Thursday, July 28, 2005

nearly time to relax

I'm feeling tired and very ready for a holiday. Which is handy since I'm going away for a couple of weeks on Saturday.

I'm planning to take some knitting (Clapotis in Hipknits Jolly), some books (Harry Potter 6 and The Big Over Easy) and my lomo. It'll be quiet here for a while, but hopefully I'll come back refreshed and full of ideas.

But first I've got half a day at work and a slightly scary thing to do.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Bulgaria in black and white

bulgarian pigeon
bulgarian pigeon
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Some pictures of Bulgaria are up too.

new pics

car mirror

car mirror
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

There are new pics of London on my flickr photostream. Pictures from Scotland, Bulgaria and Chester will be up later this week.

I'm a girl, honest!

Finding myself described elsewhere as 'he' makes think I should write something really girly. So...

On Saturday I went shopping with my mum, to our favourite shoe shops near Baker Street. It's always wonderful to be able to walk into a shoe shop and know that you can try on all the shoes in the shop, not just the 2 pairs they might occasionally have in your size. I ended up buying some sandals and some splendiferous shiny silver shoes. Then we went to LTS where I bought the most gorgeous mint green and silver coat, which matches the shoes beautifully. Now I just have to find an occasion to wear them. :-)

Don't worry Catez, I'm not offended, just amused!

Friday, July 22, 2005

nee naw nee naw all day long

Ambulances, police cars and fire engines are howling up and down the road outside work. Is this because something's going on or because there's an ambulance station and a fire station very nearby?

I'm tired and a little jumpy and quite ready to go home.

Nee naw nee naw

The house over the road with the squatters in caught fire last night.

My mum was out, my sisters and I were watching a film (Big Fish, I quite liked it, didn't get to see the end though.) About 10.30, my mum came through the door shouting "The house over the road is on fire!" We went outside and could see flames in the hall and clouds of black smoke billowing out of the back. Then it all got a bit hectic. I called the fire brigade, but someone had already done that and they were on their way. About a minute after I called, they whooshed into our road, lights flashing, siren wailing. I ran over the road to move my car out of the way. My hands were shaking so I could hardly get the key in the ignition.

A small crowd gathered to watch as the firemen ran around with hoses, broke through the front door and doused the flames. Eventually the police turned up and cleared people away. We stood in our front garden and as they cordoned the road off with police tape, found ourselves stuck in the middle of it. Very exciting! My car was also taped off in a section of the road on its own. It was all pretty dramatic. We counted the emergency vehicles as they arrived and I think there were 4 fire engines, 2 police cars, at least 1 ambulance, 2 other white vans, I think one at least was police and a fire investigation unit car.

There was no-one in the house at the time. One guy who was living there told the firemen he'd gone out to get chips, leaving his friend in the house. When he got back the house was well ablaze. He was worried his friend was still inside, but he or she had scarpered. He disappeared too after a while. It's never been quite clear who owns the house or whether anyone is legitimately renting it. According to the police and firemen, the fire was probably started by a candle. There were many candles in the house as well as "more needles than a hospital". The only valuable thing inside seems to have been a mountain bike.

There was no point in us trying to go to sleep with all the noise from the fire engine, so we hung around and watched and then made the fire team mugs of tea. We got asked lots of questions, but I'm not sure how helpful our answers were. It's shocking how little you notice about people, even when they're right under your nose.

Eventually, the fire engines went away and just a few policemen were left. I was dimly aware of them banging things and making the house secure as I tried to get to sleep. It was a dramatic evening, and drama on your doorstep tends to eclipse drame elsewhere, so I think I will remember 21 July more for the fire over the road than for the explosions on the tube.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

now what?

There are reports of minor explosions (detonators without explosives) on the tube. No-one killed it seems, reports of smoke, people being evacuated and various lines are suspended (Nothern, Victoria and Hammersmith & City).

Also an incident on a bus in East London.

I wonder what's going on. All I know is what I can glean from the internet.

Hat tip to Reynolds.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

pig tales

It occurred to me (after reading a comment on Intellectuelle) that being the Pig wot flies might need a little explanation. I'll try!

It began as a small child, when I was quite taken by the idea of having a flying pig service, like a taxi service. You'd whistle one up and they'd take you wherever you wanted to go for a few potatoes, or other root vegetables. I've no idea where the idea came from.

