6 November 2011

Dear Sophisticated Ladies

 How wonderful is it to be able to sit writing with the office door open to the garden in November! How much of this is down to global warming and should be far more alarming than joyful? I selfishly choose not to dwell on this conundrum nor do I intend to be lured into the glorious space to give it the attention it needs. This I may regret when the garden yawns barren in the Spring – but hey I can buy bulbs in flower if that happens!

 Have you noticed quite how many reality type programmes litter the television schedule these days? The promotion of ‘The Nations Favourite Abba Songs’ made me ponder on whether this is the epitome of cheap TV or are the (other) fab four charging whacking great fees?  The business news this week has included Time Warner’s 1Bn Euro bid for Endemol (the production company responsible for Big Brother (and Deal or No Deal). Why is this news fascinating to me you might ask? Simply because one of the owners in said company is Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset.  Now why didn’t that surprise me!

 Apropos the euro crisis the Italian economy has understandably been subject of chatter given that the country’s current debt burden amounts to somewhere in the region of 120% of its GDP.  Mr B has a plan and this does not currently accepting a euro rescue intervention. No he’s onto it and the IMF is welcome to keep an eye on the implementation; poor Mrs Lagarde this is surely I task you are able to delegate to colleagues!  Mr B is taking the economic situation seriously, so seriously that he decided not to release his second album of love songs – so that’s an option off Auntie’s Christmas list!

 On the subject of Auntie you will be amused to hear that she wasn’t impressed with her recent visit to witness Prime Minister’s Questions in the House this week.  ‘It was just little boys playing and bickering.’ After the first half an hour Mr Cameron and Mr Milliband leave the Chamber and then it deteriorates even more! As a former Head Mistress Auntie was a little underwhelmed by the experience; discipline was lacking it seems.

 Thankfully the Guide who took Auntie (and others) around the Palace of Westminster was very knowledgeable and ‘it was everso interesting’. What a relief to hear that whilst the democratic process in action was frankly ‘a bit rubbish’ the setting within which it takes place is reassuringly historic. Oh and the icing on the cake was a productive visit to M&S Marble Arch – which reminds me she didn’t mention Mary Portas collection.

 I had rather too gleefully told Auntie, at a recent family lunch, that my Godson (her nephew) had written me a lovely thank you card after his birthday. He had written that as he had got older and realised how few people send real cards, he appreciated receiving them more. Quite impressive for a man of 27. He went on to say that I would be pleased to hear that he had spent the money on a few drinks (and a curry) with the boys! I get perverse pleasure knowing that the money I work hard for funds this type of behaviour!

 The recent activity of the ‘minx’ necessitates the use of two crutches rather than the previous singleton. The immediate impact is a severe inability to browse whilst shopping; one can’t pick things up unless of course one is using a trolley. I was reflecting on how this was actually quite helpful in a recession when one should be spending less. Until of course I realised that the reason my credit card bill wasn’t delightfully slim was the internet. Shopping on line is simply toooo easy!

 Gudrun goodies arrive at a prearranged time delivered by the UPS man in his brown van (and matching uniform).  The matching red boiled wool bolero style jacket is an example in point; the replacement item arrived this week. I confess that two layers of boiled wool are a little bit too warm especially when driving. A sweaty back is not pleasant. I was amused, if not a teeny bit alarmed, when the UPS man remembered my name – not good!

 North of the (English) border the Scottish Conservative party has elected a new leader.  Ruth Davidson was chosen after the membership rejected a proposal to create a new centre-right party on account of the Tories being toxic and discredited beyond rescue. Are the voting public so naive that a new name would make them turn a blind eye to the policies being proposed?

 So what do we know about Ms Davidson? Well she is 32, has been a MSP for a mere 6 months, a former Territorial Army officer and is a kick boxer. Wow I’m impressed already. Apparently she’s a favourite of the Prime Minister who is eternally grateful that she has saved the Scottish Conservatives after ‘the most bitterly-fought and divisive leadership campaign in party history’. So reported the Guardian this weekend.

