Z’s memory is jogged

I avoided gardening club, went to Nadfas and to lunch today.

I wasn’t sent the Nadfas programme – something went awry with the post and I didn’t receive the renewal form back in the summer. I know I didn’t because I always pay the sub straight away. I had a phone call in early September to check if I wanted to renew? I paid straight away, but evidently missed the mailing of the programme cards. It doesn’t matter, i can ask for one, but it meant that I didn’t know what the subject of the lecture was on Wednesday, which was about wartime camouflage. Nothing to do with fine art, but an art in itself and the subject was very interesting.

I’ve heard that lecturer before, though not the same lecture. His father was in MI5 and involved in subterfuge, it is clearly something that fascinates him. I’d been trying to remember – I can’t remember why – the name of the woman who was a wartime official photographer, married to an artist – I went to a lecture some years ago by their son. She’d been so traumatised by her experiences, including the relief of Belsen, that she abandoned photography and turned to alcohol and it wasn’t until after her death that the son discovered her history. Anyway, they were mentioned. Lee Miller and Roland Penrose.

The other person I’d thought of recently was Evelyn Dunbar, the official wartime artist. Her paintings of the time were a fascinating record of home life – that is, British life, because factories, munitions and other aspects of life in this country were recorded by her. I’d been thinking of her because her nephew, Chris (long-time bloggers will remember him, though his personal blog was abandoned some years ago because his wife disapproved) still sometimes puts up posts on his blog about her and he posted twice recently. Chris and Jo came to my first blog party, though Jo was defensive, rude to me and obviously didn’t want to be there. A pity as he was charming. Anyway, I digress – the speaker put up some pictures of Evelyn’s that are in the Imperial War Museum, which depicted the manufacture of camouflage nets.

I arrived five minutes before the lecture started, sat near the back and left as soon as it ended. I went to call on Ronan and we had a long chat. And today, I picked up my friend and took her for lunch – that I missed my other friend’s funeral as a consequence has to be less important. Lilian has hardly left her house for months and she was so pleased to see friends again. I managed to miss the turn on the way home and took a detour through Beccles, which was stupid of me. I was heading for her old home.

I’m struggling with two notes on the clarinet and starting to think it may need to be adjusted. I’ll persevere for a bit and then, if I don’t get it right, I’ll have to book it in for a service. There is no obvious reason for me to find it so hard to play these two notes. I might fish out my old clarinet and reassure myself that I can play them on that. If I can’t, it’s me.

Arm still slightly sore, but no other discernible effects from the vaccination. All the same, 9.30 seems to be quite late. I don’t want to go to bed yet, I’ll be awake by midnight. I’ll look for something on a catch-up tv channel to amuse me. I won’t watch anything live in case I accidentally catch a news broadcast and hear something to keep me awake all night. This policy has held me in good stead for over 6 years.

7 comments on “Z’s memory is jogged

  1. 63mago

    MILLER is the lady in Hitler’s bathtub, incredible photograph. I know that she came to Dachau, don’t know about Belsen, anyway … I have no idea about Mr Penrose, I have to read about him.
    Camouflage – what a dazzling topic.

    It’s always good to have a spare clarinet in the house.

    1. Z Post author

      Yes, that’s the one, Mago. The speaker said Belsen, but it may have been a slip of the tongue. Roland Penrose was a surrealist painter, Lee was taught photography by Man Ray (and lived with him, at one time) and they were friends with Picasso and others.
      The dazzle camouflage on ships was new to me.

  2. Compostwoman

    “woman who was a wartime official photographer, married to an artist”
    I sat next to a woman who had been this? (and was married to an artist) , and a woman journalist who had covered the War trials once, on a flight to Washington. They were on the way to a major conference about it.

    Both drank a lot on the flight.

    And told me a lot about their lives, which was fascinating, and horrible to hear.
    I wonder if it was the same woman?

    1. Z Post author

      I wouldn’t think so, Compostwoman, you’re too young. She was traumatised by her experiences during the war and gave up photography entirely in the 1960s. Her son, who’d be in his 70s now, didn’t know she’d been a photographer at all until he found a lot of her stuff in the attic after she died (which would be at least 40 years ago). He was so bowled over by her story that he has dedicated himself to her legacy ever since.


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