I’ll have to go – the kettle’s on…..

Farewell to Victoria Wood. I can’t order soup, or listen to anyone else ordering soup, without visualising Julie Walters proffering two sparsely populated soup bowls with the immortal line “Two soups?” I wonder if sales of Woman’s Weekly will increase, now we’ve all listened again to the ballad of Freda and Barry?

I multi-tasked yesterday as I wore in an new pair of walking boots, whilst doing the ironing. The boots are for a painting course this weekend, for which I also needed to acquire waterproof trousers. With this in mind, Alice and I popped into a local countryside store. Stock was limited all sections, except the gun section (which seems to be gradually taking over the rest of the shop). The changing room consisted of a free-standing hardboard box in the centre of the shop. This is a relatively new store, so I’m unsure why they didn’t include fitting rooms in their original build. As I hopped from leg to leg, in my waterproof trews, a little while notice above the mirror caught my eye. Apparently someone called Emma was doing worm counts, you just needed to ask at the counter.

Who knew watercolours were on a par with the three peaks challenge? I thought it was all cups of tea and Jane Austin. I will report back next week. Me, Gramps with his COPD, his chronic sense of direction and a warning of sleety weather – what could possibly go wrong?
 Poor Maurice needed to go the vet’s yesterday. Everyone knows dachshunds conform to an unspoken agreement; whereby said dogs are obliged to contribute to said vet’s vehicles and foreign travel. He (not the vet) looked very sorry for himself and kept tail was tucked up under his tummy, which is a sure sign (in a happy dog) of back or hip pain. Even sitting in the sunshine eating a carrot didn’t help to lift his mood. When Alice returned from college, there was no tail wagging, bottom wiggling or happy squeaking.

Poor little chap returned from the vets, injected and divested of the contents of his anal glands – I left the contents at the vets and have to say that so far, I have not missed them. He is now much improved, though not quite back to normal; so no X-Rays at this stage. With many breeds this may not have been a cause for concern, but daxies are prone to back problems , so we are being extra careful.

We saw Seth Lakeman at the McMillan theatre this week. This was a solo tour so no band and none of the usual dancing and hi-jinks. The theatre is a great venue, wherever you sit, you can see! Most theatres seem not to have planned their seating this way and haven’t allowed for a tall person sitting in front of a short person. It was a ‘sitting down and listening event’; not so for some of the ladies showcasing their finest going-out Lycra, who hung over the balconies and shouted inappropriate comments. Seth had been at a gig in Totnes the previous night, and remarked that there were some strange people there. The lady next to me quipped that “there are some very strange people here”. In the interests of education I thought it necessary to point out to her that they may be strange in Totnes, but at least they are ‘posh’ strange.

Bin bag origami

Some things that make me happy are the deliciously satisfying noise as sharp dressmaking scissors sheer through fabric, dachshund cuddles and the red sticker zone in Homesense. Some thing that makes me unhappy is the current trend to fold bin bags in the manner of napkins on a 1980’s dinner table. Bin bags were once very simple, you chose between black ones, white ones, large ones and small ones. Each bin bag was simply dispensed from roll, separated from it’s relatives by a perforated line. You just pulled em off and put em in the bin. Not so now! I now need to remember the capacity of each household bin in litres, and then I can only presume that the bin bag factories have all employed the services of an origami master, advising on the most fiendish way to fold a bin bag. By the time I’ve separated, unfolded, estimated and unfolded some more, I’ve lost the energy to put it in the actual bin.  Meanwhile, in another part of the house, we have had part two of the great loft emptying. Four boxes were brought down containing a miscellany of precious items, photos (from the 80’s where I was slim, had hair and could see properly) newspaper clippings, childhood books etc. I had a short window of opportunity to look through everything before the storage facility closed for weekend. It went like this –

Me: “Oh, wow, look at this” 

Mr Williams: “You haven’t got time to look, I Just need to know if you want to keep them or not?” 

To be fair he didn’t jump from one foot to another this time and I did manage to find some of my Grandmother’s dressing table glass but I still don’t understand how I am expected to assess the importance of the box contents without looking at them!  

 This week I’ve discovered Voodoo patchwork – bear with me and all will be revealed. As you can see from the picture, the paper pieces on the back of this quilt contain the vintage papers that came with the original hexagons, chunks of the Radio times (from the 90’s), recycled business paperwork, and, best of all (where the voodoo element comes in) a large chunk of solicitors letters from the early 90’s. I put two bags of paperwork aside, in careless disregard for the draconian opening times of the storage place, planning to look at them later in the week. I went through all the paperwork, a lot of which consisted of solicitors letters between myself and the other ‘party’. It was sad in one way because it made me wonder why I hadn’t stood up for myself, why I didn’t fight more and why I didn’t call on any witnesses – but looking back on that time, my aim was simply to get away and I was happy just to have escaped. As I sorted papers into piles for recycling it occurred to me that the solicitor’s letters would be ideal for English paper piecing. I have so enjoyed stabbing a needle through them, it’s been really cathartic and as my sister said “it’s like a quilting form of a voodoo doll”. These papers are now part of the story of my quilt, proof that I have come full circle and am happy but I do so hope that the pins made their mark!

Don’t tell me quilting isn’t out there!

Who do you want to look at first, me or Rick Grimes?  OK Rick wins…..

I saw this at the Quilt Expo on Saturday, everybody loves a bit of Rick.  Rick should be closely followed by a bit of Daryl but instead you have a bit of me (and a bit of Wendy).  We look like we are both sporting a fine, new set of dentures and that my forehead is trying out as an extra on a Mr Sheen advert (he used to shine umpteen things clean but doesn’t seem to be as busy these days). The Spring quilt expo was small, with only half the hall filled.  It was also ominously quiet, which was great for us punters as we could get to all the stalls, but if you were a vendor not so great.  The lighting at these shows is always poor but it was particularly bad in the area set aside for quilt displays.  It proved impossible to capture an image without a handy shadow from the overhead scaffolding. I managed to get the last place on a quilting workshop and found it really useful.  The advice given was contrary to everything I had ever been told previously and really made a difference. I may also have found the time to make some (ahem) purchases.  Remember, what happens at expo, stays at expo. Sadly I only discovered the charity stall at the end of the day, when my purse was bare.  I made a three bean soup to take for lunch as less money spent on food equals more money to spend on fabric (she who dies with the biggest stash wins). I discovered that it is possible to soak beans overnight,cook beans for several hours, rest overnight, cook ’em again and for them to still be ‘al dente’ and that a milk bottle swaddled in a hamster pelt would have kept the soup warmer than my new flask.  

On the Maruice front I found him on the sofa using his mouth and snout to move a blanket into an acceptable position, I thought “Oh bless, look at the little man making his bed” when what he was actually doing was crafting some form of mausoleum for a dead starling using a fine angora blanket.