Thursday, 27 April 2017

Metamorphoses (Or a Grandmother's Musings to her Grandaughter on becoming who you truly are...)

Dearest Emily,
Here's my favourite tree again, the beautiful Horse Chestnut which you've seen in its Autumn Glory- all 'Chimeney-red and Halloween orange' as Tom Waits might say. You've seen its leaves die slowly and fall off, and then it stand all bare as it sits out the winter, waiting for rebirth in Spring.

There's such a wealth of comfort in nature Em. For me over the last eight months by painting what is around me, the seasons and the cycle of death and rebirth have been grounding and healing in this period following the loss of dear Grumpa.
The other day, a customer came into the Rabbit Hole exclaiming how she needed to go down The Rabbit a Hole for a bit, and step outside of time. A Head Teacher- she'd had a stressful time getting ready for the end of the Easter Term.
'You are Alice actually-aren't you?" She said.
"Am I? " I responded.
"Yes, you are" she replied in such a tone that I thought I had better accept it.
Well, Em, maybe I am in a way. Not a Disney way of course (yes I know you've just been to Disney World- but that is about as far from your Grandmother's aesthetic as the Yellow Brick road is to the M25. )Not, in a wierd sort of grown-up playing dress-up as a seven year old girl in a blue dress and bunny ears either. 
Maybe though, I recognise something of myself in Dodgson (Carroll) 's tale- in the essence of it.
In my tale, as a question sort of person, who has gone down The Rabbit Hole and found a whole new World- one both curious and vexing in measures, and all at the same time-familiar...
Add onto this Em, that I was the seven year old child who did actually sit at the back of the wardrobe willing it to let me go through to Narnia. 
Yes Em, I think I recognise myself here.
Here, on the Isle of Wight, in the West-Wight, in Freshwater, along the 'Pretty-bit' opposite School Green I am in my own reality down my own Rabbit Hole and I don't see much reason for coming up for air.
A 13 O'clock shop- one customer called it- outside of time. Well it is my 'happy place' Em and I'm happy it chimes with others as that too.
Of course, my creative head won't let it lie, until I've completed my imagined aesthetic, my own inner 'White Rabbit' keeps egging me on checking his pocket-watch. But even that's not frustrating or stressful. The Island has tempered me to its' own time, and I've mellowed-and somehow things still get done in their own time.
There's little frustration in my life, not many rules, and I like that.
Beating to my own drum (as Grumpa always commented on)- is one I know, yet don't really fathom, but it's the right tempo for me and allows me to develop my interests organically within the community I treasure.
Nature, whimsy, friends and above all gratefulness for what is this beautiful part of the earth ever imparting inspiration.
Nuff said Em.
Yesterday, I experienced an example of going down the Rabbit Hole- albeit reversed.
Remember I told you about winning a grant from the wonderful Harper Collins Indie Development Fund? Well, yesterday was the reception- so I hopped onto the ferry at lunch-time, and trotted off onto the train, where I promptly fell asleep, and woke up in my old life in London.
All about bustle-mode I strode up past St Martin's in the Fields, and striding away spotted Cecil Court, diverting off to Stephen Poole books where I'd sold a beauty of a book that helped fund my garden premises, and introduced myself to the Proprietor face to face (we had previously just spoken by phone.) True Book-seller style, he gave me invaluable advice about some special stock I'm a pondering.
Then I zoomed into Soho and Ham Yard, noticing that with our knitwear label Weardowney, we had had a stand in a unit there some 13 years hence. 
Meeting up with my lovely Fashion-Son Henry Conway, not seen in three whole years, we did a speed-catch-up. Here we are together-

Then, speedy London-stylee, we zipped into the reception where a lovely CEO explained the initiative and invited collaboration and I felt as though I was with 'Old friends already'.
I could only stay 45 mins because of the last ferry being 9pm, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable change of pace and Rabbit Hole! Now we have the lovely Ben from Harper Collins coming down here in August on 'Work Experience' to add to our Summer Adventures!
Henry ordered me an Uber, and I hopped into a BMW, out and onto the train at 7, the ferry at 9, and back down my own Rabbit Hole into my Shed-Room at 10, feeling enthralled by life's journeys.

We are all Alice Em, if we want to be. You are now, by your age and your perfect curiosity.
That, with the mix of magic of everyday life, becomes your magic wand forever!

Ttfn, your ever-loving Grandmother, GiGi xxx

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