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 🙂 )
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).
Sorry I’ve not been around for a few days, I’ll do some catching up on my blog reading in a minute. I hope you’ve all been keeping out of mischief; or in mischief, if that’s your thing. I spent the weekend finishing a draft of the book I’m writing, oh and watching the film Us it was great.
Today our robot mower was causing trouble, although that’s not so much Momo’s fault as Mike stirring up trouble because he thinks Momo is trying to take his job. Last week Mike set up the sprinkler in the bit of lawn being mowed to get Momo to explode (didn’t work), and then today he was trying to grass up (pun!) the mower to management. I over heard this conversation between a boss and Mike:
‘Look, Momo has done a terrible job,’ said Mike. ‘It’s killed that lawn. I’d be sent home if I did that.’
‘It’s fine, it looks fine,’ said the boss.
‘And it’s always sitting around, doing nothing for hours on end,’ said Mike.
‘It’s his lunchbreak, he’s allowed a break.’
‘And it keeps vaping on the job!’
Poor old Momo.
Any of you keeping track might know that I bought a new laptop a few days ago. And in many ways it is great – it doesn’t take half an hour to open Word, it doesn’t crash at the sight of WordPress and it’s not held together by elastic bands and bulldog clips.
However, there’s one small problem. When I was looking at the website, the size of the hard drive was listed as two different amounts: 1 terabyte (huge!) and 250 gigabytes (foolishly small). After reading the reviews and asking Hamoudi what he thought, we came to the conclusion that it had two hard drives and one was 250GB and the other was 1TB. We were both wrong.
So what turned up was a laptop that has only 250 GB of space, once I put photos and music on it, it was half full. So I wrote to the dealers, and said very sweetly, ‘YOU LIED TO ME’.
A nice woman wrote back asking for proof of the misleading website, which I sent, she said ‘Urrr, ok I’ll get back to you in a bit.’ I said ‘cool, btw I don’t want to return the laptop, I just want to be compensated for the external hard drive I’ll have to buy.’
Yesterday afternoon I checked my email, nothing. Then late last night the doorbell rang with a parcel for me. It was an external hard drive for 1 terabyte. No note, still no email, but exactly what I wanted. That they didn’t contact me to tell me it was coming made this an obvious shut up and go away gesture, which is fine by me, I love being paid off.
Complaining can work, my friends. Just don’t abuse it.
Word of the day: Gudgeon – a person easily cheated
“there’s no defense except all the errors made”
― Charles Bukowski, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit
Somehow, Hamoudi has now got Jinjing into the drumming. This morning they were emptying out all the kitchen cupboards trying to find makeshift maracas (rice in tupperware) drums of different sounds (buckets, saucepans and the bin) and cymbals (they hadn’t figured this one out, but mugs, metal spoons and a frying pan hanging on the wall were all possible candidates.)
This led to Neville being annoyed and slamming doors, playing his music loudly (Miley Cyrus???) and singing.
So I ran off to central London.
Wasn’t sure where I was going, but ended up at Bank, first spotting this weird doodah on top of a building. Couldn’t get any closer to work out what it is. A machine anteater? A caterpillar tank? An alien invasion happening very slowly – like Tripods, but not tripod shaped? Any ideas?
I know this doesn’t help much. But, what the fuck?
Anyway, then St Paul’s appeared.
One thing I love about London is there is no uniformity to the buildings. Shiny new chrome can be next to a dome over 1,400 years old.
St Paul’s, like many English buildings, is filled with statues of toddlers and babies, which suddenly occurred to me is a bit weird.
Especially when so many don’t look very happy.
The carvings below were especially disturbing to me, since they seem to show two winged babies being whispered to by evil ghost babies.
I know some of you (Calmgrove?) are knowledgeable about old buildings, so maybe someone can tell me a reason.
The din had calmed down by the time I got home. Hamoudi had a plan about going busking with their makeshift drum kit. I suggested they got Neville to sing with them and he was quite enthusiastic. Sorry London.
Weather: bitter winds that cut through the scowling clouds.
Mood: clearly melodramatic
Word of the day: mazy – dizzy; confused; labyrinthine; convoluted
So after hiding in my room for the last two days, I thought I should face whatever music is playing, whatever trouble is brewing. I could hear somebody in the kitchen and so I steeled myself.
It was Hamoudi listening to Joan Armatrading and shimmying about the lino while cooking soup, which is as nonthreatening as it gets. We did the usual hey-how-you-doing? and then moved onto what had happened while I was away. Well, not much. Neville went into hiding, to the extent that Hamoudi was convinced at one point he was dead.
‘Except, then I would have seen him,’ explained Hamoudi, (Hamoudi has talked about seeing dead people before, for anyone who hasn’t been following.) ‘So nothing is sorted,’ he said, and shrugged. Then I told him about the mysterious perfume smell and asked if he knew where the cat picture came from. He knew nothing.
Finally, we agreed we need to properly sit down, the four of us together, and talk it over. When Neville gets back tonight, we’ll do it. Not sure how late it will be, so I’ll probably save writing about it until tomorrow.
Anyway, this feels like a dull blog, so I’ll put up some photos from my trip.
…after canvassing for views my book is now called The Clockwork Cult. I would have dithered to eternity without your input, so a massive thank you to everyone who gave a view.
The pictures below are from Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, one of the most bizarre and beautiful churches ever built; that seemed appropriate – or maybe I’m just making excuses to post them.
Have a beautiful day everyone!
You like fish? You like coral? You know that coral is made up of lots of animals that hang around in packs, right? Well, I got some right here, go on, have a shufty.
Continuing my celebration of Monday good things…
I took this photo at work. We have a tropical butterfly event on at the moment, and I saw this one just sitting on a flower with its tongue out. I think it may have got drunk on the nectar.
And below are some pictures of the butterfly pupae after we stuck them onto canes, ready to go into the puparium to hatch. Some look like leaves in order to hide from predators. Sometimes I find the butterflies can be annoying, smelly and a bit icky; so it’s good to remember that they are also beautiful and fascinating.
Please tell me about a good thing on your Monday, no matter how small.
“You remember the hotel?”
“The haunted one.”
“Oh that. It wasn’t haunted, it just had squatters.”
“Squatters don’t howl like that.”
“Sure they do.”
“Squatters don’t make you shiver like that.”
“No, but being soaked through and standing in a derelict and draughty hotel can.” She sat up and stared at David. He was gazing into the distance with a look that would have been dramatic if it wasn’t so obviously rehearsed. “It was just a building, David. It’s fine.”
“Some places you can’t ever really come back from,” he said still staring straight ahead. She wasn’t impressed with his melodrama anymore and just assumed the faint flicker of darkness in his eyes was a trick of the light.
Photos my own