Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Dead Time After Christmas Before New Year

So the family have headed back up the freezing north (Dundee) - sis, her hubby and kids (7 and 9), and dog. Its quiet. Too quiet. No more uproar and hubbub. Other people seem to have hit the shops for the sales. I can't quite bring myself to go shopping again so soon after christmas. Slightly loathe to leave the house, unless its for a walk. When's the soonest you can take down the decorations?

I was cooking for 10 this christmas - turkey, plus all the trimmings. I have Ottenlenghi to thank for the most successful dishes of the day (brussel sprouts that I can actually eat and a carrot dish based on his one for roasted squash and onions).

Yotam Ottolenghi's Brussels sprouts with caramelised garlic and lemon peel recipe
I don't like brussel sprouts at all. However I eat these willingly - its a revelation that they can be enhanced and enlivened with additional flavours and not boiled to oblivion.

A couple of elements in this Christmassy dish will come in handy elsewhere. Caramelised garlic makes a lovely condiment to lentils or roast veg, while candied lemon makes a great garnish for creamy desserts or leafy salads. I always pan-fry sprouts – it retains texture and enhances flavour. Serves four.
4 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
About 150ml olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
50g caster sugar
90ml water
Salt and black pepper
1 medium lemon
600g brussels sprouts
1 red chilli, finely chopped
50g parmesan shavings
20g basil leaves, shredded

I do these two parts the day before christmas:
  • Put the garlic in a pan, cover with water and blanch for three minutes. Drain, dry the pan, and pour in two tablespoons of oil. Return the garlic to the pan and fry on high heat for two minutes, stirring, until golden all over. Add the vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, the water and some salt. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat for five minutes, until barely any liquid is left, just the caramelised cloves in a syrup. Set aside.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to shave off wide strips of lemon skin; avoid the white pith. Cut the strips into 1mm-2mm thick slices, or julienne, and put in a small pan. Squeeze the lemon into a measuring jug and add water to bring the juice up to 100ml. Pour over the strips of peel, add the remaining sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until the syrup is reduced to about a third. Set aside to cool down.
This I do on the day in a wok (i.e. all at once tossing throughout so that all sprouts get charred).
  • Trim the bases off the sprouts and cut them top to bottom into halves. Heat four tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-based pan, add half the sprouts, season and cook on high heat for five minutes, stirring them once or twice, but not too often, so that they char well without breaking up; add extra oil if needed. They will soften but retain some firmness. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining oil and sprouts.
  • Stir the chilli, the garlic and its syrup into the sprouts, and set aside until warmish. 
  • Stir in the parmesan, basil and peel (without the syrup), season and add oil if necessary. Serve as it is or at room temperature.
Biggest hit of the day was this:

Yotam Ottolenghi's roast butternut squash carrot and red onion with tahini and za'atar
If you want a vegetarian dish to make an impact on the christmas table, this does the job – it looks great and has really complex flavours. Serves four.

1 large butternut squash (around 1.1kg), cut into 2cm x 6cm wedges (I used carrots instead of squash not wanting to faff around with skinning it - chopped them into mouthful sized pieces but they didn't need peeling - they still have the same fab orange colour)
2 red onions, cut into 3cm wedges
50ml olive oil
Maldon sea salt and black pepper
3½ tbsp tahini paste
1½ tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp water
1 small garlic clove, crushed
30g pine nuts
1 tbsp za'atar (this is a middle-eastern spice mixture made up mostly of sumac with thyme, oregano, marjoram and roasted sesame seeds - I couldn't find any so used the spices separately - largest proportion of sumac, some thyme, oregano and majoram, didn't have any sesame seeds so left them out).
1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley (I replaced this with coriander)
  • Heat the oven to to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Put the squash and onions in a large bowl, add three tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper, and toss well. Spread, skin down, on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes until the vegetables have taken on some colour and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions: they may cook faster than the squash, so may need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  • Put the tahini in a small bowl with the lemon juice, water, garlic and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Whisk to the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini as necessary.
  • Pour the remaining oil into a small frying pan on a medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and half a teaspoon of salt, cook for two minutes, stirring, until the nuts are golden brown, then tip the nuts and oil into a small bowl.
  • To serve, spread the vegetables on a platter and drizzle over the sauce. Scatter the pine nuts and oil on top, followed by the za'atar and parsley.

After dinner we had a few games - someone brought a pack of PIT so that the kids could join in. However they didn't - the game was so fast and furious that the dog was growling and they were cowering next door watching TV and trying to ignore the adults. Brilliant game. And I won...

Now that it is over and everyone has gone home it seems extremely quiet in the house. Just me and the mouse that seems to have taken up residence in the living room (there will be traps, and use of wire wool to fill the gaps...)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Calendars for Christmas

I've been on a spurt of calendar making for Christmas presents - Jessops have been offering them for half price. In the last package I received the three I ordered plus one errant one of a woman who loves the outdoors, the rich outdoors - camping (thick sleeping bag), yachting (with the parents, at a guess), below deck, in the choppy sea, mountain biking in the alps, with the golden Labrador on the beach. Who is this dark haired active woman? Will she be waiting in anticipation of the calendar that doesn't come. Or has Jessops printed a second one and posted it to the correct address? I'm saddened that the calendar won't reach it's intended recipient in time for Christmas. It might get there for the new year if I send it back to Jessops this week.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas time on the tube

Platform announcer at Victoria station wishes us a very merry Christmas in a rasta drawl - five deep in the platform due to delays he thanks us for being chill and extremely patient.

At Highbury and Islington the announcer sounds exactly how Leonard Cohen would sound if he had the job. A deep almost inaudible hum of a voice next train in six minutes, stand behind the yellow line...

