19: A Blind Spectacular

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Today, I embark upon my new career as a freelance everything. Not only have I set my heart on becoming a published writer – today I am also going to be a ballet dancer, an artist and a comedic singer.

To be fair, then none of these ambitions are new; it’s just that when I was seventeen I was level-headed enough (just about) to acknowledge that due to being too tall, completely uncoordinated, wonky and having the memory of a goldfish, I was never going to make it to the Royal Ballet Company.

At around the same time, it occurred to me that there was an awful lot of competition in the art world, and that it was not a career that would earn me a living, especially not when Edgar Degas had already done the whole thing with pastel drawings of ballet dancers and ladies with long ginger hair.

And, as for the comedic singing, then I tried this out a couple of years ago at a Suffolk Punch Comedy Club gig – and, forgive me for stating the obvious, but none of the punters laughed (except with embarrassment) and the compere, PJ, kept on gesticulating wildly at me to get off the stage. This may have been something to do with the fact that I was doing a very riveting interpretation of the song ‘Tomorrow!’ in Annie, and I rather suspect that the thin-topped PJ was jealous of my curls!

Today, though – today, I believe that I could still achieve all of my ambitions. I just need to approach things from a new angle.

On TV last night, the prima ballerina Darcey Russell extolled the virtues of dance for those suffering with anxiety-related issues. Luckily, I’ve come up with an innovative way in which I can help. But, perhaps luckily for you, I’m saving this idea for a later post.

But having put the pastel ginger dancers on the back-burner, at least for time being, I’m now seeing a gap in the market for locally-influenced designs. Inspired by a recent walk in Chilton, I’m predicting a high demand for colourful florals to adorn the windows of industrial units.

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And where better to steal my designs from – than the local hedgerows? Time for a walk.
Jay Cool steps out …

I head off down Acton Lane in the company of my old Motorola. I also have my Nokia phone, but the Motorola takes better close-up shots, so I’ve nabbed it back off my sprogs. It seems to have a lot of new features, i.e. a number of gaming apps! In the hope that it still has enough memory left for my purpose, I start snapping:

Acton Lane 1

Never knock a walk down Acton Lane – just look at all this colour!

Acton Lane 2

I’d love to have as much expertise about flowers, as my fellow-eccentric Gerald Durrell had about animals, but – I don’t! Whereas it’s true that I did once have a fad on botany, I can’t remember the first thing about it, and I haven’t got the foggiest clue what any of these flowers are called. Fortunately, my designs require no labels – just my name, Jay Cool.

Absolutely love this blue flower – just look at all the little wriggly-wormy bits in its centre!

Acton Lane 3

And the white flower appears to have lots of mini lollipop ladies in the middle of it, on the roundabout there, waving their sticks around and helping the wee mites to cross the busy road. It’s friend, the bold pink number speaks for itself, i.e. it’s a little middle-aged and worn around the edges, which is why its so forward.

What’s more, in my opinion, there can be as much shine and wonder in abandoned rubbish, as in the rest of the hedgerow, particularly if it is captured on camera by Jay Cool:

Acton Lane 4

Remember the killjoys from your childhood? You know, the mums and aunties who told you to stop slouching and stick your chin up and smile (sorry, that was a line in Annie’s ‘Tomorrow’ song)? Well, they were talking a load of crap! It was all just a conspiracy to stop you seeing the small things in life, the things on the pavement – the things that matter:

Acton Lane 5

I leave Acton Lane, intending to head in the direction of the Kingfisher Leisure Centre, and to take the path alongside it that leads to the River Stour and the footpath that follows the route of the old railway line, adjacent to the water meadows.

But somehow my feet have other ideas. They take me via the town centre shops and into a number of charity shops. I’m not going to buy any books, because I’ve given up on that addiction. So I come out of the first shop with a wooden box. It’s a bargain – only £10, and it’s got little apartments in it, with a tiny-writing platform, complete with leather inlay, and even a cute-little-cut-glass inkwell.

