Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Taking a leap

A date never happens again because it is simply a measure of time, but the 29th February (if we miss out the year) happens only every four years. So, if it’s an anniversary of something significant to you, I wish you a very Happy Leap Day!

I am a fan of the PM programme on Radio 4, especially when Eddie Mair is in charge. Leading up to today he has been encouraging his listeners to ‘take a leap for PM’. People are doing an enormous range of things from getting in touch with someone they’ve fallen out with, to eating chocolate (she is a recovering anorexic), leaving the house (he’s agoraphobic) to travelling home (he’s been serving in Afghanistan). As ever it is an eclectic mix of the personal, the laudable and the funny – it was Eddie Mair who got the nation sending in bursts of the Upstairs Downstairs music played on every instrument and in every music style as light relief to introduce the financial reports (nicknamed upshares downshares what else?) during the spiraling recession. (Madly we own a copy of the compilation made to raise funds for Children in Need.)

I have been putting off tackling a loose cover for a rather sad armchair that a friend has asked me to complete – another friend had started the job: the fabric had been cut into most of the pattern pieces and a piece of foam bought for the seat cushion which no longer exists. I have only once made a loose cover – for the little nursing chair I’m now reupholstering – and was not best pleased with it. Making clothes for a chair ought to be similar to making clothes for a person, but to look anything like they need to fit extra snuggly and be piped along some of the seams. It has been brooding in my sewing room watching me avoid it since September. Today I will make progress!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Gardening in the sun

I have made Marmalade at last this week - the Seville oranges have been waiting patiently in the fridge while I avoided noticing them.
Having failed as usual to give anything up for Lent I'm attempting to give up idleness! I suspect playing on the internet falls into that category, so I shall be brief. I'm busy gardening: it's a beautiful day and there are things afoot!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Half-term report

This is as far as I’ve got. The amount of work involved in something so small seems ridiculous, however I think it will be pretty and it has the sentiment of having belonged to Granny. I have yet to work out how to put the bag part underneath it but I have every faith in my teacher’s ability to help me come up with a plan!
I’ve been to a matinee performance of The Calendar Girls in Bath this week: good fun; and held the first fete meeting – it’s in June…

If the weather allows we are traveling east tomorrow for a few days to catch up with my family.

Saturday, 4 February 2012


Once upon a time I could pinpoint events in my life by where I was living. I can still do this with the past of course, just not with the last eight years. Every time we moved we reviewed our possessions and cleaned behind all the furniture… But that’s another story.

Because we were living in a particular house with metal framed windows that Mother used to seal up with sheets of plastic in the winter to provide crude double glazing, and I wasn’t yet at boarding school, I know that I must have been about ten. Our quarter had four bedrooms, two of them tiny, but, for the first time, we all had rooms of our own. My room contained a set of bunk beds, a small table and a single cupboard. It is this bed from which I famously leapt (I slept on the top) when, glancing up from my Puffin Post, which I was reading by the light on the landing, I saw an enormous spider dangling above me. My screams brought my parents to the rescue - though Father disappeared when he realized from what I needed rescuing!
I cannot tell you how long my parents were out, or where they had gone, but, one sunny day I produced the candles I had been given for Christmas, found the matches in the kitchen, and demonstrated lighting them in one of my younger brothers’ bedrooms. I have a sense of the awe we felt at such daring, we’d never been told not to light candles, but it had never previously occurred to us. Of course the smell of extinguished candle reached the nostrils of our parents as soon as they returned. The boys were sent to their rooms, and I, as the leader and chief culprit, was put over Father’s knee and spanked with the back of a hairbrush.
I was humiliated but not physically hurt. I have not been permanently scarred, but I certainly thought twice before leading those little boys into scrapes! I am quite certain that for my parents it wasn’t really about punishment but about just how frightened they were: the ‘what might have been’. The Consequences. I bear no grudge: he was absolutely right! The short, sharp shock of the spanking has stayed with me – though my parents claim to have forgotten the incident.
I cannot remember smacking either of my girls, but I do remember the odd slap around the nappy accompanied by a sharp ‘No!’ to warn of unacceptable behaviour –pinching or biting as I recall, usually of each other. I’d be surprised if they remember. Smacking is not something I have felt necessary, but then Eldest never showed Youngest where to find the matches and how to use them!