Saturday, 28 December 2013


I drive an old car. It's a retro golf gti. But that is sort of irrelevant to the story. The bad thing about old cars is that they are liable to breakdown. 

Driving to pick up my sister and her kids from kings cross station passing St Pancras it stalled and didn't have any power left. I was stuck in the middle lane of three lanes of solid traffic. Hazards on. Unsure how to proceed. A cab stopped and asked what was wrong and suggested I get to the side of the road and call my breakdown cover. A man on the pavement came over and pushed me into the drive of the St Pancras Hotel. We stopped when he couldn't shove it uphill on his own anymore. Relieved and very grateful. 

The doorman from the hotel sidled down and asked what was wrong. I broke down and it has no power. Well you can't stay here it's private property. I'm only going to be here while I call the breakdown company. His colleague came. Have you got a permit? No. Well these spaces are paid for by the residents of the building. I'm broken down, I don't want to park here. Well you can't leave it here. What do you suggest I do then? We will help you to push it back onto the street. 

I look at the Euston Road, there are three solid lanes, a bus lane, double red lines. It's a ridiculous suggestion. I laugh at him. I can't wait here for the breakdown company? No madam. You don't have a permit. There are two wedding buses coming shortly and they need to get past. I cast my eye over the 30 empty parking spaces. 

At which point my sister came round the corner from Kings Cross with her children. Overhearing this she started on him - you cannot push this car onto that road - it's dangerous. Look at how many spaces you have, it not like we are going to be here for ages. She called the local police. He told her they have no jurisdiction here it's private property. 

Two staff from the wedding venue came down. One very reasonably said - we are going to push the car out of the way - up to there. While you wait for the breakdown company. Thank you. The four of them pushed the car up the hill and backed it up in front of a lovely clean Mercedes. Individually they each asked how long we were going to be. I will let you know, I said. 

They all went back to their jobs. The buses arrived and decanted guests into the reception. We waited. And finally an hour later I tried the car again and it started. We crossed our fingers and went on our way after cancelling the breakdown people. 

Thursday, 26 December 2013


The aftermath is a kitchen where almost every pot, plate, glass and implement in the house is waiting to be washed and the dishwasher has been going solidly since yesterday. Good food and good fun though. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas dinner

By Christmas, how many Christmas dinners will you have had? Today In our staff canteen they are doing roast with lamb. That's roasted potatoes and parsnips, over-boiled sprouts and lamb slices, with a side of pigs in blankets. It looks and smells most unappetising. Last week on our works do you had a choice of roast turkey dinner or something else. I chose the something else because turkey can be so dry. I was right. That time the portions were on the extreme stingy side. It was like Noah's ark - 2 sprouts, 2 roasted potatoes, 2 parsnips, 2 carrots (pieces not whole parsnips or carrots). A well roasted dinner can be a delight but it can also be dreary and unappealling. Particularly when it comes in long metal trays in bulk! I prefer to wait for the real deal. 

Friday, 13 December 2013


"Have you ever pretended to be a monkey for five hours?"

My sentiments exactly after five hours on the train. Actually I was itching to get off after fifty minutes. Shorter attention span than usual. Much like a monkey. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

I've been thinking about Nelson Mandela a lot but haven't known what to say.  He was very influential in my youth. And I think back fondly on those politicised and active times. I spent over a year picketing outside South Africa House in Trafalgar Square for his release in the late 80s. My designated time was from 11-1 on a Saturday although I ended up staying for much of the afternoon generally until we slopped off to the pub. We collected petition signatures, sang songs, chanted and felt like we were doing a good thing. There was comraderie there. And some genuine communists. I met Archbishop Desmond Tutu once when he came over to show his solidarity with the non-stop picket while he was in London on some greater business. 

I was 17. It felt like we could change the world if enough of us joined in. We individually sanctioned South African produce refusing to buy Rowntrees, bank with Barclays or buy South African fruit and veg. Persuaded the adults in the family to do the same as far as we could. We hated Mrs Thatcher for her refusal to sanction South Africa. And all the bands and artists who played Sun City (stand up Elton John, Queen, Rod Stewart, to name a few).

