Friday 30 May 2014

All day and all of the night(dress)

This week has flown by; not that I have achieved much, it's been lazy and rainy and unproductive.

Oh well.

I did go out with the kids today wearing this 1970s nightie.

I love it, and no one seemed to bat an eye. Naturally, if they had, it wouldn't have mattered. If wearing a nightdress out and about is good enough for Vix and Goody...

...then it's good enough for me.

Last chance to Vote Vix in the National Vintage Awards, by the way; voting ends at midnight on May 31st. She's still in the lead with a 120 vote cushion - do we think that's enough? Not that I've been obsessively checking, you understand, just showing a reasonable interest in my friend's success.

And I know she's only little, but she'll kick this Campaign Manager's arse if she doesn't win.

I've started making a pair of flares, with help from Willow. 
Yeah, thank for that, cat.

I'm not convinced they're going to either fit or flatter, but I'll let you know.

Owen and Nina enjoyed our trip into town; Claudia had already headed off there with friends, and my offer to meet up was met with disdain and incredulity. I'd better get used to that, I suppose.

They wanted to know why I was taking a photo of this shop.

Fair question. 
This sex shop has been here for as long as I've lived in Sheffield (32 years), and my old university friends were reminiscing about going in there to buy a blow-up doll for a play. It's one of those details I had forgotten all about until they reminded me.

No one seems to know what happened to the doll afterwards...
I look so bloody stony-faced in every single photo today; I'm not in a bad mood, honest, I just cannot do the smiling-to-order thing. If you meet me In Real Life, I laugh all the time, really I do.

I dance a lot too. 
My kids would add that I sing constantly, and annoyingly.  They hiss Muuuum! People can hear you! at me when I sing in the street. Three guesses as to whether that stops me. Funnily enough, the singing appears to be more of a concern to them than the fact I am out in public in a nightdress.

1970s nightdress - gift from Emma Kate
Denim waistcoat, flowers and bangles - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale) 

I'll be taking my all-singing, all-dancing nightie and my hair flowers to Judith's Hat Attack and Patti's Visible Monday.

See, I can be organised. Sometimes.
Have a great weekend!


Tuesday 27 May 2014

And you may ask yourself...well, how did I get here?

You know me and the dreaded post-event slump syndrome; I am struggling to drag my head down from the top of The Shard, and my heart back from the 1980s, and am feeling a little melancholy and reflective in the process.
 Bizarrely, I have developed a painful neck strain over the past couple of days; it's the price you pay for looking back, obviously.

Or it's the result of carrying my bag at the weekend, and a shitload of shopping on Sunday, take your pick.

Either way, thank goodness for Ibuprofen.

A delicate wisp of a 1970s frock in a soft watercolour print suits my delicate, wispy state of mind.

It came from my local hospice charity shop's Vintage Corner, which often has something tempting to offer.

Thankfully, they haven't put the prices up; the vintage Irish linen peacock tea towel, 1970-80s sheer blouse, Miracle pendant, and green plastic beads set me back the princely sum of a fiver. 
I consider that cheap therapy.

The kids are on half term holiday this week, so we did a spot of shopping, Nina admired the various souvenir dolls in the 50p box, and then we went to the cafe for a drink.

1970s sheer angel sleeve dress, denim jacket, belt, bangles and tights - charity shopped
Necklace - gift
Boots - retail (sale)

The tote bag was made by darling Tania from 1950s barkcloth and gingham - delicious!

So yes, I am settling back into my everyday existence after a sweet taste of the high life, and a large helping of nostalgia.

I suppose it's inevitable that a reunion like ours will stir up memories, and provoke reflections on the person I was then, who I am now, and whether there is someone else I might have been, an alternative path I might have taken to a different destination.

Generally, I think I am happier in my skin now than my younger self ever was. I spent a lot of time at university, and afterwards, feeling scared, inadequate and intimidated. I rarely feel like that now. I know what I'm worth.

A fiver spent in a charity shop and a cappuccino, apparently!
While I do agree with Socrates that an unexamined life is not worth living, one can have enough of navel-gazing (and I'm not going to compare my twenty-something belly to the almost-50, had three babies version...)

