Sunday, February 18, 2007


This morning I was lying drowsing, having just woken from a dream, when the poet started to talk in his sleep. The words I caught coming from his mouth were sentences from the dream I'd just had! Of course, the actual words have been completely erased from my memory, but wow.

p.s. I can heartily recommend being married to a poet on Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Save our hospital

My local hospital, Chase Farm, has been threatened for some time with cuts and closures of various services, the most frightening of which is the potential closure of the Accident and Emergency department. This would mean that in an emergency, people would have to go to North Middlesex Hospital or Barnet Hospital. Chase Farm is far easier for me to get to by public transport, far quicker in an ambulance (which I've had to do twice thanks to ovarian cysts) whereas North Middlesex is already overstretched, and I don't even know where Barnet Hospital is!

Purely selfishly, I want A&E to stay,
and judging by the public outcry so do lots of other people. If you happen to live in Enfield or its environs, and Chase Farm Hospital is one you use or might potentially need to use, please sign the petition at

(Cristina, this means you! ;) )

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I have this little green rucksack I take everywhere with me. And I do mean pretty much everywhere.

Originally it was the 'day pack' belonging to the big backpack that was my leaving gift from the advertising agency I worked for in Brisbane, when I was made redundant and decided to try my luck in London. It zips onto the front of the backpack for travelling and then detaches for day use. I still have the backpack too, with the Australian flag I sewed onto the pocket for easy identification and patriotism, languishing in a cupboard in the spare room with blankets and pillows. I never actually went backpacking, but it served as my suitcase for a couple of months while I travelled (with my mother! on coach tours!) around Britain and Europe before settling in London.

But this rucksack. It's so handy. It accomodates my bottle of water, my book(s), my journal, my umbrella (woe betide the fool who goes anywhere in the UK without an umbrella), an emergency stash of pills and herbal remedies, pens, a hairbrush, handcream and other things besides. I take it to work, to the library, grocery shopping, to the movies, pretty much everywhere. It carries books as happily as it does apples and grapes.

I love backpacks. My shoulders start to scream in pain if either of them is singled out for load-bearing responsibilities, but they're happy to share the weight using a backpack. My green bag has a largish pocket at the front which is perfect for keeping a few small essentials, and a wonderful open pocket at the back which lies snug against my back - ideal for magazines or maps or plastic bags or anything flat which needs to be got at quickly. I can't imagine a bag more suited to carrying around my daily life.

I need to get a new one, I know, a smarter one, one that's more business like, less...... green. But I am so loathe to get rid of it. That's why when the zip broke I pinned it together and somehow made it work again. Why when it broke again I just re-zipped it every time (every day) it came apart. Why I ignore the fact that the lining has almost completely flaked off and leaves traces of itself on any clothing I might carry in it (probably because when the bag gets a bit grubby (as is normal for anything that travels on the tube) I throw it in the washing machine). Why I finally, last week, sewed up the zip partway so it had more strength.

I tell myself I'm being environmentally sound, reusing rather than replacing, mending and making do. But it's more than that -
in some way it's a talisman, a symbol of my survival in this cold and often unfriendly city, of almost nine years of living here. It's one of the only things I brought from Australia with me and still use. I think it's got a few more years in it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


(nicked from Confessions of an Author)

Miles Kington in How Many Books Are You Reading At The Moment? reckons we're all reading about 10 books at once these days, and challenges us to go and look at the tottering piles on our bedside tables. He has a point. He says:

'Go to your bedside table and honestly tell me what books are there. All of them. Not just the books you would like people to think you were reading'
  • Just started Cell by Stephen King today. Always good to read something that justifies my decision not to get a mobile phone. I've had a bad cold and King is a great convalescent read.
  • Cave in the Snow by Vicki Mackenzie. The story of Tenzin Palmo,a British Buddhist nun. Inspirational, her example has taught me a lot about mindfulness and has unearthed a slight yearning towards Buddhism. I originally bought this book a few years ago when it was mentioned in another book written by an Australian journalist (Holy Cow!)
  • Philosophy in 30 Days by Dominique Janicaud. Dipping into this one occasionally.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Started this some years back and recently rescued it from my bookshelf. Haven't actually opened it again yet.
  • Sunstroke and other stories by Tessa Hadley. I've read some good reviews of this collection and am always on the look out for good short stories. Our library didn't have any of her books on the shelves and I'm impatient so treated myself to the paperback. This is the book I'm carrying everywhere in my backpack, usually along with at least one other.
  • Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You by Richard O'Connor. Have been reading this sporadically over the last several months. Mostly when depressed. Not sure it holds the miracle answer promised by the title, but it's sound stuff.
  • More, Now, Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel. I think this is my third reading. I find her writing strangely comforting, especially when I'm not feeling so happy myself.
I've just finished reading Sylvia Brownrigg's The Delivery Room. Achingly beautiful. And any book which involves psychotherapy can usually pique my interest.

Foodies alert

Confused about what to eat for a healthy body and life? Conflicting advice from doctors and food companies and nutritionists?

We finally have the definitive answer:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Now you can't say you haven't been told.

Snow day

I cleverly managed to take two days annual leave to coincide with the second and biggest snowfall in London this year. Hooray for lying in bed and watching fat flakes fall.

I'm perturbed by the fact that our goldfish will never know what it is like to be warm, being a cold water creature who would die if his water increased much in temperature. But never to know the feeling of cosiness? How terribly sad.

So many posts I have part-composed in my head, so slack since NaPoBloMo. Have faith in me.