Thursday, 29 December 2016

Word of the Year for 2017 - Complete

Now, this year's word (2016) was Sort.  It's been interesting, in a rather tiring way, but not quite what I expected.  I did indeed do lots of sorting - fabrics, spaces, my little workroom at home - now a fetching pale yellow and with new counters and a luxurious rug, it's much more welcoming and user-friendly.. (and the bookshelf no longer loooms)
But, I also found that I did an awful lot of extra Sorting.. On Christmas Eve 2015, 5 huge boxes arrived from that nice Mr Oakshott..  He was sorting his own space because it needed to house a new set of fabrics. I have not yet finally used all the stuff he sent, but I have made a lot of people very happy from that embarrassingly large pile..  

And I bought two large batches of sewing-machine parts from retired or deceased engineers.. One little room in a terraced house in Colchester, full to bursting with horribly greasy boxes, all jumbled and dirty, and full of treasures.. We came home slowly in a very full car, spent three days putting pieces of metal into buckets by type.  It will be well into the New Year before I finish that Sorting.  Another lot from Northern Ireland, much stained by fire and water, but still worth having..

So, I think much about the next year - it's important to rest, to take time out, to feel less exhausted.. I have been given the verdict of brittleness - my bones are no longer good, I must behave, not fall down, eat the right things and take yet more drugs.. This seems both inevitable and so unfair...

So, Complete.. Not Finish, that seems like Life Ending.. I want to find the unfinished things and complete them, but I also want to round out my skills, knowledge, aims, enjoyment.
I want to finish my round of the Dance - I am not sure where, but I do plan to go the Germany.. I may not Dance there, not sure.. I haven't heard about Scotland yet, and I'm equally not sure about that.. perhaps it needs to be somewhere else?

Still thinking...

Monday, 12 September 2016

On Volunteering

I belong to a National organisation, with subsections, regional groups, and an infrastructure largely upheld by volunteers.. This is not at all unusual, and many such exist.. They have a strong tendency to conservatism-with-a-small-c, to Rules and Regulations, to resistance to change.. This one is no different.  And I am a part of that in lots of ways because it suits me.. My tendency to iconoclasm, to questioning-the-status-quo, to rebellion, fits quite unhappily in many ways, but I still feel it's worthwhile.

At the moment

However, it may not be that for long.  Someone asked for my help, and then was stonkingly rude to me when I asked for something a little different (but within the aims of the organisation).  I'm sorry, sir, but if I ask for apples and get pigshit, I'll politely refuse... Or perhaps not that politely.

Previously, someone asked for my help, and was fantastically rude to me while I was doing the job as described and offered (and which I had done many times before without any problems).. (In public, and astonishingly unpleasantly.. If it hadn't been for EVERY single person who witnessed that episode coming to find me and apologise for her behaviour, I would have quit then and for good... )*

Now, one of the few real benefits of being a volunteer in any walk of life, is the right and the ability to tell the powers-that-be to Get Stuffed and walk away.  Many times, this is all that holds me inside, and not outside.. I'm persistent.  I've been self-employed for so many years, with all that means for getting-on-with-the-job, self-reliance, self-determination, getting up in the morning and getting on with it.  There is nothing quite like an empty bank-account and a couple of hungry children to make you want to work.. I've never been well-off, but I do have autonomy. That's worth a lot.

So, if you want to be rude to me, press on.. But don't expect me to be nice back, however much you might think you deserve it.. And, if you email me, that's Putting It In Writing, and don't be surprised if you find yourself quoted to others... Malicious, yes. Accurate, yes!  Revenge, certainly...

*I got an interesting sort of revenge.. In the following year, I lost a lot of weight and cut off my (permed) hair.. When this "person" met me again, they didn't recognise me.. They surely knew the name, but couldn't place the face.. I think they are still trying to work it out...

