I last had a letter from the mysterious dress donor last Friday. She sent another shoe box package filled with beautiful dresses and pretty belts in all sorts of colours and styles. After a friend suggested last weeks letter had Germanic influences I decided to investigate more thoroughly. The boy’s mama, the polish princess has always had a good eye for charity shopping. In the past she and I have trawled around the garden city in search of cheap treats and both get giddy when we find designer clobber in great shape and at a fraction of its original price. As the Polish Princess is, well Polish I start to wonder whether or not it could be she who is my secret sender. I am not sure how best to make enquires so I spend some time studying the latest letter for a hint of her land, customs or language.
My dearest Ellie (Scottish?)
Unudr weeck haf parst. I am sendeeng yoo sum moor dresess und de beltses.
Another week has past. I am sending you some more dresses and these belts. (Dutch perhaps?)
Howp dem ees onlite. eye howps de oder wones were sewtibl. Eet ees veree hardee too fynd wones een yur syzes wot ees alsow sooteebl fovr vorck boot ey vil bee triing two fynded dem fo yoo. (What now?)
Hope these dresses are all right. I hope also the other dresses which I sent to you last week were suitable. It is very difficult to find ones in your size which are also suitable for work but I will endeavour to seek them out from the four corners of the earth for you. (Somebody familiar with my size and that I have a job, interesting.)
eet masted bea veree diefkootd twoo fynd ay deefrend dress vor eetch dey – sevenn wonses eetch weec.
It must be very difficult to find a different dress for each day – seven dresses each week. (A person obviously familiar with the basic principals of mathematics).
Good luck to you in your quest. How are you keeping? I am okay and enjoying the delightful weather. Thank goodness it is sunny. (The Polish Princess is a sun worshipper and garden enthusiast, could this be a clue?)
ekskoos may speleeng bat mi enklish ees nod sow gut.
Excuse my spelling but my English is not so good. (A foreigner!)
Ryt two yew soons wid unnudr parcle.
I shall write to you soon with another parcel.
I am puzzled indeed. From the look of the letter the sender could be a member of any EU state or simply a child let loose with a marker and an antiquated spell check. Perhaps they used a defunct quick quotes quill at the end of the line, oh if only Potter life was real. Anyway back to the mystery. Armed with the second letter and my suspicions about the Polish Princess I approached the boy. He denied all knowledge but as he was giggling giddily I am not sure how honest he is being with me.
I call the Polish Princess hoping for a confession. I ask her out right but she genuinely sounds as though she has no idea what it is I’m talking of. At first I think she is playing a part but when she says she does not know what a blog is I remember her aversion to technology and start to believe her. When I tell her about the notes she suggests the frocks are being sent by a mad woman. If she is lying, she is good. Though she lets slips she has been trailing the treasure shops for clothes for herself she does not falter in her flat out denial and in the end I have to accept my press powers are no match for the Polish Princess. I do not now know who it could be who is sending the dresses and wonder if I will have to wait till the next note to find out more.
- Today’s dress is from my donor who is not necessarily the Polish Princess. As I can not find the person to thank, do know, whoever you might be that I am grateful for the frocks. So many people have now donated dresses to the project or loaned ones of their own to keep me going. As well as the mystery donors there have been parcels sent from Florida, Germany, friends, family and even a fairy (God mother). One thing which has surprised me is how difficult it has been to gain support from actual shops. I had rather hoped the interview might lead to a few local shops in the Harborough area getting in touch, but so far I have had no luck.
- Today’s dress is perfect for work as it is not too short or too low and actually looks like a pretty serious piece of work wear. It is perfect for work as it has little pockets where I can stow away a pencil and paper. I always think it is better to approach people with stationary out of sight so as not to alarm people scared of seeing their name in the paper. I feel I rather destroy my attempt at sophisticated office chic with my choice of stack gold heels and purple tights but I’m still rather ropey from last night’s poorly and I need a little lift to get me through the day. My brother took today’s photos which I tried to make a little different with the shades. Also I had a headache and they helped protect my eyes from the flashing light.
