Friday, 28 December 2007

return journey blogging from my phone on the free wifi provided by gner, sorry, National express (train crew keep making this mistake as wall) - so its taking a damn long time to text all this in - phone has a very limited vocabulary as well - it doesn't even know the word vocabulary. I also wish they would invent a system that would recognise punctation usage (like fact there is a good probability that the next punctation i will need is a close bracket). The train is half an hour late. On a 5 and a half hour journey thats getting to beyond most people's threshold of being able to handle it. They had double booked some seats. Some people have been standing. There's a man who seems slightly asbergers sitting behind the girl across the table from me - he has one of those evil laughs that make him seen ever so slightly deranged - shoulders shake mouth laughs eyes look like they could kill. He's a figet i'd hate to be sitting next to him. I dropped off somewhere near darlington and woke up to find a man had eased himself into the seat opposite around my sprawled out legs - i was very apologetic - likely very unladylike - i just hope i didn't do any of those snorty snores that slumped in seat sleeping can make happen. . ,

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Toy Cars

Joseph played with his toy cars, a lot. He liked them to be in traffic jams and move them on in lines very carefully, one moving from the front to the back so each one had an opportunity to be first. Being first is terribly important in a 3 year old psyche.

I didn't know that most toy cars are now made foreign - of all the cars the only ones which were right hand drives were these old fashioned looking ones from Corgi.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Happy Christmas Everyone

Having a breather - been cooking up a storm all day, niece and nephew have had all the expected highs and lows when Santa has been, too much chocolate has been consumed and lots of presents have been opened, admired and discarded. Our cracker jokes were expectedly rubbish:

Q. Where should a dressmaker build her house?
A. On the outskirts of town. (groan)

Q. What did the beaver say to the tree?
A. Nice gnawing you. (not even worth a groan)

Q. Why didn't the skeleton go to the New Year's Eve party?
A. He nad no body to go with. (groan again)

Q. What has a bed but does not sleep and a mouth but does not speak?
A. A river (hardly a joke at all)

Q. How did the human cannonball lose his job?
A. He got fired (this was guessed)

Q. What does minimum mean?
A. A very small mother (groan).

How were yours?

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Train Journey

Outside the frost clings to the fields and trees, white, stiff, outlining detail. Thick fog.

There's a weird screeching from the table seats behind me. What I thought was a miniature puppet show that a woman was attending to with great concern turns out to be some kind of bird in a cage with a specially made quilted silver fabric cover.

A portly man in a grey suit ahead of me plays with the underneath strip of his tie, twirling it as if it were a stripper's tassel. He has a missing front tooth and ate his lunch with great haste. Crisps, but he doesn't seem like a regular crisp eater. Bit like my grandad when he ate crisps. Reminded me of spitting image depiction of Roy Hattersley - all lisping and spitting and large bubbery lips.

Tables are awash with laptops - I'm wondering what the plug-ettiquette is when there is only one between four. If you're the first there and plug in, is it acceptable for someone else to want a shot at some electrical input?

Angel of the North high on a hill - all heavy metal solid and earthbound.

And then Newcastle - a city which looks interesting every time I pass through - its a testamont to industrialisation and modernisation and tradition - bridges, levels, warehouse rennovations, steeples of churches and turrets.

Weak winter sun tries to break through the mist and haze. Bright across the hazy landscape - it hasn't the strength to melt the ice layered on patches of water in the fields.

And then the sea, grey against a grey beach. Sandy coloured houses with red roofs pushed up against the hillside. The clouds out to sea rise up like mountains in the distance. the train flashes over a glassy river with arched brick bridge reflecting and a heron on the water's edge.

The bird lady is wearing a pale blue sweatshirt with a janty parrot emblem.

After five and a half hours I'm losing the will to live. Finally getting off the train and standing in the icy Dundee wind, face pink and burning, breathing deeply. Relief to be outside.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

End of Term Ceramics Class Roundup

Over for another term, spent more time experimenting. Experiments don't always work out - sometimes they end up ugly!

Slabs painted with coloured slip and allowed to harden, then formed around a tube and slurry glued together. Colours come out stronger after glazing.

Long necked vessel made with extruded coils.

