The inside outside predicament

Walking Stick Cabbage

I have a bit of a thing for blogging, but it is rather somewhat of an indoor activity. And I have been mostly outside. Because that’s where the sun has been. You see my predicament.

Whilst not in front of my laptop however the rubble has been cleared from the back bedroom so the plasterer can get in and do his thing (who build’s airing cupboards out of breeze blocks anyway?), the cars are shiny clean, the fence is mostly painted, two veg patches have appeared as if from nowhere, and a daily monitoring of our two seed trays now occurs at around 8:30am every morning in the hope that something green might appear. As yet this is not affirmative, but I am excited at the promise of a seven foot cabbage nonetheless. With a kid rocking some retro velour.

You will also be terribly pleased to know I am sporting a new hair do, this time with slightly more emphasis on the choppiness of the fringe, and with a tad more blonde added. I would be kidding myself if I were to say it looked any different, but a timely lop does have the effect of making me feel that little bit more perky. Happily this appears to have also translated into a discount on my car insurance. Think I now have grounds that an eyebrow re-shape is a totally worthwhile investment…

Have a lovely time in the sunshine x

TG is where it’s at

Fish and Chips

We had Fish and Chips at the ‘TG’ AGM last night, it was quite the scandal.

Townswomen’s Guild (or ‘TG’ if you’re one of the cool kids) is a slightly more urban centric version of the WI. Last night marked the anniversary of my membership and the payment of my 2012/13 subs. I maintain it’s the best £24 I will spend this year.

It all began when my dear Mum, who is not a driver, read that guild meetings were being held at the village hall, and would it be possible to chauffeur her to the next one, seeing as it clashed with Dad’s ‘Emmerdale’. Being the dutiful daughter that I am, I agreed, and even said that I would keep my Mum company for the first evening at her new club. I of course stuck out like a sore thumb, and as we took seats at the back of Victoria Hall, gasps of ‘Ooooh, there’s a young one’ began to resonate…

Indeed, I found TG quite intimidating at first. Older women ‘en masse’ seem to have this effect on me. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m heavily suspicious of anything that old being able to carry a handbag that large, or that hankies up sleeves have always freaked me out, and where present in vast numbers, I find it quite overwhelming. Still I calmed down once the first meeting had begun, and then to my surprise, I found myself rather in my element.

I have a very warped sense of humour you see, so much of Townswomen’s Guild appeals to me, particularly the serious nature of its proceedings. Pam will open the evening with an incredibly warbley rendition of the minutes of the last meeting, so uncomfortable that all members remain on the edge of their seats until these have concluded, and then have to suppress an applause that poor Pam is still upright. Next is the education report (scrabble) followed by forthcoming dates for ‘book club’, ‘lunch club’, ‘ramblers club’, and ‘social club’ – the latter I believe is a splinter group of ‘lunch club’ that decided to go their own way after a disagreement over quality of quiche at the Fox and Hounds. Or so I hear. Formalities are then wrapped up with a hand count for tea or coffee, which is served strong, gritty and with a ginger biscuit – hobnobs at Christmas.

The next best thing are the speakers. There has been the lady who makes baskets out of cable ties and other household products, the chap who gave us a demonstration (in full) on how to mince beef, the lady from ‘Dogs for the Deaf’ who’s Puppy was sick on the Chairwoman, and the other lady who they thought sang Operetta, but actually performed a variation of ‘beat boxing’ with cutlery, which actually turned out to be rather good. My most favourite speaker to date however, is a gentleman named ‘Alan’ who delighted us with his ‘big picture show’. This comprised a collection of slides Alan that had taken on latest coach trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, set to rousing music, and with engaging commentary. Unfortunately all but 3 of the 52 examples of historic architecture Alan had immortalised, were obscured by a large range of inanimate objects including road signs, transit vans, trees, pillar boxes, washing lines, hair-dos, Alan’s thumb, and on a number of occasions, the actual coach which had made this momentous trip possible.

And so you see why £24 in the grand scheme of things is an absolute bargain, and being in the company of ladies who think eating fish and chips out of a box without metal cutlery is the equivalent in raciness to not wearing knickers to church, is so endearing.

TG is truly where’s it’s at.

Connect four

Friends

A happy littering of serendipity has befallen me lately. This year so far I am back in touch with at least four people that I haven’t spoken to in years, and it’s been truly lovely to catch up on all the news and latest plans for cars/babies/extensions/holidays/hair do’s, and another opportunity to extend my straw poll on whether I should attend ‘Strictly Live’ next year. Lucy told me it straight; ‘Men doing latin’.

Incidentally, happy anniversary Lucy and Charlie for next week, wishing you many more.

Old friendships being rekindled has also got me thinking about all of the people who contribute to my bubble. Indeed I am the sort of girl who has never found herself as part of an enduring group, rather I have formed alliances over the years with all sorts of different people where our lives have crossed paths. My old Guide leader, a naval colleague who is currently transporting my reindeer slippers around the world, and the daughter of a vicar who moved to Reading – who knew a friend in university halls – that went to school with my ex-boyfriend, are amongst these treasured people. And I love it. I love that the history of my friendships often have no interconnection with any others, but when we all get together on occasions, we all get on famously. I love that when I see my friends, the variable mixture of personalities leads to us doing different things, talking about different things, and invariably learning different things. This feeds me like nothing else does and I am fast learning that whereas abandoning dairy and chocolate has been possible (bar that one after eight that would have gone off), a life without the company of these people is not. You see therefore the return of four more makes me inordinately happy.

Cheesy, but this is so.

I would also like to take this opportunity to pay my dues to the Poppet who sent me the card above. In it she reminds me that ‘Life can be hard, but it has many rewards, and the cherry on the hypothetical cupcake (we eat a lot of cake), is the time spent with friends’.

