- Going to see The Next Step with Girl Lacer. For those that don’t have dance obsessed children, The Next Step is a TV show about a group of dancers and they’ve been on tour. Girl Lacer absolutely loved it and for this 41 year old, who has only seen the random trailer for the show, I thought it was rather good too.
- Class has started! As in the TV show, Class, written by one of my favourite writers, Patrick Ness. For those that don’t know it, it’s a brand new Doctor Who spin off, set in Coal Hill Academy, with a bunch of sixth formers protecting the world from a crack in space time. It’s more ‘adult’ than Doctor Who, a bit scarier and even a bit of sex. It’s been billed as the British Buffy, which is big shoes to fill and so far, it’s filling them well.
- We popped into Hampton Court for one last visit to The Magic Garden before it closed for the winter and we also ended up having a go at the Garden Party trail. Girl and Boy Lacer particularly liked playing the 17th century garden party games.
- We had a Fire of London themed day this week too, going for a tour and then seeing the Fire! Fire! exhibition at the Museum of London, it was okay but I have two kids who definitely prefer art galleries over history museums.
- Finishing the dress I’d been working on all week (see next blog post!).
2. Me and Girl Lacer went to Tate Modern this week, we had meant to go on the next stage of the Capital Ring but thanks South West Trains, by the time we managed to get anywhere near central London, we’d ran out of time. But we had fun round Tate Modern, we went to see the new exhibit in the Turbine Hall and I showed her the new extension.
The current turbine hall exhibition is by Philippe Parreno and is a massive (mainly) sound installation, that sounds like you’re underwater. There’s also moving lights, so the effect of the shadows moving across the hall floor is fantastic (and encouraged Girl Lacer into a bout of shadow puppetry – bottom right photo). Those panels you can see in the top two photos move around too and sometimes showed footage. Girl Lacer and I stayed and watched for about 15 minutes but each time we walked past it afterwards, it seemed to be playing something different.
And of course I still love the texture of the outside of the new bit (pretty sure these last two photos are Girl Lacer’s, she’s been studying photography at school).
3. Catching glimpses of Girl Lacer’s dance class preparing for a show, this show normally happens about once every two years and you can see her really leap up in skill level each time and even just seeing those few minutes each week at pick up, you can see how more polished the dance routine is becoming each week.
4. I had the second stage of the big surgery I had over the summer, this week, this time just day surgery and not too much pain (not that I was in that much pain last time, those anesthetists really knew their stuff with nerve blocks). Once again I was in total awe of the lovely, organised, talented and professional staff at the hospital, the day surgery unit was like a highly polished, super efficient machine. I’ve seen a lot of hospitals over my life time and as much as I love the NHS as a whole, unfortunately not all their hospitals are that well run and I’ve had one particularly not nice, what was meant to be day surgery but didn’t turn out to be, experience at a different hospital, last year. I really think a lot of the difference comes down to money, the hospital where I have most of my treatment now is well funded (thanks to also taking a lot of private patients I think) and that obviously makes a difference. But I think the funding (or lack of funding) can also leach into moral, I still have to use that other hospital where I had the bad ‘day’ surgery experience (along with quite a few more bad experiences there) and the amount of times I’ve walked down the hospital corridors and overheard staff talking to each other about how unhappy they are at work, it really puts confidence in you, not. And if your staff are unhappy and underfunded, no wonder they can’t organise surgery efficiently.
5. I’ve been doing a lot of sewing recently, a pattern where I needed to use a hem gauge, the only hem gauge I could find locally was a not particularly brilliant cardboard one and Girl Lacer had been watching me sewing and struggling with it. So, I came home from hospital to discover that she’d ordered me a better one, the sweetheart!
- Walking in Richmond Park with the stags; I actually went twice this week, once last Friday and again on the Saturday. The Saturday walk wasn’t actually that relaxing, the park, if that’s at all possible, felt too crowded but I shouldn’t let that detract from the fact that I did enjoy my Friday walk.