The stack of donuts pot, also made with extruded coils - big fat ones. Probably the least successful pot after glazing. Didn't quite look how I wanted it to...

Friday, 14 December 2007

Christmas is coming

Been to the Montpelier with work. Encouraged to drink one too many baileys (nice at this time of year - xmas and everything), now beginning to regret it as they wash around my belly on the bouncy bus on the way home. Pissed bloke is ranting incomprehensibly in the corner. He starts making a noise that is somewhere between growling and retching. "Easy," commands some man from the back of the bus. I get off at Newington Green. There's a man with a christmas cracker hat perched at the obligatory jaunty angle. Can't quite figure out whether he remembers he's wearing it or not.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Gilded Lilies

73 bounces along Albion Road, over humps, through traffic with frosty exhausts.

A girl in a red jacket has wide open stare-y eyes, her iris' flicker manically across the eyeballs.

I'm sitting next to a man with a similarity to Alan Rickman. He leans forward as a girl opposite him brings out a black eye lining pencil and warns her that she'll have her eye out putting that on as the bus lurches up Albion Road. She points out that she's an expert so he needn't worry. He persists, albeit on a different tack - you don't need it anyway, gilding the lily.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007


To make up for the lack of content recently I'm going to paste this in from an email a colleague sent me (it made me laugh at the time).

The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

My favourites of the winners were:

  1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

  2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

  3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

  4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

  5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

  6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

  7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

  8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.

  9. Flatulence (n.), emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

  10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

  11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

John said, "I remember having something to look forward to," droll, semi-ironic. Me too I pipe up and at that moment I really mean it. My shoulders slump. Outside I buy a coke to drink with my lunch hoping the bubbles will pick me up.

Maybe its the time of year, maybe I'm in need of a holiday, maybe.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Jump Around

Christmas lights along minor high streets signify the real start of the festive season (as opposed to the first sign of season-specific goods in the shops). These are not the big overblown artistic displays from Regent Street (supposedly pulsing colours according to street traffic) - just a few yellowy lamp post decorations, the repetativeness along the street adding up to quite a dramatic effect, well, not really and they're only working on one side of the road. There's nothing else christmassy going on in the road yet - no trees or wreaths for sale, no foil decorations.

A man gets on the bus with some shopping bags. He's heavy with gold - chains thick enough to secure a motorbike with.

A year after moving into my house I'm still not sure it feels like home (too many unpacked boxes and chaos). Doesn't even fully feel like mine (far too much of it is owned by the bank!) I feel like I'm pretending. There's still much to be done to help transform it further into mine. Small steps.

I've got a cold that is manifesting itself in my teeth and gums. Roof of my mouth is itchy. Teeth feel numb and gums keep feeling like there is tomato skin stuck on them. Strange feeling.

So anyway, Christmas is coming.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


Sarf London, home of the hoodie, where even dogs wear them. He's hard (actually I think being an alsatian is hard enough on its own without resorting to intimidating clothing as well).

Friday, 23 November 2007

Follow my leader

Battery of tests, again. From before it came out that I have a power motive - not necessarily about taking over the world or lording it over people, but probably manifesting itself in a need to be recognised for effort and good work. It also came out that I have achievement values - knowing that finishing things is important (but ultimately boring to me). It told me the organisational climate I was working in at the time of taking the test was extremely unhealthy (I did know that, thankfully it has changed now). Leadership styles I use mostly are visionary, affliative, participative and coaching (I don't manage anyone directly). And I most commonly use the following influencing strategies: empowerment, interpersonal awareness, relationship building and impact management.

So there we go. But what does it mean, and how should I use my new found knowledge... Perhaps its time to try to take over the world (I feel a Pinky and the Brain moment coming on).

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sent to Coventry

The commuters and I rode the train from Euston. Jolly, crammed on. Dark fell suddenly, dark clouds been overhead all day. Rain falling. From the cab on way from the train station it was hard to see anything more than the lower branches of trees, thinning leaves, yellow and orange. Raining.

Not looking forward to 3 days of leadership training. 3 days of being stuck inside. It ends up feeling very other worldly. Not seeing more than the bedroom, conference room and dining room. Barely stepping foot outside. Certainly not going far. I feel cabin fever before I even get there! I forget how much distance I travel in a day usually. The landscape of my life is relatively wide really - travelling from North to South London everyday.

