Saturday, April 19

Jesus The Musical!






This year's Easter happiness is brought to you courtesy of my nephew


I want to stage his version of the Passion

This is his cake-decorating video


Thursday, April 17

Yucky and Owchy





While in Hungary I loved going to the bath houses. During one visit I saw a translation of the hundreds of available treatments. I copied part of the list in case I was talking to someone and they suggested we went for galvanaram kezeles.


The Indian Film-maker told me that every day she practises 'oil-pulling'.


She fills her mouth with oil and swills it around for TWENTY MINUTES before spitting it out. This is an ayurvedic treatment to rid the body of toxins and is considered excellent for oral health, the skin and lots of other things.

The Indian Film-maker saw my face as she was telling me this

Oh you will definitely vomit the first time you try it, maybe also the second and third time but I promise with practise you can do it.

This made me think of a friend who washes herself regularly in her own urine  and a family member who has her face acid-peeled.

Sometimes I pay to let a heavy woman lean on me and rub pieces of thread around my mouth to eradicate my moustache and goatee beard.

Wednesday, April 16

Spigot Staff Needed

Our house maintenance standards might be considered sloppy.

I was thinking  such things while the Indian Film-maker stirred the milk for paneer-making on my stove, she didn't like the look of my gas.
this is the wrong colour - the flame should be blue only. orange is bad.

She stirred on and considered my gas rings

I think it is the burner, you must scrub the spigots 

a bit more stirring

of course we have staff to do this




Bouncy Cheese


Trampoline Bridge for Paris designed by Atelier Zundel Cristea 



The Man came back from India.

After a few days he was suffering from paneer-withdrawal symptoms

we should make some paneer

I said yes we should

I found a recipe:

bring whole milk slowly to the boil. as it rises in the pan add lemon juice. stir until properly separated then pour everything through a muslin to strain off the whey. compress the curds and refrigerate.

I did this


The Man ate it and said that it was almost as nice as Indian paneer but the Indians made it bouncier - could I make it bouncy?

Last night the Indian fim-maker came for supper, she and I made paneer together and when it was finished it still wasn't bouncy. The Man asked why.

You have to make industrial quantities and put a lot of preservatives in to make it bouncy

Monday, April 14

Still trying to get a room




for Summer School, after my conversation with a child last week.

I called the house again I wanted to speak to a grown-up and feel properly booked in - I also need to know what the cost will be.

The Father had no idea so he told me where his son goes to school (very expensive) and all about his East Anglian roots (very posh).

I press on the question of charges

He asks me what they charged last year

I have no idea - and I have no idea if we are talking about a bunkhouse, a bedroom or an apartment - I ask what sort of accommodation they are offering

Well ... there's a long view out over the fields, we have chickens - we're not very modern, but you'll find us great lateral thinkers.

Is there a bathroom?

Oh yes and we can leave you some cereal to have on your way out in the mornings - or orange juice







Saturday, April 12

Visitors





In front of my house is an area of concrete that, up until this year, has been barren. I've been setting up containers for planting, arranging my irrigation system and sowing things.

I spent most of today making a wooden planter to sit on the boundary wall, there are lots of weird joints and additions where I've patched up mis-saws and mis-screwings but it isnow  full of soil and seeds. I ache all over - in a good way. I'm hoping I planted stuff that makes binding roots.


Yesterday my friend returned from her travels and came to see me.  I left the front door open and went to the gate to meet her, we got waylaid by my seedlings. While this distraction was going on - Big Pigeon slipped in behind our backs.

We finally went into the house, shut the front door and went downstairs. We headed into the back garden and heard an enormous thumpsmash sound. We looked up and saw the bird inside the house, hitting the upstairs window for a second time.

I ran up to let it out. Closing doors behind me as I went expecting a panic. But Big Pigeon was just standing patiently by the window waiting for me to open it.

Wrong house - he said as he flew out

Friday, April 11

Talking to Children

I have booked a week away at a summer school, there is an accomodation list. I dial one of the numbers, a young person answers with supreme confidence.

