Sunday, June 13, 2021

Trooping the Piglet

This weekend the UK celebrates the 95th official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Trooping the Colour is an official parade that marks such a day. A few years ago, Piglet (thanks to his friend Angel) was able to have a behind-the-scenes tour of the stables where the horses of the Horse Guards live. Here he is meeting one of the Guards.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Words of the Day


Today I had to translate many words. A lot of words. And sentences. And idioms and metaphors. Mostly it was quite fun (except when I got a bit stuck). Luckily my beloved L has the Italian literary and linguistic background that I lack, God bless her.

My favourite English word of the day that I learned is "acephalous" ("acefale").

My favourite Italian word of the day is "tarlo" ("woodworm").

O, and I came across this delightful phrase:  "il/la tal dei tali" which is apparently equivalent to "whatsisname" or "whatshername". I shall be looking out for an appropriate occasion to use it!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

A History of Inclusivity

It is Pride month, and I've just seen the new incarnation of the Pride flag. It now includes, on the left-hand side, a part of the Intersex flag. Hurrah for that!

If you don't quite know what it means to be intersex, please take a moment to learn. The need for me to understand more fully was just highlighted by reading a factoid that there are at least as many intersex people as there are people with red hair. Often I just don't realise how binary my way of thinking can be. Or what unconscious prejudices I may have. But I can do something about that!

Do please let me know where you find the most helpful information, and then I can add it to this post. 

Thank you, & Happy Pride!

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Beans Beans They're Good for Your ...

... soul. This week our Drawing Together workshop was led by Zara Slattery from a room somewhere near Brighton. She had a bit of trouble getting into the meeting so while we waited, J suggested we should think about what we would like to be, to do well, in our next life, and then create a quick self-portrait. 

Cue my usual panic. Sometimes it's a bit boring. Anyway, I decided I'd like to be someone good at drawing, and spent much of my 3 minutes trying to reduce the size of the hand to less that that of the head. Our leader arrived, and asked us to draw beans. She drew a kidney bean. But it could be any kind of bean. We worked on a more 3-D representation. Then we had to smoosh our beans into 2-D and then 3-D shapes. I got stuck. Zara tried to help, but my mind was too resistant. Very frustrating.

Next we had to find words for emotions during a journey. In that instant of decision I could travel no further than the journey of that hour. And then we were asked to draw a 4-panel story of the beans going on that chosen journey expressing the words we had written down:

Next we had a couple of minutes to create symbols for each of the emotions. Zara talked about drawing bunnies and seagulls and I got tangled up in not knowing how to find a suitable creature let alone draw it but she gave us the out that we could also scribble so I scribbled away.

Finally we were to draw a map with a path around the outside into which our symbols would be placed to mark the passage of the journey. Then we were asked to draw our human beans in the middle of the map, going on that journey. Zara spoke beautifully about medieval manuscripts illuminated around the edges, and that led me to the memory of my favourite teacher ever, Mr Denham in the 4th year at Bousfield, who would only mark pages of homework if the margins were illustrated. I drew my path, and then it was time to add the beans:

I wanted to end on a positive note so I got my bean out of there. And then I got to see some of the drawings of others. It was another great hour in a safe and supportive place. And I'm getting better at not giving up, and having a go, although still with a bit of a hissy fit. But I like my beans! Thank you Zara & the Drawing Together team. See you in a month!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Piglet Retrospective XV

The day that Elvis met Piglet at Graceland. Clearly a bucket-list moment for them both. We took this for a birthday card for my father, who spent his first years in Mississippi in the town of Baldwyn MS with the wonderful Gorden family (whose son Phillip was born in Tupelo in the same hospital & 2 weeks apart from Elvis). As you can see, Elvis was thrilled to hear of this connection.

It was quite wonderful to see Graceland. And you may remember from my February post that this was also when I was chased by the security guard, who thought that I had stolen Piglet from the graveside collection of fuzzy tributes. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

When We Need a Little Joy

Someone just posted this photograph on the RetroQPR Facebook page. It is from the 89th minute of the Championship Final at Wembley in 2014 between Derby County & QPR. We had played most of the match down to 10 men after Gary O'Neil had been sent off for a professional foul. Our defence was valiant, but we really didn't look like scoring. Then, from a throw-in on the right, Junior Hoilett made it to the by-line and sent a cross over. Derby's Keogh misplayed it and Bobby Zamoooooooooooooooooora blasted the ball into the top left-hand corner of the net. In the 89th minute. Of a 90-minute match.

At first look, you might notice that the ball, the goalie indeed all the players are out of focus at this important moment. And then you realise, the ball is about to cross the line, but it hasn't yet. And what is in focus? The crowd. Look at the faces. Everyone in a moment of anticipation. In about three seconds, they will all explode with joy. I remember that I did. It is one of my great football memories. Seven years ago. Wishing everyone can find some joy today. Good luck to Swansea and their fans this weekend. COYRS!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

When AHF met Eleanor R

Reading some old documents yesterday, I came across an exchange between my late father and his Aunt J (whence came my own J). They wrote mostly in German, 20 years after 11-year-old Albert had escaped from Germany. The following snippet was news to me:

"Nothing new here. Eleanor Roosevelt gave a speech here last night; and I had the honour of sitting next to her for half an hour and talking to her. As a 17-year-old student in Chicago, I had the same honour! Funny, isn't it? But the woman herself is really wonderful and fabulous. She gave a long speech about Israel, praised it very much, and urged the Jews of the city to buy Israel Bonds. The newspaper had a picture of the head table, with about 12 people (including me) and Mrs Roosevelt. I sent it to Mutti. I was only there to give the closing prayer after the meeting, but I took the opportunity to talk to Mrs Roosevelt."

According to the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader archive, Mrs Roosevelt was speaking at an Israel Bonds Chanukah dinner at the JCC (4th December 1958). I couldn't find the picture though. And according to her printed journal (the blog of her era), that visit was most memorable for the inconvenience of the weather:

I know she travelled extensively and met loads of people. I still think it's cool that one of them was my father.