Friday, 29 March 2013

Morning Coffee - Come on in!

Come on in! go straight through to the back of the house - sit around that side of the table and then everyone can get past if they need to. What? oh, no I am on my own today, Mr M is in work. Oh I see what you mean! there's no one else that would need to get past is there? It's a habit from when Mum and Dad lived with us. I could guarantee that if someone sat on this side of the table then Dad would appear in the doorway with Mum in the wheelchair and he wouldn't say a word, just stand and wait for everyone to jump up and push their chairs in then huddle around the other side of the table while they went into the bathroom. Those were the days eh?
Oh would you like a cookie? They are peanut butter ones, home made with proper American peanut butter courtesy of Costco. I am very pleased with them even if I do say so myself.
At this point I would probably run out of words for a brief moment and would busy myself with the kettle and the cafetiere.
I would point to the bits of fabric and the half made squares hanging over the big sewing machine and explain that after three years of not sewing a stitch I suddenly had this idea for a quilt. This will also explain the heap of bits on the table and the embroidery machine on the other end waiting for the next project. I would show you the pictures of the embroidery I intend doing on some of the squares and how I am getting Miss Em involved in a sewing project that is top secret! so please don't tell Mummy. Iwould offer more coffee and cookies and be sorry when it was time for you to leave.

After you have gone I will pour another cuppa and contemplate the fabrics, letting that part of my mind do the colour evaluation while remembering how wonderful it was to share a short part of my morning with a wonderful friend.
Thank you for joining me for morning coffee. This is part of something invented by Abi. Why not go over to her place and share a morning cuppa with her and with several other friends, I did and it was delightful

Monday, 25 March 2013

Not even a flake

I really do feel for my friends and family who are snowed under with.... snow. My Cousin Pete in Canada has been putting pictures of the snow on the railroads in Saskatchewan and trust me it makes our snow look like a light dusting. However, I didn't want to be left out of the fun so I thought I would show you this.

I am about eight and riding on a sledge made by my Dad - he did wrought ironwork and made steel gates and stuff. In the background you can just see the Nissan hut that we were living in. We moved into a bungalow built by my Dad in front of the hut in 1957 and the field I am in was sold for building and the same time. The thing that amazes me is that I am wearing a skirt! ok so I have wellies on and that coat was genuine Harris Tweed but even so bare legs! Just shows you how hardy we were in 1954.

Memories eh?

Saturday, 23 March 2013

An Interest in sewing, perhaps...

I used to sew. I mean when my children were small I had to sew because I didn't have the money to buy shop clothes. I used to help with the jumble sales in the village so that I could volunteer to take all the left over rags down to the rag merchant in Newport. This gave me the chance to remove zips and buttons and to save all the shirts and any other fabrics from dresses and stuff. I would then cut clothes for my children - and for me.
When Mr M came into my life my children were all teenagers, their father provided sufficient money to buy them jeans and T-shirts and he did provide shoes - always a huge expense. My sewing skills turned to soft furnishings for a while and then several things happened in a rush.

 We moved to Newport, we discovered role playing games, I opened a games shop with my cousin. We held a games convention, called Dragondaze, and this required several of the people running games to dress up in costumes. "I can sew" I said, and another career was begun. For the next 20 years I made robes for wizards, frock coats for evil geniuses, cloaks for damsels in distress and many other things. I kept a lot of the off cuts and began to make picture quilts

Three years ago I stopped. I gave all my fabric stash away, and I had a whole room of it. I grudgingly sewed the odd button onto a shirt or coat, I made a few bits for Miss Em but my heart wasn't in it. I just couldn't be bothered.
Then I found Urban Threads on FB and fell in love with some of their designs. I have a little embroidery machine and I have the software on the laptop that can let me create designs. This same software allows me to buy a design from Urban Threads, download it to the memory card for the machine and then embroider it. I enjoyed the fiddling and the muttering and the trying to thread the needle with a threader that doesn't work. I enjoyed having to get a magnifying glass to see when I was threading by hand. I realised that I was working on a design for a quilt top as I searched through their Steam Punk designs, and in that moment I realised that I was once again looking forward.

