Hold On, I’m Having A Sequin Moment

The old dear last week handed me a bag of old photos that she had come across whilst having a clear out and I have spent a week in scanning heaven; simple things! I’d asked her to dig out my first school photo so that I could participate in a Twitter anti-bullying campaign. The photo in question shows me as a truculent and sullen four-year-old who clearly didn’t (and still doesn’t) enjoy having a photo taken and bears a strong resemblance to the children from the cult horror classic “Village of the Damned”. I should also mention that I only had half a fringe as whilst playing hairdressers with my sister had hacked it off to the roots with a pair of nail scissors. Mum still hasn’t been able to locate said picture but whilst searching she came across some other hidden gems including this one of my sister, Beverley Big Pants modelling one of my hand-made outfits! No doubt I’ll need to buy a shedload of gin as compensation for publishing this little beauty.

Back in the day when I was a hard-up student, I decided to put my dressmaking skills learned at school to good use. As I was so dire in the cookery class my harassed teacher had been relieved to offload me and school chum, Louise Williams onto the dressmaking teacher and rescue my poor family from potential salmonella poisoning when they were constantly forced to eat my latest incinerated culinary offering. To be fair I can follow any dressmaking or crochet pattern to this day and my ability with both smocking and ruffles was the envy of the class, however, none of the above qualified as “high fashion” statements at that time. In my limited and immature view, an abundance of sequins including various other adornments compensated for a lack of cutting edge style.

My mum gave me some old material and lining which she thought might just keep me busy & out of trouble and fortuitously my sister was to be the recipient of my needlework endeavours. There was just one small problem in that I lacked any talent in design or creativity. However, I clearly thought I was going to be the next Stella McCartney whilst I threaded my mum’s old Singer sewing machine with shirring elastic and frankly, any mis-stitch could be resolved with a flourish of sequins.

Unsurprisingly my clothing label never did make it to London Fashion Week and the Singer is now gathering dust in the attic.

dressmaking

 

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.

I must have been in the third year of High School when I first noticed Miss Crute, mainly because I had been assigned to her English Literature class for the next term. She was all of five feet three inches high swamped by the black teacher’s gown that all teachers wore at the all-girl grammar school which I attended. She was softly spoken and walked with a quiet dignity, always modelling an outdated beehive and pince-nez spectacles. I couldn’t help but notice as I passed her classes that all students would sit quietly and attentively whilst she spoke and I assumed that was because she was one tough old harridan like many of the other teachers. Consequently, I dreaded the day when I would too be sitting to attention alongside all my classmates listening to yet another mind-numbing lecture.

The very first morning, I slunk into her class and claimed one of the desks at the rear whilst awaiting the hellion herself. As we all made to stand she gestured for us to remain seated before what I came to discover was her usual soft-spoken greeting of “Good Morning Ladies”.

She opened the pages of “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and started to read aloud. In the stillness you could have heard a pin drop and for that short time we all became a captivated audience in the world of Atticus, Scout and Jem. When she stopped reading, it was like a magic spell was broken and we’d all woken up but what followed that and every other reading was a frank and lively discussion of the characters and plot. Unlike many of the other teachers, she actually asked us what we thought and suggested that we put ourselves in that situation; would we too have been as charitable and as fair as Atticus. Thereafter, the week couldn’t pass quick enough until I was back in that classroom listening to Wuthering Heights, Tess of the d’Urbervilles or Great Expectations.

Of course, I never realised it at the time but this gifted teacher was sharing more with us that just an admiration of literature. It was only years later, that I understood that the lessons learned in that dusty old classroom were far more important than just a mutual love of books.

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
Albert Einstein

rhonda 1
Picture kindly provided by the talented Rhonda at 50 Shades of Gray Hair