I say

Hello I'm calling about accommodation in the summer

we don't do that

is this Nicholas Greshington's house?

he lives here

it's for the Summer School

oh yes we do that

do you know if you have a room available?

yes you're the first to call

how much do you charge?

less than average

I'll take it - thank you sir !





On Tuesday, our family converged on my parent's house for a reunion. I slept on the sofa in the living room and my two-year-old niece came to inspect me in the morning.

Usually an attempt to wake me up involves little fingers peeling back my eyelids but she saw the pile of my clothes and picked through it with great interest. Discovery of my underwear halted her  - she held up an astonishing thing and and looked at me open-mouthed.


Are these your knickers?



Sunday, April 6

An Evening With David Sedaris



The girl with the collection of penis bones called me to say that she had a spare ticket for David Sedaris - did I want to go

DID I ...?!?!?!?

Mr Sedaris' early books make frequent mention of his OCD and now that he has moved to East Sussex  he talks about how he spends as much time as possible picking up litter in his neighbourhood. This includes a wooded area where people go for fried chicken and sex

They leave behind masses of those styrofoam coffins with chicken carcasses in - and strewn all around are several used condoms

His friends are amazed that he picks up the condoms

Of course I do, I put leaves between my fingers first - I don't pick them up with my mouth


I came directly home but left my friend standing in the queue waiting to meet the famous author - she wanted to give him one of her penis bones


Feeling the Cold





David Hammons Bliz-aard Ball Sale 
(snowballs)


About a month ago there was a day of sun. I went into a mania of seedling-planting, filling several soily trays with my winnings at the city seed swap.

The weather returned to coldandwet. I finally had to accept that most of my treasures had rotted in their little cardboard cells.

The six pea plantlets and single dwarf bean that have grown enough to go into the big soil were put out yesterday, fenced around with razor wire to protect them from the beasts.

Friday, April 4

Took My Poorly Wrist

to the GP this morning.

The drop-in surgery consumes a whole morning, but there are no available appointments for the rest of the year so I took knitting and a book to while away the hours but there is so much entertainment laid on I can't concentrate.

Some parents do homework with their school-uniformed children. Others use the opportunity to catch up on a bit of slush-reading, bringing their children in fancy dress to run around putting out fires and rescuing each other.

The children understand that this a place full of poorly people so they have to scream quietly which is why the vinyl fartseats are such fun, only some of the waiting room chairs behave like whoopee cushions - so we wait and stifle our sniggers as a tentatively lowered bottom triggers one of the loud ones.

Thursday, April 3

Wednesday, April 2

Wednesday is Gardening Day


at the Community garden. 

I drew quite a crowd, three schoolgirls shared a potent spliff and watched me screw labels on the planters. The Park Seating made themselves comfortable on the other side of me but said nothing.

A Single Glass of Beer

  has provoked the sort of hangover that is only excusable if one has consumed several bottles of wine followed by generous dosing of hard liquor.













I baked a self-pity loaf and put it with the work-avoidance-food mountain that I have created this week.





Luckily it is the day for gently hoovering the oldies and visiting the man-with-no-voice.

Now I am home trying to focus  on being creative but I have a headache, I am blurry and bluebottles keep buzzing on the window next to me.

The window is a big attraction for big flies, I have a newspaper handy and I like to think I can finesse the swat just hard enough to knock them dead but cleanly off the window. I just picked up the paper to deal with the new buzzers and yesterday's 'death  toll' crawled out of the pages and  back onto the window. Not having the motor skills to attempt clean carnage my window is now covered with squashed bodies.

Tuesday, April 1

April Fool


I am pitching for a job - an actual proper job where I must have ideas and thoughts and opinions.

A brief has been sent, a problem to solve, it arrived last week and I must deliver my solution at the beginning of next week.

I opened the brief for the first time this morning and spotted the first problem.

