Friday, 20 April 2018

how to make me laugh

Earlier this week I received an email from an American publishing company inviting me to join their Editorial Board.
Now some of you may think that is quite an honour but I just laughed.
Because they want me to join the Editorial Board of Trends in Horticulture.
And why is that so funny?
Because the article of mine that they said they had read was; 'Susannah and the Lemon Tree; Mrs C.H. Spurgeon's Book Fund'.
It had everything to do with Susannah and books and nothing to do with horticulture apart from the fact that she grew a lemon tree from a pip and likened each leaf to the hundreds of books she was able to send out to ministers with little money. The lemon tree never produced a lemon.

Another aspect to my laugh is the fact that I have have very sensitive skin and do not enjoy gardening - touch anything and I come up in a rash. I stay indoors and just come out to gather a few herbs for dinner. 
It was a wonderful laugh first thing on a Monday morning but no I won't be taking them up on their kind invitation. I'm even wondering if it is a scam.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

a technical education

Apparently Teresa May has attacked snobbery among parents who think that a technical education is for other people's children.
I wonder how our society has come to be in that position? 

In the sixties, my parents were thrilled when I went to the London College of Fashion.
Each day when I arrived home, my Mum would ask me what short cuts in dressmaking I had learned, which I would then pass on to her.
Unknown to me, when I had a couple of my designs featured in an international fabric publication, my Dad took the insert to work to show his colleagues. 
They didn't think I should be at a university, they knew where my talents lay and saw me thrive.

In the early nineties, there was no snobbery when both of my boys went to technical colleges to follow their dreams.

Who are these parents who are not aware of their offspring's natural gifts, talents and dreams?

I am proud of my technical education, it provided me with an income while staying at home looking after the children when they were little which could not have happened if I had taken the other option of becoming an actuary!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

fashion and politics

For those of you wondering about my arm, it is now thought that I did dislocate my elbow on falling but it righted itself as I was helped up by the paramedics! My lower arm has turned a deep purple, now fading slightly to a lovely yellow! I have photos but as they also show why I never wear sleeveless or short sleeved tops, they are not for publication! The swelling has gone down enough for me to be able to wear my wedding ring again and I'm nearly able to wear my watch on my left wrist. 
Movement is still impaired, automatically picking up the phone with my left hand is ok, getting it to my ear is another matter! Tomorrow I'm hoping to be able to wash my hair but at the beginning of the week I had to get an emergency appointment at the hairdressers to wash my hair and cut it to an easily manageable style. Which is why I was walking through a certain high street store in Hereford and happened to notice the colours of the clothes.
I have been interested in the history of clothes and national dress since I was small but in recent years have looked at why we wear what we wear. The colours we wear can tell a lot about our work as well as our personality. But even more fascinating is that politics seem to determine the fashion colours. Back in the sixties, green and purple were the in colours when we had a labour government. When the government is conservative in come the bright jewel colours; ruby red, sapphire blue and emerald green. 
However, when Blair came to power, the colours didn't change and many felt that 'New Labour' was more like old Conservative. Now the Conservatives are back, the shops are full of yellow and lime green; colours one couldn't find a few years back and more suited to Labour! Many were surprised that the Conservatives got in at the last election as well as it seems they themselves!
We are told that the austerity will get worse, if so, watch out for the longer skirt lengths.

Monday, 1 June 2015

it keeps me quiet...

