Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Not many words

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Today was an admin day. I am useless at admin. I make pointless lists and stare dolefully at them. I wander from room to room, forgetting what I came in for.

In the afternoon, as the rain relentlessly falls, I sit crossly in telephone queues, whilst a computer bleats options at me. I think: please, please can I have a human being?

I do, in the end, get a very nice lady from India. I hope she is not too demoralised about the cricket, but I do not say anything. The line is very bad, like the lines abroad I remember from my childhood. I have to bellow at her. I hope that she does not think I am that kind of Briton who instantly starts shouting when they hear a foreign voice.

At the end, I say: ‘I’m so sorry about the shouting. It was the line, you know. I do hope you did not think me rude.’

She laughs. She says: ‘You were very kind and polite.’

This small remark makes me disproportionately happy.

I think: my mother will be pleased. All those childhood lessons in manners were not in vain.

I still think of the riots. I still do not understand them. All the commentators are weighing in, and no two agree. In the courts, which sat all night, the first person charged with looting was a 31-year-old teaching assistant. I think: this does not fit in with the lost generation of disaffected youth meme. I wonder if it is a national character thing. I think: I bet the Scandinavians never riot. I remember the essay I wrote about British riots in the 18th century. I seem to remember that I described them as a national sport. I was eighteen, and I thought I was being radical and edgy. I wanted to amuse my lovely tutor, Mr Stuart, who always called me Miss Kindersley, with courtly formality.

I think: what is called for now is some beauty. The weather outside is like a bowl of old porridge, so I went through my archives and pulled some pretty pictures for you. It’s the least I can do.

Here they are:

These phlox are slightly out of focus, but I love them, because they look almost like a painting:

10 Aug 2

Some evocative roses:

10 Aug 5

A purple patch:

10 Aug 9.ORF

10 Aug 10.ORF

10 Aug 11.ORF

10 Aug 12.ORF

10 Aug 13.ORF

10 Aug 14.ORF

10 Aug 15.ORF

Little ferns:

10 Aug 16.ORF-1

10 Aug 17

The tree I planted for my dad:

10 Aug 8

Something pale:

10 Aug 11.ORF-1

10 Aug 15

A little black and white:

10 Aug 16.ORF

10 Aug 18

10 Aug 19.ORF

10 Aug 19.ORF-1

10 Aug 20.ORF-1

The pure joy that is the Pigeon:

10 Aug 1

10 Aug 7

10 Aug 17-1

10 Aug 13

And a bit of hill:

10 Aug 20.ORF


  1. 'a bowl of old porridge' is exactly right. Ghastly weather. I am ill and curled up in a blanket watching Jeeves and Wooster.

    Beautiful photographs, especially the ones of the Pigeon.

  2. I don't understand the riots either...It's not very eloquent, but I'm just sort of stunned by them. They took over Manchester, my home town of ten years, last night. I was selfishly so thankfully we made our big move to the country three years ago but also so sad to see streets I know so well filled with riot police and scurrying masked looters.
    So glad CJ (the boy from Liverpool) gave you a lift yesterday, his father *was* an extraordinary man, and I know that somewhere he is smiling down with great pride that his son did something to help clean up the city he loved.
    Beautiful Pigeon - always a joy to see her smiling :)

  3. Your essay certainly had a point. My son who is here in France with me is very worried about the riots. My husband said to him not to be, Londoners have always rioted, and probably always will!
    I'm still shocked, and worried for all our dear friends stuck there.

  4. I think Tariq Jahan's eloquent speech after his death of his son and the broom cleaning up people will be people's over-riding memories of the innate goodness of the British people.

    Here's to hoping so.


  5. all the prints are lovely portraits, paintings. thank you for the beauty. my heart goes for london.


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