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butter scraped over too much bread

I was feeling a little rough today, trying not to get a sneezy-wheezy cold and realising I hadn't had a proper day off in ages. And I was also worrying that, while I'm starting new projects, I haven't had time to give them much thought lately. So I got on my bicycle and cycled my favourite Thames Path route, passing lots of ducks splashing in the canals, a man who laughed like a duck while talking on his mobile, a woman in hijab practicing kickboxing, and zooming through lots of photo-takers' pictures on Tower Bridge. I guess since everyone stayed inside during yesterday's hurricanes, the families were out in force today.

Here's the gorgeous Mariscal mural at the Design Museum. (Click here for a wallpaper type photo.)

I noticed a homemade commemoration sign that I'd never spotted before, nailed to the top of one of the piles. Made me wonder what it was like in the old days, when people did more swimming in the Thames.

I was wondering about this new structure in the river by Rotherhithe: does anyone know what it is? It's some sort of rig, but I can't for the life of me work out why it's there.


When I sat down in the cafe, I spent several hours scribbling in my notebook. Not drawing or writing stories, just trying to figure out where I'm at right now. On Friday I'd met up with one of my best friends, Mags, who lives in Brussels and who is one of the most sensible, sorted people I've met, and we had a good talk. She's done amazing things and has a fancy postgraduate degree from LSE, but she took a year off with her partner to travel the world and work some very unusual manual labour jobs, like milking goats in South America and washing bedsheets in the Iona Community laundry. Anyway, meeting up with her always makes me think a lot.

So today I started by coming up with some questions for myself, then spent the rest of the time trying to answer them. I wish I could answer them better than I do. I'm painfully aware that twenty years from now, if I looked at my answers, they'd seem so trite and uninformed. But I have to start somewhere.

-What's really important to me? What am I passionate about?
-What do I want to say about those things?
-What do I most need to work on?
-What are the best things I'm doing now?
-Who are my favourite people? Why?
-Who are the people I most want to help out? What's my motivation?
-Is the world a better place because I'm in it? Why or why not?

So my answers were ranging from large-scale issues like global warming to how to be kinder to Stuart, etc. Lots of things I still need to think about, not to mention getting around to writing more stories.

Then in the evening, Stuart cooked a lovely Delia Smith dinner and I helped my neighbour friend with her homework, which was actually very interesting, an illustrated summary of a field trip to Kew Gardens. (We like Kew Gardens.)

Mags in the Peckham Rye Park cafe, and neighbour friend - Just to say, if her teacher's reading this, she did all the work, we just spent a long time discussing layout issues and how to mix paint.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
I think you're right, several people have been saying that. I don't know what it is about autumn, maybe the cold makes us think about our mortality or something. Hmm.
Nov. 16th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
soul-searching happens here too. :) i actually love your questions. might steal them for some self analysis :)

and i miss london. (sorry for butting in and randomly babbling, i just follow your lj for the beautiful pictures and the inspiration they give me in my own work )
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'm so glad you're following! :-) And yes, please, steal away! (Let me know if you come up with any good answers!)
Nov. 16th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
Hi Sarah, this is Seanazz, loved this post, and it's the
sort of introspection I have at this time of year.
Nothing wrong with that.
You seem to have been super busy this year, and it's easy
to forget to put aside some 'me' time.
But, seems like you have found some.
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks, Sean! I will do. :-)
Nov. 16th, 2009 10:19 am (UTC)
wow, some big questions, hon...We could all do a bit of that. And yes, the world IS a better place for you being in it, I can assure you of that one ^_^
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
That's sweet of you! :-) I guess I'm trying to balance out the good things I contribute to the horrible things I must be doing to the planet with landfill space, using up fossil fuels, buying stuff made in sweatshops, etc. It gets so bad that I look at these family photos that people send at Christmas, where you can see how two people have brought 50 or so other people into being and I think, jeez, that's like a whole landfill in itself. But I don't think that's what I'm supposed to feel, I'm supposed to think, 'aw, what a lovely big family, they must be so proud'.
Nov. 16th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC)
Autumn is a good time for a mental clearout, shedding the leaves in time for new growth in the spring.
Also, the rig is for the Thames Tunnel construction project. When there's heavy rain sewage gets pumped into the Thames because the drains can't handle the load. The new tunnel will transport it straight to smelly Beckton.
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
Oh hey, thanks for that link, that's really interesting! London's sewers are fascinating, I still have one story very vividly floating around in my mind from Silvertown: an East End Family Memoir by Melanie McGrath. She talks about a Sunday pleasure boat/passenger ferry that sunk near Victoria Gardens, just near where half the city's sewage went into the river. Over 400 people died, but mostly not from drowning but from sewage poisoning. How foul is that?!!

Edited at 2009-11-16 06:26 pm (UTC)
Nov. 16th, 2009 12:10 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Good questions.
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Hard questions!
Nov. 16th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Might be good to remember that it is usually pretty much impossible for you to see the difference you make to the world, simply because you're always there. - You just have to believe other people when they say you make the world a brilliant place, because they can see the difference between when you're around and when not.

That Kew Gardens assignment looks ace!!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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