Tuesday, 31 July 2012


I suddenly realised I was in BIG trouble
because MasterM had me trapped
so I quickly moved out of range.
I was really surprised
when he pointed out
that I had won.

But don't tell him.

I want him to think
it was a strategic finish.

Monday, 30 July 2012

I wish, I wish

Frank Cadogan Cowper

MrsM is reading the magazines
at the hairdressers...

"Kate's Luscious Tresses!!
You can have them too!!"

MrsM looks at her hair in the mirror.
It is short and straight...
it is not a ravishing brunette.
MrsM knows in her heart
this will never be true
and another dream dies.

Chiara, the scary hairdresser,
says in a coaxing tone...

"Well, you use the same shampoo
which is a start..."

Friday, 27 July 2012

Hats Off!

I think I assumed
that the hats and boards
evaporated in mid air
or hovered like
ungainly ceremonial birds.

I did not know
that after the moment
when the hats are thrown
into the blue sky
in a gust of laughter
you are surrounded
by the rush of air
and the soft sound
of felt and velvet
hitting the ground.

This year, for the first time,
I stood among the academics
and the hats and boards
rained down joyfully upon us.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

My Glamorous Life

Outside my office today:

Olympic rowers
Olympic canoeists

Police helicopter
Police snipers
Police on motorbikes
Police in patrol cars
Police checking access route

Soldiers with sharp haircuts
Sniffer dogs

Operator for road barriers
Operator for traffic lights
Operator for personnel scanner

Security guards in yellow
Olympic assistants in purple

(and three men from Facilities
wearing extra long thick gloves
trying to extract dead rats
from the air conditioning system
because I complained about the smell)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Gentle Author

I started reading Spitalfields Life in September 2009 shortly after it began. I cannot remember how I found it but I recognised immediately the innovative use of blogging. The Gentle Author writes a daily portrait of the people, buildings and spaces of Spitalfields and it has gradually developed into an important social and historical record which has successfully made the transition to a beautiful book published by Saltyard Books. It is clear that The Gentle Author feels a vocation to document the world that he loves and he does so with complete integrity, his duty of care to the people that he interviews patently obvious to the reader.

Oddly, the posts that I remember from the early days are the more personal ones about visits to Columbia Road market on a Sunday to buy a small plant for the windowsill. I also had a covetous eye for The Gentle Author's collection of antique china. When china and bulbs made a joint appearance in a post about an inherited hyacinth bowl I was overcome and immediately bought one of my own which reminds me of The Gentle Author every time I use it.

It was a real thrill to meet The Gentle Author at the Port Eliot festival where he was speaking in the tent of his friend from Spitalfields, Andrews of Arcadia. We listened to him read lyrical and moving extracts from the book including the post about his friend, Sandra Esqulant, Landlady of the Golden Heart. After the reading I had the chance to chat to The Gentle Author and thank him for the pleasure that Spitalfields Life has given me over the years. I wanted to say I understood his sense of vocation, his obligation to record and how grateful I was that he had taken the underrated form of blogging to such high levels, inspiring other bloggers to believe in the work that they do quietly every day, but I was dumbstruck.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Port Eliot

A magical day...

** get up **

** get dressed **

** put on makeup **

** eat takeaway paella **

** drink tea **

** do washing up **

** manage the staff **

** go for a walk **

** some light gardening **

** soothing late night music **

Port Eliot - you were amazing,
it is so hard to come back to reality.
Roll on 2014.

Monday, 23 July 2012

I was here...

For the last three days I have been Tweeter-in-Residence for the @dovegreyreader tent at the Port Eliot festival. It has been great fun and a privilege to be part of the extraordinary team that makes the dovegreyreader blog leap out of the internet and land elegantly in a swathe of quilts and splash of Earl Grey tea ready to delight blog-fans and festival-goers alike.

I have festival tales to tell and photos to share tomorrow but tonight I must get ready for work. I seem to have mislaid my security pass. I am working in the middle of an Olympic Village. Arriving without a security pass is not a good idea.


Friday, 20 July 2012

36 Views of Brent Tor

At some point in the twelfth century
someone decided that
it would be a great idea
to build a church on top on Brent Tor.

This involved dragging everything
to the top of the rocky outcrop
where the wind is so powerful
that it is difficult to stand upright.

It is a project that inspires awe
nine centuries later
as you contemplate what was achieved
with the most basic of tools.

I try to remind myself that every project,
however large, however difficult,
is completed one stone at a time

and the most important thing
is not the idea or the beginning
but the determination to finish.


Brent Tor is not a million miles
from dovegreyreader towers
and I am delighted to announce that
MrM and I will be hangers-on
in the prestigious dovegreyreader tent
at the Port Eliot festival this weekend.
I will return shortly
with a basketful of literary anecdotes.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

snatching sunshine

We are in Cornwall for a week,
staying in a tiny cottage,
taking time to rest,
visiting family,
walking on the moor,
eating when we are hungry.

It is a grown up kind of holiday
but we are still making time
to eat at Jelberts of Newlyn,
makers of the best ice cream in Cornwall.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

MissSJ comes to stay

These are the macarons
that came from Ladurée
on the Champs-Élysées
in the most elegant
silver and eau de nil box.
They were packed into a suitcase
that started in Cape Town
but stopped off in Paris
before it came to stay with us.
They were so beautiful
and such an unexpected treat
that we could not bear
to eat them and so we took
them with us to see
the little girl cousins
and they were happy to help.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Girl Time

We are alone
with the remote control
for a whole evening!

We can watch 'America's Top Prisons'
without boring anyone
or choose whatever we want
on the Military Channel.

Cricket! We could watch
Sri Lanka vs. West Indies
or if that doesn't appeal
we could watch Football
or Rugby or Boxing or Golf.

We mustn't waste the evening...
we should treat ourselves
and watch 'Rocky lV'.

No - just kidding....
let's watch 'Dead Poets Society'.

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Fun Run

MasterM and his two uncles
adopt the Usain Bolt position
and then they are off!

Everyone else waits patiently.

It's time to do homework,

or take a photo of your cousin
eating an early lunch

or show your brother
how to climb a tree.

Before you can blink
they are back
running through the finish line

and then MasterM
can pose with his proud Grandma.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

...as I was saying...

It has been a month...
of comings and goings
of suitcases and celebration meals
of noise and late nights
of full fridges and shopping lists
of making the bed.

(for Kathe x)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

MrM, pater familias

Where is my iPad charger?

MrM gets texting...

Did you take MrsM's iPad charger
back to South Africa?

Wrong child!
I'm the one in South America
at the Iguazu Falls.



I have been absent.
I'm sorry.
I'm back now.

I am trying to remember
all of the things
that I have done.

That's the problem
with not blogging.
You forget.