We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of nothingness.’’

Arthur Schopenhaeur.


Walking with shoulders hunched over and alone on a drizzly English evening.  The road along which he walked was busy. Cars droned along, one after the other in a line of speed and lights. He stopped and looked up to his right. He had arrived. The house he spied was a normal, anonymous English suburban house. It had been built in the 1930s. It personified  a typically drab suburb of the general London conurbation. Or to be more precise, slightly to the south and east of London. Nudging actually into what was once Kent. The front garden of the nameless abode had long ago been sacrificed on the anvil of pragmatism. This meant flattening anything living and green, sweet smelling and natural with grey concrete. The purpose? So that a boring, white computer designed car just like every other soulless modern car, could be safely harboured overnight. In this case it was a bland Japanese car. The car had a name sounding as if it had been thought of by a high level project manager with no imagination. It had. The bay windowed front of the house was pebble dashed in what was once white, but which had slipped into a dirty grey hue. The aging double glazed window surrounds were slowly having their colour leached from them by the elements and pollution. In places the paint was peeling away from the frame. The front door came up to him. He noted that it had not been rubbed down and prepared properly before its last application of paint. The door was black with a small  half-moon of glass at the top. It sat waiting patiently for his approach on that dark, wet early evening. On the left there was a small black plastic rectangular box with a round white plastic button. It had been fitted in a haphazard way and drooped slightly to one side as if it had suffered a stroke.  An off white cable ran out of its left side and burrowed into the door frame like a worm seeking the comfort of cool earth on a sunny day. He pressed the button which simply sat back within the entombing black rectangle and singularly failed to do the one thing in life that it existed to do, namely inform the residents ensconced within of a visitor on their doorstep. Irritably he pressed the bell again, and this time, as the half-moon of glass became illuminated, he realized that the bell had finally worked.


A non-descript woman, if not exactly running to fat, at least jogging towards it in a determined manner, answered the door. She was topped by a truly awful hair style. Akin to a sullen pineapple squatting on her head, anywhere between 33 to 38 years of age, the woman not the pineapple. Dressed in an awful combination of navy blue tracksuit bottoms emblazoned with a sporty stripe and an equally dark cardigan. Why he pondered, do obviously non-athletic people seem to wear sports attire. She asked his name, to which he replied with nervous courtesy. Being on time, he was always on time, he was acknowledged by her and by the fact that she had been waiting for him as arranged. Mrs. Non-descript beckoned him into the house, and almost instantly directed him with practiced ease into a room on the right. The room was located a few feet after entering the house. Mrs Non-descript was adamantly guiding him into her office so as to avoid any meetings or cross contamination with her family. They lay burrowed  safely deeper within the family womb of their home. A hint of dinner wafted into the hall and a snippet of a child’s laughter floated on the air. Dinner smelt greasy, the child sounded stupid.


The room he was ushered into was small and rectangular in shape, tastelessly furnished and boringly decorated. Furnished with cheap furniture, most probably from somewhere the counsellor considered funky and modern like IKEA, or cheap-crap-is -us. Same thing really. The all-pervading feeling of crappiness and low the budget approach to her office furnishings was finished off with beige wallpaper. Sweet Jesus, not beige wallpaper,  he thought to himself. She bade him sit with a forced, tired smile. She was obviously more interested in being paid the money for the visit than at any attempt to help in the intervening 45-minutes. She then perched herself upon her swivel chair at her desk. The desk was suitably lined with academic books,  magazines with curling covers  and pamphlets. Some of the pamphlets were distinctly dog-eared. Only there for show as far as he was concerned.


So this was what a counselors office looked like. Not impressive. Time to begin the flensing he thought pensively. His fingers entwined, rubbed and stroked each other nervously and an embarrassed half-smile flittered across his mouth.

‘So how can I help you’’ she asked. What it just him, or was the pineapple staring?

‘’Well’’ he started to answer slowly and thoughtfully as he already felt her evaluating senses scan and analyse him.

‘’I need someone to talk to about various issues in my life’’.

Let the flensing begin.


Natural History Museum London Town

Opened in 1881, but dating back as an idea to  to 1753, this is ‘the’ museum for children of all ages. A hop and skip from South Kensington or Gloucester Road tube stations’ means it is also easy for even the most directionally challenged people to find! I speak from first hand experience of this debilitating sydrome. The exhibits cover such a wide range that is simply too much to take in on one visit. The architecture itself is also a delight and it well worth to take time out from the exhibits to lets your eyes run over every nook and cranny. The icing on the cake is that admission is free. What more do you want?