Southsea Lifestyle – Free Magazine for Southsea, Old Portsmouth, Eastney & Gunwharf Quays

The Crafty Vulture

Make do and mend – letting go of lockdown by Emma Beatty

And we’re back; wending our way out of lockdown. I feel I’ve gone back in time over the past few months; learning to embrace my inner Miss Marple, with ever-greyer hair pinned up in a bun.

Part of me quite enjoyed finding ways to fill the time: queuing with a wicker basket, making tea in a teapot, drinking out of a cup and saucer, crocheting things out of lilac wool, painting watercolours of cats –  and cycling along the seafront at a stately pace. I haven’t started pickling my own gherkins yet, or darning socks – but I feel it would only have been a matter of time.


Maybe it’s all an avoidance technique to blank out the daunting tv images, or perhaps it’s just a natural reaction to enforced domesticity.


The downsides are that I can’t offer you much useful advice about local culture, except to say – go to the seafront and Common and observe all human life at play. It’s brilliant now there are no cars on the seafront: Muscle men doing weights, Instagramming girls swinging kettle balls, elderly couples holding hands, dog walkers, electric-scooter boys, kite flyers, birthday picnic groups, middle-aged men on hoverboards, ice cream stalls, coffee kiosks, fish and chips. Wild-flower patches, paddleboards, canoes, unicorn inflatables, jet skis, ferries, container ships, warships, hover crafts, sailing boats, speed boats, tugs. It’s glorious, my only dilemma on the daily walk being whether to head left to Eastney or right to the Hot Walls.


But, just in case you might be interested, here are a few crafty picks for fellow Miss Marples on things that got me through a very long time spent inside.  

The Great British Sewing Bee this amateur sewing competition lifts my spirits and inspires me to make my own clothes. I love the judges Patrick and Esme and all the contestants. 

It’s the highlight of my week, and my secret grand ambition is to enter. (iPlayer and YouTube).

Grayson Perry’s Art Club Portsmouth Art School’s very own alumni, now an established art-world darling holding court in his dusty pottery studio, nattering to all manner of amateur artists, on a mission to keep the nation’s spirits up. Each week, I contemplated sending in a daub, but always chickened out. (All4).

The Big Flower Fights I love flowers and am a Vic Reeves superfan, so this combination is intriguing. Pairs of florists compete to make “floral sculptural fantasies” on a ridiculously grand scale.  It’s bizarre but I binge-watched. (Netflix).

Money for nothing Sarah Moore, who has a workshop near Chichester, visits local dumps to retrieve faded sofas and unwanted chest of drawers. She renovates them in ingenious contemporary ways and then sells them on. Strangely addictive viewing. I need to get a tool shed and workshop to really put this into action. (iPlayer).

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles