This has probably been an odd Christmas for lots of you, so I just wanted to send you all some good feelings of peace and warmth, like a hot toddy in front of a well contained fire. xx (for anyone not from UK, these are kisses, not just random ‘xx’s. It’s actually perfectly normal to put ‘xx’s at the bottom of a message, and I think you should all start doing it 🙂 )
London of the Plague
Last week the heat turned my brain to porridge and shriveled all the plants to dust. I didn’t post because I was too grumpy.
But now it’s cooler, greyer and my brain got impatient because I haven’t been on a proper adventure into London since lockdown began. So off I went.
I’ve been studying tunnels and catacombs under London recently and came across a place called Leake Street. This is a tunnel going under the platforms of Waterloo station, where graffiti is legal. It sounded like the kind of place I should know about, so I assumed I must have been there and forgotten. I was wrong.
I went today, I’ve never been before and it was ace, but a tiny bit creepy early in the morning.
You could see history in the walls. Layers of images piled up expressing rage, sadness, disgust and joy with life. Lots of current events (of course plenty of covid comment) and delight in colour and shapes.
I found this great blog showing the graffiti on the walls each day as they change – 100 Days of Leake Street.
Next week, more tunnels under London (albeit less colourful ones).
It occurred to me walking to work today, that London may never look this empty again once the virus is over, so I took a couple of photos. Although Dan reckons that London is changed forever now, the people won’t return.
‘So London will become a rotting husk? Just the occasional cyclist and confused tourist wandering about?’ I asked. He nodded.
Okey doke. We know the movies and the TV series, the plague comes and the busy city life never returns. We end up huddled around a camp fire roasting cockroaches on sticks and trying to open a tin of beans with a plastic spork. And yes, I am aware of how melodramatic I am, it doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
This is who she is!
So I posted a picture of this statue a few days ago. She was looking down on me with a withering gaze while I was squirting toxic plant juice in my eye. I was trying to work out what she was holding (it’s a kitten, definitely) and Calmgrove wondered who she actually was and if she was holding an owl (clearly not, because it’s a kitten). And now I know, she’s one of the three Graces (you can see part of the face of another one on the left.)
The number of Graces varied in different legends, but usually there were three: Aglaia (Brightness), Euphrosyne (Joyfulness), and Thalia (Bloom). They are said to be daughters of Zeus and Hera (or Eurynome, daughter of Oceanus) or of Helios and Aegle, a daughter of Zeus.
To try and work out which particular Grace this is and whether she is, in fact, holding a kitten, (I mean, she is, I’m simply being polite). I’ve had a look at a few other pictures and statues. It’s actually pretty rare for them to wear clothes, although they often have a bit of draped material.
Here’s what the Louvre museum thinks:
Eternally young and lovely, they represented charm, beauty, and human creativity, and were depicted naked, originally holding attributes such as apples, roses, and sprigs of myrtle.
From other statues they only seem interested in draping over each other and gazing into each other eyes – which is all very romantic, but not very productive for people who represent creativity. However, the Grace in my picture has defied all their expectations: she’s got dressed, clearly has bigger and more tragic things on her mind than looking pretty and she’s holding a kitten. I think this statue must represent the three Graces once they’ve grown out their frolicking about naked stage. These days Aglaia (Brightness) works in a food bank and plays the drums, Euphrosyne (Joyfulness) volunteers at Samaritans and does chainsaw sculptures, and Thalia (Bloom) is, of course, a gardener who takes in homeless kittens. Which answers all my questions.
Little bits of lives…
penetraliain – most parts of a building or temple; innermost secrets
pismirism – hoarding of small or insignificant things
There’s a tradition round my way, that when you want to get rid of furniture or bric a brac, you stick it out on the pavement. Right now you can tell people are stuck at home, because the streets are full of evidence of their clear-outs. Over the last week, I’ve seen clothes, cupboards, kids’ toys (a line of cuddly toys on the wall like they were waiting for a bus) and now cassettes. I’m not sure it’s the wisest idea with the plague going on (I wonder if they did the same in the fourteenth century), but I guess it can all be washed.
I’m releasing up to chapter 9 of Supernice today. A science fiction story of a girl and her dad trying to survive a bizarre alien invasion. It’s got dad jokes, aliens that get inside your brain to change your personality, and lots of fake smiles.
Here are some comments I’ve received so far:
“I read the first 3 pages and was hooked!!!”
“Read the first three chapters last night and loving it. Looking forward to the next three – intriguing concept.”
“I am enjoying your book a lot! It’s veryyyy engaging and I honestly cannot wait to see where you take your characters next! Making this quarantine so much more bearable.”
“I am hooked! …And I love your way with words. Brilliant.”
So maybe it’s time YOU had a read. Or not if it’s not your thing. But if you’re intrigued, it’s free, involves no obligation and no spreading of germs. The ultimate Covid19 experience!
