Archive for April 2012

News roundup 30/04/2012   Leave a comment

Extracts from Radio 4 news at midnight:

Wild reports of excessive airport queue times says Damien Green. It is the weather says Damien Green. We will send a ‘contingency force’ to the border, says Damien Green. Da, da, da! Border Force Contingency Force to the rescue. Oh Damien, you are so masterful!

Surface to air missiles on top of block of flats in Waltham Forest. It will be a ‘blue Olympics’ say the government, meaning the police will be in charge. Locals respond saying, ‘we don’t like da feds hanging round our gaff’.

David Cameron appeared to lose his temper at Labour questions about requests for an independent investigation into the BSkyB scandal. Jeremy Hunt, Jeremy Hunt, you silly old….runt.  You got Davy in trouble and burst his squeaky bubble.

April wettest for 100 year. 30 flood warnings issued by Environment Agency. The drought continues. (Bad voodoo man)


Confronting dark secrets and Wellington boots   Leave a comment

The drought continues. This means deluge, thunder, lightning, penetrating rain lasting all day. On Saturday it rained all day. All day. It reminds me of home. I came to the sunny South East to escape from this.

I could not face going out and having the rain seep through the fibres of my raincoat and bag, the steamed up mobile and the damp smell in the tube.

Instead I tackled the house. It has been long overdue. My enthusiasm led me to open the dreaded places I had avoided for  years and take out the bundles of paper that had built up since I moved in. I work in a paper bound world and I am a hoarder. The piles of paper have been my guilty secret for years. I felt like the awful Mr Krook in Bleak House. I had a premonition of being found dead, surrounded by reams of paper and decided to tackle it.

I piled all the paper, files and documents into a corner. They exploded and spread across the whole wall of the room. I was shocked. I spent all day Saturday ploughing through them, getting bogged down in my past, stopping for a moment to go ‘awww’ or ‘wow’ or ‘I forgot that’, feeling waves of emotion, depending on what I found.

It is now Sunday night. I’ve worked through half the wall. The other half remains, staring at me. I promise I will do it. I have to. I’ve messed them up now and they cannot be returned and I cannot hide. I’ve filled up the recycling bag for the week leaving no space for anything else.

Part of me feels invigorated. It’s been bugging me for ages and been on my ‘to-do’ list. To finally start the process and sort out my life is good.

On Sunday morning I needed to get out though. The papers were staring at me accusingly. I donned my raincoat and my Wellington boots, a relatively recent investment. Not the Hunter ones that the cool people wear, or the awful flowery, printed ones – just plain old-fashioned green wellies. I felt like a child wearing them. (They played a big role in my childhood) When I went  out I checked that nobody was looking and then jumped in a puddle and splashed! It was brilliant. I got braver then and spent most of Sunday  deliberately wading through the deepest puddles I could find, looking with contempt at those with ordinary shoes and umbrellas tiptoeing around them. The rain continued but I did not mind.

And then in the afternoon, on the street of a poor west London town, the sun suddenly came out. It was beautiful. Everything sparkled. People looked up. I could see moods change in front of me. People’s steps became visibly lighter. They smiled at each other. It was like the end of Noah’s Flood.

I felt the same. My steps became…. well, actually they couldn’t become lighter…..because of the wellies. They were so awkward and heavy, and became increasingly so. Those that I had scornfully splashed earlier, now looked at me with pity as I dragged my green monsters. And in my head I began to hear the Patrick Kavanagh poem as I trudged along, trapped by my mistaken affection for the wellies, symbolic of my childhood;

“O stony grey soil of Monaghan
The laugh from my love you thieved;
You took the gay child of my passion
And gave me your clod-conceived.

You clogged the feet of my boyhood
And I believed that my stumble
Had the poise and stride of Apollo
And his voice my thick tongued mumble.”

I made my way home, extracted my feet from the sweaty monsters and swore to keep them for the snow in the future.

(The cherry and apple trees are shedding now, creating a snow of blossom and carpets of pink and white. So maybe I’m not too far off the mark.)

Little old lady   Leave a comment

A little old lady came into the cafe. She left her plastic bag at a table next to me. I agreed to watch it while she got some coffee.

When she came back she said, ‘You will have sweet with me.’ I said that I had just finished lunch and was full, but thanks. She began to rummage in her bag. I got up to leave. She looked up and said, ‘You cannot go, I have sweet.’ I hesitated. She continued to rummage.

She produced half a packet of own-brand rich tea biscuits and a tissue. She laid the tissue ceremoniously on the table and poured the rich tea biscuits onto it. She looked at me. I took a biscuit politely and thanked her and said that I had to go now. I raised the biscuit to my mouth to take a bite. She said, ‘Stop!’ Everyone sitting nearby was enjoying the drama. I stopped. She indicated that I should put the biscuit back on the napkin. She held out the biscuit wrapping to me, shaking it and saying I should put all the rich tea back into the wrapping. I did as I was bid. Then she handed me the half-packet of rich tea to take away. I put them in my raincoat pocket. It was a lovely moment.

I had a really long afternoon and evening at work. I finished at 11.00. I was tired and starving. I put my hand in my pocket and found the biscuits. I ate them. Thank you little old lady!


Posted April 25, 2012 by mshambainlondon in Curious incidents, Food, Uncategorized

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Drought   Leave a comment

My bus today had this dramatic poster on the side.  As I stood in the rain waiting for the driver to finish his lunch and let me on, my feet wet, my nose dripping, I began to wonder.  Is the declaration of drought part of a wider secret scheme? Is there someone at the Department of the Environment for example, this man, actively engaged in juju, and the declaration of drought is all part of a secret rainmaking ritual? Does he, when nobody is looking, in a dark and deep cavern under Mornington Crescent (thanks Robert Rankin), do this? 


And if the declaration of drought is all part of a secret ritual to appease the rain gods, good news Richard, it is working.  The gods are crying tears of joy upon us.

Cherry trees   Leave a comment

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TV withdrawal   Leave a comment

I am really tired. I have worked a 60 hour week.  My shoulders and neck ache. But I cannot sleep.  I have no TV. I have decided the switchover was my opportunity to escape bondage. I have withdrawal symptoms. I am twitchy. My teeth are clenched. My eyes keep drifting towards it. It stands in the corner of room, looking at me mutely, accusingly. I am listening to world music on BBC3 and trying to pretend I am not missing it. I tell myself I am not missing CSI or Britian’s Baddest Cops.  Now I can fill my life with useful, productive things and sort my messy life out with all that spare time….

Yesterday I allowed myself to watch 30 minutes of trashy comedy on IPlayer because I could not bear the silence. Today I went to the cinema.

But look at me now! Doing useful productive things like writing a new blog and pretending its not busy work to distract me from the absence. It is almost 1am.  I am at the denial stage. I hope it gets easier.

And I now need to get rid of the accusing monster in the corner. How does one get rid of a retro TV/Video combo anyway? Who would be seen with one of those things? I have a strange feeling that I may have a problem here and the monster may very well end up sitting there staring at me for some time.