Then, as a teenager, a flying pig became my symbol, a sort of mark of identity, a trademark. I still put it on the backs of letters or a marker on things I might lose. My parents were kind enough to let me paint a mural of flying pigs on the dining room wall, which is still there, more than 10 years later. The Empress of Blandings probably feeds into the idea of pig too, being a highly superior sow, unwinged, but often known to disappear mysteriously.

I became Pig wot flies as an online identity elsewhere because there were other people calling themselves flying pig already. So when I started a blog, what else could I call it?

I like being a flying pig. The idea of something so ungainly and heavy getting off the ground with a huge pair of elegant wings is amusing and whimsical. There are many possible metaphors - flying with books in the land of escapism and fantasy, flying with the wings God gives us in ways that are impossible without Him, landing with all four feet by the feeding trough and getting stuck in. Possibly it's a little twee and perhaps something more serious might be more appropriate, but right now, it feels just right.

we like the moon

Ooh look, Google moon! (Try zooming in really close)

And also this. (Needs sound to be fully appreciated. And possibly a surreal sense of humour. And I don't necessarily recommend the rest of the site. But I did quote this in my Masters dissertation!)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

fun in chester

I spent the weekend having fun in Chester with the lovely HP (not my sister, the other one) and her beloved, NL, (who doesn't have a blog, but should. Although he does spends lots of time commenting on other people's. Not mine though. Pah!)

We went to Chester Zoo and saw elephants and baby elephants and penguins and coatis and marmots and meerkats rhinos and zebras and lots of ungulates and lions and tigers, but no spectacled bears (they were hiding) and all sorts of other beautiful things. There will be photos eventually. (I keep saying this. I have a pile of films I need to get developed. Patience!)

Chester is a gorgeous place, lots of white-timbered buildings and old cobbled streets and Roman remains and walls all the way round the oldest bits (which we walked). It was a lovely break from work and it was good to spend time nattering and catching up on each other's lives.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

one week on

Life is as normal and it's not.

I went outside to stand in the street for the 2 minutes silence, as did many of the other staff here. Someone commented she'd never seen such a response before. The chaplaincy centre was full.

We stood there in silence for our different reasons; to show defiance, to grieve, to stand together, to remember, to pray for London. Then, as people glanced at their watches, we dispersed again.

I don't yet know what the long term consequences will be, but I pray that God uses this for good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

matchy matchy

As I walked through the square by the library on my way to work, there were hoards of teenagers with matching backpacks standing around. Really properly matching ones. Red ones there, orange ones in another group, beige ones somewhere else. I suppose they're here for a summer school or something.

Thought: It seems US military personnel based in the UK have been told to stay outside the M25. Does that mean those of us who live, work, go to school, get on with our lives inside the M25 are harder than the US Air Force? :-)

UPDATE: Apparently the US authorities have changed their minds. It was "a temporary measure that has been reviewed." So, that's OK then.

Monday, July 11, 2005

back to work

It's Monday morning, I'm back at work as normal. The only sign things aren't as usual is the fact that I had to use my ID card to get into the building rather than just wander in. There are a few more police around than usual. As I left the tube station, I saw a woman with a large cardboard box sealed up with parcel tape trying to convince two policemen that this was not a suspicious package, but she'd rather they didn't shake it because the contents were delicate. It seemed a fairly good-humoured exchange.

In other news. It's my mum's birthday today. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Suddenly everything's different. I'm in brighton for the day (at the New Frontiers conference) and left London early this morning. It was 11 by the time I heard what had happened and then information was filtering through in patches. I was slightly shaken by hearing the list of tube stations bombed. I travelled through most of them this morning or last night.

This morning we prayed for London and then we praised God. Blessed be your name never felt so appropriate. I've just come out of a session where CJ Mahaney preached on Habakkuk. I can't string a coherent sentence together, so Habakkuk will have to say it.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3v17-19

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

woo hoo!

Giant Kelly
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
The giant Kelly Holmes by Stratford station has something to celebrate! The 2012 Olympics are coming to my manor (as David Beckham would say).

That's very exciting, even for a non-sports fan like me.

See, we don't always lose things.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

luddite vs techie

One of my jobs at this meeting is to run around taking photos of everything for the website. This means I'm carrying around my lomo and a little Sony digi camera and taking pictures on both.