Being breakfast time, I had an excuse to break off. Breakfast is surprisingly elaborate for a weekday but I have always held that champions need a proper breakfast:

sweet potato, lentils and rice made into rissoles

fresh tomatoes chopped, simmered to pulp, then add lemon juice, salt, pepper a little sugar and a big spoon of heavy cream.

put sauce on rissoles then fried eggs

serve with yoghurt, parsley and red chillis

Back to the drawing board and ran into another problem.

An hour later - just come back from digging in the garden.

When I've done this blog post I will go back to it

... but there's laundry to do


Who Holds the Baby?



Art installation by Femen protesting proposed legislation in Spain




It's about bringing in legislation to make abortion illegal in in Spain. The issues behind it have occupied me quite a lot all my life. Last night my head  produced an extraordinarily intense dream about constructing an installation/event made from thousands of shop mannequins.

The mannequins were elaborately decorated and occupied a whole town. The streets at the edge of town were clogged with jumbled up mannequins but they became more whole and animated as you made your way into the centre.

I was working on this project with a man and a female assistant. We’d figured out how to make the mannequins spring to life which they would do exactly at noon. It would be an astonishing event.

Most of the dream was occupied with the details and preparations but then it pulled focus on  the last hour before noon. There was a lot to get finished, tension was building and I realised that the man has a baby, it is sitting placidly in a high chair,  a baby that will soon need something and we’re all trying to work out how not to take responsibility for the baby without looking like that’s what we’re doing.

I'd got absorbed in my work and momentarily was not thinking about the baby. The man came over and handed me a bottle of medicine with a piece of paper containing instructions, there’s only one paragraph that needs to be read but this paragraph is repeated in every language of the world on one huge sheet of thin paper and it’s all in a font that is impossibly small to read. 

The man said

Give her this - it makes her less pissy

I look at the baby who looks back at me while I am trying to make sense of this.

I then realise that the man and the assistant have slipped away 


Monday, March 31

Visited Space Lady ..



.. this morning she is on the sofa under a duvet exactly as I left her two weeks ago but smellier. The space that was cleared in front of the sofa is now full of new-looking but slightly damaged books - she gestures triumphantly

Christmas presents!

I turn my head to catch a few titles; Canal-Building in the Midlands, Walking Your Dog... Looming above them are three unattractively presented volumes of fairy tales 

That's a bit late, who sent these to you?

No silly I've just bought them - for next  Christmas



The lump of overcooked rice lies untouched by marauding wildlife apart from the large snake of cat poo that has been laid near it.

The smell of burning is lingering persistently I'm chasing it off with an oven stuffed with beetroot and sweet potato packed with bay leaves and my biggest pot is filled with enough chicken in rosemary to feed me for the rest of the year.

Sunday, March 30

Burnt to a Crisp



I've  never thought of myself as a mother so it's always a surprise and delight when a stepchild turns up with a Mother's Day gift.

The Boy is crisp and clean in a white white linen shirt and sharp black black trousers, his being in the house makes me notice that I appear to be living in a student slum. The useless remnants of my Great Screen Scheme litter the hallway and the dining table is spread all over it with the rusty screws and spanners that are my tool kit.

Usually I blame the Boy's father for the mess but I have been living mostly alone in the house this year, so it must be the house goblins.

The Boy and I sat outside with cups of Earl Grey tea and talked and talked so much that I forgot that I had put a pan of rice on. Finally we went back inside  to look at the computer and fought our way through acrid smoke to a pan containing a neat black disc of charcoal.

Saturday, March 29

Happy Day





I can’t cut, measure or draw straight and I avoid touching power tools. When I need to solve a problem I do it within the limits of my skills, concentrating on problems that can be solved with wool, paint or cardboard or a nice warm bath.

The view into my kitchen is too public. If I can just work out how to support the honeysuckle outside the window and make it grow more vertical I could burn cabbage in privacy.

I pulled out all my pieces of wood and screws and thought of things that I could make that would support a trellis plus heavy plant. I knew this would take at least all weekend.

My neighbour, alerted by the high pitched noises coming from my head, came over and suggested the sort of simple elegant scheme that only a man with a pneumatic drill would think of. 