Monday, 12 December 2011

White Coach and Horses

So clearly the latest must-have vehicle for arriving to your wedding (judging by those parked outside Platins Photographers in Green Lanes, Harringay) has moved on from the white stretch Hummer to white carriages drawn by two white horses with ostrich plumage on their heads driven by two coachmen in top hats and Victorian caped coats. Last week there was a replica of Cinderella's glass pumpkin coach. This week's was a carriage with a white leather hood. The ladies emerge from the photographers into the December chill night wearing acres of diaphonous nylon silk - sleeveless with flounces, frills and bows - white for the bride and red or bright pink for the bridesmaids (usually groups of four or six adult ones and any number of toddling ones) and towering strappy diamonte-encrusted sandals. Not a coat between them - just the pancake makeup and hairpieces to protect them from the cold. The men of these parties look decidedly bland by comparison in ordinary black lounge suits. Not even  a frilled shirt or cummerbund. The carriages attract large groups of onlookers photographing, talking to the coachmen and stroking the horses.

I wonder if the vehicle hire company also provide the black horse-drawn hearses for traditional funerals.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


A familiar voice - deep female - said excuse me as she passed me on the escalator. A woman with brown hair and an expensive sheepskin coat walked down past me. It was Amanada Donohoe. We got on the tube - she was in the next door carriage, visible through the glass partitions. She sat slightly sideways with her hand partially obscuring her face and nobody noticed her.

Friday, 2 December 2011


The girl says to her Spanish boyfriend, She's quite selective about her novels. She won't read anything trashy or stuff that isn't her sort of story.

What's her kind of story I wonder. I'm not sure I have a kind of story. I'll read all sorts of things. My mother liked stories about lives (fictional diaries and letters, stories of coming through struggles and families). I have her collection of women-authored novels. Many with the dark green spines of Virago Press. I like detective novels - started young when Pops used to read me Josephine Tey novels standing on a chair beside the bunk bed (surprisingly he would fall asleep mid-sentence quite often and have to be coaxed awake and prompted as to where he trailed off. We didn't like Agatha Christie to read though, preferred it on the screen. I'm currently reading Scandinavian crime fiction. I'll read almost anything else though - historic, prehistoric, things my mother would like, thriller, modern, contemporary, American, sci-fi, translations, graphic. Don't generally do chick lit or Mills and Boon.  I like getting recommendations but don't always agree that I like them. Good writing or a gripping read is the key. I've only stopped in the middle of two novels - American Psycho and The Dirty Havana Trilogy. Too violent, and too much sex with sour milk, respectively. I did manage to finish On The Road though, which I found excruciatingly boring. What kind is your story?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

How come?

Hair generally seems to grow downwards (unless very short or unruly) - head hair being the main example except for cow licked or particularly thickly stranded, leg hair, arm hair, eyebrows (apart from the wild unruly variety sported by occasional older gentlemen), even the unmentionable pubes. So standing squashed between two tall hairy men on the tube this afternoon  I was surprised to realise that chest hair (based on my unscientific survey of two white middle-aged males) grows upwards. Why is this? And how come I've only just noticed this now? I'm normally quite observant!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Tomb of the lost craftsman

Grayson Perry exhibition at the British Museum. Absolutely impossible to get in without buying a ticket in advance (I rolled up late one Saturday expecting to be able to get in and couldn't) - so we had friday evening after work tickets. The covered atrium's lighting was low and gave a calming atmosphere good for reverence - excellence on the eyes after a day in harsh strip lighting.

The exhibition had Grayson Perry's pots and other ceramic work displayed with objects from the British Museum that inspired/influenced him. I had not been aware of his work in other media and forms than the large pots. Weird and wonderful objects both modern and ancient - a good earring hanging off a dried earlobe, flag made by a ghanian tribe featuring two White men decapitated by two tribesmen, oil jar in the shape of men's genitals amongst an eclectic mix of other things.

Afterwards we had a drink in the restaurant high up near the roof of the atrium. Coming down later watched mice race round the floor near the cafe area.

Friday, 18 November 2011


(Moustache growing month for men's health awareness particularly prostate cancer)
There is quite a bit of this going on at work. Started off with those shadows appearing on colleagues faces. The stage where it looks more like slovenliness than any purposeful endeavour. This lasts longer than you'd think. Then when the five o'clock shadow has developed into something more whiskery the sculpting can begin. This year there is a much greater focus on the dropped handlebar variety than a mere bit of top lip hair. Now, three weeks in they are starting to really thicken up. Channelling the 1970s. Proper big dark long haired moustaches. No pencil lines, no stubbly affairs. Rather ageing on the whole, but worthy.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Interviewing olympic volunteers next candidate was called Alice - out of all those waiting he picked out a woman with bright blond hair and guessed her to be the one. And it was. I have known one Alice and she too had bright blond hair (long, straight) and pink national health glasses, often worn with a patch over her lazy eye. Maybe we have to thank Lewis Carroll for this stereotype.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Remember Remember

Tottenham folks love fireworks - especially displays set off in their backyards (or occassionally front gardens, and even more occassionally across the street aimed at the buses going past) - all around the pop, crack and fizz of fireworks whizzzing into the sky through the misty drizzle. The supermarket was doing a brisk trade on their fireworks counter when I was in there at 4pm today. I've been leaning out the window craning my neck 180 degrees. I haven't been to an organised event in a while. Last time I couldn't get anywhere near, wasn't able to see round the corner of a building, and then got caught up in a crush trying to get away again afterwards.

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Fat bottomed man in white chinos and a navy linen double vented jacket pushes the buggy while his bedraggled wife walks alongside. He is out of practice driving the buggy and gets caught on all obstacles along the the path - wheels trapped on a plastic bottle, jammed against the curb, tangled in a plastic bag. He looks uncomfortable and the buggy is unwieldy in his control. "He's off," he says proudly examining his son, " he isn't," he says defeated. Parents with a screamingly tired baby refusing to sleep perhaps.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Ceramics class - 1st half term

Testing - rolling the damp clay in ball clay and then forming it by pressing out from the inside until the surface cracks. I'm trying to stretch it until it breaks through all the clay - to the point of destruction but not quite. Still trying to figure out how to use it. Also testing a technique of putting a thin strip of porcelain onto a stoneware body - the difference in shrinkage makes the porcelain crack in firing because it shrinks more than the stoneware. And a second wavy urn in black clay. Trying to get some pink on it but not too much - but would have liked a bit more than this. Black clay body is quite dramatic and strangely dry to work with.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Out of the office window in the near distance there are two men setting up scaffolding on the top of a building with a green dome topped by an elaborate weather vane. Scaffolding poles stick up all around it. The man below passes planks up to the man at the top - who almost looks to be walking on air.  Highlighted in sparkling sunshine against a dark grey sky that is showering. Behind our office there is probably a rainbow. 

