Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

(Pumpkin lanterns made out of clay with tea lights - made in the 10 minute exercise at ceramics class a couple of weeks ago - more than one student's work here).

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Centre Point

Central point in London is a big tower block. I go to meetings there occassionally. This time it was the 18th floor. If I worked there I think I would spend all day staring out at the view. But perhaps over time you get used to it.

The sun was low in the sky, the windows weren't clean, it looked hazy across London. Landmarks stood out. Suprising sometimes - like the glass roof on the British Museum. Docklands looking large and looming up in the east. Feintly seeing Tower Bridge on its curve of river. Wembley far west (couldn't take a picture that direction because of the venetian blinds on that side of the building).

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Windows of the Rich

Canonbury Square at dusk - large Georgian houses with genrous doors all painted black. The gardens in the centre are shaded with huge plain trees, planting in keeping. Walking on the york stone paving slabs somehow seems luxurious in itself, particularly in comparison to modern concrete slabs and cheapo tarmac. Yellow light from the old gas laterns bathes the street.

These houses are too posh for net curtains. Plenty of views into the large rooms with their high ceilings and chandeliers. Shutters for those who crave privacy.

Its soon time for supper. Two women cooking. Kitchens that look onto their back gardens at the far end of vast rooms with the dinning area towards the street. Busy at their sinks, backs to the street. Piled up groceries on the kitchen islands. One black cat sitting watching on the counter.
Influences of Harry Potter

I stopped into the opticians to see if they had a different kind of glasses - fancying something new, less square. A woman and her son followed me in. She and I browsed through the lines of uber-cool contemporary frames - plastic with stripes and inlaid diamonte, titanium with laser cut patterns. He son spied a particular frame.
"Mummy, mummy will you buy me some round frames please?"
"When you need glasses I'll get you some."
"But I do need some...Can I get some for fun?"
"No you can't." Half to herself, "but I need some new ones." She picks up a frame and tries it one, lookingin the mirror.
"Mum, let me try!" She puts them on him. He looks in the mirror, up, down, side to side. Approvingly.
"Professor Osborne", is his verdict to himself, "Mummy can I try some round ones? I need round ones."
"No! You don't need glasses, now stop pestering me."
"I do need sunglasses though," triumphantly.
"Where's the sun?"
"I can see it. I can!" He turns to the assistant, "I need sunglasses, do you sell them?"
"Yes, we have hundreds," she points.
"Nathan! Stop!"
This desperation for a pair of glasses is astounding to me - it felt like a failure of massive proportions when I first was told I needed glasses. Being one of only a couple of wearers at school I didn't because I couldn't handle the comments that would have been made. I think his mother should get him a cheap pair with plain glass.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Friday Feeling

For some reason everyone was wearing jeans today. Very relaxed. Sort of hung over from previous night's shinanegans.

It was Nigel's last day today. Retiring. I've not idea who Nigel is. He's upstairs. The envelope came round, and the card, but I didn't sign - he wouldn't know me either. Those that knew him went up for "party" at 4.00. Big square cake in large bakery box. Always spongy, often coconutty. Fake tasting icing out of a squeezy tube. Not much art in cake decorating anymore. Gifts in cheap wrapping paper from the whip round. Retirement gifts ought to come in classy wrappings. Gone are the days when it was an expensive gold clock.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Beautiful Morning Images

There's an advet on the tube about a club you enter in London and exit in New York that compares the two cities' skylines and riverscapes at dawn. New York is dark midnight blue, with a dark blue river water reflecting lights from the city. In contrast, London is a sort of mottled pinky, blue grey. Grey buildings with orange rising sunlight reflected in their windows. I've seen the Thames like that, on early morning starts, and also often on the way home at dusk, the riverbank lights and the sky reflecting in the water. Sort of fairy tale.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Sunday Shopping and Strolling, Harringay Green Lanes

Turkish barbers is busy with young men getting short, shaved lines and sculpted crowns. A slick of product and a brush on the neck.

Girls in skin tight jeans. One size too small. Flesh poured in, knicker elastic showing a smidge - lacy racy pink or plain white. Skinny eastern european girls in stonewash.

Young, good looking dwarf - perfectly proportioned, apart from his shorter than average legs.

Old turkish men - tweed jackets, moustaches and blue shopping bags - fruit, vegetables, bread and maybe even some sheep balls - white, veiny, lined up like eggs in the meat counter.

