Monday, 28 November 2011

We Heart...Hackney?

But we DO! And here's why...
There are rabbits on buildings, BIGGER than buildings, and an overgrown fox doing some embroidery in a shop window on Columbia Rd. There are cats in fabric shops and bunnies chasing around upon my dress as if it was the meadows of Watership Down. There's a tiny boy, Borrower-size, near the flower market near where we stumble, by accident, upon Ryantown (I have Rob Ryan's book A Sky Full of Kindness) whilst looking for the Jessie Chorley and Buddug shop (we follow their blog - ) which we found and fell in love with! We met up with Lubix's friend Rachel Knickers (because she makes knickers - uh huh) and met her daughter Charlotte Rose for the first time, who's the cutest li'l gurl to orbit the sun and has MY FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION OF ALICE IN WONDERLAND ON HER T-SHIRT!!! Epic envy. Moments after arriving in Victoria I buy the loverliest pair of vintage shoes in a port-wine pink colour (I see everything through rose-tinted glasses) that I found in a charity shop near the station (ok - they're not vintage, they're not even worn yet, but they look ruddy vintage and they're Clarks and they're darn purdy). I also found a copy of Reading Lolita in Tehran and I KNOW this didn't occur in Hackney but that's not the point - it's all part of the journey ;)
After hanging out with Charlotte Rose Knickers telling stories and drawing love-hearts we all went to Dalston market to find some fabric for my tatty-doll books (I know they're supposed to be made of up-cycled, second-hand and tatty material, but this was a novelty. So :p) I found some sky-blue lace trimming that I'm going to use for an embroidered cushion that a friend has asked me to make as a present for his niece, as well as some birdy material (which was Liberty scraps leftover, perfect for a tatty book I plan to make about a bird - I'll post the ditty below). 
  Later that night we drank a bottle of Longue-Dog red wine (as Lubix really wants a sausage dog!) and talked with Bix about her plan to move back to Bournemouth and open a boutique-ish, vintage cafe-come-hotel-come-bookshop-with-reading-circles-and-poetry-nights somewhere between Pokesdown and Boscombe where the regeneration programme is going on (remember my post below - What Alice Found?) and how she would like me (and Katie, when she's older perhaps) to help her run it, and I was thrilled as it mean't I could sell my tatty-doll books and shabby chic cushions there if people like them, and sew and embroider when I had a bit of spare time, and read whilst making cappuccinos and never EVER have to think about TPCs and trying to sell Kobo's AGAIN! (sorry - work-talk.) And Katie could paint 
lots of wonderful pictures for the walls and buy teapots and cutlery with roses and peacocks from charity shops to serve to people, and I could grow ivy along the walls that would creep over the picture frames and tangle up in fairy lights, and Dan could be the resident guitarist and we could wear aprons (not Dan) that I embroider and Bix has made with Alice bands in our hair and I could compile a song-list and and and...! Yes, I was getting very excited when Lubix said she was drawing up a business plan. We're hoping to try and get our dad to invest in the idea. Mum, however, is another matter...but it would be lovely to have Bix come home, though I'd miss visiting her in Hackney. We stayed up 'til late listening to Prince greatest hits and, oddly enough, the Pina Colada song (...and getting caught in the rain...!) and did lots of drawing, and I designed the borders for the poem that I've finished embroidering for my first tatty-doll book called Florence and Frida. I'll show you when it's finished. I slept in the lounge facing the shadow of the skeleton that resides on Bix's windowsill, and I could swear that its jaw moved and was laughing at me. Though that might be the Longue-Dog. 
Next morning we had a cup of herbal tea in bed, trying to read but only pulling faces at each other and taking photos, and ate porridge with plum compote that Bix made at the garden centre where she volunteers, then took a stroll down Columbia Rd in search of the J&B shop. We walked among the pretty flower markets where big rough men incongruously shouted at us over the pussy willow to buy stuff, and listened to a few songs by a lovely folk band that didn't reveal their name while we were there. A man played a tuba that breathed fire, and I told you about the fox in the window, didn't I? I also bought a doll from an antique stall. She's all tatty-looking with dirty lace, and I named her Angelica. The woman who ran the stall tried to encourage me to re-home all the other dolls, and showed me their clothes-less bodies with missing fingers and limbs, but as shameful as it sounds I couldn't love them as much as Angelica... 

...all these things could only occur in Hackney, or in a dream perhaps, or a children's book. London is lovely in the half-light, and as we pulled out of the coach station as the sun was setting, all the Christmas lights added themselves to the spectrum of the skyline as we drove briefly along the Thames. I peeked through the windows of flats and houses from my vantage point on the tall coach, much like through the windows of a doll house to try and catch movement inside. 

Slumbagrave by Charlie McFarley - (we added the Green & Black's)

Birdnest Hair by Katie

Lubix's sketchbook

* * *


You saw that it had thorns
so you could not land there
and you searched desperately elsewhere
but no place was found.
And the ground was adorned 
with brambles and horsehair
that would snag at your feathers
and pull you back down.

- Nina x 

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