Tuesday, 4 June 2013

It's Not You

No really it's not. I mean, we've had a great time and everything, and you're great really, just great, but in all honesty, this isn't working so much for me now.

I know, I know: we've been through so much together. From that first tentative meeting back in July 2009, through the child's bullying, the break-up and finally to as dark a prolonged and profound an attack of the blues as I have never been through before.

Things have changed, I've changed and whilst I really wish I could stay with you, I don't think that would be fair to anyone. I'm no longer the fairly constant reader, I'm...actually I don't know what I am. Do I need to know? I could wank on about 'finding myself' and 'getting in touch with the real me' but that would nauseate me and degrade you.

So, I've loved you and been obsessed by you; you've allowed me to blog daily or not at all for weeks; you've acted as my writing exercise, a place I could play around with similes like a dragonfly on the surface of a pond (see what I did there?).

Blogspot, it's time for us to part company.

For the rest of you, I'm now actually over here! What, did you think I'd stop blogging entirely?

Monday, 6 May 2013

Didn't we have a luvverly time...

...the day we went to, umm, Newent? Well yes actually, I did. Despite the fact it's only 40 minutes down the road from me, I'd never been before. And was really only going there because my parents were finally cashing in their Christmas present of a wine tour and needed chauffeuring. Gone are the days when they used to ferry me around to 'drinking engagements' as a teenager, now it's me shoehorning my over-6-foot Dad into the back seat of my little car and listening to my Mum sing drunkenly to herself on the way home.

Anyway, I dropped them off and carried on a little ways down the road to Newent proper where I parked up, paid (40p for two hours, forty WHOLE english PENNIES for two HOURS - I want to get that on a placard and then hit the short-sighted parking bods at my own local council firmly over the head with it until they submit to my way of thinking) and then went to get my Goth on in the churchyard:
Lovely lovely gravestones with that over-blown carving that the Victorians loved so much - no grave was complete if you didn't have a random assortment of flowers, scrolls, cherubs and curlicues on your headstone. Some medieval effigies, 6th Century carvings and a tomb that looked like very unquiet slumbers had been taking place (no, you couldn't see anything - I checked).

 Lovely lovely crookedy little buildings that were all the better for not being mucked about with. Restoration and interference kept to a minimum. I had coffee and cake in the cafe overlooking the long building, listening (with my nose tucked discreetly in a book) to the conversation at the next table: "What sort of cake is this?", "It's an orange polenta cake", "Pah-len-TAH?" the elderly gent exclaimed and as I sneakily peeked across at him, had the priceless experience of seeing the man in question poke at the cake with his fork, muttering "pah-len-tah" to himself whilst two white doves on the roof  above his head went at it like rabbits. 

I considered that the purchase of an accordion might make life a very jolly thing, but I'm also considering this about a tattoo so I shouldn't read too much into it. Except that if my chin starts sprouting hairs at a rate faster than I can pluck, I will be setting up my own travelling freak show: the tattooed, bearded, accordion-playing lady. 

Visited the Museum of Tiny Things (not its real name). Happy in my browsing of tiny labels in front of tiny Roman items found nearby, shown off in fluff-dusted cases that, due to a blogger gremlin, will only display on its side. Which is quite annoying but I've already been an hour just getting these to load, so it'll have to do. Try tilting your head to the side...a little more...a little more...too much....there. Lovely isn't he?

 Then I went and sat by the lake, listening to happy ducks quacking, happy children shouting (always best heard from a distance when you can't make out what they're actually saying) and thought my own thoughts. Mainly: how many two letter words can I remember? For there was a scrabble evening looming and I didn't want to come last.*

In other news, I am reading Lorna Doone and The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim which is ever so slightly heartbreaking on every page, as well as painting myself a work table as it occurs to me that leaning over the coffee table to type is not conducive to any kind of career development plan. Nor is the cat walking across it and butting my head with hers. Oh, and just enjoying being WARM.So warm in fact that I have risked it, ever such a little bit, and decided not to wear tights, or long socks, for the first time since...umm...I forget. The resulting 2 inch exposure of lily-white ankle has provoked cries of "My eyes! Oh my eyes!" amongst the populace.

