Living, there is no happiness in that. Living: carrying one’s painful self through the world.
But being, being is happiness. Being: Becoming a fountain, a fountain on which the universe falls like warm rain.

― Milan Kundera, Immortality

Owl_Food thought: am thinking a lot about ‘legacy’ at the moment, but also what precedes and influences such a concept


Perhaps because my very owliness, I find it difficult to participate wholeheartedly on the ground with all this ‘occupying’ activity over these days of increasing local occupation globally - and have been occupied elsewhere but observing from the branch.  

However on looking through my incidental snaps taken on this weekend of Occupy London, it occurs to me that I have been inadvertently occupying the city in my own particular way…from several perspectives :-) 

It’s not that I’m not engaged in the topic(s) that are being aired and bellowed: I very much am.  But it’s that I can’t take a fixed position on an ‘us’ and ‘them’ … for me it’s just ‘us’.


Sharing this again… for reasons that should be obvious. Although you have to mostly join the dots backwards.

OWL PITSTOP / If recent London, UK & World events have made you gloomy, read this:

Back at the branch momentarily: to pause - and finish this thought that took hold a few hours ago. 

Amongst other things as you will see - it’s also just a wonderful counter-attack on the defeated despondency

a) that is expressed so frequently and freely about public transport in London, and

b) that most recently descended over even the more optimistic ones amongst us, after the #ukriot events in the last few weeks:


I left my handbag on the No.76 bus in London this morning, when I got off to go to work. 

My head was full:

 - of thoughts on my earlier morning chats with an outstanding person, about an exciting venture / idea that’s been brewing: involving storytelling, volunteering, a digital platform, and linking communities locally and globally… and more…

My hand was full:

- with my travelcard (thankfully as it happens) but alsowith my iPhone, typing away an email to a friend about another interesting project - raise finance for the interactive part of her amazing film. I was on 30% battery…

My handbag was full:

- of my passport, wallet, housekeys, mother’s housekeys, 2 x security passes for different offices… and my iPhone charger. 

So off I got, mind elsewhere, and left the handbag behind, also preoccupied about not leaving behind the umbrella that I’d kindly been lent.   Bus drove away, and only 5mins later when I’d pressed Send on the email I’d been writing, did I realise.  

Big, dejected exhalation.  Then:

- Phonecall to friend: special listener of my ideas in the morning, and lender of umbrella - to check where the No.76 ends up.  Waterloo. OK.  Started walking to Moorgate.

- Called TfL Lost Property (0845 330 9882), who gave me Tottenham bus depot’s number (0208 271 0404)

- I spoke to ‘Jackie’ or could be ‘Jacqui’ -  who called the driver (who had been super friendly when I got on earlier) who confirmed he had the bag. Good stuff. Crisis contained.

- By that time I was at Moorgate tube station. J said that the bus hadn’t reached Waterloo yet, but that it would most likely turn back around in 5 mins, to head back to Tottenham.  She was doubtful that I’d be able to reach Waterloo in time to intercept… but hey - worth a try, and I had a 12.30 meeting to make.  It was 11.15am.

- Moorgate to Waterloo by seamless tube journeys.  Exit Waterloo to track down bus-stop and it happened to be the nearest one to me.  

- Was at bus stop for approximately 40 seconds when smiley driver pulled up - looking a little surprised that I’d reached him in time.  Had my bag in the cabin and handed it back to me, contents untouched.

- Called J to thank her profusely.  Called lovely friend to report success.

- Mind was so full of ‘note-to-self’ chastising - be in the moment, etc - that I wasn’t in the moment at all when I made my way to Waterloo station public loos for a quick regroup and pitstop…

- Paid my 30p, went through the turnstile, and looked up to realise that I’d walked into the Men’s loo. What does it take to get the message…. a row of urinals clearly.

- Very lovely attendant / cleaner had already spotted me, and swiftly led me through a secret door, which he encouraged me to go through alone… and like Alice in Wonderland I magically appeared in the heart of the Ladies’ loo area.  Who’d have thought. More seamlessness.

So - determined to stay ‘in the moment’ once and for all today - made my way (running early!) to my lunch meeting.   

It was in that mood that I noticed something in Piccadilly tube station that I’ve never seen before.    

THE WORLD TIME TODAY clock - take a look at it next time you pass through.

How’s that for the most literal of life lessons.

