The Nightingale

If you are in Brighton between now and Sunday, and would like a bit of culture then may I suggest coming down to the Old Ship Hotel and seeing Show Shoppers presents the Nightingale.

You will get to see a show where (almost) everything is for sale. The props, costume and set have all been made by local artists.

If you do come you will also get to see me really milk my non-speaking big bird tribute act.

 

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(In case you missed) Creative Loving Spirit (podcast rec)

As I write this I am listening to me and my dear friend Paul Macauley talk.  I recently had the privilege of joining him on his podcast Creative Loving Spirit.  It’s a privilege because it’s not often I get to talk about art and my blog to people, and speaking to someone like Paul who asks good questions is quite joyful.

So please listen, I hope you enjoy and don’t just listen to my one, there is a whole series to fill your ear holes with!

 

Creative Loving Spirit (podcast rec)

As I write this I am listening to me and my dear friend Paul Macauley talk.  I recently had the privilege of joining him on his podcast Creative Loving Spirit.  It’s a privilege because it’s not often I get to talk about art and my blog to people, and speaking to someone like Paul who asks good questions is quite joyful.

So please listen, I hope you enjoy and don’t just listen to my one, there is a whole series to fill your ear holes with!

 

I have been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award!

I mean it’s not really an award as such, more like a chain of lovely people promoting other lovely people.  There is no prize other than the fact that someone thought enough of you to want to try and get you to join in.  And that is what makes it so awesome!

So I am massively late in joining in, but I needed a little bit of Sunshine today.

“The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.”

My nominations are:

Thanks very much to Sahara over at the Formidable Endeavour Blog

1. What is you favorite book and why? Did it influence the way you live your life?

I love the Dune series by Frank Herbert.  It is a series of books that I can read each time and gain a deeper understanding.  I love what Frank Herbert has to say about humanity, and consciousness as well, and although I don’t think it has influenced my life overtly, it certainly has prompted me to think more deeply.

2. How have you improved with age?

I think I have become more aware of myself.  I also like to think that I have gotten better at being kind to other too.  Other than that on most days I feel like I did at 10, confused, distracted by bright colours, and kind of wishing dungarees were appropriate for more occasions.

3. If you could tell your 16-year-old self one thing, what would it be?

Reign it in.  Just because you are feeling insecure, doesn’t mean that you need to take it out on others in order to keep them at arms length.  Also life gets better the more comfortable you are with being vulnerable, and so do your friends.

Also don’t stress so much about your grades, try and have a little bit more fun.  No one is going to be impressed by you GCSE and A level scores.  Literally no one, and it won’t even take that long for them to become insignificant.

4. Can you define ‘love’?

What is love?  Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, at any point in history, where and when would you choose to live?

America in the 1930’s.  While it was a difficult time across the western world in general it was a particularly turbulent time in America with the Great Depression.  It shattered what it meant to be an American and left behind a generation of people who would reach maturity of thought in the 50’s and 60’s who would go on to question and shake up the identity of the America.  I often wonder if it was the extreme stresses of the 1930’s which lead to the irreverence needed to allow for a blossoming of human nature in the youth focus 50’s and open hearted 60’s.  I feel like the 1930’s defined generations to come, particularly when looking at the art and literature that was produced by people who were born during this period.

6. If you could sit down to dinner with anyone in the world (famous or not-so-famous), who would you choose?

I would really like to have dinner with Lee Mack.  I feel like he could hold his drink and would be thoroughly entertaining dinner guest.

7. What is your favourite food and/or wine?

My favourite wine is white, and my favourite food is nice and spice nic nacs.  you know, the ones in the orange packets?  Man they are so good.

8. How long do you really think Donald Trump is gunna last as president of the U.S.A?

Well that’s hard to say, although I have heard the word watergate be thrown around by someone who was once his doctor, so who knows.  I think however long he lasts, it doesn’t really matter because the damage has been done.

9. Are you are feminist- why or why not?

Yes, in so much as I am also a socialist and a pacifist and a humanist.  I think that all equality is the result of a misuse of power.  Often this is by men, but more often then not, it is the systems we all exist in which facilitate abusive expressions of power.

