Wednesday, June 27, 2007

rain, rain, rain

All those annoying know-it-all voices claiming we were on track for the hottest summer ever have gone a bit quiet. I’m just saying.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dali and Film

I reconnected with my sanity after the break-in at the Tate’s Dali and Film show. My brother was down from Cambridge with a friend, so we all met up on Sunday afternoon. The exhibition, and indeed the Tate, was deliciously and surprisingly empty, which allowed a relaxed viewing experience and an even more relaxed tea-time experience afterwards. Indeed, we got the best table in the upstairs cafĂ© – right on the windows overlooking the river, the Millennium Bridge, and St Paul’s. St Paul’s was framed by beautifully arranged cranes – lots of building happening in the city right now.

My impeccably Marxist tutors at University left me with a distinct feeling that Surrealism was a Suspect Project, and that Dali was the biggest fraud of all. So I was delighted with the exhibition – a really interesting look at his work in film and its impact on his painting. Personally, I think his collaboration with Hitchcock was the highlight.

I suppose this is what Art History is – once people begin to forget the immediate ideological context and their own position relative to it, their response to the image becomes slightly more open to other influences.

Tea was so restorative. I had a delicious watermelon and ginger smoothy, and a faultlessly executed rhubarb crumble. The Tate is so lucky it has some of the most spectacular spaces in London for its dining rooms – the Rex Whistler room at Tate Britain and this glassed-in room perched over the river and the city. Wow.

Dali and Film
Tate Modern
1 June - 9 September 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Weekend News roundup

The Observer had a strange headline this last Sunday – something about Tony Blair knew the Americans had no occupation plans for Iraq before we went in. I thought everyone knew that already? – the only new bit of this story seems to be that Tony’s old friend Peter Mandelson was now claiming this. Et tu Brute, etc etc etc. I suppose Peter has to prepare for a post-Tony future. But this is probably too little too late to appeal to Gordon Brown.

The big news this weekend was the great flood of Britain. I have to confess to unwitting callousness – I was annoyed on Friday to be caught by a few random raindrops on my way back to the office from lunch. Then I saw on TV news later that night about the utter deluge everywhere else. Oops. On Saturday, The Times said that this was in fact a well-known meteorological phenomenon called the ‘return of the westerlies’ which happens every June and is in fact a mini-monsoon season. I’d never heard of this before! Silly to schedule stuff like Wimbledon, Ascot, etc etc for June when the likelihood of rain is quite high.

I’ve made a new friend – I haven’t yet learned her name. She came up to me on my way home on Friday and on Saturday showed a great deal on interest in the sausages I was grilling for dinner – definitely casing the joint to get through the windows.

I went outside to chat. She was very friendly – I don’t know much about cats but I got definite ‘make love to me now’ vibes. Quite large – maybe pregnant?? – very silky black fur and quite as friendly as a dog. Exquisite little designer collar, bell and heart-shaped ID disc, which she refused to let me read. Really, a Clapham cat shouldn’t be quite so comfortable with strangers, even if they are grilling sausages.

As I tickled her tummy she started sneezing, which made me wonder – are cats allergic to people who are allergic to cats??

Friday, June 15, 2007

crime scene

This is the window the burglar forced to get in. He inserted a tool to unlock the latch, then 'popped' the sash over the (chubb) window locks and pulled it down - leaving very minimal damage to the window and only scuffing the woodwork paint. He then tried to lever the secondary window open, several times, leaving huge gouges in the metal frame before smashing the glass. He was then able to climb in, closing and relocking the outer sash behind himself (he left through a back window).

The police found a few smudgy fingermarks on the outside of the frame, left by someone climbing out. Inside he wore gloves and wiped down behind himself.

He left a few muddy footprints on my cream sofa.

Anyway, so that's the story. I am now in conflict with Everest about replacing the window - despite charging me £72 for a call-out I have no say over when they will come, the date or even the time. And their telephone operators have clearly been trained by watching Catherine Tate videos - it's all "Whatever, I'm not bovered". It's now almost a month, and I haven't even been quoted for the damage!

So now, Norwich Union have written to say they are sending in their own claims people to sort out the damage - after originally telling me to get a quote, and after me paying Everest £72 to quote.

Absolutely the only reason I am still considering using Everest is because they were the installers of the original windows and using a different company to replace a window will affect the guarantee.

Similar issues are happening with Visa and mastercard. The 'secure' postal people they use to deliver cards are utterly frustrating. No British company believes in personal customer service any more. Even getting the police to come out and do a security check is just not happening. I would say my Bank, Barclays, has been the best organization I have dealt with over this so far.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Whole Foods

Whole Foods' new shop in South Kensington has been picking up loads of publicity. I was a huge fan of their shop in the basement of the Time Warner Building in New York, so had to go check this one out.

The range and brilliant quality of the food, and the amazing presentation of it. I just had to have two huge artichokes from a generous pile, and also garlic stuffed olives and fudge from Burnt Sugar, to which I have become instantly addicted.

So it's a great place to expose oneself to major temptation - but bring lots of money!

keyring, part III

Sparkles the Lobster became Sparkles the legless lobster - not surprisingly, he was a bit all bling. One of his legs came off and fell down the floor grill at Tate Modern's Dali and Film exhibition, so I thought that was a bit appropriate. But then his tail came off too. I repaired it but the weld is very weak, so Sparkles has been retired for his own safety.

I have now purchased a boring but ok for now and very sturdy red leather keyring from the British Library, where I was yesterday. Great fun in the reading rooms researching - I adore the place.

Friday, June 08, 2007


My first blogiversary - missed!

Oh well, I had other things on my mind.

Still sorting through all the burglary admin - insurances, police, community crime prevention officers, victim support, security services, window replacement quotes, blah blah blah.

Resurrected my money tin to collect coins towards the new equpment. Luckily, my mum is going to send some money to help out, and my office is giving me a computer on permanent loan. So, I may have a new computer and camera before too long; and I'll just have to save my pennies for a new iPod and speakers.

This morning a man came to quote for a burglar alarm - for me personally and also a communal one for the front doors. Oh yes and cameras front and back.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Disaster Strikes

Woe. My catalogue of catastrophes continues - this Wednesday I returned from work to find I had had a break-in and all my electricals have been stolen - Nikon D70, iPod, Bose sounddock, a broken Canon SLR, and my apple mac. All gone.

Due to the fact I have been unemployed and dealing long-distance with my Father's illness and recent death, I have had no contents insurance. While I have just started a new job, I haven't yet reinsured, so I am totally exposed.

I can't afford to replace the stuff at all.

Presumably, I will continue blogging from work, although there will be no more pics for the forseeable future. To be honest I don't know whether this blog will survive at the moment.