Thursday, 5 December 2013

There is No Such Thing as the Perfect Christmas

As you can see from the title today, I wanted to talk about Christmas.  The whole event seems to start a lot earlier than it did when I was younger, but then maybe Im just turning into a grumpy old woman (no comments on that score from my nearest and dearest please).  From a commercial point of view I totally get that the need to buy in your stock, materials and do your advertising is a must in order to make those extra sales which will tide you over what I call the dark time in January and February until Valentines Day arrives when hopefully sales will, for some of us, take off again. 

However, from a personal point of view the pressure on all of us to be "happy" at Christmas is so awful.  There are lots of adverts on television showing the "perfect" Christmas meal, the perfect day, tree, family, presents.  In reality this is never the case. 

Speaking totally from the heart my happiest Christmases were those when my husband was alive.  The lead up to Christmas was so good, when we could share the shopping, the card writing, present wrapping and the day itself.  I still love to see the children open their presents and spend time with my family and friends but there is always an empty space.  I am sure this is the same for anyone who has lost someone they care about. 

So because I don't find Christmas easy without my husband I decided not long after he died that I was going to accept that it wouldn't be "perfect" for me, instead I just made it another day but one to spend with family.  Accepting this has made it easier for me to deal with the whole process because time doesn't change the feelings of loss, time just makes you learn to live with that loss.  In a way I look on grief as similar to post traumatic stress, you relive events in your mind, have flashbacks and memories and then slowly learn to put the pieces back together again.

Then there are those who suffer with mental health issues, cancer, disease of any kind that too impacts upon the time of year, for some it can be a living hell to have to be surrounded by too many people, its too much to cope with.  I wish for them a peaceful time and the courage to face the day in their own way and to do whatever it takes for them to say this is how I look at Christmas and it doesn't matter that its not how everyone thinks you should look at it. 

And of course, there are our own families, those relatives you don't really want to see, who drive you up the wall, who always drink too much or who complain loudly about everything (mental note to self, stop being a grumpy old woman).  Those whose children don't possess good manners and constantly whinge and whine, Im sure we all have some of those in our family, its like the old saying goes, "You can choose your friends but you cant choose your family!"

Also there is the cost of presents, food, cards, postage, the list goes on.  If, like us, you don't have a great deal of spare cash, then it can greatly add to the stress of everyday living to have to find the extra money for all of these things.  I have never been the parent who buys their child the latest toy, I have a budget and stick to that.  Rather I buy several small presents, more to open under the tree and more to do if they get bored, not that my girls ever seem to.  We still do stockings and as time has gone on the gifts are changing, this year it will be make up, nail varnish, toiletries.  Again, lots of little things that I can pick up throughout the year.

More and more I am trying to make this time of year a time for family and friends, not for money and waste.  I feel very strongly that losing my husband made me value my family all the more for who knows how long any of us is going to be here.  I want to be able to look back and say I gave time to my family, for me that is the best gift there is, spending time with the people who make up the structure of our lives, even if they do drive us up the wall sometimes!!

Have a lovely time whatever and however you choose to do it and I wish you peace and happiness for the year ahead.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Ive talked about craft fairs before on this blog.  Some are good and some are brilliant and some are just a plain washout, its just part of the game.  You win some you lose some, however when people invite you to a craft fair that is supposedly going to be a big event, especially near to Christmas and then it gets cancelled with about a fortnight's notice that is something that really annoys me and its happened not once, but twice now with the same organisers.

I am using the term "organisers" loosely here as it seems there is one spokesperson for a team of people in our local town who just don't seem to be able to get themselves sorted out, neither do they seem to be able to realise that for those of us who run a business its not the simplest thing to just find another venue or to make up the loss of potential earnings at such short notice. 

I think the problem is that most of the people involved in these events do not actually run business' themselves so have little idea of what is involved in the process. 

I do feel like a bit of a yo yo when this occurs though, I post on my page that Im going to be attending such and such event and then Im having to say its cancelled. 

It will also mean that many of us will no longer wish to be bothered with these organisers as we will all doubt whether the actual events are going to go ahead after all.

So now I am left with the problem again of trying to find another venue at VERY short notice to replace the lost one in order to make sure I can make up my lost earnings so we can have a Christmas.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Im sat here wrestling with a bit of a problem.  For a little while now I have had the feeling that a couple of other people on Facebook have been imitating my work.  Now I know that, like the title of this blog says Imitation is supposed to be a form of flattery, in other words, copying something you like is supposed to be a compliment to the original designer, however, I am getting a little bit fed up with providing ideas for my competitors.

Why can they not come up with their own designs??  I have been doing a lot of hard work on the internet, late hours and long ones, researching Egyptian, Celtic and Art Deco styles of jewellery and coming up with some original pieces as a result. 

I also spend a lot of time networking and promoting my page only to find that the same person is trotting along behind me the next day posting similar things about their work and themselves.  Not nice!!!

So if any of them happen to come along and read this blog, and you will know who you are,  just stop it please, make your business grow because of yourself, not because you are hanging off the back of someone else, don't be lazy and use your own imaginations to come up with your OWN designs not mine!!

That's that off my chest.  And now I am off to the workroom to finish some pieces off for the new retail outlet in Weymouth which I am looking forward to visiting next week.  The new owner sounds lovely, we have spoken on the phone and I think we are going to get on very well together.

So a brief blog, but necessary as I cant always say these things on my page as it doesn't look professional but I can rant on here.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

New Beginnings

Yesterday I reached a bit of a milestone.  I know I have talked before about finances and how we all struggle to make ends meet.  Well a lot of you probably don't know that I had, for five years, been making regular monthly payments into an IVA or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement.  Its a form of insolvency but one that was brought in some years ago to prevent the person undertaking the agreement from losing their home and all their assets. 

When I remarried in 1999 I hadn't realised that my late husband had so much personal debt.  It wasn't something that had been revealed to me, he wasn't very good at money, as simple as that and had a lot of debt that had built up from his first marriage.  So because he wasn't very good at sums, handling money etc, most of his cards, accounts etc were put in joint names with me so that I could talk to the creditors and try to make some sense of everything and put payment arrangements in place.  So, consequently when he died they came after me for the lot.

I struggled with this for four years after his death and eventually I couldn't deal with it any longer, both financially and emotionally so I decided to declare myself bankrupt and if I lost the house well so be it because I just didn't care anymore by that stage.  You see it doesn't seem to matter if someone is left on their own to these people, and by that I mean banks, credit card companies, no matter what the circumstances they just assume you must have run the debts up yourself and you are judged quite harshly in some cases, there is no sympathy, no compassion.  I watched a programme on t.v. once about personal debt and how it happened and they were interviewing one poor man who had lost his business, his wife and kids and his home all because his business went bust due to the economic downturn.  They asked him how it was that he thought he had got into this "mess"  and he replied all because of circumstances beyond my control.

And its true, I fell in love with someone who owed money, not that I was aware of that of course, had I been and had he been more prepared to face reality and deal with his situation it could have been changed.  But that's just the type of person he was and no one of us is perfect, we all have flaws and that was his.  So when that man died very suddenly, without life insurance, leaving me with £26,000 of debt (and that was half of what it had been) what was I to do. 

So as I said, I decided to declare myself bankrupt.  I googled firms that would deal with these issues and came across a firm called Baines and Ernst.  Now I was familiar with these people having dealt with them in cases of firms going out of business when working with a brick merchant during the time that a lot of the small building firms went to the wall. 

I rang them and got talking to a really nice guy, explained how things were, what had caused me to get on this road and said I needed help.  He in turn explained to me about the IVA and I opted to take that route.  When they told me to go into town the next day, change my bank account and just stop paying everything I was very scared.  No seriously, obviously not your mortgage, insurances, the important things, gas, electric bills but go and stop paying all the creditors. 

So I did, took a deep breath and just did it.  The relief was indescribable at that point.  I really felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  And really to be honest, it wasn't my debt but the debt from my late husband and his first wife and where was she?  Sitting pretty having walked away from their marriage and left him to pick up the pieces.  I really do feel resentful about that one.  Maybe there is some Karma in there somewhere that I had to take responsibility for the mess they made.  It will take time for me not to be cross on that score.  Im working on it.

