Wednesday, 22 May 2019


So many people who voted Brexit think or would like to believe that the EU, the Europeans, those crafty foreigners over there on that continent don't want the Brits to leave the EU because they need the British people's money or that they are worried that the whole European project will start to crumble and collapse when all the other countries see sense and leave like the Brits ( they won't, there isn't any appetite for that I can assure you). What many people don't realise is that one of the reasons everyone would like the Brits to stay is that well, let's find an adjective that traditionally would describe the British. Practical, realistic, sensible, business like, rational, unsentimental, no nonsense, feet firmly on the ground types etc and so on. The kind of people you need in the European Union as they are the ones who can think differently to the others and offer great insight. Yet now it looks like the situation in Britain couldn't look more mental. Not mentioning any names as these people are getting far too much coverage as it is, but how fucking insane does it look that racist, anti-muslim, anti-semitic, immigrant bashing, foreigner loathing, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic fuckers seem to want to stay in the EU or become an MEP? Is it just the good salary they can get while standing up in the parliament and moaning about the EU and then fucking off back to the UK on the next Eurostar out of here? Or is it that contrary to the usual spouting and mouthing off that the EU is the Fourth Reich actually want it to be that by aligning themselves with all the other morally repugnant far right shitehawks around Europe? 

Monday, 20 May 2019

I went to some lecture which was supposed to be given by Susan Sontag. When we got there it was someone else. I'd brought presents for Susan Sontag in the shape of iced buns, (my favourite) and some other vaguely familiar cakes and I was hoping something would go wrong so I would get to eat them. I could hear people wandering around saying ersatz Sontag was being really difficult during the questions and answers. Shall I give her the presents I wondered. Twice I got them out of my bag and then put them back and then started to eat them, they were delicious. I can still taste them now. As the lecture went on two men in the audience starting talking about something called Menstrual Marxism with a bit of Heidegger chucked in for good measure. I started to feel a bit crestfallen so I went and stood on a very high shelf above everyone. It was so high that I had to check that I hadn't grown into a giant. By now you can guess this was a dream, all in my head. The top billing was really miffed with me for some reason, and even went out of her way to ask if I was alright, 'up there'. This drew unwanted attention to me which pissed her off even further. I went to the bar and realised Top Billing as she was now known, was standing near me. Boy she moved fast, so I told her I thought she was a silly cow which is pretty tame for me as in real life I would have told her to fuck off. I remember I was wearing a green t-shirt and one of Top Billing's friends came over and put a flower pot on my head and tried to suggest that I looked like one of the Flower Pot Men on account of the green t-shirt. I thought this was a lame attempt at humiliation and kept looking in a fairground mirror saying to myself, 'well I think I look alright'. If anything it reminded me of Devo.  The pair of them followed me around and said they were going to report me for swearing. I felt worried so knowing this was just a dream I remembered that I could be anywhere I wanted and had no obligation to hang around in what was becoming suspiciously like someone else's nightmare. I chose Richmond Bridge in the late 19th century, dining in the middle of the bridge with a good looking younger man with the sunshine making everything seem heavenly and shimmering. I felt a pang of loss as I realised I wasn't with Mr van de Ven and desperately wanted to find him. There were no phones and the feeling of loss went to panic as I became aware I might find myself dead in another century.......

