Monday, 30 January 2012

Pool Wars

So today the Apprentice-became-the-Mistress (or if StarWars speak helps:  the Padawan-Learnerbecame-the-Jedi) when I stared down a fellow swimmer in the pool. Cue heavy breathing !!

You see at the pool there is a very clear etiquette for swimming laps (stay right!!!) and this rogue swimmer kept on using the lane as if it had been personally designed just for them. Eventually I became tired of being slapped in the face and so as they came pounding down the lane I decided to stand my ground ( OK I dog-paddled my ground) and as they rose their head and looked at me as if to say " move it" I  ever so sweetly nodded my head to the left and directed them to their side of the lane. Of course I felt ugly, horrible and dirty afterwards for having been so assertive and I had to lather myself up with extra soap just to wash away the guilt but really I am so tired of people in the pool (actually people on the street, people everywhere) taking advantage of other people's good nature. I am tired of being trodden on, elbowed, shouldered, treated as somehow less deserving of my piece of the sidewalk, space, air, love - whatever!

Actually I was quite  terrified my confrontee would be waiting to lynch me in the change room with a wet whipping towel but the only thing I encountered was a lot of  other fellow swimmers who clearly do not visit the same Brazilian hairdresser as I !!!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

a little death

So today I taught until early afternoon and then I was so tired I went home and lay in my bed for the rest of the day (which is a terrible waste of a Saturday afternoon!). I even had a semi-delirious dream where Robert De Niro passed by and said he he didn't know who I was but perhaps my problem was with 'my leg'. He said the word 'my leg' in a way which made it obvious that 'my leg' was code for something else which I can't work out. If he is referring to my existence here in Basel then perhaps he is right. It's sad but I am always happy when the weekend comes round but then it gets here and I have absolutely no one to see and nothing to do. Yes I have finally made a few friends here in Basel but they have their own lives on weekend and I find myself wondering what I am doing here. In many ways this city is synonymous with pain and disappointment for me and I think the time has come for me to go. I cannot pass my life here anymore.
It is like a little death.


You know they often say writers thrive on pain and I think sometimes a little bit of drama does spur them on but right now I just feel too low to write about dancing polar bears or fortune-tellers by the name of Esmerelda O...and this, I feel, is a little shame.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Bandido Bags

Today I lost my passport for three miserable hours which was very frustrating. Imagine not being able to go to Marktkauf!!! I eventually found it at the bottom of my Ark handbag. Obviously I cannot be angry at my bag because I love her unconditionally but I did feel the animals were smiling just a little bit too hard. It reminded me of the time I lost my passport mid-air between Turkey and Lebanon. That was a charmingly fraught hour - and my handbag ( a different one) was the culprit then too.

Obviously even more frustrating than losing my passport temporarily is the very sad fact that I have to work tomorrow. Sigh. I normally reserve Saturdays for sleep, washing, shop-ambling and the occasional chocolate binge. I comfort myself with the fact it means next time I go on holidays I will be able to stay at a one * hotel instead of a no *. Woo hoo!

Monday, 23 January 2012

This is Syria

Neighbourly chats      

Girls with sweet tooths!        


Ice-cream Makers 


Street bakers
Kids who play hopscotch
Women on nights-out


This is Syria

Friday, 20 January 2012

Palmerino's Dream - now available

So my story Palmerino's Dream is now available for your reading joy!! A story, that editor Bruce Bethke wrote in his forward entry, which cannot be described, but only savoured like a fine Tuscan wine.
I'll take that!!

And here is one of the trillion ways you can get to it -  if you are keen!!

AMAZON Kindle Stores
US market
UK market

Barnes & Nobles Nook Store (US)

Apple iTunes Store (US)

It's nice to have a story out after such a long time. I began this story two years ago down in Florence ... then it got lost...until I found it again.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Pool Monsters

So my love affair with The RheinCenter continues. They even have Miracle Whip ( a whole pyramid stack built in its honour), goon wine and vegetarian gyros. I took Ulla again and she got so fat with shopping I needed assistance lifting her off the tram!

