Monday, November 17


Madeleine does her Sunday home-work, which includes Kumon, maths, time-telling and reading. She concentrates though sometimes her imagination takes her elsewhere. Saturday I do a jog-swim then spend the morning gutting our back-yard which needs a winter pruning. Unfortunately and to my regret I learn not to prune the hydrangeas ex post facto. Madeleine accompanies me to the dump where we recycle about everything including the ten bags of backyard organics (the BBC reports BTW that the countries buying our recyclables, namely China, cannot afford to do so and our efforts going straight into landfill. It makes me weep). Saturday we head for the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre where Sonnet organises a family-evening around the London Jazz Festival - Fun! We haven't been here in a while. We catch a crowded train into Waterloo (teens into town to par-tay) then have dinner at Wagamama's overlooking the Thames and north-side, which aglows. Eitan and Madeleine wide-eyed and there is plenty of excitement- despite a recession, this area is humming: bars, dates, skate-rats, strollers, teens smoking fags, elderly couples holding hands, jazz, restaurants, above-ground subways, noise, noise, noise, joggers, skips, the London Eye and the millennium bridge crossing a full Thames reflecting an equally full moon. Wow. Wow. Wow. Hard to believe that Tony Blair promised to rebuild this area by '02 when the concrete was considered an artistic abomination. We see Melody Gardot BTW who is a jazz-youngster at 23 but recognised for her brilliant voice; she is surrounding by her band noting "all jazz is from the blues, which is only about suffering." At 19 Gardot was struck by a car and music her way back to life. By the second performance Eitan is snoozing on my shoulder, poor kid, but the suggestion of leaving nets a protest from our night owl - yes, Madeleine gets going in the late hours. She is a cool cat.

NPR reports that "lame-duck" was used in the British stock-markets of the 1700s referring to somebody unable cover his debts; by the early 18th century it was applied to British politicians and eventually embraced by the Americans (presumably after '76). And why a duck? Who knows, Dear Sir, who knows.