I am a rather pathetic creature today. All through the day I had been feeling rather nauseous, convinced it was the result of not having had anything to eat I got myself a fancy pants pastry. A foolish mistake. Though I finished up work delightfully early for a Tuesday evening I was just about to head over to meet some friends for dinner when the nausea became all too real and I was sick, at work! Luckily I managed to make it to the bathroom but even still it was horrid and completely compromised my meal plans. Instead of spending the night munching at the Oathill, (where I am considering having a percentage of my wages paid each month so as to avoid all this red tape) catching up with the crew I find myself getting frightfully familiar with a toilet bowl back at home. The worse thing was I had no one to cheer me up and had to suffer alone at home with nothing but reruns of Friends to keep me company in between my poorly. I have no idea what it was that made me sick but the way I’m feeling right now I have a good mind to avoid all food in the future just in case. When my mother return she is none too sympathetic and insists I suck it up and get the pictures done promising to keep my face out of focus.
As I am unable to sleep my mind gets to drifting and I become lost in nostalgia. This time last year I was living with my lovely Irish friend playing the impoverished student. I am now living back at home with my parents, struggling to become the journalist we were trained back then to be. With all the work I have been doing of late I have been struggling to keep in touch with all my girls and I get sad thinking about last year when we had reams of time to hang out. I am missing my house mate and partner in crime who made things better just by being her. She was cheery, generous, and made a mean cup of tea.
I am also missing my girls from the course and their company. We all clicked right from the start and whenever one of us was having a hard time we would all band together to pick the person up. They were great friends and refused to let me sink into the sadness on too many occasions to count. I once had all the girls round for a meal and I remember us sharing a cheesecake brought by one of the girls with six spoons and no plates. I remember looking round the table and thinking how lucky I was to have walked on to a course where there were such great girls. Stuck here, sick to my stomach and feeling so nostalgic I am near to tears I give myself a mental prod to do more to keep in touch.
- Today’s dress is from my mystery donor. I am not sure where it is from originally but the sender has obviously read the blog as I have previously hinted heavily about wanting to wear a denim dress and whoever it is has sent me two. I may be closing in on whoever it is that is sending me them. I had another box sent last week and another mysterious note was inside. I am making enquiries but hope to have more news tomorrow. Thanks to HP who suggested the letter might have German influences it all helps towards drawing out the donor. HP also said one package addressed to Lost in Notation may have come from one of her lovely friends who live on a military base. If this is you and you are reading thank you so much. Please let me know who you are so I can credit you!
There are days like today when I truly love my job. I am being sent to a selection event where I will join with four other women of character to choose this year’s carnival queen. I am still a little sulky about the fact that I was not allowed to throw my hat into the race but considering the average age of the candidate is ten years younger than myself I may well have left it a little late in life to apply.
There are seven girls from whom we have to choose and though this is an all too common phrase in such contests, the competition between them all is close. We come up with some pretty tough questions about their views on politics, their idol and the all important desert island selection test but they all come up class. There is one 13-year-old who is so eloquent she fills me with hope for all those compelled to end every sentence with “like” or “you know what I mean”. When asked who her idol would be she states Rosa Parkes and has good reason for doing so. There are girls who want to teach abroad, to study law and to perform and they are all active in the community.
Young people often get a bad deal in the press and in all honesty I often find myself frustrated by gaggling gangs of girls shrieking on buses. These girls though give you hope, they are truly little women. They are firm in their opinions and they seem to know both who they are now and who they want to be. When I was 13 I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and was too busy chasing boys and falling in crush to think too much about it. The only difficulty of the evening is their insistence on wearing leggings but I guess they are young and I can only hope such choices are a phase. There is the occasional Ugg but being the professional judge I force myself not to let my prejudices affect my decision making and force myself not to give them fashion advice for their future.
