24 is real

December 8, 2009

I’m sorry blog. I’ve neglected you. Sure, I had an excuse for a few weeks. I was ill. But I’m back in the land of the breathing now. Sorry Mummified Fox. You deserve better and I will try harder.

But for now, to try and get going again, three random things.

Random thing one. When you go to Muffin Break– and don’t pretend you don’t, because you do- when you go to Muffin Break do you ever wonder where all the soup signs go when they aren’t needed? I know I do. And this last weekend, down in Muffin Break in Lewisham, I spied the answer.

Where the soup signs hide

I was sat on the near side of this central well when I saw the soup signs, hiding, cowering together in a corner. Or maybe they had broken free from the barber pole style danger tape. Who knows? I wasn’t trying to surreptitiously photograph an arse, or an old lady. Honest. I just felt a bit of humanity might help the picture.

Random thing two. We have a new road. Look! Here’s what a road looks like without cars on it.

The Road

Course, the cars are back now, waiting at the edges. Cats crawl under them and foxes duck and dive around them. occasionally, a car might move, and there’ll be another on standby, waiting to pounce and take its place.

Random thing three. I forget that Jack Bauer once visited Hither Green. It’s true. Everyday I go to my local newsagents and buy the guardian and The Mirror. (I say everyday, but today I betrayed The Mirror and bought The Sun, just because they had a Tiger Woods porn star story on the cover- I then had so little interest in the story I forgot to read it. Porn, it’s so ephemeral isn’t it).

Anyways, so, yes, Jack Bauer. A few years back he was in the area and he has some connection with the people who own the newsagents, and he called in, and he signed some photos for them, and they are on display in the shop. They’re signed Kiefer Sutherland, but I know it’s Jack Bauer.

I’ve seen enough of 24 to convince myself it, and Jack, are real. And if you dare claim otherwise I will set Tony Almeida (the only terrorist to be named after a poncey theatre) on to you.


Here’s the window I’ve been repairing. If it looks a little spooky that’s because I photographed it during an eclipse of the Moon. Do you remember that? The 3rd March, 2007. It was quite something. For about half an hour the Moon turned red. People on the streets of Hither Green panicked. I remember one old man running down the street, shouting at people to stay indoors, saying there were Vampire Nazis parading the streets of Lewisham and they were heading our way. One young child cried, and an image of Jesus appeared in her left eye. Another old lady who lives next door looked up at the Moon and said “isn’t it lovely.”

At least, this is how I like to remember it.

Repairing windows is one of those things you can take the time to do when you have no work. It’s a shame really, because if I had work I wouldn’t have the time. And if I didn’t have the time I’d be able to pay a window man. Me being out of work is putting a glazier out of work. Aren’t times hard.

Here’s how to repair a window.

  • Remove some bits of wood so you can get the window out. Carry it into the garden and then look at it for a while wondering what to do next.
  • Have a cup of tea and do the Guardian crossword (the quick one that takes all day).
  • Look at the window. Laugh, because once placed flat on the ground it has ceased to be useful as a window; unless you like looking at grass. Decide you do like looking at grass. Then hack at it with a variety of tools from a box, all of which have proper and fancy names, none of which you know.
  • Smash, smash, smash glass.
  • Pick bits of glass out of your hand.
  • Hack away at old putty. See bits of rotten wood fall away too and wonder what to do next.
  • Splash wood hardener about as if it was going out of fashion. Sniff it too.
  • Take a break. Do The Mirror crossword.
  • More wood hardener. More splashing. Realise that wood hardener is a sort of glue, and wonder how to get it off your clothes and your fingers.
  • Put all the smashed glass in newspaper and then in a black bin bag. Pick bits of glass out of your hands.
  • Pick up the black bin bag, letting the loose shards cut through the thin plastic, falling to the floor.
  • You’re familiar with the next part… pick up, deal with blood etc.
  • Measure the window, taking off 3mm so the glass will fit in nicely.
  • Go to the glaziers. Buy a piece of glass. Say “Yes. I used to be on Saturday morning TV” and when asked what are you up to these days say “repairing windows”.
  • Try and get the glass back home without breaking it.
  • See if the glass fits.
  • Weep with joy when it does.
  • Take a break. Go on Twitter. Make cheap comments about wood hardening. See the people Twitter back, asking if you are stressed.
  • Tap in some nails to hold the glass in place.
  • Then the fun part. Truly. Putting the putty in. Did you know that putty is like putty in your hands? The putty parts great. Enjoy it.
  • Put the window back.
  • Tidy up. In bare feet.
  • Pick tiny shards of glass out of your bleeding feet.
  • In about six weeks time take the window out again and paint the putty.
  • Forget to do this.

