Being quizzed on the stance of the modern middle-aged woman (supposed to be a joke but sadly feel it may not be possible, any longer, to feel this is far from the truth) by an ever so slightly old fashioned man, as it turns out. He decided we were the right age group to be MILFs (not flattered exactly) and then decided we were probably cougars (still not flattered exactly). And if we are cougar - does that mean automatically that we are preditory and looking for younger? Don't know about the influence of interent porn - seems to give you too many boxes to be put into! Its no longer possible to just be whoever you are - you have to fit into an appropriate category to be able to be understood by the world at large.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
So friday night - went to see Her with pops. Was a good film. Liked it more than i thought i would. After we met Bails and her friend Steve. Had a drink. Cocktails in a little side street bar in Canonbury. Old fashioned's. Warmth of whiskey and sweetness of orange zest. Marvellous on a chilly evening, with good mixologists behind the bar.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 8:32 pm
Monday, 24 February 2014
Woke up this morning to the alarm ringing and couldn't understand why. The phone alarm has gone wrong - just another minor irritation in the slow breakdown as we get closer to the date they will upgrade me. And then it dawned on my dream addled head - its bloody Monday. That's why the alarm is ringing. Bad luck for you its work today! Whoop.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 11:41 am
Sunday, 9 February 2014
Long evening of drinking and dancing followed by a night bus journey home.I haven't been on a night bus for some time. And especially an N29.
I was lucky the doors stopped right by me so i got on second and found a seat.
I was sitting opposite a couple of dollybirds who looked a bit worse for wear. Not a coat between them. No tights. Just a thick layer of fake tan keeping them warm. One of them was carrying her extremely high platform shoes rather than wearing them. They were slumped in their seats - one with her back to the other. Hair messed so you could see their extensions sewn in where the outer layer of hair was no longer covering it.
The one nearest the window was softly whining and crying. There were black mascara streaks running down in furrows through her foundation on both cheeks. Fake eyelashes holding large drops of tears. Her sister (it transpired when she turned back to her) said why does it happen every time? You can't live with me anymore, you're a nightmare, go back to Mum, you aren't ready to look after yourself. She then got up and stood by the door ready to get off. At the next stop the doors opened and she shouted at the tear stained one, are you coming or are you just going to sit on the bus? When her sister just managed to get off in time she jumped back on, in the hope to leave her sister stranded on the street.
Some how both girls were still on the bus but without a seat. Tearful one was mumbling to herself how she couldn't fucking cope with it anymore. It wasn't clear whether that meant life in general, her sister, this night in particular or having to stand on the bus (she turned to an older woman at one point asking when she was getting off because she needed to sit fucking down - older woman ignored her with distain). The annoyed sister sat on the floor and at some point kicked out at her sister's ankles whereupon they set about each other in a half hearted manner - punching and kicking. The other passengers looked on in disbelief. Eventually they fell out of the bus at Holloway and wended off into the night. Drunk, disorderly and discordant. Bet they had a horrible Sunday - hungover and arguing, or hungover and ignoring each other, trying to avoid one another in a flat.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 3:40 am
Friday, 7 February 2014
Recently my nephew (aged 9) got so mad about having to do guitar practice that he packed a bag and stormed up to the front door announcing his intention to leave. He didn't in the end. He packed his bear-suit onsie and his wrestling figures. His dad gave him a toothbrush and some toothpaste to put in. And then his mum cried and said she would miss him if he went. So he stayed. I'm interested in what the important items to take are, in a 9 year old's mind. I dont remember wanting to leave at that age either. My sister recounting the story made me laugh actually. And that made her laugh also. Perhaps i should provide him with a tag with my address and phone number on it so if he really decides to do it he can come to me which would at least be safer.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 9:00 pm
Friday, 31 January 2014
We went to see a digitally enhanced version of the black and white film Night of the Hunter at the BFI. Robert Mitchum plays a serial killer who pretends to be a priest. In the beginning if the film he is driving a car along the road and offering a prayer to god,"There are things that you hate Lord, perfume smelling things, lacy things, things with curly hair". As a naturally curly haired person this made me laugh out loud. What is it with all the jealousy of the curly haired that we get all this? Like the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead... Don't straight-haired people know how difficult curly hair can be to manage?
