Firstly, thank you to all you savvy fashionistas for your advice on my 2010 Summer attire - I shall indeed be seen wearing a duvet cover, in warmer temperatures naturally, and you will be the first to hear should I be the envy of South East London or the butt of many jokes. Also, you will be even more pleased to know, the beloved gloves were found - truffled out in my utter desperation from a very messy and muddy floor in the school cloakroom and now in need of a thorough wash.
When I was a child, between the ages of six and seven, my family and I lived in America. My father taught Art and being young and wanting to experience life a bit more, applied for a year's teaching exchange. Dreaming of spending 12 idyllic months based in Vermont or even California, he was a little "dischuffed" when he found out we were to be sent out to Detroit, Michigan. Nevertheless, we packed our bags and off we went.
Leaving behind a small sleepy Yorkshire town, we swapped everything with a teacher from a large High School in Detroit. My father took on her job, we lived in her family home, we were taken in by their friends and we embraced an American lifestyle. Completely. My brother and I went to a local school, wearing our "dog tags" with surname and address on for fear we should be lost! I've still got mine even now, a round red metal disc with silver writing engraved on it.
Since I was so young, my memories are sadly very few and what memories I do have, could well be the remembrance of stories that have been told so frequently with photos as evidence instead. For example, I was in the school band and my big (!) part was playing the triangle - a single note right at the end of the score. I don't actually remember playing that one note but have a vision of doing so because I know the story so very well.
Another so called memory is skating on a pond. Of course, American Winters are colder than ours, even more so than this coldest Winter in thirty years, and lakes freeze over thickly enough to allow a spot of skating. I'm suddenly thinking Angelina Ballerina on Miller's Pond here and distinctly remember my parents regaling me with tales of how we used to skate on such a pond (Lake St Claire). Of course, that's all I do remember and so I have this marvellous vision of little ol' me skating to perfection ('Dancing on Ice' eat your heart out), playing ice hockey even. But we all know that's not what really happened and having taken the children skating just yesterday, I've just realised it too!!
We went to the final day at Somerset House with a group of our boy's friends and family from school. What a hoot that was, watching several nine and ten year olds on the ice rink, all that testosterone and bravado was certainly the best way to overcome any initial nerves. And for the under eights, there was a mini rink with these penguins; cute little zimmer frame-type things that worked a treat until the bigger rink beckoned. Of course, not much skating to be had for grown ups, but a great deal of back strain from all the bending down and picking up! I later thanked my lucky stars that I didn't take my camera onto the ice as, yes indeed, I did take a tumble. Or two! Thankfully, though, there was someone on hand to take some snaps of the children in action.
So with my 20 Minute pledge in mind and wanting to encapsulate some lovely skating memories, I reached into the trusty stash for some Michael Miller fabric bought earlier this year and made up a skirt for my very own little Jane Torvill, looking for all the world like a penguin!
Enjoy the week x