Saturday, 29 August 2015


There's a girl sitting next to me with an angry red spot on the side of her mouth. 

Kebab shop in Stoke newington with 8 Turks in white teeshirts and paper hats waiting for the early evening crowd. 

A woman with check trousers and a bare lower back where her tan jacket doesn't join walks along while trying to smooth her hair against the rain. 

Reminds me of the warm rain drops falling on my bare shoulders while I gardened this afternoon. 

Pink hair holding hands with her boyfriend wearing his hoodie like a kid being batman.

Everybody waiting to cross the road. Man in bike, red hood. Blue anorak. Shopping bags. Blond hair. Black boy. All looking right. 

Station attendant on a cigarette break having a long look at a large ass walking by dressed in tight black leggings. 

Bus stop - scene of the man running up after I'd gotten on the bus - shouting  - that woman! Turning to my companion that evening urgently saying - I've seen her before you have to give me her number - she's my ideal woman. My companion didn't. But was intrigued at such outpourings. 

Man handed back his mobile phone after the Chinese takeaway proprietor shouted after him - must have left it on the counter.

Tight striped pencil skirt and very straight hair walking accompanied by a man riding a bicycle very slowly along beside her. 

Canal - long expanse of murky green into the distance. Narrow boats.

Tall bush of red geraniums in a window of St Leonard's Hospital. 

Man in a navy blazer, driving a blue jaguar. My father's car is a jaguar. Kate and her elocution lesson rings in my ear.

One Good Deed Today the neon tells me.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Magic Wand

Just when I hit the depths of misery that was becoming unbearable to even myself, let alone all the people I had unleashed it upon, a jeweller I know came for a meeting and was carrying a piece of live edge plastic. Curious to the point of nosiness I asked her if she was taking it back to her studio and what she was going to do with it. She said that actually it was a magic wand and she was indeed returning it to the studio - it was her daughter's and she had now grown out of it. Incredulous I said, "what?! No way." Whereupon Vicky said it's fairly pointless material because when you chop it into smaller bits there isn't enough shaft to focus the light in this way as it does whole. "But it's lovely", I said. You can have it, she said. And my heart skipped with glee, I'm not sure why. A tiny drop of magic in a gloomy time. I carried it around all day, it's end gleeming in this weird unnatural way. Magic wand transferred from teen to ever so grateful 45 year old. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Hoxton Beard - the end

Woke to a huge commotion - next doors dog scrabbling up against their garden fence and a massive thud on my mat. IKEA delivery of a new catalogue. Flicking through before relegating it to the recycling I noticed that the male catalogue models were sporting a lot of Hoxton beardage. Even the cover boy. If that is not a clear, CLEAR, indicator that the Hoxton beard has ceased being ironic and should forthwith be shaved off I don't know how we can let them know. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Day 18

It's been 18 days since the panther left. I've seen him twice. I'm getting worse rather than better. I realised I've never really been left before. Not when I wasn't ready. There have been fizzling-outs. There have been mutually agreed endings. I have dumped people (and it was necessary at the time but boy I didn't realise how painful it might be for the other party). But left, no. 

It has raised up all sorts of weird connections with death - reminding me of the grief I felt/feel at the loss of my mother. 

I'm very conflicted - feel I should move on and yet can't (I know it's soon but the abject loneliness is extremely hard to bear) - it feels like waiting-in-case is the thing the body, head and heart wants to do. I remember when my mother died I was desperately upset that we cremated her body because it meant if she wanted to return we had gotten rid of her body so she couldn't (and I don't even believe in an afterlife - it was just some irrational fear). So doing something that may jepordise a return is not a current option. I can but hope that will not last for months. Moving on is a must. I can't live a life on hold.

And no amount of anyone telling me there are plenty more fish in the sea, or it's not you it's him, or any of the other platitudes people tell you that are supposed to ease your pain and make you realise that they are on your side, makes the blindest bit of difference to the void and pain that sits in the chest resting heavily there like a lead weight. 

Victoria Line

On a normal day at a normal time of year the platform may have a queue of people one deep spread along the whole length of seven sisters southbound platform. Some of these will only get in the approximately 1 in 4 trains that start there.

It's August and they are doing engineering work on the northern end of the line. All trains start at seven sisters. And all the people from Walthamstow Central, Blackhorse Road and Tottenham Hale are being bused over to seven sisters. The station is crowded. And those from the burbs seem to walk about more slowly. As a usual passenger from the station I'm finding myself falling over people at my usual pace. I was told on the weekend that perhaps I should think about the opposite - what a nightmare it must be for those from the burbs to have to share their journey into the station with all the angsty tottenhamites they never had to meet before!

The platform is two or three deep but all the trains come in empty and can accommodate everyone so once we all get on the train and set off its just like normal again. Although it does seem a little dress-down-August-y. 


We crowded on. Standing around the central pole. Next stop a very short woman got on. Face down to the floor. Stood by the pole but didn't get a grip. When the train lurched forward she staggered backwards and grabbed hold of my upper thigh to stop herself falling over. It made me feel both slightly inappropriately touched and like a pole - in an inanimate sort of way. A fellow passenger smiled at me once we had all recovered our composure. The little woman didn't look up once. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Naked girl

So our building has just had its windows replaced with new sparklingly clean uPVC versions that are actually totally in keeping with the original rotten wooden ones from 1869. 

