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All Quiet on the Southwestern Front

Oh my darlings, it has been a dark and rainy few years deep in the Cornish countryside. Have you missed the rambling - have you even noticed my absence?

I have been quiet and impoverished, wrestling with mad crochet and even madder schedules sucking away time and life. But a new dawn breaks! I have changed jobs - again - which means a greater freedom in my timetable to combine work, college and this mythical work/life balance thingy that people speak of in hushed tones.

Still means I have to exercised mammoth juggling skills but without resorting to wearing jester rags I should be able to get tubewhore up and running again in the coming weeks and months.

Meanwhile, while I've been hiding in cupboards avoiding the Big Bad World Outside, what has everyone been up to - short precis of the last year in comments please - biscuits and postcards to be issued at my whim!
More on the catching up...

Shepherd's Bush has a positive embarrassment of riches when it comes to stations. The only one left to bag is the Shepherd's Bush on the Overground. There's supposed to be a Christmas market on at Kensal Rise which is just up the line on the Overground, so figure that might be an interesting destination and tidies up both Kensal stations as well as the last of the Bushes...

pictures of the Shepherd's Bush station, and onwards up the lineCollapse )<

We drink proper builder's tea and tuck into a fried breakfast before getting back on the train up to Gospel Oak.

Failing Memories...

It's been so very long, and I'm so behind on entries that it is only through looking through the photo files that I can trigger any memories of where I've been on the system.  I blame this lapse of synapses on two things: firstly, I visited so many stations on the system already that they begin to blur into each other, and secondly I'm getting on these days - I've crossed that great divide between youth and encroaching senility and it can't be expect for the ole grey cells to be quite as active as they once were...

...but back in early March, before I hit my ovary-shrivelling 40s there was a short expedition to the farthest reaches of the Central and Piccadilly Lines.  Even with looking at the pictures, it took a long conversation with gmul to jog a few impressions of the journey.  Suffice to say Sudbury Hill and some of the Ruislips weren't that memorable.  Looking at an A to Z map, still not sure we have proper recollection. 

Looking down from street level:

Heffalumps and WozelsCollapse )

Have you missed me?

Oh, it's been such a long time...pressures of work, college and getting shingles have conspired to keep me from the metropolis in recent months.  But the scabs are healing and the end of term (and the concomitant terror of the end of year show) rapidly approaches.

There have been a few mad dashes up and back, but I've then lacked the time to write them up, but being stuck at home on compulsory bed rest gives me an excuse to hit the keyboard again.  Expect a splurge of posts in the next few days. 

And over the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend I'm contemplating being in London again - I've been so out of touch with the rest of the world that I'd failed to notice that there's a Waterhouse exhibition on that finishes in early September - if anyone who fancies a afternoon gazing at one of my favourite Pre-Raphaelites then sing out and we can organise a posse.

...more to come...

A modicum of fame...

Last Saturday's Guardian magazine's Take Ten feature was on clowns and featured me gurning to camera.  This is what happen if you wear pompoms on your shoes.

So far not been recognised on the street.  I may just wear dark glasses and a Hermes scarf next time I go to Sainsbury's, just for the hell of it...


...an idle piece of research and shopping has collided into the idea that I'd like to make a tubewhore tarot set.  At first I think I'll stay with just making the Major Arcana as that's a long enough job in itself, before I worry about the Minor set. 

As you might already have figured out, the idea will be to choose a station that will stand for the symbolism behind the 22 cards of the Major Arcana, and to incorporate imagery I've found in visiting these stations as well as traditional symbols and meanings into the design for the cards.  I have my own ideas of what station should be which card, but as Tarot often requires you bring your own interpretations to the cards as a form of therapy to make the subconscious accessible, I am curious as the the stations that would suggest themselves to others. 

I'll put my suggestions up later in the week, but meanwhile, what would you chose?  The cards are:

0 - The Fool
I - The Magician
II - The High Priestess
III - The Empress
IV - The Emperor
V - The Hierophant
VI - The Lovers
VII - The Chariot
VIII - Justice
IX - The Hermit
X - The Wheel
XI - Strength
XII - The Hanged Man
XIII - Death
XIV - Temperance
XV - The Devil
XVI - The Tower
XVII - The Stars
XVIII - The Moon
XIX - The Sun
XX - Judgement
XXI - The World 

Greenford through to a White City

Waking up on Monday, the carnival atmosphere of the snow has changed to one of stunned incomprehension as London wakes up to the heaviest snowfall in 18 years.  I remember the previous event, as I was in London briefly to visit the Art of Angels exhibition at the British Museum, and recall walking what felt like miles through slush-covered Bloomsbury streets in the wrong shoes for the unexpected weather.  Everything was very grey, very cold and strangely muffled by the snow, the streets unnaturally empty and quiet.

