Monday, 21 July 2014

Coming and Going (or rather Going and Coming)

After a few tumultuous weeks of running around at the end of term I finally got to jet off to visit the family. I saw my dad recently, but I haven't seen my step mum since last Christmas - a year and a half is a long time!

I got to the airport in good time, but ended up held up in security and got chatting to a lovely man who was waiting for his bag (strange shaped camera tripod) and watched while the security people took out about eight mini pots of jam from one lady's bag.... could you have jam bombs? They would be tasty at least. Maybe jam with popping candy in? By the time I'd finished drinking the apple juice carton that I'd forgotten in my handbag and he had repacked his tripod we were ready to start a business together.

The flight was pretty uneventful, I had a gentleman either side of me, one was in the military strategy bit of the US Navy and the other was a scientist working at Glaxo Smith Klein, both pretty interesting chaps. I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel - I do like Wes Anderson films and The Lego Movie - I really enjoyed both of them, they were a lot of fun.

Then came a five hour layover in Philadelphia airport. What do you do in an airport for five hours? Sit in a rocking chair and read. Yes, they have rocking chairs. And also exercise bikes.

Rock and roll. By the time 9pm rolled around I was ready to get on a flight. By the time we arrived at the house it was about 12pm and I was long overdue for bed. The following morning we hosted the Sunday morning bagel group, and we sat out in the sun and ate breakfast and drank coffee and had a chat. Lovely.

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Sense of an Ending

On Tuesday I had the last Rochester class: after five and a half years of teaching the class has been closed. My heart hurt a lot all day, getting heavier and heavier as I got in the car to make my last journey out to Delce Rd. I set up that familiar room and I was preparing a couple of my students peeked round the door and gave me a bunch of flowers. Just before class started I noticed that the clock in the hall had stopped, and upon checking my watch had too. I bought that watch for meditation - how fitting. We had a little class, there was minimal fuss which was just the way I wanted it. At the end and one of the gentlemen who has been a long time regular gave me some china as a thank you present. By the end of the class I was feeling relieved for it to be over, and a great deal of affection towards my students - I have no doubt that I will lose some and keep touch with others, that is the way of all things. I had a lovely chat with the caretaker, 'I'll miss our Tuesday night chats' he said, and I must agree - sometimes I would talk to him more often than I talked to my friends, he never failed to make me smile. He said that he would send me the odd text about his boys, give me a shout if he was coming to town so maybe we could chat over coffee. I handed the keys back ceremoniously and both of us were a little uncomfortable. I drove home, and the moon hung a misty red and purple blaze in the sky, I listened to Hey Ocean, just like the first solo car journey I made, the roads were clear and smooth and uncluttered and my heart was easy.... and I hope that this is an omen for how life will be too. My last voyage out, my last voyage back, five and a half years of teaching, tens, maybe hundreds of people through those doors - I never wanted to teach, but I am very grateful that I did, I learnt so much. For the last time I get to say: I love my Rochester students.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

'I Give Advice'

I saw this gentleman sitting with a sign on the High St today, so I went over to ask him what he was doing.
Gentleman: 'I'm from Bulgaria, I'm trying to raise some money to stay here for my studies... you want some advice?'
Me: 'I don't know, what advice would you like to give me?'
Gentleman: 'When people ask me that I usually give them this advice: Whatever you want you can manifest it, you just have to align your intention with your actions. You have to behave as though you already have those conditions and then they will start to come true. I really think that things will manifest if you make sure your reality is in line with your thoughts, just live your intentions.'

'I give advice (and information) on: *Life *Love *Work *Astronomy *Anything else (I try) *Partying * Spirituality *Science *Family *Addiction *Dealing with parents *Poetry * Holiday planning *Coping with stress *Computers *Art *Making money *Dealing with children. Talk to me for Free! Pay £1 only if you are satisfied with the answer.'

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Chap Olympiad 2014

Yesterday we attended the 10th annual Chap Olympiad in Bedford Square Gardens. We brought picnics (and picnic blankets), drank Pimms, drank tea, ate cake, watched the odd-non sporting event, and even had a little dance at the end. But most of all, I watched people: the costumes were incredible. The sporting events were ridiculous. The moustaches were even more ridiculous. The commentator was hilarious. In short, it was delightful, and I expect I shall be doing things of this nature again.

The Sporting Events included:
The Bicycle Race - where you have to cycle with a cup of tea, the one with the most tea in the cup at the end wins

The Strong Man

The Brief Case Dash - form a phalanx, the first team to get the to the other side wins

'Just when you think things can't get any better..... they probably can't'.

Bowler Hat Volleyball - yes, that is a net made of string tied between two hat stands

Not Playing Tennis

and finally there were awards for the Winners (Bronze, Gold, Silver)

Most impressive were the people:
There were many many safari suits

Even the children were vintage

Our next door (well, blanket) neighbours

Wedgewood cufflinks

I'm slightly in love with this man
And I'd quite like to be this lady

The Chaps themselves

Of course we had tea and Pimms cake

And some dancing to round off the day - I even had a dance with a lovely young man.

I wasn't the only one snapping away, someone got an unsuspecting photo of us too (I think it was the gentleman in the purple tie when he wasn't napping....) by jupiterbaal on instagram

And the weather held off until our walk to the tube station. Hurrah! I did leave my brolly behind, but oh well, one can't have everything in life. I'm very happy I attended and I'll be looking out for more Chap events in the future.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Tiny Strawberries (but no Pimms as yet....)

I have the summer holidays off work so now that I have some free time I have a chance to get creative - including finishing off some sewing that I started way back when before my sewing machine broke the first time. I got hold of Fran, my sewing lady, and we finally finished off this pattern:

It is an original 1940s pattern, which is delightful, only that original patterns assume that you have original 1940s knowledge of sewing. For me this was less than ideal, as not having grown up with a family that sews it meant that it misses out half of the steps you need to complete the pattern. I think I'll stick to reproduction patterns until my sewing knowledge is better!

Anyway, I did manage to finish off the pattern with Fran's help, and in doing so I learnt about sleeves, collars and cuffs so all is not lost. I also did covered buttons, forgetting that they are fiddly and a generally a right pain.... now I know why wedding dress makers charge so much, imagine doing 200 of these! They are very high on my list of people that I admire right now.

I got to make a belt as well. I adore making belts... all that hammering... and the matchy matchiness of it all afterwards. 

Here is a close up of the teeny tiny strawberry fabric:

Are those covered buttons? Why yes! Are those machine made button holes? Yes indeedy. And pin tucks as well? Yes, as well as a peplum beyond the waist. So there.

I get the impression that I will not be wearing this much, as lovely as it is I'm just not a shirt-y person. I dare say I could find something to wear it to one day... or maybe someone my size to lend it to. In any case it was a real learning experience and I'm really proud of the finished garment.