Saturday, August 30

My tooth still hurts

but we are in England so I have to wait until next Tuesday to see a dentist.

I receive weekly advice emails from Miranda July and this week she says ...

You know how Jason Bourne keeps on moving, no matter what? You should too. Bullet to the leg? Keep going. Don't think, just go.

good luck,

Thursday, August 28

Two people arrived together

and then another two

there was already a man trying to make texts sitting on the sofa

so that was six of us in the Brain Surgery waiting room

next time the doorbell went it was another couple who were very excited and told us all about how they were long lost friends of the Brain Doctor, there was a long and animated story of their times together and then they they stood against the long wall underneath a painting of a shipwreck and waited expectantly.

the texting man went into the bathroom which has the sort of paper-thin walls that maintain clear audibility

the Brain Doctor emerged from the consulting room, looked blankly at the long lost friends and hurried off to another consulting room.

In the ensuing silence we all listened to the texting man making full use of the lavatory while also holding a shouty conversation.

Tuesday, August 26

I took the haunted bell

back to the hardware shop and demanded my money back then I went to a different hardware shop, bought another doorbell and got to the Brain Surgery early today so that I could install this new one

the effect was remarkable

two out of three patients came in and looked around in amazement, asked what was new and remarked on how clean and bright the surgery looked

I've bought a magic doorbell

Saturday, August 23

Someone wanted me to feel better

and planted this dress for me to find on the Gloucester Road

My tooth

has been getting progressively wobblier all year

i've been in denial about this fact and now it's getting quite sore, begging me to let it go.

i am very sad about this

probably because I'm afraid that I'll end up looking like a pirate

Friday, August 22

I'm a fishperson

and I just thought that I really liked Kate Bush.


it was back in the '80s - in the days when I used to cook at popstar recording studios - those days when popstars traipsed in and out of my kitchen day in day out: that bloke off Police, a Beatle, Joni Mitchell, all of them - I'd just put supper on the table then sit down and eat with everyone like we all went to school together.

Until Katebush Day

A fan finds it hard to believe the object of fandom actually exists - or that's how it affected me - it was like having a unicorn in the house.

I was also dazzled by that whiterthanwhite top which stayed unblemished the entire day - and I know biscuits were involved in the recording studio. Look at me, I'm wearing a brown jumper because I know that if I wear anything smooth or light-coloured something stain-ey will jump on it within 5 seconds.

As you can see it was in the good old days of cigarettes - that's Kate's brother Paddy in the front - I'm trying really hard not to set his hair alight.

Thursday, August 21

That doorbell

I got for the Brain Surgery - turns out it's haunted.

It seemed a little strange when I unwrapped it - the ring menu contained nothing you'd want to announce a visitor: electro drum 'n' bass, rickety piano, cartoon car parps, swanee whistle - everything except ding dong.

I settled on a tinny cascade called 'peel of bells' but even that had consequences, prompting one patient to recall a '60s sitcom that no-one had ever heard of. To boost our memories she re-enacted the opening sequence and would've done the entire first series but someone said 'oh - that show' and I was able to show her into the consulting room.

Today the haunted doorbell started randomly playing bits from it's repertoire of bizarre sounds.

Maybe it's the plug socket that's possessed

Monday, August 18

A tattooed man lives above the Brain Surgery

When he clomps up and down the stairs the surgery shakes and those of us in the waiting room hunch up a little like we're in an air raid shelter.

Tattoo Man doesn't just tread the stairs, he also bursts into the waiting room in his muscle-revealing vest and shorts. Sometimes he powers through to the store room to see if he left a drill there, sometimes he just stops by to tell an amusing traffic warden story or show a tear-inducing video clip.

This has clearly been going on for years - the Brain Doctor in true British fashion has never directly let it be known that he is less than happy with the situation

Friday, August 15

Forever Bicycles

by Ai Weiwei

My forever bikes

Monday:  bike breaks, Shopman sucks teeth, tells me he probably can't repair it but will have a look

Tuesday: secondhand bike advertised on Gumtree, send email - no reply assume sold. Another secondhand bike advertised up the road, it's a clunker - I buy it for £40

Wednesday: I hate clunkerbike

Thursday: Gumtree bike responds 'I've been away - still for sale' I buy it for £50, this one is better but not as nice as my broken bike

Friday: Shopman calls to tell me he's fixed the broken bit of my bike for which he will charge £50 but I must note that the gears are nearly worn invisible and the brakes should be replaced

Thursday, August 14

just discovered

that I opened a twitter account in 2009, made a single tweet and never went back

have dusted it off and will try to do better - no idea what it's for or how to do it but so far I have garnered 9 followers who all appear to be sex workers - if you use this vehicle follow @lululabonne and I'll follow you and someone will write a song about it.

Wednesday, August 13

My friend Lorde

is a horder of the highest order

she said

I'm having a clear out 

I said

can I help?

yes she said

you could bring your car and take stuff to the dump.

arrive at noon, front door wide open, hallway impassable

she waves at me from behind the mountain of debris

I can't get out - can you put the rubbish on the street

I stack pavement with the hallway boxes and bins - when path made she bustles out after me picks up large plastic bucket full of rags from the pavement and struggles back in with it

what's the matter am I not helping?

no - this is beautiful I just found this on the street yesterday - you're dangerous - go and make tea

The man who sits on the pavement

outside the florist has stopped selling the 'Post-its' and paperclips that he nicks from the stationer a couple of doors down.

