at home with ann

Archive for October 29th, 2007

Gosh it feels a little like the first day of a new term… I’ve been away soooooo long and toooooo long.


As I clicked on ‘New Post’ and a new page opened before me, a sense of trepidation coursed through my body wondering whether I remembered how to blog, or what to say, or where to begin. Funny though, because as soon as my fingers touched the keys, the words were fighting with each other to come out.

So, where have I been?

What have I been up to that has kept me out of blogging mischief and offline?

Life has been busy; lots of ups and downs, but on the most part, life has been good.

As you know I had the whole house redecorated. The spare time I would normally have spent indulging myself on the computer, I spent house doctoring instead. It really is amazingly therapeutic and satisfying having an almighty clear out. Now, all that remains of Jamie’s things are a few clothes, two guitars, some books and lots and lots of dvd’s and cd’s. Rachel still has a wardrobe of clothes and boxes of papers, but when I spent yesterday afternoon at her place I was so excited to see the furniture had at last been built in her 2nd bedroom/dressing room… yeah… and she said she’d come over and sort more of her stuff… double yeah!! I’m trying to encourage her to come and stay this weekend.

With all this done, I shall start flat hunting in earnest now. I’ve pretty well made up my mind to stay in Essex. A part of me is tempted to move away, but something is holding me back; I guess the familiar, my old friends and surroundings. stay in Essex,


Doctoring the house did kill two birds with one stone because I had houseguests coming to stay… well not just any old house guests but great blogging friends from Florida. I opened my home to Brian, Diane and Rose.


Oh my goodness I had such a fantastic time; they were the most wonderful company and, as I write this, they are back home; I’m missing them already. I wanted everything to be perfect for them; I did my best, I hope it was good enough. It was as if we had known each other for ever and not merely a year; hopefully it will be the first of many more times we shall spend together either here or in the U.S. I can’t stand the heat and humidity of Florida; give me a chilly sunny London day like today and I’m in my element, but what’s a bit of dripping sweat and bad hair days between friends.


I didn’t spend every single minute with them; they had their space and in the middle of the week they experienced Eurostar from Waterloo gallivanting off to Paris for a couple of freezing days and meeting a fellow blogger there; they also met up with other fellow bloggers in London too.


The few excursions I spent with them I had such fun. It was kind of a holiday for me too… becoming a London tourist and seeing the sights. No doubt Brian, Diane and Rose will tell more on their own blogs when they recover from their four hour delayed flight, caused by a co-pilot arrested for being drunk (seems it made today’s newspapers) and of course, the obligatory jet lag. Still, better late and safe than what might have been; that doesn’t bear thinking about. Rose has already logged her report… you can catch it here


I’ll just share the things I shared with them, the rest is for them to tell.

Their first Sunday was earmarked for a leisurely walk around the shops and stalls of Covent Garden. At the bottom left of the above picture, you can just about see the shop name Octopus selling real cool and funky stuff below. I couldn’t resist a fun bag with kissy lips over it, but the household stuff was fantastic and I know just where I’m gonna go when my kettle or toaster conk out.

After that, the real highlight of the afternoon was a short stroll for English afternoon tea in beautiful surroundings at the Savoy Hotel. Not something I have ever done before; not something I’m ever likely to do again, but the whole experience was brilliant and scrumptious; very relaxing and a delight to be so politely and courteously waited upon. Of course I can’t go anywhere without seeing friends; they were trying to get seated, but were out of luck. For once I got something right and had pre-booked… yummy yummy!

The next day we, and a million families on half-term, headed for the South Bank. In our case we particularly wanted to see the Dali Exhibition at County Hall. Luckily there was no queue; all queues seemed to be for the London Aquarium or the London Eye. I do have a soft spot for Dali; his eccentricity as well as his awesome talent. Most of his quotes are so outrageous; here was a man who truly believed in himself, in his work and in his talent. I’d been dying to go to this exhibition since my first foray into the world of Dali-ism in Bruges eleven years ago, filled with nostalgia and fond memories of that good time in my life.

