Double celebrations at Planarchy Towers today. Firstly it's Zee's birthday and secondly she's just arrived back from Noo York where she swapped worrisome too journeys for walking past Ground Zero on the way to t'office. The first day she took a cab but it mistook her request for "number x" Broadway for "xth AND Broadway". "That happens all the time," said the people at her office. Cue larger fares for taxi drivers.
Amongst the presents I received from the Large Apple were some Orios. Are they really America's favourite biscuit like it says on the wrapper?
Staying on the vaguely alcoholic theme we have another story from our weekend. I don't often cover the girls' lives these days as firstly it's their life not mine and I don't want to become intrusive and secondly I don't want it to be a "what my kids did next" blog. But there are some things in life that have to be documented. Sadly we missed Dee and Kay's birth, their first words, first steps or first day at school. But Sunday night we were privileged to share with Teen Dee that other landmark in growing up, the first "Drinking so much alcohol that you fall over and throw up" occasion. Is it good to get this over with early or wait until you're older?
I think I was 15 when it happened to me whilst on a school trip to Spain after drinking several cheap brandies (Dee's poison was the evil Bacardi Breezer). So Teen Dee is about a year ahead of me. But kids do everything earlier these days don't they? Also we must not forget that she chose to share it with her family rather than just a rabble of (or at least as well as) her friends. I did of course greatly enjoy sitting up all night with her lest she do a Jimi and drown in her own vomit. Her younger sister was I think the most disturbed by it all and it was she who very responsibly found a "responsible" adult at the party and got them to contact us.
Teen Dee awoke the next morning with no memory of most of it but most disgracefully no hangover. She remains extremely contrite and swears she'll never do it again and to be fair she does tend to learn by her mistakes.
Still.....kids, eh.... what next?
Not the most scientific or even statistically valid way of judging such things I know, but since we started up on our allotment in the closing overs of last summer we have been up there every Sunday morning (except for the four Sundays we spent in New Zealand over Christmas). Yet in all those visits we have not had more than a few minutes of light drizzle until this morning when finally we had some reasonably heavy rain for nearly the whole time we were up there. Probably not enough to make much of a difference to parched old London but a start anyway.
The sun is shining again now though. D'oh!
Eeee, it's been well over a week since I last posted a photo! So here's one from a session I did for Stevie Spielberg for his War of the Worlds fillum. For some reason I didn't get the commission.
Anyway, we went to see the movie t'other night and I have to say that generally I was rather impressed, Tom Cruise, for instance can actually act rather well when he has to (though it took a while to buy into him as a crane operator, I'll admit). As for the little girl....well with such an excellent performance she'll probably never show up in anything else ever again (sadly that's life, girl!). Our two weren't scared at all, oh no, Teen Dee was cuddling her sister in case Kay might be frightened. Kay, meanwhile just wished she'd brought with her the settee cushion she usually hides behind at home. In fact I'm a little surprised that it only merited a 12A, but there you go (and I suppose, as a photographer, I appreciate that I may find Tripods scarier than mere mortals).
As for Mr. Susan Sarandon, how come he manages to instill such a creepy mood so quickly into his character's introduction? Excellent, highly recommended, even if it did seem to leave the orignal story behind.
Favourite trailer was, of course for Charlie and the Choc Fac with the ever lovely Johhny Depp (though he appears to look like a bizarre cross between Freddie Mercury and Slade's Dave Hill on this outing). I just hope it's not a let down.
The Beeb seem now to be starting to deny the story that during this afternoon's drama there was an email circulating University College Hospital to alert police if anyone saw a "man... with wires protruding from a hole in his blue top". What exactly goes on at UCH that this sort of thing wouldn't set alarm bells ringing without the guidance of a memo?
In my day, if I remember correctly, the end of term was celebrated by not having any homework on the last day. Nowadays things are, apparently, very different. The girls have not been given any homework for weeks and as today is the last day of term they finish at lunchtime. But wait, that's not all.
On Monday 'twas the school picnic which meant that over 700 12-15 year olds traipsed some 7km up through local streets to The Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, sat down on the nearby grass for an hour or so and then trudged back again. I have to admire the school for daring to take such a group of East End teenagers such a distance. Apparently none got lost.... well not permanently anyway. Then Tuesday saw them take young-ish Kay to London Zoo for the day. Hard work again I should imagine. Finally yesterday Kay's year were taken to Chessington World of Adventures whilst Teen Dee's year went to Southend Adventure Island where she appears to have spent much of the day daring the older teachers to experience the scariest rides available.
Who needs summer holidays?
There was a time when I did quite a lot of plumbing I think. Well, it seemed like it. The last two house I lived in, for instance, I put the central heating systems in myself. Well, Mrs.Planarchy did quite a lot of the soldering on the last one as I was just recovering from my broken leg and couldn't get into all the corners that one needs to in this sort of situation. But it must be years since I picked up my blow torch or even looked longingly at compression fittings in a DIY store (it's all push fit nowadays isn't it? Cop-out if you ask me!)
Then this weekend we developed a leak in the mains water feeding into our house. So I spent several hours refamiliarising myself with the contents of my plumbing kit. The problem isn't completely corrected and I think medium term we're going to have to replace the whole pipe from the street to the house. This will be expensive and I'd rather not do it when we're just had our front garden path repaved(!).
But one plumbing task isn't enough to fully make a weekend is it?
Zee and I were enjoying a post lunchtime drink at the bottom of the garden yesterday afternoon when youngish Kay came to tell us that the hall radiator had just come off the wall and that her (much smaller) friend was holding it up. "It just came off as I went past," she said.
"Oh dear," I said.
So, lots of plumbing practice. Excellent.
