Hello dear readers! It’s been a while, so here is a giant update on the last month or so. Life has been busy since my ‘radio silence’ warning at the beginning of the month, so prepare yourselves for a long read…
Firstly, so many of you lovely bloggers left really supportive comments and advice when I posted about my recent break-up. Thank you very much to all of you! It meant so much more to me than I can explain here. One nugget of wisdom that really stayed with me was from Michelle, who told me to “keep creating. I really do think it helps us heal”. That pearl of advice couldn’t have been more spot on during that first emotionally tumultuous week when he behaved particularly atrociously – I filled up a whole sketchpad with doodles and words that reflected my emotional state – usually anger! It was extremely cathartic, and probably stopped me from lashing out at a friend, family member, or random unfortunate passer-by. Apologies for the NSFW language!
After working through that part of the Kübler-Ross cycle, I began sketching some drawings and patterns in preparation for a screen-printing course at Edinburgh Printmakers, a local arts studio which runs weekend courses introducing you to a range of different screen-printing techniques. I was so thrilled to be learning something new and creative, that was totally separate to the break-up and the seemingly endless flat hunting – until, that is, the course was cancelled with just a few days’ warning. I was gutted. And the stinger in the tail was that the course had been a birthday gift from the recent ex – so no chance of rescheduling, it was just gone. Cue more tears and anger! Oh the drama!
Happily though, I have some really lovely family and friends, and one, Sam, ordered me to visit her in London. And so obediently I obeyed! I took an extra day off to visit one of my sisters, Jenny, and her two boys Ben and (another) Sam. There is nothing like bringing the kid out in you like playing with actual kids. Ordinarily I’m unstoppable when there’s a wooden train set to assemble. It’s like something inside me forces me onto my hands and knees to fit all the pieces of track together in the most complicated railway route imaginable It turns out I am worse when there’s a marble run. The resulting tower was a marble maze taller than the children, with multiple routes to the bottom and a precarious support system. Thank goodness I don’t design structures for a living, or we would all be surrounded by inter-looping train tracks, rubble, and giant glass marbles.
And so into London, where I seemed to spend a huge chunk of the weekend in various markets. I met up with Sam and Lizzie, two of my best friends in the world, and spent Saturday lunchtime together in Borough Market, the most amazing food market I’ve ever been to. We scoffed wild boar sausages accompanied by hot mead, followed by oodles of free samples of cake and cheese, taking home a chocolate brownie as dense and thick as a brick. And then on Sunday afternoon Sam and I wandered to Spitalfields and bought dinner at Brick Lane market, where even after many stallholders have started packing up you can still get delicious hot food from so many different countries, or in our case, a banana & chocolate Malaysian pancake accompanies by a cup of mulled wine. Yes, a steady stream of chocolate and hot alcohol prevailed! Not good for my Weight Watchers diet, but definitely good for the soul.
On Sunday afternoon we took a trip to the Barbican Centre to visit the Rain Room, hosted by Random International. It is exactly what it sounds like – a room where it rains – except for the fact that movement sensors can stop the flow, meaning that if you move slowly enough for the sensors to catch up with you, you can travel throughout the room without getting wet. I failed to do so, as I’m obviously impatient, so got fairly wet during my experience. But the sound and feeling of rain falling all around you was really magical (yes, more magical than just holding an umbrella), and the dramatic lighting made for some beautiful photographs. The bottom two were definite favourites on my Instagram feed!
I’ve always hated London a little bit, because of how busy it is, how people surround you constantly and all the hustle-and-bustle of the streets and the tube and the shops, but finally that weekend I understood why some people just fall in love with The Big Smoke. That if you let yourself just be part of the madness and not try to push through it and seek tranquillity it can actually be amazing. Instead of trying to compete with the crowds at the super touristy areas we enjoyed how busy the markets were. And we discovered little havens of calm, like Bunhill Fields cemetery with its seriously inquisitive squirrels, or Postman’s Park, which seems to feature on so many ‘Hidden London’ lists as well as providing a name for Natalie Portman in Closer. When we arrived at Postman’s Park we were the only people there, and only as we browsed the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice did we realise how well timed our visit was – paying tribute to heroes on Armistice Day.
Back in Edinburgh, and flat hunting has proven to be a challenge. I have visited so many box rooms described as ‘cosy’, uninterested strangers described as ‘friendly’ and total dumps described as, well, habitable. I’m sure there are many people prepared to sleep with a noisy boiler next to their head, or in flats that reek of burned cooking oil, or who don’t care if a five-bed flat has a tiny kitchen, one bathroom and no communal living space. But I am not one of those people. Eventually, after turning down a couple of nice flats with friendly people but minor problems that meant they weren’t totally perfect, I found the home I’d been searching for. A lovely three bed flat in a quiet area half way between work and the centre of town, sharing with two friendly ladies who love films and books and tea and cake. I’m not moving in until the beginning of January, which gives me a chance to sort out and streamline my many piles of paper and clothes and ‘miscellaneous’ drawers. And I look forward to giving some updates on the new space I’ll be inhabiting in the new year! How crazy is it that 2013 is just around the corner.
In other news, I’m learning how to knit. I joined an Edinburgh meet and make group and we enjoyed some communal craft magic over cups of tea and scones at the lovely Mimi’s Bakehouse in Leith recently. Until that point my early ventures into knitting had been entirely YouTube taught, without any success at all. Casting on seemed so difficult! But thanks to instructions from the very patient Abi of Knitnicks I will one day own a scarf that I will have made with my own two hands (and some knitting needles, and some wool).
And that’s my not-so-brief update! There is of course always much more in the works which I am busting to share, but since I fear this post will already have resulted in oh so many TL;DRs, I think that’ll do for today. See you in the not too distant future!