Obviously there was paperwork to be filled in, and a county court hearing, not that I was required to attend but to be honest I felt really ashamed and have done so for five years, ashamed that I had to do that, ashamed that I hadn't been able to manage and pay for everything, but why should I have  felt like that when it wasn't my fault.  Why should I have been ashamed to hold my head up in front of my friends and my family and even my own children, what is it about our society that makes people feel this way when something happens beyond their control.  I think others are far too quick to judge and to come to conclusions without knowing the full situation.  I also think that the call handlers at the credit card companies and the banks should be trained to be more compassionate and sympathetic towards people in these situations.

Mind you, its opened my eyes to the world as it is.  I have become quite hardened at fighting companies on the phone.  To turn around and tell the local council that they have a choice over whether I pay my council tax or feed my children as I have done in the past is not something I would have done five years ago.  To have to say to the electricity company, your prices are too high that's why I cannot afford to pay my bill in full and don't start ranting at me because its only going to give you a headache, you cant cut me off when Ive got children and I will pay when I have the money and not when you tell me I have to pay, again is not something I would have done before but desperation does strange things to people.

So yesterday was the last ever payment, in a few months all the ends will be tied up and I can finally move on and walk away from the mess that became my second marriage.  Yes I loved him, I probably always will but I cant forgive him for what he did to me and our children and there in lies a difference.  I may sound like a bitter woman, Im not really, I have a lot of love and compassion for the people in this world, my heart goes out to anyone struggling as I know so many of you are at the moment but please be aware that you don't have to have the latest gadgets for your children, they will survive without them and bring them up to understand that the most important things in this life are a loving family and being kind to others.  Those are the things that mark us as human beings, not how many computers, tablets, I phones etc that we possess.  It needs to change out there and I for one will be working hard with my own children to make them aware of this. 

There are two sayings which I have tried to work to all my adult life, I will leave these with you in the hope that they will help and offer you some guidance.

"Do as you would be done by"  and "Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone, kindness in another's trouble, courage in your own".


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Not Enough Hours in the Day!!!! In other words OMG ITS CHRISTMAS!!

This is Saturday evening and the girls have gone to bed.  I had to go and collect No 3 from her friends' house where they had been having a get together for someone's birthday.  They are all growing up so fast and soooo tall.  No 3 has grown again and is now a good inch and a half taller than me :(  Not Good!  Nos 1 and 2 didn't gain my height of 5ft 6 ins but No 3 is now about 5ft 7 and a half.

No 4 has grown as well and will soon be leaving me behind I fear. 

So, if you are a regular visitor to my Facebook page you will have probably seen that I was very excited this morning to announce that as from the middle of November I will have a retail outlet at Trinity Road in Weymouth, right alongside the harbour.  Ive Google mapped it and looked at the street view (love that I can do this) and have decided its well worth a day out so when its time for me to take in my first lot of jewellery I am going to drive down, will take me about an hour (according to google) and go to visit the shop in person.  I am only going to hire one small shelf in a locked cabinet for now but its in a good place just inside the door so easy to see from the window and will have good lighting I hope.  This will be the third retail outlet I have now and I feel really excited.

As a consequence I am going to have to visit the other two outlets now and do a stocktake as I have got to ensure that I know whats where, if you get my drift. 

As I have five craft fairs now booked before Christmas and am still making stock for those it occurred to me somewhere in the early hours of the morning as most of my daft ideas do, that I needed to make some more stock for this new outlet.  So I have had some designs sitting in my sketchbook for a while which I decided to put into action this afternoon.  You can see these pieces on my facebook page but I will post them here as well

The top one is a hand forged Copper pendant with shell disc bead hanging from the inside top of the pendant and the bottom piece is hand forged pendant with freshwater pearls on a chain of hand forged links.  This is silver plated wire but I would love to make one from sterling silver, sadly this will have to wait until someone orders one because the outlay is too high at the moment.
I think it will probably hit me, most likely at 3 in the morning again very soon that I have an enormous amount of work to do.  Its a good job I have patient friends and children, friends because they are most likely not going to see me between now and January and children because only the basics are getting done and the dinners are slightly singed around the edges because Im in and out of the workroom whilst trying to cook dinner at the same time, juggling customers, orders and stock.
However I have to admit I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love working for myself, still get a buzz when someone falls in love with a piece of my jewellery and buys it.  Really love getting those "likes" under my pictures knowing Ive given someone some pleasure.  And selling at the fairs is brilliant, I love meeting my customers face to face.  I have met some amazing people and loads of great crafters as well in the other stallholders I come across.  I never cease to be amazed at people's skill and ideas in what they make.
During this year that I have been selling through Facebook and building up my business I have also done a little bit of shopping for myself through some of these people who I have found through Hike Those Likes, so I buy jewellery supplies, have my business cards made, and have more recently been ordering Christmas presents.  Facebook is a great community and speaking as someone who is the only adult in our house, its good to have some company in the lonely evenings as well when the girls have gone to bed.  Many of you I have never met in person but still feel as though you are my friends.
And enough hours in the day, no certainly not, and if I don't get much time to be posting between now and Christmas, I hope you have a good one!!!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Virtual Money

This very soggy morning I had to go into our next town and visit my bank.  It brought to mind how when I was a single parent for the first time, over 20 years ago now, I was on benefits and found it much easier to manage my money because everything was paid at the post office in cash.  I didn't have a bank account  until I started working and needed one to pay my wages into.  I was on benefits for a while until I got some work and towards the end of my time as a single parent was again on benefits as I had found working full time with a very unpleasant woman boss was not something I could cope with, the woman almost drove me to a nervous breakdown and life is far too short for that!!

Anyhow getting of my ranty box the point I was trying to make is that I used to go to the local village post office, cash my benefits, child benefit used to be paid weekly if you were a single parent and my little bit of income support and then come home and divide up the money.  I had a little wooden box with envelopes in, each one labelled for each household bill (council tax wasn't paid then if you were on income support), electric, water rates, telephone, food, and I used to put a certain amount into each envelope.  Then when the bill came due I had the money to pay it.

Today its a whole different story, finding myself a single parent again after my husband's death ten years ago.  The day after he died I rang the benefits agency and asked them what I had to do and what was I entitled to as being a full time mum of 2 and 4 year old children with no other means of income as my husband was self employed and had died leaving us with nothing.  So I had an interview and was helped to fill in various forms and then was given a very generous amount to pay for his funeral and allotted Bereavement benefit which will last until the girls are 17 based on my late husbands National Insurance payments.  This helps a lot, together with my widows pensions from his earlier career as a headteacher we get by.  But do I actually ever get to hold any of that money in my hand?  No!! 

Money is virtual today, all payments are made over the internet or using my debit card.  Rarely do I draw the money out of my bank account and go and buy things with it.  I still have to allow so much for each bill but most is now done on monthly direct debit so there are my little envelopes I suppose, but where is the satisfaction of knowing I have saved up for my bills as I cant see the money in front of me and the only people who benefit are the companies who are making huge amounts of interest on our money going in each month. 

I would be so happy to go back to having my money in my hand and choosing where it goes rather than being told you must pay us this amount each month by all the companies.  Yes my bills were always paid but now I must admit I find it difficult to budget each month with money being taken for all my bills each month there is very little spare for other things like clothes!!  Its all too easy for people to borrow money on credit cards because they cant see the money.

If I have ten pounds in my hand I know that I will have to use that carefully and its such a good feeling to hold real money but give someone a credit card and they can go out and spend money in ridiculous amounts and get themselves into trouble.

So Im wishing for money to go back to what it used to be when I was in control of it and I could hold it in my hand and feel good about my bills and have a sense of pride.

Other things we could used to do was to visit the electricity showroom and buy savings stamps towards our bills, where are all those gone now?  We could buy stamps at the post office to save towards our car tax etc, now no longer available, why?  What caused all the companies to stop doing these things?

Id be interested to know how many other people feel the same way.  Cash in hand as opposed to plastic and virtual banking!!


Thursday, 10 October 2013

An Emotional Day

I think I mentioned that I had to go to a funeral on Tuesday afternoon?  Forgive me if I didn't but the memory is not what it was, too much to remember each day methinks.

