Tuesday, August 26, 2014

London: Market Jewelry Designer

Annette Jones Jewelry         www.annettejones.co.uk
St Martins Piccadilly market

When in London I try to visit the markets held most days, throughout London.  Covent Gardens is usually the first market I visit.    There are yearly changes at the market, but often the same vendors are there for each of my visits.  Of course they do not remember me, but I recall anyone who takes the time to have a conversation.  Meeting someone who lives and works in the town or city you vist, far exceeds an endless experience of visiting museums. 

When I stopped to admire the antique jewelry at a booth I had visited before, I chatted with the owner Annette Jones.   This was 'one of those days'.  We all have them.  But I really liked her                positive attitude even in a 'down day',  so I offered her one of my Ben's Cookies.             http://maturesolotravel.blogspot.com/2013/05/8000-miles-for-cookie.html     

Some of the BEST cookies baked fresh I have tried and will cheer up most people.
Annette agreed to a short interview at her market stop on Tuesday.

There are hundreds and hundreds of pins, necklaces, rings in all colors and styles.  It takes hours to set up the booth!    Customers appreciate the pieces being arranged in an attractive and organized manner.   This is not a jumble sale, Annette's pieces are often original designs and/or reworked pieces.

In addition to her artistic talents Annette breed Bengal cats, a beautiful animal.  Take a look at hamsteadbenagl.com  and visit Annette on your next trip to London.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Giving up a dream.............

Today I abandoned my dream of the past 7+ years.

After working 16 hour days for the past week I finally had a 'talk with myself'.  I often do this when I can not figure out why I am angry, unhappy or even 'disconnected'.

After fighting with myself to accept the answer, I gave up my dream.

At once the self inflicted pressure I had been under disappeared! 

Now I have a much smaller plan, a smaller goal but sill a DREAM.
Managing expectations made working toward the smaller goal much easier.

I have trimmed my 2 month trip by a week so I could at least book a few room reservations.
I have reduced my number of proposed 'interviews' to 2 or 3 instead of a dozen.
And I shall stay longer in one place so I am not constantly racing to a train station or an airport.

Although I had to give up my dream to travel by freighter, I shall try take an overnight ferry to Sicily.  I have read the sunrise over Palermo is not to be missed.

I may not interview the oldest woman lace maker in Burano but I shall try to eat for 10 euros at the new food 'court' in the market centrale in Firenze.

My dreams will not all be met but I should enjoy the ride far more.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Scarves with a Purpose

While stopping in London on my way to Italy I finally had an opportunity to explore Spitalfields Market.    Markets are perfect for solo travelers  You can either be invisible in a crowd or stop and chat with any vendor who might show an interest.  

The enormous open area has endless booths, tables, shops and food locations.  I did not plan suffient time to explore the entire market and was glad I had not come on a Saturday!

A colorful display of printed fabric caught my eye.    Drawing closer I found stacks of colorful scarves, pillow covers, bedspreads and other home d├ęcor.       I was delighted to learn from the co founder/co owner Ipshita where her products were created.   She kindly allowed me to do a short film while we chatted.

The two sided scarves were made from re-purposed silk saris.   They are hand sewed together by Indian woman, giving them employment and keeping the 'art' alive for the  next generation.   Cotton saris are used to make the throws and other items.

It was difficult to choose one pattern from the large selection.   But the effort was worth it.  I have a treasure with a history and a purpose that I shall think of every time I wear my scarf. 

Homesoul   www.home-soul.co.uk
Old Spitalfields Market
16 Horner Square
Spitalfields, London
Thursday to Sunday  11 am to 5 pm

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Best Exotic Fur-ever Hotel

Just like the movie, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel",  there is a loving home in London for retired cats.

Homeless after years with a faithful human, retired cats often find themselves homeless when their human 'family' member is no longer able to live on their own or pass on.

A local shelter is often where these treasured furlines find themselves, confused and often still mourning the loss of their best friend.

The retired house guests each have their distinctive personalities.

I had the opportunity to meet the kindhearted woman who manages this haven for retirees.   She describes her 'guests':  

 "I share my home with 7 elderly cats, whose safety is of paramount importance to me.  They go in the garden but never out of the front door."

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While in London I had the opportunity to book  a room in this private home through a great booking service    www.athomeinlondon.co.uk  #134.  The very interesting owner I stayed with does volunteer work at a local rescue site and fosters retired felines after they become homeless.

During my visit I was ignored by most of the guests but one friendly 'fur' face stopped in my room to see who had moved in.

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Look at those blue eyes!  Spencer