Monday, 14 November 2016

Fleeing From Reality...


This grumpy teenager ,

born just up the road and destined to become a solicitor like his father , provided the perfect escape last Wednesday morning after the shock of Trump's election win .

The Fries Museum  currently has a large Alma-Tadema exhibition , showing a lot of privately owned treasures . His huge canvases full of rose petals and mosaics ,

draperies and marble , breastplates and togas proved to be just the distraction needed  .

First thing in the morning there was plenty of room to admire his attention to detail

... later on it became busier and I could sink gracefully on a bench and watch excerpts from the many films which should have listed him in the credits as set designer .

A couple of school groups swooped about with their work-sheets , the boys impressed by the swords and the girls by this slice of Roman high life where lolling about was a virtue . Later, they would go into a side-room where they could all dress up in togas and swirl capes and weapons to their hearts content .

We instead , just tottered off and sank into a cafe corner over coffees and  tried to understand what's happening this year ... 

But I'm going to have to go back again to pay proper attention to Alma-Tadema's family portraits . His real talent lay in his portrayal of faces , whether  of a childhood friend

his daughters or this little boy ,

waiting while his mother talked to a friend she'd met in the street .

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Golden Oldies ...

I've just spent the afternoon singing along with the Shadows , Elvis and an Indonesian band .
The band members were all on the elderly side ... the drummer tended to nod off between numbers , which might be why he'd been carefully positioned in the corner  ... but then so was the audience .

We all had a lovely time , ate all the biscuits and danced when the mood took us . Those of us , who remembered how to , hand jived and one totally round woman insisted on being hauled to her feet to demonstrate Hawaian dancing at regular intervals , collapsing back into her wheelchair each time after a couple of seconds , beaming .

No , don't worry , I was a visitor , not having got to care home age which here is usually 80+ , but if every Sunday afternoon were to be like this , it wouldn't be too bad ...the biscuits would have to be better , though . 

And who will we all be singing along to by then ? The Animals ?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Transported ... To The Wrong Film Entirely

Temporarily bike-less and carrying a far too heavy ruck-sack , there I am , wandering down the street , humming the Dr. Who music and wishing I hadn't taken quite so many books out of the library  , since I can only read them one at a time anyway , when something caught my eye .

A new plaque on the corner ... and there I was face to face with an Oscar winner , Richard Hageman , who got it for the music for  "Stagecoach"  .

Altogether carried away by this unexpected  brush with fame on a wet Thursday afternoon  , I swapped my Tardis for a dash through the Badlands .

And only realised when I got home that , actually , I was humming Annie Oakley's " Whip , Crack Away "  instead . Did John Wayne and Doris Day ever share a screen ?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Fourth Dimension ... Or Something

I'd run out of crosswords . ( I have a subscription to the Times puzzle page and tend to print them out in batches , rather than one a day . Henry Ford has nothing on me . I've streamlined the whole process . )   So ; coffee , laptop and printer ... 

Only now I've  got Windows 10 and Windows 10 refused to co-operate with the printer . It seemed that I had to formally introduce them . Well , at least one of us must be socially challenged because it took all morning .

Never mind , in between all the faffing about wailing , I also managed to cook a pot of  pork and beans , clean the kitchen windows and swear a lot . I've now got a big pile of crosswords , enough for weeks , which is just as well because I'm worn out ...

These ads have been going up all over the place  , any suggestion of a connection to a certain Windows programme is pure conjecture .

Thursday, 29 September 2016

It's On The Turn ...

It's on the turn , finally ...

No , not the carton of milk in my fridge , but summer into autumn . A whole month of warmth and blue , blue skies had lulled me into a glow of careless good humour .

Till this morning when a predicted brisk wind became ferocious and , fearing for life and limb , instead of going on the bike I took the bus to Keep Fit . Well no , two there and two back actually ... a total of four bus rides , admittedly short , so that I could use the gym's cycling machine for ten minutes and the treadmill for another ten .
What was that about global warming ?

Apart from that I'm building up layers of fat to see me through the winter ... not round my middle , fortunately , but stacked as pots of chickpeas ( much nicer than tinned ones ) and soup in the freezer , as though I didn't live a three minute bike ride from the supermarket . 
Even YD , not normally a squirrelly person , reports in her turn a freezer full of small mineral water bottles of home-made chicken stock and a future of Venetian risotto .
I might even make some muffins .

Outside the rain's coming down sideways , and inside I've just filled the biggest mug in the house with coffee and picked up my book again .

I've got to find out what happens at the end .

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Back To Work ...

No , I'm not going back to work and I doubt whether anybody would rush to offer me a job these days ;  but I would like a shot , if I could just do it via this place's back-to-work-scheme .

 It was Open Monument day in town last Saturday , dedicated this year to our industrial heritage . Usually only too keen to nose in normally non-public spaces , I couldn't summon up the enthusiasm to admire the  'pancake factory's'   deliveries yard or queue in the sun to have another look at the old jail's smithy .

But as I came round a corner near the supermarket , I almost cycled into this and couldn't resist  .

An old shipyard run these days by enthusiasts to look after old boats and  to provide apprenticeships  .

It's tiny and very run-down but ingeniously cobbled together with whatever was to hand .... one wall consisted of a patchwork of old shed doors . They seemed to specialise in rehousing orphaned windows , too .

 But the boat builders were all overwhelmingly keen to explain every process ,

the tools were impeccably stored , every piece of work glowed as beautifully planed and sanded wood should

and you knew that nothing would ever be wasted . I wandered about wondering if there was a vacancy for a coffee-maker /wood-stroker ... 

The only snag , of course , being that , much as I love all the boats I see every day 

I don't really like the water and am a hopeless sailor . The chances of suddenly getting very wet indeed are just too high .

Thursday, 8 September 2016

What Can I Say ?

I'm becoming boring ... unfortunate in someone who blogs .

It's become so bad that the other day as I walked into a shop , the young assistant didn't even blink and just carried on moaning into her 'phone  , "Yes , I know so-o quiet . Only loads of women with grey hair ." , and didn't notice that , having cast a glance at her bemotto-ed cushions  ( so last year ... a bit like me , obviously )  I'd  left . I can be sniffy , too,  you know . 

Luckily I was in Deventer , a smallish town I like inordinately and promptly found lots of better things to do .

It's full of narrow alleyways , full of nice surprises .

Like the big working river , full of barges , just at the end of this lane

Or this imposing gate in an alley only wide enough for one small passerby

The spray of orchids in someone's window box

or these very blue and very perfect trumpets winding up a drainpipe  .

There are dozens of little shops and they're , all but one , packed with interesting things  ... I liked the way this one , full of bricabrac , even when forced by illness to close for business had found something pretty to write the message on . Who else remembers collecting angel scraps at school ?

The street names ; Long Bishop Street , Short Bishop Street , Behind The Monks  ... 

the tempting bars and the way that just round the corner there are two Cuban cafes and a proper tapas bar for the witch to sober up in ...  

The shop that just calls itself  THE Bread Shop .

And , of course , the best street decoration I've seen this summer ... dozens and dozens of rainbow coloured brollies everywhere .