Monday, 31 March 2008

Another butterfly

Saw another one today - a Comma Butterfly - its wings are scalloped like they've been eaten. Don't remember seeing one of these before either. I've had my eyes shut clearly!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Spring Forward

Clocks went forward. Sun is shining. Warm. Sitting in the garden drinking coffee and something flapping near the ground caught my eye. Went over thinking it was a bird and found a peacock butterfly. They're lovely - brown with irridescent blue circles on its wings.

Thursday, 27 March 2008


Left home at 12.00 to go to Finsbury Park (about 30min bus ride), traffic was terrible, it transpired there had been a stabbing in Stamford Hill and all the buses were diverted, nobody seemed to know what was going on, huge crowds at each bus stop. Took the tube one stop instead. Had lunch with boyfiend in Finsbury Park. As went to go into college was directed away from the front door round the back where we slipped in the back entrance. Boyfiend then started texting me that riot police were swarming all over the neighbourhood, some had been using a battering ram to break into a premises on Seven Sisters road next to the off licence. Students trickling into class reported police all over the place, no buses, diverted traffic, people watching from doorways. Later in the hour between the afternoon class (dropping in) and the evening class we went to a local cafe who said that the owner of the cafe opposite had been splayed over his counter and arrested, the glass over his fridge smashed and all his customers handcuffed and taken away. Police were handing out leaflets in arabic and english saying they had been working on intelligence about mobile phone theft rings that had been smashed this afternoon. All happening!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The List

Number three: paint the TV stand
When I moved in I painted the living room, got furniture, rug, lighting. What I didn't ever do was paint the stand I put the TV on. It was once dark wood - sawn off the top of a huge bookcase that was at my Dad's first London office in Bloomsbury (very high ceilings, in a georgian building - when they moved offices the bookcase had to be shortened to fit into the next place). Anyway these top bits made very good shelves for records and makes an excellent TV shelf. So its painted, and I've managed to empty two boxes - video and dvd collection is out and ready to be watched - just another 50 or so to go.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Extreme Gardening

Lull in the rain, sunshine glimmering through the clouds, raindrops hanging heavy on branches glistening. Went out to plant some summer flowering bulbs. Didn't realise how cold it was. Dug some earth. Rain started, drizzling. Then it got heavier, then the snow started, then hail. Gave up when it started to really rain hard. Nice weather for ducks.

Friday, 21 March 2008

The List

I've got two weeks off work, I'm staying at home, I set out a wish list of jobs to get done in the house.

Number one: paint the wardrobe.
New bedroom, new colour scheme. Well I say new, but I've been here for a year and 5 months now and still haven't got round to painting the wardrobe to match. Because it was a pending job I didn't bother emptying the wardrobe boxes that the contents came to the new house in. So there are two ways forward: a. paint the wardrobe and put everything into it, and b. chuck out everything that I haven't taken out of the wardrobe boxes - having not used them for a year and a half I clearly don't need them, thereby creating extra space in said wardrobe for new stuff.
Today I sanded and painted the wardrobe. Tomorrow I might chuck some stuff out (take it to the charity shop).

Number two: the ongoing battle Harriet vs Bluebottles
I thought it had subsided but they are back with a vengence the last few days. I've got more of those vapona window stickers - practically every window now. I'm tempted to put them on the glass lights they are attracted to in the evenings. I've also considerd getting one of those fly zapping things. I might need some powder or something to put through the floorboards. I don't quite feel like I'm winning yet. Its a bloody battle, if I were George Bush I'd be feeling like it was a raging success - very few casualties on my side (well none to be precise) - loads on the enemy side though.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Yellow Daffodils, Cream Daffodils

I rescued four pots of daffodils - cream ones - from Lidls today. Not in the best of shape (all weak from forced growing and underwatering) but at least the colour is certain. And at £1.49 per pot (about 6-7 bulbs in each pot) its not bad cost. I'm going to dig up the yellow interlopers and plant these instead (hopefully they'll come up better next year). So, now I'll have to find somewhere to put the yellow ones.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Morning Numbers

2 rock pigeons sitting on the fence together.
2 collared doves flying over to the cherry tree to perch.
6 magpies (6 for gold) gathering* in the top of the sycamore tree.
1 cat sitting on a shed roof craning his neck this way and that with a broad grin.

* Gathering of magpies can be referred to as a congregation, tiding or tittering. Also seen being called a gulp, a murder or a charm.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Blowy and Rainy

Its been a bit windy, spot of rain. Not as bad as on the coast mind. Nice weather for ducks. I like the look of London in theh rain - the reflective pavements, wet buildings, umbrellas.

Wind makes use of an umbrella very difficult. Better not to have a fold up one - fighting to keep them right way round, and trying to find a way to actually sheild the face from the onslaught of the rain. On the way to work clearly many people were losing their battle. More discarded umbrellas than I'd ever seen in place at one time.