Saturday, 18 May 2019

( A Love Story) I managed to get out of bed the other Sunday morning and attend a concert in the Salon Azul at the casino. A concert of German and Austrian romantic composers, Fanny Hensel, Clara Schumann and Alma Mahler. The concert started on time but, as was expected, lots of people thought it would be fun to turn up late. It was also free which sometimes means it will attract the bored and the curious. The organisers had put out loads of old wooden chairs to park people on but had somehow managed to squash them, the chairs, and hence, the people, next to one another so that the arms were overlapping and were designed so that even the most svelte of us had difficulty squeezing our arses into the seats. There were some heavy velveteen curtains to keep sounds and latecomers out but this didn't stop an assortment of old folk stumbling in, looking perplexed at the audience, the pianist and the soprano and then being guided into those bastard chairs. One by one they came in including the blind and the infirm, various sticks marking the floor, 'toc, toc, toc', with people trying to be polite, giving up their seats while the soprano quavered. A huge woman pushed her way along the row in front of me to a vacant chair and crammed her bulk into the seat, pushing it back and blocking my friend Annie's view. I uncharacteristically kicked the chair as hard as I could, as a show of protest and noticed another woman further along our row do the same to another late arrival. People started muttering expletives and there was an atmosphere of consternation. All the time I was looking out for Mr van de Ven who had decided, despite his staunch northern European time keeping, to be late just to wind up the locals. I had a feeling of delicious anticipation knowing I would see my beloved enter the salon at any moment but it was mixed with suspense knowing he might appear dressed as Tommy Cooper, get tangled up in the curtain and make a scene. He arrived, caught my eye, made my heart leap but then had to grapple his way, passing a fair number of older, formidable women who had conveniently forgotten their dreadful entrances and good manners and were now mumbling complaints, kicking his shins and scraping those awful chairs on the wooden floor drawing lots of unwanted attention. He sat next to me but dropped his sunglasses and we watched as they went whizzing across the floor which made heads turn, stare down and look up at one another as if to ask 'what are we looking at now?' I stared at him, and he at me, as the soprano warbled 'ich hab' in deinum Auge'. I once looked into your eyes. Or better still, I only have eyes for you.

Friday, 10 May 2019

I believe in God and I believe in eternal life and I know I shall go to heaven. How do I know that last bit? Because one of Mr van de Ven's good friends after a lively discussion between themselves, turned to me and said, 'Ann Marie, you're a f#cking saint'.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Hi fans, Dr Ruth here. Update on the goings on next door. I was reading the Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa as recommended by the locum doctor and was at the bit when Roger Casement discovers the great lie of colonialism in the heart of the Congo, and with all the injustice and violence begins to feel Irish, when I heard the inevitable. The bed springs and the predestined sound of a headboard banging into a wall. Yes, they, the neighbours, were at it again. I was reminded of the cleaner where I used to work. Her name was Joyce and she used to confide in me about her concerns that there was too much sex on TV. 'Bonking they call it', she would say. Yes. Bonking. This was the same Joyce who told me on a hot day that I should be drinking a spoonful of salt to a kilometre of water but that's another story. Anyway, my mobile pinged and it was a message from my other neighbour Nadine up on the third floor. 'Your neighbours'.... 'They are at it again'......'I can hear them up here'. I wanted to write back, 'yes, I know, good for them, at it like hammer and tongs', but I wasn't sure how to say that in Spanish. Perhaps it would be vigorosamente? Con vigor? Con vehemencia? Con toda? Con ganas? A todo leche, o todo tren perhaps? I was half expecting Mr van de Ven to appear on the scene and shout the equivalent of 'put a sock in it!' but he was beaten to it by a neighbour round the back who roared 'os podeis callar de una puta vez, por favor!' which I think needs no translation.....

Saturday, 27 April 2019


Someone will mention Seth Rogan or Prue Leith and I have a vague idea who they are. I'm not entirely out of touch with the wider world beyond, but from time to time someone will pop up and you think, 'who the f#ck are you?' Take John Rhys Davies for example. 'Who's he?' you ask. Exactly. Who is he? He pops up on Question Time and starts hamming it up the like I haven't seen since our drama teacher Miss Hugo made us dance to the strains of Holst's the Planets circa 1974. I watched a short clip of him, the old ham, yowling 'oh woman!' at Caroline Lucas, a Green party MP who seems to have just laughed it off. I felt I knew or remembered this bloke from somewhere and further research reveals he played a role in the 70s series Budgie as, wait for it, a character called the Laughing Spam Fritter!!

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Happy day of the book! Happy Saint George, San Jorge! San Jordi! Day of Aragon! I left the house with a spring in my step, skipping down the cobble stones, when what was I forced to contend with as I turned the corner and bounded into the square? Barricades, lots of police, two police wagons, five cars and an ambulance if you please. Well now I know where my taxes go. I was expecting someone to be at least dressed up as Hernan Cortes, or some other conquistador, but it was mainly some fat bastards swanning around waving a ridiculously large flag that had seen better days, wearing bright yellow high visibility waistcoats in case nobody noticed them I suppose. Yes, it was the extreme right wing goon squad trying to drum up trade. The least I could do was give them the finger, the goons, not the police, I am not that far reaching, I will save that for another day.