Friday, December 28, 2007
My Friend Flickr
Hyde Park on that morning everyone got grounded. Sorry but it was beautiful
My last week in London has made me hungry for it. I stare so shamelessly, I'm sure I should have been arrested many times over. And now I finally have the means to record these extraordinary moments. My life on the road will be a success after all. I've joined Flickr. I'm staying with Mr T and he knew how to do it.
Still, I'm determined to have a simpler life after all this travelling is over. I don't want to learn new things. I simply want to sit and read the 600 or so books I've stockpiled over the last year because books are hideously expensive in Australia and they also don't have a habit of leaping out of Oxfam bookshops and grabbing hold of your wallet. I'll never have to leave the house again.
I've done some fun things in the last week including spending the best part of a day in Hyde Park skating and going on rides and joining the Christmas throng in Oxford Street for the last time. Whereas I dislike shopping, I quite like the sight of other people doing it. It allows me to indulge in moral superiority. It's an issue for me getting my backpack down to a managable weight in any case. Once you've filled it full of mosquito repellent and malaria tablets, there's little room for anything else. I've had to learn to live without an umbrella even.
Does anyone remember the television programme My Friend Flicka? It was a show about a kid and a horse. There were lots of these entertainments around at the time. In the sixties, people in the country waited until they were pensioners to have one lonely child whose best friend was either a dog or a horse or, on rarer occasions, a kangaroo. Quite often one of the parents died and the other withdrew to his or her whittlin' or weavin', leaving the poor child with no recourse but to confide in their hairy friend.
The series was based on a trilogy of books by Mary O'Hara which Ialso lapped up. There was a 1943 film with Roddy McDowell too. In those days it was mandatory to have Roddy McDowell in any child/horse/dog combination. Ken McLaughlin, erstwhile friend of Flicka the horse had a toothless old uncle Pete who 'cut his teeth on a branding iron'. They don't make 'em like that any more. I once even wrote a series of songs which had a working title of Thunderhead, after the second book in the Flicka series.
Once getting older just meant losing your teeth, whether or not a branding iron was involved, and settling into elasticated waistbands. I've resigned myself to a month with just one pair of shoes so you can see my resistence to 'not letting myself go' is low, to say the least. The other day I was at a party and a friend who's in her late forties told us she was asked by a train conductor to show her 'Senior Rail Card'. She has a young son who is often assumed to be her grandson but no way does she look sixty.
It occurs to me that the nip-tuck culture has created an expectation that sixty-year-old women will now look forty-five. I didn't go through the whole politicising process of the seventies to end up in a situation where I feel obliged to have a facelift just to look my real age. It's absurd.
I am however grateful for the delete facility on the digital camera. Any snap that dares to infer that gravity and I have engaged in mortal combat is despatched to the ether from whence it came faster than Shergar's ashes. I may be above nipping and tucking but I'm certainly not one for shying from ducking and diving when it comes to the cruelty of the lens. There is no chance of me looking like Flicka on Flickr...