Well, I have just returned from another trip – this time to Switzerland. Zurich to be precise. Schindellegi to be even more precise. It’s a small town sitting above Lake Zurich. Very pretty but unfortunately shrouded in fog most of the time I was there. I knew the lake was there but didn’t see it from the town until the last evening when the sun came out and the lake appeared miraculously from the mist. My friend and I visited Rapperswill which was a very beautiful old medieval town on the lake with an avenue of wonderfully weird pollarded chestnut trees along the water’s edge. We also went to see the astonishingly beautiful Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln which is ornately decorated with frescoes and stucco work inside.
We went to Crans Montana for the weekend. On a map it looks as if it is about an hour away until you realise that there is a huge mountain range in the way and the journey actually takes 3 1/2 hours but as always it is well worth the trip. The sun came out and the views from up the mountain across the Rhone Valley are quite breath taking. Here is a slide show of my favourite Swiss images from my Flickr photographs. You are spared the image of me head first in a bank of snow after parting company with my toboggan, as fortunately, no-one had a camera to hand….
Happy blog birthday to me!
While I was away, my blog celebrated its 3rd birthday. Although it is a shadow of its former self (when I started, I blogged every day and continued to do so for about 18 months or so) it soldiers on and I suppose as long as there are enough of you good people prepared to read it (for which I thank you very much indeed), I will continue. It does provide a wonderful excuse to down tools and think back over my week and decide what is worth remembering, noting down and even cherishing. Looking back over this blog I am reminded of music, films, videos, news, cartoons and illustrations that I would have long forgotten about (what with my memory being as shot away as it seems to be) so it functions as a superior ‘aide-memoir’ if nothing else! I do appreciate those of you who take time out to visit and comment on my posts.
On this note, here are a couple of things that have pleased me this week, one is a great track from Blur that perfectly describes how my life seems to be – whizzing past at a rate of knots, (March already?!) with the great danger that I don’t take time to stop and ‘smell the roses’. (Thanks to ‘Papersurfer’ for reminding me of it)
I watched the movie ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ again this weekend and fell in love with Javier Bardem all over again. The man is a god. (He is also the second most popular search term that people use to find my blog so no harm in mentioning him again, is there?) And the answer is – yes. I would be off to Oviedo like a shot….
While I’m at it, I might as well mention THE most popular search term is……*drum roll* …..Sylvie Guillem. She is quite simply stunning. Enough said, see for yourself. Russel Maliphant is pretty amazing too…
Maybe I should just turn this into a ‘celebrity news’ blog and be done with it. Or shall I just talk about George Clooney over and over again? (Cue gratuitous photograph of the man himself…)
Back in the real world, my gorgeous god-daughter visited this weekend to discuss the wedding album I am going to make for her and her husband. We looked through nearly 900 wedding photographs trying to decide which should go into the album – not an easy task. Then we had to choose materials to match her wedding stationery. I am now on a mission to get the website I am working on finished so I can begin her album. So having had my ‘timeout’ for today, I am going to get back to work after a thoroughly self indulgent post…
I’ve got the ‘January, weather is rubbish, Christmas is over, summer is ages away, everyone’s in a foul mood, too much to do, I’m on a diet, can’t stop procrastinating’ blues. You know the feeling. I’ve even resorted to re-using this fab cartoon from last year. In fact, I have just done a quick search and I have used it twice before but hopefully, you won’t remember and I will get away with it. It says it all really. I have loads to do (two websites to work on) but unfortunately, I have started to read a really good, unputdownable book and got into knitting in a big way, so the temptation to idle my days away reading and knitting is hard to resist. I am on a diet too, so all my will power is being used up on stopping the bad eating habits I got into over the Christmas period and there is none left at all for work discipline. I suppose the answer would be to have a ‘get the book finished’ day and limit the knitting to evenings only. That might work…
The book, by the way is ‘Under the Dome’ by Stephen King. I heard a review of it on Radio 4 and it sounded quite good and even though I normally avoid the schlocky horror (not Rocky Horror) genre, I thought ‘Well, this is the man who wrote the short story that ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is based on, maybe it will be OK’ and now I am gripped. It’s the sort of book that you want to know the end but don’t want the book to finish, if you know what I mean. I’m reading it on my Kindle so I can’t easily jump ahead and read the ending which is an advantage of the Kindle I guess. It is rather unfortunate that the book came out after the ‘Simpsons Movie’ (when Springfield gets enclosed in a giant dome) but you soon stop expecting Homer to pop up and say ‘Doh!’ when things go wrong. Anyway, in the interest of fairness and to celebrate the Simpsons 20th anniversary, here is the trailer for the film which includes the classic Homer and ‘Spider Pig’.
The other thing that I have done which is bizarre given all I have just said about being busy (well, having lots to do) is start a new blog. I know, I know, it makes no sense at all but it’s Teresa’s fault she made me – honest! She has taken up the challenge to post a photograph a day for 365 days. Her photo blog is here, mine is at 365pix Project. It’s actually quite easy as I’m only going to post one photograph and maybe a quick comment every day. I didn’t start until the 10th so I may have to go over until the 9th in 2011 but we will see how it goes. Why don’t you join in?
