June 30, 2005

Blue skies and Blood

Over the last two years I have been to Auscwitz many times. All the visitors that I have figure that they won't come back to Poland and most feel that it is important that the Concentration camp is somewhere to see once in your lifetime. Oswecim is a small town about an hours drive outside of Krakow. Yesterday I went there for the 6th time. This time I took a school party of 18 students, boys and girls of 14 years of age.

I hate going to the place. Everything that I see is emotional, interesting and horrific all at the same time. As I usually go with friends who have not seen the place, I am used to playing unofficial guide to my trips, but yesterday was different. Taking the children there made me look again at everything I saw. The students cried, they asked questions. They got upset, told me they didn't want to see anything else. Watching them realise that there was something so horrific in the world was quite an experience

Students today learn about stuff that happened in the past. They learn through books, teachers, video, films. Standing in the Crematorium in Oswecim and seeing the gas chambers took them to a whole different level of understanding. It will be a day that they, and I, will never forget.

"In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart."
Anne Frank

"History teaches everything including the future."

June 28, 2005

The Long Goodbye

I said my first farewell yesterday. We are now into the last seven working days of the summer term at school and as of next wednesday, I will no longer work here. I sent letters to the parents of the kids that I teach, telling them that if they wanted to review their childs progress, to arrange to see me this week when I have some time to talk them through what I have done this year. The parents of one of my favourite students, a kid that I spend a lot of time with, made an appointment to see me after school.

These are parents that I like very much, and am always happy to talk to about their child. They also came to say goodbye to me. They are moving to another country too in the summer. They said the nicest things to me about the help that I have given their child. They told me how valued I had been as a teacher, and it was all amazing to hear. As a teacher, it is what you hope people think, but assume that what you do is largely unnoticed. Although I was not really choked up, or on the verge of tears the farewell did remind me of one thing. I hate goodbyes.

"what a big mistake it was, saving all my goodbyes."
New Found Glory (Anniversary)

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened"
Dr Seuss

June 27, 2005

Spotting Krowki

There is a new art installation in the city of Warsaw. Over the last few years, in London, Prague and I believe also Paris, there has been a cow revolution. The art project basically involves producing white life size cows made out of fibre glass or plaster or something. These cows are then given to local artists who create pieces of art on the cow background.

I have read about this project in a couple of magazines but as I have not been wandering around the city centre for a couple of weeks I have not seen many cows. That all changed yesterday when I went into the Old Town for a few hours. On the bus I counted 18 cows, there are 100 placed all over the city. Some of them looked fabulous and some I was not so keen on.

My favourite one so far is stood on top of a bus shelter in front of the Novotel Hotel. It is painted with a red skyline of Warsaw and the sky is left white, so it looks like the Polish flag. My least favourite one is just over the road, in front of the Palace of Culture. It is basically a cow splashed with paint in three different colours. I also liked the bullseye cow at the top of Nowy Swiat.

I intend on having much fun over the next few weeks spotting cows. I might even get a little disposable camera and go cow hunting. I have been in the country for a week, I think that it enough training for urban combat with an art installation.


"You know the art isn't gone"
Queens of the Stone Age

"It’s all a big game of construction, some with a brush, some with a shovel, some choose a pen."
Jackson Pollack

June 24, 2005

Green Camp Part IV - A new hope

This morning, I stood at the edge of the lake at Serwy. I looked down into the clear green water and watched three fish with stripy scales float past. I breathed in deep and dived into the lake. The water was cool, clear and felt like silk on my sun battered skin. I had just been for a final kayaking session with K and we were both ready to get into the water. I swam into the middle of the lake and was treading water while I looked around me. I saw students windsurfing, power kayaking and lazing about on the pier watching the waterfront action. The sky was the bluest I have ever seen.