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 8:24 am
Monday, 27 January 2014
Funny places airports, excited and tension of waiting for your party to arrive. Tired people over packed. Endless searching the crowd for recognition. Its exhausting. And i dont think the plane I'm waiting for has even landed yet. Hate that nervousness wondering whether everything has changed or if it will be the same. Experiences can change people.
And greetings, love and hugs and flowers and laughter.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 5:13 pm
Thursday, 23 January 2014
The neighbours who lived next to me to the left when I moved in have recently moved away. They were chavvy but nice enough. But in some ways it helps me avoid the little embarrassment of my cat names.
When I saw pictures of the kittens I was getting I had an epiphony for names in tbe night - the girl cat was Philomena, and the boy cat was Leopold. My sister said its a good thing I don't have kids because they would be lumbered with some godawful names going by those. But these names suit the cats and you can shorten then to Philly (or Pip if you are my dad and are looking after them) and Leo. Better for shouting out the back door. What i hadn't realised at the time was that my neighbour was called Wilimena. And her 16 year old daughter had just had a baby and called him Leo. You discover these things in London due to proximity of living conditions hearing family life go on over the wall. I hadn't realised I had named my cats after my chavvy neighbours. And was then totally embarrassed to shout their names at all!
Anyway. They moved and in their place a new family moved in. On the day they arrived they had a fight and an ambulance and the police had to attend. Then there were lots of arguments, slamming of front doors, and shouting. Drunk dad would arrive home opening the door saying don't any of you fucking piss me off, not you, or you, or the fucking dog. I feel sorry for the dog. It's confused. They were concerned it didn't bark when people came to the door, so they taught it to do that. Now it does that, they shout at it because it barks when they get home. They also have three or four cats, I can't quite figure it out. But of all the things, the worst is they don't do any recycling and they make rubbish like its going out of fashion. Our bins are only emptied once a fortnight. Once they fill theirs up, they fill mine up as well. Which as long as I can fit my rubbish in wouldn't be so bad, but I can't, so it really gets my goat. Antisocial. Bring back the chavs, would be my preferance!
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 8:52 am
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
What other job could i do, discussion with my sister. Suggesting i teach adults in the kind of setting i already work in. Not that keen. Not enough salary.
She's been watching The Bridge, and thought i could be a detective. But don't you have to be a policeman first? I laugh. Loudly. Me? A policeman. Hilarious. Wouldn't mind the detective bit. But not sure it would work with my politics and stuff.
Fireman? just laughing. Not even a need to examine why not (don't love ladders at height, couldn't throw a man over my shoulder to rescue him, might be able to drive the engine...), nah. Ludicrous. Never was that keen on wearing uniforms.
Maybe i should be a criminal she says. What sort? I'm slightly indignant. Fraud says she. But I'm not a great liar. Could you lie on the phone and be a scammer of some sort? I think. Its a bit shitty though isn't it? And my IT skills arent up to it.
You could run a house. She says. I pause. Madam, she means. How does she come up with that? Thats one of my joke dream jobs! Hostess. Make men comfortable. Make sure the girls are clean. Don't actually have to shag the dirty mac brigade myself. But i like men. As a gross generalisation. We laugh. I can't believe she said it! I've said it myself before. As a joke! She knows me better than i think. I'm an open book, sadly.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 6:12 pm
Monday, 20 January 2014
Friday, 10 January 2014
They are filming Youngers in Choumert road today. They have transformed the Internet cafe into 'Shorn Combs' barbers and have parked three huge lorries along the street. Lots of young actors milling about in clean bright urban streetwear, getting tea and soup from the refreshment cart. And cameramen, lighting, sound engineers, etc. Inside the cafe at lunch the regular iPad engrossed clientele ignore the hubub on the street. Me I kinda want to join in!
