Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

This has been the worst Christmas since Pam died. Last night I cried until my bones ached then I went to bed and dreamed that the world was ending and Pam and I were trying to find a place to be for the final end.

This is proving to be an awful time of year for me. Last night I came to the conclusion that perhaps the best thing would be not to do it anymore. Just try to shut Christmas and New Year out. It's too painful. Pam was my family. This is a family time. Let's all gather and be that happy family that we are supposed to be. Let's make it all nice. Let's make the table nice, the food nice, let's put glitter on everything and make it nice. Cover it with gloss. Now all that gloss makes me feel even worse. I've looked at blogs with photos of happy, shiny families all about to tuck into hills of tasty looking food. Gifts wrapped creatively and cosy scenes of bliss. Everyone getting what they want. I wish someone would put some photos up of the after effects. The bloated bellies and screaming rows. No this whole Christmas business only makes me feel the loss even more acutely. When the pain hits like this I feel like I've been thrown into a void. Like I don't belong anywhere. Like I've lost my place in the world.

Right now I feel like I'm going to end up in a home a lonely old woman who no one gives a shit about.

What I wouldn't give right now to be in a cafe with my sister having a good old chin wag and laughing our heads off.

Yes you are damn right I'm feeling sorry for myself.

Perhaps I'll delete this soon... sorry.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Duino Elegies

  • But listen to the voice of the wind and the ceaseless message that forms itself out of silence.
  • It is murmuring toward you now from those who died young.
  • Didn’t their fate, whenever you stepped into a church in Naples or Rome,
  • quietly come to address you?
  • Or high up, some eulogy entrusted you with a mission,
  • as, last year, on the plaque in Santa Maria Formosa.
  • What they want of me is that I gently remove the appearance of injustice about their death—
  • which at times slightly hinders their souls from proceeding onward.
  • Of course, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,
  • to give up customs one barely had time to learn,
  • not to see roses and other promising Things in terms of a human future;
  • no longer to be what one was in infinitely anxious hands;
  • to leave even one’s own first name behind,
  • forgetting it as easily as a child abandons a broken toy.
  • Strange to no longer desire one’s desires.
  • Strange to see meanings that clung together once, floating away in every direction.
  • And being dead is hard work and full of retrieval before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity.
  • Though the living are wrong to believe in the too-sharp distinctions which
  • they themselves have created.
  • Angels (they say) don’t know whether it is the living they are moving among, or the dead.

Monday, December 12, 2011

What a Giddy Kipper! As Pam would say..

Tonight I am performing 15 minutes of my one woman play with 5 others at a venue in Santa Fe. This play has been in the works for many moons and Pam was very much in the mix. I would call her at all hours and read the things I'd written and as always she would be a huge support. Well I hope I can embody the phrase Pam invented and be a true Giddy Kipper tonight in her honour. I'm doing the full play here in March.

I thought I'd share a few photos of the family members I'll be playing tonight, the 'stars of the show' as per usual!

Star No. 1 Nana. The big dresser she is as Madonna..

And Boy George!

 Star No. 2 Mum. In the Mikado

Mum and Dad on their way to be audience members of The Good Old Days TV show..

Star No. 3 Dad. Being daft with friend Diane..

Here he is behind his bar which is mentioned in the show..

Sitting in the bath just now, where we get all our best ideas, I thought of doing this post. League of Gentlemen also came to mind. This is an English TV show that Pam and I watched together one summer at her Inn in Newport. We bloody loved it for its similarity, be it a rather dark, twisted version to our family and to people from the north of England. The clip below reminds me of all the times I went to audition for commercials in the UK. Zany, Giddy Kipper humour..and she's called Pamela!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jimmy, Pete and an Ugly Duckling..

Mum, Pam, me and some guinea pigs Jimmy and Pete. Dad had a way with these guinea pigs. He would shout,'come one Pete, woo woo woo' making loud guinea pig sounds and they, Pete in particular, would run and jump in the air from one end of the cage to the other. Like a bucking bronco. I don't know if this is common practice. Pete's the one on the right, no surprise there.

