Monday, October 30, 2006

moan moan moan itch itch itch moan moan moan

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thank God for an hour or two to collect my thoughts, drink more tea, think about what the hell I'm teaching at 1.00, do a bit of de-littering around the house, drink more tea. Thank God the clocks went back not forwards on Sat. night.

More tea.

LG was still awake at 12.30 Sat. night (after being "quite demanding" earlier in the day) with EXTREMELY itchy scratchy legs: dry skin, mosquito bites, an allergic reaction to something I think...(possibly Veet, she is getting very self-conscious about hairy legs)... hysteria set in ... red welts and puffiness... she put rather wet flannels on them to cool them down. Bed change and mattress turning at 11.30 because of wet patch (after about 10 minutes persuading her to move to let me change the bed).
Bugger, no piriton in the house. She'd been slathering herself with a cunning mixture of aqueous cream, antisan, aloe vera, E45, conotrane... i'm sure there were a few more... calamine and witch-hazel, diprobase ... anything she could get her hands on really... and having no nails (due to the gnawing which is one of her major hobbies) she scratches her legs with any handy edged object. She'll kill me if she ever knows I have written this on the WORLD WIDE web. I may have to delete it later.

She thought her quilt was making her itch and so wouldn't have any covers and was shivering with cold.

M. was out for the evening.

Where the hell do the resources come from to stay calm and loving (on the outside) and not slam the front door and run away?

I think she was asleep by about 12.30. I sat on her bed (clean sheets, alternative quilt, inappropriate drugs hoping for placebo effect) stroking her hair and listening to Artemis Fowl. And then managed to drag myself to bed.

I think I might have been dozing off some time later when M. texted to say he was staying overnight with his mates.

I think I might have been dozing off some time later when M. texted to make sure I didn't forget about the clock-change.

Stupid, stupid, stupid not to have turned my phone off.

Then not so much of the dozing.

I know I looked at the clock at about 3.00. Can't remember whether that was 3.00 BST or GMT. And 5.00 ish. And 6.00 ish. Managed to avoid immediate panic about recurrence of bad insomniac problems earlier this year. I did sleep, a bit.

So thank God the clocks were going back not forward. Because despite it being Sunday morning, I had to get up and out for 9.15, being booked into a weekend workshop on paper-spinning. Which I could have just missed of course, but that would have been SO miserable.

It was a great workshop, a lovely tutor, a fascinating and ancient (but also contemporary) Japanese textile technique, therapeutic and relaxing to do something different with new people. Interrupted only by a phone call from LG, itchy legs, Dad doesn't care (yes, he came home again), he's just going on about homework etc. ..... My bloody day off and I'm phoning in mediation between the two of them. You can maybe guess how that enhanced my day.

I'd texted him to buy E45 anti-itch cream and piroton on his way home.
He'd bought the cream. Forgot the piriton. (????****????!!!!)

Returned home to find her having got not very far with cutting out and painting wings (ready for Halloween costume) which she'd had all afternoon to do [on the lounge carpet with paint!!! "dad said it was ok"] so I made tea and then sat and painted with her. Red and black, LARGE demon wings.

Itchy scalps all round. An ealier nit infestation obviously wasn't quite cleared - she wouldn't let me comb any more once it stopped itching - and now we've all got them back again. In flocks. Hordes. Deluges. So multiple combings before bed.

Brief row over whether or not wet hair should be dried before bed.

And up at 6.30 this morning, she's back to school after a week's holiday and already very tired. Fuckity fuckity fuck.

And now my back really hurts after sneaking another heavy bowl of rubble into the wheelie bin.

What a moany old rant.

I'm so sorry to subject you to all that, in fact I hope you stopped reading long ago near the top.

I must go and remind myself what I am teaching today.

After some more tea.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I don't go looking for this stuff, honestly.

It just finds me.

Or maybe what we notice and take in depends on where we are, our state of mind.

Anyway - another mother/daughter poem from the Saturday Guardian, only a couple of months since the previous one I posted.

This is by Anne Carson


While talking to my mother I neaten things. Spines of books by the phone.
In a paper dish. Fragments of eraser that dot the desk. She speaks
of death. I begin tilting all the paperclips in the other direction.
the window snow is falling straight down in lines. To my mother,
of my life, I describe what I had for brunch. The lines are falling
now. Fate has put little weights on the ends (to speed us up) I
to tell her - sign of God's pity. She won't keep me
she says, she
won't run up my bill. Miracles slip past us. The
are immortally aligned. God's pity! How long
it feel like burning, said the child trying to be

No need to comment.

