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

Sunday, November 16

The man came into the kitchen

wearing a jumper dotted with moth cocoons -  fine merino wool - last year's christmas present. Normally I would have jumped around on account of the scattering of cocoons and baby hatching moths as the man moved around the house but  the cottonwool in my head has stifled my ability to react.

I'm trying to shift the cottonwool by boiling my head over a bowl of steamy water to which I have added rosemary and mint - if there is any medicinal purpose in doing this I don't know because, despite my telling some other people to the contrary, I am not actually a doctor.

Friday, November 14

My favourite patient

at the Brain Surgery is a hundred and fifty years old, tiny as a wren with orange hair. Her wardrobe is fabulous.

She came in yesterday - a hairy tartan scarf tied round her neck in a manner that I am definitely going to try later, we talked about her new husband:

Is this your first marriage?

Yes, I've done a lot of weird things in my life but until this year I've never been married

Wednesday, November 12

Rabbit's handwriting

is neat and regular and strong like a properly formed grown-up. My handwriting is chaotic and varies from day to day.

When Rabbit is bored she does mirror writing in the margins of our shared notebook which is exactly as neat as her non-mirror writing.

Friday, November 7

Rabbit was in the reception room

fulminating about a sportsman on the cover of a magazine then about various other people who I think also played sport - Rabbit asked what I thought about them

I said that I had no idea who any of the people mentioned were

We agreed that we should meet out of work - the negociations went like this:

We could go for a drink

I don't drink alcohol, we could go for coffee

I don't drink non-alcohol

Do you like cake?



I hate cinema. A play? I love theatre

I hate plays. There's a cafe over the bridge where I go to for lunch sometimes, they always do a really nice dahl

I love dahl

our common ground is dahl, the Brain Doctor and a fondness for Neil Pearson

Thursday, November 6

I have a new colleague at the Brain Surgery

today Rabbit and I took our lunch together and discovered that we are actually Jack Spratt and his Wife, we each detest everything the other one adores, it was wonderful and I think we should get married.

Tuesday, November 4

It rained so hard

I wore my new pointy boys shoes which are a bit slippy so I had to fight my way to the Brain Surgery this morning, my hands were too occupied with my bag and umbrella for air-punching.

When I redecorated the Surgery a few months back I rearranged the artwork in a way that favoured waiting patients. In my absence the Brain Doctor has put all the good paintings back into his consulting rooms - the reception area, and my view, is once again blessed with cheesy floral arrangements and faded sailing ships.

it is also cold

How's this for spooky

I usually cycle to the Brain Surgery but this morning felt like a walking day

then Miranda July sent me an email

More walking is called for today. Or if you are caged, regularly pace your cage, shake the bars, punch the air.

good luck,

and I shall punch the air as I walk

Sunday, November 2

Last night I had supper with a rock star

at a restaurant - it was a birthday party for the rock star's right-hand woman

towards the end of the evening a waitress arrived with a tiny candle stuck in a chocolate truffle surrounded with Smarties and we all sang the Happy Birthday song and then the rock star wanted to make a speech but at the exact same moment that he stood up and started speaking the couple at the next table who were having a difference of opinion got really really shouty at each other

so we watched them instead

I resisted endless tempation

when shopping in town yesterday;

First I walked past this crocheted poncho at the charity shop reduced from £20 to JUST FOUR.

It was also World Vegan Day - the local vegans had set up trestle tables outside the supermarket.

Guessing that Vegan World might have off-putting aspects they cunningly lured people over with a sign written in biro on an old cardboard box announcing FREE FOOD. A cross-looking lady septuagenarian in harem-pants and rainbow hair was transforming piles of dry-looking vegan 'sausages' into tasty bite-sized chunks and a pale man was handing out photographs of baby chicks in a blender and some bloody sheep heads.

Wednesday, October 29

Had supper with Whiplash last night

Dessert was divine

Whiplash is the châtelaine of an apartment block and is currently following the gardening contractors around to see if they actually do anything.

Next week or soon after she and another woman will be helping a friend give birth.

I've made an infusion of clary sage to mist her with once the contractions get going, Lisa's going to massage her face with a blusher brush

There's a soundtrack, when she gets to the last bit she wants to push it out to Led Zeppelin

they visited the birthing suites at the maternity hospital - all the other pregnant women were accompanied by men

We looked a right set of lezzers so I kept mentioning that the father was planning to be there too

Tuesday, October 28

I'm home

finally unpacked and laundered, I went to the Brain Surgery - the Brain Doctor was nursing a black eye, he had cancelled all his patients for the day.

I am doing crayoning and games instead

I've only just discovered

Iris Van Herpen

I may need to get a bubble bath dress

Tuesday, October 21

I am on my way out of Spain

but not before I have become half whippet myself

Saturday, October 18

wondering if I can fit the whippet in my luggage

not sure if I'm going to be able to say goodbye - hoping that he's fold-able and I can take him with me next week.

The weather's been moody as an adolescent - the whippet made me go out and has hauled me through woods bulging with fungi but I'm far too much of a coward to pick any of it.

In the market today fierce people bullied me into buying at least ten times more vegetation than I can possibly eat - I show  them how much I want and they throw their arms up and shout something like

There's no bloody point selling that poxy amount - it's a kilo or nothing

Other market trophies include an uncooked blood sausage that I think needs boiling and some smoked cod that I think is eaten raw and some tins of smoked cod liver which is my favourite thing in the world but I'd forgotten it existed.

Wednesday, October 15

Today's weather on the forecast thingy looks like this

outdoors it looks like this

The whippet and I have mostly been inside listening to things like this

Longplayer Conversation 2014: David Graeber and Brian Eno from Artangel on Vimeo.

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