Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Weekend plans

This coming weekend is the first weekend of Cambridge Open Studios. This is a photograph of a cat who was sitting outside one of the open studios which I took when we did this one year.

Yes, I ignored all the wonderful art and I photographed this cat, because he was so delightfully hairy and nonchalant. But! I am getting ahead of myself. Cambridge Open Studios is when artists in Cambridge open up their homes and you can go and look at where they paint/ make pots etc, and buy things and chat to them. It is completely free (obviously unless you buy something), and there is no pressure at all to buy anything, also the artists often want to give you tea and buns and things like that and are all very friendly and nice. It is a great idea.

I am, however, divided on Cambridge Open Studios. Half of me thinks it is absolutely lovely and a wonderful thing to do, and this half really enjoys going and seeing people creating and finds it really inspiring. The other half of me is still 15, and is embarrassed by going into people’s homes and having to chat. Cambridge is quite middle class, and I am not middle class. Partner, who is middle class, cannot however chat to people, and is absolutely terrified that I will make him do Cambridge Open Studios and that he will have to interact. Every year when I come home with the trademark long yellow leaflet he looks at it nervously and says ‘please don’t make me go round Open Studios with you, it is the most horrifically bourgeois thing I can think of, nobody wants to have to talk to me, we must spare the artists.’ Obviously in this kind of situation you need someone with killer social graces, and so my dad is drafted in.

My dad can talk to anyone about anything at all, in a charming fashion. He can also find someone he knows anywhere at all, wherever you take him, and in whatever country. Oftentimes we are somewhere or other and Dad is discovered to have disappeared and to be having a long discussion with someone he used to play football with when he was 7, even though he is 500 miles from home. So when we do Cambridge Open Studios me and my mum hang about outside people's houses muttering to each other you go in, no you go in, like Kevin and Perry, while dad strides happily along, making new friends and winning people over with his complete lack of self consciousness. Anyway. If you are in the area and you are not inwardly 15, like me, Cambridge Open Studios is a lot of fun and definitely worth doing, I enjoy it very much when I have taken the initial plunge.

So, as my family are coming up, this also involves a Family Dinner where we invite Partner’s mother, because, as Partner says, there is safety in numbers. I have booked a pub, and we will go and eat a meal. The pub website is very strict that Noisy Children Will Be Asked To Leave, but it doesn’t say what might happen if anyone begins to shout at their common-law daughter-in-law that they are a trollop with no breeding, as sometimes happens to me. I believe the etiquette in this situation is unclear, but so far I have gone for tutting sadly. If we are likely to be Asked To Leave, though, I hope accusations of lack of breeding are saved till coffee so I can at least have my dinner first.


West/CJ said...

"I hope accusations of lack of breeding are saved till coffee so I can at least have my dinner first."

Perhaps you could make this a rule before even getting there? You know, send out a polite but amused email or something, containing the following: "I realise my background is something of a disappointment to you, but lest I forget this and mistakenly assume it is not, you feel the need to remind me. I understand- and even anticipate- this need. I am simply requesting that you wait until after the main course to bring this to my attention. Perhaps you could subtly work your way up to it, with clever barbs and pointed comments. Thank you, Susie".

It's much more polite than what I would say. ;)

Also, I think you- and Partner- are very brave for facing family dinners at all.

Susie said...

Love it :-)

Actually if she would work her way up to it with pointed comments at least I would know when it was coming!