Thursday, 28 April 2016

Crap Days Out in London: The Soho Pump

Goodness knows what's contained in my boy's head.  If his pockets are anything to go by Lord help us.  I fail the good mummy test as I often forget to empty them before everything goes in the washing machine.  There are headphones drying out on one of the radiators at this very moment.   Sometimes there are clues as to what's going on up there. Watching Louis solves maths problems is a joy.  It's as if you can see all the little cogs whirling. Ping! Out comes an answer!

Then there are times when something grabs his imagination and he can't stop talking about it.  Back in the 19th century, a bloke called John Snow proved cholera wasn't airborne as previously suspected.  He mapped incidences of the disease in one area of London and identified that the cause of the outbreak was contaminated water from the public supply.  Once the pump in Broad Street had been shut off, the outbreak ended. Howzat!  Louis became obsessed by this story.  I am now a leading expert on epidemiology as a consequence.  He begged me to take him to see the site of the pump when we were next in London.  The idea didn't fill me with excitement.  A trip to a dodgy old water source does not make a good day out in my book.  But who am I to stamp out my boy's nerdy proclivities?  I acquiesced and agreed to help him  find it on the way to The National Maritime Museum the other day.  Believe me it was  a bit  of a detour.  Soho is nowhere near Greenwich.  This is a combination of 'attractions' that  will never catch on as far as self guided tours in the capital from Southend-on-Sea go.

Were my doubts unfounded that this could be a new tourist attraction to rival the Tate or the Tower of London? Err no.  In fact it was more of a let down than I could have possibly envisaged.  There was a pub named that bears the name of John Snow but it was a bit early for a pint in celebration of finding the source.  The site of the pump itself is normally marked by a replica but it had been taken away because of building work in the area.  We had to make do with this placard and were  seriously underwhelmed.  Louis' perky smile must have been put on.  There was a consolation price.  Our detour took us past the Japan Centre in Leicester  Square.  We had proper sushi on the tube on the way to Greenwich  for elevenses.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

There's A Floor In There!

For months my spare room did my head in. There was a stage where even opening the door was  a bit of a feat.  I risked life, limb and especially ankles, going in there.  I reckon Diogenes would have given me give me a hearty, congratulatory pat on the back if he'd seen it back then. But no more!  It's spick and span and my old double bed has been reassembled. That took some doing I can tell you. Parts that had gone missing in a move needed sourcing and there were all sorts of  antics putting it together that involved Louis crawling into small hidey holes with Allen keys.  He was put under impoverished conditions that were not dissimilar to those of  Victorian chimney sweeps!

So finally, I've now got somewhere for my girlies to rest their weary heads when they've had a few sherbets.  Believe me, there's plenty of eager visitors that come calling when you live so near to the seaside.  It's a good job that I'm gregarious.  But I'm not in a position to show the whole room off.  The arrival of a wardrobe will coincide with the departure of a chaise longue in a month.  That's when I'll be ready to reveal my makeover from junk heap to comfortable lair for my visitors.

So here's a little taster of what's to come.  My nudie ladies that upset the sensibilities of my son have, for the first time in their existence, been properly framed and displayed somewhere where he doesn't have to look at them whilst eating  And just to counter the proper art there's another one of my mad walls in progress.  It's an ongoing project.  Like yesrterday's post it's a bit like a mosaic but with much more manageable sized tile.

I'd like to give instructions on how to put one of these together if you fancy doing it yourself but I haven't a clue how to guarantee that you'll get a result that you're happy with. It's really a matter of experimentation.  Probably it's not the best idea to troll on down to the nearest charity shop and raid the 50p box,  Let the walls  evolve with time and hang things you fall in love in rather than a whole load of random tat!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Busy Beader

Photo:  Bored Panda
In an effort to devote more hours in pursuit of making stuff, I've been clearing out all the superfluous stuff in my work area.  It means that when creativity strikes I can actually lay my hands on the materials I need before frustration sets in and puts me off the idea altogether. I also have storage for completed prints. Genius? No, just sensible

Today I'm showcasing the work of an American artist called Liza Lou who definitely seemed to have more time on her hands than I do.  For over a five year period she created this kitchen.  At first glance it looks like a painting.  A bit Van Gogh maybe I thought.  But no, it's actually a full sized room and all the surfaces are  meticulously covered with beads, even the crisp packets and the cereal box.

Photo: Bored Panda
This is the work of someone with way more patience than I've got.  Even a small scale project like this would reduce me to a swearing wreck. The air would turn a thick navy shade! There'd be glue everywhere and beads getting lost down my bra!  I will stick to big tiles when I next mosaic. It's a far safer prospect.

Liza Lou didn't stop once she'd made the kitchen. There's a garden as well.   These shots show just how intricate this work is, a mosaic of tiny glass objects.  Look at that weeny bee! I am in awe.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Long, Green and Fretful

A short post today as, for the first time in nearly three months,  I'm going  to work.  It's a little daunting so I don't want to stress myself out thinking about what to blog.  Actually I don't want uncontrollable stress to be a regular feature of my life anymore at all.  Chill, chill will be my new mantra.