I hadn't even realised that I had stopped looking forward, until I started again. So even though the eyesight is not as good as it was it seems that I am definitely on an upward path. All I need to do now is lose some weight and the world will be my shellfish!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Simply a moment - March 2013

It's Friday, it's 3.24pm. In one minute I will have to go out of the house and across the road to collect Miss Em from school.
I stand in the breakfast room and stare unseeing out of the window. It is raining. I am waiting, something I am not very good at because it gives me time to think and that doesn't always end well. Today I am concentrating on not thinking about going out through the door.
Then I think of Mr M. He is in the study sitting at his computer, trying to achieve another level on Candy Crush Saga. He joined FB on Sunday after several years of pouring scorn on "Social networking" and saying he had no use for it. I feel the smile spread across my face as I remember the words I wrote on my status "Muahahahahahahaha, Mr M has come over to the darkside! seduced by 'Words with Friends' he was."
The smile has turned to a grin, I walk quickly to the study and plant a kiss on the top of his head. "Thank you," he says turning his face for a proper kiss. "Any particular reason?" he asks, after I have kissed him properly. "No," I say, smiling, "Just that I love you and I am going to fetch Em." "OK" He turns back to his candy game and I leave the house without a qualm.

Simply a moment was invented by Alexa at Trimming the Sails. why not pop across there, now that you have read my moment, and take a look at some of the wonderful moments other people are sharing

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Can't get anything right

Well it seems that this is the week from ....that hot place where a snowball has more chance than me. I bought an attachment for my precious Kenwood Chef a few weeks ago and last week was the first chance to use it. This was when I discovered that it didn't work. I contacted the company and they gave me a number to ring to sort out returning the thing. This I did.
They contacted me today to say that the returns department have tested the attachment and it works fine on their Kenwood Chef with the same serial number.
Now I have to contact them again and see what to do because the darned thing wouldn't work on mine. I have remembered to take pictures of the important twirly bit (sorry to get technical here) so that we can compare and see if I was given the correct serial number for my machine.
Everything I have bought this year has required further messing about, magazines that mess up subscriptions and send confusing emails to irate women who don't read properly; Embroidery designs that are the wrong format and food processor attachments that should work but don't.
On the bright side that is three things so the nasty stuff should be satisfied now. I hope the Karma Pixies don't think I am relaxing my guard, although I have no idea what I did to tick them off.....

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Customer Service? Wrong!

I renewed my subscription for Scrap365 last December. They didn't tell me that there was a problem with the card until January when I asked where the next issue of the mag was. The problem was that they didn't take the money when I paid it and the card ran out so I had to pay with the new card - not my fault. They then took the money and I waited. I contacted them and had no reply. I went to their website on March 12th when I saw a new cover picture for the April May issue was on their blog. I asked why I still hadn't had my Feb/March issue. This is their reply

Subject: Re: My Subscription

Thank you for your enquiry. We have examined our records and found that your previous subscription ended with the December 2012 edition which was the last monthly issue and, regrettably, when your renewal order was processed, the new start issue was incorrectly entered.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the error and take this email as confirmation that we have now altered the renewal start issue to the February/March 2013 edition and arranged for this and the upcoming, April/May '13 issue to be despatched. The remainder of your subscription will then arrive without incident.   

Kind Regards,

Retail Sales Manager.

I then shot off this reply. I probably won't get an answer because it is a bit loud and shouty but I am so cross at being deprived of a mag that I quite like - I am rapidly going off it though

So that means I don’t get the February march issue at all? Well that does make me cross! I lose out because someone in your company messed up. Thanks very much, I’ll remember to tell all my crafting friends about this.
Do I sound cross and grumpy? I certainly hope so because I have been trying to bring attention to this since January! And now I don’t get the magazine because your computer software has not been designed to cope with your mistakes and cannot generate the instructions to someone to put a copy in the post to me.
Customer service? Is that what you call it?
Well, I am a customer but I am still waiting for proper service.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Let's meet for a morning coffee...

Rinda pointed this out to me and after reading her post and reading Abi's lovely post I simply had to join in. Just nip over to Abi's blog and take a look. She suggests that we site down and have a cup of tea with her and talk about....... STUFF. I stopped drinking tea when I was expecting my daughter more than 40 years ago but I do like a cup of coffee.

I would suggest that we meet in Morrisons because they do a good decaff latte or a cappuccino that doesn't set my heart a pattering.
I would greet you warmly and when we were seated, or perhaps as we walked to a table I would begin my rant about stupid internet shopping and how I had spent ages making sure that the food processor attachment shown was the right one for my precious Kenwood Chef; how I had asked Mr M to check that the model numbers were correct and that if I spent fifty odd pounds of my Christmas money on this thing it was going to work. I would wave my arm dramatically as I explained that I was so thrilled with the thing when it arrived and looked forward to the moment when I would use it for the first time. I would pause to give the drama time to sink in properly and then say
"...and it didn't work!"
Then I would need to get technical - even if your eyes were glazing over with boredom - "You see," I would continue, "the little sticky up bit on the Kenwood has some lumps on it but if you look at the hole on the attachment bit there is absolutely nothing for those lumpy things to push against to make it go round!" At this point my voice would have risen so high it was really only audible for dogs. I would pause again and take a gulp of my coffee and then say "So, how are things with you?" because only then would I be able to listen properly and not keep jumping onto your words.
I do hope you will join me for a soothing cuppa. Tell me what you would say to me after my rant - no point in trying to interrupt it.
Would I feel better after you had listened? oh yes. Would I stay longer and listen to you? for the rest of the day if you needed me, although we might have to go over to the school together to collect Miss Em - gosh what a lovely start to the week

