Tuesday, December 29

The main point of Italy is the food

 In another life, about a century ago, I took the position of Cook for a Contessa in a Palazzo just outside Verona. A lady called Itsi Maraschino drove me around the neighbourhood pointing out where I must buy food; for vegetables I was to go to a massive barn where farmers dropped off crates of freshly picked produce - rows of aubergine and courgette varieties, vegetables that I'd never heard of, ten different sorts of artichokes - and all that was before I discovered the lettuce barn - or the cheeses.

Last week (while in Rome... ) we visited the Colosseum and then we were too hungry to read a map properly so we kept getting lost and all the while looking for THE place to eat - finally we fell into a cafe run by a Chinese family who served frozen pizza with a comedy sideshow.

Today we got in the car and drove to Frascati, a town apparently full of good restaurants but so full of cars and traffic jams that we drove on past, winding our way up a hill towards another town.

On the roadside we spotted a 'hostelerie' that looked probably-closed. We stopped and it seemed almost definitely closed-for-the-winter but we walked round to a side door that appeared to be the private house section, we were going to creep away but I was so hungry that I became brave and opened the door expecting to surprise a family eating fish fingers in front of their television.

Lo! the door opened to a proper restaurant dining room with a blazing fire and other diners and a kitchen where cooking was happening and a table for us where we were served artichokes and ham and polenta that was crisp outside and soft inside with orange zest, then torteloni with truffles and cheesy cream then an astonishing salad of white crunchy stems dressed with garlic and anchovy.

Home tomorrow!


Sunday, December 27

the pigs won't eat broccoli

but they love apples, carrots and cucumber and they especially love banana

we have fallen into a routine:  breakfast is dropped off at the manpig's estate, the ladypig waddles out with me to the oak tree to snorkel for acorns then returns to remodel the interior of her home

I can now tell the cats apart - this is mainly because the one who's been getting five breakfasts daily since my arrival is now 'the fat one'

My Christmas projects have been to watch the 'Star Wars Trilogy' and to read Naomi Klein's 'No Logo' - all this catching up with the latest in popular culture has emboldened me to consider finding out who the Spice Girls are and how to do a 'selfie'

Friday, December 25

did I mention the pigs?

the manpig has curly tusks - due to excessive boisterousness he lives in a secured enclosure, a sort of overgrown quarry with roman remains in the middle of it. The ladypig lives separately in a wooden house encircled by a wire enclosure, inside the wooden house she has constructed a giant nest of hay.

She lets herself in and out of the enclosure via a spring door that she can manoeuvre with her body, she spends her days trundling around the garden, visiting the neighbouring olive grove or chatting to the boisterous one through his fence.

The pig owners met us briefly to discuss feeding schedules and health issues - they are concerned that the ladypig seems unfeasibly fat and are sure that it's down to her lack of exercise - the Man and I have a strong suspicion that her fatness is due to soon-to-arrive piglets.

This morning the ladypig and I walked down to the oak tree for an acorn-ey breakfast accompanied by cucumber and carrot, she looks even bigger than she did yesterday and she made a very nice leafy nest for her afternoon nap.

I've been scanning the interweb for pig-mid-wifery tips: rubber gloves and iodine and  a special piglet box need to be on hand.

Monday, December 21

we are staying in a house on a hill

about 15 miles outside Rome  - there's a great view over the city

the Man is explaining the Olden Days to me


They used to stand here and look at Rome, and when Rome was burning they said 'Fuck Me -  Rome's burning!'

I am being played

when I get up this morning a cat sticks herself to my legs until I feed her then she disappears outside

the other (identical) cat is nowhere to be seen 

five minutes later a cat appears asking to be fed this must be the other cat so I feed her then she goes outside and out of sight

five minutes later a cat walks in asking to be fed

it takes 6 bowls of food before I am convinced that each cat has eaten at least one bowl of food




Sunday, December 20

currently in charge of 2 pigs and 2 cats



the cats are called Ping and Pong, they seem identical but their human has assured me that they are completely opposite in personality - one hates being touched and the other loves attention - Touchable and Untouchable.

It seems very common for cats to have personality transplants as soon as their human has left the building - both cats throw themselves at our feet demanding caresses as we try and walk around their home

Tuesday, December 15

end of term

 back in Bristol  spending an afternoon knitting with my Japanese house-mate - today was a day off from her job in a Japanese restaurant

she'd been out for lunch

I asked her where she went and what she ate

a cafe for sandwiches, I always go and eat sandwiches on my day off - at work it's so much rice

Friday, December 11

How people behave:



  the faculty christmas party turned out to be two parties, the first was full of new students being garish in the strip-lit common room. The other party was in the room next door, it was attended by  faculty staff and people who'd been students a really long time. In order to keep the second party secret from the first party, the second party turned the lights off and giggled together in the dark.

Last lecture of term

5pm yesterday.  last week's newsletter made passing mention of a forthcoming presentation in one of the lecture theatres by Kate Tempest, a young poet whose prodigious and varied output as a writer and musician, garners awards and accolades in abundance.

she came to Bristol earlier this year and people were murdering each other for tickets

at 5pm I was seated at the front row of a half empty lecture theatre, Ms Tempest seated behind a desk as a few more students trailed in late

we got a show 

it was impressive 

at 6 sharp a booted skirted fierce woman appeared at the door to tut-tut and look at her watch she walked away slightly then reappeared to tut a bit more.

we hurriedly clapped and all got up to go but the next event which involved trolley loads of sandwiches was already being wheeled in and we all got stuck together in the doorway.


Sunday, December 6

Last week

I had a two-day turnaround between cats, these were 'no-school' days so I went home to Bristol, the Man was away in the USA but there was a bar of chocolate on the shelf and bacon and cheese in the fridge, the chocolate contained raisins to ensure a balanced diet.

last week was all about listening - highlights include:

a talk about the pebble-iness of a section of east devon, how it came to be that way and all the things people do with pebbles from Bronze age cairns to the bounding walls of new housing-estates via victorian farmyards

being shown images of brightly painted designs on ritual houses in an area of Indonesia and realising that we were looking at thousands of vaginas

I ushed another talking event, this one with David Attenborough about what we need to do to halt the progress of climate change, someone described trees as being blocks of congealed carbon and how we need lots more congealed carbon - the best ways to do this included growing lots of seaweed and thinking of things to make with seaweed. Methane is also something we need to deal with - in Korea they have worked out a way of capturing methane in used coffee grounds.

I am back in London now, looking after bum-crayon cat who is currently stalking me in big circles but refusing to let me touch her






Tuesday, December 1

She-who-sits-with-cats

I'm packed and ready to leave my latest home, the cat that I've been looking after, recognising the signs of desertion, is howling mournfully and trying to trip me up

I shall stay until her real people come home - I have told her this but she doesn't believe me!


