Monday, November 29, 2004

Life on site

Construction site, that is. I'm perched on a chair next to a freshly painted wall, atop some bright orange bubble wrap that makes a good, if noisy and at times fright-inducing, dust sheet. Pop. One sofa's obscuring the telly, another blocking access to the dining table. We've been painting.

Now A's busy (pop) exploring the fireplace we've just discovered. Pop. Well, we knew it was there, but didn't realise that it was so easily accessible behind a hinged door. No skeletons hiding in it. A's dreaming of installing an entertainment system, or shelving, or one of those flash modern fireplaces we can't afford (and I'm not mad keen on them anyway - too modern). I think we should just seal up the door and wallpaper on over it. Especially since we've bought such fab wallpaper.

The bathroom has a big hole in it too. One day the ceiling will be raised, but we're not quite sure how. So for now, a big hole where the water tank used to be.

Domestic bliss aside, I discovered today that the end of the year will signal the end of my employment funding = no job for me. I had been thinking about not renewing my contract anyway, but it's still a shock. It's somehow much better when you are free to make the decision yourself, rather than have it made for you. The positive spin, though, is that my boss feels bad and is being nice, rather than being annoyed that I'm leaving and being difficult. I'll get a good reference and maybe some intros for freelance work and, as I still have some holidays left this year, my last day will be this Friday! Four more days! I can't quite believe it.

To escape from the orange bubblewrap (pop) we took in a couple of movies this weekend. First up was Enduring Love, based on Ian McEwen's novel of the same name. I've read a few of his books, and now I'll definitely have to read this one. The detail in the film was so finely tuned that I was left wondering whether to admire the craft of the writer or the director (probably both...and the actors too). Small moments in the lives of real people. Blowing the dust out of plastic picnic cups before pouring the bubbly. Mundane detail, but utterly convincing. Great story, too, and the cinematography and art direction were gorgeous.

Quite different, but just as enjoyable (maybe more so), was The Incredibles. Lots of laugh-out-loud moments (like when Dash's flying feet propelled the Elastogirl rubber dinghy to shore), great characters (personal fave: Edna), super suits. Cool fun all round.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

looking back on London

That's right, I was going to say some more about London-town.

It wasn't all art and views...we managed to fit in a bit of shopping (I always manage to). Top spot - Marylebone High Street, home of the Conran Shop, Cath Kidston, Skandium and other treasures. Coffee comes kiwi-style at the Tapa Room (flat whites even, and NZ mags), but even then it was beaten to the title of top London coffee by Fern's find Ottolenghi (staffed by Australians). Yum!

We also fitted in a grand tour of the beeb (Fern again, what a star) - even on a quiet day we saw Ruby Wax in reception and Kirsty Wark filming Newsnight. And the Blue Peter Garden. Cool.

It was nice to catch up with old pals, and to come back with two loaves of Vogel's (thanks Tanya!) ... we might even visit again. Urban Path looks like a good guide to the better things in the vast metropolis.

Closer to home, I'm jobhunting (again/still), developing a few projects, anything as an escape route from my current employment. A's making holes in the bathroom, training for a half marathon and helping with my projects. Busy times.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Keeping an eye on London

London Eyes (x8)

Twice the Taylors, last seen high in the sky on the London Eye, sporting sunset glows and family resemblances aplenty.

London was a fun town this time around (last time we had been travelling for 4 months and suffering from associated poverty/"will we find a job?" anxiety/general travel fatigue). It feels so much more the big city than dinky wee Edinburgh...more and better shops, busier streets, blacker snot, bigger distances.

We marvelled at fantastic art. The Saatchi Gallery was a definite highlight, with Tracey Emin's Bed, Damian Hirst's formaldehyde, Ron Mueck's Angel and other definitive moments in contemporary art. My favourite, though, was the oil room, a wood-panelled room filled torso-high with black oil, providing a perfect mirror image of itself when viewed from the inserted!

The ooh-ing and aah-ing didn't stop there. The London Eye, perfectly timed to catch the sun disappear behind Big Ben, afforded fantastic views of a flat and sprawling city, and the pink sunset further along the Thames made jewels of the riverside buildings. Cold, though. And can you find a pub when you want one? At about half past ten at night they start turfing you out, and are few and far between on the South Bank.

It's way past my bedtime (London pubs are long since shut), so you'll have to hold that thought till next post (soon, I promise!).

Saturday, November 06, 2004

deepest, darkest...

Not secrets, but's descending, and fast. The clocks changed last weekend, and with the extra hour in bed on a cold morning came dark afternoons (4 or earlier)...and still almost two months of diminishing daylight before the shortest day. No snow yet, though.

It's been a while. Since last post, I've been:
  • Shopping for some winter sun. After much deliberation, we opted for a cheap and cheerful (hopefully) week in Fuerteventura.
  • Learning how to draw - at the Edinburgh College of Art. I'm taking a beginners drawing/painting class, which started with a whole lot of right-brain drawing . The theories behind this are quite interesting (basically, that to be able to draw well requires a switch from left to right-brain modes, and that this can be practiced and learned).
  • To see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Carling Academy in Glasgow (last night). It was a stonkingly good gig of two sets - the first half from his latest album, the second a host of old faves, including the exquisitely delivered God is in the House, a blistering Red Right Hand, and Henry Lee (sadly sans-PJ). The stage was crammed full, not just with tall men in dark suits, but with a lot of kit (2 drumkits, a piano & two keyboards, guitars, flute, violin...), a lot of amplification (it was LOUD) and some gospel singers too.
  • Teaching my new line manager how to open Microsoft Word (it gets more Office-like by the day in that place).
  • To Lewis & Harris - with work this time. Stocked up on Stornoway Black Pudding while I was there.
  • To see the Finns at the Usher Hall.
We're looking forward to a trip to London next weekend...