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


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...

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