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 2:12 pm
Friday, 3 January 2014
Whilst running/walking along Tottenham Marshes (dragging the Christmas dinner belly along for the first time - distractions very necessary)
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 1:05 pm
Wednesday, 1 January 2014
Bad move - lent my phone to someone on our way home (giving them and some others a lift) - he'd run out of credit - he called 15 people at 6am. No one answered. They are all texting me asking me who is this today. And some of them are quite shirty demanding to know who I am.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 5:28 pm
Started the New Year's Eve celebrations talking about the last few hours of 2013 - putting it to bed, fresh starts and all that. Celebrated the new year in five minutes after getting into a club having queued round the block for an hour. Danced and wandered around. Got in at 7am. Haven't seen the day at all today! Perhaps it isn't starting as I mean to go on! Happy 2014. Hope it's a good one.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 5:09 pm
Saturday, 28 December 2013
I drive an old car. It's a retro golf gti. But that is sort of irrelevant to the story. The bad thing about old cars is that they are liable to breakdown.
Driving to pick up my sister and her kids from kings cross station passing St Pancras it stalled and didn't have any power left. I was stuck in the middle lane of three lanes of solid traffic. Hazards on. Unsure how to proceed. A cab stopped and asked what was wrong and suggested I get to the side of the road and call my breakdown cover. A man on the pavement came over and pushed me into the drive of the St Pancras Hotel. We stopped when he couldn't shove it uphill on his own anymore. Relieved and very grateful.
The doorman from the hotel sidled down and asked what was wrong. I broke down and it has no power. Well you can't stay here it's private property. I'm only going to be here while I call the breakdown company. His colleague came. Have you got a permit? No. Well these spaces are paid for by the residents of the building. I'm broken down, I don't want to park here. Well you can't leave it here. What do you suggest I do then? We will help you to push it back onto the street.
I look at the Euston Road, there are three solid lanes, a bus lane, double red lines. It's a ridiculous suggestion. I laugh at him. I can't wait here for the breakdown company? No madam. You don't have a permit. There are two wedding buses coming shortly and they need to get past. I cast my eye over the 30 empty parking spaces.
At which point my sister came round the corner from Kings Cross with her children. Overhearing this she started on him - you cannot push this car onto that road - it's dangerous. Look at how many spaces you have, it not like we are going to be here for ages. She called the local police. He told her they have no jurisdiction here it's private property.
Two staff from the wedding venue came down. One very reasonably said - we are going to push the car out of the way - up to there. While you wait for the breakdown company. Thank you. The four of them pushed the car up the hill and backed it up in front of a lovely clean Mercedes. Individually they each asked how long we were going to be. I will let you know, I said.
They all went back to their jobs. The buses arrived and decanted guests into the reception. We waited. And finally an hour later I tried the car again and it started. We crossed our fingers and went on our way after cancelling the breakdown people.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 6:53 pm
Thursday, 26 December 2013
Thursday, 19 December 2013
By Christmas, how many Christmas dinners will you have had? Today In our staff canteen they are doing roast with lamb. That's roasted potatoes and parsnips, over-boiled sprouts and lamb slices, with a side of pigs in blankets. It looks and smells most unappetising. Last week on our works do you had a choice of roast turkey dinner or something else. I chose the something else because turkey can be so dry. I was right. That time the portions were on the extreme stingy side. It was like Noah's ark - 2 sprouts, 2 roasted potatoes, 2 parsnips, 2 carrots (pieces not whole parsnips or carrots). A well roasted dinner can be a delight but it can also be dreary and unappealling. Particularly when it comes in long metal trays in bulk! I prefer to wait for the real deal.
Friday, 13 December 2013
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
I've been thinking about Nelson Mandela a lot but haven't known what to say. He was very influential in my youth. And I think back fondly on those politicised and active times. I spent over a year picketing outside South Africa House in Trafalgar Square for his release in the late 80s. My designated time was from 11-1 on a Saturday although I ended up staying for much of the afternoon generally until we slopped off to the pub. We collected petition signatures, sang songs, chanted and felt like we were doing a good thing. There was comraderie there. And some genuine communists. I met Archbishop Desmond Tutu once when he came over to show his solidarity with the non-stop picket while he was in London on some greater business.
I was 17. It felt like we could change the world if enough of us joined in. We individually sanctioned South African produce refusing to buy Rowntrees, bank with Barclays or buy South African fruit and veg. Persuaded the adults in the family to do the same as far as we could. We hated Mrs Thatcher for her refusal to sanction South Africa. And all the bands and artists who played Sun City (stand up Elton John, Queen, Rod Stewart, to name a few).
