Posted by: okathleen | November 17, 2008

A Weekend of Two Halves

Saturday away in London. Sunday at home in the garden. Both bloody exhausting.

The pendolino to Euston is a source of constant consternation. It never fails me. Each time I go to the Smoke it tilts along carrying a motley mesh of individual fascinators. Am I the only pork pie in a big bowl of fruit? All was well until Stoke on Trent when a rather attractive chap joined, (not your usual Clay Head says Flo?), a cross between Kevin Pietersen and Clive Owen. He settled down opposite and asked the Steward for a glass of wine. EUGH. He then tapped his fingers all the way through rolling fields and suburban side streets.

Tap tap, tappety tap.

He managed to procure the bottle from Carl (the Steward), who was probably so shocked to be asked he didn’t falter. (Looks/tastes like asparagus urine – apparently – that’s the wine, not Carl).

Kevin-Clive was reading ‘The Essential Guide to Joining the Ranks of the World’s most Successful People’.

Enough said.

Onwards onwards, through the concourse at Euston, against the flow of Friday night ants and beetles and crickets with umbrellas and wheelies and Subways in brown paper bags.

My parenting skills must be improving cos I managed to persuade Flo to nip in to the British Library en route to the Hotel. The BL is sandwiched between Euston and St Pancras. If they were cakes Euston would be a Battenburg (although very crumbly around the edges), St Pancras would be a fondant fancy, and the Library a best before 1982 malt loaf. Redeeming features lacking. My cup of tea? The pavlova of St Paul’s or the iced finger of Somerset House. Anyway, enough of afternoon tea. The BL is saved by its exterior landscaping.


Was it influenced by Lewis Carroll? An oversized gate, a giant of a Newton, and whirls of brick and marble underfoot paved the way for a little white rabbit to take his books back…

Why Newton? I connote Science not Literature, and ironically in the Treasures room is a letter to Hooke re accusations of plagiarism about him. Ha, happens to the best of them. Through the lobby where dozens of automaton students/tourists/youths sit glazed over, peering into laptops…. mirror mirror…

“Must be the free wi fi” says Flo, yep, I knew that!?

Up the escalator, and into the Treasures Room.

“Can someone put the lights on? Why is it so bloody dark?” Blackberry light, coal walls, purple carpet.

Surveying the scene reminded me of the ‘Old People’s Home’, in Saatchi’s China Exhibition as visitors tried to see inside the display cases.

Peer in, and back. Step forward. Focus. And back. Again.


I loved:        listening to James Joyce frothing Ulysses from padded headphones.

Da Vinci’s left-handed right to left mirror writing.

Flo loved:    The Magna Carta.

How odd is that? She told me why, how, what and where. My daughter listens in class. Just like her mum.

She liked even more listening to three Spanish sisters in the Magna Carta room talking about it in Spanish.

Experience outside the bare plaster of the four walls of the institute. Living, live exhibits, underlining her experience her memories her knowledge.

I asked her what she thought.  ‘A cave full of treasure mum’. But then she laughed and pretended to be sick.

Sunday. 39,000,000 leaves swept up and burnt in a damp pile, back in the bowels of the countryside. Exhausting. I have big respect for all those bumpkins on The Archers.

Read this week:

Anais Nin – Delta of Venus. Language of the Senses? Erotica writing impossible, does she nail it? (sorry.) No.

William Boyd – Any Human Heart. Curates Egg. Best when humour employed. May adapt diary format.

John Berger – Ways of Seeing. Could I submit a pictorial essay from my ethno writing? Shall attempt.

Warren Kidd – Culture and Id. Investigate feminist poststructuralism.

Evelyn Waugh – The Complete Short Stories. Like ‘The Balance’ Script?

Kenneth Clarke – on Vermeer and light


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