Good Morning Saturday

I woke to the day with a crisp autumn morning, no clouds could be seen apart from the disappearing mist that blanketed the night before. What a lovely Saturday morning, a proactive day ahead I feel as I stare at the view in front of me.ahh crisp

Outside in my garden butterflies, lots of little butterflies, tattooed with colours of burnt reds and black. Above my head a pair of white winged butterflies flit and flurry as they surround an overgrown flowering plant.

Below my cat sleeps soaking up the sun, he stretches out as he notices my presence.

I hope you all have a lovely Saturday.

All I really want is that big brown box

It always seems to be that when you are waiting for a package to be delivered, excited at the thought of the contents wrapped up tightly and cuddled in tissue paper cradled in a big brown box, that it won’t show when it’s meant to. The estimation time proving the definition of the word, its loose in it terms and really distrusting, disappointing but expected, I begin to doubt the prediction. I have to wait; I can’t hurry it along or persuade it to get to me quicker, that brown box has a pace of its own. The apprehension is like Christmas, I can’t sit still for a moment, all noise is muted as I listen for the door.  For the knock, knock, knock. I look out from the upstairs window, peeping through the blind trying not to be seen but wanting so much to see that big burly van and the brown box, if I wait here and strain my eyes as I stare at my street it ironically won’t show its just how it goes. Its almost middle evening, the moon is high in the sky and the lingering red clouds have lost their red colour for deep cool blue. The feeling of excitement begins to fade and the realisation occurs that it isn’t coming tonight, I open the door to feel the fresh evening cold settling on my cheeks looking left and right, no its not coming tonight. My cat scurries in from outside, thinking I was holding the door for him. I guess I will have to wait a little longer for that big brown box.

Sundays, There is nothing quite like ’em

I always remember Sundays, the smell of a roast dinner cooking in the oven, Antiques Road-show on TV and most likely the rain was pouring outside, hitting hard on the windows of our house. Rainy Sundays. I used to hate those rainy Sundays, I hated the smell of the roast dinner, which was very controversial , and I hated the Antiques Road-show opening theme tune, all because they reminded me that the next day would be Monday and that meant back to school.  I’ve grown up since then. I love a good roast, lamb to be exact, I haven’t found the love for Antiques Road-Show quite yet, that will be in the years to come but, rainy Sundays, there is nothing quite like ’em.

Grey sky and autumnal colours…

Summer has barely left us but already I am looking forward to the coming months, the paths are already filling with leaves of different autumnal shades and my wardrobe needs a season re-vamp. The cold is rolling in thick and fast, “its going to be a long cold winter, I can feel it in my bones” I keep saying to myself as if I was intuitive about the coming weather, when really the increase in jumpers and layers says it all. Today was a cold and rainy Sunday, I had to go outside but tried to keep it to a minimum, these are the best kind of Sundays because there is really no need to do much at all, the weather brings with it a need to hibernate and my rainy Sunday pushes me behind closed doors. Curling up on the sofa, nestled beneath blankets with a good film to watch in the afternoon, after the legendary Sunday roast, then settling down for the prime time period drama, and certainly not forgetting drinking copious amounts of tea and stuffing my face with biscuits. The grey rain clouds cover the sky with an early darkness, bed time looms and I am thankful for these Sunday’s, the rainy ones.

I Hope your Sunday, rainy or not, was a peaceful, lazy and happy day.

For the love of monochrome.

Black and white films are a deep love of mine. There is nothing quite like settling down to watch a good old black and white, with freshly made popcorn and shutting the curtains in an attempt to home cinematise your front room. They are antiques, when you watch one you can feel yourself getting drawn back to the past, the days of romantic chivalry and smart little day suits, or perhaps down haunted streets and mysterious stately homes. The lingering shadows in black and white films become light and dark, creating scenes of horror, lust or everyday love. The beautiful classic actors in black and white films effortlessly become storytellers, asking audience members to imagine their world. The big explosions and ‘Inception’ like CGI of today give way to skillful talents of the performers, luring our attentions in the duration of the film. Charming and classy they ask for more of their audience, as we sit intimately watching their story unfold. The films reel of their own accord, not afraid to pause or stare, the shadowy hues define their faces they let us understand the complexities of their emotions that come from behind their dark eyes.

