It’s been a busy week for me. Much talking in cafés. Partly work, partly friendship and what’s the difference anyway? Much riding round on buses of course. Then yesterday in London talking buses, people and mentoring once again at social enterprise HCT. Then I’m working tomorrow, Saturday too. Doing a conference about housing and health at The Bluecoat.
So being a Friday, as is my habit, I’d really like to go out for a walk. Particularly as I need to test out some new memory in my camera.
Still, I need to make sure this camera’s ok. So I’d better take some pictures here. I decide to take about ‘a roll’. The 24 pictures you’d get from each roll of ‘real film’ before we all got digital cameras with their more or less unlimited capacities.
This is our kitchen, as it is, this January day. I’ve lived here over 23 years now, Sarah a couple of years less. We’ve never renovated the house or had the kitchen ‘fitted’. Just painted it up now and again.
On BBC 6 Music Lauren Laverne is interviewing Meryl Streep. About playing witches and other strong female role models. She’s just starting on a film about Emmeline Pankhurst. ‘It might shock some people’ she says ‘How violent it all got. Women in Britain having to literally fight to get the vote.’ Definitely something to look out for.
Elsewhere in the house she has a collection of tiny little ones, delightful but mainly decorative. Here in the kitchen thy are practical working jugs.
There is also one of Sarah’s paintings.
Done in oils some time around 1998. One of many tulip paintings she did around those years.
Though not the Marmite of course. A Sarah constant and tasted only once by me when I first got to know her. Once was enough. Someone said to me about someone else once ‘He’s a bit of a Marmite. You’ll either like him or you won’t.’ I know what she meant.
Years ago we had this mounted on card and it’s been on the kitchen wall ever since. ‘Why?’ visitors will occasionally wonder. Well why not? At one time we thought we’d like to go there. I certainly wouldn’t want to any more, as you’ll know if you’ve ever read my ‘Year to live’ reflections. But purely as a map it’s a beautiful thing to contemplate. And often while I’m in the kitchen, waiting while something simmers on the cooker I’ll stand there reading the sacred names I’ve been reading for the best part of 20 years Now:
“Dronning Maud Land,
The Executive Committee Range,
…and the rest.”
And these climate change days, when we hear that part of an ice sheet has broken off and is drifting away, we can look at our carefully scaled map of Antarctica, and see exactly the size of what the news is talking about.
Cartography. Where art meets science and a thing of practical usefulness is also a thing of intense beauty. On our kitchen wall.
And the camera seems fine with it’s new memory.
Back then to something more recognisable as ‘real work?’ Maybe.
At the conference I’ll be showing and talking about ‘Tina’s Story’ – the film I just had to make, after I thought I wouldn’t be making any more.