 However why, I wonder, in a 715 word article, did her sexuality have to be cited three times? One of these being in the headline ‘Scottish Conservatives elect gay leader’. It’s all a little predictable, lazy journalism and unnecessarily sensational (in my humble opinion). The article includes ‘Officials in London believe that Davidson, a lesbian and the youngest of the four candidates, will be able to freshen up the Tories’ faltering appeal to Scottish voters’.

 I find myself bemused, once again, by our (society’s) obsession with sex, specifically the sex lives of individuals. The Catholic Church provided safe passage for (married) Church of England ministers unable to live with women joining the ministry.  A celibacy waiver was the least they could do to support the distressed brothers; how kind. Hypocrisy is a bug bear of mine ladies; having got that off my chest back to matters of less import!

Is autumn too early for a Spring clean? Well obviously it’s either very early or very late depending on your point of view. As a trained strategic planner I periodically apply my profession to the personal and now is one such time.  My cupboards, both literal and mental, are a little too full of ‘stuff’. Whilst I can, and fully intend to, sell actual ‘stuff’ on eBay the contents of one’s head are less lucrative or off loadable!

 Wouldn’t that be fantastic if you could get shot of the trivia floating around your brain and make money out of it? I suppose that’s where the horrific life stories printed in paperback come from; thankfully whilst my life story is ‘unusual’ in some ways it is pedestrian overall. So it’s back to the drawers, the wardrobes and the cupboards! When you have a good root round it’s like a journey of discovery; an emotional voyage into a place where buying the horrors unearthed seemed logical.

 The black and white striped silk jacket with a hot pink lining is a case in point. I bought it in a sale some years ago and have worn it once. For some reason the urge to purchase was driven by the price tag. I paid £35 and the original price was £350 (apparently). The fact that it was a size 20, when I was (at the time) a 16-18, was irrelevant! Am I prepared to accept ownership by advertising the garment on eBay? Fancy dress for the adventurous (fashion/art) student perhaps…

 Cleaning and weeding includes my collection of personal home improvements by which I mean my make-up. How long do you keep your mascara? How many different ‘wands’ do you own? Colours? Makes? Is brown the new black? When I say black do I mean black or ‘really black’, ‘definitely black’, ‘ebony’ or ‘barely black’? By now I am lost in the descriptions unsure whether mascara or tights are the subject! Stop please!

 I do worry about bacteria in the liquid based products. You’re always told not to share eyeliner or mascara for fear of conjunctivitis – health and safety lurks around the corner I’m sure! The problem I have is mascara is SO expensive and I never know when it’s finished. Consequently I have a pot overstuffed with half finished gloopy stuff – I must be brave and empty it in the bin. I can always buy some more…

 My love affair with my red leather cased Kindle continues with a qualification. I can’t read it in the bath. I have concluded that you are either a bath lover or not; I fall into the former category. To the extent that when I had a new bathroom I moved the bath to under the window so I can see the trees (or the stars through the Velux). Baths are my guilty pleasure so not being able to continue reading a book (on my Kindle) in the water is an issue! Still it does allow me to carry on with the occasional purchase of a physical book!

 The sunny day lifts my spirits and there is nothing nicer than sharing the ambience of a pleasant autumn day with a friend. This week I introduced a friend to Porthkerry Park in Barry, to the viaduct, the beach and the wide open woods. The channel onto which the Park opens is wonderful, OK it’s a pebble (rocky) beach but the sense of space is calming, reassuring and somehow life affirming even in the rain!

 The 22nd approaches and there are still spaces at the Salon should you wish to attend. Sue Williams and I will be in conversation on censorship. I realise the juxtaposition of trafficking and censorship presents an interesting intellectual challenge. The pornography versus erotica debate butts up against decency, morality and personal preference. I must ponder, muse and prepare for this final Salon of this season.

 In sophistication as always

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Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster, Sophisticated Salons

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