Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The silent sounds of London

Each time I'm leaving for a small journey around Europe, I normally take into account some things that have by now become accepted truths: the first one is that I will always leave home as somebody who's running away from it. I'll normally postpone getting the luggage ready till the last possible millisecond and leave home at the last minute, giving me an overall aura of a pinkish hair runaway madwoman.
The second truth is that in the moment I land I'll be temporarily deaf. My ears pressure has always behaved like an anarchist and after a bad infection some years ago (note to readers: if your ear ever starts bleeding after a flight, don't believe the A&E doctor telling you to take an aspirin and go to sleep, ok? You'd have to be highly dysfunctional, stupid or both to believe him) alongside the pain my hearing capabilities drops badly.
The feeling is the one you get when your ears are full of water but there is no sound whatsoever. I see people opening and closing their mouths but I hear nothing. Hearing eventually comes back, slowly and gradually and the day after I'm as good as new.

To say I freaked out the first time it happened is an understatement, but now I got used to it and I somehow appreciate it. First of all it's a good excuse to play dumb if situation arises. And, it allows me a whole different look on what's around me and strips me of some of my habits, like having the iPod constantly on. I've grown up listening to music in every song moment of my life: I listen to music first thing in the morning, sing along some of my favourites at work and one of my he last thing before turning the lights off at night is to close the turntable. By if I can't hear it makes no sense to try and listen to music at inhuman high volume. So no music for me today, in my ears at least. Because walking in central London, I could see all the sounds and noises of the city: the different accents English is spoken here, the screeching of the tube vagons on the tracks, the service announcements over intercom, the gulls calling each other and the Thames water that hits the pillar of the bridges, the Caribbean duo playing near Waterloo and the busker at Green Park.

I walked around while my brain was singing to the Clash, switching to Billy Bragg around Charing Cross, the music plays in shuffle mode, from the Pogues to Nick Lowe, from R.E.M. to Césaria Evora, till the sun set down and Ella accompanied me home. Well, to the bed and breakfast...

Sunday, 8 February 2015

staring at the oil bottle

As I already wrote, last Friday I woke up with a huge stye in my eye. I went to the eye-doctor and then to the pharmacy to get some medicines.
When I told some of my friends, I was surprised by how many (almost all!) of them replied advising me to stare at a bottle of oil.


A bottle of oil. Everybody knows it, apparently. Well, everybody but me. I'm apparently very ignorant of any notion of popular remedy.
But as the stye is still happily squatting my eyes, I thought I could give it a try and immediately faced some issues.

First of all, I bet none of my ancestors stared into a bottle of oil with a plastic cap: you can't really take a good look at the oil from it; plus, this "bottle of oil" sounds too generic to me: olive oil? corn oil? Quick search on Google and I learned it's extra-virgin olive oil bottle I need. And so I stared at it, thinking I've however done much stupider things and making a mental note to add olive oil to the grocery list for the week.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Friday night multitasking

The eye doctor said that snow might have something to do with my stye: dirt gets easier into your eyes by means of snow or rain, he said.
He might be right, I don't know. What I know is that I got a stye the size of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Architecturally a great achievement, esthetically however what's the point of it? I scare myself well enough each time I stare into the mirror in the morning, without extra help.

Instead of calling in sick, I decided to work anyway and stare at different displays with different resolution all day long. Why? Because I'm an idiot, that's why.
So tonight I was pretty much knackered to do anything. Not that I had really big plans anyway.

But hey! Six Nations was starting tonight and it was on free tv!
So I set myself to watch the first match of the tournament, but immediately realized there were some problems with it. First of all, the Italian commentary grates on my nerves after about 1 milliseconds.
Second, I just found out that there are several audiobooks on Spotify and I had started listening to "Pride and Prejudice" while having dinner. Third, I felt my world would be very unbalanced unless I started knitting a new pair of socks.
How could I possibly solve the dilemma I was in?
I poured myself an extra glass of tea and wondered how come my tea tasted so much like whisky (it was my 2nd cup you know...) and then applied my best multitasking skills

That's how I found myself muting the tv, watching Wales loosing to England while casting on a new pair of socks that will probably be ready for next winter and listening to the account of the Netherfield ball.
All done in Cyclops mode.