After a very busy/tiring few days, which included my son having friends over for a sleepover last night, Sunday is quiet and peaceful and the family are all taking naps. I took the peaceful time not to go out and draw in the sunshine, but to sit in sweat pants and listen to podcasts and draw the sleeping cats. Pay no attention to the boxes piled up outside, that’s a job for later this afternoon. I’ve been listening to Adam Buxton’s podcasts lately which have been entertaining in their niceness. I had to paint fast as the colours outside kept changing as the noontime January sun kept shifting position. I’ve had a good idea for a book which I am thinking of spending the rest of the day working on. After I’ve done some tidying up.
While in rainless London I found myself in Gough Square (named after a former Spurs player), a tiny back-place off Fleet Street, former home to Doctor Johnson, the man who wrote the first Dictionary of the English Language, an excellent and hilarious book, if slightly disparaging with regards the eating habits of Scots. That statue, that was his cat, Hodge (named after another former Spurs player). I don’t know why he didn’t just get a real cat. Cheaper to feed I suppose, and it never crosses your path or pees behind the telly. LBC used to be based here. I used to listen to LBC, back when I used to stay up really late (he says, writing at 1am).
We went to the opposite end of the country this past weekend, to New York. I love New York. I want one for Christmas. I did a lot of sketching in the city, in rain and shine and falling leaves; those will come later. We stayed out in Long Beach, on Long Island.
Above, the view from my sister-in-law’s apartment window, as viewed by max the cat.
Long Beach is really that – a very long beach. I was last here six years ago, at Christmas, when thick snowed piled in on Christmas day, and we were throwing snowballs on the beach on the 26th. You can hear that Long Island accent everywhere, dawgs and pawks and cawffee, it’s so cool (while in New York City, most accents I heard were actually British). It was cold, but not that cold, not yet – the fall leaves were deep red and bright yellow. But you know you’re not in California any more, when you see people wearing coats that look like sleeping bags with sleeves, and the heating in donut shops is slightly higher than the surface of venus. You need the cold sea air to cool you down.
I was watching the Godfather last night; I didn’t realise before, the Corleone’s lived in Long Beach, in the movie.
I do love to be beside the seaside. For us, it was always the North Sea, or the Channel, but here it’s the Ocean, be it the Pacific or the Atlantic – even their seas are bigger in America. It’s funny, but looking out at the Atlantic I felt more of a connection, that home was just over there across this watery desert, rather than on the other side of the world. Then I thought, you do a lot of thinking when looking at the sea. And then I thought about Seinfeld, how whenever he had to do some deep thinking (such as that one where he has to decide whether or not to give up making silly “hello” voices about his girlfriend’s belly-button), he’d come and look at the ocean. All this thinking was making my brain cells nervous, so I met the others, and went and had a burrito.