Saturday, March 31, 2012

companions collecting Waste Land

Two plump pigeons in Bray the small village  on The Thames in Berkshire which is home to two of the four three  Michelin star restaurants in the UK.

In The Grove two crows are collecting twigs for their nest, or at least one is.  A couple of years ago I noticed the same thing-  a piece of sexual stereotyping I suppose. One is picking up twigs while the other looks on. I cannot tell a female from a male crow, but it  goes without saying that the female is working while the male is watching.

T S Eliot's Waste Land is on the radio this afternoon. It was first published in 1922 and should by the time I was at school in the late 1940s have been recognised as a significant work of literature defining the first half of the 20th Century alongside James Joyce's Ulysses. I have  read and reread the poem many times since. But looking back it strikes me as odd that neither Eliot nor Joyce was ever mentioned in English lessons at school. I discovered both because boys of my own age or slightly older recommended them. Eyebrows I can remember were even raised when I requested Ulysses as one of my prize books in my last year. By then, I was reading Eliot on my own, unguided by teachers. I still have the Penguin edition of Eliot's Selected Poems with its distinctive blue and white cover. It is falling to pieces and my pencil notes alongside The Waste Land are beginning to fade but still show references to Jessie Weston's From Ritual to Romance, The Books of Ezekiel and Ecclesiastes, Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, Tarot cards and Beaudelaire, Andrew Marvel and Webster's White Devil and of course to the Sanskrit conclusion  Datta. Dayadhvam  Shantihhvam . Damyata.  Shantih shatnih  shantih.  What surprises me this afternoon is how accessible the poem has become a lifetime later, how much a part of the world I now live in,  and how obscure and inaccessible  and dazzlingly modern it seemed then.

Friday, March 30, 2012

swans netted lollo rosso

Line astern at Groombridge.

Last year pigeons devoured the young pea plants almost as I set them out. Every morning when I raise the blind I watch two pigeons which sit on the parapet of the roof opposite. I wonder if they are the culprits. I enjoy watching them looking down and moving their heads from side to side as if indicating a negative when really  they are looking to see what is happening below. Now I no longer resent their presence. My new pea plants sit safely under a net.

A  packet of seed comes through the letter box from a neighbour. The seed, from the Royal Horticultural Society,  is the Italian salad,  lollo rosso - could be a film star. It is  a very thin packet. But in keeping with my new resolution to sow thinly and where possible in trays for transplanting, I manage to fill a  tray composed of small plug sized compartments with the fine pale seeds.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

open retired onions

This year's daffodils at Groombridge Place.

At the Compasses R complains about being retired. "I hate it," he says.  I ask him what he did before retirement. "Among other things I did" he says, " was own a couple of betting shops." I 'm good with numbers. I can remember playing cards. I'd win lots of money playing brag. Once I won £5 000, because I could remember other people's cards. They came and asked me how I had cheated. 'Give us the money back', they said. ' I won it fairly' I said. 'Give it back,' they said - and they had one of those automatic nailing machines. They put it against my leg . 'If you don't we'll nail your legs to the pavement' I gave it back. I never played cards again.

Today a wonderful parcel arrives from France. It contains onion sets from Brittany. They are the Oignons Rosée from Roscoff, which have their own appellation controlée. They are a present from Lucy Kempton and a reminder that about 5 or is it 6 years ago I wrote in this blog about Roscoff onions which Sainsbury's happened to be selling at  the time. Very special onions in their own right, they are. But especially special as Lucy, whom I didn't know at the time had discovered while researching them for her blog, and they served as the foundation of a special friendship. They were  as it happened her local onions. She's that sort of girl.  She knows her onions.  She wrote to tell me more about them. Since then we have worked together on several projects including Handbook for Explorers  the book with my sonnets and her photographs, which she has just published on Blurb. Tomorrow I will plant the sets in my vegetable garden.  Here in Tunbridge Wells they may be called rosé but the Appellation Controlée rules strictly speaking forbid me to call them Rosé de Roscoff.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

goose pimientos pump

At this time of year we invariably get the bus to Groombridge to look at the daffodils (more of them soon) in front of Groombridge Place. On the way  geese are grazing or swimming in the lake. Similar photographs every year, but always a pleasure to spot their eager eyes.

Among the tapas at the tapas bar called Sopranos in The High Street we eat pimientos de Padron. These small green peppers are usually served grilled and  are full of flavour.  As a rule they are not hot, but part of the fun is to come across the occasional exception, which is a bit like a mild chili. They are one of the many good things from Spain which are not widely known over. The taste revives memories of a bar in Galicia and later one in Madrid. Flavours and places are often inseparable.

