Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Rush

Christmas play today. Ben in a white tunic doing some Russian Cossack dancing.  Lucy was at the piano so I took a picture of her son for her. A walk in Hyde Park this morning. Check in, tickets, boarding passes, passports sorted. Yesterday, house cleaning was productive. House Beautiful. A nice afternoon. It snows in California.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Bad Titles

Cycled up to Camden Town and dropped off cup to man. He was pleased. His mother isn't well. Ben really needed a new bike. Five minutes in the shop and came out with new BMX bike.... a blue GT.  He is happy with his new ride. Then to shop to get birthday presents for Pam and Saffar....some dvds. Regents Park to see Brigitte but didn't have much time before party. Rode home in half an hour passing Villandry and Holiday Inn and the BT tower... and then to party in Shoreditch. Alice there. They are going to Puerto Rico on Saturday. A fantastic Asian food supermarket found on the 55 bus route...Longan. Got curly squid tentacles, dim sum, seaweed paper for sushi, deep fried bean curd etc. Yumbo. Ben loves miso and sushi too. xx An art gallery....chatted and made some contact. Street type work. Mixture. A Cuban artist with twelve foot mashed up metal buckets in rectangles...I liked. Otherwise... tattoo like stuff. bad titles... but a cool venue....a damp old train depot. Then to furry coat man who had Bobby Brown on the turntable, stopped by to say hello, but ended up with another this time. So funny...a chat with two girls there and Jude...long intriguing chat with one main topic.

Oh Yes. And there was another mass shooting in America. I saw the headline on the way to the park. I had my little Guardian coupon for getting the paper....but most newsagents don't take this. I like what Morgan Freeman has to say about it. These things need less media coverage as the sick people who do these things have nothing to offer but want to go down with a little fame.....and all the reports focussed on the shooter, not the victims. People remember the name of the killer, but not a single name of any of the innocent people who die. Touch wood, but mass shootings don't seem to have caught on here yet.

Nice time carolling on Sunday Evening in Shoreditch. The American Ex pat meet up group did a Mexican brunch, but an odd assortment of people...didn't really click in fact there was nothing American about it. Don't think I met one American person there. Stick to the hiking group.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


Didn't drown in the pool this morning after an English at Andrews. Crap magician had guests arriving so couldn't accompany. Mine came at noon....Taiwan....two nights. They are cold. I have given them two duvets. Hungarian goose down. Couldn't turn the radiator knob. Need some muscle for that. Apparently, Crap Magician's child has never peed in the bin....but mine has. A first. Chatted with a mesophitic guy doing pool walking. He said swimming was boring. Boring pools. As if pool walking is a step up. He said he was starting a de-cluttering business. I have waded through a few items in the back of the closet and produced a big black bag of stuff that I downloaded at Calthorpe today. Part of it was meant for Leather Lane, but they took everything....clothes, toys....all except a bike part. That old bike part...still have it. Big orange raincoat from Folk today....self-present. Still can't find the shed key. Clive bringing a suitcase for me.

Ran into Anne's husband in Leather Lane. Nice chat. Back and forthe between here and Exeter. Dress needs taking up. Tailor had big grin suggesting I try the dress on in the back for him to take it up. Said I'd wait for the seamstress on Monday. Didn't leave the dress with him. He quipped about that.

Do...the shop in Covent Garden interested in seeing my work. A quick stop by on the way to see Julian at the gallery to catch up. South of France since late June. Said I looked like a Christmas present. ha ha. He's showing ceramic plates with quirky text....Handmade. Quite similar to what I do. Quirky text....hmm.  Meet again in the new year. Meet our left wing artist....? Mayfair...left wing...? Do I have anything else to pull out of the hat. Furry Hat. Clive over to dinner. Had to toss out the big pheasant yesterday. rancid. But had some pheasant breasts. Mash with sausage, onion, and cabbage. Nice and some curried cabbage that I felt was a bit too exotic to go with everything else. Clive has a friend called Jane. Her lover had taken a photo of the spare bedroom beforehand so that he could put it all back in place...BBC music producer...lives out of town. Not many of them. What a small world.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Brigitte over for dinner tonight. A goodbye roast duck as she is returning to Hungary on Wednesday. I will miss her smiling face and our good times. She might be back. It depends if she can find a teaching job in Hungary and still needs to pass the written English exam.  A swim yesterday...long and luscious swim. Had not been in the pool for a week. More dinner plates painted today. More teapots in need of paint. Ben glued to the iphone. One last week of school. Hope to take him to winter wonderland and see Brigitte one more time before she goes. Perhaps Brick Lane or Hampstead Heath...see about a concert somewhere on the weekend. Ben's question this morning was rather koan like...Can you walk slowly fast? So we tried walking slowly. I showed him two forms of slow walking....Walk slow and think fast....walk slowly, think slowly... a Japanese moment. So he tried it a few times. I have the impression he's a smart boy.  

