Thursday, 24 August 2006

Last Night's TV

Sam Wollaston made me laugh out loud today (back to toilet humour again). When I was at school we didn't compete with one another about who's dad had the biggest willy, we were much more innocent - who's dad had the best job (Sinead's fireman dad usually won that one), or who's dad could beat the others up. I would have slipped away from the contest by this point, because firstly I didn't know what my dad did other than working in an office, so I was never usually around to judge whether he could beat any of the others up. It was unfortunate that I only learned he used to fly bombers off ships when he was in the navy after I left primary school because I reckon that would've been a tough one to beat.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006


Walking down my street I see the man with the pointy nose from my train station going into the pub. He's tall with curly hair. He has a girlfriend with dark brown hair. I stand at the same place as them on the train platform in the morning sometimes. I first noticed them when they were having a bit of an argument, perhaps a debate, about why she wouldn't buy an oyster card because its just one more way for them to track your movements. Conspiracy theorist. I've known them before - people unwilling to get a supermarket reward card so they can't check up on what they are buying, or who choose not to have a mobile phone or cash card so their wareabouts can't be traced so easily.

Anyway, pointy nose man and his girlfriend are walking into the pub and behind them is a friend of mine who I used to work with at Lewisham College, a resident of Bow. We stop and chat. It always amazes me that you can bump into people you know in such a large conurbation as London. He's moved to Borough and is working at a different college now. Pointy nose man comes out of the pub to ask him what he'd like to drink. We say hello. My friend asks how we know each other. We say we don't but we stand at the same spot on the train platform on the way to work...

Its also amazing how you are in the vacinity of so many people who are in your conscious but who you don't talk to or acknowledge. Once Bails and I were in France, south of Toulouse, I was driving round a roundabout when I spotted a couple I recognised from the train platform, before I realised why I shouted out the window, hey haringey folks! (being as I had no idea what their names were), but didn't see if they saw me. They probably got freaked out, I would have. When I returned I debated whether I should ask them how they enjoyed France but chickened out. They might have thought I was a stalker or something.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

How to Get Away with Farting in Public

I was sharing a bench at Finsbury Park railway station with a man who was reading some papers studiously, when he farted. Not loudly, just audibly but it reverberated the metal we were sitting on. Excuse me, he said equally quietly. As much as I wanted to laugh his politeness and honesty made me bite my lip and I pretended not to notice.

Why does farting make us laugh?

Friday, 18 August 2006

Old Iron

When we lived in Myddleton Square in the 70s a rag and bone man regularly visited, driving his horse and cart slowly around the streets ringing a big hand held bell, shouting "iron, any old iron" incomprehensibly. The cart was wooden with low sides. He was ancient with a flat cap.

Sitting here watching the clouds form and the rain spatter the sound of a ringing bell came into my consciousness and slowly along the road came a van with a brassy blond woman leaning out the passenger side ringing the old bell, and a couple of fridges already piled on the back. A flashback moment. Haven't heard the rag and bone bell for years.

Right back to all the trades we knew around the neighbourhood, proper butchers with sawdust floor and white coat, grocer (fatty lloyd) with his counter and stripy apron, window cleaner on a bicycle carrying his ladder over his shoulder - a ladder with a join at the top with some kind of leather coating so it could be leaned on window joists (he once broke a pane in one of our windows when the ladder slipped while he was standing on it on a 1st floor balcony), beer delivery done with barrels on the back of a whitbread cart drawn by two huge cart horses, snorting and shaking their manes (deliveries to Filthy McNasty's, although I'm not sure whether it was called that way back then). We used to shop for vegetables in Chapel Street Market (didn't have clothes, cds or video stalls then) and pop into the very exotic (at the time) italian deli on the way home - smelled of sausage and strong cheese, salamis hanging around the ceiling.

Wednesday, 16 August 2006


Kings Cross. Two posh boys, brothers, and the friend of the younger one, are ahead of me. Striking similarity between the two of them despite the obvious difference in age, older brother is wearing a not terribly good suit but has abandoned his tie by this time, younger brother has droopy jeans and a metalhead teeshirt. They talk in their incredibly deep voices. Voices deeper than seems natural. Talking out of the back of their throats, without moving their lips. Amazingly it is apparent that the two brothers are pleased to see one another, despite their lack of facial movement.