I have mentioned that across the street from my office is a young woman who seems to forget that our building overlooks hers. I've seen her fresh from the bath, combing her hair looking in a mirror propped up against the window without a stitch of clothing on and the cat rolling itself across her skin. I've seen her get up and throw on a teeshirt and deal with something on her roof terrace only to turn around and head back through her French doors flashing her naked behind. I've seen her rolling out of bed at 11.00am on a weekday and being a naked sleeper, she's nude. I've seen her in her altogether more times than I care to mention.

This week I was talking on the phone in the office standing up looking out of the window. I like to rest my eyes looking at the Shard. Movement in her window drew my attention from the perifory, I turned my eyes rather than my whole head to see a naked young man lay back across the bed and she put a knee down on either side of him and slide her naked self over him to rest chest to chest, her butt in the air. And then they looked out of the window and looked directly at me. They went from disbelieve to nervous laughter and then drew the curtains. So finally they discovered that people might be able to see them. Perhaps I should have sent them a note. I have been tempted to put letters in my window spelling out I CAN SEE YOU but I never did. Since this meeting of eyes they have been much more discrete! 

Street music

So in going about this week I was persuaded to buy two cheap CDs after listening to live music being performed. Just to remember the sound by.

On Sunday I was wheeling the bike down brick lane through the massive throng that it is - food stalls, trendy shops, craft beers. Came upon a band playing on a corner playing funky rock tunes. Three up front all with big Afros and a drummer. I listened. It's the kind of music that just gets into your skin and makes you want to dance around. And then there was the hugely sexy guitar player. The crowd moved about between songs and at the end I decided to get a CD. They were The Thirst. And i wish they had some gigs coming up before December because they may be one of those bands that just has to be seen live.

On Tuesday I swang by the Dalston Curve Garden after eating with my dad. It was having an acoustic music evening. It was drizzling. The queue for drinks (elderflower cider I ended up with - that wasn't bad) was long and the first band was a bit too miserable for my current state of mind. But the garden itself was a tranquil idyll and at 10ish some musicians started fiddling around on the stage and then broke into a most amazing sound - driven by a drummer without a mounted drum kit that included a cymbal on the floor that he still managed to make ring, and some roasting tins. The sound was like techno dance music - accompanied on some kind of vibraphone and a guitar. Really got the young hippy crowd dancing. Truely remarkable sound from live instruments. Street Kit Project - well worth catching if you can find them. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015


People that know me would be surprised to discover that I have taken to riding up and down the streets, towpaths and byways of London on two wheels powered by my own energy. But that is what I am doing. It's an activity that gives a sense of freedom, it's outdoors, wind in your hair. 

Yesterday I cycled to work - that's Tottenham to Peckham. 13.6 miles one way (if you don't get lost - which I did). Totally energised by the time I got to work. Strangely. 

At the top of Stamford Hill after the slight but persistent incline (not fit enough yet to make it all the way up sadly!) I suddenly discovered that I couldn't push my foot round the peddle because it was tied by the shoelace to the pedal - I did manage to freewheel onto the pavement and then because I am so right footed attempted to stop on the right (trapped) foot and therefore fell off in what I like to think was an elegant sprawl (oxymoron I know). Sitting on the ground with the bike between my legs I found I had to get my shoe off in order to release myself. I started laughing. And then found there was a van with a driver sat inside watching. He mouthed, "are you ok?", to which I answered yes. Embarrassing. But not injured, I carried on. 

By the time I got home I had done 26 miles - that's a marathon. I've never self-propelled myself that far in one day in my entire life. It was epic. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015


Dad was trying to get her to eat slightly runny fried eggs on toast. She was easily distracted. 

I like your hair she said turning to me. Thank you I said.
I like your dress (it was purple with sequins - rather too Saturday night for Sunday morning breakfast). 
Why are your teeth brown? She asked, her father cringed, I laughed. My right front tooth is discoloured slightly - not brown by a long shot but more cream than the rest of them. 
It's not real I said and it's gotten discoloured.
Eat some more egg, here mouth open. Her father is desperate to distract her. She turns to my companion.
I like your hat. He says he likes hers also. She turns back to me.
Why have you got dots? She is looking at my freckly arms. I laugh. My companion laughs. For her father it's the last embarrassment straw he can handle
Let's go to the park... And off they go. Kids. Hilarious. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Mascara bar birthday bash

Is it always a blond who starts the dancing in an empty dance floor?

Is it more pleasant emptish but marginally cooler or more fun packed and sweating?

Boy (actually aged 26) celebrating his birthday bounding around having a most excellent time is chucked out for what seems like over-exuberance. 


Woke with a vengeance this morning to a reality I haven't felt in 10 months - of loneliness without a partner with whom I'd been sharing a life which I hadn't realised was a fairytale. Such promising beginnings ended, in my opinion prematurely, with me being unceremoniously left without a possibility of persuasion.