3 July 2011

Dear Sophisticated Ladies

I am pleased to report that I am completely recovered following my brief pause in the cul de sac of ill health; as you know with my somewhat faulty wiring my immune system converts the most minor of ailments in fully blown man flu! Or whatever the male equivalent of the particular problem is.

I was overwhelmingly touched by the wave of email support I received in response to my apology. It is lovely to know that you are all out there eagerly reading the missives and respond to with such empathy. THANK YOU. And the next evening at the Salon the battalion of support continued and we had a wonderful evening!


Ms Finch was quite the most delightful guest; entertaining and disarming with her candour. At a smidgen over a mere three decades she has achieved a phenomenal amount and rightly deserves the title of an Ambassador for Wales.  Her tales of being a royal harpist were regaled in such a down played manner that she might have been talking of a favourite uncle.

 Whilst not making any comment on the politics of the position Catrin said in her experience HRH was of a genuinely nice man. She revealed that she was meeting him the next day, with a fellow harpist (and Salon regular), along with the new royal appointee.  I was curious to hear that he had opened the studio she and her husband run in Wales; not only did this seem beyond the call of duty I found myself wondering about the security arrangements needed to extend such largess.

 Your hostess did not let you down and asked if a clothing allowance came as part of the royal patronage package; apparently not which seems a little shoddy given that there much be occasions necessitating a new frock. I did mean to probe further on the appropriate and most practical attire to don when in effect ‘mounting’ a harp. Metres of fabric must be required to preserve the drape of the skirt.

 Over dinner I began to wonder who was interviewing who as Ms Finch adeptly extracted rather a lot of detail about my personal background! Forgetting, as I had, that she has a parallel career in radio and television. During this exchange I found out that Catrin has two Blue Peter badges! Does the woman have any awards remaining to be gathered? As she has two daughters I imagine this will be convenient in future as it will avoid squabbling although it may need a spot of explanation as to the significance.

 The autumn season is well underway in terms of planning and I did, maybe still do, have a date for September. Pencil in the 14 September for an audience with Claire Curneen the Irish Ceramist whose work I adore. She and I have met and discussed the Victorious Endeavours ethos. A witty sense of humour accompanies a beautiful elfin face with the most delightfully wicked twinkly eyes! And her work is exquisite too. The date for the September Salon is not yet confirmed because the restaurant we use has a Fawlty Towers Experience on the 14th and although the Maitre d’ Barnie has tried his best to persuade me that we would enjoy it I remain unconvinced. When I asked what part of the experience was sophisticated he simply replied ‘oh none of it!’ I rest my case.

So my quandary is whether to ask Claire, as I already have, for an alternative date or to find somewhere else for us to meet. I will explore other options and let you know.

Another guest confirmed is Sue Williams the Welsh Painter whose work can be found at her website No More Pink. Over lunch we discussed her work and experience of feminist politics. I came away energised and excited at the provocative conversation around censorship we could have at the Salon.  Her work is edgy, raw and reflects real experience; yes this means it’s not pretty! Or at least in some people’s opinion; not mine I hasten to add.




I am also in conversation with a couple of other woman with serious subjects to explore from sex trafficking in South Wales to whistling blowing in the NHS. We do need our intellect fertilised if it is to sprout new and interesting shoots ladies. Chrstine Lagarde is testimony to the power and prowess of an incisive mind and didn’t the IMF make the right decision!

Both Ms Curneen and Ms Williams have short cropped hair styles; Sue’s is bleached white as once mine was. I am currently in need of shearing and resemble a not so golden retriever. Every so often I get a hankering to chop it all off and feel the air on the back of my neck. In the absence of a loved one’s hand I must accept the light breeze of Barry Island in place of such an intimate caress!

As I am off to the Algarve next weekend I am unlikely to be able to fit in an appointment with my preferred stylist and trusting such a drastic change to a stranger could be unwise. Beside which the Midwife, (nickname for my hairdresser for reasons best left in the cobwebs of time), would never forgive me! I always think I should be somewhat slighter to go for a shorter cut to avoid the impression of a pinhead. One consequence, not entirely unwelcome, of last week’s bout of poor appetite was apparently losing a stone in weight. (Doubtless I will find it again soon). Seems unlikely but as a pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter and as I was probably (dreadfully) dehydrated (very) it is technically possible!

 Certainly my jeans were loose when clean which is unusual. Do you remember being told to eat Complan when ones stomach was upset? My granny always had a packet in the cupboard for such eventualities. I on the other hand had Slimfast and packets of long life skimmed milk. So I thought one could probably be substituted for the other and the flavours are rather more palatable!

That plus porridge saw me through the last week. I think my mother was a tad appalled to hear about the sachets that I favour. The benefits of microwaving porridge should not be dismissed, with the added twist of being able to measure the milk in the paper packet, this was simply convenience gone mad! Mixed with a chopped banana and it’s perfectly balanced nutritionally ~ very slow release on the energy front too!

 On a rather sad note I have to bring you up to speed on Arabella, the four month old kitten who has been sharing my life. When I say sharing the truth of it is she has terrorised me and I confess to being embarrassed to have to say this. I have told you of her running up my legs oblivious to whether they are clothed or not; of the biting, ok she was playing but I’d rather she didn’t ‘play’ with my face! I began to think about the stories you occasionally read of in the newspapers; the ones where cats have eaten the face of people who have died. After she bit my face for the second time, after the Salon thankfully, and she drew blood I realised this was a problem. People told me she’d grow out of it but as time passed she got more daring. Putting her paws under my glasses to get at my eyes was a favourite trick too!

This week I fell over twice as she ran at my feet attaching herself around my ankles as I walked; on one occasion going down the stairs. My balance has been particularly poor of late – may I cite needing TWO crutches to wear those platforms at the Salon (I was not going to be defeated). The second time I took a tumble I sprained my right elbow badly to the extent it hurts to lift the kettle never mind trying to unscrew the coffee pot. Could I sound more pathetic I wonder?

So Arabella was collected today by a family who already have two adult cats and a big house. The experience was awfully upsetting because in spite of her being a demon I had really wanted to make it work. I didn’t think it through and thought having just each other would be the beginning of another perfect feline companionship. A friend who came over commented that Arabella had managed to dominate me; I had created my own little dominatrix and it was far from pretty!

I know it was the right thing to do but the poor woman collecting Arabella kept asking ‘are you alright’ as I choked up with tears. The basket was placed in the car with a box of food, toys, treats and other ‘single woman with too much money’ cat fripperies. The last thing I saw was the naked chest of the husband driving the car away ~ Arabella has never seen tattoos before, how will she cope? I suppose she could always deface them with her claws as my legs have been left tattooed!

Finally I will sign off by saying do take a look at the Victorious Endeavours blog site where I will be doing a piece in honour of Christine Lagarde’s success and Jenny Murray’s recent award. Now Christine has a beautiful cropped haircut…


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Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster, Sophisticated Salons

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