Heavy rain which floods which recently began to flood our larder are no longer to be dreaded. Dom, my son in law, came yesterday bringing tools, a pump and some tubing. There is now a sump in the concrete  floor of the larder where,  when it rains, the water level will  now trigger the pump and remove the water to a drain outside the kitchen.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

wired drinking dry

Posted by PicasaComposition.

In the very small shop which provides a sewing and repair service there is barely room for three  people. I am waiting  for a pair of trousers which have been repaired. A large girl enters (or so she seems on account of the limited space); and then another even larger (or so she seems on account of the limited space). The first one greets the newcomer: "How are you?" Terrible. You know I've given up drinking. I saw that girl on Big Brother. So I thought I've give up. Terrible. I can't sleep; I've had a cold." "Perhaps," says her friend, "you would have caught a cold anyway." They are both shouting (Or so it seems because of the limited space). I make my way out of the shop, opening the door with difficulty. Outside everything seems quiet, even the traffic thundering past.

In the convenience store the owner says to me apropos of two young men who come in and leave. "Did you know?" he says, "If you are a registered alcoholic, they give you money for drink." Of such statements are myths made and  even  history written. Of course, he may be right. I haven't checked.

Monday, March 26, 2012

drying out herbs whizzing

Posted by Picasa One old timer spots another.

In today's warm sunshine I watch herbs that have died down in  winter peering out of the earth ready for another season. Survivors all. Today French tarragon, not the coarser, more prolific Russian variety, and the celery- like lovage are discernible for the first time. The wormwood never entirely disappeared  during the winter while Angelica introduced into the herb bed last year, has been in evidence for a few days. Chives are sprouting everywhere and various mints are beginning to show. Welsh onions, sometimes known as perpetual onions,  are sprouting like green flames.

Behind me as I walk down Mount Sion I hear a metallic  roaring sound. It is young man in a hooded jacket  whizzing down hill in the middle of the road, swinging from side to side like a skier. He is travelling as fast as a car and lucky not to encounter one on its way up in front or on his way down behind him.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

no proper philosophy

Posted by Picasa Definitely not.

A notice outside The Compasses proclaims its qualities - log fires, guest beers, home cooked roasts... It concludes with the aspirational   phrase  "A proper local pub". A risky claim  at a time when the nature of pubs has changed beyond recognition, to say nothing of so many closing for ever. This one belongs to the successful  Greene King chain, which may explain why it has survived.  But a proper pub? Not so long ago a proper pub smelled of beer and cigarettes; and children under the age of 18 were banned from the premises. This one swarms with children brought by their parents who are attracted by inexpensive meals, children's menus and space for push chairs. Cigarettes: perish the thought. It is difficult  to object of course. Cultures change. But a proper pub?

From the far side of  the fence child's voice reaches my ears: "Mummy, if you pick flowers will they die?" Mummy is occupied with another child or perhaps with Daddy. So the question has to be repeated even more loudly. I listen as the voices continue down  the hill, but in vain. I too long for an answer. Because for the life of me I don't really know.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

smoke funny structure

Posted by Picasa Pause for a smoke. Paws for break.

Sometime a particular piece of music can inspire laughter because of the contrast it makes with its environment. Usually when I walk through the  garage on my way to the vegetable garden on the days when the gardener is working on the main garden, there is pop music on Radio 2. Paul, the gardener tends to keep the radio on even when he is working out of earshot. Today what do I hear but The Blue Danube issuing forth among petrol smells? He seems to have acquired an MP3 player or tape deck. For some reason  the anomaly  of the sugared waltz tune makes me laugh, or perhaps it the music of a remote place and different time with its images of flying skirts and men in tails with arched backs and thin moustaches.

People are being asked by The Manchester Museum of Science to grow sunflowers to mark the birth of the great  mathematician Alan Turing. The idea is to take further the research he began but never finished into the structure of the flowers. Like many other flowers the numbers and arrangement of seed and petals seem invariably  to be Fibonacci numbers ie they follow the sequence 1, 3, 5, 8, 13 ... where the next number in a sequence is the sum of the  two previous numbers. It is suggested that the structure apart from illustrating a strictly mathematical sequence provides the flower with optimum strength to support its seeds and petals.

