1. Notes to self.
I write to myself about everything, and on anything. Scraps of paper, notepads, napkins, receipts, payslips, ticket stubs - all decorated with my thoughts, the things I've learned, wanted and felt.
Discarding these scraps feels like denying myself the opportunity to look back, to remember what I was thinking, what quote I'd just heard, or what inane tasks I had or had not done on any particular day.
Relationships; why we blush; the exact words that were spoken by someone important/about something important; movies I should watch; books I should read - these are just some of the topics that are covered, and many of these things still intrigue and interest me.
2. There is a certain tension between deconstruction and mystery - and, as with all opposing forces, they need each other in order to define themselves.
Never used, but often appreciated - these acupressure socks sum up this dilemma. Our urge to simplify, deconstruct and explain: we break the body into its component parts, assigning each organ a specific task. Yet the entire system can be overcome by something as unreasonable and mystifying as negative thoughts, bad patterns or unhealthy habits.
It is intriguing to me that our understanding will always be limited - a little bit of space always has to be left for mystery.
Deconstruction has made its way into every part of our lives - our art, our food and our minds have all undergone the same process - mysticism and mystery remain. Everywhere, and in every element of life, things always remain somewhat elusive.
3. I miss holiday food. Barbequed fish with orange segments; grilled broad beans; sardine paste on toast; and local wine. To remedy this, we have been making pissaladière: pizza dough baked with over-reduced, over-sweet onions, anchovies and black olives.
4. My grandmothers watch and my great-grandmother's watch remind me of how things change, and how time passes - not the hours, minutes and seconds, but the generations, decades and styles.
My great grandmothers' watch is in miniature, a truly tiny piece. A modern-day 6-year old would be the right fit, as most adults wouldn't stand a chance. I know almost nothing of my great-grandmother - however, I can feel how bird-like she must have been whilst trying to inch the chain-link bracelet of her watch past my knuckles.
My grandmothers watch is a sturdier affair, leather and steel, with very little detail or decoration. The large, round face is reminiscent of her own; and its black, white and grey tones remind me of the black & white photographs of her in the convent, of her as a nurse and of her as a young woman in Russia and in the Highlands.
My own watch is a hand-me-down from my father - the design that he wore in the 70's or 80's. I like it for its interlinked gold and steel, the large yet minimal face and it's balance between intricacy and simplicity - but, I love it because of its connection to him.
Time passes, styles change. A watch is both a time-capsule and a time-keeper.
5. Collecting stones is an accident of living near the coast. A satisfying stone can come in many shapes and sizes, and is a good companion for a long beach walk. Flat, smooth and palm-sized stones can be turned over, again and again, from within a pocket. Long, stick-shaped stones are best for twisting and turning. Perfect spheres are rare; I found one on the beach in Aberdeen that I use to keep sauerkraut fully submerged in its pickling liquid. Good stones are returned to the beach, however, really good stones are brought home and found a use for.
I spent 50p on a stone that had been painted with a little flower. This one makes me the happiest.
6. Gaugin's paintings feel hot and strange. Like visiting a foreign place for the first time, his paintings are slightly removed from reality. Observing the people and the landscape, Gauguin records the shapes and colours, and the sensation of otherness.