Lately 

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Lately

Seems like forever since I last posted – much has happened, most of it mundane. I don’t even remember when I snapped these photos of my knitting group in a pub in Jericho, but I do remember that it pouring down rain when I walked home, and already/still dark at 9pm. I know for the British summer doesn’t start officially until Midsummer (people – the clue is in the name: midsummer), but for me this now – end of May, the spring flowers gone, is summer. Long days, that pale gold, cold evening sunlight, lush greenness of it all. I want to swim in a lake and eat grilled chicken and walk barefoot.
The school’s out forever for this year’s U6th form. I’d hate to be 18 today, but has there ever been a time when us oldies didn’t look at kids of that age and feel a tiny amount of regret – oh the blind confidence of youth!
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Doodling.
Mayflower.   I love museums – I have told you this, right? I often go to the Pitt Rivers Museum, and wander aimlessly on the ground floor. I never fail to find inspiration among its madcap blend of Victoriana and sheer horror – next to glass cabinets full of religious statues and thearical masks are broken skulls and shrunken heads, relics of ancient people who probably died in horrible, painful ways. Natural History Museum. Design Museum in London. Some days are like this: London. I usually love going to London, just not when it’s rainy and windy and the streets are full of tourists and city suits and my mood is as grey as the river. Anything east of the London Bridge is wilderness to me – I have only crossed the Tower Bridge three times during the many years I’ve lived in this country, and have never ventured further east than that. And yet I sort of love this crazy mixture of old and new, layering of architecture ancient, old, new and still under construction. Some bad, some lovely and elegant, some depressing and some simply horrifying.

I made a book

I completed another notebook just the other day. These notebooks are diaries of sort for me, though more visual than written – poems I have liked, passaged from books, pictures I like, pictures that serve as inspiration to whatever I’m working on at the moment.

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Some Burne-Jones. I love the pre-Raphaelites, the whole luscious, exaggerated, symbolical world they created. This is one of my favourites, though Burne-Jones for me loses for Rossetti’s Day Dream and Proserpina, both wonderful paintings.

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I paint a lot and very poorly on my notebooks. I can take photos, and draw a little, but the results I get with watercolours are dubious at best.

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Line drawing of finches.

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My favourite Finnish poem, Nocturne by Eino Leino. Captures the spirit of a midsummer evening perfectly.

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Virginia in a lace frame.

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A bit of a story a worked on for few days about a year ago. My notebooks are like cemeteries of story ideas – I experiment with them, write outlines and scenes and try to get a taste if these is enough there to commit. In this instance, there wasn’t.

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Someone I love so, so much: Penelope Wilton in Hamlet. Though I have been an infrequently frequent opera-goes ever since I was five, I have never really grasped theatre until in the very recent years. Spoken word may never hold me in thrall the same way sung does, but the actors’ craft, their capability to express emotion fascinates me. As does the text of a play, the playwright’s ability to create people, create voices on the page.

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My present notebook is, boringly, a Moleskine, and a beaten-up, fat, torn one at that. Yes, that’s scotch tape on the corners, stopping the spine from fraying. The whole thickness is about twice is used to be, thanks to everything I have glued in. The elastic band has a knot on it to make it tighter, and the silk ribbon is long gone. Much abused and much loved.