Eventually it is the older brother's turn at the window. The two friends go over to the window and throw themselves on the carpetted floor of the ticket hall, lounginly leaning on one arm. Being this laid back seems highly inappropriate and strange.

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Scenic Peckham

The car park on Choumert Grove is full of film crew paraphernalia. Caravans for dressing rooms, prop vans, catering vans. Runners with clipboards being useful, carrying coffee. Boom operator. Camera setter-uppers with the tripod carrier. Stuff going on. Distinct lack of actor celebrities to spot though.

At lunchtime find the scene of the film - outside Spa on Bellenden Road. Two of my colleagues are keen to sidle up and get in the film. Budding actors, nay, extras. Personally I'm rather reluctant.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Stansted Airport

By way of seeing my sister and her family for the first time since about Christmas I spent the day at Stansted Airport. By choice. Never places one would choose to go to unless travelling, always dry and airless, busy and consumerist, queues upon queues. Not a favoured Sunday outing, it has to be said.

I sat at arrivals with a coffee and croissant watching people stream through the arrivals green light gate, cases piled high on trolleys with wonky wheels, exchanging pleasantries with a cab driver waiting for a man from Istanbul with an unpronouncable name written (he hoped) correctly on a laminated sheet. My crowd arrived first.

We escaped to a nearby town for some lunch and then came back to get in the queue for their onward journey to Edinburgh. Thinking we'd found a sneaky short queue we were promptly informed that actually the queue started a whole length back. Easyjet. Never fly them. Always huge queues, too few checking in staff, and on a transfer flight you had to collect the luggage and go through check in again. The queue was mammouth. Almost two hours long. Inching. Incredibly slow. By the time we got back to the point where we thought we were joining originally it was a relief to be able to read the advice notice about what you weren't allowed to take on the plane for something to do. Issued with a clear plastic sac (it had no handles) they got to take: a nappy and wipes for the baby, wallet, purse, passports. No toys, or changes of clothes (being of an age prone to accidents and in need of quite a lot of distraction this could have been seen as a bit of a problem but at least the flight was short).

Flying recently has become hellish because of the airport. Crowded. Queues snaking back and forth across the check in area. The only thing that keeps you going is the thought of the trip at the end. We got to the check in desk and they had to run to catch their plane (10mins to get there - through additional security and running to the gate so they reported later). I on the other hand, left to catch a train back to London. I've got that slightly-seperated-from-reality feeling that you get when you're in those not-quite-anywhere places. I've spent all afternoon queuing with no reward at the end!

Friday, 11 August 2006


Light fades behind red brick. Quiet jazz plays in the background. My mouth is watering at the prospect of some garlic bread accompanied by a white sambuca on ice. The wind is up and it sort of feels like the back end of summer. The dying sun catches a mackrel sky, pink clouds edged with gold, orange sun, pale blue sky towards the horizon.

Thursday, 10 August 2006


I sometimes think London looks best bathed in late afternoon sunshine with a backdrop of gun metal clouds. The sun highlighting its spires, domes, cranes, glass roofs, skyscrapers and grey stone.

Wednesday, 9 August 2006


I've been tagged. In the old skool sense of the word, running around the playground trying to get the slightest touch on someone else in order to pass IT on, rather than the modern sense of the word of having some graffiti name scrawled across me hundreds of times in indelible marker or scratched onto me with a glass cutter.

So anyway, its a Panty Party. I'm tempted to anglicise it and make it Knickers Party or Pants Party (so that boys can join in) or just give it its most appropriate title: Show Us Your Knickers. Its a meme. This'll be the first meme I've ever participated in. Wooo. Since I was bemoaning the fact, not so long ago, that the community was slowly seeping out of the blogosphere I reckoned this time I should join in, especially after being made it.

So while this kind of post should probably feature the titilating frilly fancies made of two triangles tied together on a string, I am much more of a full pant kind of girl. Although somewhat more structured than those that I was last seen wearing outside (see below).

I give you: me and Ronald McDonald (cousin K will notice she has been sliced out of this picture - only for her own continued anonymity) sporting a rather lovely, but baggy, pair of yellow ones and a fetching pair of pantaloons which quite rightly match the frock and respectably only show the lower calf. Not for me the public displays my sister was prone to when tucking her vest into her favoured nylon picture pants (also below).

