Saturday, July 25, 2009

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

Here's the thing. My Dad went in for a routine hip replacement op on Wednesday as a high risk patient due to having angina. He's since been very poorly, had a heart attack, and is now on the Coronary Care Unit, where he is receiving absolute superb care. I can't praise his nursing team enough, what lovely people.

His girlfriend is making my life a living hell by telling everyone when he lives what a shitty daughter I am because I haven't had that close a relationship with him (funny that, after all he's the one who chose alcohol over his family!). But its that point in life when things come swinging round and suddenly you are no longer the child but the responsible adult who has to take care of their every need.

I looked at him yesterday, in his hospital bed, blue top and green bottoms all askew. You can trace my genealogy in the lines of his face, particularly the curve of his forehead and the dark eyes. Translucent skin, peppered with freckles. It's all there, in the blood. It doesn't matter about those missing years so much anymore: what matters is what's best for him.

My Dad is a relatively nice person who will help out anyone with whom he isn't related to by blood. He hasn't drank for over twenty years, but he is extremely demanding and has a complete lack of common sense. He has provided a very nice cash flow service to his girlfriend and her children for the past four years, plus a free taxi. I've turned a blind eye to it because they've taken good care of him, looking out for him which has helped set my mind at rest knowing that he's not alone.

However, it is now time for me to step up. Be responsible. Make sure his best interests are taken care of. I don't know how to tell him he'll have to forfeit his driving licence for the foreseeable future as being able to drive is basically his whole existence (whether or not he's fit to drive is a debatable point - he's 72 and a little bit erratic). It came home to me at the hospital that I'd not even been registered as his next of kin (his girlfriend was mysteriously down as his 'wife'). I have changed this, but the nurses were very embarrassed (not their faults) and my irritation levels rose sharply.

The husband showed me a Yoshimoto Nara picture this morning which he says is today's Janey Mood Indicator. I think he's right!

GD: thinking 'Hmmmmmmm.....!'; needing loud music; avoiding alcohol; wasting time until the hospital let me back in; reading 'Running With Scissors' to reassure myself that it's not just my family dynamics that are screwed!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thrift! All consuming thrift...

I am on an economy drive. Saving is the game at the moment, for a rainy day that may just come very soon. So I've not been indulging so much in new clothes, books etc but have transferred my shopping habit to the charity shops of dear old Whitley Bay.

This is a good thing - in theory. Charity benefits from my hard earned cash, I buy cheap and with pleasure in a bargain well found.

But is it? A bargain that is. In theory - I have made certain purchases this week that certainly have a monetary value greater than that which I paid - therefore (provided the market bites) I am a winner!

For example:

Girl annuals Vol 2-7. Toy optional

These rather special girls annuals - I picked up number 2 through 7 for a whole £2 each, when their actual value is about £5-£8 each for those in a condition that is 'fair to good'. The first was published in 1952/1953 and holds practical advice on crocheting a special summer bag and preserving wildflowers,plus some wildly implausible literature about 'gals' and 'horses' and hockey sticks.

These are lovely books. However, they have a history and a name. A previous owner. They were not created to become items of sale for a crafty thrift shopper. Nor to make a small but quick profit. They belonged to Christine McLennan of 41 Queens Drive, Whitley Bay. She cared enough to put her full name and address in, and they've been kept for over fifty years. They were a gift from Grandpa (I can't make out his name unfortunately) around about 1953/54.

They've kind of caught my heart a bit. The earlier volumes are well thumbed; the later books less so. Was Christine growing out of childish things? Becoming a woman? Too polite to tell Grandpa not to buy her these books anymore? Or did she still love them? Enough to keep them together for over fifty years.

I keep coming back to the fifty year point. The person who owned these books has parted with them. One can only hope that they still walk the streets of Whitley Bay, healthy and happy and with their own grandchildren to pamper with gifts and kind words.

Which brings me to this:

Lace detail on peignoir / nightdress

This is part of a beautiful two piece nightdress / peignoir set I picked up at another shop. Pale peach, reaches the floor, that then emergent new fangled fabric nylon, this was made by Saxon Lingerie and is in immaculate condition. The nightdress is simple and pretty, but the peignoir is absolute blowsy overkill, with row upon row of lace and peach bows over the press studs. Wearing it makes one feel quite the laaaaaydee! Even if my height is a distinct disadvantage!

