30 January 2012


Snowdrops, King Edward Memorial Park (aka Shadwell Park)

Do you ever think about all those snappy text or email exchanges that encapsulate a mini saga in a few words and that will soon disappear for ever?  I do, and sometimes I look back at all the texts that I've kept in my inbox for the day that summarise what was important.  Ot the ones I've kept for years for sentimental reasons. "Sorry"  "Come to see me in Melb, darls"  "O mum".

Here is an email exchange today to a friend that made me laugh out loud:

Me:  You crossed my path today.  I was at traffic lights on way to Sainsbury's.  You sailed by, teal stockinged and coat tails flying.  I called your name but it must have been carried away into the air...

Her:  Did I? You know I was probably on my way to pick up my zither from the sorting office! An ebay purchase I should have thought through a little.


Thank you all so much for the comments.  I found them consoling on many counts; that you had thought  the problem through; that I was not alone in my lapses; that there are a number of clever little tricks that might help  But most of all that nobody suggested that I needed to spend a fortune on an i-phone (though I might one day, I guess) and that paper is tops.  AND...I found the lost earring when I moved the pile of books at the side of the bed though I'm most grateful to Annie for offering her whippet as detective.

The upholstery class was wonderful, by the way.  It made me happy all day long, and I must write more about it.  And the walk where we came across the snowdrops.


29 January 2012

taking stock

I've decided that  the language associated with new year's resolutions - "aims" "goals" and so on is not to my liking.  It's altogether too sports orientated . So I decided a few years back that I would have gentle aspirations instead, generally relating to "being" rather than "doing" which would result in subtle changes of behaviour.   That's the idea anyway.

I spent a while thinking about this year's aspiration.  One thing that was really irritating me was my absent mindedness - not being able to find things around the house,  turning up at places on the wrong day for meetings and so on.  It was not just about being organised, it was about focusing on what I was doing or who I was listening to.  I decided after much looking at definitions, that I would simply try to be attentive.  The idea is to both pay attention, be more deliberate and to be more thoughtful, and the only way you know whether you have been successful is to stop and think about it.

So how has it been going?  Erm, not all that well actually.  I've turned up a week early for appointments twice in the last fortnight.  I totally muddled up the date for meeting a friend and turned up a week late.  And I've ended up with four cakes instead of the two I planned to make because I quadrupled the amount of water in this recipe instead of doubling it, hence the cake jenga above.  I'm still losing things.

So I need some help. Would a more sophisticated  web enabled phone with an e-diary make me more or less attentive?  Do I need more or less lists to organise myself, and should they be on paper?  How do I stop losing my (3 pairs of different prescription) specs and would I be better off with just one pair;  or contact lens; or laser surgery?  And where's my blooming earring?

25 January 2012


Mostly I've been busy doing stuff.  I look guiltily at the laptop and think, well, it can wait while other things can't.

I came across the woman with the big slippers at a potter's wheel when I went to enroll for an upholstery class.  There's an air of worthiness about the old Victorian school with its wooden benches and slightly oily scent.  It's all webbing and wood and woolly stuffing.

I'm very excited, but will make an E for effort to come here more often.

04 January 2012

no great expectations

I suppose he should not have asked me to cut his hair after I'd been watching Great Expectations (still on i-player atthe time of writing).  By the end of a walk round Rainham Marshes on Sunday, he rather resembled Magwich emerging from the water.  My tweed coat just acted as a wick and little rivulets ran out of the corners of the hem.  It was a good start to the new year.

The next day, the last day of the holidays, we followed the Walbrook from Shoreditch to the Thames. Of all of Tom Bolton's route, this is the shortest and in possibly most elusive, for there is very little evidence of a river.  No surprise really.  Even though the routes were only published last year, buildings have already disappeared, routes blocked by new building sites.  It's the nature of the City, ever changing.  Bolton suggests standing beneath Richard Serra's Fulcrum at Broadgate and thinking about the "echoing subterranean spaces of the Walbrook in its sewer pipe below".  We did, of course.

Even though it was a bright day, it was chilly in the narrow lanes and wider streets where taller buildings created wind tunnels.  There was a sighting of the join between the old London Wall and newer bricks; the opportunity to pay homage to Vesta and an appropriately fluvial Neptune clone in the faux temple on the corner of Bank; interesting rustication on Throgmorton Avenue; an unusual viewpoint of St Paul's Cathedral above a building site, soon to disappear.

The walk took us through streets I've walked through scores of times on the way to work but without thinking about a river below.  We ended where the Thames Path meets Cousin Lane. With the tide low, we checked the foreshore and examined bits of river-glass,  pottery shards, flints and bones. Then we looked down Three Cranes Wharf into the storm drain outflow below without seeing even a trickle of the secret river.

It didn't rain though.  And Tate Modern does a decent pot of tea and a good line in surrealism.

01 January 2012

and a happy new year to you too

We stayed in and enjoyed an evening by the fire.  The clock was broken years ago when my son, intrigued, decided to see what happened if you opened the window and twisted the hands.  One fell off and we've had trouble telling the time ever since.  Thank goodness for Apple.  Just before midnight  we poured the whiskies, turned on the telly, and watched the fireworks with no sound because we could hear the enormous bangs resounding all the way across London, mingled in with local fireworks.  As  soon as they died down we could hear sirens.  It is London after all.  The candles and the tree in the front window lit the way, the door was open to welcome in the New Year and my brother first footed with a glass of champagne in his hand.  We raised a glass and ignored the fierce eyebrows in the background.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and hope-filled 2012.