Friday, March 23, 2012

face lamb humour

Posted by Picasa In pursuit of abstraction this is the frame for one of those triangular roadside warning signs for traffic, often ballasted by a sandbag. One difficulty with the abstract is to avoid unintentional circles which could be eyes. These circles are intentional however. There is, and there is intended to be, a fleeting reference in the composition to a human face.

In the oven is a shoulder of South Down lamb slowly cooking and seasoned with the Moroccan blend of spices called harisa. It will stand happily should our visitor be late.

On the bus a woman, apropos of something I can't catch because I am getting off, I hear a woman say to the driver "You can't buy a sense of humour."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

two years on catkins nice

Posted by Picasa A couple of years ago I photographed the same peeling wall and  the remains of  an advertisement beneath one layer of plaster. This photograph differs only in the extent of the peeling process which must have occurred  in the interim

On the train to Hastings you realise that it is pussy willow day. The furry catkins seen from  the window glow in the sun, silvery green spheres, hazy at the edges.  You only notice the slanting green rain of  long, thin hazel catkins as your eyes adjust.

"You look so nice drinking your wine in the sun," says an elderly lady hugging a cushion as she passes. We are outside our favourite restaurant on the front at St Leonard's  for the first time this year. "I just had to tell you," she says as she walks on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

exits shred train

Posted by Picasa Buildings must exhale as well as absorb  the breath of human needs.

Standing at the bar of  The Crown at Groombridge Heidi  brushes bits of hedge off the back of my jacket. They are leaves from the hedge against which we must press ourselves to avoid being carried off the narrow pavement by the bus  from which we have alighted and which is just departing. "You've missed one or two," says a man sitting at the bar with his wife. "Take no notice," says the wife; he's rude." We laugh. It's just the sort of observation I might have made.  "Just joking," says the man. "You have the same sense of humour as me," I say. "Have a nice day," says the man as we take our drinks outside.

In Mountfield Road there is a tall camellia with bright red blossoms in bloom at this time of year. Petals fall at its feet and spread across the road like the train of a scarlet dress.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

footpath vanilla cat

Posted by Picasa The man in the footpath sign is in a hurry. The footpath in question leads to the station. He mustn't miss the train.

Some  naturally  perfumed  soap from Crete arrived in our house at Christmas. It is transparent and contains pieces of  the herbs, leaves and  spices whereby it transmits its scent. One of the soaps contains pine needles and smells like a sloping, tree-clad hillside above the Mediterranean.  Another one contains vanilla of which our bathroom now persistently smells. At first  it reminds me of custard, a fragrance which I am a little embarrassed to carry on my person. But gradually as I recall that vanilla is in fact the cured pod of a vine called vanilla plantifolia rather than just an ingredient of sweet food, I feel reconciled to its lingering sensuality.

Coming towards me in Calverley Ground this after afternoon is a plump and rather stately tabby cat. It is accompanies by a tall old lady. At least I think they are together. As we pass, she smiles at me, "He's exploring," she says. Do you take your cat for a walk?" I say. "I live in the cul de sac  here," she says but sometimes the cars come along a bit fast." "Does he respond when you call?" "No, " she says. "Unless there is food involved." That's cat all over.

Monday, March 19, 2012

mane digger gifts

Posted by Picasa As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies making mane..."

In the deserted garden next to the garden where I grow vegetables a digger appears. "It's almost human," I think to myself, "the way way it groans and hums as it goes about its business, articulating its arm and rocking to and fro.  It seems to be knocking down spurious walls at the moment. It raises its bucket to full height and brings it thumping down to shatter what is beneath it. It is like someone having a tantrum.

Next door to The Crown at Groombridge there is a shop which specialises in  arranged flowers and gifts.  it is called The Black and White Shop. "We're just clearing up after yesterday," says the owner who is unloading stuff from her van. "We're not open today; we're clearing up after yesterday." Yesterday? Of course. Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday. Why black and white? I forget to ask.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

work secure dads

Posted by Picasa From a "road works ahead" roadside warning. Removed from the red triangle surrounding him the man with a shovel has a new vigour even though his image could do with a scrub.

It is sad that bicycles left leaning against a fence or a wall now have to be chained up and locked because of the  inevitability of their being stolen. Leave a bike unlocked and you can't blame anyone who nicks it seems to be a principle accepted by custom and practise.  In fact  by leaving your bike unfettered you are to blame for putting temptation in  the way of otherwise honest people. Today I watch a man, without the usual chain and padlock, tie his bicycle to a post with a  plastic bag wound into a sort of rope. It takes him some time to secure a knot which I suppose means that a would-be thief would take as long to undo it.