And then in 1990 he was released. It was a jubilant time. Like grass roots political activism was a powerful and important mechanism. This older, smiling, strong, amazing individual walked free and seemed to change the world. 

It was heartwarming across the world. To people who were not directly under his power. But were inspired and amazed and awed by him. He had a long, important, influential life.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Arsy day

Today has been an arsy day (irritating with annoying people and their demands - and the predictive text doesn't believe in cussing and keeps wanting to sanitise my words into something that doesn't make any sense). Finally on my way home. Sitting on a bus at some traffic lights. Next to us a cab driver smokes a fag slowly out of his open window. Behind him a bus has pulled up and honks at him. He leans out of his window with an angry scowl and gestures wanker at him. Bus driver honks again. Taxi driver mouths into his mirror fuck off. And when the light goes green he sits there smoking until he is good and ready to move off. The epitome of what an arsy day makes you do. 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Post pottery pizza club

It's late, I'm a bit drunk from drinking sambucas on ice to wash down a couple of slices of "really hot" pizza with extra pineapple. Everything seems a bit crazy in Finsbury park. Lidls doors open when I pass by so I go in looking for catfood only to be told by the third or forth staff member I pass that they are actually shut. I'm not the only errant shopper in there. Their security guard comes out from the back in a big strop. There is a tall man at the railings of the park trying to help his friend climb out of the park without being impaled on the railings. They are laughing too much and he's stuck on the top with a railing spike between his legs. The bus is going to be eight minutes. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Attempted Mugging

It's winter. The streets are dark, cold, wet and deserted. Walking at 9pm from my dad's to Mr's. Streets I've known forever. Running footsteps coming up the railway bridge behind me. I'm aware. They pass me and carry on. I'm passing under enormous plain trees around which has recently been repaved so the path is flatter and not cracked by their roots. I turn onto Oakfield road. Passing over the railway I hear running steps again and then someone grabs my handbag handles and jerks, give me the bag he growls. Instant reaction is to hold firmly and I shout no, loudly. Louder than I realise I can. Top of my lungs. No! Leave me alone! Get away from me! Fuck off! As we struggle with the bag between us. I shove him in the chest. He turns and runs off leaving me. I have my bag. I check whether he managed to get anything out of it (not sure why I think he could have). And then I turn and run the rest of my way, looking back sometimes. I'm shaking. But not really as afraid as I thought might have been. When I get in they can't believe what happened and question me about where, what and who did this. I remember he was wearing pale jeans and a tan balaclava. I think he was a teenager. He was slight. Not tall (similar to me). And they laughed, incredulous. And then said they were proud of me fighting him off. I think they may have thought I would have wimped out and given in. I thought I might as well but instinct does surprising things sometimes. 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Inadvertent peeping tom

Opposite my office is a row of shops with flats above. There's a woman in the top flat brushing her hair looking in a mirror she has leaned against the window. She hasn't a stitch of clothing on. Bare. Nude.  Like a naturist (as opposed to naked, like in porn, if you recognise the difference). But we have builders on the roof of our building. I doubt she realises she can be seen. Or maybe she really is just nude and doesn't care to be seen that way. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Autumn drawing in

The afternoon darkened gradually until fat raindrops splattered the windows, then ran down in thick riverlets. Everything dark grey. Apart from a sparkling yellow edged cloud, that reminded you it was only 3 o'clock in the afternoon. One of those afternoons at work where distraction has to come from inside the building because the outside has closed around you. Free disgusting coffee and hot chocolate from the machine. Mild Friday flirting at the coffee machines. Short conversations with people you only know by sight. Not your team, no reason to speak to them really. Like so many familiar strangers at the train station every morning. One or two have breached this stand offishness. People from the company who do totally different roles to you that you talk about outside work activity to. Weird hot desking open plan working. People meet in glass walled rooms. No hiding. 

