Thursday, June 30, 2011


Lola probably gets the least attention of all our cats - not deliberately, and not when it comes to practical matters like food and water and some new medicine designed to soothe her delicate stomach, and not when it comes to being stroked, even - I just sometimes have the feeling that she gets rather short shrift when keeping company with one assertive monster of selfhood, one bouncy and enthusiastic young tabby, and one deeply neurotic, extraordinarily beautiful orange fluffy thing that usually lives under the bed.   And yet, as this shows, she is a cat with huge depths of character and thoughtfulness.

Home! in other words, with the felines, the flames in the distance (though with some intense showers this evening - quite extraordinary to see rain), and the strange limbo, for three hours (east coast versus west coast time) of not actually being employed by any institution.   I am sure that there ought to be a way of noting or celebrating that fact ...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

the landing

That's a landing of the architectural variety, not the airline sort (I've been reading Bill Bryson's At Home for the last few hours, full of easy to digest domestic history of UK and US interiors - but we haven't moved upstairs yet, so I don't know if he explains why a landing is called a landing).   This, many hours ago, was Wimbledon in the early morning light.   As I explained yesterday, it was a wet day.   So the towels and bathmat that were washed could hardly be hung outside, and so were draped - on polythene sheeting - over the stairs banisters.   I'm not even sure whether or not my parents possess a drier - surely? - but doubtless this method keeps the fabrics usable for longer.   Economical, practical - it characterises completely their way of life, and it's a shock, after a week in their environment, to return to 7 hours (!) in Chicago airport, which epitomises a whole lot of other ways of being.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

view from the top deck

I escaped for a couple of hours, to Putney, where there is a Marks and Spencers - a small, unexciting M&S, but one that sells socks and underwear - old habits die Very Hard, and for whatever reason I haven't quite ever got the hang of buying underwear in the US.   And there was the most severe series of thunderstorms - viz, Putney High Street from the top deck of the bus, which had me thinking about the history of women on the top decks of buses (the usual stuff - Amy Levy, Elizabeth Dalloway), and Tony Judt on Putney High, and how this, in every single way, is the most incontrovertibly English of vistas.   What's more, apart, maybe, from the shapes of the cars, it could really have been taken not around 1 p.m. this afternoon, but some time between 1965-72, when this was part of my daily journey to school ...

Monday, June 27, 2011

family history

Here's a terrifying one - terrifying, not least, because of how old it makes me feel.   It's worth zooming in on ...   Easter '56, says the back of the tiny snapshot, in my father's writing - which makes me presume that he was behind the camera.   Huddersfield.   We'd been to visit Auntie Ethel, my grandmother's cousin, who fed me cheese biscuits (which I vaguely remember, and which probably instilled a life-long lusting after the things), and gave me a silver napkin ring (which I don't remember as a gift, but I rolled my napkin up after dinner to place it in it this evening, according to custom).   She's on the left - the one with a truly Victorian face.   Next to her, at the back of the group, my Auntie Jess, who was getting some kind of medical training in France when the first world war broke out (or that's my memory), and went off to nurse in the field - and then worked as a pharmacist in Dewsbury Infirmary until she retired.   Probably that's a selective version of her career.   On her other side, Mittid, my grandmother, who always looked like Queen Victoria in photographs, and then, on the right of the picture, my mother.   And how to interpret her expression?   She may just be suffering from what look like the world's most uncomfortable shoes.  I seem to be moving as far away from her as possible, whilst actually holding onto her hand, practising the kind of look that might be better employed in chairing meetings, and looking rather small for my new plaid pants.   I hope my clothing taste has improved just a little since then.  Ours has always been a family of Determined Women, and this picture makes that point rather forcefully.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

the summer version

of last year's Christmas card: dimly, in the background, a sculpture reliefs with cherubs, and in front of it, a geranium.   The wall relief - near the bottom of my parents' garden - was the basis for not just the card. but several albumen prints and platinum prints that I did last summer, and although I know that I did The Right Thing in coming back here at this time this year, rather than taking a course in wet-plate photography that was, effectively, the follow-up from last summer's alt pro intensive week, I do get little twinges of regret ...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

framed by flowers

Of course, I intended today's post to be the ritualistic ones of garden flowers on my bedroom windowsill - and here they are, below, offering a fair sample of some of the delights of the back garden itself: roses and two kinds of daisies and lavender.   The weather had even cleared up enough by this evening for my father to sit outside with his pipe and book (Michael Dibdin thriller, almost certainly from the Oxfam shop), though I was sitting inside, mostly, with my mother, watching tennis, and marvelling at the phenomenon by which one finds oneself passionately, passionately rooting for a player that one's never heard of before.   Baghdatis?   From Cyprus?   I even had to check how to spell his name, just now.   But I (and the Wimbledon crowd - one could almost hear them from where I was sitting) desperately and futilely wanted him to carry it off.