Instead he is weaving his beer cans into ashtrays so I bought one for a quid -  you might think that sounds cheap but the smoking's going to cost me a fortune

Monday, August 11

a regular visitor

to the Brain Surgery tells me that line dancing is the secret to eternal youth

she arrived today brandishing scars on her arm

and I've got a bad leg,  I've not been line dancing for a fortnight

what happened?

I was running down the path with cake


 my niece visited and I forgot to give her cake -  so I ran after her with it and slipped

did you land on the cake?

no but my husband was so angry with it that he swore at it and kicked it right to the end of the path

Sunday, August 10

I told my mother that I'd been in Somerset

Sounds very rural

Yeah - it's like countryside city down there

I was in Somerset to visit a cool new gallery that's just opened.

Having spent a long time driving around trying to find the place I went straight to the Ladies which are unisex, people are standing at a large agricultural water trough jabbing at the taps trying to make water come out. A few minutes later I am washed but drenched. In the corridor I notice several lovely pictures, prints by various artists, I want to know who made them - but this gallery is too cool for labels and there is no-one around to ask.

I move into the main gallery area

The featured artist is Phyllida Barlow, someone I had no opinion on until I walked into the first room, here I found a pair of green-jerkinned 'interpreters',  one of them came straight up to me and, with a fixed smile on her face, started a lecture:

So this work is by Phyllida Barlow - she's very significant...

Is she British?

Yes, from Newcastle - but obviously she lives in London

??? this room it's like we're at a festival - you see the way she's piled the pallets, each one slightly off, that's the way farmers stack hay bales when they want to climb up them,


Apart from the pallet stack the room is crowded with big pompoms hanging from the rafters

... the artist is being very playful here, this really is a celebration...

the pompoms are shoulder level, bell ropes are attached below them

she catches my eye

Yes they look like bell ropes but this is Art so you can't touch them


Well each ball is for sale so you can imagine - no-one would want to buy one if they were allowed to get messy

Thursday, August 7

When I started working

at the Brain Surgery the main things I didn't like there, were the colour (pork pie meat) and the smell in the waiting room (charity shop underwear).

Which is why I offered to decorate it last month. Also, the doorbell worked only intermittently causing patients to call to me through the letterbox to get let in.

After the decorating the doorbell didn't work at all but the smell had miraculously disappeared.

Today the Brain Doctor noticed that a thing that used to be plugged into the wall at skirting board level had disappeared - This apparently, was the doorbell buzzer (!!!)

I'd taken it for a stale room freshener and thrown it out. I've promised to buy a new one before Monday.

Wednesday, August 6

The only edible things

that grow in my garden are the things that just arrive - like blackberries which all got ripe yesterday just as the rain was at it's most torrential. Woken by the noise I had to run out in my swimsuit and wellingtons to pick them and stop them getting ruined.

The elderly couple

live in a house entirely painted and furnished with the colours of stewed fruit - it feels and smells exactly like my grandmother's house did in the '60s.

For two weeks the decorators have been busy on the top floor - today was the big reveal, it has been repainted exactly the same colours. I find this comforting.

Sunday, August 3

I was in a part of Devon

and needed to get to another part of Devon. 

My local expert advised that a route through winding unsigned lanes would be the best idea

I set off and after a few bends realised that I was driving behind a large vehicle full of dogs - paws up against the rear window making faces at me.

Me and the travelling dog show went on for a few miles then the road widened, the dog-lorry pulled over and a large man got out and waved me down

you looking for something?

Tedburn St Mary - is this the way?

You're not looking for a terrier then?

No thank you

It's just that we saw one on the road back there and picked it up ... but then we dropped it off at the pub ... thought it might be yours

Saturday, July 26

Body Cakes

Yesterday I made  Body Cakes (Kroppkakor) with a Swedish musician called Linnea Olsen.

here is the recipe

cook and mash floury potatoes then grate in an almost  equal weight raw potatoes of a firmer character, add eggs and season then leave to sit while you sauté minced shallots in butter.  Add chanterelles to the soft but not coloured shallots in the pan then a glass of white wine, when the wet has simmered away add salt, pepper, finely chopped parsley and ground allspice.

get flour on your hands and make a tennis ball out of the potato dough, poke a hole in the middle and put in a spoonful of the chanterelle mixture, pinch the potato back over it.

Have a pot of simmering water handy and lower the body cakes into the water when they bounce to the surface they are cooked.

Serve the cake on a lake of thin cream with a 'click' of butter on top and a spoonful of sugared raw lingonberries

Friday, July 25

Recipes have flooded in

for my annual WOMAD event - the one where musicians come and cook for an audience

The musicians send me their recipes and I take Bristol apart in my quest for food things like rotting fish sauce, raw lingonberries and meat of the buffalo. I also search out hardware such as 'one large cauldron', 'a spit and fire' and 'baking stones'. 

