Thursday, 30 October 2008

Paper Lite

Our modernise team at work is making us practice being paper lite (we're going to a new office which will be spiffy but require hotdesking with finite storage space). I'm not good at paper lite. I have records that need to be kept for external bodies. It isn't unnecessary, its required. I also work on several projects at once and undertake lots of tasks at the same time (y'know, multitasking - its a skill, apparently). I leave the work out so I remember that I'm doing it. I put it away when its finished. Our departmental modernise tsar thinks I'm just messy and unnecessary. Its a little offensive.

So tomorrow we will be clearing our desks. We did this two months ago. We will also be carving pumpkins for a departmental contest. Personally, I have work to do.
Cold Snap

Oooeeee its cold. [Not cold, of course, by artic standards, nor for that matter by Wisconsin standards - huge piles of snow not melting on the fields and streets, blue clear skies and cool winter sun, never getting above freezing for months. Not even cold by Scottish standards]. Cold for South England in October. Time for hot chocolate, snuggling on the sofa in a blanket, and yes for the central heating (even though I swore I wouldn't turn it on until November).

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Fall Back

We fell back on the weekend. Each six months we put ourselves through this ridiculous body-clock upsetting rigmorole. Its miserable now - dark at 5.30 (before work chucks out), hate it. Really makes it seem like winter drawing in. Dreary, dark and grey from now until spring (British winter for you). Our winters are not like the bright but cold winters of Wisconsin (blue sky, sunshine, never gets above freezing). For now my internal clock is struggling to get back in line.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Brain dead

Facebook is making me brain dead. I suddenly realise I haven't written anything for ages, instead I've been playing MobWars on Facebook - if ever there was a stark reminder that computer gaming stifles creativity and imagination. I'm going to have to go cold turkey.

Pops wrote me an email about the blog being dead - some programme on Radio 4 was discussing what was to become of blogging now that Facebook, Twitter and the like are here. In writing the reply to him I decided that of all of them blogging is a more high end art - at least you have to write about something - while the others are more like chatting. I like blogs because they are an individual's work - they don't look alike, they don't sound alike. Effort is expended to create something.

I've also decided to stop reading the free rags that abound on public transport and in the street because they too are rotting my brain. Too much gossip news is bad for intelligent processes. Instead I have been reading books again - I'm on the third one. Its better.

Friday, 17 October 2008


A caf. One of those cafs where people go to eat alone, fast. Not fancy lunches with ciabatta bread, fine lettuce and cheese from abroad. A greasy spoon, with formaica tables that are attached to the chairs, with tea stirred with iron girders, everything with chips, and customers that ask the waitress to hold the salad. Builders in dirty shoes, old ladies of Walworth, old men with nothing to do, pramface girlmums and their mothers. All the lone eaters sat on the same side of their tables - looking out onto the autumn sunlit street. Occassionally flicking through the paper - the kind that carries topless pictures on the third page. A man came in and sat down on the next door table to a lone woman. Bucking the trend, he sat facing her across two tables. It felt oddly inappropriately intimate. He ordered plaice and chips with peas. And tea, with lots of sugar. She had to think about not staring at him when she surveyed the scene, looked out of the window.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Ceramics Class

Its all about the bowl this half term. Two different series - the first were more torn bowls. Thinly rolled clay torn into strips and laid into a mould - pressing them together very slighly - just enough that they hold together.

The second series is made of porcelain, mostly pinch pots, also thinly made. Rice grains were pressed into the clay - I bought long grain and pudding rice. They burned out in the firing leaving little dents. They were glazed with transparent glaze that fills up the holes.

Friday, 10 October 2008

End of a Book

A book. Not like a newspaper, which is disposable, throw away, fleeting and dates (wouldn't think of reading a two day old paper, although it comes back into its own as history later).

With a book there is a relationship. You carry it round with you. The words wrapped in its jacket. Holding it as you read, touching the pages as you turn them (with newspapers you want to touch them as little as possible - holding the edges so the print doesn't rub off on your fingers).

So you carry the book round (and from a personal point of view I try to keep it neat, protect it, not let it get too scuffed up from bag battery) and read it in fits and starts, on the tube, bus, lunch hour and snatched five minutes after arriving at work becuase the paragraph isn't quite finished. Absorbed into its described world. When its a good read you're conflicted - rushing to get to the end but wishing it would last forever, the story drawing you further and further until you turn the last page, read the last paragraph, the last sentence, the last line and finally the last word.

At which point you are thrown out of the world your mind has been inhabiting back into the reality of your own world. All grey, inky, cold, wet and responsible. Its like a breakup - suddenly there's a hole that was once filled by the writer's voice. You don't want to fill it with someone else's straight away, you need to recover and not to rebound. Its emotional.

I will carry it home later and put in on the shelf where it will remind me of itself when my eye casually lands on it in passing. The book I'm breaking up with today? Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (yes I know I know - old book, ought to have read it already - its been sitting in my to read pile for a number of years)

Saturday, 4 October 2008


Jubilee Line between Waterloo and Baker Street is considerably posher than my route between Seven Sisters and Highbury & Islington. Suits on my line are cheap and worn with brightly coloured shirts and fat-knotted ties - the sort popular with mobile phone salesmen on Oxford Street. Jubilee line suits are political - pinstripe double breasted - smart and old school. Also there are lots of tourists - anaraks and backpacks.

Change onto the Hammersmith and City line. I'm not chilled out enough for it. I'm a Victoria line girl - a train every minute, one in three an empty train so you get a power-sit down for two stops with time to read the Metro. Hammersmith & City trundles along the oldest cut-and-cover part of the tube network. People get on. People get off. Chucks us all off at Edgware Road after changing drivers, waiting for 10 minutes and then deciding it is now going to be a Circle line train. Nobody complains. In my head I'm hopping mad and cursing. Frustraing. I'm glad I don't have to travel this line always.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Ceramics Class

Back to class. I had some things to finish that I started last term.

One of them I made by rolling clay very thinly, tearing bits off and layering them into a mould (bit of a cheating way to work because the forming is not by my hand), and for the other I wanted to make a coiled pot with long skinning coils. It sort of held together and glazing really helped.