Thursday, May 29

Found a snorkel

in the dressing-up box under the wigs.

Also got

a gaily stripey/polka dot skirt
a straw hat
shorts with beads sewn on
some scarves

I'm off to Dubrovnik

Monday, May 26


image:running in circles' willow and maple saplings, patrick dougherty

di·shev·elled. adjective
1. hanging loosely or in disorder; unkempt: disheveled hair.
2. untidy; disarranged: a disheveled appearance.
1375–1425; late Middle English discheveled  < Old French deschevele,  past participle of descheveler to dishevel the hair, equivalent to des- + -cheveler,  derivative of chevel  a hair < Latin

The Man didn't bring quite enough sunshine back and has been complaining about the cold, he is also disturbed by the untidiness of the garden

I'm going out to shevel the garden and warm up

Sunday, May 25

All week the rain bucketed down

the sound invading my dreams and becoming roaring crowds or traffic ... or just lots of water washing all my new plants away.

Today two things happened: the Man returned from India - a place he tells me has got too hot - and the sun came out here in Bristol

I said

fan-bloody-tastic you brought the sun with you

he accepted full responsibility

Yeah - well I hope I haven't brought it all

I live near a church

all of its altars, coffins, fonts etc. have been removed, it is a building pared down to stone walls, stained glass windows, a wooden floor and a high high ceiling.

Last night in the stripped church a Dutchman performed a show called Freeze.

On the centre of the wooden floor are eight knee-high mirrored glass cubes arranged in a circle. Around the cubes are stones, all kinds of shapes and sizes, some would fit in your palm, others are bigger than a big man's foot. The Dutchman stands upright in the circle. 

A body length away from the cubes are floor cushions for the audience.

A recorded voice delivers a measured narrative in a strong Dutch accent. While the voice talks the Dutchman inspects the stones, picks out one and places it with great deliberation on a cube. He finds another three or four and places them on other cubes. He then searches out a stone to pair with one of the first stones, he works at this pairing until he has made the two stones balance one on the other in a way that seemed impossible but now they have grown into each other.

The recorded voice stops, the Dutchman continues  around the cubes and the stones, placing stones together in pairs then threes, the concentration is immense and we are concentrating with him. When four stone totems are built, despite none of us moving a muscle - we are not even breathing - one of the totems  smashed down through the glass plinth. It was shocking and liberating.

Unconcerned he continued, occasionally gesturing to an audience member to pass a stone while he held a half-totem in balance. One woman stepped forward a little abruptly setting four totems smashing through their glass plinths.

It is a piece about being in the moment - it was mesmerising.

Nick Steur is touring this show

I went there with two girlfriends, we talked about the show a lot, then we talked about other things. One of the women has a husband who makes films she tells us that he now wants to write a book

He's worried about posterity, he says he wants to leave a mark

I don't want to leave a mark.

Friday, May 23

Today I coveted this dress

but it was on a high shelf and I suspected that I would have needed to be a bit smaller to fit into it

so I bought these shoes for my niece instead

Wednesday, May 21

Dressing and Undressing

at the weekend I attended a life drawing class held above a pub in a bad part of town, the models were tattooed and wiggy burlesque-esque performers, opening up their outfits a bit at a time and striking lewd poses. I liked the one with screechy lips, raven black hair and enormous pink-and-red knickers the best.

This morning I dressed for an appointment where I needed to look just the right kind of thrown-on cool-smart: grey linen jeans and a white white shirt fresh off the press.

It needed to look like nearly no makeup on so I did nude on my eyelids and swept a brown liquid liner across my eyelash line - so swiftly the brush leapt out of my hand and onto my shirt collar.

I changed into an indigo shirt.

It was an enormous relief - I'd have never kept that white white all the way to the date.

I can't go

on Facebook anymore - everybody is shouting at each other to not vote UKIP.

as though any of my friends would be friends with anyone who would

Tuesday, May 20


The Man should be starting to make his way back from India any minute now. I've had the odd call saying how hot it is, then I got an email from him a week ago, it was very short

Last night, our ranger, Morad had to do some other work, and we had Ibrahim instead, who hardly spoke but guided us to a scene with striped hyenas and jackals.

Striped hyenas must be one of the most beautiful and elegant animals in existence. Long stripy coat as if groomed on an hourly basis, strange ghost-like gait which enables it to float across the grass.

It is Alphonso mango season in India they are my favourite thing but mangoes have been banned from coming to England because the government is worried they will take all the jobs... that or the fruit flies.

My Lady Garden

This year I decided to transform the bland block of concrete in front of my house into a lush verdant garden of wondrous delight.

I started with my biggest pots filling them with compost and sowing seeds. When that was done I felt brave enough to make a long fat planter to sit on my low flat wall. Little plants started sprouting and I have the beginnings of spinach and peas, poppies, morning glory and garlic, there is also a carrot top from the compost bin that is enjoying being there so much it has put up a plume of feathery leaves.

