Friday, January 31


there can not be any rain left in the whole world

it all fell on my house this afternoon

Image by Viviane Sassan

I’m trying to concentrate on designing a book about bees. My many distraction strategies mainly involve visiting the kitchen. 

While making lunch I turned on the radio and got engrossed in a programme about statistics manipulation, I took the radio back upstairs to my busy bee work place. On the way my fingers slipped the dial a notch onto a local community station where two schoolgirls were talking and giggling as though only to each other while looking at a computer and trying to work out the pricing structure of a festival on the Isle of Wight, it was great.  

Last time I found this station I was riveted by two presenters trying to do a programme about mental health issues, they had two interviewees (nurses) trying to tell us about support available in our area – but the information was lost due to the presenter's escalating hysterics over the fact that one woman was called Kirsty the other  Kusty it was the best radio I’d heard all year.  

I signed up to receive a bi-weekly fortune-telling email from Miranda July
this one arrived today

Good job with how you handled everything last night. This proves, once and for all, you are the right person to be you.
good luck,

I feel relieved

Thursday, January 30


We've had a lot of rain lately. 

I'm listening to radio news: the military have arrived in Somerset to rescue the people of Muchelney who have been stuck in floods for 4 weeks. The reporter is is telling us that the water level has dropped a bit but on the way down the things that were floating on the water have got stuck to the trees and  are now very smelly, he is speaking to a lady called Reverend Twitty about this.

Wednesday, January 29

Wet Wet Wet

Image 1953 Peter Stackpole

Harsh loud hail waking me at night    rainy monotony during the day   cold weather coming

Space Lady day today: we sit opposite each other at the dining table and polish arcane silverware, she tells me complicated stories while Cellar Man fusses in the kitchen – long ago, to reduce frivolous water consumption, he removed one of the tap tops, today he  has removed the other one so water can only be obtained by means of a monkey wrench.

My charity shop unknittings have yielded about a jumperful of wool, all of it slightly different shades of cream, they make each other look dirty so I have been saving my used teabags to dye the skeins.  Some has turned a beautiful golden colour but the larger part of it looks like old meat. I have re-dyed the old meat wool with aubergine colour and it is now divine.

Tuesday, January 28

In Other News

image by Edward Gorey who’s pen names included Ogdred Weary, Raddory Gewe, Regera Dowdy, D. Awd­rey-Gore, E.G. Deadworry, Waredo Dyrge, Deary Rewdgo, Dewda Yorger, and Dogear Wryde. Writer Wim Tigges responded, “God reward ye!”

Turns out that I'm not just a conceptual-house-pet, for today I have sold two of my bird skull etchings.

This has been celebrated by the boiling up a pot of black-eyed beans

Job Titles

On Tuesday mornings I visit an elderly couple: I arrive, we exchange a little light banter, I don’t see them again for the duration of my visit.

There is actually nothing for me to do in this large detached house, it is completely neat and dust-free. 

Last week as I was leaving, I mentioned their tidiness and she said Oh we don’t want our mess to get in the way of your work, which puzzled me as I imagined myself to be their cleaner.

Today, for two hours, I walking around, up and down the stairs, plugging and unplugging the hoover, opening and closing doors and I suddenly saw myself clearly; less hairy than a cat, less needy than a dog, less trouble than guests but nevertheless a living thing, moving around in their big big house. 

Can’t decide whether to think of myself as a part-time pet or a performance artist.

A few days ago I attended a talk at the Wilderness Society given by an 'explorer',  a young man with romantic-but-ill-researched notions of crossing deserts.

Women NEVER call themselves explorers.

Except Dora

Monday, January 27

Radio Days

Today has been a bust, one of those wading-through-treacle days where nothing turns out well -  background mood supplied by torrential rain.

I have taken refuge in the radio.

There was someone talking about Google self-driving cars and the thorny issue of ethical driving decisions: whether to swerve to avoid an animal, which animals are more swerveworthy than others  and what to do when faced with the choice of crashing into a bus or ploughing down pedestrians. 

There is apparently a surreal European initiative called the Sartre project, in which a convoy of self-drive cars follow a man driving a lorry.

