Friday, July 12, 2013

"One is Royally Excited"

The laptop and I are confused.

I am definitely over the jetlag - I'm not as intimately connected to 5am as I was a week ago - but the laptop is still on Bangkok time. When I published the last post on Tuesday evening, the laptop thought it was Wednesday and duly published under that day... and I lost my slot for this Wednesday Window.

Perhaps we could call it  a 'Friday Photo' or perhaps it doesn't much matter; after my long absence, being able to write anything here is a bonus.

This window, courtesy of Liberty London, made me chuckle. I'm not particularly 'royally excited' myself but I'm tickled at the idea of the Queen being 'Great-Nanny' or 'Great-Granny' in the intimate surroundings of her palace. I can't see her being anything other than the Queen we see in public. I can't imagine what life is like inside That Family but I hope very much that things have changed over the last fifteen years. My excitement - if I have any - is to see history made, if the royal baby is a girl, I'm excited to see a first born girl will be heir over a younger brother. Just as it should be....

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What else I've been doing...

Back in January/February, my friend Sharon mentioned to me that she was doing the Moonwalk in June, in Iceland and asked if I’d consider helping her decorate her bra.

I knew of the Moonwalk – not the Michael Jackson version - Walk the Walk, a nighttime, marathon length charity walk that raised money for breast cancer charities. Some friends of mine had done in London some years before I moved to Bangkok so I knew two things about it: that it’s pretty tough and that the (mostly) women entrants were expected to decorate their bras to wear on display.

Sharon’s Moonwalk was happening in Iceland so she wanted something that reflected that destination. There was NO way I was going to refuse a commission like that. Sharon ordered a hot pink bra, I started sketching and then we set off together to Chinatown to buy sequins…

Over the following three weeks I sewed and sewed, sequin after sequin, followed by ribbon and here's how it looked:

First there was the design... followed by the planning.

Each sequin went on one by one. The silver ones were sewn onto silver fabric first, and then each snowflake went onto the bra.

I began to see sequins. I used the ribbon to turn the sports bra into something plunging and prettier...

More space. More sequins needed. There's no room for subtlety...

Finally, the fringing and then the TA-DAAAA: the finished bra.

Sharon raised £3400 for breast cancer charities. You can see her fundraising page here and more about the moonwalk here.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Mount Bromo (posted at last)

So the New Year plan was that we drive up to a viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan mountain to watch dawn rise over Mount Bromo, the best known volcano in East Java.

“Best known.” That should have been my clue.

First of all, though we had to eat our New Year eve meal at 6pm with the paediatric guests at our hotel, and then we had to get some sleep. Our guide told us he’d be back to pick us up at midnight.

However, around midnight when we went downstairs, there were about 300,000 people in the streets – well on our street - in cars, on motorbikes and on foot; shouting, singing, waving those football noise things. Solid gridlock. The noise was unbelievable.

We’ll skip over the anxiety this induced. As midnight came and went, the crowds began to dissipate and eventually our van arrived and we set off.  As I lay back on my reclining seat I imagined what an awe inspiring and momentous personal experience this was going to be.

I dozed. The main roads turned into snaking mountainside roads. I think it took three or so hours and then we got out of our van into a little mountainside village rather like the one we’d gone to to view Merapi. Just like Thailand, where there are visitors, there are food and drink vendors and we stopped for a cup of something warm.

And visitors. Oh yes. Gone were my imaginings that we would be one of two or three groups of people, come to experience the spiritual moments of dawn on a mountainside. There were something like 300,000 people here too!

Still, it was amazing. Here are some highlights:

Outside our hotel at midnight. We weren't going anywhere... 
Here are the silhouettes of some of the 300,000 people joining us for our big spiritual moment! 

We fought our way to the front, and yes, it really was special. 
A wider view... 
Long distance...

The last bit of the journey: we drove across the caldera, trekked by pony (poor pony, I thought) and then climbed the steps you can see here, to peer into the smoking volcano. Unbelievable.

And here it is. I just had time to take this before being overcome with my first ever experience of vertigo.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Hello again

I keep coming here to my blog and looking at this old post; old and a bit sad because of its abrupt stop.

Even I didn’t know what I was doing. There I was in the middle of showing off pictures of our Indonesian volcano adventures when I interrupted it for a Wednesday Window (I mistyped that as Wednesday Wino – that would’ve been another kind of post ALTOGETHER) and then, well, wimper. Nothing. All left hanging.

So what happened?

Hmmm, well this is what stops me starting to blog again: not knowing what or if I should explain. And, if I do elucidate, just how do I go about it?

I don’t want to be all cryptic but nor do I want to blab away indiscreetly, embarrass my family and any readers who still might come… So unless I want to talk about it at a later date can I just say worry always impacts my creativity and it has been a stressful time?

But look, the Google’s reader thingy stops today or tomorrow and I don’t have an email subscription set up, so the reality is tea stains might not have any readers left…

The good thing about this is that I’ve pretty much always written tea stains for ME; so I’ve slung up some bunting in that British, slightly embarrassed to be trumpeting my return, and if anyone still comes and says hello, well, Hello back.