Saturday, 30 August 2014

Towie has a BBQ

Two very good friends of mine had a BBQ jointly for one of their birthdays and a friends birthday. They live in Essex. When I arrived I felt like I had walked onto the set of  The Only Way Is Essex. All Essex accents, permanent tan, collagen lips, boys who pump iron at the gym. One of the women was footballer Frank Lampard's ex. Gradually I figured out there were sort of two halfs to the party. The women of independent means with the Essex boys and the london, northern crowd amassed from various works, and classes and old clubbing days of my friends. The women of independent means were extremely helpful - bringing out food, clearing up. The gay contingent were hilarious recounting outrageous stories of the past. And then some time after dark it felt like it was time to leave before the  last train left.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Notting Hill Carnival in the Rain

Standing on the side of the road at Notting hill carnival in the rain. Waiting for the friends who invited me down to get reception and text me back. A man in orange asks me if he could stand with me under my umbrella. I spread it towards him and he takes hold of it. I don't let go. There's a silent tussel. I say I can hold it - it's my umbrella - smiling. He says I'm a man I've never had a woman hold an umbrella for me in my life, it'll feel odd if you do that. I let him have it. You won't run off with my favourite umbrella will you? I'm joking. No I have plenty of nice umbrellas at home.  We stand silently for a bit. Then he introduces himself. And I introduce myself. Some youths ask if they can borrow some shade in the umbrella to make a call. I say I guess that's ok. They are giggling and excitable. They blow a kiss back as they leave. We stand together under the umbrella again. Watching floats go past with their associated dancers. Some are trailed by huge crowds of excited young people, grinding, moshing, singing, hands up, running. The DJs winding the crowd up as they go. People are wet through, rain running down their glistening skin. Ignoring the persistence of the rain. Despite all this jubilation he thinks the atmosphere is subdued in comparison to last year. Eventually I ask the man how is the best way out of here. He being local knows that Holland Park is the best bet. We stroll up the hill from Ladbrook Grove, chatting. He is still firmly in charge of the umbrella. I hook my hand in the crook of his arm. He saves me a couple of times when I slide on something wet. And then I do the same for him. Safely delivering me to the station - I thank him. I wouldn't have found it this easily without your help. He hands back the umbrella. I go home. Gentleman. 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Drunk love

It's 5 in the afternoon. She's got a big boxer dog, she's thin, wearing jeans, smiling. The dog is leading her. She turns her head and shouts back at someone, in a slightly uncouth manner.

Coming up behind is a tall man looking like Saturday but not scruffy carrying a sainsburies orange bag which he has slung over his shoulder. His legs quiver as he is standing staring after her confused. He cautiously turns around on distinctly wobbly legs and staggers off. 

Who's in control?

So a friend was relaying a story about telling a workman that her brother-in-law liked to be in control. The workman said oh yes I know. Since the workman had barely spoken to her brother-in-law she wondered how? The workman said that when he went to shake hands he had reached out his hand palm down and covered his hand when they grasped. As opposed to meeting as equals with thumb up or friendly with palm slightly raised. 

As a woman I don't have as much experience of handshakes as I expect a man has, and frequently I think people temper their shake when they grip a woman's hand, so I'm fascinated by learning this new body-language... It's like secret coding. 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Jahovah bashing

Don't know where the Jahovah stands first appeared from or even when they arrived exactly but they are there at stations handing out pamphlets if a person approaches them for one. This is not hard sell like chuggers or traditional Standard distributors. Just a lot of meek ladies and men in badly fitting suits. 

On London Bridge today a man, quite possibly slightly irritated from a day in the bank bereted one of them standing quite close to her face - get off the street you are taking up space on the pavement with your pathetic pieces of paper. A man who had been waiting for the bus came over to tell the man he shouldn't be so abusive to her. The first man grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously while dragging the man towards himself. A bit of too-ing and fro-ing to the tune of there is no need to speak to her that way, with the first man saying nice to meet you in a passive aggressive manner. Finally the first man released the hand of the second man and stormed off down the street. The second man retuned to his travelling companion declaring his shock at such behaviour.

The Jahovah woman was shaking and tears formed in her eyes. Her colleague hugged her and told her, I'm guessing, about the evil that the devil bestows in people and we have to feel sorry for them for they know not what waits for them. And how she needs to develop thick skin because there's a lot like that around. 

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Grey seal

Sunny evening after the heavy rain and wind of the tail end of Hurricane Bertha passing over the UK. Walking on the beach near Waxham in Norfolk. Beautiful clean golden sand. Head of a seal popped out of the sea having a look around. As we walked down the beach saw another one - grey seal with silvery head.  Took a peek. Went back under. Popped up later on down the beach. Standing at the place where the waves reached up to on the beach, watching the seal float along the length of the waves, nostrils breathing. Sometimes it's head turned towards me on the beach to have a look. Followed us up the beach for a couple of kilometres and then back again while the tide came in. Total of five seals seen at one time. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Other than work

A colleague sitting across the aisle from me in the vast open plannism that is our central office is having a discussion with a men's outfitters about when he can bring the morning suit in that he bought from them to have the jacket taken in, and a couple of waistcoats. He has to wait for a time when Monty can come. I think these sorts of things should be arranged in home time. And not in a loud authoritarian voice in the middle of the working day. I'm reminded of the wedding that took an entire year to plan where I used to work. Lots of deliveries recieved and considered in the office. Cakes, menus, kilts, invitations... It went on and on! And when we eventually went to the wedding it was ever so slightly blended polyester, as opposed to 100% silk. 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Over hung

Long afternoon drinking on Saturday - watching the world go past in Brick Lane, chatting, lubricating with sambucca. Jolly fun time. 

Woke up this morning. Head unwilling to get off the pillow. Body craving eggs. Preferably with hollandaise sauce. Struggle ensued between the head and the body. Bathed. Full submersion helps the head. Prepares the body. Still not working very fast or coherently. Get dressed. Put on sunglasses while still indoors. This helps. Until I step out the house. Bright outside. Feels early and it's midday. Self inflicted - what gave pleasure yesterday gives pain today! 


Working day - generally walking purposefully, fast even, everyone in the tube corridors know where they are going. Bankers and office workers at London Bridge and Moorgate. Pace set by the urgent need to be making money. This pace helps to shave important minutes off a journey to enable better timekeeping. 

Meeting in Kensington. All the people in the tube, on the platforms and all over the pavement appear to be tourists. Crazy holiday outfits. Massive suitcases. No idea where they are going. Travelling from London Bridge to here I'm caught in that weird thing where you start off at one pace and on coming out the other end you are persistently tripping over people - like catching the tube on the weekend and forgetting it will be full of shoppers strolling rather than the work commuters that are usually down there. Don't know that I could cope with always working in a tourist area. 

Friday, 1 August 2014


At the bus stop at Finsbury Square there is a man waiting. He is wearing black jeans - very slim fitting (not skinny jeans stretched over stick thin legs like gothic punks) so you are aware of the muscles in his legs and an asexual bulge a la Ken (as in barbie and ken). And a faded denim shirt - this is worn slim fitting also. Tucked into his jeans there is no blousing from excess fabric - the buttons lie flat over his stomach which doesn't have obvious abs and flat over his chest which doesn't have obvious pecs. I'm looking at him because I can't figure out why this slim fitted look is so odd. It's old fashioned somehow. None descript in its nothingness. Perhaps this is normcore. Just ordinary in a totally non-styled none-descript manner.