Less Time In February

From gloss and glamour to loss and clamour …

The problem with handbags is the following: you overload! Overloading usually results in excessive digging, meaning that at crucial moments you are absolutely unable to come up with the object needed, as for example, your favourite lipstick. Rumour says that even feminists have been caught in the act of emptying the contents of their bags on a car roof or a tiny French bistro table. Needless to say that from both locations their handbag intimacies invariably slide or drop down to some grimy ground which will give any woman a serious fit. A jam-packed handbag is always prone to accidents as, e.g., by rupture of wafer-thin, fancy bag straps, by the breaking away of shiny snap hooks or the splitting open of glitzy metal rings. The effect is always the same, your handbag will drop down from your shoulder like a stone. Big drama! You need impro!

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Two ladies being at ease with jam-packed handbags  (Affordable Art)

 

When taking out my classic blue Life Handbag on a rainy Oxford day, a snap hook drama struck right on Broad Street. Bang! Solutions had to be found quickly! As clutching a well-packed handbag for longer than twenty minutes is unacceptable, I first tried sticky tape, which proved to be unsuitable and led to another clamorous downfall. After searching a number of shops in vain for something to fix the snap hook, a helpful shop assistent in a charming craft store finally found me some hellish Super Glu which I administered on the disfunctional hook very carefully while riding the Oxford Tube to London. In the process, I had to unpack the contents of my handbag on the empty neighbouring seat and – gosh- what freaky objects did I find in my handbag! And – gosh – where were all those unsuspiciuous objects I actully had supposed to dig up from the depth of my bag? I suddenly understood: My life chance of a ‘What-is-in-my-bag’ – photo event had come! And here we go.

1.

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In the photo, from left to right: Din5 standard leather calendar 2015, favourite retractable pencil, pocket mirror from Bodleian Library shop, super glu for metal snap hooks, ancient Swiss knife with 3 functions, favourite blackberry-coloured lipstick, freaky, black plastic cutlery of uncertain origins Not in the photo: powder compact Le Blush Creme, umber pocket comb, all kinds of receipts, cards, tickets, snippets safely stored away in the calendar pockets

2.

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Not in the photo: Catweazle Club handout, lengthy novel on Kindle App, quality fountain pen  In the photo, clockwise: tablet PC, black leather case with two pockets for fountain pen, give-away promotional ballpen, turtoise shell fixing comb, snakeskin leather purse

A visual presentation of “Whatsinmybag” is a big challenge because those rather profane private belongings which are brought to daylight mostly lack gloss and glamour. So the way of arranging the profanities in the shooting is imperial. On my comfortable Oxford Tube the location was dominated by the wildly patterned orange seat covers, a circumstance I had to submit to and therefore embraced as a neo-realistic, anti-lifestyle message to the world. YES, no lying about the contents in my bag! YES, I crossed my fingers after writing the last sentence! YES, the objects lack gloss and glamour! YES, my bag tells you stories of loss and clamour! YES, the myth of my handbag is flamboyant! NO, I won’t share my secrets!

3.

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Not in the photo: red-rimmed stylish glasses, smartphone in white case, little blue addressbook  In the photo, from left to right: soft casing for sunglasses, green cleaning cloth, present from Bodleian Library shop for a friend

 

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(2) Timeless in January

Understanding handbags

Visions of Bags

Visions

Understanding what handbags mean to women is a complicated matter. You might compare handbags to the mystery of cats and adapt T.S. Eliot’s “The naming of cats”:

“The buying of handbags is a difficult matter,

It isn’t just a profane afterwork deed.

You may think it’s as simple as a rattle’s clatter,

But believe me, at least SEVEN  bags does a woman need!” 

Handbag_cool croco

Cool Reptile

In any case, handbags need to have the appeal of a hidden universe. If you want to understand handbags imagine a museum, preferably a private collector’s museum like Pitt Rivers in Oxford, and there you are with the elementary philosophy of a handbag.

