Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A very special day

Every time I come back here I think I really should do it more often!  Anyway, today I have something to tell you that is actually quiet interesting.
On my mum's side of the family we have relatives in Canada. It's a long story about how I managed to make contact with them and introduce the East Coast family to their cousins on the West Coast that they didn't even know they had.  We have been e-mailing for a few years now and a few weeks ago, my mum's first cousin, Buzz (short for Robert) said that his grandaughter was graduating from St Andrew's University in Edinburgh (yes, that one!) and so he and two of his daughters were coming over for that and, long story short, they came to visit us yesterday.
This meant I had to tidy the house.  Those of you who know me will know what this means. (LOL)
They arrived at about 11.45 and we talked until 17.30, with pauses for tea, food, tea, more food and tea.  Isn't it funny how you feel like you've been best friends forever when you've only just met.
We swopped life stories, even managed to talk a bit about religion and politics, and I now have a lovely stack of Canadian magazines to read and some goodies for my Christmas hamper.
Having planned for both mum and OH to have a rest in the afternoon, neither of them wanted to.  I was amazed at how mum kept going all day and didn't even seem to get tired or uncomfortable, although she is a bit dozy this morning.  I must also pay tribute to OH who was a star and helped a lot with the housework beforehand and did his bit in keeping everyone entertained.  Quite a lot of the time there were three conversations on the go, we kept swopping talking partners so everyone got to know everyone.
It was a very special day, I think we all felt that and I really hope they will be able to come again before too long

Friday, 28 September 2012

Watch this space!

What with one thing and another ( that being my husband and my mother!) and this that and t’other, I have made a decision.  Those of you who know me will be amazed and mystified, but there it is. A decision!  And that decision is, that I am going to make an effort – a monumental effort – to blog more often and to start trying to sell a few crafty things and to push my Etsy and e-bay sales and to have lots of fun making things and to not mind too much if nobody ever buys anything.
But I need your advice.  Do I start a whole new crafty type blog and keep it separate from this one, or do I re-vamp this one.  My feeling is the latter, as I have a few followers here already and a mixture of my musings as well as my crafting might be more interesting.  What do you think?  There's my other blog too, which I used so I could post larger format photos. Maybe that’s the one I should use for the craft stuff.  You see, making one decision was enough for my poor little tired brain. So, what do you think?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Going, going, gone!

Today I did something I haven’t done for a very long time. I went to an auction.

Now, in a previous life, very many years ago, I used to do a little bit of buying and selling with a boyfriend. We did Antique Fairs to start with and then later had stands in a couple of Antique Centres. It was only a hobby and when we split up I carried on for a while, but it was too difficult trying to work full time and get out to auctions and fairs, especially when I took a day off and came back with nothing.

Recently I got the urge to start poking around in charity shops and antique places again and then my husband asked me to look out for a couple of things in the furniture line so I decided to go and have a look at our local weekly auction.  A couple of weeks ago I went to the Saturday viewing and left some bids but didn’t get anything. This week there was a little chest of drawers that was just the thing, plus a few boxes of bits and pieces that I had taken a fancy to so I went along this morning to try my luck.

I was impressed by my self-discipline.  I didn’t bid for anything that I hadn’t looked at first and I made myself a note of what certain figures turned into by the time the commission and VAT had been added.

There’s no fear of sneezing and finding you have just bought an oil painting – you have to register your name and address and prove your identity, and then they give you a big number on a laminated card which is how the auctioneer knows who to put the bid down to.  If he’s not sure (I’m saying he, because it was a he where I was, but there are, of course, lady auctioneers about too) then he will ask if you are bidding.

In my professional life I did bid for houses on behalf of clients a few times, because they were too nervous to do it themselves, so I was quite confident about that.

Anyway, I didn’t go mad, I didn’t go over my limits, so I didn’t get all the things I had hoped for, and, unfortunately, I didn’t get the piece of furniture which was what started this all off  in the first place.  I had a nice gap in the catalogue which meant I could go to the tea room for a bacon roll and a comfort break and a wander round the market stalls that they have in the grounds there.

