Fred and Sylv.

My life just slipped into what it is now.

Like just the other day around 55 years ago I was just starting on it, and now I’m still just starting on it.

I have an on again off again relationship with making a go of it.

It being whatever I think I’d like to be when I grow up.

I went to art school after school because a teacher told me I should and I didn’t know what else to do.

Two years foundation course and three years for my degree in Sculpture of all things.

I had a bit of a hard time telling mum about that little chestnut.

She thought I’d signed up for painting and didn’t know what the hell I’d be able to do with a Sculpture degree.

I wondered what she thought I’d do with a painting degree.

Paint houses and garden fences?

After art school I worked in London.

Reality hit me in my last year of school and I spent some evenings copying text from Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake to teach myself how to type on an old manual typewriter that I picked up from somewhere or other.

Not good on the fingers let me tell you.

Anyway, after a few disastrous interviews that the temp agency sent me on, like the one at the Bank of America in London where I not only had to sit in a little room, along with I don’t know how many other applicants for the one job, to do a maths exam, after explicitly telling the temp agency that I did not want a job which had anything remotely, at all, whatsoever to do with numbers of any kind, even my favourite ones, but I also had to go on to name all of the capitals of all of the countries in all of the whole darn world for heaven sakes.


Didn’t get that job by the way.

Canberra tripped me right up.

I then had an interview at a film studio. I think it was Twickenham Film Studios, but I can’t remember because it was a thousand years ago now. They opened a door to let me in and I swear I’ve never walked inside such a rambling confusion of stairways and corridors in my life. The place was so huge that if I actually got the job I didn’t think I’d ever get out alive. They would find my skeletal remains five years after I’d starved to death in some grimy corner of an abandoned stairwell the first time I was sent out to the coffee machine.

Fortunately I didn’t get that job either.

I eventually got a job in a large accountancy firm, (I know. Numbers. That temp woman never did get it right) called Arthur Young McClelland Moore, and although I didn’t last a month upstairs in the pencil ordering department because I was apparently too shy when it came to talking with suppliers, I wheedled my too shy self into a job downstairs in the graphics department where I ended up manually cutting and pasting type for brochures and booklets and the like and even got to draw overhead projection slides.

Go me.

Then we moved to Malaysia, and so, after my two whole years of working in London for a living, I had to quit to follow P into the oil and gas insurance biz.

So that’s me.

After Malaysia came America, where 27 years ago I was assured by the said oil and gas insurance guy we would only live for two years, and then kids. Three of them. All wanting to live in the same house as me.

Somehow my life just drifted by.

I tell you this because I feel I’m in some kind of almost land right now.

I’m almost back to blogging.

I’m almost over crying about dad.

Except yesterday my sister told me that a large old black lady came by dad’s house this weekend when my brother-in-law was there, thankful to be able to tell someone how much she was sorry about the old man who had lived there as he used to always carry her bags for her when he saw her coming down the street.

Strangers strangers everywhere making me cry again.

And laugh because who knew there were so many of them out there. They mostly only knew him as the man with the dog, but still needed to come up to tell us how much they liked him and how sorry they were to hear that he died.

So yesterday I bought a domain name and worked on a new site.

Just for kicks perhaps. But I think because I also liked him.

A lot.

It’s not open yet and perhaps it never will be as I’ve got Cold Feet, but who knows.

Maybe it will remind me that this is all I ever needed to be be when I grow up.

Someone like dad.

If I can get out of almost land that is.



By the way, the first paragraph of Titus Groan is one of my all time favourites.

‘Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its outer walls. They sprawled over the sloping earth, each one half way over its neighbour until, held back by the castle ramparts, the innermost of these hovels laid hold on the great walls, clamping themselves thereto like limpets to a rock. These dwellings, by ancient law, were granted this chill intimacy with the stronghold that loomed above them. Over their irregular roofs would fall throughout the seasons, the shadows of time-eaten buttresses, of broken and lofty turrets, and, most enormous of all, the shadow of the Tower of Flints. This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow.’


Last Modified on 17th October 2016
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17 thoughts on “Fred and Sylv.

  1. Will your website replace your blog? It’s all very interesting. I wouldn’t know how to start a website! But I ‘m getting old and my tech skills limited. That is not to evoke sympathy about my aging. I’m so much more fortunate than my brother and sister who died of cancer much before their time. My sister at 41 from breast cancer and lack of health insurance.
    But I am looking forward to your website! I find you to be an a totally intriguing artist. Thoughtful and introspective. Keep on keeping on. 😉

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      No, just a new shop focusing on silver. Maybe wholesale. Seems silly as I already have a shop, but I just liked the idea. I would be happy to help you if you wanted a website. I use Wix and it’s extremely easy to use. I really just muddle through until I come up with something.
      I’m so sorry for your losses. It’s just awful isn’t it 🙁

  2. Mary

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and you certainly honor your father with your kindness and generosity. He taught you well and you carry on his legacy. Our grieving is due to our great love for each other. Better to grieve than to have not known that love.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      Thank you Mary. I agree, but it’s hard 🙁

  3. No wonder Sylv looks so happy with Fred in your photo.

    As for our lives, I think we all just slip (or sometimes trip) into them, but your way of reflecting on it is special. So I’m glad when you decide to peep out from almost-land.

    I’m sure your feet will warm up eventually for whatever the next step is… with the new website or whatever. As for reading the next paragraph of Titus Groan, I think I’ll have to start taking a multi-vitamin first.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      lol loved reading that. Made me laugh out loud. I must admit it goes on and on in that fashion until the end so you’ll best be careful not to overdose 😉

  4. A lovely post, and your parents sound delightful and an inspiration. Good on that neighbour for stopping and passing on her (positive and heartwarming) comments. It takes courage to do that. We had something similar in Wembley, after my Granddad died; Mum and I were staying with Nan for a bit, to try and help ease in after the shock, and whilst doing some tidying in the front garden, had a few people stop by with their memories. We found that far more meaningful than the comments made at the funeral. Thinking of you, loving your current creations even More than your previous (didn’t now that would be possible!), still struggling to be able to post comments on your blog unless I use the laptop, and unlike your post first – I’m blaming gremlins not my ineptness 😉 Hugs.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      🙂 My dad was great. Sometimes it’s the smallest things from people that make you feel good.

      • So true. And that experience makes me tey to compliment people all the time. X

        • coldfeetstudioblog

          It doesn’t take much does it.

          • You’d think. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to rein in the compliments when seeing a true artist’s work (yes I mean you ? ?) x

            • coldfeetstudioblog

              ignoring that. you’re going to ruin our special friendship…. :- (that’s a sticking out tongue by the way)

              • Ha ha. I feel hugely complimented to be classed as a chum! Oh. Special. Fotfl.
                That’s a uniquely british gag, isn’t it. Now I’m blowing a raspberry to top your stickyout. ?

              • And I’m blowing a fat raspberry ?
                And noting the particularly UK use of *special* and loving it.! X

                • coldfeetstudioblog


        • coldfeetstudioblog

          That’s why I appreciate my cream teas 😉

  5. coldfeetstudioblog

    I’ll have gooseberry jam on my next scone please…

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