Monday, 31 October 2011


Unable to stick to one subject having too much to say, I decided on one of Youngest's photos rather than a post today... and I've got to make appropriate biscuits for when they all get back from the first day of the new term, not mess about on the interthingy!

Friday, 21 October 2011

A Sorry Tale

Granny's workbox chair

My childproof chair

The no-longer-storage space
I took these photos to show you my next project. The armchair is petite and delighted me as a child because it contained a work 'basket' once filled with my grandmother’s knitting.

Yesterday I took my chair to class to start stripping off the work I’d paid for about 15 years ago. I had never been entirely happy with it, the storage space beneath the lift up seat was filled in and I just made an ordinary loose cover to give the chair protection from little girls. Now I plan to reinstate the storage and upholster the outside.
I left said girls asleep in bed. I wasn’t late for my class but I wasn’t there in time to help set up: I hadn’t allowed for defrosting the car (the first frost of the season), nor the pheasants debating which way to cross the road, nor the lorry I got stuck behind.
Our lovely teacher is of the old school, teaching us traditional methods. The girl who did the work before me has done a modern job: there are staples every centimetre, modern fillings of nylon and foam, and more staples. We use horsehair, coconut fibre and woollen wadding and put in tacks every inch or so. These you take out with a ripping chisel… Staples need a littler, rather less efficient chisel (perhaps just in my hands, but you have to lift two sharp points each time instead of one) and there are just so many!!
You’d think my morning couldn’t get worse, but, in a moment of hammering I sent my chair flying off the trestle and a back leg snapped right off. The leg had woodworm it turns out; hence it was too weak to stand such treatment, but really!

So I spent a couple of hours yesterday afternoon visiting the recommended craftsman who has mended the leg. Assuming I ever get the staples out and the chair reupholstered it won’t show. In the meantime, I have not had a happy day.

Friday, 14 October 2011

What are you up to?

I have no time for posting so I don’t know what I think I’m doing here!

The builders have been in making alterations to our garden. The plan was pretty much made when we moved in, but it has only just reached the top of the list of ‘things to do when we’ve saved some cash’. They started two weeks ago and have now done their bit of it though we await the delivery of some iron railings to replace the wall, and a greenhouse, which Husband is going to put up… I am thinking of, but not rushing into, planting plans. Part of me thinks it would be nice to have a flat piece of grass: the whole garden slopes down to the house; it’s not a major slope as we had in a quarter once, but nevertheless it presents challenges. There’ll be plants to move and places to beautify even if we do go for lawn.

And look what I’ve made!

Very pleased with this revived chair: it is functional rather than beautiful, but always useful to have an extra chair to hand and it will sit happily in our bedroom draped with clothes in the meantime.
I hosted the village coffee morning on Wednesday (mentioned last week). It provides a vital push to make me clean and tidy the house (or at least the bits that show) and we’ve got visitors for Sunday lunch too so it needed doing.
Produce from the plot is slowing down, but the apples on our tree are still coming down faster than we can pick them, never mind use them: I really must make some chutney!
And half-term starts tonight for the girls; Husband has to wait another week.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Burning the candles at both ends

Husband was away this weekend. He went to Dorset with two of his brothers to do maintenance tasks.
Since we didn’t need to watch the rugby, we girls spent Saturday afternoon and early evening in front of the TV. We watched An American in Paris and the dancing was sublime. Rather less so in Strictly: we cringed and cheered. And we relished Dr. Who’s ‘season finale’; we’ve got to wait until Christmas for more! According to Youngest watching TV together counts as quality time and she didn’t think I should do the gardening instead.
Eldest went to an 18th birthday party that night (she took this cake*, which she made, to school to give to her friend on Friday), and Youngest went to The Big Gig, a Guide event, at Wembley Arena early Sunday morning. Despite the need to wake early (for a Sunday) I said I’d collect Eldest, and she didn’t demur so I think she was pleased not offended.
Did you see how I breezed over Eldest’s evening entertainment? Aren’t I the cool calm mother taking her Eldest’s trip to a party in a friend’s car so lightly even if I did chicken out of letting her come home the same way?

I went to boarding school. When I was at home I rarely went to anything that didn’t involve the whole family. At school I am afraid I was just as unlikely to be invited anywhere. But my first teenage party happened when I was 16. (As far as I know it was the only occasion on which I was offered drugs, but I was so dim I thought they were cigarettes and I was far too good to smoke!) I moved from my all girls’ school to do sixth form at a co-ed, and there we had regular school discos. So, at Eldest’s age I may not have been cool, but I had managed a bit of partying and a boyfriend or two (OK, one boyfriend). Not so my big girl. Since she stopped being of an age to have a children’s party, she has refused to hold her own parties and she has ceased to be invited anywhere.
I’m sure you will understand that this is a mixed blessing. As a general rule I do not need to worry about what she and her friends might be getting up to, nor have to plan and host suitable parties that won’t let her down. On the other hand: what’s wrong with her?! She’s pretty enough, dresses well, has a wonderfully cynical sense of humour… aah! And is clever! Does she put the boys off asking? Or maybe she really is just not bothered? She once said it was more interesting sorting out other people’s love lives than getting involved herself. I do hope she really believes that – this unkissed 16 year old was mortified!

“I’ve been to a proper big girl’s party, Mummy!” she said in very pleased tones.

*I don't know why the photo won't be the right way up and I've got bored with trying to sort it out - sorry!