Friday, February 28

Bum Box

I always try and sit at the window at this time of the evening when the sun turns all the houses across the road golden and the blackbird is singing his heart out. No photo will ever capture it so instead I have photographed this box which I only actually looked at after I had emptied out my groceries today.

The enormous hairballcat just ran into my garden and ducked into the grass under the tree where the birds are singing, I squeaked opened the broken sash window and pitched a book at where the hairball was hiding making it shoot up a wall where it is now sitting on and swearing loudly at me - that's spoiled the mood a little

Reinventing the Wheel

My friend who is a clothing historian and a costume designer laughed at me while I sobbed about my sun-bleached jumper

how sweet - you're doing the history of textile development

I have become a one woman re-enactment society - come and watch while I perform discoveries with woad and lichens

Thursday, February 27


Today has been gloriously gorgeously sunny and I have spent ninety nine point nine nine percent of it inside in a windowless room.

Yesterday I was given an ugly fawn jumper in merino wool so I put it in a hot turmeric and tea dye bath then I washed it, rinsed it and laid it flat to dry on a towel - it was beautifully evenly the colour of caramel toffee.

Before going setting off for the windowless room, I placed this uglynowbeautiful jumper outside to finish drying.

When I came back home the sunnyside of the jumper had faded back to the ugly colour.


Wednesday, February 26

Lacy Flaps

Space Lady was wearing her biggest woolly diving suit today, we waded around her house to see if we could find the ironing board - the furniture and floor are obscured by mounds of things so it's standing room only.

I tried to call to say that there is no water so there's no point in you coming

I won't stay long then

Will you iron this impossible thing


The impossible thing was laundered but the cats had been sitting on it so I ironed over a lot of cat hair and footprints and other fluff from the floor, there were a lot of lacy flaps and the thing took an hour to make more or less flat - it would have taken half that but Space Lady stood very close and told me about the squatters who have moved into the church next door and I was trying not to burn her.

The estate agent rang to say that it's my fault the squatters are there she says that she has been and looked through the keyhole and can see them taking the organ apart and setting fire to it but there is no keyhole and you couldn't see into the church from the door even if there was

Tuesday, February 25


Today's future from Miranda July ...

what have we learned about pants? 
1) many things look better  inside of them, and 
2) therefore you should calm down.

I have just had a long phone call with a long lost friend which was wonderful and sad at the same time

Yesterday I was given some chocolates filled with liquid espresso coffee which aren't very nice until you drop them into a cup of hot coffee to make a pool of mocha at the bottom of the cup - as soon as I had done this I  was distracted by a phone call  and forgot about the chocolate/espresso bomb so it was like a surprise bonus.

I did my weekly hoovering for the tidy-elderly people today and noticed some hand-written instructions near the computer.

• turn the computer off properly USING 'SHUT DOWN'
• put junk mail  in 'trash'
• delete the things that I want to keep for later and might need (put in junk)

I asked the tidyelderlyman if this was a real instruction

Yes it is ... I had a crash and an expert came and told me to do these things

You might have misunderstood - maybe you could check with him

I can't really understand anything he says ... I ask him to repeat everything five times and then I give up.

That is exactly what happens to me when I meet computer experts

Monday, February 24

Flop House Blues

Today was a fixing bonanza; the chimney man arrived unexpectedly* to admire my flue and then another man arrived to pull pieces of rubber band out of my dishwasher and make it work again.  Chimney Man and I peered at the dripping leak beneath the bathroom and decided that it did really look more like broken plumbing than broken weather, I still can't get a plumber to visit.

Having lodgers seems to be my main motivation for keeping the house functioning, if it was just me on my own I’d probably let everything grind to a halt and wear away until I was just living in a tent in a pile of rubble.

Somehow I’ve extrapolated this into the idea that I should run a hotel or at least a boarding house of ill-repute.  I see myself as a harsh concierge in bright lipstick and a bouffant hairdo, pasting up lists concerning rules of conduct. I’d hand out weekly allowances of soap and hard lavatory paper and make judgements about the resident’s visitors to whoever was drinking Cosmopolitans with me in the public lounge.

This may also be the only way that I’ll be allowed to have a dog - it will be a poodle.

I have a New York friend who took me to the Chelsea Hotel once,  she had delivered drugs there to certain residents in the infamous days. At the time my friend lived in the same apartment block as Madonna who was just becoming known and was right from the beginning notoriously rude. Madonna was getting sent more flowers than she had vases to accommodate - my friend loaned her vases - and never got them back.