fading sheep (June 24th)

It's sad to see the felt tip drawings on this plastic fade starting to rub and fade - but I guess that I did do them back in the 1980s (thus rendering the pad unusable for ever after, but Buckell and Ballard didn't end up doing a very good job in selling the Oxford house back in 2000, so I guess I'm not that sorry).   But the inscriptions read, from top to bottom, 

and I'm particularly fond of the second, rather miserable, probably fly-beset sheep.   They lived on the counter in my mother's Oxford flat: I hope that in a week or two they make it safely down to London, but a photograph seemed like a good idea, in case of damp or friction ... Sheep are remarkably comforting in times of turmoil: even substitute sheep: two nights ago, I went to sleep clutching the hoof of the toy stuffed one that's now taking up rather too much of my suitcase.

From which one might, rightly, gather that preparing to leave a flat that one's known - albeit only intermittently as a resident or guest - for some thirty three years is an event that brings one up very sharply against lots of one's memories (many good, a couple so bad that I'm most certainly not putting them into cyberspace, but let's just say that it wasn't always a good idea to invite guests back in my youth: academics - well, like anyone - can behave in some surprising ways that involve a great deal of misinterpretation of all available evidence ...).   I'll miss it: miss the view over to the Cherwell; miss the strange clunk and squeak of the doors; miss the sense of being able to squirrel myself away in a very quiet, very light space.   On the other hand, I won't miss the rules and regulations: "no animals" was the one broken for nine months or so by Pankhurst, Saffo, and Charlie Mew, and I always had to smuggle in the bags of kitty litter (and yet, another resident visibly invites squirrels into her apartment, and there used to be a big shaggy labrador that was there most of the time).   Nor will I miss the anxious/bad-tempered notes in the laundry room or the trash bin room from other residents (I guess I'm just not an idea apartment dweller); and these days, above all, I won't miss the lack of internet access.   All the same: regret, memories, time passing - all encapsulated in the fading sheep.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cinderella (June 23rd)

Sitting forlornly, or at least a little damply, on a wall in Fyfield Road, Oxford, this sandal suggests a number of possible narratives (and no, it's not obviously broken or malformed in any way).    Abandoning both might make sense if one had a Long Walk Home (but why not carry them?) - ah, though, maybe that's what was happening, and it fell out of a bag ... More interesting to speculate about, in any case, than my usual abandoned chairs ...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome to Britain! (June 22nd)

Welcome to Britain - where they are short on readily available internet, at least where I am ... hence delay in posting.   And welcome to Britain, where, yes, it rains.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

to kill a ...

I always used to think that mockingbirds had to be something like a magpie - black and white and loud and derisory.   So much for Harper Lee (not that I remember any reference to bird color - I imagine that everyone's meant to know what a mockingbird looks like).   This was sitting on top of our big juniper bush this morning when I went down the drive to get the newspaper - the true sign of a mockingbird is the fact that a deceptively melodious (in other words, probably mimicked) song comes out of their long fierce beaks.   The mocking-ness here comes from that derisory stare.   

A bizarrely early post, yes, but I'm about to catch a plane or two in order to get to England, which seems to be wet and full of diverse forms of industrial action.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Outside the Sanbusco Center, in Santa Fe, a 1941 van has been put on a pedestal.   Possibly it's been there for a while, and I've just not noticed, but it's very firmly ensconsed, with flowers planted in its flat bed, and a historical plaque explaining that this wasn't actually one of the trucks used by the Santa Fe Building and Supply Company, which flourished here alongside the railroad tracks as a builders' supply company since the late 1800s, but it was very like it.   And in its abbreviated form, this company was known as the Sanbusco ... and here have I, for years, been thinking that Sanbusco was some conquistador, a compatriot of Coronado or Sepulveda or De Vargas; someone from a holy wood, like the Duc d'Albuquerque - from the white oak tree.   Oh, disillusionment ...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

