Friday, 3 July 2015

Bang, crash, wallop

Didn't Heather Watson do herself proud at Wimbledon against Serena Williams? I got so into the match that I actually had to stop watching. I'm afraid I'm one of those people who feels that British tennis players often do better when I'm out of the room! Being superstitious is the most ludicrous contradiction for a card-carrying atheist, but I'm the first to say "hello Mr Magpie" when I see one of the critters flying solo, and I rarely walk under a ladder!

My Mother emailed today to say that she didn't have mobile phone signal, but that she'd had a car accident with my Dad in Buxton, Derbyshire. They've been there on holiday. They're apparently both okay. Some boy racer went into the back of them at a relatively slow speed. I bet he was texting. The positive side of the story is how wonderful the good folk of Buxton were with them after the accident had happened. They arrived with Mars Bars, helped them to call the AA and generally took care of them. The taxi driver who was booked to take them back to the hotel even gave them an impromptu tour of the town so that their memories of the place weren't entirely tarnished. I firmly believe that, when the chips are down, you can always rely on the human race to come up trumps. A massive thank you to every single Buxton resident who did their bit today.

I went to Old Street and wrote in a cafe sitting opposite Philippa again. It's a nice little ritual. It stops me from getting lonely or sitting with bad posture, and makes me feel a little like I'm going to work. We worked in two cafes: Hackney City Farm, and a beautiful former dairy just off Columbia Road.

Curiously I bumped into Dylan, Philippa's husband, before I met the woman herself. Dylan was doing child care today with their daughter, my god daughter, Silver. I found them in a recently-opened shop on Columbia Road which sells "natural history" toys and child-friendly stimulus. Anything from plastic dinosaurs to curious little glass vases with strange plants inside which don't require water or soil. There were even basil plants growing in old egg shells. It's a great idea for an area where there are a lot of middle class kids! Silver worked her way through the shop like a dose of salts, becoming particularly friendly with a life-sized plastic flamingo, which she dragged about in her firebrand wake! The shops on Columbia Road tend to open just three days a week. The mayhem and huge popularity of the flower market on the road every Sunday is apparently enough to keep them financially afloat for the rest of the week.

The community around Columbia Road is a very special one. Everyone knows everyone, largely on account of the fact that the majority of them are artists, designers, actors, writers and other freelancers who work from home and therefore don't leave the area during the day. Philippa showed me a picture that one of her friends had taken of a group of kids standing on the external window ledge of one of the terraced cottages in the area. It could have been taken in the 60s or 70s. There was a timeless quality to it, which led me to think that the lives the kids round there live must be halcyon ones.

I had a hopeless fall on the stairs at our house this morning. I was wearing a pair of trainers, which I'll confess is deeply unusual for me, and the carpet under my feet simply gave way, and down I tumbled like a sack of spuds. The racket must have been extraordinary, as my landlady, who runs the shop below, came darting out with a look of terror plastered on her face. It was a bit painful. I'll be honest. And an impressive bruise has been growing on my elbow and upper arm all day! Still, it seems to have got rid of the neuralgia I was suffering yesterday, so small mercies!

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