Joan and I spent a wonderfully nostalgic afternoon at the V&A Museum of Childhood. The creepy birthday party display in the lobby belies the charm of a toy collection spanning 400 years; although, I have to say, some of the dolls are really quite disturbing! Quite bizarrely, lovely Victorian items embellished with antique lace and duchesse satin, and ornate 18th century Chinese puppet theatres made of precious stones, sit alongside grubby teletubbies and Star Wars characters. While upstairs, a fantastic collection of dolls’ houses made my afternoon complete.
While I was excitedly telling Joan about my forthcoming trip to Geneva, she recalled a Swiss story from when Mike worked as a food technologist. That was a cool job and one I think I would enjoy, as long as it didn’t involve anchovies. Perhaps second in ‘cool ratings’ only to the toy designer I dated for a while, which inevitably came up in conversation as we laughed at some ridiculously dated designs and packaging on display.
Mike’s job on this particular Monday was to run a quality control exercise in a Swiss chocolate factory. He left Joan in the hotel while he headed off to work, only to reappear a couple of hours later – unconscious and on a stretcher!! Joan’s concern was short-lived; Mike had been assigned to the liqueurs section… where he’d inadvertently got blind drunk and collapsed with alcohol poisoning!! All in a day’s work…
I didn’t know Joan in those sherry-chocolate-fuelled days. When we worked together in fashion, Mike was busy testing cream cakes for M&S. I frequently negotiated the central line at rush hour holding an industrial-sized cake box containing a frozen strawberry and cream gateau. That’s probably what started my love affair with frozen cream.
I’ve not had any days like that this week, but I did spend a whole afternoon working in a pub. Not pouring pints – I can only imagine what a mess I’d make of that. Instead, I ran a complete 1-2-1 Plain English Business Writing session in a pub nestled within Waterloo Station. The rain was torrential and it seemed pointless to run through puddles to our agreed venue, when we could stay warm, dry and well-fed without stepping outside. It worked out just fine.
Random year alert: The best-selling toy of 1967 was Ker Plunk. Bet you’ve clapped your hands with glee and groaned at that at some point in your life – yes? In the same year Sandie Shaw said, “I wonder if one day that, you’ll say that, you care? If you say you love me madly, I’ll gladly, be there… Like a puppet on a string.”
If I’m not there with the puppets, I’ll be here with some social media guidance. Enjoy your week! @WeekendWitch.
(Credit to the V&A COM for the pic – mine is the same, but blurry!!)