I live near Hammersmith and in the past couple of months, since the sudden, and terribly sad death of Rik Mayall, a shrine has appeared.
It began small with a (fake) blue plague fixed incongruously to the railing of a small but busy traffic island. And it spread. And spread.
Maybe it was the vicinity to the Hammersmith Apollo, perhaps a month of Kate Bush fans was always going to have this poetic side effect. Maybe it’s just because we all suddenly knew when he died, that they don’t make them like that anymore.
Rik was an old school anarchist. Largely harmless but passionate, and Rik’s case, ludicrously funny.
Vaudeville slapstick mixed with a series of brilliant caricatures of the sort of people you only ever meet at parties… the angry indignant student, the reptilian Tory and the quite brilliant investigative journalist Kevin Turvey. Rik was more than just The Young Ones. And the shrine is strangely touching. It’s also quite filthy. Which of course Rik would have loved.
I can’t help but wonder though whether the best tribute to him would be for us to stop and think and protest a little about the things that are just not fair. I’m no anarchist, but I do think that tweeting our disapproval in this technology obsessed world is not enough. Perhaps we should each adopt a traffic island to display our oppositions. And swear a little. And be rude, and laugh. Because isn’t that the great thing about being human? A mass of walking, talking junk drawers of contradictions.
We all have days when things get on top of us, days when we need some homemade soup and a blanket over our knees and a good old black and white film on the box (may I suggest “I know where I’m going” ). But better still is the ability to visit great friends in nice places.
Nice places come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big, some small, most (in my case) are far from grand, but filled with love. One friend’s home is a most magical place to visit at Easter time. Coming from Bavarian roots (she maintains), her house is strewn with spring branches and delicately painted eggshells dipping down from beneath the ceiling foliage. At Christmas her tree boasts real candles. You see, nothing fancy, but uniquely lovely.
Another friend has a real stand-out hideaway – a beach hut which you can sleep in, right on the pebble beach with no road, or even path between her and the stormy Kent coast.
The hut-house is the complete opposite of any of those over-priced spa hotels. But it’s rich in that intangible bliss that is at once life-affirming, battery-recharging, soothing, quiet, alive and free.
We swam in the unexpectedly warm grey waves and then ran up the beach laughing & gasping for warm showers and tea.
These are the things that make life so incredible. That and your children telling silly jokes, a glass of wine or three with friends you don’t see enough of anymore. And love. Of course that.
But, a special place in my heart has got to be for my wonderful friends in nice places -who are, as the saying goes – worth their weight in gold.
One exciting outcome from the candy-cottage experience has been a serious (unless she’s got a mighty fine poker-face) approach to make-over a conservatory. Now. Just the thought of this has got my fingers twitching. Just. Thinking. Of the colour, storage, flooring and tranformation of light and dark has.. literally got me breathless. Is this a sign I wonder. Maybe this is my next career. Now that would be quite the thing wouldn’t it?
Oh, but the ever-rolling, eye-watering career opportunities that punctuate the road ahead of me. And how odd that the choice seems greater now than when I was young-er.
Pre-kids I felt so firm in my direction, but once my son was born along with that amazing creative energy surge which only served to show me how the world is still so malleable.
There’s clearly more winkling to be done.
I went off to work again last week. With my work face, and my oyster card.
My new job is at a most magnificent place too. A place where family-friendly working is a reality, rather than an urban myth.
I know right!!??
All those ‘things’ you thought were the stuff of fairy tales – they exist, they are there!
Job-shares, part-time hours, the actual, human understanding that taking a day to work from home when your child is sick- is NOT skiving.
Oh. My. Days.
At last, I seem to have stumbled across Nirvana. A chance to work hard, be creative and be remunerated for my efforts.
Pinch me someone.
An old friend came to visit yesterday for the first time since we moved Sarf-ov-de-river and the only cloud in an otherwise properly jolly morning was the fact that it was pouring with rain. Which meant I couldn’t show him the best bit of where I live now – the river.
Each Tuesday another friend and I do a glorious walk. It’s always dry strangely, and we use our time mostly to talk about all manner of things. I will admit though that I think I annoy her too by regularly stopping to admire some detail or other of the water. Or spending precious kid-free minutes getting just the right framed shot of the river bank, or a bridge or lone rower. And I swear, each Tuesday the water is different, faster, slower, softer, jagged. It never bores me. In fact, every week I love it a tiny bit more.
But yesterday the weather was so bad, my dear visitor was unable to fully see the beauty of this amazing body of water that rushes through London every day.
So I’m posting this picture from last week. Which was a very glossy river day.
Here you are Sean.
Hey it’s a Monday so I thought I would play double up by hanging out with the Smart Women today too. Check out my post, if you have the time it’s all about Men, Women, Babies and money. It’s always a little about money isn’t it? Even when it’s not.