Still In Short Trousers

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This past weekend was BlogHer 2010 in New York and Krissa and I met up with the luminous Leah and Kristin and Corey for a wonderful brunch in Manhattan. Eggs were eaten, much coffee was drunk, and we talked about blogs more than I have in years.

Reading Leah's post here about how strange it is to have blog relationships that go back longer than other 'real world' ones (and it is), I looked back at my banner.
Bloody hell. 
It's been eight years. 

I may have been updating at a rate of a post a month or even less, but this here page is still ticking.

This was me making my entry into the blogosphere (do we still call it that?), on a sunny English summer day when I was newly graduated from university and had very little to do. The connection in my parents' house was so slow I used to surf the internet with a book to read while the pages loaded.
I picked a standard Blogger template. It had a lot of orange.

Eight years old.
If my blog was human, by now it would be asking awkward questions about where babies come from.

Almost Home

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Almost Home


I took this last night on the approach to La Guardia after a trip to DC. The stewardess only asked me to turn the phone off after I'd finished taking pictures. It's okay if you plunge everyone to death by avionics failure if you're in first class.

I don't really buy into the mindset that iPods and other non-broadcasting electronics are capable of electromagnetic leaping ninja kicks. The whole idea of turning off anything electronic during takeoff and landing is overkill. There has to be a good debunk of this somewhere online.

Found: A Memory

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I found this in a journal while rooting through a drawer looking for cufflinks. I remember sitting at one of the tables mentioned, writing as the day faded from dusk to dark, trying to capture the feeling of being there.


20th September, 2003. Refugio de Los Albergues, Pitres.

Let me bring you to this place.

There is no road that can being you here, no train. You can only reach this place yourself. On a sparsely wooded stretch of the valley slopes there is a small flat area of land, five minutes' walk from the village, along a dusty and rocky path that smells of goat droppings. There are trees all around. A terrace below supports apple trees and pine, beneath spiky-fruited chesnuts. The mountains surrounding this place are scrubby, gold and green and brown, grey-blue in the distance. The sun is warm and low, and the shadows are long.  It is late summer and trodden-down yellow hay fills the gaps between grey stones.  It is silent but for distant cocks crowing, the bells of a church at sunset, and the village dogs. There are tables, with metal chairs painted white that sit awkwardly on the uneven ground, and there is a long, low building here, its walls covered with piles of firewood. Off to one side of the terrace there is a swimming pool, five metres long and lined with black plastic tarpaulin with a rusting ladder at one end, lined with rough stones around its edge. It is slowly replenished with water from a garden hose, covered with pondweed, and full of fish. The old German woman who runs this place sits by the side of the pool smoking a rolled cigarette, staring into the water. She is wearing thick grey hiking socks under her plastic sandals, light blue and white three-quarter length trousers and a green t-shirt. Her name is Barbara.

A spinning column of midges dance in and out of the tall frame of plant-knotted steel that receives the telephone wire.

The building is made of stone, with irregular mortar; it has a roof of terracotta and bamboo. The window frames and wooden shutters are a deep maroon, and the fly-screens are green. The inside walls are white. The kitchen has two sinks and a gas stove run from round orange bottles. The wooden kitchen shelves are covered with packets of teas from countries all over Europe, and three-quarter empty plastic bottles of oil which give the room a rich musky smell.  There is an wide open sitting room with a smooth concrete floor and a large fireplace bordered with woodpiles. Highbacked chairs surround a table in front of the fireplace. A hand-held griddle for making toast rests on the mantelpiece. There are two squat bookcases, with books in seven languages...literature, guidebooks, maps. A large chessboard rests against the wall next to the fireplace, beneath a German anti-war poster from 1924. There is a dartboard, a chalkboard and three paintings; abstract, bold lines; and a map of Andalucia on the door to the dormitory. There are 12 bunks, closely spaced, with thin mattresses. The washroom has two sinks and a shower where a tree from outside is growing through the wall.
The stars are amazing.

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