Friday 7 May 2010

A very long post you may not want to bother reading.

Its over a week since I added a post so this is a bit of a news post. Possibly over long.
You may need a drink .
I don't expect you to stay with me for the whole thing but I must get it off my chest. In chronological order.

First: I tidied my sewing room and guess what I found under the table?
My scissors.
Regular lurkers and commenters will remember that I had to buy a new pair.
Well two pairs are better than one.

Second: We went to Flookburgh for a walk.
Its on Morecambe bay and the landscape is velvety and wet but I thought these pictures of the salt marsh were very luscious.

Little streams and puddles make strange shapes in the grass and reflect the sky like mirrors with furry frames.

Third: I am still without my laptop and as I have no intention of paying £250 to get it repaired there is no answer. I wrote to the MD of HP in Berkshire, and received a call from South Africa which told me they will log my complaint but can only offer me an out of warranty repair at £250.
I will take it to a private person (possibly one of my sons) and see what can be done. If I shine a very bright light on the screen I can just about see whats there so I've saved everything onto and external HD. Meanwhile there will be fewer posts/comments/emails from me.

Fourth: If you have been reading a while you may remember that I went to an Iris farm this time last year and spent £20 on 4 iris. Well, being the useless gardener I am I left them in their pots by the back door all year, until about two weeks ago when I noticed they had sent out some lovely new leaves and thought it was about time I planted them in earth.

I may as well have said 'laid them to rest' as in 'Dido's Lament', because a week after the planting this is the result. One is half eaten, one is completely eaten , one is chopped off at the base and the fourth has vanished. Hence the pellets. the only colour I have in my garden.

Please do not speak to me of beer traps, torches at midnight, copper strips, eggshells, hens, pet hedgehogs.......the slug and I have history.

Fifth: I received a wonderful parcel from the delightful Dot of Dots Life and Art in Australia containing the most amazing piece of embroidery. There were also beads and buttons and some gorgeous embellished fabric she has made with an incredible collection of fibres. Thank you so much Dot I love it and hope you got my e mail saying so.

Sixth: I am receiving lots of e mails from my lovely blog friends and contacts to tell me that I have had a mention in Quilting Arts Daily. Thank you all who contacted me to tell me.
I wouldn't have known.

(Are you still with me?)

Seventh: When my kiddywinks were little boys I made them one or two items to wear, one of which was Aprons. They were lovely aprons with applique cars and names and so on. I had been thinking about these and decided to blog about them sometime and perhaps make some more to sell online and resolved to search for them.

Meanwhile I went to the Post Office to get some esty stuff sent and was in the queue behind a tall young woman posting a load of parcels all over the place.
I got chatting and it turns out she has a children's clothing website .
Then she said 'How are the boys?'. I was surprised because I didn't recognise her but she is a girl I taught and her brother is a friend of my son..
She said ' I always remember those little aprons you used to make for us when we had a birthday party. I'd love one for my little boy.'

Isn't that funny? But then I came home and looked in all the places I can think of which are sooooo full of junk and just can't find the aprons, but I found a load of letters from my Mum from when I was at college. All in her lovely handwriting. It brought Cathy's post home to me.

They are so lovely because they give a glimpse into our our lives and what they and I were up to as well as my brother, who was desperate for a Ben Sherman shirt at the time! They were in their early forties then, so its a lovely picture of their lives as 'young' people with teenage children 1970-72.

My dad wrote to me once which must have been in response to my asking him to, and it was so delightful and so very him.
I wonder if I should share it with the blog world? Perhaps I will and if you don't want to read it you can pass. I just love it and set the background for you first:

I was in my second year at St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, staying in 'approved lodgings' which basically meant with a family who had been vetted by the college. I shared with a friend a tiny room with two single beds a desk and two chairs. The family were very nice but we were students and didn't want to get up early for breakfast with them, or come in before midnight. We may as well have been from a different planet. It was Winter. We were cold and miserable and Northern.