Now then, I’m going to take Milo for a walk, make a low-cal but nutritious and tasty lunch (I wish), then I am going to WORK on those websites – although I might take a photograph on the walk and post it to my new blog first and the laundry needs dealing with and I really ought to tidy my desk and maybe make a cup of tea…
I had a quiet intro to the New Year which was nice as the week between Christmas and New Year was quite hectic. Since then, I have been busy doing things I don’t normally do. First I baked a cake for a friend’s birthday. It was his 60th so we decided to have a 60s themed dinner – prawn cocktails to start, coq au vin and then I volunteered to make a black forest gateau for dessert. I haven’t done any baking for YEARS but I was actually quite proud of the finished cake.
I have also been rather obsessed with another hobby I haven’t done for an even longer time – knitting. When I was first married and lived in Cardiff (around 1978), my best friend, Jo, and I became passionate about knitting and after we had knitted ourselves waistcoats and sweaters, we then began knitting our (then) husbands, cardigans and sweaters too. Even more astonishingly though, THEY WORE THEM! And on a trip to Paris! It must have been love. We have all been digging out old photographs from those days recently and we found some pictures of the hideous creations we had knitted, thinking we all looked so cool and trendy. Bless. Anyway, I wanted some wrist warmers, and decided to have a go at knitting my own. I found this wool (Sirdar Crofter) which is patterned so that when you knit it up, it makes a sort of Fair Isle pattern which looks great.I finished the wrist warmers and decided to have a go at some socks and then some fingerless gloves. Here they are…
You may be wondering why the fixation with warm hands and feet? Well, you have read about or are experiencing the arctic conditions here in the UK. It is freezing cold. Most of the country is covered in a deep blanket of snow and has been for weeks. Here in Bridport, we have had the freezing temperatures (-9℃) but NO SNOW! We were forecast to have a huge dump of snow a couple of nights ago. I woke up looked out the window and it was green as usual. There was a flurry of snow for about an hour later that morning but it was like teflon – it didn’t stick and within a short space of time, it had mostly disappeared. I know snow causes massive disruption and bother for a lot of people but it does look so magical and is such fun (for about an hour until the cold sets in) but we seem to be having all the nasty bits – the extreme cold and icy roads and none of the pretty fun bits. Here is a photo NASA took of the UK recently – strangely, you can’t see my green oasis.
A slightly ironic result of all this is that I decided I needed some new boots to wear in the snow (!) I ordered them online but they have not arrived as the shipment has been delayed by…you’ve guessed it, the snow.
I did venture out to see ‘Avatar -3D’ the other night. It was quite astonishing and I absolutely loved it. It’s a visual treat and the world of Pandora as imagined by the CGI artists is extraordinarily beautiful in every tiny detail. The 3D effects are really good and actually seem to be coming out of the screen at times. Go and see it on the biggest screen you can – and make sure you see the 3D version and not the 2D one! Here’s the trailer (which does not do it justice).
I’ll spare you the photo of me doing my best Elvis Costelloe impersonation in my 3D specs….
Another hectic week. It amuses me that occasionally I get called ‘a lady who lunches’ because I don’t go out to work every day, whereas in reality, some days I am so busy I forget to have lunch. This week was one of those weeks.
It was my god daughter’s wedding on Friday 2nd, so I had to drive up to Tetbury in the morning. Just before I set off, #2 son rang me from Heathrow airport – he was going to a wedding in Santa Barbara. He told me that he had just put a CD of photographs in the mail to me – they were the photographs of his 4 month long trip to South East Asia earlier in the year and he needed them sorting and binding into an album to give as a ‘thank you’ gift. He needed them if possible by Friday 9th, bit of a tall order but I said I would do my best.
The wedding was lovely. The venue – a converted barn in the middle of the countryside was gorgeous and my god daughter looked divine. I had been asked to do a reading – that seemed to go well. All in all, a great day and a good chance to catch up with some old friends I hadn’t seen for a long time.
I came home the next day and found the CD of photographs waiting for me. There were 412 photographs (selected from thousands that my son and his three friends had taken on the trip) and I then spent the next 5 days sorting, tweaking, arranging, cutting, glueing, printing and binding (and screaming and swearing at) the album. I worked late into the night and got up early each day, determined to meet the deadline. I was using QuarkXpress to layout the images – and it kept crashing and freezing and at one point I lost 5 hours work when it crashed and I found it hadn’t been autosaving (hence the cussing and screaming) but I eventually finished – but missed the deadline to post it to London in time by two hours. So frustrating. To make matters worse, as I had now missed the deadline, annoyingly it meant that I actually now had 2 weeks before the next opportunty to give it to the people it was a gift for, so all my rushing had been for nothing. On the positive side, it turned out really well and I am very pleased with it.