If you're not in the UK, the piece is  written down here,  the radio show is here.


title of a performance by Miranda July

Also on the radio: news that Brokeback Mountain has become an opera, illustrated with a section where the men sing to each other in that operaticky mad-talking-in-funny-voices way.  The next time I need to say a difficult thing to someone I will definitely do it in the operatic style.

image from Algae Opera

Sunday, January 26

Not Knitting

I want to knit a thing but wool’s really expensive so I haunt charity shops lookingout for actual wool woolies that I can unknit and reknit.  I find them and get them home and like them as they are so I’ve ended up with a pile of ready knitted things and a lot of washing to do.

On my way back from the print studio there was a lone open shop in the Sunday morning quiet - a charity shop. I went in and the assistant followed me excitedly round the shop keeping up a running commentary.

It’s been so dead, you’re only the third in since I opened and that was hours ago, I haven’t taken a penny yet do you think it’ll rain all day? I've got the insurance coming tomorrow to look at my roof which is leaking but if it’s going to be torrential today then I’m really stuck aren’t I? Nice shoes.

He was really really close and put me off my jumper-touching, I backed towards the ‘entertainment’ section and picked up a Motown Chartbuster, gave the guy his first sale then came home and got my record player out - it’s been  a happy afternoon singing along with the Temptations.

reasons to be cheerful that my house is bloody freezing

1. I have a lot of jumpers that need wearing

2. The irises that I put in a vase 10 days ago are still looking fresh (frozen?)

3.   ... ???

Felt Pods

I did this!

Up with the lark this morning to the print room. A piece of grey felt that has been lying outside with rusting things on it now looks a bit like nicely foxed paper so I printed it with one of my etching plates.

Saturday, January 25

Wrapping-up a Room

Just before Christmas a sad thing happened to our friend, so that sad thing also happened to the rest of us – but a bit less.

We have been trying to make things better for her. Part of that involves a Big Clear Out in her home  - one room in particular, I got a call for help to redecorate this red red room:

I bought some rolls of brown wrapping paper to paper the walls with I think it’ll look great in there

Ok do you need anything – wallpaper paste?

No I’ve got loads of glue sticks.

We crayoned the glue sticks over the walls and stuck on the stripey brown paper it was like wrapping a parcel from the inside.

and when I looked at what we were doing I thought this does look great, it looks a bit like leather – vegetarian leather. 

Working silently for the first hour then my friend said

These glue sticks are really excellent - last time I used honey which wasn’t nearly as successful.

Friday, January 24


Gaargh, I just fell into a bank trap:

On depositing a cheque yesterday the cashier said

I see that you still use our 'dull people' account when you could move to our 'shiny special person' account?

I was dull and hungover so I said OK

You have to be advised she said I'll make you an appointment for tomorrow

I was dull and hungover so I said OK

This morning was spent wrestling a man trying to kill me with bank products

from the futility closet

Oliver Herford opened his Christmas cards in July.

When other people’s friends have gone away for the summer ... it certainly is gratifying and exciting to be cheerily greeted by everyone you know.

I don't do Christmas cards anymore, nor do most of my friends - but on reading this I'm a bit sorry

but not much

Thursday, January 23

Would've, Should've, Could've

Beili Liu - The Mending Project 

I shouldn’t drink wine anymore – it hurts too much, but I was talking so much last night that I forgot about the not drinking thing and today my head has been full of sharp pointy things.

I should’ve spent today writing applications or at least scrubbed a floor or chased dust off the tv screen but I just stared at things until someone came to rescue me with a cup of tea.

There is a fox yelping outside my window, I've turned off the lights and am standing close to the window to try and see him but my breath fogs the pane. I’ve been holding my breath for ….

Wednesday, January 22

No Pets Please ...