severed head

Here's a real mystery: a severed raven's head, lying on a neighbor's property.   What would attack and massacre a raven?   An eagle, maybe - but I've not seen any here.   Our hawks have plenty of smaller and probably tastier birds to prey on - not to mention rabbits, etc.   A great horned owl?   But - see hawk food.   There was no raven carcass around to suggest that, say, it had been shot, and a coyote had chewed off the head and run off with the rest of the body.   Bernd Heinrich's wonderful book, Mind of the Raven, doesn't offer any hints, though it says, interestingly (and in this context unhelpfully) that ravens get more cautious of the unfamiliar as they grown older, not less.

Could it be witchcraft?   It was, after all, on the land of the people who are building the horrendous view-blocking extension.   But I didn't put it there (I haven't done a whole lot of witchcraft since my spells to get rid of warts, or help people win Premium Bond prizes, when I was about six - I found my powers there rather scary, and have been cautious ever since).   Could it be a warning to other ravens? (of what?).   Even if it had been poisoned - eating a gopher's remains, say - that still leaves the mystery of the rest of its rather large black feathery corpse.   Suggestions welcome ...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

pacheco fire

This is not the view that one wants to see from one's driveway (apart from the serendipitous crow - if one were deliberately looking to put a different scale, a different type of motion in one's image one would have had to wait a long time for just the right bird to fly into view).   It's the Pacheco fire, which broke out this afternoon about six miles north of Tesuque (and hence about fifteen miles north of Santa Fe), and the flames are heading off into the wilderness rather than towards town - which is bad for the wilderness, the watershed, and so on, but not instantly had for humans - and we'll see what happens with the winds.   I saw the smoke billowing up when I was driving north from Albuquerque - for a while it looked to be near to Nambe, and then once I was up La Bajarda I could see that it was closer to the ski basin.   Having now flown over the Arizona fires three times in as many weeks, I've had enough of this heat and low humidity (especially since the power outages have blown out our new a/c system, but that's another story), and so far as I'm concerned, the monsoon can't come soon enough.


Not a self-portrait ... surely an achievement! but instead, one of the statues on the terrace in front of the house: the one, indeed, that's smaller than the others, and is under the spiral staircase going up to the desk, and is generally rather overlooked - but part of the whole mock-Italian aura that the house carries with it.   That once again reminds me why Reyner Banham's book on Los Angeles made such a huge impact on me when I first came to the city - I think in 1988 - since, somehow, he made me understand that the whole eclecticism of the architecture was, in some post-modern way, tied in with the place making one feel free about the choices in taste that one made - and hence, free to (re)invent oneself.   Normandy mansion?   Check.   Concrete and plate glass?   Check.   Spanish hacienda?   Check.   Twee English cottage?   Check.   Renaissance villa, complete with terrace, cypress trees, and little classical statues?   Most definitely check.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Truly, I promise to stop posting self-portraits very shortly: it's positively Weiner-esque.   Though I promise that I'm fully clothed, and even if I weren't, any revealing parts would probably be covered in aqueous green paint - my clothes certainly are.   This is the result of painting my new office with Farrow and Ball's "Arsenic" paint.   One might, indeed, wonder if the choice is inspired by a sudden rush of Victorianicity, or whether close exposure to certain aspects of administration at Rutgers have formed my paint choice by association: no, I saw an article - probably in the NYT - in which a room was painted this color and decided that I had to have it (that being said, I wish I'd found this UK site for heritage/vintage/traditional/expensive paint colors before today: /    - though I think I'd stick with arsenic, even if Farrow and Ball's Babouche is tempting ... 

