Saturday, 29 November 2008

John Lewis and Brushes with Past Fame

I managed to change the John Lewis food processor for a more robust Magimix by paying an extra £15. However the taxi fares in both directions have made it a rather more expensive purchase. The guarantee is very good though, three years for the parts and even more - an amazing 12 years for the motor. There is also a deal for me to apply for a free couple of extra discs and a cover, so I shall do this.

While I was in John Lewis, I had mentioned only originally buying a food processor to help with a cookery programme. The customer services assistant revealed that in her native India as a young woman, she became the voice of Mickey Mouse for many years, and had a very interesting time travelling around the country and meeting people. I suppose they dubbed the cartoons into the local language. Amazing what people have done.

I was having lunch in the lye Torng today and they were playing 'Minnie the Moocher'. I mentioned that my father-in-law had enjoyed singing this to us, when one of the locals said that he had been one of the dancers backing a singer in the 80's who sang this song, I forget the name. I think it was the mother of Sunitta. Everyone seems to have a secret past!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Club, Cake, Christmas Stamps and Closures

Lunch club today. We are going to the Wine Wharf. Unfortunately Plum can't come, so I shall miss her. However Juliet and a few others are hoping to be there.

Very tempted to make a West Indian Christmas cake called Trinidad Black Cake (recipe can be found on Trouble is, I have yet to get my broken food processor replaced by John Lewis. I shall have to maybe make the effort tomorrow or on Monday, probably my last chance to do this before the Christmas rush. I had not realised that having soaked the fruit for a while in rum, that it is food processed into a kind of mush before adding to the cake, which is why the cake always tastes so smooth, yet very fruity. And very moist with the large amount of booze in it.

I purchased the Christmas stamps yesterday: they are rather feeble this year, pantomime faces and very small stamps indeed. Suitable for the credit crunch I suppose.

More talk on the radio about Woolworths and MFI, hinting that these are just the first of many high street stores to go down. If I am deprived of my shopping habit, what is left? A terrible prospect. It's all very well to tell me to fall back on my own resources. That would make the incorrect assumption that I might have some resources to fall back on.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Disappearing Past

Woolworths and MFI to go into administration and BMI in trouble. I had just been looking at an Italian tour in the Oldie mag which involved flights by BMI. Oh dear. Woolworths is a bit of a shocker though, and where I first smelled 'Soir de Paris' and 'California Poppy' and thought they were so sophisticated, along with the make-up compacts and even Ponds Cold Cream, and Ponds Vanishing Cream, a fascinating name for a cream to me. I may have also bought a diamante 'Mum' brooch in flowing script for my poor mother on Mother's Day there. And she even wore it, perhaps not outside the front door though! I always loved Woolies as a child, and spent much of my pocket money there as a small girl. It was a treasure trove for me in the post war years.

It is like having references to one's past removed, and rather sad for that.

Today's Intentions

Today I intend to go to the post office, since one now can't buy stamps to post cards abroad, say to Australia. I used to get them from W.H. Smith but now they are only selling them at the post office, unlike most other places in Europe. I may also make another pissaladiere since I have rather taken to these. For the first time in a long while I don't yet have another stock pot in progress. I shall instead rely upon cheese on toast and so on for meals. And pissaladiere when I have made it. I also intend to have an experimental bake of the almond cake without oranges but adding a small amount of almond essence. It has occurred to me that I could make a rather fine though unorthodox version of Barbadian sweetbread. This is made like an ordinary cake using ghee instead of butter, and with masses of dessicated coconut (which I normally loathe) and industrial quantities, i.e. whole bottles for three or four loaves, of both vanilla and almond essence. This cake is totally delicious, against all expectation, and was extremely popular with my late mother. I may try doing a version with just eggs,sugar and ground almonds, adding the dessicated coconut and essences, but at a future date. I will concentrate on the plain almond version pro tem.

Last night I obtained a vast number of knitting needles on Ebay, and also from the same seller, three smart pairs of leather gloves in black, tan and green, as well as a pair of unworn Betty Barclay flatties in brown, the most dubious purchase being the knitting needles. I may attempt knitting again if the winter is long, and may offer any spare needles to a stitch and bitch group - or indeed anyone else who would find them useful.

