I didn’t need to work off a mood this week. In fact, I didn’t have a mood at all so listened to Will Self’s Umbrella for a good part of my march to Finchley. It is quite spooky (spoky) how it fit like old skin. Zack Busner, the protagonist, even lives in a flat on Fortess Road. I love the name which conjures up images of a pulp detective, which in a way he is: a psychiatrist, a detective of the mind.… More
Friday 16th October 2020 (3 min read)
I didn’t know it before I set out, but today I would be mostly linking up farms. I can’t point you to a historical ‘Chalk Farm’, but the name suggests the rural vibe of the area before London swallowed it in the nineteenth century. Here cockneys came to ruralise, and slighted gentlemen might seek redress beyond the gaze of the law.
Later, I was excited by an article titled ‘Chalk Farm Mystery’ in the South London Press, 1899.… More
Thu 18 Jun 2020: Further adventures of Captain Goffey RN. (16 min read; 3222 words)
The nightingale and thrush
Blackbird and wren
Are all praised to death
And then praised again
I’ll hitch my flag
To a grey piece of rag
And salute the mighty heron
[‘The Heron’, from Captain Goffey’s Journal, published in the posthumous collection ‘A Fire-Eater at the North Pole’]
The Diary of Dr Thomas Watson, Surgeon of HMS Jupiter
Today I noticed that Captain Goffey has started writing in one of the account books we discovered last week.… More
22 Feb. Finchley–Woodside Park. With a storm promised for Thursday (Doris Day) I felt I was sneaking a walk in early. Which is odd because I almost always walk on Wednesdays anyway.
Note to self: I’m at a critical point in this country diary. I don’t want to write it. I’ve nothing to say. On the other hand, one of the key things about it, like dried prunes, is regularity. If you want to look back and track the changes you want to know what happened in February, week 8, even if what happened was you were particularly uninspired and irritable.… More
8 Feb. Eleven minutes to Hendon. Five minutes walk to Brent Cross past a barber-surgeon giving free hair cuts to street trees. The sign at the pedestrian gate at the end of Brent Park Road worried me: “ACCESS FOR SHOPPING AND BUSINESS PURPOSES ONLY NO PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY.” All in hectoring capital letters and no full stops anywhere. What if they stopped me?
It reminded me of another walk and another sign: “Constables and other Peace Officers to apprehend all Common Beggars Ballad Singers and other Vagrants for that they may be dealt with according to the Law.”… More