Saturday, November 28

Thanksgiving meal

My fellow students are much younger than me and frighteningly competent. On Thursday I was invited to dinner by one of them.

out of her tiny kitchen she conjured

squash with walnuts and pomegranate
roast new potatoes with fig
fig and kale stuffing
roast cauliflower
macaroni cheese
green beans
roast chicken

ten of us hunched around the coffee table each armed with a single utensil and an item that could serve as a plate  and we devoured this feast

when we couldn't eat anymore, the coffee table was cleared and a perfectly square Austrian cake appeared: layers of chocolate sponge alternated with layers of chocolate cream and topped with a slick of molten coffee/chocolate.

utensils were rinsed, we crouched, encircled the cake, then spooned/forked (sporked?) this glory directly into our greedy mouths

Saturday, November 21

This week I'm in Haggerston


where the porridge is fancy and the cat is disguised as a giant growling puffball with ears

It's not just porridge that's fancy around these parts, the cake is fancississimo, I have just bought and eaten a big slice of cherrycustardcrumblecreamtart

The weather has suddenly become freezing. I came to London with only two jumpers and a rubber mac that is now torn in so many places that I can't make out which are the armholes so I have been raiding the charity shops bringing home more jumpers, a wool scarf and an excellent box-pleated navy wool skirt who's only problem is that it has flappy woolly wings attached to the thigh area (in case the wearer wanted to appear fatter) but these can be cut off.

This weekend I am preparing for a week ahead that will be mainly full of Pierre Bourdieu


Thursday, November 19

I have been talking to a vet

about animal nutrition, specifically elderly cats with kidney problems and he said

You'll often notice that a black cat with kidney problems has brown fur around her sides and shoulders, that's where she's grooming herself most

Soft Molly is an old black cat with kidney problems, she has gone a bit brown around her sides and shoulders

That's the effect of the ureic acid in her mouth coating her fur and then the acid reacts with sunlight


I said that I had noticed that cats rarely ate anything that looks like actual food these days

That's partly convenience but mainly it's due to a conspiracy between vets and pet food companies




Tuesday, November 17

Today we had a school trip

to visit the store rooms of the Horniman museum*.

The location is so secret that we had to promise to turn off our phones and be blindfolded on the way in so we can't reveal where it is.

The store-room building is enormous and used to be an institution. It is entirely (and beautifully) institutionally tiled inside, the windows have all been tiled over. Most of the rooms are entirely filled with huge cupboards that have to be slid open with little steering wheels, these contain thousands of drawers and shelves with carefully packaged clothing and puppets and poison arrows and shrunken heads and dolls and teapots.

One floor holds the really big things; shelves with big wooden crates full of mummies and mummy-sarcophagi, the crates are chalk-marked with the weight of it's contents. Piled up beside the mummies are harpsichords. Big items like the harpsichords and elephants that don't fit into crates are covered with fitted shrouds to keep the dust off, there is a volunteer lady who has been going to this secret building to sew big fitted shrouds for the last ten years.



The Horniman was created by an Eminent Victorian, having filled his home with collections from his travels and opening this to the public, he built the existing museum for the collections which he left in perpetuity to be enjoyed for free by the British Public for ever.


Monday, November 16

This is Soft Molly


she spent the entire weekend sitting next to me helping with my homework

today's lectures are all about bones, exhumations and leaky bodies

Saturday, November 14

Delaying my essay-writing assignment

I visited Verbatim Poetry

and found this song to encourage Singaporeans to procreate

I’m a patriotic husband,
you my patriotic wife,
lemme book into ya camp
and manufacture life.

Only financially secure adults
in stable, committed, long-term
relationships should participate.



Friday, November 13

The weeks have flown by

my highlights since the bum-crayon cat

i) visited sister-in-law - we talked so hard the roof started leaking

ii) attended lectures on themes including:  'Dirt and Excrement as Political Resistance', 'The Game of Rugby as an Embodied Phenomenon in Tonga', 'Polynesian Funeral Wrappings', 'Why Merleau-Ponty is Worth Considering' and 'Look How Useful Archives Are!'

iii) returned to Bristol for a few days, two young women are now living in my house, one of them is Japanese, she dresses in stylish monochrome and sews beautiful textiles, the other is an Indian film-maker, she wears long jewel-bright skirts.

iv) visited friend in Newcastle: three months ago her heart stopped for no good reason and for two weeks she was almost dead but then she made a miraculous recovery - this is partly due to Kate Bush

currently back in London and have embarked on a whole new cat-cycle - starting with Soft Molly in Hackney














Tuesday, November 3

Going back to school

has sent my my menopausal body barometer into orbit. I have to dress in a way that I can be almost undressed really quickly at any time - even jewelry burns me when I'm blazing

Currently I am staying with my mother-in-law she watched me fanning and sweating and said

I've got some left over HRT patches from when I was a girl would you like to use them?

I said yes please and stuck one on last night

today I am almost a normal person




Sunday, November 1

I've run out of cats

until mid-November

to fill the void in my life I went online and arranged to look after some pigs

in Italy

over Christmas

One of them is dangerous - his food is lowered down to him in a bucket!

New Language


I've been struggling in this country of Ackedemia with its words that sound like words I already know but which have been ascribed completely different meanings - the made up words and words that mean one thing when one man is using them and something else entirely if another man is talking

Here there are miles upon miles of corridors in which I clatter around like a extra from a Monty Python movie saying the sort of things that made sense in my own country but apparently no meaning here

I need to assemble the appropriate audio-visual equipment quickly - before my head drops off



Wednesday, October 21

This week's cat

is small and sleek and nervy

sometimes she pees against the wall

The disadvantages of MDF skirting boards has become most apparent in the kitchen where the compressed sawdust has expanded to create a beige and fluffy edge between floor and wall

Tuesday, October 20

I cycled to school today

It was the first time and I was so nervous cycling through That London.

I tagged on to some other cyclists which felt safer so I carried on following them, we were like ants in a Game Park scooting alongside herds of migrating vehicles and I lost track of exactly where I was but I was cool in the bike pack so I figured that they probably knew the best way to go.

Unfortunately this meant that I took a very long way to school and I'd have got there quicker if I'd walked.


When I got back to this week's lodgings I walked into the living room and discovered that this week's cat had used her bottom to draw a long skid mark all along the arm of the fat white sofa - it's like a child with a box of brown crayons came to visit.

Thursday, October 15

Ushing for a living


I am employed as a some-time usher at an institution that hosts public events. Tonight we debated the question of  ‘Are Things Getting Better or Worse?’

