25 March 2009

Tree Man

The Man in the Tree
Man in the Tree, Hyde Park, London

My dreams lately have been filled with fairytale creatures - tiny two-person aeroplanes fighting giant robots, people inside trees. Even the cat wailing on the fence at the moment sounds like a fictional character.

Is this some kind of reaction to the real London? The industrial, isolated city where people drop rubbish because there are people who are hired to sweep it up?

But really England IS the place of fairytales. There are tiny little stone cottages, castles and a place called Sherwood Forest. There is a countryside where stories of King Arthur began.

And even the streetsweepers dance... sometimes.

22 March 2009


St Paul's Cathedral from the Barbican, London
St Paul's Cathedral, seen from the Barbican Centre, London

I made the strangest connection the other day. It was one of those things that is common in Tasmania but much rarer in London.

Lauch and I went to the Barbican to see a movie at the Australian film festival, a movie called Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean? The movie's basically about the disappearance of Brenda Hean in the '70s. She was an environmental activist who was trying to save Lake Pedder in Tasmania.

As luck would have it, the film's director was there to talk to the audience after the film. He is Tasmanian and an interesting guy... we chatted to him after the film and it turns out he is a distant relative of Lauch's. This is, of course, an incredibly Tasmanian thing to happen. Except that we are here, in London. Where nobody looks at you in the street, let alone looks you in the eye, strikes up a conversation with you to find that lo and behold! You are family.

Maybe it was this odd moment of connection that made me look up and notice St Paul's Cathedral in the photo above. You can see it from the fourth floor of the Barbican but as you go down the stairs to street level, it disappears. I like the idea of collecting odd little facts.

How to Survive the Winter II

Halfway through January I read this quote on Keri Smith's website. It talks about being "loyal" to the winter, even through the deepest dark and I completely agree with this idea. "Loyalty to winter" I suppose is a kind of embracing things even when they are a little uncomfortable. Something that applies to living I guess. I'm considering the idea that we should expect a certain element of deep & dark in our everyday lives and that it is part of the balance of things - not just an unwanted thing to be dismissed and squelched and buried but to be acknowledged along with the brighter things.

Written 10.3.09

How to Survive the Winter

Road Along The Waterfront, Brighton
Waterfront, Brighton, England

Two years ago, I asked a friend for some advice.

"How did you survive the winter?"
"You've got to remember that you're only there for a short time," she said.

A difficult thing to do, when you're also trying to remember intricate details about the learning of thirty five-year-olds in six complicated curriculum areas.

But still, every now and then I have these moments when time seems to stop. Suddenly I can see that next year all of this will be memories, in fact, that yesterday seems a little blurry, and that even today is just about to fade away.

I see more clearly when I know it's disappearing.

Written 10.3.09

Snow Day


Lauchlin came home grinning last night, covered in huge white flakes. We could hear the girls down the street screaming as they had a snowball fight in their pyjamas.

The snow is here! There is a thick, fluffy layer of snow all over everything.
There are two snowmen outside in the street, nice chunky ones that might be as tall as my armpits. And still big flurries and chunky snowflakes are falling. I am surprised at how quietly snow falls, none of the drama of rain with all its roof-rattling. Snow has a more gentle, curling stealth. You wake up and there it is. Everywhere!

Snow, you bring the joy back into winter.

Written 2.2.09


Birds Standing on Frozen Pond, Hampstead Heath
Birds standing on frozen pond, Hampstead Heath

Winter solstice has passed - we're staring in the face of the REAL winter. Permafrost has settled on the sides of buildings that never see the sun. Today Lauch, Andrew and I went walking on Hampstead Heath and watched birds swimming in the frozen pond. We had Duvel beer in the local pub that had a wood fire, sinky chairs and they were playing songs from the seventies.

I wanted to tell you about hazy, long-shadow sunlight, the kick of wintery beer (yes, apparently beer can be wintery) and cosy pubs.

Winter is the most beautiful time of year in London.

Written 30.12.08

Snow on the Ground

The air felt cold inside my lungs as I walked home tonight. Suddenly there are patches of unsatisfying snow on the ground. Scrawny piles at the edges of the road, quickly turning into slush as the rain pelts down. It is the kind of snow that only children can appreciate.

Written 24.11.08

I Love Winter

It is raining and I get to thinking of how the rain on the roof is romantic.
And so are the long dark nights inside.
And the lights reflecting in the puddles on the way home.
And that deep blue of the sky when it gets dark

I am thinking that winter does not have to always be that season that we all hate
and maybe it could be
as nice as autumn.

Written in November 2008

Recording / Not Recording

I thought I wouldn't blog anymore.
I thought life would be better unrecorded, letting everything just slip past.

Life was good - but I still kept writing anyway. There are a couple of posts I've written over the last few months and kept unpublished. I figured I might as well put them here. With pictures. To show you. Because even when I make a phone call from halfway across the world, well, it isn't possible to say everything.