Sunday, August 31, 2008
2. Silently, not bothering anyone, a mushroom has pushed its scaled cap out of the soil under a fir tree by a busy stretch of pavement.
3. We sit outside in the warm evening shade with a jug of Pimm's and my writing buddy's new book of short stories.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
2. I find a message from Nick on my phone in which he comments that soon he won't have to ring me because I'll be living with him.
3. Two large and enthusiastic black dogs wallow and splollop in the scummy end of the lake stirring up mud and raising a stench of rotting leaves.
Friday, August 29, 2008
2. Meeting interesting people -- a lady came to take away my table and she turns out to be a maker of jewellery out of silver spoons and forks.
3. It's surprisingly calming to have all my possessions packed away in boxes. No more looking for things -- I can't get at whatever it is anyway.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
2. In a documentary about Chinese wildlife, a piece about The Water Splash Festival -- a huge waterfight celebrating a region's river. A dignified policeman wears an expression of weary dignity, but breaks into a smile when water is thrown at him.
3. Peas and beans at the bottom of our soup bowls.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
2. The temp is wearing purple shades. I wonder why but am too shy to ask.
3. The pile of book boxes in my room is growing.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
2. We sit upstairs waiting for our suppers in Kirthon while outside on the Pantiles the music plays.
3. In the twilight a little boy plays with his toy cars in the dusty petanque court
Sunday, August 24, 2008
2. At noon, in the shadow of the woods, a silent fox runs across my path, his tail straight out behind him.
3. My own key to Nick's flat on a gold heart keyring.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
2. The man Oddbins suggests a champagne called Nicholas Feuilatte which seems very appropriate.
3. We sit in our new bath catching up and drinking fizz until even with all the candles, it is too dark to see each other.
2. Runner beans with my supper.
3. An evening alone lies before me. I am so full of nerves I can't sit still, so I pull from under my bed a box of files and begin throwing things away.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
2. I never have enough 5ps for the coffee machine. I usually end up paying 20p instead of the advertised 15p because I have to use a 20p, or two 10ps. Getting change made my tea taste very good.
3. My pin cushion. I embroidered it from a Vari-Galore kit, and I feel very proud to have made something I like so much.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
2. As an after thought, my character in the game purchased a donkey to carry his stuff. Sturdy Faith proved invaluable, and if there was any justice in the world, would have gained more experience points than any of us for kicking a skeleton to dust. The next episode will see my character intimidating Pete's half-orc druid into using his one healing spell to cure the wounds Faith sustained while fighting giant rats.
3. Coming home to find that Nick has painted the entire bathroom while I wasn't looking.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
1. Looking down a drain and seeing a reflection of the sky squared by the grate.
2. I am working on Fiona Robyn's A Year of Questions and this week the mission is to think about space for quiet. Twice today I was delayed so I had to sit quietly waiting. I feel as if someone is lending me a hand.
3. A sympathetic cup of hot chocolate.
Monday, August 18, 2008
2. There are a lot of mushrooms that look like ceps in the garden, with their spice brown caps and spongey yellow undersides. I'm not sure enough to try one though. But Sue arrives and confirms it. They go on the barbecue and a hailed a success.
3. Lilac liqueur that tastes like Bailey's flavoured with blackberries.
4. At the top of the station staircase Nick is waiting.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
View Larger Map
1. We turn a corner and look down an undulating three-mile drive to Windsor Castle. The road is dotted with tiny citizens and a few deer walk over from the left, stepping through the double avenue before running off across the park.
2. A long-legged boat winch waits to roll down the slipway to draw a boat out of the water. I get the feeling that if it has to wait much longer, it might lock its wheels and walk stiffly away on rattling metal legs.
3. We are looking for a place to stop. But the hand-wide path runs between fence and river. At a footbridge over a ditch, we find a flattened place where the bank has dropped. We sit with cake and apples and watch damsel flies hover and disappear while the Thames slips by.
4. My aunt says that on long journeys when she was little, she would pick her favourite features from the places passed and weave them into a dream house.
5. Mistletoe looks deep green when growing on a tree with budgerigar yellow leaves.
6. Almost back at the car we nearly pass the Airforce Memorial. But I think that Nick would like to hear about it, so we go in. The long garden gives into a courtyard surrounded by cloisters listing names of the dead. The benches are dotted with offerings -- flowers real and silk, and even a sheet of photos telling an American airman who fell in the second world war that his exploits are family legend and showing pictures of his now elderly baby sisters. The white cloister opens into the chapel which has a window looking out down the hillside at London and all around spread before us like a Lego city. From here, and from the tower, it is easy to understand why anyone would want to rule the blue air.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
2. There are only a few pages to last the whole day, so I take my time asking questions of the reporters, trying different headlines and making minute adjustments so the boxes line up.
3. PaulV brings me a present from his holiday. It's a yellow any containing a brittle plastic doll dressed in a cloud of scratchy red and black lace. 'It's Amy Winehouse,' he says, referring to her sultry eyeliner and backcombed hair. I love it and would have kissed him but we are in the middle of the office and subs should not show affection to photographers.
4. I am up a ladder painting the ceiling. I have a Nick to hand me a wet rag fill the paint tray, pass me the brush, hold the roller and tell me when I've missed the spot over my head.
Friday, August 15, 2008
2. The sandwich lady has a cherry shortbread, which is light, crumbly and full of tiny pieces of cherry. The top is sprinkled with caster sugar.