Sunday, 10 April 2016


My Powerful Word for this year is Sort.. I don't want to be chaotic any more, it's too much like hard work and I'm tired.. I don't want little piles of Stuff everywhere I look, getting dusty and more untidy, and under my feet.. I want to look in a box, find only what is written on the label, nothing odd, nothing extra.. I don't want said box to overflow all over again..

However.. This has had an odd side-effect. People keep bringing me little piles of More Stuff to Sort..I'm getting better at processing this and sending it on...

Back to the heaps...

Friday, 18 December 2015

You Cannot Buy Me

You cannot buy me
I am not for sale

If you try
I will probably dislike you for it

Actually, there is
No probably about it

I don't want your tchotchkes
Your little gifts are a burden
Not a blessing

Leave me to my own stuff

This does not mean you cannot buy my work
I'm happy to put the item
Into a bag for you
And take your credit card
And wave goodbye to it

Whatever is was
It's out of my heart now

Please do not try to fill the gap with stuff
That I did not request

Monday, 14 December 2015

Midwinter Prayer

Creator, Creatress,

In this season of Darkness, let us remember the Light.  

Give me the strength to keep doing what I know to be right
And the persistence to make all that I do as good as I can make it to be
To keep rolling
To keep teaching
To keep learning
To stay true to myself
To be kind where it is needed, and exacting where that is needed, too
To be solemn sometimes, and to laugh at other times, but always to see the good

Let me be a grown-up, make proper decisions, make my own decisions,  always to give myself permission to be myself

Let me be strong enough to take full responsibility for all that I do..

Don't let me defer, devolve, destroy, by making others responsible for me.  I'm a grown-up, I can do these things without your approval.  I don't need to pretend that anyone disparages me in order to remove my own responsibility..

I will no longer be your ogre, your queen, your mother, your owner, your critic, your decider, your designer.. Be yourself, that is all I ask.. I cannot tell you if you are bad or good, only if you are true.

Great Spirit, watch over us...
blessings, blessings, blessings

Saturday, 29 November 2014

On the Making of Children

When you make a child, however deliberately or carelessly that generation happens, there is one thing that is certain.. You do not own that human being in any meaningful way.  You may look after them, care for them in illness and misery; laugh with them in the carelessness of their youth and worry about them when they leave to go out into the world, but you don't own them..

You can shape their ideas, attitudes, and tell them all manner of truths, but you cannot force them to be you, to think like you, to live a life you would prefer, unless you push them into something they actually want, that's a sort of bullying, and unacceptable..

For one thing, we are all perforce of another generation than our parents and children.. I was born in the 1950s, and grew up in the 60s and 70s; this colours my view of the world as it was filtered by news,  culture, music, all those pervasive colours and things that are almost invisible until we stand away and look back..

My children were born in the late 1970s.  They grew up with Thatchersim, riots, and the madnesses of the 1980s culture which I still find baffling..  That hair! Those clothes!  Dammnit, that music!

If they had children, they would have been of the Millenium.. That's an interesting time..

I was talking about the speed of change today, and the idea that when Thomas Hardy was born in the 1840s, there were no railways - when he died, in the 1920s, the news was telephoned to London and broadcast on the BBC..  I'm willing to bet, unless you are making a point, that you have a mobile phone, a flat TV, and several computers.. The time from the Car to the Aeroplane is not even one generation, and is shorter than the time since man walked on the Moon

I've always liked computers, find them useful, but the main joy is in communication.. Sadly, it's a long time since I wrote a physical letter and sent it in the post (although I do a lot of business by mail)

And my children speak on Facebook, text, twitter perhaps, I don't much care.. Somewhere, we have to draw a line and say enough!  Or do we..

Anyway, when you make one child, that's a Thing, but when you make more than one there's the Sibling Thing, which is both powerful and mysterious..  I do not understand why my wee brother was so precious, and my sisters are strangers.  Perhaps it's a generational thing..

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

In the Nature of a Rant about Insurance Company Lackeys

I'm really really angry. 