This afternoon I shall collect some of the things which will hopefully have been altered. The rest will be ready on Friday afternoon.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Image Improving But Greedy Old Tart

Was putting on the slap this morning and again admiring the new mascara. It is called 'false lash effect' or something like that by Yves Saint Laurent. In a very nice gold tube and rather pricey at £20 but had a £2 discount at John Lewis in their 20% off sale the other day. It really does separate the lashes well and dries extremely fast.

Delivery from Ocado today included the Christmas Pandoro. And a bonus free copy of The Times which I have taking to reading recently. It is similar to the News of the World in the sixties, in that it reports lots of scandals and bizarre happenings, most enjoyable. At the moment they are reporting the case of the lawyer who wrote a 'mis memoir'called 'Ugly' and being sued by her mother. Extraordinary.

I shall now stagger off and have a cappucino and croissant or two at the Elephant & Castle. Nice to have a week off, but the dreaded cleaner is coming on Thursday so I will have to find somewhere else to go for the day.

Have purchased some new mineral face powder. When I arrived home, two purchases from Ebay had arrived: some very excellent liquorice fudge (must hide it from myself or better, give it away to a liquorice lover), and a light blonde synthetic hair scrunchie, which I am happily wearing as it boosts the ancient thinning hair a bit. I was tempted to get some talons in the nail salon, but womanfully resisted.

I also wrote my first ex, who pongs a bit, a card enclosing some money as he threatens to visit his poor old mother in her rather smart nursing home. I have taken the plunge and advised him to spend the cash on a new outfit for the occasion. I am rather afraid that otherwise he may be turned away at the door, which would be a pity, or at least offend her sense of smell. We shall see. I feel a bit of a heel handing out this advice, but needs must, ends justify means, etc. etc.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Cold Weather

I have been thinking about Darius, the artist. Friends tell me I should not feel guilty, but it is hard, as we were all totally so unaware, and our lives were carrying on as normal upstairs for a week after his death. I have just discovered he was 53, born in Abadan, Iran and had a website about his work and gallery. Discussed it with Dorothy and Julian last night. Apparently the shop had to be broken into for some reason.

There was some enthusiasm for some of my less wise Ebay purchases, i.e. furs, which Julian bore away with glee in a large bag, and also found a pair of suitable gloves from my growing collection. Useful now the weather has become colder and leaves a bit more space in the house. Dorothy has managed to get my Spanish snaps into my computer, so I am tidying these up now.We were discussing Christmas and have opted for our usual very quiet celebration here. We shall have pheasant as usual, but will replace Christmas cake with the new boiled orange cake. Julian will help me find a tree, perhaps in Borough Market, and the other essential is some Pandoro, much preferred by us to the generally more popular Pannettone. I suspect some marrons glace will be required, too.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

A Sad Story

Madeleine has been and we had a long discussion about wedding wear. What she needs to find is a black or purple shrug to wear with her lovely new dress. If nothing else, a pashmina might do, though a shrug would be better.

A rather depressing call from Dorothy which confirmed my suspicions that the artist renting a shop below my office had died. Not sure how. It seems he died about a week ago, and his body was found in the basement.

On my last day in the office last week the guys renting the place next door were concerned because, unusually he had not been seen for a week. I had also missed him. Unfortunately no key was to hand so no one was able to look inside his shop. When leaving late that day, I started wondering again about him. All his work was still there so he had intended to return. I looked through the letterbox and all looked normal. I stopped to talk with the guys renting next door, who said they were worried about him, art classes had not been cancelled, people kept turning up to see him, so I said they should contact the keyholder early the following morning, or perhaps the police could open up. I kept telling myself that I was being melodramatic and imagining things. Unfortunately not. It just seems so awful that something like this could happen and for us all to be so completely unaware.

We had often passed the time of day with him and Romy had bought several of his cards and works. He will certainly be missed by everyone around.

Flights of Fancy (Maybe...)

The strange cat is back. Romy suggested locking the cat flap door at night but I keep forgetting. This morning Malvolio and I were coming upstairs and we heard something running through the catflap. It came from upstairs so I suspect is sleeping in the sitting room, where there was a dent in the cushion on the sofa.

