28 February, 2006

the plague and a party

I shouldn't even joke about the plague, what with all the dire
warnings about bird flu, but John has been down with the flu that ate London, everyone seems to have it. Half the teachers at school, several of his colleagues at Reuters. High fever, terrible cough, you name it. Unheard of for him to stay in bed for three days, but he did. So he was fortunate enough to miss the last day of ice skating at Canary Wharf on Saturday! I had arranged to take Anna, so
the Linszes and we met up at a pizza place in Baker Street and munched happily, then I spirited the girls onto the Jubilee line, SO FAR down into the bowels of the underground system that it kind of creeps me out, and off to Canary Wharf. From that optimistic beginning, everything simply spiraled downward. There was no doubt, as soon as we arrived, that it was far too cold to skate outdoors. The wind was simply wicked, being right on the river as we were. But we had bought those tickets, and damn it, we were going to skate. The girls' hands were somewhere between blue and purple, and most irritatingly, they seemed to be positive magnets for large adults who couldn't stay on their feet. Six-foot-tall men were clutching at them to stay upright. They stopped to have hot chocolate, and it was hard going to get them
back out. "We aren't even skating," Avery wailed, "we're being SKATED." A girl whizzed past me screaming, "I'm not even trying to move."

Finally, mercifully, our hour of martyrdom was at an end and we
repaired to the cafe where they had crepes filled with something noxious (at least not tuna and sweetcorn) and I perused a business newspaper, since it was the only thing there. Dropped Anna off at her house. Poor John just a lump of misery.

Sunday was Angela's Big Birthday Party. Again cold as anything, we
walked down the Marylebone High Street to a little road behind the shops and up to Angela's house. I met a lot of parents I had not seen before, including Jade's elfish and friendly father.
class="mobile-post">I picked up Anna and Avery and we walked home amid a shower of
information about the party. Two white stretch limousines, Fanta and Sprite to their hearts' content, and a trip all around Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye. "People thought we were celebrities and they videoed us!!" Fever pitch of excitement. Home to pitiful John curled up coughing up various

Yesterday was his birthday but we have decided to postpone it until he feels better. I completely exhausted myself unpacking and putting together the 90-piece limestone brick sculpture installation by Mary Judge. It has reposed in a pile of moving boxes in the dining room for so long that it began to look like an art installation itself, but I finally bit the bullet and set it up. Since it has a powdered-pigment drawing of intense precision on the top and sides, it
can be put together in one, and only one, exact way. So I hunted through the boxes until I found the inner, blank bricks, then the labeled upper layer with the drawing on them, and after I would say two hours of backbreaking labor, it was done. It adds so much to the room. Worth the trouble. I got a call yesterday from an artist who is willing to hang all our pictures, after his exhibition opens on Friday and he has some time on his hands. I was curious about what sort of art he made, so he sent me his mission statement: he paints distended brassieres with pigment and then makes monoprints of them. Lots of Lacanian theory, references to both Freuds (Siggy and Lucian), de rigeuer in the art world of the 1980s but I would have thought a bit passe now. I think I'll pass on his opening reception on Friday, but as long as he can pound a nail and hang a picture, he's the man.

Today I'm hot on the email trail for a pony for Avery. Yesterday over chocolate cake after school we discussed the requirements, not more than 14 hands 2 inches, a good jumper but not too aggressive. Actually I'm a bit more focused on the potential commute to
Herefordshire, but that's neither here nor there. Wish us luck.

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