Thursday, 30 April 2009

My 'to do' list

Next week I will have exactly nine months left of my twenties remaining. I think I'd like to go out of my third decade in style. Really leave my mark.

This thought led me to the idea of a 'to do' list. Nine things to do in the nine months whilst I'm still 29.

I've already decided on September's task.

Destination: Berlin Task: complete the marathon.

But there are eight gaps remaining. So I'm asking you all for suggestions. They can be challenging, entertaining, hilarious, intellectual, bizarre, or all of the above.

Before you suggest it though, I refuse to jump out of a plane. Or off a bridge with a rubber band tied to my ankles.

Any ideas??

Monday, 27 April 2009

52 Shots - #16

With bellies full of Borough Market goods, we take a stroll down Southbank to find the resident sand sculptor kicking back on his latest work and enjoying a lunchtime beer.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Our Batphone & Mavis the Motorola

Our phone rang the other night. It just about scared the bejesus out of me. No, not one of our house's many mobiles that seem to live down the side of the sofa or in jacket pockets. Nope. Our actual house phone that is plugged into a socket in the wall.

Our phone is my pride and joy. Shiny and retro, it has a great ring that sounds like the original batphone. If only it lit up. It was quite nice sitting at the dining room table having a conversation on our phone. Resting the receiver on my shoulder and twirling the cord between my thumb and forefinger.

At the other end of the spectrum, I'm thinking of putting Mavis the Motorola mobile into early retirement. I'm almost sold on an iphone.

We've been through some good times, me and Mavis. Boy have we ever. She's been everywhere from Switzerland, Tahiti and New York. She's worked in corporate suites at numerous rugby internationals; and she has even taken part in a newspaper feature. She has never let me down either. Never run out of battery at a vital moment; never taken off by herself without telling me on a night out. She 'disappeared' for a weekend once, but I found her having some time out in one of my bags. Fair enough. Everyone needs a break once in a while.

I haven't spoken to her about the iphone plan yet. I didn't want to alarm her. I guess I just need to find the right moment to break the news.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

With a little help from my friends

Along with my family, my friends are what keep my world turning. Stretched across the world, they exist as a living, breathing web of support.

My friends can be found living in the Caymans; in a beautiful lakeside town in Switzerland; in a leafy-green tree house in Mount Eden, NZ; circling Australia in a van; everywhere from Toronto to Te Marua; dotted about London, and as close as just across Clapham High Street.

They are a remarkable collection of people, my friends. Artists, musicians, teachers, academics, entrepreneurs, amazing mothers and fathers, a human rights lawyer in Sudan and a neo-natal nurse. They dance on stage in 80s Lycra outfits, and run, bike and kayak from one side of New Zealand's South Island, to the other.

They have fought tragedy and had triumphs.

They write me e mails, send me letters, and give me advice and reassurance when I'm confused. They celebrate my successes, guide me through failures, and are there to make me hot water bottles when I'm ill. They call me for a chat on Sunday mornings, and take me out for a chai latte and a trip to Notting Hill when the day dawns a dark one.

There truly is nothing like going through life with tens of invisible hands on your back, propping you up and helping you make your way in the world.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

52 Shots - #15 a & b

After years of painful long distance overnight bus trips in 3rd world countries, I achieve travel nirvana: my very own cabin (avec bathroom) on a ferry bound for Amsterdam.

On the return trip, I find myself on the back seat watching Holland, Belgium, France and eventually England fly past the window.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

52 Shots - #14

Yet another half done Guardian crossword spends Saturday afternoon waiting in hope of a very delayed wave of inspiration, which never seems to arrive.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

The sounds of silence

No day would go by when I don't use my ipod. My music is my escape, my muse, and my solace, all rolled into one lightweight and charcoal coloured piece of nifty technology.

It is a noisy world we live in. I spend the daytime with sounds of phones, keyboards and the background hum of conversation, intruding on my thoughts.

When I escape that world, and transition into my own (via the tube home) I immerse myself in the sounds of my own world, my music. But very occasionally I will forget to plug myself in and find that I'm, instead, bathing in the world around me.

Some people say that we spend our lives travelling to other worlds, but never travel in our own. On a clear, warm evening this week, Clapham Common was at its finest, rich for 'travelling'.

A couple of groups of people sat on the grass, resisting the incoming darkness, occasional echoes of laughter lifting from their circles. Persistent joggers, lined with reflectiveness, circumnavigated her edges.

The trees were jagged black shapes puncturing the pink blue sky. And silence gently fought with only the odd squeak of bus brakes to reign over this not quite square piece of inner-city countryside.

I saturated myself in this near-silence, washing away the noise of the day. And I remembered just how lucky I was; that every day, twice a day, I get to pass through this nicely manicured, green space; with its age-old trees, well-worn paths, and small armadas of spring flowers.

52 Shots - #13

Bodies wrapped in tweed and scarves mill about prior to the start of the annual Cambridge vs Oxford boat race. 'Civilisation' storms Putney for the day.