Monday, 10 November 2014

Does wacky equal batty??? Surely not!

According to Google, that font of all knowledge, the dictionary definition of wacky is odd or irrational; crazy.
I prefer eccentric.
Certainly my dress sense has been described as veering on wacky on various occasions, but Friday evening, it seemingly rendered me batty.

Standing at the bus station waiting for a worryingly late night bus, I appeared to be labelled as batty and hard of hearing.
Amazing how a few drinks make everyone an expert.
And Swansea bus station by night appears to be batty central.

I voiced my worry about making a connection from the still to arrive night bus.
Big mistake.
The conversation went like this:

Expert:  No connection at Gowerton, dear, you can't get to Gower on this bus.

Me:       Oh yes I can, there's a connection at Gowerton.

Expert:  You're on the wrong bus love, you want the 116.

Me:        In daylight yes - at night, it's this bus.

Expert in loud voice to wife: See that girl, she's waiting for the wrong bus, she thinks this one goes to Gower.

Expert to me:  And where does the connection start from then, you want the NAT bus, the 116,  it starts here.               

Wife of expert:  Are you sure you want Gower?

By now I was losing the will to live.
Thankfully the bus did turn up.
As did the connection- all the way to Gower.

Fancy that...

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Rural hibernation, an aversion to Christmas and the luminousity of pea and ham soup.

If I could sum up this week in three words they would be hibernation, bah-humbug and flight.
Hibernation as I have an aversion to winter.
Bah-humbug as Christmas just winds me up.
And flight as I've got definite itchy feet.
So, with radiators on full and the television switched firmly off I am blocking out the Christmas adverts and immersing myself in Liberty Lawn.

There is something very soothing about Liberty Lawn.
The timeless quality; chintz versus bold prints interspersed with  paisley riots.
My own personal favourites are the Susanna range of modern florals and the delicate paisley print below.
It's going to be a fox.
With textured wool accents.

No fabric in Cardiff yesterday.
Oh no.
Having fled the grey drizzle of Gower for the retail therapy of Cardiff it was on the agenda, but I was seduced by furry boots and Hotel Chocolat.
Can you ever have too many furry boots, particularly when they are furry sheepskin?
And as for Hotel Chocolat - well, it saved on postage.

This has been a week when I've rediscovered pea and ham soup but am still in search of my baking mojo.
It's all in the colour.
That luminous green, the radiant purple of the onion and the smokiness of the gammon.
The fact that it tastes amazing is an added bonus!

It has also been a week when I've found myself pondering on the dismissiveness that comes so effortlessly to my 22 year old son.
I happened to pick up the phone to his boss while he was out.
The text I later received read: 
Yes I can see no problems.
 Please don't answer/speak in future.
Hope you've had a nice day!

The word git sprung to mind...

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Dear Diary...Tuesday 17th December 1991. Numb.

7.30pm, nursing a large coffee and the after effects of cheap plonk at The Israel Museum.
And numb.

Thankyou, Bo, for lifting my mood this afternoon over red wine and crisps.
And for overseeing the babyfeet card, which probably shouldn't have been written with a wine fuzzled head.
The waffling expanded away from the straight lines...
As did Bo's walking when I waved her off at the hitching post.

Today is my last full day in Israel, fitting really that it should be Jerusalem.
But I'm numb to the core.
Each and every time I've come to Israel I've known I'd be back, but this time is different.
It feels so final.
And it wasn't meant to be like this.

Yesterday I left SdotYam.
My safety net.
Willie organised a brilliant farewell party the night before, where I broke my no drinking rule in truly shocking style, getting really drunk, and had a great time.
So many people were there, and then there were the ones who weren't, who we visited anyway!

A last walk on the beach, with Bo, Michael, four legged Jessica and I have no idea who the other two were, and a farewell coffee with the wonderful Yosi Seri. 
Max was passed out in my room - I had to prod her awake to say goodbye, then Bo, before waiting for my lift, and it was there, all alone with Jessica at my feet and the sun rising, that I broke down and cried.
It was tough.

Back in Jerusalem, after lugging an overflowing rucksack through the soggy back streets, The Jasmine was eerily silent.
Letting myself in, I was suddenly ankle deep in water, and it was deserted.
Best laid plans...
Luckily, the King George didn't require flippers, so I dumped my stuff, pocketed the card and, after wandering round aimlessly to put off the inevitable, I found myself at the door of the one place I knew I had to go.
Full of nerves, apprehension and the urge to run I eventually managed to knock the door.

And no-one answered.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Not just a cat.

I have two cats.
Tomorrow, the eldest will be 12.
Having adopted her from a cat charity eleven years ago, no-one knew her exact age but this was the birthday we gave her.

Semi feral, nervous and skittish, she has never forgotten her alley roots.
A three kilo diva - to me and Josh loving and faithful, to anyone else a hissing cobra.
And tomorrow she will be going under anaesthetic to remove numerous blunt yellow teeth.
I feel guilty and apprehensive.
Very apprehensive.
Her name is Suki.

