Posted by: okathleen | September 23, 2009

Visitors Welcome

Off I popped to the ‘pool.

To be induced. Induction Day at the Department of Philosophy, I think therefore I signed up. What’s a few more thousands of ££££’s between fellows. But first, I had to park my car. Running late, and no one wants to be late on their first day at school, holding at bay a slight panic attack, I selected a car park close to the venue:


I nudged my car towards the barrier and pressed the ‘press here’ button.

Nothing happened. Hmm, press ‘Help’. ‘Help’ said  the car park was only for visitors after 5.30, staff only before then.

Behind me three cars stacked up. I leant out of the window and made that embarrassed gesture which says – ever so sorry but I need to back up and would you mind reversing a little…

In the car behind, a woman wound down her window, leant out, and screeched in her best Scouse:

“You stupid fucking blonde bimbo if you think I’m taking my life in my hands and reversing onto the fucking main road you’ve got another fucking think coming.”

I wondered where in the University she worked…

Posted by: okathleen | September 21, 2009


However much you are tempted – here is a warning.

If you have a teenage daughter, and if you take her shopping, and if she wants to try something on, DO NOT under any circumstances go into that changing room with her, (obviously I am thinking Mother/Daughter relationship here, not many Fathers would make it past the Fitting Room Police).


It will only end in tears.

Yours not hers. Serves me right. Trying anything on in those changing rooms is asking for trouble at the best of times: the fluorescent lighting, the tropical heat and the lingering whiff of BO is enough to put off even the most dedicated shopper. But Flo is a dedicated shopper, and would not be deterred by any of the above. Not like her lily-livered mother. But I’m tougher than that, dontcha know.

What reduces me to tears is Flo.

Lithe lean and lovely next to her old bag of a mother in that little cubicle. She was me, I was her decades ago, trying on the same old sequins. A cycle, wary, aware of the kinks and curves that she will face. I want her to fly, to float beyond and flee the crap and crud that heap in hurdles to trick and trap her.

She was me and I was her. Wearing sequins.

Posted by: okathleen | September 19, 2009


Am I doing the right thing? What is the right thing? What is right? What is the thing?

Doing something is better than doing nothing if it were possible in the first place to do nothing. How close to nothingness is it possible to get?

I’m about to  – that’s if I decide I’m doing the right thing – take up a place at the University of Liverpool.

Going back to my roots yeah

Back down to earth.


Abercromby Square is where it’s at, or it may be if I do the thing – right or wrong.

The Square with the Sentinel.

The elegance of Regency England peered at by the smirking absurdity of Paddy’s Wigwam. The Philosopy Department cogitates behind the Doric columns whilst the left footers genuflect beneath the truncated pyramid, where religion in the round is much much more than a strange loop, and every frustum longs to be a cone…

We walked from Abercromby Square down the hill to the docks.

The day dazzled and deluded locals swam in the new canal link, which was the colour of Guinness with the frothy head thrown in for free. All the lifebelts were thrown in too. Orange polos bobbing in stout.

Posted by: okathleen | September 16, 2009


Time to pick up the pencil again and sharpen it.


The summer draws to an end (what summer?) and it’s time to get out my woolly socks and hot water bottle. The shops, my favourite shops, my charity shops are chockablock with Christmas Cards and woolly socks and hot water bottles. The lauded BBQ from the BBQ summer has been rolled away behind the garage. We used it once,  under an umbrella. Soggy sausages.

And a row. I told you we’d never use it. But I like it. And I don’t. Everything just tastes burnt.

My daughter is back at school. It seems cruel. The weight of expectation hovers over her and she stoops and grumbles about the unfairness of it all.

My son is back at university. That doesn’t seem cruel. He called to ask about making breadcrumbs. I suppose if you have never made breadcrumbs before it might seem tricky. He didn’t want to buy a blender so I suggested grating toast.

Rather his kitchen than mine.

I’m off to start on Schiller. And Kant. Sunday found us in Liverpool at The Tate and The Slavery Museum. I tried to hoover up the contents of The Tate, and look at them with a Sontag perspective – that art must give pleasure.

More later.

