←Back to Julia's Diary

Awful Garden Ornaments, and Luxurious Moments


We had a great night at the Cumberland Arms on Tuesday…a night when I loved Newcastle, and the community of people who live here…all the makers and thinkers, and smilers, and people that join in, and have opinions, and know how to enjoy themselves. I was just sorry that the room was too small to fit everyone in ! Tim Dalling is an inspired performer. He is much more than a musician. He really IS the music. It’s hilarious and wonderful to be performing with him, or to have him set a poem to music.

We sang and laughed and had serious bits, and I even shook a shakey orange and sang myself!

I thank my lucky stars that I live in a vibrant community that is so full of people that make things, and think things and it’s one of the best things about living here, that there is always an enthusiasm to collaborate amongst artists.

Anyway, I have just got back from the Chelsea Flower Show. I always wanted to go to it. I imagined wandering through vast camp exhibits of roses. But I think, in my imagination, it was always just me and my mum, not the other million thousand garden enthusiasts. It was so crowded, and you had to queue to see everything in a rather claustrophobic fenced in way, and the gardens are much smaller than they seem on the television. We both liked the cascading strawberry exhibit, and there were some beautiful ferny gardens. But God save us from garden ornaments! Why are they so naff? There were so many terrible nymphs and herons.

Also, I was sad that there was so little poetry involved…there were so many places where poems could have brightened things up, and lots of people who needed entertaining.

We only managed a few hours, but had a brilliant time lying about in a nice hotel, ordering scones from room service, and then finally meeting Tiger Darling, my exquisite new neice, who appeared with my sister and who lay gurgling on our laps.

This morning we went to the V and A and saw the Vivienne Westwood exhibition, which was wonderful. It really made you want to dress up and be a bit more audacious in the clothing department. I have never really worn ball gowns, or rubber, or large hats, or unravelling jerseys. We forget that anything is possible really, and that all you need is courage.

I am trying to finish a short play based on a body part for Live Theatre. I keep on changing my mind and writing about different bits of the body. Ten minute plays can be devilishly difficult….

But I am very pleased with my own body at the moment. It’s behaving very well, and I am amazed at its fortitude ! My next medical thing is a scan on June 8th, lying under the vast white machine with a disembodied voice calling BREATHE, DON’T BREATHE! Then we shall find out if the tamoxifen is working, or if chemotherapy is unavoidable. It’s hard to believe that a small white pill taken each morning can stop cancer, but I am sure something is working. We’ll see. I will let you know.