he didn't want to have his hair cut in order to hold down a regular job. She giggled and said he was so funny. He said he'd like to see her hair one day. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The American Election

Discussion over the coffee machine today about people thinking they could vote in the American elections - over-coverage on the British news about it I guess, making them think it's actually one of our elections. We don't hear anything about the other two candidates though, only the top two horse race. And lots and lots of coverage about disgruntled voters feeling uninspired by either of them. Suddenly remembered back to when Obama won his first term. It sent a shockwave round the globe, rippling of joy and amazement. His great oration, the hope, his youth, and his colour - made him wipe the board with the old style of politician who standing next to him came across as staid, fuddy duddy, stuffed shirts without a word to say to the people. We have subsequently voted in younger, in some cases trendier politicians also. So the candidates in this election seem old school, like we are backing away from the great hope that was the first black American president. The world felt like it had changed. But now it's stuffing the change back in the box.

Morning tube

There is a carriage full of workers on their way - sweatshirted roadies, suited businessmen, suited salesman, shirt and jeans combo record shop assistants - all engaged in some small screen activity, listening to music and occasionally reading the paper. Then there is a man sitting with his legs wide, green puffa and white cable-knit jumper eating custard from a polystyrene pot. He's enjoying it, paying no attention to anyone else. Each spoonful held aloft to his lips, as he blows on it with his wide puckered mouth, before slurping it back and digging in again. Finished by Finsbury Park, he packs up the empty pot, wipes his mouth with a grey patch of kitchen towel, wraps it all up in a blue local-shop plastic bag and puts it in his bag. Sitting back he blends back into the throng of workers. 

Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween

It's day of the dead again. 

I sent off my absentee ballot paper today in the hope that we can trump the Trump and stop him being elected. That's scarier than any ghoul we could dress up as. 

The Love Knot

A novel by John Slavin
Set in between the wars in Weimar Rebublic featuring two English women tussling with artists and poets and coming into contact with the beginning of Fascism and the rise of Hitler pre-leadership. 
A literary novel written as a sequel to DH Lawrence's 'Women in Love'. I like the style of writing but at a third of the way through the book I don't like any of the characters, men or women. Perhaps it's too old a theme - women looking for the husband who will love and look after them, supposedly fiercely independent women who rely on others... 

Friday, 23 September 2016

Kensington High Street

People in Kensington still travel. There are more travel agents than anything else in the High Street. Unlike Tottenham High Street, where the majority business is bookmakers. There is only one bookmaker in Kensington High Street. People like outdoorsy sports especially skiing and rock climbing. They use expensive bikes. And eat out. They still buy books. And they park on yellow lines during the day (I guess that happens in all High Streets).

Opposite my work a maid, (in a maids uniform - little blue stripy dress and a white apron, like Jennifer Lopez wore in Maid in New York) was outside the house sweeping. Maids dress a little like nurses. Blue uniforms, white short socks and white sensible shoes.

In the lift a terribly English man is talking to a terribly English woman (middle English - no accent as such, him: strawberry blond hair and beard, her: mousy brown ponytail).  It ended up here, he pointed to his neck just below his ear, I never really understand the lip kissing thing. Its embarrassing enough with your own parents, she pipes in, but someone else's! I leave the lift. Thinking about discomfort of meeting people. I've overcome that a long time ago. Socially meeting women is a cheek kiss the first time and same for the elders of the Panther's (either sex), and later on that cheek kissing informality becomes lip kissing or very-close-to-mouth kissing. The Panther greets my father that way. Actually its nice. Its so much more welcoming than a handshake, that feels ever so standoffish now. Moving away from stiff upper lippish Englishness. Good riddance to it!

Monday, 19 September 2016

Corner cafe

It was a late evening last night - selling stuff and food at a flea market, got home after a long clearing up session at 12.30. Today I am exhausted. Literally aching all over and tired. I found the closest thing to a greasy spoon that I think the neighbourhood will muster and I'm drinking a long strong cappuccino and waiting for eggs benedict. They are playing Pink Floyd. As the track Money begins I become aware of someone behind me tapping their foot heavily in time. A youngish man says flat white when the waitress asks and then says I'll be back in a couple of minutes I have to sit in the car. The waitress comes to the door and calls down the street large or small? The waitresses speak French. My eggs come. Perfect without giving instructions. A welcome pick-me-up. Flat white man pops back and sugars his coffee before hurrying out. The tune changes to Comfortably Numb. Cars go past. 

I've just been reading about Amy Schumer, then a tragic tale about a tetraplegic woman who has the anxiety in extreme form when you feel you are missing out (my whole younger life was one long worry about that) because she is - not able to get up by herself and finally about a white collar man who bought himself a boiler suit. Panther bought a boiler suit and does love rocking it - yes it's practical but there are also the benefits of having it tied round your waist teamed with a vest or in extremely hot conditions a bare chest (I can hardly speak about it I am so overcome)... And then I'm misreading the advert in the cafe window (backwards because I'm inside and the paper faces outwards) fluff time staff wanted I read. 

