Wednesday, November 28, 2007


My father stayed with us at the weekend, and on Saturday we went to the Royal Academy for an exhibition of the British Art collection of someone unfeasibly rich.

Much as I enjoyed some of the exhibition - above all some Blake paintings and illuminations, also some lovely landscapes and luminous Turners - I enjoyed this statue outside at least as much.

I got home and realised I didn't have a picture of the whole sculpture. Doh!
Here it is.

And here is a bit more info. about it (click to enlarge):

I found the sculpture somehow reassuring, suggestive of shelter and balance.
It can be so hard to maintain - actually no, to find - balance. I struggle to find a stable footing between

being a perfectionist and being a slob;

eating healthy fruit and veg-rich meals and taking all my supplements and just making do with the odd bit of toast and marmite;

hopelessness and wishful thinking;

accepting at face value and scepticism;

chronic over-preparation and workaholism and over-confidence in my ability to wing it;

understanding and regret;

accepting too much the status quo and trying too hard;

just one glass of wine and the whole bottle....

.... oooh i could go on. But wont. That might be too much. Hmmm, now theres another thing, how much is too much?

Don't you just love those huge toes?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Um.......... not sure what to say at the moment, so here are some pics I took recently in and around Greenwich.

These are on the outside of St. Alfege's Church, Greenwich. I suppose, being cherubs, they may have been intended to be comforting images? Not so much now!
I've been meaning to take some pictures of them for a while, and found myself doing so on November 1st - there was clearly something/s still lingering in the atmosphere....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

random stories

One grey day in early November I found myself needing to walk. Not solely in order to arrive somewhere, but just to walk.

I walked and walked.

I walked along the road, on pavements, across pedestrian crossings. Past shops, past schools. Past peoples' windows. Through the park. Along the bike path. Over the grass. Under the trees. Kicking through leaves.

At the end of the day my camera's memory card had accumulated more photographs than usual. It was a day of looking down and I wondered about the stories which might lie behind these items - dropped, lost, forgotten, left behind. Insignificant remnants and relics which might be strung like beads onto some kind of narrative thread.

The fuschias in the picture at the top had fallen of their own accord into this graceful order. Each one of them is given particular significance by its place in relation to the others.

So........... I'm wondering about these other random items which caught my eye. Do you glimpse any stories in them, behind them, between them?

(mosaic should enlarge if you click on it)

dunhill (tobacco) packet; broken egg; magazine TV listings; silver 25; Gap bag; empty yoghurt fruit corner package

travelcard; cable; pumpkin shell; sausage roll minus 1 bite; trainer; "Stripe"

Stella can; wedding order of service; hair band with black hair; cake wrapper; orange ribbon; empty whiska's (cat food) sachet

"No cycling"; Nicotell chewing gum; Marilyn Manson badge; notes from a language (mandarin?) lesson; tea bag; hub cap

bike lock & chain; gummy heart; shredded document; stairs; damaged wall/bricks; post-it note - 5-4-2007

chicken bone & fork; glue; pass the pigs lottery scratch card; car spray paint, grey; map of East London; dental treatment reminder

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

autumn songs

I've posted this Mervyn Peake poem on my blog before because I love it
and because I often think of it at this time of year. As I compulsively photograph leaves. And more leaves.

And trees.

And more leaves.


I heard a winter tree in song
its leaves were birds, a hundred strong
when all at once it ceased to sing
for every leaf had taken wing

And this poem is pretty well suited to bit of video I took in Eastbourne last Friday. I visited my father. We went to Eastbourne - another first for my father who'd not yet been back there since my mother died. They'd had a lot of special times there together. We walked along the beach, before dinner and a theatre visit (The History Boys - which was excellent).

The dusk light was exquisite.

Do watch the vid. to the end.... starts out a bit subtle but gets better....

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Well I usually ignore tags, with a little inner thrill at my own lately-discovered assertiveness.