Sunday, 18 November 2007


A man walks down the street. It is night and a chill wind carries icy rain into his face. He is wearing a blue and white striped plastic bag on his head.

Saturday, 17 November 2007


He bounded out of the bus all rubbery legs and leaping like Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz when he first gets off the pole. His girlfriend follows, stiffly. She gets cross a little way up the road, noticeable by the way she stopped rigidly in the middle of the pavement. He bounces back and kisses her cheek. This is not enough to defrost her. So he comes in for an altogether more elaborate embrace - full kiss on the mouth, arms pulling her to him. She is unresponsive. Her arms hang down like a child who doesn't want to be put into its buggy - stiff like board. They do set off again though - he grabs her hand. They walk off reflected in the wet pavement under the yellow street lights.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Things I'm loving about November

  • Fallen leaves on tarmac driven into the fabric of the road.
  • Frosty mornings and crisp nights.
  • The chill of parks at night creeping over the street from under the fence.
  • Warm body, cold face, visible breath.
These things are appealing because its the first time this year - 3 weeks from now when I've been freezing at bus stops, nose running and red from cold, and its dark when I get up and dark when I leave work it will have lost its appeal.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Tea cosy

Outside work, standing at the bus stop, was a woman who was wearing what could only really be described as a human-sized tea cosy. Roll neck, with a huge all enveloping knitted pleats that went down to the ground. One gigantic poncho.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


On the way into the Louise Bourgeois we stood on either side of the crack. Couldn't go all the way along to the widest part because it was closed off. The crack was cut deep into the floor.

Monday, 12 November 2007


A fire's light flickers against the curtains at 1.30am. Looking out of the window my neighbour is burning old kitchen cupboards in a brazier in his garden. Strange time of night to be doing it.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Cold wind blows

I sit in the open doorway wrapped in a blanket watching the last dozen or so yellow leaves torn off the tree. Garden is closing down for the winter. The bare branches have new growth though. Birds skit about in the garden - robins, great tits, blue tits, sparrows, collared doves, thrush, blackbirds, magpies. Searching for worms, eating the last of the berries. Sky is blue, sun is weak and low in the sky.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Guess Where London

I'm a bit addicted to this London picture game! I haven't known any of the places so far though. Time to get more observant!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Angsty Halloween

Bus stop Archway. Saw my old English teacher Peta Webb. Small with henna-red hair. Folk singer. She once sang to our class, unaccompanied. I thought that was brave - girls can be so judgemental.

41 bus came and we piled on, grateful that we didn't have to stand in the wind tunnel, that Archway is, any longer.

At the second stop a drunk got on. Dropped his money. Picked it up. Fumbled in his pocket. Couldn't find enough change. Bus driver kept telling him it was £2. Drunk didn't have it. Bus driver told him to get off the bus. He punched the door in anger as he disembarked. The glass door shattered. We all decanted. Two men felt agrieved enough to want to run after the drunk and beat him up. The bus driver disuaded them. We waited for the bus behind.

A young man walked past in halloween costume. A skinny Alex DeLarge complete with slightly short white trousers and eye makeup. Instead of black DM boots he was wearing patent black lofas with his socks pulled up his calfs.

Second bus came. We got to Turnpike Lane when a group of three Albanian men got on with 2 passes. Big altercation happened when the bus driver insisted they pay for the final fare but couldn't accept a £20 note because he didn't have any change. Eventually after arguing for some time and insisting the bus driver was a wanker they produced a £5, which he didn't have change for and the bus continued on its way. Everyone a bit edgy incase there was any more trouble.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

(Pumpkin lanterns made out of clay with tea lights - made in the 10 minute exercise at ceramics class a couple of weeks ago - more than one student's work here).

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Centre Point

Central point in London is a big tower block. I go to meetings there occassionally. This time it was the 18th floor. If I worked there I think I would spend all day staring out at the view. But perhaps over time you get used to it.

The sun was low in the sky, the windows weren't clean, it looked hazy across London. Landmarks stood out. Suprising sometimes - like the glass roof on the British Museum. Docklands looking large and looming up in the east. Feintly seeing Tower Bridge on its curve of river. Wembley far west (couldn't take a picture that direction because of the venetian blinds on that side of the building).

