Monday, 10 September 2018

The Vanguard of Feminine Footwear

Readers of this column will be aware of my high regard for feminine shoes with low heels. Just the same, to remind those of you in the know and to inform those of you who are not, I am in constant notional warfare with a manufacturing base that has failed to recognize that the feminine foot does not differ greatly in structure from that of the male ped. And that the working day of the average female runs – mostly - in parallel to that of her male counterpart. Yet, instead of wearing similar, comfortable and high-quality shoes as the boys, those of us in possession of the XX chromosome are bound to attach bizarre, ornamental appendages to our lower extremities, all in the name of fashion. Worse again, us double-exers who refuse to toe the line stand in danger of being excluded from polite and professional society – we haven’t forgotten you, Nicola Thorp. With this in mind, it was a nice surprise to stumble upon these bright, wearable foot vehicles. Retailing at £59.99 and bearing the Van label, available colours include pink and black. The soft, suede effect uppers are in endearing contrast with the white, chunky sole. Said heels are finished appropriately with the red-lip Van logo, and tied up with Van signature laces. Teaming perfectly with skirts and leggings, shorts and full-length trousers – even peeping cutely from underneath evening dresses - what is not to love?

Friday, 27 July 2018

Why life is a beach...

On the afternoon of THAT day, I filled the bath with warm water, bathed and towelled up. But I did not unplug the bath; no, I left the scented pool in situ, and I spent the evening dipping in and out, refreshing and relaxing as the fancy took me, between taskes on the settee, sipping iced water and contemplating pages of print. I had dissed off other options - beaches, parks, squares - as involving merciless sun and murderous public transport. With the kitchen nearby, and a ready supply of teabags and milk, bread and salad, drinks and snacks were ever at hand. Take one couch, a tower fan and jug of warer - why, life is a beach, and I love to lie upon it....

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sofology so good

My ad of the moment is Sofology, you know, the one with the cute blond guy extolling the virtues of all things sofa – and home – and do I agree with him? My favourite outside of work pastime involves floating in domestic space on an upholstered surface, with drinks on tap – I think they call it the kitchen – and NO commuting afterwards – aaah! My guy is right; home is incredible… Which is why I read with concern of how a number of top bosses are installing sleep pods to enable workers to catch bouts of shut-eye between takes. Since I have never experienced a sleep pod, I cannot comment on the extent of their comfort, or otherwise. What I found slightly disconcerting in Andre Spicer’s report (Should we be allowed to sleep at work? Guardian newspaper) is that he reports one subject as saying that, with access to a sleep pod: “there is no need to go home”. Eh?
Never to leave the office behind, following a long day’s slog?
Never to hop on train, bus or automobile and presently, put the key in the front door lock?
Never to enjoy warm shower before slipping into jammies and slippers, and partaking of hot supper in front of animated television screen?
And never to lie in one’s own bed and – gasp – sleep in it?
Quelle horreur!
Even if you totally love your occupation – and who does not want to – surely you have to leave the office behind sometime?
Even if, like me, such leaving off involves moving a mere few yards from self-assembled executive chair and computer stand, to the nearby couch?
Feel free to enlighten me, but even with the most comfortable sleep pod in the world, surely..?

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Essence of Summer

The shopping mall is filled with bustle,
Peeling skin and bright-red faces
Van McCoy is playing The Hustle
Sun-browned limbs in public places – suddenly, it’s summer.

Refracted vistas; walls that waver
Bright-blue sky and plane delayed
Lip sunscreen with fruity flavour
We only find respite in shade–that’s just summer.

Braided hair and straw sunbonnet
Rose-pink dawn and evening stars
A broken flip-flop, jewels upon it
Melting tarmac, dusty cars– bring on summer.

Long, bright days and ice-cream sundae
Salty snacks and cool, sweet drinks
Short, dark night and boredom, Monday
Flaming oranges, shocking pinks –good ol’ summer.

Bright-green salads, dressings oily,
Polka dots on painted nails
Strawberries, cream and paper doily
Stripy beach bag, wind-blown sails – celebrating summer.

Swimming parties by the river,
Gentle breezes, yellowed grasses
Icy water makes us shiver
Clinking cubes in cocktail glasses: we love summer.

Sweaty nights and shirts are sticky
Lightening forks and violent thunder
Broken sleep with dreams so icky
Downpours sudden and – no wonder; it’s summer.

All too soon, maybe tomorrow
The bright sun fades, the darkness conquer
Season’s joy will turn to sorrow
And that is when we will long for – summer.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The end of furniture fascism

It was the joy of our household and dominated it for two decades, a classical artefact nestled within a very nondescript piece of architecture (our family house!), the sacrificial altar that was the sideboard. The elephant in the dining room, there it sat brooding darkly and majestically, overlooking every nuance of our little lives. Only the best was good enough for that piece of Victoriana, lace runners and crystal bowls and family photos and ornaments. The pair of doors on its sturdy pedestal fronted a trove of damask table linens, and best and second-best crockery and cutlery – ye gods, the Penates had nothing on this! The sideboard was actually hewn from a fine piece of wood, but its classical references demanded a symmetry of arrangement on top and all about it that our chaotic lives simply could not live up to. As I grew older, I hated the thing more and more.
You are not perfect, it seemed to glower at every turn. You are not ordered, symmetrical, classically lovely or harmoniously beautiful. Nor was I – thank heavens then for modernism, an Enlightenment that heralded lighter and more rational furniture. No more domineering artefacts; no symmetry, centring or classical gravity sucking everything into its black hole. In my now modernistic realm, the family of five Billy bookcases is beholden to me.
I am the master of my furniture, not its miserable servant. I can reorganise my Billys at a whim, reconfigure the shelves to my dictat, push the bookcases together or move them apart. In summary, the shelves morph in accordance with my ever-changing needs. The shelves are all at one a showcase for my essays into conceptual art, a resting place for my executive toys and a safe harbour for my literary volumes – in short, my furniture shows the world who I am. (to be continued)

Friday, 23 February 2018


In the Zen garden....swimming silently by.....rippling water.....flicking fins....reflected leaves....the fair....the out for the dark one.....

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Trafalgar Square

Ain't the winter days long and dreary? Come and join this mini-tour of Trafalgar Square at its summer best....crowds of people...fountains playing....pigeons....National Gallery....trees....Neslon's Column....St Martin's Church....!