On the way back to Warsaw on the bus, I spotted loads of kids at various intervals along the roadside. Looking closer I could see that these kids had just come out of the forest with jars full of forest bluberries and were sitting at the side of the road waiting to sell them to people as they drove past. Another installment in the fruit fantasies of Polish people.

Green camp has been relaxing and exhausting in equal measure. I am glad to be home, but it made me so happy to be there.

"When Nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it"
Ralph Waldo Emerson

June 23, 2005

Green Camp Part III - Zemsta Sithow

I thought that nothing could top the exhilarating humiliation of my experience of Water Skiing yesterday. That was until I got on the bus, got back into the wet suit and made my way back to the lake of Hell. This time I was not nearly so fortunate. Let me tell you a little story.

I was stood at the edge of a platform. There is a lake outside the town of Augustow and it has one of the only two mechanised water skiing facilities in Europe. You stand on a little platform, and rather like a ski lift, are picked up when you grab hold of a rope. The rope is travelling at about 5 million miles an hour though and it is much harder apparantly than water skiing by boat, which is a more gradual pick up. Anyway.

I was stood at the edge of the platform in my wet suit, in public. I strapped myself into the water skis and started akwardly down to the little place you stand before you are pulled onto the water. My turn came, I held onto the rope and waited for the mechanical thing to pick up the rope. It did this at alarming speed and pulled me up. Oh yes, up. Right up, out of my skis. This left me flat on the platform, being dragged face down into the water, leaving the skis clear behind me. I have so many cuts and bruises I can't count. But this is nothing compared to the bruising of my dignity.

Isn't human nature hilarious? It occurs to me that in such situations, our instinct tells us to cling on, not let go. The result was much physical pain on my part and never ending laughter from Kinuk. We left the place seven hours ago and she is still giggling. The thing is, it was pretty funny really. And it would never stop me having another go. I went swimming this afternoon. I am going out on a Kayak tonight. I am Lara Croft, but chubbier, obviously.

June 22, 2005

Green Camp Part II

When someone handed me a wet suit this morning, I thought that I had become embroiled in the cruellest of practical jokes. However, after a lot of twisting and turning, kumping up and down and red facedness, I squeezed myself into the suit and found myself on a bus on my way to the Water skiing centre just outside Augustow.

I strapped myself into the skis that I was handed and made my way tentatively down the platform. On my first try I left the skis behind and managed to fall flat on my face straight into the water. By the third time, I was hooked and at least 15 metres away from the platform. Thats called progress. Me and Kinuk are going back tomorrow to try and get much better than we are at the moment. Although K was fantastic and stayed on for quite a while.

Green Camp has been brilliant with all the fresh air, sunshine and watersports that an extreme sprts enthusiast likemyself can handle. Maybe a bit of canoeing later...

June 21, 2005

Green Camp Part I

I spent five hours this morning speedint through the most beatiful parts of the Polish countryside and lake district. I arrived in the very small place of Serwy to be greeted by forest and water as far as the eyes could see, scorching sun and the smiling faces of all the students that I like best at school.

I wiled the afternoon kayaking up a storm with Kinuk, letting the water float us back to shore before frantically rowing back out into the middle of the lake. I wore shorts and my swimming costume all day and burnt my shoulders. Me and Kinuk sat and laughed hysterically at the 22 year olds trying to winsurf. We shouted encouragement and got happy giggles in return as they were so happy that we had bothered to come and watch them.

I got dragged into the freezing cold water by some of the Year 10 girls who insisted that I take them swimming. They splashed, I splashed and again laughter filled the air. Those girls are gorgeous in every sense. As I am writing now there is a disco going on outside. teenagers are in the bushes and I do not want to go and look, scared of what I might find.

Water skiing tomorrow. God help us all.

June 20, 2005

A tale of three rock chicks

Queens. Of.The.Stone.Age. Wow.

When TFT told me a few weeks ago that he was going to see Queens of the Stone age, I pushed my big fat snout in and decided to tag along. I liked QotSA but didn't know huge amounts of their stuff. Knowing that TFT was an uberfan did not deter me and I managed to get the last ticket from Empik in Arkadia.