Some people see my planter and think that I have provided a fancy litter bin. I pick out paper chip wrappers and discarded drinks cans  before I head off to the Brain Doctor's - today an ant trail showed me the remains of a burger bun buried in the soil, last week a passerby plonked plastic pots of stunted garden centre orni-mentals on my delicate babies.

I'm getting quite cross about this

I've had visitors

Written like that it sounds like an illness, like shingles or measles.

The prospect of visitors feels like I might be coming down with something because I focus on all the cleaning and house organisation that I don't do and I get impending anxiousness. It takes a while for me to remember that I choose friends who don't judge me on such things and relax into enjoying their company. They came all the way from America and brought me shoes and washed-out-looking linen of the sort I adore and our mouths were fully occupied the whole time with eating and talking - yes even in our sleep - it was exhausting.

Today they've gone and I really miss them

Friday, May 16

My local grocer is called Roy's

Walking down that way last night I watched a young man balancing on a wheeled rubbish bin pushing at a sofa with a broom, trying to squeeze it through an upstairs window. The shop carried on business as usual. The young man's relatives were shouting instructions at him from the shop doorway.

Against the laws of physics the sofa disappeared through the window and then some heads peered out of it and there was more shouting and another sofa was hoisted up - through the same window.

I have no idea how many sofas had gone in before I arrived.

We worry about soft-furnishings in Bristol

Thursday, May 15

Drunk Trike fell off the wagon

the recumbent tandem ran off with a boney-arsed two-wheeler

a lone party celebrated good riddance to bad rubbish

Wednesday, May 14

Since Meeting Space Lady

my dread of being buried by things has increased. Over the winter a lot of jumpers were needed to feed my  jumper unknitting fetish - my cupboards are bulging. Today I collected up lots of sad-but-might-be-useful t-shirts, impractical dresses and over-optimistic-trousers when I'd filled a sack I took it to the charity shop.

I have come back with a wild flame-coloured mohair cardigan, it's too long and has a collar that needs un-ridiculousing. When I've fixed it, it will be magnificent.

Tuesday, May 13

Car Protection League

In an effort to reduce car congestion all the neighbourhoods in our city will become Residents Only Parking Zones - people can buy annual permits to park their cars near their home, visitors and shoppers will have to park on meters or in car parks.

This has been a gradual process, only a few parts of the city are Zoned at this point, some people not yet Zoned are up in arms - vocal spokespeople announce the armageddon: all trade will stop and elderly people will starve in their front rooms because someone is endlessly circling the neighbourhood unable to park near enough to deliver much-needed care or supplies.

I got caught up in a Zone Terror conversation yesterday. A soon-to-be-Zoned woman, told me about the imminent disaster

all trade will stop, people will starve, children abandoned ... 

I said

We've been Zoned; all the vehicles parked on corners, dumped camper vans, constant sharky cars cruising for spaces -they've gone. People walk around in groups chatting, I see cyclists using the road instead of the pavement...

The lady was not impressed

Well that sounds all very nice for people - but it's not nice for cars is it?

Monday, May 12

In Poland

when dubbing foreign import TV shows, they hire one actor to do all of the voices - be they men, women, children or mythical creatures.

It used to be for budgetary reasons, but now people are so used to it they don't really like it when it's changed.

Here's what that looks like

information lifted wholesale from the latest Popbitch gossipsheet

Saturday, May 10

Three years ago

the artist known as Banksy wrote a slogan


on a disused water tank in Hollywood,
Conflicting reports circulated. The disinformation that I repeated was that a homeless man occupied the tank, Banksy's work resulted in his eviction and our heroic Banksy flew to the rescue by giving the man a home and also disowning the work so that it became devalued.

None of that turned out to be true.

An extraordinary character called Tachowa Covington, had lived in the tank for seven years but had moved out to a nearby cave before Banksy  'arted' it.

Tom Wainwright wrote a play about it

The Room In The Elephant 

An actor playing Tachowa Covington delivered an explosive monologue. Inconsistencies made it clear that this was not necessarily an account that could be relied on.

When the piece ended the story wasn't complete. We were then shown a film, a documentary made by amateur film-makers who'd met the homeless man when he was still living in the tank and had filmed him. We saw crazy, damaged Tachowa in the tank, he'd organised water, electricity, sanitation and had set up security cameras, he described how you go about making a living space in a cylinder

How you make a floor when it's curved ? you have to put ladders across that's what, make it flat. How you attached stuff to metal walls?  Magnets man you use magnets

The tank was was full of his art. The man flickered between shy child, king of the world and ranting madman, the actor had performed him brilliantly.

The film was made over a seven-year period, we see the film-makers going to his cave and showing Tachowa the news that a play is being written about him, Tachowa was then taken to Edinburgh where the show opened last year.

