Saturday, July 30, 2011

the york house water gate

sorry, i don't know anything about the painting

yet another visit to the leonardo cartoon prompts a minor brainstorm ...

i've probably sat in front of this drawing forty times in forty years but usually with less than full concentration

today i consciously searched the picture for fresh details and allowed my attention to spend some time in the lower "incomplete" part of the drawing

leonardo has been quoted as saying  something like "art is never finished, only abandoned"

ho hum !  i'm not sure if the suggestion i'm about to make can be taken seriously ... i have no scholarly axe to grind because i am not a scholar, i don't have the mental strength to do serious research and juggle other people's ideas ... but i want to ask, are the ladies' feet cooling in a stream of water ?

someone may have suggested this before but how would i know ? ... and if they are cooling their toes, then how would roman catholics have interpreted the image six hundred ( correction: WHOOPS ! ONLY FIVE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN ... ) years ago ?  your scholarly answers on a postcard, toot sweet, please ?

the mystery subject is ...

... old father thames turned upside down

Thursday, July 28, 2011

As Hercules used to say, "Mustn't grumble !"

But what if The State were to print little books of National Moaning Tokens ?  Their use could serve both to legitimize grumbling and to limit it at the same time.  There could even be randomly distributed Golden Grumble tokens, entitling the lucky finders to a few extra minutes of indulgence in The National Vice.  ( I only mention this because our sales people, the ones who get the commission, have asked me to deliver a ton of butter to a smart country restaurant tomorrow and they expect me to unload all one hundred 10 kilo cartons by hand. )

Entering Reigate from Redhill, the large plate glass window of a smart hairdresser’s shop is covered by a patchwork of sheets of A4 paper proclaiming an irresistable offer of “60% OFF LASH EXTENSIONS”.  Blinking instinctively, I reach for my credit card.

On sunny Lavender Hill, I draw the truck alongside a red double decker bus whilst we wait for the traffic lights and then just at that moment when we slip off the handbrake and engage gear again, a girl in a white dress with a very pretty smile cycles slowly through the diminishing gap between us with a pocket AtoZ atlas raised directly in front of her face, about seven inches from her nose. Perhaps she mislaid her spectacles upon the psychiatrist’s couch.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

southwark ... the golden hind, the cathedral, and the borough market

i woke up at my usual work time so i used my wonderful freedom pass to cross the city before sunrise ... this was early on saturday whilst it was still friday evening in los angeles, hence the friday byeline at the top of the page

Thursday, July 21, 2011

3BT, 21st July 2011

About an hour after a wet grey dawn the clouds began to fragment and then a dozen silver sunbeams formed an inverted fan in to which the relatively tiny smudged shape of a distant jumbo jet descended and slowly turned. I had forgot how big the sky.

Later, in the Sussex Weald, I drove the truck quite slowly up a steep lane through a darkly shaded tunnel of trees and far away at the top of the slope there gleamed an oval patch of brilliant green, too bright at that distance for me to know if it was field or foliage … and in that second, two very tall and long-legged thoroughbred horses pranced into the pool of light with their riders.

At day’s end, the lumpy grey clouds re-arranged themselves around the setting sun and caught fire, as if Tiepolo and Turner had taken sides in some kind of Heavenly Paint Wars. This would be the ideal setting for an allegorical painting featuring the apotheosis of all of my favourite bloggers, tinted with a glowing distillation of all their many shades of sweetness and laughter. I’m not sure if they would prefer to be dressed in skimpy arrangements of fur and feathers, or seamless raiments. Fight amongst yourselves, friends.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

3BT 19th July 2011

A grey silhouette, the statue of a soldier on a Great War memorial seems to glance sideways across Streatham Common through the early mist towards Flanders.

In the early sunlight of the same misty morning, the miles of grey razor wire curled all along the dewdropped netting of the airport perimeter have sunlit cobwebs in every loop.

The loved one returns from her brief exile in the Isle of Wight, cleans the bath, and later serves a perfect supper … a glass of prosecco next to a dish of pasta cooked with fennel and garlic, raisins and sardines “al limone”.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

i just heard from his wife donna, that tony stimpson, that human fountain of laughter and kindness, has slipped away from us to go twinkle again amongst the stars ... so long, dear dear friend, i had been missing you already

No man is an island, 
Entire of itself. 
Each is a piece of the continent, 
A part of the main. 
If a clod be washed away by the sea, 
Europe is the less. 
As well as if a promontory were. 
As well as if a manor of thine own 
Or of thine friend's were. 
Each man's death diminishes me, 
For I am involved in mankind. 
Therefore, send not to know 
For whom the bell tolls, 
It tolls for thee.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

found at last ...

in a book stall at salehurst church ... marvelously musty but at an affordable price, nearly thirty years since first admiring the contents ... and having just found it, i then fell off the tiny wobbly seat in the bookstall, grazing my knuckles, banging my pelvis ( ischium ) on the sharp edge of a stone step, twisting the knee that had surgery two years ago, and whacking the side of my skull on a stone pillar ... my common expletive roared out and is probably still echoing around .. but ... mustn't grumble !

how the church accumulates land and capital ... two thousand years on, latifundia still rears its ugly head in spain

Monday, July 11, 2011


Paul, a real Old Kent Road type with no inhibitions, and I, are standing in the yard with our trucks at dawn, wearing our new high-visibility jackets.  A jumbo jet approaches from the south, over Brixton Prison, when it should be approaching from the east.  We call out and wave our arms.  Catching sight of us, the pilot executes a steep turn, just in time to line up with the runway at Heathrow.  Job done !

Two old customers, big hotels sadly missed for the last year or two, begin to order from us once more.  Especially cheering because each has a charming, intelligent, personable individual doing the “goods in” job.

New potatoes, boiled in their skins, then chilled and smothered in garlic mayonnaise.  Enough calories for me to run a marathon, were I so inclined.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


A flock of light brown sparrows chaotically zig-zagging across a light brown field of wheat that is bending and waving before a hot southern wind.

Looking up to the first pink clouds at dawn in Brixton and seeing the swifts are already flying high.

Entering the darkened kitchen after nightfall to wash the dishes and having my eyeballs unexpectedly tickled by the silent shimmer of a distant firework display.

hungry ? ... angela lansbury catering in the days before red tape was invented ... brush up on your spanish at the same time

a rare bargain from oxfam in reigate, a charity book shop where the working classes can no longer expect to find a bargain