Sunday, 5 August 2012

The good, the bad and the bugly!

The Good...

I had such a nice day on Thursday. Thursdays and Fridays are my non-work days (well actually they are supposed to be non-paid days rather than non-work days - there is plenty of work I should be doing!) and as I had a singing lesson on Thursday, I decided to have a potter around Bath before hand. I usually have a singing lesson every other week and often cut through from George Street to Bennett Street and always peer in to Bea's Vintage Tea Rooms on Saville Row (there's a bit about it on This week I gave myself enough time to go in and have a cup of tea before singing. It really is a very cool place - the decor, music and waitresses are all 1940s style, add to this the fab looking cakes, great breakfast menu and the fact their tea selection includes Oolong and I think it could become one of my new favourite places to go!

I spent a really nice half hour enjoying a pot of oolong and a toasted tea cake, chatting to the lovely waitresses and the owner/cook. I see from 'Coolplaces' they are also intending to run knitting classes, poetry readings and 1940s make-up lessons in the basement (and I could really do with knitting lessons!).

After tea, I went to my singing lesson. I have lessons with Kelly Sharp and she's brilliant. It's not just that she has a wonderful voice, she is a natural teacher and really wants her students to do well and to enjoy singing as much as she does. I have always enjoyed singing, but never realised what my voice - any voice I think - is capable of. Don't get me wrong, Dame Kiri doesn't need to be looking over her shoulder at me, I'm no competition, and 95% of the time my singing exercises don't sound great to me (and I do suspect Kelly is just being overly kind to encourage works though), but every now and then my voice sounds like a proper singer and it feels a little bit like flying!

I may be a big kid, but I have always learnt best with pictures - either real or virtual. At university, an equation meant very little to me until I could turn it in to a graph and see how changing variables moved the lines on the graph, so when Kelly tells me to imagine the music stand is a birthday cake and send the air towards it, I get it. When I sing now I am visualising blowing out candles on a birthday cake, the note being a boat on the river of air, keeping the sound engaged with muscles in my back (yes, really) like holding on to a helium filled balloon, floating against the ceiling of a cathedral to sing on the top of the note, and much more besides. It may all sound a bit odd, but it works. For me singing lessons are like therapy. I come out feeling on top of the world...I just have to take care not to scare passers by by suddenly bursting into voice exercises.

I am quite a realist and fully accept that there is a lot of competition for handmade fabric things and I may be looking at only subsidising a 'year out', but I do have the added motivation to make working for myself enough of a success to, at the very least, continue to pay for singing lessons - I have a really long way to go yet and a lot more lessons ahead of me. I don't have any ambition to be a great diva; just to feel confident to sing in a choir and to make the most of my voice.

The Bad...

Distraction. I had a lovely day on Thursday, but in my mind it was a morning off, when actually I didn't get home until almost 2pm. If talking were an olympic sport, Kelly and I would be competing for the gold medal, so our lessons often over-run. Then there was all the housework sort of stuff to get done, some odds and ends of paperwork and a bit of food shopping and the day was gone. On Friday I did manage to finish the final mouse pinafore, but my focus wasn't there - so I messed up cutting out the pieces, and then the sewing machine swallowed a pinafore strap and had to take apart the well with the bobbin to clean it out and start again. I thought of a new design, that then needed some more tweaking, and it all took too much time (I started 5 pinafores to end up with 1 acceptable one). I did get the mice posted, but I have to build in to my plans for the Spring when I start the business fully that there will be days when I do not achieve much...and that will have a big impact on profit.

mice about to head to Sweden

...and the Bugly!

I'm sorry, I could not resist the temptation of this post title. I have a total love of bees. I have always loved the look of them and the sound they make (particularly when inside a foxglove trumpet) and this love affair only grew stronger a few years ago when Mark bought me a 70-300 zoom lens with a very cool macro. Those who know me have been bombarded ever since with images of bees, so it seems only fair to inflict them on my blog readers too! These were taken on the lavender we have growing in a stone trough on our patio:

bee in the lavender

detail of a bee's wings

the bee's 'fur' looks so...cuddly!

bee: can even feed upside down

bee's wings in a blur of movement

bee closeup


  1. I am quite convinced that that tea place could become one of my favourites too! And just look at the sweet cup!!

    Your singing lessons sounds like much fun - I can quite understand why you enjoy them so much.

    1. I do hope the tea rooms are a success. It's a little off the beaten track, but there were tourists in there when I went. I took a flyer to put up at work.

      Singing is great - and I do spend a lot of time in my lessons laughing. I forgot to mention the mooing noises I have to make for some voice exercises. I get very self-conscious when I practise at home!

  2. Oh dear, that tea place... Oh dear, oh dear!

    If you love bees so much, maybe you should create a companion for Ellen the Mouse? Benny the bee?

  3. Ah, the power of tea rooms...they will draw you to Bath!

    Ooh now, I'm seeing pom-pom bees...!

  4. I love big fat bumble bees too and we don't get them over here - just small honey bees which are still rather cute but not the same.
    Your lovely blog is making me feel a little homesick (in a nice way).
    Looking forward to your next instalment:-)

    1. Simone - thanks; are you planning a trip 'home' any time?