Saturday, 29 May 2010

Being 40

I have decided that I am going to be 39 and thirteen twelfths. It just sounds younger. Amy said I could be like a toddler and refer to my age wholly in months (why do we do that? once a kid has passed their 1st birthday surely we can call them one year old). That would make me just over 480 months. Or she suggested days, just to be really accurate. 14,626 days old (remembering leap years). Its not really helping me feel younger.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Barcelona Newcastle

So instead of going to Barcelona we decided to meet between Dundee and London in Newcastle. We booked a decent hotel and trains and travelled up. On arrival we walked across town to our hotel, which was dark, purple and velvety inside, something that would fit nicely in a vampire hooker movie. From Dusk til Dawn springs to mind. We did have a view onto the Gateshead Millenium Bridge from our room though.

We ate tapas, looked at architecture and walked by the river pretending we were in Barcelona. On the first afternoon it was hot enough. Next day was grey and. Made the pretence more difficult. My favourite thing is the multiple levels created by the hills and bridges.

Saturday, 22 May 2010


We are supposed to be in Barcelona. Sis booked it last June for a birthbday gift. We were waiting with baited breath in case the ash cloud turned back into our flight path. Three days before we were due to go she got a text saying our flights were cancelled (BA cabin crew strike). When the strike was withdrawn all the flights bar two were put back on. Ours was one of the two. Amy's flight from Dundee was also cancelled. So its a good thing the weather is good because I can almost imagine I'm in Spain with this heat.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Sitting in the hut place in Potter's Fields eating lunch and admiring the gardens designed by Piet Oudolf (like the drifts of plants, mixtures of grasses - its very tranquil and quite unlike normal municipal planting).

An attentive golden labrador loves to play fetch. The owner stands texting, the dog runs and gets the ball, brings it back, drops it at the owner's feet and waits expectantly watching the ball intently. Eventually the dog nudges the ball with his nose, closer to the owner's feet. Finally the owner kicks the ball, without looking. It doesn't go as far but the dog doesn't care. He fetches it, brings it back, drops it...Again, and again. Untiringly. Until the owner moves on.

Monday, 17 May 2010


An actor reherses a play. The script, typed, not word processed, sits on his lap. His hands move in shortened large gestures and his face exaggerates expressions - it will be on the stage and needs to be seen from the back. His thick black eyebrows knit and his penetrating black eyes focus.

There's a woman in an ugly blue and silver hat, swirled in netting, probably homemade. Perches on top of her head and seems a bit small. A young man sits next to me and starts to read the paper. A teenage girl, having spied him, jumps from her chosen seat and dives into the seat opposite me to make sidelong eyes at him. I glance at the young man - he is wearing a trilby hat and has the alternative image of Johnny Depp. When he doesn't notice the girl, she goes back to stroking the hairs on her arm and picking skin off her lips. These must be common habits - her lips are ringed red and her arms have peeled off scabs. Bad-hat woman starts filing her nails with an emery board. Scratchyscratchscratch.

Stuck in the tunnel between stops. In the quiet people huff and shift weight onto opposite feet, loosen jackets. Someone's personal stereo spills out jazz.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Baby Bird

All the baby sparrows are out for the first time today. Little, fluffy and grey they are sitting in the lilac tree trying to not draw attention to themselves. Little, nervous bundles that are not quite able to fly with confidence. Every once and a while they pluck up courage to try the flying thing and get flustered when they can't quite find a landing.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Red, Blue, Yellow

So now its all over, I'm really rather depressed. I didn't think I would feel that way - having become so jaded about politics and politicians just looking to line their own pockets. Disappointed in the Lib Dems jumping into bed with tory boy and his private school cronies, but then shouldn't really be suprised since the lure of power is what draws people to politics in the first place (the minute someone decides to run for parliament they become untrustowrthy). Two desperate men standing holding hands, thrilled to have the keys to number 10. These public school boys just don't represent me. I don't think they have any idea how the majority of people in this country live. And I'm worried that all the solutions will have benefits for the rich and damage the poor even further.

Early last week I was finding these elephants all over London quite charming. After the results I'm finding them a bit plastic and not as interesting as they may have been.

Monday, 3 May 2010


Bails and I had a not quite 40 non-birthday birthday party. It was a barbecue so naturally I woke up to the rain pouring down. I had not had a great night sleep becuase my arms were aching from all the mowing, raking, sweeping, cleaning and cooking (baking, actually, lots of beating butter and sugar and eggs and folding in flour) I had done the day before. While it all seems like a lot of work in the build up to a party it is actually really nice to have lots of people round - the mixture of family friends, school, college, work and ceramics class people worked well, I got excellent feedback on the food, cake, garden and house all of which is heart warming. And people stayed until midnight so must have been enjoying themselves enough. Today I have been cleaning up - there was not a clean plate, fork or glass in the place. The house is now spotless again but strangely empty feeling. Devoid of the chatter, laughter and bodies of the night before. On a plus I am still not 40 yet, sadly for Bails she is now (her birthday today - happy birthday Bails!)