* I emailed him weeks ago and had given up hope.

Sunday, February 23

Knitting Obsessive

bodysuit Andrea Crew

The dyeing and remodelling of charity shop woollies might be getting out of hand - but I will not be suffering in this cold weather.

Friday, February 21

Fee Fie Fo Fum

I hid from the hail in a charity shop and fingered trinkets while eavesdropping on a very overweight man explaining to the emaciated lady behind the counter about the trick to losing weight

It's all about carbo loading - you've got to avoid doing it


It's when you have all the pizza and the bread and the cake - how can you eat half a pizza though?

Among the trinkets were some envelopes containing bean seeds (beans)  I have bought one and put it with all the packets of seeds I didn't sow last year.

Thursday, February 20

Dirty Conspiracy

The house and the weather are trying to make a fool out of me;  rain and wind keep happening whenever someone has a bath - then the weather sits back and has a good laugh when I run around shouting


in other news i am trying to knit a cardigan in one big piece, sleeves and all - my big wool-engineering project

I am working next to the window that looks out onto the garden, I should be finishing that bee book and I nearly have but I am also watching a new cat that has appeared in our garden, being new she doesn't understand that we don't want cats in the garden but she has such an air of astonishment at finding herself in this world and she is so astonished and so young that she's useless at getting the birds so I haven't started shoo-ing her yet.

Wednesday, February 19

Bottom-Banging Squatters

I couldn't remember if I was supposed to visit Space Lady today so I phoned her to find out:

Well yes but no can you come next week instead we've got squatters

How exciting!

No not really they're banging their bottoms on the window when they try and get in and that wakes me up

Have you tried talking to them?

No they haven't shown themselves to be spoken to yet

Well maybe if you speak to them then you can find out what sort of people they are

Oh I can see what sort of people they are - they're the middle class sort

Tuesday, February 18

Wind and Sun

The sun has been out all day and everyone has been walking around un-berella-ed 

Sometimes my sense of smell turns on me - today I had enormous trouble walking into a house simply because of the sweaty people in it, same thing happened yesterday at the garden centre - I think it's my hormones.

I made a terrific supper with rice and lentils, cabbage and anchovies and toasted hazelnuts, cheap and tasty - if slightly windy.

Sunday, February 16

Sneaky Water

Image: Guy Bourdin

Water started dripping through the ceiling into the thin slice of a room on the ground floor last week, above the slice room is a bathroom - maybe this was the source of the leak.

I called plumbers but none answered, today I unscrewed floorboards and sawed through bits of supporting woodwork  - it was all dry.

I enlisted help from an equally unqualified person, we agreed to clear the slice room then run water through the bathtub to see if we could re-enact the leakage. We drilled a hole in the slice room ceiling to ease the passage of any water wanting to come downstairs, three holes were made in our damp and stained ceiling.

No leakage happened -  maybe it was the rain surfeit creeping into wallspaces and running around the interfloor areas only coming out when the house was fully saturated.

This afternoon I am unravelling one of my charity shop jumpers, nearly all unravelled I  arrived at a pocket - where I  found a condom.

It's ok it's in an unopened packet - but really out of date, so no use

Runnning Away to the Circus

Photo by Todd Walker

When I was twenty years old I joined a performing horse circus in France it was surreal and wonderful and those memories came rushing back when I read this small ad:

Circus Family in Phoenix Needs Help

We are in a professional band that performs frequently and our home is very musical and lively. It's difficult to put our entire vision into a small box ... while here you will have the opportunity to assist us with cultivating the land and vision.
Here are some ideas of what we will need assistance with:

Building a chicken coop
Starting a garden
Building a sweat lodge
Building a fire pit circle
Planting fruit trees
Building a dry sauna
Planting bamboo
Building outdoor balcony
Building a geo-dome
Building a drip system
Setting up our 18 foot teepee
Building a stage
Rigging for aerial silks
Building a loft in our son's bedroom
Building revolving doors

 ... Phoenix is a plethora of activity as well ... We also have the world-renowned Musical Instrument Museum, as well as other art and history museums.

Saturday, February 15

Gold Dust

I haven't been very thorough in my jumper-rinsing. I sat at a table for one hour wearing my yellow jumper - when I got up there was a cloud of golden powder in my place.

