Friday, 17 October 2014

Wool, Poppies and Rage

Isn't this beautiful? It reminds me of a tulip,or a poppy, or crumpled silk sexy underwear, and I even see a couple of sly Aubrey Beardsley-like figures top and bottom. I just didn't expect it to be made of wool. It's an ambiguity that I expect the rug's designer, the late great Alexander McQueen intended us to feel.
I saw it at a pop-up free exhibition for the Campaign for Wool on the South Bank the other day. This organisation's patron is my favourite Prince and it's quite sparky. They've overran Savile Row, home of fine tailoring, with sheep, and roped in top designers for the "Wool School" training initiative and show some beautiful ideas for interiors (of the type where it's helpful if you're a millionaire).

Outside the exhibition, they'd woven great big strands of white wool through the old railings round Southwark cathedral. It looks so.... well, I suppose woolly is the word.

On Tuesday an old schoolfriend and I braved torrential rain to see Paul Cummins' poppy installation in the Tower of London's moat. See the Shard shrouded in cloud in the distance? That's how damp it was. The poppies, each representing a death in World War 1, joined in a dark red mass that really was reminiscent of an ocean of blood. We left in a thoughtful mood.

I've been organising being away. Talking with house sitters, packing, details of the trip, trying to get the place sorted out before we go. The Tokyo street guide (Japanese and English) has arrived. Our kind Japanese friends will take us to so many places that we may hardly need the Tokyo street map but it's both exciting and intimidating to peep inside and see what a large city it is.

While I'm away over the next several weeks, I won't have much time so I think I could find it hard to visit everyone as often as usual but I'll do my best to post here.  And I've also scheduled some posts.

I was going to add something more, but I posted this with my newly acquired app Blogsy, and it's TOTALLY screwed up when I tried to edit it on my desktop.  I had to delete the whole post and start again on the desktop.   Another hour of valuable time down the drain sorting it all out.

I steer clear of apps unless I really need them.  I am bored stiff with going through all the endless options.  All I want is something simple I can use forever without thinking about it, so I have time to spend on doing the things I actually like doing.   But that's not the "choice" you get.  Like, I had to "choose" to give all my photos to Google on Picasa in order to use this Blogsy app.  I now have to learn to use Picasa. I don't want to. And I would prefer to keep my photos on my computer, privately. Great "choice", huh?  It's that or the Blogger app that doesn't work at all.

Well, bear with me if you don't get any sensible posts from my travels.  I'll do my best, I really will. But something tells me I'll be deleting both Blogsy from my iPad and Picasa from my desktop, in order to get clear of all this cr*p without having to waste hours of time on it. 


  1. That's weird a whole load of your posts just showed up in my reader together. That sea of poppies is both dramatic and stunning. The weather here in the UK at the moment isn't great is it? I hope you have a wonderful trip. Take care!!

  2. The poppies are spectacular

    Blogsy - not heard of that one. I'm with you on the Picasa situation, I prefer to keep photos private. However, I believe if we use Google our photos automatically go on Picasa. I was horrified when I found out.

    Hope you have a great time in Tokyo.

  3. Technology makes me crazy! I'm suffering from it this morning. New phones.
    La-di-dah. Japan- girl, you are so brave.
    And those poppies- could we humans ever learn not to wage war? How can we not learn from our experiences, the bloodshed over and over and over again.

  4. At first, I thought the first picture was a paper flower. How beautiful it is and how surprised I was to read it was wool.

    I did see that red poppy scene on TV. It was both beautiful and sad.

    I seldom use Apps. I do not need any more confusion in my life. I love Picassa and have been using it for years but now Google is part of it (I must have accepted something too quickly) and I am not happy about it.

    I hope you have good weather on your trip and a wonderful adventure. I look forward to your posts.

  5. That rug is amazing! And those poppies - just breathtaking.
    Hope you have a wonderful time in Japan :-) x

  6. Apps can be so annoying. I've got to a stage now with my phone, bought three years ago, that it no longer has memory capacity enough to update some of my most frequently used apps (or add new ones I'd like to have). I guess I'll soon have to buy a new phone even though in other respects it's working fine.
    As I haven't been travelling since I started blogging, I've never yet bothered to try any app for that... I do agree it's better stay clear of apps until one needs them ;) For preparing blog posts I use Windows Live Writer (on the pc). Picasa I use on my computer for all my photo editing but the only photos that get stored online are the ones I actually blog.

  7. I deleted Picasa as soon as I realized I needed a PhD in programming to use it. That was four or five years ago; perhaps it's easier. Apparently it still owns you.

  8. Have a wonderful time - it's so much more fun exploring new places than getting your head around wretched apps!!

  9. What a woolly wonder that rug is! As for the poppy installation; breathtaking.

  10. Can't believe that's wool!

    I had no idea that every picture I posted on my Blogger-blog went automatically to Picasa. Until I was told my free Picasa account was full. What Picasa account?! LOL! I have never done a dang thing with it but pay $5.00 a year for more space so my blog will retain all it's pictures. I never go there. But I know it exists--ROFL! ;) One of these years they will tell me it's full again, I just know it--and charge me more each year. I just keep putting pics on my blog, as you know. Lots of them. ;)

    Have a wonderful time. I know you will figure this all out. But maybe you can just ignore Picasa as I do? :)

  11. "We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works." ~ Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

    He's right!

    Hope you have a fabulous trip, and i look forward to anything you can post from the fascinating country of Japan!

