Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose

This week’s photo challenge Repurpose is one that presented me with many opportunities as my home is full of inherited items, things my father made out what he had to hand in the years following the Second World War, trunks masquerading as tables, and my mosaics which are largely made from broken china and found objects.

However, the plan was to go and see my cousin Russell’s beautiful bench, which is made partly from recycled plastic, and to which I included a link a couple of posts ago. Due to the weather forecast, the plan was postponed, so no pictures after all.

So I decided to post a picture of this:
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It’s a panel from a ceiling that I found one day in a skip in London’s West End about twenty years ago. As you see, it houses all sorts of treasures. It’s a well used and well loved item in my home.

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Friday 13th

I have been out and about a good deal this year, mainly work, but some treats including last night’s trip to the pantomime at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, and, at the other end of theatrical experience, to see Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams in Mary Stuart at the Almeida Islington. But more about them perhaps in another post.

Now I have a free day, am at home and the evidence of my comings and goings is all around me in unfolded clothes and unread newspapers. Of course I could put those unread papers straight into the recycling, but I have missed quite a lot of the news this week. Octavia filled my astonished ears last night with the Donald Trump/Meryl Streep story as we travelled home from the panto. So actually reading some of the papers this morning seemed a good reason to gather my strength and make a plan.

So I am a bit more up to date with what goodies are on the way in the arts, though I realise I have already missed some. I am hoping SSGB which I saw being filmed in Greenwich at the end of 2015 will be on when I am in Northern Ireland next month and I get to watch it with Cousin. I have flicked through the cookery supplements and consigned them to the scrap heap. The recipes look delicious, but the long list of ingredients for each one makes me tired before I start. In last Saturday’s Guardian magazine I found several gems. Clive James very much on form, quite like the old days; a restaurant review containing the words ‘the food is to subtlety what Trump is to interior decoration, but the effect is blinding’.

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Heathrow to Home

There is something about doing a journey in reverse that makes it feel as if you rewinding a holiday. Would I reach home to find November was just starting? In the event, no, but the reality of here, made there, which had been here the previous day, curiously unreal.

The plane had Christmas decorations, and Heathrow was full of festive decs too, if somewhat low on the festive cheer. After a bit of a battle to get into a lift to the bus station, I pulled on my gloves and zipped up my jacket against the cold of a London that had embraced winter in my absence.

The journey home was uneventful; bus, train, taxi. I lumbered up the stairs to my flat where no one was surprised to see me. The cat/flat sitters had been exchanging texts with me since I landed so were obviously expecting me, but MasterB seemed remarkably unphased by my reentry into his life. He was engrossed in a biscuit game with B, who could have an alternative career training cats.He gave me a nod, rubbed against me and resumed his game. It was a while before I got the nose rub, but it came. I know people who say their cats ignore them when they come home. That has never been my experience. Continue reading

Big Small World

Late again, and again no photographs, but I have to post tonight as it is my last night in Australia. This time tomorrow I shall be in Singapore. By Tuesday I shall have travelled back to the northern hemisphere and be heading home.

I struggle to believe I am on the opposite side of the globe to London. There have been so many similarities between here and home. It's the differences that catch you. Or at least they catch me. Growing up in a post imperial world, the idea of empire meant little to me. Sometimes there were references, usually ironic, to when the maps were red showing the extent of British Rule. It all seemed a very long time ago. Continue reading

Pets Make a Home a Home

Amazing what pets can do. And I’m not talking about high fives, playing dead or catching burglars, though the last is pretty impressive too. I mean what they can do for us, for our well-being and happiness.

Take Romeo. The manager of the shop where Romeo is the resident mouser is something of a tough guy, yet in a few short weeks Romeo has captured his heart. He comes when he’s called (Romeo, not the manager). “Does your cat do that?” the manager asks me. “Not usually,” I answer truthfully, omitting to say that MasterB is my shadow when we are outside and amuses my neighbours the way he follows me about. The manager gives me a smile that is both pitying and superior.

A week ago Romeo arrived home limping and crying. Much consternation and he was taken to the vet. The manager missed him dreadfully. No pretty tabby with tail aloft greeting him when he arrived at work each day. After a couple of days absence, MasterB realised his persecutor was no longer around and returned to the garden with renewed enthusiasm. Today he was looking out of the sitting room window and started meowing and looking round at me. I joined him and saw Romeo in the loading bay at the back of the shop. MasterB has refused all invitation to go out.

Good for my health

Good for my health

Later I learned that MasterB’s alarm was raised within minutes of Romeo’s return. I am glad to see he isn’t limping, and I am hoping his extremities have been removed and that he will gradually lose his urge to dominate our garden and poo in high places. I’m getting a bit fed up with sluicing it away with buckets of water.

Last night there was the second of two programmes about puppies. I watched with MasterB. He really did watch, face tilted up to the screen. “Shall we have one?” I asked him. He turned to look at me. I can’t say his look held enthusiasm. “Not here,” I explained. “We could move; you could have a cat flap and your own garden. No Romeo.” Still unimpressed. “One like that,” I persevered as a German Shepherd with ears to die for came on the screen. He yawned. Continue reading

Restored Confidence

It seems I am not the only one to find a few days in the country at das Boot beneficial. MasterB has been having a hard time of it lately with his territory invaded by half a dozen new cats on the block. He’s not a natural fighter, quite unlike Cat who gave any would be intruders short shrift and enjoyed a good show of aggression and some claws out action.

