This is England


And still the fabled Summer didn’t arrive, everything got greener and greener and all anyone could talk about was the rain and the the irony of hosepipe bans and the possibility of Ark building. Nevermind; in the odd moments when the sun breaks through, the startling light reveals a lush and verdant land where you can almost hear the grass growing and the water seeping into wet earth and the slugs getting fatter. At the weekend I danced in a field in the pouring rain, visited a stuffed dog in a railway museum ( I had known it as a child when it stood on Wimbledon Station) and was given a beautifully hand embroidered Bavarian tablecloth that may or may not have once belonged to Himmler (I do hope not). You can’t say life is dull.

A few times recently I have ventured down from Witchmountain and been to shops which all seem to have a lots of orange and day-glo pink things.My work never seems to fit the current trends as dictated by the textile and fashion industry but at the moment I seem to be accidentally fashionable. Perhaps orange is just a really good antidote to the gloomy weather? Anyway, it would be nice if somebody at WGSN or Trend Bible would notice and send the orders/job offers flying in!

I had a lovely time making this design one evening, it was just a quick experiment (measured by eye so it doesn’t quite repeat properly) and it got me wishing I was still designing for an agent or at least had access to an affordable digital printer. Anyway, for more uplifting orange there is no better place to look than How About Orange….

This week has also involved a lot of worry and decisions about possessions …while not a hoarder I would admit that I find it hard to part with anything that has any sentimental attachment, from a train ticket to an old moth eaten t-shirt to a child’s drawing. Trying to make space and organise the chaos, my daughter and I began to sort book shelves; by the end of which we still had most of my pony stories from the 70s (but written in the 1940s!) and some random titles such as “How to be a Detective”( I loved Sherlock Holmes when I was 10), Sara had managed to give away most of her childhood favorites such as Jacqueline Wilson’s books, with very little persuasion. No one is likely to read “Jill has two Ponies” again in this house but its a book, its my childhood! What on earth do we do with all this “stuff” we acquire over the years- sentimental, aesthetically pleasing or just plain weird  (see above mention of “Himmler’s Tablecloth” ) ? I’m torn between running away from it all to do yoga up a tree for the next 25 years or building more shelves.

Well, it is late and time I was tucked up in bed reading about Mervyn Peake and dreaming of book shelves. Before I go I need to share this event with you because it’s being organised by a very lovely, talented and inspirational designer who is trying to raise money for a cause close to his heart.Find out more by visiting Baron Bizarre on Facebook or Twitter. Until we meet again x

Reading:- ” Moving Towards Balance” Rodney Yee ” Mervyn Peake-Two Lives” Sebastian Peake and Maeve Gilmore

Listening To:- Anything with Bill Nighy in it (!) and The Best of Neil Young.

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5 responses to “This is England

  1. Jill and her ponies – I loved them too and I can probably put my hand on the box in the loft where I have my few remaining ones – I would dream whilst walking across the park to the library (to get more Jill books) hoping to find a stray palomino or grey arab that nobody came forward to claim wishing that my Grandad would get a move on magicking up the horse he’d promised me for so long after paying for all my riding lessons and riding gear…..simple times…

  2. I think your landlord’s name was Peake. Wonder if they’re related? X

  3. I also loved the Jill books when I was a pony mad kid (Ruby Ferguson was also RC Ashby, who wrote thrillers and romances. Greyladies Books in Edinburgh have reprinted one of her books. Another was a favourite of the Queen Mum.) Look her books up on abebooks or ebay and see how much you could get selling good hard back copies!
    By the way, if you love Bill Nighy stuff, look out for the fab film Still Crazy (DVD and CD) where Bill is the lead singer in a reformed pop group, Strange Fruit. Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (Likely Lads etc) wrote it, and it also stars Jimmy Nail, Tim Spall, Billy Connolly, Stephen Rea, Juliet Aubrey – one of my fun films of all time….and reputedly the film where Bill Nighy found he could sing!

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