I've never left her at the vets before.
Despite her petite stature, nervous disposition and blunt teeth she appears to have been labelled as vicious, with vets requiring rottweiler gloves.
She won't be cooperative tomorrow.
And I won't be able to concentrate on anything until she is safely through the operation.

Josh is 22.
They chose each other.
At the cat homing fair, they bonded in the pen.
While I looked around, Josh refused to budge from Suki's pen, with Suki at his side, hissing at any cat daring to unsurp her.

Suki has seen him through school, sixth form and university.
She's been here through the arguments, laughter, and traumas.
Through Gibraltar and empty nest syndrome.
Through battles at work, Australia and readjusting.
She's empathetic, intelligent and very special.

Although maybe with less teeth she won't be rehoming as many baby rats.
I won't miss the rats.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Sidetracked by a 1940s writing bureau. The lost art of letter writing.

Today was supposed to be a grocery day.
I returned with a 1940s writing bureau.
Much more appealing than teabags and carrots, and far too lovely to leave languishing in a charity shop.
It's being delivered on Friday.

So much history in such a small piece of furniture.
The well worn leather on the writing surface, the tiny compartments...the secret drawer.
As a child I was fascinated by my great grandmother's bureau.
So many magic drawers and random treasures...the pitted leather, the inkwell - the stashed mars bars!
And this little bureau brought these memories flooding back.

Gamsie, my great grandma.
Whatever happened to letter writing?
Do children still write thank you letters at Christmas, or has technology taken over, with those impersonal round-robin emails and e-cards.
I can't remember the last time I had a proper letter drop through my letterbox - or even a postcard.
Bills and junkmail aplenty, but not one, solitary letter.
However, I am just as guilty, having sent just two letters myself in the last few years, one to an older relative in Australia, the other to a not-so-old friend in Israel who has yet to embrace the internet.

I will be storing fabric in my bureau, alongside dusty old diaries, cards and virtual good intentions to rediscover the lost art of letter writing.
Although maybe not with a fountain pen - being a leftie I could effortlessly smudge the ink across the page and up my arm, but rollerballs...I can do rollerballs!

Love my old letters!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

London. My fix of urban sanity.

Urban sanity.
Sometimes, I need reminding that London is just four hours away.
Particularly when Autumn turns soggy, and Gower is shrouded under a grey mist.

Ahhh,  Paddington.
My gateway to London, a very special station.
Yesterday was spur of the moment, an impulse trip brought on by a desire to be back on Brick Lane and to rediscover the galleries round London Bridge.
It also brought me back to Norfolk Square, and a meeting with the lovely Mike, partner of Masato.
I love working studios - the mood boards, works-in-progress, sketches - the tactile fabrics and artistic chaos.
It's inspiring.  And very different to my last visit to Norfolk Square.

My last visit to Norfolk Square was back in 2003.
My son was 11 years old, and we'd spent the day at Wimbledon, after a night under canvas in the Wimbledon queue.
Having missed the last train back to Swansea we were traipsing round Paddington in search of a cheap hotel, and mistakenly ended up at The Continental, which appeared to be charging by the hour, although I didn't realise at the time.
The first room we were offered had a plastic sheet flapping in the breeze at a window with no glass, leading on to a shared balcony.
On closer inspection, the room sharing our easy access balcony appeared to contain an unconscious man, lying on a bed surrounded by bottles...
 Needless to say we didn't stay in that room, but we did spend an interesting night at the hotel, with a chair wedged against the door!

Norfolk Square has been cleaned up, but The Continental is still there.
It now has glass in its windows.

I can thoroughly recommend the Fashion and Textile museum at London Bridge.
The knitwear exhibition is inspiring, and reintroduced me to Body Map.
Body Map!  Now there's a blast from the past...I'd forgotten about Body Map.
Body Map were my obsession during that first year at Art School - loved the photography, the strong could I possibly have forgotten Body Map!

                                          I'm now going to research all things Body Map.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Dear diary...Tuesday 29th October 1991. Avoidance and denial.

Nearly 9pm and I couldn't concentrate on the film.
I have absolutely no idea what it was about, can't even remember the title.
I can't concentrate on anything at the moment; my mind's all over the place and  I'm not sure how long I can keep this up.
Watering the grass with alcohol, pretending to be drunk when I'm stone cold's an act and I'm not a good actress.

Mexico City is eerily quiet.
 So many people have left recently, and there's no sound anywhere.
Even the crickets are in hibernation, a reminder that I can't avoid things for much longer.
Max is out chasing her mission, Bo is watching the film and I could really do with talking to someone.
Someone other than Avi.

October 1991.  Bubble World

Oh my goodness, it was tough telling Avi.  He despises The Underground and all it stands for - funny really, as back in '86 he gave me his phone number on the back of an Amadeus flyer - he's my oldest friend in Israel, with the twinkliest eyes and biggest personality, but mention The Underground, or anyone in it, and he's off on one.
Which is why I found myself back in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon, wandering aimlessly up and down Ben Yehuda, to put off telling him.

It didn't go well - all the planning and rehearsals in my head, when it came down to it I burst into tears, it all came tumbling out and Avi disappeared into the night, thankfully not in the direction of The Underground.

The next day, his mother fed me meatballs.