The girl behind the counter seems down; maybe she’s been confronted by a rude customer at some point or has had a monotonous day and is silently counting down the hours, minutes, seconds until she can go home and curl up with a cuppa.

I order my usual, a regular black Americano in the limited edition roast, always in a to-go cup and always to drink in (AN: the to-go cup keeps it warmer for longer!) I feel a pang of guilt as I watch the eyes of the waitress at the till drop with disappointment when I whip out my card. Today I have no money for a tip and mutter a pathetic apology under my breathe in hope that she doesn’t slip cleaner into my drink in spite.

I take my seat at the small table for two in the back of the café, hiding my face behind my folder in a desperate desire to not be seen by anyone I know today. Wanting to thaw out my fingertips from the bitter cold that lingers outside I cradle my coffee cup in my hands, much like an over-protective mother would do to her child. I begin to empty the contents of my bag onto the table; pencil case, notebook, highlighters, paper, a much loved and destroyed edition of Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’ yada, yada, yada…

Whilst I annotate away The Knights Tale to my hearts content the women next to me hurry to gather up their belongings and leave. Clearly they’re humiliated at how their tiny toddler has not yet stopped whaling at the top of his lungs, flashing me an apologetic look as their cheeks crimson.

An elderly couple take a seat to my right and decide to go half-and-half on their paninis. One ordered ham and cheese, the other cheese and onion; standard pensioners preference. The lady has chosen to indulge in a large cappuccino laden with chocolate and cinnamon sprinkles accompanied with the worlds smallest gingerbread man. The man has resisted and instead opted for a small latte, omitting any sprinkles and sides. The two engage in miniscule amounts of conversation, making infrequent and short comments here and their yet, despite this the atmosphere does not feel uncomfortable and I take satisfaction in the idea that they have been together for so long now that neither feel forced to bother with small talk but rather just relish eithers companionship.


A middle aged man has taken the seat that the ladies were previously planted in. I assume he is a businessman of some sort because he wears a suit and has his i-Phone  religiously strapped to his hand. Rather rapidly, as though it’s medicine, he knocks back his black espresso; a tough day at the office I presume! I’m half inclined to reach over and give him a hug whilst asking if he’s OK but I realise that rather than appear endearing as it’s intended to I’d most likely end up being provided with a strange look and a signed restraining order instead. I supress the urge and think about how his morning might have panned out. The naïve part of me likes to imagine that he woke to the sound of nature humming with his wife lying beside him sleeping soundly. In a perfect world he would have had enough time to make himself tea and a hearty breakfast. In reality and most unfortunately it’s far more likely that he woke to the cry of an alarm whilst outside was still blanketed in black. His wife in the shower and having slept in later than anticipated after a late night the only breakfast he managed to stomach before he raced out the door was a mug of strong coffee and a pathetic corner of his burnt toast.

I do this far more often than I care to admit; watch people in coffee shops, imagine what their lives are like and create scenarios for them in my head. Perhaps it’s through eagerness to escape my own thoughts momentarily, perhaps it’s a way of procrastinating from doing anything remotely productive. I’m convinced it’s both…



On Saturday I went to the Museum of Modern Art Museum in Oxford avec my chum Anna who, being an art teacher in a school in Bristol herself, I thought might enjoy and appreciate a look around the exhibition (also it was free entry and we’re broke!) I’ve been once before but found the project on at the time (that centred around oranges??) rather bizarre and I didn’t ‘get’ it. The itty bitty museum was founded in 1966 and showcases copious amount of interactive and innovative art projects. The museum’s aim is to bring contemporary art to everyone and make it more accessible and enjoyable.

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Currently the museum is showcasing Anne Hardy’s FIELD project which uses a variety of audio, photography and sculptures with the combination of different colours, materials and textures in order to present a variety of ‘landscapes.’ You can read more about the exhibition and the artist herself here.

Not that the bar was set particularly high after the last visit, but this exhibition certainly exceeded expectations and I found it so much more interesting and enjoyable than that revolving around spherical fruit. Provided with a well-explained pamphlet I was actually able to understand the artists intentions behind her work, something that is very rare with exhibitions and I’m often left dumbfounded and headachy in desperate attempts to understand what they truly meant before giving up entirely and left disappointed.

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We had to take our shoes off and walk around this rectangular room covered in bright yellow felt full of weird and quirky sculptures (I confess, I felt a little like the wife in Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper!) Whilst completely baffled at the time and thinking that the swirly material on the floor was spaghetti, all was made clear in the next section. The spaghetti sculptures weren’t in fact a form of pasta but rather models of debris that the artist had swept up post the production of her ‘central’ piece (sadly I didn’t manage to get a good picture of this – sorry!) Alongside the bizarre reincarnations of this dust n shiz echoed odd noises which you find out are what Hardy thought the debris would sound like; I promise it was much cooler but just as mad as it sounds!

The exhibition was bright, fun and defiantly worth a little meander around if you’re in the area because it’s unusual, free and there’s something warming about appreciating and supporting ‘smaller’ and local artists.


The human foot has 26 bones, 19 muscles and tendons, 33 joints and 107 ligaments. If we did the recommended 10,000 steps a day that is 185,000 movements just within one foot alone. That’s 350,000 movements in your feet. These movements that allow us to walk don’t even credit the movement require in the bending of our legs or the swinging of our arm.

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I considered this when I was on a walk with my dog the other day; how marvellous my feet are. I focused on the way my toes curl and uncurl with every step in order to grip onto the ground. I listened to the crunching of the leaves beneath my feet, revelling in the satisfaction that the sound bought me. I took note of my breathing and my heart, trying to fathom how my body could hold hundreds of thousands of miles of blood vessels with enough iron to create a 3-inch long nail inside. Our hearts beat between 60-80 beats per minute equating to over 3 billion beats a lifetime. Each beat when you pay attention seems so simple and as if cleverly co-ordinated by a machine but in reality each beat itself if far more complex involving contractions of the aorta and ventricles, AV and semilunar valves all controlled by the admission of an electrical currents between the nodes within the heart.  I spent a good minute of the walk solely homing in on these movements that go unrecognized and equally unappreciated each and every day. The 576 megapixels of my eye (far better than any Canon camera you can buy on Amazon) means I see the leaves dance to the rhythm of the wind and distinguish between 10 million different shades that the seasons provide. I can hear the songs the birds are singing and feel the bark peeling away from the trees towering over me, protecting me from the rain that feels fresh upon my face and is almost sweet to taste. These thoughts that I am thinking as I am walking are involving the signalling of nerve impulses to my brain at the mind-boggling motion of 250 miles per hour.

12111919_1202811039735543_5063788287946590384_n12112039_1202811249735522_950440401550360812_nI’ve been doing this a lot recently; thinking about the tiny and seemingly insignificant but actually vital miracles that I can perform. It is these thoughts that allow me to rationalize things and put situations into perspective when I can feel myself becoming out of touch with reality or overwhelmed by seemingly sizeable issues.  It is somewhat selfish of us to complain about muddy footprints on the floor or the windy weather of winter when every second of every day or bodies are carrying out functions outside of anything we can imagine in order to keep us ALIVE.12193390_1202811636402150_392834087128063760_n

Next time you feel stressed, ungrateful, anxious even, take notice of your senses, appreciate your surroundings and for a moment, just a minuscule moment of your day, appreciate the craftiness of your creation.