I first noticed it in my head. The languid drawl as I searched for the right word to match the actions of a selfish queue jumper, just as I was about to touch down my oyster card behind him. “You Cu…..” For the word, a supposed, horrid word is one I use – a lot. One I use far more when I am in London. One I use far more in my less-than-regal, North London tone. I had only been back 20 minutes and there, in my head, it was if I had never left. I smiled inanely as he brushed past me. No thoughts, other than to silently swear. It’s amazing how, even in my head, I can pick out the change in my
I have a pang. I’m not sure if it is a delicate pang, a delicious pang or a nagging pang? It is, just a pang; a pang that returns, every time I return. I find myself, when I am presented with such a pang; wandering familiar streets. Not quite down by where the old Thames does flow. But still, along a well-worn path. Roads I have walked down with my Nan, with my Mum, with my wife and at least one of my children. They are roads that almost sing to me; songs of my past – of happy times, of festive times. And yet, still, after all of these years, they throw up something new. Where once I would look for record shops,
Gadgets – a desk full of them. Some of them work as you want; work for you. Others, no matter how many times you change the settings, the volume of the ringer – the connection to the net – are clearly destined to work against you. They are smaller, more powerful and more intuitive? The smaller they get the fatter my fingers seem to be. The smaller they get, the more I have to retrain those fat fingers to dance towards the right keys. The right keys to rekey a thousand different passwords – network access, screen access – when I want it; even when I don’t want it. You can’t hide from the gadgets. Turn them off and someone finds you through another route.
There’s a lot to do. It will be tough, there will be a number of difficult situations to overcome – now is not the time to falter. I really wouldn’t want it any other way. With last week off, relaxed and at peace with life as a family man – I have now returned to work; in to a new financial year. The significance of the timing is that my organisation now has less than two years left on our contract. More importantly, I have less than one year left of my secondment. This is a good thing. The main reason I work in project management is for the finite nature of the work. In recent times that finite nature has not been as
“You look like a mum” she says, following the trail of undigested milk down my top. “Great” I reply. Knowing I’ve now got to change. Change, yes, but not just my top. I posted the above photo three weeks ago. Some two weeks after Harry was born. I hadn’t shaved for most of those two weeks. I hadn’t had my hair cut for nearly three times as long. I was a mess – and not just because of the sleep deprived state of mind. I was digging around in drawers looking for things that didn’t really need an iron – even if they were of a state where, pre-Harry, I wouldn’t have dared leave the house without ironing them. I was wearing jeans that stood
I have a dream. It really is a simple dream. One where I walk in to a restaurant in Italy; where the staff great me as a returning friend – one of the family, even. I opened a window on to that dream tonight. Where a friend, mio amico, took us to a restaurant in England. Where the staff treated him like a prodigal son. Where cheeks were kisses, hands pointed to waist, to chest – above head – signifying how much he has grown. We were dined, wined – I got to drink Amaro Montenegro. This was my dream; this was his life. Dining with friends – with family – where the people who serve you, care about you. This is what food is
A number of us were greeted today by the sad news of the author, Iain Banks’s illness. The thing that caught in the throat the most was not that he was ill and only had ‘several months’ to live – it was the matter of fact way he, through ‘ghoulish humour’, informed the world. As a writer, words are his tools. However, to try to find the right words – at the wrong time – must take class, courage and ability, beyond anything I could comprehend, to engage with his readers; in the same way he did through his books. The other thing his personal statement brought home was how little fiction and hard copy books I now actually read. I had previously devoured everything