Friday, 16 August 2019


I saw some one offered a free non disposable canvas bag . I was behind him in the queue and when he was asked " what colour ?" he said " it did not matter"  .

I was shocked . How can you have no preference ?

It's the same as people who live in beige clothes and look beige themselves .
 Few people want to look like Coco the clown but to not delight in colour in some way is inexplicable to me .

 I have always been excited by colour :

  • Opening a new paint box .

  • Huge old fashioned apothecary bottles full of brightly coloured water in chemist shop windows .

  • Old Christmas tree baubles from the fifties or earlier . 

  • Old fashioned Spangles that had waxed wrappers that thrillingly included purple and white stripes , yellow and white stripes , dark emerald and white stripes ....

  • Expensive balloons in beautiful colours ( not those horrid foil ones )

  • bottles of ink .

  • The colours of stained glass the sun throws onto plain church floors .

  • Trays of embroidery thread all graded by shade . A draw in the cabinet for each colour .

  • Semi precious stones that are lemon yellow , blood red , kingfisher , lime green .

  • Coloured foil on Easter eggs .

  • Reels of ribbon .

  • Unexpected fairy light colours .

  • Brush pens in lines of colour that include mint , leaf green , mustard , dark storm blue and cerise . 

I hope it is common for people to revel in such every day joy .

Friday, 2 August 2019

Beat .

We went for a drink with a cousin of mind last night . His ailments are various and the people he disapproves of are many . I think we may excuse ourselves from further joy !

Anyway woke this morning feeling despondent about life and old , very old .

So the saxophonist being the best physician there is said " lets go to London ".

So I put on a new dress and some scent and we went .

Round to the little independent publishers I love . Price had gone up but I bought six gems anyway , across to the artists colourment shop and on to eat chinese at leisure and in the cool .
On to one of my favourite shops .
 Black silky slip dress in the sale and new season soft moss hoodie to sling nonchalant over the top . ( I will wear it with this seasons girlie socks and stacks .)

Out to sit in the shade and sip water .

Along from us was a street performer . A young woman with wild brown hair and a full drum kit . She had speakers and a backing tape . Think drum and base ( a la Jumping Jack Frost .)

Interesting to watch . The men treated her like any other street performer .
The women , though , that was  different .

She was very good ( and technically good the saxophonist said ).

There were two types of women and in each group were old and young , wealthy and not so much .

One group tightened their lips , pulled their cardigans across them and walked away .

The other group ( and very diverse they were ) moved to the rhythm , smiled back at her , clapped and gave her money . In some cases a five pound note .
Stately Japanese lady in a straw hat , blond American , two ladies in saris , two little girls and their mum  with dread locks .

Summer in the city , exuberant and loud wild music that said . " I love drumming and I'm good at it , I love being a woman and I 'm good at it ".

Didn't have to decide which camp I was in just knew I did not feel old any more .

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Was that a pigeon ?

The bus swoops down green lanes like a swift .

Its not that swift though as it detours to various villages on the way .
It's been a revelation this temporary bus / train travel .
The conversations you hear .
Plus I  thought the twice weekly trip out of the village to shop was over . I had sort of assumed that people were not so anchored in the village for most of the week as they always used to be . By no means is this true .

We went to see some Eric Ravilious , eat a brunch , buy a few treats in the second hand book shop . A stroll round the market and then onto the sequestered garden .

A maze , scented old roses , some Victorian hot houses and lots of hidden green corners with benches .

We sit on a bench drinking icy , very lemony lemonade .We look at our book finds . I read out a good bit and am stopped in my tracks .

Somebody lets out a loud raucous fart . The saxophonist and I raise our eyebrows at one another in surprise .
Then the saxophonist says " was that a pigeon ?

I reflect that unlikely remarks are not restricted to random bus passengers .

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Contrast .

Having had enough of snails , slugs and hard slog , for a little while at least , we went to London today .
I bought two new dresses .
Black ,  since you ask and two pairs  of roman style sandals .

