Haven't done much this week, except clear out and think and talk to people and help with the babies. And actually it is so lovely to see the Spring that I would be happy to stay in London, specially if the weather was okay. However, I'm off to Greece soon (which I am sure will be fun) and have just confirmed a cycling trip in Karinthia, in Austria.
Made me think of the last time I was in Karinthia, in deepest winter, hands-sticking-to-railings cold. I took K, then 14, with me. She reminded me the other day of the genial old woman in a snowy chalet in the mountains who offered us both huge glasses of schnapps. I declined, and didn't notice that K had gulped hers down at top speed, just as the old dear showed her Oh dear. Naughty old woman. K confirmed that her memories of the rest of the visit were very hazy!
I've also been clearing out ancient files and found the tape and transcript of a day I spent at the home of writer Roald Dahl, creator of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." My piece about him was published, he died not long after, and the transcript has been sitting there ever since. I'm sure students of children's literature will be interested, so I've asked his literary estate if I can publish it as a short and low priced e-book. I'll let you know what they say. It seems I own the copyright of the interview, but not the right to use it anywhere - what a legalistic situation!
Here is Quentin Blake's wonderful image of Willy Wonka, from Dahl's book.
And here are a few pictures of things I've seen while out and about. First, a weird jumble caught my eye as I walked past the slanted funnels of the warship HMS Belfast. (which by the way I recommend visiting). You will see behind it the weird, graceless "Walkie Talkie Building" which now ruins many an iconic London view. I can't imagine how they ever got permission to build it. ( And it sets things on fire with its "death rays"- see this.)
What a mess! I really loathe it.
Nearby this protest bike from People Against Profit was parked. They fight those who are being allowed to do whatever they like in London for profit, at the expense of local people (such as those who build hideous Walkie talkie buildings that melt cars). Here's their website
Saw these two odd vehicles at London Bridge.
Here is a close up of the green one. Scary, eh? :)
And I also saw this very interesting and innovative child's wheelchair in the Design Museum's Designs of the Year 2014. (I hope to tell you more about that show in a later post). It is so rare to find well designed mobility aids that I voted for it as my top design. It's called the Chair4Life and it's made by Renfrew.
Back home, I looked up and thought, "hmmmm. That helicopter's rather low. Anyone would think it was going to land in the back garden!"
And then it did.
There was unfortunately an accident nearby and our communal garden was the nearest landing spot identified by the air ambulance. When the copter landed, deafeningly, it generated such a wind that it lifted up a huge iron wheelbarrow full of clippings and hurled it across the lawn. Obviously everyone in the garden had got well out of the way by then, so nobody was hurt. Which was just as well, otherwise they'd have had more casualties to deal with.
Everyone of course was very interested, including me. I suppose the air ambulance crew deal with gawpers all the time.