Thursday, 28 February 2008

Natural Balance

My belief that all Range Rover drivers are cunts is temporarily threatened when a gormless looking woman in a big black one graciously allows me to pull out of the junction in front of her. As we move slowly up the high street, screaming sirens are swiftly followed by flashing blue lights and two police cars approach rapidly. The car in front of me, and I, pull over to the side of the road, but Mrs Range Rover, oblivious to the cavalcade behind her, indicates and pulls out to overtake us both, speeding up, getting just that little bit ahead. The front police car has to brake sharply and flashes its lights at the fuckwit in the big car. She speeds up, careering up the road, police car hot on her heels and not best pleased. Eventually, she gets the message and gets out of the way, pulling into a bus stop. Universal order is restored; once more, all Range Rover drivers are cunts.

Overheard VIII

With an astounding lack of self awareness, the short, fat, belligerent middle-aged man who pushed his way into the packed tube carriage, literally knocking me off my feet, starts to complain about how crowded it is in there. I am tempted to tell him it would be a lot less crowded if he hadn’t barged his way in so aggressively, disgusting, big belly and all, but I keep quiet, and listen to the conversation he is now having with another man, equally rude, who shoved his way on.

Fat Cunt (puffing and grumbling): ‘It’s no way to live a life.’

Tall Cunt (justifying himself): ‘I’ve got a pregnant girlfriend at London Bridge and I can’t be late. Do you do this everyday?’

Fat Cunt (incredulously): ‘God, no! I live in Norfolk. I come down once a week.’

Tall Cunt: ‘Oh, have you got a train to catch?’

Fat Cunt (unbelievably – revealing himself to have behaved so badly for no reason whatsoever): ‘No, no hurry. I don’t know how people can live like this. It’s a disgrace.’

Tall Cunt: ‘Yes. I usually walk, across the Millennium Bridge; it’s beautiful.’

Fat Cunt: ‘Right. I’ve got to get off now. Typical; the platform’s on the other side.’

Tall Cunt: ‘Well, you seemed to hold your own back there. And you’re not alone, lots of people are getting off.’

Fat Cunt (with utter twatishness): ‘Ha ha ha! I can be as obstinate as the rest of them. Mind your pantyhose, ladies, I’m coming through!’

I nearly puked.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


A thick frost graces the pavements as I walk home from the station, which renders my steps slippery. It is late and the streets are deserted. With hands thrust deeply in coat pockets, I wait for the lights to change so I can cross the road. Looking up, I see a large fox on the opposite pavement. He, too, waits for the lights, and when amber comes, then red, we both start walking diagonally across the road. I pass the funeral directors’, he disappears into the church yard, safe, smart, and bold as brass.

Friday, 15 February 2008


A squirrel digs up his winter store as I pass the church yard on my way to work. He was there yesterday, too, the same spot, deceived by the sunshine into waking early. Beside him, the desolate branches of a fallen tree shelter stealthily defiant snowdrops, chattering crowds of crocuses, and the odd brave daffodil; an entire Spring unfolds in one bright February morning.


Sitting at the hairdressers, I flick through a fashion magazine while Robyn cuts my hair. She and I agree on most things, and after catching up with each other, a comfortable silence has ensued. I see an ad for Chanel Coco Mademoiselle perfume and without looking up, I ask 'What do you think of Keira Knightley?'

'I think she's a twat!' answers Robyn loudly and emphatically.

I look up from the magazine, catch her eye and we laugh long and hard at her impassioned and unguarded answer. When the laughter finally dies and we both have tears in our eyes, I tell her I agree. The air fills with bonhomie and she continues cutting.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Sweet Heart

Our office manager is large and very, very grumpy. Of course, underneath it all, he’s a real softie, and I’m actually quite fond of him. When he barks at me, I just smile serenely back, and whenever I ask a favour of him, he always obliges me.

So, on a Valentine’s Day bereft of bouquets, he wanders over to my desk and throws a pink, foil-wrapped, heart-shaped chocolate at me. He mutters that the receptionist gave it to him, but as the soup I had for lunch was inedible, he thinks I should have it. I see beyond the bluster. I am tickled. And I thank him for being so sweet.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Peachblossom Island

As a child, I read the same books over and over again. This had less to do with OCD and more to do with poverty. Books were expensive, and precious, and scarce. Most of my books came from jumble sales, so my library was eclectic and old fashioned. Books from the local library and the school library were quickly devoured, so being a prodigious reader, I frequently had to return to my own books for something to read.