The two main speakers were a gentleman with exquisitely sculpted hair and excellent trousers and a physicist with a pudding-bowl haircut and floppy leisure pants. The physicist said things are getting better because we know more stuff and will make really good robots to fix everything then the well-trousered-gentleman said things will get worse because of all the ways people could easily use technology to do bad things and anyway climate change and population growth.

I had to dart around with a microphone so that the audience could join in. An orange-haired woman pointed out that better and worse is not at all a clear-cut issue:

there could well be people here who want London to be a clean city full of bike-riding vegetarians - this is my idea of hell

At the end of the talk I stood smiling at the door as everybody filed out or stopped to complain, there was a lady who’d had to sit next to someone eating a muffin and getting drunk and another with deaf aids who couldn’t hear a thing but had hoped for a bit more philosophy.

Sunday, October 11

This week's cat

has pale blue eyes and maintains a posture of permanent outrage, she is the hairiest cat I've ever looked after. I've had to zip all my clothes inside my suitcase except the outfit that is the least cat-hair sticky.

She's very vocal - her language mainly sounds like when you dial the knob across the stations on shortwave radio at night but she also mixes in the sort of noises the girl with the swivelly head made in The Exorcist.

Once in a while she clambers her way up on to the table, it means that she wants to be brushed -  I do this and she rumbles in a way that suggests she could explode at any moment.





Friday, October 9

top deck of bus

adolescent girl with strong east end accent keeps up constant stream of chat to woman sitting beside her

... when i grow up i wanna be an actor but if i can't be an actor i wanna be in the acting area, like if i have to be a set designer i'll do that or a director that's telling people where to stand 

i'd be a good director

woman realises that pause is for her response but she's been thinking her own thoughts for last 5 minutes

director ... at a marketing company?

an acting company

Wednesday, October 7

My home

this week is in the far depths of London - so far away that I'm not even sure if it's still in England.

to get to school I take a bus then a train then the tube and a change on the tube and if it all goes well I can do it in one hour

but there's always a thing.

today when I was nearly there the tube got stuck and stopped. I got out and walked and got lost until I found a bus going in the right direction and the whole operation took two hours.

when I get back to this outer sphere there are two pretty grey cats waiting for me. One is fine-boned and affectionate and  slightly camp, the other one is stout and won't speak to me during the day 

but he comes and sleeps on my feet at night

oooh i was poorly yesterday

Tuesday, October 6

heavy and slippy


new thinking new people new routes to new homes new ways for the worldwideweb to frustrate me

a heavy pile of new is sitting on my head

also

there are also too many things in my bag because i don't know what i need yet

brain heavy and shoulder-achey heavy

and it's raining and london pavements are slippy when wet

see that guy in the photo - put him on ice in rain - that's me




photo: John Paskievich

Sunday, October 4

I am learning so much

my classmates are a lot younger than me - we were sitting together and they were talking a foreign language - the beautiful androgynous girl translated:

Tinder basically means sex whereas Okcupid means notnecessarily sex I like Fetster, that's for people who are into weird stuff like getting whipped or urinated on or eating faeces, with Fetster you can hook up for 'Munchies' which is usually breakfast in a public place so you're basically just meeting people who are into weird stuff without having to do anything

Friday, October 2

I lost Crunchy



In the people ocean

It was a blazing hot sunny day so I bought a slimy sandwich and sat on a wall to eat it

A person wearing skinny black jeans, black multi-buckled biker boots big black glasses, black duvet jacket and black leather flying hat with black side flaps came and sat next to me. From her big black bike panier she pulled out the biggest bowl of dressed lettuce in the world.

I thought she might be a radical vegan so I hid my sandwich and we got talking

she's nice

Thursday, October 1

Second day new school

Young people in shiny purple satin sashes direct new students to their various destinations; crocodiles of shy jean-wearers following beauty kings and queens to get identity cards and sign their lives away.

I need to find a lecture theatre, the address is in a special code, I ask some sash-wearers but they need to be pre-programmed with a destination - they don't just know where things are. I can't decide whether this is dispiriting or exciting - this warren of buildings is forever unknowable?

I passed NewBestFriend Crunchy in the student ocean we were waving (or drowning) at each other - I called to see if she could take a break but she yelled back that she was on a fire drill and I had to go and be introduced to twenty million libraries.

Wednesday, September 30

First day new school

This involves being sprayed with information and paper things that should be booklets but have been constructed as 'fun objects' - ones that are impossible for old people to read

Wore my old leaky shoes as I still have blisters from trying out my new school shoes last week - but I had new pants
 
Spent a lot of time being lost

Got a New Best Friend - her name sounds like a breakfast cereal - Crunchy took me to an Indian eaterie which has a cafeteria like being in the Taj Mahal - we got fish curry for a farthing!

Saturday, September 26

I'm in Superdrug



When it comes to beauty products I'm as knowledgeable as my neighbour's cat. I inherited a bag of colours a few years ago and I do smear them on my face sometimes but now that I am preparing to go to Big School and I have already bought a satchel, some pencils and a pair of jeans, I think new make-up might give me an extra boost.

So I go to Superdrug and join a five-year old picking up tubes, peering at them and am phased by the fact that there is an entire aisle devoted to things JUST FOR EYEBROWS!!

Only little girls are in the Superdrug make-up aisles, I suspect that grown-ups go to proper lipstick shops but last time I did that I was persuaded to let a lady in a white coat turn me into a smelly clown and I'm not doing that again.

Some little girls, are clustered around a slightly taller one, aged about ten, the others watch intently as she wrinkles her nose and pokes her finger into a tube of beige cream - I stand close, hoping to learn something - a six-year-old, with the seriousness of journalist on her first interview asks

well which foundation do you use?


Tuesday, September 15

Last night I dreamed that I roasted a chicken

Then decided

My sister would like this

so I wrapped it up still warm and greasy and put a stamp on that cost me nine pounds and went to the post office where they weighed it and said that I needed to put another ten pound stamp on

I am thinking

this chicken is getting really quite expensive 

and it was already slipping out of the paper

I don't think it arrived because she hasn't mentioned it yet

Monday, September 14

Today I came home


Victoria bus station is chaotic and filthy, a fact I get more time to absorb than usual because I take the cheap bus which always arrives behind schedule.

Crushed in the bus-waiting scrum someone tried to pickpocket my backpack and I shocked myself, and the young man, with the fury of my reaction.

The cheap bus stops further away from home too.

I must have looked like a tired donkey with my little backpack on and dragging a wheelie case uphill (on cobbles) in the spitty drizzle.

