Thursday, 24 February 2011

Unsure of the meaning of lettuces

Half term took us to the in-laws, for a day of two of bingeing on wine, Mr Coffee's childhood Lego, and gorgeous food that had been cooked by someone else.

Eventually we tore ourselves from the sofa and, after one of those half-hearted mopes around Ikea that never should have happened, we ventured out to a gallery.

I don't adore David Hockney. I'll admit it. But a huge dressing up box, a spinning wheel, a roomful of stories and lots of space sent the Lattes into an imaginative frenzy which allowed us time to think. We were allowed to look at the pictures and flick through the storybooks, pausing only to read letters that the Lattes had composed to the Fairy Tale Council complaining about how boring being a princess was and requesting fresh supplies of handsome men.

For anyone who is interested, Hockney's images for Rapunzel can be found amongst these. I particularly liked the picture of Rapunzel's mother watching the witch's zen-like vegetable garden from a tower of her very own.

I love reading about fairy tales, partly because of how open they are to wild interpretations - are they sexual metaphors full of deep cauldrons and sharp objects? Or celebrations of the solar cycle? Another great thing about them is that often they make very little sense whatsoever.

I've mentioned Disney's new Tangled film before now, and though there is absolutely no love lost between me and Disney, I'm rather relieved that they gave the wicked witch a better reason to lock a child in a tower than that bonkers plot about a father-to-be stealing some lettuces. Magic hair that makes you young? You've got to give it to them, that's a good reason. Even bearing in mind my insatiable desire for lemonade whilst pregnant, I find it very hard to believe that a woman might die from being denied a salad.

(Besides, even the Grimm brothers rewrote their own stories. How many people now tell the version where the witch discovers Rapunzel has been having it away with a handsome prince because her clothes are getting tight?)

And I bought a new mug in the gallery shop. To remind me that sometimes when you're low, you shouldn't look at Swedish lamps that you don't even want. You should try to use your imagination.


  1. I never could believe in the lettuce lust either. Mind you, the illustration of the witch's garden in the Ladybird book makes them look very lush, much more appealing than Hockney's.

  2. Lego binges. I like that idea.

    Ikea is sometimes a maze of misery. I'm offended that (a) you can't just nip out the side door once you've found your lamp and (b) there's no natural light. You have to look at absolutely everything. Sometimes I want to start a demonstration mid way through. 'I have seen the cheese graters now let me out.'

  3. I LOVE that mug, it's perfect. Ikea annoys me too. When I go into their store (rarely), I feel like I'm being herded like a sheep. AHHHH!!
    Have a great weekend,
    Anne xx

  4. No IKEA here, but the nearest mall is a dreadful "Retro '70s carpet meets the Jetsons in a ski lodge at Disney World" mess so we have our own brand of suffering. Wonderful mug!

  5. No Ikea here either, which makes it almost seem like a treat when we do go. (Not very often) BUT like everyone else the "one way" windy system is bad. We have been know to only do the market place bit. Like the new mug, always room for a good one.

  6. great mug. the lattes would love 7 stories in Newcastle. dressing up/story writing and illustrating, history of the puffin books (for you) and a nice cafe with pink cake x

  7. I'm Crayon - I think that mall sounds better.

    Helen - that's exactly it - the idea that it's a 'treat'. That's what we fell for. And woe betide you if you try to beat the windy system - you end up lost in a hinterland, or a ball pool, or worse.

  8. Flip. I wish I'd got all that out of tangled. My biggest thought was how much I loved what she did with her frying pan...

  9. I was just talking with my sister the other day about the old versions of fairy stories... ugly sisters cutting off their toes and heels to fit the glass slipper on was just one example. 'When you're a Queen you won't need to walk', says their Mother.

  10. the fairy tale that kills me is the one of the poor little girl who dies of cold after burning her last three matches... so stupidly sad, I can't believe my mum kept telling it to me...

    (love the bit about swedish lamps... you're funny)

  11. I don't think I've heard the lettuce thing before. And I think it was mostly assumed that wicked witches/ queens / stepmothers didn't need a real reason, they just acted out of blind malice.

    You know my latest fairytale quibble? Shrek 3. All this fuss about Shrek having to be the new king, when he wasn't even the offspring of the previous king! He should have been consort, surely and Fiona would have taken over the reigns of Far Far Away. I got really cranky about that plotline.

  12. (whispers) I rather love ikea. I have been known the buy their gravy and attenpt to recreate the meatballs at home. There. I've said it.

    And as for binging on lemonade and lettuces - ha! I'll see your lettuces and raise you Phish Food. Which made the diagnosis of gestational diabetes doubly cruel (and a big part of why Tiny Small is The Last).

  13. Yes, I fear I quite like Ikea too - but then I go only about once a year. Everything's so much cheaper and jollier than things were when I was young and we started married life with fawn cast-offs. (Violins...)

  14. I had this odd vision of Isabelle's first flat as a married woman being filled with second hand deer.

  15. I am with you on the cast-offs, Isabelle - but most of ours were a much, much darker brown.


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