My father was a policeman, he worked in the county of Somerset for many years, mostly out of rural police stations when there was still such a thing.  He had many good friends amongst his colleagues, the last of whom sadly passed away at the end of September.  My mother and I both felt we wanted to attend the funeral of Dan who had been a really good friend to my father.  In 1977 my father suffered a major heart attack and during his recovery and subsequent depression it was Dan's regular visits that got him back on the mend and back into work again.  Dan was a large, proud, Welshman whose loud laugh I will never forget.  Sadly during his later years Dan suffered from Alzheimer's and to see such a once upright and amazing man reduced to a living skeleton who didn't know where he was or who he was made me very very upset.  What it did to his family I cant begin to imagine.

I had decided that I was not going to be sentimental, or to cry but when I saw the coffin being carried in, draped with the Welsh flag and the police helmet sitting atop the coffin I started to cry, my mum too was in tears. 

It was that symbol, the helmet that suddenly brought back so many memories of my own father and his stature.  When I was small all policemen were built like barn doors, at least 6 feet tall every one of them, and with personalities to match.  I grew up surrounded by this group of men and their families that made me feel safe and protected.  Only now do I look back and realise just how much these men gave to the local communities in which they lived and worked, each bringing their own touch to the job they had to do and going beyond the normal hours of duty.  I have known my dad come home to supper during his night shift and take his best pair of boots to give to an old tramp whose own shoes were falling to pieces and on another occasion, a cold Christmas Eve, he came in and asked my mum if we had plenty of food in the house, she replied we had and he took a box and filled it with food to take to an elderly man who had been caught poaching because he only had half a loaf of bread in his cupboard and no money to buy any food.  Instead of charging the man, he took him a large share of his own food to help him out.  Would that happen now?  Id like to think it would but you know in today's world I wonder.

When my dad joined the police force and had completed his basic training, he was given a bicycle so that he could cycle between phone boxes where at a given time he would receive a call from the sergeant at the police station who would then give him instructions on his next call out or investigation that was required.  Hence the term point duty.  Imagine having to do that in all winds and weathers.

Dan, also had his old police bicycle as had my dad.  My mum and Dan's daughter gave her two sons the old bicycles and they restored them and took them to France on a cycling holiday last year.  I think both Dan and my dad would have been very happy to see those bikes put to good use again.  It just goes to show how well built they were that they lasted over 50 years.

Being a policeman's daughter meant you couldn't put a toe out of line, it was quite hard sometimes as the village kids could be very cruel and call you names, especially if your father had given them a telling off for something.  I never told my dad and mum what had happened, I doubt they would have minded much anyhow, they were firmly of the belief that it "toughened you up" as a child.  Im not sure being on the receiving end of this that I agree, its a bit scary when the village thug, taller and bigger than you threatens you if your father ever tells him off again.  The last village I lived in was a very hard place to be, tell a potential boyfriend your father is a copper and he was gone.  Only the decent ones stuck around, perhaps that was a good test.

So, it was an emotional day, to see the widows of some of the men my father had known for years, good, steadfast friends who supported each other through all their hard times and good times, who enjoyed retirement together, bowls and coach outings and laughing at memories.  They were always up to mischief, the chief inspector had a hard time with them, often they were called in for a reprimand but always seemed to come out smiling, not bad men, just full of mischief.

I recall my father coming home when I was about 9 and explaining to me and my mum that he had got into trouble with the local police station for singing.  At that time my dad used to ride a police motorbike across the mendip hills to patrol his beat and my dad was riding out on a gorgeous summer's day and stared to sing his favourite song, "Oh for the wings of a Dove", okay not so bad you might say until you learn that my dad was tone deaf, couldn't hold a tune for his life and had forgotten to turn off the radio between him and the police station control room, because he was on his bike, engine going, helmet on and singing he couldn't hear the pleading of the control room operator to turn off his radio and they had to endure two hours of my dad's singing!!!!! 

I think that someone should write a book about their antics and about their kindnesses and help in their local communities because policemen aren't like them anymore, they don't have the time and the paperwork and the rules and regulations make it too difficult for them to do their job, half the time the "local" policeman doesn't even live in his/her locality, they don't know the local people, their problems or their lives, cant share in the daily life of the people around them like they could when living amongst them.  All those little country police stations are gone, closed down, sold off, you can still tell some of them because of the old glass blue bottle in the porch apex above the door.  The belief that very often a sit down and a cup of tea and a chat about the problems can do more good than a fine or an arrest.  Of course there were arrests, there was danger, the time my dad had to go and tackle an axe wielding nutter who had murdered the village postwoman and seriously injured her neighbour.  He muttered when I hailed him as a hero, oh by the time I got there he was being held down by two blokes, I suspect that wasn't partly true but Im so glad he was okay, hearing it about it happening made me very very scared till I found out he was fine. 

So here is my tribute to all of those amazing men I grew up surrounded by, Thank you for making the world a better place, to have known you all was a priviledge and to have had one of you as my dad makes me feel very lucky, I just wish I had realised how lucky when you were still alive Dad!!


Monday, 7 October 2013


Its late tonight for me to be writing but its been quite hectic today, well when isn't it when you are a parent?

I had the usual food shopping to do this morning and ended up having a coffee with my son in law's mum.  I feel very lucky that my daughter married such a lovely person and such a hardworking man too.  Its very difficult when your child picks a partner, especially if you aren't too keen on them however I took to my son in law straight away.  I think, personally, he was very brave to marry into our family, we are a mad bunch and take some getting used too, plus the fact that he is allergic to everything on four legs and we have a house full of animals and his future wife worked with horses! 

Of course, if you are lucky enough to get another wonderful member of your family in this way are you going to be lucky with their family?  The first time we all met up was very nerve wracking but I needn't have worried, they are really lovely. 

The day of my daughter and son in law's wedding felt a little odd, her own father not having had anything to do with her life and her stepfather having passed away she asked me to give her away.  After the wedding when we all went up into the vestry and then all walked down the aisle behind the bride and groom, my son in law's father stood in the middle between me and his wife and held hands with both of us as we walked out of the church.  That was something really special to me, a real sign to everyone that not only were our children joined together but as a family so were all of us.  Our two families often meet up at family functions, grandchildren's birthdays, birth days etc.  When our grandchildren were born, I recall hugging and crying along with my son in law's mum at our sheer joy of having a new grandchild.  And so it persists, Saturday was my little granddaughter's 3rd birthday and we all went along, in fact my son in law's youngest brother is in the same year at school as my 14 year old daughter, it was great to sit in the garden and chat, laugh and know we really do care about each other. 

I think it is good for our children too because how often does it happen that the in laws don't like each other and that can cause such tension within a marriage or relationship.  I feel it is very important for families to make a real effort to get along with each other unless of course there are good reasons for not doing so as in the case of criminal behaviour or violence but generally there is little excuse for not doing so.  It makes such a difference to the lives of our children and grandchildren and shows a good example of behaviour for our grandchildren too, how unpleasant it must be for those children whose grandparents never meet up.  I experienced this with my own parents and my in laws from my first marriage and felt quite cross with my own parents who never wanted to have anything much at all to do with my in laws and made any family occasions very tense. 

This afternoon I had to go and collect my 14 year old from school as she wasn't feeling too well.  I think the winter colds are doing the rounds and she has gone to bed early looking not herself at all.  We shall see how she is in the morning.  My youngest has also been complaining of a sore throat which I have to say really didn't look at all sore this morning, not swollen enough to make her as croaky as she was making out.  Someone does like to have a day off if she can. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013


Today I have visited the local vet with one of our three lovely cats, Peridot.  He has an ongoing eye condtion that requires regular treatment so today he was due for a repeat injection.  Its been a little while since we were at the vets but I am always amazed at their kindness for the animals and their patience in dealing with all of us clients. 

I am sure it must be an extremely challenging profession to be in and at times I do wonder if they have to bite their tongues with some clients.  I have been with their practice now for about four years and I know I shall be a long standing client as I have no desire to go elsewhere.  I have all of my animals on a Pet Care Plan as this means we get regular vaccinations, flea and worm treatment and twice yearly health checks for a small monthly amount paid via direct debit.  Its well worth it because I am, like many of us, on a budget so it makes animal care more manageable.