I was also trying to carry a plastic carrier in a way that wouldn't tear the handles because it was overstuffed with London-charity-shop treasures*. 

The weather was actually being kind because as soon as I got behind my front door it turned into a torrential downpour.

The good part is that I can clearly see that the drainpipe is still unblocked at the top because the rain gushes out of the broken part and floods round the back door.

*The London Treasures are shown here, you will see that it is basically an entire outfit if I don't mind being barefoot. That wallet is large enough and has enough zippy compartments to be a make-up bag and pencil case as well as hold money. I paid twenty English pounds for all this and the charity shop lady threw in a broken umbrella for good measure

Sunday, September 13

The Cat Process

This week's cat process is similar to the Christmas Cat Process;

i) gradual emergence
ii) stealthy stalking
iii) not-so-stealthy stalking
iiii) constant demands for attention

Wednesday, September 9

On Monday a friend came to visit

she opened my front door and it fell off it's rotten hinges, we had to shunt the door back into the door hole and make it balance convincingly until a repairman arrived.

On Tuesday I arrived at the home of a continental organist to look after a beautiful spotted cat for a few days.

The downstairs of this house contains TWO full-size out-of-a-church-pipes-long-pedals-and-everything organs and a piano. The fridge contains one hundred different bottles of chilli sauce.

I locked myself in this morning and had to rescue myself by climbing out of the downstairs window and engaging the help of a neighbour.

Thursday, September 3

The builder arrived

with a bag full of rods which he screwed together and pushed up and screwed another one and pushed up and pushed up the drainpipe to the roof until suddenly he fell backwards and we were showered with the twiggy nests and feathers of all the birds in the neighbourhood.

Tuesday, September 1

Das Sein

I'm preparing for this new term that is rushing up to meet me,  ploughing through texts thick with references to the thoughts of dead men: French ones, Greek ones, Austrian ones and then those German ones and their very special words.

I've sought to lighten my load by interleaving the heavy boys with joy, such as a wonderful book called Evocative Objects by Sherry Turkle. Also The School of Life chops the likes of Heidegger and Plato into bite-sized pieces for kindergarten philosophers like me.




The mother thrush is letting her son walk around in our garden, she's up on the fence keeping watch. His head is tatty with the remnants of baby feathers and he looks like a drunken uncle at a wedding party, an impression that deepens when a failed attempt to perch on a flimsy branch has him swaying ninety degrees in each direction before he flops back onto the grass. He doesn't fly away when I walk outside and I can see her bobbing around in panic in case I pick him up and eat him.



On Saturday I set off to meet my step-daughter for lunch, passing her father on my way out.

I was wearing one of my re-knitted woolens - it's hairy orange with a la-di-da collar

I said  I'm going to see your daughter

he said  and I see that you're going dressed as a mad woman

Friday, August 28

five word week



saturday: blue dye trousers gardening telly
sunday: papers books neighbours supper
monday: dentist raining drain pipe broken
tuesday: butcher baking caking haircut raining
wednesday: london meeting raining footwear torture
thursday: glad tidings feathers sunny day
friday : raining draining piping blinking broken


art: Kate McGwire at RWA Bristol

Friday, August 21

First thing this week

I was in London visiting a woman who wanted someone to take care of her house while she went away - we got on like a house on fire - it seemed that we had an arrangement ...

... but then her girlfriend turned up and did not like the look of our house on fire at all, no ma'am. Cigar clamped between her teeth she made sure that I would not like to be in this house one moment longer.


Second thing this week I found myself painting two bathrooms for money, one is the colour of dulchey de lechey and the other is mermaid-tail-shiny-green

Friday, August 14

We are at the supper table

the niece wants to whisper something to her mother who tells her that it's rude to whisper

the  4-year old nods emphatically, stares hard at me and says

and it's rude to stare isn't it?

Yes

and it's rude to point?

Yes

and people don't like being stabbed in the neck either do they?

!!!!!!!!!!!




Tuesday, August 11

The nephew is in Ireland

he is 8 years old.

He called to check that I am taking good care of his cat.









I asked the Nephew if he was enjoying his holiday

Yes

What are you doing?

All the things Irish people do

Thursday, August 6

Arrived Edinburgh


niece went on holiday

can't find cat anywhere

Monday, August 3

Today was my last day

at the Brain Surgery

I arrived early. There is a broken bench on a paved area in front of the surgery. It was sunny so I made tea then came back outside, balanced a bum cheek on the wobbly seat and ate my breakfast marmalade sandwich.

Tattoo man has removed the big pieces of junk he used to keep in front of the Surgery including all the pieces of kitchen that were torn out two weeks ago. What remained was a tumbleweedy wilderness of food packaging, broken flowerpots, lumps of dried cement, rotted wood bits, paint scrapings and rusty screws. Long weeds grew between the pavers.

A plastic bag dancing on the wind would have completed the picture but my breakfast bag was pressed into service as a glove so that I could clear away the rubbish and pull out the weeds. My search for a sweeping device in the Surgery yielded a stumpy circular hoover-attachment brush and the final crumbs of rubbish were shooshed into my glove bag at exactly the moment the first patient arrived. We had our last morning together the Brain Doctor and I, then our last lunch. The last patient was one of my favourites, a woman who always puts her child on my lap so that we can draw spiders while she sees the Brain Doctor.

Now I'm off to Edinburgh, another cat ... and the festival!!!




Thursday, July 30

Tattoo Man has left



his home above the Brain Surgery, he's packed his drill and his vests and he's taken the internet with him.

The Brain Doctor, doesn't understand how the internet works and it was a while before I could make him understand that shouting at his computer wouldn't make the emails appear. He  has barely spoken to me since I told him that I would be also be leaving so I find myself missing the sound of boots crashing up and down the stairs and the sight of a too-naked male body bursting into the surgery.

Last night Rabbit took me out for a Last Supper

Tuesday, July 28

Two months ago I watched this great film

about how Cambodia in the '60s was the funkiest kingdom on the planet, how it was so groovy and loved pop music and sex and fun until the Khmer Rouge arrived and killed nearly everyone.

The country is damaged but recovering, 'Not Easy Rock n Roll' is the story of a roaring-woman who is becoming a star.








On Saturday this roaring-woman appeared on my kitchen-on-stage at WOMAD and showed me how to slice a box of ginger as-thin-as-eyelashes so that we could cook Angry Chicken together.

I haven't quite got over it yet.

Saturday, July 25

the WOMAD festival is on

and once again I am working on the Taste the World stage*.

