Tuesday, April 20, 2010


“Weavers, spinners, Penelope or someone like her, once seemed to me to be the first geometers, because their art or craft explores or exploits space by means of knots, proximities and continuities, without intervention from measurement, because their tactile manipulations anticipate topology. The mason or surveyor anticipates the geometers in a strictly metric sense, but she or he who weaves or spins precedes them in art, thought and no doubt in history. We had to dress ourselves before building, clothe ourselves in loose garments before constructing solid buildings.” (Serres 2008:83)

Serres, Michel (2008), The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies, Translated by Peter Cowley and Margaret Sankey, Continuum International Publishing Group, London

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nature and Culture: buttercup

The first buttercups are appearing in the garden. In the buttercup drawing, printed on the lace-edged scent bag, nature and culture mingle, as perhaps they always do – a thought on the day when clouds of ash from a distant volcano, invisible to the naked eye, have brought stillness to the skies above Northern Europe.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wearing Purple

By Jenny Joseph

"When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple."

Read by James and Alice at Peggy's funeral

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Yesterday my daughters attended the wedding celebrations of their father who married a woman from New Zealand. Tomorrow they will accompany me to the funeral of my friend's mother.

Each occasion, every rite of passage, within this life or into the next, has its own affective texture.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I love the feel of cashmere on my skin – the touch of luxurious knitwear that is, not toilet paper on my bum. Scanning the rows of toilet paper in the supermarket for special offers, my eye was caught by the introductory offer of “quilted bathroom tissue enriched with extracts of cashmere" – CASHMERE? to wipe the bum of the distinguished Waitrose customer? Whatever next? Is there no end to the aberrations of capitalism? I am not sure whether this product is supposed to bring a hint of decadence into the loo. Long accustomed to the dubious presence of silk in shampoos and soap as we are, this seems to me just one ridiculous and pointless product too far. My lovely cashmere cardigan will never feel the same again.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

Child's handkerchief