I think I may have mentioned before that I took embroidery as one of my 'O'level subjects as I never considered myself to be academic. The one draw back of embroidery is that it takes up a lot of time so once I became a Mum and then went back to college, packs of embroidery that I had collected over the years remained untouched. But in the last few years they have come out of the wooden truck once owned and used by my grandfather and with the aid of a magnifying glass with led lights, I am once again able to enjoy some very fine work.
Over 20years ago my Mum bought me four packs, each depicting the seasons and a few years ago I 'did' Autumn, next was 'Spring', then 'Summer', and 'Winter' was completed a couple of months ago. 
During this time I bought four matching frames, only to find that the mounts each had a 4" square aperture whereas the embroideries measured four and three-eighths by four and a half. So over the weekend I set about enlarging them with the aid of a steel rule and a scalpel. Fortunately there were no accidents or wobbly edges from my tremor!
Before they are hung up our stairwell I have managed to get a photo although apologies that there is a little reflection on the glass and that they are is reverse order with 'Winter' and 'Autumn' at the top with 'Summer' and 'Spring' underneath.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

more memories

The delight of facebook for me is that I have been able to get back in touch with friends from years ago, one of whom is my dear school friend Pam. We went through senior school in the same class but I had seen her before when we were both in Girl's Life Brigade (yes I'm that old! it became Girl's Brigade some time later) but in different companies and met up for huge church parades and competitions. On seeing my last post Pam mentioned a photo of me as the Angel Gabriel. Thank you for the memory. 
Our school regularly put on Shakespearian plays but one year one of the English teachers wrote a version of the Nativity.
The story was told by Mary to a twelve year old Jesus sitting on the steps going up to the stage while the action was mimed on stage. I thought it was all very beautiful.
My dress was the one made for Olivia for her wedding in Twelfth Night, performed the term before. It was off-white with a gold pattern, trimmed with gold braid. The wings were the best angel wings I have ever seen; they were multi coloured, painted by our lovely art teacher who died too young. I was shown a medieval picture of Gabriel with very curly hair and asked to make mine like that but mine is only wavy and I wasn't going to get a perm - they came in many years later. The only way to make my hair as curly as possible was to wear rollers throughout the day! 
Again you will have to use your imagination. Life was very colourful but the photos were black and white and going sepia!

Saturday, 11 April 2015


Radio 3 is often heard playing in our house although it is not my station of choice, mine is Radio 4. Recently a piece of music was playing to which I responded "I know this" not "I like this" or "this is one of my favourites". As soon as I had said it, I knew it was a strange thing to say. I waited until it was finished to hear the title; 'Autumn' by Cecile Chaminade.
Of course I knew the music, although I don't think I had heard it for over fifty years when it was my solo dance. I danced as Autumn at all the shows our dancing school performed in from Old People's Homes to the Lewisham Town Hall where this photo was taken at the dress rehearsal. In those days only a few photos were in colour, so you will have to imagine the bodice in rust brown with a net skirt of brown, orange and green net. Mum made the dress and I spent a long time making paper leaves to be sewn on the dress, made into a head-dress and for me to have a bunch in my hands to slowly let go while dancing.
When the photos were printed and on display my dancing teacher told me off for not pulling up my knees - hence the baggy tights! but in my defence, I had stood there a long time and was rather tired having performed the dance

Saturday, 25 October 2014


A few years ago when buying organic food the lady at the till told me that she could not afford to buy it. My response was to explain that we did it for health reasons and that as we didn't go to the pub or theatre or cinema, good food was what we could enjoy. A doctor when diagnosing ME (chronic fatigue) advised a diet cutting out all 'e' numbers! So many folk want to buy food as cheaply as possible, fuelled by the supermarket wars, not realising that it is not usually the supermarkets that take the cut but the farmers!
I believe that my tremour is the result of the cheap food I ate back in the sixties, seventies and eighties - there is the saying 'we are what we eat'. My tremour is benign and not Parkinsons but because of my tendency towards asthma I cannot take the usual pills but have found some that seem to take the edge of it - until I get into a social setting! It is ok if it is dinner and I'm not driving, as a glass of wine works wonders but that is no good if you are having breakfast in a hotel before driving a hundred miles! My bacon and mushrooms I could spear with my fork - no trouble - but the scrambled egg refused to stay on my fork and flew off before it reached my mouth! but I was the only one in the dining room - hardly a social setting! in the end I gave up and copied my younger grandboy and used my fingers - job done! Methinks another visit to the docs to talk about what to do when my shakes go wild!