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

My father-in-law

has spent the day in hospital and I've just come off the phone to his wife who assesses his daily aches and pains for severity

He's always saying that he's ill and I tell him that I'll let him know when he's ill - he woke me last night and said am I ill? But it was 3am and too dark so I couldn't see the colour of him

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.

Virtually no traffic

comes through the village but most days I hear a parping horn that signals the arrival of a van that stops and then people come out of their houses and buy things from it. 

Today I heard the horn and ran out - determined to buy whatever was on offer - it was fish.

A man was also buying fish - I recognised his blackandwhite pointer dog that had followed me home in an elaborate game of Grandmother's Footsteps yesterday.

During the fish transaction we established that I am neither the sister, aunt nor cousin of the lady who owns the whippet


Outside the nearby house there is a bottle of clear liquid  tethered to a post with orange twine. A few paces away there are more bottles - these are untethered. The house opposite has bottles of  untethered water(?) on the pavement.

I am bracing myself to make inquiries

Zig Zag

Before setting off for Spain I went to see this Francesca Woodman exhibition focusing on the zigzagginess of her photographic compositions. I now see zigzags everywhere - even when I'm wondering about the animal that needs that nest so big but can also balance itself and babies on top of a bell tower

and the bells must be bothersome - maybe they go out for dinner on Sundays

Monday, October 13

Dog of the Week

It's cold and rainy and we're curled up on the sofa and some of us are doing drawing

The neighbours and I have been making friendly noises at each other. They can't tell what I am saying because my Spanish is appalling and I can't tell what they are saying partly because my Spanish is appalling but also because they have strong regional accents and also because all the people that I have met so far have no front teeth.

Despite this we are exchanging foodstuffs; yesterday the next door neighbour gave me a jug of milk, I turned it into sort-of-cheese and gave her half. Today I met a man on a tractor who gave me two fat green peppers.

here's a photo of the village

Sunday, October 12

Here are some things I wanted to buy at the market

but they were too big for my bag

I did buy a ham bone, it's still very hammy with what's left after they've made slices of Serrano ham.

I boiled it up and the whippet looked at me and said

I like ham ... she gives me ham

Friday, October 10

I'm in Spain - whippet-sitting

He's called Lucho and he's keeping a very close eye on me. It's supper time. I put some dried dog food in his bowl and made yummy noises but he looked at the bowl in a sad way and then he looked very directly at me at me and then he pointed to the fridge and he said

She gives me sausages

Monday, October 6

A mothball cloud followed me

home from London. I was unaware of this until I opened my suitcase and the undiluted smell filled the bedroom and I realised that I've been moving around in an odour cloud like Pigpen from Peanuts.

The napthelene hit my nose when I first walked into Doglady's house but then all the taxidermy and the tapestries and the duck-egg-blue-coloured walls and the deep-salmon-coloured walls and the pistachio-coloured walls and all the voodoo flags and the snakes and the dismembered hands took over my attention and I didn't connect about that previous guest getting set on fire and over the week I absorbed so much of the smell into my clothes and skin and hair that my nose was too stunned to notice anymore.

Tuesday, September 30

I am looking after a very sweet dog

he mainly looks like this - when I talk he looks like this with his head cocked

Sunday, September 28

Stabby and Shooty

Where I'm staying there's a massive school a few metres up the road, I ask a couple who live nearby if it's any good

The man says

I think so ... but I hear it's a bit shooty - one of the dads went in there and pulled a gun a while back

woman says
... and  it's a bit stabby too, there was that argument between the mothers - one of them got her scissors out of her bag and stabbed the other one in the forehead
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