Saturday, 15 October 2011

4 Exhibitions

Tate Modern
Tacita Dean - Turbine Hall - film

Billed as a love letter to film - proper film as opposed to digital - clear, strong colours, unpixilated, able to be superimposed and sliced together. Large screen, space for people to lie down in front of it, which they did. Gathered people staring up at it - huge vertical screen. Darkened around to enable it to be seen better.

Gerhard Richter - retrospective
Crowded exhibition. I don't know why but I was amazed that he did both super-realistic paintings from photos and very abstract. Really like the 70s paint swatch painting (it reminded me of my old bathroom at my parent's house - Dad and I spent an afternoon papering it with paint swatches - it made for a very colourful two walls - great for staring at during a long soak). Also the huge canvases with thick layers which were pulled across the canvas - textured, colour contasting between layers.

Tate Britain
Barry Flanagan
Very quiet. Early Flanagan (pre-hare sculptures) - lots of use of formless material (canvas, sand, rope) - large columns made of canvas filled with sand to give them structure, sticks tied together - sticks and coloured fabric. Liked the colour of rope and sand against the parquet floor. Defying physics - canvas help up against the wall like a painting using sticks. Carving in stone that follows the seams in the rock - imagery that evokes the stylised pictues used by early humans.

Apocalypse - John Martin
While Barry Flanagan was empty and therefore easy to look properly, Apocalypse was packed. The underground poster was quite striking and made me want to see the exhibition. Poplular pictures, very commercial artist - he often painting several versions of the same picture and then made an etching for further sales. This exhibition showed multiples of the same image together. He cottoned on to an idea of slightly off-centre composition based in a circular or spiral shape, backgrounds were pale, foregrounds dark. Lots of drama. But the composition was all too similar and in the end I found it too commercial. Would have preferred to see only a couple rather than several rooms full. The quantity didn't increase the drama, instead making it seem repetative and formulaic.

Friday, 7 October 2011


Tube train said 6 mins. Lady on station was muttering into her tannoy  but don't be sad there might be one sooner. Got on the walkie talkie to HQ who said one was coming in 2. 2 minutes ladies and gentlemen, don't know where it will be going though, might be high barnet, might be edgware, might be Majorca. I held onto that thought - what joy if Majorca lay at the end of the northern line. Could do with some sand, sea and sangria. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Unusual journeys by tube

I don't know anywhere else  on the tube network where two trains swing alarmingly close together apart from southbound at finsbury park where Victoria line and piccadilly line trains leaving the station together provide a momentary coming together and view of fellow passengers following a different route.

Circle line minutes are more drawn out (ie longer) than Victoria line minutes. Is this because it goes through west London which has a more relaxed attitude than north London? 

Fewer suits on the hammersmith and city line than Victoria line or northern line and more likely to not be wearing a necktie. More arty women and men who look like computer geeks or college lecturers. Perhaps I've travelled The bank route for too long and have become overly used to the hard city banking fraternity. These are more my people - more art school and less uptight highly strung.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Indian Summer

Warm wind blows hot air through trees with browning leaves. Conker shells strew the pavements. They've stripped the road surface ready for new Tarmac and that tary smell hangs in the air. Sit in the garden after work until the biting insects get too bad. It's dark by 7.20. A bat swoops silently looping the loop.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Stinky socks

If your socks or trainers are too smelly to keep inside the room, and therefore must be aired on the windowsill, isn't it time to either a) wash them, or b) chuck them out and get a new pair?

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Open House 2011

On the way home from work, if I catch a bus outside Liverpool Street up Kingsland Road, just before passing Shoreditch Church there are two tube carriages high up on top of a building. Never have known what they were used for or how they got there. This Open House they were open for viewing.

Up a steep wet spiral staircase is a set of studios set up on a rooftop - 4 old tube carriages are sited up there - two on top of lower structures. They cost the collective £50 each. Outside they are decorated. Inside they are simple spaces divided up into desk spaces used by graffic designers, music makers and craft people. The carriages are those old ones with wooden slatted floors and handles to dangle off which are no longer on tube trains. The view looks out over the buildings towards Liverpool Street and the east. Large sky, large urbanscape. A view and space that I would find quite motivating for working in.

Friday, 16 September 2011


Spiders working overtime making webs stringing across the entire garden and lying in wait for woozy wasps to get tangled. Biting beasties are lurking in the long grass and attack whenever I walk past (six bites on ankles today). Conkers are falling - haven't seen any but the shells are scattered under all chestnut trees. Inbetween weather - never sure how to dress - need a jacket on the way to work but by the afternoon its too hot. Evenings draw in.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Citizen H

Yesterday discovered there was a meeting of the Tottenham and Seven Sisters area forum - an off chance look at Haringey's website. The meeting was to talk about the recent disturbances

Meeting was supposed to start at 6.30. Most of the people there were regular attendees chatting in groups, or local elected members. A small spattering of residents. 

Managing a consulting with the public meeting:
  1. Advertise your meeting widely in advance
  2. Signpost properly at the venue
  3. Provide at least minimal refreshment (some water)
  4. Start on time and keep to the agenda (this meeting started at 6.39 and by the time it was supposed to have finished it was only on the second agenda item)
  5. If you say five minutes for intro, stick to it
  6. Try to make the discussion questions manageable in the timeframe
  7. Set the context within which the discussion must be held first - talk about resources, cuts, political climate - the discussion may then come from a position of realism 

I was disappointed that the discussions didn't get deep enough into practical solutions or thought enough about building the future - either realistically or fantastically - a good facilitator could have generated a better discussion from our table, and judging by the feedback from other tables, from other groups as well. It all was a little too much like work, not fun enough for leisure time.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tube travel