Fantasy overtakes the mind from boredom. I'm imagining swinging the revolving chair round and flashing a la Sharon Stone in basic instinct. Giving a particular someone in the glass meeting room a thrill. That fantasy evolves into round beds with satin sheets, slip-sliding through the wrinkles with a air of abandon. Boredom. A bad thing for a creative mind on a Friday afternoon. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Word blindness

Pops and I were working a code word puzzle in the evening standard. It's one where I was being a bit risky with putting in the letters (feeling like sometimes I had to try it in order to move forward). One of the cross checks could have been SHAM or WHAM, with the word WHIM/SHIM/WHOM/SHOM. We eventually decided it had to be WHOM - a word neither of us knew but were pronouncing WOM. Only on looking it up in the dictionary did we realise this is that commonly used word whom

  1. 1.
    used instead of ‘who’ as the object of a verb or preposition.

We laughed at ourselves. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pets in the supermarket

Been to the vets (by public transport) on the way home popped into the supermarket. Put the cat basket in the trolley and hoped nobody would notice. Which almost nobody did. Is it bad? My feeling is that while not quite ok it's less bad than taking a dead mouse in one of my shopping bags and accidentally tipping it out on the floor by the checkout...


In the dead of night lying wrapped around the hard body of my bedfellow. Secure in the arms that hold me. Nuzzling into his neck and toying with his earlobe. The bed is familiar. The night dark and shadows in the room are normal to me. The trundling night trains passing have become soothing over time rather than distracting. These are the times. The times of whispered dreams and hopes. Of soothing words and accompanying strokes. A hand over hair, brushing skin of the shoulder and hollow of the lower back. Comforting. Lovely. 


Silver birch trees flashing the pale undersides of their leaves in the wind. A delightful flickering of brightness in the autumn sunshine. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Post exercise blues

Been having some bad days recently. Despondent and out of sorts. Itchy feet. Unhappy. I've been putting it down to a sense of boredom and feeling the need to broaden my horizons. Someone at work today said she knew exactly what it was. Post gym blues. She said I complain of this on the days after I've been in the gym. Post seretonin come down or something. Apart from the health benefits, I always knew the gym was bad for you!!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The world according to...

Tottenham mother on the school run (by bus). Talking on the phone to a girlfriend, child chattering next to her whispering why do you always do this to me never talk to me...

The mother is saying
I have to say though, bacon tastes nice in a sandwich. Nah but bacon doesn't count as pork. I don't eat pork but I so eat bacon and sausage...

The kid starts whinging in a way that sounds like a cat meowing.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wandering hands

It's hard to decide whether its accidental or purposeful brushing or touching, when crammed together on the tube swaying from the motion of the train on its forward trajectory. I became aware of a light touch in the groin area and saw a mans large hand with the knuckles leaning against me, so I moved away slightly. My stop came. I got off walking with the throng of crowd towards the escalator, stepped on, suddenly aware of a body close behind me. Tall. Sort of looming. But escalators are crowded in rush hour and people do step up right behind you in these busy times. And then the brush of something lightly against my buttock. Could be accidental. Could be. Just not at all sure that it was. A cursory backward glance revealed the same man with the knuckles. And then I stepped off at the top and walked away. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013


Being by the sea is a lovely thing - mesmerising and in persistent motion with light sparkling off it in ways that delight the brain and brighten the atmosphere. 

And then there are the things that we don't see everyday - the mangled ironwork of the burned-down pier rising out if the sea, massive baby seagulls sitting on car roofs in the car park, fishing boats beached on the shingle having been dragged out if the water, double story beach huts for drying fishing nets, man frying white fish freshly caught and tucking it into fresh buns. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Public Transport

The trouble with public transport (and I'm not going to moan about late, crowded and cancelled because while its par for the course we are actually pretty lucky in London with tubes every couple of minutes and our iconic red buses) is the presence of occasionally over-hot and large other passengers. A man sat next to me on the bus. He sat right next to me. His thigh touched the full length of mine and he was wearing a scratchy woollen sleeveless cardigan that itched my bare arms (26 degrees today - really no need for a jacket). As we rode along I gradually became aware of his temperature. Not sure whether it was rising or just seeping through his jeans. He was very tall and broad. I started to feel quite enclosed. And very hot. It was only when he got up and left that I realised that I was feeling his sweat through my skirt. Sadly I didn't have enough time to cool down because a woman took his seat almost straight away. Nowhere near his bulk but her upper thigh is against mine. And I can feel the heat heating up again... 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Breakfast streaking

Bails thought she had left the front door keys in the door of Rodney's flat. Forgetting that despite it being a side basement door that there is a view to the street she opened the door in the buff to check just as a woman walked past. 

