The Princess's Diaries

Friday, January 26, 2007


I feel nauseus...not sure why...might be those annoying LCET biscuits i ate a few hours ago...hopefully this nice cup of hot water will help's funny, the things we can grow to like, eh? Hot water indeed.

Well! I just came back from the library! I find libraries very conducive to reflection, as as such, rather invigorating places; mentally so, at any rate, and sometimes practically. You'll see what I mean in a minute. All those books - they're so full of ideas! As I peruse the shelves (the use of big words is also a direct correlation to spending time in the library) ideas come out at me from all angles...ideas about me, and this makes me reflect on myself. Today, for example, I passed a shelf of university prospectuses (prospecti?) and they reminded me of my desire to study art theory again at some point. I leafed through a few from London-based colleges and wondered how on earth this will fit into my future plans. Am I a passionate person? Do I get fired up about things? Sometimes I feel like I'm going along at 75% enthusiasm, at best. But then I do get fired up about dancing, and I get fired up about art, but only to 100% when I'm actively engaging with them. I guess what we feed, grows; and as I strode over the Art section and selected a book about the Britain's contemporary art scene and sat down to read, I couldn't help but grab my notebook and pen and started scribbling down the nuggets that would be useful to me, that meant something to me. I AM an art theorist at heart. I want to know what people are saying about art and I want to respond too. What kind of art am I passionate about? Art of depth and purpose and of lasting effect. When I make art, it ends up being immersive and physical, so that's what I value. To be honest, I'm not all that clued up on pictures. Which makes me think, how can I bring this element into my schoolswork? It's all to easy to stick with pictures, but if I believe in installation, I should use that too.

What a long train of thought, and it doesn't stop there. What I do is schoolswork. I've just admitted that I do it at 75% enthusiasm (at best). But the other day I went into Luton Sixth Form and spent no more than 50 minutes with some students, just sitting in a classroom idly chatting about exams. I tell you, I felt 100% in there. I wasn't even doing anything. And last week I sat next to a Cardinal Newman art A Level student talking about Elizabeth Blackadder as we doddled with watercolours, and there too I felt 100%. There's a theme developing here, and it doesn't surprise me. I'm not going apologise about not being totally energised by my schoolswork, because it reminds me that it's just a step towards the people I really, really want to work with.

Moving onto lighter things, the shelf in the library next to the Art one was full of craft books. Now personally I think there is a tension between crafts and contemporary art, but I think that as long as you don't confuse the two, you are free to engage in both activities. For me it's mostly about toys. Whenever I see little wooden Noah's Arks full of tiny wooden animals, or beautifully crafted dollshouses, I get this peculiar and slightly sentimental (okay, dreadfully sentimental) desire to set up a business selling my own handmade toys. This notion touched slightly closer to reality in the form of a catalogue for handmade greetings cards that came through the door this week, and which requested artists to get in touch if they were interested in selling their designs. I wondered about it.

This always happens. A trip to the library inevitably makes me reflect on my life and what I'm doing with it. The question really is, what am I going to do with all those thoughts have been stirred up? It's all of no consequence if I don't take action. That's what I mean by saying I'm only sometimes invigorated on a practical level. Do I care enough about selling some greetings cards to start developing some decent designs? Possibly not. Do I care enough about having integrity as an artist to try to bring my knowledge and experience and passion into school and help young people connect with something? I hope so.

At any rate, I can't wait to start my new saturday job at the library :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Anyone fancy going for a walk?

Whilst trudging through boggy grass today I was thinking today about the idea of taking a long walk. Bilbo goes on a long walk with 12 dwarves in The Hobbit. Several Middle Earth years later, the fellowship of the ring took a pretty long walk. Of course, those are highly romanticised versions with herioc deeds and strange meetings along the way. But extraordinary long walks happen in real life too.

I've never been on a really long walk, not even an ordinary one. So I think I would like to do one. A long, cross-country walk with no particular goal other than to reach the destination. I suppose I just wonder what it is like, to do pretty much the same thing day after day, putting one foot in front of the other with the scenery changing ever so slowly around you. I think I would like to do it this year, in the spring or summer. I don't fancy going alone, though. Anyone up for a long walk?

Muddy Shoes

We (LCET's Chaplaincy team) spent an afternoon together today in prayer and fellowship to start of our new term. We brought back to mind a prayer of Sir Francis Drake's which has been a focus for meditation for LCET this year:

Disturb us Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new heaven to dim.

Disturb us Lord to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
the horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope and love.

Dwelling upon this prayer we took a walk in the countryside, each of us in quiet contemplation, a lovely solitude amongst friends. This was a time of true peace for me, a wonderful refreshment for the soul.

As an aside, it is interesting that Myers Brigg has me as almost equal on the Introvert-Extrovert scale, with a slight tendency towards introvertion. It makes sense to me that my most peaceful times are when I am able to be quiet and 'alone' in the company of trusted others.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Season's Meetings

More to remind myself when I look back than to bore any other readers to death, I will now have a little written meander through the social whirlwind that was the Christmas Season.

Sun 17 Dec Church Christmas social at Pizza Express, spent much of the evening chatting with a Chinese student, Daisy, about China, its food and its people and its history. Following this conversation I have picked up the riveting book that I read a year or more ago, Wild Swans by Jung Chang, which chronicles the lives of three generations of females in the Chinese author’s family. Second time round I’m taking in much more of the historical and political details.

Mon 18 Dec LCET Young People’s Christmas Party: Bad Santa. Much hilarity (and exhaustion) for all involved – this event comprised 5 Santa’s Grottos, each featuring a Santa with a different attitude towards Christmas (Mad, Bad - grouchy, Lad - consumerist, Sad – about those who suffer, and Glad – about Jesus!). Activities included eating a bowlful of cold soggy sprouts. Fantastic stuff.

