Friday, 29 December 2006


Laid in bed until My Fair Lady had finished. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
What's been happening over Christmas?

Well I'm finally back online at home. The luxury of blogging all over the house, not just in the computer room. So I expect the quality of posts will decrease as they are done in front of the telly (much like homework when we were at school).

Christmas has been and gone. In the two days before christmas I cleaned, tidied, sorted, bought a christmas tree, decorated it, went to a super-large supermarket to buy the makings of dinner two days in advance (shelves were empty, customers were fighting over the last bottle of baileys and shopping as if they were going to be holed up for 3 months), wrapped presents up at midnight on christmas eve (possibly even as Santa was coming down the non-existant chimney), had barely 5 hours sleep and woke with the toddlers at 6.30 to tear open presents without really looking at them. We ate but not too much, drank hardly anything, were tired enough to sit on the sofa feeling sleepy and forgot to play any games (once de rigeur for Christmas day). We also missed the Queen. But the roast potatoes were possibly the best they've ever been - following advice from sister who had seen them done on that science cooking programme.

Now the visitors have gone home and the house is back to the way it was before - still in a degree of chaos from moving in. And we're in that inbetween time between christmas and new year which sort of feels like no-man's-land. New year's eve - possibly the most over-hyped night of the year, almost impossible not to be disappointed by the outcome, almost certainly start the new year with a hangover. Roll on 31st.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Christmas Uncheer (2)

All day since 9.00am the Peckham one-way system has been jammed by people trying to get into Nettos. All the way down Alpha Street and round the corner. Honking. Obviously needing to feed the 5,000 or shop for the Christmas closure as if we won't be coming out again for a month.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Tube Conversation

In a bold attempt, a woman turned to her neighbour and asked him if it would be ok to have a conversation. He unplugged himself from his ipod and looked at her expectantly. It might have got off to a better start if she had begun with something other than, "I don't think the London Paper is terribly good reading material". But after an uncomfortable pregnant pause she confessed to being rather drunk from a work's do (after having to explain to him what a work's do was - it transpires he was a foreign waiter) he jumped on the opener by asking her what she did. Sadly they were only getting warmed up when he had to get off.

On the way out of the station I was glad to notice that not all young men have taken to wearing their jeans hanging-low, I spotted one amongst a group of low-slingers whose bum was firmly in his jeans. Nice to see.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Christmas Uncheer

I sat at lunch today reading the paper. First time in an age I've gone out to the cafe. On one side a baby screamed for attention as her mother chatted over a coffee witha friend. On the other side a man couldn't stop kissing his girlfriend, with slurping. After they ate they had a christmas gift giving extravaganza. the rush of early love had spurned them on to buy buy buy for one another. Each gift unwrapping was met with enthusiastic exclaims and was an excuse for another kiss. The biggest exclamation was hers when she opened a cow-teddy bear. Never have quite understood adult women who obsess about teddies. I was quite put off my lunch. Bah Humbug. Get a room!

Tuesday, 19 December 2006


A familiar figure comes into focus from the blur of periphery vision on the steps to the escalator at London Bridge. A small woman with a black coat and a rucksack, short fine hair. She used to travel on the same train as I did when I was working in Lewisham. I'm suddenly struck by an urge to know how she is doing.

"How are your dreadful children?" I could ask, "Still attending City of London Girls?" Terribly posh, blond girls, with knotted hair that she would try to tame into some semblance of a ponytail despite their wails of protest. Awful attitude they had to their mother, even when they were under 10. "Any more settled in your household?"