Posted by: okathleen | June 14, 2009

Whatever next in Waterstones


I was browsing the Philosophy section in Waterstones: would it be the Baudrillard

‘It is always the same: once you are liberated, you are forced to ask who you are.’

or the Foucault

‘What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is only related to objects, and not to individuals, or to life.’

when I was distracted by what seemed to me an extraordinary scene.

Philosophy is squeezed in between Self Help and Children, and out of the corner of my eye I could see a mother a child and an overladen pram. The mother was very busy making her small toddler comfortable on its potty in the middle of the shop floor.

Bibliophiles, browsers and bored looking staff all carried on as the mother chatted away with her offspring in an outdoor voice offering oohs and ahhs of encouragement. Right there, on its potty, in the middle of the shop. 

And when the mission had been accomplished she put the toddler under her arm, balanced the brimming potty and dragged the overladen pram outside where she emptied the contents on the edge of the pavement. 

And then back they trotted to the books. 

In the meantime the results of my degree arrived. The fog of anticlimax is overwhelming.

Posted by: okathleen | June 6, 2009

Camellia, Bluebell, Lilac…

Colour in the garden:









Posted by: okathleen | June 5, 2009

Champagne Moment

The nursery opened out into fronds of unfurling colour.

Lilac lupins stoop. 

Drizzle drips from fuschia lanterns and bees weave the melliferous motorway. 






Hostas hate slugs. 

Moss clings to plastic pots and a thrush plucks tufts from weedy clumps.

Next to the lean-to shed a creamy rose thrusts its throne of buds and I buy it.

Posted by: okathleen | June 4, 2009




Ca N’ Alluny is a planet away from the chaos of the costa. 

Graves liked to write in silence, and the quiet of Deia is booming.

The house is now a Museum. We were shown round by a bearded guide who was watering the tangerine trees as we walked up the path.

Just Flo and me.

Wandering around a garden stuffed with olives and lemons and rosemary and garlic plants. We stood on the top step and squinted at the lapis sea, and Flo asked why we didn’t live in a house like this…

Inside, the Marie Celesteness was alarming. As if the family had just trotted off down to the beach, I felt like Goldilocks looking at the set table and the turned down beds. Fortunately the Aga was switched off, although the air maintained that baking heat scorchity.

We picked some lavender and I tucked it in to ‘Wild Olives’ the book by William Graves about his idyllic childhood in Majorca. Flo surreptitiously robbed a windfall lemon which still languishes in our fridge with a liquefying cucumber and some mouldy tomatoes. Salad isn’t the same in Manchester as it is sitting on a terrace with a glass of icy rosada. 

More later, the analepsis of Graves needs to be investigated…

Posted by: okathleen | May 30, 2009

Espagna por favor!



My blog has been a blank for a week as has my mind. 

Emptied over the Bay of Biscay as our metal tube soared through fluffy clouds and all around easyjet punters chomped through bacon baguettes and Pringles. Eating on planes ain’t what it used to be. But then nothing on planes is what it used to be. 

That’s not quite right, one or two things remain the same. 

There are always two, at least two, screaming/whimpering/griping infants.

There are always 80, at least 80, terrified passengers whose white knuckles are released only temporarily from the armrests to grab the bacon baguettes and Pringles.

There is always 1, at least 1, hard-nosed, been there done that air stewardess called Wendy or Sue in charge of your cabin today.

All a far cry from the days when I wandered the aisles softly chanting


with a hard-nosed, been there done that glazed over look on my face….

Posted by: okathleen | May 17, 2009

Tracey Emin Not.

So it was my exhibition on Friday.

I am just awaiting the call from Mr Saatchi. 

It’s only a matter of time.


The familiar image blank, blanked, blanketed in white. Cognition is tested. We have to look again. We see the form, the familiar form of cup and plate and puppet, but that’s all we have to go on. Just form. What happened to colour and shade and texture and depth. It’s a whitewash, all gone, make up your own mind without help from me. Looking is easy with so many clues. Look harder without the help.

Delve deeper, gaze longer. We know it, we recognise it, but it’s different, is it clearer or not as clear? Terms of reference removed, the familiar becomes bizarre, obtuse. The visual with fewer dimensions causes the look to look again. We want the detail. The nuance, not white out, not bland blobs. It’s the detail we see.

Or is it?

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