Tuesday, June 17, 2008

pink wellies and pink eyes

At last I have begun my (first) novel in earnest - and I can really only say this is thanks to two people: Melanie and Craig. Anyway - before I do today's 2000 words, I thought I'd get the ol' creative juices flowing by telling you about my unexpected adventure yesterday!
At about noon, deep into the first draft of the first paragraph of my first book, my phone rang and glowed glowed glowed that Ang (neighbour, friend, South African) wanted to chat. On her way to buy a 100 pound voucher for Wyevale garden centre for a colleague who's about to retire (and move down Cornwall way), Ang invited me to tag along. Loathe to leave my writing behind but always keen for a bit of windowshopping, I dashed on some mascara and the inevitable lipgloss and hopped in her faded little red Noddy car. Taking all the narrow roads that wind and twist their way from village to village, we passed ancient stone houses afroth with overflowing hanging baskets of every colour of begonia and pansy - one old farmhouse sporting an aged and very historically styled thatch roof with pretty lace-like patterns cut into the dry, grey thatch. Then it was past Lady Di's family land where a myth has the princess buried on a little island in the lake there...
Wyevale boasts a vast selection of fancies and fripperies from scented candles (baby powder, vanilla, french rose etc) to polka dot wellies! I tried on a gorgeous pair of the latter but changed my mind when I saw the price, and instead opted for a pair of baby-pink ones in the kiddies section (fifteen pounds cheaper - so very handy to have size 3 tootsies!!) Ang bought herself a pair of striped ones in pinks and purples -- tres cool.
Craig arrived home early to find Ang and I looking at magazines, spread out lazily on our flokati rug (which is much like having a perpetually moulting, very silent and terribly lazy labrador in the house!)She was off to a balletic ode to Edith Piaf and Judy Garland, so said Adios. Then I jumped into my new pink wellies, tucking the tops of my jeans into the top - and off we went on a ramble through the fields. Through the stinging nettles and sheep poo, I thought Craig very brave in his shorts and flip-flops! The mommy ewes herded their little lambs off as they heard us approaching - and it looked as if they'd all had their summer haircuts that day! And, wraggies waar, up at the top of the field, outside the gate of the little enclosed pasture where they spend the night, the grass was covered in what looked like soft summer snow... (Suffering from a kind of obsession with collecting found-objects, I was very tempted to gather all this creamy wool tinged with brown and take it home to wash and dye and turn into felt buttons! But, alas, allergies of a cataclysmic kind were already starting to make me sneeze and all I wanted was to get home!)
What was so very terrible about this particular typhoon of sneezing and wheezing was the effect it had on my eyes! They burned and itched at the same time so that they turned a horrible orangey sort of bloody pink and the clear covering membrane became a thick, bulging gel-like yuckiness - and even the skin around my eyes swelled so that my eyes looked almost closed! Miserable and wishing we lived across the road from a pharmacy, I instead stood in the shower for an age, hoping the water would remove the evil stuff from me -- while my clothes were designated to the bottom of the laundry bin for a very thorough washing indeed!
Oh yes - I forgot to mention that Ang and I stopped at the recycling plant outside Brixworth, where she lent me two pounds to pay for a plate patterned with blue flowers, a very old porcelain tea-cup (white, apple-green inside and filigreed with gold) and, a slightly rickety wooden sewing box, with draws that move out on hinges. And deep inside were two hidden treasures! An old piece of obviously handmade lace that had been sewn rather raggedly onto a square of white linen and then stuffed with a funny old orange piece of sponge... And a heavy, squareish pincushion, covered in faded gold silk which has the merest shadow of a flower in a pot, painted in the Japanese style of the 1890s -- and then pushed in with pins and needles: curved upholstery needles, a rusted beading needle, a hat-pin with a real white pearl on the end, glowing with a rich lustre - and making me wonder the hats it has seen and the stories it could tell...

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