Wednesday 28 August 2013

And the leaves that are green turn to brown

Death has been on my mind this week.

There's a catchy opener...

A friend's mother died recently, followed only a matter of weeks later by his father.
He dropped off some of his mum's 1960-70s costume jewellery which he thought I might like, and a little 1960s Pyrex dish.

We were talking about losing parents. He said that he used to see himself as a buffer between the generations, his parents at one end of life's spectrum and his kids at the other, while he was firmly planted in the middle.

And now, the space at the far end is empty, and waiting to be filled by... us. 

A sobering thought.

My mum, who is 89, has observed that she is forever attending funerals, as her peers (and younger folk) die. She recently felt very sad about the death of a favourite cousin, having already lost all of her four brothers. She feels as though she is the last one left.

1960s California maxi dress - vintage shop
Sandals - retail (sale)
Bangles - charity shopped
1960s pendant - from my friend's mum's collection

I have no great insights to offer. The shifting along of the generations is inevitable.

We headed out to Derbyshire today for a walk and a picnic. 

I particularly wanted to go to Burbage plantation, where my dearest friend Carol's ashes were scattered when she died 13 years ago.

It's not as maudlin as it sounds, it's a fabulous walk and a gorgeous little spot by a stream, where we had a picnic.

I was very thankful to be there. On so many levels.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff aren't too grown up to enjoy a game of Pooh Sticks.

Mixing up my stories, I know, but can't you just imagine a troll living under that bridge?

 I've just found out, via this link, that these conifers, planted in the late 1960s/early 70s, are not thriving, and the plantation is due to be removed, starting next month. Some of the area will revert to moorland, and there will be some replanting of native trees like oak and birch.

Which is fine with me, but how lucky that we went to visit today; if I had waited, I wouldn't have recognised it.

As it is, I enjoyed a quiet moment or two with my memories of my gorgeous friend.

Then onward - up the hill to Carl Wark, remains of an Iron Age fort. Walking in the footsteps of folk who lived over 2000 years ago is pretty amazing.

Seldom Seen looks better in that hat than I do, damn it.

Iron Age Boy surveys his land.

Great swathes of heather grow all across the moors.

Then down through Padley Gorge, which the kids think is so-called because of the fine paddling opportunities.



 I'll be taking my hat to Judith's next Hat Attack link-up.


And I'll be around to keep in touch with my here-and-now friends, and their blogs, while cherishing my fond memories of those who have gone.


Friday 23 August 2013

At peace with pink

Colours are just colours, right?

No reason to take against any of them.

It appears, despite any previous protestations to the contrary, that I have finally made my peace with pink.

Of course it irritates me that little girls are force-fed a diet of pinkness and princesses.

A visit to the "girls'" aisles in Toys R Us is like travelling through a large, commercialised pink vagina.
Sugar wall-to-walls.

And I understand, and have some sympathy, with the Pink Stinks campaign.

Of course there is more than one way to be a girl. Or a boy.

Colours carry associations.

Beige (camel, tan, ecru, oatmeal, etc), grey and navy are all shades I have trouble seeing positively, they represent something conformist and ordinary and uniform to me.

Just as pink represented girliness, a superficial and stereotypical version of femininity which I rejected for years.

But take a great frock or two, the right vibrant shade of rosiness, and I am a convert. I know, so shallow after all.

(Further proof, it is were needed, is here and here.)

Not to make-up and high heels for toddlers, or pink toy dust pans for your little housewife-in-waiting, or knickers for 7 year olds with Babe written on them...

...just to vintage dresses in bright, glorious, beautiful shades of pink.

I wonder if I can rehabilitate beige, grey and navy now?

1960s Hawaiian maxi dress and peacock necklace - vintage fairs
Kimono jacket, shoes  and bangles - charity shopped

 1970s dress - gift from NZ-trippin' Leisa
Sandals - retail (sale)
Belt, bangles, necklace, hair flower - charity shopped

That's right - just let those colour prejudices go...

Besides, here is evidence that a childhood of pink clothing doesn't necessarily do one any harm.

Pink frocks and cardis, 1965-70.

Me and my middle sis.

Speaking of kids, Eldest returns to the fold later today, after having a fine old time at her auntie's.

My niece posted this photo on Facebook of the two of them at the Ritz, no less. 

I've missed her.

 I hope she never thinks she has to be a pink princess to be beautiful.

Have a lovely weekend.


Tuesday 20 August 2013

To Hull and back

Look what Emma Kate sent me!

She found this patchwork skirt at a car boot but didn't want the bother of altering it to fit. So since the measurements seemed OK for me, she passed it along.

Thanks Emma Kate, I love it! Karma dictates that you will now find the plate rack/rug/table/crate/chandelier of your dreams. Yeah, that's really how these things work, honest.

(She sent me another fab frock which I have forgotten to photograph, so that will have to wait for another post.)

Aren't the colours wonderful?

Well might I look smug.

So the school holidays continue, although there's only a couple of weeks left now, how did that happen?

Littlest has been asking for ages if we could go to The Deep, the aquarium in Hull, so last week we did just that.

Voyage, a bronze statue overlooking the Humber estuary.

The original statue, a gift from the Icelandic city of Vik which has a sister statue, was stolen in 2011 apparently by scrap metal thieves. It was replaced last year.

Coral and fish.

Spot the odd one out?

This was the first time I have ever visited Hull, and I was very impressed with the architecture and history.
(The large number of photos might give that away somewhat. Whizz through, it's OK.)

A significant port with plenty of maritime history, the birthplace of abolitionist and MP William Wilberforce, and with a role in kicking off the English Civil War, the city has many civic and private buildings which reflect its prosperous past.

Hull has had its years of decline and deprivation, but in recent times has been experiencing regeneration and revival.

That's William Wilberforce (bottom left) and Philip Larkin (bottom right) who worked as a librarian at the University of Hull for many years.

The George Hotel
England's smallest window
The George Hotel is one of Hull's oldest surviving public houses and can be dated back to 1683. It is also home to England's smallest window which is rumoured to have been used in the days when The George was a coaching inn. A porter was seated at the window to watch for the coaches so as to give immediate attention on arrival.

Yes, that slit on the right is the window, apparently.
No idea why they didn't have a bigger one...

And beautiful Victorian shopping arcades too.

Had enough?
Want to see my skirt again?


Patchwork maxi skirt - gift from the very talented Emma Kate
1970s blouse - Ebay
Pendant - car boot
Bangles, belt and shoes - charity shopped
(Previous pics) Denim jacket - charity shopped
Tote bag - made it myself

 Charlie was in the tree and trying to attack me, little bugger.

Is everyone having a good week so far?