Saturday, January 24

The Brain Surgery is feeling a bit end-of-days

The low-voltage-long-life bulb that hangs from a cord in the waiting room has half burned out. The half with a tiny bit of light remaining is begging for mercy.

Also black spots started growing on the carpet in one of the consulting rooms, this was another of the things about which we must not speak.

When the spots had joined up and one large area in the consulting room was really quite swampy I asked the Brain Doctor if he was concerned, he said not and we continued not to speak of this thing, and all the other things.

Last week two ladies in matching hats came for treatment and I directed the eldest one to that room.

She came straight back out and asked if we knew about the wet monster. It seemed shocking her saying out loud the thing that we must not say but I said yes we knew and she went back in again and her daughter smiled at me as if to say

My mother, she imagines all sorts of things

Friday, January 23

Last Saturday my hot waters broke

and didn't get fixed until Wednesday

FOUR days washing in a cold basin

from Wednesday onwards I took THREE baths per day - in case it broke again and I needed to get in-credit clean

until today - now I'm back to the normal amount

Tuesday, January 20

Limpy, Lumpy and Shaky

Today Whiplash became part-owner of a poor abandoned little dog who got run over and now only has three legs

also we were visited by a friend who is looking after two dogs, one with tumours on it's face, the other one trembles uncontrollably.

The conversation has turned marineward ...

... at night parrotfish make themselves a mucous bubble to sleep in

this stops predators being able to smell them

it also stops lice settling on them when they're not looking

Monday, January 19

Immortal Jellyfish please

email from Nature Picture Library

Dear all,
We’ve had a request for either / both stills and footage of several creatures. The most important / difficult to find of these is the wolverine frog, but new images or footage of the other two would also be useful. (Immortal jellyfish next most important, and pistol shrimp less important).

Wolverine frog (also known as hairy frog or horror frog) - Trichobatrachus robustus
Immortal jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii
Pistol shrimp

The wolverine frog has already given me the shaky horrors but I really really want an immortal jelly fish so if anyone has a spare one please send it to me.

Wednesday, January 14

I'm back at the knitting

 this one's by Agata Oleksiak

Wig Lady moved in last night, I cooked roast vegetables and bouncy chicken for us.

She says that men go around eastern europe buying the hair off maidens, the destination for much of this hair is the heads of people appearing on really bad television shows (I'm not allowed to tell you which ones or she will have to kill me).

Wednesday, January 7

wiggery pokery

A wig-maker (operatic) has just arranged to move in with us for the next two months. I'm ridiculously excited about the idea.

At the garden meeting this evening I told my gardening friends about the wig-maker  - one of the other gardeners revealed herself to be a wig mistress in real life.

I want to be 'in wigs'

Tattoo Man is back

He and the Brain Doctor dealt with the biscuit situation over new year

and now he's busy clumping in and out, using heavy machinery and making sure that I can see what fine muscles he has.

Wednesday, December 31


I am back to work at the Brain Surgery

In my absence, biscuit-gifts from grateful patients have filled the waiting room.

Anyone wanting to see the Brain Doctor will need to eat a path to his door - also he needs rescuing as he's too small to push his own way out.

I hand a LUXURY SELECTION BOX to a waiting patient, the man-who-is-always-grumpy

No thank you, I got a pile of my own at home, people keep giving me the buggers I don't know what they think I'm going to do with them. I used to get them wholesale - Family Circle - that's a quality biscuit that is - I could get  two boxes for a fiver. That was my Christmas present for everyone a few years back. Then they put the price up  - kept the box the same size but reduced the goods inside - so I don't bother buying them anymore.

Tuesday, December 30

My nephew attends a knitting club

he has already made a fabulous range of jewelry, helter skelters, monsters, money-holding-things and this divine gun

last week he asked me to knit a very specific sort of scarf that he could decorate

He is still working as a pastry chef, he and his sister made the Christmas tree cookies;

Saturday, December 27

The cats have challenged each other

to find the highest most wobbly thing to get on top of. The tops of doors are ideal.

I spent Christmas day with my sister and the rest of the family, when I returned to the cat house the kitchen door was closed and the bath full of poo.

The cats had worked together to prise open the airing cupboard door, this had banged the kitchen door shut, the kitchen is where the litter trays are and also the cat flap to the back garden.

They have shown me the trick several times since. It takes a lot of frantic scrabbling to get the cupboard door open, the cupboard is mainly packed with towels and spare bedding - on one shelf is a  clear plastic container half-full of pegs. Once the door has been opened the cats take it in turns to leap onto the door, the game is then to get from the top of the door into the plastic peg box which has exactly enough space in it to contain most of a cat.

Tuesday, December 23

The cats have emerged

from their bunkers and are now mainly perching on things higher than us. When they think we might not notice, a paw reaches over to pat an ear or someone's hair gets nibbled.

Monday, December 22

Lawn Sausage

I heard talk about Lorne Sausage before I saw the packaging - until then I assumed that it was the Scots euphemism for what happens when you keep dogs

I've moved into a house

close to my sister's house

I shall be cat-sitting here for the next few days.

The cats hide from me, in boxes, behind furniture, in the bath ... when they feel brave they raise a periscope and report my movements to each other via walkie-talkies

Sunday, December 21

it is our big solstice celebration

we are staying in Scotland with my sister and her children. My three-year-old niece is very keen on biscuits -  I asked which were her favourite

Jammy Todgers

Friday, December 19

it's knitting season again

I knit to while away the hours at the Brain Surgery; people arrive, I knit we chat, when we've chatted for the right amount of time I direct them to a consulting room, when they have closed the door some of them take off their clothes and lie down.

