Three not so little maids

and not a drop to drink

This was just too good to miss. Three women, dressed identically, sashaying along the Holloway Road last night. It almost made the three and a half hours it took to drop FirstSpawn off at his party worth while.


After all in that same amount of time we could have got to vast swathes of coastline, put our feet in the sea and quaffed a refreshing drink rather than worn ourselves ragged navigating across London without the Victoria line.

The whole of London smells of shit.

Wet cement

wet cement

What an unusual piece of graffiti. Wet cement, water still pooled in surface irregularities, the foundation of what will be a wall between the street and a generously-proportioned front garden of a large house in a genteel suburb of north London.

Who, I wonder, and why. Wikipedia tells me the second phase of the offensive began on 5 May 1968 so it’s nearly exactly 40 years ago. As well as being long ago it was also far away. There is no Vietnamese community in the area that I am aware of.

Perhaps there is some modern British signification attached to the phrase of which I am ignorant. Maybe it is a reference to recent political events in the USA.

wet cement too

Or perhaps I should just stop worrying about the words and take it at face value.

Full catastrophe blogging

Switched on the sockets yesterday and dammit, no internet. Looked at the router. The ADSL light was not on. It must, therefore, be a fault on the line. Because after all I’d only replaced the router a few months ago.

After a series of conversations with a series of representatives of a series of companies which shamefully ranged from overly patient to curt to downright rude on my part and actually taking the damn router and plugging it into F’s ADSL line I finally grasped the dreadful truth. There was nothing wrong with my line. The router was well and truly, utterly, totally fritzed.

Immediate descent into catastrophe mode. I don’t have any money. I can’t afford a new router. How much do routers cost anyway? I can’t find out because I don’t have the internet. I haven’t kept the receipt. I won’t be able to get it mended/replaced. Oh fuck-shit-bollocks disaster. Woe, alas, alack. Wail. Moan.

By the time the children came home from school I’d calmed down a bit and was able to point out, when they realised the full horror of not having all episodes of The Simpsons and South Park permanently available for immediate viewing, that I was being quite brave about the situation myself. However after series of helpful suggestions from the Spawn – “is it plugged in?” “is it switched on?” “have you checked the cables?” – I did advise them with some asperity to believe me when I said I’d tried absolutely everything possible to rectify the situation. At this point the suggestion was made by a-Spawn-who-shall-remain-numberless that I sell my one and only family treasure, a small clock, in order to buy a new router.

By this morning I was regarding lack of internet access as a form of spiritual discipline. Like a hair shirt or self flagellation. I was considering various schemes to raise money for a router and viewing the time taken to do so as a therapeutic online fast. I even began wondering whether I should cancel my broadband altogether (clear saving) and sustain online life through the free wifi at the café round the corner. But of course just as there’s no such thing as a free lunch there’s no such thing as free café wifi. There’s a password on the network now and the cheapest drink is £1.65. So that would be 12 or so trips to the café a month during its opening hours for the length of time it takes to consume, however slowly, an espresso, versus 24-hour unlimited access at home. Not such a clear saving after all, then.

Whilst sipping one of the aforementioned espresso extremely slowly and downloading e-mails for later off-line consumption I bemoaned my routeless fate to A. But far from troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries I was in fact addressing someone who had, tucked away in a drawer, a fully-working but surplus-to-requirements router. Now what are the chances of that? I mean really. With the utter crapulous fragility of your average router how many people have a spare one that actually works? And how many of them live around the corner from me?

Thus it is, dear reader, that after a vicious but expected and mercifully brief struggle with the configuring business here I am, floating along the strands of the interwebbing like a butterfly in a hothouse full of sugar bottles. But I’m a butterfly that knows how lucky it is. Unless of course I’m wrong in assuming that butterflies don’t have that level of consciousness.

One bruised petal

one bruised petal

This little flower has given me such pleasure. I picked it up from the pavement where it had been dropped, I am pretty sure, by a man who had just walked past with a huge bunch of flowers carefully tied up in paper and ribbons.

When I got home it put it in this little earthenware pot (which I also found abandoned on the street, some months ago) and it has been sitting on the kitchen table for more than a week.

You can just see, on the top petal at the back, a couple of lines of transparency in the colour where it was bruised. These are just as beautiful, I find, as the fine brush-strokes of pigment on the rest of the flower.

It was an accident

it was an accident

…the sun came out, just for a moment on this otherwise mostly flat-lit grey morning, giving a twist to the twist.

I am very lucky having the time to look as I walk each day. And at the moment I am unable to stop taking pictures. A function, I suppose, of having a small camera about my person rather than failing to cart round the weight of the big one.

knot a hole

It’s not a camera I would ever have chosen for myself but having ended up with it (another accident) I’m learning that what I think I want or don’t want isn’t necessarily the best guide to the best fun.


Metal and wood are what I saw on my walk today. Such a short distance, so many lines and curves, so much beauty.

broken hearted

The rest (what, there are more? oh yes, discrimination has never been my strong point) can be seen here.

Coils and thorns

bramble and bindweed

Such a delicate determination to life. The sinuous embrace, the needled defence. I once saw a bindweed which had slowly, inexorably, thrown coils around one of its own flowers and strangled it.

Last night I dreamt I was going to die. Not in some vague future but specifically within a day or so. I was somewhere waiting, prepared, terminally ill I supposed. When I woke, in the dream, not yet dead but in a shroud-like garment, it was as though I had been slightly cheated. Another day of waiting.

Not a frightening dream, but definitely troubling.