“Dear Vic… MK uses a kind of basket thing. Like a shopping basket, but soft stuff, like hay not straw, but straw-coloured with muted stripes. Long leather straps over the shoulder and a pickpocket’s dream. I’ve gone on to a longish canvas bag like a plumber’s bag. MK can’t bear to look at it… Will says it’s Pinteresque (which is good and bad). Sam quite likes it, it reminds him of a cricket bag. College is awkward (bag and shoe-wise). You can’t be girly or you look like a slag, therefore it’s easy to go the other way and be too blokey. The other day I wore a long green cardigan that Mary Hope gave me from a shop called Hobbs where everything’s smart (and good quality) and a bloke in my seminar said I looked ‘luxurious’. And all the girls wanted to try it on. In other words: it was inappropriate. Love, Nina.”
Nina Stibbe, Love Nina: Despatches from Family Life
Nick deWolf's photo of his French Au Pair Cozette
This book was kind of the best thing to happen to me last week. It is properly LOL, there were too many moments when I laughed out loud reading it curled up in a cafe last weekend. It's not just kid humour - Nina, the writer, was a nanny for Mary Kay Wilmers (from the LRB)'s two kids with Stephen Frears in the 80s - it's the humour of being twenty and not knowing what the fuck you're doing, in work, play, love and life. Nina has the most ridiculous friends (one calls her grandmother's dog Ted Hughes in order to sound more worldly) and she doesn't wear shoes and she always blames her mistakes on one of the kids. Sounds like my kind of girl. I wrote a literary style on it for Undone Journal, which is up now. Read it if you wanna hear me wax lyrical about denim and sweaters and jumpsuits (you know you want to). Oh and read the book, it's the best.