Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Felts, Films & Happiness

I have been needle felting for the past hour. I put this uncharacteristic behaviour down to pre race nerves. Two sleeps till I prove to myself I can finish a 10K course with good form. Oh alright just finish. Apparently sticking a needle into felt to create colourful woolen pictures is the way to go. Or perhaps, having been surrounded by the gilded serenity of Cincinnati's waldorf school where Sam was attending nursery, their whole earth loving artsy craftsy vibe has been absorbed by this impressionable Brit. Sam has revelled in his time there, and with it being a hefty cab ride away, I have chosen to hang out round the community table with other parents to sip good coffee and organic baked bits and pieces till the end of his morning sessions. That way I get to eavesdrop on discussions about the use or non-use of candles at the lantern festival come december seeing as the fire department has banned open flames from campus. One mum describes an "angel" from last year passing out over a couple of lit candles and of another waldorf school that has gone up in flames twice over. This is after I have joined in the morning sing practice, coughing, spluttering and doing my best impression of a strangled chicken through winter inspired peace spreading songs. The day before I was invited to the book club to join in with the discussions of a book, which I had not read, but enjoyed participating in none the less. One mum even gives boy and I a lift home. Along with her triplets. All in all the magical welcome we have received has been affirming to say the least. Hang around enough organically plant dyed silk scarves and natural fibre dresses and you too would consider needle felting.

The country roads training is sadly behind me. Now I tred the Cincinnati streets, dodging various characters that line the streets. The city is scarcely populated, in a period of significant transition from what I have observed, with new loft style living developed to entice life back onto the streets. I notice shop fronts being renovated alongside Victorian homes that in their day would have been echoes of European splendour. Like the promenade that runs the centre of Garfields Place a church at the end no less-in photos there would be nothing to say you weren't in a small German town. They certainly left their mark here. We have hibernated somewhat this past week. Recovering in part from the whirlwind that was our stay in upstate New York surrounded by wonderful family and friends but which left us nonetheless in need of recharging.

That said, our past week has been a whirl of celebration. Last Friday, come 10 0’clock, our doorbell rang and on opening we found a golden key, a hat and a clue. There began a birthday treasure hunt around the hotel, stopping in several of the troupe’s rooms whereupon they read boy more clues and gave out more keys till we were lead back to our room and “magically” the birthday fairy had left a treasure chest with his gift inside. Slippers. Rainbow coloured. Hand knitted. Few days earlier he told me that he really wished for slippers - his teacher has told him he ought to have them for pre school. I tell him to wish hard and maybe, just maybe, the fairies might deliver. Fast workers. Silently I thank my stars, secretly dreading him asking for something more garish and expensive. Post hunt troupe sips mimosas and scoffs cup cakes back in our room, all celebratory smiles and hugs despite them nursing severe hangovers from downing shots and riding mechanical bulls at Cadillac Ranch round the corner the night before. The crew present Sam with a luminous orange bike, complete with pads for every bony part of his body. They joke about giving him one every birthday, shipping out a motorbike for his 21st. He almost flips with excitement. Then nags me for the rest of the day to go out and ride it.

Moments later however we are all bundled into a coach, boy grinning for having been allowed into the “actor-bus” and a mystery journey begins. Twenty minutes later we are in Kentucky and pulling into the parking lot of a small cinema. I spy a red (plastic tablecloth) “carpet” stapled to the pavement leading up to it’s back entrance, roped off no less, flanked by two huge stand up posters for Harry Potter. Six folk from the troupe stand with flashing cameras (including a thirties-style prop one from the show) posing as paparazzi. Everyone cheers. At my feet a Hollywood star stuck to the concrete with my name. Birthday boy’s next to it. I am an uncharacteristically speechless leopard coated person, cheeks aching with grin. Twenty minutes into the movie, my face fills the screen. The troupe whoop and holler and applaud at the end of my two minute turn. Surreal. I quietly burst with gratitude, wondering how I will ever fall asleep that night.

I do in the end. Apparently you can't stay in a state of elation for twenty four hours straight. I catch sight of my grin in the morning reflection beyond my bed head though and realise it's one special day that will stay with us for some time.

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