Sunday, 16 March 2014

So... we went to London yesterday.

A couple of months ago the lovely Miss Curly Pops mentioned how fabulous this exhibition would be and I agreed that it would be nice to go visit it. Then I realised it would be 'just on my doorstep'. And my daughter is doing Fashion Textile Design GCSE (Yrs 10 & 11 for you non -Brits) so it was too magical a combination to ignore.
We got the 0812 train up on Saturday along with everyone in a 50 mile radius of here. We were rammed in like sardines at our stop and there were eight more to go before we got to the Big Smoke. Turns out this was the last 'London for a tenner' weekends as well as our local football (soccer) team playing Queens Park Rangers up in London. So rammed in like sardines *and* enjoying the delicious scent of beer breath and sweaty bodies of the footy fans getting started on a big day out, all to the accompaniment of football chants and muchos swearing. That swearing bit didn't bother me so much as I have the vocabulary of a highly skilled sailor brought up by a verbally talented fishwife but My Girl's friend who came with us lives a fairly sheltered life.
So anyway, we got there eventually after a scrum rush halfway up when they made us change trains. In order to stop them getting crushed in the throng I pushed her and said mate into the full elevator saying "Just keep going and I will meet you on Platform Three." The look of terror and enormous concern on her face indicated she thought this was it and I would be swallowed up in the 'Great Platform Change Saga of 2014'. I wasn't, all was well and we got on the next train to complete our standing to London journey.
We negotiated the Underground reasonably well although I pulled friend G to the right quite sharply each time we went on an escalator because nothing hacks off a London local more than having clear access blocked by tourists who don't know the rules.
Museum located, bags deposited in the cloakroom (read 'cupboard of great chemical stinkiness') and we were in there.
This was my favourite of all the textiles on display. While it shouts 1950s it is also has a very modern feel ala Syko or Janet Clare. Or they have a very retro-style. Or you know, some mish-mash, mix-up blend of both.

This is a close-up which gives better example of actual colour.

At no point anywhere in the venue was there Goldilocks lighting. It was either too dark, too bright, too pink bc it was reflecting off the vividly pink walls or too orange bc of the orange walls. Fortunately getting in for close-ups enabled me to adjust for the overall hideous illumination job done by the Three Bears, although we can't blame the Baby Bear bc obvs he was just doing what his parents told him. Good Baby Bear.

While the exhibition spanned C20th the bulk of the work was from the 50s on which is right up my girl's alley. She was busy swooning away over the geometric patterns and (to my eye) harsh colours. I was busy earwigging on the conversations of the other gallery attendees. I listened with delight while two older women, probably in their 70s, pointed in recognition at several of the dresses on display because they had owned the exact same ones when new. "Oh" said one " if only I had kept all of those things from then." "But we didn't know," said the other "why would we?" I looked at these two women the world would classify as elderly and could see they still thought of themselves as young. Young enough to swirl out to tea dances in crisp, raspberry coloured dresses patterned with huge cream roses.

This one just made me smile even if the lions are little bit creepy. Although I have just realised that the lion in the cage all by himself is actually a tiger.

Bermondsey Street seems to be deep in the heart of funky South-East London and there were galleries and workshops by the score just on that little (not so little - really quite long - overshadowed by The Shard) street alone.
(This is not Bermondsey Street but that *is* The Shard.)
 The girls and I piled into a gallery with a David Hockney Exhibition. They stood looking at mobile phones. I prodded them a little so Friend G glanced around a bit. My girl ignored me. I got the feeling they thought is was all a bit  Emperor's New Clothes. They might be right.
I then forced them into the London Glassblowing Studio. My Girl refused initially bc "there is a silent auction going on and we can't stay quiet while we look around!!!" I told her to be brave and all would be well and marched in there. Eventually I took pity on her creased brow and explained what a silent auction is. We then asked the nice gallery man if we could take pictures of the work as the girls are both studying design.
Oh. Oh! OH! Look at this. How stunningly beautiful is the work in this bowl? I saw it as sunset on the sand at ebb- tides but My Girl can only see sand dunes and the ripples caused by wind. This bowl stood about 30 cm (12") tall and at least that in diameter and I loved it so very much. So much that I began to wonder what the cost of a teenager is on the open market. (Not enough apparently)

But then my eye was caught by the workshop in action at the back of the Gallery and all my woes became forgotten. The fella in this pic is a student but I could have watched the lesson for hours.

With a farewell wave to the beautiful blue sky over the sights of London we headed back to the train to my Hilltop. Fortunately this time we only had to stand half of the two hour trip home.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

While she drives me bananas I reckon I am winning in the "Teenage Daughter" Stakes.