I'm not really a fan of digital cameras. Partly because I like the waiting involved in ordinary film. You never quite know what's going to appear when the film is developed. Will the amazing shot you planned turn out right? Will something you thought wouldn't work surprise you? Digi cameras take away the wait by making your picture available immediately. I also find digital too...not sure what the word is. Flat? Quasi-realistic? I think that's it. Unsubtle, definitely.

Then again, perhaps the cameras I've played with have been too simplistic, too much like the snapshot cameras I've had that I never got good results with. And I'm taking pictures for work, not the pictures I'd take. I hardly ever take snaps of groups of people, I'd rather find interesting details, catch people unawares or just ignore people all together and find still lives.

I like my lomo. It's got enough settings to fiddle with to make things interesting, but it's not so complicated I'm scared of it. I think I was taking lomo-style pictures before I'd even heard of them, but with snapshot cameras that didn't really suit that sort of thing. Perhaps one day I'll want something more serious, but right now, this suits me.

sunset over Durham

sunset over Durham 2
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
I'm in Durham for a work meeting. Mostly involves me uploading presentations to the web.
Fortunately there's wireless internet in the conference room.

Last night, the sunset was absolutely beautiful. So here is a picture of it.

Friday, July 01, 2005


We're getting a new computer network at home, and getting rid of an old hard drive or two. (not sure, there seem to be computers coming or going in every room at the moment) In salvaging emails, my dad found a bunch I thought were lost forever. When I was at Oxford I went through a stage of writing poems and sending them to all and sundry. This caused some interesting interactions between my school friends and university friends, some of it questioning my sanity, some appreciating the um, quirky, poems.

Looking back at the things I wrote, most of them are pretty silly, but there are a few I like. (One of them took on a life of its own: I discovered it on someone's page of their favourite poems. No idea how it got there.) Here is one of the better ones. (I hope)


A perfect slab of words
Newly cut from the printer's block
Layers of pastry pages
Crammed with words
Succulent as raisins,
Spiced with commas and full stops

Half read and half digested
Front cover curls forward invitingly
Spine splays the early pages
The rest so far untasted
Waits to be devoured

Dog-eared and well thumbed
Tasted by many
Stale puff pastry
Succumbs to mould
As word-ants crawl among the crumbs.

Sofia airport

It is ridiculously early in the morning, even earlier by British time. It was dark when I got up, now it’s sunrise. The mountains in the distance are beautiful with a pinky orange sunset behind them. I’m at the airport waiting for my flight to be called. Right now I just want to go home and sleep, but it’ll be several hours before I can.

Last night I got very lost and very wet. I’d been feeling sleepy so decided to spend the afternoon snoozing and reading in my room and join the others in the centre of Sofia in the evening to find some dinner. I got a bus townwards about 6pm, which was my first mistake. I’d been told any bus would do to get into the centre, so I got on a random bus and planned to get off as soon as I saw something I recognised. I never did. After a while, I realised the bus was heading out of town again, so I quickly got off and begin to walk in what I thought might be the right direction. Then it began to rain. And there was rain and thunder and lightning and more rain. I huddled under trees, I stepped over building sites, crossed busy roads and got wetter and wetter and more and more lost. It was getting towards the time I was supposed to be meeting people, so I found a taxi and attempted to get the driver to understand where I wanted to go. He didn’t understand me, I didn’t understand his suggestions and in the end all I could get him to do was take me back to the hotel. (Not my hotel, too small and obscure, but the one where everyone else was staying). So I left a message, hoped everyone else wasn’t too worried about me and squelched back to my hotel. When I got there, I was dripping wet and cold and tired and all I wanted to do was get on the first plane home. So I rang home, had a shower and went to bed. I slept pretty badly, so I’m still tired, but at least I’m on my way home.

Bulgaria has been interesting. The meeting side of things has been useful and my colleagues are friendly, but I’ve proved to myself again that I don’t like travelling alone. It’s odd, I’m perfectly confident on my own patch. I’ve walked through London at all hours of the night and never turned a hair, but put me somewhere where I don’t speak the language, don’t know the roads and I panic. Next time I travel somewhere for work I’ll think carefully about where I stay and find better maps first. And learn more words than Dah (Yes), Ne (No) and Dobre (OK, good, fine).