I have been looking forward to this gig for a while. As a 29 year old it has been a couple of years since I have been at my rock chick best. Going to this gig has reminded me of everything that I love most about the gigging scene, seeing bands live and feeling the vibe that comes with being in a hot place that holds hundreds of people who like something you like. The venue of Stodola was fantastic and I can honestly say that in my veteran rock years I have never been to a concert with an atmosphere like this one.The crowd was excited, polite, loud, rhythmic and pulsated with energy. The support band 'Eagles of Death Metal' were welcomed as if they were the main act.

The lead singer of EoDM was a man who looked like he had walked off the set of the Dukes of Hazzard. He has a moustache that would make Stalin jealous and kept dedicating everything to "the laydeez". Great band, knew nothing about them but will bug TFT into burning the CD for me now. Herein lies the introduction of Rock chick number1. A blond hardcore drummer, a woman who is my new rock idol. She had fire, cuteness and the ability to rock like no woman I have ever seen (and I used to love Donita Sparks!). We all agreed that she was a goddess of percusion.

QotSA came out pretty fast after that and started a two hour metal cavalcade. They played load of the new album, which I squeezed out of TFT eventually a week ago. They also played load of singles from their album. But as TFT LB pointed out, when you tour a place only once every few years, you need to play the hits. This wasn't just an album promotional tour. This is a band that is nothing less than awesome live. Josh Homme, my love, my love. He is the sexiest man on the face of the earth. Yes, even sexier than TFT if you can believe that.

QotSA brought out rock chick number2. A keyboard player who looked like she had just stepped of the platform of a pole dancing club. In some peoples minds she won the title of Rock Queen, not mine though, and there is no accounting for personal 'taste'. Anyway.
I forgot about the joys of concert going, of having a strange man rubbing my leg for about 10 minutes. Feeling the wet back of a stranger as the crowd pushes you forward. Getting laughed at for jumping into the air to try and see the drummer. The sweat of a hundred strangers in my hair. Can I just say that the Poles know how to rock hard. Loved it. Turned me into rock chick number three.

A word about my many male friends, none of whom want to look after me when we are out. A couple of years ago Pete and I had a night out, drank too many whiskeys and when we left the pub, he actually twisted me round a couple of times before shoving me in the direction of home ( a 15 minute walk took me 1 and a half hours). Same thing last night. Midnight. Dark. "Bye Anne, we have to get the last Metro". If I had been engaged in a gun battle or similar would anybody care?
Great night out. Great band. Great company.

"Hey security! Open those doors or I am going to get really fucking angry..."
Josh Homme

"Yes, I'll teach you how to read the book of life
You can just look at the pictures if you like "
Most Exalted Potentate Of Love
Queens Of The Stone Age

June 17, 2005

Strawberry Fields

Everything is seasonal in Poland. There are times of year when things are done and times of year when they are not. This is the season of cherries and strawberries. All over the city, on the bus, on the street, you see people with carrier bags full of cherries or strawberries. On the corner of the street that I work on you can get a kilo of strawberries for 3 zloty 50 grosz ( about 55p). In our staffroom there are big bowls of fruit that are washed and put down for people to pick at when they come in for their break.

Half way through february, all the street flower sellers suddenly start to sell nothing but tulips. Again, people all over the city are buying and carrying these flowers about. I love this idea of waiting a whole year to enjoy your favourite thing all over again. A few weeks ago the lilac blossom was out on the trees and people climb up, cut off huge bunches and sell them, so my flat smelled like Lilac for a week and I loved it. A little while after that it was Lily of the Valley. Very small bunches tied with coloured string around the bottom.

