Monday, 20 March 2017

Hoovered Up Last Week

Odds and ends ...

According to a Daily Telegraph quiz on Friday , I'm only a Plastic Paddy . My various , rather distant Irish ancestors would be mortified , but unsurprised ; I haven't been there for over forty years . Never mind , one of my cousins is called Patrick Joseph Mary , and you can't get much more Irish than that ... I'll have to put it on my application for a passport if Brexit threatens ...

A sentence from a Guardian book review last week caught my eye , "Many Britons can date their childhood to the suffix their subconscious applies to the word "Raleigh", be it Roadster , Chopper or Burner ." That the suffix that I came up with was Walter says it all , really ...



The Den Haag  exhibition of clothes Givenchy had designed for Audrey Hepburn was beautiful ... columns of black satin with only giant pearls or a swirl of tulle for the evening  , hot pink or mustard coats with tiny pill box hats , beautiful embroidery ... but the most striking gallery was dedicated to her work with Unicef . The photos of her with refugee children showed her at her best , glowing and alive in capri pants and simple cotton shirts with three toddlers draped round her neck . In another corner there was one of her handwritten recipes for pasta reproduced with her wooden spoon  ,  a photo of her on a gigantic sofa with her cat and another of both the designer and herself buttoned up in his tweed coat in the snow . Not just Holly Golightly but someone you'd like to have known .

The three of us were fading away with hunger by this stage so repaired to the museum cafe  for lunch . Was unable to resist one of the weird pink rolls , though filled with cheese rather than smoked mackerel . Had to ask ... why's it this colour ?  Made with wholemeal flour and beetroot juice , apparently  . Which just leaves the question why ? Another desperate attempt to make us all eat our  Five A Day , perhaps . In case your baker produces beetroot bread  , be warned . It just makes the bread slightly sweet and heavier .

And this week ?  Blood oranges , "The Trouble With Goats And Sheep" by Joanna Cannon on audio , yet more rain and the poop test . Lots to look forward to ...

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Wash And Brush Up x 2

One does want to look one's best , which is why both I and my bike were tidied up this week .
Predictably the whole thing worked better on the bike .  Only four months old , her after sales check involved her saddle bags being hoovered , tyres pumped up , chain oiled and being lightly polished with a chamois cloth . She gleams .

 I , on the other hand , having gone to the hairdresser rather than the bike shop , have only had a haircut  . I have polished my shoes , though , so there's a slight improvement overall even if I don't exactly dazzle .

Since Friend , YD and I are hoping to see the Hubert De Givenchy exhibition To Audrey With Love in Den Haag this weekend , I might even re-attach the top button on my coat . Still , Friend and YD will look their usual elegant selves and I'll be the Margaret Rutherford figure bringing up the rear . Perhaps if I hoover my capacious handbag and check for the odd fluffy peppermint ....  ?

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Extremely Random

Winter's gone on rather too long and I've now got butterfly brain but since , these days , I'm quite glad to have any brain at all , I'll just rattle it about and share the contents with you .
 

Unfortunately I'm not going to the hairdresser till next week , after Storm Doris is due to sweep across town . So I'd better stay at home for the next couple of days or my hair will be whipping around like a lassoo . I'd hate to strangle someone en route to the greengrocer's .
No , my hair's not really like her's ( or the bear's , fortunately ) but I've got to the stage where my fringe tickles my nose and wakes me up . But since it's half-term this week ... rather nicely called the Crocus holiday here ... everyone useful has vanished for a few days ; if they're not skiing , they're looking after their grandchildren .

I'm happy to stay at home though ,for a day or two  , having got three Minette Walters whodunnits and a gallon of carrot soup to get through , though there is obviously a slight risk of turning orange by the weekend .

It's been a week or two of odd moments . Sitting on a bus with a recently arrived refugee family whose two little boys were invited to sit in the front by the bus driver , who then went round each roundabout twice , much to their delight  .  A couple of older locals expressed their appreciation of the ride too , as they got off ... perhaps it'll become a regular feature like Pensioners film afternoons .

