From the sublime to the ridiculous

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Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.

Hans Christian Anderson

Mood: up and down

Weather: up

Word of the day: plenilune – time of the full moon

Couldn’t sleep so took a walk as the huge, full moon was hanging at the end of my street with a quizzical expression. While pigeons waddled in the gutter and foxes walked in the shadows at my side, all of us quiet. It was the glimpse of sanity that I needed.

Since then it’s been downhill.

At 10am, Neville cooked up a batch of pork chops while lecturing cheerfully at Jinjing about women’s rights through the ages. I went into the kitchen at one point and she was glowering at him over her cereal while he remained blissfully unaware, chattering without pause.

As soon as he went out, Jinjing  put tape over her door, sparkly sellotape so she knows if anyone has been inside. Neville had left some pork chops on the side, and she threw them in the bin. I tried not to yelp, that was a lot of food.

Does that count as an act of war? Are we at war now?

 

Someone has been in my room (again?)

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Trouble is following me around, it’s keeping to the shadows, but it’s there, its long fingernails tapping against the walls.

Weather: sunny sunny sunny

Mood: wary

Word of the day: philodox – one who loves his own opinions; a dogmatic person

We were all out today. Jinjing and Hamoudi were out being sociable with friends, and I was wandering about enjoying my own company. When I got back to my room I found the shiny pink foil of a Quality Street chocolate sitting on the floor. I don’t have any Quality Street. It was over by my desk, a good ten feet from the door. Someone has been in my room, and eaten chocolate, and not left me any. I don’t know which of these events I’m more angry about.

When Jinjing and Hamoudi got home, I told them about the sweetie wrapper I found. Jinjing claimed to have found dog hairs on her duvet.

‘This is proof! Neville has been coming into our rooms.’

‘But Neville doesn’t have a dog,’ I said.

‘I’ll bet he does! Maybe that’s why he’s cooking up all that meat. For a dog. A secret dog.’

‘Not in the flat though.’

‘It doesn’t have to be in the flat. Maybe he keeps the dog in the shed. Or at a friend’s house. He has a dog.’

‘But that doesn’t explain why he’s coming into our rooms.’

‘Because he’s evil!’ said Jinjing. And I think she might be losing all reason in the search for a villain. Neville is annoying, but he isn’t evil, and I’m not convinced he’s coming into our rooms, what would be the point? Although I don’t understand about the missing ketchup and the quality street. Or how my laptop got broken. This is all getting very odd.

Mystery solved?

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The tube seat pattern

‘I guess, just be careful you don’t wear any negative shoes, or they might get lifted?’

Comment from A gorilla’s existential crisis

Well, it’s looking like the mystery of the black star has been solved. Although the answer itself may be a diversion, a trick to pacify us. Claims of Illuminati, black holes and aliens are still under consideration.

Weather: blazing!

Mood: chirpy

Word of the day: Hypogeal – underground

So the black star update:

The gorilla blogger, Matt Johnson (unusual name for a gorilla) did some searching around and came up with a theory to explain the star (for anyone who missed the beginning of this, there are stars on the ceiling of tube trains in London and NOBODY else appeared to have noticed them or knew what they were).

The website he linked to had this comment, which I didn’t read properly at the time.

And look out for the little star on the ceiling, that indicates the floor hatch for lifting Negative shoes.

Then after posting on a London underground forum, I got lead to another post, which led to some comments under an article about the underground, and this said basically the same as Matt’s research.

The blue stars are an indication of where the shoes are on the train, in case they need to be lifted. They were on all the old Victoria line trains and are on the baker loo as the trains are basically the same.

For anyone confused about negative shoes, this is the wiki description of shoes. Somebody had fun coming up with names for stuff.

Electric railways with third rails, or fourth rails, in tunnels carry collector shoes projecting laterally (sideways), or vertically, from their bogies. The contact shoe may slide on top of the third rail (top running), on the bottom (bottom running) or on the side (side running). The side running contact shoe is used against the guide bars on rubber-tired metros. A vertical contact shoe is used on ground-level power supply systems, stud contact systems and fourth rail systems.

I suspect it’s the vertical contact shoe that needs lifting and is marked by the star (which I still say is black.)

So I’m going to leave the mystery alone for now, but it won’t be forgotten. I suspect London is full of odd little mysteries, I’d like to connect some of them up. Any ideas how?

 

 

And the competition has begun!