But then the mind gets going and you start to paint a past. Like a wedding night outfit, kept evermore in pristine condition and taken out on special occasions. To the best of my knowledge this is also 1950's / 60's and you do wonder why after fifty years (always fifty!) it ended up stuffed behind the door of a charity shop.

It's beautiful. It's also fairly useless, but I can't help but look at it and wonder who it was made for, who floated about with their hair loose and a come hither smile. It's demure and then you move in it and...! It comes alive with a beauty that modern day nightgowns frankly just don't have.

So the initial plan was to sell these (probably on etsy). But I don't think I can. Not with so much history breathing down my neck. Not with the shackles of this imagination that brings these objects to life. I bought them because I saw a thing of charm, of beauty. Now I have them, I think I'll keep them.

Fifty years will make me a very old woman. Then the cycle can start again.

GD is: pensive. Having her feet warmed by Fat Dog (whose reindeer is proudly displayed above). Listening to Within Temptation. Supposed to be editing a competition entry.

And watching the rain fall on a quiet town.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Apologies! Apologies! This is lightweight central recently and it probably isn't about to improve with this post.

I have decided to forgive Aunty Beeb for killing Guisbourne (YOU BASTARDS!) because they are giving the world another chance to appreciate the beauty of one of the screen's rising stars - Aidan Turner aka Mitchell in Being Human, the hottest vampire on the box since Spike in Buffy (sorry, Angel never really did it for me...)

The lovely Mr Turner will shortly be gracing our screens as Dante Gabriel Rossetti in Desperate Romantics. Set in and among the alleys, galleries and flesh-houses of 19th-century industrial London, this follows the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a vagabond group of English painters, poets and critics as they basically charm and screw their way into the history books. With a redhead as their muse! Makes this redhead very happy – we always need positive press. Also goes to prove that once again I was born out of time (though thankfully in an age of medication).

If I am ever unfortunate enough to have a boy child, that’s his name sorted. No more Guy or Aragorn: Dante Gabriel it is! Though given that these loins are no more likely to spawn man flesh than mermaids, he’ll probably have to remain confined to the more salacious corners of my imagination.

In other news, the reading campaign continues. I have just finished MFW Curran’s ‘The Secret War’ which I rather enjoyed. This is a first novel (I think) and occasionally shows it’s greenness with some very basic language, but it has a good tale to tell, with demons and warriors, set just after the Napoleonic Wars. The flow of the book really kicks in about halfway through and I’m looking out for the sequel as a good commuting pot-boiler.

I’m currently reading Jacqueline Carey’s ‘Santa Olivia’. I am a fan of Ms Carey’s Kushiel novels, which are off world fantasy written in the first person with a bit of a perverse kick to them. I’m not yet sure about this, which is on world future and written in the third person. I’m just coming up to the part where the protagonist gets going and it’s an interesting story, just not quite as fluently told as I expected. Still, I’ll keep going.

I’m listening to the Mummers, Bat for Lashes and La Roux respectively: it’s a bit of a girl thing going on here at Whitley central. I have also joined a writing club at Borders Books locally and have discovered that a new character called Cherry wishes to come out and mess with my head. She’s narrated by a bloke, but I can’t quite define who he is yet…she’s basically a force of nature leading him astray!

I’ve been having some perturbing dreams: last night I was twisting in pain when I realised my torso had been pierced with hundreds of suspension needles that were being pulled for other peoples’ pleasure. I’m pale: the blood was vivid, red against my ribs. I’m stealing this dream for Caitlin’s story, I’d been thinking about what she could have suffered at Cain’s hands for the next part of her story. The dream was beyond what my waking mind could conjure: why waste?


GD: repenting excess on Friday night when rather worryingly a work colleague kept saying ‘I’m seeing a complete different side of you tonight’…this is not good; thinking ‘does my new frock make me look like Rosie Webster?; drinking Como Sur red wine and sad the bottle is empty; laughing at the fact my ‘hip’ sixteen year old niece will not add me as her Facebook mate because I’m no longer her ‘cool aunty’….!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The British Bugger Corporation




And don't tell me Spooks will compensate for all that gothic magnificence and gratuitous use of leather clothing. Even if he does look just a tad gay in this pic...

(...I promise I will post something serious sometime soon, but right now I'm painting my nails sparkly green)