Warsaw life runs in little cycles like this. Changes based around the seasons. Life is very different in the winter and summer. Me and my friends are all commenting at the moment about Warsaw summer days. When the sun shines and the city is so green, you can forget what it is like to have to put five layers of clothes on before you step outside. You forget that you have to wear the same sheepskin boots every day for 4 months. Summer is here with its strawberries and sunshine and we can roll into the cycle of sunny days and light evenings along with the rest of the city.

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."
Russel Baker

June 16, 2005

To be or not to be....

Joanne arrives three weeks on Saturday. She came last summer and we travelled around Berlin, Budapest and some bits of Poland. When she comes back this summer it will be for the last time because I am moving to Paris. She is only coming for a week and I want to spend most of it in Warsaw, going to the last few places I haven't been and just wistfully walking in Lazienki Park thinking about what life will be like in Paris.

I have a quandry about Joannes visit, because we have said that we wil go away somewhere, even if it is only for a night. Joanne wants to visit somewhere new and so do I, but there is a side issue. I wanted very much to go back to Krakow before I left Poland. I am finding now that I will not really have the time or money to do this. I am so skint at the moment that it is just not even funny. I would have loved to go to Wroclaw or Kazimierz Dolny, but I want more than that to go to the Salt Mines just outside Krakow.

I need to have a good think about what I don't want to leave Poland without seeing. Too much I would have thought.

June 15, 2005

Once upon a time....

Once upon a time there lived a little girl. She was desperate to have some friends, but found that she couldn't because the other little girls didn't like her. She was shallow and too bothered about how she looked, and so the other girls didn't want to play with her. "I'll show them!" she thought. And so she learned how to make a different kind of friend. Older, ugly men.

Now the little girl still wanted to have other little girls as friends, so whenever she got the chance she would be try far too hard to be nice to them. But the other girls were not interested and so she had a companion, she agreed to marry a man that she didn't love. She would keep telling the other girls that she didn't love him, so they would give her some attention. This didn't work and behind her back the other little girls wondered why anyone was so desperate not to be alone that they would rather be in the wrong relationship than have no relationship at all.

The little girl still wanted attention, and so she found another way. She started wearing clothes that made the other little girls mad, and the older, ugly men like her even more, but for all the wrong reasons. She would wear low cut tops, but with no underwear, so when she leant over you could see things that you are not supposed to see in a school. One day, she wore a skirt that was so see through and the other girls could see the pattern on her lace G string. It made them all dislike her even more.

Alas, the little girl needed no more punishment for her silly and selfish ways than to live the life that she had chosen for herself. The little girl lived life full if disappointments, half promises and never knew true love as she was never bold enough to try and get to know herself. She looked at what the other little girls had and always wished that she had what they had. Intelligence, friendship and dignity. And forever more she was doomed to look at the lives of other women and wonder what she might have been.

"Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said"
CS Lewis

"In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance
that fairy tales should be respected."
Charles Dickens

June 14, 2005

Eastenders abroad

Even though I am a true Yorkshire girl in every sense of the label, I have a strange affinity to Eastenders. Every week day, on BBC Prime, at 7.30, Eastenders is on. Now, being a northener, I would always go for Coronation Street or Emmerdale by nature. But I live in Poland and I have to get my kicks where I can in the world of idiosyncratic British soap operas. I like Eastenders and even though I miss it very often, as my life here is packed full, I enjoy it so much when I do watch it and it really does remind me of home.

Soaps are a massive part of contemporary British culture and we find morality in them for the modern age. If my Polish were better maybe I would find some morality in "M jak Milosc" and I would be engaged in those characters, but it isn't so I don't. England continues to feel simultaneously very far away or stiflingly close. After two years away I know that I will maybe always feel a little bit foreign when I go home. When I got on the plane two years ago to come to Poland, I swore that I would never return to the UK as a resident. After my time here, I know that I won't be able to live there again. I don't miss England anymore. I love it. It is part of me, but I don't miss it. I am happier living my life abroad than I ever was anywhere in England. That is not because of England, that is because of me.

