Brace yerselves ladies herein follows an utterly random set of unrelated incidents and events! Wry reflections and observations from the Spinster in August; Victorious Endeavours equivalent of a slow news day. As I write I am a little distracted by a man in aviator shades pacing in purposeful distraction in front of the house. He has an air of the familiar although I can’t quite place him; the specimen is not one I wish to engage in eye contact. Shallow perhaps but it is also possible he is one of the series of people who have observed me doing less than lady like things! If you look through people’s front windows you don’t know what you might inadvertently witness; I speak of absentmindedly licking the lid of a yogurt. In my defence it was one advertised with the catch phrase ‘lick the lid of life’ some years ago!
Hm the suspicious gentleman (I used the term advisedly) has exited stage left thankfully. He was dressed in a camouflage style khaki shirt – you know the ones you see men promoting the right to bear arms in with epaulettes and breast pockets taut over steroid fuelled musculature. It suddenly comes to me, he is a friend of the man three doors down – a neighbour who brings an innovative twist to ‘good’. On the one hand he fixed the flashing on my bay window a couple of winters ago which was perfect. On the other this twice married man propositioned another neighbour and is frequently heard displaying rather impatient behaviour when his current wife fails to meet the required standard. Private lives played out in public spaces when frayed tempers seep over the garden wall.
On the subject of neighbours I was parking at the house late last week at the same time as a mother and (18 month old) daughter over the road. Tiny Ophelia was shouting ‘Daddy come and help mummy’ at the closed front door! Catching my eye the mother and I exchanged a moment of extreme (respectful) amusement; that girl will go far! And yes Daddy did come out (after several minutes).
Since leaving the world of organisational employment I have attended the National Eisteddfod less frequently; I no longer feel obliged to be seen on the Maes. This year it was on my door step in Llandow and it was my last chance to see Adain Avion (www.adainavion.org ) the extraordinary Wales Cultural Olympiad project curated by featured artist Marc Rees. Having see the plane and attended the Closing Ceremony at St Fagans yesterday where the ‘black box’ (containing archive material of the journey across Wales) was handed to the National Museum for inclusion in the People’s Archive of Wales, I would venture to say that this is surely the best Cultural Olympiad Project of the 2012 event. Another triumph by Mr Rees and his team – OK I confess to being a huge fan of his work having previously travelled to Asturias (Northern Spain) to experience En Residencia (another curated site specific work where Welsh and Spanish artists collaborated).
To access the Maes – after a short trip on the back of a golf-style buggy from the Disabled Parking to the entrance – I had to pay the entrance fee of £17! I confess I did a sharp intake of breathe when I saw the tariff, softening only slightly when I noticed ‘companions assisting disabled persons’ were allowed in free. Gone are the days when I can pretend I don’t need the assistance (especially when venturing into wide open spaces); so I gratefully accepted the concession available. I do wonder how many local families would have been able to afford to pay this frankly hefty entrance fee.
When promenading the orderly streets of the Eisteddfod my companion and I were approached by an aproned lady from the Womens Institute with the offer of free tea/coffee and Welsh cakes. It would have been rude to decline such an invitation although we had minutes before been handed a bag of exquisite Welsh cakes (which I scoffed rather rapidly on account of having a little wave of the vapours (having omitted to eat a good breakfast in preparation))! It was an awfully hot day and one tends to wilt like a delicate floral plant in such conditions these days (more irritating than I can articulate). I don’t know who had made the earlier griddle goodies but they were warm, light and cinnamony, simply perfect unlike (unfortunately) the heavier (drier) offering with the free beverage. I feel I’ve committed some unacceptable crime saying this but one has to be honest (especially as after the hospitality we both bought 10 for a pound)!
The ladies on the Womens Institute stand were delightful and most welcoming when my companion who is a Welsh learner engaged them in linguistically appropriate conversation. One lady popped off to fetch a book of Welsh Idioms and Sayings she had bought that morning from one of the Unversity stands; eager to share her find she pointed out amusing lines and the sale price! By contrast older gentlemen on another stand were somewhat less patient; sadly more in line with the mythology that surrounds the Eisteddfod. Not only are the WI more likely to encourage one to learn the language one might be persuaded to pop along for a jam making demonstration!
Last week I had dinner with Dilys and it was another delicious evening on so many fronts; that lady always makes me smile. Dilys has asked me to thank everyone who attended the Salon and made it one of the most wonderful evenings of her life. The flowers we presented her with were proudly displayed in her lounge; the choice of colours perfectly complimented the eclectic decor. In the nicest possible way one could describe Dilys abode as a visual stream of consciousness capturing her lifelong interest in global travel. I have always thought there was something regal about Ms Price; something beyond her grace and kindness. But there was something else – Dilys doesn’t have Corgis but she does have two elderly Pekingese dogs! The older of the two is called Cleopatra as well! As a self confessed cat enthusiast I have admit to having warmed to these two fat fluffy cushions even giving one a firm cuddle! I could be a fan – the younger one had soaking wet ears when I arrived, when I asked Mummy Price why this was. The wicked glint in Dilys eye preceded the unveiling of the story; a sorry albeit amusing little tale!
Whilst preparing dinner Dilys had dropped something in the doggies water bowl at the same time Cuddly Cushion Number 2 was having a drink! There ensued every girl’s nightmare when guests are about to arrive; a bad hair day! Something about this breed of dog gives a slightly sad mournful look (revealed only by the soaking wet dreadlock ears) so I felt more than justified in scooping her into my arms and plonking her on my knee! OK she stayed in situ less than a minute but I’m confident she appreciated those valuable seconds we shared!