  12. I think you should concentrate on enjoying the experience of Japan.
    The blogs you offer on your return will be well worth the wait.
    Enjoy the time, not fussing with a blog app!

  13. I always write blog posts from my regular desktop computer. I just know that I'd waste a tone of time and sanity if I tried anything else.

    Have a fun trip to Japan!

  14. The Tower of London's Moat is fabulous and reminds me of Cristo and his environmental art.

  15. I have a lot of your posts to catch up on Jenny - take care of you!
    (The colours in this are beautiful!)

  16. I'm hating the way Blogger just forced me to have a Google email address as my primary contact. I had a perfectly good identity that they have decided is invalid. .
    Nice woolly things. I like the idea of sheep taking over Savile Row.

  17. Blogger, picasa, google+ everything is a mess.
    I love the sheep taking over. What a great idea.

    But I hope to see some photos and stories from your trip to Japan.
    I have only stayed in Tokyo for one trip and loved it. I took the family there for Christmas and New Year after the x walked out one morning. (Hello?) We had a blast. Best medicine ever.
    We will have to talk Tokyo after your trip.
    l but I like Osaka better. The people are a hoot plus much of my family lives around there.

    You will have a wonderful time. Tokyo is beautiful.
    cheers, parsnip

  18. Two beautiful works of art involving poppies, Jenny. The McQueen wool rug is astonishing, and I was so surprised to read that is what it is. Beautiful. I have been watching (via media) the poppy installation emerge about the Tower over the past few months, and isn't it incredible. So heavy with red poppies, and it must be an amazing and powerful experience to see it in reality.
    Have a wonderful journey to Tokyo, and I really look forward to your posts about it.

  19. I would love to see both those exhibitions. Look forward to your Japan posts on your return. Japan is a really affordable destination for us in Cairns. Have fun!

  20. The tulip cum poppy cum sexy underwear is wonderful. It looks like a Rorschach Test! The poppy installation is wonderful too - as you say it looks like a river of blood. It really makes you think about the sheer carnage WW1 involved.

    I also hate wasting my time on unfamiliar software. Which is why I've kept the same blog format for 7 years. I'm terrified if I try to alter it total disaster will ensue! I don't do anything fancy with my photos either. I keep them all on my pc, with backup copies on a memory stick, and that's it.

  21. Everything is getting more complicated it seems...or perhaps I'm becoming dumber! :)

    I have Picasa on my computer and have been using it for years. I have absolutely no knowledge about apps...none whatsoever.

  22. The poppies are stunning! WWI really was a tragedy. Well, I suppose all wars are, but I have been learning about the world wars recently, so the details of suffering that I know of are fresh in my mind.

    Too bad that you got burned by a badly-designed app. I use as few as possible because I like to keep things simple.

  23. For some reason that I can't remember right now, I googled poppies a few months ago and a picture of Paul Cummins' poppy installation in the Tower of London's moat came up. Ever since, I've thought that it would be something I'd love to see in person.

  24. I am looking forward to your posts about/from Japan, and if they don't come as frequently (or if you can't visit my blog for a while), that's perfectly OK - blogging should be fun and not a burden.

  25. Oh, those poppies are to die for (no pun intended -- a bad one at that). I love the red and you are so right about a field of blood -- very appropriate and timely with anniversary year in 2014. And I'm wild about the wool on the fence and that first image which would make for a great writing prompt!

    I don't get the picassa web albums. I don't know where they go. Do all my posts on the computer so it's pretty easy. The picassa photo editing program is free and very easy, though.

  26. It is moving to look at all the poppies. You are going to see such beautiful areas in Japan – the gardens are always planted in perfect harmony it seems. Have a great trip.

  27. If it the same for you as it has been for me, all of your Blogger-published images are already on Picasa. For Picasa is just a program/app to allow you to access (and sometimes organize, sigh) what you have uploaded to the Blogger servers. I did not find this out until after being on Blogger for several years, and I still keep copies of every image on my hard-drive. For "stuff" can happen in cyberspace.

  28. I'd never have guessed the rose in the top pic was made of wool! I wish I could be there to see the Tower poppies. Have a wonderful time. xx

  29. The wool poppy is amazing. I've been knitting lately so anything wool catches my attention. Hope you figure out the picture and posting thing. In any case, have a wonderful trip.


  30. That poppy exhibition is amazing. The first photo looks like a peony to me.

  31. The poppy exhibition really is lovely. Iust re-visit.

    I'm afraid that I never found a blogging solution for iPad or iPhone. I did eventually get a Toshiba Encore Windows 8 tablet which I use to blog now using Windows Live Writer. The app is brilliant and I can post from the train using tethering.

  32. I was struck by that ocean of blood (poppies). WWI was such a definitive time where so many things are prefaced as before it or after. You can see some of the delineation in art and literature too. I've been reading some Virginia Woolf lately (her final novel-essay, The Years, and re-reading Room of One's Own) and she expresses how affected her characters are by WWI without stating it so obviously.

    Alexander McQueen's rug is so dramatically beautiful (and unexpectedly wool!), as all his creations are. I saw the McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. I must have had my mouth open the entire time I was in it! He wove together the theatrical and the deeply psychological into a work of art on fabric.

    - Jenny

  33. The sea of poppies was a most moving and beautiful work of art and a reminder of the evils that create wars. Unfortunately the number of poppies is only a portion of those who died as a result of the First World War. Many more perished than those who fought. If we had a poppy for every death resulting from war in the last century one could cover one of the larger London parks I'm quite sure. It saddens me.


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