Daily Mind-ful 26 April 2017 (Lavenham Guildhall)

I take my cousins to look at the Bures Dragon, a huge earthscape shaped like a dragon which is the most dramatic example of land art in Suffolk. As an added bonus, Saint Stephen’s Chapel, the grounds of which serve as the de facto viewing stage for the land art dragon, approximately half a mile away and otherwise inaccessible by foot, was open because it was the Easter period. The chapel is a little-known, special historic treat because it’s the chapel for the aristocratic DeVere family, the forbears of the dragon’s creator, Geoffrey Probert, and contains the ancient tombs of several DeVeres, dating back as far as the 13th century. Walking into the small chapel and viewing the tombs, almost perfectly preserved, up close, is not something you’d ordinarily be able to do at a museum, so, being able to see such ancient, museum-quality relics totally undisturbed, in total quiet and serenity, was an unexpected windfall which my cousins enjoyed immensely [I didn’t film inside the chapel because it is a sacred place. But wanted to mention our visit there nonetheless]; we continue our sightseeing tour through Suffolk to Lavenham, the most popular tourist destination in Suffolk, where we visit its best-known building, the Guildhall, which was once the centre of wool trading and then became a workhouse after Lavenham lost its pre-eminent position in the industry. First sight: a stuffed, apotropaic cat. “Apotropaic” means “intended to ward off evil.” ; The harsh lock-up and bare bones mortuary behind the Guildhall; the public footpath system is one of Britain’s greatest public goods and treasures. The footpath system and the corresponding ordnance survey maps allow the public to walk on the public easements crisscrossing the nation’s countryside; entertaining and hospitality are as exhausting as any day at the office; OMFG, HAIL!; WOO HOO! my stepdaughter, Louise Bleach, representing the water desalination technology, Desolenator, wins a HUGE startup competition, Pitch at Palace, over 900 other startup contestants chosen from all over the United Kingdom.

Daily Mind-ful 25 April 2017 (Cousins)

My cousins arrive this morning; my husband thinks 11 am is too early for lunch but Chinese people always prefer eating earlier than later; my wi-fi solution, utilising the mobile, rather than landline, telephone network, is unbelievably expensive; again, I can’t believe how the British government is letting the countryside languish in Luddite backwardness, adversely impacting economic productivity in huge swathes of the nation; an Instagram friend clued me into the fact that “posh crisps” can sometimes contain high levels of carcinogens called acrylamides; we love entertaining at home but it makes John tense; John can never remember the names of anyone, including my imminently arriving cousins; I can’t believe that Putin has sent troops to North Korea. So glad I’m no longer living in the US! I suddenly realise that the speed limit signs and our car’s odometer are calibrated in miles, not kilometres, as I had believed since moving to the UK, meaning that I’ve been driving much much faster than I ever imagined; Oysters, oysters, oysters on Mersea Island, the home of the Colchester Oyster; the Colchester Oyster Fishery supplies all the starred restaurants in London with oysters; John excels at table setting; Bluebells; a Coalbrookdale cast iron fern chair.

Daily Mind-ful 22 April 2017 (Country Fair)

Praise God: The EE SIM for our home broadband finally arrived; the video camera is awesome – less so, the 179 new clips I filmed at FORMAT which I now need to cobble into a film. Uh oh; today, John and I are going to the East Anglian Game & Country Fair, which is about all things related to country living (except gardening), and takes place at Euston Hall in Thetford, the home of the Duchess of Thetford; you can’t attend an event like this without dressing in green, dark hunter green, from head to toe — of course. And since I’ll be the only Chinese person there, I really HAVE to wear green – to camouflage myself; battery-operated pigeon decoys; shooting (lots); fudge; giant Indian cauldrons called kadais which John swoons over (and which we end up buying, ultimately); it’s all new to me and I love learning the ins and outs of a new subculture; I fall in love with a hunting brand named Fortis clothing because of its urban styling which wouldn’t be out of place in Harajuku even; I see a clay pigeon shooter for the first time in my life; pies, pies, pies; garlic from the Isle of Wight; clay pigeon shooting; horseshoe making; alpacas make the quietest bleating sound, entirely disproportionate to their large bodies; the people watching at the fair is sans pareil, encompassing everything from urban hipsters, to farmers, to in-bred white trash; I email a complaint to the fair about one of the food suppliers, Farm to Fork, because of the disgusting, denatured, processed quality of the hamburger they sold me; you have to complain in life, not just take it lying down; otherwise, all that spleen, anger and resentment just ruins your day — and for what? It’s better to do something — at the very least — to save other unwitting consumers from a similar bad experience.

