There are a lot of people painting things on buildings in London, particularly in Eastern London. Of course everyone used to hate it but now it’s become really celebrated and coveted. Some of the graffiti looks nicer than others.
Caught red-handed! Although it was fascinating to watch. How does someone get a spray can to paint with such precision? Also, I like bees.
Y is for York!
Some of the graffiti art is teensy tiny. This artist, Ben Wilson, paints on smashed pieces of gum.
Graffiti isn’t the only thing on the walls of London that’s interesting. There are historical plaques all over the place. I liked this one in particular; nothing like a 400 year old pesthouse. Of course the pesthouse is long gone. It’s now a car park. I wonder if once we’re dead we can look back in history and watch things unfold. Because I bet life in the 1600’s was pretty interesting.
I don’t know why I find the idea of a milkmaid so charming, but I do. Sadly the milkmaids were nowhere to be found.
And while this isn’t technically a wall, it’s still a vertical surface. I totally dig this door knocker.
There was just no end of cool stuff to see in London.
Back in the early 80’s when I was an awkward pre-teen I fell in love with some animals. They weren’t real animals, they were much better than that; they were Critter Sitters. These were soft, adorable illustrations of animals dressed up all cutesy doing things that animals clearly aren’t meant to do: why would a koala rake leaves or talk on the phone? I never asked myself that question once. (Who decided there was anything cute about raking leaves anyway?) None of that mattered. I was madly in love with Critter Sitters.
I managed to get a few critter sitter folders since they were cheap and easy to find.
I also got a nightshirt that I wore to all slumber parties and sleepovers. I felt so attractive in it; like I was actually as adorable as the animals printed on the front. The holy grail of Critter Sitter items was, in my mind, panties. I saw a pack of panties with Critter Sitter characters on them and my heart nearly stopped. Now this was back in the day when everything came plain and you had to pay extra for cartoon characters. Nowadays it’s the opposite and I have to search high and low for plain, non-character clothing. Most of the underwear my mom bought for me was waist-high briefs printed with tiny rose buds. There was a pair with pink roses, a pair with blue roses and the most disdained: the pair with yellow roses. I don’t know why I didn’t just spend my allowance and buy some critter sitter underwear, but that wasn’t even in the realm of possibility in my feeble 10-year-old brain. So I decided the next best option would be to paint Critter Sitters onto my own underwear. I was born uttering the phrase, “I’m sure I could do that. How hard can it be?” Now that I’m an adult, that viewpoint has really come in handy. But preteens are not so good at doing stuff.
I got out a pair of silky white granny panties and the only paints I owned–watercolors–and set to work. Within a couple of minutes it became clear that, as brilliant an artist as I was, I would not be able to recreate the Critter Sitter artwork in any way. Instead of shrugging my shoulders and tossing the panties in the sink to rinse them out, I had that furtive sense of guilt that kids always seem to have. My only option seemed to be to throw the underwear into the woods behind my house.
It was a wet, muddy morning but I slipped out the siding door in my socks and flung the underpants into the trees as far as I could. (Knowing me, that was about three feet.) I thought I was home free until I noticed my little brother Ben watching me. He was old enough to know something odd was going on but young enough to not be able to speak intelligently. That kid sat next to the sliding door pointing and making babbly toddler noises until finally my dad decided to go check out what was out there in the woods that Ben was so fascinated with.
My father came back inside a few minutes later holding a dripping pair of panties. “I don’t know what Ben was so interested in, but here’s some underwear I found outside,” he said, tossing them to me. I froze and looked down. Instead of wondering why my underwear had painted stick figures all over them, my dad had only seen a pair of panties that had been rinsed out in the rain. I nearly fainted with relief. The idea that someone might find out that I had tried to paint my own underwear seemed beyond foolish and absurd; buying them at the store suddenly made perfect sense.
Now to come up with a plan to ride my bike on the freeway to the mall . . . . (oh yeah. It happened.)
Good news: I was ahead of schedule getting the four big kids out the door to school today so I had time to cut some roses in my backyard (the first of the season!)
Bad news: I was so busy arranging roses that I got the babies to school kind of late.
Good news: Mister found a charger this morning for my old, old cell phone so I can use that instead of having to buy a new one. I’m holding out for an iphone til the new ones come out in June (I murdered my current cell phone last week and have been using India’s. She is not too pleased.)
Bad news: The phone is locked and all attempts to unlock it myself have failed.
Good news: I found a guy down the street who will unlock it for cheap.
Bad news: I went to drop the phone off and the guy wasn’t in yet. Even though he said he would be. So I went home. And ran out of gas on the way.
Good news: I ran out of gas near our orthodontist’s office. Miss Sandra, the sweet-as-sugar receptionist, was there. She told me I could wait there for somebody to come and get me.
Bad news: My cell phone is non-functional, remember, and I haven’t memorized anybody’s phone numbers.
Good news: Miss Sandra offered to take me home to fetch a gas can.
Bad news: I couldn’t find the gas can. But I dug around in the shed until I found a different one. Meanwhile my mother (who is visiting and needed more eggs right that second) lectured me about needing to carry a cell phone. No duh, lady! I only wish I could get one to work.
Good news: After I got my car filled up with gas I went home to strip the paint off an old dresser I bought at a flea market for Adelaide. I’ve been very excited to start this project.
Bad news: There are about five layers of paint on this sucker and it’s going to take me a long, long, long time to get it ready to be repainted. I should have just patched up the chips on it and skipped the refinishing.
Good news: It’s going to be super cute. It would even be cuter if I could paint the other furniture in the girls’ room to match.
Bad news: It’s Mister’s old furniture from when he was growing up. He nearly fainted when I suggested that I paint it. (“They’re antiques!” he said, giving me this look like I’m a total dummy. Uh, they’re from the 60’s. That’s barely even vintage.)
Good news: He always says no first and then usually changes his mind.
As I have mentioned before, I have a keen talent for losing things. This week I have lost:
Isn’t this a cute earring? I agree. Too bad I only have one now. (I just got them in December! Frustrating!)
How do you lose a big cake pan like this? I can’t tell you how, only that it is indeed possible. The big bowl of egg whites in my fridge will end up down the drain, not in an angel food cake as originally planned. Hey wait! Maybe I’ll make a Pavlova instead. That just occurred to me as I was typing. Those are great and are made with tons of egg whites. Ok, I don’t care so much about the lost tube pan anymore. If I happened to have loaned it to you, though, will you please return it?
Missing: two of the finest paint colors that I have invented (don’t you like the way I say I have invented colors? It makes me seem both artistic and all-powerful. You can read about the pain-staking, highly scientific process of paint-color-creation here) and the only recipe for them was printed on the lids of the paint cans themselves. These aren’t so much lost as disposed of by my husband. The ultimate irony is that Mister is a horrible packrat. Not an OCD newspapers-stacked-to-the-ceiling kind of packrat. Just an ordinary I-don’t-know-if-I-might-ever-need-this-again-and-I-can’t-make-that-sort-of-decision-right-now packrat. Our garage is a testament to his love for every item he’s ever purchased. So the one thing (OK, two things) that were really important to me, he threw out. How will I touch up the family room walls now? How will I paint over the patch next my shower where I replaced the towel rack? I gave Mister a good scolding about this, but I could tell, even though it was over the phone, that he was rolling his eyes.
P.S. I’m posting at Segullah today. I’m not angling for a dinner invite, by the way. Just getting something off my chest.
P.P.S. It also not entirely true because the Clowards invited us over for dessert a couple of weeks ago. And we had Easter with the Callahans. Although I was the one who set the whole thing up.