Remember Zola Budd who, apart from attaining British citizenship in near record time, was, I think, was the first world stage athlete to run in bare feet? Well, young Kay is following in her footsteps.
'twas school sports day today and she refused to take her spiked running shoes because most of the other kids don't have them (!). However, she mistakenly instead took her trendy trainers rather than her non-spiked running shoes. These are , of course, much too big and flop around on her feet (hip or what?). So she ran in her socks... not barefoot but in her socks.
She still won of course.
I thought I knew my Damselflies pretty well until this one arrived.
A metal damselfly!
Very possibly a robot!
That it came in the post in a spellbound (well sellotape-bound, but it's much the same thing isn't it?) envelope should have given me some clues as to its origin.... as should the colour.
And how much more back to normal can we get than a picture of some Damselflies. This pair of Azure Damselflies are ovipositing. Oh yes. Egg laying to the rest of the world. The female, as you can see, is dipping the tip of her abdomen in amongst the pond weed whilst the male continues to clasp her by the neck in case a quick exit is required. Regular readers will remember that this is the moment when a female Large Red Damselfly was eaten by a frog last month in our garden pond.
This pair were snapped up (by my camera only) at t'allotment this weekend in our small pond which has only been there for a couple of months.... wonderful that it has so quickly become a haven for wildlife.
Also a haven for wildlife, apparently, are the Nottingham allotments where the plot owners have been offered £28,000 each for their little patches of land (and some are refusing to sell). Holding out for money or on to a traditional way of life? I hope it's the former.
Our allotments are owned by a charity but I've often wondered whether anyone has ever tried to buy off the 100 plots of prime East London building land... or how long before it happens. Not too soon I hope.
As much as I'd like to think it's down to some sort of Blitz spirit and a desire not to let "them" win, I don't think it's as thought through as that. It's just what we do. We get up and go to work (or wave our partners off to work and our kids off to school) because that's what we always do. If we thought too deeply about any of it we'd pull up the duvet and never go anywhere again. Are we, as Londoners (I've been here for over half of my life now, does that make me a Londoner?) really that different to anyone else? I'd like to be part of such a special club even if it seems to smell a bit of elitism and jingoism (both of which I purport to hate) but I don't really think we're all that different.
Anyway, I'd never really considered myself a Londoner until two days ago when I found myself wound up in the excitement of the successful Olympic bid, something I'd been totally opposed to originally but had slowly drifted round to supporting. Then the next day my city had been attacked and it does seem personal. I've traveled though Kings Cross and Liverpool Street countless times in the past twenty years or so by tube, bus, car, bike and foot so that they do seem part of my neighbourhood even though they're miles from my front door. Yes, it could have been me (unlikely but not impossible) but that's not the point. Not even just that it could have been someone I know. Well, not just that. I heard Ken's speech and while I'm afraid I don't for one moment believe that it was a spontaneous one, I did agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments, particularly on why people come to London. Maybe we're too used to it but it is a wonderful place. I do love the fact that walking down the street I'm surrounded by so many different cultures and hear so many languages that sometimes I wonder if I'm not on holiday. And Ken's right, they've chosen to be here because they're free to live their lives as they want.
You're expecting me to come up with a point?
I don't have one, I'm just rambling on because it's raining and I can't go out and take the pictures I wanted to (again). So, terrorists won't stop us from going about our business but the rain might. That is, I think, quite British after all.
Well, the rain put off young Kay's hurdling again though she did get to run in the relay. On a more positive note the rain also made me postpone a trip into town for some photography. I would have been traveling through either Liverpool Street or Kings Cross (though not on either affected line).... lucky not be involved either way. Still sends a shiver of dread.
Zee got a lift home from work (docklands) with her boss and Teen Dee wasn't allowed to leave school until they'd got confirmation that one of us was home.
Sadly we will be losing many small scraps of land and pools of water which are presently the home to small things such as this nervous male Azure Damselfly.
Now that the bid is officially won I can report on Kay's second competitive race meeting. Remember this event was being held in East London.... the venue for you know what in 2012. Yesterday Kay was to compete in hurdles and the 100m relay. The relay went well with her school finishing second and Kay easily winning her section (overtaking at least one other running) but the hurdles were cancelled due to the rain. Cancelled. Due to the rain (which wasn't even very heavy).
Are we planning hurdles in 2012?..... if so hope it doesn't rain.
The Borough Interschool Finals are tomorrow with Kay in the 100m relay, 200m and maybe a re-try at the hurdles (if it doesn't rain?).
Hurrah... the 2012 Olympics are coming to my back yard.
As a recent convert to the cause I am delighted
This Eastender is in Trafalgar Sqaure to give us live reactions....
....or a Lollo Rosso lettuce that wants to be a tree. Pretty though.
I have to see that my first thought on the news that NASA have crashed a probe into a comet to find out more about it was that I hoped there isn't an alien civilisation flying past the earth with a similar predilection for breaking things to see how they (used to) work.
I'm used to my analogue TV signal being ahead of my digital cable one (after all what's progress for?) but whilst switching over to the radio coverage of Live8 today I couldn't help but notice that the combined commercial radio version of the concert was some five minutes behind. Not a misprint... 5 minutes behind! How much swearing did they think they'd have to bleep out? Or is it just final proof of the superiority of the BBC over its commercial rivals?
Elsewise....just sign the foikin' list alright, if nothing else?
Water boatman have always fascinated me (worry not, it's too hard to get decent pictures for this to be the first of a long series). They cling to the surface of the water upside down staring up at the moon (or the sun even). As someone who's laid in the long grass and stared at the sky for hour upon end I think I see where they're coming from.