Week 44…


26-29 October

MONDAY Zoe spotted a fella in something called a Pokémon Gym and tipped him the wink. To be continued…

From the scrapbook:  Pokémon Gym. I googled it, but I’m still clueless

# Our washing machine plays an irritating tune when it’s finished. And it goes on so long you start to wonder if maybe it’s your turn to do the hanging-up.

# My wife instructed me to go outside. Outside isn’t somewhere I’ve been for over a week.

# Stuart says he had a mate who stole a guitar from Stephen Stills. He claimed the guitar was demonically possessed. He also, Stuart says, smoked spliffs at 9am.

# Mendelssohn’s Tree is the dead stump of a 500-year-old Beech from Burnham Beeches. It is now a sculpture in the open gardens of the Barbican Estate. It remains from a day when a storm ravaged the Buckinghamshire woodland in 1990. It is said to be the great composer’s favourite tree, beneath which he penned some of his greatest works.

TUESDAY There might be more water on the Moon than anyone first thought, which makes it a hidden treasure for human exploitation. Problem is that it might not be the “right type” of water.

# Two pictures completed today…

Aldwych abstract
Startled chimp. My wife says it’s more like that fella from The Prodigy

# Did a Boots online hearing test and it said I could have poor hearing. Might just stick with the TV subtitles on for the time being.

# Liverpool won 2-0 at home, but they still look out of sorts.

WEDNESDAY Zoe said the Pokémon dude tipped her the wink, not the other way round. I started a stupid reply about tipping the wink being an look of intent rather than a statement of fact, but gave up and I just said sorry.

# This could be a moment… It’s one of those stories that hasn’t gone away in more than a week and it’s not hard to sense it lasting for many more yet.

# There’s a big queue outside the Italian Consulate on Farringdon Street. I wonder if something Brexity is going on. This is a very Italian area of Clerkenwell. Big showy weddings are a regular fixture at St Peter’s church, and the food shops Terroni and Gazzano sell spaghetti in sizes you can’t get elsewhere.

# It is weird listening to the organ and saxaphone parts on Bruce Springsteen’s new E-Street album, Letter To You. Danny Federici died in 2008 and Clarence Clemons in 2011.

# Walk 4 in the 12 Bridges book I just found via Instagram goes over Blackfriars Bridge from the south side to New Bridge Street where at No14 is the site of Bridewell Palace, one of Henry VIII’s hangouts during the smashing-up of the churches. It became a hospital and then a jail, and the word “Bridewell” was thereafter used in English-speaking territories to mean a prison.

14 New Bridge Steet

From there I drifted into St Brides church, which was allowing walk-ins. I hadn’t been back since Peter Preston‘s service in January 2018 and the photo “graveyard” of departed journalists has grown. Deborah (Orr) is there and of course the greatest of them all, Harry Evans.

St Brides altar
Journalists’ “gravestones

Then it was down to the crypt, which houses a museum where you can see one of the metal coffins used  in the 19th Century to deter bodysnatchers who earned money supplying student anatomists with fresh meat. The only other source was the hangman.

St Brides crypt

# Rachael posted some good news on Twitter. This comes after the Arcola theatre announced a new outdoor Covid-safe project.

THURSDAY In my Cormoran Strike book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, a short story, fully formed, appears in one poetic sentence. It goes something like this: “Tansy was swaddling the truth in an obvious lie, and Strike wanted to know why.”

# On the walk to Headway I listened to Elvis Costello’s King of America album and later me, Chris, Stuart and Bryn rehearsed the track Indoor Fireworks. The musicians in the quartet opted to do it in the key of D. I tapped my feet, mouthed the lyrics and did as little as possible. Later in the studio I did a picture of a horse from one of Derrick’s photographs.

A horse from Derrick’s vast photographic collection

# The findings of the investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party is finished. It is damning and former leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended.

# Oh, no, this is something I agreed to do that I secretly hoped would drop off the agenda, but it didn’t.

Donations to Headway East London, a charity supporting people affected by brain injury

# Lucy writes poetry I simply don’t understand. To be honest, I don’t understand most poetry, but I always try to find a line I like. Lucy is prolific, but I always feel her wordplay is beyond my reach. I did, however, like the line, “she nocturnes this feeling of death”, in The Sea Girls.

# We saw an online performance by Nubya Garcia from the Barbican, plugging her album Source. Nubya plays a moody tenor sax reminiscent of some of the deep prowling sounds on Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man. Loved it, but still don’t like that jazz thing where every member of the band gets to show off for 5 minutes. In this case, the drummer was particularly annoying, with the double bass a close 2nd.

# Pretty soon everyone will be in Tier 3 (Shut up, do as you’re told, go nowhere, suffer). Then the mass uprising begins.

# Keir Starmer is disappointed at what Jeremy Corbyn said.

FRIDAY The elasticated arthritis compression gloves I bought off the internet for £4.39 work well but need regular washing.

# Keir Starmer looks like he’s having a Kinnock moment.

# Off to Bishopsgate Institute for the free Friday lunchtime musical recital. It was weird seeing the hall with spaced-out chairs.

Safe-distance seating at Bishopsgate Institute, London

Booking in advance is required and the correct number of seats laid out according to bubbles, so it was disappointing to notice that a bubble of four did not turn up, plus two single seats.

The performer, flautist Nina Robertson, has a way with the flute that on occasions made it sound like a reed instrument – the upper end of the clarinet or oboe. She played some properly serious pieces by Schubert and Debussy, but then struck out with some busky Irish stuff and finished with a fun piece based in a pair of bickering parakeets.

Nina Robertson at Bishopsgate Institute, London

The parakeet preamble included a story about Jimi Hendrix arriving in London with a pair of parakeets, which he released in Carnaby Street, thus starting a parakeet population explosion. This story was too good to check, so I didn’t.

# Michelle sent me today’s Home Studio project, a Spanish cowboy (vaquero). This is my effort.

Buckaroo, with what looks like a partially amputated right arm, riding a horse that could be a unicorn with two left feet

# I made a birthday card for my niece, who is a Halloween child, about to become 31 on 31, but didn’t send it because it was deemed too weird. Which is probably right.

SATURDAY I tried another birthday card for my niece and settled on this one, which my sister thought appropriate for a Scorpio.

# We tried in vain to look Halloweeny for the Halloween coffee morning with the Barbican bunch.

Then we all told stories about food and dining establishments. Gill told one about being in Russia on Christmas Day and sitting with a friend drinking hot chocolate and eating Mars Bars and suddenly realising what day it was. There was a concentration of interest in chips, how they are cooked, size and the best local suppliers (Kennedy’s). There was also a grouping around crab and lobster eaten close to where it was caught (Dorset, Whitstable). I broke ranks and raved about the French crêpes galettes we used to eat at Cripes in Brighton shortly after we were first married.

# The annual gathering of estate residents for Halloween went off safely and smoothly. There were plenty of free cakes to eat, soup and other hot drinks. I was reprimanded by a 9 year-old for entering the Under-5s playground to take a picture of a rose bush I had mistaken from a distance to be a pumpkin tree.

# This was a stressful game to watch. It never looked good for Liverpool.

See all of my Diaries.

3 thoughts on “Week 44…

  1. Ref poetry that you don’t understand, I found similar when popping off to look at the blogs of ‘likers’ of my (deliberately) simple and silly stuff. My rule is that if I have to visit a dictionary website in a separate tab more then three times per verse and still don’t get the line the word appears in, I won’t go back to read any more. In fact, I find it’s like the jazz solo ‘show off my virtuosity’ bits in many ways… “Listen to my clever doodling and admire me…”

    Liked by 1 person

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