Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Look After Yourself...

...they say. But all the offers of help are hedged-around, or expensive, or at unhelpful times. Look after yourself, they say, but no-one turns up and does the washing or the washing-up without being asked, or cleans the floor, or offers to husband-sit so I can go out to the hairdressers or the doctors.  And I know I can ask, but that's both demeaning and quite hard, as I know I may end up being resented, or worse..

I need to do stuff, I do have a business to run and a house to keep, and most of all a husband, sick and almost absent, who needs cleaning, and washing and emptying and re-filling and constantly reminding that he must eat and drink to stay alive a little longer.

And I'm lonely. It's so quiet, and I can't settle to anything for long, as the endless tiny tasks go on and on and on and on...

Sorry, feeling self-pity doesn't help either, but perhaps the alternative is anger, and that will definitely not do..

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Shorter than you think

Life, that is. May 1st, I handed in my notice for the Big Workshop, 6 months and then No More 1000 square feet of endless pick-it-up-and-put-it-away, hoovering, cold in the winter, too many chairs...
And in the second week of May, I very nearly lost my lovely man, as he was taken ill with major gut problems (again) and had to go in to hospital for more emergency surgery. And a little time was gained, for which we are both grateful.. But I still have to clear out the workshop, sell off all manner of stuff, tidy, remove, stocktake, fetch, carry, and finish. All pretty much on my aching back, as himself is no longer able to lift anything, cannot do more than an odd hour or two, and was (not so much now) at first unwilling to let go of anything "that might be useful". Now I have two months left, and it may be possible to get it all done, but I don't feel like doing any of it.

And I'm mourning, of course. It's all so damned hard to deal with, and I'm tired, and I'm upset, and I don't want to show any of this to the world, so it comes out at home. Sometimes I'm so tired that all I can do is weep...

So unfair to John, who is taking all this with a deal of stoicism, but not anything I feel I can control. And the endless, fruitless, anger-making struggle to get any kind of help is so demoralising. When a need is finally acknowledged, something gets done, but absolutely nothing is automatic, and nothing is "suggested" that might be available and needed; we have to stomp and whine and demand and endlessly hang on the phone.

  Not Fair!  I want someone else to offer more than the usual platitudes, and no, I don't want anyone coming round to "help me move stuff" as that would just lead to chaos.  I would really like to have had more holidays, more days out, more leisurely lunches, more gentle strolls round town. If anyone had been honest with us two years ago, we could have had these things, and maybe the relaxation would have helped, too..  The next person who asks "Is he better?" will get a slap too.. Learn some tact, people. The proper form is "How are you both? " if you really must ask. And don't be surprised, shocked, or offended if I tell you.

And, now, we have the Sculpture Trail. Big Event at the workshops, third in three years. Most of the pieces are OKish or rubbish. Poor and sloppy organisation; little care for the artists (we were not invited to the Preview! Not even told when it was!!!) Curator buggers off on a three-week holiday on day 2, and while this event has been good for trade, I have had to spend four weeks explaining that "No, you can't come and buy anything at Christmas, because I won't be here and anyway it's almost all gone" and "No, I don't want to be here for your pathetic amusement" and "No, I don't want to hear about how you threw your mother's sewing machine in the skip, mr Nasty" and "No, I won't make one for you specially" and "No, I REALLY don't have to justify my decision to leave". This last I want to say to almost everyone.. Maybe, as this is the last week of the bloody thing, I will.  Then I'm going to close for a week, make indigo, sleep late, eat chocolate, and tidy up...

And perhaps I'll stop being angry, in a year or two..

Wednesday, 20 February 2019


It seems to me that there is a sudden desire to look closely at the throwaway culture - too much Stuff, buy it without thought, use it a couple of times, throw it away...
We took a day off last week, walked down the old High Street in Lowestoft looking into all the charity shops (and by gum, there are a lot of them). There are a few shops selling "tat" of a new persuasion - "decorative" oddments with not-much-charm, and these are well-represented in the charity shops alongside. It seems that the half-life of the average ornament is about 3 weeks...

Oh, dear.

This seems like a loss, a defeat, a failure of both taste and common-sense in so many ways.

And yet, I make decorative (and useful, please let it be said) things to sell.. I do try to make things that are well-made, will last, can be washed, repaired, worth having, not fashionable, and Oh! no slogans! (I do hate being hectored into a "good place" by the furnishings.. My late friend Kate had a lovely tea-mug which said "No, I will not Calm Down, and you can F**k Off" - this made me laugh, but I would not own that one either..

So, more and more, I want to make sure that Things Worth Mending are mended.. Hey! Can you sew on a button? And if not, why not? It's not hard.

Oil that door, fix that carpet, mend that box, tie that shoe...

Happy sewing!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Word for 2019 - Clear

Now, I try to have a Word to live by each year. 2018s word was "Refine" and I feel this has been helpful. 2019s Word is Clear.

I'm clogged up. Actually, physically clogged at the moment, as I have a grunge-filled chest and a pint of snot every time I blow my nose, but that will pass, given time, warmth, and antibiotics....

And, in the workshop, too much stuff. At home, a little better, as I have been sorting and clearing and refining and disposing-of madly while everyone else was slumping and eating and generally being gentled into sleep in front of the TV...

But still, I won't live long enough for some of this. I have boxes and bags and shelves full of 40-years-worth of Stuff..

So, I need to get this stuff, unstuffed, clear space to breathe.. Oh, yes, breathing. I remember that...


And After..

Happy New Year, all

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Refine - my Word for 2018

As usual, I have chosen, or been chosen by a Word for the Year. And this is Refine. I see this as a perfecting, a deciding, and a casting-away-of-dross sort of a word, and it's time. Last year was hard. We did too much travelling, and there was too much chaos. In November my lovely man had to go back under the surgeon's knife, and he is still slowly recovering. It's a long process. My bones have been hurting, I feel very old and crunchy, and it's been hard to keep the work in progress, progressing satisfactorily..

So, this week, clean all, sort all, look at all, discover hidden useful things. And casting-off of stuff I'll never use unless I live to be 200...

Magpie too long, time for the underlying not-so-shiny but solid..

My plan is to take the first quarter for sorting out the Sewing Machine stuff, and making Art, I hope to do these in roughly equal parts..

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...