"The English never draw a line without blurring it"
Winston Churchill

June 13, 2005

Crazy Horses

I have had a fabulous weekend. On Friday night we went to Dekada, a club near the Jan Sobieski Hotel in Warsaw. We danced all night, drank cocktails and laughed and gossiped the night away. Me and Jo wiggled away to a selection of appalling eighties classics that never fail to get you on the dancefloor.We danced with Allys friends M and he stuffed our handbags up his shirt at the end of the evening, so we thought that they had been stolen.

There was a big group of us, so we moved about and chatted to different people to keep the evening interesting. A friend of mine came who none of us have seen in quite a while. It was great to see him and he had a good catch up with everyone, which was fantastic. We all left the club a bit worse for wear and I was reminded on Saturday morning of just how much I can't take big nights out anymore. 3 cocktails + late night = headache? I don't think so.

On Saturday night we went a bit more upmarket. We went to a Ball at the Intercontinental hotel on Jana Pawla. We all dressed up, did our hair, made an effort with our make up and went ready to mingle and chat to the parents of the kids that we teach. The place was fantastic. The PTA had really gone all out and managed to get sponsored by all sorts of people. Polish chocolate giants 'Wedel' had sponsored a chocolate fountain and there were plates and plates of chocolates. We drank champagne and ate beautiful looking and fancy tasting food. We watched a fashion show full of pouty and pretentious looking models wearing clothes inspired by Tibet. I talked to the parents of one child that I have lessons with and they were so nice to me. There was a lot of kissing (three times in Poland!). I sat on my table with a variety of people from Warsaw and my friend Daniel was nice enough to come with me and keep me company. Another late one, but totally worth it.

I think that I am becoming a party animal, just like I was when I was 20. One weekend. Two late nights. Crazy.

"Dance till the stars come down from the rafters
Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop."
W.H. Auden

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in a while you could miss it."
Ferris Buellers Day Off

June 10, 2005


The 130 is the number bus that I get every morning to my school on Limanowskiego near Sadyba in Warszawa. Every wednesday I get the 117 from right outside my door when I spend the day at the Early Years centre. It is amazing how quickly getting these buses became routine for me. At the start of this year, N and K also started getting the same bus after they moved to Warsaw last summer. Last year I would sit with a book or gaze dozily out of the window if I was tired. This year, I have caught up on the books that are being read, or the programmes watched every morning.

We go to the little shop most days and always get the same stuff. Cherry strudels, poppy seed buns, cranberry juice, sparkling water, bread buns. The lady is really polite, and always says hello. Every now and then, when she has a day off, she is replaced by a woman who sounds like she should be in an iron lung and doesn't like anyone. We all then shuffle the last 100 metres to school and buzz to get let in through the gate. My first stop after that is always the kettle as I have to get some more tea inside me.

I have forgotten most of what my daily routine was like when I was working at the school in Northallerton. But I do remember how hard it was to get up this morning. I am going out later to a club and meeting up with a friend that I haven't seen much of lately. I am looking forward to that. We are going to a place called the Dekada, not sure what it will be like, but I am always more than happy to try the new stuff.

"You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet.But sometimes you meet these people you can't forget. Those are your friends"

June 09, 2005

And now, the end is near...

I am coming towards my last french lesson with TFT. It will take place on Saturday afternoon. I can't believe that I have had french lessons since February, nearly four and a half months. I have no concept of my progress, but I know that when I actually get to Paris I will pick up the language very quickly. The last couple of lessons have been quite hard for me and I have not been motivated. TFT has had the pleasure of a childlike Anne squeaking and hiding in her cardigan. I have pouted and sulked, telling him that what he asked me to do was trop difficile.