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I love it and now it’s all mine! I wrap it up in my khaki-green cagoul and hide it in my ‘healthyambitionssuffolk.nhs.uk’ bag (I’m all style!). It has to be hidden (Hubby doesn’t like tat!).

Like I said (and I’m keen on repeating myself), I’m off books. This is why, two charity shops later, I’m the proud owner of the following pets:

  • ‘The Penguin Book of Ghosts’ by Westwood & Simpson
  • ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ ed. by Marsden & Wright
  • ‘English Country Houses’ by V. Sackville-West
  • ‘English Village’ by Edmund Blunden
  • ‘English Novelists’ by Elizabeth Bowden
  • ‘True Tales of Sail & Steam’ by Shalimar
  • ‘A History of English-Speaking Peoples’ by Winston S Churchill

Not quite sure how I’m going to afford to feed and maintain all of these pets, let alone sneak them into my house without Hubby or the sprogs noticing. But how can I abandon such sorry cases to end their lives in a skip? Far better to take them under my wing, even in my dire financial circumstances (i.e. haven’t made a penny out of my Amazon Associate links!).

All laden down, I realise I now only have twenty minutes before the time when I arranged to meet one of my sprogs for brunch. (Not entirely sure whether he still counts as a sprog, now that he has a moustache – but so be it – the label sticks!) And I haven’t yet made it to the banks of the River Stour.

But there’s still time …

I nip off, not quite running (my bags are pretty heavy), but nonetheless at a brisk pace – and take the following snaps:

River Stour

Everything’s very beautiful and wonderful, and I keep thinking of Toad in ‘Wind in the Willows’, when he goes on about ‘messing about on the river’ (probably thanks to Prunella Scales, who reminisced about Toad in her canal boat TV series) but, as you can see from the angst on my face, I’ve also got brunch on my mind – and sprog will be cross if I’m late.

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Jay Cool doing her best Michael Gove impression!

I nip back (slowly) into town …

After ordering my usual pot of tea, I settle myself down into a nice-comfy-leather seat, and check my Nokia for text messages: ‘I am still looking for my socks, so will be late!’ This means that sprog hasn’t even set off yet. Much as I love spending time with my offspring, then this is great! I get out my sketch pad and pencils, take a look at my snaps, and summon up the muse …

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It’s been a good-long while since I put pencil to paper, so I’m feeling quite chuffed with the result:

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I had intended to fill in the whole with my array of watercolour pencils, but loathe to mess it up, I play around with the background shade instead;

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To colour or not to colour?

Sprog saves the day! He’s here for his brunch. We eat and slog back up the valley wall, that is Waldingfield Road, to our cave home on the mountain top. But, with my load a little lighter, courtesy of my back-pack having found it’s way onto Sprog’s shoulder (What else does one have a son for?), I cannot help but pause to take a few more snaps en route:

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The energy-drink can is a clear favourite, but nothing beats this next scene for dramatic impact:

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Love this one too. Another bunch of dead-ringers for my ginger hair!

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Now I just need to get my career as a designer off to a flying start by selling my design to KB (Kent Blaxill) … but, first things first, as somehow I seem to have an awful lot of books to get through!

Copyright of text and photos owned by Jay Cool, May 2019

P.S. With regards to the comedic singing, then I’m currently working on my next little number with a view to winning Simon Cowell over at the 2020 Britain’s Got Talent auditions – it’ll take me twelve months or so to perfect it, so I’ll keep the details to myself and my mirror – for now!

P.P.S. If you insist, and if you don’t, please read:

Getting Out of The Day Job 18: Designer?

A Medicinal Stroll in Chilton

Day 7.3: Albrighton – Jay Cool’s birthplace!

Disclaimer: And if you fancy perusing any of the books (or the ‘Annie’ musical) mentioned, start by purchasing one of the titles via this link (and Amazon will reward me with a commission!):

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