Arsenic, of course, was a lethal and common ingredient in Victorian internal decoration.   What I hadn't known is that it was also a common ingredient in the emerald green used by artists - wikipedia, at least, hypothesises that Monet's blindness and Cezanne's diabetes may have been caused by this, at least in part.   I do, though, remember pretty certainly that someone in Tennyson's family suffered from - died from? - arsenic in the wallpaper.   And most shocking of all is that William Morris ignored arsenic-anxieties, and the greens in his wallpapers were arsenic (indeed, as I was painting this it seemed to be exactly the same green as his willow-leaf pattern).   He dismissed, indeed, the idea that workers might suffer from arsenic poisoning - he even sat on the board of an arsenic mining company.   So I hope that F&B's assertion that this paint is ecologically sound in every way is true ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I am all too well aware that an ordeal comes with a new job: people wanting pictures of one.   This is not, believe me, something that I appreciate (there are more than one reasons why I'm found behind, not in front of, a camera).   But - even though I only had my iPhone as weapon - I determinedly went to work today - I simply must come up with something better than a six year old photo (flatteringly emaciated though it looks), or my last fall-back, lifted from a defending grad student's website (sorry, Paul, but thank you - it got me out of a tight spot).

And so - I produced many pictures of me looking thoroughly sulky (in my mother's side of the family, we have a Photograph Face, which was much on display); a number with me smiling lopsidedly - very lopsidedly - why? - it's not as though I have vampire fangs only on one side; some that made me look older or fatter or both than I'd wish (of course).   My favorite is a product of arty dissatisfaction with the lot of them - in other words, rephotographing an image off my computer using Hipstamatic - but I'm not sure it'll entirely be appropriate for every circumstance.  At least this one, below, gives a sense of the view from our top deck, too - as well as what I hope may, at least for some occasions, pass for some kind of official look - even if I do have a slightly shifty, quizzical glare in the direction of the apparatus at the end of my arm.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

still life with ...

Another day unpacking; another day waiting for shafts of sunlight to fall in fortuitous places - above, through the stained glass window on the stairs, illuminating a strange combination of plastic flowers, coffee mug, some white plastic forks, a lemon squeezer, and all the debris in the living room hovers behind in a kind of blue light.   Alternatively, I stalk things - like some non-plastic peonies - with various iPhone apps.   

Overall, though, the house is beginning to feel like a house, and not like a box-repository (actually, it's beginning to feel a bit like an English antique shop, but I'm trying not to notice that).   There's a scary lot still to be done, though ...

Monday, June 13, 2011


Unpacking is a task that goes on, and on, and on.   But then ... one suddenly gets rewarded by some completely unexpected beauty, like some evening sunlight coming through when I'm just liberating an earthenware casserole.   Tedious though it's been at times, there's also something pleasantly meditative about the task - though my heart sinks at the number of boxes still to go ...

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I think that I may, at last, have succeeded in blogging from my iPhone ... Back in Los Angeles, supposedly to do much unpacking, but the light and hills and cypress trees - not to mention having a fireplace held up by caryatids - have made me retreat to the top deck to eat the same kind of dinner that I did in Italy when I was doing research in the 1980s - fennel and tomatoes and Parmesan and a glass of Pinot grigio. With any luck someone
will come by to install the Internet first thing in the morning...

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 11, 2011


On the side of Warehouse 21 in Santa Fe, a set of large portraits by Anne Staveley - large "wheatpaste" photos, the peeling poster explains.   This went up at the end of May, I think, and it represents a number of young people from Santa Fe - probably all of them involved with W21, which is a very active teen arts space.   Already, the images have started to flake and peel, which makes them - to my mind - even more striking, and makes the kids (many of whom are smiling and cheerful and look wonderfully individualistic, creative, geeky) in fact seem like stereotypes of alienate urban youth, not Gap poster children.   That doesn't do the images justice - they are great portraits - but they are even more interesting now that they've been exposed to sun and wind.

But wheatpaste?   Is this some alternative printing technique I should know about?   Turns out that it's nothing to do with the making of the print, but the all too familiar flour and water substance that I used to run around Oxford with late night - sometimes it was wallpaper glue, too - in my fly-posting youth.   So one uses large brushes or rollers of the stuff in order to stick prints to surfaces (in my case, to stick playbills or political demo posters to hoardings, or anything that I could run away from fast).   I had, I remember, a dark green winter coat that I used to use for such outings - and after a while the whole right sleeve was gummed up with paste, and could probably have stuck out on its own even if no one were inside the coat, like a rather gluey scarecrow.