Just contact me on petra_jacob @outlook. com (without the spaces). Let me know what format you want it in (PDF, ePub, Word etc) and I’ll send the first nine chapters.
A quick visit to tell you about foxes!
I know I haven’t been around, and I’ll explain why in a minute, but first I need to talk about the foxes!
Those who follow this blog, might remember that I have some foxes that like to sleep in my back garden, and they brought a shoe in. I left the shoe for them because I figured it might be a toy for them. Turns out it wasn’t.
A week ago I was watching the two of them sleep, curled up under the tree. Then one woke up, stretched, walked to the shoe and squatted over it for a moment and left. Ten minutes later the other did the same. With great trepidation I went out to the garden and looked in the shoe. It was filled with fox pee and one fox turd. It wasn’t a toy, it was a toilet! They brought a toilet to my garden. I disposed of it and they haven’t been back since. I have no idea what this means. Have I evicted them?
And now for a brief announcement, I’m disappearing for a while. It’s for a mix of reasons, the simplest is that I’m trying to write a book. I know I just finished the draft of one book, but now I’m working on another (I know I’m so damn productive! Superslow though 😉 ), so I need to concentrate on that for a bit. The other, less fun reason is that I’m having a resurgence of all the PTSD stuff from years ago (I wrote about this in the past, old blogs under the tags to the right). It’s not terrible (certainly nothing like it was), I’m still working, but I’m exhausted and cranky and I don’t want that bad mood to spill into my blogs and bring you all down. I’m not going forever, probably just a few months, and I’ll pop into visit your blogs occasionally to see what you’re all up to.
Please look after yourselves, keep the adventures going without me.
Oh and I went to see the moon in a church. Bet you never realised it would fit!
All bow to our new robot masters…
I quite liked turning up to work this morning and seeing the robo mower trundling about, it’s like a pet. Myself and Dan tried playing with it for a while, standing in robo-mow’s way so that it turned around. But I guess it got annoyed, because then it started charging at our feet, little blades whirring away. Mike just shouts at it like it’s a disobedient dog (‘Go on! Get back in your hutch!’) or complains about its mowing skills (‘Look! It’s cut the grass too low!’ ‘It’s wrecked those edges!’) Mateo sneers at it, (‘You fuckin’ bastard!’)
While I do like the innocent nature of the robo-mow, I’m not sure it’s going to work out as a new member of our team. It has no method to its mowing, just trundles in a straight line until it hits something, then turns at any old angle and shuffles off. Such a random method takes ages to cut all the grass. That’s fine on a small, fairly regular patch of grass, but we need it to cut one of the huge, oddly shaped lawns that continue across paths. I’m not sure it would ever finish.
My plan is to see if I can retrain it as a robot dog. I’d enjoy the company while I’m working, and if any of the residents start to give me trouble, little pooch can scare them off. Not sure how to do this though, any ideas?
Zombies again? Or something new?
Found some writing on the pavement near where I live, written in (I hope) paint.
Was wondering if this could tie into the zombie response vehicle and bone I came across a while ago. Is there something dangerous lurking out here on the edge of London? I tend to walk around listening to music, so if I need to hear them to find them, I’m probably missing them altogether. On the other hand, I’m not being fooled by the fake sounds.
Word of the day: Secretary – one who is privy to a secret
The Alley of Sinister Children
I stumbled down a back street today and found myself in a tiny road with many flowers and statues of children hanging from the balconies. Each one was dangling from a different house, so this is a small of community who got together and all agreed to decorate their homes with strung up children. At first I found it interesting, but I didn’t like the one with no hands, bit too much like a Saw movie to me. I didn’t hang around very long after that, the vibes were not reassuring.
Have an escape plan…
Having a wander, I came across this vehicle. Odd decoration, I thought. I walked around the side and found this.
Ah, a zombie outbreak response vehicle, I thought, handy. I carried on up the road and came across this huge bone just lying on the pavement, flesh all chewed away.
Luckily I’m not particularly scared of zombies, they’re very slow, they can’t be that difficult to avoid, but I know where the zombie response vehicle is if I need it.
I used to have a boss who had a phobia of the zombie apocalypse. He had escape plans worked out. Whenever he stayed in a hotel he figured out where the exits were, where he could lock himself in safely and where food could be found. We once asked him if he had a plan for our workplace, and yes, he said he would barricade himself in the staff room, grow food in the glasshouse and use the tool shed to stock up on weapons. He had it all figured out.
‘And how about the rest of us,’ we asked, ‘do we figure in this plan?’
‘No,’ he said, ‘sadly you all died in the initial attack.’
‘Right,’ we said, ‘nice to know where we stand.’
Anyone else spotted signs of an impending zombie attack? I feel like there should be other signs.