Monday, 29 June 2009

Hot and sticky on Monday...

Please, mother of life, let it rain.

Susannah came back into the office after her lunch break, announcing “Hey, dragonflies rock!” – she’s been eating by the waterlily pool outside the Jodrell Laboratory and topping up her tan. Me, I cowered indoors all through my break, avoiding the sudden, sweltering heat. It’s too darned hot for me. I’ve taken to wearing my loosest and most floaty clothes, which today means a floppy pink gingham dress that makes me look pregnant and shows off my less than perfectly toned arms. I’ve just been in the ladies’, running cold water over my wrists and the backs of my hands. I’m befuddled enough by the temperature and the mugginess that I got confused by the taps, which admittedly are counter-intuitive – I’ve only been using them for a year, after all – and couldn’t turn the water off at all for a messy, wet, panicked moment.

I read the Geek in The Gambia's accounts of the heat there and know I couldn’t handle that, not unless the only other option were instant termination. Heat and humidity combined really sap me; they wipe up my energy and spit me out like a dead fly. Maybe I'll never see a real rainforest.

To crown it all, it’s turned grey; I don’t even have the beauty of dry, golden-baked Kew Green in the sunshine to look at. It looks as if it’s going to rain; please, goddess, lady of the west, guardian of water, autumn and evening, let it rain.

It rained yesterday – I was out in the garden, transplanting petunias and portulacas into the last of the pots, sweating and filthy in shorts and an ancient suntop, when suddenly there was a little murmur of a breeze, and as I straightened up thinking “That’s often the preamble of rain”, the first drops began to fall. Then more drops. And more. For a good five minutes it went on in this vein, with single huge drops falling one by one, as if the gods were flicking rain at me from their fingers instead of pouring it out wholesale. Each drop struck with a distinct sound – ping if it hit the barbecue, slap if it hit the table, bong if it hit the roof of next door’s shed, a dusty pflutt on the paving, plip if it hit a leaf. I went on working, and the raindrops hit me, too (I also go plip, which is interesting – does this mean I am a plant at heart?). Each drop was cold, blissfully cold; and on striking, each one spread over my skin with a trickly splatter. It was like being licked on the run by invisible, airbourne, slobbery elf dogs.

I came to the last of the pots, a twelve-inch green-glazed ceramic job, and upended it to chuck out the mass of old dead leaves accumulated inside, and got a bizarre shock. It was full of cutlery. Spoons – about fifteen spoons of different sizes and designs – four butter knives (who uses butter knives? - no surprise that no-one missed them), a pair of nutcrackers that look as though something tried to eat them, and a bizarre gadget shaped like a pair of lobster claws, which I think is a fancy beer-bottle opener. The spoons are mostly corroded 1940s and ‘50s EPNS of varying elegance (or lack thereof) though a few are stainless steel. One spoon says “Potosi Silver” proudly on the back – though as it is probably the worst corroded of the lot I am left dubious as to what kind of "Silver" this is. I’ve cleaned and disinfected the stainless steel, as we are short of spoons, but I doubt if much can be done to save the electroplate. But why? – why?!? It was perfectly good cutlery once – why hide it in a flowerpot? People are so very odd sometimes.

Then it began to rain in earnest, and even I was driven indoors, though I held out until I was good and wet. Oh to be in England, now that summer’s here…

Friday, 26 June 2009

Odd echoes and reminders, and dream-casts, and day-dreams...

I've just been given a free smoothie - apparently Innocent Smoothies are trying to smarm up to Kew, or Kew is trying to smarm up to them (it wasn't clear which from the cheerful colleague who brought them round). It's Mango and Passion Fruit and is cold and delicious. But the taste conjures all sorts of odd memories, running in loops and swirls through my mind, their many different colours and nuances twining like oil-paint on water, floating over one another, blending into queer new combinations...

The tang of passion fruit takes me back with enormous intensity to a winter holiday in Madeira a few years ago. I had been quite unwell the preceding summer and autumn and was awaiting an operation; I got tired very easily, slept to all hours and did very little except stroll through the beautiful streets of Funchal, sit in the sun, and eat too much (Madeiran cooking was uniformly superb, even in quite touristy places). I became hooked on freshly-pressed passion-fruit purée and probably drank several glasses a day, and also on the gorgeous pudim de maracuja, something like passion-fruit blancmange only delicious in a way that the term 'blancmange' would seem to render pretty unlikely, which my favourite rather scruffy neighbourhood restaurant, the "Tangerina", served. Now the sweet yet sour flavour always takes me straight back to Funchal, sitting on the pebble-mosaic'ed terrace of a café in the cathedral square, shaded by huge acacias.