Friday, June 10, 2011

La Risa

La Risa ... less a Picture of the Day than a rave restaurant review.   This is one of those establishments that one dreams of finding, miles from anywhere, with the best New Mexican food imaginable.   We read a piece about the establishment, formally known as the Sad Cafe (as in Ballad of ...), in the Santa Fe New Mexican last summer, just as we were leaving town, and they are closed during the winter ... it is totally worth the trip, with better enchiladas and red chile than we've ever had anywhere in town, served in a covered patio with hummingbirds buzzing around at the feeder outside.   

It's situated in Ribera, a tiny and ramshackle town off I-25, about half way between Eldorado and Las Vegas NM - once on one of the Route 66 routes, and with an old gas station, and various buildings that seem to date from the 20s or 30s, including a ruined school that has signs saying that it's being turned into an arts center, but who knows how long those signs have been standing?  Luckily there was no sign of Don Imus, whose ranch is just up the road, and whose proximity is the only conceivable reason not to visit (I will never forgive him for the remarks he made about the RU women's basketball team some seasons ago) - there seemed to be a small but steady trade, and the place is run by the friendliest people.   Go.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

apocalypse now?

This really isn't at all what I was going to post or write about today - but the blood red sun, courtesy of the Arizona fires, is quite startling.   The wind has died down today, so there's less smoke and one can see the mountains, but this evening's light was weird and doom laden.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


We have the only flourishing patch of tumbleweed in Eldorado, rising strong and healthy and bright green, except where rabbits are nibbling away at it.   You might have thought that we would have realised that there was something mildly suspicious about this - there's been, after all, a three month drought.   But no: it's taken a while to penetrate the consciousness that the sound of steadily running water that greeted us when we arrived from NJ wasn't a faulty toilet cistern (and indeed, peering inside, useful implements in hand, I'd seen no way that it could be).   But it slowly struck us: the outside faucet was dribbling away into the hose, and that, indeed, was breaking every last Eldorado water restriction rule.   So it's been temporarily cut off with a little brass tap, and we await the plumber's return, and hope that the bad news isn't too awful about what, indeed, has actually happened.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Beets produce some curious transatlantic differences.   I should say at the outset that my instant inclination is to say that I don't like beets - but my mental image is of ones quite different from these - not yellow, but red.   And that's because in the 1950s and 60s, at least, in England, it was de rigeur to serve them cold, in vinegar (with a little added sugar), and with a salad, and inevitably cold ham or cold Sunday roast (if a Monday) with that salad.   And the beetroot would bleed its red vinegary juice all over the limp lettuce, and the quartered tomatoes, and the thinly sliced cucumber, and merge with the Heinz salad cream, and get tangled up with the Branston pickle.   I did not like beetroot.

Now, though, I've forgiven even the red kind, and baked some, together with these, and some diced sweet potato and diced onion, in the oven with some olive oil, and oregeno, and Caribbean-style salt, and very good they were too.   But here's another cultural difference.   Alice is meant to eat Lots of Beets (and trout, and avocados) because of her recently diagnosed gallstones.   I asked if I could mention these here - no problem.   Yet I would no more put A Medical Ailment out there for public record than I - than, I feel like saying, almost in jest, I would tell my doctor about it (I always feel guilty, in true British fashion, if I'm presenting a doctor with anything less than a perfectly healthy body, which oddly enough is seldom the case).   If anyone else knows any foods recommended for these unwanted little pebbles, do let us know ... my tolerance for beets, strong though it is at the moment, could always start to wane.

Monday, June 6, 2011

no view

This is, pretty much, a picture of nothing: a flat grey sky with a hint of setting sun behind it.   But indeed, a lot's missing.   Where is the view, where are the mountains?   Somewhere, about 200 miles out of sight, the huge Arizona fires are burning, and as the wind has come up this evening so the whole of the Rio Grande valley and all the flat land either side of it has filled with smoke - after I took this picture, it became thicker, colored rather apocalyptically like a sandstorm with what, I suppose, must have been the sun behind it all.   To be sure, we're a long way from the danger of these fires - indeed, there's scrubby semi-desert between them and us (though the pyrophobe in me has just found mention of something in the Santa Fe New Mexican's report that I'd never heard of before: the creation of pyrocumulus clouds from the billowing smoke that can create their own thunder and lightning, with the strikes potentially creating more fires).   But the smell is pervasive and distracting (even from the news story featuring Congressman Weiner's unremarkable yet bulging grey underpants).   I seem to be doing little but writing about weather in its various manifestations these last few weeks, and wish that it wasn't being so sensational.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

