Wednesday, 30 September 2009

In Which Some Stuff Happens

1) When I walk out of Victoria Station, I can hear someone playing bagpipes, and although I look where I think the sound is coming from, I can't see the piper. I'm struck by the sheer nerve it would take to play something so loudly, so publicly, and wonder if I'll ever be that brave.

2) A lady sits down on the bus opposite me. She is middle aged and mousy looking. She is wearing a lumpy hand knitted cardigan and flat sensible shoes. As well as her functional looking handbag, she is carrying this ...
... and I wonder if she's a different, more reckless woman at home.

3) A man and a woman walk down the road towards me. She is small, slight, nervous looking. He is tall, with a large build, and looks confident. To talk to one another she walks slightly on tip-toes and he stoops a little. As I get closer to them, I hear her say, "They all call her minge. I don't know what it means, but I know I don't like it." And I wonder whether he'll tell her what it means, or protect her innocence.

4) I spend a little time online looking for holiday cottages for the next weekend away with friends, and although we don't yet know who'll be coming, or where we'll be going, I find that I'm already a bit excited about the next trip, and I wonder whether this is the start of a lovely ritual.

5) When I leave the office, I find that I am in the midst of a gathering of motorcycle riders, campaigning against parking charges in Central London. There must be two hundred people in combinations of leathers and fluorescent jackets all standing in the square cheering as a man talks to them through a megaphone, and, around the square, are parked a varied and eclectic selection of bikes, from battered mopeds to highly shined Harley's. And I wonder whether Police motorbikes are really there as security, or to join in the protest.

That is all.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Friends Like These

What a long time since my last post! And what a lot seems to have happened.

I’ve had one of those weekends which flies by and lasts forever. A weekend that was close and familiar, but a million miles away from the everyday. A weekend in which I did loads, but also very little. In short, it was bliss.

I’ve been away, you see, with eight lovely friends to a lovely place. The story of how I know these lovely people is rather convoluted. Sit down and take a load off.  I’ll talk you through it.

I currently own a Nissan Figaro, which, for the uninitiated, looks like this …

… and am a member of an on-line owners forum which is packed full of enthusiasts, top tips and, from time to time, an arrangement to meet somewhere for a run out in convoy, top down, shades on, and ready to pose.

Through these meetings I have met some truly extraordinary people. I’ve met a lady who drives her Fig whilst listening to death metal music so loud that it scares her skinhead bouncer boyfriend and a man who lives almost exclusively on Strongbow. I’ve met the only man in England who thinks a John Motson sheepskin coat looks good (other than, presumably, John Motson), and a couple who once did the deed on the giant willy at Cerne Abbas. Really, really extraordinary people.

But setting aside these loveable misfits, I’ve made some pals. It seems strange to think that it’s less than a year since we met, and yet now I can’t imagine not knowing people who’ve come to be wonderful friends. Funny, isn’t it, how sometimes you just click?

When I was younger, my friends were the people I saw everyday. I wasn’t very discerning. I don’t think that most teenagers are. It was a question of convenience, although of course I didn’t see it that way at the time. I spent time with them therefore they were my friends therefore I spent time with them. It’s hardly surprising then, that very few of my 1995 friends are still friends now.

These days I’m much better at recognising the people who I want to spend time with and who I hope would like to spend time with me. The fact that I won’t see them every day, every week, or even every month is irrelevant. The good friends – the really good ones who I’ll still see in ten, twenty, thirty years, are worth setting time aside for, and travelling to see. If the effort of a train ride or booking a table for dinner is too much, then let’s be honest, these aren’t people you’d call on in an emergency. If, each year, you write on the Christmas card “we must meet up next year” then really, you’re not going to.

I’m not diminishing the old friendships. The friendships of old that stand the test of time are truly brilliant things. It’s important that there are some people in your life who know your history. But it’s as important (more important probably) that there are people who’ll know your future.

And so, nine of us, with, initially, nothing more in common than the car we own, went to Dorset for four days of eating, drinking, walking, sitting, talking, playing and dozing, and it was heaven to spend time in such very valuable company.

And do you know something? I didn’t even drive. I went by train. The car’s not the reason, you see. It’s just the vessel. The rest is down to us.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Did you know that yesterday was the first official day of winter? The first day when the night is longer than the day. Summer’s over. That’s all, folks!

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’m going to be all doom and gloom and start talking about the nights closing in, and the cost of heating these days.

In fact, when I was told that yesterday was the first day of winter, I was quietly thrilled. Usually, I’m a sucker for a sunny day, but this year I find myself longing to have an excuse to pull out the woolly jumpers and long winter coats. I’ve seen some gorgeous chunky scarves in shop windows that I’ve got my eye on, and now I think some accessories shopping is justified.

And winter food is so much more comforting, don’t you think? Bangers and mash, casseroles, and stodgy puddings with custard! Hot chocolate! Nom nom nom!

Right on cue, this morning, on my way to the station, I felt the first pinch of winter on the air. The first sign of the sharpness that makes a girl dig her hands into her pockets, and double check that her trashmina is in her bag. The sky seemed a long way up this morning, and everyone was walking that tiny bit faster.

So you can keep your summer frocks and your light salads. I’m off home to fire up the boiler and dig out the thermals.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A beginning ...

Hello? Is there anybody out there?
Probably not just yet, but maybe soon ...

So this is my new blog. Hello and welcome. Do come in. Take your shoes off and make yourself comfortable. Cup of tea?

I don't really know what this blog will be about altogether. I do know, however, that I spend some time (more than I should, less than would require therapy) reading other people's blogs, and often think that having an arena in which to air my thoughts would be A Good Thing.

So here it is. My arena. Now if I can only think of something to write ...