Our chickens are looking very soggy today with all the rain that suddenly appeared from nowhere mid morning.  Its colder today too, I wish it would make up its mind, yesterday was very warm and today isn't.  Brrr, roast beef and all the trimmings for dinner, courtesy of Lidl who had some great offers on their beef joints today!!

When I was little my mum used to read to me from a story book, its very ancient now and lost its front cover so I couldn't even tell you what it was called but its still in my attic.  Now in this book was a story called Mr Flipperty Jib.  I loved this story and heard it so many times I can still recall most of it by heart, my kids think Im mad when I told them this story but here is how it goes:

Mr Flipperty Jib had a rumble bumble bumble in his right ear and a bumble, rumble, bumble in his left ear.  He and his wife, Mrs Flipperty Jib spend winter in the city and summer in the countryside and Mr FJ has all sorts of problems with the noises in the city and when he gets to the country it isn't any better because of crowing cockerels and mooing cows, but Mrs FJ has a solution for all of this, she tells him that if he ate his roast beef and wore his mittens he wouldn't get these noises in his ears, for a while Mr FJ wont listen but eventually realises that his wife is making good sense and proceeds to eat his roast beef and wear his lovely red mittens knitted for him by Mrs FJ.  And so, of course, the noises in his ears disappear. 

Im not sure what the children of today would make of this story but I loved it!!  Maybe that says a lot about me, I will leave you to ponder on that one!

I am sure you will recall the other day that I was rather annoyed at having been "scammed" over a craft fair I had signed up for, well my patience has paid off because two days ago I received a full refund for the money I had paid out.  No accompanying note but a full refund nonetheless.  I was very surprised but saddened to learn that out of the many people in the same position only two of us have actually had our money back.  The reasons behind this remain a mystery known only to the organiser of the doomed event.

So it pays to have patience I suppose which is something that seems to be sorely lacking in a lot of people, many cannot wait, at the supermarket the checkout operators nervously apologise for "keeping you waiting" when sometimes I have only been stood there for five  minutes!  What kind of people have they experienced that cant wait that long without losing their temper.   Cars impatiently beep their horns at other drivers who are a little slower to respond than some.  And time, its all about time and yet modern technology means surely, that we have more time on our hands as all our chores are done by machines, computers and phones.  However, it doesn't seem to be enough. 

I think the old saying of "Patience is a Virtue" is something that we all need to apply to our daily lives, take a deep breath and think of the other person, its something I do need to do more often.

Have a good afternoon everyone, until next time...


Monday, 30 September 2013

Am I getting Old? Or Am I Just an Idiot Magnet?

I ask this question because I feel that either I must be getting old or more intolerant of those around me or perhaps it is that the attitude of people is changing and not for the better either.

I particularly notice this when I am driving my car and taking my children to school.  Now I am, I hope, a considerate driver who tries to give way and make allowances to keep the traffic moving along the road, someone who doesn't drive very fast especially with lots of children walking along the pavements as children are unpredictable and will suddenly step into the road without looking, Ive seen it all too often.  However, is there any excuse for adults who suddenly take it into their heads to walk straight in front of your car without any warning.  Ive had this happen on an increasingly frequent basis lately.  A couple of weeks ago I drove across a mini roundabout and just reached the exit road and an elderly man was just there walking across the road, a moment earlier he had been on the pavement, he didn't look at all just stepped out.  Dear readers, two yards away was a zebra crossing!!  I, luckily was only doing about 15 miles an hour and managed to brake and thankfully nothing was coming behind me so I didn't receive a prang in the rear but what if there was, my car could have been a write off, my children injured and myself and all for the moment that it would have taken this guy to stop and think. 

I did, to my shame, yell out of the window at him that he could have used the crossing but there was no reaction at all.  Deaf probably! 

I have had mothers march onto zebra crossings in front of me dragging their children with no warning, no stopping to look.  The children have it drummed into them at school about road safety but what happens when they grow up, do they suddenly forget those lessons, well I didn't!  And Im sure Im not the only one who hasn't forgotten.  I strongly believe that all pavements should have railings fitted along the side of them to prevent people crossing at any but the designated places. 

This morning I came around a bend in the road and there was a man, in his mid twenties I would imagine, calmly sauntering across the road, again not even looking to see if traffic was coming, again only a couple of yards from the zebra crossing.

Is it something in the sea air?  Does it effect some people more than others?

Again I find it when the holidaymakers arrive in the summer, they seem to leave their brains at home.
One Saturday morning I was driving along the main road into town, there was a large van parked on the side of the road that I was heading along so as there was also a lot of traffic coming the other way we had to give way.  I got to the van was just going to head around it when a car started coming the other way so of course I had to stop, only to see the car behind me had tried to overtake me whilst I was trying to overtake the van!!!  He then had to reverse back behind me and had the cheek to wave his arms at me and yelling for me to get out of his way.  I pretended I couldn't see him but had a good laugh watching him trying to squeeze his car back into the little space he had left.  Needless to say he didn't try it again.

Ive had drivers reverse onto the pavement in town whilst trying to park their cars and nearly run my daughter over and when Ive complained one woman told me my daughter shouldn't have been on the pavement!!!!  Work that one out if you can.

And someone, please tell me why is there never a police car in the vicinity when these things take place, do these people go on getting away with it time and time again?

I do feel that in general the attitude of many people is becoming more selfish, everyone seems to be in such a hurry, to be constantly staring at their mobile phone, not to be aware of what is happening around them. 

I refuse to become like that, I shall continue to drive my way, to give way, to not be in a rush and to help people whenever I can, and I suppose no matter what I do I am always going to be that great big IDIOT MAGNET!!!!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Back In the Loop and the Dodgy World of Craft Fairs Bites Back

Sorry I haven't been around too much over the last week, I think moving my mum took more out of me than I realised.  It wasn't so much the physical side of things, carrying boxes etc, I didn't have too much of that to do to be honest, it was more the emotional side of it.  I wasn't prepared for the fact that I would get upset to see my mum leaving what had been my home before I got married and left but also the fact that my dad had passed away in that house.  I have to admit to having tears that day.

So today I am up and feeling much more with it and back in the loop of posting and keeping up the comments on my Facebook page otherwise it will disappear into the Ether and I wont be getting the air space I need to keep going.

You may remember a while back I voiced my feelings about the world of craft fair organisers and how it can sometimes backfire on you.  Well, sadly for myself and many of my fellow crafters, it has.  For legal reasons I am not allowed to name names on here as it may be considered slander although if I had my way then the woman and her company would not be allowed to have any privacy at all!!

Back in early March I paid £30 for a table at an event to be held at the Winter Gardens in Weston Super Mare in Somerset, advertised as being in the Grand Ballroom, on two levels with an ice rink and Santa's Grotto. 

A couple of weeks ago a fellow crafter pointed me in the direction of this woman's page on Facebook and suggested I may like to read the posts there, I was horrified to read that many people were demanding their money back for fairs that had been arranged in Taunton and cancelled without warning the day before, no monies refunded. 

The next day a badly spelled message appears on the page informing us that the lady organiser was in hospital and was unwell, okay but could that same person not have taken her friend or relative's work papers and telephoned all those concerned?  Apparently not!

A few days later and another message appears this time supposedly from the lady's parents and informing us that she was being kept in hospital for another week, please bear in mind that at the same time several very reliable people had seen this lady outside her daughter's school, laughing and joking and doing the school run without a care in the world, someone who was having a nervous breakdown, NO MOST DEFINITELY NOT.  Ive had one years ago and believe me you don't get over it and feel that much better immediately.

Alarm bells ringing I then emailed and requested information as to whether the fair in November was going ahead.  I received a fairly abusive email back, again supposedly from her parents, rudely informing me they had no idea and In shouldn't be taking that tone with them!!  I still don't understand how my polite email could have been considered offensive.

I then telephoned the venue and was told by the events team that they hadn't been able to get hold of this lady, all she had done was make a provisional booking and no monies had ever been paid for the event and as such the venue themselves were now cancelling the event because of other genuine people wanting to book it.  So I posted this information under the event on this lady's business page, and on other facebook pages informing people about it.