Friday, May 9

What people do in the city on a sunny day

I walked through a park, bursts of hand-clapping kept exploding behind me. I finally identified a Tourette-ey man bobbing around in a suit, face clenched in concentration, his clapping was interspersed with lamp-post-tapping and tree-kissing.

I made straight for the big fig tree, clipped off a few of it's new sappy leaves and stuffed them down the front of my vest so that the figgy scent could waft around me for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, May 7

Quote of The Day

from Poor Richard’s Almanack:

Sally laughs at everything you say. Why? Because she has fine teeth.

I'll win a fiver if I can slip this into a conversation at the Brain Doctor's tomorrow

The Path of Good Intentions

My regular route to the Brain Doctor passes a hospital, I usually take the path that hugs the hospital wall.

It was pointed out to me that there was a specially constructed path nearby which took the same route it goes through a lovely wooded area - why don't you use that one?

The Path is very short, just 300 metres long and has consulted the manual on public place-making, the one called  Alienating The Public Via Civic Construction

Warning signs in triplicate mark the entrance; lists of forbidden activities, a sign to tell you that if you die on the path it will be your own fault and one that shows how much you are being surveyed as you take this walk.

There are THREE emergency telephones on the Path!

The Path is fenced in and every ten paces there are shouty signs on both sides. Halfway through this über-telling-off there is a closely mown green patch with three little wooden constructions, slightly too high and too narrow to be sat on - this is  'bench as concept'. If you were thinking of stopping here for a poop there are extra cameras and signs forbidding pooping unless you clean up after yourself properly using the large poop bins provided.

What's not to like?

Tuesday, May 6

I Visited The Community Garden

and stuck in labels for all the plantings we did last Sunday. There is an emerald green glossy-leafed vegetable in the garden,  no-one seems at all interested in it. I picked as much as would fit in my handbag and have just cooked it with nutmeg and butter. It is divine - like super spinach.

I might not mention this to the other gardeners

Monday, May 5

Dressing is Impossible These Days

The weather never delivers what it seems to be promising in the morning and clever is the girl that puts together an outfit that will perform correctly for the whole day.

Today it started summerish and ended on an arctic note. The man called from India complaining about the constant heat and telling me how he wished he could be in a cold and damp place

When I'm home alone I defrost a UFO* and have myself a surprise supper - lucked out tonight it was chicken and flageolet bean casserole. Last time it was yeasty sourdough starter.

* UFO = Frozen Object that I didn't have the wit to label

Sunday, May 4

Back in Bristol

The centre of town was buzzing today. Crowds thronged around a main street on a steep hill which had been lined with plastic and made foamy with bubble bath, people were sliding down it on lilos while big brassy bands trumpeted and children shrieked at their parents.

To the side of all this I saw a parade of people carrying cages of birds; budgerigars, finches and canaries into a beautiful old chapel. A poster advertised 'Concert for the Birds' and I  remembered the Youtube video where Snowball the cockatiel dances enthusiastically to a Queen anthem.

I followed the budgies into the chapel

It really was a beautiful chapel, the caged birds were placed up on window sills and spaced around on the backs of pews. We were all quiet then the pianist started playing Liszt Preaching to the Birds. I wondered if the birds would fall silent or sing along but they continued with their stunted flights, or stillness, or chirruping exactly as they had before the piano started.

The strangeness of keeping a bird in a cage became extremely vivid but I'm not sure if that was the point of the piece.

Saturday, May 3

I'm Still in the House with Wooden Wallpaper

The people who live here have gone away, they've left a dog called Charley to take care of me. He's taking the role very seriously and is keeping me in sight at all times, making sure that I eat all my food and don't leave anything not even in the pot.

Last night Charley was concerned that I might run off with the telly or all the food. When I was nearly asleep he crept onto the bed so quietly I wouldn't notice and lay across my legs to prevent my getaway.

Today he took me out and tried to cheer me up by bringing me toys and sticks but I was in a mean mood and kept on throwing them all away.

Friday, May 2

Bread and Butter Letters

A class from the local primary school visited Mark's Bakery. He showed them how to make bread and the children sent thank you letters which he has put up on the wall. The teacher has provided translations

Woke Underneath a Thunderbird Duvet

in my friend's spare room. The wall ahead of me was papered with a remarkable trompe l'oeil wooden fence. I came down for breakfast and asked my friend where he'd found such treasure.

It was in this shop in Sussex, sold mainly furniture and carved things but upstairs ... do you remember that bloke who did all those Yes album covers in the seventies

Roger Dean

Yeah him ... he was up there selling prints of that shit art he does ... you know what he charges for a digital print of that stuff TWO GRAND that's how much and he's a right git too, he's got acolytes around him, all these hippy girlies... he looks like a retired footballer in a leather jerkin and he's even more of a know-all than me and that's saying something
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