Two young men walking line astern with babies in push chairs should not occasion comment. But I can't help noticing that the pubs are about to open. Perhaps that is why they are walking so fast.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

rooftop fish habit

Posted by PicasaRoof top confrontation.

At the Pantiles farmers' market an old couple are ahead of me in the queue. They are very old. The old lady is frail as a leaf. They buy freely and enthuse about the display. "I love fish," says the old lady and her face lights up with the declaration. She is apologising for taking so long.  She has a slight French accent.

"You are walking on the wrong side of the road"" says a neighbour who lives on the opposite side of the road from me. I wonder if he is being territorial. Or is he a man so rooted in habit that he cannot believe that anyone would want to walk on different sides of the road on different days or at different times? I incline towards the latter explanation, but  give some thought to the oddness that encroaching age brings to our preferences. "He is very set in his ways," is an observation you often hear as a reason for compulsive behaviour of one sort or another. It is an excuse I am beginning to understand  and an attitude I am increasingly ready to forgive in others. Even, I have to admit, in myself.

Friday, March 16, 2012

blackbird coterie squirrel

Posted by Picasa Suspicion  is in the blackbird's eye.

Some  time ago I reflected that the way groups of people collect round certain blogs and engage in a more or less continuous dialogue. It is not a new practise.  The blog is not far removed from what used to be called a coterie where people with like interests gather in one another's  houses or in bars or cafes to exchange views. But coterie is not the only such word. In Spain  tertulia  describes  such a group which meets always informally in cafes for spontaneous discussion. It is featured in Jacinto and Fortunata the ponderous 19th Century novel by Perez Galdos set in Madrid. Although coterie is word with French origins and a French equivalent, I see that there is another French word to describe a group which meets to discuss topics of common interest. It is cenacle. The word is derived from the Latin cena and originally referred to the Last Supper, evolving eventually to mean any gathering of writers, artists  and the like for discussion. I suppose that the Greek word symposium meaning, dinner party,  comes into the same category.  Plato has handed it on to us in his dialogue of that name  where guests under the tutelage of Socrates  attempt to define the nature of love.  In the electronic age we can take our pick of labels according to our cultural preferences, but for my part I am glad that the technology exists to allow dialogue of any sort and on any subject to occur between friends old and new, even if it is virtual  and we have to call it " blogging".

A squirrel having  found a nut, scampers on to a low branch to enjoy his meal undisturbed. I never tire of photographing squirrels and don't miss the opportunity this afternoon as the creature is only a few feet away. As I manoeuvre into the best position for an uninterrupted view,  and press the camera button, I hear a sound at my shoulder, a laugh, the sort of laugh  that a squirrel might make. But it isn't a squirrel, rather a schoolboy who thinks, as I do that there is something comical, because slightly human, about the way the squirrel holds the nut in its forepaws, and rotates it taking little bites at every turn, and the look of pleasure on its face. We exchange smiles, squirrel-like smiles.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

scrap stars wren

Posted by PicasaSpreads from my evolving scrapbook.

In the village of Bray near Maidenhead on the River Thames there are two famous restaurants. The Fat Duck and the longer established Waterside, each has three Michelin stars. While waiting to be treated to  lunch at one of them, I am reminded  that  this means that 50 per cent of the three Michelin star restaurants in the UK are to be found in this once modest place. Four hours later we emerge from The Fat Duck after being presented with food  that might have been crafted in the kitchens of a fairy-story castle.  Grain Mustard Ice cream in a Red Cabbage Gazpacho, Jelly of Quail with Crayfish Cream, and Salmon Poached in Licorice Gel are among the 15 fanciful courses on the menu all with unprecedented concentrations of flavour. The selection of wine includes Puligny Montrachet, a Ribera del Duero  and Château D'Yquem. Neither we, nor our generous hosts, are in the  meantime entirely sure where we are. Fortunately there is a car to fly us home.

This morning as I pass the cherry tree not yet in blossom a noisy song issues from one of its branches. It is astonishing that so much sound could be created by a bird not much bigger than a butterfly. It is unmistakeably a wren. As I have known since childhood, it is Britain's smallest bird. But clearly  not its quietest.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

heart on guard Les Miserables

Posted by Picasa Fire in the heart of a crocus.

The pigeon which I tried to photograph eating from a bird feeder suspended from the top of a window frame is this afternoon still at it. When not flapping to keep level with the nuts it waits on guard on  the sill below. It is now almost a week since I first spotted this determined bird.

