Like many people during the last three months I marked a birthday. It was one of those ‘milestone’ birthdays (no need to mention which one!) and the small treat organised by my daughter was cancelled due to you know what.
Being furloughed from work and locked down in London she was unable to travel to Ipswich to make a visit (unfortunately her name isn’t Dominique). However, she did find she had more time on her hands than expected and decided to make up for the cancelled event with a surprise gift instead.
Unbeknown to me and through a series of seemingly random and cryptic messages, she deduced that my current favourite colours are green, lilac, turquoise and gold.
I was also sent a sketch ‘for my opinion’ under the ruse of entering a competition being run by Dr Martens. It never crossed my mind she was painting a pair for me.
So, when the postie knocked loudly on my door and was already back in his van waving at me as I opened the front door, I was genuinely surprised to see a random, unexpected parcel on my doorstep. And, even more surprised when I opened it to find these gorgeous, colourful shoes inside – painted especially for me.
For the first time in 22 years I am not spending spring weekends both coaxing and at the same time taming a garden from its winter state. It is a strange sensation to be without even a windowsill of outdoor plant space. Dare I say it, for the moment it makes me feel rootless!
Here is my old garden last year on the 26th April 2016 . . .
And, here is my last photo of the garden taken on 27 February 2017 before the pots were loaded onto the lorry.
So it is thank goodness for the odd bunch of seasonal flowers.
For me certain colour combinations are simply crying out to be tweaked and developed into some form of textile work . . .
Here, above and below, are a couple of ways I have manipulated the images to emphasise the colours and the shapes in preparation for possibly a silk scarf or a hand hooked cushion cover.
After working on these photos saving some and deleting others, I pondered my gardenless state. Reminiscing I scrolled back through hundreds of old photos featuring the gone garden when I came upon this strange picture. If you were wondering just how odd some people can get here’s proof. No, it wasn’t April Fool’s Day either when I concocted this visual yarn!
Some products are the epitome of ‘form and function’ and, for me, Dr Martens boots and shoes are just that. I remember the feeling of liberation the first time I bounced down the escalators at Highbury and Islington tube station wearing my first pair when I was a 19 year old student. I had switched down from the high-heeled, dainty shoes that my mother approved of into black DMs that I could actually walk, run, and climb stairs in.
Last month, Dr Martens opened their second largest store in the UK in Norwich and needless to say I had to get along and have a look at all the fun designs. I do have some ‘lady-like’ party shoes, but most of the time I live in my boots.
Dr Martens is a British company based in Northampton where they have been making footwear for over 100 years. Originally, the Griggs family started as traditional family shoemakers in 1901, but in the 1950s they began a collaboration with a couple of Germans, Dr Klaus Märtens and Dr Herbert Funck. Märtens and Funck had developed a novel air-cushioned sole made from rubber and together with Bill Griggs a new working boot was designed. The first pair of Dr Martens were made in the Northampton factory in April 1960.
Now, over 50 years later we can even find a Dr Marten boot for our tots or treat ourselves to an arty pair from the eclectic range made in the brand’s original factory at Wollaston, Northamptonshire, reopened in 2007 to produce vintage styles.