So I've shamelessly lifted something off Facebook so that I don't have to bother too hard with posting.  Although silly it seemed to ring true and made me smile. I hope that it touches the giggle gland for some of you too!

Sunday, 24 April 2016


Let's talk about my most recent dating site exploits shall we?  I reckon we all need  humour in our lives.  As my membership is shortly ending on that paid for site  I thought I'd up the ante and increase my efforts a little bit.  Think sloth to slow loris!  So I've changed my profile picture there and additionally signed onto what is probably the UK's best known free site  It's comedic value is unfettered and has already given me and Mr Metrosexual a bloody good laugh. 'You could base that comedy stand up routine you want to do on this' he said.  'Your reactions and the commentary are hilarious'.

The response to a newbie on the scene was immediate.  'Wearing well, I can't believe you haven't been snapped up already'.  messaged one man.  'Ah but that's because I'm really fussy'. I replied. And so it seems.  The site has a  feature where you can indicate interest by swiping left or right on your phone.   I've already exhausted its database in a geographical radius that takes in London and the home counties as I am really rather shallow and judgmental.   It will leave some of you thinking that I am going to end up a sad and lonely old lady at this rate.  Gone are the men holding fish trophies, ones with dodgy furniture or heavily artexed ceilings, those with their legs apart who seem to have the contents of a fruit bowl down too tight shorts,  the badly turned out,  the too old and too young, those that seem illiterate or, conversely, pretentious and perfectly decent blokes where I wiped them off the scene forever by an flip of the wrist in the wrong direction.  Oops! Que sera.  Not meant to be perhaps.  Definite rejections went to the man whose profile name was something like Psycho '67, the totally nude biker dressed just in a string of onions and the guy with his head up a woman's skirt in a lap dancing club.  What were they thinking!  One guy contacted me and seemed great but then spoilt it with endless messages about all the WWII graveyards and monuments he has visited and those on his bucket list.  It's wonderful for someone to have a passion but really! I got bored, made my excuses and went back to my printing.

Congratulations must go to a 38 year old Londoner who has surpassed the man who had high hopes that I was a dominatrix.  I'd normally ignore messages from one so young but couldn't resist.  He make a good start  by complimenting my hair but then spoilt the mood by asking  if I had any thought of shaving it off entirely!  Further inquiry confirmed my suspicions that yep, he had a 'bald women' fetish. As he admitted, odd but harmless. I've wished him luck in his hunt elsewhere.  It's a look that would alarm my kid and  the elderly people that I visit.  They're confused enough without a totally shorn woman turning up on their doorstep.  On that note I'm returning to work tomorrow.  I feel much better!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

By George!

Happy St George's Day one and all!  Let me say unequivocally that, even though  a little bit of Welsh, Scottish and Romany blood courses through my veins,  I am extremely proud to be English.  After all, it's the country where was born, raised and have lived for half a century.  In the main, it's a breathtakingly beautiful land.  We have everything:  forests, a stunning coastline, historic cites, mountains albeit titchy ones.  I even see that Dungeness beach has been dubbed England's only desert! Most of the natives are pretty friendly and our food, that used to be the butt of the world's jokes, is often superb.  We have a rather reasonable democracy and human rights record.

Yet national pride is something that my fellow countryfolk find it difficult to muster.   True we have a nasty past when it comes to raping and pillaging in other lands but surely we can't bear the sins of our forefathers forever?  What seems more prominent is a belief that pride in being English is seen to be commensurate with being  racist. often with violent undertones.  Our flag has sometimes been used to symbolise the dark and unwelcome in recent times.

A couple of World Cups ago, my co-workers stuck a big England flag in our office window in support of our national team.  We were told to take it down for fear it would be seen as racist.  I found this sad. For  I strongly believe that the moderate decent human beings in our country should be reclaiming the flag of St George for themselves. We need to show, like other countries do so well, that national pride does not have to equate to hatred and tolerance.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Goodbye Mr Nelson

As a child of the '60s whose formative musical years were the '80s I cannot ignore the unexpected passing of Prince Rogers Nelson aka Prince the artist formerly known as Symbol formerly known as Prince.   We were in awe of this guy!    I would have picked  a video of one of his own performances but they are woefully thin on the ground on YouTube.  It would have been a difficult  choice to make if they had been available. Kiss'/'Purple Rain'/'When Doves Cry'/'Little Red Corvette'?  Actually this song might have come out on top.  It captures a kind of heartache that many of us have experienced sometime in our lives so well.

Perhaps it's fitting that I've had to make do with the Sinead O'Connor version for it's certainly the one  that stirs up the most vivid memories.  I can't hear this song without recalling a three month period in my twenties.  We used to return to a friend's house after being kicked out of the pub at closing time.   She'd split up from her boyfriend and as part of the rather long drawn out healing process she insisted on playing this over and over again.  Happy Days!!!!!