It is great fun trying to decide which of these girls will be best suited to represent our town through the year and though I feel sad we can not give the crown to each of them there is only one tiara. The two girls we pick I am sure are capable. They are both confident and caring and I am sure they will do their best throughout the year to do well by the town. I feel bad for the girls who are not chosen but one of the town’s jewellers has given charm bracelets for the runners up and I hope the sparkle of the silver will go some way to ease their disappointment.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my good friend Kat Ingham. It is from George and is a bit gorgeous. My mother says it is her favourite dress so far which is high praise indeed. Though I hate to admit it I was a little bit worried about the evening as the judges all have to be photographed and I didn’t want to appear in my own paper looking rough. I made a lot more effort with my make up than usual and use my Chanel powder for the first time in months, a special occasion product indeed. Looking in the mirror I remember what it was like to be 13, a time when make up was for fun not for function. I remember sticking stars to my eyelids, coating my lips in cherry tinted lip-balm and trying to learn how to apply just the right amount of blush not to look like I had spent the morning on a marathon rush. I miss my teen skin but at least these days I have the luxury of using Mac rather than Rimmel.
Apologies to everyone who has been trying to view the post the past few days. Since Saturday I was unable to upload photos or text or anything really, not sure why it was but has now been resolved. Unfortunately I am now up against deadline at work and was judging at the town’s carnival queen panel tonight so I haven’t had a chance to upload text and may not get much opportunity to do so tomorrow.
Sorry about the technical issues, I got extremely upset about the whole thing and wrote a very emotive email to the blog support department begging for help. I
Thanks for reading as always and I promise the posts are in my head just waiting to be written. Thanks for your patience and support as ever,
I feel restricted. Today’s dress to an outsider looks beautiful, flowery and feminine but throughout the day it has been slowly killing me. There is a corset structure on the inside which I believe may have realigned not only my bust but also my inner organs. In all fairness the dress has not been particuarly helped by my decision to go for the trio of meats at the Oathill for my Sunday dinner. The dress does not take kindly to my choice and even when I am ordering it I feel it twisting in outrage trying its best to remind me that corseted ladies should stick to neat little cucumber sandwiches and at a push a stick of Ryvita.
When the boy has to leave for home I am inconsolable; the weekend as always has gone by all too quickly and it feels as though there was no time at all to just be. Fearing I will embarrass myself on the platform by crying or trying to board the train I say goodbye at the door and let him get a lift with my baby brother. I don’t want him to see me sad but when he says goodbye I start to cry and can’t seem to stop.
I try to force myself out of it by sitting down to catch up on blogs but there is a problem with wordpress and I can not post. I do not know why but this leads to further tears which confirms my fears that I am starting to lose it a little this evening. Until now I had not realised how helpful writing the blog is for my general well being. There is something about writing it which allows me the creative release which I so obviously need. I spend so much of my time trying to keep my emotions under control and monitoring my behaviour to make sure I am not falling to low or climbing to high that it is nice to just write and not have to worry too much over what comes out.
When I write for the press I am constantly fretting over minute sections of sentences. I spend time trailing through the thesaurus to find the perfect word and seek out alliteration and rhyme wherever possible, checking the metre of the sentence by reading it aloud in my head. With the blog though I just type whatever I feel about whatever has moved me that day.
There are days where I do specific posts which I have thought about in my head for weeks but I never feel pressurised to perform when I blog and this I suppose is mainly down to you. I have been lucky enough so far to have readers who do not judge, demand or criticise too easily. I know the quality waivers and that posts are at times too long or too short but thank you, from the bottom of my heart for bearing with me and finding the time to read.
- Today’s dress is a donation from my lovely Fairy God Mother. I do not usually wear this style of dress, I am paranoid about my wide shoulders but with a cardigan the dress is balanced and thanks to the corset everything is pulled tightly into place to give me an hourglass shape which I guess is worth a bit of discomfort. I stuck with bare legs but am beginning to think the time has come to invest in a little sun in a bottle to stop my milky white limbs from blinding people with their ghostly glare.
This weekend though we decided to give the great outdoors a chance, and try our hand at a picnic. In previous occasions these nature attempts have resulted in one or both of us having too much sparkly wine and sun and falling asleep, I am hoping however that armed with car keys and free of booze our picnic will be somewhat less lazy.