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The Universal Bag

Impossible to foresee which unique objects will show up from the depths of your bag and unfathomable the variety of indispensable valuables you need to store!

Handbag_bling

Bling Mysteries

A good handbag will not only hold together your everyday universe but it will also go with you anywhere. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Day by day, you’ll sling your breathtaking, portable, private collection over your shoulder – or you’ll just clutch it with one hand – and off you go! You’re the director, the collector, the curator, the visitor, the doorman, the adorer and restorer – a fancy-free, footloose one-woman show.

Post Scriptum: Handbags are irreconcilably at odds with umbrellas. So you should better look for umbrella-carrying company on rainy days.

 

(1) Timeless in January

January

January and Willow TreeTaking a walk in January, I look at the world in wonder: Everything – except people – holds still and wants to be noticed. Like the frozen willow tree which is laid back against the icy surface of the lake similar to an artist’s naked model on a blue divan.Through the elfish branches and twigs of an alder tree with its hundreds of small, brown cones I look at a pale half-moon which is already up before sunset. The moon is moving slowly and time is sheltered in a winter capsule. No ticking away of time units, ducks keep silent, wind has long blown away the tiny seeds of the alder cones.

January has space and freedom.Those twelve months of the year are spread out before you like an uncharted continent to explore and to map out. Erlen und MondJanuary makes you imagine spring colours and speculate about weather reports of  summer days still to come. Where to travel, what to read and when to dance! Your unspoken plans meander from improving your finances or your wardrobe to refurnishing the kitchen and from there to getting hold of a ticket for a concert staging Sir Simon at the piano, accompanying his mezzo-soprano wife, yes, at the piano!

In January you will take out your opinionated ear plugs and be all ears to the world again – even to politicians and other prepotent people in charge. Again, it’s January unplugged!

But one day – most certainly the 22nd – all of a sudden and out of the blue, some chrono-addicted, unrelaxed, hyper-disciplined supermiser will stick a new year’s annual calendar right into my contemplative life and I’ll gasp: “God gracious, it’s January 22nd! Already!”

Suddenly, I will remember meeting my neighbour in the underground parking space and hear him answering to my new year wishes: “Don’t know about new year. To me it’s already over, had my birthday on January 1st!” Poor fellow citizen, to be confronted with his annual calendar right on the first day of January, year by year! No timeless moments in January, no unplanned visions of colour and change! Sommer Raupe

And while I am hastily scribbling down my overdue to-do list right into my brown leather agenda, eagerly restoring chronology of time, an image pops up in my mind. It’s showing what I had in my handbag when I rode the coach from Oxford to London. I saw, I considered, I whispered:

 

“Tell me, Chronos, when is the moment to write about women’s handbags and their contents?!

IF AT ALL, IN JANUARY! Hurry up!

 

 

 

 

Autumn Afternoon

Summer declines, days decrease. Autumn is in everything, colouring fruits and leaves, deepening the blue of the sky and the yellow of the afternoon sun. You can never have enough of autumn colours. They are so physical, almost like food. Manna bread from the sky at the end of summer.

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Wet foliage on the lake slope

Wetness comes with the autumn fog and bleaches the colours out of nature. Glancing over the lake I can no longer make out the distinct silhouettes of trees along the opposite shore line. They have melted into grey shadows and like a silent fleet they are sailing away to some unseen sunny continent. In their luggage they carry the greens with them.

Alster Fog and Traffic Light

Autumn fog and red light

A red traffic-light in the grey distance makes me smile.

 

Summer Pleasures – Splash!

Riding the wave

Riding Wild Waters

The fragmented beauty of the surf and the cascading water is caught in a time capsule – just as long as the surfer is splitting the wave open with his ride. A sparkling moment in time and you want to watch it again and again. But then it’s getting somewhat chilly and all of a sudden rain  is coming down in sheets. So, you let your time capsules whoosh down the river – uncaught – and instead seek protection against the summer down-pour under your tartan-colored umbrella. Not exactly a time capsule but an intimate hide-away from further mind-expanding experiences. Walking away from the wild waters, you can’t hear the thundering rush of the wave any longer.