So the Ginger Ninja has been intimidated into using the indoor facilities, has had second, third yea even unto sixth thoughts about going out and enjoying his demesne these warm summer evenings.

But after three days and two nights at das Boot, he has come back a different cat. Maybe all that snoozing on the ropes gave him time to reassess the situation and decide he could cope with it after all.

On the ropes

On the ropes

Or maybe it was watching the swans as they swam close to das Boot and made blatant requests for handouts that strengthened his nerve.

Swan

Swan

Maybe it was vapour trails through the blue skies that lifted his heart.

Vapour trail

Vapour trail

Or the views across the fenland during the day.

Viewing the day

Viewing the day

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A Week

I feel like someone who has got behind with her homework; no posts for a week, and the less I post the less motivated I am. Is this the beginning of the end, or just a bit of a pause? So just a few random thoughts about the last week or so while I catch up.

British politics continue to bemuse and frustrate me. Goodness only knows where or what the Labour party will be in twelve months time. Theresa May, our safe pair of hands, has suggested that people who live in homes where the government would like to frack could receive financial compensation. Sorry, but to me that makes no sense. Fracking makes no sense; the risks far outweigh the advantages, surely we should be investing in sustainable energy? And those people who live on that land are only the temporary custodians, the effects of fracking are something that future generations will have to deal with.

The local feline population has quadrupled over the last few weeks. The mystery of the pretty tabby has been solved, and she’s a he, so I got that wrong. My neighbour Wendy has been rather hoping he’s homeless, but it turns out he is called Romeo and is the loved cat belonging to the local Kurdish supermarket. The manager was both surprised and amused to learn Romeo has been exploring our garden. So that just leaves us wondering if the scruffy black cat with the white bib, the white and ginger cat, the two huge cats that look like pumas, have homes. The two fluffy black and white cats live over the wall; I think the smart (as in appearance, his IQ is questionable) black cat with the white bib is Johnny from over the road, and there seemed to be another tabby tonight. I am going to be on litter tray duty for a while yet.

But MasterB is still enjoying his new wobble biscuit toy, which from my point of view is great, as it doesn’t roll away and get hidden or stuck in awkward places round the flat.

Wobbly toy

Wobbly toy

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Domestic Drama

If my toe continues to change colour I may photograph it. For a horrible couple of hours this morning I thought it was broken. Yesterday afternoon I tripped on a paving stone and stubbed my toe. It was painful, but the pain seemed to subside. When I went to bed I saw it had turned purple. A night’s sleep, and it hurt going up and down the stairs. The whole toe is rather red and the purple patch means I shan’t be carrying out my plan to get my toenails painted after all, but the pain is minimal and I have no problem walking.

Such drama.

More drama over the fruit flies in the compost. There aren’t a huge number and they disperse pretty quickly, but they have become the new pawn in the continuing exertion of control by one of my neighbours who thinks the compost bin should be removed. If anyone reading this has any hot tips on products that discourage the fruit flies, do let me know. The only ones I have seen promise mass extermination. No wonder that I am thinking of braving the rain tomorrow and taking MasterB up to das Boot until Thursday. Wednesday’s forecast is for for a dry day, with rain returning on Thursday. I have work on Friday and over the weekend, so I can’t stay longer.
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So Why the Long Face?

The weather, work and pleasure have conspired to create a pleasant week. It’s been warm and sunny suggesting that Summer may be catching up belatedly on her duties to ripen the corn, make us smile and allow the baring of feet.

Work has taken me to interesting places, and MasterB, intimidated by two new young cats on the block, has needed my reassurance and company in the garden, meaning I spent a relaxed hour or so reading my book by the cherry tree when I got home this evening.

Hampton Court Flower Show has been strutting its stuff. I didn’t have tickets, but I did visit the palace which was wonderfuly empty while the horticulturalists and other thrill seekers examined the exhibits and stocked up on plants.Entrance gates Hampton Court palace
I caught some of it on the television and was very taken with a pergola made from the splayed branches of a dead tree reaching toawrds each other lke etoliated fingers. I was hoping to find a picture online but no luck so far. If you were there and you have posted a picture, please do put a link to it in the comments box. Continue reading

Of Early Mornings, Tranquility and Happy Cats

I’m nodding a bit, sitting on the sofa, my mug of mint tea cooling just out of reach. MasterB is tucked beside me, and I don’t want to disturb him. Fortunately mint tea tastes alright cold. It’s quite nice to sit here quietly and type, to look over to the table at the new tulips vibrant in the vase, to feel MasterB’s fur against my arm and see his paws relaxed and proprietorial against the keyboard. Happy cat; happy human.

We had an early start, me and the boy, up at six thirty on a Sunday morning. It was my fault, I misread my watch and thought it was seven thirty. The world was quiet. No sirens racing up and down the nearby Walworth Road; no shouting; just birds singing. And blue skies when the forecast had been for clouds and rain.

He went out and I made coffee before joining him in the garden for a while. Later I had to go to work, but there was time to change bed linen, catch up on some reading, sort some books I have promised to a neighbour. It was lovely. I can see the advantage of a dawn start in summer. The trouble is some neighbours like to talk into the night in the gardens, their voices and laughter increasing in volume as the bottles empty. It makes sleep difficult.

Below the bird feeders

Below the bird feeders

At some point I shall probably trade centrality for tranquility. Denmark Hill would be nice, but I think it’s beyond my purse.
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