Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 | brighton, london, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Murky Monday morning and my train pulled into Burgess Hill station. There, standing alone and removed from her group of friends was a little girl in her red school jumper, staring up the platform for her train south.

One look up from my Kindle and I was transported back to crisp autumn mornings, waiting at the bus stop up the road from my parents for my navy blue school bus. On a main road, but in a village; my memories of those few minutes every morning are of bird song, frosted grass crumpling under foot and something countryside clean. That fresh air. Those greeny browns of the falling leaves. That crunch of unbroken frost. The silence.

I realised that the greens, browns and golden sunsets that I catch out of the window each day have given me a sense of the silence and calm of the countryside. Together with the book on my lap they have created a bubble for me, between one City and the other city.

I’m writing this on my way home, trying to map at which sections of the journey this bubble closes round me. There’s the rush through the tube, but I now find this automatic and barely think about where I am. Once on the train I find My Seat, and before I take off my coat I realise I’ve pulled my Kindle from my bag and laid it on the table. I’ve always read a lot but I currently get through about four books a week. This makes my Kindle purchasing history since I was given it in June, somewhere around 50 books.

The fifteen minutes to East Croydon are still the City, the carriage is fuller, the voices are louder and these are the minutes I sink back into the story. There is no bubble yet, but as we pull out of the station and through the suburbs, trees line the tracks and I am enclosed.

There is a section around Three Bridges where sometimes sudden flashes of bright gold hit the screen and I turn to beautiful rolling clouds, drenched in a pink gold sunset. The sky seems wider from a train window but it’s only a glimpse and my eyes lower, bubble unbroken.

The one place that I consciously raise my head on each trip is Balcombe viaduct. I look up and out at the fields below and this evening am rewarded with a pink red sun, only a sliver of crescent above the blackened distant trees.

Around Burgess Hill and Hassocks I can occasionally smell the glorious scent of wood smoke, and yearn for log fires whilst snuggling further down into my seat and my book.

And my bubble carries me through to Preston Park, when the other city grows close and home beckons, reality starts to seep in.



Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 | brighton | No Comments

I sat down to start writing this post about half an hour ago, but my chores got the better of me. There was a pile of washing in the basket, washing up covering the kitchen tops, but I’ll be honest and admit that I did try to ignore them, again. Fortunately though, they niggled and niggled and got the better of me, so I now have the distant hum and chug of the dishwasher and washing machine in tandem. Of course, I’m still ignoring the rest of the kitchen that needs cleaning – but hey I can’t do everything!

I have to make time to post about the Brighton Web Awards, which took place last Thursday. I would have posted sooner, but the hangover took a while to recover from. Friday was extraordinarily painful!

I admit, I went along convinced that I wouldn’t win. When asked if I had a speech prepared, I said “no, there’s no need!” So I sat down with the chaps from Future Platforms, drank some champagne and prepared my hands for clapping. By the time that Best Blog came around I realised I was starting to feel ever so slightly nervous, there was this page up on the big screen and a room full of people looking at it. The nerves continued as we listened to a presentation from Spannerworks before the winner was finally announced. And there was my blog, back on the screen. Did that mean I’d won? Yes, it did. And suddenly the room seemed a lot bigger and the walk onto the stage a lot longer than I’d expected. I came back to my seat, grinning from ear to ear, quite astounded at how the evening was turning out. Pleased as punch mind!

Of course, more champagne was opened, and drunk (much quicker than I realised – must have been those nerves catching up with me) and the remainder of the awards seemed to fly by. Now it was time for the dolphin race (courtesy of FP and their fab designer Bryan Reiger) – who was going to win Best Website of the Awards? Well my little green dolphin swam on, thanks to all the wonderful friends I had with their nifty texting fingers. Two awards in one night! No wonder I felt the need to celebrate!

It was a fantastic night, thanks to everyone who voted for me, you’re all wonderful people! And congrats to all the other winners – I do hope your hangovers were less painful than mine!

adventures in town

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 | brighton | No Comments

This week has been a bit of an eye-opener. I suspect it’s the fact that I’m in town during the day now, rather than stuck off in Falmer, watching squirrels and commenting on dandelion growth. In town, “things” happen.

