Saturday, 31 May 2008

Gardening jobs

Trimmed the tree
Trimmed the hedge
Mowed the lawn
Did some weeding

Amazing how much interest doing some yard work in the front garden can raise. Many offers of help (men's perception that women need help), lots of discussion about the good job being done, discussion of the tools being used.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Psycho Buildings

Caught sight of this at the Hayward Gallery Private View this evening. I want to see this.

Telegraph - series of pictures of the exhibits

Sunday, 25 May 2008


Woman with dog standing at the lights waiting to cross. Dog is very interested in the smell on the traffic light post. Cocked his leg and pee'd on it, narrowly missing owner's canvas shoes.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

The Fly

I'm plagued. I'm starting to feel that this is one of those horror houses that innocent and hopeful young families move into in movies. They start out all bright and painted and slowly the house starts to show its dark side - shadows seeping out from under doorways that lead into cellars that are alive. My house had a rat living under the floor. It died when I poisoned it. It stank. Then the flies started. Big fat blue bottles, in the middle of winter. Finally it all went away and I forgot...

Until I came in from work one evening slung on the kitchen light and out of the corner of my eye saw a something slink back under the cabinets. Had to be a rat. More poison. More fretting. Called the council out. Ratman came and said I was doing everything right. Eventually it died. It didn't stink so badly. There weren't so many flies. It was all over again.

The last few days I have been plagued by flies. It started after the fruitflies started - they lay eggs in compost of house plants. I think I'm repotting stuff this weekend to deal with it. But now I have regular flies. Tonnes of them. There's no bad smells, but they are certainly eminating from somewhere. Probably something dead under the floorboards. Somewhere.

House of death.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Bake a Cake Day

Someone came up with this great scheme at work. No problem, I learned to bake when I was young and know that (as long as the oven is right and I pay proper attention in the cooking) I can make a good cake. Making the decision on the day before what exactly to bake was a bit more of a problem. Should it be something quick and easy - taste over beauty for a quick win (Amy, my sister's solution), or something complex and impressive to show off my baking prowess. Should it be something I've made before or something new. Should I please myself (i.e. chocolate) or think of the audience and do something else. Decisions decisions. Such a lot riding on it. What started out as fun-to-do, turned into a high pressure win/lose activity.

In the supermarket I still couldn't make a decision so bought the makings of rice crispy cakes, possibly making those and some other kind of cupcake, and cheesecake - in my mind it was topped with lemon curd and a drift of raspberries, and chocolate cake (couldn't decide whether it should be devil's food cake, brownies or something simpler). Got home with far too many ingredients and sat down to decide.

Started coming up with plausible excuses. Couldn't be bothered not being one of them. Kind of settled on something like I left it on the tube without realising, or someone knocked it out of my hand and it was ruined, or I was mugged.

Finally at 10.30 I stopped quibbling and baked a chocolate cake. Double sifted the flour (excellent tip for light sponge). Finally managed not to overcook something in my overly efficient fan-assisted oven (taken at least a year and a half to get used to it). Topped it with thin layer of butter icing and raspberries all over.

Next day having dragged it across London, not leaving it, not having it knocked out of my hands, put it out with the others - fortunately nobody else had baked chocolate, and nobody used fruit. So it was unique. There were marzipan rings, South African plaited donuts, Victoria sponge, cheesecake, flapjacks, banana bread, chocolate muffins, lemon cake and date and walnut loaf. My strategy was to have a very small piece of many of them. Others were going for big peices of everything. Others couldn't face it at 11.00am.

Ever had too much cake, even know that such a state existed? That's me today. Too much cake.

Monday, 19 May 2008


I got an unable-to-deliver-parcel notice on the 12th May (day before my birthday). The only time I get parcels is when I've ordered somethig online, or an aunt or my sister sends me something. Due to the proximity to my birthday I deduced it was from my sister. I can never get to the post office collection until the weekend so I had 4 days to wait before knowing what it was. Still I felt it stretches the birthday celebrations out for longer which is always a good thing.

Saturday came, got up earlier than normal (have to get to the collection by 12.00), felt bright and breezy, and went off to get my parcel. Hoping for something exciting from someone. When I got there the lady behind the screen easily found me a little green box from British Gas which contained 4 energy efficient lightbulbs. Disappointed. Muchly. Not made any better becuase I have already changed over all my lightbulbs and have a stack of spares.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Tottenham folks

Exercising the dog (no, strike that), relieving the dog, on the local council block's scrap of grass. After the dog has done its business its back to the house - schlepping along the road in pink slippers and dressing gown.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


Walking back to the office after a morning meeting discussing performance indicators (relevent, not relevent, relevent, not relevent) passed by this Stag Sculpture by Ben Long that is showing in a cleared building site where once a big block of flats stood.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


I've had a suprisingly lovely day. Woke up with the sun shining in the bedroom windows and boyfiend said good morning. Love that thing of waking up face to face but not hot and bothered. Ate breakfast with the obligatory walk around the garden - inspecting yesterday's growth - what new things have appeared and how many centimetres the climbers have added on. My nephew (aged 3 and a half) left two messages on the phone singing happy birthday to you whilst bursting into giggles and not quite grasping the concept that in the middle you say dear so & so - instead we got a crescendo of happy birthdays.

Didn't tell anyone at work but felt rather upbeat ignoring the fact that I'm inching closer to the next dreaded decade. Lunchtime I bought cakes for the office. The office always shows great appreciation for afternoon chocolate fixes and so people wished me happy birthday and berated me for keeping it quiet. However I like low key, no fuss.

Anyway, I find myself in Las Iguanas waiting for dining party, sipping a mojito carefully constructed and not-too-vigorously shaken (so as not to get bits breaking off the mint and lime that can lodge in the straw and get in the throat) by a latino barman. Sun is still high over the Thames. Cool breeze. Feels like summer. And a happy birthday indeed.

Friday, 9 May 2008


At 34 my sister still feels the failure of not being able to do a cartwheel. This is not for want of trying. She still tries. The kids in the after-school club laugh at her because she can't do it. The problem lies, she feels, in the fact that she can't tell how it feels for her legs to go over her head. She thought she was getting it, until her husband videoed her attempts - only then did she realise her legs were barely 2 feet off the ground. She's good a somersaulting though. She said she can beat the kids at school in a somersault race down the hill. Small victories, or is it victories over the small?

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Oh my god I can't believe it...

I might have just recovered from the election. Horrified that we elected Boris Johnson as our Mayor. I was stunned into silence. The full horror of it, I suspect, is yet to unfurl. Specifically I would like to know how have a tory as mayor will impact on the role of head of the London Skills Board - what will be the direction we will be driven in.

Saw a girl on the bus today wearing stretch denim jeans with anorexy embroidered on the back sitting just below the muffin top. Anorexy. What is that supposed to mean - combination of anorexia and sexy?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Ceramics Class

I haven't done much throwing - it didn't appeal that much to me - hard to make big dramatic things, lots goes wrong (just about make a nice shape and it slops off to the side or something). However, I found this foot peddled wheel that I could get more control of and found I liked it better. Threw these things. Quite liked it. Glazed them with a glaze that we mixed up last term.