Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Dino and friend

Happiness is a warm dinosaur

Sunday, 26 December 2010

mixed Xmas news

Sparkling bright but freezing St Stephen's Day. [Apparently Boxing Day is the first week/working day after Xmas.]
Have horrible bullet hole in my left shoulder blade, well that is what it feels like. I guess it is some arthritis type thing and seems to zing excruciatingly between shoulders lately. A hot water bottle is the only relief known to woman.
Xmas Day went well, if you like the peaceful kind. Wrinklies all turned up and ate and sported themselves in front of the roaring fire, with Aggers the cat. The fire didn't actually roar but it did send out atomic heat from the primeval age when the trees first hit the swamp.
No TV, as Retired Person's retired father is deaf and can't/won't hear without the hearing "loop" installed. RP's retired mother took the opportunity to do a long Hattie walk with No 1 son while I sat and knitted RP's jumper. My ma regaled RP's father with chat, most of which he was blissfully unaware of.
There is now far too much turkey, chocolates and biscuits in the house.
I did discover the joys of a whisky mac, which made everything seem even cosier. Also have invented a Guiness/lemonade shandy which pleases. [I stay away from wine because of headaches]
All the offspring phoned/Skyped and warm words were exchanged. GG was seen pursuing an electronic dinosaur round the house. It was almost as big as him.
I remember [dire phrase] being presented with a giant plastic clothed elf doll when I was smaller than it and screaming the house down in fear. GG is made of sterner stuff.
He also has a giant bag of giant lego which may prove constructive once he stops tossing it at the dinosaur.
No 1 son had finally got off his bum and rented a holiday house near San Francisco with 7 other stick insects [messengers in lycra] and was actually sounding happy, which was encouraging.
RP's son lives in Bristol but not near where the poor young woman got deaded, I presume she was murdered, either that or the golf was particularly boring. The sight of her anguished parents appealing for her return was unbearable.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Ah ha sold Autumn.

But not the Daisies; in-laws gave me the frame. Maybe I should give it back, filled.
They are threatening not to come for Xmas in case they get snowed in with me. Can't blame them really. But who is going to eat all this turkey?
I have also finished my 2200 word short story and am ready to free it into the ether.
Hard to push that button in case I get a better idea. The number of words is more significant than the plot sadly, as counting them has taken up far more of my energy.
I do not like short stories, I don't usually read them and when I do I chuck them aside at the end twist with an exasperated Pah! So have no great hopes that I have broken the barrier with this little tale.
Amazon finally coughed up with my book and a recipe book for no.1 son. It is published in America too, but they have run out so I had to spend more on the postage than to buy it, but I was determined.
Did the food shoppery today, a large over flowing trolley full for maybe 3 bored peeps plus dog and cat.
RP had to buy new wellies today as his have sprung a leak. Bog standard Green.
When I was young [younger?] there were only black ones, they seem to be no more, unless you go very posh and polo style.
I should have taken the opportunity to replace mine and thus add to the collection of strays in the shed, but I am distracted by all the flowery ones that abound so am hanging on to see if I can find some.
Not that I am going out again until after Xmas, I am going to light the fire and read my book[s]

Monday, 20 December 2010


Hattie took me for a walk this morning.

And we met this fine cat.

The RP was not with us as he had to go to Bette's funeral. All I knew about "Betty" [as she was in my prosaic mind] was that she a rather anxious old lady who had once sold us her 4 oak dining room chairs when she downsized to the next village.

Now I find she had a rather rebellious youth, wore a green pill box hat even tho her father disapproved, migrated to Canada, came back when her kids had grown up and wished she hadn't.
Shame we don't swop our stories until the funeral.
Maybe she was called Bette because she looked like Bette Davis, her given name was Alicia. Can't ask her now.
As Hatters and I returned we found Bette's last resting place outside the church door as they sung hymns inside.

Fortunately they had dug the grave before the -7 temperatures of last night, so now she is secure under a blanket of flowers.

Perhaps I should look out a nice photo of my rebellious youth and leave it accessably, plus a list of songs. White Stripes, REM................
Bette went out of the church with Elvis and Peace in the Valley. Good taste in hats and music.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

snow white

Last night Auntie Nature did this.

I understand she was even busier in Scotland and possibly the West country?

Fortunately the bread machine made this, so we should survive.
I am enjoying the change of scene which requires no travel [except Hattie hike] but is a bit cold.

