bagels

Finally I went to Portobello to try the Boss Bagels which I’d heard so much about. My life has been simply a long desperate search for bagels as good as Kaufies Bagels in Highlands North Johannesburg which marked my 70’s childhood. When bagels appeared in shops here we got very excited but on eating we discovered a doughy bun with a hole in it. Brick Lane in London I did a taste test in the 1990’s and decided the bakery which was not open 24 hours had the edge. Some years ago I was overjoyed to meet someone from Joey’s who confirmed that I was right Kaufies Bagels are the best.

These did not come up to Kaufies… the crust not crusty enough… an ok bagel but not worth a bus trip. The photo walk I did with a friend was much more worth while! So my Yiddish group was right. We had a quick discussion at the end of our meeting on Wednesday, on this establishment, and the consensus was Brick Lane. Back to making my own using Claudia Roden’s recipe. If you want to go all instagrammy and make them rainbow before the second rise divide up the dough into 6 or 7 pieces. Add a scraping or two of gel colouring and kneed it in. You will have to wash and scrub hands between each colour being added. Then try and roll the colours into long rolls, cut them down and add a twist of colour together while shaping. This is enormous fun to take to a birthday celebration. I just eat with butter or a touch of marmite to add that British element.

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So … I’ve been thinking about stash… (above is Kaffe Fasetts poppies pattern done in stash acrylic and not finished yet but then it was a sort of experiment). Thinking about the thriftiness of using up stash and reusing. I’ve been unravelling yarn which has been donated to me from other people’s projects and thinking what I can make with it. I’m also trying to make my first cardi but am having worrisome worries about the pattern and getting it to fit me. And and and. And stash. Then my mind began to think of other resources like energy. and I began to think about how I’ve over used my stash of energy at least for nearly two years now possibly longer. I’m unwilling to admit where my limits are in terms of energy. I make plans – I follow through – I am responsible. Even if the result is that I lie around feeling like death warmed up. I am emerging very very slowiy from a bought of illness. And even then I saw a tweet about a conference on Monday in another city and thought ‘oh it would be so nice to go’. Sheer MADNESS!!! So when will I learn and what do I do to create my own stash of energy? I’m trying to read more books. Cut down on things. One thing a day must be my mantra. I use my kitchen timer so I pace my housework. I try to eat well (but cooking  preparing and buying food all consume much energy). I’m thinking about Julia Cameron’s exhortation of the artist to ‘Fill their well’ and I’m trying to think of things that do that for me. Playing with colour without the expectation of productivity, reading enjoyable books, staying off the screen more, pottering slowly and gently.

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Well hello! A chat with a dear friend this week made me think about whether it was time I was ‘playing in my own playground’. I confess I’ve been a lot in Facebuik (sadly tethered to it was my beloved craft group organises via it) twitter @fatblackcatspaw where I get driven mad with distraction about politics (particularly local politics- I now know FAR too much about what is happening locally) and much more joyfully but addictively instagram also @fatblackcatspaw.  The problem is that you become a consumer of posts or reactive instead of standing in your playground playing. So as a huge enormous weight has shifted off me a few hours ago. Another annoying irritating local political shenneigans has finished its first consultation round. I’ve said my piece I can now think about other things.

I dyed these balls of yarn while I was ill in the last few weeks. They came to me via a craft group destash. Japanese yarn in slightly shaded green and pink and I over dyed them. I’m trying to wean myself off acrylic partly all the publicity about plastic me thinking about where our stuff goes and also the influence of two podcasters Knitbritish and Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet. 

The result has been that I’ve been making do and using up my stash. Not even buying from charity shops! I have had quite a few donations but even so I’m slowly making my way through it. I find that I have more than I thought in the under stair cupboard.

In other news the Fat Black Cat herself is sadly not so fat, has kidney disease and thyroid cancer so we sit together trying to give each other comfort. She may be furry but she holds my heart between her paws.

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Standing infront of a Fringe hoarding tonight in Edinburgh with a friend guesticulating rudely at the sight of 3 male comics advertised infront of us. Where are the women? And frankly Edinburgh’s pretty well over the comics too. ( You can tell the festival is coming a sleugh of London types are starting to follow me on twitter.)

Leith is full of young men cycling on pavements. They are drug couriers – a friend of mine yells after them ‘Ya mammy no let you on the road’ to try and embarrass them. Leith Polis in the style of getting Al Capone via tax – make the wee buggers bloody walk.

I’ve spent 24 hours trying to get the Fat Black Cat to pee into a litter tray to get a sample for the vet – she is most affronted and plotting to phone Catline.

I went on holiday to Galway and hurrah! the last vestiges of the desire to achieve have left and spent it pottering around quietly mostly in this awesome bookshop.

While I was having lunch at Ard Bia the owner came up and showed me a photo of a lady with a crocheted shawl and asked if I could make one (I was crocheting a shawl for the person I was going on to stay with) which lead me to look at photos of shawls on the Arran Islands.  I’m definately going to rock the shawl, scarf, black dress and sensible shoe look this year.

David-Bowie-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-1 What a tumultuous time I’ve been experiencing…. I’m aware that I’ve been writing  / thinking this for a 2 years now .. or more?

On Friday I went to a memorial in Glasgow which I was dreading. The weather was truly Shakesperian and cooperated by sheeting rain, gray skies and blacker buildings. I managed to fall UP some stairs – a first for me. I passed the few hours beforehand at The Yarncake. The truly hideous weather removed all desire to tramp to galleries to improve myself. Instead I parked myself in the The Yarncake, purchased some yarn and did a little crochet. If you are yarn minded and going to Glasgow do make the effort to seek it out only a few minutes walk from Hillhead underground station. The cakes looked utterly divine but I’d had a huge lunch at the Hillhead Book Club near the subway so resisted.

At the memorial I met people I haven’t seen in 15-20 years. People who belong to a different part of my life. A part which I sometimes regret, a part which I sometimes celebrate, a part which enrages me. (I am a former feminist activist who in middle age regrets not learing to use a gun. All I can say that it’s a jolly good thing this country has strong gun control laws). And recent encounters with young women online haven’t improved my mood.

I don’t know if the younger me could ever have understood or contemplated what I’ve been through in the last twenty years. How I have struggled through chronic unending illness to keep my sanity, try and create a bearable meaningful  life for myself.  How do you explain to someone who chirps at you – ‘have you made any films recently? That actually just getting up in the morning and getting through the day is a win? And that really I’m beyond the woman who thought mistakenly that achieving things and public ticks of approval was a good way to organise her life and that in anycase it never worked and never made her feel any better?

And then  the next day as a sort of reward by the universe after the gloom of the day before I went to a wedding. A lovely wedding where I sat with lovely people. Despite everything I’ve managed post my earlier life to make new friends. I was charmed to finally meet the mother of one. Who made my heart purr when she announced that really she had gotten rid of her husband after 20 years because ‘she couldn’t  be bothered to live with someone else’ and in her retirement has become a devotee of the most violent video games giving the geekiest dorkiest boy a good run for their money.

And today I met a friend for a walk on Portobello Beach and we followed it by errands in Ocean Terminal which evolved into trying to find the friend a grown up tutu to celebrate a photo of herself wearing one aged 5.

And yesterday before the wedding I went down to pick up a vinyl copy of my favourite album – the live recording of the last Ziggy Stardust concert. I’m too tired to set up the turntable I bought to play it on but consider it part of the same project. Not to wait for permission to do what we love and like, or hide it because its not the done thing to wear a Tutu aged 38, or video games if one is 60 plus and a woman or craft if one is a grumpy ill feminist.