It started off as a beautiful morning with the blue sky and ever so wispy clouds dotted here and there, belying the fact that the rest of the country is really suffering with huge snow showers. This is without doubt one of the reasons I live in the South, the fact that our weather is marginally warmer that the rest of the country! As soon as it gets to February, which it is today, I feel as if we are definitely heading towards spring and then of course, Summer. There is something about spring and the rebirth of everything that is quite magical, this mild weather has fooled nature into thinking that it should be blooming and buds are appearing everywhere, poking their heads out of the ground and beginning to flower, I love it! When you live somewhere quite wonderful like Lake Worth, you do not experience the same kind of differences in temperatures although you do still have the seasons, they just manifest themselves in other ways. I remember often travelling to other countries where the weather to us was perfect but the locals would be dressed in coats and hats, we would be dressed in shorts and t shirts! What a wonderful place the world is and how lucky we are that it is all so accessible to us.
I have been thinking about The Street Painting Festival which will be starting soon, what an amazing event that is, one of those events that shows volunteers at their finest. This event is on my bucket list as I am never with you at this time of the year, one day though! It is the one event that I follow really closely, I love to watch the painting evolve from what looks like nothing recogniseable to the most amazing design which looks to be jumping from the street.
I love all the art happenings, Lake Worth is really hopping at the moment, and AnnaMaria is so good at posting event dates and venues. I noticed the Mail Art course offered, that project was amazing and such good fun, from what was an idea to celebrate 100 years of Lake Worth grew a fabulous collection of Mail Art from all over the world. The Mail Art is still stored in the Lake Worth Historical Museum, found in the utilities building. I have to say that the museum is such an interesting place, we had been coming to Lake Worth for years before we even knew it was there but once we discovered it we were blown away. You just cannot take everything in in one visit, you need to keep going back, if you have not been, you really must visit. I am imagining that now the visitors centre is up and running, many more visitors get to see the museum in all its glory.
There is always something going on either locally or in London and something that has just gone into my diary is the UK’s biggest chocolate event with hundreds of happenings around chocolate leading up to this event….I am all for celebrating chocolate..mmmmm! How about an event in Lake Worth, Hoffmans and Kilwins…how fabulous would that be….and everyone could bake chocolate cakes and biscuits and sweets and drinks and our wonderful local chefs could give demonstrations on how to make the most delicious chocolate things and there could be a competition……and we could raffle them off or sell them by the slice or whole cake and raise money for local charities…see how I get carried away when chocolate is mentioned!
On Friday there was a huge celebration in London re-enacting the Funeral of Winston Churchill, our greatest Prime Minister. The boat sailed down the Thames carrying his coffin all those years ago and the huge cranes at the side of the Thames dipped down as the boat passed, I watched old footage of this and it was amazing. I for one, think that celebrating and remembering the events and people that led us to live the wonderful life we live today in relative freedom, is very important and every generation should be reminded and never allowed to forge t.
Here in Southend on sea we have The Horror-on-Sea Film Festival at The White Bus Cinema which is a great venue where they show original films, an amazing experience…they have a huge collection of films worth thousands of pounds….one of our local theatres, The Palace Theatre, which is our oldest theatre built………has Simon Amstell, a wonderful satirist whom the New York Times described as, ‘having the gift for taking a social norm and gently mocking it until it seems totally ridiculous. Highly literate….an endearing mixture of offhanded candour and sharp wit. Such ease and understatement makes him very good company.’ I am looking forward to that!
I am also going on a tree identification walk, I never know which trees are which and with over 30 species of tree in the living landscape, it can be tricky to tell them apart. There is also a lot of conservation work taking place to promote the diversity of trees in our local woodland, of which there is much. I am so looking forward to that, I just do not want it to rain!
I went to a very moving Holocaust ceremony this week at our civic centre to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where a holocaust survivor spoke very movingly about his experiences in the concentration camps and we heard from our local Jewish community about the work they were doing to counter the fear they were feeling in the current climate, very sad. To celebrate this event Anish Kapoor, the artist who designed The Bean in Chicago, has designed the candle for the 70 candles for 70 years project which is the basis for our ceremony this week because Southend on sea is one of the places in England chosen to house one of the candles. A few years ago I was in Poland and visited Auschwitz, a tremendously emotional experience. Here you have this sprawling area of sparseness, not a bird to be heard, just stillness. And the silence is almost deafening, hundreds of people yet not a sound, amazing! One of the most poignant images for me was that of mountains of shoes, all kinds of shoes from dance shoes to children’s shoes to work shoes to shoes of the poor to shoes of the wealthy……in Auschwitz there was no distinction!
And so, it is Sunday afternoon and the beginning of another, once again, time has taken over and I have no idea where it has gone. This afternoon, I have an appointment to donate blood at our local school. Unlike America, we do not get cinema tickets for donations, instead we have twice yearly appointments where volunteers donate at a centre near to where they live. I first started when I was 18, all those years ago, we went to a local church hall and lay on the most uncomfortable wooden beds with very little health and safety in evidence and were given a cup of tea and a biscuit at the end. Today we have a form to fill in, appointments, very comfortable leather beds with foot rests and head rests, health and safety coming out of your ears and a choice of tea, coffee, soft drinks, packets of biscuits, crisps to choose from…how progress works! And yet, when you speak to the nurses and doctors, this progress has not made it easier….who would have thought! Anyway, we have rewards when we have given 25, 50, 75, 100 pints……I am working towards my 100 pints now…woohoo! I think everyone should give, it does not take long, I take my book to read, there is always someone to talk to, it really does not hurt and it saves lives.
Have a great week, be safe and be happy…..