It is covered with black leather which is embossed with a snakeskin effect. The paper inside the cover is a handmade paper that my son brought back from Laos and I made a box for it covered with black silk bookcloth. It’s larger than other albums I have made – A3 sized but it looks fab – even if I do say so myself.
Yesterday, I put the finishing touches to another wedding album I have been working on – three times. The album was made and I was happy with that but I ended up covering the box with three different coloured book cloths. The first two times, I wasn’t happy with it so I tore the bookcloth off and started again. The third time I got it right. Can’t show you that one yet as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for the bride and groom who will not be seeing it until next week so that will have to wait for my next post.
Last night, I went to a diamond wedding anniversary party – the couple were celebrating 60 years of marriage. We had thought it might be a quiet affair after all, the couple were in their 80s but not a bit of it. We partied until 3am (and were not the last people to leave) I just hope I have that much stamina if I make it to 80 years old. You will excuse me if I am a little fragile today…
So I am having a day away from bookbinding, I am watching Doris Day in ‘Calamity Jane’ and putting my feet up. I have a cup of tea and a stem ginger shortbread biscuit and I’m working my way through the Sunday Times. It all begins again tomorrow….
Well, I’m back. I have so much to tell you that it’s all a bit daunting, so I’ll start at the beginning and take a few short cuts.
I went to see Julia Fordham perform at the Pigalle Club in London. She was quite amazing as usual, her extraordinary voice never fails to send shivers of pleasure down my spine, she is a truly talented singer and songwriter. Her sister, my friend Claire, was there and phoned the whole gig in to her parents who weren’t able to be there! Here is one of my favourite (if not THE favourite), Julia Fordham song. If you don’t know her please watch this and marvel.
I flew to the South of France with Claire for the premiere of ‘The Making of Plus One’. I’ve told you about it before, it’s a mockumentary set and filmed during the Cannes Film Festival last year, about a producer trying to get a film made, which is based on Claire’s book (still with me?) I wasn’t sure how it was going to work but it was very good, very funny and fast paced and I enjoyed it immensely.
Cannes was fabulous, everything I thought it would be – glamorous and glitzy, we went to a cocktail party on a large boat, drank champagne in the Carlton, hung out at the Majestic for the after screening party, hob nobbed with celebs. The screening of the film ‘The Making of Plus One’ based very loosely on Claire’s book and in which she and her sister Julia appeared was eventful. I won’t repeat the whole saga as Claire tells it so well over at her blog here so please do visit and read her account of it all – and read how her horoscope saved the day. I tell you this, I wish I had one quarter of Claire’s chutzpah, she is amazing and so deserves to do well.
My next stop was Geneva. I flew out of Nice at 8am and an hour later was in Switzerland. I met my friend Edwina who had flown in from England and we took the train to Crans Montana. It’s a lovely journey as it follows the shores of Lac Leman, through Lausanne and Montreux and then heads of down the Rhône valley to Sierre.
It’s always nice to go to Crans, but as an unrepentant non-skier I love it in the summer! It’s very pretty in the winter but I prefer it green.
We were there a day and then we set off to drive to Mallorca. We drove through Switzerland to France, the journey prolonged by several long hold ups due to a combination of accidents, roadworks and sheer volume of traffic and quite frankly, Montpellier just seems to go on forever, but we eventually arrived in Port de la Selva where we spent the night.
The next morning we were on the road again, heading for Barcelona where we caught a ferry to Palma in Mallorca. The 7 hour trip passed surprisingly quickly and before we knew it we had docked and were on the road to Puerto Pollensa, our final destination. We then collapsed in a heap and spent a very lazy week, eating drinking and lolling around in the sun – although we did walk to Cala San Vicente one day – over a mountain, I’ll have you know! Here are some pics to give you a flavour of the rest of the week.
So now I’m back. I brought sunshine home with me and it has been a slow process getting back into the swing of things. Milo was thrilled to see me but did miss #1 son when he went back to Bath. The most excellent news is that #2 son arrived back from his 4 month trip around South East Asia this morning and is heading to Dorset tomorrow. Woohoo! I am so looking forward to seeing him, it’s ridiculous.
I have just a couple more things to pass on to you bookbinding afficionados. I have just bought three new books to read. I am currently reading a book called ‘People of the Book‘ by Geraldine Brooks, which is about a book restorer and promises to be very good. While I was in Cannes I met one of the stars of ‘The Making of Plus One’, Sara Stockbridge, (who was a model and muse for Vivienne Westwood). She is tall, blond and gorgeous and now, she has written a book called ‘Hammer’ “a novel of the Victorian Underworld” and she told me about a book called ‘ The Journal of Dora Damage‘ by Belinda Starling, which is a book about a bookbinder! I have just bought it and on the back it says ‘a riveting tale of bookbinding and Victorian pornography’. Ooh er missus!
This is Sara and I on the boat in Cannes, with Omid Djalili, a really funny British-Iranian comedian, who was also at the party.