Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Feeling Hot Hot HOT

Bed was hot
Bath was cool
Fat rain was hot
Bus was hot
Train to Liverpool Street was hot
Bus was hot
Train to Peckham was cool (air con)
Building was hot
Office was hot
Meeting was hot
Cafe was hot
Afternoon in the office was hotter
Commute home was hot
House was hot
Dusk cooled
But not enough for a cool night's sleep.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Jewellery course on the hottest day of the year

Alex said we should go to a jewellery making course, so I agreed. She found a taster course which was going to make pendants and earrings. I got quite into the idea of doing some metal work again (its been 15+ years since I finished my degree and haven't touched metalworking since then - bad course, put me off). During the week I had an idea of what I wanted to make (focusing on the pendant since I don't wear earrings - no ear piecings - Dad used to say we were not allowed to mutilate our bodies and then by the time I was old enough to make up my own mind I no longer wanted to). Anyway, when we arrived the artist who was leading the session had a very specific idea in mind of what we were going to make and it transpired we weren't going to have much choice - we were making earrings and rings out of sheet metal. It is sensible to teach beginners the techniques needed to make the items by making everyone do the same. So we made earrings and rings instead.

Earring hoops were made from silver wire, decorative bits were made from sheet silver, hammered, punched with letters, milled with wire or fabric to get grooves and imprints. To learn to make the ring from sheet we started with a copper ring. Sheet was cut to the appropriate length, decorated, measured again and soldered together. I actually enjoyed it even though I didn't get to do what I wanted to do.

Our fellow learners included a supertanned woman with a croyden facelift hairstyle who had recently stopped being a manager at an estate agency, and a young rich woman who seemed to have had botox injections and collegen lip puffing in her upper lip. Much one-upmanship about areas where we lived ensued. The artist has a whole house just off Upper Street, ex-estate agent was living in Marylebone, botox girl was renting in Islington with a view to buying (she skipped lunch to view two properties, she looked like she skipped lunch most of the time). Artist was looking for a buy-to-let property and started getting professional advice from ex-estate agent.

We worked hard and tried to ignore the property discussion and got finished an hour early. Al and I repaired to the Cuba Libra and drank mojitos.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Raku raku

We do raku firings rarely, the results I have had prior to this term have been patchy (many broken pots and strange glaze results). This term they have been particularly successful.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Living in a Bubble

He strolls through the gardens, hands in pinstripe suit pockets. His suit is crushed on the back because he was lying on the grass with his eyes closed plugged into his ipod.

Its become overcast but is one of those weird days where the air is body temperature and the atmosphere is having no discernible impact on the skin.

I'm feeling cut off - I like to feel a bit of weather, and I have been listening to my ipod to get away from the noise of the office, but it blocks the sounds of the street, people and what is happening around me. Bubble living.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Quiet Saturday

Bails and I went for a coffee at the garden centre in Alexandra Palace. It was overcast and drizzly. We sat under a great big patio umbrella in the rain. Bails was buying a pot for her rubarb plant. I was trying not to buy anything at all since my garden is full, but came away with a clematis to climb through an old arching rose and some fat balls to try to temp the sparrows away from the shooting bamboo (they are sitting in big gangs on the limbs and bending them until they break and pecking out the forming leaves).

Definitely the summer season has started, I woke up this morning with 8 mosquito bites itching like mad on my legs. Probably picked up from a raku firing on Thursday or sitting outside the pizza place after (neighbourhood restaurant where we eat outside and drink too much sambuca). I forget how badly I react to their bites each winter and only remember when I've scratched them into big hot red patches - in India at the Taj Mahal, families kept staring and moving away because I looked diseased and a fellow british tourist pointed and exclaimed my girlfriend is afflicted with exactly the same problem!

Friday, 18 June 2010


A couple are fighting, walking down the side of H&M of Oxford Circus on opposite sides of the pavement. She is shrieking and he is as far away from her as possible. She stops, screams and runs off back to Oxford Street. He runs after her.

I turn the corner expecting him to have wrestled her to the ground. Instead, she is crying and screaming. She turns and leans her head on her arm up against the bus shelter. Weeping in great dramatic sobs. He punches himself in the face. Chucks his bag and then stands in front of a bus hoping it will run him down. It doesn't.