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Windows of the Rich

Canonbury Square at dusk - large Georgian houses with genrous doors all painted black. The gardens in the centre are shaded with huge plain trees, planting in keeping. Walking on the york stone paving slabs somehow seems luxurious in itself, particularly in comparison to modern concrete slabs and cheapo tarmac. Yellow light from the old gas laterns bathes the street.

These houses are too posh for net curtains. Plenty of views into the large rooms with their high ceilings and chandeliers. Shutters for those who crave privacy.

Its soon time for supper. Two women cooking. Kitchens that look onto their back gardens at the far end of vast rooms with the dinning area towards the street. Busy at their sinks, backs to the street. Piled up groceries on the kitchen islands. One black cat sitting watching on the counter.
Influences of Harry Potter

I stopped into the opticians to see if they had a different kind of glasses - fancying something new, less square. A woman and her son followed me in. She and I browsed through the lines of uber-cool contemporary frames - plastic with stripes and inlaid diamonte, titanium with laser cut patterns. He son spied a particular frame.
"Mummy, mummy will you buy me some round frames please?"
"When you need glasses I'll get you some."
"But I do need some...Can I get some for fun?"
"No you can't." Half to herself, "but I need some new ones." She picks up a frame and tries it one, lookingin the mirror.
"Mum, let me try!" She puts them on him. He looks in the mirror, up, down, side to side. Approvingly.
"Professor Osborne", is his verdict to himself, "Mummy can I try some round ones? I need round ones."
"No! You don't need glasses, now stop pestering me."
"I do need sunglasses though," triumphantly.
"Where's the sun?"
"I can see it. I can!" He turns to the assistant, "I need sunglasses, do you sell them?"
"Yes, we have hundreds," she points.
"Nathan! Stop!"
This desperation for a pair of glasses is astounding to me - it felt like a failure of massive proportions when I first was told I needed glasses. Being one of only a couple of wearers at school I didn't because I couldn't handle the comments that would have been made. I think his mother should get him a cheap pair with plain glass.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Friday Feeling

For some reason everyone was wearing jeans today. Very relaxed. Sort of hung over from previous night's shinanegans.

It was Nigel's last day today. Retiring. I've not idea who Nigel is. He's upstairs. The envelope came round, and the card, but I didn't sign - he wouldn't know me either. Those that knew him went up for "party" at 4.00. Big square cake in large bakery box. Always spongy, often coconutty. Fake tasting icing out of a squeezy tube. Not much art in cake decorating anymore. Gifts in cheap wrapping paper from the whip round. Retirement gifts ought to come in classy wrappings. Gone are the days when it was an expensive gold clock.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Beautiful Morning Images

There's an advet on the tube about a club you enter in London and exit in New York that compares the two cities' skylines and riverscapes at dawn. New York is dark midnight blue, with a dark blue river water reflecting lights from the city. In contrast, London is a sort of mottled pinky, blue grey. Grey buildings with orange rising sunlight reflected in their windows. I've seen the Thames like that, on early morning starts, and also often on the way home at dusk, the riverbank lights and the sky reflecting in the water. Sort of fairy tale.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Sunday Shopping and Strolling, Harringay Green Lanes

Turkish barbers is busy with young men getting short, shaved lines and sculpted crowns. A slick of product and a brush on the neck.

Girls in skin tight jeans. One size too small. Flesh poured in, knicker elastic showing a smidge - lacy racy pink or plain white. Skinny eastern european girls in stonewash.

Young, good looking dwarf - perfectly proportioned, apart from his shorter than average legs.

Old turkish men - tweed jackets, moustaches and blue shopping bags - fruit, vegetables, bread and maybe even some sheep balls - white, veiny, lined up like eggs in the meat counter.

Mercedes and four-wheel drives pull in, parking illegally while passenger darts into the shops. Waves and toots for friends as cars drive slowly past.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Ceramics Class

So we discovered the extruder and started making these big perfect coils really quickly. I'm not sure its actually quite authentic - coil building is hand made and maybe ought to look like it. But you can build quite quickly this way. Not quite sure how to glaze the long necked one yet. The stack of donuts pot though is all thought out, if it ever dries enough to fire (coils are rather thick).