- I’m still watching The Fall, still way behind, so no spoilers please but I’ve just got to the bit in season 2 where Colin Morgan makes an appearance, which always makes me feel completely hypocritical because I always think that men shouldn’t objectify women but oooh Colin Morgan (for those only familiar with Morgan’s earlier work, Merlin has grown into being a bit of a brooding hunk). I do really like The Fall but the fact that all the main characters bar the murderer’s downtrodden wife, all look like they’ve just stepped off a magazine fashion photo shoot, doesn’t make it feel completely realistic, although I can sort of get it from stylistic point of view, all the main characters, bar the wife, are in this almost out of this (normal) world, cat and mouse game, whereas the wife is just trying to raise her kids and do her job. There’s also the whole thing with Jamie Dornan being so good looking, ‘he just can’t be a murderer’, as shown with that scene on the train, where a young woman is looking at a rather accurate of photofit of the suspected murderer and Jamie Dornan is going “Do you think that looks like me? I think that looks like me. But I can’t be a murderer right?” and the young woman is going “Of course not,” simper, simper. Personally, the “cor Jamie Dornan is a bit of all right” effect lasted for about five minutes into the first episode of season one for me, as he’s a very good actor and he plays a very convincing absolute creep with a journalling fetish, so I can’t see why anyone would find that character attractive. Although for the record, Jamie Dornan with a beard, even playing a creepy murderer, is better looking I think than Jamie Dornan without a beard, playing Christian Gray (also, the Irish accent helps).
- Also on the TV front, I watched the recording of Derren Brown’s latest stage show this week. I saw Brown a few years ago and he was absolutely fantastic and I’m a big fan, I think the work that he does, not only his gift with hypnotism, reading people and all round trickery but also his work on looking at people like psychics, faith healers and psychology in general, is amazing. Brown has a book that’s either out or coming out soon (I’m not sure if the print copy is out yet, it might be, I’m waiting for the audiobook, which is out in November) on happiness and you could see echoes of that in his latest stage show, about how we are the stories we tell ourselves and if constantly tell ourselves bad stories, well, we’re not going to be very happy. Interesting stuff.
- We’re still finishing off the last touches of our grand bedroom swap that happened over the summer (the kids have got our big bedroom and we’ve now got the small bedroom). One of the things that the bedroom swap has influenced is where and how I can do my crafting, particularly big stuff, i.e. machine sewing. Now, except for a brief period when I had a desk in my old bedroom, I haven’t been able to use my sewing machine in my old bedroom anyway, I’ve always sewn in the living room (and that wasn’t particularly easy either) on our foldaway dining table. However, in moving the furniture around for the bedroom swap, we had to move the large bookcases that were in our bedroom, out into the living room and to fit the bookcases in the living room, we had to move the foldaway dining table. Now we did sort of think (briefly) about getting rid of the table, we only ever used it completely up, once a year (for Christmas), if that, because fully up it takes up the entire living room floor (and it is not a big table), it was increasingly not even half up, as we stored stuff in front of it a lot of the time. But me and Mr. Lacer are quite attached to what we call our ‘proper pieces of furniture’ (ie anything that didn’t come from Ikea or somewhere similar), as we only actually own two pieces, the table and a wooden oak chest of drawers (we are particular fond of the chest of drawers, it was an investment buy, after years of Ikea chest of drawers which would fall apart after a few years, I can see the investment chest of drawers literally being passed down the generations). So anyway, the chances of me and Mr. Lacer actually throwing out one of ‘proper pieces of furniture’ is about zero, so instead we’ve tucked the table down the side of our sofa and it now serves as a telephone table (it folds down pretty small). We will probably still get it out for Christmas but it will involve some heavy duty furniture moving to do so and I’m not exactly going to do that every time I want to do some sewing, so I was without a sewing table. Anyway, over the summer, this came to a head as Girl Lacer was invited to a 50s style birthday party and I wanted to make her a 50s style skirt, life ended up getting in the way, so I never did make the skirt (got as far as sticking together the .pdf pattern, I will still make the skirt though) but to make the skirt I knew I needed to sort out the table problem, so I ordered something I had been thinking about ordering for a while, a collapsible table that I could store under the sofa and then assemble when I wanted to get the sewing machine out. The table arrived, unfortunately the fabric for the skirt took ages to arrive (which was one of the reasons why the skirt didn’t happen for this party) and the table got stuck, still in its cardboard wrappings, under the sofa and left there, until this week …. Now I have been itching to get the sewing machine out all summer but the bedroom swap generated such a huge amount of boxes, that it took literally the whole of September (from basically when the kids went back to school) to sort out. There are still boxes in the living room, as Mr. Lacer recently cleared out a cupboard and I need to sort through those too but for a good long while, there was barely enough room to get even an embroidery hoop out in the living room, let alone a table to do some machine sewing, so the table stayed under the sofa. But as usual with crafting, sometimes it takes a fast encroaching deadline to get you moving; we have a family wedding to go to in a few weeks and I am making both me and Girl Lacer the dresses for it, so, I had to get sewing. So out came the table finally and it’s fantastic! I will be blogging about the sewing table (with pics) and what I’ve been sewing, in another blog post soon but it’s definitely been a highlight of the week!
