Monday, 9 January 2017

Reflections on mirrors

There is one kind mirror in my house.
It's in the bathroom
and I got it out of a skip when I was 19
and furnishing digs in Bristol with a mattress on the floor 
and bookshelves made from planks and house bricks.

That means I have been looking in it for 43 years.
I think that might be why it is kind.
I have retained a vestigial memory of how I looked then
and it reflects that image just faintly.
It may help that it is not well lit
and I do not peer too closely.

Here I am in its first bathroom with a Bizzy Lizzy
and a reluctance even then to commit my face to close scrutiny.

A strange thing has just happened.
I looked up 'vestigial memory,' to see if it was a thing,
and came immediately upon the work of an artist
who was at college with me when I took up skip surfing.
Even more strangely he is referencing Anna Freud
who I also met aged 19 and wrote about here in 2010.

The cruellest mirrors are in department store changing rooms.
You are mercilessly exposed to every possible angle
and lit from above.
Nobody should ever be lit from above.

The cruellest one of all was in the basement of Miss Selfridge.
(I was not there willingly.)
Dazed and confused by the shattering music, the flashing lights,
sudden pools of darkness and milling shoppers,
I veered clumsily between racks of clothes
looking for the exit.
A similarly disorientated woman made her way towards me.
There was an impasse. She wasn't going to step aside.
Wretched woman I thought, as I smacked into a mirrored pillar.

Friday, 6 January 2017


We've had alternate days of fine and foul.

Here's the fine.

And here's the fowl.

The House Captain would like to apologise for the marked
deterioration in the quality of this blog.
The photographer is making a valiant effort to raise the tone
 but the author has been put on warning.
Puns, to quote Dryden are
'the lowest and most grovelling kind of wit'
or as Ambrose Bierce has it,
'a form of wit to which wise men stoop and fools aspire.'

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Shredded treat

Possibly the most successful present?

The tissue paper I shredded to fill her big present box.

A late gift for me?

Discovering the Hamamelis (witch hazel) flowering at Kew Gardens.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Tall Cat pays a festive visit

We were worried because Lost Cat notices appeared 
on lamp posts in the neighbourhood
with Tall Cat's picture on them.
His name was Busby!
Impossible to think of him as Busby.

He'd been lost for several weeks they said 
and we hadn't seen hide nor hair of him.

I rang the number on the posters
 and discovered that this was a relatively new boy on the block
and  despite the uncanny resemblance,
could not be Tall Cat.

And then as if to reassure us,
there he was at the window again,
ready to come in and check out the Christmas tree.

In April of next year he will have been visiting for four years.
It's an odd relationship.
We still don't know his real name, but as Tall Cat
he has fans all over the world.
What would his owners think if they knew?

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Winter light

Whilst I loudly lament the lights going on at 3pm,
and I do seem to mind it more each year,
there is no denying that the low sun and crisp air
have brought scenes that are never possible when the sun is high
and the nights short.

Not today though.
Today it is all murk and mizzle. 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Friday, 2 December 2016

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Safely tethered

Can it really be four years since the men came to pollard the Plane trees?
But no. It isn't. 
I've checked and it seems they really are a little early.
It was April 2013.

This is why I am impervious to the cries of, 'Blogging is dead! Long live Instagram!'
My blog is my aide memoire, for a memoire that is distinctly hazy these days.
It is also a stabiliser.
A reassurance in turbulent times.
See here and anywhere here for further grounding.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sweeping up the leaves

 In London and New York.
This last one taken by my son just before his return to the UK
with this little girl.

We can't wait.