I will miss my lessons though. Learning languages is something that I am passionate about. I have often said that if money was no issue I would go back to university and study languages. One of my life goals is to be able to speak three or four foreign languages fluently. At the moment I am no-where near reaching that target. As I studied French along with every other school age child in the UK, it makes sense that I would work on becoming fluent in french first. I am glad that I am going to Paris, gives me a chance to work on this.

After I have lived in Paris for a while I will come back to Warsaw for a visit. And when I do, I will make sure that I speak to TFT only in French. I am sure that he will be amazed at how much progress I have made while inwardly marvelling at what a good grounding in the conjugation of verbs I have. I have little doubt that I will apprciate my lessons with TFT best when I am in Paris, speaking French every day.

" I like intelligent women.When you go out, it shouldn't be a staring contest"
Frank Sinatra

June 08, 2005

Astral conversations with small children

8 yr old: Who is your boyfriend?
Me: I don't have one.
8 yr old: But you must! Who do you like?
Me: I like him (shows picture of the lead singer of Maroon 5)
8 yr old: Then you can marry him!
Me: But I don't know him.
8 yr old: But you should marry him!
Me: I don't think it works like that.
8 yr old: Yes! If you like him, then you love him. I can't wait until you get boyfriend.

"Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship."
Oscar Wilde

" A woman who pretends to laugh at love is like a child who sings at night when he is afraid of the dark"


I am going to a ball on Saturday night. At a very fancy hotel in Warsaw. I have been invited by the Head of my school and I will sit on a table with local important people, or something like that. Sort of like going to the Captains table when you are on a cruise. Maybe.

I already have a dress and now I need to decide what my hair is going to look like, if I have enough jewellry and all that stuff. I think that I might need to go out and buy a new silver bag to go with my dress. You heard that correctly. Silver.

Anyway, I am working with the little kids today. I spent an hour this morning with a very bright 5 year old, trying to explain to him why dinosuars and birds lay eggs and not humans. Don't get him started on what he doesn't understand about crocodile eggs, thats a whole other show. He is the most gorgoeus brown eyed child in the world, and I love the work that I will do with him. Another one to miss. I have lost count now of all the kids that I won't get to see get any bigger.

This afternoon I will go back over to the main school where I am working with a 14 year old on maths. I love the variety that my job gives me. He will give me all the gossip on who is going out with who. A whole different type of work enjoyment. We will talk about music and he will look at me amazed that a 29 year old would even know who Maroon 5 are.

"I am not young enough to know everything"
Oscar Wilde

June 07, 2005

Year 4

I am sat with a class of nine year old kids while thet draw underwater scenes. They are all happy drwaing treasure chests and shark with big fins and sharp teeth. We have the radio on the background and we are listening to Polish music that Ally has downloaded.

The weather is a bit grey but the kids are all in a great mood. However, one child has to stay in at break time tomorrow for writing "die sucker" out of the mouth of his shark. Oh dear. We have the girls drawing mermaids and the boys drawing pirhanas eating divers who have been caught in the water. I have one child who won't colour in his fish, he told me that they are see through.

I have a meeting after school that is going to go on forever. School is taking over everything else at the moment as I get nearer the end of term. I like being here though. We had a summer reception on Friday and I saw my year nines singing "wake me up when september ends" by Green Day. Made me realise, not for the first time, what I will miss about the school. The kids.

June 06, 2005

Monday morning 5.19

"It's Monday Morning 5:19, and I'm still wondering where she's been, 'cos every time I try to call I just get her machine. And now it's almost six am, and I don't want to try again, 'cos if she's still not back then this must be the end."
Rialto (Monday morning 5.19)

Quote first this morning, I am not sure why. When I was on the bus with K and N today it kept going through my head. A song by long gone indie band 'Rialto'. I always thought that it was such a sad song, and I liked the name of the band because I love Venice so much.

Went to see Star Wars episode 3 yesterday. It would appear that I am impressed by special effects after all, thought it was fantastic. I went to Arkadia on Saturday afternoon and managed to get the last ticket in Empik for the Queens of the Stone age gig in Warsaw. Watch me rocking out with a load of black tshirted, long haired, tatooed polish rock gods. Should make for an interesting evening out.