The taste of mango, on the other hand, brings me back to making my own smoothies, two years ago, and that is a weirdly but acutely painful memory, for all sorts of reasons I am not proud of or happy about; reasons, in fact, that I probably shouldn't be writing about here. When something you have been very, very happy about goes belly-up in a really unpleasant and irretrievable way, it is an altogether different kind of sweet-yet-sour experience looking back on it - as in, it was (or seemed to be) so good, and then it All Went Wrong. And two years later the taste of mango conjures all the delight and excitement, and all the grief and loss and the pain of rejection.

The colours and blurs that that memory conjures are too complex, and too self-indulgently unhappy, to write about, even obliquely; even now.

Let's put it aside, then, since it is still too raw to contemplate. One has the right to make one's way through any grieving process at one's own pace and in one's own way, after all. Let's think about beauty again: Today's number one beautiful sight was a single orange-yellow flower petal, slightly dried and creased, swinging from a thread of spider silk beneath a tree. It looked like a fairy, for a moment, dancing before me in mid-air as I came up the path.

One other thing; I have a bad habit of playing "Dream Cast My Novel" - do all tyro writers do this, I wonder? Characters come to me in a very visual way, and there is a certain mad fun in trying subsequantly to spot actors who have, if not literally the right looks, then something of the right quality, so that one can picture them conveying the character as a person rather than a performance of a person. So I have a mental list of actors who'd be good as my protagonist Simon, actors who'd be good as Anne, actors who'd be good as Gabriel Yeats and actors who'd be good as Rose. Only one name on the latter list, actually, that of the wonderfully-named Honeysuckle Weeks, who is so nearly perfect-for-Rose as to be slightly uncanny.

Anyway, last night I was tired and sleepy and I slummocked in front of the tele, channel-hopping (we have freeview - yay, more than five channels, at last channel-hopping really means exactly that). I found myself watching a show called "The Mentalist" - rather good in the way of US tele series with lightweight content skilfully done, and better actors than the material needs giving it backbone and humanity and a powerful illusion of substance. The leading man, an Australian called Simon Baker, is almost indecently good-looking, and manages to convey a mixture of insoucience and bottled-up tension that is oddly powerful. He's not tall enough, his eyes are blue not grey, and he's an Aussie, but he'd be a great Gabriel Yeats, because he is seriously handsome and can do both charm and inwardness.

My Dream Cast list gets slowly but surely more ambitious!

Simon Cenarth: William Houston. Or, at a pinch, Damian Lewis, another very fine ginger British actor of about the right age.
Anne Hope: Naomi Watts, provided she would dye her hair for it (I said I was ambitious). Or, if only time travel were possible, the young Eleanor Bron.
Gabriel Yeats: JJ Feild, or Simon Baker, or Tom Hiddlestone.
Rose Leland: Honeysuckle Weeks.

What one does about the casting of Felix Angus or Thomas Rosenau I don't know. Fun with CGI, anyone?

well, a girl can dream...

Thursday, 25 June 2009


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is what my eyes have been beholding today.

1) The keyboard of my computer at work; beautiful because extremely useful and well-suited to the work it is meant to do.

2) The view of Kew Green out of the window - dry, golden grass, soft green cushion-y linden trees, and sunlight. Earlier there were kids playing cricket. Now a group of young blokes are booting a ball around. One of them is in full team colours for some football team or other, complete with player's name (unreadable at this distance) on his back. One has stripped down to a pair of chopped-off shorts - he has a fine physique and is laughing at something as I write.

3) A blackbird sitting & singing on the parapet of the white stone portico in front of the office.

4) My new ring - I bought it a few weeks back in one of those mad ethnic-and-odd-stuff shops where if you want a flowervase shaped like a seashell, red and black rag rugs, and a doorcurtain in six different shades of luminous plastic beads, you'll be very happy indeed. The ring is made of little cut-glass crystal petals, wired together into a flower shape - lilac, sky blue, red, rose pink,a rather faint green and bright yellow. In the centre, the "boss of stamens" is a single sparkly clear glass crystal. It's unusually girly for me but it charmed me when I saw it and it still does now.