With that all said and done, I recently watched Rebecca directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940, written by ‘And as for today’s’ favorite author of the moment, Daphne Du Maurier. The combination of Hitchcock and Du Maurier had excited me for a while now. I wanted to see how Hitchcock rafter my favorite book, he wasn’t on trial but if he didn’t do the book justice I would of got mad. Book vs film much? Not in this case. I don’t like to Vs them off each other, of course they are going to be different. The book, in brief, no spoiler alerts here is about a young nameless woman, who marries dashing Mr Maxim De Winter to escape being a paid companion to an old intolerable women. There are twists and turns with the book, Mrs De Winter fears she is in the shadow of Maxims previous wife Rebecca as she is slotted straight into married life, created and preserved from the first Mrs. De Winter, in their Manderley stately home.

Its dark, romantic in a desperate, deep longing, not the sloppy soppy type, there is suspicion and mystery, suspense and affection. The book sits perfectly in black and white, it is all about the emotions af feelings.
I love this film, I love this book, with the film I fell in love with the acting, bringing to life characters of the pages, Maxim De Winter played by the dashing Laurence Olivier and young Mrs De Winter played by porcelain beauty Jane Fontaine portray their characters with gusto and impeccable realistic, reliable and rare talent.

Beauties in a black and white wash.

A Brief Encounter 1945, directed by Noel Coward, is another reason I love black and white. I have left my best until last.

The film is short so there is no excuse to watch it, my emotions went on that steam train all the way. It is such an intimate film where we share the longings of a housewife, she tells the story in first person, we are there, “Laura I am listening” I confess as she speaks her solace and her want of escape and resurrection with another man.  She meets him, the other man at the train station, they stare, they stare some more, she contemplates and decides her fate. If this was in colour it wouldn’t feel the same, I don’t think I could read their eyes, their unspoken communications.

Staring, Staring, lots of staring.

I recommend both these films, there are plenty more in black and white that are incredible because of their monochrome tones. Take Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang in 192, this film is outstanding, so haunting and interesting because it is so anything but Inception-like. Naturally there are films made in black and white that would be a flop in any age. But the ones I have seen hold a special place in my favorite film repertoire.

What is your favorite B&W classic? If you watch mine, I’ll watch yours.

Wallow, wanting and window seat.

This week has been hard, its been tough getting up early, awakening to the cold beginnings of autumn. Only to quickly get up and ready, eat a bowl of warm porridge and get out of the door, in anticipation of my two bus journeys. I don’t need to get up so early but you can never predict the mood of city traffic. I get on the same bus, incredibly in arrives on time, although now because I’ve said this it probably won’t. The bus driver, his cold, hard,face staring at me looks how I feel, missing the sun and dreading the cold. I’m getting used to this routine.

I can even predict the layout of the bus. The passengers on the bus have began to alter with the seasons, everyone sitting far against opposing windows, leaving seats on the aisle up for grabs, their faces look forward in an attempt to suggest “don’t you sit next to me” unfortunately I need that seat, standing on a bus is lethal. I even find discomfort in the aisle seats, weary of my balance as the bus sways and abruptly comes to a stop, I fear on many occasions that I might fall off my seat. I feel unbalanced and unsteady.

This week has been hard. I think I’m beginning to understand what it means to be a graduate, without the stability of university, my questions regarding the future have increased dramatically. I don’t know what I am aiming for, I know what I like doing, I think I know what I’m good at but I don’t know what to do about it. Not for lack of trying, I am beginning to bear a lot of pressure on myself to try and devise a plan, a strategy of some sort that will offer guidance. I know there are hundreds of thousands, millions of graduates who feel in the same position, I’m not any different but I want all the answers, I want someone to say “Jess, this is what you will do, this is your direction” That will not happen, my life is my own and I accept that, sometimes this burden is a lone one, for me and only me. Sometimes this makes me upset and wallow in self pity but what it does and what it should do is be encouraging and exciting, I am young and at the start of a adventure, that’s what I need to believe, that this bus journey is only temporary, if I wait ten minutes another will come along and it will take me somewhere else, it might not even be on time and there might just be a window seat. I need to be brave and have courage, and remember these wise words: Que sera, sera whatever will be, will be.

Thank you Doris.

Daily Post Challenge: Du Maurier.

The weekly writing challenge invites you to write in a style of an author that you love, replacing your existing techniques and experimenting with another. As you have probably guessed Daphne Du Maurier has been the author that has inspired me to write. This is an homage to her as I attempt to stylistic imitate her suspenseful and mysterious writings. My first weekly writing challenge, I think I am a little late on this one but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try writing in my favourite authors style.

Last night I dreamt about what I thought I would forget, not knowing why this vision crept into my mind I awoken early with the uneasy feeling that I was not alone. I looked around in search of the time and found that I has slept right through to morning, the blood rushed from my face as I remembered I had an engagement, I looked for my nearest dress, undesirably left hanging from the night before, and adorned myself with haste.

