Creativity – lockdown – but everything is the garden is lovely!

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We created a courtyard at the front of the house,  with chairs, a table, a trough full of flowers and a bird feeder. It was partly in an attempt to ensure we could have two or three friends round and be suitably socially distanced. But now even that advice has changed!

But I can at least see sparrows competing for seeds, through the  gaps in the window blind..

In our re-designed front garden neighbours and dog walkers stop to say hello and when the sun moves from the back garden to the front about teatime my partner and I sometimes have a glass of wine watching the sunset.

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But how I miss family and friends! Shopping trips, walks, meeting fellow poets in the Library, our group was called Grasshoppers. All those trips up to London to galleries.  Visits to Jean and Mado on their farm near Toulouse.  Memories come flooding back especially of the time we all came across an abandoned charcoal burners site.

A few years later at Arvon I wanted to write a poem about the drama of those people walking so far from home and living and working as they did at the time of the Great War. I was very much a novice poet and Ian Duhig was one of the tutors.  He challenged  me to try a sonnet. I wasn’t at all sure but when I took a draft to his tutorial feeling very out of my depth he just kept saying “so what do you want to say?”   I read my poem line by line. and he suggested one or two changes.  I found the notes he made the other day and still treasure them.  He popped up in the Guardian recently about writing for The Irish Times.

I know I have put this poem up  before but finding the notes prompted me to do it  again and to treasure his wisdom  “So what do you really want to say?”

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I love London Drawing, I don’t subscribe to their wonderful ongoing courses on everything from portraits to botany but love their one off workshops. Very good too  that they require a donation instead of a set fee. So far I have done one theatre workshop, where the models were constantly moving and engaging with drapes and fabrics.  The second one was about a traditional method of drawing from India. The Zoom was in fact in India, with the artist/tutor happily chatting and sharing. She  demonstrated the main features of the designs. She showed us how to draw a fish but this was tip of the iceberg and thoroughly enjoyable.

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I have recently linked father’s original film footage to one of my poems and put it on youtube  Paris 1948 and Poem – Music From Another Room  lasts three minutes.

Click here for link  

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The visit to Paris came about thanks to Grandpa. He had returned from the Great War having been gassed and shell shocked and despite two years of hospitalisation he  returned to the family fruit shop in Goodge Street where he worked part – time.  Much later after the Second World War he gave each of his children a modest lump sum for house deposits.  Auntie Joyce and family headed to Potters Bar.  Uncle Dick took his young family to Hayes and father took us to Paris!  My mother was the youngest of the three and it seemed possible we were destined to live in our grandparents’ house for some years not least in a caring capacity.

Still struggling with film of Appleby Fair in the 80’s! At least completed transferring it from tape to digital and have found some old traditional songs. It will be the next one  to be finished, but in the end its all about staying motivated!

Back in the garden just in time for Autumn colours, Virginia Creeper reminds me of decorating baskets for displays of fruit for the local church each year. After a Harvest Festival service ours and the contributions of others would be distributed to the elderly. We were lucky Grandpa worked in the family greengrocers because we often had fruit, especially bruised apples and pears that could not be sold.

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Trying to work out which variety will produce the very last rose of summer.

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Just before the lockdown started all over again managed to get to my beach hut and swam in the sea a few times!   Then few weeks ago fell down the stairs which was not too clever!  Luckily only pulled a tendon or two, but had to stay rested for a couple of weeks. Fine now, so back to whatever life comes up with!

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Nearly resorted to getting my butterfly tapestry out. I’ve only completed one butterfly in 30 years. It’s a sort of emergency desperation activity. When my mother saw I had it out she used to say “Oh dear now we are in for trouble.” Not for long, hence only one butterfly!

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Talking to myself – pictures – poems

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Occasionally its been enough effort to get up, let alone write. But I’ve got a garden and lots of unfinished projects like repainting the shed! But I’ve managed to re-draft a few poems and written a bit more of my memoir. I try to share something positive on my story on facebook every 24 hrs, partly in an effort to cheer myself along!  It’s a disturbing time, scary, will we catch the virus, what can we do to keep safe or even sane? So here I am again just sharing a few tales.

The guy and his unicycle.

I’ll always remember him, avoiding eye contact, thin, unshaven, in his mid twenties, a unicyclist and freelance entertainer from Covent Garden.

