Get to (Art) Work

Call me stereotypical, but grace, poise and agility are not words I would normally associate with scaffolding or scaffolders. 

Those cumbersome structures, that all too often invade every inch of pavement available, are more a hinderance than a work of art. Or so I thought.

For the past week, I’ve watched – with growing interest – an intricate scaffolding frame take shape around a decrepit old building (opposite the bus stop I wait at) to enable its much needed restoration. This metal cage is not particularly attractive, but the speed at which the structure evolved was nothing less than impressive.

Like tiny marbles in a real life game of kerplunk, the agile builders manoeuvre themselves and the cylindrical pieces, high in the air, spinning them like a drummer does his well-used drum sticks. Take away the building and you’re essentially left with a 3d M.C Escher.

But what caught my eye this morning, was the way in which one of the builders chose to ascend the structure not via the makeshift stairs, but arrive at the top (albeit, rather irresponsibly) with the speed and skill of a parkour pro. Gliding between each level with the weightlessness of an expert gymnast and elegance of a gazelle, he not only impressed us bystanders, but received a round of applause from his more safety conscious colleagues.

I’m in no way condoning his actions, but if there’s any way his scaffolder buddies could install a safety net, I’d be up for a daily front row seat at this very entertaining piece of performance art.


Eating lunch on the edge is so last century        


Run Commuter Run!

As a child, I would relish the thought of my dad arriving home from work; you would often see me peering through the net curtains, waiting to catch a glimpse of him as he turned the corner on his final stretch home. Upon seeing my dad, I would rush out of the front door and sprint down the road, racing to meet him.

As a 30-year-old woman, I’ve just about grown out of that habit (although I would happily greet my fiancé in this fashion, had we not purchased a first-floor flat…steps pose a problem if one desires a speedy exit). So what I witnessed on my journey home this evening, brought more than a smile to my face.

A young lady departed the bus – suitcase in tow – with no particular ‘spring’ in her step. We drove off and I thought nothing more of it. However, as the bus crept along in the early evening traffic, I suddenly saw a figure flash past the window. It was the young woman, running at lightening speed – suitcase now moving dangerously independently from her body – and at a pace Usain Bolt would be proud of. Wearing the biggest smile I have ever seen, she looked nothing less than elated!

I wasn’t quite in a position to see who or where she was running to; perhaps into the arms of her lover (yes, as seen in the movies), or perhaps she wanted to get home in time for The One Show? But I’d like to think her young daughter was running towards her, as I did all those years’ ago, and she simply couldn’t wait to spin her round and round, giving her the the biggest cuddle a suitcase-wielding woman could possibly give. Perhaps.


Jugglers, Pigeons and Festive Frolics

Being stuck in traffic is no fun, so I welcome any distractions while waiting in line. 

WIth a front row seat on tonight’s bus ride home, I was in a prime Peak Time Tales position. 

London Welsh were out in force enjoying an early evening training session; two players finding a novel use for three stranded rugby balls – an impromptu and impressively dainty juggling act. Surprisingly entertaining.

A well-dressed man sat in the window of Cafe Nero, revelling in his frappuccino and devouring the cream topping. Closing his eyes with every tasty mouthful, he didn’t even stop to answer his phone. Thank goodness for the off switch.

If you read my blog, you’ll know from a previous post (30 September  2013 – It’s A Dog’s Life), that I’m not a fan of mans’ four-legged best friend. But I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as I saw an owner – rather reluctantly – being taken for a walk by her energetic spaniel.

A pigeon balanced precariously on the edge of a branch, resembling a tight rope-walking circus act in animal form, much to the annoyance of its on looking feathered buddies. Bird envy has never been so rife. 

But my favourite Peak Time Tale of this evening had to be the glorious site of summer: Ice cream vans? Nope. Sandals and sunnies? Nope. Roofs down and music blaring? Definitely not. But that unmistakable sight of the local hotel advertising its “Office Christmas Party”. Yeah, that’s what I love about summer. 


Gazza, Twixes & Veggie Pigs

Name-dropping in public is not only painfully embarrassing, but quite often, hilarious to behold.

While resting my feet from a serious window shopping session, yesterday, I was rather uninvitingly caught between a conversation  involving two drunken ‘alpha males’.

“My uncle used to live with Gazza. Yeah, and Paul Ince. He said living with Gazza was like living with the devil. On his first night, Gazza poured a bucket of water over his head. Classic,” tipsy traveller no. 1.

“Ha, yeah classic,” tipsy traveller no. 2.

I’m sorry, but in what world is pouring a bucket of water over somebodies head a “classic”? Please do let me know.

“Well, my great uncle was a bit of a dude in his day, too. He invented the Twix,” tipsy traveller no. 2.

“No. Way. That’s proper badass. Twixes are coooool,” tipsy traveller no. 1, who now had a case of the munchies (pardon the pun).

“Twixes, aren’t like Mars Bars. Nope. With Twixes, the caramel kept p*ssing out all over the place, total nightmare,” tipsy traveller no. 2.

By this stage of their conversation, I had not only caught the eye of another commuter, trying his hardest not to laugh, but got a mild case of the munchies myself.

Thankfully I had a half-eaten bag of Veggie Percy Pigs in my bag. You know where you are with a veggie Percy, no p*ssing out the sides, just pink pigs with green ears. Now that’s a classic.  


Dr iPad Will See You Now

Self-diagnosing is now commonplace.

At the click of a button, we can convince ourselves we are suffering from every contagious illness under the sun (perhaps that’s just me?).

Discussing one’s health on public transport is always a risky business. I have actively moved seats after over-hearing, in incredible detail, how itchy one young man’s…”area” had become following a trip to the swimming pool.

Sadly, coughs and sneezes are a given while travelling on any bus, train, plane etc. – I am this close to getting myself some bus pants, a la Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory – if hand sanitizer came by the litre, I would definitely bulk buy.

On Thursday I was reassured by my online self-diagnosing, as one young lady appeared to be on the same page as me.

“It’s got to be that, I reckon I’ve had it for months,” convinced blonde.

“Don’t be ridiculous. Put the iPad away,” dismissive mother.

“Look, there’s a picture and everything. And look at this, oh I have so got that,” convinced blonde.

“If you seriously think there’s a problem, book an appointment with the doctor, that’s what they’re there for, for goodness sake” dismissive mother.

“No way, Mednet doesn’t take two weeks’ to load up, the GP does,” convinced blonde.

Ha! The young lady had a very good point. Although I do hope the young man with the itchy “area” got sorted, otherwise I’m definitely getting myself some bus pants.