Monday, 29 November 2010

Monday Feeling

The world's most important match is underway between Barcelona and Real Madrid. I would say that is tripe because the world's most important match takes place when I play on a Saturday.

Obvious really. It is all relative. Do I care more that Barca or Real win more than my own team? Certainly not.

It's wonderful being parochial.

Or at least travelling from Paris to London to see it all on satellite TV.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Suffering For Art II

There is no football on Saturday. But honestly the way the team plays sometimes it is difficult to say there is football when we are actually playing.

To misappropriate Mr Spock: It's not football as we know or understand it.

To that end Saturday will see a training session. A kickabout in which we maintain the rhythm of running around and overrunning the ball.

It has snowed today so it might be a bit chilly. Should be an ideal opportunity to stay tucked up in bed or cosy up on the sofa with my breakfast and Star Trek DVDs.

But if people are prepared to stand and wait to look at a load of pictures, it seems more logical to get up and run around in the cold.

Suffering For Art

A long time ago I went to Giverney with a then girlfriend and toured the house of Claude Monet.

I bought some postcards of plants and bits of water and went completely mad.

"Because of my paparazzi status, I got into the museum with my camera without having to pay.

So you could say I got my Monet for nothing and my clicks for free. Yes Paul is in dire straits .....

That made the trip for me. It was probably the kiss of death for the relationship.

Ho hum. I went to the Monet exhibition at the Grand Palais and felt duty bound to remember the lines. Still remember the girlfriend. Difficult to forget really since we had once bought a house together.

But looking back on it I don't think she ever swore to love me till the end of eternity.

Probably didn't have a chance to vow allegiance because I was too busy seeking corny lines for postcards.

I did not get any postcards from the exhibition today as there were queues.

There was a queue to get in and there were hoards of people looking at the pictures.

It was a sumptuous display.

Almost as good as a certain post card caption.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

St Pancras Old Church

Maybe Eurostar should just stop promoting the idea of a timetable. Got into London late - yet again - and went to the St Pancras Old Church to listen in.

It's high stuff there. Incense and the like and some of the old songs. The hymns reminded me of church of my youth before the pews were ripped out and comfy chairs were installed and poorer songs were put in.

One of the blokes in the congregation started telling me a few things about the church after the service had ended. That was kind.

I knew a bit about the history having once walked through the graveyard when I was covering an inquest at St Pancras Coroner's Court as a reporter.

The church looked very foreboding and its proximity to a mortuary, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and of course the coroner's court imbued it with a vivid lugubriousness.

Fortunately it was jolly inside. And that's what counts.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Network Europe

I obviously haven't been to see a film in London for ages. I was visibly shaken when the lady at the box office told me it was £10.50 to see the feature.

I tried to place the last time I was at the Renoir in Bloomsbury and couldn't remember. I was given a leaflet about becoming a Curzon Cinema member and getting discounts at their lavish outlets at the Mayfair, Chelsea and Richmond cinemas.

It costs £50 a year to get two free tickets and a discounted price of £8.50.

I'd have to go more regularly to appreciate the benefits of that offer. I have been hovering for a few weeks hoping to go and see something at the flicks. But the times haven't coincided well with the finish at work.

But to cut a long story short, I went to see the Social Network, the film all about the Facebook phenomenon. Quite a good film but I didn't think it was worth £10.50.

I am clearly heading to the point where I will only venture out to see the brainless blockbusters and consign myself to waiting for the DVD release of films like last night's.

Seems a pity for an avid cinema goer like me. But the days of heading off to the flicks two or even three times a week would just be financially ruinous were I living in London and that's even with the Curzon's cut-price offer.

But as the film proffered you can go out with your friends firmly ensconced on your sofa.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Wild and Crazy

My outrage is mounting. Yet again there was a delay. That makes three trips three delays. This time I quite liked the reasons. Sick passenger at Ashford International and then a broken rail in Haute Picardie.

So instead of arriving a 1017 we plodded in at 11am. Not drastic but when the whole spiel is about High Speed 1 and sleek services, I will have to rack my brains for an idea about something more tangible from Eurostar than the chef de bord saying sorry for the delay.

I want recompense.

Well Left

I contributed to the collective this morning. About 40 or so magazines of the engineering union, the AUEW. They belonged to my dad and I handed them into the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell Green.

They'd been hanging around in my room for more than a year so it was good to send them onto a place where they might be appreciated.

