Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A brief catch-up

Lots of happenings at this end since my last proper blog post! Blame it on the holidays - routine goes out of the window, kids are at home to commandeer the lap top (my writing instrument of choice) and things happen unexpectedly...

Mr Squidge and I managed to get a day and a half in London last week; we visited Apsley House (home of the Duke of Wellington) before going to visit Mr Squidge's aunt, uncle and cousin. We discovered that not every bus stop goes in the direction we needed it to and that London buses don't take cash, which resulted in much walking around to find the right bus stop, and somewhere that sold tickets before we got on the Tube.
Whilst at said family get-together, Mr Squidge received a phone call from the mini-Squidges' scout leader. (They were camping down near Bournemouth, remember?) It began "Both your children are fine...but one of them IS in hospital." T had had an axe-ident; the axe glanced off the log he was chopping and sliced through his boot into his instep. Some glue, steristrips and a tetanus shot later, T was back at camp...

The next day, we managed to get to grips with the buses - there was a fabulous shop we spotted from the top of a double-decker, founded in 18-something, whose shop front advertised swordsticks! - and went to the V&A, mainly because I remembered it as being a museum mainly about fashion.

Not so.

I was a bit disappointed to find only a small section dedicated to fashion, compared to a very extensive ironwork gallery. (There's only so much interest you can create in wrought iron railings) Mind you, we were lucky enough to get tickets to the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition (Tip - wait till lunchtime, when the queue for tickets is probably twenty minutes long rather than a couple of hours. When we arrived at 10.30, it snaked right the way down the corridor to a room with someone's cartoons in it - can't remember the artist's name!) The exhibition was A-MAZE-ING. I didn't know much about Mr McQueen, other than the fact that he was pretty outrageous in his designs - I was blown away. My favourite collection was the girl who lived in an elm tree, but the cabinet of curiosities came a close second.

Some of the designs were totally unrealistic - like the dress made entirely of razor clam shells. But others were utterly wearable - like the embroidered jute dresses and the tartan jackets. It was certainly an experience to be able to get so close to designer clothing and study the intricacies of them, rather than see them being paraded down a catwalk.

(And strangely enough, I got a writing analogy out of seeing his work; Alexander McQueen first trained as a tailor, which gave him the basic skills and rules of clothing manufacture. He used these so spectacularly in his later career; you could see the meticulous cut of the clothing, the sound base on which to build something unique. And so it is with writing... you need to have the skills, know the rules, in order to mould them into something special and unique.)

We had a lovely lunch in the refectory, then popped along to look at the jewellery, where I found a rainbow of gem-studded rings.

We took a river boat back to the Tube ( first time I've ever seen them refuse to take passengers on board, we were that full) and after a yummy pie and mash on St. Pancras station, caught the train home. Which was eventful, as we had to detour via a country scenic route very slowly on an intercity train, thanks to an incident south of Leicester that closed the northbound track.

What else? J passed her Grade 5 Music Theory with a high distinction, T passed Grade 3 double bass with merit. T's birthday was yesterday so there is chocolate cake, and I'm trying to crack on with King Stone in between keeping up with the post-camp washing and keeping everyone fed.

And that's about where we are at the moment...

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