It turns out that I am only in the minority of people who have lost money to this scammer and also some people had paid for about six or seven fairs with her and not had any refunds on any of them and all of them had been cancelled without warning!

As I said I am unable to name names but suffice it to say if you come across a page using the title of a little green plus yellow coloured bird and the word events after this, don't touch em with a bargepole, one very dodgy and very very badly behaved person!!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

One Happy Bunny

I am, the one who is a very happy bunny!  My new spinning wheel arrived this afternoon and after a few sweaty hand moments putting it together we were off.  I always worry Im going to break something vital when I have to "do it myself" on furniture and other things.  Im sure Im not alone in this fear.  Its great that everything can arrive flat pack these days because of course its a cheaper way of doing everything and means its more accessible to the world.  Perhaps I should start putting together "do it yourself" jewellery kits?  What do you think?  Just add tools!

Here are a couple of pics of the new wheel...

And that's me, for those of you who don't know what I look like.
On the jewellery front I am looking forward to designing some new pieces over the next few months, sheet copper is on the menu, some new files and a larger vice I think to hold the bracelet mandrel.  I also need to invest in a neck mandrel to fashion some necklaces out of sheet copper.  So lots of ideas, exciting times. 
Have a great rest of the evening.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

There's no rest for the Wicked!!

Yesterday we moved my mum into her new bungalow, well new to her anyhow.  Its a lovely spot where mum has gone to, a lovely small community of 12 bungalows for the elderly, all joined together and with manageable gardens and great security.  I feel happy that she is settled there and when I rang her this morning to see if she had slept well as its always difficult in a new environment, she said she felt as though she had lived there for years, very settled and relaxed.  We are going shopping on Wednesday for new curtains as hers don't fit the windows very well. 

We arrived there at 8.30 a.m. and the removal guys came not long after, it took 3 trips with their little van to get everything down to the bungalow but all was done by 1.15 and after a fish and chip lunch we decided to sort out all the bags and boxes and unpack and put everything away.  By 4.30 we were done, albeit not in the order that mum would like but it was all put away.  Today, I think she has spent the day sorting out her kitchen cupboards to put everything in the order that she likes.  There is an amazing lot of storage there, a very large walk in store cupboard, an airing cupboard and a large shelved cupboard in the hall. 

So today I have been catching up on my household chores, trying not to notice the stiff joints and aching muscles after so much carrying and lifting yesterday, and the ironing is done, beds changed, and we had a trip out to Weston super Mare to do a little shopping too.

Tomorrow I am going to do the fortnightly food shop.  In a quest to save money I have taken to doing my shopping in Lidl, its really reasonable and very good quality food, we eat much better than if we bought Tesco or Asda's value brands.  I am also ordering the new spinning wheel tomorrow and looking forward to its delivery on Tuesday.

I have listed lots of old knitting pattern magazines and books on ebay this afternoon in a bid to clear some space in my poor bookcase.  It has been groaning at the seams with my collection and I don't use all of them to be honest so time for some to go.

Off to put my feet up now with the antiques roadshow so I hope you all have a pleasant evening.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Moving Mother and The Excitement Mounts

Well its been a few days since my last post and I apologise to you all for not having kept up a daily blog for the last week but its been hectic here.  Tomorrow my elderly mum is moving into a small bungalow.  For the last 35 years she has lived in a 3 bed semi with a very large garden and as she will be 80 next year its all got a bit much since dad passed away 3 years ago.  This new bungalow is on the same estate that she lives on now and is a small complex specifically for older people.  Mum already knows many of the people who live there and its only a couple of roads away from her current house so will be perfect.  It has a much smaller garden but still enough for mum to enjoy growing her flowers and summer veg.  Its within walking distance of the local shop and post office and not far from the bus stop, so all in all just perfect.  I know she is feeling a little wobbly about moving but I know once she is settled in that all will be well. 

I have been busy helping her out yesterday and catching up with my own chores today so I wont be behind when we get back tomorrow as I know its going to be a busy day and I don't want to leave mum until I know she is settled and all unpacked, bed made up etc. 

And, on Tuesday I shall be taking delivery of my lovely new spinning wheel.  After much research I have decided on the Kromski Prelude which is a really good wheel and just perfect for my needs.  I have spent the afternoon carding some gorgeous Gotland fibre
so there wont be much jewellery making happening on Tuesday!!
Once next week is out of the way and I have settled down to my new wheel and taken mum shopping for new curtains etc, I shall be back in the workroom to finish off my latest piece which is a one off piece using beautiful Agate stones.
I will post some pictures on my Facebook page when its done.
Have a good evening everyone.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


You might well be wondering what on earth is she talking about today, well....

The sudden drop in temperature has created a craving in me for chocolate and carbohydrates.  I think we may be in for a cold winter folks and a long one at that.  I read an article in one of the national newspapers last week that informed me that we are now in a situation of "global cooling" instead of the usual story of how the ice cap is melting and putting us all in danger, now last year apparently the ice cap didn't melt as much as usual thus keeping temperatures down and explaining why we have had so much cold weather last winter.  Does this mean that all the work we have done in the world to prevent the ozone layer from being damaged any further has helped? or does it just mean that nature is balancing itself out as it usually does when we humans have interfered too much. 

Anyhow I am sat here eating chocolate peanuts as I am writing this because I had a huge craving for them this morning.  I refuse to put the central heating on yet, it doesn't go on until late October or early November at Pure Inspiration towers because Im just too flippin mean to line the pockets of the gas company anymore than I have too.  The children can be seen wandering around in layers of clothes and wrapped in blankets until I give in.  The chickens are fluffed up outside, the guinea pigs are eating more than normal and the dogs are giving me reproachful looks as if its my fault that its getting colder.  For compensation I did tuck the cats up last evening with a blanket over them before I went to bed and judging by the position of the blanket when we got up this morning they hadn't moved much at all in the night.

The other part of the title refers to the world of craft fairs.  Since starting to sell my jewellery and now that my girls are older I have started selling my products at craft fairs locally and a little further afield.  I have found at these fairs that I have got to know some really lovely people and some not so lovely ones as is the way of humanity.  Its always a bit of a risk when you sign up to do a fair because of several reasons

1.  Does the person organising the fair have experience in their field?
2.  Has the venue been chosen with the needs of the sellers in mind? i.e. electricity points, ease of access for loading and unloading, and of course these days, wi fi access?
3.  Has the event been well advertised?

There is nothing worse than sitting all day in a draughty hall only to find that no one turns up because no advertising has been done.   Believe me Ive been there and its no fun.  Its probably worth checking the above points before considering booking a venue and if possible find out from other crafters who have attended previous events at the same location as to whether it was a success or not.

In many cases you are required to pay for your table or pitch up to six months in advance as competition can be pretty fierce for spaces.  What guarantee do you have therefore if the event is cancelled that you will receive a refund for your fees.  The answer is none and really there is nothing that can be done legally to retrieve £30 or £50 that might have been paid out.  No receipts are usually given for such bookings and no signature from the organiser so you are stumped. The legal fees alone would wipe out any monies you would get returned to you and you would end up out of pocket to a large sum so its best to just let it go.

For some large business' this probably isn't too much to lose but for the small, independent crafter it can be a large chunk of money not to mention the loss of the venue which you were hoping would have brought in enough money to cover your pitch costs and more to give you funds for new materials and everyday living. 

Then there is always the question of whether the organiser can be trusted, I have seen too many cases where the money is taken the venue is promised and then nothing materialises and the organiser disappears with everyone's cash.  I have not experienced this first hand I have to say but it happens a lot.  Luckily word does get around and once you get onto the craft fair circuit you do tend to get warned off certain people so know not to fall prey to anything similar.

So points to consider for those of you thinking about getting into craft fairs.  I enjoy my fairs and do so with the help of family who keep an eye on the girls for me whilst I go. 

Coming up to Christmas I have quite a few fairs booked and am hoping they will be profitable, with the majority of them I know the organisers and most of the people who will be attending so am confident that everything will be fine and I shall keep you all posted as to how things go.

