Monday, 27 April 2009


Two hours and mild car sickness was worth the trip. Knitting and food as neighbours. Sounds appropriate and I have to say it was. I have to confess my interest was woolly rather than gastronomic in this instance as you will see from the photographs posted below.

Beautiful braids of hand-dyed merino.

Un-dyed organic sheep fleeces.

Loom from the National Wool Museum, Wales. A potential trip someday.

Merino tops to layer on the embellisher

Perhaps, the most perfect cupboard of wool

I had a lovely day (thanks N&E) and now have storage solutions of my own. Notes and photographs of purchases will be appearing on craftdelight sometime soon.

Friday, 24 April 2009

tick, tock 250 and counting....

If nothing else, dear old projectforty has proved I can persevere.
Just to let you know I can also preserve and will be doing so shortly once I get on to the allotment and raid the rhubarb.
I am pleased that my little blog gets read. I still quite haven't got to grips with the counter and I know that most of my readers do not comment because they tell me that they don't know how to but I do appreciate everyone's visit, however fleeting. I do realise that this little blog is more Cranford than Shameless. Not a lot goes on really but, to be honest, if I'm writing about what's happening around me, I'd really rather prefer it that way.
The older I get, the more I appreciate a quiet life, one that doesn't have too many dramas. I like to move gently through my days without great shocks or surprises.
I went to the gym this week. I think it was on Tuesday. I got very hot. And bothered. I thought I'd lost my ipod and swore never to go to the gym again. Found ipod. Must now go again. If we can put people on the moon, why can't we invent something to simulate exercise. It's so dull and the worst thing? If you stop exercising you just go back to how you were to start with. What's the point of that? I really should stick with being calm and drinking corporation ale (what my nan used to call tap water).
I went to an Embroiderers' Guild talk on Tuesday too. I have reached that age where I find listening to talks very interesting. I seem to remember going to a lecture once at college but now you can tempt me to a talk with the promise of a custard cream and an uncomfortable chair. All I ask is that the talk be about wool, fabric, stitching or an obscure method of attaching calico to fleece. I'm becoming a textile geek. I am going to become one of those older ladies who wears interestingly shaped jackets made from spun recycled sari strips.
We listened to a lady called Angie Hughes who runs the Ledbury Art Place and spoke really engagingly about the techniques and materials she uses in her work and pieces. As well as her textiles she talked about some of the book-art she makes and passed around sketchbooks. There will be more over at crafdelight once I get my act together to take some photos and get a little more organised over there. She really was quite inspiring.
It's always good to get inspired on Tuesdays.
Wednesday was Bristol. A sexual health conference no less. Very interesting and mildly terrifying if you have children on the verge of leaving lego/star wars/polly pocket world.
Thursday was work, lovely lunch, work
Friday, knitting, lunching, fete-ing and now, blogging.
Saturday, football, party, interview (for G - how weird is that?) and Robin Hood, BGT and curry, hopefully.
Sunday, am off to Wonderwool in Wales.
See you soon.

Monday, 20 April 2009

all in working order

I had half an hour to spare today so I dug out the typewriter I bought at Dauntsey car boot last summer. It works. When I started work, we had wang wordprocessors and I remember something called WP? Does that sound right? But in those advanced technological offices, there was always a typewriter to do the envelopes or the labels. Office software was very much in its infancy, with every year bringing untold advances in administrative magic.
I thought I'd broken my little 'quiet deluxe' when I tried to change the ribbon last year. Fortunately I haven't. It works quite nicely. I bought it so that I could incorporate type into some of the pieces I made at college. I didn't use it as my work changed tack and it has sat, gathering an impressive layer of dust, under my cupboard in my office.
When I finally banish the family PC from my room it is going to take pride of place next to my
I practised typing on it today and the difference in how the keys felt and the position my hands had to be in made typing more effortful. It really made each word feel very significant and I became very conscious of spelling each word and making it look good on the page.
I'd forgotten what that feels like. I am so used to having documents pre-formatted and prepared for me. I think the way we click-click away on the PC makes it almost mindless and then what happens? People like me start blogging! The process of producing words on screen and online is so easy and so quick and so changeable it's no wonder we all want to have a go.
My car-boot typewriter is probably about sixty years old and looks well-used. I am sure it would have been a prized possession, a way for its owner to write quickly and probably in triplicate. Now, we can all rustle up an email and send its message far and wide. Maybe sometimes our thoughts and ideas don't really need to travel that far.
Perhaps its good sometimes to think a little longer and consider the words more carefully before unleashing them on, say, a couple of people to start with.
Whatever we think, the cat is well and truly out of the bag. We do so many things now, simply because we can. Sometimes I think it might be worth spending a couple of minutes considering whether we should.
PS: scary low mood has passed, planting beans in sunshine and early nights over the weekend worked wonders. Thanks for all kind thoughts and messages. Sorry to have been glum.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

random small acts of happiness...

A strawberry, made for me by the smallest person in our house.

The first cup of tea made especially for me by the larger child in the house.

A delicious fish pie, made by me, on Good Friday.

Having had a literary depression session yesterday evening, I am pleased to report that I may be sadder than usual but I'm not quite at the medication or hospitalisation stage. Thank goodness. How people ever manage to recover from such an illness is a miracle. They are beyond courageous. I'm not belittling my episodes of sadness and I'm so thankful for the messages of gentle support that have been left here but having read a little of what depression can mean, I am 99% sure that I'm OK. Really. Please do not be alarmed.