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Stories from Kate

She's full of stories. I cried laughing. On the way back from TC to the office there was a large yellowy red leaf trapped in the windscreen wiper. Turning them on did nothing - it just waved jauntily at us through the window, back and forth. Kate said they used to have a van with windscreen wipers that wouldn't go back and forth. They would debate at length on rainy days over who would be the driver and who would be the passenger and work the wipers with strings that came through the windows. Must've been terribly energetic in a downpour.

Monday, 15 October 2007

The Facilities

My preference is for the cubicle furthest from the door - next to the wall. I went in there today and someone in there on their own was in the middle. I'd never go in the middle one by choice. If someone was in my cubicle I'd go in the one on the near end, and only if both those were occupied would I go in the middle.

In this office move the facilities are down a grade from the previous ones - they had windows and were painted white. These are yellow with woodchip wall paper and no windows. Someone has helpfully left a poem on the back of each door.
Please look back before you leave
To check for gifts you wouldn't want to receive
We thank you.
Toilet doggerel. Written in a chirpy, non-standard issue typeface. It makes me and two of my colleagues want to leave something nasty on purpose - we were thinking rubber snakes or plastic flies from the joke shop.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Knitting and Sewing

On the bus passing through Ally Pally, it was a clear day and I could see forever... Well across the whole of London, past ridge road, to the city and Canary Wharf... There was a show at the Palace - The Knitting and Stitching Show. Overwhelmingly middle aged and overwhelmingly white women queued up to catch either coaches or buses away at the end. Beige handbags and carrier bags full of accumulated stitching and knitting goodies. Lots of navy, virtually no black. Determindly unmodern in that way that only suburbanite and middle classes can be.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Ceramics Class

Been back to ceramics class for four weeks now. Haven't made anything thats finished yet - been experimenting with extruding clay for coil building. Big coils. Its very exciting but not quite dry yet. Did finally decide that the laughing man that didn't quite get finished during raku summer school ought to be finished.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

After Work

Stayed until the orange sun dipped behind a building off to the west. The dusk was swift, the night dark. Liverpool Street was crammed with city bods drinking after work, crushed into the outside smoking areas. Drunk city boys. Pinstripes, black shoes. Queue in the mini-M&S in the station was long but moving fast. Stop off for singles. Everyone had one supper in their basket. No planning for tomorrow. All living for the moment. Likely to be heading back to their young professional's apartments - fancy kitchens with granite worktops, lots of shiny chrome gadgets and an unused cooker. Beautiful perfect developer-designed blandness.

Sunday, 7 October 2007


Sat am: woke up with itchy redness in corner of right eye. Rubbed it before realising what it was. Looking in mirror while washing realised with some anguish a sty was developing. Stayed home, didn't wear makeup. Itched like mad.

Sun am: definite lump developing, hard inside under eyelid. Inevitable.

Sun night: still there. Not going away anytime quickly.

Setting up to be an ugly week (trying not to notice the constant abrasion in the corner of my eye!). Haven't had a sty for over a decade. Seems to be a thing I had at school on occasion but not since.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Of Bruce Willis

Its been a long time developing but everytime I see him in a film I forget how cute he actually is. Lovely smile. Cheeky. Even if he does like wearing his trousers too high.
After Dark

Bus driving driving down wide tree lined boulevards. Orange street light poolling against the tarmac. A small strip of shops - grocers, telephone shop, closed newsagents. Council short-rises set back from the road by slightly landscaped grass with trees.

Reminded me of the first time I noticed the excitement of night. Driving into Exeter at 1.00am after a long car journey from London. Dark night, street lights slipping past the rear window, nobody around. I think I was seven. Always have liked night time since then.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007


The nights are drawing in. Its soon going to be clock-turning again. I haven't turned the heating on yet. That would feel like giving in too soon. I haven't put on a winter coat yet either. I'm braving it with a mid-season-weight anorak, well not really an anorak but you know the weight I mean. The leaves aren't turning yet though.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Food Rituals

