Posts Tagged 'Spring.'

My Favourite Things This Spring: London, Trousers, and Moments.

These are the things making me smile this Spring…

1. London 

One thing I love, and it isn’t a new thing, but something I’ve been obsessed by for years, is when Londoners put ‘The’ in front of a road name.  For example, someone from London doesn’t just say ‘King’s Road’ they say ‘The King’s Road’.  I love anything which is intrinsically and traditionally ‘London’.  I love the people, the streets, and buildings, and parks, I love London as a living entity, and so I love anything which makes you instantly aware of its own metropolitan authenticity. It’s like music to me, that intoxicating London lilt; ‘Where did you see him, Bill?’, ‘I saw him down The Tottenham Court Road’.

This picture was taken backstage at a production of Rocky Horror, at The King’s Road Theatre, in 1976.  It embodies the King’s Road atmosphere and reputation for punks, theatre and creativity.

I love this quote, which I found with the photograph; “Back again.  This time, the first ‘West-End’ production at The Comedy Theatre, re-staged by the original director, Jim Sharman. It was only towards the end of this run that we noticed a strange phenomenon; American tourists who seemed to think they were part of the show  started shouting out stuff, much to their own amusement …

We just thought they were twats.”


The photo is a beautifully typical snapshot of unseen London life, one of those moments that happens with people who aren’t beautiful, aren’t scripted, but are alive in a room together, somewhere down a dark street in London.  This brings me onto my second item…

2. Moments

I love the moments in life, the moments that aren’t planned and often only seen by one person, or a few, which are breathtakingly beautiful.  I was on the train today, it was early evening, about five o’clock.  I was listening to The Cure, looking out of the train window at fields which were green, shining with the rain that had been falling earlier in the day, in bright sunshine.  The carriage was quiet and empty, and it was a beautiful moment.  I think I may have written about this before, but just in case I haven’t… Last year, early in the summer, I was walking the Dog, and I turned onto the Heath, just as the sun was setting, and I looked out across the fields of horses, and boys playing football, and the empty Heath, just as For Lovers by Pete Doherty started playing in my earphones.  I feel like a pompous prig for saying this, but that moment almost made my cry.

I recently wrote in a poem;

What about the English air
steeped in home-cooked chip fat
in late-afternoon sun,
and that place in the Colosseum
where every wayfarer stands to have their photograph taken?
Moments of well-worn summer
like comfortable clothes
in the quietness of a moment alone,
an outfit that no-one will see,
a minute’s picture-idyll,
the light catching the natural arrangement of blonde hair,
like cotton against your legs
that only you will feel.

3. Trousers

Being short in height and somewhat rotund, it isn’t easy to find clothes which are flattering.  In my head I look like a Jack Wills model, in reality I look like a Julie Walters character.  However, I recently found a pair of trousers which I like.  I always believed that I could only get away with certain things, and that I couldn’t go near anything chic or stylish, but these trousers are chic.  They were from Zara, around £22, which is a bargain in my eyes.  I love them, and will wear them all summer.

(I’ll add a picture to this Blog when I don’t have a towel on my head).

A diary of cakes and tea.

It has been brought to my attention, by three separate people, that my family and I are forever eating scones and drinking tea.  Actually, it’s true.  A combination of two months of wet spring weekends, a mammoth festival of bank holidays thanks to Easter, the Royal Wedding, and May bank holidays, plus four damp days in Wales, have resulted in a string of occasions where we have found ourselves at a table, perhaps in a teashop or on a lawn somewhere, with a cup of tea and scone with jam and cream.  In fact, I’m not complaining, because it is a lovely, very British way of spending an afternoon, whether it be sunny or drizzling.  The teashops of these fair isles are a thing of wonder.

Spring started with a weekend full of picnics.  The first was a bikeride to our local Heath, and saw the début of the heart-shaped picnic basket I’d received for Christmas from my Grandmother.  The second picnic took us to Wales, the beautiful town of Conwy, for a small stony spot by the beach, surrounded by fishing boats and the wing of a dead seagull, which was only discovered after we’d eaten.

We celebrated two birthdays this Spring, both with Cake.  For one we  went for breakfast at the local teashop, and ordered Pizza in the evening, for the other we went walking in Derbyshire.  Both were lovely.  In our family we always make a special fuss of birthdays, and never let one pass without doing something special.

April 29th 2011 brought with it THE ROYAL WEDDING, and the country celebrated in true old-fashioned style.  In fact, I didn’t even have to verify that date, I just know it.  In our house we eschewed the children and beer ridden street party that our neighbours were holding, and instead had our own celebration, with cakes and tea, and dresses from Jack Wills and Cath Kidston.  We spent the night before making bunting, and had a whole day devoted to shopping for outfits and porcelain memorabilia.