Monday, 10 December 2012

To Do

1. Find shed keys....get suitcase and drill. (not happening....shed keys will appear when they want to)
2. Return Nexus tablet (Monday at 12:30 after 11:00 Camden meeting....back home for student 1:30)
3. more teapots (not essential)
4. Present shopping (tea, ???)
5. Post keys to Ca. express overnight (done)
6. Oxfam shop with shed contents (done)
7. Excess art remnants to Calthorpe (done)
8. Basic de-cluttering (not done)
9. Contact tile gallery man (done x 3)
10. Contact tanker man (not done)
11. Contact E. Gluckstein (done)

Not done is:
1. shed keys
2. Nexus tablet
3. presents
4. tidy
5. take dress to tailor on Monday about 2:30

Clean bird cage and under the kiln on the balcony with power washer
basic bathroom clean
living room...possibly throw out some videos...put excess computer in closet
put tardis away....takes up massses of counter space


Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Mary Poppins Backpack

Lazare has just dropped by. We were both too exhausted to fill eachother in on recent happenings apart from the itunes story. Lazare. He does make me laugh. He stood there in the hallway with his black Russian fur hat, new swiss backpack, and tartan scarf pulling endless things out of his rucksack like a magician....all left by the customers at the bar where he works. "These British drink and they forget the coat they came in." The perks....a kindle this week and a few select beers which I guess were left by the bar. I've seen the place. Thirst. It's loud and overflowing with thirty somethings drinking eight pound cocktails that are 75% crushed ice. Best not go there if you're truly thirsty. And last night, it was five pounds to even get in, so we chose the fresh air instead and dropped by The Angel. The gay fashion designer/barrister with bleached blonde hair who reads the paper in there most evenings....he was there. Lisa went home in a hurry to finish a job application at 10:30?? as you do...and I made the most of my evening off from Ben. The bleached blonde barrister had left his work wig in a suitcase on the train....I suppose he can get away with his hairdo as he has to wear a wig in court. He asked after Clive. We had been in there after the guitar concert in the church. He is planning a Christmas cocktail party. I suggested a before and after home decorating do.  But the barrister's hair....I feel transported to the 80's in Milwaukee standing in line behind an underage drinker at an alternative bar. Whereas Clive's flat is perhaps 50's with an assortment of Adam's Family lampshades. Time travel.  

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Things to work on with Ben

Bedtime hour and bedtime routine...bath, teeth brushing, dinner etc. story time. Actually, I asked two parents today what time P and S go to bed....sometimes 11! and L and R...around 10:30 or 11. Not good. Ben is looking tired today. He needs to go to bed at 8, but will compromise...8:30 latest 9. A hot bubble bath always calms him down. And if he is not in bed by 8, he will not get a story.
Homework....Got to be stricter with the homework and make a time when he does it. Otherwise, he will not get a weekend movie.
Need to print out the rules and put them on the fridge...back to star charts.
The donut thing.....He needs to learn the value of money. He has been talking about various careers. No to banking...he says that's boring. Possibly a pilot. or engineer....early days though. ha ha.
Need to make some Christmas biscuits and do a bake sale. He likes that.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


Bed wrestling, and pancakes. Let me see if I can pick your nose with my big toe Mum. No! Mind the finger. Sunday morning fun. Aeroplane, chinese acrobatics, fiesty boy. Popped into Pret on the milk run. A chat with Assam. Luckily, it can be told as an open and closed case. Should I tell Ben it's alright? It's weighing on his conscience. Where the heck is Oskar? I haven't seen him for a month. He's usually in his 'office' a few days a week. Laptop and latte. What happened to the population dynamics book? Blastman in Bournemouth for the weekend. Told Laundrette Man the donut story too. Laundrette man asks me to contact salty dog again. Still on the look out for tankers. Pity you can't buy them at Argos. He was away in Dubai when Old Salty passed through town end of October. Hmmm. Hmmm. Long chat last night....a booby bashing time.


