Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Things and Thoughts

In Life

  • We have been in our new house for four weeks now and I love it. We are nowhere near unpacked because there's nowhere to unpack anything to and I'm haunted by the ever present knowledge that we have to pack up and move out again for two weeks in July (don't ask) but I am hoping we can find some semblance of order and homeliness before then and in the meantime the view from the front doorstep has earned itself its own hashtag
  • I have ground to a halt with almost all work-related things since we moved. No writing, no working on my etsy shop. Boxes of terribly expensive postcards sit looking at me accusingly and likely will until the easter holidays are finally, finally over.  Then I'm going to take on the world. Probably. Maybe. If this cold ever fucks off. On the upside I have got myself an actual job as a remote PA a couple of mornings a week. Turns out I'm better at answering other people's emails than my own. 
  • I am leaving the island in nine days and I am beyond excited. I am excited about four planes, two 7am trains, a multitude of TFL connections at the weekend (LOLZ), relying on the Brighton - London train running on time (double LOLZ) and juggling the baggage allowances of two different airlines on four different journeys, I'm excited about ALL of it. Most of all I'm excited about seeing my friends and photographing two lovely families and seeing how their little have grown and eating foreign food and being responsible for no lives but my own for five whole days. Bliss.
  • I am half way through Big Magic, which is pretty good. And Breaking Clean - which is mostly great, and A Clash of Kings - which is unfailingly terrible, but I can't stop. I'm aware that if I don't grow some self-control this is going to be a long term deal, what with there being 74 fucking books. It's far too big for the loaf of bread sized suitcase I have to fit a camera kit and five days worth of clothes into when I go away so maybe I can use all of that travel time to finish some real books. (Further reasons to get a kindle - I can take every GOT book with me everywhere I go. Hmmm...) 


  • I loved this piece by Ruth Whippman - she of the quote in my side bar, she of the 'despair and faeces' comment. Stop fetishing parenting, she says, you're sucking all the joy out of it. She writes about the increasing pressure among parents (mothers) to subscribe to a philosophy, to have a mission statement in raising your kids other than 'get everyone to the end of the day in one(ish) piece,' She writes about the extremes of attachment parenting vs routine parenting and sums them up pretty wonderfully;

'The philosophies themselves may be opposing, but what they share is a kind of absolutism, a high stakes alarmist tone, in which the consequences of not sticking to the script can be lifelong and dire.   
In reality, whichever method you choose, your kids are overwhelmingly likely to turn out just fine. There is little evidence to suggest that any one loving parenting style has any particular advantage over any other, but still both of these basic parenting worldviews are firmly rooted in a kind of underlying terror.   
 For the routine-lovers it’s the fear that without a firm hand, a child will become coddled and dependent, lacking in resilience and unable to function in the real world. At the more cuddly end of the spectrum, it’s the heart-chilling anxiety that children are so psychologically fragile that without near constant attention they will suffer long-term emotional damage.' Ruth Whippman, The Guardian. 

I have added her book to my ever growing list. Not because I'm in pursuit of 'happiness' (Oliver Burkeman's incredible book saw to that a few years ago) but because I find Whippman brilliant and wise and hilarious.

  • These photos of Paris' Museum of Natural History during the 25 years it lay abandoned and its renovations in the early 90s are fascinating. As are these behind the scene's pictures of the Smithsonian's Natural History collection. I particularly love how straight this army of little dead mice are holding their tails. 

  • I've had a hard time following British politics for a while, since about the point where Scotland looked at the open door it was offered and said No, freedom isn't really for us. Ta though.' My denial that this happened is strong. I am loving Sam Gore's facebook page I See You and in particular this post about David Cameron, which should by all rights be the front page of this Sunday's Observer.

''But it's not illegal', they'll cry, as if the boundaries of the law are the issue, rather than the toxic hypocrisy of the idea that we're all in this together. 'Anyone could do it if they wanted', they'll cry, despite the fact it's a logical impossibility for the millions of us on PAYE. 'It's no different to using an ISA', they'll insist, as if putting away the few pence extra you've deigned to bless those on the minimum wage with is in any way comparable to setting up a company in a tax haven in a foreign territory. A few pence for a house they'll never be able to afford in the face of a broken rental market is somehow comparable to squirrelling away the excess millions your terrible friends couldn't spend even if they ate nothing but gold bullion and Fabergé eggs for a year.'

Read the whole thing, it's spectacular. I especially love the description of Cameron as a greased ferret slipping free from the ... well, you read it. I can't type those words where I know my Gran will read them. 

  • The wisest words I've ever heard spoken about peanut butter. I still eat it because it's fast and easy protein, but yes, I slather it in jam and no, I don't enjoy it. 

'Look at it. It looks like the contents of a nappy. It looks this repulsive to tell you that it’s bad for you, which it is. It tastes exactly how it looks, too, which is somewhere along the spectrum between awful and so vibrantly foul its flavour makes your entire tract, from top to bottom, twitch like a petrified whippet. Some people try to disguise the odious taste of peanut butter with jam. But these people are Americans. And if a nation that sees spray-on cheese as an acceptable repast thinks peanut butter is only palatable when smeared in jam, it’s time to admit something’s very wrong.'

*photos courtesy of the MusĂ©um national d’Histoire naturelle via Messy Nessy Chic


  1. I'm with you except, of course, for the peanut butter shade.

  2. I'm clearly deeply American, because I will happily eat peanut butter straight out of the jar, no jam required (note - this is not great if you want to fit into your pants, ever). It's one of the things we always asked visitors to smuggle over in their suitcases during our semester abroad.

  3. You crazy Americans.


play nice.