- Time is going so quickly, it seems just like yesterday me and Girl Lacer were looking around secondary schools, now it’s Boy Lacer’s turn, although this time round we’re only looking around one, the school Girl Lacer ended up at (which had been her first choice school, on a list of about five schools). Girl Lacer’s school is only in its second year, it didn’t even properly exist when we went to ‘look round’ it, so it was excellent being able to look around an actual school building this time and to see how those initial words have very much been turned into very definite actions and we’re very lucky, it’s bloomed into a wonderful school, so that now, when we consider schools for Boy Lacer, there really is only one choice. Although we’re not the sort of parents who are very “you’re doing this whether you like it or not”, I can imagine, that in some families, kids have very little choice about what secondary school they want to put as their first choice and if Boy Lacer had wanted to look at other schools, we’d have been happy for that and if he’d wanted to put a different school as his first choice, as long as he had sound reasons for it, that would have been fine too. But he’s seen his sister have so much fun at her secondary school and although he was pretty sold even before he stepped into the door of the open evening last night, he sat and listened to the head’s speech, he said to me afterwards “well that sold me”. So, I am very excited for both of my kids, for the opportunities that they’ll have there. We were very lucky in that their primary school was fantastic and that it looks like their secondary school will be fantastic too. Which is, going back to the bedroom swap and the tables under the sofa, etc. etc. is why we’re doing this, my dad is frequently on at us to move out of the area, so that we can buy a three bed house, although these days in London, to buy a three bed house, we wouldn’t just have to move out of the borough, we’d have a move out of the city! He knows that a big reason we stay here is because of the schools and his counter argument is always “there’s good schools elsewhere, you know”, yes, of course there is but if we were to move now, wherever we ended up, those good schools would have waiting lists that our kids would be right at the bottom of and although I went to a ‘not good’ school (ooh it had a bad, sort of justified reputation), back when I was a kid and I came out all right, why give up on these opportunities for the kids that we currently have? They are worth the compromises.
1. The cake Girl Lacer made for Boy Lacer’s birthday was thankfully much better than my cupcakes. She used a slightly adapted Nigella recipe.
2. Sometimes it’s the small things but on the way back from an appointment on Monday, I stopped off at Morrisons (we don’t have one near where I live) and had the most gorgeous wrap from their choose your own fillings sandwich bar. They’re incredibly good value, under £3, I’m so used to London prices now, I’d more expect something like that to be a fiver, as the wrap had about six fillings in and was so big it was a struggle to fit in your mouth. The fillings were good too, much fresher looking than a certain well know sandwich chain which is a soon to be teenage favourite of Girl Lacer’s.
3. I went to see the lovely doc who did my op back in June, I hadn’t seen him since then and I made him laugh with the amount and nature of the compliments I have been getting since. The second stage of the op has been booked now and will be towards the end of this month. I have been extremely lucky to be so well looked after.
4. I went to see the Opus Anglicanum exhibition at the V&A and well, just wow! An exhibition of medieval English embroidery, it is mainly religious stuff (apparently lots of stuff would have been embroidered back then but the religious embroideries were more carefully looked after) and religious stuff isn’t really my cup of tea but, oh wow, the pieces are just so well preserved, I had to keep looking at the labels and reminding myself that what I was looking at was 800 – 900 years old and the needlework, oh my goodness, was amazing. Everything is obviously under glass but you can (with the glass between you obviously) get pretty close, so to see how intricate the stitching is, well, it got this embroidery geek pretty excited. I loved how all the exhibition labels said what stitches were used and I loved how although this stuff was 800 – 900 years old, the colours used and the illustrative work, heck, it would look good if it were done today. So, if you like your embroidery, you have to see this.
5. Somebody once said to me, that I don’t have very many positive, older role models in my life and although there are a few, a lot of older people I’ve known in my life, well things didn’t end particularly well for them. So one of the many things I love about living in London is that some of the older people here, they rock, at least of the stylistic stakes. So a big thumbs up to the very elderly guy I saw on the bus, who seemed to be having trouble walking but still rocked a pair of crisply turned up jeans, a buttoned up denim jacket, a crisp blue shirt and a thickly knotted yellow and black stripy tie, with a record bag slung over his shoulder. He was a street photographer’s dream. You couldn’t help but look at him and think that he must have lived an interesting life, if I had had the nerve (and not the worry that I might have freaked him out), I would have loved to talk to him.
Beautiful supermarket flowers that stopped me in my tracks and I couldn’t resist buying.
