Sunday, 8 December 2013

Black beans and Vermeer

I was cooking black beans yesterday. Piles of black diamonds in an inky broth, studded with a carrot, a bay leaf and silky strips of leek. 

Suddenly, I thought of Vermeer's domestic scenes; dull, "dead coloring", over-layered with glazes of red and yellow, locked into place with a touch of pearl.

Served with greek yogurt, Jamaican hot sauce, cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of spring onions they tasted delicious too!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

granite flesh

December is here. The year is almost turning and the word flesh has just come whispering in my ear. An Old English poetry-word for "body" was flæsc-hama, literally "flesh-home." The French say we can be bien dans sa peau, to feel right inside your skin, to be comfortable in the body we call our domicile. These days I am encircled by bodies travelling through illness and growth, spinning pirouettes on the tightrope of  life.  I recently visited a rock collection in a Musée d'Histoire Naturelle. Hunks of granite, ancient earth flesh carried the memories of a million other days. Softly, spoken words. Sshhh..they murmured, we are still here.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Half-hidden november mornings

Today, I nestle in a half-hidden morning, tucked inside the taste of croissant crumbs and a return to bed, after breakfast. Returning to bed is always good. I curl like a cat into the spirals of dull clouds that line the sky; autumn is here. Two busy months have spun my body into a peripatetic pace, measured by alarm calls, train coffee and limbs reaching out to strangers,  the logos trying to twist a rope, upon which we may walk together. Today, I unwind the cords, unpack the bags and dismantle the relentless clock. I sink into the sofa with detective novels, listening to The Godfather:Love Theme while I think about eating raclette; melted cheese and pencil grey skies. Movement and repose. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

the reclusive room

Am away from home, in a hotel room, where the bathroom tiles are edged in Air Force Blue. Night has fallen and trash TV fills the space between the walls; a mild, restful, gaudy background buzz. I am draped or slumped upon the bed; my limbs burrow between a phone, a damp towel, a loop of cables, a winter hat, a blue leopard print umbrella; I am waiting to eat a pot of rice pudding, spoonfuls of comfort laced with cinnamon. Next to me, there is a much-thumbed magazine that I purloined from reception, as a plump young woman with empty chocolate eyes said "Bonne soirée".

I am here, admiring the curve of light falling from the standing lamp, colonizing this makeshift home. The Air Force Blue bathroom tiles remind me of my grandparent's house, the heady scent of the lavender hedges that lined their short garden path. But, nothing else here belongs to me. Anything could happen. There is a freedom in this anonymous expanse, a dreary land where everything is to be invented, again. "Aren't you lonely when you travel?", people ask, I always smile. Movement was written into my childhood and I developed a passion, a taste of wandering, I own a thirst for lone ranging that has yet to be quenched. This borrowed, short-term occupation is my interim caretaker; a fleeting hearth for my frame. Fleet from the old English to flit, to float; in this hotel room the flash of a bird's wing across the sky would have to be called evanescent

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Thinking about this post written by Marion, about staring horror in the face. Thinking about packing to travel, shaking summer dresses free from boxes and the fact that the sun might shine one day. Thinking about a book I am writing about anthropology, bodies and hospitals ; what is traced between the walls while you lie in sickness and the person who cares stands over you. Thinking about spirals painted in paint, a vortex of trickled, splattered colour. Thinking, as the sun rises to a sullen sky and the wind puffs cold breath on a slate grey sea. Thinking about a day soon when we hit the road, with the kids sprawled in the back of the van, surrounded by a nest of books and dolls. Thinking about clowns, women and another text about sex and laughter; Pan and the right of a mother to roar. Thinking about an image of green, emerald rockets blasting across the sky. Thinking about waking up soon and just aiming that day to buy some cake and swim in a river and bask in the sun. Just thinking...

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Green is the color of June

Green is the color of June : verdure, soft moss, chartreuse and lime. A color born from too much rain; drips and drops, torn from the sky, an unbroken deluge of water. Green is the color of June. Green is unlucky whisper the actors, the sailors and my grandmother-in-law, who wore red lipstick and hitched up her skirt to catch a tan when the sun shone bright. Green is the color of June.

Green was my favorite color as a child. I had green underwear, socks and pants, a green and white striped top and a pair of shorts. Green is growing, green is living, green is envy and rage; bearing burnt copper. Green is the color born from the mountains, emerald lava trickling from the skies. Limpid green, the sea is thriving. Green is the color of June.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

running on empty, riding on the train, everywhere is blue

Ten days ago, I caught an evening train. I was running on empty, end-of-day, end-of-book, end-of-course; the sky was the gentlest blue. I could have sat in the carriage for days, for years; watched the flat green, the night fall, the street lamps alighting one-by-one, dots on the i's of the railroad towns. Slumped in my chair, I leant my head on the accordioned curtain, watched the passengers reading, caressing screens with idle fingers. On the station platform, a plump man stood on tiptoes and exchanged unheard words with the driver. We left, the women opposite giggled. A pretty girl with a spotty forehead gazed anxiously at her phone, hesitated as she read, chewed gum and tucked one arm around her waist, protectively. Everywhere was blue.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Dancing with the moon

I've been in a vortex these past six weeks, spinning in a twirl of flu bugs, decorators, running courses and learning to love the night. Sliding shuffle shoes, I've embraced the midnight hours, been burning the candle at both ends while I finish my book. I am tired from dancing with the moon. But, I am happy to have befriended time from sunset to sunrise; sweet, relentless, nocturnal hours.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

slipping into 2013

Here is a pretty picture of a door knocker, taken in the hot August streets of Pamplona. I am sick in bed, sliding gently into 2013. Tucked under my duvet, surrounded by my manuscript, Battleborn and a scary French book about linguistics - that I have promised myself I'll read - I alternately groan, rewrite paragraphs and window shop food blogs. I am nursing a bad head and wearing thick socks. Still, it's cosy in here. Bonne année.