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(better late than never…)

I have a week of people which is lovely: Katie and her family, and the boys from work, my second parents, Lewis on Sunday and a wee party on Saturday night with new faces. On Tuesday I hold baby Ethan, a two-week old zebra baby, with ticklish feet and soft sweet hair.

At Whitechapel Gallery I see an exhibition of Dan Graham – his photographs of rainy English A1 motorway cafes in the rain, unemployment lines, a running Royal Marine in County Tyrone, Newcastle, Mill Hill, Texas. Red tiles roves, and streaked grey skies, and slamming metal doors.  There is a photograph that I look at for a long while – a girl with her head against the wall, and we can only half see her face, her eyelashes curving away. The blonde dye in her hair is growing out and her roots are dark.

Downstairs there is “This Is Whitechapel” exhibition with black and white prints of the east end forty years ago. I lean in to see the familiar streets, Petticoat Lane market, Spitalfields. A letter from the organiser at the time makes me smile – “I’ll dress up as a gin shop hag is you like,” he writes, “if the Arts Council would give me a grant. And the gin”. There are handwritten additions in the margin and the ink from the typewriter has lightened to a brown, and ran a little with an age of damp.

This week has been one of finding hidden things: a ladybird crawling up the handrail outside the studio, Tim discovering a button in the grass. It hangs on a thread – snapped off a coat perhaps – and now sits in my palm, a shiny plastic pearl.

wee button

Finding the one bench in the sun at lunchtime; William Blake’s gravestone stands mossy and quiet and though I haven’t been to this park only for a week or so, it is suddenly darker with summer leaf foliage. The railings are black iron and the paving is gold.

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