And then he got out his pneumatic drill and made the thing 

And I have a whole weekend left to admire it

Friday, March 28

Happy Trike






Drunk Trike was out today - looking perkier than I've seen her in a long time.

I say so to her and mention that she no longer seems to be with child

I didn't want to be pregnant - I had a termination and moved on

There's a storyline you never see in the movies

Thursday, March 27

Unraveling




Manning the desk at the Brain Doctor's today. I took one of my charity shop finds with me - a bubblegum pink belted cardigan - if I put it on and tie the belt I look like a pair of raw pork sausages on legs. 

I unraveled the garment on my lap trying to be discrete about it while chatting with the crazy people who sit on the sofa in front of me. When I was alone I viewed the pink crinkle on the floor and thought it looked like my own innards were leaking out



Two big trucks are parked outside my house running a generator. It's late in the evening and I'm too cross about them to concentrate on anything else

Maybe tomorrow I'll discover that a life-saving operation was being performed - one that needed lots of lights and other electricity.

Wednesday, March 26

Things I Saw Today



Wheelie Bin has left  Drunken Trike - now she's in the family way

here they are in happier days

then I found this shrew corpse nearby


I tried to pick off the last bit of skin but it's what's sticking his head on


On Friday or Sunday I listened to Murray Walker on the radio talking about his days in advertising during the sixties the interviewer brought up the fact that he was photographed eating dog food


We wanted the housewife to stop feeding the dog on scraps and go out and buy a tin of dog food, in order to convince her that the stuff in the tin was good enough I'd open one and eat some in front of her

First there was the disturbing image of a man on the doorstep spooning dog food into his mouth

but now I keep thinking about all the things that have been invented that we never knew we needed: fitted kitchens and body products and party bags and little dresses to go on the chairs at wedding celebrations


I've had to open a box of stale panetone to cheer myself up

Tuesday, March 25

Today at the Brain Doctor's ...

... there is a note asking me to call Mrs Scott and remind her that she has an appointment this afternoon. Apparently she phoned yesterday asking the Monday receptionist for someone to call her

I dial

Hello is that Mrs Scott?

I'm sorry I can't hear you

Hello ... Mrs Scott? (louder)


I'm deaf I can't hear a thing

I'm calling from the Brain Doctor's (shouting)


Who are you? (sounding terrified)

I'M    LULU    AT    THE    BRAIN    DOCTOR'S    YOU    HAVE    AN    APPOINTMENT   THIS   AFTERNOON  (shouting fortissimo)


Are you the Brain Doctor?

YES (bellowing)


I'm coming in today

YES

2.30

YES - GOODBYE!

When Mrs Scott arrived this afternoon she said

Did you call earlier?

yes I did

I can't hear a thing - I asked everyone who phoned this morning if they were the Brain Doctor and I've got no idea who they really were 




Monday, March 24

In Out In Out ...


I'm fussing over the many little pots of earth and seed trays that cover my outside table top. The weather turned cold so I brought them all in. Then I worried that I was giving the seeds a false sense of security so I took them all back out again.


Currently they are outside encased in big clear plastic bags.

I may need to shake them all about

Saturday, March 22

Water Recycling



I've just worked out how to get my not-too-soapy bath water into the water butt out front where my plants always die because I can't get enough water to them.


Claudia Winkelman is on the radio playing her 'inheritance tracks' and talking about work and family

What people don't realise is that television is really easy - anyone can do it, you just paint yourself orange, go on, read something then you can go home and do tea - the perfect job for a mother

 
I put my tiny rocket seedlings out in the sun yesterday which made the weather laugh at me and throw icy stones down on  them. I slipped in my rush to save them.

I am planning a getaway

which I might have to do on my own and this always focusses my attention on the issues of being a lone female at home and abroad. But I’ve had enough of being a broad alone at home

Many places frequented by wholesome family-types regard a woman circulating unguarded by a man with alarm. Startled gazelle-eyes wondering whether I'm a needy parasite or a sexual predator. In northern Spain I was once asked to leave a bar where I had the nerve to sit without consort.