Anxiety made a dreadful accompaniment to an empty stomach, I called out to the maid and asked for my eggs to be scrambled, knowing I would perhaps not be able to consume them. I remembered the dream again, it crept up on me as quickly as I had awoke from it this morning. The familiarity posed confusion, I knew this place all too well, I had seen the many faces, the different people that had been there, the man who worked solely on his garden row, the old women in her shawl who stared at me blankly.

I was brought back to reality with the present situation, my eggs came with a welcoming smell, but as I presumed I was in too much of a rush to eat them. As I ran from the front porch I heard the maid call out to me, her words were a mixture of urgency and shocked dismay at my swift departure. I could not look back, to miss this engagement would bring more harm to us, my car was brought round and I left my little house, thinking of returning when the clock reached 5pm was a moment of content joy for me. This was the first of many days to come, I knew I had to provide myself with a means to live, this office is a way I shall do so and I shall not and will not look back.

A Winter Postcard

This week has been very busy, I have officially become a Graduate and it was a beautiful day. An experience I will never forget, a wholesome and gracious day of thanks to friends and family who have become a sturdy support system over the past three years and beyond.

I was returning to my university town from a different perspective, one of knowingly not returning for a while, one where I wouldn’t be a habitant or a temporary resident. Falmouth in Cornwall became my home for the majority of the year during my studies, I had an alternating relationship with my university town. I would start my first semester in Autumn and slowly as the days were growing shorter and the winds off the shore were quickening, it became cold and dark and constricted what we could do with our time after college. It was a lonely time for the town. Daphne Du Maurier writes about Cornwall and the harsh winters in many of her books,In Jamacia Inn her description of the Bodmin moors and their destructive winters poigniantly portray the realities that the season brings with it and you can’t help but feel isolated and cold.

Falmouth was hit hard by its winters. The number of tourists rapidly decreased as the distant location meant that the flow of tourists didn’t make their way down to Falmouth peninsula. It was noticeable, the winds were damaging in more ways than one, their economy must have taken a hit, apart from the influx of students keeping it a float I wonder how small tourist towns can survive and whether locally, the town find these quiet months intolerable or whether they find solace in the hushed atmosphere of their home town, a time for the town to relax as it waits in apprehension for the summer foreigner. I found that I was seasonally affected by the winter, my friends and I were confined to our houses, not a lot of activities were orientated around the cold except an expensive cinema showing older releases and lots of restaurants and bars which required pennies in our pockets. There is plenty of land to be discovered and shore lines to admire but in these winter months it is a struggle to find anything that will amuse and keep you warm.

As the clocks are adjusted forward and the sun begins to heat the coasts, spring arrives and moves swiftly to summer.  The image of the sea side town becomes more desirable and I blessed my inhabitance  in Cornwall. Summer offers so much in comparison to Winter. It literally transforms in every aspect, regular markets bringing in food locally sourced and seasonally selected, tourists flock in abundance and make walking through the narrow  streets a struggle, certain shops re-opens and the sea becomes a bright, bright blue. A postcard vision.

I was never a tourist to Falmouth, I knew it to well, I had seen the worst side of it and had been lucky enough to see it at its best. To a tourist it has to be one of the most idyllic scenes in Britain. Sometimes I wonder if I had only seen Falmouth as a tourist, if my perception of it would be greater. But having lived there it has more depth, I understand its personality as it changes with the seasons. My closest example where I felt that perhaps I was seeing my town from the tourist point of view was during graduation. I was only there for two days so I lapped up the mini holiday and relished in the views of the beautiful Cornish coasts. I was staying in luxury compared to my previous student accommodation and drinking champagne in celebration so it’s no wonder why I found the whole town incredibly appreciated. I was grateful to see my town this way, I remembered the tough winters and the emptiness, I empathised with sea-side towns hibernating for winters to be contrasted with business and over whelming summer numbers. From seeing this perspective it made me wonder about my relationship to place. Does familiarity hinder what we see? Is it reducing our interpretation of place and space? If we could put on the tourist gaze would we, or is it better to see the good times and bad times, so we as inhabitants can build relationships rather than a passing impression?

Winter looms.

The beginnings of Summer

There is no party like a family party.

Big family gatherings are a rarity in my family, on average there are one or two of these occur every year, what I mean by big gatherings are when the whole family, extended family, cousins of cousins, great uncles and family friends that your parents once knew at school all meet up for a big party. These gatherings aren’t a cup of tea visit, they are huge in comparison. This year I am seeing an influx in these ‘big gatherings’ as aunts and uncles and cousins of similar ages are hitting the milestones, 21, 30, 50 and 80. 2012 has brought many parties, buffets, lots of alcohol and catch-up chats that sound something like ‘the last time I saw you, you were in your dad’s arms’. Which is great because I can’t remember this and embarrassingly the conversation has suffered, as neither of us know where to go from here.