Like last night, when we were 20 minutes late to Stewart Lee and therefore weren’t allowed in. OK, so we shouldn’t have been late (slapped wrists etc), but surely theatre’s and cinema’s have been coping with late arrivals for decades? Couldn’t they have just let us in at the side, I’d have promised to be quiet. But no. They couldn’t. Grumpiness followed.

Which reminds me of last Thursday, when Katharine and I popped to the Dorset for lunch, and finally got it, 50 minutes later and wrong. I’ve decided their Eggs Benedict isn’t that nice, I’ll just go to Bill’s next time.

Today has been the turn of car related incidents. I jumped out of my skin on my way home at lunch time when a truck suffered two blow-outs opposite St Peters Church. The driver though, was very entertaining: he got out, checked his truck, shouted at the sky and drove off – tyres flopping against the road and wheels all buckled. Lord knows how far the loony got!

And on my way home, along a very near stretch of road was a Domino’s pizza delivery chap, having been knocked off his moped (I think, he look shocked, there was a smell of petrol, an over-turned moped and a couple of ambulance men). Fortunately my head was full of spreadsheets at the time, so I managed to cope with all this excitement just fine.

So tomorrow I’m going to leave exciting Brighton and head off to the Chelsea Flower Show. Nothing is likely to happen there, except perhaps a glimpse of Charlie Dimmock and or a wilting allium. At least, I don’t think anything is likely to happen…..

dark energy

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007 | brighton | No Comments

Yesterday evening we headed out to Café Scientifique at the Branch Tavern to listen to Bob Nichol answer the question “Has anyone seen our universe?”

Now me and maths, and physics for that matter, just don’t get on. I did try but for some reason each lesson became a struggle to keep my eyes open, to concentrate as equations and theories went way over my head and travelled off into the distance. And brown: there seemed to be a lot of brown involved in both maths and physics. Brown shirts, brown trousers, brown floors. However I was greatly impressed to understand (all bar the equations of course) the premise behind dark energy.

What really got to me though were a couple of small sentences. Firstly, what if the mass within the universe has enough gravity to stop it expanding? Will it then stop and reverse the expansion? Hold on! I thought, does this mean that we’ll end up being squished out of existence? And then my brain went down the whole, “but if we’re not here, and the universe isn’t here – what would be left?” series of questions, which make my brain boggle and the rest of me feel slightly disorientated.

Secondly there was supernovas, and how if one happened near us we’d have a whole two seconds before our atmosphere evaporated. “Don’t worry about global warming or your mortgage!” we were told. But somehow I have a feeling that the bank might get a little bit shirty if I told them that I didn’t want to pay the mortgage anymore because a supernova could happen at any minute and then we’d all be dead.

Fascinatingly though, I learnt that gravity may work in a different way when dealing with space-time. In fact, whole chunks of gravity may be leaching off into another dimension. String theory and the eleven dimensions are apparently not just way beyond my mathematical abilities but everyone else’s too, and so five dimensions seems a sensible place to start. Five? I thought. And then decided to stop thinking and go home and have some dinner.

catching up

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006 | brighton | No Comments

I headed out to the Cella last night to catch up with some of the survivors of Black Friday. It was fab to listen to the lovely Dominic VonTrapp and spend an evening drinking yet more cider and laughing at Amy’s lady beard.

It’s been a busy few weeks but I’m so looking forward to a weekend in Dublin. With only one working day to go, I can see the light and boy is it glowing. We’ve made no plans, except to visit a comedy night, and I fully intend to just enjoy being able to amble about aimlessly. It feels like such a long time since my last holiday, so many things have changed since July.

This evening I’m heading out for dinner with the lovely Katharine, something I haven’t had a chance to do for ages and so am really looking forward to it. However, with a very busy day tomorrow I must stop myself from getting into that holiday spirit too early!


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