Now I’ve got it home I’m wondering whether maybe I have made a bit of a mistake with some things, but it hasn’t cost me that much and it has been an interesting experience but I don’t think I will be doing it again for quite a while! 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Simple things

It's funny how the very simple things can make you smile (and no, I am not talking about my husband although someone might want to make that comment - you know who you are) When I was a child and into my teens we didn't have a washing machine, and then we had a twin tub which was very heavy and unwieldy and when it went wrong we didn't replace it. So, washing day really was a job for the whole day, just like my nana used to do. She had to boil the copper first. We had to light the fire or put the immersion on, so that wasn't so bad. The sheets were the worst things, and they had to be done in the bath. So, I just love it when I get home from shopping and come into the house and hear the washing machine churning merrily away. That's the sort of multi-tasking I appreciate, doing the washing and the shopping at the same time. You young'uns, hah! don't know what hard work is etc etc mutter mutter.
By the way, if you didn't catch my Christmas/12th night ghost story, in my previous post, please do read it and offer me your sincere criticism

Thursday, 5 January 2012

A story for 12th Night

It may or may not be Twelfth Night tonight. It seems there is some confusion. The Wikipedia entry is HERE if you want to read more.

I have been enjoying the sensory journey inspired and led by my friend over at Grethic's Grethicia and the deal was that those of us who felt inclined should submit a ghost story to end the party. This is mine

I fell in love with that apartment the moment I saw it. A huge open plan space on the top floor of what had been a flour mill. There were big windows with panoramic views across the river to the city and the previous owners had left several framed photographs of what it had looked like before the development.
I felt safe, being high above the street outside. I didn't want to leave. It was still warm enough some evenings to leave a window open in the bedroom and I could hear the faint sounds of cars and people passing by. Sometimes there would be a river boat with a crowd of revellers, noisier when they came back up river than when they had gone down. But they were far enough away to be a happy sound, not a disturbance.
It was only when the weather had turned colder that I realised that there were sounds inside as well. And smells. Things I had assumed were coming in from outside were still there. The first thing was a smell of coffee, early in the morning. It would wake me and for a moment I would forget that I was alone now. Once I even called out his name and when I realised he was not in the kitchen anymore I felt desolate. Then the lighting started to play up. I didn't really understand how it worked, it was almost as if you just had to think the lights on and off, although I'm sure there must have been a timer that I had set and forgotten about, or some sort of sensor. I seem to have forgotten so much about the details now. I liked to sit in the dark earlier in the evening and watch the lights coming on in the windows of offices and other buildings in the distance and see the headlamps and brake lights on the cars as the traffic built up on the main road. It was fascinating and I promised myself that one day I would get myself a pair of binoculars and see what I could see in some of those windows. Then as the nights drew in, the lights in the hall and dining room would come on before I wanted them too. I would turn them off again and then a few minutes later they would be back on.
I started to feel that I wasn't alone after all. Faint sounds began to encroach, a child laughing and the clinking of glasses, and I was sure that they were not coming from outside. The first real fright came when I went into the bedroom one night and I could hear breathing. It seemed to be coming from the direction of the bed but I couldn't put the light on. I stood very still, trying to filter out the increasingly loud beating of my own heart, my own breathing starting to keep time with what I could hear. Suddenly a bedside lamp glowed and I could see a child, her faced contorted with terror. We screamed together.
After that I began to see her more and more. In the bedroom at night, in the kitchen sometimes, especially when the smell of that coffee was strong. I found that if I could turn away before she looked at me then she disappeared, but if she noticed me then her face would change - although after a few days we stopped screaming at each other.
It all gets a bit vague after that but the thing that I will never forget is the day the priest came. I wasn't feeling very well and I suppose someone must have called him because they were worried about me, although I can't think now who that was. I was standing in the middle of the bedroom, the priest was by the door and the child was standing between me and the bed. The priest said some sort of prayer and then smiled. "Don't worry, my dear, I don't think she will bother you any more" My head started to spin and when I turned round the child was still there. She was smiling at the priest as though I was invisible. I looked at him again and realised that it was her he was smiling at, not me. Then I started to feel faint......