Seeing London Design Week at the V&A. I particularly liked the marble that looked like liquid (second row, photo on the right) and I was in total awe of the light display in the tapestry room (third row, left) and the installation by the Exhibition Road entrance (third row, right).
Another lovely walk by Hampton Wick pond.
4. I don’t watch that much TV these days but sometimes getting your teeth into something is just what you need, it’s usually at this point I comb iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime and declare with a wail “There’s nothing on!” but I did manage to find something I liked this week, The Fall. I’ve already caught up and watched season 1 and I’m about to start watching season 2 (so no spoilers please). I was a big Gillian Anderson fan way back in her X-files days (the recent new X-files stuff? nah) and I generally like anything she’s in but she is absolutely brilliant in this. And the way Jamie Dornan goes so quickly from “phew he’s a bit of all right” to absolutely creepily repulsive, well that’s very good acting.
5. I’ve been doing #30Lists this month, I was going to do a round up post when I finished my last list today but it’s getting a bit of a right pain having to link all my images from Flickr because I’ve run out of space on my WordPress account, so I’m not going to. I’m not sure thirty pictures of my not particularly neat handwriting would be that exciting anyway, but it’s been great fun to participate in. Here’s my favourite #30Lists from earlier this month.
I’ve had the chance to go for lots of walks this week and after a blip, the weather has thankfully turned nice(ish) again. I’ve always liked walking anyway but walking has played such a big part in my preparation for the surgery I had this summer and in my recovery. The photo above was taken on a local walk in Kingston.
2. On another walk (after having to be in central London for an appointment, I thought I’d switch my walking scenery up a bit), I walked from Covent Garden to Millbank, to go and see The Smile, which is part of London Design Week and was it was rather cool. It’s a giant wooden curved box, that is completely made out of wood (apparently this is technically very difficult).
(You can’t see it from the photos in my mosaic but the box curves at both ends, hence the name)
3. On another trip into central London for an appointment, this time I got to hang out around the London Bridge area, as this was much more preferable than hanging out in a waiting room (I got there early because often when relying on London trains, you’re either early or you’re late, there is no in between). So I got to soak up Borough Market, the river, the area around The Clink (old warehouses) and some street art.
(I love the ‘toilet’ in the third photo, top row)
4. After my London Bridge appointment, I finally got to tick off a London attraction I’ve been wanting to see for years, from my to-see list, The Old Operating Theatre Museum.
The Old Operating Theatre Museum is this tiny little place, in the literal roof of a church, on a street about 5 minutes walk from Guy’s Hospital and it’s where they used to store herbs and medicines and do operations on women. Being in the roof of a church, it is not the most accessible of places but if you’re okay with steep spiral staircases and slightly squeamish stuff, it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s quite quaint (in a nice way), with all the hand written labels and stuff, after spending most of my museum time hanging around glossy museums like the V&A, it was a nice change.
And it was especially eerie and a little chilling to be able to stand in the galleries of the actual operating theatre, exactly where people used to come and watch the surgeries.
5. And finally, the trip to Borough Market I mentioned? The bakery stalls there are always so tempting and there’s one stall there (unfortunately I can’t remember the name), that sells doughnuts, which are obviously so hip or something because there’s often people standing around the stall instagraming them. Anyway, whenever I pass this stall, I either don’t fancy a doughnut (strange person, I know) or they’ve sold out but they had doughnuts and I wanted one! The London Bridge appointment was to see a dentist, so I was not exactly going to eat this doughnut before I saw him and I was a good girl, I even carried it all the way round The Old Operating Theatre afterwards but by the time I was on the tube platform, heading home, I could not resist. I got the doughnut out the bag, they had had three choices, vanilla, caramel and honeycomb or blackberry jam and I had gone for the classic (well more classic) blackberry and oh my word, when I bit into that doughnut, it was more jam than doughnut. The hipster part of me, I admit, really want to photograph my doughnut at this point but if I had the jam would have ended up all over the platform floor and not in my tummy and this would have been wrong, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, how good this doughnut was. Sigh, the doughnut was lightness and sugaryness personified and the jam, oh the jam, it was more like thick blackberry puree really with a heavy hint of lemon and it was so, so good. Sadly (or perhaps good, for my teeth and my waistline), I don’t have to go back to see this particular dentist until next April, darn it, I need another excuse to go to London Bridge!
(After years and years and years of blogging on Lacer’s Life, I recently ran out of photo storage space, so I’m linking all my blog photos from Flickr now – oh it like going back to the noughties – anyway, there was a lot of photos this week, so if you’d like to see bigger versions, just click on the photos and it should take you to my Flickr account).