Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Virtual DIY and a cluster of foxes.

May bank holiday.
Synonymous in the UK with swarms of harassed families descending on DIY shops, credit cards maxed out and heads full of projects destined never to be finished.
I managed to  avoid the DIY dramas, but it seems both dabbled in virtual DIY projects over the holiday, with mixed results.

Folksy - love, love LOVE the new interactive front page, which is a huge improvement on the old.
And very happy to have my snoozy fox included on their quirky, eclectic range of favourite finds.

I love making these foxes, and am currently working on a blue chintzy fox to hold open a door.
Navy and cream is such a classic colour combination, and it works well in chintz!
He'll match this snoozy fox cushion.

But as for Etsy - oh my goodness, what are they thinking with hiding shipping costs till checkout???
Not a fan, either as a buyer or a seller. 
Shipping costs are so important, and need to be visible before checkout, so there is no nasty surprise for customers assuming shipping is free.
Supposedly a ''test'' by Etsy on a small proportion of shops, judging by the avalanche of complaints the test pool seems to be large.
I'm hoping this test is short lived.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Wednesday 28th May, 1986. Kickstarting a love of kibbutz with a head full of dreams and a nylon rucksack.

Wednesday 28th May, 1986.
I was a mixed up 18 year old, an art school drop out with an urge to travel, about to board a flight to Israel with a bunch of strangers.
I had a head full of dreams, and hair full of ribbons and lace, an ode to Boy George, my Art School hero.
And a Walkman with the only four cassettes that would fit into my bulging rucksack.
These would become the soundtrack of my first year abroad - Adam Ant, Culture Club, Madonna and Bowie's Aladdin Sane.
I had impeccable taste!

Of the twelve in our group just five were travelling solo, and it was daunting.
And my first flight.
In an age where smoking was still allowed on planes I got a seat in the smoking section at the back, as that was where most of the group were sitting, and it all passed in a hazy blur.
Occasionally religious Jewish men would congregate to pray, and scowl at us from under their large hats.
They didn't like us much!

Arriving at nearly midnight it was still hot, and the humidity high.
Having lost the scowling religious men we were met by the kibbutz van, complete with armed guard!
I'd never been this close to a rifle before, and we hurtled down the windy roads to Jerusalem and Kibbutz Ramat Rachel - me, a bunch of strangers and the man with the gun - for a lightening tour of Jerusalem-by-night, a place which would become all too familiar over the next few years...

Massada at sunrise, my 19th birthday with Fiona Boom. 
Complete with Boy George ribbons and lace under a military beret.

And now, 28 years later, I finally get to see Culture Club live with my 21 year old son!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Three men and a bridge.

My dad is 68 and the youngest of four brothers.
Spread far and wide across the UK, for the past 12 years at least three of them have met up each and every year in a caravan.
They put the world to rights, wallow in nostalgia and chase up obscure lines of the family tree.
Walking plays a big part, big spending less so.
And the wardrobe never changes.
Shorts and red trousers feature prominently.

It took a funeral to bring them back into regular contact, and it's very touching.
And a reminder of how fast time goes.

Sadly I will never have the same bond with my brother and sister; we drifted apart a very long time ago, which is why this bond is so special.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Dear Diary....Friday 27th September 1991. The lure of Jerusalem.

A bad day at work, an enjoyable evening down the refet with Jacquie and Nat yesterday and now finally time to contemplate Jerusalem - oh my goodness - Jerusalem!!!
Oh dear oh dear!

Tuesday, Aude and I hitched down to Jerusalem after work, which took ages and ages but got there just in time for Happy Hour.
Too much sun, and too much beer 'n' straws, but the long walk back to the Jasmine cured that!

I love The Jasmine, and I particularly love their reduced rates, own keys and tiny garden.
I don't love the temperamental trickle of water that masquerades as a shower, but it really is an oasis of calm in a crazy city.

The Underground was heaving- busy, busy, busy - lots of dancing and jumping around, but then I lost Aude, who was on a mission with a bearded Russian, and fell asleep on a very nice man's arm in the disco.
Luckily, he was very understanding, or maybe just used to strange women falling asleep on his shoulder...

Prodded awake by Aude, we went back to the bar and got talking to Issy, before Aude offended him, saying what I do not know, but we met up again later and he made very good coffee.
With a really sweet, bonkers cat.

Which meant hitching back to SdotYam the next day hungover, tired and happy.    
Me 'n' Aude.

A portrait of  Issy, by Aude Martin du Pan.