Disgusting people

I work in an open plan office. I have just seen a colleague diagonally opposite dig his ear with a bic biro lid and then examine it before he licked it off. Ugh. Bet he is a nose picker as well. 

Friday, 16 August 2013


I'm wondering, 8 months on whether I will ever be able to slake my craving for beef. Particularly in steak or burger form. Will it take me 26 years (length of my vegetarian gap) to catch up?

Monday, 12 August 2013

Classy bar staff

I came into a classy restaurant with a bar. Sat on a comfortable stool at the marble topped bar. Ordered a cocktail sitting where the barman makes the drinks. It is happy hour. I got two cocktails for the price of one. The barman spilled chipped ice around that looked like rough cut diamonds. The other clientele were all couples. I watched the barman and wished mr was here. By the time I started my second cocktail I was perhaps one sheet to the wind and managed to tip some down my shirt. Barman just quietly placed some additional napkins by my setting without even seeming to notice what I had done. Classy. Very classy. 

Monday, 29 July 2013

Strict Undergarments

I found myself in Harmony looking at corsets. Helped by a lovely oriental assistant to actually get into them. We started with a purple one I picked off the shelf - lovely colour. She pulled it tight in the middle. Just about able to breathe. And then laced it up and down. And then went for a second tightening. Breathing was optional I decided. I can see why ladies used to faint. I can also see how you might get hooked on the constriction - it makes you 100% aware of your body (posture, movement, breathing and shape). We decided it didn't fit on the bust. All the squeezing meant it barely covered it. 

We tried a black one next. Much better fit, if a less exciting colour. In between she decided I had to get rid of the bra I was wearing cos it did nothing for me. And I felt I had to listen - this was a lady who looked and sounded like she would take no shit. And then she wanted to take pictures to show my boyfriend, who she believed would love it (despite the fact she knew nothing of him). Her direction was strict - look sultry, don't smile, be confident, don't do your arm like that. And she hated the iPhone camera. 

There's something special about underwear sales assistants. Very complementary but honest if that makes any sense. Not afraid to burst in and make themselves known. 

I always thought I ought to have been born a Victorian! 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Through the Wardrobe

From Rye Lane, Peckham, we drove up through the multi-storey car park and then walked through the iron gates into a display of installation and sculpture accompanied by a warm up for the London Contemporary Music Festival by a choir with their faces painted white.

Finally out onto the top floor to find Frank's cafe and cocktails. Blue sky and sparkling. A haven with a full panoramic view at the top of Peckham. Full of Shoreditch types. Drinking cocktails that were pre-made. Joined an empty queue and was helpfully told I had gone the wrong way (lots of rules in this transplanted Hoxton). The waitresses wore hot pants with their bum cheeks hanging out. And we started off sharing a table with a couple of fluorescent haired tattooed pierced suburbanites. We eventually had to move from their inane gossip. 

Weird and otherworldly. Most unlike what you expect to find on top of a car park. 

A baby seagull had taken a dive from the nest but could launch himself back into the air. He was all long legs and mottled fluffy feathers. His mum dive bombed the drinkers but they mostly didn't notice her or the baby seagull. 

In the corner someone hemmed the trouser leg of one of the choir members. 

And then we went home descending through the floors back out into the reality of Peckham. 


