Tuesday, 28 July 2009

52 Shots - number 26

There's nothing like coming home to the front of your house being wrapped in police crime scene tape to reinforce your recent decision to move neighbourhoods.

There was a small (evil) part of me which hoped that maybe the witch upstairs had finally been run over by her own car as she washed it for the 5th time in a week, but alas it appeared to only be an incident between some of the residents of the bail hostel across the road.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Hello again London

I never really felt that bothered about working somewhere that is actually called the 'Isle of Dogs'. I guess I tried not to think about it too much for those 11 months.

A place that has the largest supermarket you could ever imagine, where it was not rare to be in a queue with all of the following:
a mother (in a tracksuit) buying disposable nappies in hay bale-like quantities whilst trying to stop her three under three from ransacking the chocolate bar display;
a man buying a six pack of home-brand lager, 2x 2l of cider and a copy of 'News of the World';
a 21 year old girl with hula-hoop sized earrings, a scrunchie and a mobile stuck to her ear screeching 'I ain't bovvered in'nit' over and over again.

But now that is all just a distant memory.

It is good to be back in your arms London. With your curly alleyways, and purring streets; your churches, cathedrals and 200 year old pubs. It's that morning bus ride to work where I look up from my book and see the Houses of Parliament across the Thames; and that walk across the bridge for a post-work beer in the early evening sun.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

It's curtains

My housemate and I stood in front of our shower curtain the other night, pondering its future. We had just been to see a potential new home, which we had both fallen in love with.

The only downside being that where there might be a shower curtain, there is a door instead.

Our shower curtain is a slightly cartoon-like map of the world. Because of its positioning, I wash my hair staring at all the islands off the Canadian mainland; as I step out of the shower / bath I get a good look at Africa.

Late last night my friend Rachel and I spent a good ten minutes in front of the curtain, talking of swimming with hippos in Africa, and there being too much daylight in Iceland.

Sometimes I look at the curtain and am amazed. I was born at the end of the bath, by the products we don't use very often. Now I live up by the sponges that hang from the shower head.

I'll miss my daily travels around the world. I was just starting to get a grip of African geography.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

52 Shots - #25

It's a rainy Sunday morning at Docklands, London. The office is close to empty.

On a Sunday in August '08 I was here moving our stuff in. Less than a year later and I'm moving us out. Back to civilisation we go.

Last one out turn off the lights.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Books to read before I'm 30 - book two

'The Missing Piece' by Shel Silverstein

It's one of those tales we should all read and learn from, cleverly disguised as a children's book.

It is about a, well, what looks like a boulder with a mouth, which is not happy, because it is missing a piece. So it sets off in search of its missing piece.

'Oh I'm lookin' for my missin' piece
I'm looking for my missin' piece
Hi-dee-ho, here I go,
Lookin' for my missin' piece'

It finds what it thinks is its missing piece, but this piece causes it to roll so fast that it doesn't have time to talk to a worm, smell a flower, or for the butterfly to land on him. Eventually it realises it must set down the piece and continue its journey alone.

Eight grown-ups circled a table of champagne and hors d'oeuvres and were read to. As Elly gently turned the last page and closed the book, I think we were all processing different messages from the story.

But for me it is a reminder to spend less time in life seeking something bigger, better, more interesting (the missing piece); and instead appreciate all the wonderful gifts that the here and now has for you.

After all, all we have in life is what we have right now.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Books to read before I'm 30 - Book one

One of my '9 whilst I'm still 29' was to read the books chosen for me by each of my dinner party guests as the book they most believe I should read before I'm 30.

Book One - 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy

Richard wasn't kidding when he said this book was a bit depressing. A boy and his father walk across a post-apocalyptic America where most of civilisation have been wiped out, the sun can no longer be seen and all the landscape is covered in ash.

'The Road' is right up there amongst the darkest books I have ever read. It is, however, beautifully written, and its Pulitzer Prize is well deserved I believe.

And a plus side was that every time I looked up from the pages the world didn't seem so bad after all.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Grand Premiere of '9 whilst I'm still 29'

It was the 4th of July and I was to tick off my first of my nine challenges. The date was somewhat fitting as it marked exactly seven months until I was to clock 30.

The invitations were sent, the menus printed, the gazpacho was in the fridge. The evening sunshine I ordered arrived at exactly the right time. So in a civilised fashion we stood in the garden and drank champagne.

Slowly but surely the sun went down and one by one the courses came out.

And with each course, one of my wonderful guests would present the book they most believe I should read before I get to thirty years. From the poetic to the psychotic; fantasy to philosophy; each person would talk about why they chose their book.

Gradually my reading list for the next seven months took shape by way of a pile on the dinner table.

And finally after eight other courses, over a whole lot of cheese, at about 1am, with heavy eyes and swollen bellies, Anika told us the bedtime story of 'The Penguin of Death' who is strangely attractive because of his enigmatic smile. My last book to add to the list.

We left the evening a little bit heavier, and quite a lot disturbed by the penguin who can kill you in any one of 412 ways.

And I went to sleep early that Sunday morning, happy in the knowledge that I had already completed one task with relative success, and also that I had such wise and wonderful people in my life.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

52 Shots - #24

Sometimes I have days when I wonder how I'll get out of bed tomorrow. Then I remember the wonderful friends I have in my life. And that if they can all triumph against their various trials and tribulations, then I can do it too.

There is always a reason to draw back the duvet. Even if it is just to check that the sun is out.