Friday, December 22, 2006

Mrs Twinkeltoes

My best friend is brilliant. I always knew she was talented, but she is modest, & it took a while after I first met her to find out that she drew Jessica Rabbit, as well as toning her down a bit! I met Mrs Twinkletoes (who named me Helen Sparkles) when she used to come into a local bistro/wine bar where I was waitressing my way through my degree. She was part of a group of thirtysomethings who were just good company & watched Thirtysomething a lot it seemed.

I got to know them all, but it was Mrs Twinkletoes I was really interested in, & not in any Sapphic way I hasten to add. Perhaps it was a case of opposites attracting, because she is so guarded, & I should be more so. Our first outing was to see The Sheltering Sky, after which we were both exhausted, but I had finally found someone who could critique the direction for me as well as sit through all the credits with me! Many moments of white chocolate gateau at Patisserie Valerie’s, Sunday morning brunches & summer days in Victoria Park followed, we laughed hard when they called it a village. All were often few and far between because we were both so busy, but the bond remained.

What really bound us together was our imagination, particularly our ability to take half an hour to say goodbye, which involved fantasising about what we would do with the house we were going to share, which we couldn’t afford at all. During this time her boyfriend would make noises off, but to little effect, because our imaginations were frequently running riot. I learnt so much from Mrs Twinkletoes; how to see beauty in those who had something less tangible than aesthetically pleasing symmetry, & how to make things nice without spending a fortune that neither of us had, but more in a way that we deserved to eat our cake off pretty plate with a proper fork. We also drove all the way to somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Gloucestershire to buy a Twingo, she'd found upholstered in beautiful leather by someone on the McClaren racing team, after working on the campaign. We broke down in the slightly more vintage Beetle we had driven down in for the viewing, one of those occasions which cost more money than anticipated because someone had forgotten to tell us their RAC membership had expired, & not been renewed.

Our ups were many and varied, & our downs included her break-up with her school sweetheart after 15 years, as well as the death of her father when I had no idea how she felt. I don’t really know what I did except follow her around London trying to stop her giving her jewellery away to strangers & dancing to George Michael’s then new album Faith in a dodgy Mayfair club. I know a bit more now about grief, emotional disturbance, & loss now but I still feel a real sadness that I had never made the journey up to Cumbria to meet him. I have since spent time with her mum & Mrs Twinkletoes has a great relationship with her nephew who is still happy to go to Glastonbury with her. Having met when she was turning 30, & I was 23, we are a little in denial about aging & tend to pretend we haven't actually got any older. Actually, a woman heading for 50 with purple dreadlocks is someone I'll have as a poster girl, can you wonder her 19 year old nephew's mates couldn't believe she was his aunt!

Now that I have moved away, I see her less often, but we managed to find each other in the mud at Glastonbury in 2004 & email is a vital link as I watch from afar her tenacity as she moves from animation to garden design.
I am sure she will be brilliant, the garden above is the one she worked on at Chelsea this year, & she is now spending 4 days a week working for the designer. Having managed 3 diplomas in 3 years, Mrs Twinkletoes has also been handpicked for the drawings on the new Beatrix Potter film, there is a lovely article in the local paper about her & the stars’ lack of ego, but they ego would have been fairly redundant around her, & I bet they were pretty impressed by her talents anyway.

Renee was very nice apparently, & now Mrs Twinkletoes is playing her hands which I want you all to pay special attention to when watching the film which you MUST go & see! Selfishly, I am rather hoping that we now have a new best friend in Ewan McGregor.

I found out something I didn’t know about myself this year, with the success of Mrs Twinkletoes, another friend being nominated for an Emmy, & various other achievements of others. I didn’t know if I would be jealous, feel envy, wonder what I was doing training to be something as glamorous as a social worker, but there is none of that. Well, quite a lot of the wondering bit, but the rest of it, I am just dead pleased for them & proud if friends have the right to be such a thing.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

well Helen sparkles !
you are a truely beautiful, sparkling and precious friend
Thank you so much x x x

11:08 AM  
Blogger Helen Sparkles said...

So glad you didn't mind the exposure!

11:49 AM  

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