Tag Archives: Tiger Trouble

Is Pinteresting?


There’s a new bird in town. It’s making the book hide its face and the twits stop cheeping. It’s Pinterest and it has nothing to do with savings accounts.

However, I hold up my hand and admit: it’s not for me.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the pictures. I do. There’s a smashing one of Portugal that took my fancy immediately – see left. You will notice that it is made primarily of words.

I have thus reached the conclusion that Pinterest is for the VISUAL creatives out there, not the wordy nerds. You know who you are. Yes dear artist friend, I’m talking about you. I’m not sure I can visually create anything, short of a special-occasion gurn for my newly minted nephew.

Are you a visual creative or a wordy one? Take this test to find out.


Here, kitty kitty kitty

A) You see a picture of a little girl crying her eyes out on a fabulous beach. Do you:

  1. Report the photographer to Social Services
  2. Get Google maps to locate the spot so you can go there on holiday
  3. Attempt to paint it but struggle with finding the right shade of cerulean
  4. Write it down

B) Someone pins a picture of your book TIGER TROUBLE. Do you:

  1. Celebrate with a large Pimms
  2. Try to repin but forward it to the Venezuelan Embassy by mistake
  3. Attempt to crayon a version of the tiger on a tablecloth
  4. Write it down

C) You find a mystifying swirly image that you can’t figure out. Do you:

  1. Ask for clarification from the person who pinned it
  2. Rush for the acrylics and design a sarong based on the same colour principles
  3. Decide it reminds you of sick
  4. Write it down

Do you see where I’m going with this? I’m off on a hunt for a decent collective noun.


Ducks and Details


I have been noticing lots of tiny detail lately. Perhaps it’s the light and colour of the world at the moment, shocking after so much muted winter. Or maybe it’s that old adage: “Once an editor…”

This kicked off with Jan Gossaert’s Adoration of the Kings, caught on Saturday at the National Gallery in a breathless moment sandwiched between my train and my Mozart rehearsal. Wow. The heavy gold embroidery and wafty ermine trim on Melchior’s spectacular cloak, offset by the wrinkles in his bright red tights. The hairy wart on the kneeling king Caspar’s face. Balthasar’s crown. Oh my wombats, as Taya would say: that CROWN. And the red hoo-dad clothy whatnot with the artist’s name scrolled in gold! When I’m in the mood for absurd perfection, Gossaert hits every single duck in the firing range – much as I somehow did while legless at a college ball many years ago. Perhaps I should have had a stab at painting an ermine trim that night too.

The other detailed marvel of Saturday was Grinling Gibbons’ reredos at St James’s Piccadilly, venue for Surrey Voices and Mozart’s Requiem. It’s incredible that a human being with fingers and thumbs whittled this perfect thing, full of petals and knobbly seedpods and lots and lots of space in between the fine thread-like stems, all from a once-solid lump of lime wood. Unlike the ermine trim, I feel this would have been an irresponsible thing to have attempted on my duck-jackpot evening.

I concentrated on my own kind of details on Saturday night. Not singing “Rex!” at full volume on the first beat of the bar while everyone else sang it a beat later. Pelting through fantastically frilly runs of “Dona Eis Requiem” and “Christe Eleison” and ending on the same note as everyone else. Negotiating sneaky F-sharps looming at speed like oil spills halfway round Mario Kart’s Mushroom Cup.

It doesn’t make me a genius, but it’ll have to do.



Pop the goodies on the trestle, / Don’t you think this lovely dress’ll / Find a home as soon as Lynn / Lets the plastic baggers in? / What’s the entrance fee we’re charging?/ Got to stop them all from barging / Past the nearly newish rack / Straight towards the bric-a-brac.

Jumble sales. Jumbling to those in the know. It’s like being a millionaire with a gold credit card. I’ll take that, and that. Maybe even that, despite the crackling manmade fibres. Oh, I’m so buying that full-length velour ball gown. And I know I’ll give the asymmetrical jumper a go even though I’m not entirely sure which way is up. Put your elbows and your capacious flat-bottomed shopper away, Madam. I saw the embroidered biker jacket first.

Now they’ve formed a decent queue, / Pull the bolt back, let them through! / Ready with your plastic tubs, / Guard those raffle-ticket stubs, / Here’s a lovely summer two-piece, / Child’s pyjamas stamped with Snoopys, / Janet Reger, I declare! / (Doesn’t seem to be much there.)

No other retail experience comes close. We’re talking armfuls. We’re talking endless plastic bags filled to the brim. A blissful half an hour of trying things on back at home, weeping with laughter and gasping with delight, sorting out what to keep and what to pass on to next week’s Scouts event. Best buy of the day: the dress which shall henceforth be known as Princess Margaret 1976. Elmoor of London, it says on the label. Elmoor. It speaks of tweed, smoky coffee houses, talcum powder and Bri-Nylon. It’s time-travel boiled into a frock. If I’m not invited to a vintage garden party very soon, I shall have to host one.

Truffle hunt among the blouses, / 20p? You’re safe as houses, / Not a waste of cash, I swear it, / If you never get to wear it. / Love the Pierrot lustreware! / Got to have a bust to wear / This trouser-suit, it’s cut so low / (It once was mine, I ought to know).

Bric-a-brac has never appealed as much as those mountains of over-washed jumpers, the long collars on psychedelic drip-dry shirts, the rail of bling-button Jaeger suits, the occasional item which produces a mystified silence followed by: “Oh well, I’ll buy it anyway and find out what it is when I get it home.” In the world of jumbling there’s no such thing as buyer’s remorse.

Have a cuppa now we’re done. / Wasn’t that a lot of fun? / Take a slice of lardy cake. / Hope I never have to bake / Another batch of home-made scones, / They weren’t as good as dear Yvonne’s.

Off to dance the night away with Lord Lichfield now. But before I put on my dancing slippers, I must alert you to my guest blog slot on the lovely Girls Heart Books tomorrow, March 12. www.girlsheartbooks.com. And there will be giveaways of WILD #1: TIGER TROUBLE. See you there!

Time to parcel up what’s left, / Village hall looks quite bereft, What’s this object lying here? / Absolutely no idea.