Here are some excerpts from his very long letter:

'There, see , your plaintive little PS has wrung at my heart strings so I've got my quill out and the pepper, and yer I be! Mum is busy knitting an Arran sweater for P*** or me -depending on how big it is when its finished!! No actually its lovely really, all diamonds and bobbs-I think she's very clever but I will be glad when it is finished 'cos I'm fed up of being 'shushed' every time I open my mouth. she was even shushing the folks on the telly the other night!!! I suppose its a difficult pattern but I'm sure Paton and Baldwins never had this trouble.


The college authorities are certainly sending you far afield for your TP this time. still Mitcham looks as though it is a reasonable area and the kids won't be too tough. I'm only going by the map of course but it doesn't look too bad although it might be an awkward place to get to by bus-do you have to go to Kingston and change?

Your social diary sounds very full these days and I'm glad you are getting into the outside world a bit more but (here
comes the fatherly bit) do be careful love, there are some queer characters knocking about as you well know. still I have no fears in that direction but you know I have to hand out the good advice occasionally!!!!


I'm glad to hear that you are going on an archaeological dig next week. Work hard at it and then you can go on another dig in the garden next summer.! I suspect that the building contractor on the site you are going to has set the rumour ab
out that there are Roman remains in the area. No, don't make mock, just think of the money he'll be saving if you dig the footings and all he has to do is fill 'em with concrete. If the finished pattern of the dig looks like the shape of a house, demand time and half wages or threaten to fill it all in again!


I've been to the town hall in Lancaster today connected with work of course and I got some bits and pieces for the car at a garage there. I know you are not interested really but I can tell you and you can't say 'so what?' or 'Big deal' like Mum and Paul. Anyway its filled a few more lines hasn't it-dead clever, what!


I expect Mum told you about having your picture framed didn't she? The "Framer in chief at *****' said that a black frame wouldn't look pictorially right with a predominantly black picture (and he should know, after all he's been a blacksmith all his life, or nearly all of it) so we had a white frame. It looks lovely mind you and we are both so proud of it. When anyone strange (and I don't think that's quite the right word) calls, we don't say anything but we both will them to look at it. If that doesn't work we try to draw their attention to it-nothing obvious mind you but it never fails-I think its the sight of your Mum doing a hand stand on the picture rail that eventually catches the eye!!! Seriously I think its a beautiful piece of work and I could sit and look at it all night, which I frequently do.


The social committee are holding a firework display at ******* tomorrow night and I went to Southport to collect the fireworks £22-10-0's worth. Looking at the size of some of the rockets I shouldn't be surprised if they drag half of S********** Lane into orbit. If the weather is as bad tomorrow night as it is tonight we'll never get a match to light never mind the fireworks.

He finishes off by telling me he wants to get me a new winter coat to keep me warm and will stick his neck out and send £20 so I can buy one 'down there'. (London)

I have to report I bought the most bizarre Biba coat. Long, tightly fitted, Khaki with little black velvet Fleur de Lis all over it and with Sherlock Holmes type flaps on the shoulders, a stand up collar and fly front. Totally unsuitable for warmth but incredibly fashionable at the time. It got some funny looks when I wore it in my home town, Preston, during the holidays I can tell you. I have trawled the net for an image but I just can't find it.

I hope you don't mnd my indulging myself with those excerpts. Its like hearing his voice again and was a bittersweet experience for my Mum and I . We read all her letters which were full of news and very entertaining, and she was happy to be reminded of the busy house and busy life she had, of my brother's teenage years , and his social activities and most of all of her life as a wife and not a widow.

If you have been, thanks for reading.


Elderberry-Rob said...

only joking! that was actually quite interesting and I prefer a nice long newsy post you can get through tea and biscuits with rather than a quick one liner. Lovely embroidering your friend sent. I would like a mohair jacket made of that embroidery (in my dreams). I think aprons are making a comeback for grown ups (yes, some mums like to dress up with cars and dollys on their aprons to amuse their kids) so both mummy and child aprons could be popular - good luck.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Jackie, I started laughing when I saw the title of your latest post on my blogroll and continued when reading what you needed to 'get off your chest' (not when the laptop was mentioned though). The highlight was your Dad's letter - it's quite clear where you get your sense of humour from. What a lovely keepsake from a true character, it was both hilarious and touching. Lesley x

A Time for Stitching said...