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Storytelling Sunday, My Precious

This story is part of Storytelling Sunday three- My Precious. Created by Sian over at From High in the Sky why not go over and read all the other stories AFTER you have read mine.

This is my Dad's beret. The badge has lost its little lug on the back so it is no longer attached, and hasn't been for as long as I have memories. Dad wore this beret when he was working. I don't know if it was part of his wartime uniform and he just kept on wearing it or whether he picked it up in a "job lot" at an auction. Probably the latter.
This is my Dad wearing the beret on the back of his head. This is the memory that the beret always conjures in my mind of my parents in the corner of our living room where the "office" was. This picture was taken between 1948 and 1956 because that's when Dad finished building the bungalow and we moved into a proper house with brick walls.
The beret still smells faintly of him. A mixture of engine oil and straw with just a faint hint of brylcreem. He and Mum came to live with us after Mum had a stroke. He didn't want to be here, he wanted to put himself between her and all the dangers of the world but he was struggling with his own physical weakness where his war injuries were finally taking their toll. He hated having to ask for anything so his last few years were hell. I didn't know he had kept the beret until after Mum died. They were living in a nursing home and Dad died in 2003. Mum amazed everyone by continuing to sit contentedly listening to audio books until 2006 when she faded away. Only then could I open the boxes of stuff that Dad had deemed essential. I still have some that I haven't opened yet but I am getting there. The beret was in the bottom drawer of his chest of drawers. I thought the chest contained clothes and such because it was in their bedroom and, well, that's what chests of drawers usually contain.
When I tugged at the drawer I first thought that it was locked until I realised that there wasn't a keyhole. Mr M was called and he gave a great heave on the handles and the drawer opened about six inches to reveal all my father's woodworking tools. Planes, chisels, screwdrivers, saws, you name it they were in there and tucked into the corner was his "housewife" a linen roll with pockets that contained needles and thread and scissors and small scraps of fabric and a couple of buttons - and the badge! The beret was underneath everything. I gave the tools to my eldest son to go with the lathe bequeathed to him by my Dad. I gave the box of car-related tools to my other son. The wooden bowls and plates he had made over the years went to my daughter. I kept the beret and the badge and since last year they have been kept in my special box.

Thank you for reading this. Now you really should pop over to Sian's Place and see what other delights await you

Saturday, 2 March 2013

He married and ran away, She stayed, his mother, well

I have managed to get in a little research this last week or so. I started on my husband's family tree way back in 1994 - "Do mine", he said, "I don't have many relatives." Thus spake the man with his head in the sand. I discovered that his paternal grandfather was one of 9 surviving children and the tree just kept on growing. One distant relative told us that if you were connected to the Johnson family of Risca then you were related to everyone born there up to and including the second world war! Grandmother's maiden name was Johnson.
One of his Johnson ancestors gloried in the name of Gervase Benson Johnson and he was a bit of a black sheep. He married his first wife in 1899 and they have five children but by 1911 she is living with the children and he is three miles down the road in lodgings.
OH, he was in the army before he got married and he managed to get his mother to buy him out. It cost her £18 which is a heck of a lot in 1898. Anyway, in 1914 WW1 began and Gervase re-enlisted. His mother wrote and asked if she could have part of her money back please - and there is a note in his army record to say that they sent her £9. Isn't that marvellous.
At some point Gervase is in Liverpool where he meets and marries another girl and then goes off to war. She writes to the army to ask if he is ill because he hasn't written to her and she hasn't received the share of his wages that a wife should have. The army write to her and explain that the share of his money is going to his wife and children in south Wales.
After the war Gervase goes back to Liverpool and calls himself George Bennett. He marries the same girl again and they have six children and live happily ever after.
meanwhile his first wife has met someone and "married" him - well, she changed her name to his and they lived as man and wife for the rest of their lives.
He had a pretty bad start in life because his father was killed in a pit explosion when Gervase was just two years old. His mother married again and had four more children then her second husband died. She married for a third time when Gervase was off being a soldier in Malta and Crete.
I just love this family! All I need now are photographs!