We watched the event, glued to the screen, from start to finish, relishing every moment, feeling part of something special.  The only thing that momentarily robbed our attention, and only in the boring bits, was the food.  Chocolate cake, pink fairy cakes, strawberries, trifle, garlic bread, pizza, tarts and quiches, homemade pies, and everything in between.  It was a true feast.

We wanted to make it a special day, one we’ll always remember, like the wartime street parties and jubilee celebrations of our grandparents, and we certainly succeeded. I’ll always look back on it as a lovely day.  Of-course, we had champagne and lots of tea.

The Easter weekend felt like much-needed holiday, and with the bank holidays, and royal weddings, and days off, it felt like a long break.  We had a day walking in Derbyshire, with a picnic on the edge of a river, always entertaining with pensioners, walking along eating Easter eggs, and a sumptuous dinner in a beautiful hotel in Buxton.  Now that we have a child in the family, my cousin who’s almost two, we had a legitimate excuse to have an Easter egg hunt, something we’ve been doing for years anyway.

We hunted for eggs in my grandparents’ garden, on an unusually warm and sunny morning, and then we sat down to tea and cake.  My Mum had baked fairy cakes from scratch, and arrived with arms full of cake tins and Tupperware, and my Nanna made a typically eccentric chocolate cake with layers of cream and strawberries.

My Nanna comes from a family of master bakers, and was rightly proud, as was my Mum.

The past two weeks have been busy, with three beautiful but slightly damp days in Wales in a caravan, which gave us two opportunities every day to have tea and cake, an opportunity we took full advantage of.

For the record, I drink builder’s tea.  Medium strength, but with lots of milk, and two and a half sugars.  Any other way, and I can’t drink it.  Made properly, I luxuriate in tea, feel comforted by it, am taken to a higher plane by it.  I am so grateful whenever anybody makes me a drink and brings me an unexpected cup of tea, it’s a lovely surprise and kind gesture, but one thing I can’t stand is when someone makes you a drink the way they think it should be made, rather than how you like it.  The worst culprit is my grandparents.  They believe that tea should be the colour of mahogany, with a thimbleful of milk, and one sugar.  After years and years, I’ve finally succeeded in making them accept that I take more than one sugar, and they’ve gone up to two very small ones, but will never reach the full two and half.

There’s nothing quite like sheltering from the rain on a cold day, or stopping off on the way home after a long journey in a cramped, packed-up car, for a nice cup of tea and some sandwiches and cake.  Better yet, a lasagne.

I’m actually in love with tea and cake, I’ve just realised that.

These last few pictures were taken at The Davenport Tea Room, at Acton Bridge in Cheshire. http://www.davenportsflorists.co.uk/tearooms.html  It’s down a tiny lane, signposted opposite Marco Marco and The Leigh Arms, and is well worth a visit.  In a beautiful old farmhouse, with antique tables and exquisite china, they have a wonderful menu and the perfect atmosphere.

All this writing about tea, I’m gasping for a brew!

I have a thing for clothes and flowers

Okay, it’s probably fair to say that it’s an obsession.  I love seeing clean washing blowing in the wind, and wild flowers, and the sun in the garden, and the green of the grass.  Over the Winter it’s necessary to dry your washing on radiators or maidens, indoors, with the heating on.  Once or twice, this Winter, I did put my washing out, and went to retrieve it a couple of hours later to find it frozen solid.  I even put some washing out when the garden was thick with snow, because I needed clean bedding.  However, when Spring comes we can hang clothes and sheets and white fluffy towels outside in the sun.  It’s a fact that sunshine is good for washing, it’s salubrious and somehow healthy, not to mention it dries it really well.  In the Spring and Summer there is a beautiful satisfaction to working hard all morning; sorting and piling and hauling clothes downstairs, washing them, putting them in a basket and carrying the heavy load outside, then to watch them blowing elegantly on the line, delicate rays of sun shining between them.  It is one of the greatest pleasures in life, in my life anyway.

The sight of washing in afternoon sunlight is so incredible to me, and so comforting, that I’m often compelled to photograph it, or write it into a poem, simply because I want to preserve the moment; I need evidence.  I feel that if I just tell people how beautiful it is, they won’t believe me.  I have a compulsion to fossilise and treasure the aesthetic, the feeling.

I recently wrote the line; ‘White towels blowing in the heather chives,/wild and purple where you planted them’, in a poem about the people in my life that I’ve lost, in particular my Grandad, who planted the chives.  I wanted to make the sight that I could see from the kitchen table as I was writing become part of the poem.

This is probably very boring to almost everyone else in the world, but just in case, here are some of these moments.

