Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Cliffs Have a Way

You are playing with a rubik's cube half looking out the window.
"Is that the van? No. Clearly not. Nearly 12:00."
Waiting for a phone call, a white van or a blue car becomes an activity in itself.
How clearly I see you there as a bird drops in on the feeder.
The bird alerts the sensor and a pic is snapped.
You are digging up beetroots in the garden
thinking you might hear the doorbell if you leave the windows open;
Thinking you might bring the beetroots when you next come by.
There's a bonfire for the weeds.

Backing up to get in the seascape and falling off the cliff,
the tourists just become another statistic.
Sometimes, they slip. Sometimes the wind blows them off. And sometimes,
they just get too close to the edge looking after their PR and stretching out for that perfect facebook profile pic where they lose their selfie stick. It's now floating in the sea decomposing with the salt water and being bashed against the rocks. It will take a long time, years for the selfie stick to decompose. Fish will swallow bits of it and it will clog up their insides and cause them early deaths.
The rest of the family: they will sigh when they think of Ireland.

The tourists, that last photo cut their holiday short and ruined the rest of the summer
for their friends and family.
The cliffs have a way of doing that to people.
They lure you in with their majestic dangerous beauty.
Because thousands of feet have trodden along these trails that edge the sea,
one thinks that one innocent selfie right on the edge might be alright for a few seconds.
But it's not.

The cliffs divide people into two camps. It is easy to spot which camp one is in just by noting the behaviour. I am a risk taker in some ways and not in others. There are times for caution and this was one of those times.

There are the cautious people who feel sick even watching the risk takers walk along the edge just inches from an 800 metre drop. The risk takers sit there photographing themselves on a thin slab of stone that could break off at any time into the sea. The cautious life-valuing people weigh up the thrill they will get from walking just inches from the edge of the cliff against the price they might pay which is clearly your life. If you fall from there, you don't break a finger or a bone. You lose your whole life and your camera phone too. They choose the more inland path that is about eight feet from the edge. The danger there is more about getting your sweater caught on the barbed wire or getting an electrical shock if you touch the fence as there are sheep there who know better. Or, if you are like my son, you will intentionally shock yourself a few times after realising that the fence has an electrical current. And if you have his enthusiasm, you will get other people to try it, so that soon, there is a whole crowd of fools touching the fence to see how powerful the electrical shock is and then videoing it as it's just that entertaining.

No Time for a Spoon

I was in the china shop painting and a lady came in from the Great Ormond Street Hospital earnestly trying to get rid of some tickets for George Benson at The Royal Albert many as we wanted...."but it's tonight. So out comes the phone....George Benson....who? George Benson....ahhh. can't....George Benson? Finally, Lazare is having an orgasm saying his name. Are you kidding? Yes. Yes. and Yes. He brought a friend....a who he got along with as opposed to the one who steals all the food in his fridge.

I cycle there. My skirt gets caught in the chain a few times. I hike it up. There he is. Lazare in one of his many long scarves. We take our seats in the choir section which is just behind the stage. Close, but viewing almost from behind. Lazare looks right."Oh, if we could only sit in those box seats. "

I go to get us some drinks. I have a tray. Suddenly, an usher comes up to me..."Can I help you to your door? Is it this one?" She opens the door to the box seat. "Yes. Thank you." How did she know I was sitting there? There are about ten seats there. A couple are seated near the railing. "Oh. So sorry. Are we in your seats?" They were not supposed to be there, but I let them stay. I then waved over to Lazare and his friend who joined me. We enjoyed the show.

After the show, I had to wonder where the best seats were. We took a stroll and decided that half way back, on the gallery level was the most splendid box seat. Whoever had been there that night had left some half drunk bottles of champagne, wine, and a multi-teared silver tray of small glass vessels containing an alcoholic mousse. It was chocolate and coffee flavoured. Lazare hit a lunge pose and brought the champagne bottle to his lips. Chug. I felt transported to my college days. I would have at least got a glass.  He then moves on to the delicate glasses and tries to knock them back, but the mousse stays in place. He shakes it. Just then, someone who had been in the room before comes back to pick up his backpack. It has been a work do. He sees Lazare in straddle mode and offers him a spoon. "Do you need a spoon mate?" Lazare replies, "No time for a spoon."