Well one fine Clayton day(and there weren't many of those)a mad local dog broke into the cage and killed them. The police said we weren't the only ones in the neighborhood. Dad actually caught the dog with it's head in the cage and chased it with Jimmy in it's mouth. He saved Jimmy, who was mine, but then the bastard dog came back another day and killed him.

Dad reported Jimmy's murder and a policeman came to our house and wanted to talk to me, Jimmy's owner. When dad called me and I saw the policeman I noticed myself adopt a very theatrical gait as I walked towards him, my head down, my pace slow, sighing deeply so as to show him that I was in mourning. This was the first time the thought struck me that the stage might be a good destination for me..

Notice, I'm sure you already have, that I am deeply into my ugly duckling phase in this photo. I think the smile on my face is a large indicator that I was well aware of this fact. Love mum's 70's eyebrows. And as for Pam, all I can say is I do hope those guinea pigs have already been to the toilet!

photo c/o cousin Sally, thanks Sal!

Monday, November 28, 2011

An Interview with Vibeke of A Butterfly in my Hair blog..

It all started with Automatism. Then that led to English Muse, that led to Via and that led to A Butterfly in my Hair. I can't help wondering if Pam was leading me. Pam loved beautiful things. She single-handedly transformed a huge house in Newport RI into the cosiest B&B. She was very depressed at the time and the prospect of decorating this big house was daunting. She said someone told her to do two things a day. So she did and you should see what she accomplished. Alone and again without much drama.

She had an eye for beauty. She told me that she would stare at beautiful women said sometimes she couldn't take her eyes off them. This takes me back to when she was age 3. I'd watch her staring blankly at herself for hours in the bathroom mirror pushing her lips forward like Brigitte Bardot. In the little red dress that she loved so much. How enchanting. She also loved knitting.

So how come I am now spending hours looking at beautiful, homey blogs with lots of glorious knitting. Hmm..

Then last week Vibeke saw that I was following her blog and she seemed to fall in love back. She asked me if I would consider doing an interview for her lovely blog! Well as you can imagine I thought this was bloody marvellous. I've put the start of the interview below, click on the link for the rest of the conversation. She's from Norway. I love the blogosphere!

conversation with jane
i LOVE doing these conversation posts with different women that inspire me in their own special way; it can be everything from what they create, their interior style to their view on life. if you want to read the previuos conversation posts you can click at the label at the end of this post.

my conversation this time is with the beautiful Jane Lancaster who has a blog dedicated to her sister Pam. Pam was killed in a plane crash at the age of 43 ,July 3rd 2008, along with the flying instructor Charlie and her husband Keith. there is so many things about Jane that inspires me and i am deeply honored to share her and her sisters story at my blog.
thank you dear Jane for allowing me!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Things Pam Knitted...

Pam was a natural at knitting. She started knitting around 2002 after she'd been to visit me here in Santa Fe. While she was here I took her to see a psychic. Well of course, this is woo woo town. Amongst other things the woman said that Pam was a weaver and had been a Hopi Indian. Well of course. The following Christmas I went to stay with Pam in Long Island where she was living alone in a rented apartment. She was very depressed having broken up with her boyfriend Keith. She was feeling stuck and lost and lonely. We went shopping to Port Jefferson and walked past a knitting shop. 'Come on,' I said, 'Go in there and get some wool.' The answer was a weary sigh and a no.'Come on. Remember that woman said you are a weaver? This could be just the thing to cheer you up.' The answer was still no so I dragged her into the shop and forced her to buy some wool and knitting needles. Back in Santa Fe when I spoke to her on the phone she was so excited,'Jane! Jane! I love knitting, I just love it!' So she went on to knit and knit and knit. She never stopped knitting until the day she died. 