The man opposite is 60 wearing cargo pants and two handfuls of unsubtle silver rings - claws holding an ace of spades, cows head with horns and others that might come from a heavy metal jewellers in Camden lock. He's got some kind of African ceremonial stick with a skull on top. People can't stop staring at him. He stares at his hands from under the wide brim of his hat. After his distraction gets off I'm staring at   alabaster legs with two ruddy ovals at the top. They belong to a smartly dressed woman with matching jade necklace and earrings. Looking closer it's holes in both knees of her tights. Each knee is ruddy. She must have fallen. The holes look even though, almost like they were done deliberately. Perhaps her knees get hot and when she is standing the holes are under her skirt. 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Hippy Woodgreen

There's a man with dredlocks twirling a light baton and dancing badly outside the cinema - the kind of thing that would look impressive on the beach in Ibiza when you've been up all night dancing and are coming home bleary-eyed but doesn't look quite so good in a dreary high street.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Lurk of the Spider

Its that time of year again, having evicted many many spiders from the house one comes running across the floor at great speed, sensing me it creeps off into a corner, finds it way round the back of something and out into the light again, waiting, waiting, then running. Running over to the skirting board under the window. And he's gone. Gone for the time being. Ready to scare me later when I've forgotten he's gone under there.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Union Point Demolition (what I knew as the carpet shop)

Today they started to knock this landmark down. I don't expect we will get a comparable building when they put something else on the site. A small group of people from the community stood and watched. People came and saw and drifted off, replaced by other people. Couples walking their dogs. Father and son. Subdued atmosphere. Several media companies there, doing talking heads in front of the demolition.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Evening aftermath

Getting off the train at Bruce Grove, walk through a corridor in the cordon through some business' back gate, following a group of people talking about the looting across other areas - they think its stupid reporting when the youths are just breaking windows.

Through the park, a man is standing on one of the man-made humps flying a homemade kite. He manages to let the line out and out and out until its high high in the sky - over the gardens of houses about a short block away. Rippling sound of the fabric it is made of and the whoosing as it twists and turns in the sky making huge diving figures of 8. Someone behind me says to him the last time he saw a man fly a kite was in the Caribbean, at Eastertime. The kite flying man agrees - its good weather for it. Then his concentration is lost and he lets go of the line, the handle on the end of the line is dragged off, out of the park and over the wall of someone's garden. The kite is flying itself, higher and higher. The man and another chase after it, trying to call to the owner of the garden in case they can climb over and salvage it. As I go round the corner they are climbing onto the garage of the end of the terrace in an attempt to grab the middle of the line. Can't believe it hasn't crashed to the earth yet.

Round the corner a very drunk Pole is sitting on the ground with a half drunk pint of Guinness and a keg of guiness with homemade straw/pump contraption sticking out of the top.

I turn onto my road away from the rest of the walking neighbourhood. Must have been like this before regular public transport. When I get home the news is showing helicopter footage of a fire in a building next to Gregs - it looks like Rye Lane to me but the newsreader doesn't know where it is. There is nothing anywhere near - no buses, no fire engines, no bystanders. Nothing. Just a house and business on fire, unattended. Close the door and lock up behind me. The outside world still feels a little unstable.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Tottenham is Burning

On the way home at 5.00pm the bus was turned around when it came upon a protest outside the police station on Tottenham High Road. Later on the news the protest didn't come to the expected end and had escalated into something much more violent and destructive. Glued to the news the pictures were shocking - cars burning, riot police, burning buildings, youths throwing fireworks, petrol bombs and bricks. Choppers circling overhead persistently all night long.

In the morning it transpired that the rioting had reached much closer to home - completely destroying the carpet shop that acts as the landmark for Lansdowne Road. Walked down to have a look at the destruction for myself. Community members were shocked at the scenes. Horrified at the level of violence and destruction. One man said he lived in the flats over the carpet shop - someone had rung him and told him he shouldn't stay in too long (at 2am) because it was coming that way and they were burning things. He went out for a walk and half an hour later the place was completely engulfed. Further up the road it was possible to see some of the burned out cars and debris strewn across the street, further burned out buildings and broken windows. At the other end of the high road the media frenzy was in full swing with anyone who fancied being on TV hanging on the shoulders of journalists, or giving interviews. Nearby an icecream van had rolled up and was doing some swift business.

Hate the fact that the only time tottenham gets in the news is in these negative terms. Having come to live here 4 years ago I was suprised at the historic nature of a good portion of the buildings. If the Council had worked thoughtfully there could have been some building  here that  enhanced the historic while updating the neighbourhood. The regeneration was only half done - new shopfronts for some had created a uniform look to some of the stores. Many in the street were feeling the area has been put back 20 years. Time will tell.

Georgian London

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


After the sweltering heat of the unairconditioned office and a stifling journey home by tube, it is bliss to sit in the garden, following a long bathe, in loose unconstructed clothing reading as the light fades until unable to see the words on the page any longer. Visited by a couple of neighbourhood cats - the barely grown kitten who has already had her own litter and a stray tom. The air cooling considerably, prospect of a more comfortable night's sleep. Eating a red grapefruit sour enough to make the mouth go OO. Finally the flittering flight of the pipistrelle eating gnats overhead. Time to go in.
Good day for the beach

Halfway to the station it became apparent that the lady in the straw hat, big bag of beach things and an excited toddler was in a group that filled half the bus. A cacophony of bright shorts, designer sunglasses, vest tops and playsuits, bead necklaces, coolers and hampers.  Well provisioned, turned out for a fashion-mag day at the beach. Wished I was going.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Morning terrors

Blood curdling screams from next door made my hair stand on end. Thoughts of some terrible tragedy befalling family members went through my head. Then shouting at the dog. Dog came out into the garden making weird snuffling noises. Somehow he had killed a fox and was carrying it round. 