We part ways. I cycle home and see two people by The Ritz talking to a man who looks like Bill Nighy. It is him on closer inspection. I tell him that I loved his movie in India. He is just as docile and calm as he is on stage and screen....just tripping back from a cocktail bar. Mr. Gin and Tonic. He said he'd love to have seen George Benson and he liked my bike basket with all the flowers on it. That was when I had the turquoise collage bike.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Parsley Overload

Now, I have too much parsley. It's wilting on the kitchen counter. The market man on Marchmont Street gave me several bunches of parsley yesterday. I'm a good customer of his. He's a good guy. I always prefer to buy my produce from him. It is one tenth of the cost as well. He has bowls of mushrooms, courgettes, okra, tomatoes all for a pound. I could probably eat on ten pounds a week if I were vegetarian. I might give that a try. I have to make some pesto now. This is more rather than less stuff in my house. I'm always looking for somewhere to put things. Things move from A to B, then to C.....sometimes from A to C. The amount of things in the house and the space available in the house is a constant. The ratio has to change. If I can reduce the amount of things in the house, then I will not be in this ABC cycle. Simple math.

Now I have to reduce this giant pile of parsley. I also have to replace the loo roll holder which was torn off the wall at my party. I had to get the same exact loo roll holder as before as I do not know how to drill holes in the wall. The wall is too cement. It took all day just to get the loo roll holder as I had to go to Ikea for it which is the equivalent of flying to Spain it is so far. Then, once you are inside their maze, you become confused and end up buying alligator bathmats and orchids and things that were not on your list. By the time you have found the exit, you are lucky to escape with a bill under a hundred pounds. I did need a bathmat. It's upstairs. It's downstairs. Turn left after the blinds. I was getting in a frenzy to find the bathmat. It was in the miscellaneous section. I can tell you. A bathmat is not a miscellaneous item. It should be in the bath section.  Such a big store and only one bath mat to choose from. A green alligator. I would have been better off going to Argos.

It is also essential to find some new drawers for the bedroom. I take out the six drawers, bang the bottom back together with a meat tenderizing hammer. After a few days, it comes apart again. I can't even find my swimsuit. I would go for a swim otherwise. I have seen some ugly drawers which are very practical. It is to the point that we may have to choose content over style. Because Ben moved the bed and rearranged the furniture, we now can not get in the closet. I have forgotten what is in the closet. I recall some duvet covers and shoes. I may have about forty pairs of shoes. I can' seem to part with any of them. I have a whole wicker basket full of shoes. The shoes that I do wear are: the pink and blue Nike sports shoes and the Little black Spanish Camper boots, and the ugly felt Birkenstock mama clogs. I also have my steel heeled black leather skull boots and some annoying rubber wellies which rub my calves if I don't wear long enough socks.

Now Ben's bike tyre is down too. He rode through some glass. I saw the glass. I told him not to ride through it. He didn't believe me. It's true. If you ride through glass, you may end up with a flat tyre. I must take that to Leather Lane today. Meanwhile, I am taking him on the back of my bike with a pillow on the bike rack. There are many little details to take care of. These things take priority over painting cups.

And I heard from Theodora in Siena. They have a race horse farm there. We stayed with them a few years ago and I painted her some special cups with all the names of her favourite race horses and trainers. She loved it. We had the same bathmat too. I thought of her as I was replacing my bathmat the other day. They had one bedroom which was reserved for the chickens. The chickens like to come in at night and kip on the sofa. We had a great time. They had had a flood the week before we arrived. Ben helped them chop up some trees that had downed. Made a bonfire. He was loving it. Bringing feed to the horses and chopping wood. We meant to go back sooner rather than later. We also picked up their copy of Gone Girl and read it at night. Great book. And we found cay in the riverbed and made horse heads out of it.