The next thing to disposes of is the classical records. Who does vinyl classical records these days? I am of course keeping the jazz records. Space will be found for them.

Sunday, 14 November 2010


It really is drivel. All this hyperbole about being zapped between Paris and London before you can say Chateau Neuf du Pape. Two trips I've taken of late and both were way late.

That's quite American that expression. Must be the book I'm reading. The Time Traveller's Wife. Should be renamed the Time Consuming Book. Three hundred pages in and not much has happened.

Maybe there'll be an explosive last 200 pages. Perfect book for reading on the Eurostar though.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Hearth

Sunday night in wintry Streatham has brought warmth in bed in the shape of a hot water bottle. I have done my usual ritual of sorting out a few more of my dad's things.

A few more papers have been consigned to the recycling and the room that was a mountain of stuff a year ago is a bit smaller. The middle child wanted the music stand he had for his saxophone and there was also a metronome. This is all for her saxophone lessons. She's pursuing it diligently. The sax was left to her. The boy gets the trumpet and the eldest has the piano thing.

I don't see them forming a band.

Maybe they could perform before I go and play football of a Saturday morning. Got back into action on Saturday and missed a good chance to make it 3-0.

My how I rued that as the opponents came back in the second half. It finished 4-2 to our shufflers. The ribs that were happily crunched a few weeks back survived in tact. But I do fear for my right ankle. It is not a happy area after the game.

But that is probably all psychological. What wasn't in my mind was the searing cramp in my left leg on Saturday afternoon as I was watching the tennis on TV,

The strange thing was the pain in my ankle had gone. I'll have to pursue the theory of internal dispersal. Must avoid pain in my brain though.

Perhaps I should stop reading the Time Traveller's Wife.

The Review

The joys of being past the bawling baby stage on the Eurostar. I could look at the couple with the toddler sprawled over the seat and the babe in a harness wrapped round the mother’s neck

And I could rejoice that I’d passed through that voyage. Every day seemed to be a trial to get through.

And now the bairns are older, there’s wistfulness that they’re no longer the little cuddly cuties of yore.

Essentially I must stop reading books that provoke the contemplative side. It’s not good for my health.

Have started reading The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Quite what brought me to purchase such a tome is beyond me.

Perhaps it was my future self that did it. Because it seems inconceivable that my past self would have had any yen for this kind of novel.

As far as I can make out by page 60, it’s a cross between Highlander and Back to The Future.

For all the action of the Highlander film, there was a loneliness to the character who watched friends and lovers grow old and die while he continued.

I sense the same is in the offing in this one.

I shall avoid reading it on the 1013 out of Paris and concentrate on more immediate things like the economic gloom enveloping Europe.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Back to School

The middle child was a bit sullen during the short break in Burgundy. I went for a walk with her on Monday evening and it came out about how she didn't like car trips in which there was lots of traffic.

And then she recalled a trip two summers ago in which I drove from London up to Lancashire to see an old university mate. Once there promptly I effectively broke down and spent most of the time there recovering. Awful. So she cried about how I didn't go out with her and her siblings and my mum.

I did explain that the summer had been difficult with my dad's death.

I told her we would go back to Paris on Tuesday evening so that we could spend her birthday out of a car.

So the birthday has been a range of treats. Lunch out, Star Wars and bits of homework for school on Thursday.

My treat to myself was to get my dad's wallet repaired since it had become rather forlorn in the year or so that I've been using it.

The shop where I took it has fixed it but lost it.

The man in the shop told me it was either in the bag of some other client and they are waiting for them to call in or it is lost in the atelier.

They are waiting for it to turn up. He didn't think it had been stolen. It had just got lost. I didn't quite burst into tears but was pretty upset.

It may well appear. So for the moment I am using another of dad's old wallets and one of his change purses.

The loss of the wallet left me rather discombobulated. It wasn't an expensive piece. And at least it was lost while I was trying to care for it.

Perhaps it will be found. If not then I guess they'll have to replace it somehow. But it wasn't very expensive. We'll have to see what the gesture is.

I am a sentimental one. I mean it is me who has adorned the wallet with meaning. If I am riven by its departure then how would I be if I lost something of real value?

It's not worth becoming too ponderous about it. An error has been made. Frothing and foaming about it won't bring the wallet back. I was trying to do the right thing.

That's not learned at school, it's learned from parents. The spirit is the key for the next few days.