Mercedes and four-wheel drives pull in, parking illegally while passenger darts into the shops. Waves and toots for friends as cars drive slowly past.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Ceramics Class

So we discovered the extruder and started making these big perfect coils really quickly. I'm not sure its actually quite authentic - coil building is hand made and maybe ought to look like it. But you can build quite quickly this way. Not quite sure how to glaze the long necked one yet. The stack of donuts pot though is all thought out, if it ever dries enough to fire (coils are rather thick).

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Stories from Kate

She's full of stories. I cried laughing. On the way back from TC to the office there was a large yellowy red leaf trapped in the windscreen wiper. Turning them on did nothing - it just waved jauntily at us through the window, back and forth. Kate said they used to have a van with windscreen wipers that wouldn't go back and forth. They would debate at length on rainy days over who would be the driver and who would be the passenger and work the wipers with strings that came through the windows. Must've been terribly energetic in a downpour.

Monday, 15 October 2007

The Facilities

My preference is for the cubicle furthest from the door - next to the wall. I went in there today and someone in there on their own was in the middle. I'd never go in the middle one by choice. If someone was in my cubicle I'd go in the one on the near end, and only if both those were occupied would I go in the middle.

In this office move the facilities are down a grade from the previous ones - they had windows and were painted white. These are yellow with woodchip wall paper and no windows. Someone has helpfully left a poem on the back of each door.
Please look back before you leave
To check for gifts you wouldn't want to receive
We thank you.
Toilet doggerel. Written in a chirpy, non-standard issue typeface. It makes me and two of my colleagues want to leave something nasty on purpose - we were thinking rubber snakes or plastic flies from the joke shop.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Knitting and Sewing

On the bus passing through Ally Pally, it was a clear day and I could see forever... Well across the whole of London, past ridge road, to the city and Canary Wharf... There was a show at the Palace - The Knitting and Stitching Show. Overwhelmingly middle aged and overwhelmingly white women queued up to catch either coaches or buses away at the end. Beige handbags and carrier bags full of accumulated stitching and knitting goodies. Lots of navy, virtually no black. Determindly unmodern in that way that only suburbanite and middle classes can be.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Ceramics Class

Been back to ceramics class for four weeks now. Haven't made anything thats finished yet - been experimenting with extruding clay for coil building. Big coils. Its very exciting but not quite dry yet. Did finally decide that the laughing man that didn't quite get finished during raku summer school ought to be finished.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

After Work

Stayed until the orange sun dipped behind a building off to the west. The dusk was swift, the night dark. Liverpool Street was crammed with city bods drinking after work, crushed into the outside smoking areas. Drunk city boys. Pinstripes, black shoes. Queue in the mini-M&S in the station was long but moving fast. Stop off for singles. Everyone had one supper in their basket. No planning for tomorrow. All living for the moment. Likely to be heading back to their young professional's apartments - fancy kitchens with granite worktops, lots of shiny chrome gadgets and an unused cooker. Beautiful perfect developer-designed blandness.

Sunday, 7 October 2007


Sat am: woke up with itchy redness in corner of right eye. Rubbed it before realising what it was. Looking in mirror while washing realised with some anguish a sty was developing. Stayed home, didn't wear makeup. Itched like mad.

Sun am: definite lump developing, hard inside under eyelid. Inevitable.

Sun night: still there. Not going away anytime quickly.

Setting up to be an ugly week (trying not to notice the constant abrasion in the corner of my eye!). Haven't had a sty for over a decade. Seems to be a thing I had at school on occasion but not since.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Of Bruce Willis

Its been a long time developing but everytime I see him in a film I forget how cute he actually is. Lovely smile. Cheeky. Even if he does like wearing his trousers too high.
After Dark

Bus driving driving down wide tree lined boulevards. Orange street light poolling against the tarmac. A small strip of shops - grocers, telephone shop, closed newsagents. Council short-rises set back from the road by slightly landscaped grass with trees.

Reminded me of the first time I noticed the excitement of night. Driving into Exeter at 1.00am after a long car journey from London. Dark night, street lights slipping past the rear window, nobody around. I think I was seven. Always have liked night time since then.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007


The nights are drawing in. Its soon going to be clock-turning again. I haven't turned the heating on yet. That would feel like giving in too soon. I haven't put on a winter coat yet either. I'm braving it with a mid-season-weight anorak, well not really an anorak but you know the weight I mean. The leaves aren't turning yet though.