Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Disaster and a Sudden Frida

I mentioned that my Montreal trip was a bit of a disaster. The highlight of the trip should have been seeing the amazing light show at the Montreal Basilica, Aura.

Instead, we spent a lot of time getting lost and frustrated. I cracked my phone. There was stress. There were many, many, many deep breaths and counting to ten.

I kept saying to myself. "It's okay. We'll go to the basilica. It'll be great. It will make this ridiculous trip worthwhile."

But... we went to the basilica and could not get tickets. Disaster. It was the final straw in a long string of unfortunate events and I had a short but very ugly cry meltdown back at the car. I am not usually a big baby, but this trip was a big deal for us. Our first sort of grown up vacation as a family and so much seemed to go wrong.

In the end we wandered around a really cool area of Montreal, bought some drinks to take back to the hotel, and sat in the hottub for a bit. It wasn't the end of the world. How could it be with a hottub?!

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

Next month I'm heading to the UK and using the Montreal disaster as a lesson in pre-planning. I'm not filling every minute, I'm allowing for spontaneity, but I have a long list of possible things to see and do and plenty of maps and routes.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

One of the things on my list is an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up. It's a collection of personal items belonging to Frida. This mixed media Frida piece sprouted suddenly in my excitement.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

I've included a little mirror, a sort of nod to her theme of self portraiture.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

Old odd bits and a butterfly.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

I've included hummingbirds, a symbol used in her work.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

I'd really love to make the exhibit, I'm planning on it, but this sudden Frida is also a reminder to not get so caught up in that 'to-do list' that I forget to enjoy the experience and miss everything else if things go tits up.

"Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away." ~ Frida Kahlo

Everything changes.

Plans change. 

This time I'll be ready to revolve too. I'll fly rather than fight against the changes.

Thanks for the lesson, Montreal.


  1. Lovely lesson, lovelier Frida! She is the best hero to look at for making lemonade out of lemons. Love this story. Soldier on, Nichola. Blessings and love, Sheila xoxo

  2. The most excellent Frida ��
    So sorry to hear Montreal was frustrating. If you've never been to London before, be advised, it's one fast moving city. My brother loves visiting England and found London fascinating. .but too fast. And he's used to living in San Francisco & New York. Apparently, it's quite a mixture of ancient and modern. Think you have to venture into the lake counties to find the faerie folk though.

  3. Nichola, I feel your pain! I’m glad you seemed to turn it around a bit there at the end.
    If you’re UK-bound, you might want to sneak a peek at the Ashmolean in London. I sure would. As if the library itself wasn’t enough!
    Julie Lovejoy

    Exhibition on magic at the Ashmolean Museum
    Liz Williams — August 23, 2018 — 32 Comments
    OXFORD, England — The Ashmolean Museum will soon be hosting an exhibition on magical practice. ‘Spellbound: Magic, Witchcraft and Ritual’ will be running from Aug. 31 through – Jan. 6, 2019. The exhibition, covers the past 800 years, is described on the museum’s website ‘as immersive and thought-provoking.’ It will feature objects such as a ‘unicorn’s’ horn, rings to bind a lover, grimoires, and a human heart cased in lead.

    “The intriguing objects on display show how our ancestors used magical thinking to cope with the unpredictable world around them . . . . The exhibition asks us to examine our own beliefs and rituals, and aims to show how, even in this sceptical age, we still use magical thinking and why we might need a bit of magic in our lives. To illuminate the links between past and present, specially commissioned works by contemporary artists provide dramatic responses to the themes of the show, conjuring demons, flames and the scuttling of malignant spirits.”