Sunday, 29 May 2011

Under the Weather

Feeling a bit gloomy today, a bit cheesed off, under the weather. When I feel like this I try to work out the cause by picturing myself in the centre of a circle, with possible causes ranged around the outside. Then, one by one, I mentally remove them and see if I feel any better without them. Work? No that's ok, put it back. Family? Nope, all fine there. Housework? Well, the washing up needs doing, but it's not actually bothering me. Sometimes I can't find a cause, but often it turns out to be because the weather is grey and gloomy - and there's nothing I can do about that!

Strange to think that weather can affect us so. It definitely affects the children I teach - windy weather makes them wild, rainy weather means indoor play so no let out for those who need to run around, and snow makes them so excited it's pointless to even attempt anything requiring thought!

But I'm not a child, I'm an adult. A rational, logical, intelligent, sensible (well most of the time!) adult. How can I let such a thing as the weather get to me? It's utterly ridiculous!   

You will have guessed by now that I have S.A.D. (Seasonal Affected Disorder), and no amount of telling myself not to be so silly will change the way the chemicals in my body work. In Autumn and Winter I take medication to help, and in Spring I start reducing the dosage till, hopefully, by Summer I don't need it. This reduction is probably why I'm feeling it today, especially after weeks of unseasonable sunshine.

On a day like today I try to cope by acknowledging there is a problem, making allowances for it (don't even try to do anything that involves making decisions or being in crowded places!), but also to not indulge it by wallowing in it and making myself feel worse - it's a fine balancing act sometimes! I remind myself that 'this too will pass', and I'll probably be myself again tomorrow.

Here's a poem I wrote in 1999 before being diagnosed:

On a windy, rainy night

forgive me the times
I let fear get the better of me -
when a grey day makes me feel gloomy,
when the wind’s roaring scares me,
when the darkness outside as night approaches
seeps into my mind also.

Help me not to let
these natural things affect my moods,
remembering that You created them,
You caused them to be,
You set the rules for them.
Let me instead
rejoice in the variety of weather
You have made,
the turning of the seasons,
the circle of day and night,
seeing them in their wholeness and balance
with daytime, sunshine, and calmness.

Help me to learn from them, Lord,
the lessons You can teach;
that darkness and bad weather
don’t last forever -
the sun will come again
and that we need sun and rain
to grow strong and tall.

if I cannot do either of these Lord,
hold my hand
and sit with me
until the moods pass
and I am myself again.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Veggies update

Took these pictures today - can't believe how much they've grown, compared to my post on May 1st!



and potatoes.
I also have a gooseberry bush which, last year, yielded LOTS of fruit enabling me to make some yummy jam....
Finally, some self-sown foxgloves - had to cut circles in the chicken wire to allow these to grow through!!!


Thursday, 26 May 2011

The 1940s Patch

For many years I have been interested in domestic history, particularly how ordinary women coped with their daily tasks without all the luxuries we take for granted nowadays. Such strong women, taking pride in their duties, caring for their families and their homes as best they can - just like us!

About 10 years ago (10!!!!! I can't believe it!!!) I had 6 months off work recovering from stress and depression. During that time a programme called "1940s House" was shown, featuring a modern family living a 1940s lifestyle for a while. I really connected with this programme, partly I think because some of the artefacts etc were still around when I was growing up in the 1960s: thus a new Patch was born!

I enjoyed the thrill of finding, and bidding for, 1940s artefacts (or replicas) on Ebay. I wasn't interested in war memoribilia, just the actual home life. Flea markets, charity shops and 2nd hand shops were great to visit too! I built up quite a collection and would love to have had a room to decorate and furnish 40s style to show it off!

Although I don't collect much of this sort of thing now, many habits were born, things which make me feel connected with those brave women, our foremothers -  such as using wooden dolly pegs to hang out my washing, wearing a wrapover apron when doing house work, using a broom, carpet sweeper or brush and dustpan instead of a hoover. These, in turn, connect with my current Amish and simple living thoughts, so one thing leads to another!

Anyway, here are some piccies to enjoy:
Wicker basket with food items and the dreaded scratchy toilet paper! I remember visiting my Great Granny when I was little and needing the toilet but trying to hold on because of that horrible loo roll!
Same again but with coins in foreground: farthings, pennies, threepences, sixpences, shillings and florins. I now have some paper money to go with it too.

