Friday 23 July 2010

Queue here for an autograph/The Long Way Round/Home alone

This is the first photo I have ever sold commercially - the Moscow underground. It may not be a work of art, but it will be a double page spread in the next issue of Railway Terminal World. Don't snigger. I realise that this is fodder for 'Have I got news for you', but I'm pleased nonetheless. Please pat me on the back...I may yet become the new David Bailley.

Last night I felt like Moses...sort of - you'll have to work with me on this one. I left the office at normal time in brilliant sun and heat...the English summer is lasting more than its traditional single day...but having been warned by The Cat that there was a downpour at home. I dressed in my waterproofs as I sat astride my motorbike, and everyone gave me the strangest of looks. It remained perfectly dry and sunny until I left the A12 where I could see it had been raining but was pretty much dry now. As I rode along, the roads gradually got damper and damper - looking up I could see the blackest of rain clouds in the sky ahead...but they kept retreating. By the time I got to The Castle at Woodford Green, the roads were flooded and water was bubbling up from the drains, further down the hill the water was several inches deep. As I headed down the hill from Buckhurst Hill to Loughton, there was literally a three foot fountain of water coming out of one drain. I took the back roads, the long way round, in Loughton as the High Street had come to a grinding halt. But having weaved my way through yet another traffic jam, my path was nearly blocked by a flood...I decided to ride through it: revs high, keeping steady. The water come up to and over my boots! I made it through, and feel I may be ready for some off-roading now...but I didn't get rained on at all, as the clouds and rain just kept retreating before me.

I hadn't really appreciated until this week what an enormous presence The Boy is. Naturally it's quieter when he's not around, but I'm used to that. But he returned from Army camp on Monday with the force of a hurricane, causing noise, disruption and chaos in the few hours before he disappeared off on his German exchange. He didn't stop talking from the moment I saw him until the moment he left again at 5.15 in the morning. He hugged me goodbye in front of all his brave is that for a fifteen year-old boy? It was exhausting, exhilarating, and all-consuming. He seems to have captured the essence of life and just exudes a presence and charisma that's quite astonishing and overwhelming. So his current absence is unusually difficult.

Today The Cat and The Cat's Mum have gone off to New York for a week...they used to live in the US, so will be catching up with old friends, old pastures.

I'm left behind, working in the office as usual.

It'll be a quiet week indeed.

I'm not used to being home alone any more.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

It's must be....

...Tara's photogallery time I hear you chime. Well yes, you're right it is. But no, not this week for me...this week people are selecting an image which represents a book they've read and love. And I read plenty of books, and mostly love them all...and even if I don't I still plough on 'til the end. I'd lined something up...I went through a period of taking pictures of lots of numbers..on buildings, in the streets,on vehicles and so on...the idea was to create a 'book of numbers' as a fun way of introducing kids to erm numbers. I thought some of these would be good to illustrate a blog piece for Tara about a book I once read called The Book of was brilliant and about life in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. (Of course, the two things are not related in any way, but ho hum.) But the thing is, I can't remember the author. I'm not so good on things like that which is a severe drawback in my profession. I had meant to go home (the empty one) and find it, but I arrived back from the office without my keys, so missed my chance.

Instead, here's a book that I'd like to read. I saw it down the trendiest street in London, and it amused. You can always judge a book by its cover I say....

Monday 19 July 2010

Unwelcome visitors

We had to shut all the windows in the office today. And that wasn't much fun as the sun shines inthrough the glass walls on three sides and turns our space into an oven. Nasty. But the alternative was to be overwhelmed by flying ants. When I went out to forage for food at lunchtime, there were flying ants everywhere. It was difficult to walk and talk without swallowing them, and that's just not nice. Bermondsey street was alive with these wretched creepies. And when I returned to the office they were threatening to make themselves unwelcome visitors at my desk. I insist on appointments. So the windows were shut and I perspired. It's good for weight loss.

We had them in Buckhurst Hill once...they came up through the floor boards and sat themselves on the sofa. I didn't offer them tea, just a doss and a half of fly killer. They never came back, but the Dyson took a long time to pick them up.

The Boy on the other hand has returned and a most welcome return it was. On the other hand, his wallet and £40 spending money has has not. Lost somewhere on exercises on Salisbury Plain. It's an expensive lesson for which he deserved to be firmly told off; except I', likely to do the same thing so I'd hate the phrase 'hoisted by your own petard' to come into play. He's off at 5.00am to go and visit his German Exchange friend, so I'll get to see sunrise. Marvellous.

Another welcome return was Penn and Teller, the illusionists/magicians who used to dominate our small screens 15 or 20 years ago. We saw them in Hammersmith and very good they were. Hardly aged at all. It was slightly easier to see how they did their tricks this time round in Hammersmith, but still a lot of fun.

Not so welcome was Roxy Music on Jonathan Ross on friday. We went off JR some years ago, but it was his last show, so it had to be seen. Poor old Mr Ferry seems to have lost his singing ability, which is a real shame. Still it'll save me a few quid on concert tickets.

At the start of last week, we had visitors. From the States. They were lovely, and we treated them to Oliver! After our weekend in Spain I struggled to stay awake, but I was surprised to realise that even after a gap of 35 years, I knew all the words to all the songs.....