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Cafe Viva

Intense young woman and her apple notebook rubs the shoulder of her friend vigorously. The friend is dressed in the style of a land girl from the forties and is bent over her iPhone texting and rolling a cigarette with liquorice papers. When she finishes, she gets up and leaves, pecking the intense girl on the cheek on the way out. The man sitting next to me has slicked back hair and a moustache that curls at both ends. Head from the 1930s, dressed like a grungy festival hippy. The weather has cooled. They are digging up the street outside and a dustbin lorry goes past stinking. Intense girl turns the volume up on her phonecall to be heard. We all hear. 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Singular of Sheep

At an artists studio someone said (while looking at a wicker sculpture of a sheep) why isn't there a singular of sheep. I said it could follow the pattern of teeth and tooth - a singular of sheep could be shoop. But why don't we have a singular of sheep, someone asked. Maybe I thought because sheep don't normally come in ones. They come in flocks. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

Ly-cester Square

I'm waiting for my companions for the evening. Leicester Square. Being renovated has a mirrored awning around the fountain which reflects back the passing throng of tourists which this area now almost exclusively attracts. More foreign languages spoken here than English. Could be on holiday. 

It's warm. People are strewn over the grass like they've been here all day. The evening sun is waning slowly. On the opposite corner the police arrest and take away a seemingly compliant tramp who looked like he was about to pitch a tent. 

Mostly people are eating burgers and fries and eating pig fat ice creams despite the fact there is a Haggan Das shop on one side and a Ben and Jerry's on the other. 

It's stretched into a long 20 minutes. Possibly double. Still waiting. 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Waving not drowning

I'm on the train that passes his house and on the phone to him at the same time. He comes outside and waves at the train as it goes past. I'm in the third carriage first doors I say waving back. He laughs. I laugh. The woman standing next to me sees him and also laughs. Did you see me I ask. Yes he said you're wearing a grey teeshirt or something. I am. Tenuous connections, fleeting but lovely. I bet the whole train saw me he says, we have to stop doing this shit. I hope not I think smiling. 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Waiting for the bus

I'm impatient and it said 5 minutes before any bus was due. I started walking and a man started talking. Couldn't be bothered to wait for the bus either? no. It's been a long day and I don't feel like waiting.
How far you going? Not really sure. 
What do you do? Work for the Council. 
Doing what? Contracts management. 
Admin then? Largely, I agree. Boring then? Somewhat. 
What do you do in your spare time? I make pots, and... Blog a little. And take photos. Quite a bit of extras I think. Haven't thought about that for a while. 
What kind of pots? Big and odd. 
Do you sell them online or anything? Not sure anyone would want them. But I'm trying to persuade someone to give me an exhibition in Peckham. 
Anyway we've talked a lot about me. What about you? 
I used to work with young people but didn't like it as I got further into management and now am trying to set up as photographer.
So these interesting conversations about people trying to do some self employment type work. It makes me think about what I intended to do when I started out at the beginning. Some kind of artistic expression. 
Finally, he said, I've walked past my bus stop twice now. You must go back I said. Yes he said. We went our separate ways and I'm thinking of what I will do next. 

Bored boy and the German tourist

The bored boy is driving his toy car over the back of his seat and behind the neck of a German tourist. The German tourist flicks the back of his neck with slight irritation. The bored boy's car drives across the seat backs to his mother's shoulder. His feet press gently against the German tourist's apple green samsonite suitcase so that it rolls slightly on its four caster wheels. The German tourist rolls the suitcase off the bottom of the bored boy's trainer soles. The car drives back across the seats and down the arm of the German tourist, whereupon the bored boy's father nodded to the bored boy's mother who knocked the bored boy's feet off the seat and apologised to the German tourist who pretended it was okay, even though it blatantly wasn't really. 

Friday, 21 June 2013


After Friday prayers at lunchtime men stream out of the local mosque and flow back up towards Rye Lane. Multiculturally Muslim. And eating perfect yellow bananas.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Dressing your age

I can't decide whether it is better to be mutton dressed as lamb, or lamb dressed as mutton. Lamb doesn't often dress as mutton but I've seen a girl outside in a gold brocade jacket with a brown blouse underneath with a knot detail at the neck. Lady Di-esc. She looks like she has come out in her granny's clothes. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Morning, Love

Young couple on way to work in the city. He in a suit, she in a beige mac. A standing crushed together on the train morning. His head is down looking at something on his phone. She leans her forehead against his. He presses against hers. Looks up. Finishes with the phone, and puts his arm around her. They read the Metro together. No words, just actions. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


Bought a lovely pair of sandals with a slight heel from that jumble sale called TKMaxx. Wore them out to the theatre and the heel pad of one came off. Took them to the cobblers in London Bridge. Nice man. Said they were very summery and wouldn't I be wearing them later? I said it depended how long to fix them. Timings didn't fit in but I would collect them tomorrow. 

