Friday, 20 October 2017


Arriving at my new job this morning - I've worked there exactly 20 days - I found an Italian woman I'd never set eyes on before showing the grumpy tall man a photo on her phone and going on nineteen to the dozen and the grumpy tall man looking like he'd rather be anywhere else than listening to this.

Because they were blocking the route to the room in which I work, I sort of had to join in. The Italian woman showed me the photo on her phone, at which point the grumpy tall man peeled off rapidly into the gents. I was rather startled to see the photo was of a grave. She began telling me proudly about how nice it was.

"Erm, anyone you know in there?" I managed to interject eventually.

It was her mother's grave. Mama had died last December in Italy and because the air fare was £300 this lady couldn't get to the funeral - "I don have that kinda money!" - but she'd saved up and contributed to this beautiful polished stone kerb set instead, and wanted the world to know how lovely it was.

We had a heartfelt 'dead mum' chat and she was showing me pictures of her grandchildren when other people started arriving, so she rushed off to show them her grave photo too.

This evening I went to see a revamped The Cherry Orchard, which was very much about a mother, and about loss.

Happy birthday Mum. Thanks for the gentle reminders but I hadn't forgotten.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016


You were in my head today, Wellington, making me feel better about everything; reminding me there's a world outside Cardiff, that I once had a life.

That I could still have a life, too.

I'll be back, one day, I promise.

I miss you.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

...the club.

Accidentally showed some holiday snaps from my New Year's trip to Iceland to a dull man at work who believes himself to be a photographer in his spare time.

And because I am easily steamrollered by persistent idiots who can't or won't perceive reluctance in people who find it impossible to say no to someone's face, I am suddenly in a photography club.

I do not want to be in a photography club. Or in any club.

Went along anyway. It was so horrific in so many ways it was actually quite interesting.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

...communing with ducks.

It's good to go up to the lake at dusk on a rainy Saturday. There will be very few people there. There will be plenty of waterfowl, though, and today I had a nice chat with a pair of polite Muscovies with ugly dinosaur feet. There were almost fifty cormorants roosting in the cormorant tree! (They spilled over into two other trees actually.) And I spotted several Canada geese - which my friend Sam swears are gentle and peace-loving - giving a whole heap of shit to other Canada geese. Maybe they had the Valentine's Day grouch on.

Friday, 12 February 2016


Alex Colville, 'Cheval et Train', 1954

My world was too small for me today. 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Thursday, 12 September 2013


Two weeks in the southern hemisphere have rendered me nocturnal.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013 a holiday.

Somewhere reasonably exotic.

Saturday, 1 June 2013


Today I was finally certain I'm back on track.

Took a while.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

I'm having trouble leaving the house this week.

It just feels safer inside, where there's less to worry about, where the world can't get me.

Seven months after Dad died, I'm suddenly feeling very orphany.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

...Mum AND Dad.

Wherever they are, I hope they're together and happy again.

Friday, 7 October 2011

...suspicious minds.

I found this photo on the munificent Twitter (via , submitted by Biddooo, who says it depicts his/her niece, who is presumably the one on the left. The explanation was "They do NOT trust each other").

It is now officially my favouritest thing on the internet ever. The more I look at it, the better it gets.

It just keeps giving and giving. Click to big and see for yourself.

Thanks, Twitter. Thwitter.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

...the hospital.

There are better, and worse, places to hang out.

Sunday, 18 September 2011 niecey.

Actually, so was yesterday.

Yesterday, she cheered me up by buying me a surprise present (see above, and in fact click on the link to be swept, Narnia-style, into David & Goliath's wondrous universe).

"I just HAD to buy it - it's so YOU, Aunty," she said, and she wasn't wrong.

She also cheered me up by taking part in a heptathlon this weekend, because she'd never done one before and thought she'd give it a go.

Today, she is Kent heptathlon champion 2011.

My niecey rocks (AND rules).

(PS: This is a different niece to the one who is a rising ballet star. I have a whole heap of ultra-talented nieces. They are no doubt inspired by their fabulous aunty.)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

...Tesco's Guy.