3. After a bright morning, the rain comes roaring down into the valley. Work slows for a while so we can marvel.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
2. Genius says he asked his children, who moved here recently from Zimbabwe, if they liked London better, or Hastings. They like Hastings, because there are more dogs.
3. The man in front of me at the sandwich van picks up a can of Cherry Coke and then realises he doesn't want Cherry Coke and swaps it for an ordinary Coke. So I have it, because I so rarely see Cherry Coke. It tastes good at 11am.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
1. Nick tells me I am brave for staying over to give him morale support when there is no bath and the toilet has to be flushed with a bucket of water.
2. I am tired and hungry and supper comes -- sausages, new potatoes and baby sweetcorn and snap peas. I am grateful and sated.
3. I like cutting up a mango for pudding because I get to suck the stone and because I get the pleasure of the sweet scent under my knife.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
2. I like seeing things that no-one has seen for years and years -- like the wall where tiles were, and the underneath of the old bath. Nick says 'Stand here' pointing to the corner where the bath's going. 'You'll never be able to do that again.'
3. At the end of the evening, we stand back and look at where we have started to paint the bathroom -- we are cutting in and doing the ceiling over where the bath will be while the bath isn't there. Amid all the chaos, it feels as if a small part of the room is complete.
Monday, August 11, 2008
1. I had forgotten that we bought croissants yesterday -- until they arrived warm and golden brown on the breakfast tray.
2. Lightly burdened with bits for the bathroom from the DIY store, we try a different route home, discover an interesting footpath and find ourselves at the gate of a nature reserve not far from my work. I promise Nick I will take him down there one day: the path goes under the railway viaduct. He rides over it every day on his way to work, but has never been made to feel small and insignificant by its towering brick arches.
3. Cleaning a wall ready for painting and seeing actual dirt coming off on the sponge.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
2. At the end of the morning when the sky is looking drizzly, we dive into an architectural salvage shop. The air smells of mortar and stone, and everywhere we turn there are wonders. Alien lichens still growing on staddle stones. Tiles glazed with deep and luminous colours. carved freizes. Mirrors and fireplaces. The ceiling is starred with stained glass lanterns and light fittings suitable for a castle.
3. The year's first sweetcorn on the supper table brings a lot of cheer to the meal, as does the bunch of dahlias in white, orange and deep red.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
2. Going through the paper and talking about the layout with Veronica. She retires today, and she trained me during my original stint at the paper. The weekly critique is comforting, like reading a children's book, or drinking warm milk. But it's a challenge, too, because you know that your work will be held up to the light. It's also enlightening, because page layout is a series of puzzles, and hearing someone else's thoughts will help me solve similar puzzles next week.
3. This week I have been paid for two bits of work I did some months ago.
Friday, August 08, 2008
2. Passing a church we catch the moment when shining butterflies of confetti hang in the air.
3. Cutting up a fat ball of mozzarella and eating it with warm figs.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
2. BBC 7 is playing The Boosh -- the radio version of the The Mighty Boosh. I play the first episode right before bed time.
3. Sitting up at my desk, long after I should have gone to bed, watching a thunder storm rolling around the sky.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
2. Seen from the street a small hand pressed against the window to help a child balance as he walks along the sofa.
3. A feeling of triumphant satisfaction at catching my train because I finished on time and walked very quickly.
Monday, August 04, 2008
2. Among all the brown and cream suburban homes, a house with russet and ruddy peg tiles and a white fretwork along its ridgepole.
3. During a Sunday evening shower, a father and two boys sit under a tree at the side of the games field. The pat their football to each other and laugh at the strangeness of the rainy world.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
1. While the lady in the paint shop mixes sample pots for us to add to the bathroom, we look through her wallpaper books. There are cries of 'Turquoise crocodile effect!' and 'I could stand there stroking this all day' and 'Toile de jouy' and 'National Geographic do a range of wallpapers'. When she brings us our tins, even though it's five minutes before closing, she shows us a whole range of ideas for our unformed plan to cover the chimney breast with the most exciting wallpaper we can afford.
2. Picking a few apples from a tree that overhangs the road from an office carpark. We are on our way to pick early blackberries for a crumble. The blackberries are rare, but they are nearly all the extra special ones that grow on the end of the bramble.
3. Nick has been unusually reticent about the educational video he plans to show me tonight -- normally I am offered a choice of three or four. He has picked a Play for Today from 1980, which he saw and loved when he was 13. He says that 'in the 80s, all television was like this'. The Flipside of Dominick Hide (spoilers) is a charming story of a time-travelling observer from 2130 who breaks the rules to land in London and look for his great-great grandfather. It's fascinating to see one-off plays for the TV -- television execs these days are convinced that they Do Not Work and Are Not Wanted by Viewers. You can deride my fear of committing to a series, and you can mock my lack of intellectual staying-power because story arcs leave me cold, but I really like one-off plays. If this policy means we don't get programmes as beautiful and as well-made as Dominick Hide, we've lost something.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
1. 'Two teas, and two toast and marmalades'.
2. I am finding it hard to get my head round the idea, but there is no need to appear busy when there is no work to do.
3. Katie comes home just before midnight, rushes upstairs and begs me to unlace her corset so she can have a pee for the first time all evening. I feel just like a heroine from a historical novel.
Friday, August 01, 2008
2. The paper is done just after 3pm, and as we have worked through lunch, it's time to go home. It seems such a strange thing to do that I have to ask if I can go.
3. I lie in the bath while Nick brushes paint samples on to the wall.