Hi DDC, A wonderful post - and 'yes' I did read it all to the end. I loved your father's letter - what a fabulous sense of humour.
Teresa x

MrsP said...

Sorry to hear about your laptop- they are awfully tempremental things laptops... The letters from your parents are lovely- so far removed from the one line emails that I exchanged with my daughter at uni- "I need money" "I sent you £75 last week!" "Yeah I know thanks for that - we all had a takeaway- but I really need this I need some books and I've run out of fags"- I am too much of a lady to tell you what I said...
I used to collect aprons- not useful ones- those fabulous frilly 50s hostess aprons made of chiffon with applique and huge bows at the back- I think that they got left behind when I fled my cottage- shame!
Great post - I had a lovely cup of tea and a chocolate mini roll whilst reading- lovely photos too
Have a good weekend

Marigold Jam said...

How lovely to have a letter like that from your Dad - I never knew my father as he died when I was 2 and feel I really missed out there! Sorry about the computer - it's always the same isn't it things go wrong once out of warranty and then cost a fortune to get repaired.

Love that piece of embroidery - the colours are fabulous.

I stayed on till the terminus and it made interesting reading all the way!


Celia Hart said...

Gosh! a marvelous post... I have a box of letters from my Mum and she has a box of mine - all our correspondence while I was at Art School. One day I'll bring the boxes together and just maybe read the letters again... I'll probably cry.

I can't remember if I ever got a letter from my Dad, your Dad's letter is so precious. I can feel his love and concern for you.

And that coat sounds fab! I want one.


elle said...

Absolutely delightful!!!

Karen said...

glad to read anything you post however long, I was getting worried and just about to send out a search party!!

Wendy said...

I have a tip for getting rid of a few slugs. You need a large screwtop jar. Bury it up to the neck by your plants and fill it with beer or lager. In a week get someone to go out and screw the lid back on, then dig it up and hide it in the bottom of the bin. Do not look in the jar whatever you do.

I once got an envelope from my dad with a corner torn from a newspaper saying only "keep this under your hat", there were 2x £1 notes in there with it. That was his weekly allowance. Dads are such wonderful creatures.

Heather Woollove said...

Jackie--Thanks so much for sharing! What wonderful treasures 'real' letters are. I wonder who will remember us
e-mailers in such gorgeous detail? :(

Gina said...

Loved reading your Dad's letters Jackie. The ordinary everyday stuff makes such treasured memories.

Emma said...

Don't you feel so much lighter now?

Love Dots embroidery.

My youngest spilt milk over the keyboard of a handed down laptop - healthy child, drove him mad with the spilt milk saying & he replaced it (v cheaply)

I'd like to have met your Dad. Makes me glad that I have decided to visit Oxford no less than once a year to see my parents while I'm lucky enought to still have them. it's not really enough, tho, is it?

Jill said...

Delightful post - I was a contempory at TTC 68-71 so can relate to your tales. My sisiter and I wrote all the time, but we never kept our letters, so yours are very precious. Love your Dad's sense of humour - (and I had a few Bibai out fits too)

Twiglet said...

Jackie that letter is wonderful - thank you so much for sharing it. What a wicked sense of humour your Dad had and a reflection of the lovely relationship you must have had. I was at TTC 1970 -73 but "up North" in Sheffield and its hard to imagine how we coped without mobile phones and the internet. My Dad's letters were my only link to home - sadly I never saved them but they were so much appreciated at the time. Good luck with the little aprons.

Greedy Nan said...

No zeds from me - I really enjoyed that and what a lovely piece of work sent to you by Dot. I'll be over there as soon as I've finished here. Didn't I mention the Law of Sod to you? I hope that I will have the same thing happen to me as I bought a new pair from the same place after you'd recommended it [I'm sure they're smaller than my originals though].
My dad was a VERY quiet man - wrote nothing, said little, but worked like a slave all his life and in the end that was his downfall. I'd love to have had correspondence like that from a parent. Treasure it.

connie said...