Have a good rest of the day everyone, till next time.

Sunday, 15 September 2013


The title says it all really, but said with tongue in cheek, I just cant believe the girls are heading into their third week back at school already.  The days just seem to fly by so quickly, I know I am busy.  I have a craft fair booked for 2nd November next and I do need to stock up on my jewellery pieces as the last fair did clean me out a bit.  Things are selling well at the two retail outlets I have so I am getting low on stocks.  The knitting and weaving part of my business is doing well too with customer orders for the fingerless gloves.  So my days are taken up.

This morning after finishing the European ironing mountain, I decided to go and tackle the ever flourishing jungle that is my garden.  I can only dig for about an hour at a time as I have some osteoarthritis in my spine and after that time it is too painful to continue.  I managed to clear half of one bed and put in some pinks and orange lilies and took the clippers to the long rush grass that insists on growing around the garden. 

I have a pile and a half of waste to take to the tip again but as our glorious council has closed our recycling centre for some of the week that will have to wait until Thursday. 

I have just finished weaving an alpaca scarf which is now on my Wits End page, here is a picture of it, Im rather pleased with its softness and handle.
And now, its off to cook dinner for two poor starving children who of course haven't had much to eat today, :)
Have a good evening everyone

Friday, 13 September 2013


Well last evening my dear gas boiler decided it was going to go on the blink again.  Once again I had no hot water, I rang my gas supplier as my meter was not working either and ended up being told to ring the emergency gas line, I just wanted to know if there was a fault with the gas supply in the area and ended up with someone reading a list of computerised questions about my meter and was it because I hadn't paid the bill!!! Flippin Cheek!  Eventually he agreed that someone would come out and check the gas supply from the road to the house.  After about an hour out came a little man with tools and proceeded to dismantle the gas meter, no everything was fine, into the house looked at the boiler, nope it was definitely the boiler and the pressure was a little low, well we knew that otherwise we would have gas wouldn't we and then turned into a complete drama queen and announced that he had completely turned off the gas at the meter and the boiler because it wasn't safe to use in case we exploded.........................................  Yes, Ill leave that thought with you all, bear in mind at no time had gas been smelled around the meter or the boiler.  Talk about over reacting. 

Then I rang my boiler repair man who laughed when I told him what had happened, he said it was safe to turn the gas on again and try to see if the boiler would start up again, which of course, this morning, it did.  I am not sure if my repair man is going to be able to come out today to look at it and not sure if he will come out tomorrow.  So luckily we all had hot showers this morning and I got the washing up done.  Strange it always seems to happen at about the same time of an evening.  Hmmmmm.  Now I cant decide whether to get the man out just to check everything is okay or whether to leave it and see what happens. 

Well if the boiler needs repairing that will be my spinning wheel fund gone, I am trying to save up for one, perhaps I should frisk the dog again.  I think you may recall a little while ago that I mentioned that once a coin had come out of our dogs coat.  You see, Mad dog No 2 is a border collie with a very thick, very curly kind of coat that needs shearing regularly.  We gave him a bath one summers day a couple of years ago and out of his coat fell this little coin about the size of a 5p.  Under examination it turned out to be an American cent which was minted just after the Civil War in America, it was in really good condition too so we checked on the internet and found it was collectable and put it up for sale on ebay, netting $75 for it, about £45 at the time.  We were well pleased with that.  Now we have a standing joke about frisking the dog when we are short of cash.  He had been in the sea that morning on the beach, so we can only assume it got washed into his coat. 

More recently I had fun when I sneezed and my nose stud shot out and landed in his coat, that took some finding, he did not look amused either.

So this morning I have been plying up two small balls of Shetland yarn spun on my drop spindle and have now got a completed ball of yarn to use for knitting or weaving

This is a Turkish spindle and as you spin you wind the yarn over and under the arms.  When the spindle is full the shaft slides out, the arms pull apart and you have a complete ball of yarn.  Clever.
I also have a Golding ring spindle that I use a lot, head on over to to see what I mean.  I will point out that I bought mine some years ago when prices were a lot lower and it is gorgeous and has worn so well as its had a lot of use. 
Sadly once one becomes addicted to fibre there is little you can do about it, you just have to feed that addiction regularly.
Have a good day all and hope its not raining too much where you are.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

My New Toy and Other Things

Today I took delivery of a new toy.  A steel bracelet mandrel.  For those of you who don't know a mandrel is a form or shape around which metal or wire is fashioned.  In this instance I can shape very thick wire into a bangle and use my chasing hammer or nylon hammer to harden the wire and form the shape and size of the bangle.  I spent a happy couple of hours playing this afternoon.

I also, hurray, hurray, finished my submission for the Art Jewelry Magazine design challenge.  I have photographed and submitted my pictures to the editor but am bound by the rules of the design challenge not to publish any pictures on my blog or page until after 11th October this year soooooooo you will have to wait until then.

Aside from that I have been dealing with tired daughters, one is finding her new school regime a bit taxing especially with all the walking around from class to class and the more difficult lessons and the other one is feeling a bit stressed about her coursework.  I wish it was possible for them to get more sleep in the mornings but we have to be up at about 6.45.  With three of us needing the bathroom in the morning and my bathroom being the size of cupboard its not an easy routine. 

The mad dogs and I went for a charge up the beach.  Mad Dog No 2 is still limping somewhat after straining his tendon again a couple of weeks ago but is improving.  I think his was more of a plod rather than a charge this morning, but it was so lovely down there, the holiday makers have all gone home and the beach is ours again! 

Right, off to bed, Im tired tonight and its going to be an early one and by the way my bottom molar is feeling I think Im going to have to call the dentist tomorrow, I think I need a filling!!!!

Monday, 9 September 2013


Good afternoon.  Well its been a weird couple of days really.  The weekend just flew by and I couldn't believe how busy Ive been.  Lots of catching up on chores, the house really still looks like we've had an explosion but work comes first so it will have to wait till later.

This morning I went to do the food shop, decided to try and save some money so I went to Lidl today and yes came out feeling rather pleased that I hadn't spent as much as I would of done in the local Tesco's but still with the necessary tonnage to fill up No 3 and No 4 daughters.  Despite having a cooked lunch at school each day they are still coming home, and I love this advert, "Hank Marvin" (starving).  If No 3 continues to grow the way she is Im going to have to get an extension built onto her mattress, her poor toes are sticking out from under the duvet as it is, can you get extra long duvets?  Then I suppose you would need extra long bedding too.  For now we are tucking a blanket around the mattress at the end of her bed to keep her toes from getting cold in the night.

So whilst shopping I treated myself to a jar of cockles.  I remember having these when on holiday as a child and still love eating them now.  My two girls really cant understand how I could eat them but I do enjoy them very much and I think shellfish is very good for you.  So cockle sandwich eaten and on with the blog.

I received an email this morning and decided to share this with everyone because it really worried me how clever it was.  I have a contact who helps to organise local craft fairs and is part of our local town's "Team" who do some amazing work on behalf of our town as volunteers, a really lovely person.  The email came with her email address, name, address and phone number.  It stated that she was on holiday in the Phillipenes and had had all her passport and everything stolen.  Then it went onto say that she couldn't leave the country, despite being issued with a temporary passport as she couldn't access her money for several days and had to settle her hotel bills and catch a flight so could I help her with a loan and could I email her as it wasn't possible to contact her by phone.

Me, being me was immediately suspicious and decided to telephone her home phone number whereon I discovered that she is not on holiday abroad but well and truly at home.  The lady in question informed me that she had now sorted this problem but that people were still receiving the email.  I was very pleased that she wasn't in trouble but it was very worrying that so much personal information was in the email.  How do people manage to extract this information despite us having virus control programmes, internet protection etc.  The email was very well written too in perfect English, nothing that would suggest that someone to whom English was a second language could have written it.  I can well see though how someone less on the ball might easily fall for such a con.  There are some very wicked people out there.