Today I shall be wearing purple, getting into the wedding spirit and attempting to nudge myself into feeling regal and superior. Found some rather jolly purple long socks, too. I shall look for my purple, gold and green handmade chandelier earrings, which are quite imposing. I must remember to bake some bread later. Must also find some more ground almonds and eggs. I shall attempt to make the orange cake without oranges, to serve with whipped cream and raspberries, an idea Romy gave me.

The Alzheimer's thought has cheered me into thinking I shall be able to wear totally eccentric things like some mad old bat: purple dresses with puce and green silk scarves, hats with nets, fascinators during the daytime, inappropriate piles of make-up, scarlet lipstick on a white face with that really messy mascara on little pink, piggy eyes. I shan't care as the dim public laugh at me or feel sorry for me, I shall be smug and superior in my complete disregard of their reactions. Whey hey!

I always did like 'dressing up' as a child. I shall now return to this in an attempt to brighten the dull London streets, in these dark, penniless days.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have been far too busy on Ebay, but have acquired lots of rather jolly cheap clothes.

Bear was telling me that his father-in-law has lost 75% of his money with the credit crunch, as his companies have gone down, so the money won't come back. Bear, on the other hand is very busy with lots of decorating jobs in leafy Surrey, no doubt engendered by people unable to sell their properties who have decided to stay put and improve their houses.

I missed the lunch club again today waiting for a rearranged delivery from Royal Mail which, of course, did not arrive at all. They are utterly hopeless. And I am very pissed off, as I was looking forward to seeing Plum.

Madeleine also has the big decision to make about wedding wear. She may come over at the weekend and we can chat about things. It seems we are both veering towards purple, so consultation may be a good idea. I have to collect two lots of clothes being altered at Elephant & Castle. The poor Columbian girl who runs the place has been working alone as her helper has skived off, so everything is a bit behind. I notice her prices have become very inflated too. I may have to do my own alterations in the future.

I really sometimes think I fill my entire life with all this nonsense because I live on my own. Maybe I have Alzheimer's and keep shopping because I keep forgetting how much shopping I have already done. The house is certainly getting rather full of stuff. Had my hair done yesterday, so the colour looks good for Christmas. I read an article about Alzheimer's the other day. It seems that it upsets the relatives much more than the victims, and if the 'sufferers' keep active and doing things, they do not deteriorate so fast and have a strong sense of wellbeing. On the other hand the relatives, who are presumably more aware of what is going on become very unhappy indeed. Maybe that is why I am not seeing so much of Dorothy and Julian. We shall see. Though poor old Dorothy has been ridiculously busy of late.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Enjoyable Luncheon

Sunday morning. Well, everything was done in time, but both friends ate like birds so I could feed an army today. I don't think it was my cooking, but given that one of them weighs 7st and the other, though much taller, 8st, I suppose this was inevitable. The Hindle Wakes, though a disaster last night, tasted fine, but is a pain to make. It did not look right as I had to totally debone it, place it on top of some of the surviving stuffing, then cover it with the lemon sauce and garnish with lemon, parsley and prunes. If I ever did make anything like it again, I would stuff the chicken with damsons mixed with a small amount of beetroot for the purply effect inside, then roast it and let it go cold before covering with the sauce. At least it would look better. Anyway.....

I now have a huge vase of birds of paradise flowers purchased by Roxy in Brixton which look extremely imposing on my table. I may take some snaps of these.

The orange cake, made by boiling two large oranges for two hours then depipping and putting in a food processor, or in my case Bamixing, then mixed with six beaten eggs, 250g sugar and 250g ground almonds before cooking at 170 for one to one and a half hours, then cooling in the tin, was absolutely fabulous, and seems pretty foolproof. Very moist and delicious. I shall definitely make this again, and try and find some other cake recipes which use ground almonds instead of flour. I think a coffee or choc cake might be good.

Have continued Ebaying, though I suspect my clothes alteration bills may be a bit high as most things need shortening to my dwarf-like proportions. I think most 17st people are fairly tall.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Hindle Wakes Disaster

Met Plum and Else at the Mudlark. Romy turned up eventually having disposed of her charges. Unfortunately Romy and I both made an awful lunch choice which turned out to be a pickle sandwich with a small amount of something like mayonnaise smeared on it. Plum sent them back to the kitchen, and they then produced a similar sandwich with more of the mayonnaise substance on it. These were described as 'Welsh rarebit sandwiches with cheddar cheese.' It was awful muck and bore no similarity to cheddar. Plum and I had a coffee at the Monmouth after I had purchased some Agen prunes in Borough Market.

