Tuesday, 24 November 2009

if you are on a fold up bike with small wheels do you really need to wear a go-faster aerodynamic helmet and all the special cycling gear?
Dramatic things for men to do with their look

"So, are you trying to be a cowboy?" She was looking at the newly sported full mustache that took a turn down the sides of his mouth. Not enough to look like a gay biker. Not enough to join into a goatee. But enough to for cowboy style. Ought to be worn with cowboy boots and spurs and the gait of the saddle weary. Chewing tobacco and spitting. Denim. Possibly a jacket made of suede with fringes. Definitely needs to be in the bleaching Californian desert. Not so great a look in smart slacks and loafers strolling around the Tooley Street office.
"Its men's health week," the cowboy explains.
"You're growing a mustache for men's health week?" confused.
"Yes! I didn't mean it to get so.. so... wild!"
"Yes, wild west!"

Friday, 20 November 2009


Rush hour, way home, on the train. Phone rings. Don't recognise the number so I don't answer it. Message from someone saying Bails had an accident. Agreed to meet at the hospital. North Middlesex. Arrived at the A&E department. Bails had not come in yet. Sitting waiting - sign said 3 hours. Man with a painful stomach is hunched over, his head on his hands on the back of the chair. His wife is sitting silently next to him. His son (who I suspect has the wheels) is chatting to a different patient and his girlfriend. I presume they are friends. The waiting is excruitiating. The son keeps sneaking into the restricted area and coming back with reports. Two women sit chatting loudly, laughing. Can't tell which one is the potential patient. Lots of people are using their mobile phones, even though there are signs all over the place forbidding it. Eventually I am too restless to stay sitting down anymore and stand in the queue again to ask whether Bails has been booked in yet. At first they say not but subsequently it turns out she is here.

8.00pm. Inside the restricted area there are curtained off cubicles and a central station. Its not like ER. Not quite like Casualty either. There is no sense of urgency. Lots of student doctors in strange smart outfits. Every once and a while someone gets up to see one of the patients in their curtained area. It seems that the doctors wear stethescopes. Nursing staff don't.

Bails has hurt her back in a gym accident. Some kind of weight lifting accident. She's lying still on the gurney. Stretchered in.

10.45pm. No doctor has come to make an assessment of Bails' case as yet. I ask the nurse at the station if there is a queue and if so where are we on it. She is irritated by me and looks at me accusingly. She grudgingly looks up the list of patients. 2 ahead of us. Other people who were waiting with me outside come and go. One of the female doctors looks like she has been up for 24 hours straight. Huge bags under her eyes. Grouchy demeanor.

12.15am. I decide to ask again where we are in the queue. Next it turns out. Took an hour and a half to see 2 patients. One of the other nurses asks whether anyone has been to see Bails yet. No I say, with some irritation showing. Its now late, I haven't had any supper. Finally at 12.30 the doctor comes and asks lots of quetsions. Bails is sent for an x-ray. X-ray comes back and 3 doctors stand around looking it it. One noticies a fracture. Everyone shows a degree more urgency. This is a serious injury. Shouldn't have been left for 4 hours on the trolley. Finally a doctor is assigned, Bails is fully assessed and admitted to the trauma ward. Its 2am.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday Morning

Weak winter sun hangs low in the sky. Standing in it the warmth is on the skin is hugely uplifting. Catches the yellow leaves and twinkles through the droplets of water that are hanging off everything.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Public information messages

Please be considerate to your fellow passengers and keep personal audio music and mobile phone conversations to a minimum.

Weird old fashioned messages on the train. Why is it that announcements and messages always feel rather out of date? I wonder if the man who used to do the announcements at New Cross is still there - a suprisingly tiny neat man with a voice from the 50s. I hardly ever refer to my mobile phone any more - mostly just phone, occassionally mobile, never together.

I follow a guitar player, girl with a hockey stick, and a tall man with very short legs, off the train at London Bridge. Its a bit chilly today - first day of the year when that I've put on gloves. Definitely winter now - although the garden isn't quite up with the season - still have hardy geraniums, roses, and the occasional rock rose bloom, one left over japanese anemone blossom.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Shoe Sizing

A woman on the tube had a pair of boots still in their box. Black 41 written on it. That's my size. Back in the days when they first introduced European sizing to Dolcis (shoe shop of choice when I was at school) I used to wear a size 40. This was equivalent to a 7. It turns out that that is actually closer to a 6 and a half, so they round it down to a 6. A 7 is now a 41. Gargantuan feet.

Sunday, 8 November 2009


Gross jobs I did today:
  • Picked up dead rat from the lawn (cup of tea, wandering around the garden as I like to do on a Saturday morning, horror as I came across a rat carcass - probably the prey of a local cat or perhaps fox). Shovelled it into a bin bag while trying to control my gag reflex.
  • Unclogged the bathtub plug-hole (I have long hair that comes out in the wash). It looks like one or two hairs but when you pull them out there is always a huge clod on the end that has to be dragged up. More controlling the gag reflex. I'm getting quite good at it.
  • Cleaned the wheelie bin. I noticed there were rice grains in the bottom of the bin, then realised they were wriggling around - maggots - ugh. Sometimes the bin doesn't get emptied properly. Ninja gag reflex control. I am a black belt. Nothing will make me puke today.

Things I was using to keep my mind of the dirty jobs:
  • Fox sunning itself on my neighbour's shed roof.
  • Beautifully golden orange leaves of the Japanese weeping cherry.
  • Roses still in bud, in November - it doesn't seem normal.

After dark it was cold and misty - perfect Guy Fawkes weather. The smell of bonfires and fireworks hung in the air. Constant boom and fizz of fireworks exploding, sometimes the whistle of a rocket.