Need to get geared up for another busy week. I am hurtling through time and space towards the end of this term. I don't like my hair most of the time, so I blow dried it today.

Today, my favourite verb tense is the present indicative. Used with "en train de" and the infinitive to show something that I am doing right now. Je suis en train d'ecrire.

June 03, 2005

Mix tapes

Ally is making me a mix tape. Although clearly it is no longer 1989 and I am no longer 13 so we have moved into the sphere of mixed, home burned CDs. I am still going to say mix tapes though, because it is my blog and I can do what I want.

So Ally is making me a mix tape of Polish songs that I like and want to remember after I leave Poland. I have mix tapes in my music collection that have lasted for over 15 years. They make me smile every time I listen to them, or on occasion even hold then in my hand and see an old friends faded writing surrounded by doodles of hearts or stars.

Every mix tape is there for a reason. I have one off Peter, a guy I worked on summer camp with 10 years ago. It is full of trendy indie music with lyrics that make you think. When I am in a car with a tape deck I always stick it in and scream along to Weezer singing 'the world has turned and left me here'. I have one off Joanne, my best friend from university. It has all the songs that she knows I loved best. Counting Crows, a song called 'Morning afterglow' by Electrasy, Strumpet by My Life story, Always on my mind (Pet shop boys version).

They make me think about the people that gave them to me and they make me think about what I liked all those years ago. Its like a piece of the club that I used to go to in Southport when I was a student. I am sat by the field in North Carolina when I listen to the tape from Pete. The music takes me back to a different time. It is the soundtrack to something that has already passed and gone. Mix tapes are the romance, the emotion of something that I went through. But they are also a little bit of the person who makes it for you. It is filled with the affection of a child giving you a drawing. It is all about what they think you might like.

In this age of expensive gift giving, I would take a mix tape anyday. Ally, looking forward to squealing all the wrong words to 'Trudno Tak' in fifteen years time.

"The making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art - there are many dos and don’ts."
Nick Hornby

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music"
Aldous Huxley

"Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is best."
Frank Zappa

June 02, 2005

A Tale of three cities...

I have just finished reading the final installment of Mary Hoffmans Stravaganza series. When I worked in the UK, I discovered a total love for contemporary childrens fiction, and I am not just talking about Harry Potter. I really enjoyed the Wind singer trilogy, Cornelia Funke books, anything by Philip Pullman, Eoin Colfer, Garth Nix or Lemony Snicket. I have read stuff across all genres and age groups but I like the teen sci fi/fantasy stuff best.

I found the stravaganza books by accident, after looking at the front cover of City of masks and realising that it might have something to do with Italy. As it Italy is where my true heart lies I bought the book without really looking at what it was about. I adored the story and was pleased to learn that there was going to be a second and third installment. City of Stars was every bit as good as the City of Masks. City of Flowers, the final part of the trilogy was fantastic, I was so happy with the ending and spent the entire time that I was reading thinking about Italy again.

City of Masks will always be my favourite because I know Venice so much better than Florence or Sienna. Loved the books. Have a read if you want some child like adventure.

".. when someone blushes, doesn't that mean "yes"?"
Le Petit Prince

June 01, 2005

Mon chef d'oeuvre

I am in the middle of creating something. I am making my masterpiece. Last night I began painting something special. When this is passed into the world, it will truly be a gift to the person on which it is bestowed. The backround is completed and I will begin the process of allowing my "talent" to wander across the page and see what is produced. I am sure that the end result will astound and amaze. I am like a child in these things. It is the process and not the result that matters. Maybe I will think about making a paper mache pig when I have finished mon chef d'oeuvre...

"I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality."
Freida Kahlo

"All grown-ups were children first. (But few remember it)."
Le Petit Prince