A Foggy Day in London Town.

My eldest daughter and I were lucky enough to be in London during the Olympics this summer. My parents are in Sussex, Scotland was cold and wet and there was still a few weeks until the Scottish schools went back. I have siblings who live in London so on the pretense of going to lunch with them eldest darling and I set off on the commuter train to the big smoke.

But something very very strange had happened. People were talking to each other. The normal frosty atmosphere of London (which to a visiting Scot is amusing but not something I would like to experience frequently) was replaced by kindness and conversation. On the train into London we thought this is nice, but won’t last. We were heading to Swiss Cottage on the Saturday following the opening ceremony. All the news had been about avoiding London and traffic chaos  so we had low expectations and had allowed lots of extra traveling. Many hours discussion had taken place about the best way across London and which stations could not be alighted at.

Everything was much smoother than we had expected, and so after some negotiation (I think it involved chocolate) daughter and I got off close enough to walk to the British Museum. Apart from lots of over friendly “games makers” the streets of London were deserted and quiet.

We felt as though we had London to ourselves. It was hot and sunny and wonderful. Strangers – the few we met on the route – were walking in the middle of the road and smiling. I began to fear we had arrived in some alien city and that the film music was about to play. We discovered later that the men’s marathon route was all around us and that was why the roads were closed to traffic.

But we arrived at the British Museum without problem and walked in the main entrance. To those that know this amazing museum I hope you can understand our surprise when we arrived in the main foyer and instead of hordes of visitors we found that tourists were outnumbered by staff. My first thought was that they had just evacuated the whole building for a fire drill and that any moment thousands of people would rush back in. We rushed to our favourite gallery, the Egyptian galleries on the upper floors (darling daughter is 11) and a gallery that on many previous visits we have been unable to get past the doors into due to huge numbers of visitors. This time we had the whole floor to ourselves. Drunken with excitement we ran around for about an hour until we understood that floods of people were not about to join us.  We explored the whole museum, spent time in front of some favorites and discovered rooms we had never seen before.

One of our discoveries was a display of ammonite fossils and I was struck by how beautiful and simple they were. I had a pendant made of an ammonite surrounded in silver in my jewellery box, waiting for inspiration to strike, so I combined it with freshwater pearls and smoky quartz and the finished necklace is one I am very proud of. So proud that I may have difficulty actually parting with it. I have listed it for sale today, but it might appear on my own Christmas list instead!

This song does not reflect the sunshine or pleasure we felt at the British Museum, which could never “lose it’s charm” but it is a nice reflection of most of my London experiences and I thought it would add a nice touch to this post. Never miss a chance to reference Billie Holiday…enjoy x

Billie Holiday – A Foggy Day

A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The British Museum had lost its charm
How long, I wondered, could this thing last?
But the age of miracles hadn’t passed,
For, suddenly, I saw you there
And through foggy London Town
The sun was shining everywhere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jo2RaKyo5c

My Turquoise Honeymoon.

I think it’s about time that I explained myself. I love Turquoise. Since I was little it was my stone of choice. I wear it all the time. I had to name my jewellery business with turquoise somewhere in the title.

We honeymooned in Marrakech. As a modern western women I struggled with the male dominated culture. “What will your lady like to drink?” I had just finished organizing a wedding for 160 guests, while working full time, while helping our daughter settle into her first year at school. I was a whirlwind kinda gal and the sudden change of responsibility took me a while to adjust to.

But I came to like this different approach. My new husband and I, giddy with love and the novelty of honeymoon (you need the honeymoon after the headache of planning a wedding) would wander through the souk. From every doorway we would hear shouts and heckles, inviting “the beautiful lady…”  to examine their stalls. I would express interest in an item, a coffee set perhaps or a chess board. I learnt over many hours that the stall holders would not or could not negotiate with me. Even though my French is better than his.

Finally my husband and I came to an understanding. I would glance around the shop, using subtle eye movements to indicate which things I liked most, and then I would step out of the small booth and said Husband and stall holder would open bartering. Which could take some time. And involved mint tea. Camels were often discussed. Sometimes husband would exit the shop at speed with no explanation, while the seller shouted lower and lower numbers until we turned and resumed the banter. The “patter” as they say in Glasgow was good fun. Noisy, confusing and fun.

At some point nearing the end, but not always, money was exchanged and a parcel would be presented. After dinner when we returned to our exquisite hotel I would examine and open the parcels, never sure what had or had not been bought. Prices were never discussed.

This turquoise bracelet was such a parcel. Seven long links with six round connecting links. Blue turquoise with pale brown markings I wore it every day for a year. It is my turquoise honeymoon bracelet and I love it. And him.

I’m off to Handmade Harbour to see what the other bloggers have been up to. Then I’m going to open my bead box and spend the week making turquoise bracelets.

http://handmadeharbour.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/handmade-monday-83.html