I love the reuniting of families for one night only and a good old knees up, too much alcohol and far too many ham rolls. But when I check my calender and see that one is closely looming I begin to work up a sweat and anxiety increases, meeting family that you haven’t seen in a while and updating them on the past few months or even years of your life, making small talk in an attempt to find similarities of in our lives.

Last night was an example where I perspired quite a bit before a big family gathering, my brother had other plans so I had to take one for the team and go as a lone sibling hence increased pressure. I was going to an Aunts 50th and to make matters worse it had a theme, a pink theme. I don’t have anything pink, I have a pale pink and an off pink but nothing pink pink. ‘Oh well’ I thought I will just wear this light red top with my smart jeans and a nice jacket, surely people won’t be that dressed up, the pink theme conjured up candy floss and big feather boas, something fun nothing too serious.

When I walked in and saw how much effort went into the venue, the table decorations, the balloon arches that were all very pink. Then there were the women, adorned in the smartest dresses coloured in an array of hot pink. The men of the party, who rarely make an effort had gone all out and specially brought pink ties and shirts. I probably brought the whole tone of the party down with my attempt at smart/casual wear when clearly it was smart/formal. Faus pas number one, wear what the invitation says. I felt incredibly awkward, you always want to make the best impression on family you haven’t seen in a long time it doesn’t help when you are the only one in jeans and not a very pink top.

There I was standing in the doorway wanting desperately to run home and change feeling ashamed at my interpretation of pink but, instead I hit the bar. I think it is perfectly normal and really quite natural to drink more than you would usually to help you get through the big family gathering  night. A bit of Dutch courage allowing to ease up on conversation, the adrenaline and sudden rush of  inspiration to dance and the encouragement to say “hello” to everyone.  Nothing at all embarrassing, yes Dutch courage is what I needed. My cousin was another bad influence, she continued to top up my drinks and even made me do a shot of vodka, she’s wild. My wild cousin, mother and me found that the Dutch did give us courage, as we were dancing on the little stage by the DJ booth: “I can’t believe were on the stage!” my mother screamed a fair few times, crazy, tonight we were crazy! Perhaps another faus pas but at least we will have the subject matter to talk about at the next do.

There was once a BBC comedy in the UK named The Royal Family, my family aren’t like that but I can defiantly draw comparisons between their family and mine: Uncles shouting across the table and no one hearing him because the music is too loud, then there is Granddad who waits at the buffet, head of the line, making sure he is first to get food and get too much so can bag up half and take it home.  A one-off drunk mother, father, uncles and aunties, a cousin who is a bad influence but fantastically fun and the drunken love that is spread around the room all night long.

I guess all families work in similar ways, we all dread reunions and finding something to wear, we want our pasts and presents to impress and we hope that conversation flows. But the best part about family reunions is there is an acceptance of what you do, who you are and what you drink because in the end we are family and that is OK.

I love this city, it has my heart.

I probably am a little bias to think that the city I live in is one of the best I’ve ever been to. I guess you either love, hate, or are indifferent to the place you grow up in. I have friends who can’t wait to get to the city, to turn their backs on narrow country lanes, farm yard smells and village neighbourhoods,  in favour of moving to the abundant energy of the bustling urban environment. Then others who despise the cities they live in, and they crave for open spaces and picturesque dusks and dawns. The grass is always greener. But whilst I do love the countryside and I am partial to a long wander in the rolling hills that surround Bristol,I am a home fan, a supporter of my birthplace. I love Bristol, it has my heart. I think why I admire it so much is because I am constantly learning something new about it. If you walk any where in Bristol new or old,  you will find something inspiring and different.

Bristol sits in the South-West of England, some refer to it as the capital of the South-West, I can definitely agree to that title. Technically I don’t live in Bristol, yes I do have a Bristol postcode but it is quite possibly the last and most distant postcode of the infamous BS1. Think what you like but I do live in Bristol. To be honest Keynsham is a 15 minute drive form the centre of Bristol, and it is a place where you practically know someone who knows that person, is a thriving little community boasting weekly markets  and a high-street mainly full of three types of shops: Coffee, Charity and banks. Something for everyone but if that’s not what takes your fancy Eastenders, BBC’s and the United Kingdoms most lovedsoap, is being filmed here next week. The high-street will be closed from 6pm -6am. Hold tight on a blog on this, Keynsham gets excited by the little things.