Instead I watch her walk ahead of me and disappear up a different escalator. She seemed so quiet and orderly by comparison to my memory.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Friday Night

The bus is full of semi-pissed. The night is yet young. Some are just setting out, all spruced and perfect hair. A woman slumps in her seat silent singing, with dramatic flourishes, to her ipod. Occassionally staring into its screen. I'm imagining some warbling Maria Carey number.
The Man Who Fell Asleep

I met Greg through his website Tube Gossip. I mean meet in the virtual sense of the word, actually I think its more akin to hanging around the cool people hoping they’ll notice you one day. Actually, they don’t even have to notice you, you just hope some of their cool will rub off. It was a simple concept, but highly effective and I wished I’d thought of it. So I first knew Greg through a form of blog envy. And then I discovered that he also wrote The Man Who Fell Asleep. Even more blog envy. I’d love to be one of those people who has an off-beat sense of the world, who sees things through kaleidoscopic glasses and throws you off at a tangent. I love those people. I read the man who fell asleep a lot before it sort of stopped. It made me laugh. It was very London (I collect blogs that are very London, in that quirky English way they can be). If there’s a blog I wish I wrote, it’s it.

I got an unexpected email announcing that The Man Who Fell Asleep has become a book. There was to be a virtual book tour. I would be one of the stops. I felt a sense of affirmation. I was sent a copy. It’s like reading an old friend. There are passages I remember from the blog but they were tied together into a narrative. While a blog feels fleeting and ephemeral, this made that writing substantial. And you could hold it and turn it over in your hand. You might like to buy a copy!

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

End of Term Feeling

Yeah, I've got it. Not because my work ends at the end of a term as such, but in my building the classes have stopped, students are trailing off, tutors are gone, they've put up christmas decorations in a vane attempt to keep some momentum going, and everyone is really really tired. The nights draw in, every night the bars are full of other people's office parties, and it feels like a time for nesting. Still another week to go after this one...

Thursday, 7 December 2006


11.05: green air, hailstones, lightning, thunder, torrential rain.
11.07: rain, hailstones lying on the ground like white shadows.
11.08: bright lightning flash. Big crack & roll of thunder, rumbling on. Police siren in the distance.
11.10: blue sky, white fluffy sun lit clouds.
11.35: blue sky
13.15: blustery wind.
15.13: dark sky one side of the building, strange light reflecting in rain drops the other.
15.14: blue sky, clouds, sun going down.

Tall man sweeps into the carriage and plumps into a seat, unzips his jacket and shrugs it off, re-adjusts himself and crosses his legs, reads his crinkly copy of London Lite. Opposite a man in checkered vans chats to a woman with a haircut like Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner - sharp straight fringe that brushes her eyes. He's talking about separating from his girlfriend who is the mother of his child - he feels its better than staying in a loveless relationship and potentially damaging the child. When he gets off at Kings Cross she starts reading The Catcher in the Rye. She's about half way through. I loved that book. I met an aspiring writer at a party once. He reminded me of Holden Caulfield, he threw himself into life with abandon willing to experience everything.

I am a passenger. And I ride and I ride.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006


Is stressful. That's almost all I have to say on the matter.

I remember as a kid moving from our lovely flat in Myddleton Square to our bare-floored house in Haringey. We cried.

I feel like that now. I'm not ready. Literally, physically and psychologically. I pack a couple of boxes each night, chucking out the horded detritus of decades - unwanted gifts, long lost unworn clothes, possible useful articles, toys-that-may-once-have-been sentimental. But it makes me feel insecure, scared of change. And then there's the rising panic. I still can't find someone, well actually a tradesperson, willing to take a window out and put it back so the sofa can be put in (it seems Saturday's are bad, and the fact that they are not nice easy wooden sash but instead rather a uPVC aboration).

I'm sitting in Starbucks across from the back of Liberties which used to be full of chocolate. Its full of special entry shoppers madly scrabbling for christmas things at 20% off. A stream of joggers pass between them and me - upright, leggings and bumbags. I'm waiting. Concentrating on breathing to settle the panic.

Friday, 1 December 2006

Department Vision

The meglomaniac head of division was giving us a collective pat on the back and telling us about future plans. These plans include subsumption of 700 staff from a different department and a localised network for power so we can seperate ourselves from the grid and become more efficient and less wasteful. We basked in the future glory and visualised the new republic of E&L, a principality within London. Some at the back were dropping off due to the heat rising. The leader asked for some windows to be opened, at which point one of the windows being opened fell off the building.