He said he had always enjoyed the bustle of bars and cafes, music, fellow artists strutting their stuff, magicians, fire eaters, the crowds, the jingle of coins in his hat. He had made friends and enough dosh to muddle through.

I was a therapist at the time, I worked freelance for Primary Care Trusts and charities, but how does one get a guy back on his unicycle?

I don’t even know how he discovered me, but there he was, plodding along to my house near Ashburton Park from East Croydon Station.

At first he’d sit with head in hands talking life and depression, but gradually we worked on visualising some of the good stuff again! The third time he came he brought his unicycle with him, pushing it along Morland Road like a  buggy. He had started caring for it again, cleaning it, oiling the wheels or whatever one does to befriend a unicycle.

After a few weeks he told me he could get up on top of it again, at first for a few minutes, then a bit longer and finally trying out his whole performance! He called me up from London “Hey Ann, you’ve got to get up here” so naturally I did.

Passing the time.

I’ve re-strung a few of my marionettes. discovered a 3 minute film  marionettes in the loft from 2008 on an old memory stick, so I popped it on Youtube with a few lines from Weaving Spells for the sound track.  So for better or worse here it is.

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I’ve moved furniture about, cleared out boxes, catalogued photographs, hurt my back,  my leg,  got a cold, recovered etc.

Sleep does not come easily. Last night I awoke at 2.am from a dream about serving canapes in a black frock and tiny white apron at a reception at an embassy near Trafalgar Square! This really happened! I once worked part-time for the June Hicks agency that sent us out to do promotions. I remember giving away tiny pieces of edam cheese, dressed as a Dutch girl, in the food hall at Selfridges, Hula hooping on a bandstand during a musical interval. Cooking paella at the Food Fair at Olympia when the pan full of chicken wings caught fire, when all I ever wanted was to be the model draped over the Alfa Romeo!

The garden

My partner and I jog along with reasonable good humour.  He practices his music and we have two gardens one front and one back, so plenty to do.

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The one at the back we created ourselves, so change it about, admire the roses, check on the frog pond, grown a few more veg.

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The Campervan

The campervan sits motionless on the front drive, so  I opened it up, sip a cool drink and imagine I’m on holiday!

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It has taken us on some brilliant places especially to see our friends near Toulouse.

Eating Apricots in France
for Jean and Mado

Under the sun umbrella
on the terrace
old friends meet.

Watching the mist on mountains
listening to the call of the cowman
urging his herd to milking.

Eating apricots, sipping wine,
a gentle informality
born of shared memories.

Discovering the remains of  charcoal burners camp near Toulouse.  

A forest near Toulouse

The mist of mountains bring in tears of rain
Where charcoal burners sought to set up home
The forest floor is thick with fern again
Their labours lost, their bodies buried bone.
Strong men cut trees to feed the furnace mound
The smaller boughs formed shelters where they slept
As darkness fell their families gathered round
So far from home in Florence, women wept.
Young men reap death on fields they did not sow
In Ypres, Verdun the slaughtered sons of France
The migrants had no choice of where to go,
But played their part when love then stood no chance.
In silent tribute to the dead we stand
Where ghosts are working still this unclaimed land.

The van was the the first and only new vehicle I have ever owned, and the money to buy it came from an unexpected contract.

Just as I was thinking of retirement and was keeping an eye on my mother who had moved to live nearby,  I was offered a 12 month contract to support residents and staff at The Star and Garter Home on Richmond Hill. The home was going to be sold  and residents, all of whom who had served in the armed forces, and the staff were to be moved to smaller homes around the country.  It was an incredibly responsible role, one that brought both joy and sorrow for everyone involved.

Films

I’ve learned a new editing system. So now I can transfer old tapes to digital and then edit them.  I once taught gypsies on a permantent site in Soutth London and went to Appleby Horse Fair regularly. The films run to six tapes!

These are stills of my first attempt with one tape taken with my phone.

Nice things can just happen…

A child who lives nearby, suitably masked and gloved like me, sometimes comes to play with my small collection of Pelham puppets either in the garden or the garage, with the door wide open. Last time she decided to draw scenes and improvise the story of Hansel and Gretel

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If it is really sunny, she comes and sits outside the van door and reads me a story.

Yesterday it was time to celebrate 76 years of the NHS.  

