Friday, 20 December 2013

Journey west

The Grillo sisters have been found not guilty. Watch the 1 o'clock news while waiting for the taxi.
A very measured taxi driver who asks if I've remembered everything: sunglasses, phone charger - tickets...."So many times I have people who are stressed, who forget tickets... one man, his wife said 'Where's your wedding ring?' He said 'I took it off when I washed my hands.' We had to drive back, down the M4 because they were going to a wedding and people would ask what was going on and think there was trouble in the marriage if he wasn't wearing a wedding ring.... another man, the children go to school on Brook Green, I do not know what is the matter with that man. He is in the car with his children and says ' What is two times two?' and the little girl is shaking and crying and her sister whispers 'Four'. Then he starts shouting 'How many times have I told you? Do you never listen?!'
"His wife is nice, very pretty. He's a bad man, I see him plenty of times with other girls. I've heard him talking in Polish, Eastern European girls, I know a bit of Polish. Once he was in the car with his wife and he had his laptop and she started shouting and crying and saying 'Why are you taking that? We are only going away for a few days.' He said there were things he needed to do.
"The last time I saw her I said 'How's your husband?' and she said don't talk about him, he's gone.
"Another woman with two children, 14 and 18, the husband went off but she said she loved him and took him back. But the son says he hates him.
"I came from Afghanistan. I saw my brother killed in a rocket attack, my mother had a heart attack. I came here... first to Thailand with the UN, then here...."
"Who helped you get your papers?"
"The UN, I came here with the UN. I was so lonely, I was sitting in the park, crying, I didn't know anyone. Then I started to work, got this taxi."
A mass exodus at Paddington, though I have seen worse. It's not quite Christmas Eve.

A perfect seat.
The man in front of me is talking about his dinner the night before ".... roast potatoes, turkey, pigs in blankets and ... and guess how much it all cost? Oh, don't be silly! £15 - so that's only £5 each.... Adam says the car park opposite his house is free after 8 o'clock.... if it's raining I'll drive and pick him up..."

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy