Category Archives: Transport

I heard a bus shelter singing

Last night I heard a bus shelter singing. I was sitting alone, watching the lights of a  basketball court flicker on and off, waiting for the promised number 46. There was a gentle “Ah – oooo. Ah.” Like Ladysmith Black Mambazo (circa 1986) under a large bucket. It was a calming, meditative repetition of those 3 notes.

This bus stop whale song was magical, until I realised it was coming from the shelter’s brightly lit advertising sign. Each time it scrolled to a new ad for highly engineered underwear or lifestyle drinks, a distant South African choir sang sadly: “Ah – oooo. Ah.”

Colour starvation

In these drippy flannel grey spring days, I love colour. My eyes are hungry for bright shiny colourful things. Like these…

Resin chopsticks

Resin chopsticks against a sad grey sky.

I’ve never used these as chopsticks. Far too chunky and clunky, and slightly bent from the move to the UK. But beautiful to look at. [Dinosaur Designs resin.]

bright fabric

Happy patterns and colours

Well, look what happens when I shop for clothes on a dull flat day… [Very creased Josh Goot and some faux-Missoni.]

wizard of oz felt rainbow

Wizard of Oz felt rainbow

Look how utterly terrifying that faceless flying monkey thing is.

magic carpet

The magic carpet

This is a magic carpet and a prayer mat. That’s the kind of school we go to here.

And here’s one I wrote earlier…

Pretty things offscreen. The more of my time that is sucked up by websites, email, television and mobile phones, the more I appreciate solid physical beauty.  Here are some pictures of pretty things I have seen offscreen…

Wandering in the www garden.  I tend to lose all concept of time as soon as I open up a web browser. I start with a task (e.g. look up a train timetable), then somehow find myself 1 hour later looking at pictures of husband and wife cutlery.

News + Paper. Read all about it!

Sometimes I see someone with an e-book reader on the train. It’s usually being held quite self-consciously by an early- to mid-30’s male with a satchel. The body language is mostly “I am the Masterchef of e-bookery” and a little “I am only holding the e-book so high because this angle is actually most comfortable for my arm. Honestly.”

[Update: I now own an e-book reader! See post “Here Kindle, Kindle, Kindle“]

It’s hard to read an e-book or any book, over someone else’s shoulder. When I lived in London I used to catch the Tube to work. It was definitely Not OK to read another passenger’s paper. Even if you were standing so close that you could hear the rustling of their nose hairs when they breathed, you Could Not read their paper. I wonder what special sense allows us to instantly feel when someone else’s eyes are wandering over our headlines?

I had a newspaper subscription for a year. It was made out of paper. Its physical presence would remind me to read it, and so I kept abreast of world events and local issues. Now the subscription has ended and I rely on the free newspaper websites.

I don’t read properly on the web. I also rarely watch news on TV – it clashes with the feeding/bathing/wrangling of kids. I think there are some important election issues being debated, but those headlines don’t have any of the words that my superficial website scanning eyes seize on. Phrases such as “millionaire’s wife; chocolate pudding recipe; bizarre sex; children’s health; striped t-shirts” will get me clicking every time.

Today I bought a newspaper.

Brought to you by the InterWeb – How to fold a broadsheet newspaper

On the Tube, I admired the way stripy-suited City workers could precisely crease their papers lengthways at the exact halfway point, thus creating a long thin train-friendly paper. See instructions on how to fold a broadsheet newspaper.

Wonderful whistles

The platform attendant (is this what they are called these days?) at the train station yesterday afternoon held a blue flag in one hand, a shiny gold tote bag in the other, and a whistle in her mouth. Most other train staff I have seen accessorise with an orange safety vest and a weary expression of unhelpfulness. I was very curious as to what she had in her gold not-quite-a-handbag. The standard wallet, keys, tissues and a lipstick? Or perhaps lots of flags in different amusing colours?

I like the fact that the train guards still use whistles. It’s reassuring to see an object that is simple, real (not virtual) and efficient being used for it’s original purpose. I hope they won’t be replaced by electronic devices with genuine whistle-simulation software.

Brought to you by the InterWeb – toy nunchuck with whistles

I found a description of a patent for a scary toy. “A toy double club with whistle including two elongate tubular bodies connected with a chain, each tubular body having a whistle in its inner cavity …” Just what every parent is looking for – a  noisy AND dangerous toy weapon.