Finally, I see Oskar. Catch up with coffee this morning and again tomorrow. A busy itinerary. Film guy today for a few hours sorting DVD's. He's teaching a Bond class. Misplaced Casino Royale. A find on the way home....a sporting goods store tossing out a 16 compartment rolling storage unit. No taxi would take it. But half way home, a lovely man called Ernest from Addison Lee asked me if I needed some help and gave me a lift home in his van. Nice to know there are some humans left in this city. He said that every woman is someone's daughter, wife, or lover. Nice thought. Back in touch with Raphael. Haven't spoken for over a year.


All day painting dinnerware plates 12 and 14 inches. A vase and a baby teapot for a woman who stipulates 'no orange'. An impromptu evening out to October Gallery with Kevin, Ben, and some friends to hear a debate about the Mayan Calendar, Timeline idea which was some bollocks created out a mathematical equation using the I ching. Best speaker was Daniel Pinch...something.... from NYC. He was more concerned with the real global issues of global warming, animal extinction, fish being depleted from the oceans and overpopulation. So the debate changed. Ben made up a rhyme afterwards....This Mayan thing....we aint gonna die....It's all pie in the sky.  Ha ha.


China painting again today. Bowl, vase, large cup. Keihriko was in. Her husband works hard as a sushi chef. No one wants to be a sushi chef anymore. Didn't realise it was such hard work. Wouldn't know. Chopping fish. Making small balls out of rice. Slicing up eels and mackeral and yellow tail. Had sushi tonight. Picture was a plonk. Wasn't recieved in the spirit I intended. Rude. Speeding down a dead end to nowhere. Long wait just got shorter. Think it's better not to begin. Terribly chilly these days. Tiring times.


Ben in a pooky mood. The I hate school mood. Hmmm. He says he misses Grandma. It's about twenty five days away. We bought her a card last night, but he hasn't written it. Alice and Roberto going to Puerto Rico. Us to Grandmaland. Christmas play on Wednesday so glad we won't miss it. More dinner plates today. A short swim, but the pool is so small. There were six people at one point and only three lanes. Bike still in Covent Garden. Hope it's still there. I better get it tomorrow. Santa show in Wales. Ran into the taxi lady in Waitrose while eating a deli pie. Swimming makes me hungry. I purchased a lot of tea. Tea binge, nice sea bass, maple syrup, gruyere. Stocking up for the winter. That whole donut thing last week....sigh of relief. Must get the dalek costume back.

Busy Weekend

Saturday an impromptu walk on the Heath with Sydney and Juliet...tree climbing, petting other people's dogs, throwing sticks, running in the mud, fresh air followed by hot chocolate and pizza and later on a fun time with Chris....dinner guest baked seabass and a game of rummikub. Sunday morning took the boys to see Tim Burton's movie Frankenweenie...very dark very enjoyable....a dead dog is brought back to life by lightening....a girl with a cat who has esp fortells the future by spelling it out in poo....a mad scientist too mad for the provincial town he teaches in called New Holland. Great. And then an awful sappy film about Jack Frost. I kept wanting the credits to roll. Subway....and an afternoon of swimming at Cally pool followed by a roast chicken dinner. Very active weekend with no time for the planned toy tidying as scheduled. Tomorrow! Ending the day with Jacques me quitte pas. Always love that song.


A run around Russell Square four times, then to Covent Garden to organize dvds. Made a roast beef and roast potatoes. John was in and out. Met Felice from Milano who is in need of someone to make up samples for Moda In. Possibly a new work colleague. He knows the drill. I used to sell textile designs there. Book sale today, but Ben has enough books and needs to do his homework. Dinnerware order for dinner plates and side dishes. In the china shop tomorrow all day after Buddhist chanting.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Yesterday, entering the lift on the way to school, Ben asked, "Has the Queen ever said the word 'photosynthesis'?" I think she has. I think the Queen has said Photosynthesis before. Not sure how many times, but I'm sure she's done it herself.

Do you think she watches Dr. Who?

What would I like to know about the Queen? Has she ever thought of doing something more constructive with all the money she has? One of the richest people in the world. If that were me, I'd change a few things. But maybe she's too busy waving.

He also wants to know about worms...How many different kinds of worms are there mum? I could only name nightcrawlers, maggots, and pink worms. Not a scientist. Not sure if maggots qualify.

And then on to the popular topics of sink holes, tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis and other types of horrific weather.

Lemsip and peppermint tea the current answer to boring cough. Noticed that Lemsip actually takes the tea stains right off your cuppa. So wondering what it's made of. Alternating, lemsip, smokey, and echinacea tea. Can't be all medicine.

