We are coming to that time of year when many of us are taking holidays and enjoying the opportunity to spend luxurious hours with those dearest to them. These happy little events are usually combined with fine victuals and infusions, and often a few little wrapped surprises.
This year I have started a little early, flitting over to the farthermost city of our fair country to visit and to venture through places I remember, and others I have heard lauded.
And what a piquant little time it was. One of the most surprising days was spent in a small university town outside of the city. Design, unusual stationery which incorporated themes and images from children’s books, and sweet little cafes tucked into tiny facades were inspiring and delightful. This was also a dream-come-true place of pristine vintage books in tiny stores with friendly prices. Bookish owners who were happy to discuss details of strange literacy histories and hearsay. Dark and dusty shops with vinyl records which you thought had disappeared for ever, or did not know existed, which rest heavily on others which have acquired a kitch, quaint or quirky presence as all our years seemed to have passed them by. There were, of course, others which would make you feel queasy if they made it to the turntable, but on the shelves simply seemed amusing. How exciting it was to walk out of the store with one of those slim square plastic bags made just for records. Shall I tell you what I made mine?
Greg Dear and the Beautiful Losers “lover/saint” and Nina Simone “forbidden fruit” as LPs. (Doesn’t 'LP' sounds so K-Tel!), the Bamboos “Virginia” b/w “Snuff” and the very exciting Partridge Family “I Think I Love You” b/w “Somebody Wants to Love You” on 7”. I also got a little Tubeway Army single for a dear friend.
And like surprises, friends are what make travel so worthwhile. I was fortunate to enjoy both on my glorious first day. There was sunshine, a big black beast of a vehicle, and beaches. We swam in that rollicking surf and stretched out on the sand to dry. The twilight generously gave us extra hours to explore a park with small pools, rolling lawns, unfamiliar flowers and plants and wading water birds. And there was the most perfect present for me to remember the time we had.
But sometimes a girl cannot spend enough time with her oldest and dearest friend, and I am afraid it was often compromised. Although I later ventured with others south into vineyards to discover delicious things, pristine seashores that extended to the horizons, and beautiful art and architecture, I missed the quiet time I would have liked to have had together to catch up on the little things which seem to make the most sense in this busy old world.