Tuesday, 27 February 2007


Many times I've travelled past on the bus, looking into the tall dark rooms covered in enormous paintings of minor royalty and admirals and filled with leather chairs containing stiff businessmen in pin stripes. Some kind of exclusive gentlemen's club I always thought.

I spent the day there today at a conference. The Institute of Directors has a strict dress code of no trainers or jeans because it is a place of business. And no mobile phones were to be used at the reception. Never been to a conference with a dress code before.

Its rooms were grand, detail picked out in gold leaf, pictures bigger than most of the rooms in my house. Chandeliers.

I thought the one in the Nash room was rather gaudy with its glass that split light into rainbows (not dissimilar to those that can be purchased from a delightfully tacky light shop on the end of turnpike lane) and therefore assumed to be modern(ish) in comparison to the one in the Trafalgar room and the hallway, neither of which did the rainbow thing and had more beautifully cut glass in a wider variety of forms.

Monday, 26 February 2007


So you see someone around. Periodically seeing them on the last part of the daily epic commute. Only noticing them as you familiarise yourself with the surroundings. And then after two years, when your routine has settled down you start to see them more frequently and realise they are weird. Someone who was once just another smart office worker on their way to work suddenly becomes a neurotic who stands up against the doors whispering harshly into a mobile phone, who won't get on the train until its just about to leave.

Sunday, 25 February 2007


Coming home this evening stepping off the emptying 341 bus into the past-midnight street I realised that the now familiar streets, paving stones, buildings, people were no longer scary as they once were. I followed an elderly lady along the street in her baige mac and black hat to the unoffical crossing (place where everyone crosses but no actual pedestrian crossing exists) and crossed into my road. A quiet road, well lit. Familiar cars. Privet hedges, scrappy front gardens, ricketing low-rise fencing. Familiarity promotes feeling of safety. The known nooks and crannies no longer scary.

I've forgotten the fear I once had sitting at the bus stop late at night before I had moved in.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

I'm Loving...

Haunting, melodic, beautiful and suprising from a man who looks like a mountain man with a big beard - Ray LaMontagne. Loved his first album also - the fantastic Trouble.

I'm hating...

My new Dell inspiron LCD screen - keeps turning black with white lines - makes it very difficult to see what you're doing! Still the end is near - they're sending a technician out to replace the LCD finally on Monday after being told this is likely to be whats needed back on 9 Jan. In between I've had to jump through all their stupid technical hoops like reinstalling video drivers, taking machine back to factory settings because it might of been caused by software. Not been impressed I have to say and I've always loved Dell computers before.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

The Catastrophic Mistake of an Outfit
London Bridge. 9.14am

Felt hat, with a brim upturned on one side, worn at a jaunty angle over flowing salt'n'peppered locks. Black and white coat in large hounds-tooth check. Black mini-skirt, slightly flared. Sheer tights with tiny black spots and pink high heels, peep toes with bows. A total 80s extravaganza. Perhaps they were having 80s day at work.

Monday, 19 February 2007


How long does it take for a house to feel like home? My initial excitement at buying is long over (even before the completion in fact). The shock of the empty house left when I started pulling up the red carpets. The drive to make it mine was strong when I first got the keys but it waned over christmas.

I feel safe in my house and it has the mod cons necessary for a comfortable life. But, it isn't feeling like home yet. Perhaps because there are still things at my dad's - books mainly. Perhaps because there are boxes still piled up in the upstairs rooms. Perhaps because I'm still sleeping on the futon and haven't moved back into my bedroom after having guests at christmas. It all feels a bit temporary. And blank. Pictures. It needs pictures.

Perhaps its the let down of it all - while its nice having a your own space to do with what you please, it's just a house. I only get to be in it for any length of time at the weekend. Maybe there hasn't been enough time yet. It also feels chaotic. I'm probably craving organisation. Finished-ness. Dare I say perfection. Too many house magazines with all their perfect rooms, dressed with everything just so, not a thing out of place, everything in its place (those magazines aren't real - nobody in them actually lives like that, obviously, its all just for the shoot). They're supposed to be aspirational, I suppose, but just make you feel bad (feed the dissatisfaction!)

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Ceramics Class

I finally got to see the finished Ladypot - its been weeks in the making, carefully scratching drawings into it, thinking about the glazing and stuff. Generally I'm finding the end result a little bit disappointing but this one isn't too bad. I'm quite happy with it (apart from the thickness of the glazing). The drawings are really quite effective.