I tell Lola about the dog woman

Lola says 

all animals are trouble even the little ones…

I got given two fish right but then I had to go away and so did my flatmates so I had to put the fish in a bag and put the fish tank on my back and carry them over the other side of town to my friend and I told her she had to use old water for the tank it has to be two days old or the tap water kills them but the water wasn’t old enough and the fish died and she was so sorry that when I came back she bought me two fish but one was bigger than the other and he bullied the little one and I called my mother who told me to separate them but while I was on the phone I watched the little one die he just went over on his side like that while I was watching …

Tuesday, January 21



our need for consolation is insatiable - Stig Dagerman

first I visited the woman-who-can't-fold-things, for her I folded a sofaload of clean clothing.

then I took a dog for a walk, both the owners work full time.

alfie lives in a kitchen that is ten thousand times too small for him in  a full-to-bursting flat made from the edge of a bigger house, furniture escaping from rooms and cats climbing out of windows  -  we had our walk and then I wrestled him back into his cell - I have become embroiled in a hostage situation.

image: set for Addams Family

Monday, January 20

Wild Life

I work by a window that overlooks the garden. Today it appears to be full of bits of plastic, I go out and inspect the remains of a fox party - a bag of bright blue hairy old bread brought in for a pillow fight. Notice that alliums I planted last year are coming up and some of them are going to be gigantic but there is a bald patch where I planted the bulbs which promised to grow into vivid blue pompoms - I’m blaming the squirrel.

Back in the house watched Maurice-the-needy-cat slinking around the bready plastic mess. Wish I had water pistol.

Sunday, January 19

Wax Print

Callooh! Callay! the owners of the Val Doonican house returned and, finding it unburgled, I was rewarded with a length of African wax printed cotton - one I can eat should I get hungry.

Saag Paneer, Beer and Felt

Cooked up beet greens with spinach and put some ricotta on top, as I was eating it the man texted to tell me that he was eating saag paneer in India which is also spinach and sortofcheese.

Still grooming that old slab of grey felt . Some orange spots have appeared but the nails are rusting surprisingly slowly - how is it that when I don’t want a nail to rust it practically dissolves in front of my eyes?

Spilt beer on the living room rug which is made of red wool –  am I glad I didn’t get that hipster cowhide one instead.

Saturday, January 18

Plant Protection


The Val Doonican house was too disturbing after I dissolved through the neighbour’s walls last week so I went back home to resume the fight with my own burglars.

I took  my paintings to a place that said they wanted paintings to hang up but the guy there didn’t like them,  I started leaving but just before I had my coat on properly I said to the guy, ‘I make photographs too’ and  showed him my photographs on my phone and he said ‘I like those, let’s have them’.

My friends are returning to the Val Doonican house soon so I went there with bread and cake and took my rotting macaroni cheese out of their fridge.

Today I received a gift of purple sprouting broccoli – too pretty to eat I have placed it in a vase on the table.

Thursday, January 16


It's been raining all day, the radio is full of people crying - I might drown.

Thrilled with the banana wrap that I made last weekend I want to colour another piece of this lovely felty wool. The coffee shop down the road leaves out bags of used grounds for anyone who wants it (cushion stuffing?).

I soaked my fabric in old coffee grounds overnight - the result is disappointingly off-grey. I have now lain the sad thing outside and covered it with old nails we shall see if this never-ending rain can rust some colour onto it.

Quote of the Day

“No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.”  W.H. Auden

Wednesday, January 15


Space Lady was wearing clothes today and an entire room had been made visible. I took a broom and swept the ceiling then we both sat down. A  small beige plastic telly on a mountain of beta tapes showed a silent rerun of Heartbeat. I cleaned silver while Space Lady kept up a running commentary. The wideness of the pickle forks and the smallness of the cake forks provoked pictures in my head. The Man-in-the-cellar was out stealing wood.

Tuesday, January 14

Burglars vs Neighbours

My friends have gone on holiday and I am guarding their house - any burglars will have to fight me before making off with the Val Doonican record collection. This is a relief from having to be at my own house fighting burglars wanting to steal the submarine propeller that I foolishly told the world about last weekend.

The novelty of someone else's home - how long it takes to find a bottle opener/saucepan/spoon and of course I fingered all their lovely things - occupied me for the first couple of days but as I got settled in I became increasingly aware of the closeness of the neighbours; initially I just noticed the tantrums and door slams but then I could hear sneezes, conversations, door clicks ever more clearly.

