Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Face Paint.

This week I realised that instead of my pretty much constant make-up serving to make me look more groomed and grown-up, it's been masking flaws by way of making me look...younger! How and when did this happen? I may be 30, but I more often than not still get asked for ID when out of an evening visiting the choicest nightspots.

It may be because my fragile skin has been chapped beyond recognition by the biting Netherlandish air. Never have I felt cold as such experienced when trekking through Amsterdam in a blizzard between Waterlooplein and the Van Gogh Museum. Snow can be horizontal and razor sharp.

Alex and I only ever seem to holiday when and where it's freezing cold. Often in February around the time of his birthday. I don't know if it's because it's exactly 6 months away from my birthday, so gives me something to brighten the winter months, or if it stems from my distaste for overly hot weather -my Mum is still highly amused by my behaviour on a holiday to Italy in an August heatwave, during which I turned 17. I spent the majority of the time either at the shower block or beneath a parasol. The day we visited Venice I was positively wilting! Or if it comes from my confusion about and misunderstanding of why my fellow Brits seem to vacate our fair Isles at the time of year when our own weather is at its best...?

Our February trips have included Paris, Whitby and Glasgow -the latter is a close contender for coldest holiday ever, and if it wasn't for a kindly IMAX manager sharing the last taxi running, we would have been stranded, yet again in a blizzard -do you see the pattern emerging? -and quite possibly perished from hypothermia.

Unfortunately on the latest trip, the climate rendered me incapable of either removing my gloves, or pausing to take many photgraphs of the surprisingly beautiful (I didn't know what to expect!) Amsterdam. But then, at least I'm not the sort that believe if a photo wasn't taken it didn't happen. Memories count more than a million bunches of megapixels.

I haven't flown many times, so I remain fascinated by the snowy peaks of clouds glimsped through the plane windows, and so inkeeping with our wintery theme.

I also had no idea that Amsterdam was such a destination for deliciousness. I'm no great adventurer, and I swear by my DK Eyewitness Travel guides. How terribly mainstream! And this time we went as far as to eat at 2 restaurants the guide recommended -and weren't disappointed! Fondue and entrecotes at Cafe Bern were the ideal way to thaw out two tremoring travellers.

Plus we had the privilege of sharing pastries with some of the locals...

I'd read that Amsterdam is full of both pigeons and stray cats. Sadly we only made two new friends of the feline variety, but were treated one day to a pre-breakfast spectacle of half a bloodied mouse. Fortunately being 'straight edge (!)' I wasn't nursing any narcotic nausea from the night before!

I also went quite mainstream (for me) in my enjoyment of the Van Gogh Museum. I can be a bit snobby with my art when I want to be, and deny my enjoyment of the artists the world and his dog love, but I have to say, a desire to paint again has been ignited (I recall feeling similar stirrings but a couple of years back-

('all cried out' post, October 2009)

and now I'm feeling inspired enough to have a root through my art cupboard and see if I still have any oil paints hiding there. It's about time I took a break from intricacy, and daubed paint on canvas with wild abandon...

Vincent Van Gogh, 'Wheatfield with Crows', 1890

I shall definitely visit Amsterdam again, although perhaps when it's slightly more temperate. I was able to do the two things I most desperately wanted to -along with Van Gogh there was the Anne Frank House. I was moved to tears. I am now reading her diaries, and am intrigued by what the teenaged mind is capable of when subjected to such extreme, heightened situations. Not that I want to in any way mitigate the horrors of the holocaust, or liken the experiences of the occupants of the secret annexe to the triviality of an American TV show, but I can really see why Angela Chase from 'My So-Called Life' was shown to identify with Anne.

"I'm starting to like Anne Frank."
"Is she a sophomore, too?"
"No, she's dead."

So anyway, until the weather warms and I venture across the Noordzee again, I'll occupy myself with painting, whether the surface is canvas, or my fair and flimsy face.


  1. i love your witty ramblings - never fail to bring a smile to my face.. luv u em x

  2. Luv you too H :-)

    Although 'ramblings'? These are profound musings I'll have you know!