Seems that Sam will drop me off at the wedding venue after the Turkey and Tinsel break in Eastbourne, so Turkey and Tinsel it will be.I am still agonising about what to wear and have gone back in time to the forties in an attempt to find something. So far I have acquired a rather boring black suit which needs the hem and sleeves altering, a black jacquard coat with a black velvet collar, several pairs of black and navy shoes, several hats and fascinators. I obtained a rather good plain navy coat as well, which will be handy anyway this winter. I had been looking for a navy coat for some time. I have also bought a cheap navy suit which may be useless, we shall see. I am getting rather carried away on the hat front, and shall probably buy a few cheap vintage hats. So far I have a rather glamorous wide-brimmed black mink, a dark blue velvet with grey faux fur brim, a flowerpot design in bright blue, and I am toying with a deeper flowerpot design which is quite ornate.

My Hindle Wakes appears to be a total disaster in that it has totally collapsed in the pan and the stuffing escaped. I think it should have been wrapped tightly in muslin before cooking. I will see if it is at all rescueable in the morning. But the pissaladiere is fine, and the orange cake looks and smells good.I shall make some more bread tomorrow, purchase the salads and ice cream and try and tidy the house up, which despite being cleaned yesterday has become a kind of hell-hole, particularly on the kitchen front, the floor being stained and greasy, sink full of dishes, and mess all over the place.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Another Breakdown and Entering

Sod's law: my john lewis food processor broke down. My suspicions about the design were realised. I had only used it about half a dozen times and it sprung apart in the middle of pureeing some cooked peas. I had a long and heated discussion with John Lewis who refused to come and collect it, so I will have to cab it in there and no doubt have another long and heated discussion while they try to palm another of their rubbishy food processors off on to me. I suppose if that is also guaranteed for a year it won't matter.

I have decided to add Hindle Wakes, which I have always fancied cooking, to Saturday's menu. It is basically a cold chicken stuffed with prunes. Then covered with a hard kind of sauce made with lemons which is spread all over the chicken. Apparently it looks quite dramatic and is a very old recipe.

Tomorrow will be cooking day, preceded by a visit to the people to get some clothes alterations made and shopping, then lunch with the Lunch Club in Borough. The lilies I bought over a week ago from Ocado to put in my sitting room are lasting very well indeed but have a rather overpowering scent.

The evening meeting due to take place last night at work was cancelled at the last minute. I had masses of good marks sandwiches, cakes, soft drinks, snacks, olives and a huge bowl of fruit. Julian suggested I tried to find a homeless shelter, and I found a place called Manna just around the corner from the office, and took them there. The people there were very pleased.

On Monday we are due to go with the punters to Polhill Garden Centre, which should be good.

I seem to be providing lodgings for another cat. Went to the loo in the middle of the night to see a furry black and white stranger scarpering from my sitting room. This also happened a few nights ago. Poor Malvolio is most put out.

Much Ebay purchasing. We shall see if it all arrives. The post office does not have a great record in this area.

My cleaner, not content with breaking my silver teapot, left the back door wide open today. Strange. I wonder if she is sick of working here.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Things To Do

Today, I have to ring a woman called Caroline Zoob. I ordered a hand embroidered lavender cushion to be sent to a nursing home in September and have just discovered it never arrived. I emailed, and today received an email from Caroline saying that she had back surgery in August and September 'just disappeared'. She has offered to send a better cushion, having run out of the original ones, by Special Delivery if I ring her mobile and confirm today as she is on her way to some home decoration exhibition.

I must also ring the vet to confirm delivery of a couple of trays of diabetic catfood for Malvolio, then remain in the flat until they arrive. Must also await the post.

Had a long chat with Dorothy last night who was playing with the wedding website and ordering a present. I ordered some cutlery from Macy's, dull but useful, and what they want.

Romy is off today with the punters. I do hope the weather perks up a bit over the next few days. At least the place they are staying in has plenty of indoor facilities and entertainment in the evening. Also, I believe, they will be going on a couple of outings if the weather permits, which should be enjoyable.