Seeing a man in sheepskin mitts paddling his kayak up the river in a short snowstorm ( looked very awkward , whether because of the mitts or just blinded by the almost hail-like snow , I don't know ) .

Noticing that there's a new driving school in town called Toples , which just translates as Top Lessons  , but which probably is building up their business , no end , especially among school leavers .

And being tickled to notice in an article on the current shortage of iceberg lettuces that there's a British Leafy Salads Association .

As I said , winter's gone on rather too long ...

Monday, 30 January 2017

Consequences Of Having Daughters

Finding yourself the owner of pale green socks with cartoon mice all over them or finding yourself the owner of glittery golden socks .


Being given a kit to make a pair of Latvian mittens in a pattern optimistically called The Thousand Year Old Mitten ... the donor saying that she won't be surprised to inherit the semi-finished kit . Or a raspberry flavoured Matrushka doll lip salve .
Sharing supper with someone who's eaten your version of pizza Margherita since childhood and doesn't expect it to taste like the real thing .
Sharing supper with someone who knows exactly what risotto should taste like and can cook it for you .
Long rambling 'phone calls that stop before Silent Witness .
Talking to someone who knows who you're talking about when you mention cigar bands or shortbread, burnt toast or winning Your Dream Cottage contests .
Going on extraordinary excursions that wouldn't have occurred to you but turn out to be just what you wanted to do .

I know sons are lovely , too , and my grandsons are a constant delight but I would have hated not to have had daughters .

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Without The Monkey

When I opened the curtains yesterday morning  , it was  -6 Centigrade , the sky was clear and everything was rimed with frost .The big weeping willow on the other side of the river was a spectacular , glistening filigree but Picasa's gone on strike again  and won't show you my photo .

We'll just have to do with this poster instead and ignore the monkey , the large sticks and the ruin . 


Went to this exhibition of silhouettes a couple of weeks ago and loved it . They'd gathered a surprising number of pieces , many from private collections .
Apparently cutting silhouettes was extremely popular from the C17 onwards among Frisian gentlemen with time on their hands ; and elaborate ones like these were just the thing to present to the young lady you hoped to make your wife .
Some were made to commemorate a victory at sea or the death of a loved one , though the one shown on the poster isn't much bigger than a postcard and seems just to celebrate a day out with the lads . Or a stunning hoar frost like yesterday's .

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Magic

Today at lunchtime , as she puttered back down the river past the flat , she was just an old boat with layer upon layer of fading red paint . As lovely to see as all the old boats are , but no showstopper ...
But on Sunday at sunset , for a moment  


Rosy had been transformed .

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Testing, Testing ....

Still wrestling with Blogger , Picasa and my Christmas-impaired concentration levels .
 So, there may or may not be a photo or two with this and there's no real way of knowing what it'll be of .

Sadly it won't be a shot of the young man wrestling to get a neighbour's new sofa upstairs on his own , yesterday . A very comfortable , fulsomely upholstered three-seater sofa . In the lift whose doors as a result couldn't quite close . He , neighbour and I stood looking at it , arm rest only really very slightly protruding .
 If we pulled it out and started again ? Perhaps  it would fit at an angle  ? Diagonally ? On its side ? Perhaps it could be tipped up a bit and she and I could get under it and prop it up ? Whereupon he stopped listening to us ...
Anyway , by the time I'd got back from the mailbox , he was manhandling it into her third floor front door and and she'd made coffee . Lovely biscuits .
Neighbour and I decided that we didn't really want to go into the removals business anyway . And the young man , who turned out to be her nephew , seemed to agree .

Meanwhile Picasa has decided to post this photo of a Groninger Museum's car advertising their latest exhibition ,
 
 
I'm particularly taken by where the petrol cap is ....