These memories seem appropriate.

I discovered the receipt  for the 12/6 my mother paid for my keep in 1940 a few months after I was born in Middlesex Hospital in London.img_20200507_220327

I was born with a cleft palate and the the surgeon treating me was also treating wards of injured soldiers. He noticed my ready smile and asked my mother if I could visit his wards and cheer them along. It was a gift that he promised my mother that he would perform the operation to repair my mouth himself if she took me back a few months later, which he did.


Blitz
On a warm sunny Sunday I slipped from my mother’s womb
greeted by the buzz of bombs.
London in the middle of a war, a baby with green grey eyes
and a cleft palate
But my smile soothed the souls of burned and bandaged soldiers.
talking only with their eyes.

My mother sought lodgings in Wales
near father’s barracks, alien territory to say goodby
before his active service.
In forlorn kitchens on grimy stoves she heated milk.
I coughed and choked as she poured warm waves of it
from a tiny spoon.
Poor mother, a girl caught on tenuous threads of life.

Later, curled up together our mutual dependency
slumbered in the silence of the night.

Zooming I’m lucky to have a partner with his own interests and I decided early on to tackle Zoom. So now I can still run my cafe writers group and also attend a poetry group that used to meet in the library.

Arvon, The Poetry Business, The Poetry School and Poetry Society all run events on zoom and some readings are free. A few can seem a bit like school, with rules such as no one is allowed to see each other or speak until the end, but hey ho!

Brighton has a friendly Stanza group ran by a guy called Jobe, New Writing South has discussions,  Mister Tom still runs his open mic at Poetry Cafe in Eastbourne and Pier Poets are back in September, all on zoom.

Kindly neighbours bring our shopping, My two sons and daughters-in-law live further away,  but both parties have come over separately with things we need and recently we have had socially distanced cups of tea in the front garden.

My eldest grandson works in the NHS and video calls me from time to time. The middle grandson has just arrived home from three years in Japan with intriguing stories and thoughtful presents for both of us. The youngest has  just gone of to Lancaster to his first full time job.

I’ve only been out three times and would really like to go to my tiny allotment in Hove, but can’t face my neglect of it and am still worried about travelling anywhere ever!

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Many of my age have effectively been locked in their flats, lonely and without family support. It must feel a bit like house arrest and its a scandal that so many old people have died, some in care homes. It’s such a mess and we are left to make our own decisions against a muddle of information.

I am lucky to have a family and friends and am grateful for everything! But sometimes when I do get low, and I do. I like to think of that guy and wonder how exactly he managed to get back on his unicycle!

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Old family photographs

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Early summer in the garden. Pictures -puppet – poems

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The frog pond 

translucent wings hover
newts wiggle under waterlilies
nearby bees fills socks with pollen
midges dance in fading light.

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Hive

Despite honey stocks and bee fondant
wind rain and snow penetrated
the sturdy wooden hive

Now they lie like tiny cocoons
clustered around their queen
a valiant brood.

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Worm

On the path
I just avoid
stepping on a
brown worm.
I place him
on rain sodden earth
After all, anyone
can take the wrong direction.

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Marionette

She’s got the set and the sun
but the story line is vague
and not sure that any self respecting
film maker would make an epic
about the life of an ageing marionette
who missed both fame and fortune
with no one to pull the strings
and filming it all on a mobile?

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Memories – VE day in Balmore Street London N.19 and poetry.

I guess we must have been a patriotic lot in London in 1945. I was only 4 and a half but I think I had picked up on my mother’s terror, the bombs, the constant need of escape and the lack of food. Her sister in law’s new house in the suburbs was bombed and she went to try and comfort her.  We lived in our grandmother’s  house whose methodist beliefs, her own background and kindly disposition meant she often took in people affected by the bombing. Sometimes the house seemed full of strangers.
After the war many women who had lost their husbands were left to bring up children on their own. There was rationing and lack of housing but despite poverty most people helped each other out.
I came across a tiny folder of pictures of Balmore Street’s VE party the other day.  They were tucked in a little leather folder that grandma kept with her even in a nursing home at the end of her life.
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Grandpa worked part time as he had been gassed and shell shocked in the Great War and had spent two years in hospital. He loved to tell us he was the only sane person in the family because he had a certificate to prove it.  I think both grandparents had barely recovered from the full impact of the Great War before the Second World War was upon them, their son called up, their eldest daughter doing war work. My mother was the youngest and worked in a factory making gas masks, where she met my father before he joined the Royal Signals and was sent abroad.
I had something to celebrate in 1945. I had made it into the world with a cleft palate in the middle of the Blitz in 1940.   A leading plastic surgeon working with burned soldiers offered to mend my mouth, but my mother had to keep me from crying as it could affect the chance of a successful operation. I had to be fed from a spoon. The other day I found the card my mother was given with the name of the surgeon on it and a slip of paper the receipt for 12 shillings for my keep. This was the army allowance for one child and there was no National Health Service. Many years later there was speech therapy for children with this condition but we just muddled through.

