Katy MacScott (@katymacscott) walked from Holland to Istanbul last year in memory of her late friend Harriet, with hops on trains to keep time, as she didn’t have as much time as Patrick Leigh Fermor did on his original journey. Now she is posting memories of her encounters on Instagram, and I particularly loved her encounters with feisty pensioners in Holland. On the first day she encountered Map and Henkel:
“Map – a derivative of Margaret – approached me with a pot of jam, as I sat on a bench in the rain, in the village of Zuillichem. When she offered me a cup of coffee by the fire, I didn’t have to be asked twice…Her husband, Henkel, returned from his errands and they proceeded to tell me, in halting English, about their travels. They were now in their late 80s, but had travelled all over the Middle East in their retirement.”
Henkel revealed that like many Dutch children he was sent to England after the war to recover from years of malnutrition. After another hot meal, Map and Henkel passed Katy on to a local photographer Cor de Cock (“Harriet would have dined out on that name for a week”) and eventually to Jet, a former piano teacher, with a “wicked bark” of a laugh:
“She confessed that she’d put away her wine and cigarettes before I arrived, because she thought that someone doing a trip like mine would have ‘high morals’. I quickly put her straight and we enjoyed these vices for the rest of the evening.”
Over asparagus risotto and radishes Jet and Katy discussed the audio books for the blind that Jet narrates, Jet garden, Chekhov and Harry Mulisch, and her brother’s paintings.
Gerard David, La Madonna della Pappa. Love the bowl of feeding mush in this one! The picture is on the Via Garibaldi, Genoa.
“I’d like to show you my scar tonight, but I can’t get it out in public.”
“I think I’m going to have a parrot in my house?
A parrot. One that talks back to you.
“It could be an absolute disaster. It’s brilliant.” (In the same conversation)
“I might change; we’re going out V VIP tonight.”
“I’m not going to lie, he’s still got the ring and the child. He’s 20. He’s definitely dating though – it’s paying for his rent cos he’s got a touch.”
“Anyway, long story short, they bought a train ticket.”
“Anyone can drink that – it’s just like milkshake. It sits well on the stomach. And I was so sick, I threw up in the street outside and then I went in and hadn’t more.”
“And then it happened again, and we were at Warren Street AGAIN.”
“It was like you had to whisper a code word in a fridge or something.”
“He’s an idiot – he bet like a hundred grand on a horse or something. You can lose money that way.” (Yes, yes you can.)
“You’re being very selfish now making mummy eat the chocolate croissant when you know she doesn’t like chocolate.”
“No one expects the dog to get married.”
“You’re going to really enjoy that photo when you’re older.”
“… and then it turned out that he just wanted to move to a little town in the middle of nowhere and be a taxidermist.”
You’re bringing a strong turban game, but some doubter is giving you the side eye
you’re having the mother of all essay crises
The alarm clock is going and you just can’t get up
you pratfall and people just laugh and point
you be feeling the rain even though you’re a lion
you be a badass rap star even though you’re an angel too.
All photos Genoa 2018.
Peggy Guggenheim by Alfred Courmes (1927); an illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova; Barbara Hepworth by Ida Kar (photo owned by the NPG).
Love this direct portrait of Felicity Jones by Laura Pannaker, which is in the National Portrait Gallery.
Lucinda Rogers’ gentrification exhibition at the House of illustration is a must see. Each piece documents the changing nature of life in Hackney and the changing communities. Striking, energetic, thought-provoking and top quality as ever.