Daffodils from the Florist: The Joy of City Living

One of the reasons I love living in the City, after living in the silent back-end of Suburbia for twenty-five years, is going out after breakfast and making the short walk to the florist to buy daffodils.  It’s this and other conveniences, like the five minutes it takes between getting out of bed and arriving at Starbucks when you have no milk in the fridge for breakfast, that have landed me irrevocably in love with living in the City, and in particular Chester.

Shortly after setting out from the flat, I’m back here at my desk, and there is a beautiful spread of Daffodils next to me, making everything more cheerful.  Flowers can be seen as somewhat of a frivolity, especially when it’s hard enough to find the money to buy food and essentials, particularly for students, but some things are important.  I am currently, to put it bluntly, skint.  It’s a long time until the next student loan instalment, I’m overdue on my rent, and can barely find train fare to get home or buy milk, but for 95p I’ve bought myself a little explosion of morale and encouragement, to sit on my desk and brighten up my day.  Little things like flowers, as extraneous as they may be, make you smile, and your problems don’t seem as bleak.

The sun coming in through the open windows, together with an enlivening breeze, and floral prints on bedding and clothes, make one feel like Spring is really here, and everything that goes with sunshine, bare legs, sandals, picnics, bike rides, beaches and barbeques.  It lifts everything up, and the torpor and stagnation of winter, that you didn’t even realise was weighing you down, is suddenly lifted, and everything feels lighter (in terms of weight, and illumination).

As I typed that last sentence, Music When The Lights Go Out by The Libertines started playing (my itunes is on shuffle).  It’s moments like this, when a beautiful song which means so much to me suddenly appears when I least expect it, that really move me.

Sailboats and Florals

From cardigans and dresses to new bedding and the £1.99 Cath Kidston socks, SPRING HAS SPRUNG! Here are my essential favourites for the season….

Sailboat dress, Topshop.

This week I fulfilled one of my ambitions of many years. I bought Cath Kidston bedding! I am so thrilled with it. Plus, it was from TK Maxx, £39.00 for Kingsize.

 

I've salivated over this cardigan from Urban Outfitters for about a year, back when they only did it in cream. Recently they featured the cardigan in a variety of different colours, from pink to maroon, blue and green. This week, as I couldn't afford the cardigan myself until my next student loan, my sister (so kindly!) bought it for me in secret and surprised me with it in Starbucks. I love her... and it ❤ Without a doubt, it's honestly the softest thing I've ever worn. I can't wait to wear it all summer.

And now for the New Look Floral Rose Socks! £1.99, and I think they look just like a Cath Kidston print. I love them. Again, I have to thank my benevolent sister. (If you click on the image, you will be taken to the right page on the New Look website.)

 

 

 

 


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Sylvia Plath said; "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences". My aim in life is to find things and people to love, so that I can write about them. Putting words together is the only thing I can see myself doing. This blog is an outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment on posts, or contact me by the special e-mail I've set up (vikki.littlemore@live.co.uk) with your thoughts.


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The New Remorse, Oscar Wilde.

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

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Music I Love (In no particular order, except that The Smiths are first)

The Smiths,
The Libertines,
The Courteeners,
Nina Simone,
Oasis,
Pete Doherty,
Gossip,
The Kills,
Amy Winehouse,
Arctic Monkeys,
Rod Stewart,
The Doors,
The Rolling Stones,
Etta James,
Babyshambles,
T. Rex,
The Jam,
Morrissey,
Guillemots,
The Kinks,
Jack White,
The Deadweather,
David Bowie,
The Winchesters,
The Cure,
Kaiser Chiefs,
The Kooks,
The Twang,
Kings Of Leon,
Pulp,
Blur,
The Housemartins,
The Ramones,
James,
Robots in Disguise,
The Klaxons,
Kate Nash,
The Raconteurs,
Regina Spektor,
Aretha Franklin,
Stereophonics,
The Contours,
Dirty Pretty Things,
The White Stripes,
New York Dolls,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
The Clash,
Style Council,
Velvet Underground,
The Horrors,
The Cribs,
Reverend and The Makers,
The Subways,
The Wombats,
Foals,
Elle S'appelle,
The Troggs,
The Beatles,
Echo and the Bunnymen,
Florence and the Machine.

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

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Will it ever be alright for Blighty to have a Queen Camilla?

One less tree from our window each day


Vikki's bookshelf: read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
1984
Twilight
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit
The Da Vinci Code
Lolita
Tipping the Velvet
Wuthering Heights
The Picture of Dorian Grey and Other Works by Oscar Wilde
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman
Moab Is My Washpot
The Bell Jar
The Other Boleyn Girl
On the Road
Brideshead Revisited
Revolutionary Road



Vikki Littlemore's favorite books »

Share book reviews and ratings with Vikki, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

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