Friday 28 February 2014

I've been a miner for a heart of gold

Love it or hate it? More than any other colour (except maybe pink or beige), it elicits strong responses, and there are plenty of women who are adamant that they can't wear it.

I'm not sure about that can't
I can't play the oboe, or do a back flip, or speak Mandarin.
I can wear yellow, and so can anyone.
(Preference is a different issue altogether.)

I am in the love it camp, as you can see. 

Skirt - made by me from 1960s fabric bought at a vintage fair
1960s gold lurex top - gift from Sarah
Cardigan, 1960s chiffon scarf, bangles and fishnets - charity shopped
Belt - retail
Boots - Ebay 

Although I didn't wear this on my day out with Joanne and the kids to the National Coal Mining Museum at Wakefield, perhaps I should have done; the proverbial canary in a coal mine...
The museum is great, and we took the tour down the 140m-deep pit.

 The kids enjoyed checking out the pit ponies and liberally rubbing coal dust on their faces. 
They were also intrigued by the tales of children working long shifts underground, until a law was passed in 1842 which prohibited women and boys under 10 working in the pits. We tried to imagine doing such hard work in difficult and dangerous conditions; we came to the conclusion we are total wusses who wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes.

Seldom Seen reckons he has coal mining in his blood; his great-grandfather on his dad's side was a miner in the Rhondda Valley.

We explored the pit head baths.

Laking is a Yorkshire dialect word for playing or skiving off. 
Dave obviously had a bit of a reputation.
(Funnily enough, I used to work with a chap called Dave who had the nickname Sick note, for similar reasons...) 

The girls didn't think much of being expected to help with the washing...

The Trade Union movement was pretty much broken by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, as was the mining industry. 

The miners at this particular pit, Caphouse Colliery, clocked off for the final time in 1986.

And just when you thought you'd seen enough yellow, guess what arrived in the post?

The Travelling Yellow Skirt has finally made it to the UK, and will make her British debut in my next post.

Out for tea (what common folk like us call dinner!) this evening. Hmm, curry or Chinese? 
Either will do me!

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday 25 February 2014

Same as it ever was

Time. Where the bloody hell does it go?

I had great fun catching up with Patsy at the weekend, but failed to take any proper photos, apart from one or two in Matlock, including this one.

And I was round at Joanne's with the girls on Sunday night, but it's probably just as well I didn't take any pics then either. I laughed so much, I cried all my mascara off, which was not a pretty sight.

The kids are on holiday this week, and we have no particular schedule, which is lovely. 

Having wardrobe favourites is also lovely, and this outfit is comprised of a few of mine.

Denim jackets, maxis, berets, boots, a variety of bangles, plenty of colour - these are my go-to, feel-good items.

 1960-70s Co-op maxi skirt - vintage fair
Top, suede waistcoat, denim jacket and bangles - charity shopped
Beret - quiz prize
Boots - Ebay
Tapestry tote bag - made by me

Now, I have a confession to make.
Oh don't worry, it's not that I've been shopping at Primark, or anything truly shameful...

But it has been brought to my attention that I might be a bit of an old fart when it comes to music.
I know; a shocking accusation, but it has some foundation.

Patsy was talking about the music she likes at the weekend, and reeled off a list of bands and artists, some of which I knew but couldn't really name any songs, and some I hadn't even heard of.

Well, what are you listening to? she asked.

Err... Lately, that would be Talking Heads. Soft Cell. Early Robert Palmer. The Smiths. Stevies Wonder and Nicks. Roxy Music. Joni Mitchell. Elvis Costello. Lots of old soul, funk and Motown.

So basically, the same music that I have listened to for the last 25-30 years...

 See? Old fart. One look at my blog posts titles this month gives me away; all song lyrics, by Talking Heads, Elvis, Roxy Music, The Seekers, David Bowie, Jackson Browne and Canned Heat. Down with the kids, I am not.

  Sure, I enjoy dancing round the kitchen to Happy as much as my kids, and I'm not suggesting for a minute that current music isn't as good or as interesting as the stuff I listen to, not at all.