We do not start well. Our plans to create a home-made picnic worthy of Lawson and Oliver are thwarted when we realise there is nothing in the cupboard other than a stale French stick and a couple of carrots which I’m pretty sure not even Jamie would have been able to make a meal out of. When my mother chases me away from borrowing her pink checker wicker picnic basket from Joules we decide to seek solace at Sainsburys. Unfortunately the only thing we can find there to take our fancy is carrot sticks and homos. It is times like today when I miss Marks and Spencer and its endless supply of things one doesn’t know one wants until one sees them. The sticks and dip are good however and are set upon before we leave the car park. It all gets a bit messy but is very yummy and totally worth the slightly strange smell in the car which lingers long after the homos is gone.
By the time we arrive at the reservoir we are bad tempered and in need of sustenance. Unfortunately we have foolishly chosen the wrong car park which has nothing on offer but a 14 mile walk. I try to summon some enthusiasm I really do but I am wearing flip flops and and all I want to do is kick back. We grab our blanket and the remains of the carrot sticks and make our way towards the rivers edge. I briefly consider going in for a dip but there are an awful lot of angry looking swans and I am sure I remember someone telling me a story about their tendency to snap off toes when wrongly approached.
We lie back in the grass and gaze up at the skies and I am starting to feel at one with nature when I suddenly hear the buzz of the flies. I used body scrub this morning from soap and glory and the sweet smell is clearly making me a magnet for the winged maggots. I try to hide behind the boy but he is far too skinny and as they gain in numbers I gather the blanket round me for protection. We leave soon after with the flies following me all the way to the car. It is quite horrid and we decide to spend the rest of the day on the law instead. We visit Emerson and West where we we buy Mediterranean vegetable tartlets, sticks of kabanossa and a freshly made cream éclair and share everything. Unfortunately by the time we find our perfect spot the sun starts to hide behind the clouds and I have to wrap myself again in the blanket. I do like nature, I just wish it took more kindly to me.
- Today’s dress is on loan from Sinead Kenny. It is very pretty albeit a little bit busty. I love Summer dresses like this but I have to save these for the weekend as their a little too dressy for work. The flip flops are old friends which were well worn during my trip across America. Though they are not exactly walking shoes I love the freedom of being able to slip them off and go bare feet along the grass. I wore them when we walked into the Grand Canyon and they are still stained with the great park’s dust.
I did a radio interview at the start of the week and I don’t think it went well. They began by asking me a question which was innocent enough about the charity I had chosen as a benefactor of the project. The problem came when they asked me why. ”Why have you chosen Mind?” The question felt loaded if only because of the answer I knew I had to give. I stalled and stammered out something about choosing Mind because I have previously had problems with depression. I do not know why my answer left me feeling exposed but it did and ever since the recording I have been dreading it being aired.
In the end I was worried for little reason. For whatever reason they skipped out the why of the blog and just went for the what. Though I had been worried about people judging me after hearing the interview it felt a little hollow without the explanation and I did not feel as though I had represented myself or the blog particularly well.
I have been puzzling over what to do with the dresses of late. I have at least fifty which need ironing, many of which also need some sort of repair and the size of the task at times gets me down. With trying to maintain a job and a happy long distance relationship I find the time slipping away every day. The other issue of the moment is of storage. Though I would like to save the auctioning off of the dresses till the end of the year I am aware this would leave me with at least two hundred dresses to find a home for in the meantime. Speaking to a friend last night about my flat search I admitted the reason I was looking for a two bedroom was because I needed a room for the dresses.
I had a dream last night where I gave up the project and it left me thinking how much easier life would be. Though I do enjoy it, there are times when I struggle to find the energy or the inspiration to keep it going. I know I am behaving like a bit of a bore but sometimes I just crave a chance to switch off at the end of the working day and not have to worry about photos and the subject of the day. Chatting to my mother yesterday we got to wondering about the possibility of a guest blog for every Tuesday. Several people have volunteered to write one but if I could just have a few saved up for days like Tuesday when I don’t get home till gone nine it might make it more manageable.