10. Do you feel optimistic about the future of the planet?

The planet is the planet, it will continue to exist no matter what we do.  Life will also prevail, because it has done for centuries.  However humans may be the first creatures to negatively impact their environment to such an extent that they are no longer able to inhabit it.  If that happens, then quite frankly we deserve what’s coming because we saw it coming and didn’t act.

11. Would you rather be trapped on a remote tropical island with an unlimited supply of books and C.D’s or an unlimited supply of yummy food? (The island does have bananas, coconuts, fresh water and the possibility of catching fish. You might also enjoy eating the kelp.)

I think I would prefer the food.  I get super hangry when not satisfied and if I am hungry no amount of books or CD’s are going to be enough to keep me entertained.

The rules are important!
1. You have to use the Sunshine Blogger Award logo and the rules in your acceptance post.
2. You also have to post a link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
3. And… you have answer 11 very important questions and then…
4. Nominate a few others for this award, and give them 11 questions to answer.

Questions for the Award Nominees..

1. First things first, how are you feeling?

2. What does your inner child tell you?

3. What never fails to move you to tears?

4. That’s enough tears, now tell me what is your favourite joke?

5. Who is your role model and why?

6. If you could live inside a book for a year, what book would you choose?

7. What is the one thing you would grab from your house in a fire?

8. Who would you say is your political hero?

9. In this crazy, mixed up world, what keeps you sane?

10. Would you rather know how you are going to die, or know when you are going to die?

11. Have you ever been surprised or amazed by an animal?  If so what was it?

 

Have fun!

Bonus Post: #MyWeekInAFlowerShop

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At the end of January I went and spent a week with a dear friend of mine in Devon.  The trip had been planned for months, since well before Christmas.  It just so happened that 2 weeks before I went, the stars aligned and the Keira messaged me to say they would be opening a florist.  The day of my arrival would be the day before they opened.

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I will try not to dwell too much on the journey, but I will say this:  Great Western Railways, you do good work.  After an unexpected diversion through Paddington I was on a GWR train, in extremely comfortable surroundings, speeding down to Tiverton Parkway.

I have always enjoyed travelling by train.  It’s steady and you meet all kinds of people.  I also love the steady rhythm of the tracks, and the gradual changes to the scenery as you travel down.  The journey across the countryside to Devon is particularly lovely because if you sit on the right side of the train you see  all manner of riverboats.

If you’re watching closely you may also see some raptors, although I couldn’t tell what kind they might be as we were travelling at some speed.

When I arrived in Tiverton.  I was greeted by my friend in a four by four.  I am used to seeing four by fours in Hove, usually driven by mums on the school run, but in Devon they are truly prolific.  Another difference is that they are all covered in mud.  As Keira drove me to their farm cottage I could see why.  The weather was changeable, from rain to drizzle, throughout the week.  The road that lead up to their house?  Generous to call it a road.  It was more like the start of a horror film, where the friends hoping for a getaway end up stranded in the company of a serial killer.  Keira informed me that they could easily be snowed in an extra week than the surrounding area, simply because they were that much more rural.

Once we had unloaded the car we headed back to the shop to finishing helping with the set up.  It was impressive the amount thy had managed to accomplish in a week, but we were still another 9 hours of hard work away from being finished.

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Originally we had planned to be finished around 7, but there were a lot of flowers which needed conditioning, and a window display to set up.  I learnt which flowers did need cutting and placing in water, which needed wiring, and the correct dosage for plant feed.  At midnight we called it a day.  Our minds having long since turned into pumpkins.  A couple of glasses wine and 5 hours of sleep and we were up again and back in the shop for opening day.

The rest of the week passed in more of a blur.  Initially I had been swept up in the romance of playing shop for a week, but by Tuesday, the enormity of what my two friends are attempting hit me.  It’s hard work running your own business and even though they both have good heads on their shoulders, they are taking a big risk.

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On Tuesday I put my foot down.  As of 5:00 when we left the shop, there would be no shop talk.  Instead I would cook food and we would all have an evening of relaxation and much needed rest.