Later they have cleared away the evidence but the dog is excitable barking at phantoms. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

What to do on the holidays (time permitting)

Its a week, these are on the to do list:
  •  remove carpet from spare room (methodology - cutting away sections from to get it from under the furniture)
  • re-arrange spare room - setting up drawing table, planchests and sofabed
  • remove stair and hall carpet
  • sand woodwork in hall (bannisters, balastrades, skirting boards, parts of stairs that require painting)
  • paint above mentioned woodwork (paint is already purchased)
  • finish jacket that is half made (front facings, closures, pockets)
  • finish waterproof coat that is a third made (second sleeve, pockets, collar, front facings, lining)
  • go to the movies with Pops to watch The Tree of Life
  • find a builder to build me a front wall, and possibly same one or a different one to paint the windows and ledges on the outside of hte house, put a downpipe from the guttering on one corner of the house
Alternatively if the weather continues nice, I might just squander it lying in the sunshine in the garden reading books...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Here's Looking At You

A morning, like any morning. Get up, get dressed, open the kitchen door, eat cereal walking around the garden, clean glasses with washing up liquid, put on coat, leave the house. Bus journey, 10 minutes to tube station. Bus is crowded with people going to work and parents taking kids to pre-school, students going to college. Get off the bus and walk, with the crowd of people to the tube, stopping to wait for the lights to change crammed onto the edge of the pavement, then the first island and finally the last island. Rushing collectively to the entrance, down the steps, along the tunnel, through the gates, onto the escalator, more tunnels, down the steps onto the platform. Crowded, lots of people waiting for the Victoria line. Stand slightly over half way along, as usual, just past the train indicator. Reread the meerkat advert again. Get on the train. Standing room only. Open my book. Middle aged man opposite smiles at me. I look away. Highbury and Islington, getting off the train, he looks me in the eye and scrapes an imaginary something from his chin. This was an indication I realise. I had something on my chin. I reach up and scratch. He indicates a bit more. That's better, he says. I get off, cross the platform to change lines. Mortified. I had come so far, with an Alpen oatflake stuck to my chin. Fear I'm turning into one of those sad cases with holes in their jumpers and egg stains on their shirt fronts. Must get a mirror in the hall.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Ceramics Class

Its been a term of testing things out - black clay (gritty, a bit like building with brownie mix, but interesting colour), lots of glaze testing (particularly the glazes I don't use normally). Raku firing at this time of year as usual.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

All the embarrassing things that have ever happened to me

Well maybe not quite all, but certainly a pertinent few:
  1. Donning my brand new double buckled patent faux snakeskin pointy toed boots, I left the house feeling hot to trot. coming down the escalator at Manor House station, toe got stuck at the bottom and I fell landing face down splayed out in the hall at the bottom wishing the earth to swallow me up while fellow passengers walked around me.

  2. Walked down the main street from our holiday cottage in Padstow towards the beach with my long skirt tucked into my knickers. It was a hot day with no breeze and clearly couldn't tell. When I was almost there an old lady stopped me and let me know.

  3. Shaking hands to greet a man who came for a meeting at work I was shocked at their glacial temperature, almost involuntarily I said, "oh, cold hands", "but warm heart," was his retort. When I came back from the meeting I was greeted by a chorus of Ooo matron and blushed bright red realising how our initial exchange clearly sounded.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Cinders Won't Be Going to the Ball

The promise of more tickets to the Olympics gave the glimmer of hope that perhaps still there was a chance to be there. So before work yesteday logged onto the site to find something. Ridiculously, they hadn't removed all the sold out events, so you had to trawl through all the pages of no availability to find where the gaps were. No athletics. No swimming. No gymastics. No cycling. No table tennis. No basketball. No fencing. No anything that I really wanted to watch. Thought about things that I wouldn't mind to go and see just to be in the stadiums. Boxing (don't even really agree with this as a sport), but you would have to pay £75, or £95 per ticket and I didn't really want to go alone, so would have to buy 2. And it was at the Excel Centre. Not really in the Olympic park, not a new building, not a sport I really want to watch, why would I want to spend that kind of dough? Weight lifting? Not really. Wrestling? No. Did manage to get a set of tickets at Wembley for my sis and her family to watch football, but since she didn't want to pay top dollar either it had to be women's football (apologies for being disparaging about women's football).

And they said that in this round you were actually buying tickets not being in a lottery - it was first come first served. Suprised then, that at the end of the payment it said we will let you know in a weeks time if your application has been successful.

It really has been a mega shambles and makes me want to boycott the whole event. The news yesterday said only 7% of London families had any tickets. No suprise then that I don't know a single person who has been successful in securing tickets. I only know of people through other people who have been lucky. Also that for some of the most popular events only 55% of the tickets were even available. They should have given less to corporate sponsorship and sold them to the public since the public is clearly keen to attend.

So now, at the end of the ticket thing, Londoners will have to cope with the huge influx of tourists, transport crush, hoopla and in your face advertising and not be involved at all. Perhaps we should  leave the country during that time instead and take our money to somewhere its wanted - you can watch the olympics on tv from almost anywhere afterall.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Exercising in the park

A Bassett hound stands wagging his tail while watching a weird hippy man do yoga on a brown rug on the path. Strange jerky warm up exercises that the dog seems to be comtemplating joining in with until his owner encourages him to come away and join the Yorkshire terrier. The yorkie is rolling on the grass with his legs in the air. In the distance hippy man is rolling, while tucked into a ball, from one side to the other and then moves into upward and downward dog, followed by a shoulder stand. The dogs have left the vicinity. Weird hippy man is just getting sideways glances from passing office workers.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Lost Poster Cambridge

Peaceful and genteel. Full of brainy students and bicycles. Someone had posted lost posters on the lamp posts of my route to the Sainsbury Laboratory's Artist Launch (new building with artist's work integral to the design). Three hundred pound reward (in my neighbourhood a reward is seldom offered, and never more than £100). On closer inspection the lost item was neither a beloved cat or dog but a beloved fountain pen. £300 reward for a pen! Must have been expensive with great sentimental value.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Kings Cross is a filthy animal

Sitting in the window of Starbucks on the button corner of Pentonville Road. The streets are not littered as they once were but Kings Cross struggles to overcome it's grubby reputation. Over the road the once lovely lighthouse building is falling down. The lighthouse itself has lost some balustrades and is in danger of loosing it's roof, but it has gained some grafitti. The rest of the building has fallen into derelict disrepair - dirt clinging to intricate windows of the upper stories. Buddleia, beloved of butterflies, sprouting out of the fencing. On the second floor two pairs of pigeons copulate on the window sills. Ground floor has been neglected for many years and now the building has been declared unsafe. A succession of small independent traders, including Mole Jazz, resided in the dirt afflicted premises. The massive regeneration hasn't quite reached this block yet. No doubt it will be torn down and replaced by something in steel and glass despite the current building's underlying charm.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Tickets/No Tickets/Tickets/No Tickets

So, remember when they announced the Olympics were going to be in London? (the day before 7/7 which overshadowed the moment of euphoria the previous day). The moment it was announced I wanted tickets. As a family we always watch the Olympics. To have them in our home town, too good an opportunity to miss. Other people were unhappy we got the Olympics because of the expense. We started paying for the games in our Council tax. People complained. The expense, they don't like sports anyhow. I secretly still wanted to get tickets. The building works began. Upgrades to the public transport network. Commuter hell. People complained.