I do hope the interview works, I hope more people will come across it and find it of use. When I was first diagnosed I found some help on the internet in the form of other writers who were sharing their experiences and it did help. On the Mind facebook site today there was a girl, I do not know how old, who had recently been diagnosed with bipolar. She was asking how to come out to her parents and how indeed she was meant to cope with the diagnosis herself. It pulled at my heart strings and left me sad to know there was someone out there feeling so alone. I commented and tried to give her some kind of advice but I do not know how much good it will have done. A little bit of me wishes they had exposed me further on the radio, just to show there is no reason to be ashamed. I know I should not be embarrassed by my condition, or fearful of other peoples judgement but there are times I find it hard to accept the lows and wish more than anything to be normal with no need for explanation or medication.
- Today’s dress is another bought for me by my Fairy God Mother. It is another Hobbs creation and for the first time this year I left the house with bare legs conscious that though I might be pale at least I would not have to be trapped in stale stockings on such a beautiful sunny day.
The time of year has arrived when pale chested males become utterly convinced it is their God given right to walk about the streets exposing their ultimately redundant nipples to all in their path. I have never quite understood why they believe it is appropriate to walk behave as though they have the abdominals of Achilles himself, but they do, and I for one find it disturbing.
I came out on my lunch break today determined to soak up the sun and spend the full hour basking in the beauty of the memorial gardens, but I was thwarted by the bare chests wherever I looked. I like to think I am a liberal but when it comes to front rumps, excessive cleavage and the bare chested males I find myself tipping towards the blue.
Perhaps they are trying to pick up a tan and are unaware of the wonder of the Saint Tropez tanning range. The other theory of course is they believe it is a way of attracting the ladies, but never in all my years have I felt myself swoon at the sight of their bare skin and never before have I noticed any other woman doing so. On sunny beaches topless males running around playing volleyball and splashing and surfing in the sea are quite welcome scenery, but in the town centre sipping a can of larger? Horrid.
One thing we all have to be grateful for however is this increased amount of sunshine must surely signal the beginning of the end of the Ugg season. Surely even hardened Ugg wearers will find the heat renders their sweaty slipper an unbearable choice? We must all remain vigilant however as it is precisely this in between season during which trends like Crocs have been born. These plastic monstrosities are already starting to spatter our streets with their brightly coloured plastics.
We must take a stand. If a friend has chosen them, remember it is your duty, as it was with Uggs, to tell them kindly but firmly that they look ridiculous. They will protest, I assure you, they will after all be armed with information about how fun they are and how they are much more conventional than comfortable shoes. You must remain resolute and remind them they are not a child and that in the history of clothing there has never been anything with which these monsters will match. If they continue to protest insist on walking at least two feet ahead of them at all times telling them you have no choice because of the dreadful smell the holes in their footwear is emitting into the environment.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my good friend Kat Ingham. It is from Pradamark and though dark still felt rather summery. The accessories chosen are floral mesh tights, my heart necklace which provided endless entertainment to my best friends babies and of course the lovely sweet Isabella who has joined me for previous shoots. She is a lot stronger these days and is a very wriggly giggly baby. She seemed quite determined to launch herself from my knee and learn to fly forthwith. In spite of the fact that one of the two tots somehow managed to get a grab on my necklace and nick it out of my grasp I am a little bit in love with them both, even though they have stolen my hearts.
On Friday I received a package filled with at least ten dresses. They were packed together in a black shoe box along with four or five belts. Addressed to a Mees Elee Ow’Kneel there was a letter with it. It was written in an interesting hand, what looks like a fine liner pen on off white, heavy letter writing paper. It is A4 in size. The postage is paid to The Royal Mail but there is no indication of from where it has come from.
I have no idea who this person was but the letter cracked me up and the dresses are all beautiful and perfectly suitable for work. Well, apart from Monday’s , which was a little short but really this was my fault for forgetting to check for back bump exposure in the mirror before leaving for work in the morning.