Daily Mind-ful 21 April 2017 (FORMAT 2017)

[APOLOGIES but the first story in this clip appeared in yesterday’s diary post.] You can watch my full rant about how Mark Zuckerberg needs to grow some balls and show more leadership here; first stop on my tour of FORMAT 2017 is the University of Derby on Markeaton Street, located across the street from a trailer park; you can actually order instant coffee at the cafe; the FORMAT exhibition spans 15 venues across the city of Derby so that residents, students and everyone in Derby is exposed to the art; bleak images of the former Yugoslavia by Borko Vukosav; gorgeous, if slightly obvious, images of glaciers juxtaposed against abandoned eskimo dwellings by Magda Biernat; extremely disturbing autoradiographic images by Masamichi Kagaya document the radiation still present in natural and man-made objects in the environs of the Fukushima nuclear plant; FORMAT is astounding for its curatorial choices and quality of writing; Derby is quaint and idyllic to boot; my iphone selfie lens has a crack across the protector explaining why I haven’t been and can’t be the talking head in my own vlogs lately; I arrive at Pickford House, the 250-year old former residence of Georgian architect, Joseph Pickford; Shivani Gupta’s portraits of Ladakh people printed on fabric are gorgeous and folkloric; but I’ve spent too long savoring the art at the first two venues, meaning that I’m running out of time to see the rest of the venues in FORMAT today; St. Werburgh’s Chapel houses two artworks by Tim Simmons and Simon Aeppli, captured in a video on my Instagram feed; at the Derby Museum, there’s an exhibition dedicated to the contents of one of the world’s oldest photography studio, W.W. Winters of Derby; one of FORMAT’s strong suits is the very disparate aesthetic, historical and thematic range of images on display; I check out FORMAT’s River Lights venue so that I can try out the Virtual Reality headsets from Oculus; I didn’t video any part of my visit to the Dubrik recording studio because it’s right next to a halfway house (and lots of dubious characters loitering loudly on the street); I fall in love with one of the FORMAT venues: the Small Print Company and end up shooting the owner of that business instead of the photography — enough to make a short film actually; the penultimate venue of the day is the semi-derelict Pearson House, a mystical,
overgrown former school housing the artworks of about 10 photographers; Poulomi Basu’s video and virtual reality installation about Western Nepalese women ostracized under Hindu tradition for undergoing menstruation for the first time is arresting and memorable; my final stop is on Cathedral Green, to see FORMAT’S iteration of the global, travelling photography project, Flaneur; after a jam-packed day at FORMAT, I have to drive home — starving and thirsty; the real, hard work begins after I download all the clips from my camera; no Prets in Derby (but it’s a good thing); HOME – at last — after the LOOONGEST day!

Daily Mind-ful 18 April 2017

I woke up feeling strung out by a lot of what I can only term “urban” concerns, career,
money, etc; so I stated my goals out loud today (to make an honest woman out of myself) and made my friend Denise do the same; you know you’re old when you remind your good friends of their mom; took Denise to Wyken Hall/Wyken Vineyard so she could experience an idyllic English garden; if only I could interview people in my kitchen…; I discovered that photos taken with the “LIVE” setting on the iPhone camera are actually video snippets which play when the thumbnail image is pressed on the iPhone camera roll; the highlight of the day is definitely John pretending to conduct Mozart; for the record, I’m neither a fan of Roger Federer or Mozart,
believe it or not.

Daily Mind-ful 17 April 2017

No more typeface on top of my IG stories because it’s cluttering and distracting; tooling around the countryside with my friend, Denise; I may be too spastic to shoot a gun; learning to play the piano may be a better idea and more calming for frantic me; I’m funny because I have no awareness of how I am — and I’m damn loud; if you visit me, you’ll be pressed into gardening duty; I’m a dog owner who doesn’t like to touch her dogs — kind of like a Chinese parent who loves their kids but never hugs them; I cook my first roast beef ever.

Daily Mind-ful 5 April 2017

Daily vlog diary: Felled by jetlag; changing my style of posting Instagram stories to Mark Suster’s Snapstorms style – a single continuous thoughtstream; but I’m still going to make random, silly, personal story posts – of course! The joys of trawling dealer antique shows; my finds there à la Antiques Roadshow; antiquing is similar to museum-going in today’s day and age – consumerism and material culture prior to plastic and mold injection manufacturing.

Daily Mind-ful 4 April 2017

Daily vlog diary: Now safely ensconced back home in the countryside; today’s publishing is mostly mercenary and in the pocket of advertisers, but not in-flight magazines; internet in the countryside blows; that’s why they sell DVDs at grocery stores in the countryside; vlog attempt (to explain why Vikings smashes pernicious female stereotypes) defeated – but only for today.
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