Anyone From Porlock Here?

Well howdy everyone and what are you doing on this Bank Holiday Monday?  I am doing a fair bit of mooching in between cleaning bits and bobs that never get cleaned; then we’re going into town to look at the cathedral.  As far as I know it’s still there…

Bank Holidays are always a problem.  It’s a holiday, so you wanna do something with it – but the question is what?  Even if we had a car, a trip to the coast would be out of the question because the weather’s not great and no doubt the roads will be jammed.  We could go somewhere closer, such as Bradgate Park, except that since they stopped the bus service you can’t get within about three miles of it: plus holiday buses are few and far between.  Not that you’d get Mark on a bus – not in this life.  I wouldn’t mind so much but he’s against having a car for environmental reasons.  Fair enough, but then he doesn’t ride a bike either, which is definitely not fair enough.

So usually I end up cleaning or gardening or hanging out reading and drinking wine or going for a walk somewhere closer.  On Saturday I walked down to our local park.  It’s called Knighton Park and has just about everything you’d want in an urban space.  From most of it you can’t see the road or houses so you can forget you’re in a city: it has lots of trees, play areas, open spaces, a stream, wild areas and a spinney which is open on Sundays and staffed by volunteers.  I would have gone yesterday had I not had a prior engagement.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  This woman works from home; she’s self-employed, so what do bank holidays mean to her?

Well, you’re right – but I’ve decided that what works for me at the moment is to be more or less in step with the rest of the world.  So I basically work office hours: Monday to Friday, 9-ish to 5-ish, and I take bank holidays off.  There are some practical reasons for this, in that a lot of my friends get bank holidays off too (I’m meeting one of them later.)  But mainly it helps me to feel that I am engaged with society on a wider level; something I don’t get to feel very much in my work.  Maybe when I’m more successful I’ll work weirder hours; although somehow I doubt I’ll ever be the sort of writer who stays up till dawn and sleeps till the afternoon.  Or vice versa.  It just doesn’t suit me.

Most writers – or so we surmise – hate interruptions.  I positively long for them.  Person from Porlock?  Yes, please!  I’d like a whole delegation from Porlock.

Any volunteers?

Kirk out

Josephine’s Jumper

Look – here’s the thing.  I’m not going to talk about what might happen; I’m not going to go down the road of this possibility or that possibility; what I’m about is about supporting hard-working families, defending the NHS…

No, it’s no good – I can’t keep that up.  On with the blog then…

When I was a kid I used to go around pretending to be a cowboy.  I had a green-and-yellow scooter which did service as my horse, and I asked everyone to call me Joe.  Sadly, few obliged: when I signed a letter in English class with my pseudonym the teacher circled it in bright red, which I found deeply dispiriting.  But some of the ground has now been reclaimed, because for the last week or so I have been knitting a Joseph Jumper.

Joseph, you will recall, had a coat of many colours, which caused his brothers to be very jealous.  My sweater, too, is made of many colours, since I knitted it from all the oddments that were lurking in my knitting bag.  Old remnants, left-over squares, ends of other projects, everything was pressed into service and this was the result:


You can’t see it terribly clearly here but it’s a glorious jumble and I really like it.  It seems to me a symbol of how things can come together in life: odd thoughts and experiences you tuck away, thinking they’re of no importance, come out and join in creating something amazing.

I’m not expressing this too clearly – but then it is a Bank Holiday.

Bank holidays don’t seem to have any effect on politicians though; they just plough on with their campaigns regardless; and this morning I tuned into ‘Today’ to hear Ed Milliband say ‘Look -‘ for the millionth time before launching into an explanation of why he won’t explain what he will do if the SNP hold the balance of power.

To be fair, I have some sympathy with party leaders in this scenario.  I mean, obviously they want to win outright, and they want to campaign to that end, but realistically they know they’re going to have to deal.  However if they talk too much about doing deals, they’ll scupper their chances of winning outright.  So they’re in a bit of a cleft stick.

But I do wish they’d express themselves in a more original manner.  Everyone’s sick of hearing about ‘hard-working families’ or some variation on those words: plus, they seem to have taken to heart the old teacher’s adage of ‘tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them – and then tell them what you’ve told them.’

It works quite well in teaching but in politics it leads to utter weariness.  And for god’s sake Ed – just stop starting every sentence with ‘Look – ‘  OK?

Kirk out