Because I think you will enjoy it as much as I did and because I am hoping someone will be able to help me in this game of guess who, I have included a copy of the letter below. I really want to find out who this person is as I am so grateful. In case your wondering, spell check has not failed me, the letter is typed up as is. I have provided what I believe to be a rough translation under each line.
“Eet hav com too mi atershon vat ur dresing oop in a neew dres everee day sow I haf bin lookeeng een som shops und hav fownd dees dreses fur yew.
It has come to my attention that you are dressing up in a new dress every day so I have been looking in some shops and have found theses dresses for you.
I know some of them may not be the correct size but I think with some belts and other accessories you have you could make them feasible.
“Eef not trow dem aray oor gif two chareetee. Ow Kaye!
If not throw them away or give them to charity. Okay!
“De Boy did gif mee dis eenvormashon und sayd theengses r goweeng goot wid you. Kongratoolayshons on geteeing yuv gob job.
The boy gave me this information and said things are going good with you. Congratulations on getting your job.
“Howp two sea yew sun soone.
Hope to see you soon.
By this letter I think we can tell the person may know the boy, however the boy is denying all knowledge! It is all a bit mysterious. If anyone has any ideas do please comment as I have always been more of a Monopoly girl than a Cluedo fan, mainly as I am rubbish at solving mysteries.
Just after writing this I received another mysterious parcel. I do not think it was from the same person as it was addressed to Lost In Notation and there was no puzzling letter inside. There were at least six dresses within. If anyone knows who sent this or if it was you, thank you so much. It sounds twee, but every dress helps!
- Today’s dress was a donation from the above letter writer. I do not usually wear long dresses due to my short physique but I loved wearing this. I felt like a bit of a safari Queen and I got quite a few compliments on it from the elderly population, which is always nice. The belt is my mothers’ from when she was a girl. It buttons all the way to the bottom but I had to stick a pin in the top because it kept bursting open without warning, which was a little embarrassing.
I think I am finally adapting to my new role. Though I was in work for just over twelve hours yesterday, on leaving the office I felt elated to be a part of the local paper. I love that we bring people the news from about the town, the farmers the livestock market figures and the birthdays and celebrations throughout our little Harborough land. To be in a position where one is given the responsibility of reporting the courts, the births and the celebrations is to feel truly privileged. Though I often get nervous about whether the copy I submit has done the story justice there are also days like today when I feel pleased with what I have done. When your name is written above your work there is such pressure for it to be perfect, at least in your own mind.
I am still struggling with some aspects of the role. Getting up in the morning at a specified time for the first time in months is proving impossible. Though I set my alarm for six, then make use of the wonderful shhhh button, I am still doing well if I manage to drag myself from under the sheets before eight. Luckily my parents are picking up the slack; they drop me down doe eyed, dressed in a dress but ultimately rather dishevelled. I am also struggling to fit in the things I know will do me good like exercise and well, eating well.
I am sure all of this will come. When I started I was warned by so many people that it would be a rocky ride but I never imagined I would be so tired. At times, though I hate to admit it, I have missed the highs which have been dormant in me for so long. I think longingly of days when I had more energy than anyone, able to get by on just a few hours sleep, a couple of cups of coffee and a few drags of a cigarette. I am glad I no longer smoke but there are benefits I do miss, mainly how much it curbed my appetite and obviously the alleged cool factor. As an ex-smoker I always feel a little lost in difficult social situations when I do not have a cigarette in hand to prop me up.
After I finished work this evening I was so overtaken with joy at landing this job that I had a sudden urge to thank my boss for taking me on and giving me the chance. I was reluctant to scare him though so I settled for a heartfelt thanks. I walked through the cold night air, wearing only a cardigan, and as I headed over to the Oat Hill to meet a couple of friends for a well deserved glass of wine I felt warmed by the little sparks of activity in the town. I finally feel like I’m home.
- Today’s dress was donated by my lovely Fairy God Mother. It is originally from Hobbs and after yesterdays flirty number I felt much more demure and even teamed it with a cardigan from French Connection for extra lady-like points.