Yesterday it rained and rained but in our tent we visited India and Bhangra-danced the sun back, then to Columbia for sunny-day crab gratin. Finally to the bluesy desert-ty atmosphere of Tinariwen who I am in love with:

1: they are unbelievably handsome

2: they wear beautiful long robes and intense jewel-coloured scarves wrapped in the manner of Lawrence of Arabia.

3: they made an astonishingly good stew, this is how you make it

ask a Halal butcher to chop 10 lamb shoulders into big boney pieces

fry the meat hothothot till golden all over then add water to just cover the meat

add salt

after 3 hours of slow simmer take the meat from the lamb and shred, you will have one kilo (dry weight) of basmati rice just cooked, combine the lamb meat and some of the cooking liquid with the rice. It will be a mush - that's fine

Add pepper and either 500g of rancid goats butter or 250g of fresh butter plus 500g of grated strong mountain cheese like Comte.

everyone eat from the same pot and drink the remaining cooking liquid because it will make you strong.

* I explain my role in this here, if you click the WOMAD tag underneath here, all my previous posts to do with this event come up

Tuesday, July 21

The Brain Surgery was closed for a while


Because the Brain Doctor went on holiday, before he set off the tattooed man who lives upstairs offered to refresh the surgery kitchenette in lieu of rent.

I didn't know about this  until I encountered the broken-cupboard-mountain blocking the path to the front door.

Inside, on the floor of the waiting room are two large cracked boxes, spilling out the things we preferred hidden: Christmas baubles, mismatched crockery, leaky cleaning products, oversqueezed toothpaste tubes and skanky brushes ... men's underwear!

The kitchenette gapes next to my desk like an enormous mouth with several teeth newly extracted - a little bendy tap is perched on a shiny new sink,  there are no drawers - spoons, knives and forks are piled on a draining board that is made of such thin metal the weight of the cutlery is bending it. Rugged patches on the wall mark where cupboards had been .

There is no longer a cupboard door concealing the pipework under the sink which is a good thing because when I turn on the tap I can see immediately that water now flows directly onto the floor.

Sunday, July 19

Ths is my niece

she is four years old.

This is me and her uncle



the sweetie is for me and the snail is for her uncle who isn't here this weekend which means that she can share my bed.

at bed time the niece is tired and looks like this

I put her into my bed
At my bedtime I tuck her up a little then get in beside her
mostly we spent the night like this
I snoozed intermittently then woke up around 6.30 - her face close to mine

seeing my eyes open - she said

I have been waiting all night for you to wake up


Friday, July 17

Sewing with Ivor and Phyllis


I came home late after a movie last night. Feeling a need to do sewing - I looked for a radio show to stitch along with and found an Ivor Cutler series  - so entranced by his sweet weirdness, I gobbled up 3 episodes and made this skirt. 

here's a taste of Ivor:






My niece and nephew have arrived for the weekend, the four-year-old insisted on showing me all her jewels before coming into the house while the eight-year-old went to inspect the house, apparently it mostly meets with his approval except that my bedroom 'could do with a tidy-up'

Friday, July 10

In the news

In Bristol a blind piano tuner is in trouble for touching the bottoms of his female employees and licking them.

In London I am taking care of a huge hairy cat, a noisy madam with fluffy pantalooney legs who creeps up on me when I lie on the lawn and licks my armpit.

I arrived yesterday during a 48-hour tube strike and had to join all the rest of the world marching through the city overtaking grid-locked cars and buses. At St Pancras I passed this scene



Tomorrow I shall go to Tate Modern to see Sonia Delauney

Saturday, July 4

The valley of cats

I regularly visit a site where crazy animal accumulators place ads for people to come and take care of home and pets in their absence - all of these are unpaid opportunities

Here's today's favourite:

I am an English woman that has an old farmhouse and barns, over the years I have established a cat rescue/refuge with approx. 90 cats, and kittens ... these need feeding/water bowls filled.. litter trays cleaned and the house sweeping and floors washed


What responsibilities are required of house sitter?

To keep home clean, litter trays clean, food and water bowls clean and filled..

Features of the property and location

(photo of tumbledown barn and a yard full of cats)
An old farmhouse, barns, small garden since I had a landslide.

Friday, July 3

The aftermath





There was a big party last week - For one whole month I was clearing clearing away ... everything untidy and/or embarrassing out of sight, cleaning the house, tidying the garden, making room for us all to squeeze inside should the rain come ...

And then it was over - the withdrawal process has involved:

i)  physical infirmities

ii)  cooking experiments  -  a horrible bread salad, some dull cake, nice chocolate/rhubarb/biscuit thing, baked apricots, walnut biscuits and a terrific baked custard (lavender and honey if you're asking)

iii) un-mending - in the first case taking a shirt with too-tight sleeves, snipping it into a short-sleeved shirt, then a sleeveless shirt, then a sleeveless shirt with roomy armholes, then a binful of tiny bits of cotton

In between these performances I am making the house normal again.


Thursday, July 2

Bunting


bunting
[buhn-ting]
noun
1.  a coarse, open fabric of worsted or cotton for flags, signals, etc.
2. patriotic and festive decorations made from such cloth, or from paper, usually in the form of draperies, wide streamers, etc., in the colors of the national flag.



3. flags, especially a vessel's flags, collectively.

Origin of bunting 1735-45; perhaps orig. “sifting cloth,” hence bunt to sift ( Middle English bonten) + -ing

The bunting started last Monday, I triangled damaged tea-towels and bedlinen, zig-zagging across the living-room-sewing-room then pushed out of the window and over the garden

Bristol is thoroughly bunted, now I am heading for Swindon...

Wednesday, June 24

Surprisingly warm weather

has led me to leave the front door open at the Brain Surgery. This is mainly to alleviate the scent of decay that hangs around us.

A surprising number of patients are concerned that this will lead to gangs of n'er-do'wells thundering in and ...?

I wonder what these Bad People might do

Nobody knows

I reassured one man that we would be safe because I was, in reality, a policeman masquerading as a receptionist - he said

Yes - you look like an actress!

Sunday, June 21

For Father's Day



here's my dad playing with a cat  and my mother playing a supporting role

Thursday, June 18

BIG GOOD NEWS!!!


I have been offered an opportunity to study for a Masters at a Prestigious Institution.

This will involve Big Changes and me spending a lot of time in That London*.


My friends have greeted the news with gratifying levels of congratulatory excitement 

The Brain Doctor made a phlegmatic enquiry as to when I intend to leave him


here is a graph indicating where we all stand on the Fear/Excitement Continuum




* if anyone reading this has tips or contacts for weekday lodgings in London do let me know

Monday, June 15

Refreshment Events

Last week I took tea with Bird Lady, we looked at her carpet moths and then we walked on the path encircling her garden. She tests how good her legs are by doing ten laps of the garden which is the exact same distance as from her house to the shop, that way she knows if she's OK to go out for buns.