In the last couple of weeks I nearly found myself taking on not 1 but 2 new significantly-responsible roles at work. In the nick of time I recognised the route I was taking and the mire of stress and overwork towards which it led. With a sigh of relief I shook my head clear and said - assertively - "No No No!".

[I took on one of them. The smaller one. Which is ok. I could - WOULD - have said no if i'd wanted to, honest.)

Actually - I hadn't meant to write about assertiveness - but now I think about it, I've been doing well lately.

A third year student tried last week to emotionally blackmail his way into one of my classes, although it is now week 6, too late for pedagogical reasons as well as too late by university regulations. His final line of argument was that if I didn't let him join the course then he wouldn't be able to graduate next summer.

(This wasn't the only untrue thing he said)

He did make me feel pressured and bad.
But I said No.

[As well as offering constructive suggestions as to what he could and should do about his existing courses, and staff who could and would be able to help him sort it out.]

Am I writing this because of niggling guilt?
I don't think so.

So I decided to do this tag from Wendz because its an easy peasy one and I wasn't sure what else to blog about. And see, I needn't have bothered, because look how the words emerge when you start to write.

I'll do the tag anyway, because I decided to do so, of my own free will.

But rather than tag any of you, I will let you make up your own independent free-thinking minds.

"List one fact, word or tidbit that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your first or middle name. You can theme it to your blog or make it general. Then tag one person for each letter of your name."

Oh bum. I've just realised that I was thinking about this tag in terms of my RL name, which has only 5 letters.

Dilemma now. Shall I reveal and use my very own true personal name? Or shall I use the 7-lettered "Lettuce", which only has one letter in common with that? Or I could use my true personal middle name? but that has 9 letters in it.

I think it has to be the longer, middle name, don't you?
I like a challenge.


When its a matter of my own free choice.

E - elated by exercise of recently-discovered assertiveness

L - lazy because one outcome of the previous is that I am doing less work - at work and at home.

I - in my pajamas and cosy comforting slippers and dressing gown, even though its 10.30 am. Not unrelated to the previous two, also due to LG being off school sick. No 6.30am alarm for us this morning, what a joy.

Z - zooming off to New York, Pennsylvania and Washington next April. Tickets booked. Can't wait. (Also not unrelated to newly assertive lifestyle.)

A - aching arms and legs from recent return to yoga and to cycling.

B - buying the odd possibly C*******s-related gift, while also trying to ignore the date and impending festivities.

E - exhausted by ongoing miserable peri-menopausal stuff

T - thinking about Control, which I saw on Monday. Bleak and tragic, as expected of course, but an excellent film, beautifully shot and an uncannily perfect evocation of the 70's.

H - have to go and get breakfast now.

So have a go at this yourself, if you want to of course.

And if you want a good laugh, look at this excellent post written by Jay at Kill the Goat.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


My mood has been a bit dark over the last few days - but was all lit up last night by our local fireworks show up on Blackheath.

I have to admit to somewhat resenting the way that halloween festivities have replaced Guy Fawkes. Not in a bah-humbug sort of way, I enjoy the pumpkins and trick and treating. But it sort of feels as if another marketing opportunity has usurped the place which bonfire night used to have in English culture.

Bonfire night has been commercial for a long while I suppose, because of the fireworks. But collecting the pennies for the guy was not at all merchandise-related when i was little, the guy being constructed from cast-off clothes, home-made mask and old newspaper and string.

Is there anywhere in the UK where pennies are still collected for guys?

Anyway, resentment aside, the fireworks are still great, there is nothing quite like the smell and excitement of sparklers.

Our trip out on Sat. evening was impromptu, a chance to meet up with my sister and BIL. A chance to almost-meet up with another good friend - sorry Molly, too many people to find you, next year?

And I don't know that Guy Fawkes would have approved. Unless the fireworks and fire had been located actually inside the Houses of Parliament. Whilst the house was in session.

But I loved it.

The night was full of stars.