Blitz Baby

On a warm sunny Sunday she slipped from her mother’s womb,
greeted by the crash of bombs.
London in the middle of a war, a baby with blue eyes
and a cleft palate.
But her smile soothed the souls of burned and bandaged soldiers,
talking only with their eyes.

Her mother sought lodgings in Wales
near father’s barracks, alien territory, to say goodbye
before his active service overseas
In forlorn kitchens on grimy stoves she heated milk.
her baby coughed and choked as her mother poured warm
waves of milk from a tiny spoon.

Poor mother, a girl caught on tenuous threads of life.
Later, curled up together, their mutual dependency
slumbered in the silence of the night.

My grandmother often talked about the war damage to the house which continued to cause endless problems over the years.  My mother told me about her war  experiences when I was about thirty I think she had been too busy living life to reflect on the past.
But young mothers had had a pretty tough time. We stayed in London for most of the war, my sister,  11 months younger than me, was always traumatised as an adult by firework night, picking up on my mother’s fear of buzz bombs during the war.
A wall in our house in Dartmouth Park Hill, opposite Balmore Street, partially collapsed during an air raid. It damaged grandmother’s back as she tired to escape to the shelter.  She had to wear a huge ungainly corset for the rest of her life.

Granny’s Corset

Push open the door and enter her room
with heavy beige wallpaper
and brown gloss paint.

Grandma, propped up with pillows,
crisp white sheet,
pure silk eiderdown,
raises a frail hand in greeting.

Time to cram her into her corset,
I stagger from chair to bed
with the well washed cotton contraption.
I am eight and grown up.

I fasten the buckles, thread tapes,
tug at cords, clip on suspenders,
under her orderly instructions.
I help her into her flowery frock,
brush her hair, dab on some powder,
pass her a mirror for her approval.

A bomb damaged Grandma’s back
but mother says she is indomitable.
She glides downstairs ready
to organise the rest of the house.

Whilst, sadly, many men and women did not come back from the war,  those who did  were often irrevocably changed.  I remember  my mother once saying that my father went away a boy and came back a man she barely knew.
What he and many others had experienced had been horrific, but after the jubilation that it was over,  many found the world they returned to was no picnic.  Many people don’t realise that rationing went on until 1953 and even when there were sweets in the shops many could not afford them.
Grandma put these flags across the house on VE day!
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The flags were never abandoned just pushed into a bag and have gone from one member of the family to another.
A young mother on VE Day
Emotions ripple like a flag in the wind
red white and blue can it be true
relief floats past like a parachute
drifting into a safer environment
anticipation creamy sweet like biting
into a long forgotten block of chocolate.
excitement bouncing  like brightly
coloured balloons.
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Note – sorry original post had several typos.

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Happy Easter

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These are Washi eggs that I made on a course at Dulwich Art Gallery. many years ago. First blow the eggs!  The egg is covered with one piece of paper cut in a traditional fan shape that overlaps to cover the egg.

 

In these difficult days I hope this cheers someone along xxx

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The way the brain may cope with self isolation –

The current coronavirus crisis creates fears that are similar to those of bereavement.

1. Shock and Denial (disbelief..it hasn’t happened.)

2. Pain and Guilt (life feels chaotic.)

3. Anger and Bargaining (blame others / if only I had done this or that.)

4.Depression and/or Isolation (not clinical depression more sadness. Sometimes best to listen…not talk someone out of it.)

5. Gradual acceptance…

6. Starting to seek solutions to your changed circumstances.

7. Resolution (becoming more optimistic, even carefree.

There is no set timescale to these stages and some people may miss out a stage completely.