knocking down a school

This is certainly a surprise to us: the demolition of Eldorado Elementary School - or, now that it's K-8, Eldorado Community School (which, at around 655 students, is considerably larger than any school that I went to).   I quote that figure since I found it on-line - what I couldn't find was what was wrong with these buildings.   Too small?   Sick?   Surely they were built too recently for asbestos?   We were simply driving home quietly after lunch at Real Food Nation, looking for the flock of goats that are again in residence, somewhere, as the community's lawn mowers, and found the bulldozers in full, inexplicable throttle.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Unpacking is a vertiginous job - on the one hand rather like Christmas (albeit with the presents wrapped in pale cream paper), with the certitude that one will like the object that is eventually revealed inside - and it'll be a surprise, too, to some extent - our packers have mixed up genres to a vertiginous and often worrying degree.   So a garden ornament can be thrown together with some paintings, and a book or two, and a few stems of artificial flowers - and here comes the "on the other hand" part: I spent too much of this morning documenting damage.   A chipped picture frame here; a lampshade impaled on another lampshade there; an earthenware pot with a broken handle, above.   And there are all kinds of things that as yet I can't even begin to imagine where they could be or if they'll turn up at all (the movers in NJ seem a shifty lot, in retrospect).   And then there are the mysteries - why is one of the bedroom dressers standing - uneasily standing - on legs that it's never been on before?

We have returned to NM, but clearly will have to be back in LA again very shortly ...

Friday, June 3, 2011

not Sal's meat market

... the reference, of course, being a quintessential NJ one, back to The Sopranos, and the bloody site of many gruesome dispatchings of meat not fit for human consumption.   This is on Santa Monica - "cut it out," i.e. the gun, along the dots (and nb the clever incorporation of the telegraph pole) in a little bit of semi- gangland on my walk to the bus stop.

Yes, the bus stop - we just have the one rental car, and Alice had to stay behind to greet the man reading the gas meter when I had meetings.   So I reverted to my 1988 habits of getting around LA and caught a bus straight down Vermont, which proved to be a wonderfully rapid and convenient and hassle free way of getting to work.   Doubtless I am about to start displaying worryingly English behavioral characteristics, determinedly navigating Los Angeles by public transport.  Luckily only two people remarked on my accent in a whole day of meeting with various bits of officialdom (payroll, etc).   And how wonderful, after the completely incomprehensible inauguration at Rutgers back in 2001 - which largely consisted in working out how to get a bus over to Busch before I had a campus map, and before I knew that the campuses were not a little spread out and separated by a large river (a map turned up in a bag on my office doorknob, together with an umbrella, a notepad, and two football tickets for a game that had already been played, sometime in November) - to be able to walk from one office to another, and to emerge to a faint but persuasive smell of jasmine.   There are various ways in which this isn't, indeed, New Jersey.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Somehow, I didn't take a million photos of moving today - too busy crossing off inventory numbers, and in he gaps, drawing the view of cacti and telegraph poles and tiled roofs on the top of a clothes packing box that I was using as a mobile desk.   So this evening, I've had to fall back on Buster, LucyFur's photogenic if corpulent brother.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

family visit

Sophie!   Mother of LucyFur and the elusive DandyLion.   Once a feral cat, now a semi-domesticated but still shy feline.   I look at her for signs of similarity with our own felines - is that Lucy's paw move?  Dandy's aggressive stare?

In truth, most of the pictures that I'm taking are the usual post-tenancy ones: a bath tub stained by black hair dye; a toilet seat with very strange stains indeed (can hair dye get there, too? - but one doesn't want to think what else it might be); a hot tap stripped of its "hot" sign; a dented and badly repainted bedroom wall.   Now that's a problem: did the tenants feud and throw things at each other?   Did they bolt unguessable straps and cinches to the wall?   Did they merely move the furniture around when very drunk?   Whatever - they would have done better not to have repainted the scratches and still very visible dents with what seems to have been paint destined for the garage door.   Movers moved our stuff back into our offices and into very cramped self-storage today; and arrive in the house tomorrow: I'm far from sanguine about how many of our possessions will actually fit in, but it's probably a very good thing that the storage unit is so full - that must surely mean that there's less actually arriving tomorrow?   Maybe?