Friday, 17 December 2010

sign in here

This is my experience of Beccles, a home to our latest exhibition until 21st December.
However Mr Wickedleaks will probably have a different view. He has to sign on with Mr Plod at the Plod Station in Beccles every day, to prove he is still here under Mansion House arrest, with or without condoms.
It was amusing that the big important judge set such store by the strict rules by which Mr S can be set free in our vicinity..................he must go to the police station every day, wear a tag etc.
Sadly the city courts perhaps don't realise what happens at their cosy retreats.
The the nearest police station to young Julian in Bungay only opens 3 morning a a week.
Thus he has to make the journey to Beccles, as Mr Plod will be there every week day afternoon for at least two hours each the afternoon, if he isn't out patrolling.
At weekends there are no police apparently in either town except the ones who will have to drive over from somewhere else to his country cottage and check him out for themselves.
Of course snow is forecast.....................and most of the grit and sand has been used up.......

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

expedition north

These are pics of some of the work at our latest exhibition. There are 12 in the group I think and we each put two items in. We trundled up today on a beautiful sunny day [but so cold] to see what it looked like.

The Gallery makes good use of a defunct building once owed by one of the evil banks. So an imposing portico, but then many steps and stairs as the rooms are honey combed thru 3 floors, maybe Bob Crachitt worked there once, some of them are so small Tiny Tim would have filled one.

Our room was just the right size for the works, white walls and bright sun thru the window. Couldn't ask for better, oh yes i could, someone to buy something.

The Gallery is run by artists from whom we rent wall space at low rent, and is partly staffed by volunteers, a good idea all round.

I would have liked to wonder the streets and potter in and out of a few old shoppes but the Retired Person had lunch and a pint on his mind so we had to skedaddle. It is good he comes, and drives, so I have to let him have his fun too but sometimes it is easier to go out with the ladies - as long as they don't talk endlessly about their operations [cataracts are becoming popular] and their grand /children
except mine of course.

We stocked up at the posh supermarket on the way back as snow is forecast later in the week,

Having bought a Xmas pudding I guess I must accept that Xmas has started.

winter timetable

The Retired Person has started his winter hobby, Now it is usually minus degrees outside only the parsnips are benefiting from the cold.

Fortunately the oil man cometh today so we are at least warm as we bend over our respective cutting boards.
Keep in mind it is an "N" gauge railway line, so these buildings are very teeny tiny, requiring a scalpel for the operation.

Monday, 13 December 2010

no decorations yet

Daughter has started the tradition of making a separate birthday cake for GG.
Here he is eating it with the aid of a small dinosaur.
I have just had a bowl of veggie soup for lunch made from the last Butternut Squash from the garden and some parsnips. I am allowed the latter now the freeze has frozen, repeatedly. Apparently they taste better after a frost.
It in no way improves my mood however. The hoar frost down to the river looks gorgeous but I chose to hoover in the warm rather than opt for the walking Hattie option.
She is still enjoying her walks and food but is increasingly blind deaf and possibly daft, being 13 & 3quarters. Last night she did a whoopsie this side of the back door, so the house now smells of disinfectant and short temper.
Xmas cards have begun limping in. Have posted mine with difficulty as the Post Office decided unilaterally to close between 1 and 3, I arrived at 2.30.
Tried to use up some time at the village fair in the village hall but it was more of a inside car boot sale, I already have too much tat.
The local MP answered Him Indoor's missive about the dire state of closure of public houses which wasn't very useful on either side.
However I could use his official address to encourage the MP to vote to support the Early Day Motion 1171 trying to help the poor beleaguered people of the Congo tomorrow. Their village halls are not so cosy and their post office is never open.

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!

Really enjoyed this tho it makes me cry too, thanks Annie.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

the ladies

Glad to see Aphrodite is being returned home to Sicily, wish I could go with her, it is cold and grey here, and so am I.

Nice to see that Susan Philipsz won the Turner prize for singing under bridges.
Just finished reading Mo Hayder's latest crime extravaganza "Gone", very tense making.
So far, the Ladies have it.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Winter has arrived. I am cold and I have a cold.

Nobody is commenting, very few are blogging.

I give up

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Went to the dentist today, check up, but terrified I was going to have to sacrifice another tooth. I never imagined aging included all these indignities. However I am allowed to hang on for now.

Have been working on my Creative Writing course with the OU, absolutely love it. When I get stuck at the stitching I can reverse the chair to the opposite table and diddle with words. My work room is obviously now in an even worse state of chaos as paper and books pile.

The diversions are necessary what with Ireland sinking, Royal marrying and snow forecast.

Sent the Glorious grandson his presssies and b. money for his second birthday coming up Thanksgiving w/e. Decided to send a couple of beautifully illustrated children's books, plus a soft toy of one of the characters.

Daughter warbles later that day on the phone " oh by the way, don't send books, we have loads" Too Late!

Must remember to keep a cheery face when we Skype him tearing into the parcel.

Have been reading and tossing aside books myself, not my usual practise, I was brought up to finish what you started [often got me into trouble] but finally started a book by a guy who was sitting for his portrait by Lucian Freud.