On collection we had a similar conversation about wearing them. I looked around the workshop area - there were spike heels in black with studs, and flesh toned ones in patent leather and a kitten heel on the counter getting glued. I wondered if he had a shoe fetish. A cobbler with a shoe fetish. Could be the ideal job!

Thursday, 30 May 2013


So today on the quest to find the perfect black leather jacket for a man with a 46inch chest I was on Bond Street, playing at being a rich woman shopping for her husband. Being very contained and not balking at the outrageously large prices of said jackets (£1600 anybody? Someone must be buying them). The shops are decidedly empty here - none of the crowds stacking up on sweatshop-produced cheap shit from Primark. No, these are shops with charming sales assistants and security men who open the door for you and wish you a very pleasant evening. They sit you down and parade their wares for you, checking prices and sizes and telling you all about the fabric. 

In Fenwick I tried on brassieres. One of them worth £145. That's more than I've paid for any item of clothing I've ever owned! Nice though. Very good fit. The shop assistant thought so also as she burst through the curtain unannounced and told me that there was good room in the back, cup size was perfect and my tan looked very fresh. I forget what it's like in these kinds of shops - extra helpful! A little bit over zealous! 

And it all shut down well before late night shopping finished on Oxford Street. No need to work for people who can afford such items, perhaps. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013


The cafe is full of shrieking babies. A man across from me raises his eyes to the sky. The mums are getting ready to leave - it takes them 10 minutes of talking baby to each other excitedly about swings to leave while the babies continue at the tops of their lungs. 

When quiet descends the conversation of three people making film proposals fills the space. The pitch is about the moon and reaching up to show longing and desire. Beautiful they think. Cliche I think. Then there is something about a person holding up a cheese and a dolls house and a family that just sounds naff. Advert perhaps. One of them is going to start doing the sound scapy stuff. Doing diaries, around half term, loudly. Pretentious students.  Or perhaps pretentious film people who deliver courses. 

Monday, 13 May 2013


It's my birthday today (actual birthday not blog birthday). Not been posting much because my computer has broken and I need a new hard drive. There are posts I need to do - like about my fabulous trips to Ghana and most recently Greece and stories of life and love and tribulations, ceramics and work, London, Athens and Accra. I'm going to be better. Because I'm 43. And I don't want my life to pass me by uncommented upon! 

I wore yellow to work today. They've not seen me in anything other than black before. It was somewhat controversial and deemed worthy of much comment. 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Lunchtime Cafe Musicals

On the way to the cafe the brief display of sunshine was replaced by threateningly black clouds.

Two mums sat chatting with their babies and buggies. A man and his mum having coffee. Several lone eaters with the dregs of hot drinks. A woman opposite with splendidly black shiny hair and a thick fringe had ordered the same as me.

Egg Mayonaise and salad sandwich on brown. Deliciously reminiscent of the 70s for me. Picnics and homemade sandwiches. Very evocative. Walking across Regent's Park's Inner Circle when mum's flip flop stuck to the heat-moistened tarmac and broke.

