Oh where to begin, where to begin? The fact I can even think about beginning is thanks to the blue sky above my head – what a big relief that is. I think all the rain and mud may have broken me at some point between the upteenth washing of the dog’s paws and my slipping down and cutting my hand on some rain slicked barbed wire.
Still, this has been the kind of winter that leads to more than a few comedy fallings. The landscape has been littered with prone figures, pulled over by their steady-on-their-paws dogs, or by the incautious placing of a foot on the ground. From the straight forward feet-from-underneath slip where you find yourself staring at the sky, to the hugely funny arms-windmilling fall forward, via the whoa-whoa-arrgghhh skidder trying desperately to gain purchase. It seems my fall of choice happens in the middle of an oblivious trot-along broken by the sound of a small shriek, a heavy thud, and a loud ‘for FUCK’S sake!’
And if that was not enough contact with the brown stuff, I decided to take up pottery too. Every other week, I now take myself off to this place (gods, how I love this place), sit at a wheel and throw pots. With greater or lesser success – lesser, on the whole. But its an activity that doesn’t involve computers, application forms or being in charge. The clay is most definitely in charge. Plus, I’m forced to talk to people. Yes, that’s right – I deliberately took up something that means I have to socialise like a normal person. The clay is most definitely in charge there too.
A Victorian Music Hall night where I got to pull out all the bits of lace and lawn cotton I’d managed to gather over the years (a surprising amount), and then stick them about my person like a deranged 19th Century magpie. A visit to see Rodin’s The Kiss at Cheltenham Art Gallery – I was actually far more moved by the delicate watercolours of Edward Wilson, Scott’s fellow Polar traveller. Although by any standards, that really was a big Kiss.
And books! A few superlatively great books saw me through February’s brutal regime: Gossip from the Forest by Sarah Maitland; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (there had to be a Bronte); Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L Sayers. I have so many new ones piled up but Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is a treat I’m savouring at the moment.
I leave you, for now anyway, with this little tune: it makes me smile every time I hear it. Do wish someone had bunged him a bit of money for a better video though. Stop animation perhaps – like a Bagpuss reel?
Edit: on the request of my fellow blogger and vintage lover, Abby, here is a photo of me in my Victorian get up. My head anyway. Because I was taking it and it’s tricky to get more than my head in due to my arms not being particularly long. Yep, I took a selfie. I’d be ashamed but, damn, my hair looks good.