Nigel Slater has a new book about called Eating for England. Extracts in the Observer the last two weeks. While I'm not sure it does anything to alter our image of bland and inelegent palates it does remind me of the joy of certain childhood pleasures. Particularly those things that come with ritualistic eating patterns.
  1. Egg Custard Tart - Nigel Slater's own methodology is distinctly different from my own - he takes the tart out of the metal casing and cuts it into neat quarters. Personally I would never first take the tart out of its tinfoil - instead nibble the edges off the pastry that hangs over the edge, lick the nutmeggy top off the custardy bit and only then take the tart out of its container and eat it, particuarly savouring the particular thick powdery sort of damp pastry.
  2. Jaffas cakes have to be mentioned when discussing ritualistic eating - the main aim is to get the sponge bit off first, and to suck the remaining orangy bit covered in chocolate - melts in the mouth. Someone should invent a jaffa cake without the cake bit!
  3. Linking in with a biscuit theme - bourbons - a chocolatey joy in a boring biscuit tin, these have to be split and the inner cream licked off first - the remaining biscuit dunked.
  4. Dairylea triangles - total blast from the past (you wouldn't catch me eating them these days). As a kid the only way to eat it was to open the top point of the triangle and suck the 'cheese' out. My favourite dairylea story is of an old colleague and her chums sneaking a round of dairylea triangles into the window display of the snooty framagerie in Highbury Barn over the christmas period.
I hasten to add that none of these techniques should be tackled except in the pricacy of one's own home. They were invented by a kid of five and go with licking the plate after eating pancakes (either that sugared lemony juice on Pancake day or to get up the remains of maple syrup from breakfast pancakes) - things that nobody should know you still enjoy as an adult.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


I've got a cold. Actually I feel like I'm being attacked by a cold. It came on very suddenly, its making my nose run (well actually stream) so much that blowing it now hurts. My throat hurts. I've snuck into work, even though that's not really a comradly thing to do (spread it all around), hoping they won't notice.

Sunday, 23 September 2007


Is it bad that I can't put into words any passions? Maybe. I had passions in the past - drawing, art, poetry, photography, metal, bones, sex, London, life - being in the moment and ready to experience everything. These have been replaced by inner frustration that manifests itself as some kind of dull ache.

At someone's birthday dinner today someone asked me, or rather grilled me, about what my passions were. There was no satisfactory answer from her point of view. If I don't like my job - just leave it, do something else. Can't afford the house if you give up your job - sell it. Very black and white world.

I used to want to be an artist but I lost my way, and then got a job. I was told once that if I wanted to be an artist I would be it. Maybe so. Now I work for money, and keep interested by learning as much as possible. While it would be possible to give up work and do something else maybe I'm too afraid.

Friday, 21 September 2007

View from a window

Sitting on a bus stuck in bad traffic on Church Street. Staring out the window I notice a fellow ceramics student sitting in a window seat of Mercados staring out. We catch each other's eye and somehow manage to have a conversation that goes a bit like:
Libby: "How are you?!"
Me: "I'm fine. Are you all alone?"
Libby: "No! They're in the loo. Did you go to ceramics class?"
Me: "yes I did!"
Libby: What did you make? The usual vase shape?"
Me: "no long and skinny!"
Libby: "Long and skinny!! For drinking out of?"
Me: "no"
And then the bus lurched forward. We waved goodbye.

Window shopping actually, wandering through Liberties towards the end of the evening, nobody is around, staff are winding down, chatting in corners. The lights are low. On the top floor is an exhibition of contemporary designers using worthless or discarded materials. Trash Luxe.

Chandlier made of lenses from glasses by Stuart Haygarth, the Kebab Lamp by Committee and unusable jewellery made from sugar crystals by Greetje Van Helmond.

Dezeen Magazine

Tuesday, 18 September 2007


Is it lame to want to go to bed at 9.00?
Office move, take 2

So last time we moved - maybe it was March - we, sorry I probably mean I, really annoyed the island colleagues, had the memory stolen from the PC (took 3 months to replace) and didn't have a phone number for several weeks. This time they provided crates, plans and helpful men who hung round directing removalmen and reassuring the being-moved. All the crates I packed at one end arrived uneventfully at the other end. Desks were pre-allocated, phones and PCs set up over the weekend. Two days later, we're all set and working as usual. Still open plan but this time there is a window, with a view of rooftops and the sky. What a luxury that seems! (Is it a bad thing to have such low expectations of one's working environment?)