I hope this helps anyone thinking of trying to repair a window. Oh, and I know it’s windmills but when it first went through my head as I tried to think of a title for this post, I heard windows.

And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space

Four snails and a chip

July 11, 2009

As I came back from Lewisham People’s Day (I’ll write about the day tomorrow), as I walked to Hither Green Station, I saw four snails eating a chip. Or maybe pushing it home. This was new for me. I’ve never seen this before. It’s possibly the most exciting thing I’ve seen since I saw a wasp battle a spider (the wasp won by eating the spider’s legs).

I stopped and looked on in wonder. There was no one around so I felt pretty cool about taking a snap. And then a woman turned the corner and walked towards me, just as I was in macro mode. I felt an urge to share the moment. She was impressed. She laughed. And as she walked away she turned back and said “Shame. Someone’ll not see them and stand on them.” She was quite likely right. There’s not much you can do in a situation like this to help a snail. You can’t shoo them along, as you would a cat. You can’t prod them, as you would a frog to make it hop out of danger. You can’t even pick them up without risking crunching their home to pieces. And even if you could do any of these things, what of the chip, their greatest and largest meal ever?

I hope they enjoyed their last supper.


Mono no aware

April 20, 2009


blossom-tree-spring1 blossom-tree-autumn1

belisha-beaconMaybe not the most exciting news for you, but then you don’t live in Hither Green (unless you do). Yes, we have new belsiha beacons that wear illuminated bonnets. Look in the sky though, to the left of the beacon. There are two weird smudges. I’ve noticed these on a few photos I’ve taken recently. Either, it is a smudge on my lens, or, Omen-like, it is a harbinger of doom. Still, new belisha beacons!

If you fancy having a look at the Trev and Simon blog you’ll see I’ve added three posts there today, including one showing the artwork from Trev Neal’s forgotten album, Trev Neal Sings the Songs of the Railroad.

So, if you’re disappointed with a photo of a belisha beacon, go there instead. Go there anyway, even if you love belisha beacons.

Years ago we sang an old music hall song about belisha beacons. we first sang it in an act called the Eggrobats, along with Phil Denison. Then years later we sang it on tour as the Rogers Brothers. I don’t know who wrote it, when, or who for, so sadly I cannot give credit to those music hall old-timers. It went something like this;

Carry your little belisha beacon everywhere you go
If you hold your beacon up the traffic goes so slow
It really is amazing how the traffic does respond
When you walk along with your little magic wand

In the afternoon if you should go out for a stroll
Don’t forget to take your little bladder on a pole
Greta Garbo with a moan
Said you’d never be alone
When you’ve got your little beacon
When you’ve got your little beacon

When you’ve got your little beacon in your hand

That’s how people grow up

February 23, 2009


I don’t live near a prison. As I walk back from the cafe, I pass through Hither Green’s hinterland; the road that runs along the railway line that’s full of businesses that mind their own business. And they make sure you don’t stick your nose in by using prison-like preventative measures. it’s Prison Break in reverse.

One of the more open and accessible businesses is Joy Skip Hire. I like this place. I like it because, in a way that I don’t fully understand, I take their business name as a command.

As I passed it today though, I was saddened. Is this how it ends for us all? Is this what becomes of a dad? I’m afraid that the answer is likely to be yes.

joy-skip-hireAs I write this Morrissey sings:

I’m doing very well
I can block out the present and the past now
I know by now you think I should have straightened
myself out
thank you, drop dead

That’s from Something is squeezing my skull from his new LP Years of Refusal. The title of this post is the title of another track.

If I’ve dragged you down, I’m sorry. Let me end on two bright notes. On Saturday, Broadstairs looked like this:

broadstairs-beachAnd a quote from Dan Leno:

“Birth is something which comes to all of us sooner or later…”

applesThis is Safeways. In Sunnyvale. And if supermarkets could speak to each other (and in the world in my head, they can) How do ya’ like them apples? is what Sunnyvale’s Safeway would ask Hither Green’s Co-op.

It’s not just the apples over here that astonish me. They’ve got a Starbucks too. Now I know there is a Starbucks next to every Starbucks in London. But who’d have thought they had them over here too? Ok, it’s the jetlag kicking in.