The artist fascinates me, it is just as well he is too far gone in years and distance for me to make a fool of myself, but the book is great, a meditation on identity and and an"interesting" life.

Monday, 15 November 2010

it's all mark making

It's been, for me, a heavy week of moving around among the tribes. People every where, I am an only child after all.
Had to go to the Car tribe on Monday and get the car MOTd, I have finally found a place where I do the talking in an office and am treated just as a customer, rather than a mad old lady who knows zilch and should really have a minder.
Didn't stop them informing me I had been driving on three wheels. Those what know me will remember that i did indeed drive a Robin Reliant 3wheeler for years, on my motor bike licence. Too chicken to take the Test and too broke to buy a grown up car.
However I am now properly authenticated to drive 4 wheels and I put it to the mechanic that perhaps he was exaggerating. He admitted he probably meant the brake pad was sticking on one wheel, but regained supremacy by charging me £455 for all the bits for Ronnie Renault to continue to maraud the streets.
Wednesday I went to hand stitch class for the last of the series and lo.......I have joined another group. We decided to continue to meet and so are now called Stitched Up!
Trailing clouds of glory I drove Ronnie to the Guild meeting where two stout [in every meaning] British ladies explained how they took a two knicker suitcase to Romania [to leave space for fabrics] and bully the Roma women in a pit of a village into making things for the ladies to come back and sell for them [the village].

They do this a dozen times a year [as unpaid volunteers] and told many merry stories of bucket and chuckit loos etc.

The Romanians are amazed the reviled Roma can walk straight what about learn to read, write and make things, so have celebrated by giving the village wheelie bins [as opposed to the trash pile they used to endure].

Friday I had my stitching group and we did printing and Saturday i went to a "conference" of another group to explore Concept and Meaning.

We had three speakers, the first "the galloping major" was billed as a story teller, which is always the knell of doom for me. He talked about himself and sang to his guitar, but he was saying there is a thread of creativity which goes thru all our lives which was an interesting concept to examine further.

The woman had a swell piece of work based on Ben Britten's piece 4 sea interludes and discussed crossover of interpretation. I was amazed at her confidence and delivery, good to see in the female of the species embroderer.
Finally we had a bloke [very] he talked of the concept "book" which he widened and widened until it could encompass a brick wall........linked sections, beginning and end, a time span etc.
I was high as a kite with tiredness by then so I did stand up and shout a bit. Expect there is one at every lecture he gives.
C pointed out later that perhaps he was talking about construction and I was yelling for the intrinsic communication..................he did make some lovely tree books with hand made paper, and wooden seats which had the line of a poem on each as you walked thru the village.
It was challenging, and I challenged. Maybe not sensibly but there you are, a tired woman is a dangerous species too.
PS Who is Marcia?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

another day, another year

To mark the fact that I am another year more ancient we went to Norwich, Norfolk is full of gnarled old peasants so I don't stand out too much.
I bought three vests with my birthday money, need I say more?

Apart from wandering round shops thinking, I am so old I don't really need to buy any more anything, we went to the flics to see Made in Dagenham, a British film about how the lady workers in the Ford car plant struck for equal pay. This was 1968!

I had heard it wasn't strictly accurate but was amusing and informative. Largely it was neither, unless the sight of large women working in their huge bras amuses you [because the machine shop was swelteringly hot in summer, freezing in the winter and leaked all year round].
The women who did actually strike were on news programmes of the time and shown at the end, nothing like the skinny young actresses taking their part.
A borrowed pillar box red dress, supposedly from Biba had a part in the fiction, looked nothing like the stuff I used to save up to buy from Biba at the time. Hairstyles seemed to range from perms to beehives with a page boy for the star, basically I hated it.
I grew up on a council estate [but not in a cardboard box] surrounded by Fords workers telling tales of men falling into the molten metal in the foundry shop. We lived out of the women machinists catchment area I guess, as they would cycle or bus to work, so no tales from the sweat shop of the time.
Happily we got a taxi back and the driver was a London cab driver transplanted into what he regarded as the sanity of the countryside. We had a good rant about it all.
However it got me out and about after midnight [only one late showing, though Norwich has 4 cinemas] which is an extremely uncommon occurrence so basically a tick.

Next day we went to the castle, thus the tapestry at top.
There is an strangely hung exhibition there of Art of Faith thru the ages. From medieval paintings to patchwork quilts. The pagan wheel was interesting, wrapped twigs and ribbons, sat somewhat uncomfortably with the other more formal stuff.

Back home, as everywhere, the leaves are going yellow, orange, bronze, bang, as they crash down It is going to be a quick autumn. Took Hatters for a walk this morning after the hail storm and got all the way round before the next deluge.