We met in the pub for a catch-up.

He's still as funny, still as quirky, still as disarmingly honest as he always was.

He tried to kiss me at the end of the night, but that was just the booze.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

...the M4.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

One - you get me home to Cardiff, for a few precious days.

Monday, 12 September 2011


Ever since I plucked up the courage to tell Dad he was abnormally wired, magic has been happening.

We are getting along fine now - first time ever. The difference is, simply, I can now tolerate his quirks.

I am glad I found this sense of resolution before it was too late. He is becoming increasingly frail these days.

Yesterday, he asked me to move his bed downstairs into the lounge. I had to move out half a hundredweight of ornaments, extraneous furniture and other such junk to make room for it. It was great. Dad now has a trendy bedsit arrangement going on.

He hasn't mentioned if he considers this to be the beginning of the end.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

...casually mentioning to my dad I thought he might have Aspergers Syndrome.

He took it well.


Thank goodness for beautiful things. This lovely image of Kikazaru, the no-hearing monkey, was found at the splendid which has more monkeys than you can shake a stick at, which has got to be good.

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Coincidentally, at the moment I am reading this book.

(That's another homemade postcard, by the way.)

Saturday, 27 August 2011


Stayed in them all day.


Friday, 26 August 2011


My dad's face swelled up this morning, for no apparent reason.

Then it kept swelling.

We should've been at the ballet.

We went to the hospital instead.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

...nice tits.

Blue tits. Great tits. Coal tits. Even a pair of Long Tailed tits.

They all flock to my dad's garden.

I put food out every day.

I love the birds, me.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Yesterday was a good day; today was a bad day.

Nuff said.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Pansies. Chrysanthemums. Michaelmas daisies. Primroses.

It's about time Dad's garden had more flowers and fewer weeds.

Monday, 22 August 2011

...nearly-famous nieces.


My niece!

On the BBC News website!

(In a good way. She's the lead in Chocolat.)

So chuffed.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

...taking it to the garden.

Once there was a shed.

Then there was a rotting wooden structure loosely supporting a cornucopia of tree, ivy, bramble, holly, honeysuckle, old birds' nests and convolvulus.

Now there is a shed again.

It took half a day to cut down the tree - the saw was blunt and rusty. If only I'd had a chainsaw (and some petrol for the bonfire), I could've dealt with all of Dad's long-neglected garden in no time.

(And his house.)

Saturday, 20 August 2011


I'm at my dad's for three weeks solid, while my sister is away on holiday.

It hasn't been too bad, so far.

I've been making myself do pleasant things - things that are easy to overlook when you're otherwise engaged chewing on life's gristle.

Going for long walks in the golden evenings and finding kittens to play with. Picking up a sketch pad and a biro for a quick doodle. Sneaking an hour in the garden with a book. Dedicating a night to watching repeats of QI on Dave (I love Johnny Vegas, I think he's beautiful).

In a mad world, pleasant things rock.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

...body language.

Even while my head was going 'stop it, you're over-reacting', my feet marched me into my doctor's surgery where my tongue blurted out that I'd just about had a gutsful of my dad.

I'm now on the waiting list to see a counsellor. I need to find out why I keep letting him take over my life.

Friday, 12 August 2011


Last week I signed up for the rather wonderful, and today I finally found a postcard suitable for my first recipient, two-year-old Hessel from The Netherlands.

I was inspired to join by this article. The subheading's right - it is difficult finding a card with a decent image. In the end I had to go to the gift shop of the National Museum as all the local high street offerings were horrible.

I've struggled with the thorny problem of postcard-buying for most of this year: promising to send Tesco's Guy occasional postcards from Kent, I discovered the offerings on display in Medway tourist outlets were just as horrible as the Welsh ones.

So in the end I made my own.

Hessel, though, will be receiving a postcard of this.

I hope he likes it.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

...inner London violence.

Martin Luther King Jr once said, "A riot is, at bottom, the language of the unheard."

He also said, "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."

London riots? I hate those stupid fucking fuckers.