 Later coffee , cold water and cigarettes in the shady garden of the coffee shop beside St James , Piccadilly . There is a fountain there with two stone cherubs throwing water at one another . Sensible plan in the heat .

I'm going to pair the dresses and sandals with a slick of lipstick and a squirt of scent and sass  a bit .
How do people cope without contrasts in their lives I wonder .

Monday, 8 July 2019

Of high heels and manure .

I realise from my New York friend that allotments are not universal .

An allotment site is usually owned by the local authority . It is divided into plots . These plots are rented by the year to local individuals . They are to grow fruit and / or vegetables or keep bees or chickens on .

It is a very old fashioned system . The plots are measured in "rods" . Either 5 or 10 rod per person . A rod is a medieval measurement . It is the distance from the front of the oxen to the ploughman at the back of the plough .

In the second world war they were a valuable food source and many people took one on and became part of the " dig for victory " campaign . Various people in my family have had allotments . They are part of our history .

I imagine one or two of them were looking down today when I was at the plot . I had yet another shopping trolley full of carpet and bricks and tools .

They will be sitting in a celestial bar somewhere , helpless with laughter at the high heels and lipstick girl in dirty dungarees discussing the merits of various manures and what is the superior shit .

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Sex and the shopping trolley .

A bit of lateral thinking .
I needed to smother about half a tennis court's worth of weeds at the plot .

I got a large shopping trolley from the nearest supermarket and pushed it to the local carpet shop . I assumed that they took the " old " carpet away when they fitted a new one .
They did and had to pay someone to take the old ones  .

I and the saxophonist filled the trolley with rolls of carpet and pushed it all the way to the plot .

We rolled the carpets out and anchored them with bricks . This leaves a smaller piece to plant for now .

Pushing the laden trolley down kerbs , up hills and then across the grass , especially in the full sun ,  is not for the feint hearted .

We took turns and I watched  the saxophonist force the trolley across the grass  .
I thought  "I love you in my bed but this is also an act of love and I am a lucky woman ."

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Vinegar and a golden key .

It has been over a month since I applied for an allotment .
 The town clerk dealing with same is legendary for her vinegar at best and her venom at worst . She has not just moved the goal posts she has chopped them up and set light to them .

I am no good at being patient when I have an idea I want to come to fruition . I knew that a response of any warmth would give her the reason to put me off till after Christmas .

As far as she knew I had lost interest and walked off .
This did the trick .
Today at the breakfast table there was a fat envelope next to my place . When I opened it there was a sheath of papers and from these fell a small brown sealed " pay packet "envelope . I left the paperwork and gingerly opened the envelope  .

Out fell a fat gold key and yes , it did glint in the sunlight .

In the cool of the early evening we slowly walked the long green corridor between the two gates roofed with beach leaves and the squawk of starlings .
I put the key in the lock of the second huge gate . I turned it very slowly ,  savouring the moment .
The gate gave a satisfying clank .

 Serenity seems to seep out of the soil . It felt like another country . Along the little paths , here sweetcorn , there two hives and their buzzing bees , here fat pods of peas and there a coop with two clucking chickens  .

And here's the plot . Rhubarb , raspberries , strawberries and blackberry bushes . A table and chairs all wrought with bind weed .

There's so much to do . Rough grass , bind weed  and thistles too . I am half in love with it already .

Then , unbidden a man emerges from the plot next door . I tell him bout my plan to smother the weeds and he offers a tarpaulin and an old carpet from home .

Another toy figure is across the site . He approaches and turns into another ( full sized ) plot holder . We stand in the sun and chat .

I go back to my plot . The first man is going home . As he goes he calls over " don't worry , it will be fine , mine looked like that to start with  ."

In this short visit I have made two more human connections . I have walked land I can call my own .
I have stood tall in all the burgeoning green rows smiling at the saxophonist . It is sunny and I am now the proud inheritor of two wheel barrows and a shed .

I know that this is going to be a summer of bramble thorns tattooing my body  .
 I know that my legs will be like lead from the digging  .

But there are times when you just know you are in the right place - and I am .