If this continues, I shall be forced to reveal a collar bone or two and heaven knows what mayhem may ensue then.

*I didn't. Came second thanks to a well-placed last-minute 'fazed'.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Book with the Incredibly Long Title

That I feared would not end well and leave me wobbly of chin at unwanted demises, sad happenings and all manner of heavy Moral Lessons. Instead, this clever little paperback made me laugh, carried me along with its 385 page flight of fancy, and made the reality outside my door recede until I reached its unexpected happy ending. Bordering on the surreal, always with an eye on the ridiculous and never, not ever, nay never dull. I heartily recommend:

" 'Yeah, stop, you old bastard, or I'll shoot you,' said Bucket.
But Allan kept shuffling towards him. Bucket took a step backwards, stretched out his hand with the revolver even more threateningly towards Allan, and then...he did it.
If you've ever stepped in a heap of sticky, very fresh, elephant shit then you'll know that it's virtually impossible to keep your balance. Bucket didn't know but he quickly learned. His back foot slipped, Bucket tried to counter this with his hands, and fell helplessly, landing softly on his back.
'Sit, Sonya, sit!' said Allan as the final part of his daring plan.
'No, damn it, Sonya, don't sit,' shouted the Beauty, who suddenly realised what was about to happen.
'Fucking hell,' said Bucket where he lay on his back in the elephant's excrement.
Sonya, who stood with her back to them all, had clearly and distinctly heard Allan's command. And the old man was nice to her, and she liked to do as he wanted...
So Sonya sat down. Her bottom landed on something soft and warm, with a dull crushing sound and something that sounded like a squeak, before complete silence reigned. Sonya was ready for another apple."

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Just messing about in

Textiles, with added bits of lace, froth, buttons and beads. Because I wanted to.

So I headed up to my friend's gallery (click here) for a workshop that involved fabric and chatter and frivolity and more than a little tongue-poking-out-the-side-of-the-mouth concentration.

Books, vibrant paints and, what I fondly refer to as 'Pigeon Street' people, because that's what the faces remind me of. Some of us drew freehand faces, others traced. Some (including me) did a daring combination of the two and felt ourselves to be very brave and 'arty'.

There were moments of intense concentration where Annette had to remind us that it was okay to trace, paint, even cut, and breathe at the same time. I took her advice mainly because she was wearing the same style Pippi Longstocking boots I have but in lime green. Clearly a woman of good taste and sense.

And then we were let loose on the great yup of fabric on the floor. 'Yup' is a local dialect term meaning "big pile of stuff". It is an exceedingly good word. 

Some fiddle-faddling around with scraps of fabric, lace and ribbon; trying to find the right combination to fit the head. Weighting the head down with ribbon spools so it doesn't blow away as I remember too late to breathe and do so a little too gustily. 

The bondaweb and I came to an arrangement: I would remember to peel off the backing paper and it would stick the scraps to the calico firmly. 

Stitching the scraps-person to some felt using embroidery thread and a running stitch. I have done a fine job of convincing myself that the wonkyness of the running stitch adds to its charm. 

And then I get out my little paper bag of frivols: buttons, beads, a small watch face. Place, pause, consider with thoughtful 'hmm' noises, replace, repause, stitch. Repeat until happy with finished creation. Consider what to do next.

Get distracted by giant cream tea. 

End the day admiring everyone's handiwork. Sooo good to spend today with crafty people doing crafty things - feel as though I've just had a mini-break. And now I'm off to find the right place to hang my 'Time Traveller' (a cunning reference to the watch face on her dress, see).

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Lets Just Open These Curtains and Let Some Sunshine In, Shall We?

Things I like this week:

Cards carefully gathered in Norfolk, carried back and stored until the right opportunity. Which, as it happens, is a friend's birthday this week. 

These enamel brooches spotted at a friend's gallery. I'll be there again this weekend for a crafty workshop, which is another thing making me happy.

Sea salted caramel rewards for piano practise. Slowly slowly, the scales form under stumbling fingers that twist and trip over themselves and just aren't long enough.