5) The ox-eye daisies outside the rear door of the office, and the wonderful array of delicate grass-seed heads in the patch of uncut lawn, now involuntary hay-meadow, where the daisies have grown up and flowered.

6) My little cut-out figure of Rimmer (from "Red Dwarf"), which still manages to be both rather sweet and terribly funny at the same time.

And many more, too many to count but blessings all.

I've been tired most of the day; my evening out with K. turned out to be as I'd expected. She is pretty cut-up about losing her aunt and her grandfather, but at least with regard to the break-up has now moved on from the stage where one cries a lot and says "N.'s left me, how can I go on?" to the stage where one says "N. is a knob!". From my own past experience, i think this is healthy, and a necessary stage in the recovery process. And anyway, N. must be a knob, to treat K. like this.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Things going wrong...

or, one of those weeks.

One of my colleagues has, um, well, let's just say that out of the blue she's lost the plot rather, and is now off on long-term sick leave. It would be unprofessional to say more. But it means that a department that was already short-staffed is now trying to distribute another person's workload amongst the staff, and as the saying goes, a quart into a pint pot won't go. Very depressing.

Then, I've just learned that my favourite baritone has pulled out of "Il Barbiere di Seviglia" at the ROH under doctor's orders, needing total rest. I didn't have a ticket (it was that or "Ondine", and I really wanted to see "Ondine", so I jumped that way and not for the Rossini) but those I know who did mostly had tickets principally to see Mr K. in action, and are pretty pee'd off. Myself, I'm just concerned that he's been pushing himself too hard, silly bloke.

Luckily I no longer live near him and his family, so I'm spared any temptation to peer over their front hedge as I go by (& that is a very good thing!!). I used to live a few streets away, and I'm afraid that sometimes I did peer, like a nosy kid; and then sometimes I would pass him on his way to the shops or the gym, almost invariably looking worn-out and flat... He's one of those performers who put 110% into everything, and rush from Munich on a Tuesday to Manchester on a Wednesday, and then back to Munich, and then go straight into rehearsals somewhere in the US without even time to get over the jet-lag. When someone drives themself that hard they have to stop occasionally, or things start to snap. Having just seen someone flip, I don't like to think of someone I really admire going that way.

Now tonight I'm having a drink with a friend who's just had two members of her family die and a relationship break up within a month. She's had some emotional health problems in the past and is sounding terribly stressed, though as yet still rational - aware, if you like, that she's in a bad way, whereas when you are really up the creek you don't know it at all... But I imagine she will really, really need to talk; so I'm expecting a heavy evening.

You know, things like this remind me of how much I am grateful for - my good health (it has not always been thus, so I know what it is to be without), the blessed fact that none of my family have popped it recently, and even at times the fact of being single, since at least that spares me the misery of being ditched.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

First you think you're there...

... then you realise you're not. It isn't finished; there's more work to be done. You want to yell. You want to cry. But then you do the only thing you can - you put your shoulder back to the wheel, and move things on a wee bit more.

I was reading something supposedly set in the Middle Ages; suddenly one of the characters said "You snuck up on me", and I thought "Ouch! Did they really say that in the fourteenth century?". It set me to thinking, though, about how easy it is to have fictional characters talking, or thinking, or acting, out of period. It's something I've worked hard to achieve in "GY", trying to make Simon, Anne and Gabriel credible as people of their respective centuries. Simon may seem a bit more modern, but I hope untidily so, since I was careful to make him totally non-PC in his terms of reference. He's partly based on my maternal grandfather, who was an autodidact and a socialist, and pretty liberal for his time, yet happily used terms and phrases that would make the average good lefty today scream in horror. He certainly wasn't a racist or a sexist - by the standards of his time. He made sure that none of his family ever used the word "nigger" because he knew it was offensive and insulting; but he used "negro", which nowadays is equally unacceptable, all his life, as to him it was a neutral term. His view of homosexuality was "I can't say I like it but I suppose a man can't help it if he's born that way", which was extraordinarily liberal for his generation; yet he used terms like "poof" and "queer" quite happily. He championed his daughter's equal right to a good education and a good career, yet still called women "ladies" and opened doors for them and offered them his seat on the bus. He wasn't ginger, although Simon is, but he did play the fiddle, and he was one of the hardest-working, most honourable and stalwart people I have ever known.

