May 182014
 

Last night, I went with my sister and her partner to see Martin Simpson at Cecil Sharp House. He was as brilliant as he always is. But this isn’t a post about Martin Simpson. This is a post about a black cab ride. I’d ridden up to Camden on my bike, along the canal as I usually do. When I picked up my bike to come home again, around eleven o’clock, I hadn’t gone far before realising I had a flat tyre. Immediately, I felt furious. First with the bike. Then with myself, for not bringing my tools, a pump and a spare tube, as I usually do. Then with Read full post >>

Apr 272014
 
Therapy

It’s been a while, Internet. I haven’t talked to you for some time. I’m not sure I had all that much to say. Things have been interesting, but they’ve been draining, too. The sheer number of people and tasks I deal with at work leaves me pretty out of whack by the end of the day; if I have the evening at home, I kind of want to retreat. And if I go out and see a film or a friend or go to my Quaker meeting, there isn’t time or energy left to write by the end of the day. Lately, at home on my own, I’ve been playing Read full post >>

Nov 152013
 

On the train this morning: lots of litter on the table opposite – newspapers and coffee cups and such. A woman sitting down at that table picks it all up and dumps it all down on my table, then looks offended by my surprised look. She says “what?” as if asking me to explain myself. So I say that there is probably a bin at the end of the carriage. She says there is never a bin on trains, and anyway, she didn’t leave the litter on the table. (I think: you did leave it on mine). I pick up the cups and paper and take them to the bin Read full post >>

Oct 152013
 
A centenary

All the posts on here recently have focused, in one way or the other, on my family. I mentioned in my last one that my grandmother would have been 100 on 7th October. Now my mum has written her own blog post about Bill Skinner’s life, which I’m just reposting as a companion piece for all those I wrote about my grandpa. I’ll return to non-family related posts when inspiration next strikes!

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Oct 082013
 
Geoff: a coda

Longtime readers will remember a series of posts I wrote earlier this year, following a trip to Slovenia and Austria, about my grandpa Geoff Skinner’s experiences as a prisoner of war in Austria. While he was adapting to his new reality, the war dragged on around him. While in captivity, he sent off for textbooks and put in the study that allowed him to train as a doctor, after the war was over. And without that, I would not be sitting here today, because he was introduced to my grandmother by a teacher, while, aged 26, he was back at his old school, cramming for the exams he’d never have Read full post >>

Jul 052013
 
Diggers!

Ever since I’ve worked in my current job, one of the largest demolition jobs I’ve ever seen has been going on across the road. When I started last September, there was a huge building – a city block, effectively, opposite. Then diggers started to appear, lifted onto the roof by cranes, vast in size but small against the sides of the building, like flies on a rhino’s hide. They started drilling and bashing and carrying and bulldozing, and over several months the building became an enormous pile of rubble. Conveyor belts on caterpillar tracks came along, seeming to move the spoil from place to place; water jets sprayed it to Read full post >>