Tues 19 Dec LCET Staff and Friends Christmas Party. A classy event held in the basement lounge of the Hat Factory. I had been feeling for a while this December like I’d lost some of my joy, but my beloved brother came home from uni this night and my joy was fully restored! I dragged him along to the party which I enjoyed immensely, especially the magician/comedian fellow who did some Derren Brown style card tricks.

Wed 20 Dec Hat Factory Staff Social – the White House followed by Chicagos! I hadn’t had a proper night out on the town in a while and it was just what I needed! My peers at the Hat Factory are a group of around 6 girls in their twenties (the Beautiful Barmaids) and a few lads and they’re great fun! I’ve been hoping to make some good friends through my non-LCET work this year and it looks like I may have come to the right place :D

Thurs 21 Dec Cell Christmas Dinner, expertly cooked and hosted by Mr John Whittaker. I’m really enjoying being part of my cell; I feel very much at home with everyone. Special mention goes to John’s impromptu ‘Mediterranean Stuffing’ – basil leaves, garlic and onion, made in the unexpected absence of sage. He is my culinary hero (along with Pastor Gav and Nigella).

Fri 22 Dec Sotirios’s Birthday Celebration in Highgate, London. A group of us had dinner at a charming Indian restaurant, Kipling’s before heading next door to the Wrestlers pub where we spent the rest of the evening drinking champagne and bumping into a great many of Sooty’s old schoolmates.

Sat 23 Dec Christmas Eve Eve at the Christophers’. For the second year running my other dear brother and his lovely girlfriend came over for a table-top grill extravaganza.

Sun 24 Dec Christmas Eve. It is a Polish tradition to eat fish on Christmas Eve (it is also a tradition to begin dinner when the first star appears in the sky but we’re too old to fall for the ‘go and stand outside in the cold looking up at a cloudy sky’ thing these days) and furthermore it is a Christopher Family tradition to have my mother’s tuna-puff-pastry triangles, which I would recommend to any poles looking for an alternative to the large fish with glassy eyes sitting in the middle of the dining table. This year I upped the stakes by also making salmon and lime fishcakes, which were quite delightful. Then it was off to The Park for all the Christopher Siblings and further to St Mary’s Midnight service for the two younger Christophers, whereupon much merriment and rejoicing ensued in honour of Jesus Christ our Lord, without whom Christmas would be a mere pagan festival devoid of true and eternal meaning.

Mon 25 Dec Christmas Day. After the customary opening of the presents around the Christmas tree, which happens as early as we can bear to get up on Christmas morning, we set about preparing the Feast. I attempted Nigella’s spiced ham (delicious) as well as her bread sauce (pretty darn good) whilst my father accidentally caused the turkey to finish cooking about 2 hours before everything else was ready. Eating too much was followed by lounging in front of the TV and playing Boggle, which I repeatedly won.

Tues 26 Dec Day Off (from socialising). I think we watched a movie and read books all day.

Wed 27 Dec Auntie Rosie and Andrew’s Lunchtime visit. Buffet lunch + conversation. Does what it says on the tin.

Thurs 28 Dec Phoebe’s Visit, closely followed by Harriet’s Visit. Dear Phoebe (one of my closest friends from Lancaster) came over for an afternoon of lunching and shopping. We talked so much that we were somewhat distracted from the actual shopping and I ended up buying only two items – a green glass candlestick and a CD of trance music, which all came to a total of £2.98.

The beautiful Harriet then came over for tea armed with fabulous news which I confess I squealed about rather a lot, but quite justifiably I assure you.

Fri 29 Dec – Sat 30 Dec To the Williamses in Hastings. We tootled down to the wet and windy south coast to stay with my aunt, uncle and cousins in their new house. They’ve moved so that they can take in lodgers again (which they did in years gone by). The house pretty much my idea of perfection. Three storeys with wooden floors throughout, large grand rooms with fireplaces, high ceilings and elaborate coving, vast windows, gables and attic rooms. As if that wasn’t romantic enough, my artist uncle is building a studio in the back garden. With all of that I can forgive the place for being cold and draughty at all times.

Sun 31 Dec – Mon 1 Jan New Year, celebrated in freezing cold style in London with Luke, Sotirios and other uni friends. We had dinner in Chinatown and watched the fireworks from beside the London Eye with only a bottle of gin to keep us warm. Back to Sooty’s where I slept soundly in the Lemon Meringue Pie. New Year’s Day featured a trip to the Tate Modern and an exciting ride on Höller’s slide installation. I love the whole interactive art thing.

Tues 2 Jan Back to Work – I’ve had a marvellous holiday and I feel ready to start a new term’s work!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Welcome, 2007

Well, do you know what? I'm quite excited about 2007! Not least because i far prefer the number 7 to the number 6. I think it's going to be a great year!

I'm not sure that I want to make any resolutions but I do have some ambitions for 2007, and here is a non-exhaustive list of them:

  • Complete my Read 50 Books Challenge (I've been plodding away steadily with it but Jude, by completing her 100 books, has given me my second wind)
  • Join a ballroom dancing class
  • Write an article/piece about some art work or other and send it off to a publication. I know it won't get anywhere but I'd quite like to be an art theorist writer person at some point and I have to start somewhere!
  • Do something, anything to further develop my work with 16-19 year olds in Luton, because I think that's what I really want to be doing for the next few years.
  • Buy a wonderful red lipstick
  • Start learning to drive. I don't see myself having the pennies for this one but if I make it an ambition then I'll try extra hard to make it happen.
  • Visit my dear brother in Bangor for a nice walking/seeing what rural Wales has to offer holiday.

That's plenty to be getting on with for now, dearie me. A happy new year to you all, I hope it is full of blessings :)