After all the insecurities and uncertainty of last week, we’ve settled into a more normal routine again. For me, that means I’ve enjoyed a few days doing this and that, never stopping for long but always enjoying myself and hopefully achieving something worthwhile along the way.
I spent one day in the company of a charming young colleague, opening envelopes and finding a winner. It wasn’t easy, for there were many excellent entries to the competition, but our system worked and after several hours we’d drawn up a short list from which we chose the winning entry. Can’t say what it was yet, but every one of those envelopes contained the proud brainchild of someone, somewhere who entrusted us to make a fair and considered judgement. That we did…and driving home later that day, my head was full of the wealth of opportunities we’d seen.
What a privilege to spend time reading and imagining…
At work this week we’ve enjoyed the company of twelve visitors from the EU, working together to share ideas and experiences using technology in adult learning. Totally humbling to work with people from Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Germany, all working happily and communicating complex concepts in English. I’m sure none of them would mind me describing them as ordinary people – by that I mean that they were not high faluting academics. Yet they were able to communicate effectively in a foreign tongue and able to use terminology like employability, empowerment, open learning with apparent ease. I believe I even saw the word “didactical” somewhere on the whiteboard…
Sadly, the view from the meeting room overlooking the Gloucester Quays on a rainy Wednesday afternoon wasn’t exactly inspiring. I’ve had the same dilemma all week about what to wear, how to stay warm when we’ve had frosty starts and rainy afternoons. Hopefully the impression of their English trip they take home will be the warmth of the welcome!
The sunshine came yesterday in the form of friendly company at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. One of my online textile group, Penny, is heading back home to South Africa after five years of living in France and this was a last chance to spend time in her company for a while. Six Artful Dodgers (and Penny’s husband John) had a splendid day out, dividing our time between cafe and gallery, sharing opinions, news and concerns as friends do.
A few photographs were taken as well – though we didn’t get out our sketchbooks this time. Maybe on our next visit, to the Pitt Rivers Museum nearby, we should focus on the drawing like the group of children there on a school visit, having a wonderful time as they made sketches in the Pre-Raphaelite Room.
It was only when I arrived home and uploaded my photos that I spotted this delightful composition which would make a great caption competition, don’t you think?
As usual, I found plenty of hands and rich textiles to add to my collection. These are painted by Frans Hals and could also fall into the “attitude” category!
Finally, the little gem which might have found its way into several handbags – in our dreams. The Qajar enamelled set was exquisite, beautifully lit and looking stunning against that velvety black background.
All too soon, fond farewells and all of that, because I wanted to be back in time for my WI meeting last night. Our speaker had started work in 1951, Coronation Year, as a junior member of staff in Fortnum and Mason’s Haute Couture department, achieving promotion to the position of House Model. She brought with her photographs and samples of fabric for us to handle, together with a couple of examples of the work which came from that workshop – exquisitely sewn pieces with the most minute stitching and perfect finish. Of course, she also shared her memories and stories of that world – a whirl of glamour and deportment, film stars and debutantes, tea dresses and ballgowns.
You could have heard a pin drop.