I read what seems to be the end of Les Miserables, but it couldn't be and it isn't. The  Classiques de Poche edition which I have, contains only the first three volumes, but doesn't make this clear. There are two more. Amazon supplies  Kindle editions of these within a minute at no cost.  My concentration is not interrupted.

Monday, March 12, 2012

spade feeder scrapper

Posted by PicasaDigger at rest.

The other day I try to photograph a pigeon attracted by a bird-feeder which has been suspended from the upper frame of a window overlooking The Grove. The feeder, one of those, cylinders made of netted wire, through which birds can pull peanuts. This one is designed for tits and other birds smaller than pigeons which can hang on to the wire while pecking at the nuts. The pigeon has to flap its wings to keep its balance while at work because its claws are too large for the feeder and there is nowhere on the window to perch.  The flapping is tough going and after a while the bird  has to take a break on the window sill. The photograph is unsatisfactory partly because of the rapidly moving wings and partly because wings and pigeon are confusingly reflected in the window pane together with the branches of trees opposite the window. This afternoon, several days later, the pigeon (something tells me it is the same one) is still flapping in front of the feeder, and keeping guard  on the window-sill over its source of delicacies below when at rest. My camera arm  itches to have another go.

My scrap book is evolving. I realise that its charm lies (for me) in the oddities which turn up side by by side, differences of scale and the clash of images.  A small  reproduction of Bronzini's Allegory of Venus and Cupid, for example, joins forces in one corner of a page with  photographs of  The Angel of the North, a collared dove and a bicycle So much passes in front of my eyes in newspapers and magazines which would disappear for ever were it not for the impulse which makes me want to herd them together.  Part of the fun is making sure that all the space on every page is filled. Today I cut out a line of several  gold fish from an advertisement, I think, for a bank of building society. Now they swim along the bottom of a page underneath a reproduction of an Indian painting of women dancing in a forest and next to a giant tortoise.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

catkins raking white

Posted by Picasa Catkin time. These are hazel on the  cobnut tree, which the squirrels, daft creatures,  strip in late summer even before the nuts have formed. Under the tree the shells of barren nuts litter the herb bed.

Dead leaves and twigs stack up among the roots of the cistus and roses. I rake them out and fill a sack with them and various unwelcome shoots while overhead in the lime tree, a great tit peeps "well done, well done". They seem to be prolific this year out-populating the usual blackbirds.

For the last couple of weeks there have been daffodils in the house. Heidi's preference is for white rather than yellow  if they can be found. Those I bring back from Sainsbury's today  are still in bud and you cannot tell until you look closely. "They are white, " she exclaims with extra pleasure, as she arranges them.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

drying anenomies rare

Posted by PicasaHanging out to dry.

Some windflowers or anemones at The Farmers Market. The label says, "three for five pounds".  I mistakenly say "three pounds" when I pay for them. "Three for five", the friendly stall holder reminds me. I make a joke about wishful thinking, and nevertheless hand over just three pounds, which she accepts, her eye off  the ball. |As I walk away I realise that my mind was far away too, and go back to hand over the remaining two pounds. I would never make a rogue, I think to myself. More 's the pity.

At a meat stall  at the market the talk is of rare breeds, Sussex and Hebridean lamb and  Gloucester Old spot and Saddle Back pigs. I think about these lovely looking animals. Were we all vegetarians, it is likely, I reflect, since they are only bred to be killed and eaten,  that far from being rare, they would not exist at all.

Friday, March 09, 2012

ivy bats swoops

Posted by Picasa Nimble ivy climbs a trunk with pretty footsteps.

Among the garden  paraphernalia from last year I find, this morning, a bag of dried bat dung acquired from Oxfam. I have no idea why I didn't use it as intended to fertilise the vegetable beds  This year  I will  scatter it liberally over the ground, fork it into the soil  and think of those who dug it out of remote caves in Malaysia. I'll think of the bats too, hanging like tattered umbrellas from the rocky ceiling or fluttering into the night, bestowing from their nether parts their lime-rich nutrient for use in a distant land.

If I could be a bird I would choose to be a pied wagtail and fly in long, shallow, joyous swoops.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

signatures grass bag

Posted by Picasa I have photographed this wall in Monson Road outside the College where adult and other students congregate and leave signs of their presence once before. Many of the students come to Tunbridge Wells to learn English and doubtless English habits.

