Welcome to the art of curiosity; my personal amble through the worlds of art, crafts, books & all manner of other curiosities. You'll find examples of my jewellery & art work plus an account of how I'm attempting to confound depression & my bipolarity by pursuing my creativity. There's a lot of whimsy too; my mind set is distinctly frivolous at times!

So, Dear Reader, won't you join me on my journey?

Friday, 28 September 2007

Clucking Around a Petrol Station!

This gadzookingly cool postcard was sent to me by Kate McKinnon during the Postcardian Quest. I'm so lucky to have this FABULOUS resource at my fingertips, as do you if you follow the link. It's a collection of the coolest images sent to me by some of the most beautiful people on Planet Earth. My original idea was to incorporate them into an altered book, but the words & names need to be preserved too, so they reside in an immensely grand postcard collector's album along with letters & paper titbits which relate to the Quest & Ovarian Cancer Action. It's an heirloom - maybe one day my heirs will donate it to an auction in aid of ovarian cancer. The Quest will go on...

Don't forget - this is what every woman should know!

It's poetry time again! Dear Reader, don't go sloping off. I try not to run a school room here.

I'm relying upon a commentary by the writer Molly Peacock for help in describing 'Filling Station' by one of my favourite poets, Elizabeth Bishop. They both say things so much more succinctly than I.

Elizabeth Bishop is often described as the painter's poet - she also has a lovely sense of humour. In this poem, she's finding solace in a petrol station!

I'll let Miss Molly take over for a while: 'When you can't make sense of the world in any other way, merely to describe what you see before you leads to understanding.....After all, when you are at a complete loss as to how you came to be where you are, to describe what is before you is the beginning of restoration....The unexpected result of training your eye on detail is that the world becomes beautiful simply because it is noticed & therefore appreciated.'

Miss Ditzey's back and what does she have to say? Somewhere there's a Mother Hen clucking around this filling station. Even the oil cans are fussed over by her unseen hand.

Though not always present, 'Somebody loves us all.'

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


I pray that whom or whatsoever is in charge of the universe, keeps the people of Burma safe & strong in their quest for democracy.

Please Don't Shun a Child!

I'm not brimming with many lucid thoughts at the moment, but I'm borrowing a soap box. I particularly want to make a noise about parental prejudice.

I apologise for copying my own comment on 'The Bad Hair Day Code' on to here, but I'm struggling with coherence at the moment so this seems the best solution.

"Over here, not every doctor understands adult neurological conditions let alone those which become clear in childhood. I've learnt to stand my ground & argue with health professionals, but it does take a while to overcome that fear that

'Mother always says,
that doctor does know best'.

I know this childhood rhyme is droppings from a male ruminant, but I worry about parents who feel unable to fully question what is going on - then both parent AND child are bullied into situations which could prove unhelpful at best, destructive at worst.

I also have a lot to say about the prejudice that children encounter -we know that children bully children, but there is more. My son has been educated in main stream schools & the prejudice exhibited by some parents at his primary school was appalling!

On several occasions in the past, whilst waiting at the school gate, I heard other mothers discussing my son. He was at a small, affluent village school where the staff were WONDERFUL. Were it not for small children milling around, I would have tackled the mother who'd instructed her child not to play with Tom & told her just where to stick her SUV!"

Because it was a small school, it was relatively easy for parents to work out which child had been 'statemented', particularly given the high level of parent-helpers. Statistics about such things are published each year & passed to parents - when only one pupil is registered, the so called secrecy of a statistic destroyed.

The woman who so openly instructed her child what not to do, wasn't the only sad, silly, stupid & ill informed sheep in the flock to do this, which is why I'm on the side of the wolf!

By the way, Tom doesn't read my blog. I've never told him about this. I'm muddle headed & very ditsy at the moment, but rest assured, Tom knows nothing about this & never will.

May I make a plea? I'm truly not overly lucid at the moment, but I loathe discrimination in any form & when it's against a child it's beyond despicable - it's heinous. It's for these reasons that I feel compelled to write about this. BUT if you spot any inconsistencies, goofs, gaffs, blurs or garbage,it's because I'm Miss Ditzy at the moment so I hope you will forgive the errors I make whilst trying to convey my message.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The Bad Hair Day Code

I'm trying to climb back from a bipolar slump. I don't like to bore people with tales of what life is like if you're a bipolar babe - thankfully when one has spiralled down to the point of no return, one is usually too incapacitated to do anything other than pull the bedclothes ever tighter over one's head, so one couldn't write anything anyway! Sighs of relief all round :-) One can't keep people out of the loop completely though - my family & friends do need some explanation as to why I occasionally disappear from view.

We all develop different strategies of dealing with bipolar swings & mine are particularly irritating because I push people who are close to me away by being flippant & by denying that there's anything wrong. The crash comes & members of my close circle say gently that they did try to warn me - unfortunately I either didn't hear or I wasn't listening.

I'm also a difficult patient because I argue, joke & make light of things - I do my best to switch the focus away from me. I think I do this because I don't perceive myself as being a person - I am merely a thing with a series of human roles: wife, mother, daughter, listener, advocate, etc. Whatever was me was destroyed a long time ago. Please, please don't feel sorry for me - I only mention this for the purposes of illustration. I've never asked any fellow bipolar babe if they feel divorced from life in this way - it wouldn't surprise me if some of us feel that we can only participate in life from the sidelines. That's just the way it is for some of us.

Usually I refer to my bouts of depression as 'blips' & those that include suicide attempts as 'slumps'. I'm being dragged out of a slump this time & I'm fortunate that I'm being monitored via a daily visit from the wonderful health care team who are looking after me at present. Inspired by the hood-proof hair gel, I've now been allowed to add a new term to the monitoring lexicon - 'a bad hair day'. This covers days when one's concentration goes into hiding; when even the smallest things seem mountainous. The positive aspect is that one is at least trying to do something helpful because:

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Dorothy Parker

Sometimes it's essential to be frivolous. Being frivolous is not necessarily frivolous :-)

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

A hair gel that's hood proof??