And finally as winter approaches I am beginning to believe my boiler has a mind of its own.  We have an instantaneous (think that's the right term), gas boiler that heats our hot water when you turn on the tap and does our heating too.  A good, solid old Worcester Bosch that never fails, except for this time of year when it has a funny five minutes.  Last July the same occurred as happened last evening.  I turned on the tap and although the boiler kicks into life it soon cuts out again and no hot water.  So out comes the instruction manual, trouble shooting page, reset button, flashing red lights, no hot water.  Man is phoned, promises to ring me back today to make appointment.  Half an hour later boiler is working again!!  I have noticed however that the gas supply light was not working at the time of the problem but then comes back on again.  We have no pilot light here so still unsure as to why this occurs, only thing I can think of is that the gas supply is temporarily interrupted (and yes I have paid the bill)!  So man cancelled, boiler working and all well with the world.

Right, off to do some proper work in the jewellery department now.  Have a good day all.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Family Life

I didn't get near the laptop last evening, it was being used by No 4 daughter.  Not for homework reasons that's for sure!!  So no post yesterday.  Today, being Saturday is house chores day.  Cleaning out chickens, guinea pigs and the house.  First this morning I got up about 8, having treated myself to a little lie in and then after breakfast got dressed and sorted out the hens, hosed down the back yard, tidied the garage, showered and re dressed after getting mites on me from the chicken house (bit of an ongoing problem there but not talking about it now cos it makes me ITCHY!!). 

Then decided to change the sheets on my bed, hoover the bedroom, dust the bedroom, pulled out the dressing chest and my mirror fell off, not broken thank goodness, its one of those you hang on a wooden stand, anyhow it smashed the base of an old china dog my grandmother gave me when I was younger.  She was born in 1890 and it had been a 16th birthday present for her, I think originally there were a pair but when granddad died and gran cleared out her house to go and live with my aunty she gave this one to me as a keepsake.  That was when I was 10, I am now 51!  I am gutted, I will try to glue it back together but I don't think its going to be that successful. 

I suppose Im quite sentimental really, Ive never thought of myself in that way and indeed when my husband died I certainly didn't hang onto his clothes or possessions.  I did what I thought he would have wanted and donated his clothes to charity with the proviso they went to another town quite far away as I didn't want to meet them walking down the street.  His possessions I sorted through and divided up between his two sons and our two daughters.  I felt that was the best way.  I have all the lovely cards he gave me and also two rings which I have now given to my two youngest daughters.  But as Ive got older I find it harder to let go of things, to clear out and seem to hold onto things in case they "come in useful".  I do feel I have to get stricter with myself as despite having a couple of massive sort outs this year my home is still cluttered with things I don't really need, e.g. an old t.v., digital box, old wires, connectors. 

I think when you have things have memories attached to them especially when those memories are of people from my childhood that are no longer with us.  When we are younger we think our family members are invincible, never have the concept in our minds that anything will ever happen to them.  Sadly my own children as many others have discovered know that parents do die but I was lucky enough to have my parents love and security for many years.

Talking of parents, I shall be relieved when my mum has finally moved, so far we have had two different moving dates and despite my attempts to pin her down to a day for me to go over and help her pack, she seems to have rallied an army of volunteers from her local neighbourhood to perform lots of little tasks to help out.  She rings me regularly to update me on all these developments so I guess its helping for me to just listen and make encouraging noises as needed.  I know she doesn't want me to have to do too much as she says I have enough to do with the girls, work etc. but I do feel I need to help especially with her being elderly now.  I drew the line at her dismantling an old wardrobe though and so she gave in and allowed a neighbour's husband to do the job instead and remove the pieces to the tip for her.

So life goes on here, now the girls are back at school we have settled back into our usual routine and its quite comforting really, hmmm another sign of getting old? 

Off to get lunch for ever growing children.  More soon.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Designs and Disappointment

As you may have seen from my Pure Inspiration page today, I have been chosen as one of five people worldwide to produce an item of jewellery using Quilling paper (the little narrow strips that are wound into spirals and circles to produce patterns and now jewellery), as part of Art Jewelry Magazine's challenge to produce jewellery from alternative materials.  I subscribe to the magazine, courtesy of my eldest daughter's generous birthday present, and was sent an email asking anyone to enter and I was chosen at random but wow, how lucky.  I am required to photograph my piece of finished jewellery and submit my photographs by 7th October.  The pictures will then be published along with the other four lucky applicants in the November issue of Art Jewelry. 

I am very nervous about this as I have never worked with this medium before and firstly had to watch some U tube videos to show me how to work the paper strips.  Now I have discovered I don't have any PVA glue in the house so its off to the shops tomorrow!  The glue is used to hold the spirals together.  I have to say also that the shapes that the paper makes has inspired me to design some new wirework pieces. 

Obviously I wont be able to put any pictures of the finished item up on my Facebook page until the magazine is published but once it is I will share them with you all.

The disappointment today came about because as you will recall I said yesterday that we wanted to move house and be closer to the girls' school, in order to do this I had to contact the mortgage company to request that I "Port" the mortgage, in other words, take it with me.  However due to the recent bank troubles they have tightened up their criteria that one needs to meet in order to do this and sadly I do not meet their criteria nor am I likely to.  As I pointed out to the underwriter, one obviously needs to prove one doesn't need a mortgage in order to get one!

So we wont be moving house and to be honest I don't know if Im disappointed or relieved.  Relieved that I don't have to dismantle my home and workroom and pack everything up and then set it all up again or disappointed that I don't have a choice.  Its nice to have a choice over things but the current financial situation in this country is making life very hard for lots of us.  I am at this moment in time counting my blessings for what I already have and hoping that in the future things may change.

Have a good evening everyone.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Viewings, Valuations and an Empty House

Today my two daughters returned to school, for Meggie now 14 a step up into year 10 and the serious start of her GCSE coursework years.  For Abigail, 11, her first proper day at the "Big School" into year 7.  I was so proud of both my girls this morning.  Proud of Abigail because I know although her tummy had lots of butterflies and she was so anxious about finding everything and coming home on the bus she got straight out of the car and headed off to find her friends.  Proud of Meggie because she was giving her sister lots of advice and encouragement and when they got out of the car the words "come on squirt"  were I think a big help.  Here they are in their new shirts looking very smart.
I had to swear not to put this on Facebook!  Well it isnt really, only in my blog. 
When Abigail was 5 and she started going to the village school we moved from our house in Burnham on Sea, out to the village of Berrow.  Now we are thinking of moving back into the town.  This house is lovely, in a lovely spot, close to the beach, nice garden, enough room but we are out of the way and you do need a car.  So today I have been to view a couple of town properties.  I never realised just how many little back streets and terraces there were in the town.  I saw one very lovely, large, old Victorian terrace house with lots of room, a smaller garden and a really cute attic room with a ladder up to it, not great for me to climb up and down but as its off one of the bedrooms I can just see the girls loving it for a den.  Then I went to see a "cottage" property tucked away at the back of a couple of rows of houses, beautifully renovated, BUT, the garden is overlooked by about five other houses and the closest I could park is about 30 yards away in the street that the pathway leads off from for the house.  I can just see having to not only fight for a parking space but offloading shopping and hauling it up the pathway to the cottage.  Upstairs there were two bedrooms and a lovely little bathroom under the eaves, downstairs an open plan lounge and kitchen and thats it.  A small porch but no other rooms. no workroom, no workspace.  Not big enough for all of us, just me yes but I have to consider the girls as well.
Do you know I drove home thinking how lovely my current house is and asking myself why do I really want to move?  My unsociable neighbour is one reason, he who bangs on walls violently if he feels the girls make too much noise.  Yet he who swears, shouts, screams and bangs doors in there when it suits him and are we expected to complain, no obviously we aren't.
Living right along the main road with the endless holiday traffic and fumes and noise is another, yet walk a few yards up that road and you are on the golf course and on the way to the most beautiful beach. 
We would be better off financially with a smaller mortgage and town properties are cheaper than out here in the village.  But then moving will be expensive but would release some equity from the property. 
I have a lot of thinking to do.  I have 3 agents coming out to value my property this week and will sit down then and decide which is the best way forward.