Last night I went to bed and sleep and woke with a start and ran to the kitchen sure that I must've left the oven on because I smelt burning but I hadn't and then back to bed I smelt that smell even stronger as though the walls had dissolved and I had actually moved in with the people next door.

Sunday, January 12

Banana Art

On Friday I went to the depot where manufacturers bring excess materials/mistakes/by-products. Here one can fill a large shopping trolley with knicker elastic, bits of string, misprinted maps, sheet-sized pieces of felt and rubber body parts. On payment of 10 groats one can also take these things home.

I will make the sitting-in bit of a garden chair with the knicker elastic – pink and blue if you’re asking.  The bits of string are too short to be very useful but I used them to tie a blanket-sized piece of felt into a concertina-y tube then boiled it and dyed it yellow. It came out of the boiler looking a bit weedy – like it had been weed on - so I twisted it further and baked it in the oven like a strudel until it had burnt patches all over. I love this thing that looks like an enormous ripening banana skin and smells like a croissant, I will wear it round my neck like a gigantic Elizabethan ruff and dogs will follow me down the street. 

I just googled 'banana art' - had no idea it was actually a 'thing'

Saturday, January 11

Penis Envy

Today I attended a gathering for people who are artists but are not actually producing any work.  It is styled after an AA meeting: We introduce ourselves  ‘I am Lulu and I haven’t produced any work since …’ then we are asked to share some personal information with the group.

Today we have to declare the object we consider to be the weirdest thing in our possession. This is tough: one does not want to appear to be too odd, not odd enough, nor to be a show-off -  I judged badly and cited my submarine propeller then was immediately jealous when a girl in crimson lipstick brought up her collection of unusual penis postcards, swiftly followed by someone with a collection of penis bones, one of which she gave to Neil Gaiman as a present.

Friday, January 10



I went to Paris last week and my neighbour was supposed to come in and feed the cats but the key didn’t work so the poor thing had to post the bits of chicken through the letterbox every day which was really hard because she was a vegetarian.

Wednesday, January 8

Leave Space Here

Today Space Lady booked me to work for her, she is wearing her giant romper suit and gravity boots which is a bad sign. We navigated her crowded house with difficulty, trying to decide where to clear space so that she could have a visitor and as many as two people could sit. There was the usual failure of nerve - it was decided that I should spend the rest of the session listening to the Goon Show with her instead.

Space Lady has a large house and it is impossible to get through the door of most of the rooms. There was a room full of dead fridges and microwaves which I cleared last year, but this drew attention to the bay window which is peeling off the front of the house and the window panes which are zigzagged with lightening cracks stuck over with electrical tape.

Space Lady has a husband who has chosen to live in the cellar.

Monday, January 6

The Cake of Mild Embarrassment


I made my first ever Christmas cake two weeks ago, it is mainly marzipan with a sliver of fruit cake running through the middle of it, keeping to tradition there is a coating of crispy lemon icing round the outside.  The cake is not out on display, I'm afraid that people will laugh at it, so it’s hidden under foil in my fridge  -  if you’d like some please say



I love it when I get the special poetic spam, this is a favourite:


The Pink Mouth Turbo Tube sleeve combines the popular mouth orifice with the latest fleshlight texture - the Turbo Tube. Fortunately, with today's news we don't lose screen real estate, the smaller, bite-sized egos instead of the pressure being all on the right side. Take you car to best garage in the county and arrange to have one of the plane. One worm changes the wallpaper on affected devices to a photo of a plane crash.

I love the idea of a bite-sized ego, I think I have one of those - one that is easily nibbled away at.

Image 'Logan' by Oli Macavoy

Friday, January 3

Cakewalk of Shame

Last week I did the 'halfway outfit test'  this involves trying on the 'test' dress. If it won't quite zip up, it means that less than half my clothes currently fit me,  last week the dress actually laughed at me and refused to get past my waist. 
The night after the frock humiliation, my dreams mingled the cake/body angst together -  I visited Claridges for afternoon tea. The waiter arrived and fastened the cakes directly onto my body, I left for a job interview wearing a meringue on one breast, a cupcake on the other and jangling as I walked in a skirt of chocolate fingers.
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