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Where I Live Now

Hello, hello.

Thought I'd slunk off?

No, I moved house but the internet didn't. The move went well- dad and my uncle (brother-in-law not my father's brother) moved all my things (heavy things) up the flight of stairs. Packing had actually been quite nice; an inventory of my life.

The first night we ate sausage and mash off plates on our laps, Mal's chap and her sister were over. But we only had two sets of cutlery. Since the others were guests Mal and I ate ours with kitchen knives and measuring spoons.

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Moving Tribute

I hate my new flat. I must have been at the end of my tether to have chosen it. But at least it's new.

I'm sleeping in a cupboard. My mum suggested moving my single bed up, but if I did I might as well just have officially signed my resignation for life.

It is basically a nun's cell. A nun's cell with a brown carpet. But at least a nun's cell would have room for a chair beside the bed. Not enough room to swing a crucifix.

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Like Deja Vu All Over Again

Although it's an annoying job- and under unfortunate circumstances- packing up my house again was sort of pleasant, or at least reassuring. Dismantling my house.

(well not my actual house. I'm not a lego girl. My household. Packing dowry of pots and pans. My clothes. My sewing stuff. My books. My life)

My mum drove me up this morning and it took us a few hours.

The roads were empty, because no-one is travelling in snow.

The trees look like bursts of coral- brachial, loaded with snow- the sky was the colour of parrots.

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Cleanly Godly Fun

It's funny, but whenever you see in the weekend papers a passing reference to Jeanette Winterson being in a relationship with Susie Orbach (newspaper columnists and features writers are the sort of people this sort of people this is gossip to) it's like finding out two of your teachers have got together in the school holidays. Not two of your favourite teachers. Maybe the sort of teacher who might play a Bob Dylan song as a part of their assembly.

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Work- in a supermarket- is like how I imagine life below stairs worked in a grand Victorian house. The teeming, interchangable, practically invisible army of hands that maintain appearances. The petty, unspoken intricacies of the hierachies. The small-minded, the closed-minded. The reputations quickly made, long kept (like a pair of grubby old slippers you never chose, that you wear until they fall appart of their own accord). The aneamic scandal. The whispering.

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Day One

We went for a walk in the woods. Because the sun was high in the sky and the path in was covered in frost, it seemed as though it had been painted solid white. Inside the woods the birch trees looked stately, my brother went scrambling in the claggy mud down to the river.

A family with young children had to console a little girl and her toddling brother, because they wanted to scramble down too.

"The difference is that he..."

"Is a very, very, very stupid boy" I say, to the kids.

"He's a big boy and can chose to do what he wants" finishes their mother.

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modern virago

When I get my fitness levels up from er... none, to some I'm going start boxing lessons. I would start sooner, but all the women's beginners classes look quite intense.

No news on when I can move into the new flat, so I'm still at my parents' house.

Today I bought four books in the Oxfam bookshop. One Angela Carter, another random Virago Modern Classic, one William Faulker and one Zola.

Which is like three of my favourite writers in one delerious, feverish swoop.

They're in my bag like sweeties waiting to be unwrapped.

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Granny phoned up to tell Beps happy 13th birthday- then she phoned back two minutes later to tell me two more stories about Black Mountain wise men.

Anyway- Beps is 13th so we went to London Zoo. Which has no animals, only architecture and a few small ticket creatures- like the warthogs and prarie dogs. They've got rid of the elephants, rhinos and bears. The hippos are downsized- two pygmie hippos wallowing in a warm bath. The penguins aren't in the penguin house Lutyens designed- they're just in a pond.

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Victorian Values

Mum is asleep on the sofa. I’m using her netbook because I spilt coffee on my laptop and now it’s out of comission.

I’m watching ‘Build My Gallows High’. Robert Mitchem kisses Jane Greer on the beach, and the fishing nets behind them are like thickened shadows because this is noir.

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A Christmas Day in the Life

Fair warning this is long (because I wrote bits all day as we went along) and this is mostly about food (because today, has mostly been about food).

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Speech to the Queens

My sister and I went to midnight mass- to the small, smug prayers of the Anglican communion and beautiful carols that clean out your lungs and leave you tired and full of joy- and walked back at quarter to one, through the damp, drab streets of this suburb- which are beautiful because they're familiar.

Christmas Eve- now Day- a string of fights so far. My dad is in a mood; my brother is a shit- takes after my dad. But it doesn't matter. It's not Christmas without a few blazing rows.

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See Clearly

If I was writing it last night I was going to write about the slope down from the station, which had iced over and the street light (on a motion sensor) which abruptly snapped off just as we- the other passengers- were about to navigate the slide.

So we slipped and skidded down the iced over slope in the dark- exclaiming, the men laughing the way strangers can laugh to each other, near Christmas, in the unnavigable dark.

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Yesterday I woke up happy.

I slept in Cagney’s old room, because it’s smaller than mine and slightly (slightly) warmer. But it wasn’t too cold in the morning- I woke up late- and the bright- bright- winter sunlight was flooding in, filtered by the voile over the de-curtained window.

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queen of the neighbourhood

Turtle- that's her bloody pseudonym, I've needed to mention her a few times but I couldn't remember what I called her- and I met for coffee. Hadn't seen her since Reclaim the Night.

(Anyway, I'm trying to type but the dog- Dusty, Dusty Springdog the Second Mrs de Winter, keeps nosing my hands as I write. I'm at my parents' house, because my real house is so cold)

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The swans by the river are tagged like hospital patients. Tags around their legs. One with a fat hissing neck, sticking a poisonous beak out. I had my hair cut yesterday- badly- it makes me look gawky and blunt. The hairdresser and I had a good chat. Good chat, bad haircut. I suppose it will grow back out again.

"The problem is, when you stay in these schools to long- and it's worse for the boys you know, is that you're in danger of thinking that world is the real world... I know lots of boys like that who will never, ever set foot in the real world... the worrying part is they run it"

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