A crowd of people have formed an audience, pressed up against the windows of BHS. Car crash relationship. People just love to rubberneck. I take one last look - her long hair is a wild tangle around her face and shoulders, her eyes are wet and her mouth is contorted in a silent howl. I move away, it is too much of a drama, too theatrical and too painful to watch.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


Man in a pinstripe suit has an electric shave on the tube platform. Standing next to him on the tube train I notice it isn't a very close one - whiskers still sprout patchily across his jaw. Pulls a necktie out of his pocket and puts it on, collars up, tie knot, collars down. He attempts to use the concave tube doors as a mirror - they are too much like the mirrors in a hall of mirrors to be much use - he is probably stretched in the middle without a head. This is the male equivalent of a woman doing her makeup on the tube. Never get a terribly satisfactory result with all the juddery bumping along.

Two escalators go up together at London Bridge. On one side two letchy middle aged business men ogle the blond teenage travel group girls on the other escalator who must be going to the London Dungeon this morning.

Monday, 7 June 2010

How to be silent (not)

The cafe was full of people eating alone. I finish my book and set it aside to eat. Became acutely aware of a man two tables away when he belched loudly. The belch lingered in the air unexcused (no companions, no need to excuse oneself, I suppose). His nose makes noises when he exhales through it. He clears his throat. His presence becomes as irriatating as the women next door chatting endlessly about work, jobs, hours. Big sigh. More nasal sputterings.

The women compare their grades [pay scales] against colleagues, muttering about fairness. How does she get to be an 11 when we're on 10, its not like she has much more than us to do. Its not fair. Perhaps because of the lack of proxmity to HQ they feel it is unlikely anyone sitting nearby would understand the discussion. But to me, unbeknownst to them, its clear. I feel like a spy.

Outside there are a lot of babies, not all of them cute. A particular bruiser that I would guess were a boy if she wasn't wearing a dress is trying to communicate with the table next door. Looking from one to the next, sort of pointing to her mother and saying mamamamma.

Nasal guy sighs loudly and clears his throat.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The White Pants

The white pants had a stubborn stain, shan't go into details. Hasten to add they are not my white pants (I profess to not own a single white piece of clothing). So, anyway, I had agreed to wash them in an attempt to get the stain out. I tossed in some dirty tea towels (wouldn't want to run the washing machine empty). A quick wash at 40 degrees didn't help. So I did a pre-wash, 90 degrees. (Fool). The pants came out clean, but a particular shade of pale pink. Pesky tea towels. Panic. New white pink pants. Put them in a weak bleach solution until they looked, well, better. Pink sheen had gone. Pleased with myself I put them back in the wash, dried them in the sunshine. Folded them up ready for collection.

When he came I decided not to tell the boyfiend the trials and tribulations. He picked them up and the first thing he said was, "you made my pants pink...", I ignored him and walked into the kitchen, "... and you weren't going to tell me!"

Oops caught.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Summer Rain

After the heat, rain. A large drop falls individually. Then more, hard and fast. I watch the little round wet marks overlapping, building until its saturated, just drops bouncing back up from the puddle where they land.

Grass blades raise up in appreciation. Flowers droop, rain drops pummelling their petals. As the sheets of rain keep coming petals fall and become plastered to the ground. Smell of rain on hot ground cleaning the air.

The sky lightens, the air lightens. It is daylight again and the rain stops. Overhead the gunmetal grey clouds have gone, left behind a gentler-seeming fluffiness only tinged with grey.

The cistus' crumpled paper flowers are folded in half. The petals drop off, one by one, before they ought to.

Thursday, 3 June 2010


It was nice after work to walk through the city - crossed Tower Bridge as it raised to let through a tall ship. Went through the back streets to keep away from the crowds of tourists and commuters.

At Liverpool Street they announced the platform for the delayed 17:38. The mass of standing bodies turned from the departures board and swarmed towards the entrance gates. Queue, bump, bump. Through the gate. Along the platform passing coach after coach with no lights and locked doors. Aware of being a member of a mob of determined walking people. We are walking with pace. Cutting across, brushing round, in front of slower people. I worry about my shoes stepping on my toes that are in sandals. I have to alter my stride to avoid placing my feet under the heels of those in front of me. I get a flash image - what if none of the carriages will be open, and we just surge along the platform until the end, fall off like lemmings. Or carry on in the same determined massing down the slope onto the line, along the tracks and away from the station...

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


At ceramics class last week we did two raku firings. There is something extremely exciting about the immediacy of a raku firing. In an hour watching the kiln heat up, checking the hole in the top of the kiln for signs of the glaze on the orange glowing pots go from orange peel texture to smooth. Once ready opening the kiln (against what we would normally do) and transferring red hot pots to bins of sawdust - fire, smoke. After half an hour getting the pots out of the sawdust and seeing the transformation - this time the turquoise all turned into the metallic copper. Quite liked the results for a change. And against normally all the pots I got out were whole (last time every pot was cracked!).