I thank her for many things, particularly for understanding my most recent predicament of being a stalk. I can only hope that she is one day rewarded with her Mother-in-Law understanding that a carnation and chrysanthemum combo is no longer socially acceptable.

Part 1: Things that slightly concern me, Wednesday

I have many dear friends who are currently expecting, and I really would like to be there for them and offer my support in their hour(s) of need. Indeed I am not at all adverse to nappy changing, feeding, bouncing, twirling, putting it in a box until it stops crying, or force feeding it tixylix. What I would welcome however, is some advice on how to be there for my companions who might suffer from a seemingly common misconception of new parents, that their new born is in fact a farmyard animal. I have included some examples below:

Baby sheep

This poor parent has obviously been led to believe they have taken ownership of a sheep-come-fairy. Please note the slightly dazed look on the child’s face as it struggles to come to terms with being turned out to pasture.

Pig Baby

This unsuspecting child, I fear, may belong to parents that are also confused as to what sort of livestock it is. We can only take heed from the fact that it is possibly temporarily oblivious to the situation.

Lion baby

This child is obviously owned by ambitious parents who have disregarded the farm animal potential of their child completely, and have just gone straight in there with one of the ‘big cats’. Now is that a look of contentment? Is the bow too tight? Or is the child demonstrating that it doesn’t yet possess the motor skills to remove this ridiculous example of millinery?

Mohican baby

This one I find particularly disturbing, largely to the fact I can not think what this represents other than a skunk. Is this really a label you want to saddle your child with from an early age?

Sheep Baby 2

Here we have another variation on a theme. I believe the positioning of the ears however throws off the whole aesthetic.

Shark baby

Little comprehension of potential ramifications of taking it swimming.

Yoda

Professes to be Yoda. I suspect of IBM heritage.

So here we have but a few examples that underline my concerns as to what might be facing my friends and their offspring in the coming weeks and months. I can only hope that I may be able to assist in directing them away from apparel likely to lead to the confusion of their new arrivals in later life.

Elephant

Point in hand. Has ‘Single, Sys Admin’ written all over it.

All considered however, it does at least solve one mystery for me that has been another point of distraction for a number of years – why we send cards to parents displaying such sentiments as:

It's a girl

It’s a public information service. Perhaps more effective if given the prefix ‘FYI’?

Out with the old, in with some more

It’s quite unfortunate that ever since we moved house last October, our old possessions seem be on a mission of self destruction. It started with the bathroom mirror, a lovely round one with nobbles around the edge which regrettably left the windowsill one morning, under it’s own steam, and came to a messy end on the tiled floor. Next was a favourite vase, that developed an almighty crack for no apparent reason, and soon the base parted company with the rest of the thing and that was that. The latest example occurred this morning, when one of the bedside lamps began making a rather worrying fizzing sound accompanied by the smell of burning, and so was rather promptly turned off and unplugged. This is to name but just a few of our affects that have elected for an untimely end.

Now whereas the departure of many items of our house’s contents is far from ideal, it does however give me a lovely excuse to visit one of my favouritest places in the world to pick up some more – Manor House Auctions at Heckfield. I went to the viewing of their ‘inside stuff’ this morning, I love it because you really never know what you’re going to find! Some things I absolutely loved:

watering can

Dressing table

Cake stands

Some things were a bit random…Blue chicken

Some things weren’t quite so tempting…

Out of date

Bidding starts at 3:30, I just have to remember that my faithful steed is a Corsa. However, where there’s a will….

Happy Weekend x

Benevolent Economics

Charity bags

I am becoming quite intent on finding a way to sterilise our letter box. Along with the traditional array of leaflets offering to deliver us pizza, sell our house, steam clean our interiors, and more recently and most curiously, offer instructions on ‘how to use a bus’, it has given birth to no less than 13 charity bags in the past week.

Now if you are one of the people lucky enough to live in an area not to receive such items, I shall explain. The ‘charity bag’ is gay-fully coloured plastic receptacle into which a home owner is invited to place their disregarded items for collection by the advertised charity. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very fond of the intent of such a notion, but they have become somewhat of an annoyance, for Mr F especially. I think it is more down to the frequency of their delivery that brings me out in a cold sweat. You see I’m a charitable soul normally, and I’m struggling to cope with the insurmountable pressure of striving to improve the life chances of children in Africa, the elderly, the homeless, sufferers of gout, chronic nasal congestion and flaky scalps, and I can’t bare to think about those poor donkeys who continue to suffer northerners on beach holidays.

The things is though, I have worked out that with an average of 13 bags a week, and having counted the number of items in my wardrobe, by placing one item in each bag would see me out of apparel in 3.4 weeks. That means I would be shopping for an entire new look over 15 times a year, and given the amount of time I normally require Mr F to sit outside a changing room whilst I preen and twirl, 32.5 hours of his life would likely be spent landing helicopters on his smartphone while all the time the fence still is not getting painted. Furthermore, the extent of funds required to provide regular offerings to the charity bags would also well exceed £2000 a year, and that’s without discounted Ugg boots on eBay.

So I continue to collect charity bags, feeling too guilty about throwing them away with their destiny unfulfilled, and for the fact they are made of non-recyclable plastic, but unable to keep up with the pace of the donation regime. Thoughts are that I begin to fill them with the ‘Emperor’s Clothes’ and leave them as requested at our gate, fashion them into a piece of public art Neil Buchanan stylee, or I am rather taken with the idea of their potential for ponchos. If you have any suggestions, I would be a grateful recipient before our house is overrun! Any really good ones will be implemented.

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