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Not one to kiss and tell, but as there were no kissin', think it's a tale that's not worth missin'. Certainly have had a few laughs about Logman or should we call him BirchBoy?
So, I thought I'd trip down to Haselmere for some country air and meet up with a country boy in his own habitat. So I cycle down to Waterloo and hop on the train...nice to get out of London for a few hours...We'd corresponded for a few weeks. He, unlike other folk, was not shy of talking on the phone and seemed sane with a hint of humour. Well, I guess his phone personality is one thing. I did notice that he lingered often for dramatic pauses. That's not something to employ when you don't know someone well. Old friends are good at lingering dramatic pauses, but strangers....only if they're professional stand ups. Otherwise, I'm checking my watch and trying to get off the phone.

So I arrive at the station. I've made an effort. I'm standing there. I see a hand waving from a car. A hand and forearm waving from a seated position in a vehicle. Get out the damn car. Don't you have any manners? We've never met before and you can't stand up and get out of your tiny Toyota after I've been on the train for an hour. So I continue standing until he gets off his bony ass and stands up to motion me towards him. Wow. This is bad manners and he doesn't even know it. That's ok if you're old friends, but not someone you haven't met before. I sidle over to the pale blue car and he throws the door open. Gentleman. Says hello and leans forward for a ?kiss?? as if I'm his wife and he's picking me up from my work commute or something. Did I miss something here? Think to myself, this guy is harmless...a bony waif of a buckle up the seatbelt and oh....hand touches knee. Another strike. I really don't like complete strangers touching my knee. I just don't. So this guy has three strikes before we leave the parking lot.

My hiking group had been down to Haslemere and I wanted to see it. We'd planned a little walk and a pub lunch, but he rudely told me I wasn't dressed for a walk as I was wearing a dress and spoke to me as if he thought I'd never seen grass before. Then, another sore point....I mention that these roads aren't made for cyclists. Lots of bends and blind he launches into how much he hates cyclists and thinks they should pay road tax and how many accidents they cause. I just stayed quiet as I could see there would be many other opportunities to argue. Not good to argue within the first five minutes.

We drive to Thursely and find a nice pub nestled in the fields. The Three somethings. Acorns maybe...Kings. He orders a coffee, so I follow. We sit down. I want the seat with the view of the door and the rest of the pub as I can see this is going to be tedious. The barmaid is asking who won the election. I shoult out Obama... She's glad. The other pub boy is glad too. A little banter breaks out. The date guy looks betrayed like I'm not supposed to speak to other people. The pub worker throws some logs in the fireplace. It's a lovely scene. The date guy moans a few minutes later that the wood isn't ready for the fire. I suggest some kindling would help it. He says no...It's birch. Birch doesn't burn well. Birch or Ash... I say I don't think it's birch. Birch has white bark. ....No. this is birch. Lot of birch around here. I say no. the bark is too thick to be birch...(at this point I realise he has won the wood identification arguement as it is going to be birch whether it is or not) I laugh to myself. And say...Let's just take it to the lab and get it tested. Wow. How pedantic. Let him win...this loser. Even the guy working the bar was standing behind him holding back a smirk and rolling his eyes.

It is wrong to meet up with someone for a first date and let them splash out on a meal. He wanted to though. And I wanted to see the countryside...and meet him...until I met him. He probably feels cheated. It's much better to spend a half hour with a coffee....low investment, low starting point with these internet dates. Then no one is disappointed. And it is much easier to be pleasantly surprised.

The menu was fabulous. A little posh pub grub. Baked brie, baked goats cheese....and we both had the confit duck. My coffee was cold. I ordered a cider. Everytime I tried to speak, I felt I got interrupted. His tales were nothing to record. He wanked on about his achievements? no. He didn't. He seemed more interested in reprimanding his brother for being in love with a married woman for the past twenty years. He told of this in detail. But that's not even his life. He only mentioned much later that he had been a chef for the better part of his life. A saucier. Sauces only....ofcourse that extends to fish and meat. Sauceman as opposed to saucy man. Trying...I started to say," I make a really nice creamy tomato sauce to go with mussels..." but was cut off by.."Oh please don't tell me. I prefer to taste it myself and guess the ingredients." if that's going to happen. Not be tasting my sauce buddy...I can tell you that right now. (Perhaps if I come across someone like him again, I will not hold back. He needs to learn some manners.) So I guess we're not talking about mussels. search...