Friday, 30 August 2013


 Yesterday my now 14 year old daughter had a birthday party with her friends.  Eight teenage boys and girls were here between 4 and 9 p.m.  I have to admit I was very impressed with their manners and their behaviour.  I drew the line at them chasing my hens, as they were playing Truth or Dare and decided to challenge one boy to round up the hens.  Luckily I overheard the plan and intervened.  I didn't want my hens having a heart attack!  It was the first time I had met most of the friends of my daughter, I had seen one or two of the girls before but mostly they tend to meet up in town for milkshakes or shopping so I only see them at pick up and drop off times. 

It got me to thinking about the old saying "birds of a feather, flock together".  I know we all worry desparately that our kids wont get in with the wrong crowd, go astray, wander off the path;  I have four daughters and all of them have always chosen friends who reflect the values and beliefs that they have been brought up with.  Its very hard to "make" your children do something or behave in a certain way, the only way we can be sure that they do grow up in the right way is to set an example to them, to talk to them and try and guide them.  If my girls have had problems, whilst part of me is itching to go and fight their corner, I have to sit them down and ask them what they would like to happen in the particular situation they find themselves in, would they like me to go and speak to someone on their behalf or would they prefer to deal with it themselves and if so what tack will they take.  If it was someone else going through this how do they think it should be dealt with.  And then watch with heart in mouth as they go off to deal with it.  Obviously there are going to be times when they cant sort things out alone and then we do have to intervene but so far it seems to have worked. 

A couple of months ago one of my daughters had been invited to go swimming for the day at a friends house, another girl had been invited that my daughter didn't like very much as she said the girl was unpleasant and bad mannered, so I asked if she still wanted to go, what was it the girl did that upset her and how could she deal with it.  My daughter decided she still wanted to go but with the proviso that if the girl was too difficult and she didn't want to stay she would text me and I would collect her early.  As it turned out the girl didn't go to the swimming party but at least my daughter felt empowered to deal with it if she had. 

My late husband used to say you would meet the same type of people where ever you went in life, if you changed job or belonged to a group, the same types of people would always be there.  Ive found this to be true enough.  I have also tried to explain to the girls that its better to have a group of friends rather than just one whilst they are at school, obviously when we are older it is different and I have found that I now have several really good, close friends and a wonderful group of acquaintances.

Today, being my daughter's actual birthday she decided she would like us to go to Exmouth for the day.  I used to have all my family holidays down there as a child and its a beautiful beach and the water is so clear and clean for swimming in.  Amazing rock pools and every year we all go down for a family day out, the whole family gets together, we sit on the beach, swim, eat loads, play crazy golf and go to the playpark where they have lots of things to do including these amazing Swan boats

You have to pedal with your feet to get them around the lake but great fun.  Also there are trampolines, model boats to steer around a small lake and for the younger children a large adventure playground amongst other things.  Everything is paid for with tokens that you buy at the kiosk.  Crazy golf is my favourite and I cant believe its been there since I was six or seven and now I am 51 and I am still playing the same game!! 

We had a great time today, Im glad my daughter decided to choose Exmouth, especially as they go back to school next week, it was a brilliant day out and we all feel sleepy from the sea air and the swimming now. 

Have a good evening everyone. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Phew what a day!  This morning we set off to pick up our ordered school uniform from the local secondary school.  When we arrived the lady behind the counter suggested that my daughters try on the jumpers.  I had ordered large, well, we could have gotten both of them in one jumper!  So its turned out that they have small instead as even the medium size was hanging off them.  Shirts and jumpers acquired we then put some petrol in the car and headed off to collect a small rigid heddle loom that I purchased on ebay a few days ago.  I had put the postcode into Google maps and followed the directions, sadly not all the roads seem to have signs and I ended up getting very confused but we stopped and asked a very kind lady who said we were on the right road and it was just the next turning up the road. 

Loom collected we then drove into the next town intending to go onto the motorway and drive to a large Asda to get some new school trousers and trainers for No 3 daughter.  By this time both younger people in the car had rumblings in their stomachs so we de-camped to MacDonalds for lunch and then realised there was a smaller Asda nearby.  Two pairs of trousers were found, but no trainers were on sale in the store at all.  So we went to a nearby Matalan, no they didn't sell trainers in the store only online, no good to us.  Back to our home town, in the Asda there, no trainers, back into the local town and to Clarks shoe shop and hurray one pair of trainers. 

Finally we came back home, phew.  The loom is now warped up and I am making a scarf in Alpaca to sell on my other page Wits End Fibres.  I am a happy bunny to be weaving again as I find it very relaxing. 


Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Tomorrow I shall be taking two reluctant children to pick up their new school uniform and to then go and buy some new trousers.  I think its going to be difficult to get back into the routine of getting up early and getting organised.  Im not sure I remember when we have had a summer holiday when we have all been so relaxed.  Why this is I cant say, it just seems to have been that way this year.  Going back to getting up at 6.30 a.m. is going to shock my system, never mind people who haven't been getting out of bed until at least 10 a.m.!  Still its been lovely having the girls at home for this long and spending time together, I have really enjoyed it, precious days.

I suspect I may be persuaded to purchase new stationery as well, although judging by the amount that is currently sitting upstairs in the "art cart" I really don't think its needed but of course there is nothing like having new things to go back to school with.

Today has been fairly busy, I managed to finish a copper and silver bangle which is now on my facebook page and I have started working on a similar necklace.  New wire will soon need to be ordered as I am fast running out of my thicker copper wire.  This is going to have to be ordered on the internet as my local shop doesn't stock pure copper wire. 

I also need to invest in some new tools, I want to add a bracelet mandrel to my collection of tools, these vary greatly in price and quality but I cant go on using my old china pot as it isn't going to stand up to being bashed with the hammer much longer!!  I think Im going to have to bite the bullet and just go for a metal one.  I have just managed to purchase a little vice to go on my worktable for wire twisting and despite seeing expensive ones on the internet I managed to obtain a wee little red one at my local hardware shop for £2.60!  I thought that was a bargain.  It is sturdy enough, sadly though they don't sell mandrels!

This evening will be taken up with a little networking and finishing off some knitted gloves for my other facebook page. 

Have a good evening everyone.


Monday, 26 August 2013


Here I sit, grinding my teeth in frustration at this silly website and yes Mr Blogger I hope you are reading this as you have completely deleted my "talesfromtheworkroom" blog and reinstated the old Pure Inspiration fibre blog, GRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Why?  Everything was working fine until today, all I did was sign in and away we went but Oh No, not today, today you decide I don't flippin exist!!!  WELL I DO and Ive now had to start a new blog.  I AM NOT IMPRESSED and if you do it again I AM LEAVING YOUR SITE.

There hopefully that should get the point across, oh I hate computers sometimes.  I am sure my life used to be a lot simpler without internet and mobile phones and all that texting and messaging and facebooking!  My friends used to just ring me up for a chat, now all we seem to do is text.  I know, I know, its the way the world is going and its essential for my business etc, but I think Im turning into a grumpy old woman.  I just want to be able sometimes to switch everything off and have a day without a screen.

I often threaten my family that when they have all grown up and left home Im moving to the isles of Shetland, one of the more remote islands which is only accessible six months of the year due to the weather and high seas, in a one bedroom cottage with a large freezer, a sturdy old landrover, a dog and my spinning wheel (when I get one) and a winter's supply of fleece.  There I shall be happy, no phone, no internet, just letter writing.  And no visitors.  But that would be wrong of me wouldn't it?, Wouldn't it?  Oh but sometimes I am so tempted.

Anyhow, down to the business of the day, this morning we drove over to the equestrian centre where No 2 daughter works to watch my little grand daughter take part in a fancy dress rider and pony class at one of their bank holiday horse shows.  It was great fun, lovely weather, the bacon butties were yummy, oh and of course my grandchildren were as adorable as ever.  Here are a few pictures of Pirate Matilda on Basil the pony and I will point out that whilst the pony is wearing an eye patch, he is actually blind in that eye so it didn't affect his vision at all.  Matilda and Basil one first prize and she was a very happy little girl with everyone cheering her on.

So one very proud Nana, and one very happy little girl with her large red rosette and a little toy pony as her prize.  And of course her mummy and daddy were also amazingly proud of her.

Lets hope this works okay now on my Pure Inspiration page and I apologise profusely to all my readers for the confusion and the change of blog.