What a nice post. You are a busy woman with so many things on your mind. I do love the excerpts from you Father's letter. What a treasure! He sounds like a wonderful guy.

Have a lovely weekend. I hope you find the missing aprons.

Greedy Nan said...

Sorry but it's me - AGAIN. Thinking about your slug problem. I have a book - '50 ways of getting rid of slugs' - if one way worked, why would you need another 49? We have both slugs and snails and I don't know what the answer is either.
I had a problem with our laptop too and it looked just like a slug crawling over the screen and Law of Sod again - not covered by in-date warranty. However, it WAS possible to claim on the house insurance as accidental damage as the slug was caused by the machine being dropped.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I know I would have loved your Dad - his sense of humour is such fun. What a treasure to have that letter and those from your Mom as well. Great post (well, except for the laptop part).

WendyCarole said...

great post. We have snails eating our peppers!

Can't ever remember my Dad writing me a ltter but he did 'do' the odd birthday card!

Would love to see your aprons

menopausalmusing said...

Oh Jackie........... my turn to get misty eyed (at your dad's letter).

I loved the embroidery you were gifted, a veritable rainbow! :O)))))))))

My garden has rather a lot of blue pellets too. Have tried everything else........

Obviously, I feel your pain re your laptop> :O(

Soggibottom said...

Things don't change much really, only the date. I keep shushshshshshshshsh ing too when I'm counting my knitty stuff.

As for the slugs, there are loads of books about them. I transfer them now. A mile away helps as it takes them longer to get back home. x x x
Biba.... very indulgent!

beadbabe49 said...

What a lovely long post, jackie...sorry to hear about your laptop but glad you were able to backup your info!
We're seeing slugs too...chuck picks them up and flings them into our little stream and I imagine them floating downhill a ways...
I think my mom wrote me a letter once but unfortunately my parents were both into making telephone calls instead, so I'm triply envious of the tender and funny letter your dad wrote.

Dolores said...

Thanks for the afternoon's laugh - two cups of tea worth. I never got a letter from my dad who died when I was 12. I don't think my own husband ever wrote a letter to any of the children (now adults.) Lucky you and what a keepsake.
Just think what would have happened had you had your computer and no time to look for the aprons...
I'm no gardener either and I, like you, buy things that I cannot find because they are hiding.

Lyn said...

I read every word and loved it Jackie. Your dad was so funny and I can understand about it being a bittersweet experience.
Thank you for sharing it with us.

The Coffee Lady said...

All these mentions of places make me convinced I have probably walked past you in the street at some point.

Elizabeth said...

I love ALL of your posts!! They are wonderful!! First off the marshes with puddles remind me of some of your lucious felted pieces!!! So sorry aobut your iris- I hate it when the critters win!!!
Dot is an absolute Doll isn't she and her art work is amazing!!!!! A package from Dot is a limitless treasure trove of goodness!!
The letters from your Dad are just marvelous- I am so glad that you found them and that your Mum could share them with you. He sounds like he was such a lovely man and father!! I am sure that you will come across the aprons, probably when you stop looking and it sounds like you could have agood market for them!!! I am sure that they are marvelous!! I hope that you can get some help with your laptop from your sons!!!!
Happy Mother's Day to you and Your Mum!!!!

Mary Welsh Hubbard said...

I loved the post. I read every word! The bits from your dad were great. He sounds very funny.

Doreen G said...

I'm a sticky beak Jackie so reading your Dads letter was no bother to me and thanks for sharing it with us.
What a wonderful sense of humour he had.

Doreen G said...

Oh and I meant to say that I am lucky enough to own one of Dots gorgeous works of art so I know how special they are.

silverpebble said...

I loved reading your Dad's letter Jackie - it was no chore to read at all. It must be such a treasure for you. I presume TP is teaching practice? What's with the artcheology?