Anyway, the tickets went on sale, sorry, into a lottery. I applied for two tickets to three events. I picked evening events (don't know what will be happening at work in a year's time), men's 100m final, men's individual gymnastics, 200m freestyle women's swimming. Someone told me you have no chance with great glee. Have to be in it to win it, I thought. Pops and sis also applied for tickets - daytime, not main finals events (one senior, two adults and two children). Friends applied for a variety of events, for a whole heap of reasons.

Nobody I know has won any tickets. My disappointment is vast. How can nobody I know get anything and one person get £11,000 worth of tickets? Since we are paying for it, we should get a ticket. Too many tickets given to corporations for schmoozing their clients. Its not fair. I feel aggrieved.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Is the Redeye very late or very early? I'm on a very late train. It's been a very long journey. Two hours from the destination still and it's 10pm already. The detritus of passengers who have gotten off already is mingled with that of those of us left aboard. We are a puffy eyed, crumpled, weary lot. I would really like to get off - my skin us dry and hot, my mouth fuzzy. I've been travelling for five hours so far - by the time I get there I could have flown across the Atlantic and watched three films. The man with the trolley is very nice but I don't want to put anything e-numbery and sugary in my mouth.
Strong Winds

Blustery winds of 70-80mph whipped around Dundee yesterday. Trees fell over. The bridge over the silvery silvery Tay was shut. Leaves litter the streets. And branches. Five cars were crushed by a fallen tree near the Law. Polytunnels crushed out of shape, their plastic torn off. It's always dramatic, Scottish weather!

Saturday, 21 May 2011


The train rushes past the landscape of the east coast - farmland, flat - then a chalk horse on a hill after York. Wooded patches of trees growing upwards competing with each other. Horses and foals, cows and calves, sheep and lambs - physical springtime. A tumbledown farmhouse in the middle of nowhere with out-buildings that would make ideal studios. I know we're not supposed to as Londoners but sometimes I long for a less urban-pace of life. And sometimes I think it might be a hankering for an isolated existence which leaves me free to do exactly as I choose.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Random 41 year old thoughts

So it was my birthday last friday. I was 39 and 24 months old. Its not a significant number of years, so I celebrated in a low-key manner, which was nice. If I can't stand the numbers I don't need to draw attention to them I figure.

On the way to the local shop I saw a man in the key cutting shop. He was wearing a toupe. It was auburn against his grey and dark brown natural hair. The toupe must have been very old - it was balding from too much combing of the parting. Bald man in a bald wig. Time for an upgrade.

Sitting on the bus on the way home, a man behind me is talking on the phone. Hello! This is Rambo, can I speak to Moses? I'm getting clashes between American action heros with guns and pumped muscles and Charlton Heston as Moses parting the red sea.

Behind him some 14 year old school boys are talking about stuff they used to do when they were 11. Back in my day we didn't used to cheek the teacher so much. Back in their day - these are their days. Old before their time.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Post-Coital Journeys to Work

Waiting for the train she stands only as tall as his shoulder. She looks up into his face. He is talking to her. On the train they sit together, in the way that only couples do - bodies touching. He is spread out, she is tucked into him. They are sharing one set of headphones. He is playing tunes for her, do you know this?, he mime-sings along, what about this? Of course I know that, she mock-scolds. He grins. She looks up into his beaming face smiling through long eyelashes. The morning after the night before.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


The bus lurches round a corner as it weaves it's way east away from the main road. It shakes life into a semi-comatose drunk man who shouts, "leme awwt", stands up, creeps his way to the stairs aided by the handrail carry a large carton of juice and a full bottle of rum. He gets to the top of the stairs as the bus pulls away from the bus stop. His tenuous grip (one little finger) doesn't hold and he falls face first down flinging the rum onto the top deck where it smashes filling the floor with sweet smelling alchol. "Leme awwt. Open the fucking doors". A child upstairs starts to cry, frightened by the commotion. The doors open, "I've left something upstairs," he's creeping back up. It smashed someone tells him. The bus pulls off again. "Open the doors leme off this fucking bus". And finally he is.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Not the Royal Wedding

Fab a bank holiday - excuse for a party, previous week's summer weather made a bbq seem like a good idea. Checking the forecast all week I was fearing thunder and rain. However it turned out nice. Popped to the supermarket at 9.00am (full of elders - I have never been to the supermarket at that time before), cleaned house, preped the food. Didn't even turn the tv on at all, all day. People came at 2ish with news of the cars, the dress, the uniforms, the parents of the bride and groom, the Queen, the guests, the cheering, the music, the kiss, the ring having difficulty being put on, the trees in Westminster Abbey... So despite not watching it or listening to it I feel I know everything I need to know.

Then we started the coals and got the barbie started.