Tablecloth, cake stand, mixing bowl, wooden spoon, enamel bowl, sugar bowl and teapot.

Enamel saucepans, can opener, mincer and actual wartime cook book.

One of my wrapover aprons (I remember my Nan wearing one), carpet beater, scrubbing brush, so-called cream maker, gummed brown paper for sticking on those 1940s windows, moth balls and two candle holders. (One was my Nan's).

My lovely, lovely replica radio (I listen to this everyday! It also has a hidden tape player for my Glen Miller and other music tapes. What will I do when all our radio goes digital???), 2 gas masks, replica seamed nylons and replica ration books etc.

Genuine 1940s women's magazines and replica newspapers. I love to look at the adverts in the magazines!
Some beautiful badges - Women's Voluntary Service, Women's Institute, Land Army, Spitfire Fund, Air Raid Precaution. I forget what the silver one in the middle front is - maybe Red Cross.

A mixture of replica and genuine paper items.

Some 78s which belonged to Hubby's Mum and Dad, including Flanagan & Allen singing 'Run rabbit run'.

A small sample of some books I have from this period. I particularly love to read the Home Management advice!!! Will probably share snippets in future posts. The photo is of yours truly in 1940s clothing, in an Art Deco photo frame from Hubby's family.

Hope you enjoyed seeing those!  x

Monday, 16 May 2011

Why Patchwork?

I call myself a Patchwork Person because I see the various phases I go through as patches in my life quilt. I almost envy people who seem to have their niche in life, their one colour. Me, I go through lots of different colours, shapes and patterns from one day/week/month/year to the next. I’m currently going through a modest dressing, long hair, Amish type phase. Before that I had a  bright clothing, herbs, goddess type phase. And goodness knows what else prior to that!
At first I worried about these seeming swings in my nature, now I see them as times when different patches are in the limelight, but they are all part of what makes me ‘me’. Sometimes I go back to a patch (as I wrote on Ember’s blog) but, on returning, I discover more detail that I never noticed before.
Here I am in my patchwork clothing.....
... and here’s a poem I wrote in 2005, objecting to people trying to make me fit one kind of patch only:
 The  Patchwork  Person

The reds want me red,
And the greens want me green;
The patterns want me patterned,
And the plains want me plain;
        But I’m all of these
and none of these,
        I’m one thing and another…

I’m a Patchwork Person,
I’m made of lots of things;
I’m a pattern,
I’m a rainbow,
And I don’t fit in.

We are the blue and stripys,
It’s the best way for to be,
And if you are blue and stripy
Then salvation you will see.
Well, I’ve got one bit that’s stripy blue,
But I’ve got lots of others too…

 I’m a Patchwork Person,
I’m made of lots of things;
I’m a pattern,
I’m a rainbow,
And I don’t fit in.

We are the grey and rigids,
Now teach the kids this way;
You’ll pass all your inspections,
Live to see another day.
Well, I’ve a grey line in one patch,
But it curves round – doesn’t match…

I’m a Patchwork Person,
I’m made of lots of things;
I’m a pattern,
I’m a rainbow,
And I won’t fit in!

Some people don’t like colours,
They say it is a sin;
But God is a Patchwork,
And won’t be fitted in!

Yes I’m a Patchwork Person,
I’m made of lots of things;
I’m a pattern,
I’m a rainbow,
And I won’t fit in!

Rejoice in your patches everyone!  x     ;-)

Why Hawthorne?

I love Hawthorns!
 I love them because they remind me of my childhood in the tiny village of Terrington Marsh, a joyous childhood of freedom and wildness, playing with my cousins in the wide open countryside.
Hawthorns don’t naturally grow in a neat, tidy shape.........

they are scruffy and wild – like this wild Mawther* from the 1970s  (*Norfolk word for a tomboy).

They have beautiful, simple white flowers in spring which my cousin and I pretended were ice creams, the leaves being the cornet .....
... and, in the autumn, they have glorious red berries.
Long live Hawthorns!!!!