Best fumble yet....I'm half way through my dinner and he says that being a chef, portion control is important....and my portion is much larger than his. The meat is dry and overcooked...this is not confit duck and your portion is almost twice the size of mine....Then he offers to cut my food for me as I have a broken finger. I push the plate over telling him he can have the rest if he's still hungry. Oh no. That was not my intention. I don't mean to take your food....please. I just see you're struggling with your fork. How rude is that? Telling someone they got a bigger piece of duck than you did? What age are we here? Am I at a kiddy party with uneven slices of cake? Kids slurping down sheets of icing come to mind. Tears...I didn't get the piece I wanted with the rose on top.

Many walkers came in the pub. It's near the devils punchbowl. I'd like to go again with different company. Hard to get to by foot possibly but doable. A lot of walkers for a weekday.

We leave the pub and go for a walk. There is only half an hour left to enjoy the gorse and the fields. It's pretty. It's a bit cold. He tries to take my hand with his sweaty palm. Why? Isn't it obvious? Does he think things are going that well? We walk. He sees a birch tree. "See. That's a birch. It was definetly birch back there in the fireplace. !!!"


Monday, 5 November 2012

Practicing Scales

Practiced my flute today. Can even hit the a flat with finger broken. Not bad. Thought I'd take Ben out for a third evening of fireworks, but I think we've both had enough. Really do wish M would get a winter coat. It bothers me. Well. I look after my own son well enough. I don't think they realise they are neglecting him. Take some time out and do something with your child other than plonking him infront of the tv. It is sad.
He's now interested in making his own fish fingers. Master Chef Jr. That would be an improvement. The ones in the box are like rubber. Full days in the china shop this week stocking up for Christmas. Vases, teapots, mugs etc. Put about twenty tiles up on the 19th of October, but they are all down now. People knick them. Just a few remaining. Oil deal obviously not happening. Haven't seen him around. That was a funny five minutes....Antwerp, tanker MOT guy, yes....we're looking for LPG tankers...100,000 tonnes if you have them. I guess he'll be selling his laundrette soon if that goes through. Thank you very much for introducing us. Here...have a coffee.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

One-handed life

Only yesterday, Sidney fell off the play equipment and broke his arm. I thought about it and said...I've only ever broken my little finger. Then I go and tumble down the stairs the very next day. All bandaged up. One-handed life for a while. Ben has been voted in as a school councillor. Very happy about that. A one year post. I hope he doesn't abuse his He dresses in suits these days. Cranking the tunes this evening. Music is best medicine as are musicians.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Many travellers have passed through this year. From what I remember,  a Peruvian banker who had many tales. He opened my eyes to how life is in Peru. A very rigid social system. Maids and nannys who are not allowed to wear bathing suits at the beach. So he and his friends dressed up as servants and swam and played volleyball at the seaside in protest. A terrible bus system. Not a good infrastructure for the poor. And the middle classes having servants. They don't want their children to learn how to cook or wash dishes for fear that they will end up being servants themselves. He said he was surprised to see how people from all walks of life mix and mingle in the pubs of London. He studied at LSE for a year and learned how to do his own laundry. He then had an amazing tale about a girlfriend in Greece who was born on a sailboat half wait to Fiji. Her father abandoned them there on an island and they took ten years to get back to Greece where their home still stood on a mountain. They rebuilt it and still live there. Hmm.

The two philosophers from Milan. I was painting a philosopher's mug at the time for Carol's partner. It has a giant list of names painted all over it....and one for her son's poem which was brilliant. The guy from Denmark and his family, Jhoan from Caracas who worked at Central Bank. Now here for a year with his girlfriend. Mila from Australia who brought cheese from Holland. She was very cheery. The female lawyer from San Paulo. She invites us to the next Olympics. And Valentina and her lovely daughter from Naples. Somedays, school finishes at one o'clock. Hmm. Her husband's birthday cake sounded wonderful with even their kitchen tiles and desk and newspapers all replicated in edible sugar.


Thursday, 2 February 2012

More tiles

A tile up on Rose court off Long Acre. One by Lincoln Inn Fields. One already taken before the cement set in South Kensington this evening. A nice show of watercolors. An interesting book maker from Lewes.. A giant book of military maps. Some quirky sketches from a general stationed in India in the 1800's. An unmarried general with a slightly frustrated imagination. Fascinating. Tiles do not go up easily in this cold weather. The Mime Festival has been good. The Pyjama Men at Charing Cross Theatre was very funny.