Anyway, I sat there on my bed trying again to run through the "period indicators" I've used, and wondering if I've got them right, and suddenly thought of something I had never realised. Because Anne and Simon are going to end up as a couple I have done my best to give them similar values; but they are people of different periods - Simon is a man of the early twentieth century, Anne is born in 1782. I don't think it is out of period for her to be rather wilful and determined, as I am sure that in every era there have been people who chafed against the constrictions of their society, and thought "outside the box". But the basic foundation upon which her view of the world is built would be different from Simon's. Specifically, it doesn't make sense, in the context of her times, to have her attempts to help Mrs Viner be prompted solely by a mixture of professionalism and humanistic fellow-feeling. Compassion, to a woman born in the late eighteenth century, would be a religious, not a secular, virtue. Anne, at least when we first meet her, has to be a christian.

This is going to be a bit tricky, as I'm not one, and, too, it's hard to put myself mentally back past the Victorians, with their deep and public piety, ostentatious religiosity and occasional horrible double standards, to try and imagine what might have been the religious world view of a middle-class, rather free-thinking Georgian bluestocking. But I set-to last night and started to make the necessary tweaks. I think tweaks are all that are needed; I'm not going completely to rewrite the character. I'm too fond of Anne to effect a major transformation, and anyway, I don't think one is needed - she is already thoroughly christian (in the best sense, that is, as in moral, kind, considerate) in her actions, she just never speaks of it or shows it as a conscious motivation. That's what I have to tweak.

The funny thing was, I immediately spotted three typos I'd missed on each previous re-reading, and discovered that the pagination goes haywire at one point. So it was definitely for the best that I had opened the text up again.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

No moaning today...

...nor grumbles, nor gripes. I have realised with a nasty jolt that lately I have done nothing but complain about *s*t*u*f*f* in this blog, and truly I have bugger all to complain about compared to many people, not to mention other life-forms.

So here instead are some of the good things. Brace yourselves; this is Imogen celebrating instead of Imogen whinging.

1. It hasn't rained yet today.

2. A nice-looking bloke in an open-topped car grinned at me this morning as I was cycling to work (realistically, I know this was probably because I was showing a hell of a lot of leg owing to my skirt blowing back, but I am only human and a grin is still a grin).

3. The linden trees are in full blossom everywhere and the scent is indescribable; sweet yet herbal, hauntingly evocative of open spaces and clear light, and other such things that are lacking in west London but delightful still when called up in the memory.

4. I have found out how to work the Dvd player at home, and was able to sit down and watch a good movie, that night a couple of evenings ago when I felt so terrible.

5. Ever since watching said good movie ("Master and Commander") I have been humming the lovely, dancing melody of the piece by Boccherini that is played as the film ends; unlike most tunes that get into one's head and won't leave, this one continues to delight me even after several days. As does the memory of the film; I had forgotten how brilliantly it conjures up a totally believable shipboard life, how damned exciting it is, and how marvellous the cinematography is. I had forgotten that Russell Crowe gives one of his best performances in it (he sleepwalks through "Gladiator", yet is capable of immense subtlety - see this, or "LA Confidential", or "A Brilliant Mind" in which he underplays stringently, in a rôle where a lot of actors would have chewed the scenery until they collapsed choking on it). I had forgotten that Paul Bettany is also terrific (usually I find him slightly creepy) and the rest of the cast bats right down the order.

6. The Gardens here at Kew are looking lovey - the Mediterranean Garden is a mass of cistus and phlomis and my beloved Spartium juncium, and awash in sweet and resinous incense-y scents. The garden at home is also looking good, though on a laughably small scale in comparison; my first marigold came out yesterday, a tiny buttonhole of egg-yolk yellow, clashing wonderfully with the pink wild geranium growing next to it.

7. I saw "Ondine" at the Royal Ballet a couple of weeks ago and was blown away by it; what a ballet, what a score, and oh how divinely wonderful is Miyako Yoshida...

8. I had a great writing fit last night and cracked a couple of knotty revisions in "GY".

9. It's the end of the day and I can go home now and have a drink.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Colour Therapy?...

or, is red food restorative?