Thank you to all who conspired to keep me on my axis today… it will be a long time before I join the clan of doomsdayers.  There’s no denying that things are messy… but others are so beautifully simple too.

PS The 12.30 meeting was very excellent indeed… of course.

OWL LULLABY / Sinking into sleep with:

Kar Kar @geoffreyoryema @baabamaal & Ayub Ogada

…others and I know these well ;-)

1. Je Chanterai Pour Toi by Boubacar Traoré (linked clip)

- about his wife Pierette, whom he loved very much and who died.

A documentary film by the same name tells the story of Kar Kar’s life.  I haven’t seen it yet, but I just love this clip of him from it.

2. Makambo by Geoffrey Oryema

(Oryema’s website)

3. Tindo Quando by Baaba Maal

(Baaba’s website)

4. Kothbiro! by Ayub Ogada

(Ogada’s MySpace)

… and another one from Kar Kar

5. Secheresse by Boubacar Traoré

(More about Kar Kar)

Sometimes even owls need to sleep.


OWL TREAT / ‘Evolution of Life’ told through street art breathtaking stop motion street art by BLU - the lack of boundaries to his talent and creativity never cease to inspire me.

More about BLU if you’re a newbie to him, and his website is great to visit.

Bravo, BLU - what next I wonder…

OWLFUEL / Creativity & making good things happen

(@826_valencia @EGGERS_LAW)

Inspiring story of how creativity, combined with passion to make a difference, evolves organically into a wonderful living & breathing initiative in a community that captures everyone’s imagination. It’s contagious.

I’ve shared this a lot before privately, but now finally posting, as I revisit it often. Discovered it years ago, because Dave Eggers has been one of my favourite authors for years and McSweeney’s is simply delicious.

So I follow the crumb trail for more fuel…

Worth also  checking out what stemmed out of his books ‘What is the What’ (Valentino Achak Deng Foundation), and ‘Zeitoun’ (The Zeitoun Foundation)

For  Dave’s full TED talk (25 mins), click here.

For Once Upon a School

Anyone in or going to the US - check it out in person!

OWL TREAT / Storytelling through beautiful stop motion

Kirsten Lepore is one of my favourite creative discoveries found through my fascination with stop motion - I could watch ‘BOTTLE’ over and over again for its stunning simplicity and texture.  You can also view ‘Making of BOTTLE’ (in 1 min) on her Vimeo site.


Everyone asks why ‘Owl…’ - so here’s a sort of explanation, but nothing hugely profound or constant, contrary to several speculations received :-) Just a train of thought and theme that re-occurs, and at some point it stopped and perched with me when I started delving into Twitter, etc.

Here are a few ‘Owl’ theme crumbs:

1. A Poem  

When I was a very little girl in Bolivia, my father used to recite a very short verse to me. English is not his first language, so I have distinct memory of his accent, and after that I didn’t see him for several years so it was a lingering memory of him until I did, and it stayed with me until I was better able to understand it and him. At the time I thought that he was just telling me to make less noise as a 4yr old - ha ha ha.  Actually he probably was.

"An owl sat on an oak.

The more she sat the less she spoke.

The less she spoke the more she heard.

Why can’t we be more like that wise bird?”

2. A vivid wake up call

For 6mths while on a project deep in the Namibian bush, I went to bed with the sun and woke up with the sun, and the beautiful call of the Pearl Spotted Owl.  Whenever I want to mentally transport myself to that setting - I recall the sound, and I’m there..

3. The obvious owlinesses

Like nocturnal habits.   When all is still and resting, that’s when I tend to catch up with myself and thoughts.  Hence why I don’t come back here as often as I’d like - because sleep deprivation not always great for daytime duties.

4.  Out of my control appearances…

There was a particular month a while ago when, wherever I was, there seemed to be an ‘owl’ presence - including a very unexpected, impromptu experience at a suprise private Jonsi gig at Three Mills Studios, in Bromley-by-Bow, London, before his world tour -  hence this video clip.   Where, sort of out of my control, I weirdly also happened to be wearing an owl maskm and I have pictures to prove :-)    

What can I say, at the time I took it all as a mild sign.  Plenty of different themes have visited me since - I find it fascinating to observe and mark them, but Owl comes back often still.

No witchcraft or sinister symbolism at all you see…

P.S. - oh yes, and the ‘food’ bit just marks some of the stuff I chew over in my head. Vowla!