I've just watched an advert for hair gel that promised it was hood proof. This sends shivers down my spine - surely the hair will mould the hood?

So it's not enough that I have to wade through a swamp of discarded clothes whenever I venture into Tom's room on a plate/bowl/mug hunt. I may now have to clamber over a series of distorted head shapes too? This is either a vision from a nightmare or a future entry for the Turner Prize!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

An Empty Paradox

I'm having a Paula Rego time at the moment which is a state of mind so hard to describe other than by telling you it has a Paula Rego-ish feel. Motor away from the state of my mind and have a look at Paula's work in the Tate Gallery and in The Saatchi.

Like it or loathe it, one thing is certain about Paula Rego's work and that is the fact that you cannot ignore it. So, as there is an etching by Paula on the cover of the poet Amanda Dalton's book, 'How to Disappear', methinks this is a good example of a paradox.

The title poem is extraordinary & it too reflects my current state of mind, but can I find an example of it on the net? Noooooo! Well that's not quite true because I found one copy, but it was on a site so sharply bleak that I backed out as quickly as can be.

It's a beautiful poem - taut, haunting & another 'sticker' that I would try to persuade you to read over & over again if only I could find you a copy. Dang, dang & double dang!! I can take you by the hand to the Poetry Book Shop to meet Amanda and her poem 'Cut Off', but as I can't find 'H to D', I'm going to leave Aunt Jennifer in the Life's Candle slot.

I've only had my copy of Amanda's collection of poems for a week, but I've been utterly faithful to it ever since, which is a reasonably rare occurence for me. Her work is extraordinarily visual & accessible which are qualities that I greatly appreciate because, not only am I'm a slow thinker, but I'm very lazy too. So lazy in fact, that as I can't find a copy of the poem nor a painting that I'm allowed to paste into this entry, the paradox remains unillustrated!

How's that for saying something about nothing :-)

Saturday, 15 September 2007

A 19th Century Zine?

Look what I found! Could this be an early example of a zine? Click for more information about 'The Saturday Press'. I think I would have enjoyed a conversation with Mr Henry Clapp.

I had a letter this morning from a Mrs Testbutt. What a thought provoking concept!

Friday, 14 September 2007

What to do with a wine rack when you've run out of wine...

My brain is more sieve-like than ever at present - could the changing season be affecting my cells?

I forgot to share a Lulaism - what a heinous crime! Here goes...

The ever inventive Lula has come up with a new use for empty wine racks. On a recent visit to pastures new, it was noticed that she was rather intrigued by the built-in wine rack adjacent to the washing machine in a friend's kitchen.

Now, Lula is not a tidy child - far, far from it. Her wardrobe is the floor. What is clean or unclean can only truly be determined by the sniff test. For any of you who haven't come across the rules of this particular 'snifter', you gauge the cleanliness of clothes by the smell of how much fabric conditioner you can detect. Play safe when you have a cold & are looking for dirty laundry. Stop. Desist. Leave all clothes on the floor. Nurse your cold & leave the offspring's clothes to fester. Rely on their embarrassment about the state of their garments instead.

The above only applies to children of a relevant & youthful age. Leave teenagers to make their own arrangements. If Tom's clothes don't make the journey from bedroom to laundry basket, I'm not bothered. Girl power will exert its influence soon & when it does, I shall be waiting for him by the washing machine along with a words-of-one-syllable guide to how to use the washing machine & dryer. If he masters these, I'll point out the ironing board too.

Where was I?

Lula's interpretation of the wine rack wasn't noticed on the first day nor the second. Daylight dawned on day three when she was spotted carefully inserting her socks & knickers into one of the holes of the wine rack. Careful investigation brought the other two sets to light. 'I fought you put your knickerths in there becoth it'th next to the washing machine. We don't have one of thesths at home. It'th very clever.'

So if for any reason you don't store wine in your wine rack, why not use it as a handy knicker or sock store? It's sure to be a talking point when you're next entertaining!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

I'm not up to full Blog Speed yet so please forgive my plodding pace whilst I ease myself back into training.

It's time for a new poem in Life's Candle ( which is down there in the right hand column) & the one I would like to share with you is a poem that is embedded in my mind. 'Aunt Jennifer's Tigers' by Adrienne Rich is short, but it will say a multitude of things to you.

A lot of people have written thousands of words about this poem - some good, but much twaddle. I no longer spend much time reading 'lit.crit.' because my life is getting shorter by the minute plus I have this egotistical habit of knowing what I myself think. In any case, no matter what is written, no essay will ever be as powerful as this poem.

I always think of Rousseau's painting when I read about Aunt Jennifer. The tiger doesn't remotely resemble the imagery of the poem, but the expression of the painting tolls a bell I can't ignore. Anxiety?

Henri Rousseau 'Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) 1891

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

On This Day...

I send my heartfelt sympathy,love & tender wishes to all those whose lives changed on that dreadful day in 2001.

Breaking news....I interrupt this absense to report a momentous event....

It's that time of year when a merry band of us join together in order to rejoice & give thanks for

JEAN aka the Rock CHICk!

On behalf of myself & all at Chez Hovel, I wish you a bootilicious, fantabulosa, ginanosaurus. glitzicious ( not quite sure of the spelling of this word), chicidicky, poodletastic


None of these words can be found in the vast volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary, but in my opinion they should be. When I get round to it, I'll petition those in judgement of such things & will pester them until they give in. Watch this space...
(I should warn you that watching this particular space may take quite a long time!)