A cheeky interlude before I lose your attention completely...
I know I promised you part 3. The juicy bit - Why the shop is open 3 days a week now etc etc. But, in all honesty, I haven’t finished editing it yet - something to do with managing my time and family life (which in turn is something to do with why the shop is open 3 days a week).
So, I thought I’d give you a little interlude. Perhaps a boring little anecdote. Perhaps something that might resonate with someone out there, perhaps something that might raise a smile.
A Bohemian Halloween.
1983 10th East Dulwich Brownies. My cousin Fiona’s dress.
7 years old. Brownies. I’d made it to be the seconder of my six, totally unassuming and shocked by my ascension - I’d been bestowed in the woodland circle my badge of honour. Riding a high, I was someone. Until the Halloween party.
“I want to be a Witch” (classic choice for a 7 year old girl wanting to cement her place in Brownie guide society).
Now my Mom* being a creative woman with her words and ideas is not handy with a needle and thread. In fact, her sewing on a button could illicit a round of applause from any witness. This and a young baby meant my Witch outfit was going to be made from whatever was right. Over. There.
Our dearest darling Aunty Rennie had not long returned from a visit to his Native South Africa. Bringing with him strings of chillis, Beautifully delicate crochet lacework tablecloths with strings of colourful beads adorning the edges, little beaded coasters that you put over your water glasses to keep the flies out...
My Mom - “You can be a Witch Doctor!”
“I want a pointy hat and a cloak”
“Nah, you don’t want to look like everyone else. You’ll be original!”
It was out of my hands, I had to take what I could graciously. A shiver of excitement acknowledged when I spotted the head of my Sindy doll that my baby brother had so mercilessly liberated from her body.
So! Witch doctored up I went. Shrouded in tablecloths with beads and chillis, Sindy’s head on a string around my neck, a moth eaten collapsible Victorian Top Hat and waxy makeup left over from my Dads Drama school days. I was nervous but my family had made me feel quite secure, seeing me off with a cheer. Tentatively I stepped out of the car and up the steps. A coven of pointy hatted witches standing by the door. On entering it was clear that bar the odd cat and vampire it was a full house of witches.
Side glances and whispers as I walked through the gaggle. Desperately looking for someone in my Six. I found someone. She looked at me her eyes squinting and her lip curled.
'“What are you?”
“I’m a Witch Doctor!”
“Oh, I thought you were Boy George”
She walked away and I lingered by the pumpkin table, awaiting the inevitable ‘Karma Chameleon’ on the hit list. I got a ‘special’ mention from Brown Owl on my original costume when the lights went up. No prize. By the time I went to bed I think I was proud that I had looked different.
I can’t hear Boy George without thinking of that night...
So, herein lies my confession; I have not finished editing part 3 because, as is my busy fingered calling in this life - I have been making Halloween costumes for our own youngest girls, using what materials I had in my studio. Frida - a skeleton - I had the best time printing the bones using paper stencils. Bertie - a Witch. I have made her a strange little Victorian lady / child dress from an old purple skirt and lace.
She has already asked where her pointy hat is. I fear history might be repeating itself….
*My Mom is from the Midlands and that is how they say and spell Mom there. So when it comes to my Mom I will always write Mom, even if it does make me feel like I have to follow it up with a disclaimer.
1 November 2019