I can't begin to summarise Dorothy Rowe's book except to say that the parts I read resonated strongly with some of the things I've been feeling. I'm just not feeling them to the extremes described in her book or by people she has worked with.

Maybe I'm bobbing along a large river in Egypt but I'm thankful I don't feel like that. I just realise that I need to be a little watchful and be grateful for random acts of happiness and keep filling up my jar of joyfulness!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

a little under the weather....

Didn't someone once say 'april is the cruellest month'? Can't think who. You didn't know that you were reading the words of the most illiterate literature student of the mid-eighties did you?!

No picture today. Sorry. I have been trying really hard but I have nothing to illustrate today's post. I know. It's just not good enough.

The water and the clearing/sorting angles of projectforty are working quite well. I've been sketchbooking and sorting out all sorts of materials over the Easter weekend to make it easier for me to squeeze a little bit of creativity into the everyday. Now my freetime is squeezed, I need to plan it in to avoid filling it with non-essential practices such as cleaning and cooking. I have NRH to do that now.

I'm now at the point where I could actually go into my room and draw/sew/paint/write/make without having to work out where I'd left my notebook and relocate wool. I'd be very excited if I wasn't experiencing a slightly woolly sensation between my ears or streamy eyes.

I think I have some kind of lurg. I think it might be French. I know its bearer will be upset that the flurg now has a hold in Wiltshire but I think it may be a good thing. I feel the need for an extended period of sofa leave and a proper lurg is just the kind of excuse that will make such an event possible.

The last six months have been grim and sad and not very happy. They have taken their toll. Without going into the daily details, I find myself a little lost and unable to deal with what I suspect is simply grief. Perhaps I shouldn't write about such stuff on this blog. I am supposed to be a little bit funny, not sad at all. I'm supposed to be encouraging myself to be practically positive in every single way.

The truth of the matter is that a bit more fruit and veg and a lot less caffeine can't deal with some eventualities. Sometimes we've just got to accept that we can't change everything. Sometimes its just a case of waiting until the sad times pass without becoming too upset.

There is hope, however and I'm not at the point of total despair. I've been sad before but it was quite a while ago. I managed then and I'm sure I'll manage now. It might just take a little time.

I do, however, think I need a little help. The last time I was very sad I had some counselling and it was fantastic. The things I learnt then kept me fine and dandy for about 12 years. Not bad for six hour sessions in a cold damp office just off the south circular. I dipped into the local counselling service recently, just to see what's on offer. I think thresholds have risen. I'm not sure what state I would have to be in to access the same service and I haven't got the patience to try. going to try a little self-help. While I was clearing out articles and pictures and clippings I'd torn out from magazines since 1998, I came across a piece about Dorothy Rowe who's book on depression has been reprinted recently. She seemed like an eminently sensible woman on paper so I dropped into our tiny local library today to order the book, just on the offchance that her advice might be useful. It was on the shelf. I've brought it home. I have high hopes.

As I was there, I had a little browse. Other titles now on my kitchen table:
- the history of wiltshire woollen mills
- how green are my wellies
- watercolour pencils and how to use them
- shoot the damn dog (a memoir of depression, borrowed on the grounds that someone else's sadness might cheer me up)
- madness - a bipolar life (see above)
- cute knits for kids
- ultimate ski resorts

These will keep me busy whilst J is wading through 'Lord of the Rings' on DVD (again) and preparing himself for an evening of telly football. I think my library hoard is going to be very useful.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

please be upstanding....

For Mr President - Carack Obama! He didn't win the easter egg competition but he tried his best and with the support of every other egg in the human world, he'll try again, perservere, keep on going and make upmost efforts to be the best egg he can ever be.

Sorry...couldn't see I have an update on my lost and founds....I didn't need karma, I just needed my husband's logic.

I keep my camera cable in a box with all the other cables that the modern home accumulates. This box sits under a cabinet in my office, with my art supplies and other random nonsense. NRH, in his wisdom decided that this was not logical so moved my camera cable to a drawer in the hall. He didn't tell me where he'd put it but then that's something I should have known before I assumed that I had lost the camera cable. I should have known that my camera cable was in the wrong place in my room and that, of course, someone else should just move it without telling me! Time is short in my universe at the moment....this did not help.

I have also found something I didn't know we'd lost - E's jacket. Thank you S.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

crazy paving...

I have drunk my water. I have eaten more fruit. I have had just alcohol related incident during the week. I am a good forty-something (despite the consistent lack of regular exercise). I have behaved (mostly).

The rest of my day to day activities are somewhat more irregular. I have too many different things happening each week.

This week I have lost...
- the cable to connect my camera to my pc
- several packets of very important vegetable seeds
- my temper
- my sense of humour (twice)
- my 10mm knitting needles
- my favourite moisturiser
- E's leotard

I am often lucky enough to be the recipient of universal good fortune by, eventually, finding items I have lost. The god of all temporarily unavailable bits and bobs smiles upon me and they turn up, usually too late, but they turn up. It's a good job.

I've tried leaving things in the same place (this should work for keys etc), having a place for everything (this does work for kitchen implements) but I'm destined to be one of those irritated souls who just can't get the hang of objects and spends a significant amount of time searching.

It's another fatal flaw in my personality.

I have, however, found stuff this week too:
- I found a mouldy apple under the magazine that had been in the passenger seat of my car for a couple of weeks
- some beautiful paper that I'm promising myself I will create something magical from
- a rather nice skirt in Bath
- some new oil cloth for the kitchen table

I think that's what they call karma?