 In Mount Sion, the smell of cut grass and the sound of a lawn mower is a sign of Spring. It is a warm afternoon when people want to be out of doors.  As I move out of earshot I hear a woman's  carrying voice. Its owner is sitting on a bench in The Grove talking on a mobile phone.  You rarely hear anyone speaking quietly into a mobile in the tone of voice  they might use to someone sitting beside them. She must be 100 a yards away. My how her voice carries! Another sign of Spring perhaps.
An unexpected present from Geoff is a collapsible plastic bucket designed for growing potatoes but intended in this instance for carrots. Now I remember him telling me about his method of sowing carrots in these bags when I told him of my problems with  trying to growing in the soil. This year, I am determined, will be the year of the carrot.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

worry creating pipérade

There are always reasons to be worried, not always the apparent ones.

 "We need three things: a strong sense of our own identity; the ability to form new meanings - to see the world in new ways; and a sense of usefulness that what we do contributes to a bigger context than ourselves." Susan Greenfield, the neurologist,  at the Bath Literature Festival on how creativity could prevent us from being dehumanised by the onrush of new technologies. A good slogan, it strikes me, for those who are afraid of losing their way.

This evening pipérade.  Peppers, tomatoes, onions chopped and cooked in goose fat or olive oil with a little garlic, to which are added at the last moment beaten eggs gently and quickly scrambled with the vegetable.  It is served with Bayonne ham. A local dish I think in the Basque region  of France and Spain. "One of the most widely travelled of all French regional dishes wrote Elizabeth David back in 1960. It seems to taken a rest from travelling recently which is a shame because it deserves to spread its wings.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

portrait agony apocalypse

Posted by Picasa One of my favourite recent postcards reveals a side of me of which I was not aware.

As I step out of the front gate I am nearly mowed down by a string of track-suited runners.  Pad, pad, pad, puff, puff, puff. Gosh, I say as I nearly collide with a thin woman, hair plastered on a moist forehead.  As she turns her head in my direction, she manages as agonised half smile.

From the particular to the apocalyptic, the notice on the window of the shop which sold country clothes and has been closing down for the last month, proclaims Everything Must Go.

Monday, March 05, 2012

dancing chitting lunching

Posted by Picasa Another in my series of doodle postcards.

Chitting is what we do to seed potatoes at this time of year i e stand them upright in egg boxes to sprout , a practise said to strengthen and speed their growth once planted. You are encouraged to rub off some of the less confident looking sprouts. I am oddly  reluctant to do this, for the same reason that I do not like thinning out seedlings.It is foolish and illogical of me, but it  still seems a waste of resources. Rubbish of course.  It would be as foolish  to say the same of  consumable clouds of spawning fish and crustaceans in tropical oceans. And a few sprouts are supposed to produce more potatoes than the full complement.

The pub called The Black Pig the other day could not manage to produce a Scotch egg with the egg hard boiled rather than runny.  Runny is how they used to serve them until a fashion for soft Scotch eggs took hold. I am reminded of this today as I note that lunch is served from 12 till 9. Lunch, a mark of the times, like the Scotch egg has become a flexible feast if not a runny one.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

sketch lies persistence

Posted by Picasa Blackbird drawn from memory without thought
      quickly as it flew down  itself ( from where?)
                  a feather in its tail askew
                tilts the angle of its head
           smudges etch its trembling bulk
              reflect its short uncertain stay
          deceptively still it waits (for what?)
                 while its bright eye watches

"I prefer drawing to talking," said Le Corbusier. "Drawing is faster and allows less room for lies"

The help-yourself greengrocer by the Opera House has closed. One of the owners persists however. He is selling fruit and vegetables from baskets outside the butcher's shop next door. There is a  of sense of impermanence and  threat. What happened?  "Rates and rent are now £70,000 a year" A lot for a shop without fittings or window, no more than an urban cave. I buy some lemons. "If I am not here next time," says the determined trader, I'll be outside the art shop in Monson Road. And what happens when it rains? He has no stall and there is no room for one.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

table ball threat

Posted by Picasa Close-up of part of a  weathered table outside a pub. Remember the tree.

Tethered to the railings outside the Tesco Metro in Mount Pleasant is a dog, a lurcher of some sort, with an intelligent eye. Between its  paws is a battered ball with toothmarks and one of those plastic arms with a  concave receptacle at the end to assist in hurling balls further than the human arm can manage. 

Opposite the town hall two monstrous humanoids in white plastic space or armoured suites and expressionless helmets mingle with passers by. Nobody takes any notice of them, despite the sinister looking guns which they cradle. My usual curiosity is subdued however. There is something about their weapons and the absence of features which makes me hurry on rather than enquire what if anything they are promoting.