Summer Pleasures

Extra Bavariam nulla vita, et si vita, non est ita!

Extra Bavariam nulla vita, et si vita, non est ita!

You have created your own picture postcard version of Bavarian Eden. You scrutinize the geranium flowerpots, the wooden glow of the village houses, the healthy green of meadows and trees, the hazy and faintly majestic line of alpine peaks and there isn’t a twist in the pastoral tale. Is there? And then you realize what is missing and you yell into the valley: “Where the hell are the cows?!”

Just turn the picture upside down, you stupid urbanist, they are grazing right below the bottom line of your postcard!

Summer Pleasures

 

Sitting on the balcony and talking through the summer night with friends. They’ve brought a pretty little present.

 

Bouquet and napkins

Some wind lifts the napkins gently

Small puff of wind lifts the napkins

Some wind gently takes the napkins away

Big, white butterfly – gently held back by pink ribbon

 

Confidential Flowerpot Convention

A confidential flowerpot convention on Easter Monday could settle all disputes between the  flowerpot cohabitants and holier-than-thou rabbit. Although a full-length manuscript of rabbit’s lectures in the flowerpot could not be located, he took an unequivocal stand on some quotations which had been  circulating since Easter Sunday and finally apologized in an acceptable manner. In the end everybody agreed that Easter Holidays had been pleasant and restful. The weather had been splendid with long hours of brilliant sunshine so that, all in all, one had every reason to end Easter in a happy mood.

The stumbling block to the preceding annoyance seemed to have been rabbit’s profoundly unjust way of addressing the flowerpot community in his annual Easter Lectures which he had actually announced as strictly botanical – without any bias toward wild flowers or cultivars. But then holier-than-thou rabbit had opened his speech with: “Distinguished President Hyacinthus, my esteemed Ladies Bellis Perennis and highly respected Nemesia Strumosa ‘Kumquat’! Be greeted, thou splendid Tulipan in the neighboring flowerpot! Dear group of half-faded Pseudo-Narcissuses right here under my nose!”

Addressing the daffodils as “half-faded” and  “Pseudo-Narcissuses”  obviously had a degrading twist and amputated the correct term ‘Narcissus pseudonarcissus’ into a lemur-like botanical existence. Rabbit’s words were – of course – taken as an outright offense by the daffodils. This was even more so the case when in the further run of his speech holier-than-thou rabbit maintained that the daffodils had not even been grown in native grounds as e.g. Wales which, as they all knew, had the wild daffodil as its national emblem. No, the bulbs had been re-imported from the Falklands! He additionally pointed out that the Falklands had recently started cultivating the so-called Welsh Wild Daffodils or Triple W and selling the cultivars back to  Wales. Rabbit’s cruel remarks caused a great deal of fuss and disquiet in the audience which ended in complete uproar when he claimed that according to Lady Wilkinson’s classification of weeds and wild flowers from 1858 the Falkland N.pseudonarcissus should be categorized as weed!

After some wavering back and forth, however, rabbit apologized for his rudeness and his botanical misjudgement calling it “an unintentional faux-pas”. He addressed N.pseudonarcissus as his “beloved golden daffodils”, recited Wordsworth with great momentum and appeared misty-eyed  when the daffodils tossed their heads in forgiveness into his direction. He promised to post some lines from the Wordsworth poem and not to mention the Falklands ever again.

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”
Flowerpot With Daffodils

Flowerpot With Daffodils

Rabbit’s Activities in Flowerpots

Announcement

People are taken aback by rabbit’s activities in a flowerpot on Easter Sunday. They strongly demand to be informed about the contents of his lectures. I’ll try my very best to get hold of the paper and do hope that rabbit’s lecture will soon be publicized on theses pages. I’m afraid though, that daffodil is unwilling to check against delivery so that there will be open questions anyway. C.