Theodora wants some more cups....Twenty cups this time to go with their new project taking on cows. She wrote to Josie. Of course she's going to write to the shop as I gave her the card. Josie has to be nasty as say....'these people are under the impression that this is your shop. Why do you tell people this? ' No. I don't tell people it is my shop. I tell them that I work there. Everything has to be nasty. She wants to charge them £35 per cup for 20 cups. Outrageous. They are £19. Special commissions are not even £35. It's time. It is time to get my kiln working or to get a smaller new kiln. So rude to me. I only go there because I like to paint. I certainly don't go there for the money. Even the cashier makes more money in a day than I do if that were my only income. I'd have to sell nine cups in order to make the equivalent that the cashier gets in one day. What's the point?

Two electricians. One says he is going to get a temperature guage and fit it for me. Then after a few cups of tea, it's going to be payment by _______. 'What do you do for sex?' How can somebody be that blunt? It's like asking someone where they buy their groceries. It was sounding like a transaction. I'd be happy to pay him, not with my body. I can't believe someone who I have been in conversation with for how many months? Can't do it. Then another guy is knocking on the door....I heard you needed an electrician. First, I said no as I didn't want him in my house. Then, when I did say yes, oh yeah. Anything at all madam. I'll be up there straight away. I hardly know him. And he didn't come yesterday to look at the dishwasher. I better look on gumtree if I really want this done.

More declutterring. The Ocean of Life is drying out. I found it in Ben's lunch bag with some rotting pears and half an avocado. A signed copy by Callum Roberts who gave a talk at the RGS a year or two ago. I suppose it's appropriate that that book got so wet. 

Personal Blogs Research USC

Out of the blue, I have been contacted by a researcher from University of Southern California. He has developed a computer robot that finds personal blogs and analyses them. It's interesting to know that whatever combination of words I have been using to express myself have been quantified and can be detected by his machine. I answered a survey asking me why I blogged and how I felt about putting forth my personal observations. Was I worried about who reads this? No. I think anyone who has the time or curiousity to delve into this is fine. I have been journaling in personal illustrated books since 1986. I like to record my life when I can. I have previously researched the letters of wives stationed abroad with their military or missionary husbands in the 1800's. I found that their letters were much more entertaining and absorbing than the dry reports that their partners left. It is a good record of the times with social nuances and attitudes candidly written. This, I found in the National Art Library of the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

Party Season

Living too fast to record it these days...months. Good times. I think things have picked up since November....since Chantal's party. I really thought it was going to be a sober occasion with tea and Tesco cakes, just a step up from a funeral after party, but no. It was more than that. It was nice to see people who I normally see in the park with their kids letting their hair down....and boy, do they have long hair. Perhaps the low point or high point depending on your vantage point was Chantal straddling a chair looking like something out of Flashdance shouting at the top of her lungs, "I want some cock. Give me some cock. " She doesn't remember that. Ben was home at that point. It started at seven. Chantal was already holding onto to people as they entered. Ben took it upon himself to be the doorman and escort guests from the elevator to her pad warning them that the host was already quite drunk, but not to be afraid. People were impressed with his diplomacy. There was someone who was into home schooling. She was so enamored with Ben.She wanted to know what school he went to as he was so articulate. Oh. How could the local school do such a good job with him? Come on. I don't expect the school to do everything for my son. There are the edges. I can't get over how people froth at the mouth to get their child into the right school. In my day, I went to the school nearest me. It was that simple. You live here....and so you will go to this school. No, this woman's child is still in a buggy and she is concerned about his high school education. Whatever statistics or figures I give her, they won't be relevant when it's time for him to go to high school. She continued to wax on. I was thinking in my head....'just shut the fuck up. You said it already fifteen times.', but being diplomatic like my son, I told her to 'just shut up.' It was so relieving. And TC high-fived me for that as I think I spoke for us all.