Friday, December 23, 2011

in the park with the dog ...

getting dark and starting to rain but i'm in my work boots and storm proof coat so mustn't grumble

i discover a size three plastic football ( kids soccer ) and i kick it towards a tree

it bounces off with a satisfying thump

i feel smugly self-important, ( to paraphrase lucy from ponty, more like wayne rooney than george clooney )

however, my second attempt misses by about twenty feet and i slink away furtively

but i hide the ball beneath a fallen tree trunk with the intention of regaining champions' form before the new year

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

doll smallridge

doll was my mother-in-law for a while

she was full of energy and kindness and laughter

possibly the least complicated person i ever knew

she died yesterday and i've been thinking of her all day

i feel privileged to have known her

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the lover's complaint ...

when intelligent extra-terrestrial life-forms eventually re-discover our dead planet and break open my mausoleum and reverently unlock my secret diaries, their lexicographers will ponder with some incredulity on the regularity of the compulsory hoovering in my brief and tragic existence, and they may even feel it is necessary to re-define the meaning of the word “suffering” for the ninety-ninth century

Saturday, December 17, 2011

double dyslexia

i stand on the threshold of a shop with a clear glass door

on the inside of the door they have stencilled the word PULL in block capitals, at eye level just above the door handle

i read the word in reverse, and then pull


the girl behind the counter gestures incomprehensibly

eventually the embarrassing truth dawns

the girl behind the counter says lot's of people do that

john wilkes in fetter lane

australians in the strand ... i'd welcome any interpretation of the ?allegorical? narrative

Monday, December 12, 2011

sadeler's engraving of an allegory on death, portraying his friends bartholomaeus spranger and the recently deceased frau spranger ( christina muller ), in whose home sadeler had lodged

i had wanted to know more about spranger's bizarre paintings to begin with, but something intrigued and mystified me about sadeler's technique, and then i learned that he had engraved some of durer's drawings, long after durer's lifetime, works with which i had long been familiar ... and then, just to annoy me, i spotted the name of another sadeler family member in the lower right corner of this engraving ... so i was still flummoxed, and none the wiser, for a while ... was this engraving from a drawing by spranger ?

ah, here seems to be an answer to my question ! yes ! but thanks to sadeler it seems uncharacteristic because it lacks spranger's usual extravagant mannerisms and lurid colours

Saturday, December 10, 2011

three levels of difficulty for the sleepless

quietly pouring a fizzy drink by moonlight in the darkened kitchen


counting the remnant oak leaves fluttering on the tree outside


failing to count my remnant virtues on the thumbs of one hand


eyes tight shut

Monday, December 5, 2011


Yesterday, as I waddled from a posh supermarket towards my bus stop at Clapham Junction with several heavy shopping bags, I was overtaken by a trotting girl who emerged from a phone shop and was laughing in to her mobile phone in a language that might have been Cantonese, BUT, her narrative was frequently punctuated with brilliant mimicry of a South London Jamaican lady that she’d just been arguing with about her phone contract, and she was totally convincing on all levels … vocabulary, syntax, and pronunciation.

Late this morning, in the space of one minute, driving the bright red truck past Sidlow Bridge, I saw a big old buzzard.flapping languidly from one solitary golden oak towards another that stood some way off in a big stubble field, then I disturbed a pair of sparrow hawks who rocketed away in different directions from the tangled hedgerow, and then after I’d blinked, a green woodpecker crossed the road in that swift undulating trajectory that typifies their top-heavy flight attitude.

On the way to Gatwick in near freezing conditions at five thirty this morning, the stars glittered and the space between us and them was filled with newly arriving intercontinental planes stacking and circling for their landing slots at Heathrow and Gatwick, and all their clockwork motions seemed compressed in to a smaller distance, their lights being so clear.  When the sky eventually turned orange, the silhouettes of the incoming jets at Gatwick were pure black, even the ones that were dipping and banking fifteen miles away.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

the sky ... chez micawber ... photographed whilst drinking the day's first cup of tea

somewhere to relax on the way home ... the cafe in the old ticket hall at queenstown road station

... its a great place to write, the coffee is very good and there's always another train to putney in ten or fifteen minutes

ce matin chez micawber

The Loved One only wakes when I’ve been reading and writing for two hours.  She whimpers for tea but her voice is so faint that I fail to hear it through the wall and two intervening doors.  She whimpers just slightly more loudly and so I rush to her side, ever attentive ( there’s no soccer on the radio this early on a Saturday ).  

She needs a cup of Earl Grey tea.  I point out to her the practical advantage of our both owning mobile phones.