Today I am filling my car with meat, this is one of the recipes for today with notes from the band:

Lecsó for 25 persons

12 slices of Hungarian lard
6kg Hungarian yellow paprika
12 Hungarian strong paprika
8-10 Onion
10 garlic
30-40 pieces of tomato
1kg Hungarian sausage

For the vegetarian part we just take out the lard and sausage and need sunflower oil. We will bring the cauldron and the bread too, as we won’t have time to cook any! Are we allowed to bring also Hungarian plum brandy! It’s not really the same without it, it’s really part of the tradition!

Monday, July 21

Today at the Brain Surgery

a patient with the same name as a hair accessory stood in front of me, diary open looking for a date that she'd like to come for another visit. The front was embossed in gold '1997' I said nothing but she guessed what I was thinking

I have piles of diaries at home I just pick one with January first on the same day as January first this year

I guess you have to watch out for  Leap Years

Yes and Easter's a bit problematic

Image: Mark Twain's Naming Journal

Thursday, July 17

Today has been heavy and hot

Last weekend, in honour of my sister's visit, I bought the best cheese in the world and put it on a shelf to get perfect for eating the next day and then I forgot about it until this evening when we had made a fire in the garden and suddenly the moment was perfect for cheese.
too late ... all inside the wrapper was alive with maggots


... on the green hilly piece where the scoundrels do drug deals I saw the man who uses Drunk Trike being given driving lessons on a shiny red motorised four-wheeler

Wednesday, July 16

Take me to the Bridge

The Brain Surgery has been painted  a cerebral sort of grey. This morning I glid behind the 'console', sat on the black vinyl spaceship-driver's seat and thought that what I needed were more Star Trek outfits.

Then a patient arrived wearing Coco Chanel-esque white palazzo pants and a Margaret Howell matelot jersey

Monday, July 14

My memory obliterates

all my previous gardening failures. Each year that I decide to grow vegetables I do it with the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind.

It's only when I am inspecting the fly-ravaged beans and worm-eaten peas, when the Man comes and stands beside me and says

I see that we've got lots of no-beans again this year

and I say

there are no-peas too

that's when I remember

Sunday, July 13

This morning

hedghogs and lollipops by Ella

My niece ate 4 donut peaches, a bowl each of strawberries and black-and-red-currants with yoghurt and an avocado, performed modern dance while executing a painting about hedgehogs and lollipops then went to film bees in the brambles wearing a long purple gown with wings and matching tiara


some scoundrels appear to have set up a drug racket across from my house, they are straight out of central casting, I'm keeping an eye on them

Thursday, July 10

I've just got a bike

so I cycled across the city, over the river to meet Ro at a restaurant near her house - she'd booked the last available table - 6.30 - this place is that popular.

Being warm and sunny we sat outside then we got chilly and went inside, trying out several tables before settling on the nicest one - we had the place to ourselves until 9pm - all the other people who wanted to be where we were, were in their cars, blocked by a lorry full of candles on fire in the middle of the big car road that crosses the river.

Boy am I smug

FYI : the candles were american and on their way to italy -  rome probably

Wednesday, July 9


turquoise is loneliness - wendy walgate

The days have been doubled up busy - painting and clearing out the Brain Surgery, tidying the community garden and making-lists for the annual cooking-with-music event.

Nooks and hidey-holes in the Brain Surgery are stuffed with accumulations. I sort and make collections of things that go together and make homes for them. The sorting and collecting and homing has infected me.

I dreamt about a vast bed in a dark wooden room, a high four-poster stacked with many layers of mattresses and pillows, filed in between them are dozens of sleeping labrador puppies, black ones and yellow ones. I patrol the bed pulling out a floppy hibernating puppy here and there, checking it's breathing before slipping it back in place and continuing my rounds. Also, in the interstices of the bed frame are tiny wooden tubes, each containing a bee which need regular, gentle watering.

Then Lennie Kravitz came into the room - I didn't want him to know about the puppies

Saturday, July 5

Spring Cleaning has crept into my heart

It felt so good to wash the kitchen floor that I took a set of muslin curtains down and put them in the washing machine with some other things.

I turned on the machine and  forgot about it. 

When I opened the washer the next day my knickers and t-shirts were bound round with shreds of semi-digested rags - it took a full ten minutes to remember about the curtains.

Friday, July 4

The Brain Doctor is away next week

he suggested that, in lieu of having aimless conversations with his patients maybe I could freshen up the waiting room.

I'm rubbish at cleaning so I plan to paint over the dirt.

I  mixed up two nice colours, painted them  onto a piece of cardboard and went down to the paintshop and asked if they would match them into a quantity of paint. The guy in the shop said.

It's always best to buy sample pots first then you can see if you like them

I like these colours - a big tin of each please

Ok and then if you don't like it you only have to wait a couple of years - get your money's worth out if it - and then you can paint it over


Monday, June 30

Rose and Apple

'A few drops of rosewater give apple juice an exotic edge. Add two fingers of vanilla vodka to make what shall henceforth be known as a Scheherazade.'

today's treat from The Flavour Thesaurus
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