Standing on tiptoe to peer over the edge of a railway bridge. No trains, no landslips, no red petticoats. Makes me feel small again. 

Mini eggs. Nuff said. Oh, except that the best possible use for creme eggs is as a melty gooey topping for Easter Sunday pancakes.

"Allan Karlsson hesitated as he stood in the flowerbed that was along one side of the Old People's Home. He was wearing a brown jacket with brown trousers and on his feet he had a pair of brown indoor slippers. He was not a trendsetter; people rarely are at that age. He was on the run from his own birthday party, another unusual thing for a hundred-year-old, not least because even being one hundred is pretty rare."
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.

Oh my, but that's better than Great-pipping-Expectations. Think I may have been pushing it to try two Dickens in a row after a life-long aversion.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Not Following St Bob's Example

Snow! SNOW!! Clinging rather forlornly on the lower level to gate posts and tree branches whilst the hill looks sledge-inviting deep. From my warm position, safely inside drinking hot chocolate from my favourite mug, it does anyway.

Am currently mired, mired I tell you, in the confusing, exasperating and potentially shady world of corporate sponsorship. Just exactly what will a company expect in return for some of their gotten gains? Branding? Corporate hospitality? Special previews of exhibitions? All of the above, it seems. Plus a warm welcome instead of my usual sigh of exasperation.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to turn into Bob Geldof: long straggly hair (quiet at the back there, mine is not that bad), standing on street corners yelling "give us yer fookin money!"

Although I suspect anyone attempting that who isn't St Bob would be arrested fairly quickly.

Back to the drawing board then.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

In which I decide that I am not quite ready to Bronte myself just yet

 So Spring is here, apparently. Is it though? Is it really? My two hot water bottles and dread of opening the gas bill suggest to me that it's still Winter. Or possibly a new Autumn/Spring hybrid that I've just made up but that doesn't adequately describe the kind of climatic conditions that currently have me standing in a field, screaming up at the sky: "Rain again?? Are you freaking kidding me???? STOP RAINING!" I may even have stamped my foot.

Still, the bad weather has managed to keep the footpaths mainly free of people who would want to stop and chat, or take up too much footpath, or walk in groups talking loudly, or fret because my slightly large and over-friendly mutt might get mud on their precious Bichon-Frise (possibly the only breed of dog to sound like a type of lettuce...and be as much use).

So I have walked and sat on stiles and lent against gates and stared down at water rushing under (and sometimes about) my feet. There is a big project afoot. 

A very very big project in fact, involving sums of money that I've only ever seen represented in cartoons as piles of it in vaults and an awful lot of responsibility. I've been dancing around the edges of this project for the last couple of years: building it up, discarding bits that don't work, adding bits that do, carrying out consultations. Or, if I was being totally honest, procrastinating. Putting off fully committing myself. Because this really will mean I'm here for another three years, and there's a part of me that actually just wants to run away.

I really want to be here again:  

Where the acres of sky above rest lightly on my shoulders and I don't encounter myself coming in the other direction. I am homesick for a place I've never lived.

Still, Spring is on it's way regardless of what the damp chills creeping their nasty little fingers under the door would have me believe. There are daffodils blooming in the teapot on my windowsill; sticky gingerbread that I made myself in the cake tin that used to belong to my Nan. Pink owl keeps watch on the knitting and books that cascade, pile up to fill every nook and cranny. There are vague plans to get my own loom. A professional qualification to work towards - my first ever! Now I'll have to stop pretending less than I actually know.

There is a glorious auburn-headed niece to watch grow and a curly-headed nephew to run with. The Teen to pilot through the choppy waters of GCSE's and A Levels (before heading off to uni, eventually to become a physicist, get a posting in Hawaii and have me move out there to keep house for her).

And there is a 14th Century building I have to stop from collapsing outwards like a blancmange too long out of the fridge. If I can raise that cartoonishly sized lump-sum of money.

So I figure that moorland ain't going anywhere soon: it'll wait for me.Or at least till October when I shall flee up there for a weekend and breathe proper air.