The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant. Salvado Dali

That Monday (unlike today’s beautiful day) the weather was not quite as kind to us as on the day before, being a dull damp day, but it didn’t put the dampers on us from having a great day out. I love walking along the South Bank and looking across the Thames at the diverse architecture where modern melds with old and somehow it works. Brian took some amazing shots and hopefully he’ll post them on his blog… he has a very photographic eye.

Wrapped up, we headed towards the Tate Modern where we were welcomed by Louise Bourgeois’ magnificent sculpture Maman 1999. Her eclectic works are on display until January; we didn’t manage to see her exhibition that day, but I’m sure to go back.

It is a great privilege to be able to work with, and I suppose work off, my feelings through sculpture. Louise Bourgeois

Sad as it may sound, I was really excited to see what all the fuss was about surrounding the Tate Modern’s latest arrival in the Turbine Hall; Columbian artist Doris Salcedo’s 167 metre crack called Shibboleth… me thinking it can’t be all that cracked up as it’s supposed to be.

I know that art doesn’t act directly. I know that I cannot save anybody’s life, but art can keep ideas alive, ideas that can influence directly our everyday lives, our daily experiences. Doris Salcedo


I loved it loved it loved it… it is meant to represent the divide in modern humanity and society. “The long legacy of racism and colonialism that underlies the modern world.” I make no claim to understand art or can see Salcedo’s interpretation, I just know what I like when I see it.


Unfortunately time was moving on and we were getting weary, but we couldn’t leave without dipping our aching toes into the Poetry and Dream collection. Me being the ultimate dreamer and wannabe poet and Brian being the consummate and talented poet that he is (which btw is how we met, through his poetry).


I was enchanted by Francis Picabia’s “Otaiti”. I am no art expert, but apparently this is a technique known as transparency. It seems that the ethereal quality is heightened by applying thin layers of paint and varnish producing a translucent effect. Otaïti is one of a group of paintings known as the Transparencies in which, Picabia noted, ‘all my instincts may have free reign’. It seems he was renowned for his iconoclastic, mocking wit, and his willingness to move from one artistic style to another. Picabia said that he liked to change his ideas ‘as one would change one’s shirt’. I wonder if that’s as often as I change my underwear!

A free spirit takes liberties even with liberty itself. Francis Picabia


Reluctantly we left the Tate Modern behind us and after having a quick look at The Globe Theatre, we made our way across the Millenium Bridge and the Thames to St Paul’s to take a very uncomfortable ride home on the Central Line, inspiring Brian to write his awesome ‘Ode to the Underground’ something us Londoners sure can relate to and are too too familiar with. Grrrrr… I hate the tube.


The next couple of days my guests trekked the streets of Paris leaving cinders to catch up with the chores. However I had a treat in store for them on Thursday. I didn’t know how they would enjoy it, but a night at the theatre was in order and my ab fab fav musical Les Miserables seemed particularly appropriate since they’d just seen Paris. It was my 4th time, although I was curious to know how many Les Mis virgins were in the audience that night.

The music is as magificent as ever, although its move to the smaller Queen’s theatre with its smaller stage, imho, diminished it somewhat. On the most part, the cast shone, with the exception of the innkeeper and his wife. Master of the House is actually my least favourite song, but for others it is the highlight of the show; I think the actors in those roles that evening were miscast. Javert and Jean Valjean though were the true masters of the house.

We had great times and great experiences and we didn’t stop talking. Brian is my muse; his poetry blows me away, but he has also just come out with his first novel Real Magic and I’m gonna plug it, plug it, plug it. Please please check it out. We have thrashed out an idea for a joint effort of a story/book which I am really excited about. His enthusiasm gets me fired and I don’t want to disappoint him… it will be interesting to see where this leads.

… and now my friends are home; my house is empty again and life goes on

… and I shall have more time for all of you. I’m so looking forward to playing catchup. I’ve just realised it was my two year blogging birthday last week… time for a new look methinks. Watch this space!

the loves of my life

at the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet ~~~ plato

thank you…

... to everyone whose pictures and videos I have borrowed; if anyone would like theirs to be removed, please tell me and I shall be happy to do so

all words here are mine ~ I’ll tell you when they’re not!

from long ago

in case I forget what day of the week it is

October 2007