This time I'm in a more idyllic setting, but as we listen to the news, and eat fresh baked muffins, it becomes clear that the entire transport system has ceased to function, which begs the question: how do I get home to snow-free Cornwall and work tomorrow?  The offhand suggestion that we pilot the boat into the Paddington basin is my favourite idea, but I am getting hard Paddington Bear stares which indicates that I am not going to get my way on this one, so instead the only thing to do is walk along the canal path to Greenford station where there is at least the choice of both Central Line trains and local rail services.  The mollification of this being that I can collect another station this morning, even if it means I'm not going to be in purple to do it. 

Overnight, the light dusting seen the previous evening had turned into several inches of proper, squeaky-underfoot snowfall.

Northolt the previous night, about 10-ish...

...became Narnia by nine the next morning...

Truly beautiful, walking along the Grand Union Canal even if snow makes me nervous.  During my childhood my Dad was an aerial rigger and I have recurring nightmares of him being stuck up on a Cornish slate roof when snow started and him sliding off...pretty specific thing to fear, but then childhood fears are particularily vivid...

The Canal under snow...Collapse )

The obligatory signage shot.  I am wearing an entire wardrobe - a vest, two dresses, a skirt, a cardie, a jacket, a coat, two pairs of tight and long socks...

A fractured service is running into North Acton, where there are services into London:

trackside under snowCollapse )before we disappear underground at the today, aptly named, White City...


Dalston Kingsland

The overground was closed for engineering works on Sunday, so the closest I could get to passing through the tickets barriers was this:


Oh how galling!  But, stamping my pompomed feet in frustration, I consider this station collected, although I would like to return next year to see the clowns again.  Perhaps I might even take a wander around the local area as nearby streets and markets are the inspiration for the fictional 'Eastenders' - Fassett Square and Ridley Road Market having being carefully recreated at Borehamwood as Albert Square and Walford Market.  That might mean I'll have to actually watch a bit of the ruddy programme just to see if I recognise anything.  Dalston village was originally a leper colony though, back in the 13thC, which amuses me as I find both soap operas and reality tv cultural leprosy. 

Dalston will soon have it's other station Dalston Junction back in operation i time for the Olympics, so I'll have to come back again for that at least. Currently the station is infamous as the site of a child murder in the toilets. Meanwhile this evening, the three of us take a bus from cockney London into the homeland of Champagne Socialists, and get a bad cup of tea at the Starbucks at Angel.  Starbucks might be Evil Corporatism but at least they were open and weren't showing football on large tellies.

Later, popping above ground again at Shepherds Bush for an after show party for London Edge, the snow has started in ernest and is beginning to settle.  There's a carnival mood in the air as people emerge to find this light dusting on the ground, and the world turned new and magical.  People giggle and slide about outside the station and scrape together snow balls on the green...or perhaps it's just my mood, and the fact that it's a Sunday night, that has it all seems like a street party is happening.  There's an infectious, childlike joy in the air; snow being such a rare occurence in London.

Pictures from Dalston

Better photographers than me were out in force on Sunday.  Flickr has some great sets if you search for 'clown service'. Which makes me rather embarrassed to post up what I did manage to capture, but the below gives a sense of the dislocating sense of the peculiar, strange and colourful. 

failing_angel 's set is here:


And a rather fine set from Oleg Katchinski that shows what can be done with a decent camera unlike my poor sad little box that just couldn't manage:


...a search of Flickr will bring up loads of images from previous years as well, and more of my poor efforts under the cut. 

Send in the Clowns...

...ok, ok...so its an obvious title...but hell, clowns, organised religion and then snow - three things that creep me out, all in one place at the same time.  All that was missing was compulsory blood donation (needles, bleych!!!) and a driving lesson following the service and my phobias would have been complete. (oh, and spiders...but then I consider that a rational reaction to the nasty little blighters rather than a phobia...I mean eight eyes and all those legs, that's just not right...) The Clown ServiceCollapse )

Pictures and links to flickr sets to follow...


south ken

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