Tuesday, 28 June 2016


It's been a while since I had a good escalator story. But I noticed it a couple of weeks ago and checked it today. At Manor House tube station there are two old escalators flanking a middle one that has been recently renovated. At rush hour in the evening two go up (the left hand and the middle one). Previously I was standing on the left one watching people standing in the middle overtake me. The middle one must be faster. So today, and I don't know why this pleases me so much, but in the race of standing passengers on moving staircases, I chose the middle escalator and overtook 5 people spaced with two steps between each. A significant win and worth the choice, I think you'll agree. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Fifedom of Londonium

So, now Scotland feels it is democratically unfair to make them leave the EU and so will demand another vote on leaving the United Kingdom. Couldn't we do that too - London (led by its Mayor) could also leave the UK and remain in the EU. What do we think?

Guess what? There's a petition for just that!

Because I'm not the only one who thought it. 

Rich neighbourhoods

I don't know why I'm finding it hard working in a rich neighbourhood but I am. 

This isn't just the City - fancy offices full of men and women in suits - this is a place where the wealthy live and relax. I walk around at lunch time looking for local London colour and vibrancy. I find myself annoyed with the stay-at-home mums with their perfect legs and highlights and blond children. The clean and perfect dogs. The fact that workmen on breaks sit neatly on benches in the park not a peep out of them - covered in plaster dust and being sort of outside the regular residents. I watch a cleaner sweep leaves off the front path of a mansion house wearing a bib apron, the lady of the house flittering about the magnificent front hall. The playboy Arabs letching every white girl they pass. Ladies who lunch, but do nothing else. 

It's a strange feeling working in the office and then spilling out into an adult playground. Feels sort of purposeless. 


A vote for?? We don't know. Not for strength in unity. All the Brexitiers jubilant all over the TV. Everyone on both sides saying the people have spoken. It was close. 52% vs 48%. Poke in the eye (not quite a kick in the stomach) for the caring liberalism that built the country. London (and Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Cardiff, and Scotland and Northern Iteland) vs the rest of England. How come those with the least experience of living multicultural lives have the sway? 

It feels a lot less secure this morning. I fear for the decisions that were made on the back of the last world war (welfare system, NHS, joined and stable Europe) - have we grown disillusioned with stability? 

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Bus journey

It's wet this evening. Half the tube system was broken this morning so I hopped on a bus from - a 27 bus. It took me up Kensington Church Street towards Notting Hill Gate. Past antique shops, wacky clothing boutiques and children's clothing shops. Yummy mummy Notting Hill rather than Rasta Notting Hill. Then suddenly we are in Queensway, Bayswater and Paddington. It's easy to forget how close these places are to each other.

From Paddington we snake around through Edgware until we pass Marylebone Station and join the traffic going easy on Marylebone Road.

We creep past Baker Street and Madam Tussauds. I looked for him but he wasn't there - in the 70s there was always a man selling huge 4 foot long wiggly balloons to the crowd queuing to get in. I always wanted one in the way pre-teens want things, asking if we could get one every time we passed by. Mum always refused with the excuse that he was a crook and all the ones that weren't blown up would have holes in. It was one of those helpful white lies parents use on their gullible young children - my friend Kate managed to persuade her kids that the ice cream van played its jolly tune when he had run out of ice cream! Only later did I think perhaps it was more about not wanting to find the puff to blow the damn thing up than any truth in the likelihood of everyone having a hole in it. 

Then we passed the loveliness of Regency Regent's Park. Another childhood fantasy that I would live my adult life in one of those fancy cream houses, front doorway draped in columns and friends with whom I'd run along the York stone pavements to the tune of 'old-fashioned millionaire' (there was an advert in TV at the time that played out this desired lifestyle). 

My sister, at the time, predicted that knowing me by the time I was 18 I'd have a boyfriend with an open-air car (y'know, soft top). I was 10 when she predicted this. I'm still waiting for the boyfriend with the open air car to show up (I was 46 last month). 

And then Hampstead Road, turning at the corner of Warren Street, once the windiest place in London when the landscaping didn't exist - only the huge buildings causing their very own wind tunnel which meant at times you had to cling to lampposts while waiting for the lights to change for fear of being blown away. And finally Camden Town where I alighted so that I could continue on a trajectory that at least was heading in the right direction. 

EU Referedum

So the day of reckoning is upon us. Hopefully you have voted and based it on  serious well-researched information and not exclusively media-hyped sensationalism. If not, and you are still humming and ha-ing, get yourself down to the polling station and vote according to your belly-button status. Are you an in-ny or an out-y? 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Minor irritations

The absolute worst part of working in open plan offices is listening to other people crunching on crisps or carrots. Teeth gnashing crunchy food sets me on edge. Not sure why...

Monday, 20 June 2016

Bigger things

There are more important things to say than the anecdotes that I have been putting up. I just am not sure how I am supposed to say them. 