Monday, 25 April 2011

7 facts

There was a time some years ago when the blogging community was a more holistic type of virtual place - more linkage, more joint activities, posting that linked to other bloggers. Not for some time has anyone sent me an activity to be part of. Until now. Deb of Baratin-Deboradant has sent me a versatile blogger award for which I have to thank the giver, give 7 random facts about myself and send it on to other bloggers. I don't know if anyone in my bloglist would be interested in this kind of thing anymore so I'm a bit stumped as to who to send it to. (If you would like it - let me know). So, thank you for the award Debs and here follows 7 random facts:
  1. I was trained in three dimensional design, a form of artistic design. I specialised in metals and made a lot of sculptural pieces from altered metal. During this time I tried ceramics and decided I hated it. Didn't like the dirty hands, or the possibilities for things to go wrong at many times during the process. I struggled with the whole function thing and didn't get on with it very much. So intersting that now I have been studying ceramics for 5 years at evening classes (oh how my art school chums laugh...)
  2. I failed my maths O level twice, and only managed to pass it on the third attempt. No idea why so much difficulty. Suprising now that a lot of my job is about numbers. Hail the calculator.
  3. I can touch-type. I taught myself when I was at university. I still think it is the main employability skill I left there with. My whole career centred on it.
  4. I am only a quarter English - another quarter is Scot, the final half is American. I don't feel like an american - when I am there the people are somewhat alien to me. I also don't feel particularly English and I won't be considered Scottish by the Scottish (too obviously an English accent). My closest affiliation is London.
  5. I'm a bit sick of the Royal Wedding. I have been rather non-plussed by the royals since we waited for the Queen during the silver Jubilee. We spent all afternoon sitting on the side of Roseberry Avenue outside Sadler's Wells, waving flags and singing why are we waiting (some forward youngster taught us). When her car drove past (at a very swift pace) I didn't recognise her because instead of a crown she was wearing a green and white coat and hat number.
  6. I have played the recorder (yes, I know, its not like a real instrument but I played it for a number of years) at the Albert Hall (School's proms), and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. These are the closest I have ever come to being on the stage. The whole idea of the stage now terrifies me.
  7. I have a birthmark on my earlobe. Kids at school used to think it was disgusting - clearly something was terribly diseased, in their minds. It didn't help that my mother always kept my hair very short. Nowadays nobody even notices it.
Easter Monday

Today I have mostly been...
Watching biblical epic films on TV. First it was Charlton Heston as Moses with the Egyptians against the Iraelites. I remember it from seeing it on TV in the 70s on those epic Sundays that never seemed to end, parents spent what seemed like hours behind the open pages of Sunday broadsheets and were extremely boring (only you could never say so because of Dad's decree that only the boring get bored). And then the epic films on the little orange TV that lasted for hours, literally. I was expectantly waiting for the red sea to open so that Moses and the people could get away from the Egyptian chariots. Let it be written, let it be done. And so it was. Shortly after another one started with Jesus and the romans. Haven't been able to sit still during this one quite so much (did skip some sizable chunks of the first one), so I have also been cooking and sewing.

I sat down and watched a bit more of King of Kings, while eating burnt toast, plagued as it is with some terrible wigs, Jesus almost looks like an addict - with very wide-open piercing eyes and lanky hair.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Electric Storm

I'm sitting in the garden watching the thick storm clouds gather, rumbling with thunder. An occasional fork of lightning crackles out of the sky. The temperature has cooled but not below body heat. Wind has picked up and the birds are a bit jumpy. Heavy with the expectation of rain. The air yellowing. I hope it's one of those fat raindrop storms, sudden heavy deluge that will clean the air. I felt one drop. I think it's coming.
Happy Easter

Friday, 22 April 2011

Dead Bird

A chaffinch just fell out of the sky floundered around all lobsided like he had a broken leg and then died.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

V&A visit

Unofficial trip to the V&A to see the ceramics galleries - getting inspiration for next terms class. Waiting on the steps out front in the blazing sun of the hottest day of the year so far there was a sharing of working in Harrods stories (some of my colleagues have done it).

A friend of one of them had spent some time serving a very difficult woman buying a broom. When she had finally made her choice, he asked her, would madam like it wrapped or is she riding it home? After which he was fired.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


It's a sunny day I'm waiting for the bus. A young man walks up talking to his friend on the phone. They are having a man-to-man relationship talk. ...not into the relationship thing... Finally he makes his judgement, to be honest with you, you sound a bit pussy-whipped, he proclaims, and immediately is embarrassed, oops, maybe I shouldn't say that in the proximity of... I imagine he said women but he lowered his voice.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Book series

Tips for authors planning to write a book series:
  1. Make sure the story is big enough for multiple books
  2. Don't assume that to read as a stand alone book you need to repeat all the main points of all the previous books
  3. The third book should not double in size - 400 pages is plenty - bigger is difficult to carry around
I have just finished the last book in the series by Jean Auel - I was compelled to read the whole series despite the fact the books got thicker and thicker and more and more repetitive. I wanted to get to the end of the story. Now I've got there the journey could have been shorter.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Tuesday evening

I'm unreasonably tired, thinking of going to bed, and its only 10pm. It was chilly today - having painted my toenails for wearing sandals and gotten the slightest beginnings of a tan going, the weather changed and had to put it all away.  Cee-Lo Green was on Jules Holland, now the lead singer of Glasvegas is wearing one of those sleeveless shirts with too large arm holes that open down to the waist (hate them - you can see a bit too much body).

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Early summer

Its a hot day.
The remenants of last night's first barbeque of the year are in the firepit.
Cherry blossom drifts down from the tree next door. Glorious against a pure blue sky.
Last of the late daffoldils are starting to fade. The early tulips are fully open revealing their green and white inner colour.
The grass is long.
Birds are chirruping, and  bathing. It'll soon be time for the fledglings to emerge.
Tiny holly blue, and white, butterflies flutter around.
Love the peace of the garden in the weekday (working from home).

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

 Eat Cake

I'm having a craving for cake.
Coffee and walnut cake.
With a thin layer of coffee flavoured butter icing.
It needs to be home made, not a dry shop bought version.
Perhaps I should make one, but I can't really be bothered. That lethargy doesn't stop the craving however. I'm trying to distract it by watching CSI (first it was Miami, now its New York) but these are now all blending into the same programme and they aren't distracting enough.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Bruce Grove to Liverpool Street

A young couple sit on the train going to work.  He looks boyish with a man's haircut, tired eyes and a smattering of facial hair. She is serene and quietly pretty. Like side characters in a costume drama, playing maids and kitchen boy from downstairs. They are not speaking to each other but occassionally she turns from looking out of the window and smiles at him. It causes him to smile back and his face brightens. Neither of them read, paper or book. He is listening to one headphone.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Song Cycle for Japan

Pops and I went to St Mary's Church, Upper Street, to listen to a song cycle for Japan. The music was haunting, played on a baby grand piano with two voices - female and male. The church setting was contemplative. Outside the large clear glass windows were some huge plain trees with those balls of seeds, against a blue sky, rays of sun shone in.