Saturday, 8 March 2008


Just the other day the thought struck me that I hadn't seen any oil slicks on the street for ages. Used to see them all the time - smudged across the street all irridescent rainbows brightening up the grey tarmac.

And then today at the bus stop, dreary grey day, cold and drizzling, on the way to do Saturday's chores, I looked down and there was one like a slipped eye of a peacock feather on the road.

Friday, 7 March 2008


The drift of cream daffodils I planted in the back of the garden has come up yellow. I can't tell you how dissapointed I am. I'm tempted to cut them for a bouquet. And I'm definitely moving them.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

The Day before the Day off

Woke up early today, got up, ran a bath. Sat on the bed and watched the birds in the garden while it ran. Bathed, got dressed, ate breakfast, set off to work. Read book on the bus on the way to the tube. Stood between Seven Sisters and Highbury & Islington. Swapped onto the train platform to catch a train to Moorgate - train came in a minute later. Got a seat. Read book to Moorgate. Swapped to Northern Line. Stood from Moorgate to London Bridge. Changed onto the overground at London Bridge. Didn't mind the walk between the tube and the train station - haven't done it in a while (it's no longer my regular route to work). Bad smell of meat pies in the tunnel. Caught the 9.37 to Peckham Rye. Walked past the church of Reverend Frog Orr - his iris' were in bloom already - beautiful but seemed a little early. Walked down to Bellenden - the antiquities shop wasn't open yet (they have nice pine doors, bathtubs with feet, outdoor pots).

First meeting of day.

Came out, sun was shining. Checked the bus across the street from the meeting venue, the bus didn't stop where I needed it to. Walked up to Rye Lane. Bought a dreary sandwich in Gregs. Waited for a P12 bus. Finally it came. Sat on the bus. Concerned that it took a very winding route, lost confidence that it would take me where I needed to go. Finally past the Bonsai tree shop - closer to destination. Recognised the roundabout. Was relieved.

Second meeting of the day.

Got out early, sat in the park and ate my sandwich by the bandstand. It was painted black and white - its roof was like a hat. No band played. Sun dappled through the bare branches of the trees. People walked dogs. A scraggy yorkshire terrier sniffed my shoe. Owner calls it away. Catch a 381 to my next meeting. Arrive half an hour later.

Third meeting of day.

Left work after the meeting. Caught a bus to Waterloo bridge. Caught a 341 to Angel. Past my old school. There's a gardens in front of it with an angel statue - wings and arms raised. The flats behind the gardens have been painted. Two carribean women behind me discussed what they were - they plumped for a Holiday Inn. A girl in my class at school lived in them. They were small inside. She had the most popular dad - he was a fireman and came on lots of our school trips because his shift pattern made him available. On top end of St John's Street we passed the row of buildings that has been redecorated. These are grand buildings, generously proportioned, large windows. I daydream that I had enough money to buy one - I get a comforting sense of coming home - my first decade was spent living here. But I wouldn't get as good a garden as I have now. Change buses at Angel. Catch a no.19 down to City & Islington College Finsbury Park Centre at bottom end of Blackstock Road.

Ceramics class.
Turned the bowl I threw at the last class. It didn't turn out too badly. Discovered a wheel with a manually operated peddle. Threw four more small pots using it - liked the control that was possible with this wheel. Had to be sort of at one with it - pumping the peddle to make the wheel spin at different speeds and controlling the clay (difficult at the best of times - I'm finding). The pots I'm making are not exactly brilliant, not even beautiful. But they are what they are. Probably improve with glazing, hopefully.

After class I buy cholla bread at the Happening Bagel Bakery and catch a 259 to Seven Sisters. I'm talking to Susanna on the phone when I get on. I've got the phone in one hand, my handbag, work bag and a bag of bread in the other. I hold on with two fingers. Behind me I find one of my neighbours is standing there. He likes to chat to me but he creeps me out a little bit. When I get off the phone we exchange pleasantries. I get off at Seven Sisters and go in the supermarket. I buy milk, yoghurt and some flowers. Flowers because its a long wekend and I'll be at home for 3 days to appreciate them. They are yellow and orange, tightly wrapped petals. I walk up to the Swan where I have a choice of two buses. As I'm walking up I miss one of them. By the time I get to the stop the timer says the other one is due in 2 minutes. The bus pulls up, I get on, we whizz past the remaining stops. I get off - they've repaved the pavement around the bus stop - its sandy and neat, larger paving stones than before.

Finally I am home again. I lock the door behind me and turn on ER. I'm exhausted. Really glad to have an extra day this weekend.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Bus Journey - a photo story

No. 35 from Walworth Road, 2 stops from Elephant and Castle, to Shoreditch. Dusk falling.