Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Unknown unknows   Leave a comment

unknown unknownsDid you ever have a time in your life where you felt that nothing was happening, you were disheartened and miserable, felt life was passing you by,  and decided, ‘Well, this is it I guess. I just have to suck it up!’?

And then just when it was all really sh1te, and you’d more or less given up hope, tried to resign yourself to the small things and the security, it all explodes. And you don’t know where you are going or what you are doing, because for so long its just been holding tight and sitting it out, and hanging in there, and now, suddenly it is all happening. And you’ve almost forgotten how to do, rather than just bear it.

And that is where I am just now. Shocked that something I hoped but did not expect would happen. Teetering on the edge. Looking over the edge of the cliff before I jump into the unknown. Fear that it might not be true. Butterflies that it is true and it won’t work out. Hope that this is it.

And it is so effing inopportune it is not believable.  What if I screw up? Or it does not work out? Do I jump or do I turn away from the cliff edge and walk away to where it is safe and secure? And forget about all that hopey, changey stuff?

Why does it have to happen now? But maybe this is a good time and I am just putting barriers in the way? What if I just jump off the cliff and just see what happens?

Oh eff it Rummy! You really did know what you were talking about with your unknown unknowns didn’t you?



Words   Leave a comment

My word of the day is Scabrous

What a multi-functional word! It has a beautiful variation of meaning but all interconnected.

It is from Latin and means rough. It is related to the word ‘scab’.

It is used to describe something scaly and rough to the touch with projections. Often used by gardeners to describe plants or trees.

But it has grown and flowered.

It is also used to describe something  that is difficult to deal with, as in ‘a scabrous issue’. It is knotty. Isn’t that a lovely evolution from the concrete to the conceptual? Handling something rough and scabby is scabrous.

But it gets better! It is also used to describe something that is a bit indelicate or indecent because it implies that touching something like this is a bit nasty and repulsive. As in, ‘a scabrous story’.

And it is also the name of a Star Wars character, Darth Scabrous!

Posted November 23, 2012 by mshambainlondon in Random, Uncategorized

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Books   Leave a comment

I know many will say they are clunky and heavy but….

There is nothing like the smell of a book (new or old). You can’t replicate this via technology.

You can drop them and they don’t break.

You don’t need to recharge them.

If you join a library they are completely free.

You can get them a bit wet in the rain or in the bath or accidentally spill a cup of tea on them and, after a bit of drying out, they still work.

You can throw them at someone who annoys you without breaking it or them.

You can use them to hold up wonky pieces of furniture.

They are beautiful to look at.

You can take them out at any time and touch them, smell them and read your favourite passage again and again and again.

Truancy   Leave a comment

Today I ran away from work.

I am a middle-aged professional in a responsible job. I have my own office. I have people who work for me. I am extremely conscientious, arriving early and finishing late. I sometimes work weekends. I just don’t do slacking.

Then today, I was walking down Oxford Street on the way to a meeting in West London and I just got on the wrong tube and went to my favourite park. I skived off, committed truancy, mitched.

I switched off my mobile and listened to the daft conversations around me. People talking about how good the sausages were (they are!), drinking flasks of tea to keep themselves warm, talking about their dogs, gossiping about their absent friends.

It was a completely unconscious thing to do.

I experienced a brief moment of delight before the self-analysis about why I did it and guilt for the work not done kicked in. Damn my background/culture/heritage! I am still analysing myself about it now!

New fangled music   Leave a comment

Felicity is 87. She looks like a cross between the actress Margaret Rutherford and Agatha Christie. She has had a number of strokes and heart attacks but through bad temper and iron will, is fully functional. She is a fierce atheist and one of the world’s truly good people. She is a psychologist. She still sees a caseload of clients for a charity. She ends her working day at 8pm and strides off into the London night with her backpack and stick. She has recently started attending art college to fulfil a childhood dream to be an artist.

Recently she went to the Barbican to see Nigel Kennedy. “It was fascinating” she says. “He played Bach and then played some new fangled chap called Fats Waller.”

Nice to hear that Fats Waller (who died in 1943)  is  ‘new fangled’.

Being foreign   Leave a comment

My friend is a rich girl from a nice town in the stockbroker belt just outside London. She is intelligent, pretty and has a professional job.

My friend is British and really loves her country. But (unlike me, a complete foreigner) she is second-generation and carries with her, the cultural and historical associations of her family. Most of the time she does this with pride, but sometimes, just sometimes it becomes a little much!*

She has just given birth to her first child. The baby was slightly premature. Her husband and mother were with her at hospital.

I asked her how it went. ‘Terrible’ she said. ‘But it was not the birth, it was the shame! I was lying there with my legs spread, telling my idiot husband to hold my hand, and then my mother suddenly started praying up against the wall, salaaming loudly, going through all the motions and wailing.  All the doctors and nurses in the West London hospital really tried to maintain a blank facade, frantically pretending that she was not there and the wailing was not happening, but were still trying to peek whilst pretending not to. They were having to manoeuver around her physically in order to do their job. I kept trying to tell her to stop but she wouldn’t. I nearly died of shame. It took all my attention away from the pain. She would not stop all the way through the birth! I was pushing hard just to make her stop.”

(*Zadie Smith in  White Teeth – explains the dilemma well)

Autumn – OMG its here! Loveit/hateit/loveit   1 comment

Wow! That was quick! Where did summer go?

Walked home this evening.
Cold. Windy. Cardigan on for the first time. Buttoned up.

Snuggled under warm duvet tonight.  I forgot how good it is to snuggle under a warm duvet in the cold.

Weather forecast.  Frost promised. And squally showers. Wow! this is it now. Summer is really over. First frost here. Long nights good. Short days bad.

But there is a germ of delight in me about the cold, and the wind, and a knot of anticipation of kicking through leaves and listening to that beautiful noise. And rain. And being able to wear warm clothes and my boots. Mmm!

But summer is over so quickly. I need more time in the  sun and warmth.

But now I can wear gloves and take photos of skeletons of trees and take the first step outside my door in the morning and have the delight of breathing frosty air and seeing my breath.

The dilemma of being on the cusp. Aargh!