Monday, 31 January 2011

Of Dogsitting and Panic

Invited to London to look after a house while the owners are away and dog-sit at the same time. Thoroughly enjoying the city. Walking the dog and having a house to roam around in.

Come down one morning to find the dog has died in the night. Shocked and unsure what to do, look up a vet, call them. The vet says bring him in - they can look at what may have happened. Next issue - how to transport the dead dog to the vet, and how to get there. Having planned the route, discover a suitably large suitcase (this is not a small dog), put the dead canine inside and set off.

Surprisingly heavy load. Struggling up the stairs at the tube with the case. Passing man asks if he can help. Consider, then say actually its heavy, yes appreciate the help. Boy it is heavy, what you got in here, he asks. Quick thinking come up with a plausable explanation - boyfriend's decks - he's a DJ and is doing a set later. Man promptly runs off with the case. Second shock.

Two things flash through the head.
  1. The man's face when he opens the case and discovers that his most recent criminal act has not resulted in his ownership of a fine pair of decks but rather a dead dog. Perhaps he's selling it on sight unseen to some budding DJ or a fence...
  2. The explanation to the owners becomes increasingly implausable - OMG the dog died, I was taking him to the vet, in a suitcase, when I was mugged...

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Lady Marmalade

Today I was mostly making marmalade. I didn't start until after 9pm so didn't get finished until 2am. Forgot I needed to let the mixture simmer for 2 hours, and then melt sugar and boil for a further 20 minutes, and putting it in jars took half an hour.  Anyway, the house smells divine - orangy in a way that evokes the summer. I didn't used to like marmalade but this reminiscence of summer is a lovely thing, especially in the middle of the winter.

There's a road that crosses Calendonian Road where when you stopped at the lights in the summer (having the window down, music playing) the scent of oranges would waft over from the orange juice factory. Made you feel like Florida. Cooking with oranges is like this. Pungent smell that is very evocative.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Ceramics Class

3rd week - three-legged spoon pot came out of the kiln this week - think its very jaunty with all the spoons inside. Finished the first water jug (thinking of making 4 of them for various people), and a 20 minute coil pot that I covered in green slip. Roll on next week, got things to do!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Me & the Foxes of Peckham

Leaving work at 930pm. The temperature has dropped. It's slightly misty. You can taste the damp in the air. Sky is pitch black and the recently huge moon isn't visible from my vantage point. Crossing, a fox darts out from the Girdler's Cottages and runs round the corner in a flash. The streets are deserted. Smoke drifts out of a chimney and is blown off by the chill, it's not really wind. The station is deserted. Distant sound of sirens and some feint background city noise like a quiet tinnitus. A plane crosses the sky but is not visible. Fingertips are frozen. I need some fingerless gloves (I can't type on the touch screen with full gloves). They would add to my channelling-a-Toulouse-Lautrec-prostitute-image (patent leather lace-up boots, black tights, hair twisted high in the fringe).

Saturday, 22 January 2011


I'm waiting to catch him, have a little word
What was she doing with his medical certificate? 
Well, it wouldn't be the first time, what can we say - she is the company bike, everyone rides it. So perhaps there's something going on in that department. Like I said waiting to bump into him and have a little word...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Gabriel Orozco at the Tate

Private view - started at 7.00, we were in time to actually see the exhibition before it got too crowded and before those who were just there to be seen arrived. The work ranges wildly in scale from objects that can be held to huge collections that fill up a gallery. It demands closer inspection, the beauty of it is in the detail - the skin prints on ceramic, wrinkles in the paint of pictures made by folding to create symmetrical prints, telephone numbers from the telephone book, pieces of blown out tyres that curl and fray like seaweed, lines drawn with a ruler with blips that go round fingers overhanging, lint from tumble dryers that is grey fluff barely holding together full of hair and threads and flakes. It is playful and funny - the one seat wide Citroen that looks like a glider plane or a racing car, fan with toilet rolls that spiral from each blade. Quietly clever beautiful photographs - concentric ripples across a pond that is actually a puddle on a roof, bicycle tracks circling through two puddles, watermeloncats. I like this work alot. Some of it was very familiar, definitely had a feeling I had seen some of it before.  I hadn't realised I was standing next to the artist and his son in one of the galleries until I came out and saw a video. Later I threw off my London nonchalantness and asked him to sign my copy of the catalogue. He was very obliging and afterwards held my hand in both of his as we shook  and said it was a pleasure meeting me, despite the fact I barely said two words to him and we really only shared an intense look. When I got home and shelved the books I found a catalogue from the ICA in 1996 where I had seen some of the work before. Its not often I feel as inspired and excited by an exhibition as this. I loved it, worth a look.