Sunday, 16 September 2007

An ape plays the drums

What exactly does an ape playing drums to Phil Collins' I hear it in the air tonight have to do with cadbury's dairy milk? I find it a really annoying record, and a fairly annoying advert but I'm strangely hooked on it.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Raise the Alarm

In the middle of a dream about clouds and warm fluffy kingsize duvets, with morning sunlight playing on the far wall of the bedroom and the lids of my eyes, the phone rang. Rudely awakened by my dad's neighbours letting me know his burglar alarm is going off. I drag myself out of bed, worried about three things, where's he gone so early on a Saturday morning, will I walk into a ransacked house, or what if he's not gone anywhere but died in the night. I ring him while I throw on clothes, no answer. I get out of the house, run to catch the bus which fortunately is coming along the road. Get to the house, open up, rush round checking doors, windows and bedrooms. Nobody is here. Nothing is disturbed. Relief.

The neighbours ring round and invite me for a cup of tea. After they had called me the police came round - called by a boy of about 10 who saw a man climbing over their garden wall. 3 burley officers came round and climbed over our shared garden fence from their side to Dad's side - over a step ladder, getting stuck on our climbing rose. They poked around, found nothing can came back again.

We sit in their garden, watch two swans drift past on the canal that's next to their house and talk about art. A kingfisher sits in the low branches of a weeping tree for a moment before flying off with a flash of blue.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Drunk view of the world

A very drunk man hangs between two poles in the aisle of the bus, finally he manages to swing himself into the empty seat next to mine. He smells yeasty. I look out the window. He digs in his bag and fishes out his almost-empty bottle of evian. He shakes it vigorously. Twice. Then opens it and swigs it down. He turns to me and asks me where've I been. His voice is softly irish, he smiles. Happy drunk. "I've been at work". He mishears me - he thinks I say I've been everywhere. "No, at work", I say, and change the subject, "where are you coming from?" "Oh I've been everywhere", he says. "I'm off at this stop, come off with me I'll show you". Nah thanks, I'm going home. A bit teenage can't be bothered really. Still its been a while since I was offered off the bus by a boy.
In the hands of the gods

I've been offered tickets to the premiere, boyfiend told me excitedly. I'm getting ready. You could come down and wave at me from the crowd. Hum, yes, my enthusiasm was astounding.
I have my own opening to go to, thanks anyway, I say, only slightly huffily. Yes its only a work thing, in Peckham, after hours, far from home. But still I'm a more central part of that opening than I would be standing with the celeb-stalking desperados behind barricades in Leicester Square, waving at my own boyfriend. Nose, cut, spite, self. Or something...

Saturday, 8 September 2007


Radio 2 played Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights. Heathcliffa heathcliff... strains wafted into the garden. Joanne, Heather and I were walking along the Regent's Canal towpath between pubs - we'd started at the Narrow Boat and wanted something to eat. Joanne was doing a very impressive impression of Kate Bush. I was joining in but had never realised that she was wailing Heathcliff before (doh). Heather was a bit annoyed by our caterwauling. Rude, I had thought at the time, but accurate.

My neighbour was sitting outside smoking a cigarette. The smell drifted across the garden - not a nose cringing cloud but a feint drift. It reminded me of when my mother would get home from work. From my room way up at the top of the house, with music playing, engrossed in work, I wouldn't hear her come in (soft door shutter). But the smell of her smoking a cigarette would drift up and alert me to her presence in the house. Time to go down and chat. My dad once told me he liked the feint smell of cigarette smoke in the house because it reminded him of her. I hadn't thought about it at the time.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Tube Strike