Back to Bristol because I am a Bristolian, regardless of what the majority of my city dweller friends think.  Bristol has the most beautiful famed and modest bridges, cobbled stones contrasting with new builds that are architecturally stunning. And I couldn’t talk about Bristol without mentioning the B word, Banksy, but the its not only Banksy but the whole of Bristol is artistically engaged, graffiti not only by the man himself but a street full of up and coming artists work sprayed on a discreet entrance to the cities central shopping district. There is a river and plenty of places to sit by it, grazing spots everywhere, where you can spend hours lolling around and it feels like a couple of minutes. Things to do and see, things to say and things to experience. Its big enough to keep you busy but small enough that bumping into a friend is normal. It’s not just me who loves Bristol about a 80% of people I went to University with have moved here. One of my best friends has just moved here, I thought I would spare her a few days before I went to visit her new home but in Bristol you are sure enough going to have a chance meeting. On my way back from work, a dull day at work may I add, I saw Sophie standing there in the distance I stopped and waited until she saw me, it was a surprise but I knew it would happen sooner or later.

Today the city was full of buzz as the annual Bristol Open Doors Day meant that places that are usually restricted to the public are opened, tours take you around behind the scenes of the working city. There was a chance to go underground Temple Meads train station, to see the old air raid shelter. You could go in old churches and backstage at the famous Colston Hall. The city was shining, literally the sun was out and it was a hot September day. People had flocked to the city and with beers and ciders they were relaxing by the river. It is a beautiful Saturday and Bristol makes the most of these days.

If you are ever in the South West, make a trip to Bristol, you will always have me, your Bristolian friend to guide you round the ins and outs and all arounds of my favourite city.

I’ve not given up but, I’ve moved on. Its an expensive habit and I did what I needed to do.

Whilst at university I studied Contemporary Devised Theatre, a degree that is consuming in the most fantastic sense of the word. I immersed myself into every aspect, analysing art and the everyday and putting my heart, soul and spare-time into the whole course. I wouldn’t read anything but contemporary readers and non-fiction performance books, artistically written so they jump up and perform in-front of you. Through fault of my own I neglected the other books of the world, the novels and classics and wonderful poetry and prose. I didn’t feel proudly about this, but in contemporary art it surrounds you and that’s what it did to me, so much so I wouldn’t read anything else. With the books back in the library and a summer of free time ahead of me, I thought about those books that I have ignored, the stories I haven’t read and the classics where I knew their names but knew nothing about them. Invitation to reading accepted, I picked up my first novel Jamaica inn by Daphne Du Maurier.Oh how ignorant I was, how blind I was to the wonderful world of reading, for pleasure. I’ve studied literature but reading for pleasure, that was a term that I have rarely used. I have reignited an old flame, I love reading, addictive and powerful I was hooked, I am hooked.

I was close to finishing Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica inn, Her name as beautiful as the way she writes as the words were reeling of the pages I soon realised I had a reading rate of 1 book per week. Luckily Du Maurier has written enough for me to read for a while, but I ran into a problem. With a rate like mine I would finish one book before I had another bo0k to move on to. I will just order another from Amazon, no need to panic.

My book will be here in 3-5 days Amazon told me, I knew this and I knew I had to be patient but, I love reading, give me books, give me more. The thought of going without a Du Maurier on my bus journey to work shook me to the very core.  Book-less, I was faced with either reading a stale copy of Watership Down or Oedipus Rex from my dusty old library that was established in 1991 or read my newspaper app on my phone where I would have to strain my eyes to read the headlines, neither as you would guess, enthused my desire. To be honest I don’t know how I got through those 3-5 days but I did, and I would never put myself in that situation again.

Working in marketing I am hounded with the term ‘forward thinking’ . that’s it, i will take what i learnt and put it into practice. I was forwardly thinking and planning how to avoid being book-less. I thought about ordering a bulk of books from Amazon, but that would be too expensive. I thought about going to a book shop, but that would be too expensive. I’m not broke but I’m still in student mode so as you can appreciate parting with my money still hurts a little bit. And then I thought about an eReader, light, small, perfect for the commuter, this is sounding like it has my name on it,  loaded with hundreds of classics, classics did you say? I was listening. No, it doesn’t have pages, no it doesn’t have that new book smell, no you can’t use a book mark, but yes you can have books on demand any time anywhere. I was sold, I brought a Kobo today, our relationship is very new but I can’t see myself waiting for 3-5days again. I have not given books up, I’ve just moved on.

Here is a view from my favourite reading spot, idyllic and romantic. The classics have affected me in more ways then none.