Obviously now Miracle Whip has re-entered my life I will need to start exercising so this week I went swimming -twice -at the Rialto pool in Basel. I really want to write how great it felt. How invigorating it was. But the truth is it was brutally disappointing. Not the pool itself. It is very nice with big windows looking out to the perpetual grey. No. My disappointment stems from the monsters I had to share the pool with. Honestly I was swim roadkill in the lap lane. Now don't get me wrong if there was a slow lap lane I would have taken it but all the lap lanes were equal and the general rule is as long as your lapping you are allowed to use it. But honestly these people just could not be bothered to swim around you. They actually swam over me and they were wearing goggles so they could clearly see me and it wasn't because I was being slow anyway.  I was just doing breaststroke while they were doing freestyle. Even worse though was the guy who actually did a partial pool turn on my back at the end of the pool. I was slipping across to begin my next lap and he did an underwater turn and launched himself off my back. I don't understand where this rudeness comes from. I used to live in London ( population a zillion) and I would swim twice a week at the Victoria swimming pool right in the middle of London. The pool was infinitely more busy but everyone respected each other and their space. If you needed to pass someone you did so courteously and if you accidentally brushed someone you apologised. Not here though it seems. The right of the individual seems to trump that of the community at every turn. I had to laugh at the guy who backstroked right into the wall though (particularly as he had backstroked over me minutes earlier.) He must have thought the wall was going to bend for him.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

potato joy

So Ulla and I got on the green tram number 8 and took it all the way to the end. Then we got off, walked down a rather bleak street, crossed over a corkboard bridge and hey presto we were in Germany. And even better than that we strolled straight into the loving arms of the Rhein Center shopping mall. Oh such bliss!
How has it taken me so long to discover such a haven?????????
A place where proper cappuccinos cost only 2 euro and the supermarket is so enormous it has almost a whole aisle dedicated to potato salads alone. And there are donuts for sale and endless frozen food. And everyone wears lederhosen and their hair in plaited buns ( ok the last two bits are lies but  I was entranced don't you see!)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Today's Pearl: wear a tighter sweater!!

Today I got paid for my short story 'Palmerino's Dream' which will be published in an upcoming edition of Stupefying Stories. Which edition I don't yet know but it is always an excellent sign when you actually get paid - it means it's gonna happen. Editors do no part with cash willy-nilly.  This news was a little bright star in what has otherwise been a very draining week. The weather has been grey and wet and I have probably cried more than enough tears for one week. I have good intentions of making this a better year but I know it is not something that will happen without a fight.

Actually the other bright star for the week was my return to my Brazilian 'hairdresser'. Even though the 'haircut' can be (at times) somewhat excruciating, just listening to all these Brazlian women gossiping and laughing is a most wonderful tonic. Today my hairdresser showed me both her breasts and stomach just so I could marvel at the beautiful juxtaposition of both plastic and nature. What I loved more was her freedom, her lack of inhibition, her insistence that I start wearing 'tighter sweaters' to show off my figure.

Now I am back home and I find myself turning to Hafiz.

We Should Talk about This Problem

There is a beautiful creature
Living in a hole you have dug.

So at night
I set fruit and grains
And little pots of wine and milk
Beside your soft earthen Mounds

And I often sing.

But still, my dear,

You do not come out.

I have fallen in love with Someone

Who hides inside you.

We should talk about this problem--


I will never leave you alone.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Who cares if you saw my knickers!!!

So I started my first working day of 2012 by walking across Basel with my skirt tucked into my underpants.  It was only when a very polite young lad in his twenties came over and told me that I even knew.  To be honest I think this hamster was more embarassed by the whole thing than I was.  I don't think I even blushed.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Start the year with a shardy!

Ha! My neighbours gave me a shard of broken crockery as a new year gift. They really didn't need to since I live in a house of shards for most of the time. But it was a sweet thing to do since broken crockery brings good luck apparently. I will be interested to see if their broken crockery ( as opposed to mine) brings me better fortune because so far my own efforts in the smashing department have been most unrewarding.