And then in 1990 he was released. It was a jubilant time. Like grass roots political activism was a powerful and important mechanism. This older, smiling, strong, amazing individual walked free and seemed to change the world.
It was heartwarming across the world. To people who were not directly under his power. But were inspired and amazed and awed by him. He had a long, important, influential life.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 1:27 pm
Monday, 2 December 2013
Today has been an arsy day (irritating with annoying people and their demands - and the predictive text doesn't believe in cussing and keeps wanting to sanitise my words into something that doesn't make any sense). Finally on my way home. Sitting on a bus at some traffic lights. Next to us a cab driver smokes a fag slowly out of his open window. Behind him a bus has pulled up and honks at him. He leans out of his window with an angry scowl and gestures wanker at him. Bus driver honks again. Taxi driver mouths into his mirror fuck off. And when the light goes green he sits there smoking until he is good and ready to move off. The epitome of what an arsy day makes you do.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 6:05 pm
Thursday, 28 November 2013
It's late, I'm a bit drunk from drinking sambucas on ice to wash down a couple of slices of "really hot" pizza with extra pineapple. Everything seems a bit crazy in Finsbury park. Lidls doors open when I pass by so I go in looking for catfood only to be told by the third or forth staff member I pass that they are actually shut. I'm not the only errant shopper in there. Their security guard comes out from the back in a big strop. There is a tall man at the railings of the park trying to help his friend climb out of the park without being impaled on the railings. They are laughing too much and he's stuck on the top with a railing spike between his legs. The bus is going to be eight minutes.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 11:10 pm
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
It's winter. The streets are dark, cold, wet and deserted. Walking at 9pm from my dad's to Mr's. Streets I've known forever. Running footsteps coming up the railway bridge behind me. I'm aware. They pass me and carry on. I'm passing under enormous plain trees around which has recently been repaved so the path is flatter and not cracked by their roots. I turn onto Oakfield road. Passing over the railway I hear running steps again and then someone grabs my handbag handles and jerks, give me the bag he growls. Instant reaction is to hold firmly and I shout no, loudly. Louder than I realise I can. Top of my lungs. No! Leave me alone! Get away from me! Fuck off! As we struggle with the bag between us. I shove him in the chest. He turns and runs off leaving me. I have my bag. I check whether he managed to get anything out of it (not sure why I think he could have). And then I turn and run the rest of my way, looking back sometimes. I'm shaking. But not really as afraid as I thought might have been. When I get in they can't believe what happened and question me about where, what and who did this. I remember he was wearing pale jeans and a tan balaclava. I think he was a teenager. He was slight. Not tall (similar to me). And they laughed, incredulous. And then said they were proud of me fighting him off. I think they may have thought I would have wimped out and given in. I thought I might as well but instinct does surprising things sometimes.
Friday, 15 November 2013
Opposite my office is a row of shops with flats above. There's a woman in the top flat brushing her hair looking in a mirror she has leaned against the window. She hasn't a stitch of clothing on. Bare. Nude. Like a naturist (as opposed to naked, like in porn, if you recognise the difference). But we have builders on the roof of our building. I doubt she realises she can be seen. Or maybe she really is just nude and doesn't care to be seen that way.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 11:09 am
Friday, 8 November 2013
The afternoon darkened gradually until fat raindrops splattered the windows, then ran down in thick riverlets. Everything dark grey. Apart from a sparkling yellow edged cloud, that reminded you it was only 3 o'clock in the afternoon. One of those afternoons at work where distraction has to come from inside the building because the outside has closed around you. Free disgusting coffee and hot chocolate from the machine. Mild Friday flirting at the coffee machines. Short conversations with people you only know by sight. Not your team, no reason to speak to them really. Like so many familiar strangers at the train station every morning. One or two have breached this stand offishness. People from the company who do totally different roles to you that you talk about outside work activity to. Weird hot desking open plan working. People meet in glass walled rooms. No hiding.
