Tuesday, 27 September 2011

no-one told me there'd be glitter...

I was 'on-duty' at our local Guides meeting last night.  I couldn't say exactly how many girls are involved but I think they'd all packed their individual megaphones.

It was a lively evening.  After the various rituals of patrol line-ups, something called a horseshoe and then another thing to do with unfurling a flag, the girls were involved in working towards a 'go for it' badge.  This seems to have involved a great deal of discussion and decision making and a great many recyclable bags full of craft materials, sweets, egg boxes and the dreaded glitter.

I have never met a mother who loved glitter, who has welcomed glitter into her home, who has joined the glitter facebook fanpage, who willingly and without persuasion went to a shop and bought glitter of her own accord.  Glitter isn't great unless it's stuck very firmly to a pair of A/W2011 Miu Miu shoes.

Glitter is definitely, in my view, inappropriate for a slightly damp yet humid September Monday evening.  It is definitely a scary prospect when it is unaccompanied by layers of broadsheet newspaper.

I admit, I reacted badly.

I was a Guide for about a fortnight in the very late 70s, early 80s.  I never had the uniform.  All I can remember about it is making a mosaic of a boat from tiny pieces of magazine that I was told off for taking too long to cut out.  I was reading the magazine and not focusing on the very important task of magazine mosaic.

This is not to say I have a problem with Guides.  I think it's a fantastic organisation and one of the few that encourages girls and young women with positive role models and aspirations.  Neither am I immune to the lure of groups and gatherings, hence my new found interest in the WI.  I think it's more to do with the fact that I just didn't know what to do when I pitched up last night for my stint of press-ganged volunteering (I know - oxymoron alert).  Where is the etiquette manual that outlines the correct behaviour for parent helper at Guides?  Please can someone send me the link?

I was asked to supervise.  Mmmmmm.  Tricky one that when you're not in your own home and supervising your own children or those of very, very close friends.  Was I to supervise the task?  The behaviour?  The clearing up afterwards?  Was there some kind of understanding from my temporary charges that I was supposed to be supervising or, as I suspect, was I seen as some kind of random mother who has to be there because she's on the rota.  Tricky.  

I had to have a nice cup of tea and a couple of slices of toast when I got home alongside the Housewives of New York 'best-ofs' and 'never-seens'.   I take my hat off to our Guide leader.  We parents are asked to contribute two hours of our lives every 12 weeks or so.  That's not a great deal to help our girls have a chance to catch up with friends they don't necessarily see at school and maybe learn some new skills on the way.  They'll be off on a couple of trips over the next few weeks too, a chance for them to spread their wings a little and take a few more steps to independence.

Perhaps I should have persevered with the mosaic.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

new term

I've been looking forward to starting the second year of my degree, almost as soon as I drove out of the car park on the last day last term.  This, you might think, would have resulted in at least a weekly visit, just to keep my in touch and continue working or studying over the summer.

Oh no.

My recurrent college nightmare may have subsided after twenty years but I still tipped up on my first day back (yesterday) with palpitations over my efforts over the summer.

We were asked to develop a project and, as usual, demonstrate our efforts using sketchbooks.  Most of my efforts in this direction involved looking at other peoples' work, other peoples' sketchbooks, other peoples' creative endeavours.

I thought a lot.

I read a lot.

I visited some galleries and made some notes.  I read a lot more and I thought a lot more.

The actual episodes of drawing between March and September 2011 were less in evidence.

Going back to college yesterday felt like taking some kind of super-booster, vitamin tonic.  My brain is whirring.  My pencil is drawing.  I've already done my homework and I've discovered the glories of Youtube for research purposes.  I've listened to interviews, I've worked around the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  I've had a blast and I've organised my artist files.

I'm happy.

Monday, 12 September 2011

and did those feet.....

I went to my first WI meeting last week.  S & I have been talking about going for a long time.  Since 'Calendar Girls' this venerable organisation seems to pop up in the news quite regularly.  First there was booing Tony Blair, then there was that mini-series on the Aga lady in the Isle of Wight who seemed to upset a lot of people.  Now there are the Shoreditch Sisters, shaking up the WI in a trendy, Hoxton, London-centric kind of way.

