Friday, 8 February 2019

From Beyond the Sunset

Hey guys!  I don't expect you thought you'd hear from me again did you?  Belated kind wishes to those who commented on my final-ish ofering.   But it's time now for a post from beyond where the sun went down on my Lovely Grey Day blog in August.  Here's  a picture that I took at twilight when I visited my mum and dad at Southend at Christmas.  I thought that it was quite fitting given the title for my brief return to Bloggerland.

So what have I been up to?  Well I continue to run and have shaved five minutes off my initial Parkrun time. Fairly robust hill climbs are now incorporated into my trots around the block too.
With the addition of a trusty wetsuit and enough black neoprene accessories to keep  certain fetishists very happy indeed I've also kept up the occasional  swim during the winter months. Here's me modelling the piece of clothing that I've elevated from a want to a need.  I must have had it on inside out of something as the logo is reverse.  C'est la vie.  Nothing changes.  All that enjoyable exercise had been good for me.  I've dropped two dress sizes without feeling that I've made any effort at all.

On the creative side I've been making mosaics.   Here's one of them I completed for my BF's Christmas present.  Yes I finally got round to manifesting one of those.   I made a list of what I wanted in a partner and sent it to the universe.  Hey presto!   I  pretty much got what I ordered except I  forgot to say that he should look like Idris Elba.  The model that turned up is paler, wears glasses and has a Somerset accent.   Oh and he owns a  kayak...or two...or six!

Here's the other mosaic that is near completion.  It's inspired by one of my crocheted granny blankets and tops a grotty old wheeled table that I rescued years ago from the hospital where I work..  Just the grouting is needed and a coat  of paint on the table surround and legs.  Then job's a good'un.   It will be a handy addition to my living area.

 From a culinary perspective I've become quite nerdy about making sourdough bread.  Here's the starter which I feed on a daily basis and love nearly as much as other people love their doggies and kitties.

Look at  this beauty, the result of my love laden labours.  My beautiful bread is made from bargain bucket strong flour and romps in at about fifty pence a loaf.

I spent a pleasant few days in Bordeaux with Mr Metrosexual whilst Ruff Stu manned his hairdressing salon. Here's the stairs in our Airbnb apartment.  Yikes!  The mezzanine balcony beside my bed was also alarmingly low.  'We cannot get pissed.  We will die!!!' said Mr Metrosexual when we arrived and saw the access to our bedspaces.  Needless to say we got used to the accommodation and got a little bit tipsy on the last night.  We were in the wine capital of the world after all. 

There's been music too...Seth Lakeman, Show of Hands, Mad Dog Mcrae.... The best gig is probably a toss up between Reef at Frome and Nile Rodgers and Chic at Cardiff.

My baby boy is growing at an alarm rate and now towers above me.  He's studying reasonably hard for his GCSEs and has been picked to represent Devon at the European Scout Jamboree in Poland next year.

As usual I've done lovely things with my friends:  Frida Kahlo at the V&A and a witchy exhibit in Oxford with Aril, coast and moor walks,   a house party in Cornwall at an out of season Youth Hostel and of course, my usual trips to stay with Red Mel at Bristol.  Here she is with Spiky Kay at the art school's Open Doors event where we created our own picture and donated it to the college!

Sometimes I've miss my writing.  'I could have blogged about that!' I  think to myself.   So I'm starting over...with  a difference.

I've made a very simple Wordpress site that will evolve once I know where I'm going with it.    I've also created pages on Facebook, Twitter,  Instagram and Pinterest.   MakesMe... is the home for blogs I write two or three times a week.  However  I'll also be sharing other stuff  that takes my fancy on my social media sites.  Here's all the links that you will need to see what I'm up to.


So come on over and like, share and comment.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you all again and sharing stuff that stirs me!

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Into The Sunset

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” 
 Paulo Coelho

I will start by telling you a bit about yesterday.  It was my usual midweek day off.  I got up a bit later than the norm, relishing the fact that's a school holiday and I don't have the early morning drive to get Louis to the bus at Totnes.  I pottered around the house, tidying as I went, put the washing on and made and received a few phone calls.  Around lunchtime I went to pick crab apples in the park as I plan to infuse them in whiskey.  There I got talking to a lovely woman who'd just moved here and accepted her invitation of a cup of tea.  We watched a pod of dolphins from her balcony, discovered that we had similar interests and swapped details.  The start of a new friendship perhaps?   More pottering, a cup of tea with Mr Metrosexual, a swim in a sea that was choppier than usual with the seal looking on.  Then another few phone calls and some chilling time in a beautifully quiet home.

All day I thought about writing a post  but, try as hard as I might I couldn't come up with a topic.  The wasted effort niggled.   And so a fledgling idea grew and grew until it reached a crescendo in the afternoon as I walked up the steps from the cove, soggy from my dip.  I'd already decided that I'd stop my blog  at the three thousandth post.  It feels right to end it earlier than that, thirty short of my intended target.

I started blogging over eight years ago to instill the discipline of writing regularly.   It's certainly helped me achieve that.   I've written about all sorts and the content and my  style has evolved over time.   The quality of what I've come up with has been variable in line with my beloved Mr Cohen's advice to forget perfect offerings.  I've shared random silliness alongside pretty personal stuff.  The latter was done with the belief that being transparent about pain and challenges isn't a demonstration of weakness but can teach and touch others.