Laura Mclean-Ferris in the Independent

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Neighbourhood events

Late afternoon on a 341 to the supermarket. As we turn into Glover Drive, home of Tescos and Ikea, one of a pair of girls (who on closer inspection do appear to be overdressed for a trip to buy furniture or household supplies) asks if this bus is going to Angel. I manage to suppress the chortle forming in my throat and tell them this is Angel Road Superstores not Angel (good for going out with it's plethora of pubs, eateries and nightclubs). Indignant, she says but it says Angel on the front. Personally I would have thought the feeling of it not being the right direction would have started dawning before the end stop as the bus travelled further into deepest Tottenham or even as it passed Manor House tube. The confusion of London. They had along journey ahead of themselves back to civilisation.

On the way home, getting off the bus, a dramatic car crash had just happened. A woman stood on the side of the road hugging herself against the cold in orange fluffy slippers and a teeshirt, curtains twitched in the flats opposite, bystanders ogled. The car had careened headlong into the safety barriers by the pedestrian crossing. As I got closer there was an arc of broken glass strewn over the pavement on the other side of the road, possibly the car went out of control before swinging across the road into the barriers. There was nobody in the car. A helpful bystander told me they all jumped out and ran away. Stolen car seemed to be the general hypothesis. An ambulance arrived as I turned down my street - wasted trip...

On my way out today the street was full of parked cars - Tottenham playing at home - a red jaguar searching for a spot pulled in to let an oncoming car pass scraping the back end of a parked vehicle. A man in grey sweat pants recorded the red jag's numberplate and inspected the damage. He scraped it didn't he - we conflabbed. Neighbourly I thought.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bleak Mid-Winter

Its been relentlessly grey and damp. This is much more depressing weather than all the bright shiny snow we had in the lead up to Christmas. The daylight is low, the drizzle keeps going, its wet, there are puddles. Its making things seem a bit intense - maybe its the pressure building up under the clouds. Someone said there will be more snow in February, I'm actually looking forward to it. There is something jolly about the muted sound, colour and drifts of snow covered spaces. And there was blue sky.

Monday, 10 January 2011


It seems a long time since we used to shout at women wearing fur "Yuk! Your disgusting fur coat" and other such slogans as advised by PETRA, and those adverts of models dragging blood dripping fur coats along catwalks.

We have shared coat cupboards at work. They have hangers and are aired nicely so they are not smelly. One of the ones I use regularly started to have a fur coat in it during the cold spell. It might be rabbit - it somehow doesn't seem like a really expensive fancy one. Its a little bit scraggy, or something. Fur coat no knickers. Springs to mind every time I open the cupboard to put my coat in. I try not to put my coat next to it. Not sure whether thats because I don't want it tarnished by it or don't want my coat to feel of a lower quality.

Finally I discovered who was the fur coat wearer. A tall and painfully thin blond with a fondness of incredibly high tarty shoes. Fur coat no knickers seemed appropriate.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

All in Grey

In Costas by Kings Cross downstairs from the Premier Inn there seem to be an awful lot of people in smart grey. Grey jackets and grey trousers, two in grey jumpers with a light grey cuff and collarband, and then two raincoats with lime linings. A uniform. They are all talking in french. Eurostar staff. Doh. Then another man comes in wearing a long slate blue coat, a bright red scarf and matching glasses. Natty. Another uniform - his bag says East Coast to Leeds. Must be all the long haul staff of the train companies who dress like air hostesses. Train hostesses. Like those cleaners who are now called Train Presentation Staff, and ticket inspectors who are Revenue Protectors.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy 2011

So making a change from Jules Holland and feeling sorry for myself on the sofa, I was invited to a new year's eve party. While the majority drank bubbly, we had brought whisky (not my usual tipple but I quite enjoyed the heat in the back of the throat experience). A mixture of friends and neighbours, nibbles and music. Midnight crept up on us quite unexpectedly and the host let off some fireworks in the back garden (mostly low level spark throwing and smoky, some medium sized bangs). Chinese sky lanterns drifted up into the sky from neighbouring parties. After the new year began the music was turned up and there was dancing. Happy new year!

I haven't made any formal new year's resolutions though, have you?