My mother has a theory that it is. If I were living with her at the moment, I would go home and wail pathetically at her, and she would give me beetroot and tomato risotto and a glass of red wine for supper. And she would say "That'll put some blood back into you."

I had beetroot for lunch, thinking of her, and I'm tempted to do the risotto and red wine thing for supper too, although I really shouldn't be drinking mid-week. But - well - what can I say? Holy hormones? - holy cow, yes! Boy I just love (not) being a woman at these times. I'm tired and crotchetty and washed out, and I feel as if something has beaten me about the midriff for twelve hours straight.

Hoping to cycle home without being rained on tonight, after being caught in a spectacular cloudburst yesterday evening thanks to stopping for five minutes to buy ibuprofen at Boots on the Chiswick High Road.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Things to do when you're dead...

... in Chiswick or anywhere else for that matter.
An amazing idea for ecological burial; new to me, at least

As ever, I don't seem to be able to post that as a link.

Meanwhile, while still alive: All morning at work, I have been getting jumped on by people saying "Well done in the pub quiz, Imogen! I hear you were a whizz!" and similar things. I was in a pub quiz team last night, and we came second. No-one is congratulating the other members of the team. I had three and a half pints of Aspalls over the course of the evening, and I don't recall being an outstanding performer, so my first thought was a nervous fear that this was irony, & that I'd spent the evening showing off and braying loudly that I knew all the answers. But as more and more people have greeted me the same way, I begin to wonder if without noticing it I was in fact a useful member of the team.

How wonderful; my mind is a junkyard. Get your red-hot memorable trivia here!

Whatever the truth of my performance, it was fun cycling home afterwards, although as it was pouring with rain the glow of a (demi) victory wasn't enough on its own to keep me warm all the way back to Turnham Green. But cycling at night when you're somewhat tipsy (but the roads are quiet) is weirdly enjoyable. You see things you wouldn't see otherwise, and become engaged with the world with a vividness and immediacy that sober daylight and a mind full of serious issues tend to mask, normally. There's a wet fox slinking along under the bridge; the shuddering skins of puddles are lit with hectic street light; you are intensely aware of how cold your thighs are, and of each icy raindrop hitting the crown of your head, and of the pinging sound that the other raindrops make, the ones which hit the open frame of your cycling helmet instead. And the scent of the early flowering linden trees along the southern edge of Turnham Green is deliriously sweet, falling in the night like another dimension of rain parallel to the watery one...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

It's a mad mad mad world (Pt 2)

On the bus into work: A very smart specimen of the dreaded species Chiswick Mummy got on, pushing a huge baby buggy with a very small baby inside. She sat down, picked up the baby, and immediately began to change its nappy. Perfectly natural, I grant you, but rather smelly, and clearly embarrssing for an elderly gentleman a couple of seats away who I think had not been prepared for a dung-y infant's scrotum on the bus at 8.45 am. However, on finishing this job, Chiswick Mummy then, without washing her hands, proceeded to do her eye make-up and lip gloss. She then opened the front of her dress and began to breast feed the baby (needless to say the elderly gent by now was unable to look up with embarrassment, and nearly missed his stop because he was staring at the floor).

I just keep thinking about the sequence; baby's bum, mum's eyes, mum's mouth, baby's mouth. In that order, with no noticeable attempts at hygiene in between.

Am I getting squeamish in my old age? Have I got the wrong idea about cleanliness and babies? Should I in fact be commending her for exposing her infant to bacteria nice and early in life, in order to toughen him up?

Chiswick Mummies scare me slightly; they drive in heavy traffic while talking on their mobiles, they cut-up cyclists, they park on double yellow lines because it's too far to walk, they yell abuse in their exquisite voices at helpless pedestrians who dare to cross the road at the zebra crossing; they career round supermarkets, blank-eyed, plugged into ipods or yapping endlessly into what one suddenly realises must be handsfree 'phones, and smashing into other shoppers, their trolleys loaded with Plymouth Gin and organic ready-stuffed portobollo mushrooms... Now I have reason to believe they are capable of trying to poison their own offspring. Please don't let them win; please don't let this be the future of my country, my gender, my species...

Friday, 5 June 2009

Drafting a query letter...