 “Hot weather opens the skull of a city, exposing its white brain, and its heart of nerves, which sizzle like the wires inside a lightbulb. And there exudes a sour extra-human smell that makes the very stone seem flesh-alive, webbed and pulsing.”

―Truman Capote, Summer Crossing

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Weather: apparently it’s summer now

Mood: everything is great

Word of the day: Cuniculous – full of holes and tunnels; full of rabbits (not a relevant word, this one. Just great.)

Me and Dan were both wearing shorts today, so Mike declared we had now joined the competition.

‘And I’ve got a day on you, so whenever I stop wearing shorts, you have to wear them the next day too,’ he said.

‘Ok,’ said Dan, ‘it’s on!’

‘What? No it’s not,’ said I. ‘I’m just going to wear shorts until it’s cold again.’

‘No, you’ve got to be in the competition,’ said Mike.

‘I really haven’t,’ I explained. Mike looked at me sad and bewildered so I felt guilty. But not so guilty I’m going to freeze my knees for weeks on end.

When I got home Neville was in the kitchen, I wondered if I should mention the plate full of bacon STILL sitting on the counter, but he was being so cheery and nice, I didn’t want to hassle him. And I was sort of wary it would turn into a monologue about food storage, so I grabbed a bag of Doritos and hid in my room.

Annoyingly the tomato ketchup I keep in my room seems to have vanished, so I couldn’t have sauce on my crisps. Which is odd, isn’t it? How could I have lost a bottle of ketchup?

(Update on the star tomorrow!)

Snubbing of chilli con tofu

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Image from Police sketch here

What terrors lurk in nightmares? And what if they escape?

Weather: happy

Mood: sunshine

Word of the day: maw wallop – a badly cooked mess of food

This evening I decided to brave cooking. Neville had left a large plate of cooked bacon on the counter, he hadn’t even covered it. Hasn’t he heard of botulism? I started making a big pot of chilli con tofu. Jinjing came in and sniffed around, so of course I offered her some, she’s given me plenty of food over the last few weeks. I don’t think my chilli was up to her standards though.

‘What are the orange bits?’ she asked.

‘Baked beans,’ I said.

‘What are the yellow bits?’

‘Peanuts,’ I said.

‘Oh,’ she said and sat down. My chilli had been snubbed.

‘You have any more weird dreams?’ I asked.

‘Yes! The same one as before. Just this man staring in my window. He was wearing a hoody and his face was really pale, his eyes were dark. I woke up terrified and I couldn’t get back to sleep for ages. It’s definitely an omen.’

My laptop is still hanging together, for those who are concerned, although I have to keep securing the electrical tape.

More trouble?

So just how did my laptop get broken then?

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Image from here

Weather: little fluffy clouds

Mood: little fluffy brain

Word of the day: mizmaze – labyrinth; bewilderment

Jinjing and Hamoudi were in the kitchen this morning and I needed to wash up the collection of crockery that’s been building up in my room, it’s beginning to totter. Jinjing looked slightly disapprovingly as I walked in with my pile of bowls and glasses, carefully balanced in a tower, but she was half-way through telling Hamoudi about a dream she had, so I got away with it. Our kitchen is small, and we had to do some shifting around so I could get to the sink.

Jinjing’s dream sounded disturbing, she dreamt someone was staring in the window at her. Just standing outside looking in, which is bad because we’re on the first floor. I suggested the BFG, and Hamoudi got excited about this.

‘He’s great! He can tell us stories!’ Then Hamoudi asked me how I was doing and I mentioned about my laptop being broken and how I wasn’t sure how that happened. Then Jinjing said, ‘I knew it! Didn’t I say I knew it?’ Hamoudi nodded, she had said that.

‘Knew what?’ I asked, feeling out of the loop.

‘Somebody’s been in my room, and now it sounds like someone’s been in yours,’ said Jinjing. ‘I’ll bet that’s why I had that dream, it’s a warning!’

‘Why do you think someone was in your room? Was something missing?’ I asked.

‘No, but I know. I’m very sensitive to these things. I know when someone’s been in my room.’

‘Ah,’ I said.

‘I bet it’s him,’ said Jinjing in a whisper, pointing her chin towards Neville’s room. ‘He’s a creep. I mean who cooks that much meat?’ I didn’t feel this was damning evidence, so I remained vague.

What is going on in this flat though?

I mow like an idiot while Mike fights for his life

pterodactyl

Brains are awesome. I wish I had one.