Amanda said...

Lovely Jackie. From one who's never had a Dad, it was delightful. Thanks for sharing. x

Chris Daly said...

I'm so glad I stuck it out 'til the end. What an endearing letter from your father. I sometimes worry that the internet will do away with those lovely reminders in years to come. Good luck with the HP!

lilylovekin said...

What lovely letters from your father, wish I had something like that.

Jan said...

So many things to comment on but first I will say that when my screen light went out on my lap top I was able to hook a regular monitor up and use it for awhile. it is a hassle but if you have a spare monitor around this might be worth a try. You have to adjust some settings on the laptop to make it work.
I love love love that piece you got from Dot. I wish I had made it;-)

Jacky said...

what an enjoyable blog Jackie, loved your letter from your Dad, I also received one letter from my Dad and I still have it to this day, he had a similar sense of humour, bless him

Anonymous said...

Lovely to read your Father's letter, and how lucky you are to still have them, can touch where he did, read his writing and hear his voice. Sadly I have very few of my parents letters - thrown out in various moves, and at times one would never imagine later on they would be so special. Sue

Erica said...

how wonderful to have memories you can hold in your hand - my dad didn't write letters but my mum and aunties sent each other postcards, the holiday sort with risque cartoon characters, the mail service was certainly better than todays' - they would send a postcard in the morning to say they would pay a visit that afternoon!

Robin Mac said...

I am so glad you shared you father's letter with us, it is such a wonderful memory. Have you found the aprons yet? What a coincidence standing behind that lady. I hope your sons can sort your computer, it is soooo frustrating to be without them. cheers, Robin

Kitty said...

Jackie, I LOVED this post. So full of warmth and love and just 'you-ness'. Those pictures are the top are gorgeous. Your dad's letter made me laugh out loud, and that coat sounds utterly wonderful.

I realise I'm late, but I just wanted to say 'thinking of you' that you've been without your lovely dog for a year.


Deb Lacativa said...

I read and loved every word and giving thought to blogging less often and perhaps saying more that matters.

It was like receiving a real paper letter in the mail which, anywhere you live, takes at least a week to get, and so is cherished, and re-read, like your dad's letters.

Have you looked for a cheap, used replacement laptop? My son's has croaked and I'm finding it will cost more to repair than buy a last years model from someone lucky enough to have indulged themselves in the latest thing.

Them sad Iris?...Move them someplace sunnier and forget about them - some spring you'll be pleasantly surprised at a comeback!

Daisie said...

I hate slugs and I love your Dad, very like my own, the digging in the garden joke especially! x

Maggi said...

A really interesting post Jackie. It was made particularly special by reminding me of the times we went to SIMS for social events, the fact that I too lived in approved lodgings and I also taught in Mitcham, although I don't think that your father would think it was such a nice place these days. Thanks for the nostalgia

Heather said...

What a lovely post Jackie - thankyou so much for sharing your precious memories with us. Dot's embroidery is fantastic - so much gorgeous colour and texture. You could be starting a new line with your aprons. Your Dad's letter is wonderful - he must have been a lovely man. Hope you get your laptop sorted out, and get rid of plenty of slugs - do they have a useful purpose? Good luck with everything. Sad about the irises - I love them but can't grow them.

Karen Eade said...

A very interesting post - thank you. Re. your Slug War. Please try this product. It WORKS (and, no, I am not on commission - just celebrating the defeat of my slugs)

Jude said...

Oh, Jackie I was mesmerised with your dad's letter..honest..loved it..! you are so lucky to have that bond..
Take care

Magic Bean said...

That was so touching. Except the bit about the laptop course. Grrrr.

Magic Bean said...

Oh, and the bit about your irises. Grrr.

meplusmolly said...

I'm always a reader but never necessarily a massive comment leaver, rubbish I know but I just wanted to say your posts are interesting and I especially loved this one with excepts from your dad's letter, beautiful ;0 x

artymess said...

your Dad's letter excerpts had me laughing .....they really WERE the highlight....its obvious you were really close .....special ...Lorna

Julie said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your post Jackie and how wonderful to have such lovely memories of your Dad. I hope you have a go at the aprons, these coincidences happen for a reason.