Should have gone to a tutorial yesterday [doing this creative writing course - always wanted to so I thought I had better get on with it while I can still tap a key] but the other dozen or so students in this region are young and effusive, judging by their on line comments. I know I would just have sat up the back and grumped and come home with a headache so decided to remain a recluse.

My next piece is possibly going to be about Lady Chatterly publication and Sabrina [not Arthur Askey] and the non sex life of teenagers before the 60s....................

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Mistresses of Art

Another day, another textile exhibition. This one was a bit of a pain to get thru, trekking up to foreign parts - Norfolk and then getting stuck in a traffic jam outside the town for nearly half an hour.
When we finally broke thru we found it was two bollards marking the spot, obviously the work wasn't happening at the w/e. Three main roads had to squeeze thru the single track gap of one cars length.
The town itself may have been quite pretty but it was cold and raining. The lunch at the water side pub, looking out onto the mere, served probably the worst sausage baguette I have ever not tasted. I was reluctant to pass it on to Hatters.
However the exhibition was interesting. The big print above [sorry the light and the wind wasn't helping] was of a stitching group with some minimal stitchery added in the spectacles and the scissors.
Such an impressive print on the rough linen whatever. I loved it. Christina did it while doing her MA and the group was fellow students who stuck together afterwards.
I was very envious of the opportunity they had bravely taken up.
I have finished my two pieces for the Beccles exhibition, altho really I should straighten the stitching of the daisy stems. But it means taking it off the backing etc. etc. one day I expect I will bestir myself.
So really I am free now, maybe, maybe soon I will figure out what to do.

Friday, 15 October 2010

EASTern art

Another day another textile exhibition. We stitchers are a busy lot.

This first exhibit was the result of lots of research by J at the Foundling Hospital in London, originally set up partly by Hogarth I believe.

In the 18th century when mothers were unable to care for their babes they could leave them at the Hospital where they would be sent to the country to a wet nurse for their first few years, then they would be returned [if they survived, i believe some wet nurses were not as caring as others] and the children would be apprenticed. Boys to a trade, girls to service.

At least that way the mothers could hope the babes had a better future than they could give them.
The first gowns were made to record the terrible execution by burning of a mother accused and imprisoned of clipping coins. Her child survived in the hospital and went on to learn a trade

Not all the mothers were poor, the second set was made to record the birth of illegitimate twins to a more well born, unmarried woman. To protect herself she gave birth secretly and in silence at home, so her family did not know, and paid the hospital to take the babes.

One twin survived childhood and went on to become independent. The mother later was married off thus maintaining her status.

The textile connection comes from the practice of leaving a token with the child. Then if the mother became able to reclaim her child she would be able to identify the token. Illiteracy being high the tokens were usually a piece of fabric, patchwork or ribbon, or even half a garment. All these were meticulously recorded [still extant] and it is these that J is studying.

J says she can cope with the misery of the memories she is excavating because she is giving these poor women, trapped by their vulnerability, a voice

Other pieces were focusing on the aesthetic

of decay. This one was based on slate.

I have several old slate tiles under a chair somewhere wondering how to use them.

They are so subtly shaded and tactile.

These are based in rusty machinery.

The last piece I chose is based on a poem by Emily Dickinson, as you do.

Friday, 8 October 2010

sailing on

 Went up to Ally Pally yesterday to the annual Knit and Stitch extravaganza.  The train, tube and bus trek took just two hours, through most of which I could read my book, so much preferable to a stuffy old coach cackling it's way thru the traffic - with me feeling sick if I try and read.
Felt a little uneasy after the terrorist warnings, thoughts of the glass ceiling crashing down in huge murderous shards but all remained peaceful, and crowded, obviously British women are not to be cowed.

First visit was to see Julia C's retrospective.  She used to mentor us but died unexpectedly from some lung disease.  It was indescribably sad to see her joyously coloured pieces knowing her enthusiasm and persistence were no longer around.
I hate the way things survive after the makers, but then again I make things to show I was once here, so hopefully her spirit is appeased.

So I was a bit melancholy for the rest of the day I suppose. 
But this coat made by a friend using tea bags for the yoke made me smile.
L was stewarding in a rather dazed way.  She is new to her textile group, it is rather prestigious so I think she felt a little over whelmed, as well as being over run by visitors who wanted to hear all about the Teabags. She has spent months losing weight and put a stone back on over the summer so she was grumpy as well.
Went downstairs for lunch, a truly disgusting turkey and cranberry [?jam] on white but I am too lazy to make my own lunch. The restaurant is under the halls so we were all safe from the dreaded glass, tho I guess the ceiling was heavy with female foot steps.

After tramping round the show for four hours I decided to cheer myself up by going to see the Ship in the Bottle on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Yinka Shonebare has created HMS Vistory with African textile prints as the sails a perfect instalation loaded with meanings.
Potty training? pic cheered me up tho.