Weather: sunshine and little fluffy clouds

Mood: pretty good

Word of the day: loobily – clumsily, stupidly

Today I had a huge lawn to mow with the ride on mower. I love the ride on, so much more fun than driving a car, zipping around like I’m on a quad bike. The only problem is remembering everything with my faulty brain (take the handbrake OFF). Anyway, I’d done half of the grass by break and was feeling pretty smug. I switched off the engine (and handbrake ON), and then realised I hadn’t put the blades down, so I’d cut nothing, merely squashed the grass. Tragic.

In the afternoon I got a call from Mike who was laughing so hysterically he could hardly speak.

‘I’ve been attacked by an albatross!’ he said. And made squawking sounds down the phone to demonstrate how aggressive the albatross was.

‘What?’ I said.

‘In fact it was probably a fucking eagle! It shat all down my neck!’

By the end of the day, the story had grown, and a pterodactyl, probably from a Jurassic-Park-style experiment, had tried to carry him off, then spilt napalm on him. He fought the attacker off with a pruning saw. Luckily he seems to be ok.

Let the chips fall where they may

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Picture from here

Word of the day: zyzzyva – South American weevil

Weather: patchy

Mood: a bit snippy

Barry the road sweeper came to join us over break again. Everybody but me (I was doing the washing up) left the room, which upset him.

‘None of them like me, they’re all avoiding me,’ he snarled.

‘I think they’ve just gone out to smoke,’ I lied.

‘Yeah right. You don’t know what it’s like here, everyone in this place is out to get me.’

‘Take it easy, Barry. I don’t think anyone’s out to get you, people are just doing their own thing.’

Barry walked over to the sink, he leaned in towards me and said conspiratorially,

‘I saw the helicopters earlier, you saw them?’

‘Sure, I think they were air-ambulances,’ I said, wondering why the conversation had switched.

‘Bollocks they are! They were watching me!’

‘The helicopters are watching you?’

‘Yeah, but I know what they’re up to, they won’t catch me out.’

‘Ah,’ I said.

Barry the barrowman

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“Chanu spoke loudly, he weighed his words like gold and threw them about like a fool.”
― Monica Ali

Weather: frost, sunshine, rain, sunshine, rain, cold wind.

Mood: in search of calm

Word of the day: Callithump – boisterous and noisy parade

Most of the road sweepers at my work are mellow and friendly, but Barry the barrowman (as he’s not known to his face) is a little different. Today, I was trying to read my book on my lunch break when he walked up close and screamed ‘Oi! Oi!’ in my ear. Then he began to leap about in front of me, saying ‘What you reading for babe? What you want to read for?’

The problem is that quiet upsets him, he takes it as an insult. Me reading is an affront to his dignity. He needs constant noise and attention, which is tricky because he spends all day sweeping on his own. He has hours alone to think up paranoid reasons for everything: colleagues he thinks are avoiding him. Or spying on him. Plots to oust him from his job. How everybody hates him. By the time he gets to break he’s so wound up, so desperate for attention that he shouts his way around the room, scaring everyone away.

I try to calm him down by asking about his plans for the weekend. His mood drops, he drifts into melancholy and tells me about how his kids won’t talk to him anymore. Even the one who’s earning lots of money, but won’t give him any. His emotions are a roller-coaster.

 

One of those weird coincidences?

You know that dead cat we found..?

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Weather: a monkey’s wedding

Mood: tottering along

Word of the day: Bletherskate – a garrulous talker of nonsense

We were sitting in the smoking area before work this morning, chatting about the cat’s head found earlier this week (Jessica found it in the children’s playground, the police deny foul play), and Mike said,

‘Here’s a strange coincidence, I saw a poster for a missing cat yesterday.’ Our ears pricked up.

‘Where was the poster?’ asked Jessica.

‘It was further up this street. Isn’t that weird, when we just found a cat’s head and then I see the poster?’

‘What did the cat on the poster look like?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know, it was just a cat, it looked like a cat,’ said Mike, dismissively.

‘What kind of cat? What colour was it?’ Jessica was starting to lose her temper now, imagining the poor owners of the headless cat scouring the streets.

‘I don’t know, do I? It was just a cat!’

‘What do you mean it was just a cat? What did it look like?’ we all asked.

‘Why are you shouting at me? I just thought it was an interesting coincidence, we find a cat’s head and then a poster appears for a missing cat.’

‘WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE?’

Eventually he said the poster was for a ginger cat, but the head found was a tabby. I find Mike very difficult to fathom sometimes.