Yesterday I did not pay proper attention to the schedule and sent a lady to a room to take off her clothes and lie down. and then another lady arrived .... who had an appointment before her.

I'm blaming my inattention on over-biscuiting

Tuesday, December 16


the patients pay their bill and hand us gift-wrapped boxes

all the boxes contain exactly the same DE-LUXE chocolate biscuit selection

there are only three of us here to eat them

it seems rude to offer them round to the waiting patients - it would be like giving them back their presents

tomorrow I must find a route home that involves more homeless people

Monday, December 15

I wrote a 'To Do' list last night

nothing on it has been achieved so I've had to add:

clean stove

phone mortgage company

phone mortgage company again

phone mortgage company again

be apoplectic

make tea

drink tea

clear up mess made during stove cleaning

now I have things to cross off

Thursday, December 11

Breathing holes

The Brain Doctor handed me a heavy catalogue and asked me to order new covers for the treatment tables.

I found some thick bouncy blue covers and called the number on the book.

the woman at the end of the phone said:

treatment table covers? with a breathing hole or without?


we stock pearl beige terry towelling

I'd like the blue spongy ones

we don't do those

she hung up

I noticed that the catalogue cover was dated 2005

Christmas cat fan required north london

Still keeping an eye on those small ads

Sunday, December 7

Day Two Painting Billboards

Arrived at Bearpit to find the boards I'd started the day before had been scribbled over during the night - adapted designs to reduce the impact of taggers.

Went to get coffee, the women running the Bearpit café were inspecting the newly installed planters; one of them was full of vomit and another's plants were uprooted.

Neighbourly drunks came by to say good morning, a woman stopped to chat and then a young junkie who is magnetically attracted to soft-looking women arrived, he got some change from us and wandered off.

I started painting; an Irish girl-with-a-guitar arrived and started busking. By the end of the first song she had proper money collecting by her feet,  a boy-with-a-guitar turned up, stood beside her and made like he was in her band (they had never met before). Then the junkie returned and circled, trying to work out how to get the money out of her case without anyone noticing, he settled on standing very close to them, jingling his own coins in the hope that people would think he was collecting for the band.

and that is why painting outside is slow work.


My neighbourhood is a bit right-on; awash with unwashed, scruffy-haired, Guardian-reading types. The few eating places that are not vegetarian use meat scantily - more as a sort of seasoning, because those of us who do like a bit of bacon feel guilty about the effect that scoffing huge quantities of dead animal has on the planet  (the animal doesn't do too well out of it either apparently).

I'd heard that a new restaurant called 'Meat' was going to be opening, with a name like that I assumed they'd be hefting whole ox carcasses on the table, the diners would crowd round and chew directly on the raw flesh - I've just looked at a press release from this company and it turns out that it will be just another chicken wing and burger joint.

Friday, December 5

I'm painting billboards

to protest our government's enthusiasm for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

My shiny leopard-skin-effect shopping trolley was used to ship pots of paint to the billboards. I unpacked it mostly without incident but pulling out the last pot of paint made the lid came off and the contents emptied into the trolley. I pushed it over a drain expecting the paint to leak away - it didn't but neither could I tip the paint out of the trolley without making very big white mess on the brand-spanking-new-multi-million pound pedestrian surface so I let the trolley be a paint kettle which was ungainly.

The underpass (where I was painting), attracts people who need to do a bit of public shouting - the morning was spent with  three Friends of Jesus and a sound system and the End of Days. They moved on and the drunks who normally live close to my house came to sit and watch me and then an American-girl-with-a-guitar arrived, she was lovely and friendly but she only knew Empire State of Mind which she sang in the voice of  Kermit-the-Frog - the drunks howled along like Youtube huskies.

I have to go back and finish the job tomorrow

Friday, November 28

At tonight's art event

Woman enters the room guiding an elderly lady

This is my mother - she's ninety-one

Another woman steps forward head tilted in challenge

My mother's ninety-one

When's your mother's birthday?


mine's in October

(sotto voce) My mother's older

Sunday, November 23


today I'm printmaking again

Saturday, November 22


My mother-in-law likes us to just stick arms out and help ourselves without waiting to be served so at the start of a meal as we are just sitting down she bellows above our chatter;


Friday, November 21

Head fiddling

My friend was trying to explain the notion of opposites to his son: wet/dry, light/dark, heavy/light ... the boy moved swiftly into advanced extremism and asked

... what's the opposite of a frying pan? a tree?

during work-avoidance today I wondered what the opposite of a dinosaur might be and came up with a feather, bracken, a woodlouse and flu.  BUT ... if the dinosaur was a metaphor for Venice then it's opposite could be an Asian stilt village or the Gobi desert... I have no idea where this is going

I was also thinking of Andy Goldsworthy because I think he's fab

Wednesday, November 19

Since yesterday

I can't stop thinking about all those musicians released through the Berlin wall

Tuesday, November 18

Today's surprises at the Brain Surgery:

A surprising amount of patients either forgot to arrive or arrived late

One of the people who didn't come was someone we thought had died last year - we were surprised that she made an appointment at all

A surprising amount of Italian patients, one of them had a tiny baby, another used to be a concert cellist. When the Berlin wall came down the musician market became flooded with cellists - the Berliners undercut the Italians and my new friend was unable to find enough work

The free car park is less than five minutes walk away, despite this a surprising number of people borrow someone else's disabled badge so they can park just that little bit closer

Between patients I managed to darn a thousand bite-holes in the moth-eaten jumper
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