May has come round again and it’s hard to believe that a year ago we were dealing with Cannyrob ‘s acute illness and surgery. The same tulips are flowering in the tubs, sparrows are building their nest again and the goldfinches are back. Cannyrob is busy in the garden and we have a new rose called The Lark Ascending.
We have been going out more to concerts and book events. Felicity Cloake is one of Cannyrob’s favourite cookery writers. She was at Toppings bookshop to talk about her latest book on breakfasts around the UK, Red Sauce, Brown Sauce. We’ve been reading Gary Younge’s columns in the Guardian for many years so it was really good to be in the front row for his talk on his new book, Dispatches from the Diaspora.
Recent media coverage has broadened my understanding of the wider impications of the slave trade. The Guardian’s Cotton Capital supplement focused on Manchester but I realised it could equally apply to Paisley, where I grew up. I benefitted from the wealth which built the Museum and Library. I had no idea of the links between the cotton industry and the exploitation of people on the other side of the world, as well as the mill workers in the smoky factories of my childhood, My great-uncle was a manager at Robertson’s jam factory and used to give me ‘golly’ badges to collect. I found one recently and it seemed quite shocking that as a child I had no idea of its meaning. We did watch The Black and White Minstrel Show, every Saturday night from 1958 after all.
Tarot: a non-mystic random reading
The Fool is the first card in the Tarot deck. With his dog at his heels, he sets out unencumbered on a journey of discovery. Energetic and spontaneous, he reminds us that humour is an essential commodity. After the uncertainties of the past few months, it feels right to be starting out again on a new road. So many of us are stepping into the unknown, without certainties. We travel light, urged on to stand up to the challenges of life in this shifting world.
Wash House Projects
I’ve been doing some drawing; see my SKETCHBOOK posted below. I have lots of ideas for paintings which I plan to make a start on soon. I’m also really enjoying pottering in my cosy workshop with everything I need at hand.
Inspired by a favourite t shirt from childhood, Son’s rainbow Jumper is finished at last! It was a lot of knitting.
His navy cotton moleskin trousers are now cut out and ready to sew. Overlocking next. Then the challenge of the zip fly belt loops and cargo pockets with flaps.
Another Fashion Feature from Goth Granma
As last month’s short fashion piece was well received, I thought I would focus on accessories this time. Scarves are a great way to boost your mood as you head for the door and they don’t need to cost much. I have lots of scarves – my current orange viscose favourite was £2.99 from a London corner shop. I have a huge blanket-like shawl from a Monsoon sale and a black rose printed red cotton square from a street market in Lille, among many others…..I like hats too; I’ve featured a slouch beanie from EMP and a little knitted pillbox from Namaste. I get my tights from SNAG: a Scottish firm who do lots of sizes and styles. I love pyjamas – this patchwork pattern set is from NEXT.
Me and My Pandas
A few years ago I wrote about my lost panda in Bear With Me (September 2021) The following summer I saw a toy panda in a shop window and went in to have a look. I fell for a Mother and Baby. Very soft and cuddly, they’ve become my constant bedmates. My pandas bring me comfort and joy. Baby has been on a few trips with us from London to Dundee. But campervan trips include both, seen here in my sleeping bag.
Reading, Listening, Watching
Babel by R F Kuang is a big and beautiful book about history and language set in a fantastical 19th C Oxford. At over 500 pages it is an absorbing read. I went on to read two more books by Martin MacInnes, a young author mentioned last month. His first book, Infinite Ground, takes us on a strange journey to find a missing man. In Ascension, his most recent novel, has a female protagonist whose work with plants leads her into space. All three books are demanding and I ended up going back and re-reading the endings. After that I needed something lighter, and returned to the Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series, murder stories set in Norfolk with an endearing archaeologist as the main character. I’ve been reading The Chalk Pit, The Stone Circle, The Dark Angel, The Lantern Men and The Night . In You Don’t Know What War Is, by Yeva Skalietska a teenage girl tells her own story, using social media shared with friends. Immediate and moving.
I’m still listening to audio books: Roman history in the EMPEROR series (by Conn Iggulden). At the end of Book 4 The Gods of War, Caesar is dead and I am ready to begin Book 5, The Blood of Gods in which Mark Antony and Octavian avenge his death. Erin Kelly’s The Skeleton Key is a diverting listen about a bizarre treasure hunt.
With 6 months Disney plus free with my new tablet, we can finally watch the last season of The Walking Dead. I enjoyed 7 Kings on Netflix and the very strange 1899. Succession is back, with more black humour. Malpractice on STV is currently grabbing our attention. I cancelled my Lionsgate subscription so I can have unlimited access to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Hayu instead.
We caught up with The Banshees of Inisherin at the DCA. Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell gave excellent performances as Colm and Pádraic. Cannyrob and I had visited the Aran Islands where it was filmed so we had plenty to talk about over dinner in the Jute Cafe Bar afterwards.
Although we are unlikely to travel far this summer, we had a wee holiday in the campervan at Dirleton, just over the Forth. WeeBoy came with us and enjoyed beachcombing with Cannyrob. We celebrated our anniversary with two nights at the luxurious Malmaison in Dundee. Thank you for reading and keeping in touch. Remember you can leave a comment, use social media or email me directly. It means a lot. Love, Elinor