I could see this carrying on and on. Perhaps a stroll about town on Saturday to capture some fleeting glimpses but we shall see. And then, I've no idea who would be appropriate to

Here's how it works.
  1. Copy the entire text of this post (the part shown in italics) and post in your blog. Reminder: don't copy photos.

  2. Add your name and link to the Panty Meme Participants list below.

  3. Post a picture of panties. It's fun if you post a picture of your own panties, but it does not have to be. And BTW you don't need to be wearing them, but it's your blog you can do what you like.

  4. Tag two people and change out the names below. That's it. Have fun.

1. Tara
2. dave

Kelly a yoga coffee outlook
Gingerbread latte
Martiza Jump in the Ocean
Ellie Sex in the Smoke
Harriet In the Aquarium

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Bus Ride

Pregnant woman at the bus stop smokes a cigarette and drinks a red bull.

Bus arrives. Packed.

Young woman in a turquoise high necked sleeveless shirt does her make-up when the bus stops. White eyeshadow. Brown eyeshadow. Brown eyeliner. Mascara. Takes from Green Lanes to Brecknock Road.

Girl with a teeshirt knotted at the back reveals a tanned and toned midriff. She's wearing grey skinny jeans, a smidgeon of white pants with grey elastic shows at the top. Obviously not a best-knickers day.

Youth in an avirex teeshirt helps a granny off the bus with her trolley, then makes faces at one of the children in the double buggy.

Double buggy parents talk about the fact that the double buggy doesn't fit in the buggy space. Instead they stand in the middle blocking the doors. Middle-class bickering tones.

The girl in the turquoise moves onto cleaning her nails with the blade of an open pair of nail scissors.

Double buggy mum smiles at me because I am writing in my notebook. For a second I wonder if she has x-ray vision.

A boy jumps on the bus just as the doors are closing, carefully holding his takeaway so it doesn't spill. The polystyrene tray doesn't quite make it on - a corner gets trapped between the doors. It isn't thick enough to cause the doors to open back up. He struggles to get it out. It makes that squeaking noise. I laugh. He laughs.

We all get off at Camden.

Saturday, 5 August 2006

London Alphabet
C is for Crowds

As a city dweller the bustle of life is just a part of it. Millions moving across the city in the general direction of the middle converge onto transport and streets in determined and purposeful fashion. Rush hour(s). Weekends bring the crowds of shoppers enjoying their leisure spending hard earned cash in droves. Oxford Street a big magnet where at least on the pavements there is a general flow left or right, with a slip stream for overtaking in the gutter. Wood Green on the other hand suffers from out-of-town crowding where groups splay out across the street with no decernable direction, mass shuffle. Trying to get somewhere involves movement akin to a pinball, bouncing off the sides, zigzagging along. Summer brings it out even more as we attempt to soak in the rays on little patches of green (doesn't matter if it isn't real grass) staking out our patch in the crowd. But in a city this big it is inevitable. Makes me long for holidays where I can be alone though!

A is for architecture
B is for Bridges
Abney Road Cemetery

I went for a stroll with HS in the cemetery in Stoke Newington, taking pictures for what I thought might be London's C.

Run down to the point where things seem to be teetering on the edge of collapse, it is none the less a lovely place, quiet without the do-goody types that man the gates in Highgate Cemetary. Still a place for local people strolling, cutting through, sitting with intent on a bench. A goth boy and a goth girl played basketball through the glassless window of the cremetorium. Inside it slowly decays away, damp stretching up the walls. And the grounds are in danger of being overtaken by japanese knotweed. Strongholds springing up all over the place. Once trained in what it actually looks like (HS knows this stuff) I've been spotting it all over the place this week - behind some billboards at Manor House, along the railway by South Bermondsey. It really does appear to be inching its way across the urban landscape.

Tuesday, 1 August 2006


Pigeons struggle to fly in a straight line but seem to be enjoying the updrafts.

Update: the title of this post should be BLustery but as pointed out by dave I missed out an L - much to his amusement. He was so amused that I think I'll leave it for now! NOte to self: must check one's writing more carefully.