The lyrics made me think about the images that stuck in my head from the news footage.
  • People running out of offices while rubble falls from skyscrapers crashing onto the pavement.
  • A white car drives along a straight road, behind it the tsunami wave crashes together from both sides of the road, large and blackened. Its haunting that they keep saying the wave is travelling at 500 miles per hour. I think about the car often, did it escape? It doesn't seem possible.
  • The wave rolls over the town's defences, overcoming walls and houses, surrounded they fold in on themselves like paper.
  • Aftermath - two buildings left standing in a town with a population of 10,000. The rest of it looks like tindersticks.
  • Ships beached in the centre of flattened towns.
  • A child with her mother and brother, searching the rubble of their former home, runs over with a photograph in a frame. The frame is broken and the glass is muddy, the mother takes the photograph out and wipes it with her hand. It shows her son and daughter with their father. A tear escapes from her eye and rolls down her cheek. Their father is a rescue worker, she explains, we haven't seen him since the wave came. We hope he is safe.
  • An old man stooped with age, aided by a walking stick, climbs off the rubble with a rescue worker.
The nuclear smoke and steam from the reactor steals the news away from the human stories as the world becomes afraid of the wider impact. I wish they would return to the human stories. There was one news item that showed a road just after the quake - ripped up, jagged - and now - already resurfaced and fixed. The one person we knew who was in Japan at the time of the quake got back sooner than expected. He was truely amazed at the way the Japanese handled it - calm, orderly despite the terrifying situation.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Road Surface

Rye Lane is being resurfaced. They've been at it for months. Today the barriers extend in both directions for a long stretch of road. The lack of surface is not preventing it's use by cyclists and pedestrians who have opened the barriers at strategic places along the missing road surface. People will find the path of least resistance.

Friday, 18 March 2011


Look at the supermoon, someone texted to me. Couldn't see it until I got off the bus at Tottenham Swan. Bails had told me it was going to be bigger than normal due to it being nearer than its been for 20 years, or something. It didn't seem nearer while I was looking at it but it was incredibly bright - shining, almost too bright to look at as it reflected the sun back at us. Trying to distinguish its surface through the naked eye. When I got home I  looked out the back but it was too far over the roofs to see. It cast a distinctive shadow over the garden, almost light.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Ceramics Class

It is the term of functionality. Don't normally care too much about function, but someone commissioned me to make a water jug. So I've made 3 of them - they are a sort of set with different arrangements of handles and using the same method of decorating. The rest of the class and department seem to be having a teapot theme - many teapots being made. Someone said pinchpot teapots and I decided in a spare moment to make one. Once I started I didn't make just one but two. Like the second one better with its pinched handle, spout and lid.

May or may not make some more.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

In London the sun is shining

Birds are nesting - collecting bits and bobs to soften the holes in the roofs nearby. Its all go again. They are back to bathing collectively in the birdbath. The black cat from across the gardens is on the neighbours shed roof watching. He likes to watch. Grass is growing. Buds are growing fat, ready to open. Daffodils waft in the wind.

In Dundee its raining and snowing. Sis and her new dog have been drenched twice. She was hoping someone else would take him out for his evening constitutional.

In Japan I can't imagine. A friend of a friend was on a business trip in Tokyo, finally made contact today - very shaken up but amazed at the way people reacted in such a calm manner. The pictures have been astounding - terrifying watching the tsumani wave rolling over the fields, tearing down buildings as if they were made of paper, rolling on and on over roads, airports, tossing cars and rubble around like so much flotsum and jetsum. Scared for the person who was driving their car along the road on the news while two sides of the wave slid over the road behind them.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Bus Journey

Behind me is a man on his way home from the office - he's reading and his breath smells stale, partially masked by coffee but not entirely.

Ahead of me a woman is having throat problems and keeps retching and burping.

Altogether it's making me feel sick.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ceramics Class


Aim was to make a waterjug. It had to hold water, be able to be used for pouring, so not to big to be too heavy. It sort of has the puffed out chest of a pigeon or pheasant or something. One handle was never going to be enough!

Softly the sun rises and shines, takes the chill of the winter. Crocuses are out, daffodils in bud. Grass is long. Birds are preparing for chicks. Sitting outside with sunshine on the face for the first time of the year. Looking forward to the new season.

I recently bought a new frying pan but its much larger than it looked in the shop and is too big for the dishwasher and too heavy to toss a pancake with. So instead pancakes were turned rather than flipped. Sort of took the fun out of it.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


I bought two prints from a Petitou exhibition by Nicholas Frith. A stag and a lonesome woodcutter. They remind me of a print of Dad's of two innuit fishermen similar to some of these.
I got tonnes

You know that saying - I've got shedloads (of, for example, books, or something) - in my head I always imagine enough to fit in a shed (its not an infinite number but it is a lot). Someone today was saying they have a problem when the phrase is used because they can't decide whether the shed is a noun or a verb. I've never before realised that actually the use of shed in this phrase is a verb. It doesn't refer to enough to fit into a shed - it refers to an  amount that has been shed from a lorry. A shed load. Doh. BIG doh. I astound myself sometimes. How have I got to be 40 and not realised this yet?

Monday, 7 February 2011


How many paperclips are in circulation at any one time? I think I have bought a packet of paperclips perhaps once in my entire school and working life but always manage to have an overflowing collection of them in an assortment of useful sizes. At a meeting today someone collected a single clip off the desk at the end and said I'll have that it's a resource. Which it is. But who supplies them all if we don't actually buy them?

Friday, 4 February 2011


There's a man behind me on the bus suffering with a terrible cold - he's coughing and spluttering and sniffing up snot. I'm worried the infection is all over the back of my head. Public transport makes you ill.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Private View

Hobnobbing with the art crowd at the preview of Susan Hiller exhibition at the Tate Britain. The work requires a certain intellectual engagement that isn't properly possible in such crowded conditions but there is definitely a reason to come back and spend more time. Feminist and psychological sensibility. Mixed and alternative media. Collections and cataloguing. Relooking at found objects, re-presenting them.

Tate Britain first gallery is full of sculpture of the human form, people mill around drinking wine and posing. I keep looking at shoes.