So began the first rush hour affected. Victoria line not running I got on a bus crowded to its normal capacity and caught the train at Bruce Grove. Expecting it to be packed, it actually was probably as normal. Perhaps being a bit closer to the end of the line means less reliance on the underground or something. Not like living near Green Lanes, when strikes happened the whole road was filled with people trying to get onto buses already jammed full like cattle trucks. Suprised at how comfortable and easy the journey was being, until I came out at Liverpool Street. The frantic rush led up the escalator and across the road to the bus stop. Probably 10 people deep waiting for the next bus, primed for the start, that would be marked by doors opening, leaping forward make room through jostling, crushing on in a desperate attempt to get to work. Went to the stop prior to that one. Fewer people but still a build up would happen. Buses would come, they would get on. Then the build up would happen again. Arriving at 9.10 I eventually got a bus at 9.55. It wasn't because I couldn't get on. It was because th 78 didn't actually come in all that time. You'd think that during a tube strike they could at least get the buses to run on schedule. what a drag.
Shaggy Dog Story

Two pugs and a jack russell run round excitedly as the owners stand and chat. They run up to a big tree. Jack russell stops to cock his leg and mark it. Pugs run round and round. All three run back to their owners. Jack russell's owner pats the black pug on the head. With this encouragement she jumps up and down on her hind legs excitedly, then jumps up and down with her pug friend, then Jack joins in.

They're like children racing, jumping, away from the parents, towards the parents, round the tree. I can almost hear them shouting, "you're it!".

And then Jack gets really excited and mounts the black pug, who's owner rushes over to seperate them, so he turns his attention to the blond pug. Not quite like children after all. Much seperation follows. Final straw when the black pug and Jack shag by the path out of reach of the owners in front of passing strollers. Jack snatched up and marched out of the park in disgrace (back to being like children then).

Monday, 3 September 2007


I don't know whether this is the same housemate I keep chucking out but he looks the same - he has long legs, and his body hangs low one them, and he likes to run across the living room and hide under the skirting board under the radiator (he's trapped in a pint glass in these pictures). I just wish he'd move out for good. But I keep chucking him out and he somehow keeps reappearing.

(Spiders are big this year, aren't they?)

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Berwick Street

Eating a box of food from Beetroot (veggie hippy slop but somehow exactly the kind of thing that hits the spot late on Saturday afternoons), watching the world go by. Stalls of green grocers, and an exotic foreign fruitier. Behind the stalls a doorway with computer written notices telling of a model on the 3rd floor. Looking up there was a red light bulb on the window sill, lit up. No mistaking the kind of modelling she's doing then.

At the table next to me a group of producers and set designers discussed the set of the play they were doing. It was going to involve a chair, not an armchair with loose covers but a chair. A chair that one of them thought wasn't strong enough for the female actor to jump up and down on in a youthful display of joy about love.
Weekend Drivers

I don't normally go on the tube at the weekend - preferring to travel above ground where things can be seen and to avoid the tube travelling equivalent of the Sunday driver - walking too slowly, not knowing the way and my resulting frustration with the pace and tripping over people. Today things had to be done. Faster the better.

It was all going down in Seven Sisters. They were playing reggae music and having a cookout opposite Tescos. Two preachers were urging us to let Jesus into our lives and join them for services at Universal Church of God on Sunday. A couple of eastern bloc alchies were heckling. There weren't the usual Jehova's Witnesses selling the Watchtower at the station.

Four female students had been on a morning shopping trip to IKEA. Between them they had 5 blue bags loaded with stuff and a full length mirror. Getting ready for the new term living in halls presumably.

A big beardy man got on with his new bean bag. He plomped it by the ventilation window and leaned against it. His japanese girlfriend leaned into him. He put his arm over her shoulder and almost rested his hand on her left breast. And then didn't.

Friday, 31 August 2007

Silver Number 5

A silver number 5 balloon floats in the air over the Old Kent Road. Spiralling upwards, lost from the grip of a child who watched it rise up a nd float off.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Where to go, what to do

There was a time when we went out to the same places over and over and over again and not get bored. Now we flounder around looking for somewhere that has just enough edge to make it exciting. Not that we ever find it anymore. I suspect we've worn out our desire for sitting on the floor outside pubs, talking drunken bullshit and dancing all night long to crappy tunes in dodgy clubs. We did go out in Brick Lane the other day - great for a change. Round the back of the Truman Brewery. Warm night. Lots of people wandering around. Music blaring. Warm beer. Chatter. There's a routemaster bus down the side street at the back which is a restaurant. Its a gimmick for sure. Spitalfields has changed since they started doing it up. Bit glassy and shiny but some interesting bits. Like the archeology under the pavement.