Friday, April 15, 2022

Hither and Thither

I have been caught up in a maelstrom of hither and thither recently. So much so that a day out to Nottingham had to be cancelled. "Sincerest regrets, deadlines, busyness etc, enjoy without me!", virtually waving off the friends I had been planning to spend the day with. Instead I took myself off to the library and worked in the little cafe there (lattes £1, if you please), letting the change of scene work wonders on my bid writing skills. 

Which it did. This recent commission has a tight deadline so gallivanting was out of the question really, and I'd already lost a day in Brum the previous week. 

A friend most generously donated her time so we could spend the traipsing the Rag Market and assorted nearby fabric shops to find THE right fabric for the wedding dress. Which is not a wedding dress in the traditional sense of the word. Having been on this particular merry-go-round before, I have no interest in wearing white (or cream or champagne or ecru or whatever fancy name the designers give it). I wanted something vibrant and dramatic, and found it in a beautiful Dupion silk in emerald green. Of course, the making may be trickier now Mum has had a meltdown and refused to do it ("Silk? I thought you were getting jersey! I can't work with silk!") but someone with the requisite sewing skills will turn up. 

After, we hauled our aching feet to a greasy spoon to refresh ourselves with chips and builders tea before making our way to the Library where we combined work (we're evaluating a project there together) and pleasure (there was another exhibition which was splendid), and then rounded off the whole successful day with wine and, in my case, a bag of Percy Pigs. 

The plot moves on as slowly as I do, and that's okay. At the weekend, with the Kid over for a couple of days, I put him in charge of the incinerator to burn away all the non-compostable woody bits while I strimmed the grass and weeded some more of the wineberry bed. He had fun, I got jobs done, we both got back smelling of bonfires and spent the evening watching Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with N (who was in mourning over an Arsenal loss) as we continue his education in films from the 80s. 

We've been busy socially than I've been used to in recent years: tapas in the Cotswolds (get us being all fancy although tapas is not food, in my opinion - £9 for 5 pieces of calamari!! - it is naught but shenanigans. Expensive shenanigans.), birthday night out for a friend, another's 50th celebrations of a kind that was exactly right for her, and a gallery opening show of Japanese prints (so beautiful) that touted the worst red wine I have ever heard talked about in glowing terms ("we were so excited about having wine, we brought loads of a really nice one!" Did you? Did you really?). 

I have been reading Thin Places which was breath taking. If you know nothing - or only a little - of what it was like to live as a child in Derry during the 80s, this is the book you need to pick up. The collective trauma of that generation is so easily dismissed and yet it damaged them all. It is horrendous and yet she writes with a lightness, an uplift, as she tries to work that damage out of her system.

I also read a book about Edward I's daughters - as you do - which was fascinating, Clive James's Unreliable Memoir, Carol Shields's The Stone Diaries and I've just started Winifred Holtby's South Riding which I'd tried to read 10 years or more ago but couldn't get on with it. This time, I'm enjoying the characterisations more, so I'll carry on despite it's considerable heft means I'm risking a broken nose if I fall asleep whilst reading and it donks me. 

I've been listening to: Jill Scott, Laura Marling, Nina Simone. An antidote to the Beatles' White Album that N would have on repeat if I let him. While My Guitar Gently Weeps is making my ears gently bleed after the 100th listening. 

This weekend, I'm planning to work a little every day (that deadline loomeths) but mostly potter on the plot, read, cook and relax before the whirlwind of next week hits as I juggle dog-sitting for my Mum, a trip to London for a meeting but also fitting in the British Museum Stonehenge exhibition (London at Easter! What was I thinking?) and a trip to Gloucester to meet up with a client. I may try to fit in a visit to the Cathedral afterwards because it's a beautiful building. 

By the way, whilst I write, I'm listening to The Reunion on BBC Radio 4 - always a treat of a programme. Did you know a young Keir Starmer, at the very start of his career, gave the McLibel 2 free legal advice a number of times when they were preparing to fight McD's? That man is thoroughly decent. Where are the barricades we need to man to get him into the prime minister role?

And that's as far into politics as I'll go here because... Well. We have a criminal as a prime minister, who is paying the Rwandan government millions to take refugees. Good grief. Send help. 

Happy Easter/Ostara/Spring bank holiday!


  1. The PM is an utter disgrace. I was telling the urchins about the McLibel trial the other day (maybe trying to instil some militancy in them) and enjoying all over again the complete PR disaster that McD wrought on themselves. Tapas in the Cotswolds sounds like madness. I always take my own food when I cross the border. Well, actually when I go pretty much anywhere in fact. The emerald green silk sounds divine, I do hope a seamstress materialises for you. And enjoy Gloucester Cathedral. I seem to recall there is a stained glass window with a golfer in it somewhere, circa 1350. Also a Harry Potter connection. I am all about the culture, as you see. CJ xx

    1. Ha! I do see :)
      Someone in McD's gave some seriously bad PR advice. Did you know the whole thing was infiltrated by undercover police? I spent most of the programme with my jaw dropping.
      Seamstress appointment made (after a few false starts), so fingers crossed.
      Isn't everything in the Cotswolds madness? Prices, food, housing costs, social mores, Jeremy Clarkson...
      Hope you had a good Easter Txx

  2. Your wedding dress sounds like it is going to be divine, green silk sounds wonderful, glad to hear that you have found someone to sew it for you. Tapas in the Cotswolds sounds expensive, I expect everything there is. I was at college and worked with many who came over from Northern Ireland in the early 90s I remember them talking about their childhoods and it seemed so foreign and incomprehensible to me. The collective trauma is huge. We always stay home at Easter as the roads become car parks, we ventured to Scotland one year about twenty years ago, the border is a forty minute drive from here and two hours after setting off we were still miles away, we thought it would be quieter heading north than exploring the Lake District where we live......that is the first and last time we ever went away at Easter. I had heard about Keir Starmer and the McD case I might have to listen to that programme as I don't know the details, The Reunion is usually a good listen.

    1. Yep, everything in the Cotswolds is expensive. Ridiculously so. I mean, having grown up around it, I love the countryside of the area but no way could I live there. Not just the expense, but people are hyper-aware they live "In The Cotswolds" and act accordingly. We do seem to have national memory loss when it comes to the Troubles. I had no idea how bad it was until recently. I got lucky where I grew up.


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