On Saturday, the vixens are coming around for a very late lunch. I shall do a green pea soup to warm them up, followed by cold bits and pieces and salad. I shall make another pissaladiere which was a great success on bonfire night, but this time with some black olives which will brighten it up. I shall cook this on Friday morning, as it is always better the next day. For pudding, I shall do some lemon possets and also provide ice cream with the wonderful PX poured generously over. Or I may do a PX trifle. We shall see. Must get some champagne, though I have plenty of red wine to follow this.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Film and Freezer

I went to 'Of Time and the City' which was very good indeed. Amazed to see Terence Davies, who did not remember me but was very taken with my Jo Malone 'Red Roses' scent and said he would immediately purchase a bottle. Afterwards reflected that I had only met him a dozen times or so, and he was a friend of friends of mine, after all.

What made this latest film so good for me is that it was so personal and dealt with change, memories and ageing. Terence's commentary was brilliant and rather caustic when dealing with religion, royalty and the Beatles.

Arrived home quite tired and listened to the many firework displays which went on all evening. Then my freezer decided to become difficult and ice up, so I have had to take everything out and leave it to defrost overnight. This means I will have to eat all the crayfish today, cook the pheasant, and cook, puree and refreeze the sprouts and the peas. I threw the salmon away as it had been in there rather a long time, and the ice cream. I had better stock up with some more pheasants, and at least there will be room for stuff in the freezer now. Though it won't be such a leisurely Sunday with all that cooking.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Day Off

I have continued purchasing from Ebay and two good pairs of shoes arrived today.

We met for lunch at the Castle Tandoori where the buffet was quite good. Three of us, including Plum, enjoyed lunch and a very long chat. Afterwards I popped in to Sensational, where Romy had mislaid a belt. The owners returned this to me and I met Romy at the Lye Torng after work, where we discussed final arrangements for next week's turkey and tinsel break, and drank a glass of cava.

Next week the lunch club will meet at the Mudlark which is somewhere near London Bridge. We must find somewhere for the Christmas lunch club as we may need to book.

Thursday, 6 November 2008


Took my quails eggs and pissaladiere to Jackie's excellent fireworks roof party. The plants have matured well and the roof terrace was looking very good. Lots of people, including Plum, her husband and the plumlets, Nomad, Jo and many others but we missed Boss St. Bloke. Anyway a good time was had by all to the extent that some of us stayed rather too late.

Back to work again today. Romy is taking the punters away for a week, then the following Monday it's Christmas shopping day at Polehill etc. etc. until Christmas.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

First Black American President

I woke up to the excitement from the radio that Barack Obama has won the battle for the presidency of the USA. Interviewees were very excited and reportedly black people were holding up photographs of their dead parents in the public festivities, so they could 'witness' the victory of the first black president of America. The result does seem quite momentous. However Obama is not due to take up office until January and one does worry about his security, given some of the extremist views in America. Hopefully, all will be well.

With all the financial problems in the world, he does not face an easy task. At least there is quite a bit of a post-election elation around. But how difficult the race question is - seemingly hundreds of black people have been emailing and ringing BBC TV this morning saying Obama wasn't black because of his white mother, then interviewees saying that if he calls himself black, that is fine. I suppose it is rather like both the whites and the Indians were prejudiced against Anglo-Indians in the past. But generally this election gives hope to many black people wherever they live in the world and hopefully Obama will be a fine example to young black people even in this country.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Waiting and more Waiting and Shopping and Cooking..

I suppose I should be grateful that the mac did not arrive, but waiting in all day and evening for it (deliveries are until 7pm) is very irritating. I have sent the delivery company an email telling them to either deliver before 8.30 or leave with neighbours as I can't keep taking days off and hanging around in the house all day. Even so, I shall stay in until about 3pm today, as I have recently spent so much time on Ebay ordering retro bags and shoes which I am now waiting to receive. I have bought: two pairs of burgundy fifties shoes, a pair of seventies pink ones with some clips which change their look, a pair of bright red seventies ones, a burgundy kelly bag, an odd looking black bag with a large crocodile on it and a rather boring looking blue dress. I suppose if I am a shopping addict, at least it is a rather cheap way of shopping.

I shall today make a pissaladiere to take to the fireworks tomorrow night, along with some hard boiled quails eggs for the children and a bottle of wine. The stockpot was excellent last night after the addition of some celery salt.