Today I met my new New Best Friend for coffee - a sculptor - her current work in progress is a large heart, knitted in sections while travelling on public transport or when taking coffee with friends

She produced a right ventricle while I ate a piece of parkin

Saturday, June 13

Today we are mostly crying


Violin practice in All Hallows Church, Easton

The rain has been heavy since last night.

This morning I found tiny eggs on the ground and a torn nest hanging under the hedge. Two squashed shells each containing a perfect baby robin lay next to a single unbroken egg on the wet black soil.
Pink and each one the size of my index fingernail.

Then I went to a church to listen to a choir singing songs so beautiful that I cried all over again.

After the choir, a music teacher used the residual audience as a rehearsal opportunity with her young pupil - more tears.

I seem unable to turn the taps off - I'm currently taking a break from boohooing at the telly.

Friday, June 12

Building Site Art




A building site has emerged on the next street, the posters were informative




Juno: everybody has hard hats




Aradiya: It's the school. It's a big big school and it's not going to fall down. I do like it.

Thursday, June 11

There's a new bike in town


Not sure if he's staying or just passing through

Also

Ice Boy is leaving

I shall miss him grooving around the house in my sweaters and making his multi-stack-Scooby-snacks.

Ice Boy arrived with no clothes apart from the ones he had on, his sister took him to a shop and filled many bags with vegetables and tomato sauce and underpants and t-shirts.

Instead of bringing a suitcase, Ice Boy brought his bike which he checked on to the plane at Iceland and flew all the way here to Bristol. Ice Bike is baby-blue-and-white and ... like a dolls' bike. First day in the UK Ice Bike gave up the ghost, a pedal dropped off and it hasn't been used since.

Ice Boy says that he's going to give it to a charity and I asked if he was fed up about bringing a bike all the way to the UK and not be able to use it

No not at all the bike box was huge, there was so much space - I fitted many boxes of Cheerios in around the bike

Saturday, June 6

I have new neighbours


they are two men who are not as young as they'd like to be, one is filmstar handsome, the other is fair-haired and puts me in mind of Winnie-the-Pooh

A stone wall marks the boundary between our properties, it is built to waist-height. On top of this wall is a broken-saggy trellis and a heavy tangle of ivy - someone is coming to build a new trellis and I must take down the old one along with the vegetation. I called to Pooh when I saw him through the ivy curtain and I warned him that we would soon be very visible to each other but only for a short time.

Then I took down the old fence and it was so exposing like we were in each other's gardens and then my step-daughter walked out of next-door's house talking to the filmstar neighbour who, it turns out, is her new boyfriend.

My stepdaughter makes the proper introductions between us - the two men  are not so much younger than me but because one is the boyfriend of my stepdaughter I am cast as the mother-in-law and they are very polite and careful.

A new trellis has been erected but it is currently bald, we can still see through into each other's gardens quite easily.

This morning Pooh brought all his friends home after a night out clubbing. I was outside, watering the garden, hanging up washing and listening to their chatter and their disco music until they all passed out - except Pooh who was standing on his own near the new trellis with a cigarette and a can of beer, I was also near the new trellis so I said hello - he looked surprised and confused and he pulled up his t-shirt to scratch his big stomach in puzzlement and the smell of alcohol and chemicals was so strong that I was intoxicated and then he tried to talk to me - through his haze he was remembering that I was someone's mother and inbetween words I couldn't quite grasp I heard him ask if I'd like a cup of tea and a sandwich.

We continued each in our sides of the garden trying not to look at each other but it is so difficult not to look, he is fascinated by my washing line and my scrubbing of the outside table and I am trying not to look, his belly is still exposed and he is making the sorts of breathing sounds that tell me he is feeling more and more ill and I have to try really hard not to be a mother and tell him to go to bed with a good drink of water.

Tuesday, June 2

Style tips

Today my favourite patient came to see the Brain Doctor, Bird Lady  is several hundred years old, her hair is orange

I do it myself  ... henna ... costs nothing ... then chop chop

I admire her raspberry scarf

I spend no money on clothes except cashmere, I threw all my skirts and dresses out a century ago now I just have trousers and cashmere ... it makes everything so simple

We have arranged to take tea together next week...

Saturday, May 23

One of the nicest things

about Hairy Cat's home is that the backyard is totally private. Also the whole of the terrace opens up to reveal - A JACUZZI!!!!

This morning I washed in the outside shower then listened to my favourite podcast from the tub in the sunshine.

Friday, May 22

I'm back in Crouch End

with Hairy Cat who has aged since my last visit - a baby compared to my friend Rebecca's cat, The Hairy One is just 16 years but I think that still adds up to at least 100 cat years.

He's crotchety with arthritis and renal problems but I've got the hang of how he likes his food and which bits I can stroke AND NO PICKING UP OWCHOWCHOWCH!!!

Crouch End is part of London and I shall now go to see Art - in Bloomsbury a girlfriend has lined a room entirely with folded coils of fabric and this afternoon someone will sing in this room.



Wednesday, May 20

My bike was stolen last week

and I've been pretty glum about that.

The Man accumulated several bicycles last year after he snapped one, then got it welded and then bought a few more off Gumtree so I was hoping there might be something in that pile for me.


When I told the Brain Doctor about the theft he was sympathetic and said

I've got just the job for you - a nice little Raleigh, it's a spare no-one uses it - you have it!

I said that's very kind but I think I'm fixed thank you.

A week later I've discovered that none of the Man's big bike pile are roadworthy, so - after walking several miles and remembering how slow feet are when you've got used to wheels - the Brain Doctor repeated his offer today

Come on! - that Raleigh is sitting around my house doing nothing, it's just the job for you

 I said OK YES  THANK YOU VERY MUCH WHEN CAN I GET IT?

He went very quiet and when he was between patients I said
that bike -will your wife mind if you lend it to me?

and he said

Actually it is hers, I probably shouldn't let you have it

Doodling

I still share the control panel at the Brain Surgery with Rabbit, sometimes the Brain Doctor picks up a call when one of us is out on a break, I can tell when this happens because appointments are blocked in with wavy patterns instead of patient details.

Yesterday when we got to the bit of the appointment book with a wavy doodle there was no-one waiting to be seen in the surgery

I asked the Brain Doctor who the doodle signified

A new patient
Do you know him?

No

Do you have his number?

No...
he talked so much, he just rambled on and on for so long I couldn't bear to ask him to say anything else

This was the point that Tattoo Man came downstairs in his vest to update us on the status of his internal bleeding

Tuesday, May 5

A very wise friend






pointed out that if a boy was placed in a bag with a banana the boy would eat the banana before ripening occurred.


