We had the most lovely weekend. The weather was perfectly autumnal, warmish, low light, golden if you were lucky enough to be in the sunshine, or cool enough in the shade to remind you that you might want something warm when you arrived home. We spent most of it at the Bloomsbury Festival, location eponymous. It was there that I came across the white rabbit brooch, here pinned on to my lapel. I bought it at Miwary's stall, a maker with a lovely, quirky collection of things to sell, cotton cup-and-saucers, miniature teddy brooches with moving arms and legs, necklaces made of french knitted string. Irresistible, even for this most frugal of consumers (discuss...). The weekend - was full of discoveries and surprises. Wondrous throat singing from Siberian group Ayarkhaan, Georgian polyphony from Shavnabada, and much more.
I got to weave carpets with the gentlest of teachers in the Brunei Gallery and especially enjoyed the twang that the cords made as the wool was woven in and out and the bash, bash, bashing sound as a nameless implement was used to push down the weft.
There was "eat me" in Persephone Books with tea and scones and a discussion led by Nicola Beauman on the authors she has chosen to republish. And such interesting conversations with other women squashed into the shop with their cups of tea - an elegant German lady who talked about the challenges of bookcrossing, and remarked on the cheap paper we use here for paperbacks (she's right - we need better paper for the full sensual experience of a good read); and the extremely chatty and intriguing Elizabeth who told us all about her dog Peggy, the prizewinning Kerry Blue, a dog who apparently does impressions of Snowy with her curiosity about what is going on, hates other dogs, is generally so naughty that Elizabeth has to have respite holidays, but has such perfect conformation that she will shortly be appearing on postage stamps in Jersey of all places. And there was "drink me", not only with a decent cup of tea, but also some rather strong perry at the Lambs Conduit Street Sunday lunch and some Young's Special at The Lamb.
We visited Foundling Voices to hear the stories of foundlings left with the charity in the 1940s - both sad and uplifting with voices of such resilience. And we tried to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsmen at the British Museum (sold out) so had to make do with feeling just like Alice in the presence of such monumentality.
We mooched through the squares of Bloomsbury under the giant planes, shadowy and gold all at once, and found cottages with lonely drinkers sitting inside listening to the racing on the radio.
It was all wacky and wonderful and warm, and London in a very good humour.