I just hear a lot of songs which remind me of something else, and it sends me back to the original. Maybe I am past the age where music really knocks me for six and engenders lifelong love. Remember buying vinyl, and pouring over the sleeve and the lyrics and playing the album over and over and over again? It's a love affair, I suppose, and those early loves have shaped my tastes so much that nothing else quite matches up.

So come on - help me.
What should I be listening to?
Recommendations will be investigated and given a fair chance, honest.

Or when it comes to music, are you stuck in an old groove too?

 I'm showing up terribly late to Visible Monday (sorry, Patti.)

Same as it ever was...


Thursday 20 February 2014

You light my morning sky with burning love

I was very touched by the thoughtful, caring and wise responses to my previous post.

I rarely hesitate in writing or publishing my blog posts, but I did wonder whether writing about my friend's death was a misstep. However, I generally write about what's is on my mind, and that was most definitely on my mind, so it ended up in a post.

Thank you for reading and commenting, and not running a mile in the opposite direction! You are a grand lot.

Yeah, yeah, the legs are out again, and wearing those boots again too.
I'm enjoying shorter lengths + tights + boots at the moment.

This dress...
Oh, I go back and forth with it. 
I like it, despite not being the biggest fan of tartan.
It's 1960s, lightweight wool, it's well-made, lined, in great condition.
I think the colours are a little dull. And I worry that the schoolgirl/pinafore vibe is too would-be Lolita for an almost-50 year old. It's really not like me to fret about age-appropriateness, and I'm not even sure that's the most significant element of my dissatisfaction.
It's also a tad too big, but I just don't love the dress enough to go to the effort of taking it in.
I suspect she'll eventually make her way back to Ebay, from whence she came (for a pittance, as I recall). I've had plenty of wear out of it, so perhaps it is time for her to find another owner.
 This week has been one of sunshine, showers, and rainbows;

signs of Spring;

curious creatures;

(tiny 1960-70s glass goose - charity shopped)

and great big laughs with friends. 

The text exchange with Vix in which we pondered whether it was seemly to fancy the entire panel of The Voice (oh alright, that was just me) and imagined Kylie, Sir Tom Jones, Ricky Wilson and joining us on a blogger day out in Walsall really tickled me. 

We reckoned Tom would fit right in with the randy pensioners in Wetherspoons.
Connie made me guffaw out loud with her assumption that Martin (with me in the photo from 1989 in my last post) was my partner and the father of my kids. Just to clarify, in case his wife is reading; he isn't. Mate didn't mean we had mated, in this case. Just so you know. 

And I spent today with Joanne putting up posters in our local area for the upcoming school jumble sale, with a bit of chazzing and a couple of coffees thrown in, just to keep us going. Oh and we talked twerking and saucy photo shoots, sang some Elvis, pulled faces (me again) and generally mucked about. 
Perfect therapy.

I find old postcards hard to resist.

This made me smile too;

the poster (not made by me) requesting donations for our jumble sale could easily be a picture of my bedroom, complete with hanging rail, vintage finery, cats, and plenty of mess. I'd wear that orange dress and red coat in a heartbeat!

I've got my friend Patsy coming to stay tomorrow and we'll be out and about on Saturday, the kids have broken up for half term, and all is well.

1960s dress and 1970s blouse - Ebay
Denim jacket, scarf, beret, tights and bracelets - charity shopped
Boots - retail

Take care - and thanks again for being so brilliant!


Monday 17 February 2014

Somewhere between the time you arrive, and the time you go

It's been a quiet weekend.

Excuse the ladders in the background; my neighbour is having some work done on his house.

I'm a little thoughtful and melancholy, to tell you the truth.

I heard last week that an old friend has died. She killed herself. I'm really shocked and saddened.

I hadn't been in touch with her for over 20 years, so I don't know how justified it is to claim friendship.

We were friends, back in our university days, and some time beyond. I have photos from her 21st birthday party, and her wedding. There was a group of us who did the same degree course and had a wonderful time together. I've been looking back at my photos from that time, and they still make me smile.

I have very happy memories of a cheerful, bright, funny, warm young woman, who was eminently more grounded and sensible than many of us, myself included. She was good-hearted and good-humoured, and I remember her with huge fondness.

