My hair doesn’t like it when it’s too rainy, or too hot, or too cold, or least of all when it’s subjected to products that are designed for heads that are not blessed/cursed with thick, wiry, unwieldy hair like mine. It’s big at the best of times, but add a touch of volumising shampoo and watch the disco fro grow!
More sketches of the people I pass on my daily commute. If you’re interested, find out more about the Big Issue.
I walk to and from work every day; a good 40 minute march. It’s a great way to wake up on a dark winter’s morning when getting out of bed is an effort and your bowl of porridge hasn’t quite started to kick in. I stick my earplugs in and listen to one of 4 Podcasts. BBC Radio 4′s Women’s Hour, BBC 4′s Saturday Live, BBC 4′s Mid-week or Helen and Olly’s Answermethispodcast.com. The latter tempers the former and is not for sensitive ears.
As you would expect, I pass the same people day after day and ponder their being: what are they like? Do they have a partner? Where do they work? Why are they wearing that? Gosh I love their dog, maybe I’ll stop them so I can stroke it….
I decided to draw a few of the characters to give you a flavour – I recently showed the drawings to a friend who walks the same route, albeit a little earlier than me. She recognised most of the people, so I’m satisfied that I’ve managed to capture them fairly accurately. She even shared one or two of her own commuter people. Now she texts me in the morning to say…hey, I passed ‘Greggs Man’, and I respond to say ‘I think I passed red-headed-duvet-jacket lady’!
So the next couple of posts are just sketches (no polishing) of some of the… <sings> “people that I meet when I’m walking down the street…they’re the people that I meet….each day!” (Sesame Street, People in your Neighbourhood)
What is it about cats? Aloof, independent, marathon sleepers, expert hunters, master climbers and your friend, but only on their terms. They are fascinating and well-loved pets to some, yet despised and put into dustbins by others. They rival dogs as our favourite pets and were once considered sacred deities by the ancient Egyptians. They are featured in calendars, novels, their own diaries, films, cartoons, haiku and of course, on YouTube!
I have to admit I’ve spent many an hour browsing through endless compilations of cats doing crazy things. It’s pure entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I spend equal amounts of time browsing ‘dogs to the craziest things’ videos, but today, it’s all about the cats. Take for instance, Maru who enjoys trying to insert himself into boxes that were clearly never intended for cat habitation. Or perhaps a strange Japanese show where cats climb into bowls…?!
Quite recently, a friend of mine announced that she was opening a luxury 5 star cat hotel. I was fascinated to learn that the franchise offers four poster beds with silk sheets, music piped into the rooms, trout breakfasts, cat massage, a dedicated cat entertainer and the option to have your cat send you a postcard whilst you are away. Wow, what more is there to say? Perhaps I should leave you with the cartoon…it brings cats down a peg or two.
I’ve recently come to learn that octopuses are AWESOME! During our holiday in Greece we bumped into an octopus on three separate occasions. The waters around Kefalonia are crystal clear and bursting with interesting marine life; perfect for snorkeling. So, on one bright, warm day we headed out on an excursion with Jamie, a marine biologist, whose main area of study was octopuses, hence my sudden interest in them.
Our transportation for the day was a traditional Greek working boat or Kaiki which sailed us around the coast, stopping along the way to drop anchor so we could learn about urchins, starfish, eels, sea cucumbers and octopuses. Jamie, kept us rapt with tales of Greek mythology, mafia and marine life in between our snorkeling adventures when were left to explore the bays and mingle with the fish.
Within moments of taking our first dip into the water I stumbled upon an octopus gliding across the seabed – what luck! I squealed with excitement through my snorkel and called for Jamie who swiftly caught it, but not before it squirted us with ink and wowed us with its ability to change a variety of colours in a matter of seconds.
Back on board the boat, we stood over the little guy who eyeballed intently before trying to climb out of the temporary aquarium using its suckers. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, I couldn’t help touching it. It probably goes without saying that feeling an octopus’s tentacles wrap around your hand is weird and slightly alarming – for a moment I thought it might never let go. After a few interesting octopus anecdotes we put him back in the water and watched him swim away.
Here are some things I learnt:
- An octopus can get through a hole the size of a ten pence piece (if you don’t believe me, I found a video on YouTube. Essentially, if its eyes can get through a hole, then so can the rest of it
- Their tentacles will grow back should they accidentally lose one in a fight or to prey
- They make little nests that look like miniature fortresses
- They live about two years
- They can survive out of the water for 3-5 minutes (possibly more?)
- After mating, the male dies
- Greek people love to eat them
Below: A photo I took from the end of the pier near our apartment in Fiscardo – this chap was happily minding his own business.
Below: our transportation for the day.