I love the idea of the WI for several reasons:
- it's a social gathering with people you might not spend a lot of time with but can learn a lot from
- the talks because I always think you can learn something, even if it's that you never want to hear about woad ever again
- the tea and biscuits because it's always a good idea to throw caution to the wind and let someone else make the selection
- the campaigning nature of the organisation which is often reported on.  They're currently on the case with Love your Libraries

Our local WI is small - no more than 30 members, one of which has attended for 70 years, a fact which blew my mind.

The speaker was interesting - she spoke about her work with the container ship crews in Southampton and how there's a whole group of people who support these men who spend months at a time on board only to be tipped out for a few hours on Southampton dock before getting back on the boat and delivering the containers somewhere else.  Who knew?

I think I might go again but I have to admit, the actual meeting part of the meeting didn't mean much.  I'm interested to go again and see what else happens although, if I'm truly truthful, I felt that little bit more fun could be had.  I always expect to have a bit of fun when I leave the house, otherwise I might as well stay under my blanket and carry on watching Housewives of New York.

And on that matter, HONY is my newest TV addiction and, I admit, one of my worst.  It's shallow, boring, vacuous and awful but in the best, ever way.  I can't stop watching these women and their families.  How were they picked?  What made them do this?  We're only on Series 2 over at ITV2 but I just can't stop watching and I tape it every day on the grounds that if I don't watch it during the day but in the evening, I'm not really watching daytime TV.  I do worry, however, that if I'm taping HONY, it's only three small clicks from taping Daybreak or GMTV. 

I don't think LuAnn and Jill go to WI in NYC.  Now, that would make a good reality show.

Monday, 5 September 2011

that boat has sailed....

Well, there we are.  That was that.  The summer is now officially over.  No more late mornings.  No more pyjama lunches.  No more dressing gown trips to let the chickens out.  It's go, go, go from now on. 

Today is the first time everyone has tried to wash within the same hour period.  Needless to say I am still in my pyjamas waiting for the opportunity to have a quick splash before walking E to school.  I was hoping to kick start my exercise by taking that walk a little further but there are ominous looking clouds gathering outside and the early morning sunshine has evaporated.

To celebrate the end of the summer holiday, I'm off for a pedicure this morning at a new local salon, Perfection.I like to live in hope.  They offer a special Monday deal where if you spend £25 on a treatment you can have an eyebrow shape and lash dye for free.  Bargainaroso me thinks.

Tomorrow is haircut day.  I have neglected to pop a bottle on my lovely locks over the summer and I'm growing out my layers so am looking a little Wurzel-like and have had to resort to wearing E's hairband to keep said locks out of my face.  Very attractive - not. 

I've now realised that there are probably only 4 more summer holidays left when both J & E will be at home.  How sad is that?  Attention must be paid.

Friday, 2 September 2011


"Millie" by John Willats from the terrace at The Three Gables

Bradford-on-Avon had a distinctly continental air yesterday.  I was lucky enough to be invited to visit The Three Gables for lunch and took a trip with my dear friend, S.  The review will appear in next month's Wiltshire Magazine but I can say this: beautiful, delicious and welcoming.  What more could you want from a restaurant?

Out and about the sun was shining, the town centre was bustling, the market was heaving and the river sparkled.  I don't get there as often as I'd like to but Bradford-on-Avon is always worth a day out, full of history and great independent shops. I always find something new there.

As we drove through lovely Wiltshire in its late summer glory, I had an idea.  It occured to me that it might be interesting to bring together a gathering of Wiltshire bloggers.  I have no idea when, where or how but thought if I posted something here then those of you that read this might get in touch and know others who might be interested too.  What do you think?

On another matter - could it be possible that the sun may shine all weekend?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

I've found three years..

I posted about my continual addiction to telly-watching and its potential negative health implications.  I worked out (no-one has checked my mathematics by the way), that I've 'lost' in the region of 3 years due to my obsession with the flickering box in the corner.

Science, however, has come up with a solution.  It seems that I can add 3 years to my life by exercising 15 minutes per day which I'm sure I must do just walking from the living room to the kitchen to gather tea and sustenance for my next televisual delight.  The article is bewildering but the evidence is there in about the fourth paragraph down.  Find it here.

In the meantime, E has gone to visit her grown-up cousins and J has gone back to school.  G is working away and I'm just about to get ready and do some research before I go here to do a restaurant review.