SH and I went to Parliament Square last Friday to pay respects to Jo Cox killed senselessly in the line of duty. An energetic dedicated MP of the mould that we would prefer all our MPs to be (of and for the people they serve rather than the clever-britches career politicians we have become accustomed to recently). The reaction has seemed very genuine - very emotional interview by Neil Kinnock on the news that was very moving. And the desire expressed by some to mix up politically on the benches for today's recall of parliament, following the suspension of campaigning for the referendum (a welcome quiet in the bleating of one side against the other). 

I don't understand why we are having a referendum - called by a Prime Minister who is now in the side of remain (why would you call it if you didn't want to leave?) - I don't think the world is a better place for holding ourselves separate. People are hankering after the times when Britain was Great (great from conquering and pillaging the countries of the empire - so not standing alone then either). I believe we should be joining together more, not splitting up. 

Most of the people I know are descendants of immigrants from one time or other. This debate has become one all about immigration - people from places with an immigrant population of less than 2% being most concerned about migration - which seems ludicrous to me - media-hyped-up fear. Those people here from other places doing jobs that British people prefer not to do for wages they won't work for. Unfounded fear and xenophobia. This country is built on the shoulders of immigrants. It's what I love about living in London - that it's a proper melting pot of people, and flavours, from all over the world where we can express our individuality in whatever way we choose (within reason). 

So I will be voting to remain IN Europe. I think there is greater strength in a union than there can be outside of it. 

Wolfgang Tillmans (photographer) statement about why he got involved in the EU Campaign http://tillmans.co.uk/

Big n Juicy on the referendum.

Hello Israel

And I don't know how come or what caused it but there has been an ENORMOUS spike in visits from Israel this last week - 11,700 visits - the first time Israel has ever made it onto the top 10 audience countries. So hello to you all! 

Wet feet

It was pouring. Have you got your umbrella he asked as they got ready to leave. I was thinking it's only two short walks either end... Looking out it was actually pouring properly and not just drizzling. She still went out in sandals. Dropped at the station. Kiss goodbye. Honked at undeservedly by irritated taxi driver. Got to the other end. Umbrella up. Still had dry feet until the last 20 metres entering the street on which she worked which slopes at a steepish downhill gradient which had turned into a river with no possible dry routes. Wet feet. It could have been fine. She just so wasn't into putting on tights and closed toes shoes in the middle of June...

Friday, 17 June 2016


So we used to look down on people's flats from our office in Peckham and see into bedrooms. I have written about it before. Now in this office the view has been on to more obscure apartment windows. Until I noticed the long leggy limbs of a blond arranging herself in the window. Seemingly naked. After a while you could see a strip of nude-coloured skirt fabric. So not a life model. Wasn't even sure it was a girl - the body being impossibly tall and the hair really fake. But a later pose was face to the window and clearly she was a she. Skinny. In a flesh-tone underwear shoot.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Second week

More than one person has greeted me and said jokily, "that's good you've come back for a second week". It piques my old interest about how come they haven't been able to keep a person in my position for terribly long. 

On the tube a lot more. More due to, fewer changes, quicker journey. I get a seat and read. Today a man is standing over me talking to his mate about the Victoria  Line, video shoots, styling the shoot and getting coffee before their meeting. He is a neurotic. Even standing he can't be still and shakes his leg persistently so that his whole self is in a perpetual jiggle, his change tinking hurriedly in his track suit bottom pocket. He sits down at Warren Street until the female voice announces the next station will be Oxford Circus, and when we arrive they get off. Dragging after themselves a smell of sort of milk and biscuits. 

Friday, 10 June 2016

Week one

Been exhausted by the newness of it all. Similar process, protocols, types of people but somehow the unfamiliar and understanding dynamics and relationships and behaviours really takes it out of you. It's the change of pace that is proving most difficult to turn down. I hadn't realised how fast my working life was going before. Still I hope I'm making a good enough impression...

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Its different here

Gone are the tiny import/export businesses, cacophony of hair and nail salons and mixture of whole food cafes and greasy spoons. In its place there are extremely expensive apartment blocks, houses in tasteful shades of cream or white with bay tree sentries and red geraniums. Mercedes, Porsche and Ferrari are parked along the street. Boutiques for chandeliers, women's lounge ware and antiques. The high street is full of medium and high end chains, far removed from the Primark and Peacocks of Peckham. Little Lagos probably continues with its hanging about, smoking, drinking lariness while I am astounded by the mass of au pairs  dragging little boys in boaters and short trousers along the road, weaving between the ladies who lunch and Botox to a point where their swollen lips and stuck fast masks give them away. A joy ride for an elderly Arab in an antique white Fiat cinquecento, whizzing down the high street with his fat cigar hanging out the window. We are not in Southwark anymore.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

New job

So I started yesterday. Most lovely is the shortened journey - a mere 50 minutes as opposed to the old hour and a half. But it's different in the West End - the tube is full of tourists and shop workers (as opposed to the bankers and business workers of the northern line) and I keep finding I am walking faster than the crowd - looking at their feet and wondering how, when wearing trainers, can the pace be so slow. I am able, in my clicky heeled sandals, to overtake an entire corridor of people on the wrong side of the staircase up to the westbound circle line at Victoria and I was never the fastest walker on the Noerthern Line.