So what happens to make people drift apart? I really enjoyed her company, why didn't I make more effort to keep this woman's delightful presence in my life?

I suppose it happens to most of us; we meet people, become friends, like them very much, but the relationship somehow doesn't survive the changes of direction we take and the distances we travel, we become immersed in the here-and-now and don't have the time or energy to keep every friendship going.

I can't tell you how much I regret this now.

Having had a career in mental health, I know only too well the savage blows dealt by depression to a person's view of themselves, the world around them, and their future. I have no idea what external events or internal struggles occurred which led my friend to a place of such despair that suicide was the only solution she could find.

I also know what a terrible legacy suicide leaves behind. Any death is tragic and sad, especially of someone relatively young. But this death, this ending, is particularly hard to deal with for those who loved, supported, tried to help, but feel they failed. The guilt adds extra pain to the sense of loss and grief.

I'm sorry if the outfit photos seem incongruous, but it's a formula, I suppose, the structure on which to hang this post.

Don't feel you have to comment on the clothes; it can be so awkward, can't it, trying to make a thoughtful response to a post about something serious, then feeling the need to say nice boots...

Life is full of such incongruity, significant events butt up against the everyday, the world has changed yet it carries on regardless.

In my little world, this news has made me feel great sadness and regret. I can only imagine how these emotions are multiplied for my friend's family and loved ones.

My mate Martin and me, at our friend's wedding, 1989.

It has also been a catalyst for renewed communication between some of the old gang. I'm hoping we might be in more regular contact now, and perhaps get together sometime.

We'll raise a glass to absent friends, I'm sure.



Saturday 15 February 2014

For we're like creatures of the wind

Wild is the wind. 

It certainly has been blowy. I think our slates and chimney are intact, although some storm debris has ended up in our garden; it must have blown there from another roof, I can't see any damage on ours.

I've had one beret or another clamped to my head for days, it's the only way to defy the wind and rain and retain a modicum of order in the hair department.

1960s Kenrose dress and peacock necklace - flea market
Coat - vintage fair
Beret - charity shopped
Leather gloves - gift
Boots - retail (old)

I popped into town yesterday to meet my friend Sue at Bank Street Arts, where she works. Shamefully, I had never been before; how is it that there are places to visit right under my nose which I don't know about?

It's a not-for-profit arts centre with gallery and workshop space, based in a Georgian town house with all sorts on interesting nooks and crannies.

There are quirky decorative ideas galore.

Through the keyholes...

...fictional characters explore other books.

After a look at the exhibitions, I pottered about in the rain taking photos.

Bank Street and Paradise Square have some wonderful Georgian architecture, mostly used by businesses, especially law firms.

This house is actually still a residential property, and currently for sale, if you're interested.

This ornate building is next door;

up for lease at the moment. I'm seeing a vintage emporium with cafe bar, aren't you? 

While I was taking photos of this imposing building on Paradise Square...

...the man you can just about see in the window (left, middle) came out of the front door to ask what I was doing.

I blathered on about my blog and what a lovely building it is and surely I didn't need permission to take pictures until he went back inside, through boredom probably.

I don't generally think of Sheffield as having much in the way of beautiful historic architecture (it suffered from being a target for bombing in World War II) but as with most places, there is still plenty to enjoy if you know where to look.

Krista probably won't even remember this, but when she visited the UK and we met up, we strolled down Walsall's pedestrianised shopping area, full of your usual modern high street shop fronts. Nothing much to see, you would think, but Krista said look up.

And of course, there were some grand Victorian windows and decorative features (do I recall a lion's head, or have I made that up? Vix will know), all high above street level and missed by shoppers hurrying on their way to Primark.

(Left to right) Louise and her mum, Krista, Lucy, Vix and Clare, Walsall, September 2012.

Only Krista, Vix and I are still blogging out of this colourful crowd.

I often think about Krista's advice.

Look up.
Look around.

 I like looking at the details too.

Which is probably why I spotted this little tin on a stall on Chesterfield flea market. It did make me laugh.

Bile Beans for your biliousness, female weakness, and lack of charm, a bargain at a shilling and threepence.

And I'm back where I started, talking about wind... It's not just thrown together, this blog.

You're welcome.