The answer of course, is too visit the less genteel neighbourhoods. Watch this space...

Friday, March 21

Lining the Stomach



from the futility closet

bellytimber
n. food, provisions

magirology
n. the art or science of cookery

gastrosoph
n. an expert or skilled eater

When working as a cook I noted that boys doing the same job as me usually called themselves chefs

I wish I had called myself a magirologist



photo by Dan Cretu


Trying to be Patient




This morning is full of impatience.

It’s sunny and I want to be out making my new front garden but I have applications to write. Also I'm waiting inside for the crack plumber to return and replumb my lavatory. The ceiling below the leaky bathroom is decorated with an onion ring drying out pattern.

Out of all of my sown seed trays the only thing showing is rocket, I’m resisting the temptation to pick through them to see if there are any tell-tale threads of germination. White mouldy looking stuff has gathered on the dead-looking trays in the living room - not sure if that's a good sign.





I shared a carroty beef stew and rice with Ted. An old blackandwhite film is on the telly - it’s in the sixties and a man who looks like young Dustin Hoffman is solemnly reciting poetry. The narrator speaks in reverent tones about this man - clipped in the way they spoke back then. Next scene and we are riding around a city in a car with Dustin and another man they are laughing together and pointing at things. The narrator tells us how Colin enjoys Paris

Who’s Colin?

Cohen ... the film’s about Leonard Cohen



Photograph: Denis Brihat

Wednesday, March 19

Swam in the Ocean ...


... that is the community radio station today


The host is trying to stimulate a phone-in and hurls random topics into the ether

bruce willis – it’s his birthday today – but is he any good - is he the kind of bloke you’d have a beer with



art deco or art nouveau – which style do you prefer do you have a favourite building in one of these styles – or a nice brooch



prince – apparently he’s considered a sex symbol – do you think he's sexy or does he wear too many ruffs or is he too short - was he wise to  wear a raspberry as a beret

Menus





On Sunday I was taken to lunch at the hippest eating place in Brighton. The menu offered cauliflower with house egg and pangritata I was keen to see the size of a house egg.


turned out to be the sort of thing a dolls house might lay



Later I walked up the promenade past the marina where a lady serves hot drinks from a small wooden shed. Pinned askew at the hatch is a scratchy notice on a piece of cardboard that I didn't dare photograph:

WE DON'T SERVE SKINNY FATTY LATTIES
WE DON'T PUT CINNAMON, COCO POWDER, GOLD DUST OR FAIRY DUST ON TOP
WE DONT DO ANY KIND OF CHINO OR SYRUP
NOR DO HAVE LITTLE MARSHMALLOWS OR SPRINKLES

WE HAVE GOLD BLEND INSTANT COFFEE AND PG TIPS TEA BAGS AND JUST MILK AND SUGAR

THAT IS ALL!!

Tuesday, March 18

Visiting the Young Ones





The man with the cool black dog and his teenage son live in a medium-size house in Brighton. The man is half Labrador half teenager and the three of them live together in a house ripe with the smell of dog, adolescent boy, fried things, unwashed bedlinen and the poo that lies in wait in the lavatory. Cables trail along hallways  and down the stairs converging in the centre of the living room. Walls are hung with guitars and bikes and the supermarket shop stays in it's bags on the table until the ice cream leak becomes conspicuous.

They are very happy in their boy fug letting me stay in the spare room with it’s duvet made of soggy cardboard and yellowed pillow with permanent head dent.

We scrunched together on the sofa watching scifi and adventure films interfering with the plot and who had been in which films before and eating pizza and then meringue and cream mixed with a little bit of fruit so we could say – YES THERE WERE VEGETABLES

Monday, March 17

William Ralston Sheddon Ralston M.A


We visited a church near the sea, a small church it's ceiling painted with a pattern of doves and olive branches densely like a tapestry.

There were memorial tablets on the walls.

I hope that William Ralston Sheddon Ralston named his son Patrick William Ralston Sheddon Ralston Sheddon
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