Tottenham Court Road Ain’t What it Used to Be

Tottenham Court Road

We had been on a plane to London with two flight attendants, blonde ladies with beige Hubert coats and a confident swagger. And when we got out of the terminal it was already night and there was a light drizzle. It must have been two or three in the morning.

A black cab pulled up and one of attendants turned back to us and said “I feel we know you already, seeing as we’ve spent the last four hours together. More, if you count the hours before the plane.”

Then they got into the cab and were whisked away.

Continue reading “Tottenham Court Road Ain’t What it Used to Be”

A Trip to the Game Provides a Detour

A trip to the game takes a detour

The four of us are off to see England play at Wembley. And this time I have also brought Mama with me. I park the car in the daily parking lot and we walk some distance to the looming grey stadium before ascending to find our seats.

We climb high up into the rafters but the view is constrained by thick mud brown walls and brick sized holes through which you must look. Otherwise, to see the game, you can leave your seat and go to the balcony to peer over.

“Neither view is good, it never is.” I explain. “You are there for the atmosphere more than anything else.”

Read more

Venturing Out From a Hotel in Afghanistan

Venturing out from a hotel in Afghanistan

Fabulous vignettes in Afghanistan. I am in a bland western hotel in the desert, white tiles, travelers milling about but I am bored, so I leave to walk around outside.

The landscape opens up with fantastic open spaces, green brush, Native American like cave dwellings below, inset in rock formations. The walls are carved with Arabic tooling, like the decorations seen on the window treatments of an ornate vizier’s home; an arch outlined with five half circles. Black and white dots fill the space between the outlines; each arch small with respect to the caves, but repeated horizontally, in sets of three, along light brown walls at floor level.

Miniature entrances to another world.

Read more

Two Nurses Help Me from Being Lost

Some nurses help me

A boy had a COVID test in hospital chair, had a hard time of it, so I think I’ll try the same. To see if it was that bad.

I sit down in the blue hospital armchair. The nurse puts the tube in my arm, but I can’t get comfortable. There’s no pain, but there’s a strange feel of the rubber hose rolling under the skin of my bicep as I move from side to side.

I hold up my hands, trying to adjust my position. My hands are frozen in the shape of duck feet, pale webbing and pink fingers. They might look strange but they don’t hurt, they’re just amusing to looking at.

Read more

Mud, Tunnels and a Citroën 2CV

A Citroen 2CV

I am going to a restaurant in Hanwell, stopping first in one of the side streets to drop off both Siobhan and Liam. It is badly lit. And there is thick brown mud everywhere.

“I will park and meet you there.” They go on ahead. But I don’t need to move the car, I am already in a good spot, though my Citroën 2CV is pressed perhaps too close to the curb, hub caps and tires covered in mud. It is between a motorbike and some tree branches that have been thrown into the road. A tow truck hauls a dirty red skip past me, it blocks the view between the 2CV and me.

The car will be fine, I think and head off.

Read more