I've changed over the years too.   I don't think my 2010 self, or maybe even my 2016 one, would recognise the person that I've become.   'When were you at your happiest?' Red Mel asked me in the van this weekend, mimicking a question in a Guardian interview she was reading.  I did not hesitate with my reply.  'Now!' I said.  It's interesting that many of life's outward challenges remain in place and it's my inner perspective that has changed.  I wonder whether the writing has been instrument in this shift.

At this time when I feel more creative, positive and fulfilled than ever I see the lack of inspiration as a sign.   Other things are blowing into my life.  I want to make time for the new including exploring different ways of writing to express my creativity.   And so with a little sadness I am bringing the Lovelygrey chapter of my life to a close.  Thank you all so much for your kindness and support.    There will be a final post about my new 'literary' venture when it has been conceived.

With much love

Julie aka Lovelygrey

PS:  Perhaps  'Nutscaping for Girls' was my finest blogging moment. It was the post that I most enjoyed writing!

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

A Unscheduled Interruption In Service

Oops a little unplanned absence courtesy of the patchy phone and internet service down in Cornwall.  Thanks for those who've expressed concern including my mum who'd forgotten I was going away and relies on a daily post to let her know I'm still alive and kicking.   I decided to enjoy a break rather than fret about the logistics of daily blogging on a campsite where I would have needed a small mortgage to pay for Wifi.  Here's me and Red Mel in the cafe on Pentewan Beach demonstrating wet and dry contrasting looks.  In spite of mucky weather I'd just been frolicking in the waves whilst my friend stayed safely on land.  Wimp or wise woman?  We have our different opinions! 

So now I'm back at home very relaxed indeed.  Normal service may resume tomorrow.... if I have slightly upped the ante from a very chilled mindset.

Friday, 24 August 2018

A Challenge

'You do realise that this is the fourth art gallery on this holiday?' asked Louis disgruntledly as we entered the Whitney Museum of Modern Art.  He'd counted Woodstock and the Storm King Arts Center which I'd sneakily tried to disguise as walks outside.  No chance then of seeing MoMA or the Metropolitan on this visit.  My boy was all art-ed out.  Because of the generous admission price he got in free and so he used this as an excuse to disengage, sit on a bench and text girls on his phone.

So I wandered around alone and discover what I think is my favourite New York attraction.  Such challenging exhibits in a beautiful gallery space.  Things to think about at every turn.

I called Louis over to look at just one piece,  Carl Pope's 'Some of the Greatest Hits of the New York City Police Department: A Celebration of Meritous Achievement in Community Service 1994'.  It's ugly visually and in the message it conveys.  I read the notes on it and it brought me to a halt.  Never had I been moved by art like this before.  Another woman standing next to me turned and said 'It's horrific isn't it.'

Each trophy, bought from suppliers who made them specifically for law enforcement use catalogues acts of brutality by NYPD in the years between 1949 and 1994.  They have the names of the police officers concerned and those who were killed or brutalised.  It was originally part of an exhibition  in 1994 exploring how the masculinity of black men had been represented in art.

I hope times  have changed and this powerful work represents a historic situation.  Certainly the police cars in the city these days are emblazoned with the motto Courtesy:  Professionalism:  Respect.  Maybe this piece was instrumental in effecting change.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

In the Heel

The Second Martha Stewart treated me and Louis to a Broadway show last  week. She asked me to choose and I settled upon Kinky Boots.  It was fantastic and in such an interesting old theatre too.  Louis was not impressed when I told him that we were going to see a musical about a shoe factory making boots for drag queens.

However on the way to the airport Martha asked him what the Top 5 highlights of his holiday were.  He didn't hesitate with his number one.   'I didn't think I'd like it but Kinky Boots was surprisingly good!'  I knew he'd liked it.  He was either laughing or sitting with an enraptured expression.

Here's a number from the show.  It's not all the same cast members that we saw but it will give you the gist.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Not Just Any Yellow Flash.....

...but a trail marker from the Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain last week.   This was where the first section of the trail was opened in 1923.   I spotted the familiar yellow flash from the car on the way to the airport.   I think that I must have crossed it on foot earlier during the holiday. Regular readers might remember that I walked a substantial part of this famous long distance footpath in 1997.  I hanker to return and complete the whole thing.  Just the small matter of child rearing got in the way and stopped me.

I had a wonderful chat with a young doctor yesterday whose hobby was long distance trekking.  He's pointed me in the direction of some of the trails in Spain and Portugal.  I told him that what I loved about the pursuit was that your mind empties.  Thinking slows down but in a good way.  He knew exactly what I meant.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Watch Out!

Do you remember this advert?  Back in my childhood dark ages the Humphreys caught the imagination of schoolchildren in our area.   It was like the 1970s equivalent of something going viral on social media today.    Stickers from the local Unigate dairy depicting pretty innocuous straws became  'must have' items.  The staff  must of  been so pissed off with the troups of kids marching in demanding them and getting in the way of the milk floats!