Life at the moment is changing daily which seems all the more reason to to keep going, to be as creative as possible.

At the moment ways of coping might include taking up a new activity or returning to a hobby enjoyed in the past.   Art galleries and museums are offering virtual tours. Plenty of free activities are springing up on the internet, cookery, crafts, art and many others.

I am lucky that I am retired and have taken up painting again. This time I am trying acrylic rather than watercolour.  I am also doing a lot of gardening and making a more sustained effort with my writing.

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My partner used to play the recorder. More recently he took up the violin again and has started to learn to play the madolin.

It is important to keep optimistic

Please note the spacing on this page has gone wrong and currently am trying to find out why.

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A magical mother – pictures – poems – stories.

My mother  had always loved  ‘Alice in Wonderland.’  
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These are some tiny ceramics she made after she and my father had given up their careers in puppetry. She also made dragons and my father threw pots and made moulds for vases and goblets.

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Her life was one of chasing butterflies, a promising dancer grounded by the realities of war. Adapting her creative skills to meet new patterns in our lives, sewing costumes for our marionettes and performing with them.

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In between rises and falls in our puppetry enterprises she did other things. Once she set up a flameproof children’s nightwear mail order company after she heard news of a child being burned to death near an open fire. She spent ages tracking down the material, creating the patterns, making the nighties and even got a mention in Nursery World.

We rented our flat and studio in our grandparents house because it was an economic necessity for all concerned.  Grandpa still worked part-time in the family greengrocers and fruit shop in Goodge Street, but had been shell shocked and gassed on the Somme and was never as robust as he had once been.

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He used to say one of the best moments of his life was being taken by my parents  to Buckingham Palace when they entertained the Queen at a children’s party for Prince Charles and Princess Anne. My mother decided he could go along as their assistant to pull the curtains in between scenes. My sister and I were bit put out because we had always done it and grandpa had never pulled a curtain in his life!  But mother said he had fought for his country and it was right that he should go!

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Our grandparents often looked after my sister and I when our parents were touring. I guess they were responsible for much our our upbringing. Something I discovered we had in common with other entertainers including Roy Hudd whom I met several times when I was in show business.

But our parents sometimes took us with them  from May to the end of September when they had shows for  summer seasons in Bognor, Clacton, Blackpool and Scarborough.

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The North Pier Blackpool

‘It’s a small world’ for our marionettes,
three shows daily on the North Pier.

Our parents busy, we take stock – the mighty
black tower, the circus and ballroom.

Donkeys stand in line ready for a ride
trams trundle along the promenade.

Crowds gather on the famous golden mile, kiss me
quick hats, tuppence to see a mermaid.

The man from Mars in a bright green jump suit
is surreptitiously eating a big cream bun.

And so the season goes on, families from the mills
the mines and the factories, everyone laughing

My sister was very bright, she worked in the fashion industry when she left school. She also helped my mother with a series for Granada TV. She married when she was quite young and had two lovely children. A few years later I married too and had two sons, but we became single parents at about the same time and re-trained in our thirties to be a primary school teachers. That did not stop us working as a double act briefly in an attempt to boost our finances!

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The very the last time we got together as a family for anything to with with puppetry was making the marionettes and performing with them in the film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on Brighton’s West Pier.


Oh What a Lovely War – 1969

Her needle flies over tiny white gloves.
Stitches develop a regular rhythm,
she can almost hear the sound of marching feet.
Braid on bright blue hat and jacket, red pants,
a shiny metal helmet, a gleaming breast plate.
Fine nylon strings bring them all to life.

Now they bump along the road
in a Bedford Dormobile,
immaculate, neatly packed.
No muddy trenches for them,
off to the West Pier in Brighton
to take their place in the sun.

Extras play with parasols or eat ice cream.
The film crew balance on flimsy ladders,
“Camera, action, take one.”
Jean Paul Cassell bangs the drum,
“Roll up, roll up, for the greatest show on earth.”
Curtains open. Puppets take the stage.

The soldiers’ rubber boots bob in time,
the captain jerks his bugle from his lips,
the French general sheathes his sword.
Only the old brown horse borrowed
from another show looks weary, while in the wings
a small platoon makes ready for their fate.

‘A copper collection will take place
at the end of the performance’
says the writing on the wall.

