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April 13th, 2009

peculiar weekend

Somehow I got gang-pressed by a bunch of teenagers into spending Friday night sleeping in a box with them in the middle of Peckham. I wanted to back out of it after I'd agreed, but they were trying to raise money for a slum development project and do a bit of empathising, and they couldn't get many adults to do it with them, surprise, surprise. Here are a few doodles of some of them. The hairy one with the wary expression in the top right is my stellar friend Dan, another grown-up type who came along us.



I didn't take many photos, but here's one of Amy and Tola in the middle of cobbling bits of wood and cardboard together to make our shelter. We had a fire in an oil drum and the kids were amazingly good at scrounging bits of wood from nearby skips, although a lot of the pieces were heavily varnished bits of furniture and even a flight of stairs, and I think we breathed some nasty fumes.



The box was way too small, so we were pretty much curled up like puppies (but not half as comfortably). The rain started about four in the morning, and all the girls started shrieking and ran outside to warm up by the oil drum fire. So then I got a bit of space to stretch out and tried to ignore the river flowing by my head. The good bit was lying there listening to the dawn chorus, and realising that the airplanes fly much lower over Peckham than they do over my flat. And this one girl had me in stitches with the way she could imitate a whole host of accents: Russian, Jamaican, Liverpuddlian, you name it. A lot of them were Nigerian, or their parents were Nigerian, and they were having a great time joking around about the songs people sing at Nigerian parties.

On an entirely different note, I was at East Croydon station on Sunday and started stalking this elderly lady to try to get a good photo of her. I was too shy to run around to the front to snap one (and she didn't look like she'd say yes if I asked). She was fabulous in her yellow coat, yellow beret, rainbow bag and brolly. I totally want to be dressing like that when I am her age.



Kate Beaton's getting fascinating comments on her latest post, asking how people got interested in history; lots of different stories. And harveyjames has posted an epic comic here, but it is not for the faint-hearted or squeamish.

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Sarah McIntyre

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