The here-and-now is where we live, isn't it? Better get busy enjoying it!


Sunday 25 May 2014

Will you recognise me? Call my name or walk on by?

What do you do when you meet up with old friends you haven't seen in far too many years?

Well, you talk and laugh and drink all day, obviously.

You arrange to meet in a bar...

 ...where the laughing and teasing starts within minutes.

(We're blurry, and the day's only just begun...)

 You do a bit of sight-seeing too, because after all, you're in London, one of the most fantastic cities in the world.

You might try something you've never done before; in my case, that would be eating oysters. 

Plenty of tabasco and lemon juice, and they're good. Just don't chew.

You admire the views afforded by being 800ft above the city at the top of The Shard, Western Europe's tallest building.


You admire your lovely friends too. Not bad for a bunch of 50-somethings!

You stroll by the Thames.

Then you do some more drinking in the sunshine on the South Bank...

...while you try to fill in 25 year gaps in personal and work histories. You talk about university days, hair (facial, lack of, past errors of judgement), kids and families, theatre, the books we have and haven't written or read, music, football, and stalkers. And try to identify the best and worst moments from our time as students.

There are two ex-couples in this mix, but there weren't any oh you just had to bring that up, didn't you? moments. (I could run a competition and ask you to guess which of us were together, but that would be unseemly. And too easy.)

 Ahh, first loves and last laughs... It's all so intense when you're young.

Did I mention we're all ex-drama students?

Drama Queens in our very own Greek tragedy in 1984.

Now, we're more mellow. We wear ourselves a little more lightly, I think. 

 Inevitably, we talked about our friend S who is no longer with us (that's her in the striped dress, at her 21st birthday party.)

She's the reason we got together, and we missed her.

Clare and Martin, 1985 and 2014. Still gorgeous.

Alex and Andrew, 1985 and now. As moody and magnificent as ever.

Martin and Alex - 1984, 1989 and now. My darling boys.

Martin and me, 1984, 1989 and now.


Alex and me, 1985, 1987, 1988 and now.

 We had a magnificent meal and a magnum of champagne (courtesy of Andrew, who always was incredibly charming and generous, and still is); we reminisced, confessed, laughed, and then laughed some more. 

It was over too soon.

I loved seeing everyone; slow change may have pulled us apart, but we are recognisable to each other. Our younger selves are still here, but we have accrued experience, some scar tissue, great humour, more compassion, and maybe a little wisdom.

I liked us then. But I like us more now.

Sometimes, opening a door to the past simultaneously opens one to the future; here's to Sheffield 2015!


Wednesday 21 May 2014

The ghost in you

I am off on an adventure this week, and I am feeling a combination of excitement and anxiety, as befits a journey into the unfamiliar.

University of Sheffield graduation, Summer 1985.

I wrote in a previous post about the death of an old friend from my university days.

Some of us who had kept in touch made efforts to contact others, plans were hatched, and five of us are meeting up in London on Friday.

The five in the photo above.

It's been 25 years since I saw three of them. 

 There have been flurries of emails, proposals and arrangements made, and the teasing has started already.

I might be partly responsible for that...

It appears I am the only one with any photos of our university days, and I don't actually have that many. Film was expensive, so was getting it developed, and more often than not, the photos were blurry and dark.

But what I have, I will share with the gang, and I might even leave them unaltered; some of the pics are funny enough without any photoshopping tomfoolery.

1960s maxi dress - Ebay
Denim waistcoat and sunglasses - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale)
Indian leather bag - vintage fair
Necklace - gift from Leisa

Here I am in 1984, aged 20.

 I was wearing a fabulous 1950s brocade dress and jacket. I wish I still had them.

No one called old clothes vintage back then, they were just secondhand.

And this was at my mum's house in the summer of 1984, when Martin and Alex came to stay.

Look how they are studiously avoiding the camera; it wasn't always so!

I'm really looking forward to seeing my old friends, and of course we will fondly remember S, who is sadly no longer with us.

I wonder what we will make of each other after all this time?

 We won't be the same people, of course. But are the ghosts of those bright and shiny 21 year olds in the graduation photo still in all of us?

I'll let you know.

Have a great weekend.