On my way home from work, I find myself remembering one of those well-thumbed volumes. The title ‘Fattypuffs and Thinnifers’, the front cover, and the characteristics of the aforementioned peoples are all that remains in my memory. So when I get home, I google the title and am delighted to find a Wikipedia entry that brings it all back, and that one can still buy the book.

Sunday, 10 February 2008


My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Noble Lady Glamourpuss the Lush of Pease Pottage
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Strangely apt.

Overheard VII

On a Saturday afternoon, Waitrose supermarket in Sevenoaks is the apex of comfortable, middle-class smugness. The mummies are yummy, the children are all called 'Olivia' and 'Henry', and in a few years time, the daddies, tired of their city jobs and shabby-chic, domestic goddesses, will wear a sprinkling of sugar as they embark upon extra-marital affairs. I'm wandering the aisles, my basket full of chocolate and carbohydrates to satisfy the pre-menstrual cravings (lavender or geranium cupcake anyone?), when I overhear the following exchange.

Plummy, Yummy Mummy: 'Would you like a yoghurt, darling, with honey? Greek yoghurt with honey?'

Small Girl in Pink Coat: 'I want... I want... I want... chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate... pudding. I want chocolate pudding.'

I can't help myself, I laugh out loud - as much at the little girl's eminently sensible request as at the look of disappointed disapproval on Plummy, Yummy Mummy's face.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Natural Born Leader

As the first snowflakes of the year fall hesitantly on Westminster Bridge, I watch three women, muffled in hats and scarves, walk along the pavement. At the head of the group trots a small, white Chihuahua. Sporting a blue and red fair isle jumper, he leads his human harem across the Thames, head high, stride purposeful, spirit soaring.


He kisses me on the cheek and I walk with him, out to the front of the house where the Ferrari is parked. Three young men surround the shiny, red vehicle, and use their mobile 'phones to take photographs of one another standing in front of it. At our approach, they start, look guilty, caught out, and begin to apologise, but my friend takes it all in his stride and assures them there’s no problem. He opens the passenger door for me, and I slide into the deep, fragrant leather upholstery, absorbing the stillness of great expense. He sits in the driver’s seat, and starts the car. The huge engine roars into life and the young men look on, deeply impressed. With a quiet hum the roof retreats and the sun shines down on us as we purr through the village – the beast tame for now.


There’s been a curious absence of snowdrops. And seeing yellow crocuses last weekend, I am convinced I must have missed the snowdrops this year, which makes me feel very sad and somehow cheated, for I love them so. Everywhere I’ve travelled, I’ve looked for snowdrops, and today noticed them everywhere. It seems I have not been as inobservant as I assumed; the snowdrops are late this year, and the knowledge comforts me. Their quiet purity feeds my soul and makes it sing for Spring.


It’s a cold winter’s night and I hurry along Jermyn Street, past antique windows filled with the gentlemanly luxuries of another age. Passing Abracadabra, I see a man in a harlequin costume and a black woolly hat standing in the entrance to the restaurant, arms wrapped around himself to try and keep warm. He looks ridiculous and fed up, and as our eyes meet, he flashes me a look that says, quite simply, ‘Don’t judge me.’

Monday, 4 February 2008


We step towards one another, his leg rests between mine, my leg between his. Our thighs touch. Our stomachs touch. His chest presses mine, his arms snake around my waist, first one, then the other, pulling me deeper into him, into the eternity of this moment. Cheek to cheek we softly voice thoughts into ears. He hasn’t shaved but the stubble is surprisingly soft and I lean into it, into him, feeling the novelty and the memory of such pure chemistry. The words go on mutely, for it is our physical selves speaking truth. There is hunger in his eyes and fleetingly, I wonder what he reads in mine. I can’t keep my hands off him, but I must, must behave, resist desire, pretend, must not allow the intimacy of the moment to seduce me for we are not alone.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Brighten My Northern Sky

It’s been a long week and I am tired. Standing on the train, my vacant gaze catches sight of a large, pink globe in the train door window. At first, I think it’s a reflection, but leaning forward and staring, I realise it’s the moon. She looms low and large in the sky, just brushing the rooftops as we glide into town, but best of all, most miraculously of all, she is pink. Enthralled, I recall the last pink moon I witnessed; an omen of good fortune, a benediction.