What a glorious walk in the sun today - it was so warm and the sea was glittering and sparkling as if it was showing off the Crown Jewels. The World and his Wife and children and the dogs were all out walking too, so I saw a fair cross-section of people today. Everyone seemed to be smiling - even the ones with so many piercings that it must be painful to smile (or do anything involving moving mouth, nose, lips, eyebrows, tongue etc). I do have pierced ears, and there's a tale attached to that! When I was a girl ear piercing was seen (mainly by my Mother) as dead common. We only knew one person with pierced ears, and she was called "Auntie Sylvie" - of course she wasn't a relation, just the wife of a friend of my Dad's ("Uncle" Ron).
I can still remember clearly the only photo of them that we had, a small black and white taken on a box camera. They were sitting on the grass, knees bent sideways, smiling in the sun, and Auntie Sylvie's earrings were in clear view. I thought she was terribly glamorous, and compared with my Mum, she certainly was. She was very slim, smoked with a cigarette holder, spoke with a foreign accent (Italian I think) and wore rather flashy clothes. Anyway, I always wanted my ears pierced, but was discouraged for years, not just because of the "common" aspect, but because I thought it would be really painful.. After the Brain Tumour, however, I suddenly thought to myself "If I can survive a Brain operation, I can certainly manage to have my ears pierced." So I did it - I went into Cambridge one day and just did it. And, guess what, it didn't hurt, in fact I didn't feel a thing. Now I can wear lovely dangly earrings, and no-one seems to think it's common any more.
I had a little adventure on my walk today, when I called in to a delightful and very arty shop down by the sea. It's next door to my favourite beach cafe and always has some gorgeous things, including books, jewellery and framed and unframed prints. It's the perfect place to go for a present. Today I wandered in and happened upon a print I hadn't seen before (not that I'm an expert). It was a view of the City of Bristol, obviously of 1940s vintage, very vivid, and had a pretend "frame" printed as a border. I had stood looking at it for ages, when one of the shop owners came up and started talking to me about it. Apparently it is one of the "School Prints" which were produced in the 1940s as an ambitious project to bring "Art" to schools all over the country. Famous artists were enlisted, and provided original works for reproduction and distribution to Schools. It was absolutely fascinating. This man talked to me for ages and then produced a delightful book (his own and not for sale) which told the story, and listed and showed all the original prints. In the series are works by Raoul Dufy,John Nash, Michael Rothenstein, L S Lowry, Feliks Topolski, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore. Marvellous stuff. Sadly, they only had the one print in the shop, and none of the books for sale, but we had a lovely chat about it, and I will go back again. He said that the prints are very collectable now (the Picasso goes for around £900 if you can track one down) and quite hard to find. I asked if I might come back sometime and have another look at the book, and he promised to keep it in the shop for me. How kind! I can just imagine sitting next door in the sun with a cup of coffee and borrowing that book. Something to really look forward to.
I'm off to my bed now. Tomorrow I have to write the promised Advertisment, and deliver it to my old Advertising Friend by the evening, so I'd better be fresh as a daisy in the morning. And my horoscope says I have to concentrate on updating my image and renewing my wardrobe next week! Some new clothes and a visit to the hairdresser could be on the cards. It says "Remember, wanting to look your best isn't shallow - it's about having healthier self-esteem." I'll drink to that.