Recently after scouring lots of blogs where women knit gorgeously I felt the urge to knit. My friend from madrigal group Barbara an addicted knitter told me of Looking Glass Yarns on Luisa Street. A few weeks ago I had just finished guzzling coffee and working on my play at Santa Fe Baking Co just round the corner from Luisa Street aha I thought I'll go in. The shop is run by two sisters which sent a pang through my heart. I signed up there and then for a fingerless glove class. My mum had already taught us to knit when we were teens but I never stuck it out and never followed a pattern. Last week I asked mum who taught her to knit. 'No one, I taught myself. Well I had to do something as an only child left alone night after night while my parents went out drinking!'

Pam knitted some things for me the pink, the blue and the pale green below. All the other sweaters were at her house when we went to clear it out. After her death. I've been meaning to do a post on this for ages. Now we've got our fabulous new camera we had a lovely time at our cabin taking these photos.

Funny how everything is a drama for me. The whole time knitting the gloves there was a running commentary from me about every problem and mistake. Loud screams and expletives. Pam never said a word. Just quietly got on with it. Now I look at these pieces that she made I'm amazed at what she accomplished. So quietly and undramatically she was so talented. I'm so proud of her.

And now for my fingerless gloves..... Pam as usual you were right when you kept telling me to knit and I dismissed you... I love it!!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So True

I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
As water in a sieve: give not me counsel;
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
Bring me a father that so loved his child,
Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine,
And bid him speak of patience;
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine
And let it answer every strain for strain,
As thus for thus and such a grief for such,
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form:
If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
Bid sorrow wag, cry 'hem!' when he should groan,
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience.
But there is no such man: for, brother, men
Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
Their counsel turns to passion, which before
Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
Charm ache with air and agony with words:
No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
But no man's virtue nor sufficiency
To be so moral when he shall endure
The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Door Marked Summer

Photos care of Lorna McLauchlan, Pam's schoolfriend.

This is an excerpt from The Door Marked Summer by Michael Bentine a member of The Goon Show speaking about his son who was killed in a plane crash.

By noon, the airfield at Lashham admitted that one of their aircraft was missing. As I stood in the garden of our home, I prayed to the forces of light to guide me and - suddenly, my door marked summer swung open. There beside me was Gus. I felt his touch on my shoulder and heard his anxious voice in my ear: "Daddy! I'm terribly sorry - so sorry!" Then the words came clearly: "It wasn't Andy's fault! The bloody machine went wrong in the air."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Birthday Party

I sang two songs at my party on Saturday night, The Very Thought of You and Autumn Leaves a song Pam used to sing. I broke down at the end of it. I might have known. Then I sat down and glanced to the side of me where Ron's two-year-old granddaughter was sitting on her mum's lap. On her t-shirt were two words..Big Sister.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

50 today.

Can't believe I'm 50 for one thing...and that Pam isn't here with me for another... life is weird.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monsters from the Id

Pam on a trip to Redcar in a red coat. 
 Dad's parents, mum and Pam.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Pam loved opera. I don't sing opera anymore. But here I am singing Puccini in 2003. I know Pam would want me to still be singing opera but I don't because it makes me cry. A year ago Ron happened upon a madrigal group on Craigslist and he forced me to join. Thank God he did, it brings me such joy to sing with them. I'm sure it was Pam who brought it really.

I love how I sound here..... and it makes me cry..


Monday, August 29, 2011

Pam in Taos

Pam visited me about five times here in New Mexico. I think these photos were her first visit. Here I took her to Taos Pueblo. This is her just outside the Pueblo calling the horses..

Mum and Dad came for the wedding this June and I took them to Taos. I got them to stand in all the places that I took photos of Pam...

And always some silly ones.. Pam then wearing a scarf that she knitted herself...

And me this year..

So now let me share with you Pam's trip out here at the end of 2003. We bought wool in Taos and she knitted a lovely scarf for me. She got her plane times mixed up so ended up staying an extra few days. We watched the film 28 Days Later and giggled like kids chasing each other round the room like the infected flesh eaters. Pam was particularly good at it and had me quite convinced a time or two! I don't think I've laughed so much since.. And of course she got her dog fix..

God these photos make me cry... sorry it's been so long getting this together.. You can probably imagine why..