When I said good bye to them at the end of the week, I had mixed emotions about what I was leaving behind.  I had genuinely enjoyed working in the flower shop for a week, engaging and talking with the people who came through the door, getting a brief glimpse of peoples lives.  Flowers may be considered by many to be a luxury item, but they accompany us all through significant events.  Birth, death, weddings, sickness and celebration.  As humans we weave the beauty of flowers into our lives so naturally.  Knowing now the effort that goes into de-thorning each rose, to wiring each germini, only made me appreciate their beauty even more.

I really enjoyed the community spirit that inhabits the small market town of South Molton.  Throughout the week many people came in to welcome Keira and Alex to the town.  Once introduced, people smiled and waved as you walked passed them in the street.  People shared parts of themselves easily and openly.  Instead of feeling claustrophobic, it was warm and friendly.  It made me want to join in and help the community of South Molton.  For all the hard work we were putting in, I felt part of me relax and unfurl with the honest heart of the town.

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There was also part of me that really wanted to stay in that shop and help my friends with what the road ahead.  I am writing this the day after I return to Hove, but by the time you read this Valentines day will have just passed.  As you can imagine this will be their busiest day of the year, and fingers crossed will set them up for the following months.  So it was with a jumbled heart I bid my good friends goodbye.

What I noticed on the journey, more so on the way back, was that as the train transitioned from rural countryside to urban environment, the noise level increased on the train.  Not just because there were more people.  One man sat on his phone behind me talking the whole way from Southampton Central to Hove (and probably beyond).  Noise leaked from headphones and chatter started in the background.  Despite how busy it had been setting up the shop, it had been quiet, peaceful in a way that is rare to find in the city.

What I did find back home however was this beautiful little boy.

Bonus Puppy Post!

Hey there!  Daily Doodle just reached 2,500 followers.  To mark the occasion I would like to share something important to me.  I would like to shamelessly talk about the love of my life…

This is my mini pooch Eddie.

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I never thought I would end up with a toy breed.  Especially one which looks so much like a fluffy house elf.  Just to put this into perspective I am 6ft 2 and if you asked me 2 years ago what I thought of Chihuahuas I would have reeled off some tripe about trained rats, and proper dogs need to come up to the knee.  But he needed a home, and we had one so…

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He is a rescue pup who came to me from an abusive puppy farm via an extremely altruistic friend.

When he first came to me he was very shy and under weight.  He had spent the first few months of his life in a cage with many other dogs, having to fight others for food.  As result he is pretty terrible around other dogs, despite my best efforts to socialise him.  The only noise he would make is crying if I left the room for more than a minute.

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Now he is energetic, loud and a bit disobedient.  He sometimes gets aggressive, because he has learnt to guard his resources, but it has been so lovely to see him come out of his shell with time.

Slowly but surely he is getting better around people and other animals. He adores my cousin Ethan, and gets very excited when he comes to stay with us.

He also responds to ‘Monster’, which is a result of his obsession with dirty pants and socks and other mischiefs.

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I also now know random semi-strangers in the local park by their dog’s names (shout out to Basil’s mum!)

He also hides under furniture if he thinks he is being left behind or is expected to go to bed.

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He is surprisingly good with our rehoused cat Shelby (who is enormous and came to us from a very loving home).

Shelby sometimes stalks him (hilarious), and Eddie sometimes chases Shelby away from the precious laps (less funny).

Despite that Eddie will also track Shelby down if he gets stuck in cupboards (he likes small, dark spaces) and chase other cats away if Shelby gets into fights in the back garden.

Shelby will also sometimes bring Eddie mice (deeply disturbing, especially when they are still alive, but nice that he shares).

Eddie is my favourite thing in the world, and has completely changed my life, so I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate his little face, big ears and bug eyes.  Nothing to do with doodling or art.  Just shameless puppy post.

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If you have doggies, share their stories below.  Also get in touch with your local animal shelter, you don’t have to adopt a dog to help out.  Puppies often need socialising, and volunteers are often welcome to come and play with them, to help prepare them for their forever homes.

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