Patchwork church

Bleurrrgh! Don’t come too close, I’ve got the Dreaded Lurgi! Well, alright, it’s a heavy cold or hay fever or something: either way you don’t want to catch it. Consequently am off work and was unable to attend special Choral Evensong yesterday for which, as a choir member, I’d been practising for weeks. Was really disappointed as it was a sung service from the Book of Common Prayer and not a regular occurrence at my local church. (Though it may well become one.)
One thing I love about my church is the variety of ways it offers for worshipping God. Want a lively, charismatic service? Come to monthly ‘Praise God Together’! Want a Holy Communion with hymns? Come to weekly Common Worship! Want a quiet, no singing, traditional Communion? Come to early 8.00 service! Part of my Patchwork nature is that, at various times, I have found all of these helpful and the appropriate way to worship. In my journeying I have also been part of a house church, and enjoyed silent Quaker worship too, but there is something so serene about a sung choral evensong that stills my soul.  Ember, in her blog ‘Kindred of the Quiet Way’ used the phrase ‘stroking her fur the right way’ and I know just what she means!
Kindred of the Quiet Way

Church website

Monday, 9 May 2011

Daily Prayer link

Okay, I've spent a good half hour trying to put a 'feed' to this, without success, so just click on the title to go it.

This is a link to Daily Prayer on the Church of England website. You can choose morning, evening or night prayer in contemporary or traditional language, and it has all the readings and psalms there for you so you don't have to keep looking it all up in different places!

I have a shortcut to this on my desktop and find it very useful as a reminder to myself to set aside time for prayer, even if it's just a few minutes to read through night prayer before going to bed.

Blessings to all  x x 

A day out at Gressenhall

Had a BRILLIANT day out last week with my lovely Mum at Gressenhall museum. We both love this place but, as usual, we ran out of time to see all the bits we’d planned to – which gives us a good excuse to go again  :-D
My favourite part is Cherry Tree Cottage and garden. This is a long bungalow built originally in the 19th century as part of the workhouse, for housing elderly couples, but now furnished as a 1930s farm worker’s family home. It has a scullery (with mangle, washboard etc), a bedroom (with life sized bed-ridden Granny under the patchwork coverlet), living room/kitchen (with range, flat iron, kitchen table etc) and parlour (with the ‘posh’ tablecloth, ornaments etc). I always tell Mum to leave me there and let me live there!
The cottage is in the midst of a beautiful walled garden, maintained by volunteers. In it there is the outside privy, some chickens in a small run, old fruit trees, and a neatly bordered vegetable garden complete with scarecrow! Heaven! I know I’m romanticising, but I love to imagine living there – providing I have the option to return to modern conveniences when I feel like it, of course!

Click the title of the post for a link to Gressenhall's website!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Gardening day

Sunny and windy today so decided to do some gardening. Most years I attempt to grow some veggies in my little plot in the back garden, though I often seem to end up too busy or too tired to tend them properly so results are rather varied!

The other factor in all this is our Bunny and his insatiable appetite. During the day Flopsy has the freedom to roam anywhere in our back garden, since he is unable to escape (though he succeeded once not long after we got him - but that's another story) and also has open access to his hutch in the utility room . He sees the garden, and the room, as HIS kingdom and anything edible in it is his by Divine Right - even if it was actually intended for those funny flappy, beaked creatures that can reach places a bunny can't. This means that any attempt at food growing has to be bunny proofed - a challenge he loves to meet head on! You will see various methods in the piccies Daughter took below.....

Carrot seedlings planted about 2 weeks ago. These are in a bucket on a bench out of Bunny's reach. (hopefully)

Lettuce seedlings planted a week ago. These are at ground level so have high chicken wire around them.
Planted potatoes in these today. Got the colourful containers half price last winter. The idea is to keep covering them with more soil as they grow, the equivalent to 'earthing up'. Will bunny proof these when plants show.

Two new rhubarb plants and one older one. I looooooovvvve rhubarb!!!! These are planted on what used to be a kind of rockery round the concrete linen post. Rhubarb leaves may be poisonous to humans but obviously not to bunnies! The two new plants are replacements for ones Someone nibbled to the ground - note waist high fencing now erected.
These are onions planted last autumn in the 'bigger plot'. I intend to plant broad beans and peas in the spaces left. Again, waist high fencing.

My namesake! The glorious spring weather has brought the May blossom on early this year. This tree overhangs our fence from a piece of wasteland behind. It will be full of beautiful berries in the autumn.

And finally Lord Flopsy of Bunnington himself, surveying his realm. I know he's naughty, forever nibbling things he shouldn't, but how can I possibly tell off such a cutie???    ;-)