Friday, February 14

New York New York

Today this postcard arrived on my doormat all the way from New York - I dream of New York and this was sent to me by a beautiful and talented poet and musician there is so much to love about this card that I can't begin to say ... the stamps on the back are an absolute bonus they are celebrating this year of the whores

Miranda July has forecast this for me today:

You will meet a woman near a clock today. Or she might be wearing a watch. You'll never see her again, but she'll help you forever.

I only just saw this just now so I must go out right away and find a clock and stand there until she comes

Yellow Jumper

This is the jumper I dyed with turmeric powder it is still drying out. I have added the word Mmmmmmmmmmmm to my dictionary.

Wednesday, February 12

Gimme Shelter

Bloom by Sam Spenser

Umbrella circulation has ground to a halt, I have left more of them in other people’s houses than they have left in mine.

I went to an umbrella shop and picked a beautiful saffron-coloured umbrella which I was just going to buy but just before I did I put it up to see if it seemed strong enough to withstand the hurricane that is currently visiting us. I wasn’t sure that it did seem sturdy and tried to put it away, I got the stalk all telescoped in but I couldn’t get the canopy shut so I had to leave it coracle-like on the floor of the store while I slipped out….

This grey weather is making me crave all things yellow. Today I dyed one of my charity shop jumpers the colour of sunflowers.

This evening there was a public talk at the university given by a newly appointed Chair of cognitive psychology - an award-garlanded professor. The theme of the talk was 'misinformation'. The professor informed us that the public are frequently misinformed, media outlets such as the Daily Mail  and Fox News do more misinforming than the BBC or NPR and people who get their information from the first sort of media are more misinformed than people who don’t.

I want to institute an award - it will be called the ‘No Shit, Sherlock’ Award

Tuesday, February 11

We Are Dissolving

The rain is melting all the rivers and also the iron in our gate hinge - we fixed the gate hinge

I saw this dog today - a furry rosette has turned his back stripe into a sea horse

Monday, February 10

Absolutely No Chemical Verbilizers

Today I am looking at job adverts in the agricultural section, this is the one I shall be contacting

I rent also a 9 square kilometre garden with lots of fruit trees and fields for vegetables. The whole garden is designed to work as a biological circle, I don´t use any poisons or chemical verbalizers. There is much more potential in this garden than I can make out of it on my own, so therefore I´m searching some help



Also today I am darning socks I can't find my darning needle and the only thing I can find to take the wool is a needle for threading string through mattresses it is as long as a runner bean and is bent like a spoon - the task of sock-darning has become very difficult but quite interesting.

Sunday, February 9


Affogato is a shot of hot espresso coffee poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream - I LOVE it - by half-way through you are spooning at a tiny bowl of pale creamy coffee-tinted soup.

I like coffee but I like it strong and it gives me the shakes so I don't normally drink it but I needed some strong coffee to dye an arran cardigan that had gone a bit wooden and was an unpleasant yellowy nicotine-stain colour.

I made a big jug of strong coffee for the dyeing it looked so good I had to have some and then there wasn't enough left for dyeing, I have been saving the ends of jugs of coffee for days allthewhile getting shakier and shakier -  just before I died I got enough coffee to dye the wooden cardigan.

IT IS FANTASTIC it looks like the end of an affogato and it smells like a coffee roasting house.

I listened in on a conversation about a new person starting work 

she was dressed quite strangely

strangely - how?

about 20 years too old

I don't know how that's going to end


My man has recently returned from India, his son is here too, he makes title graphics for television programmes:

I got my first job doing the programme titles completely on my own last week

Great - how did that go?

Not very well really they couldn't think of what to call the programme

Saturday, February 8

Double Bedding


bedroom in russian house by andrew qzmn

I need a new mattress so I went to the place I last bought a mattress from but it has closed down.

I came home and looked on the computer for bed shops, I also looked at the Gumtree small ads where I saw a suspiciously large number of ‘brand new still in rapper (sic) mattress’  advertisements for a variety of mattresses , they are all in the same part of town (Bedminster - really!) I called one of the numbers and spoke to a man asking him why he was selling this mattress.
Because they deliver me two

It turned out that his mattress was not the right size so I called another of the numbers and spoke to someone else

Why are you selling this mattress
Because they deliver me two.