About 20 minutes after she left for school this morning I got a text from my teenager.

"Maman, what is that word that began with  'P' that was about languages and slang from the West Indies or something?"


"Thankoo muvver."

"Pronounced pa twa."

"Thank you lovely dictionary mummy :-P"

"It is a noun. Pl is patois, pronounced pa twaz."

"*facepalm* Now I know where I get it from!"

"You're welcome, now go and learn something."

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Things my children probably should know. Part One

  • Every woman has a different idea of handsome.
  • How you say something is as important as your actual words.
  • Never put yourself down, there are enough people in the world waiting to do that.
  • Humorous self-deprecation has its place.
  • Be self-ish. If you can't look after yourself, you can't look after others.
  • It is not your job to fix things for everybody.
  • Try it. Except drugs and orgies. Those you can pretty much guarantee don't live up to the hype.
  • Put in the hard graft to reap the rewards but accept sometimes there are no rewards. If someone else swans in for the glory moment, kick them in the shin. Hard.
  • Be able to communicate in a foreign language even if you do it badly. Una bierre grazie/un biere/s'il vous plait/ein bier bitte/una cerveza per favour will get you friends in many countries.
  • Keep learning always. There is something new to be experienced every day, even if it is just a sunrise or sunset.
  • Stand tall.
  • Take up space.
  • Don't let someone tell you you can't because of who or what you are if you think you can.
  • Every man has a different idea of beautiful.
  • Be enough for yourself.
  • Develop a sense of your own style. Allow yourself to adapt it as you age.
  • Stand up to the bullies; sometimes they live in your own head.
  • Listen to people.
  • Don't carry a gun unless you are authorised by a government agency. Same goes for a knife bigger than a Swiss Army blade.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Sometimes it really is that simple (21 years in and the romance remains).

Are you gifted with a partner who is good with words? Does your man or woman always manage to say just the right thing at the right time to soothe your soul, to calm your nerves or to make you laugh so much your anger drains away? It is likely you are one of a very select group and you should try and take a minute to appreciate how special your beloved is.

CK and I have been together for 21 years now. That is a long time. I am not sure quite when I became old enough to have been in a relationship that long; probably about the same time I became old enough to have a 15 year old daughter. 21 years. And half the time I still have no clue what goes on behind his eyes because he is a reserved Englishman, an introvert. Three things that together make him almost unreadable to anyone but Mr Holmes. But every so often he surprises me.

I have been Springcleaning here this week in the hope that it will assuage the Gods and they will stop with the rain and raise the sky height just a little bit. My bedroom has been completely emptied and is slowly being put back together; CK being away for the week with work meant I could do it in peace and, if come bedtime, last night I had to shovel a path betwixt door and bed and fall asleep under a carapace of sleeping bag and 300 quilts there was no dissenting voice or rolled eyes to stop me. Yesterday as I pulled the contents from every cupboard and dragged out the Universe of shoes, books, hair elastics and craft materials that was under my bed I found a letter. My husband had written me a love letter.

Oh *sigh*.

It is written on a simple piece of white A4 in blue biro. It is folded in ways that are only just short of crushed. Looking at the back I think it might even have muddy pawprints around one edge but never has there been a more beautifully crafted, more elegantly created expression of love. I don't know why it was under my bed, I cannot quite figure out why it is not pressed between the pages of beloved book to be taken out and read on special occasions but I do know that never has any woman been as deeply loved as I am fortunate to be.

" Some nights I just want to shout 'I love you' but nothing
comes out except "How was your day?"

"How was your day?" is what I say. "

Monday, 18 November 2013

Mega- Hedgesnogs of the Internet OR How i love a challenge...

So the other week the everso talented and clever Julie over at Little Cotton Rabbits wrote a post all about her knitted hedgesnogs.  How different yarn thickness and needle sizes change the size of the finished hedgesnog. She mentioned how it would be rather fabulous to make one big enough to be a footstool or pouffe. I happen to have 25mm needles. The game was on.
I swooped into the crafty jumble sale that took place last weekend and cleaned them out of brown and cream yarn

It was proper jumble where the local old Grannies had turned out their craft cupboards, finding years of hidden goodness. Some of it not even 100% acrylic!

So I set to with my thread of uber-yarniness and little by little,

day by day I slowly growed a hedgesnog.
It got bigger and bigger
and it growed so much this week that I even got to change colour and begin the decreases in the face section.

 Until just after 10:30 tonight I wrestled the final stitch off the needle and can proudly say -

I have made a mega-LittleCottonRabbits Hedgesnog.
Watch this space, I have hopes of actually figuring out how to get it sewn up very soon...