30 November 2007

Moon Rocks

It has been one of those weeks where everything seems like the end of the world even though really it isn't. Just that the voice inside my head is very loud, loud enough to drown out all sense of reason. "IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!" it howls.

There were two things today that almost made that little voice be quiet.

A child came up to me holding a little rock that he'd found in the playground.
"I found this rock!" he said holding it as if it was magical. "Do you think it comes from the moon?"

Heh, no! But it made me laugh anyway.

Mysterious Vegetable
The Mysterious Vegetable

Our organic vegies came. Inside the box are the usual seasonal vegies, all the identifiable ones like potatoes, bananas, mushrooms, mandarins, little crab apples. Oh, and these brown knobbly things that look like little potatoes but.... aren't. What are they?! I don't know. They're cute though.

The sky isn't falling.
Unless you count the moon rocks in the playground.

29 November 2007



This is a painting I did, inspired by the postcards I posted about last week and also by the cute houses we saw in Delft.

23 November 2007


Crystal Palace Flowers
Flowers, Crystal Palace Park

It has rained every day this week, and I was okay with that.
Okay with the puddles in the playground and the noisy kids inside at lunchtime and the queue to vote in the rain at Australia House. I had my umbrella and my raincoat and that was fine.

But something was missing.

I went looking for a photo to share today and came across this one.
Something went click.

I have mentioned that it's often dark at the moment. Actually, it doesn't get properly light til about 8am and it is dark by 4pm. I arrive at school before 8am and leave after 4pm.

Unless I'm on duty - which only happens once a week - it feels like I don't get to see sunlight on a week day.

I can almost remember what hot sunshine felt like. What it felt like to be too warm, to almost get burnt. To actually want to jump into a swimming pool to cool off.

Summer, I remember you. And I can't wait to see you again.

18 November 2007

Secret Postcards

Hyde Park

I was just passing through Hyde Park yesterday on my way to the RCA Secret exhibition. This is a fundraiser for the Royal College of Art, in which many artists paint postcard-sized artworks. You can buy the artworks next Saturday for 40 pounds each and there is the possibility that you could buy a postcard by someone famous like Quentin Blake, Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin. The catch is that you don't find out who the artist is until you buy your postcard and turn it over to look at the name on the back.

Hyde Park, Autumn Hyde Park

All the postcards are online here. My favourites are this one, this one and this one, this one and this one. The painting of the tree is my absolute favourite and the one I'm hoping to get.

Hyde Park, Italian Gardens

My registration number is something in the ninety thousands. Which means that more than ninety thousand people have registered to buy a postcard. There are only about two thousand postcards. Apparently buying involves a very long queue... of up to three or four hours.

I wonder which postcards you would buy.

16 November 2007


Taken at 8am Thursday.

Frost on bus stop roof
I go to work shivering,
breathing white fog clouds.

15 November 2007

On My Mind

Logic Lane, Oxford
Logic Lane, Oxford

Here's what's on my mind:
Risotto (for dinner tonight)
Parents and students and meeting with parents about students
Holidays and snow and dreams of driving through the Alps
Thinking the above dreamt of holiday may actually happen
and sleep.

11 November 2007

Lord Mayor's Parade

Everyone knows the Lord Mayor's Parade is on the second saturday in November, every year. But not everyone knows someone who is going to be IN the parade, right near the beginning of the parade, wearing a purple costume with a big gigantic head.

Having managed to drag myself out of bed at the horrible hour of 9am on a Saturday, I got to St Paul's Cathedral tube station at about 11am, just as the parade was about to start.

The Parade From Where I Stood Hot Dog Stand Near St Paul's Cathedral
Carousel Near St Paul's Cathedral Friends in Welfare of Women Float

The bottom right-hand photo is of a float with someone I knew on it! Second from left is Frank, wearing a big bobbly head. Fourth from left is Olly, who had just heard me yell out hello and was trying to get bobbly-head's attention.

Military Band, Lord Mayor's Parade Andrew & Lauch
Fire Engine, Lord Mayor's Parade Fireworks, Lord Mayor's Show

Most of the parade is military groups in fancy uniforms playing very nice songs such as the theme from Jag. Hmm, is it possible that the theme song from Jag has some actual military significance?

There was a really festive atmosphere with heaps of people blowing whistles, cheering the floats as they went past and wearing poppies for Remembrance Month. The crowd looked very different from the Notting Hill Festival crowd - more older people and families with kids. There were lots of kids waving British flags. Oh, and everyone was totally rugged up in their big black coats, gloves and scarves.

After the parade, Lauch, Andrew and I had lunch in the Oxo Tower and then went to watch the fireworks that were launched from a barge in the Thames. They were gorgeous. There were sparks everywhere and the smell of gunpowder in the air.

10 November 2007


Pears, 25.5 x 17.5cm, watercolour & ink.

7 November 2007

Whistle Stop Tour

Late last Friday night, you would have found Lauch and I shivering outside the Rotterdam airport in the misty rain. I had snaffled his scarf and was coming to the sudden realisation that England is not alone in having snotty weather at this time of the year. Hooray for Robbert, who came to whisk us away to his and Esther's amazing new house.

Beach, Near the Hague Me at the Beach, Near the Hague
Boys at the Beach Carousel at the Beach

Esther drove (in a car! no bus!) Thijs, Nils and I to the beach near the Hague. Sand! I had forgotten how long it had been since I walked on sand. The horizon here is amazing, it disappears blurrily off as if you are looking towards the edge of the world. The boys had a great time chasing waves and filling their gumboots with sand and sea.

800 Year Old Avenue of Trees, the Hague
I think this is the most beautiful place I saw this weekend. It is an avenue of trees in the Hague that has been in the same place for 800 years. The current trees are 80 years old and were all yellow. Leaves fell as we watched.

Lauch and Rob, Delft Esther and I, Delft

I also loved Delft, a little OLD town, dating from the 13th century. It's famous for Vermeer and Delftware, beautiful blue-painted pottery. We ate proffertjes - small round pancakes with strawberries, dusted with icing sugar.

The Leaning Tower of Delft From the Bridge, Delft

Both these photos were taken from either side of a bridge. Note the leaning church! Robbert says that it is leaning more than the leaning tower of Pisa.

Graffiti, Rotterdam Holland America Line Headquarters

And lastly, Esther, Robbert, Laucn and I wandered through Rotterdam. I discovered Iitala - a Finnish design company. We visited the Holland America Line headquarters, in the photo, above right. This place used to be where American immigrants came to in Holland, but now it's a hotel with a restaurant and barber downstairs. The place has an old America vibe, not surprisingly. Imagine eating such things as clam chowder and hotcakes here.

A million thank yous to Robbert, Esther and their boys for letting us stay and introducing us to proffertjes, cute Dutch towns and the joy of filling your shoes with sand.

2 November 2007

On a Dark, Dark Night

From the Bus
Five o'clock, taken with my old camera

It was 5 o'clock, it was darker outside than it looks, of course the bus stopped before it got to my stop and the driver yelled out "ALL CHANGE!" I had to walk home through the pitch black park with all the other strangers. Strangers pushing prams full of babies and scurrying on to their warm homes. Dark dark prams and invisible babies. All we could see of each other was moving grey blobs, all we could hear was footsteps on footpath and rotten leaves squelching. We are like moles, burrowing through endless darkness. I wonder if moles are afraid of the dark. I wonder if they ever run into each other. And if they do, I wonder if they mutter "Sorry, sorry" as they charge onward in the infinite commute.