Thursday, 15 September 2016


As I walked up to the lift back up to training at Westminster City Hall 10 Queens Gaurds in full uniform with red jackets and bear skin hats came trailing out of the lift. Some with hats in hand. Heavy clopping in the marble floor from their boots. 

Kensington High Street

It's hot. A crocodile of private school girls lines up to cross the street. They are wearing awfully old fashioned pale blue gingham summer uniform dresses with white piping and white round collars and straw boater hats. Marshalled by some strict looking teachers in high vis vests.

Reasons to be cheerful

A random stranger (woman) on the escalator today excused me and told me she absolutely loved my figure (me - I'm not usually that keen on it), she felt odd after and said she wasn't a lesbian or anything but felt she had to say. It made me feel good about myself and made me smile - which is a good thing. 

Now I'm listening to Bentley Rythym Ace (of some time ago) which is further lifting my spirits. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Continuing the integration

Dog walker dressed in black training outfit walks through Kensington Gardens with 4 dogs, all neatly walking to heel, quietly, without the hint of a tug. 

Shortly after a largely muscled man jogs past, he draws attention because he has two mini parachutes holding wind behind him (I guess to increase the pull and improve the training). 

3 older ladies sit in an extended golf cart (a sort-of golf cart limo) being driven around to look at the Palace. Their driver giving a guided tour on route. 

The entrance to the palace is guarded by armed police. Signs saying photography is not allowed are all over the place - the next street over is full of embassies (Romanian, Russian, Israel, Nepal, Slovakian). It's quiet. Street is empty apart from a tanned man with a huge gold chain bracelet and a cigar being driven in a large black silent car.

And I return to the office politics. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Punk rock old lady

She looks German - short blond hair, streaked to disguise the grey. With her son, who sort of looks my age, perhaps a decade younger (I'm 46 unbelievably when I think of it - don't know how I got that old). She is wearing lemon Bermuda shorts and a teeshirt of multicolours with pineapples all over it and necklaces with beads. What I'm really looking at is her makeup. Her eyes are a multi-coloured extravagance - blue nearest her eye, then orange and finally yellow up to the eyebrow. Matched with orange lipstick. It's bold. It reminds me of my punkish days in the early 90s. I miss being that bold. I used to channel a look I had seen on Siouxsie and the Banchees. I had bright pink hair at the time and had to paint my eyes so that they didn't disappear under the colourful mop. I did a blend of bright pink at the outer edge and red into the eyeline, with a long and thick black eyeline and a lot of black mascara. I thought I rocked. I was on the tube one day with my mum, crowded we were hanging onto those dangly things (remember those?) in the centre of the carriage. A Rasta man leaned over my shoulder and said to me, I don't normally like women with a lot of makeup on but if anyone challenges you, tell them you are emulating the beauty of the birds, much to his girlfriend's displeasure. I thought, yeah! That's it! My mum was just concerned about the girlfriend but we were getting off the next stop. I feel like it's time to rock the beauty of the birds again. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

West London Oddities

The flamboyance of a Worker dressed in blue pinstriped suit, colourful shirt and tie, with a handkerchief in the breast pocket. Styling this with a moustache with curled ends and a smile. 

Wealthy older man standing outside his flat, dressed for the warm weather in a black jellaba with embroidery round the neck and down the front, long stripped trousers, Birkenstocks and a shawl. His white hair and beard died coppertone orange. Couldn't decide if he might have had ginger hair originally or just likes red hair (like I do - which is why I dye mine red). 

Customers eating outside Bill's restaurant on the way to the tube. One pairing includes a woman who has brought her cat with her - it's on a harness leash, is sitting on her lap, and is one of those hairless breeds that looks sort of Siamese. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The taste of 1978

Today at Pop's we have mostly been channelling 1978. He came down wearing his white jeans that I remember from the 70s - he sewed patches on them. And then he opened a bottle of wine he had laid down in 1978. Mostly it tasted thick and winey (not my favourite but I'm not a connoisseur).

He was cooking chicken fried steaks - comfort food from his youth. 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Morning smiles

Getting onto the westbound circle/district line platform at Victoria for the inevitable wait for a circle line train, was greeted by a strong Jamaican accent welcoming all the lovely people, telling us to make like Bolt because the train was ready to leave. Moments later a change of staff came down including a fierce looking steely grey haired man who dragged Carl off to give him a telling off - I've told you so many times, Carl, calm your messages down

What the managers of TFL don't seem to realise is that the comedians and unique announcers bring a much needed lifted spirit to those of us trapped on the underground. 

Big up to Carl.

And at my destination there was a number 9 bus (new style route master) with the conductor riding the platform with the door open. I remember the joys of old, waiting to disembark from the old buses, hanging onto the pole in the middle of the platform, hair blowing in the wind, face like a dog with its head out the car window. Small things...