Monday, 29 December 2008

Christmas passed

After the maniacal build up - all the shopping and crowds and hoopla and parties and spirit - a 10 hour drive up up up the country to Scotland. When we started out I was thinking about who else is going as far as we were. Eating up the miles as tarmac passes under the wheels. The rhythm of the vehicle on the road, extended soft bends of the motorway taken at full speed, smooth surfaces, wide lanes. Newer cars move easily sliding along at 80. Only the tentative keeping to the speed limit, middle lane drivers steady 80s, fast lane way over (which feels different to the last time we drove up a couple of years ago). We only passed one car all the way there and back that had that old car drone of exertion. A beetle - an orange beetle, peddle to the metal, roaring at full capacity, doing 65 as we slid silently past in our comfortable and temperature controlled space listening to the radio and chatting. Reminded me of Georgia's cars - no speed and if there was any speed absolutely no talking could be heard above the roar of the engine.

Was glad to be getting home but since I've been here it feels a bit empty and lonely. Christmas was a crush of eight people in a three bedroom house, presents, cooking (too many chiefs and not enough indians was quite a common occurance), eating, playing games, walks, tantrums (all ages, but more from the children), some sleeping (but not as much as I get at home), tv. Its now the count-down to going back to work. 6 days and counting...

Monday, 22 December 2008

Christmas at Border's Starbucks

People stake out a place at a clean table - toss the remenants of the previous dweller onto an unoccupied space. A particular man in a beige cap ran back from the queue to chastise a woman putting the remenants from her table onto his (denoted by his scarf draped over the chair of a table that he himself had previously cleared).

Two young women exchange gifts. One has bought the other a book - comedy sketches. She opens it, flicks through it and puts it to one side. She has bought the other a stack of ever-decreasingly sized gifts - four are stacked up. The friend unwraps each one carefully and coes over each revealed thing. There are earrings, and other wearables. Not sure how pleased with a single book the one of many gifts will be.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Christmas Season

Ratchetting up to Christmas there have been parties and lunches and endless boxes of quality street in the office. The parties are passing us by (wrong team, wrong management structure) and we're building up to an inspection after Christmas. Nothing quite like it to dampen the Christmas spirit.

After the success of the pumpkin carving I was charged with coming up with a sustainable christmas tree to enter into the departmental contest. 2nd prize this time.

In the shops sales abound and the credit crunch hasn't stopped the shoppers. Crowds, lights, and singing. I can't seem to find a really suitable brother-in-law figt - last year I got him a stunt kite - and its hard to get a better gift than that.

Can't seem to muster the enthusiasm - too much work on and not enough time.

Man standing at the bus stop wearing a top hat and silver glitter shoes.

Someone at the back of the bus is playing rap music out loud. I keep listening to it and its good, rather than irritatingly tinny like mobile music usually is. When the music man gets off the bus is quiet. Sniffly. Hiss of earphones.

Did you hear the one about the dyslexic devil-worshipper? He sold his soul to Santa.

I laughed...

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Scenic London

Today the people of London were especially filmic. Everywhere there were people who could be followed with the expectation that their life would lead you through a story that wouldn't be out of place in a movie.

Coming down an escalator after a man wearing his hair in purposefully multidirectional peaks, carrying a guitar case. Not a regular sized one, slightly smaller than normal. Pristine. He was careful not to bash it against the sides. Clearly a prized instrument. Off the escalator his shoes clip loudly on the tiled floor. I feel myself running after him as if he's a character in a French film, like Amelie, wanting to see how the story unfolds.

Jamaican woman sitting on the tube creaming her hands - rubbing them together over and over to get it absorbed. The left on has a tatooed skull with a ring over its head and some algerian font writing running up the thumb. Quentin Tarantino would linger on this hand as it engaged in some kind of deal, so that next time the tattoo is seen a little clue will slot into place.

One of those young blond men with red lips stands tall in the middle of the carriage chatting to a friend in tweed. He has grown a beard to add some age to his boyish face. He wears his open collar up. Hairy chest grows up his neck. A fop in a costume drama, not the troubled, dark, but ultimately good lead, but one of the sporty brothers or friends who is always bounding in with gumption to dance, drink or play the piano with aplomb.

Saturday, 6 December 2008


After midnight in December. Street light dimly glows. The wet grass smells green. It is lush and even.

In the morning 5 sparrows frollick in the shallow birdbath at the end of the garden, swooping into the sunlit shrubbery to dry off. Frost crispy on the blades of grass that are still in shadow.

Monday, 1 December 2008


Cold, misty, slightly damp. Walking along a smell of strawberry creeps up. Strawberry syrup spilled on the pavement from a broken bottle, like ink on blotting paper, spreading but contained within its edges.

Once in Lewisham market an elderly Jamaican man taught me how to recognise a good bottle of syrup. Tip the syrup bottle and watch the contents seep back from the inside neck, a good syrup is thick and takes time, a poor syrup looks watery.