Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter down the Rabbit Hole

Dearest Emily,

Hurrah for the Easter holidays, for time off to spend with family and friends. Great to see you guys and catch up on hugs, giggles and fun.

We opened our second shop for this holiday too- with much reason for adorning cakes with Bunny rabbits, chickens and chocolate.

The religion of my life hasn't a lot to do with world nonsense. Easter to me, simply means the start of a season to come- a part of the year when everything around me wakes up, the days get longer and show promise of sunshine and smiles- of life affirming hope for joy laying ahead. Baby rabbits signify birth in Spring, eggs and chickens the same, and chocolate ones just signify fun.

And that's it I'm afraid to say Em, no Jesus on the Cross, no anti-Easter offence- no offence actually. As I wake each day, and hear dreadful reports of atrocities carried out in the name of religion- my heart bleeds along with compassionate souls. But, religion sucks for me. In the name of Lewis Carroll making some imaginative sense of his surroundings by nonsense- the reality of things sometimes is more nonsensical...

Back to the Rabbit Hole, where everything is normal. I have to say, after its first weekend of opening- that I thought a Bookroom pride of place for strange tales...
Nope- you should've been a fly on the wall at our opening party Emily!
To be squirrelled away, as treasure for your next little sister's book.

Which, if it were a children's story- it may well begin with what you said to Annabel, when you were siiting in my little car...

As I took this shot you were saying "Come on Annabel, let's drive off and get some sweets!"...

Adieu for now, my lovelies,
Your ever-loving Grandmother, 
GiGi xxx

Monday, 7 March 2016

Telling Tales from the Bookroom

Dearest Emily,

It's been a little while since we spoke last on here- and I've been mulling over what to write for your new sister who is due in July.

You of course- being the first Grandchild and the eldest, got my first foray in print (post-knitting book.)

Back then, my excitement at sleuthing dead people and discovering that Julia Margaret Cameron of Freshwater fame was the muse for Lewis Carroll's White Queen in Through the Looking Glass, held no bounds and to accompany curating an exhibition at our Decadent Dimbola, I penned and coloured in your little book- and little then did we know what was to follow!

Leaping forwrds to 2014, and you were to have a new sister then! So, time for a new book, so it seemed to me, as she would need a book dedicated to her too. GiGi and the Cat was the result- a pastiche on what was occuring at Dimbola (freakishly happening in real-time as I was writing it) in the style of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.

This time, I didn't do my 'colouring-in' of Tenniel's work, instead creating my own 'Grotesques'.

Having no exhibition to curate this time- my manuscript languishes until I set my self ready to pastiche myself and my colleagues in print, (Annabel's birthday this year, Em.)

Now, here we are with the news that number 3 Grand-Girlie is cooking- so I had better get my thoughts together as to what to deicate to this new little treasure...

Well, as I have been writing your blog 'Tales from the Bookroom' since you were teeny-tiny, and we've journeyed together from The Bookroom in Yarmouth, to Decadent Dimbola, then Mrs Middleton's Shop in Freshwater- and we're about to go down The Rabbit Hole at my new shop-  we really have covered a lot of nonsense together, and I think it is high Carollian-time to spill the beans about Freshwater and the Wild West Wight. Seeing as how GiGi and Grumpa have elevated ourselves from D.F.L's (Down from London's) to fully-fledged Immigrants over the last 5 years- and life has taken on an altogether altered state, here on a little Island that's a few hours from ye olde metropolis- yet a million miles away from normality.

I remember Emily, when we first moved here, and Uncle Joe was all set to start his first term at school- aged 13, having been brought up in the centre of a city, and bringing the street-wise, yet sensitive teenager out to the proverbial sticks. All was going well, and I found myself taking up the offer from Mr Edmonson to work in the local Bookshop- where I had always half-joked that I would give up chasing Fashion-dragons for and thoroughly enjoy.

I did enjoy it- and there I began to write your blog, marvelling each day at the things I learned, heard and saw- and so it has been ever since.

One Wednesday, when I was doing my 'other job' which entailed dragging items of old clothing stock out of crammed cupboards, ironing it and photographing it on a dummy and whacking it up on ebay (a financially rewarding yet thoroughly tedious way of earning a living) I wandered out for a stroll. The moble library was visiting in the car park- so I hopped in and browsed, picking up a few choices.

That evening I sat down to read one-

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C Beaton.

Having been an avid Agatha Christie re-reader since I was thirteen, this spoof-sleuth, and her radical journey from P.R in central London to hapleess Cotswold Villager- pugnacious, and bending, but never yielding to village-life, took my fancy.

Agatha was authentically difficult, everything she touched turned into an adventurous nightmare. The blackly comic story of her efforts to embrace her new life, where she was neither able, nor willing to make her own quiche for the local competition- buying one instead from a chelsea deli- and entering that instead- amused me.

Her winning- yet poisoning the judge- and then sleuthing haphazardly to find out how he really died, bludgeoning her way around half-blindfolded through a quiet Cotswold village where everyone called each other by their surnames- delighted me. My fresh-aired evenings were Agatha filled as I also fifty- something, carved out my own new life out of the thick of it in London.

Grumpa was working away, and one day, I rang him and spoke about the book- having met the real-life 'Vicar's Wife' in the story a Mrs Bloxby- though my one was no longer a Vicar's Wife by profession- the way she gracefully glided about her 'parish' range bells of similarity. I decared to Grumpa that I was now living in this book and promptly changed my name to my married one- having previously used my single surname. This became my nom de plume for your book- but it stuck!

Since then, I have read, and re-read all the Agatha Raisin novels- and it is with these in mind- tongue firmly in chic, that- Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you-

Mrs Middleton's Tales from the Bookroom
number one...
where fact and fiction dwell as conspirators-
Freshwater Follies
Nobody in Freshwater really retired. Maybe it was the fresh air. Maybe it was the incredible landscape. Maybe the fact that on full-moons no policemen wanted to work that shift...
Ninety- year olds yomped up the down, past my eyes as I clambered over the barbed wire fence to walk my dogs, tearing any item of clothing that traversed it daily...
Enough already Em, I shall carry on with my first chapter and let you read it once I'm done. LOOKING FORWARDS TO SEEING YOU AND ANNABEL AT EASTER!
Your ever-loving Grand-mother,
GiGi xxxx