Fantasy overtakes the mind from boredom. I'm imagining swinging the revolving chair round and flashing a la Sharon Stone in basic instinct. Giving a particular someone in the glass meeting room a thrill. That fantasy evolves into round beds with satin sheets, slip-sliding through the wrinkles with a air of abandon. Boredom. A bad thing for a creative mind on a Friday afternoon.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 8:43 pm
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Pops and I were working a code word puzzle in the evening standard. It's one where I was being a bit risky with putting in the letters (feeling like sometimes I had to try it in order to move forward). One of the cross checks could have been SHAM or WHAM, with the word WHIM/SHIM/WHOM/SHOM. We eventually decided it had to be WHOM - a word neither of us knew but were pronouncing WOM. Only on looking it up in the dictionary did we realise this is that commonly used word whom.
We laughed at ourselves.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 9:28 pm
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Been to the vets (by public transport) on the way home popped into the supermarket. Put the cat basket in the trolley and hoped nobody would notice. Which almost nobody did. Is it bad? My feeling is that while not quite ok it's less bad than taking a dead mouse in one of my shopping bags and accidentally tipping it out on the floor by the checkout...
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 7:27 pm
In the dead of night lying wrapped around the hard body of my bedfellow. Secure in the arms that hold me. Nuzzling into his neck and toying with his earlobe. The bed is familiar. The night dark and shadows in the room are normal to me. The trundling night trains passing have become soothing over time rather than distracting. These are the times. The times of whispered dreams and hopes. Of soothing words and accompanying strokes. A hand over hair, brushing skin of the shoulder and hollow of the lower back. Comforting. Lovely.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 9:17 am
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
Been having some bad days recently. Despondent and out of sorts. Itchy feet. Unhappy. I've been putting it down to a sense of boredom and feeling the need to broaden my horizons. Someone at work today said she knew exactly what it was. Post gym blues. She said I complain of this on the days after I've been in the gym. Post seretonin come down or something. Apart from the health benefits, I always knew the gym was bad for you!!
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 9:54 am
Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Tottenham mother on the school run (by bus). Talking on the phone to a girlfriend, child chattering next to her whispering why do you always do this to me never talk to me...
The mother is saying
I have to say though, bacon tastes nice in a sandwich. Nah but bacon doesn't count as pork. I don't eat pork but I so eat bacon and sausage...
The kid starts whinging in a way that sounds like a cat meowing.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 8:49 am
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
It's hard to decide whether its accidental or purposeful brushing or touching, when crammed together on the tube swaying from the motion of the train on its forward trajectory. I became aware of a light touch in the groin area and saw a mans large hand with the knuckles leaning against me, so I moved away slightly. My stop came. I got off walking with the throng of crowd towards the escalator, stepped on, suddenly aware of a body close behind me. Tall. Sort of looming. But escalators are crowded in rush hour and people do step up right behind you in these busy times. And then the brush of something lightly against my buttock. Could be accidental. Could be. Just not at all sure that it was. A cursory backward glance revealed the same man with the knuckles. And then I stepped off at the top and walked away.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 9:57 am
Saturday, 21 September 2013
Being by the sea is a lovely thing - mesmerising and in persistent motion with light sparkling off it in ways that delight the brain and brighten the atmosphere.
And then there are the things that we don't see everyday - the mangled ironwork of the burned-down pier rising out if the sea, massive baby seagulls sitting on car roofs in the car park, fishing boats beached on the shingle having been dragged out if the water, double story beach huts for drying fishing nets, man frying white fish freshly caught and tucking it into fresh buns.
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 10:18 am
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
The trouble with public transport (and I'm not going to moan about late, crowded and cancelled because while its par for the course we are actually pretty lucky in London with tubes every couple of minutes and our iconic red buses) is the presence of occasionally over-hot and large other passengers. A man sat next to me on the bus. He sat right next to me. His thigh touched the full length of mine and he was wearing a scratchy woollen sleeveless cardigan that itched my bare arms (26 degrees today - really no need for a jacket). As we rode along I gradually became aware of his temperature. Not sure whether it was rising or just seeping through his jeans. He was very tall and broad. I started to feel quite enclosed. And very hot. It was only when he got up and left that I realised that I was feeling his sweat through my skirt. Sadly I didn't have enough time to cool down because a woman took his seat almost straight away. Nowhere near his bulk but her upper thigh is against mine. And I can feel the heat heating up again...
Posted by Harriet (the fshlady) at 6:44 pm