But the banana would have been fine in this case: 

The Boy was delivered to my house by an older sister along with ten thousand bags of food; things like broccoli and oranges and bags of pasta and onions and bottles of tomato sauce... the broccoli is now yellow, the packets and bottles unopened, an unloved cabbage has weepy brown edges.

At the weekend Ice Boy went off hunting and came back triumphant - from a store that I have been trying to hide from him. Our fridge is now full of vacuum-packed slices of square cheesy-meaty things, all designed to stack flatly between slices of perfectly square bread - he is busy constructing a city's worth of tower block sandwiches in our kitchen - he has also started smiling.

Also he is wearing my charity shop cardigans with slacks and slippers and looks like a '60s matinee idol.

Thursday, April 30

The new boy from Iceland


looks as though he has stepped out from that painting.

He is raw and green as a newly hatched cabbage. Nothing makes any sense to him; not how to make a padlock work on a gate, or what things constitute food. His luggage was a toothbrush and a bike, he doesn't own a coat and he has had to go and buy himself some stouter shoes -  I have a bet on how long the bike will last (less than one week) because he secures it with a rubber band and forgets to bring it in behind that gate he must learn to lock and unlock.

I don't know how much of this is about the difference between our countries and how much is about him being twenty years old but I daily resist the urge to put him into a brown paper bag with a banana to ripen a bit more.

Tuesday, April 28

lyfe wythout aye contnues



Have had busy week:

Just done transformyng a bubblegum-pnk-cardy to short-sleeved shell-top

Then went to see Farey-Godmother-Aunt and salute her new orange garden, we ate salmon and strawberry lunch then she heaped my arms wth fabryc and knttng wool and also lots of aynchant cotton sheets, foxed wth orange spots like pages of old books - aye fynd them very beautyful.

A new young man has come to stay at our house for a couple of months, barely twenty he answered our advert for a mddle-aged woman to take the spare room. He's from Ayes-land (north of Denmark) and frozen n my draughty house - geothermal hotness bursts out of the ground where he's from, heatng houses so hot that they all go around n just t-shrts up there - he's currently bundled up n several of my jumpers and can barely move - but at least no hyperthermya on my watch.

Tuesday, April 21

Splt tea on my keyboard


and have lost the use of some keys ncludng the one that sounds lke 'eye' - bear wth me untl eye fnd a workaround.

Drected all my fury at not beng n another country to cleanyng the ktchen floor, spendyng whole week scrubbyng, mendyng and oylyng.

Now have lovely, shyny floor and have beeen gettng chums to polysh even brghter by removng shoes and skatng around on tea towels that are left out for the purpose. My grlfrends alternate between ballet glydes, norwegan skatyng and black bottom boogys but the Man shuffles pengwynshly on a syngle cloth askng when we can just walk on the floor lyke normal people, he says am remyndng hm of an uncle who always kept the protectve plastyc on the sofa.

Wednesday, April 15

I should be driving to Italy

right now, annoying the Man by singing Cliff Richard songs and arriving somewhere near Verona in time for supper.

But that didn't happen.

I'd already arranged for Rabbit to cover my Brain Doctor days so here we are having a 'staycation' which in my case involves cleaning the kitchen, washing my jumpers and sulking. I am also knitting a garden chair with electrical wire.

The Man has channeled his disappointment into bee maintenance; having planted lots of 'flowers for bees' - his slug-defense strategy is getting progressively aggressive, he is photographing and logging all the insects that come into our garden, particularly the solitary bees and has identified around FIFTY different species of bee just in our tiny city centre patch.

This intense scrutiny also means that he has become an expert in bee First Aid, frequently placing tired bees near a source of food and rescuing rain-sodden bees. On Sunday I saw him taking a tiny glass of water out to clean a bee that was muddy and couldn't fly properly.

Sunday, April 5

In London






I saw this graffiti which reminded me that I was going to invent a rain hat - it would be  like that girl's wearing the newspaper except that it would be rubber and styled like a wig




I'm mainly spending time on my own which suits me quite well.

Then someone suggested swimming at Hackney Lido at night when the moon was full - I don't much like swimming but I do like moons and I am told that I ought to get out more

I said yes ok

The day before the event we discovered that the Lido was closing early on full moon night which was last night because they wanted to go and eat Easter eggs so we met for this swim at the end of a vague grey afternoon which is not the same thing at all as a full moon swim

and I don't much like swimming

and then we were hungry so when food was suggested I said yes ok

Hackney Lido is attached to London Fields which is attached to Broadway Market which is full of food shops and restaurants. I pointed at one that looked nice to me and we looked in the window to see that it was just the right amount full and the menu had a lot of things that I like including quite a lot of things containing no meat but one of the girls pointed to a kebab place over the road and said that looks good and everyone else agreed so we went there

One feature of kebab places is that they serve meat so we ordered the METRE OF MEAT speciality of the house  - a METRE OF MEAT is a long plank piled high with meat

except the girl who wanted to come to this place - she just had humous because she is a vegetarian

Friday, April 3

It's always about food

Crouch End Cat has poorly kidneys and must eat bland medicinal food with a tiny amount of cooked chicken breast - he eats the chicken but leaves most of the medicinal food. He is pointing at the dish and looking at me and sticking his tongue out.

Wednesday, April 1

Today I had lunch

in central London.

The lights went out while I was mid-brocoli - I guessed that this must be normal in austerity-ridden London.

We carried on talking and the waiter said that coffee would be impossible because there was a fire on

The streets around the cafe were jammed so I walked halfway to Crouch End then got on a bus. A well-dressed woman with a bouncy talkative child sat across from me - after 10 minutes of noisy bouncing the child slumped against her mother and said

you know my life's not in a good place at the moment



Back in Crouch End the cat is waiting for me

I haven't got the body language yet, he doesn't much like being picked up or sitting on my lap but I can tell he wants something - he keeps sitting under my chair and then he comes out and fixes me with  a look.




Tuesday, March 31

My fingertips are hairy



with clumped up cat's hair  - the more I brush myself down the longer my hairy fingertips become, my clothes and footwear are also coated. I have to put in a half hour of stickyroller-ing before heading downtown.

Looking after houses and animals can get stressful; today I thought I had broken the internet and that the cat might starve to death -  by the end of the day I'd figured out how to make the plug be properly switched on and that the cat likes eating his food cold from the fridge so right now I'm feeling pretty successful and celebrating with a beer while he sits on my lap getting his neck rubbed and covering me in another thick layer of hair.