Friday, February 7

Burning Wool

I have just taken my latest length of felt out of the oven, it is coloured bright pillarbox red and I want it to have a dark edge the grey dye didn't take I think maybe fabric gets tired of being dyed after a while and it refused to take the dark grey and just looked dirty so I coiled it up and put it in the oven and burnt a black edge on it - when you really burn wool it crumbles like toast - who knew?

The Gathering of The Funny Noses

Billy Winslow: clown and wire walker

I've been driving around town, on the hourly news I keep hearing part of an item where our Prime Minister urges the Scottish people not to leave us. I always miss the beginning and I'm concentrating on other things but he seems to be saying that his name means 'crooked nose' in Scottish and that his  'clown motto*' is 'let us unite'.

*PS: Heard the news properly this evening turns out he's talking about 'Clans' - that's a Scottish thing

Thursday, February 6

Blonde Neighbours

Lola came for tea today, while she was here my neighbour knocked on my door to collect some flowers that had been delivered for her. Lola noted that my neighbour is blonde and  tells me that she has a blonde neighbour but all blondes look the same to her so she can never recognise her blonde neighbour unless she actually sees her leaving or entering her house.

… last week she came knocking on the door saying that she needed some milk because she had been staying off the drink for two weeks but I had no idea who she was and then the next day our other neighbours had a fight in the street one had a hammer and the other a sword …

Wednesday, February 5

Here Comes The Sun…

painting by Luli Sanchez

Not really - lots more rain and wind - the radio is full of stories about the sea throwing stones at houses and washing away the railway lines.

But we laugh at the rain here in Bristol, on Monday a bus driver said he’d seen a crocodile in the river and it’s made INTERNATIONAL news. There’s already grafitti up and ‘Chris’ has two Twitter accounts.

In non-weather news: I have toothache and made, what I thought would be  a soothing, gruel for lunch but I added some out-of-date porcini which made the entire kitchen smell of horse manure and the gruel taste a bit farmyardy

None of this bothers me – not one jot because I have a ticket to visit That London where I will go to look at art and people and shiny things.

Also I have many duck legs slowly melting in my oven - the farmyard smells have been replaced by the scent of  butter and cardamom and cinnamon and anise and orange.

Tuesday, February 4

Luxury Bow Sale

The local shop is having a Luxury Bow sale - I think these will have a use beyond sticking on gifts, the addition of a luxury bow will surely elevate anything; cakes, piles of dirty washing ... maybe if bad news was delivered with a luxury bow it would make it better  - a sort of medal for bravery.

My husband has been in India for a month, he got home last night and is a bit disoriented. While I  cooked supper he told me travellers tales

then he noticed the jugs of coffee and bowls of used tea bags that I am planning to use for wool dying.

What are those?
Coffee and teabags to colour a jumper

Is that normal?

I might have mentioned my fondness for verbatim poetry before, todays UKIP tweet compilation on the Verbatim Poetry site is lovely

Monday, February 3

More Wind

Not much rain today but the cold is arriving and I am curling up at the edges, I will soon look as pinched as a lettuce that has been left too long at the back of a fridge.

My front door was burst open this morning by the sheer force of a man knocking on it, all the wind came in at once and smashed open the inside doors - the explosions made me scream and the man laugh.

Supper was so good I am definitely going to dream about it, I opened a tiny bottle of truffle oil and dripped the contents over buttered, peppery spaghetti.

Sunday, February 2

A Bit Windy

the rain has swollen the doors  - they will either not shut or not open.

when I came home I pulled the door into the door hole until it stopped moving. during the night the wind re-opened it because my obese front door is refusing to engage with the latch.

today the last of my celebratory black beans will be fried up with rice  - soon I will be able to socialise in enclosed spaces.

my jumper cupboard is overflowing. I have readjusted my work-search criteria to include jumper-wearing.

Saturday, February 1

Gorilla Gardening

rain gave way to sun which gave way to icy gales - a double-scarf-plus-gloves day

Poster from United Nations Environment Programme

Community gardening, guerilla gardening, vertical gardening, edible cites and suchlike are currently very fashionable. Today I joined a neighbourhood  tour looking at areas that might be ripe for a bit of community diggery. To guide us and explain things were a community organiser and someone who had experience working for the council.

We walked from one patch of grass to the next talking dog poo, drug-taking, public sex, fencing, festivals, foxes, why we build housing that overlooks the sexy areas and the fact that planting fruit trees is not allowed because fruit represents a ‘missile hazard’
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