When our summer seasons came to a halt my father, mother and I moved to Cabaret and the occasional TV appearance.  But we still had our touring theatre and did a great many Road Safety Shows in London Schools,

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As well as the many ups and downs in show business,  my mother eventually had to stay at home to care for our grandparents!

Fast forward several years!

My mother in her sixties and without a pension, went back briefly to fashion design, but later became the Principal of The Royal School of Needlework, bringing to the role her business skills, teaching and knowledge of embroidery.

She had her own office and was instrumental in the choice of lace for Princess Diana’s wedding veil.

Later on because she was the only one that knew how the antiquated telephone system worked, she was asked to stay in the school during  the siege of the Iranian Embassy next door.

In mid and later life both my parents had creative enterprises quite independently from each other. They were always friends but at one time had separate flats in London.

Fortunately with the help of an inheritance from an aunt she had bought a cottage in her 50s and finally retired to it with my father.

In her seventies, when my father died, she could no longer manage the cottage and sold it to my son Robin and moved to live near me. This is the  cottage in winter!

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My mother quickly decided we had to have an allotment. It provided many hours of pleasure for both of us. She often rode to it on her tricycle when I was working.

She also had a her own small garden and loved planning and planting.

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Miss Lottie’s Last Chance.

She sets the brim of her straw hat
at what she hopes is a rakish angle
brushes bits of twig from her brown
cotton skirt, pulls the arms of her holey
cardie closer like a hopeful hug.

She climbs on a stool and places
bits of stray string into a rusty tin,
wipes secateurs with an oily rag,
seals half-opened seed packets, placing
them into an obliging array of jars.

She takes a swig of a brandy from a bottle
marked for emergencies, while a grumpy owl
painted on a shopping bag glares.
She makes short shrift of him shaking the bag
upside down to dislodge lurking spiders.

From the corner of her eye she catches
sight of her old black wellies, blushes
at the memory of sitting, only yesterday
on her bench, near to tears, her limbs
too soggy with fatigue to pull them off.

How lucky that an old gent on his bike
was passing and joined in the tussle.
Today she slips out of her old gardening shoes,
watches a flock of rogue cockatiels

(Based on memories of my mother on her allotment)

From time to time in my life I tried to get stories published. Every time a piece was rejected my mother would say ‘they’ll be sorry.’ Luckily I had modest success with freelance journalism

My father was often impossible! He went to war a few months after I was born and my sister was on the way. We did not see him again until she was 5 and I was six  My mother once said that she believed  that he never really came to terms with to the loss of the musical career he had had as young man. Sad by probably true.

Music From Another Room – 1948

Flying through banks of clouds, sucking barley sugar
off to Paris to stay with Madame Roy and daughter Juliette
father’s war time friends. Bonjour, bonjour
polite exchanges, cups of English tea.

Madame throws open her kitchen window to reveal
on a white cloth, my mother’s home made cake
carried from London. Neighbours gather, “ooh la la”
“c’est magnifique”, plant wet kisses on our cheeks.

Music seeps in from another room, my father
not used to playing second fiddle to anyone
let alone my mother and her cake is playing La Mer
on Madame’s baby grand, we move to the sitting room.

Family portraits hang on the wall, father’s performance
is applauded, pieces of cake passed round, while Juliette
stands close to father and sings in perfect English
‘Pedute Cose’ a love song he wrote during the war.

In the days that follow we visit the Eiffel Tower
jog along the streets in a horse drawn cab, wander
Montmartre, watch artists fill canvasses with bold colours
bow our heads as we enter the Sacre Coeur.

We learn how to row on the lake near Versailles
every detail captured on father’s 8 mm movie camera
but the highlight the Theatre du Paris, where a tiny figure
dressed in black takes stage, picks up the microphone,

‘L’accordeonniste’ ‘Je ne regrette rien.’
for this is the little sparrow of Paris Edith Piaf
the audience stand, they shout bravo, bravo
she bows her head, smiles, reaches out in a final gesture.

The grown ups chatter, father in perfect French
they gather their things, my mother is ahead I follow
glancing back I see my father reach out and clasp
briefly Juliette’s hand.

Years later when I recall Paris, the apartment, my father’s
passion for the music of the age, Juliette looking down at him
as he played, I realise for a brief moment he may have had
all he ever wanted.