Monday, March 30

I'm staying in Crouch End




with an arthritic and very hairy grey cat  - in the space of a single day I too have become hairy and grey, the house is painted white - this must be what being a yeti is like

Saturday, March 28

Birthday gift


the man doesn't like wrapping his sandwiches in plastic

it's his birthday

I have given him one thousand paper bags

Thursday, March 26

Sugar for carnivores




... contains




I raise my eyebrows at the assistant - she says it is called 'red' sugar because red is lucky

Tuesday, March 24

The Brain Doctor is back

but not in a good way

he's full of aches and pains and his foot has swollen up.

I'm worried and say so and that makes him irritated so I move on to other topics and he becomes upset about my lack of sympathy.

We shut shop early

Thursday, March 19

The Brain Doctor is away

so I am busy making things and visiting friends. I am reknitting a cashmere jumper donated by a friend because 'the colour is ugly' -  raw-sausage-pink. It is also too small for either of us.

In Cornwall this weekend, I walked in oak woods awash with a hairy lichen rumoured to be an excellent dyestuff, I put some in my pocket and for the last two days I have been boiling the lichen then adding urine and vinegar-soaked cashemere. The wool transformed into beige spaghetti so I continued with additives including and entire caddy of tea - if this doesn't work then at least we have something for supper.

The Brain Doctor will go away again soon and I think it will be safer if I go and look after someone's animals for that period - checking through the 'wanted' lists again, today's best advert is this one:

Responsible Couple needed for 6 cats in July

...We have 4 females and 2 males-2 mothers, 2 daughters and 2 fathers! One of the fathers is feral and hides so you will have to look for him in various places of the house and garden ... Although there is a garden it is lawned with no place for the cats to go to the toilet. The cats are enclosed in the garden but they do try to escape. It's important that a cat count is done periodically throughout the day.


Wednesday, March 11

I keep hearing about crippled women

who hadn't realised that if only they had worn a correctly fitting bra they wouldn't be suffering this way now.

I've been feeling a bit crippled lately


it was time to visit the big shop famous for it's bosom-measuring service.

I was given an appointment for in 10 minutes time so that the assistant behind the counter with the appointment book could put on her bosom-measuring face.

Maybe the assistant was on loan from the fish department - she was not comfortable with bosoms. Eyes averted she put a tape measure over my clothes and measured the middle of my rib cage then she went and took a lunch break.

She came back with arms full of ugly beige boulder-holders in a variety of sizes, instructed me to try them all on until I found a comfy one, then she disappeared for ever.

Friday, March 6

It's sunny and I've been to a place

where I can sit outside surrounded by students and unemployed people. To my left are some tattooed lads trying to do the quick crossword but they can't spell 'Memphis' or 'leotard' and they think the five-letter word for a leg joint must be 'thigh' so they're not making much headway.

On the other side are some female students discussing housemates, most of the girls agree that having to share with boys is the worst but then one girl describes her housemate.

... I'd had a romantic evening with Rob because he was heading off to Cambodia the next day but in the night I started projectile vomiting - fair play he'd had it a couple of days previously and gave it to me so he had to look after me but it carried on the next day and I was lying in bed listening to my irritating housemate parading her family around the house showing them all the rooms and she just opened my bedroom door without knocking with all her family there saying this is Julie's room then she saw me and said oh - are you still ill? then she stepped in a bowl full of my orange sick tipping it all over the carpet.


Thursday, March 5

On the reception desk

at the Brain Surgery

is the latest copy of New Scientist featuring the latest news on head transplantation

I discussed this with one of the lady patients - we agreed that the idea was probably being marketed to women as most of us wish we had someone else's hair - I'd give anything for curls

Today's wish list

from the photolibrary:

We’ve had a request for some fairly obscure creatures, that I’m hoping you might be able to help with? The client is after any image of any species from the various phyla listed below:

Cycliophora
Goblet worms – entroprocta
Jay worms – Gnathostomulida
Kinorhyncha (mud dragon)
Loricifera (girdle wearers)
Orthonectida
Placozoa
Micrognathozoans
Rhombozoans
Xenoturbellida (strange worms)

I appreciate that some of these at least might be quite hard to find! But worth a try. Please let me have any suitable images in low res jpg form via e-mail in the first instance.

Friday, February 27

Miranda July





is my big girl crush, I love her writing, her art projects are brilliant and she is very good at titles -I am particularly fond of  Eleven Heavy Things 


As we have both contributed to Sheila Heti's book Women in Clothes - I feel like we are colleagues if not actual friends.

Miranda visited Bristol last night to talk about her new book The First Bad Man (which is great!) and I have spent the last week suppressing my excitement in case it didn't happen*

Just in case she really did show up I resisted eating kippers for lunch as I hoped to get to speak to her.

She showed up, she was patient with the embarrassingly awful interviewer and she was funny, she also signed my copies of her books and was charming.



*last time I went to see a writer at this same venue he didn't show

Tuesday, February 24

Progress report

It might seem that not much is happening in my life but  I am actually being very productive:

Firstly: I underwent bicycle light training and have now successfully mastered 'switching the lamp on and off' and also 'blinking mode'

Secondly: I have received a package of moth pheromone strips to lure male moths away from the girls and into a sticky trap I also have some scented pads to strew among my rugs and jumpers.

I heard on the radio that when a pest controller comes to your house he uses a pencil to test if a hole is big enough for a mouse - I'm not strong enough to think about mice yet.

Thirdly: I have embarked on a new reknit - someone gave me a nude-colour cashmere jumper saying that the colour was ugly. It is a bit raw-meat-like but I can't resist the softness. It was also a bit small for either of us so I am reknitting the top part on extra big needles - if it ends up looking like chicken mince I shall have to dye it.

Monday, February 23

Giant, slobbery, affectionate dog lover required!

yet another job ad where I am simply failing to meet basic requirements.

This is a shame because if I was a slobbery giant I could be in a town which boasts major attractions:

Tesco Express, fish & chips, chinese takeaway, Dominoes, Indian restaurant, hairdressers, coffee shop and Vets are all within a 2 minute walk.

Tuesday, February 17

Today at the Brain Surgery

We remembered that the patient who was about to arrive had invited us (me and the Brain Doctor) to a Valentine party that was rather expensive and involved music we didn't like and was too far away and anyway we're not a couple...

we had discussed this party last week

... and we thought we could attend and enjoy the party if we were cross-dressed because he likes wearing women's clothes and wigs and I have always wondered what it would be like to have a sock in my trousers - not the sort I don't know about - that yesterday-sock that leaks out of the end of the trouser-leg but the sort I do know about that gets in the way of walking.

in the end we did not attend so as not to compromise our professional demeanor
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