Thursday, 23 February 2012

Top of the hill, top of the world

Scribblings on a summer afternoon:

I am sat on a bench at the top of the hill in Brockwell Park. As long as this view is here and there is a bench or patch of grass from me to sit on, all will be well with the world.
A young couple just walked past. She was about two heads shorter than him and had her arm around his waist. His was wrapped around her shoulders.

"So, that's pretty much all the best things you can do in Brixton during the day." he said, "tonight I'll take you to some of the pubs." (Am I the only person who can't help but listen to other people's conversations? I find them fascinating.)

In the time it took me to write that they have crossed the grass and I can spot them walking away down the hill. They are holding hands now.
I am sat here in shorts, tights and just a shirt and cardigan. Yesterday was one of the coldest days of the year. Today is one of the warmest.

It is half past four and the sun is nearly setting. Everything looks golden, apart from the sky which is still a dusty blue.
There is a kite trapped in the top branches of the tree opposite me. It is black and yellow and has painted eyes that are staring out at the view whilst its ribbon arms reach out as if to touch the horizon.
At the foot of the hill is the low brick shape of Brockwell Lido, two blocks of flats, and behind them rows of neat terraced houses. But behind that, London explodes. Right in the distance I can see the City - the buildings shooting up and down like an unsteady graph.
I love London parks. This feels like my garden, but it is also comforting to know that I am sharing it with so many other people.
Behind me there is a threadbare football pitch and I can hear the boys playing and laughing and scuffing their shoes. Someone is flying a remote controlled aeroplane near them. It sounds like a strange bee.
Reluctantly I have put my coat back on. It is getting colder now. It will soon be time to come down from the hill and go home.

Two guys just sped past me on skateboards. I just saw a parakeet fly through the sky. A dart of lime green and then it was gone. I heard the park keepers talking about them the other day so I know I didn't imagine it. I expect they have escaped from a zoo or someone's home. Well, wouldn't you fly here?
You would think that I made this all up.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Red is Not Dead

Do you ever stop and say to yourself - wow, I'm actually ginger?

I do.

Often I will see a photograph of myself in which my hair is looking particularly orange-tinged and manage to blame it on the golden lighting of a sunny afternoon. But then I catch a glimpse of a redhead in the mirror and realise to some surprise that it is me.

I was a freckle-faced, chubby-cheeked child with a hat of red hair, but as I got older the red faded. I was left as what most people would call a strawberry blonde. In my head I am much more blonde than strawberry, so the tint of red always takes me by surprise.

Red heads are a dying breed. Some scientists give us 100 years. Some say 50. Either way, it is safe to say that carrot tops are fairly few and far between.

But therein lies the magic.

Occasionally someone will throw the word 'ginger' my direction in the same way in which you would fling a dirty sock. I just want to laugh. Because despite occasionally forgetting there is any orange in my hair at all, this strawberry blonde yearns to be much, much more ginger.

I want hair that looks like it is on fire. It's all in the name: who wants to be a mouse when you can be a flame?

Someone once told me that I should bleach my hair. Another said that I could put lemon juice on my face to get rid of my freckles. I was perplexed. Tragically as I have got older my freckles have gone into hibernation, but if after a particularly sunny holiday they resurface, I am ecstatic.

Red hair, freckles and an excessively large smile were my childhood. So although there may be a bizarre stigma attached to orange locks, and although my ginger may have faded with age, I would hate to lose my roots altogether.

Rocking Redheads

Because as a male friend recently said to me about this iconic Pink Floyd album cover, "it's all about the redhead."
My idol: Christina Hendricks
Desperately gorgeous: Marcia Gross

A royal shade: Queen Elizabeth I
The unsung hero of Harry Potter: Ron Weasley
Fashionable flame: Model and singer, Karen Elson
Lovely Lily: Lily Cole
Fabulous Flo: Florence Welch
Those curls! : Satine, AKA Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
The (cartoon) world's sexiest redhead: Jessica Rabbit
My boyfriend: AKA Ed Sheeran
My future husband: AKA Prince Harry


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Can I have a word?

Being lost for words is like looking in the cupboard and realising you have no ingredients for dinner, or needing to sneeze but not being quite able to.

Sometimes, however, someone will get their words just right. Here are some lovely words from the Words Words Words pop up shop at Selfridge's.