Thursday, 21 February 2013

Poetic justice

Here's a thing...

For ages I've been walking past an empty, crumbling house wedged behind a false wall with blanked out windows.
It's a lonely survivor in a sea of hotels, offices, car parks and corporate construction, and on closer inspection I find out why:

Here, on 20th November, 1752, was born Thomas Chatterton, the young, tragic poet made famous in the Henry Wallis painting.

His story makes Les Miserables look like an episode of Glee.

Having failed to sell the publishing rights to a collection of 15th century poems by a Bristol monk (which Chatterton had actually penned in his mother's attic ) he attempted to pass himself off as a political satirist in London, with a similar lack of success.

Alone, penniless and starving, his dreams in tatters, he poisoned himself at the age of 17 in his lonely room surrounded by the torn up fragments of his friendless poems.

Those fragments still exist, saved from the landlady's broom by a Dr. Fry who had intended to sponsor Chatterton's genius, but who arrived just too late.

It's rather poignant then, that the birthplace of Bristol's most tragic romantic should now be empty, cold and ignored.

Someone, however, has placed a figure over the doorway.

Maybe it's a homage to the poet, or maybe it's just there to discourage felons; who knows...

Either way it's a gesture towards an old house that needs all the friends it can get.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Living in a box

Tricky things, weddings.

You have to remember the names of people who claim to be related to you,  not get too pie-faced and generally behave in a grown up,  responsible way.

Like I say, tricky...

Especially when it's your daughters,  you really,  really don't want to rack up a record hit rate on Youtube;  you have an unfortunate gift for saying spectacularly inappropriate things to the more well upholstered amongst the guest list and everyone in the room knows you are no stranger to the great taste of foot.

The present,  however,  is a piece of cake.

Not literally,  that's what you get given for not doing anything on the day that warrants a restraining order.

Nice and straightforward:  Make two small boxes that open towards each other,  paint the happy couple's portraits on the front and line the inside with felt so they can pin all the memento's of the day inside.

At the risk of getting sentimental,  I like to think it's an appropriate gift;  two separate boxes for keeping things that matter that also match and compliment each other, like bookends.

It all ends well, with much joy in a moistened eye, and no blue flashing lights.

I think I might make this a signature gift for future weddings, with modifications to suit the occasion, such as a Tupperware lining.

Then you could keep cake in them.