Another Bag, Stockpot, and Ghastly Mac

Another handbag arrived today. This time it was a Jane Shilton navy leather kelly bag, rather larger than the last bag. Excellent.

I have just put on yet another stockpot. This one consists of two pre-fried onions and some lamb neck chunks, then 1pt lamb stock, followed by three chopped sweet potatoes, lots of smallish carrots, about half a kilo of 'tourist' sausages chopped, one dried hot pepper from the new string brought back from Spain, two bayleaves from the garden, three cloves of garlic, a few sliced mushrooms, a couple of litres of water, a large bunch of chopped parsley and a sprig of rosemary from the garden, a teaspoon of sugar, one of those new chicken concentrated stock things advertised by Marco on the telly, a glass of red wine, I shall probably also add some smoked paprika and later, a whole sliced cabbage, etc., etc. It is now simmering happily away in the kitchen in the preserving pan, and smells quite nice. I may put in a can of tomatoes at some stage, but it smells quite good without at the moment.

I am waiting in for delivery of a mac, this time with a rather lurid furry leopard lining, which has had appalling reviews in QVC which I saw after I bought it. That wretchedly annoying Dennis Basso, with the vile voice, and horribly oily manner, holds a bizarre fascination, and I become mesmerised until he could probably sell me a used box of matches for £100. Must stop watching. What I really want is that impossible thing: a very plain navy mac with traditional raglan sleeves and thin lining, not available in a size 30 or 32. I would be happy with a fake navy drizabone from a game fair, but do not go to these any more. They used to do them in vast sizes, usually described as 'medium' and they were very fine, so unbulky. Ideal. My sister had one when she lived in the borders in a browny colour and she offered this to me. Should have taken it.

Wedding and Retro Stuff

Have been trying to persuade Dorothy to attend a large family wedding. However, it is on a Monday, and the loss of several hundred pounds is an important consideration. Perhaps Julian will come with me. I am still trying to decide what to wear, what to give, etc. etc. It is in the country which is tricky without a car, but I could book a train in advance and maybe a local taxi.

I have gone a bit retro and started purchasing fifties bags and shoes. Pity I am so enormous or I would also be buying fifties tweed suits and clothes. In my old age I am becoming sentimental about old times. Mind you, the fifties snakeskin Mappin and Webb bag which has arrived is absolutely tiny in comparison with modern bags, so not desperately practical, though, to my eyes, rather chic.

NHS Let-Down

Bad news about my friend. We had assumed that if chemo was agreed, she would be starting almost immediately. However when she spoke to them they said they were first going to refer her to the oncologists, which would take three weeks before an appointment was made in the outpatient clinic. Then goodness how long before any treatment. Since she thinks she is living on borrowed time she was somewhat stunned by this. I suggested she either present herself at the Royal Marsden or ring a specialist registrar at Tommy's since I have never heard of such a delay in someone who has been told she has serious disease. All this after waiting ten days for a scan result. Heads should roll. Everyone else I know with cancer seems to get immediate treatment, and while this is going on, immediate access to the hospital department treating them. All this despite her father being a doctor and the fact that she has worked most of her life for the NHS, which now seems to be letting her down badly.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Sorriso and La Cage

Things are looking up a bit. We had a good SE1 lunch at Sorriso,though the service was rather leisurely, and Romy turned up with the draft of the newsletter. Later, Romy managed to join me at Sensational, and purchased a couple of rather super outfits. I dashed back home and changed before setting off to the Playhouse theatre to see La Cage aux Folles, which we had missed when it was on at the Menier Chocolate Factory. It was a real treat. Amazingly Douglas Hodge, a very large butch looking actor, played Albin. I had last seen him in The Revenger's Tragedy at the National. A bit of a contrast. Actually this is not true, I mixed him up with Rory Kinnear who he slightly resembles. Anyway, the whole musical was very good indeed with some hilarious dancers and everybody came out of the theatre smiling and chatting to each other. "just what we needed after all the financial gloom and doom" one guy said to me. I had to agree.

No taxis available so came home on the tube with a lot of drunk people dressed as hospital casualties with 'wounds' and bandages. Thought it must be a stag night and then realised it was Hallowe'en. At Elephant, a circle of teenagers were sitting cross-legged on the ground, passing a bottle around. They were all dressed as ghouls of one kind or another with whited faces, blacked eyes and punked up hair.