Black clouds led to a hail storm. Mum and son chatted about the radio weather on the way down predicting this for London. The mothers gassed on about the inanities of life - messing up the recording of their favourite programme which they were bereft about because it had just finished. Waiting for a lull in the weather to leave. When it arrived they walked to the door. One of the mums sang, oh it's still hailing and I'm not wearing appropriate clothes (in the way people do when they are alone). The last words swallowed by the wind as the door closes behind her. The remaining cafe occupants burst into a round of spontaneous laughter which she must have heard as she put up her sweatshirt hood - she blushed and laughed. The other mum had an umbrella which promptly turned inside out in the wind.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Wet Saturdays

It's been raining. Outside the Tarmac is black and shiny reflecting back the headlights, tail-lights, street lights. People huddle under umbrellas and plod along the wet York paving stones. Not so many people out for a Saturday as you might expect in Upper Street. Sky is pitch black. No visible moon.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Value of cigarette butts

A homeless man outside the Southbank Centre takes the inside compartment out of a outside ashtray and empties the stubbed butts into his pocket, presumably to smoke as they are later or to extract the tobacco for roll ups. The value of other people's discarded rubbish.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Summer time

I forgot the advantage of longer light in the evenings from the clocks going forwards. The joy of getting out of work while it is still daylight and it lasting until after 7pm. Summer is coming even though it continues cold and grey.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Rich Mix

Walking out if the cinema two women are sitting in a window sill talking about one of their relationships. SH said When you hear people talking they are almost always talking about relationships. We pass a man on the phone, that's not what I said, that's not what I said, he is saying. See? It's familiar, that's not what I said, ok I did say it but that's not what I meant. 21st century angst.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Meat-eating Vegetarian

I became a vegetarian aged 17 (I'm 42 now) because we learned about intensive farming in Geography and as a moralistic teenager I decided enough was enough - I had to make a stand on behalf of animal husbandry. Didn't touch it, or even really crave it, again until Christmas 2012. I had been debating it internally for a bit - felt like I needed it. Then I had some. Bacon. A mouthful. It was full flavoured and a fantastic texture in the mouth. Then after that a burger. Beef. Succulent. And this weird head clarity. At Christmas dinner my dining companions nearly fell off their chairs in shock (many of them I hadn't told) - which came on top of me wearing purple and extremely high heeled shoes - it was all a bit much for some of them to take in at once.

I still basically think of myself as a vegetarian though. Just one that eats meat with great delight. I am especially fond of beef. It's the best in the visual clarity stakes. And steaks are probably my favourite. I have even had veal escallop for old times sake. As a kid we used to go to an Italian trattoria near my father's office where that was what I always had. With lemon squeezed over. I used to love it. Cruel but delicious.

I have recently discovered I am slightly anaemic and have low ferric acid levels - which might account for the cravings. Not feeling guilty yet despite there being some ardent veggies in my ceramics class at the moment.

Friday, 22 March 2013


There is something satisfying about clacking around the beautiful wooden floors of Liberties on a Friday evening looking at clothing too expensive to buy made of impractical diaphanous fabrics that are tied onto rails with security tags that chirrup like birds when they are stretched too far (overly sensitive I'm told by a shop assistant).

In shoes a man sits and reads a paper. I try to decide which woman browsing around the shelves at the edge of the room he is with. Quite uncertain. From the balcony upstairs I spy a shop assistant having a brief intimate chat with him whilst looking furtively over her shoulder and toying with her hair. Waiting for home time then rather than bored on a monster shopping spree.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


A man offers to help a woman carry her buggy down the steps from the platform. He is gone long enough that he probably helped her all the way to street level (Peckham Rye has no lift or escalator access and is a high rail track). He returns to the platform slightly breathlessly from bounding up the stairs. The first thing he encounters are two cute young women dragging three huge suitcases between them. They are looking for a lift. He catches my eye, because we both were watching them. We laugh. He sees his train approaching and then chivalrously offers to carry one of the cases down one flight because his train is coming. You're a star one of the girls says at the bottom. He bounds back up in time to board the train. Breathless again. I'm still smiling. Gentlemen exist - always ready to help damsels in distress, or at least discomfort.

