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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

Book Review of Window on the Bay

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What do two single mothers do when they find themselves with empty nests and no romantic prospects on the horizon? Well, the first thing is to plan a trip to Paris, and the second is to prepare for the unexpected.

In “Window on the Bay,” a 2019 novel by New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber, Jenna Boltz and best friend Maureen Zelinsky commiserate with each other about the struggles of mid-life. While reveling in their newfound freedom, they are also staving off feelings of loneliness.

Coming from failed marriages and still reeling from disappointments and betrayals, the two are wary of opening up to new people. However, while appreciating the love of family and cherishing their longtime friendship, they find there is something missing from their lives. Deep down, they both feel the absence of partners to share their lives with.

When a near tragedy leads Jenna to Dr. Rowan Lancaster, and job duties force Maureen to interact with rough-around-the-edges Logan, both women have a hard time ignoring their feeling, even though these men are not who either had in mind when thinking about possible future relationships. Jenna vowed to never get involved with another surgeon (her marriage to one was enough), and Maureen, a prim and proper wine and ballet aficionado, cannot imagine what she could possibly have in common with a construction worker who drinks beer ,drives a pick-up truck, and is a proud owner of NFL season tickets.

In “Window on the Bay,” Macomber shows that opening our hearts and minds to people who are different from us can lead to whole new experiences and put us on a path to happiness. By staying in our comfort zones, we may be missing out on worlds of new opportunities.

Through her excellent writing, we get to share in these women’s triumphs and heartbreaks as they traverse the uneven landscape that is life. We are shown that although our lives do not always follow our carefully laid-out plans, and certain dreams don’t always come true, the twists and turns that occur can sometimes lead to even better outcomes.

Review by Susan Baldani.

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

142 Opens in June!

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Dear fellow artists and art enthusiasts,

We hope this message finds you well, that your family is safe, and that recent months have been kind to you. We are pleased to announce the gallery will be reopening in June, with social distancing measures in place.

The 142 Team recently had a meeting (at a distance, photographic evidence above!) to discuss future plans for the gallery and spoke of our personal experiences during lockdown. 

Lockdown has allowed us to reflect on our artistic endeavours, connect with nature, to embrace a slower pace, cycle, create music, bake, and binge on boxsets! But jokes aside, we are all very grateful to the hard work, dedication and support from the NHS and all the key workers. Without them, these last few months would have been a lot tougher for us all.

Thank you to everyone who has played their part in social distancing, staying at home, following the government’s advice and staying safe. Together, we can get through this.

Reopening 142

As you will be aware, from mid-June, some retail units are allowed to reopen, as long as appropriate social distancing measures are in place. With this new governmental guideline, we have decided to reopen the gallery from Thursday 18th June 2020.

Our first exhibition since lockdown will be Lisa Berry and Jim Nind. You may have seen them in the gallery before, but since their isolation and lack of interaction with fellow artists, it will be interesting to see what artworks the pair create during their residency at 142!

More details will be announced in due course, including a layout of how the gallery will operate from 18th June 2020.

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

New Skills Learnt in Lockdown

A little thought from the lovely Penny Parker.

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Well lockdown has certainly given some of us time at home we hadn’t planned on and if you were like me you dived straight in with gardening, baking, cleaning everything etc. Now I guess it’s almost time to do all that again, except the baking as I’ve eaten way too much cake.

Many I’m sure had plans to learn or do something new, but did we actually do it.

I did dabble in baking cakes, scary thought for the neighbours and the fire brigade I know, as I do manage to burn most things. However they weren’t bad, looked and tasted ok ( except the garlic bread, let’s not mention that!). What wasn’t on my to do list was sewing… I hate sewing, I blame my teacher at high school who shouted at me rather a lot for my lack of skill. I usually leave sewing to my sister unless it can be glued then I’ll do it. But glueing face masks wasn’t an option.

I’d got material, odd I know for someone who doesn’t sew but it was Disney and who doesn’t like a bit of that!

I dredged up my ancient cast iron sewing machine, chuffed I hadn’t dumped it in the clear out. Swept out the cobwebs and spiders and plugged it in, well so good so far. Funny how using a sewing machine is like riding a bike, you never forget. I threaded her up, remembered my teachers screams about keeping your fingers away from the needle and off I went, slowly. It was rather like riding a steam train as it rattled about on the table making so much noise we had to turn the telly up. Never mind the ancient beast churned out almost 100 face masks for people. I lost count of the number of times the cotton snapped or the needle jammed but we made it.

Now she back in her case and back in retirement, not because I’ve stopped sewing but because I’m using a new machine!! It’s only borrowed from Recreate social enterprise who very kindly brought me some fabrics, thread and elastic from their shop but it’s helped me find a love for sewing. This machine is quiet and doesn’t shake the table, it even threads the needle, and the cotton hardly breaks. Masks are now being made so much faster and yes I’m loving it!

I’ve fallen in love with sewing… please end lockdown soon I can’t afford another hobby!!

Written by Penny Parker

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

Just Jay Dance

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Introductions first…

I’ve never really been good at introductions, but thought it would be nice to share a little bit about “me” and what I do! 

My names Jay, originally from Leicester, I moved to Ipswich when I was 17 having left home to start my own business up as a professional singer and dancer. I’ve worked abroad, on ships, holiday parks, schools and worked with charities to celebrities. It’s taken years of grafting (in-between the bar work, shelf stacking and suffering) I finally am fully self employed in my 10th year living off “Just Jay Dance” doing what I love – entertaining. 

Don’t be fooled though – it’s hard work, painful at times! Disheartening. Lonely. Sometimes I wish I’d have been given a different set of skills! But I do what I can and especially in times like “now” I realise how important the entertainment industry is and wouldn’t choose anything else now.

Currently I’m sat dressed as the “Red Power Ranger” in my living room, having recorded 4 birthday messages for kids stuck in lockdown.

“I can’t imagine how hard it much be for some parents trying to make their kids birthday so special! Especially those too young to understand what’s going on!

So if me dressed as a character and wishing them a happy birthday or “to be good” then that’s my afternoon done. Tomorrow I’m reading “The ButterFly Lion” live on Facebook for children before they go to sleep while Monday morning recording 3 dance tutorials for teens to learn!

I had a choice when this “lockdown” happened – sit, moan and be absorbed by the never ending negative news OR try and use the tools I have to entertain my audience online for those needing a boost of happiness. I plan to share some of the things I’ve done for charity, friends and family as well as myself. If I can raise even one smile – my jobs been done. Tough crowd sometimes – but usually the most worth while and rewarding! 

Stay Safe,

Much Love

Jay x

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