Dot said...

Oh Jackie - what a BEAUTIFUL post! I loved reading every bit of it. And the highlight was your dad's letter. Gave a lovely glimpse into his life (and your life) back then.
Love the sound of the coat you had too!
Thanks for mentioning the package I sent to you. So pleased you like it.
Lots of love
Dot xx
P.S Sorry to hear about your laptop. Sounds very expensive to get fixed.

Pat said...

Wonderful post Jackie. So glad you now have two pairs of scissors to look for! Thank you for sharing your Dad's letters brought back memories of when my own Dad used to write to me when I came "down here".

Pam said...

Weeelll! and you thought that not many would stick through to the end of your post! Ha! 52 comments later...oh, 53 counting mine!
Loved your whole post Jackie. Esp the letter from your dad. Sounds like he had a lovely sense of humour, and cared quite a lot for you and was very proud. Loved the bit about your framed piece. Made me laugh. Thanks for sharing it. x

Sandies' Patch said...

Well, you got it off of your chest and that must make you feel sooo much better?
It is so frustrating when you want to get on with creating and things that equipment lets you down. My camera isn't working and I have other things to buy, necesseties before a camera, especially after being off work for nearly 10 weeks.
So I sympathise or is it empathise? with you.
By the way, I love the pale Jade fabric, especially the heart with the violety centre. It is an unusual colour and suspect it may well look good with silver or greys. I'm normally drawn to amethyst/vileot/heathery colours but, increasingly drawn to turquoise and blues latley. Any one with knowledge of colour therapy? LOL!
Your work is increasingly beautiful to me and I think I'll have to put it on my wish list until the funds become available.

Best wishes,

Sandie xx

vintagerockchick said...

What a lovely post Jackie - I read every word. I wish I'd have kept letters that have been sent to me over the years, they would have been lovely to look back on on. x

Friko said...

Yes, I read, all of it and what a sweet tale it makes. Again, all of it.

Sorry about the laptop and the slugs eating your Iris.
(Whisper it: I use pellets on my prize hostas all the time).

Aileen Clarke Crafts said...

Ah Jackie, what a lovely post. I laughed and laughed at your history with the slugs. I feed mine cat food (not intentionally but Gordon has gone back to living outside and doesn't eat everything in his bowl) I have no slug holes in my plants, and no slugs to be seen, only their slimy evidence on the door step.


Such a wonderful post Jackie. Now we know where you get your long blogs from eh?

Hope you find your pinnys because I'm looking forward to seeing them


Thimble Fingers said...

What a great post, and what a lovely man your father was, you can feel his love for you in the way he writes to you and his wit is wonderful. I can see where you get your sense of humour.
How lovely too for your mum to feel so close to him again and relive special memories.
Good luck with the apron search.
And as for the laptop .... these are the times when you have to let rip and swear. You'll feel better for it afterwards ... go on ... we won't hear you!
(Hope you get it fixed soon and that it doesn't involve remortgaging the house).

WinnibriggsHouse said...

Thank you, that was really interesting and a lovely snapshot of your family. Letters are great aren't they, pity we don't tend to write much any more!

Lorenza said...

Hi Jackie, I come to read this post much later than everyone else, but I am so glad I did, especially the excerpt of your dad letter, got bit teary perhaps because your dad sounded like a really lovely and caring dad, and also because it reminds me of my dad too (!)... letters are wonderful I think, they never lose their magic of being able to read them over and over again. Since moving to England so many years ago I have been able to see my dad only few times a year (so many km away, two different countries, work commitment, university etc) our phonecalls are so precious, but I have no letters and your post just made me think that years down the line I won't have 'written' memories of this, so you've made me realise I need to pick up pen and paper and write to him, as well as our (nearly) daily phonecalls :D thanks for sharing these letters with us! L x

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