My life was turned upside down by a mishap, and I get mealy-mouthed stuff about "not having provided documentary evidence" for small stuff like my clothes and my USB stick. And the big stuff is apparently not worth considering.. I can't drive a nasty old banger for my business - in fact the current car is not a patch on the old one and I really don't like it much.

When the tree landed on my car, it not only stopped my forward progress on the road, it started a big train of events that have affected me very badly, are still affecting me, and will probably never go away.  I want to draw a line under all this, but every time I knock my left hand, or have to get up slowly because my knee is stiff, or have to apologise to yet another customer because my business has been inefficient for several months, I am forcibly reminded that this was not a momentary occurrence. It continues.  It will continue. 

When you are ill or have an accident, you have a salary, which continues, and there are people in your organisation who will see that your work is done, and I expect that you would not lose your job if you had to spend some time going to and from a hospital. I'm self-employed.  I've been self-employed all my life. There is only me.  If I can't do it, no-one else can, because there is no-one else.. My husband helps, but he can't do my job in the way I do, and his expertise is not mine.. And it's not like he has nothing else to do, as he puts his business aside to help me. His efforts and losses are not covered?  How tough.. Was I supposed to walk? Manage on my own? If I had employed a helper, would they get paid?

I am only still in business because I'm stubborn, used to self-sufficiency, and unwilling to give up and lie down.. It would have been so very easy to give up and lie down, but who would then be the breadwinner in my house, and what would I do for the rest of my life?  It would certainly have cost you more if I had done that, but I get little lectures on "mitigating my losses"  Well I did that, for all the good it's done me.

For the first couple of weeks after the Tree, I was forced to ask for help with cutting up my dinner and tieing my shoes, could not dress myself or go anywhere without help.   That's humiliating.  It was two months before I could drive myself anywhere. That's appalling..  I managed to keep a little part of the business running by dint of asking for assistance and calling in every offer of help, with all the loss of face that entails. And because I didn't lie down, I get less..  If I could have just sat and allowed myself to heal, that would have been very nice, but I would have been very thoroughly unemployed at the end.. I don't think you would have offered me a nice pension, so perhaps its a good thing that I struggled on? Or was it a bad move?  I have had to swallow a lot of pride..

I'm not recovered, but I need to settle this, so that I don't get any further into debt; any more angry; any more unhappy about the pettifogging stupid, idiotic pettiness of all this..  My knee is permanently scarred and will never regain full sensation.  When the tree hit it not only tore the flesh, but also burned the skin, the speed was so great.  My hands are my livelihood, both of them were and are damaged permanently.  All the fingers on my left hand were operated on to remove glass, one had to have a tendon repaired.. Do you know how painful and disabling that is? Patently not..The Hand Clinic was wonderful and Mr Meyer most helpful, but there is a limit to what they can do. They assure me that it will be at least a year before the left hand functions properly again, and that the scars are permanent. My GP was horrified that I was working..
My left hand is still lacking full movement and neither hand is ever going to be as strong as before.   Can you imagine what this means to someone who works with their hands?  Can you for a moment imagine how I felt for the nine miserable hours in A & E, or how my husband felt, waiting for those same nine hours without news or any idea what was happening?  Can you imagine how frustrating it is not to be able to work for so long when it's such a big part of your life?  I suspect not.  I also suspect that you absolutely don't care.

Can you understand that I am only managing because I have been lent money, offered help, and given serious amounts of leeway by friends and students.. All that will have to be repaid sometime soon.  Some things may never come back - it's very hard to restart a teaching practice after a break and letting people down.  I don't imagine you want to offer me anything for the loss of goodwill..
All this is not going to leave much change out of your little settlement, and I will still have to struggle with a reduced capacity..

Review the medical stuff please.. Both the GP and the Hand Clinic are happy to reassess me if required.  It seems pathetic to offer so little for so much harm.
And get your numbers right.  Nine clinic visits, plus the physio, plus the GP, and all the rest..

Four fingers on my left hand, two on the right, knee, lack of sleep, pain, frustration, loss of business.. Two thousand pounds? What a joke..