I'm trying to write a query letter for "Gabriel Yeats", trying to get a publisher interested in it (or maybe an agent - I've yet to make a definate decision on which is the right course to follow). It's unpleasantly nerve-wracking trying to sum-up and, worse still, pitch, my work.

If you were to get the following letter, how would it sound to you?

Dear X [NB I will take the time to find out the relevent name in each case]

I am writing to ask if I may send you my novel “The Eternal Love of Gabriel Yeats” for your kind consideration. It is approximately x words in length [note to self; do a word count] and tells the story of the dramatic changes in the life of post-war music teacher Simon Cenarth when he meets the charismatic and obsessive Gabriel Yeats and becomes caught up in Yeats’ extraordinary quest. It is a fantastical romance which would appeal to lovers of magic realism and fans of the films of Powell & Pressburger, and could be described as “’Cold Mountain’ crossed with ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’”...

[And then a standard concluding paragraph asking if they would like to see some sample pages or a whole chapter or whatever, mentioning that I'm enclosing an appropriately-stamped SAE, and saying "thank you for your time"].


Does this make you think
a) Yeuchh
b) Yawn
c) Yes, that sounds intriguing…
d) Other (please specify).

Also, for those of you who have read “Gabriel Yeats”, does this sound like a fair pitch for the book?

Many thanks to anyone who has any feedback! This is a nerve-wracking business, trying to work out how to pitch my work...

Thursday, 4 June 2009

It's a mad mad mad world

I sat behind a woman on the bus this morning who was talking non-stop on her mobile:

Her; Awenn-i lemme newoyolo, il avait vingt mille, mais, it’s for my father, mon dieu, he’s ill, c’est limmana nayinke… She nattered on happily, continually hopping from language to language, whoever she was speaking to presumably equally fluently multi-lingual. The effect was musical and tantalising; how much would I understand of my eavesdropping before she jumped back into Wolof (or whatever it was)?

Here in the office, Roxana took a telephone message for Dave from a Mr Smite. That’s bad enough as names go, but she scrawled it down in a hurry, only for Dave to reappear a moment later looking concerned, saying “Is this guy’s name really Shite?”

It’s a magical, surreal world out there.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Coming home from going home...

There’s something very soothing about looking out of a train at the countryside rolling by at dusk. I spent rather a long time doing this yesterday evening on the way back through Kent to London, as the Sunday train service meant things were running rather slow (& rather roundabout in route as well). I didn’t really mind; it was early evening, with soft deep shadows to leeward of the hedgerows and woods; white ghosts of Queen Anne’s Lace, rabbits grazing, slim dark cattle walking slowly along the banks of the Stour, and the Downs rising like a distant line of cloud off to the north.. The train went due west into the sunset, fleeing its own shadow.

I had a wonderfully peaceful weekend at my mother’s, doing very little except helping her with some of the heavier kind of gardening (me heap big tough woman, do lots of chopping – ow, my back). Back to reality now. And now the sky has clouded over, after two days of flawless caerulean, bang on cue for Monday. A clouded sky in June is the visual signifier of the self-pitying sigh it inspires in me...

Watched the film of "Snow Falling on Cedars" while I was at Mum's; rather good, an excellent cast, and pretty true to the book - yet missing a lot as well, of course. Just before that we caught the end of an episode of "Robin Hood", which both of us have given up upon lately (when's "Merlin" coming back? That was FUN). The evil Gisborne sat crying his manly eyes out over a corpse by a riverbank, while Robin (faithless drip that he is) was Kissing Another Woman although it's only half a series since his One True Love died. As the phrase goes, what's that all about, then? They've lost me, I'm afraid. Though it was nice (in a slightly pervy way) to see Richard Armitage cry.

What else can I ramble about? I got back my holiday snaps from Crete this morning but they are mostly fairly dire - I think my dear, ancient camera may be nearing the end of its useful life. It's had a good innings, as it's several years older than me; a Zenit weighing nearly a kilo, the subject of many sarcastic comments at college - to my delight in Cuba I learned that Che Guevara used the same camera. Since the Zenit seems to be on its last legs my only good visual souvenir of this trip is the handful of sketches and watercolours I did - of which I am moderately pleased with about two. If I had a scanner I'd insert thumbnails of them here, now, but I am behind on the technology (to put it mildly). Sorry...

Off home, via the health food shop. Have a good week, world.