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Whatever the truth of the situation my parents adored each other and worked creatively together for much of their lives.

When my  mother came to live  nearby we  also decided to collect up as many of our marionettes as we could find. She conserved our the vast collection, re-dressing, mending, restringing etc

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Finally we recreated some of our early productions in the loft of my tiny terraced house  Just the two of us. Of course the manipulation was tricky and I had to jump up and down from our makeshift bridge to operate the camera. But we had so much fun. Some of them are now on  youtube. My favourite is ‘Scenes from Alice in Wonderland’

We also filmed excepts from our cabarets.

I found some cuttings recently and realised that in the late 50s I was playing one theatre while my mother was performing at another.  I had no idea what my father was doing, possibly looking after the old folk and decorating the house!

Well its mother’s day and I guess we all have something we could say about our mothers!

I write a lot of poetry, my way of coping with life.  I just wish she was still here, I think she would have liked some of it.

The Oleander

We found it in Albi,
no gentle sketch
but boldly painted
bright and blowzy
heady with scent,
out for a good time.

In London.
loving the culture
pink petals
flirted with passers-by
revelled in attention
posed for pictures.

Uprooted to Brighton
in a white fleece shroud
it faltered
leaves fell
naked boughs mourned
sensing life had passed.

Two years later
in a new pot
on a south facing wall
tiny green shoots emerge,
pink blossoms
show their party faces.

This is the book of Alice in Wonderland she was awarded – a red bound copy for good conduct at an ordinary state school in North London.

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More than a mother of two children of course, a creative partner, a magical person, a grandmother, a great grandmother to three grandsons, she adored.

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The Puppeteer's Daughter
Posted in Cheer yourself up on a dull day, Creative non fiction, Creativity, Finding my feet in Brighton, Gardening and the Allotment - for the love of it, London out and about, Marionette, Photography, poetry, Poetry - Creative Writing, Puppethouse mayhem | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Hands upon hands and so expressive.

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IMG_20200303_155638   IMG_20200303_155918   IMG_20200303_160141   IMG_20200303_152612  IMG_20200303_153742        IMG_20200303_160046   IMG_20200303_155837-001

Started to look at our marionettes hands, always so expressive. In the late 50s with two big productions, one in Blackpool another in Scarborough at the same time, my father abandoned hand carving, in favour of turning hands on a lathe moulding, pouring etc. A few years after died I returned to carving this time with Tony Webb and made a film for Youtube.

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My father’s  on the left, mine on the right-  carved in Lime Wood

Carving 

Lime hands
mine enfold
my fathers
both have
a fingertip
missing
splintered
lost in the
50 years
that set
us apart

the vice
the tools
the block of lime
choosing the chisel
banging the hammer
the ryhthm of the chipping.

The Puppeteer's Daughter
Ann’s Poetry Collection 
An award-winning blog  for a ‘blog that brightens our day’
Posted in 'The Puppeteer's Daughter' Ann Perrin, Ann's photography, Brighton - out and about, Cheer yourself up on a dull day, Marionette, Photography, poetry, Puppethouse mayhem | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Signs of spring in Saltdean despite wild weather…

All over Saltdean
clumps of bright yellow flowers
to cheer the spirit.

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Out in the garden
for a few blowy minutes
new flowers have emerged

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Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, outdoor and nature Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature

Seagulls seek shelter
wild winds and billowing sea
batter the coastline
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A garden poem and love the marionettes!

 

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What is there not to love!

 

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature

Don’t you dare!

My garden
I could sit here in my garden
all my waking hours
simply entranced
by the profusion
of the flowers.
Clouds of blue wisteria
float above my head
and Aquilegia pink and mauve
frame where the birds are fed.
Pansies almost tumble
from my unruly pots
and spring bulbs left to sleep awhile
obscure for-get-me-not.
The cherry blossoms sprouting
before the bluebells fade away
and roses gather all there strength
to make a good display.
The passion flower is teasing
the ivy round the tree
lily of the valley
share their scent with me.
I could sit her in my garden
all my waking hours
simply entranced
by the profusion
of flowers.
One of my early poems written in my garden in London.  I created our garden in Brighton on similar lines, even if the wisteria has taken ten years to bloom!  Our marionettes are always interfering obviously!

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