Over the course of the day I have changed my mind about what I wanted to say here. What I really wanted to say is that I was very nervous about the ladypot. I liked it a lot while I was making it and have been rather disappointed with the way glazes have turned out on other things. So it was with a great deal of anxiety that I left the glazed pot on the shelf for its final firing. And this week I found what was once grey with carved drawings on it has turned out like this:

I quite like it.

flickr ceramics classs set

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Be my Valentine

Its a cruel celebration really - enables those that have to rub those-that-have-nobody-to-share-it-with's noses in it. Still won't linger on that (wouldn't want to rub anyone's nose in it afterall).

Its a day for those who believe in true love to wear their romantic streaks on their sleeves, so to speak. At Moorgate there was a woman dressed in a red suede coat and boots, with a red feather boa. Off to the office with a colleague in tow. On the tube an otherwise dourly dressed woman wore a red enamelled heart-shaped badge on her lapel. And opposite her was a teenager in blond jeans with a bag full of goodies - mini red heart balloon, chocolates and something with a big red bow.

Happy Valentines!
Seven Sisters

They were trees y'know (you probably did, actually!)

A woman applies mascara on the notoriously bumpy section of the Victoria Line between Seven Sisters and Finsbury Park. Other people are rolled vigorously in their seats. She is watched by a man with a painstakingly perfect 60s bob - side parting and smoothed into a bowl with not a single hair out of place. He's wearing a short parker jacket (a blue one with orange inside and scrappy fake grey fur around the hood) and a big beard. Both of which detract from the smooth hair image.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Whatever happened to...

Jimmy Somerville? I think I saw him cycle past the bus stop this morning.

Saturday, 10 February 2007


I'm belatedly blogging about the snow. Largely to remind myself about how it looked. It was lovely looking out on Thursday morning to the softness, light and quiet of the gently falling snow. People had trampled the path before me, their footsteps crispy underfoot already. But my garden remained pristine bar a couple of trails of fox and local cats (either the black and white one or the one-eyed tabby).

By the next day the big melt had started (and completed in most places) but in Tottenham where the council hadn't salted the pavements the resulting compacted snow blackened on the side of the road. So it was nice that it was gone by the evening.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Fire Fire

So after the other women of the group got over their disappointment that the firemen giving the talk weren't in their hard hats and protective overcoats (so many cliched fantasies, bet they involved poles), they actually turned out to be a bunch of pyromaniacs. How their eyes lit up at the prospect of being able to put out actual simulated fires with fire extinguishers. Our crappy coffee cup managed to leak coffee onto one of the firemen's shirts. He decided to take it off, wash it, dry it on the radiator and hang round in his vest in the meantime (fanning the girls fantasies, perhaps, he didn't really look much like the diet coke man, though, which perhaps saved him). Fire safety training is scary actually.

Saturday, 3 February 2007


I first saw it hiding under the skirting board when I was sanding four months ago. I vaccumed under there carefully hoping to suck it up. Today it ran into the middle of the rug before I saw it. Its grown. Huge. (Not in turrantula proportions, you understand, but big for a british house spider). I froze. It froze. I looked round for something to catch him in. I considered pouring the water out of the nearby glass through a gap in the floorboards. I finally spied a box, emptied it, and like lightening slapped it over the top of the spider, clapping a cd against a hole on one side. Phew. A box is harder to slide a paper under though. I slid last week's weekend magazine under, it mostly fitted and daringly flipped the box right way up closing the lid as the spider ran into a corner. Spider nightmares (mostly that they'll run up my arm). I released it to the outdoors where he promptly headed for the ventilation vent under the building. Nightmare. I fully expect to have to catch him again.

Thursday, 1 February 2007


It seems to be agreed by everyone that London's Freesheets are getting out of hand. The additional litter and the fruggers (remember chuggers - charity muggers - bib wearing charity collecting harassers, fruggers are those agressive freesheet giver-outers who are everywhere on the streets of an evening).

This evening I found my bus littered by a stack of special editions of More than Conquerers from the Deya Ministries warning of the marriages destroyed by witchcraft spells and of witches attacking the head of state's granddaughter (the State being Cameroon). Scary.
The Pompous Ass

He was sitting on the tube reading his telegraph folded in half horizontally down the middle, held out in front of him with his arms not resting on anything, almost like an endurance test. Clad in a pink shirt (bound to be Pinks) with a feint blue check matched with a blue tie with pink stars.

Pompous ass, I thought. Judgemental perhaps but he was. Deconstructing my prejudice about his ass-ness I wondered what exactly made me think that when I had never spoken to the poor man. Its the way he sits, his pointy nose, the way he folded his suit jacket just so. Harsh, I thought, always jumping to conclusions. Perhaps I'm the pompous ass.