Sunday, 5 October 2008

owls of frustration and delight


I remember in my slummy days in Portsmouth someone once saying, "We are fall-out from the Clean Generation".

I continue to try to find a pragmatic balance between casually disarrayed and a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its place. At the moment, after a week of overhauling a car engine on top of everything else, things are most definitely tipped in the direction of disarray.

OK, make that 'several days into disarrayed country'.

I've been trying to get young K involved in the process; shoulder a portion of the domestic routines, that sort of thing. She has cheerfully given a few things a go; like mopping the kitchen floor, doing the washing up, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, having done these things once, the novelty has worn off and she can't see the point in doing the same thing again.

So things have been a bit tense.

Now and then.

Oh well, it could be worse.

We were driving through St Pauls this afternoon on our way home from the swimming baths, and I spotted a car parked on the double yellow lines on City road, looking as though someone had made a half-hearted attempt to compost it. Looking more closely, I saw that the interior was full of vegetable material and old boxes, and a familiar dreadlocked face surmounting a wispy beard.

"It's Ian the Hippy!" I said, and swung in to the kerb.

K went into advanced horror mode, and remained frozen in her seat as I jumped out to say hello.

Ian used to live in this very house, and ambled between his allotment and the skips of Bristol, carrying the unlikeliest trophies and leaving a trail of soil. There were things growing in the carpet of his room. He came home with a bus one day, and it stayed in the road for months and months before he got it together to reverse it back out again. Fortunately, it was stolen just before he disappeared to the Far East.

Things could indeed always be worse.

So we caught up with each others' news, and K eventually regained the power of movement and came out and said hello.

Later.... I'm cooking dinner and there's a phone call from Mal and Annie, who are under a tree in the University grounds admiring an eagle owl. So of course we scramble for it, and I get a photo as the light begins to fail.