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Brits

So Georgia's bloke helps building the TV set at the Brits where they do the interviews. Sounds like a shaggy dog story. Anyway - he had free passes to the after show party (the one at the O2 rather than the ones where the A listers were papped drunk) and he gave them to Georgia and she gave one to me. To get into the awards ceremony itself he said I needed to just walk with him and pretend I worked there. In an unusual choice for me I was wearing a yellow dress and pink high heels (the girl who always wears black this is) so decided I would just large through the doors and security like a celebrity and nobody said boo to the goose. Opened doors for me and waved me through. We stood by the entrance - could see all the celebs squeezing through to get out for a fag, get interviewed or go back stage to present awards or perform. Lots of them were extremely short. I felt like a giant, particularly with my diminutive companions. So Sharon Osbourne looked like a witch, Ben Drew was hanging with a man in a beautiful blue silk embroidered suit and kept popping out for a fag - I was disappointed he didn't win anything, I think Johnny Depp although I wasn't sure if it was a look alike, Robbie Williams also surprisingly short, Damon Albarn who was accosted by a worker fan and behaved impeccably like an old mate on being accosted, Jessie J in a practically frontless dress. Amongst others including a woman in a silver frock that made it into most of the papers - wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen - so easily could have been a boob falling out of it. Fireworks, light shows and plenty of stage direction. Time for a break, please be back in your seats in 2 and a half minutes ladies and gentlemen the next song starts gently and we need to have quiet. At which swathes of people from the tables ran for the toilet/smoking area/VIP bar and didn't make it back in the allotted time.

After the close - dead on 10pm we went to the after show party - free rides on a carousel, dodgems, a medical tent where they plied you with pill packs of jelly bellies, cake with syrup out if a blood bag and I took a Damien Hirst chocolate skull out of the medicine cabinet. They made me wear blue bags over my shoes and tried to take my blood pressure. Then we went to the oxygen bar and breathed deeply through flavoured water (slightly light headed). Watched the reportedly worlds strongest woman lift two men on her shoulders with two swings on a yoke. Later danced on a Damian Hirst spotted dance floor with lots if producer and tv exec types in suits and crazy moves from the early 80s. Bad dad dancing rules ok. At 11.30pm the sensible of our party departed but I never want to go once I get there and missed my last connection and had to catch the night bus. On a school night. Stoopid! But fun.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Averted disasters

Spent the night at Mr's, took my rucksack with kit for swimming later today - on the crowded train stuck it in the overhead shelf. Telling self several times not to forget it. At top of the escalator at Moorgate I realised I had left it there (highly susceptible to forgetting stuff at the moment). Ran back down to the train begging nobody in particular for the train not to have left. Running up the platform towards 3 train workers calling out don't let the train go - I've left my bag on it!
Why did you leave your bag?
Don't know!
What was it like?
Black rucksack
Did it have anything on it?
No. Oh yes - timberland.
Oh sorry madam, he said grinning, it's too late the train is locked, as his colleague brought the bag out of the office.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Good Morning Goodlooking

A man strolls along past Tescos, catches sight of his reflection, checks his impression. Headphones, stripped wool hat fitting neatly, leather jacket - length to belt, jeans clean and neat. Checks again in the next set of windows. Overall impression - all present and correct, tied down. Stroll becomes swagger.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


It's sunny outside. I watch the blue sky longingly. Oh to be outside with the sun and wind whipping my cheeks red.

The wind blows notes out of the scaffolding up against the office windows, long drawn out metal tube-y whistles like an untrained user of a woodwind instrument trying to get a sound. Or big wind chimes without the annoying persistent tinkling.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Night snow

Walking home in the evening. It's been snowing all day but has finally stopped. The snow makes the night light and quiet. I hear distant shrieks from inside the park. Eventually I see shadowy figures sledding - it's nearly midnight and the park gates are still open.

Friday, 18 January 2013


The snow has arrived in London. It appears to be settling. For less than a cm of snow the transport is already disrupted. We are rubbish!

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Dining alone in Byron's Camden town. Craving a burger (weird in a vegetarian but I crossed back to the omnivorous side just before Christmas and it was good that I did because my subsequent trip to Ghana would have been impossible if I wasn't eating meat). Ordered burger with cheese, fries on the side, chocolate milkshake. Couldn't eat the majority of the fries and am struggling with the chocolate shake. Burger was good though. Meat gives me this very clear vision after I eat it - oddly clarifying. I am trying not to eat so much of it that I loose that head rush.