Especially as I didn't write it anyway, hahaha!

But one thing you can comment on if you know anything about it: should I switch to Beta blogger or not?

Trac said YES! she has and its easier and quicker and fun fun fun. And she's now purple after all.

Wendz said NO! she has and its a pain in the arse.

.... so now, how can I decide?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bitch'n stitch'n

I had a crafty day off Friday 10 days ago.

I made my way to the Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace) for a day's browsing, buying, getting inspiration and generally indulging myself textiles-wise.

As the tube train neared Wood Green (NE London) gradually the commuter-types got off.
Then the tourist-types. And the student-types.
Then the shift worker types got off to go home for a sleep.

Leaving me.

And "women of a certain age".

I was surrounded by grey hair.

All on its way to the Knit and Bitch Bitching and Stitching Twitching and Snitching Knitting and Stitching show.

Fortunately the recently-trendy reputation of knitting and hand-made-felt and stuff ("stuff" is, of course, a technical textile term) has had an impact on such events. When I got in to the exhibition, I discovered that the demographic has really shifted since last time I attended the show. There were plenty of younger people there, school and college groups, and young trendy people. Almost all female, obviously - but as many under 30 as over 40.

Phew, relief.

(By the way, why couldn't we do such interesting things as part of our creative school curriculum? Our school sewing class involved making bookmarks and gingham skirts. It put me right off for years. My finger got caught once in/by the sewing machine needle - I'm sure it was a freudian slip of reaction against the tedium and lack of creativity.)

The Stitchy Witchy Knitting and Stitching Show is partly exhibition space - including textiles graduate shows and work from a range of textile artists and groups - and partly market place.

There is, admittedly, a bit of this:

in the market place.

Click to enlarge if you have the courage.

And even worse - look at this below -

No, better still, don't look.

Hah! you couldn't stop yourself, could you?

But mostly it was interesting, creative, inspirational and/or lovely work and/or supplies.

This was from the Debbie Bliss (knitwear designer) exhibition stand. All knitted. Fab.

Below is work from one of the textile graduates shows:

work by Laura Baggley

and I'm so sorry I didn't get the name of the next designer - she had some great conceptual pieces to do with motherhood. Those are feeding-bottle teats embedded in the knitting.

There is always a quilt exhibition, and here are some of the ones I particularly liked:

"Darkness at Bay" by Christine Restall

Winter Wheat by Elizabeth Brimelow

"Tutti Fruiti"



both by Janet McCallum.

One of the best things about the whole day was Rachel John's Extreme Knitting - see my other blog for more detail about that.

The market place had lots of scrumptious buttons and beads for sale.
I thought of Dons more than once during the day - in fact, Donna, why don't we make it a date for next October? (then we'll meet in October and November) (and theres always Spring CL) (hee hee)

And here are my purchases, some gorgeous (and cheap!) hemp, and in the bag silk noils (raw silk to most of us - the type of silk with bits in it) - for spinning. Actually, the hemp and silk would be gorgeous used together. When/if I get around to it....

and in the meantime, they are lovely to gloat over.

And a selection of bits and pieces - mostly buttons and beads...

I was very restrained.

I also bought a couple of presents for other people.
I am not willing to admit that these gifts are in any way connected with the approaching festive season, which I will not WILL NOT think about until we have got through at least the rest of October and November.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Home alone

Two almost-whole days, an evening and night to myself!

This doesn't often happen to me. Its much more common for M. to be left at home whilst LG and I visit elsewhere.

All of my family - except me - will be visiting my parents this weekend. I have a cold and can't risk passing on infection to my mother. So I'm staying home. Alone.

With such mixed feelings.

I know my mother (and father, of course) will miss me. Not because I'm particularly special, but because we are all special to them, anyone missing would leave a gap. I will want to be there tomorrow, when the whole family gathers. Having a good time and being together and inevitably wondering if this will be the last time.

After a few weeks of increased pain and problems, my mother is a bit better now after changes to her meds. So after a growing dread that this was the beginning of the very end, she is now back a bit more on the side of the living. Not quite on level ground, but she's not speeding too fast down the hill away from us just yet.

But I will also be so glad of the time here alone. Cherishing the silence, the lack of demand, expectation, reaction, effort.

It will be strange.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Vanilla Beer

Look what I got in the post this morning.

My mum recently gave me some money... and I'd been looking wistfully at the fabulous french food paintings by Vanilla Beer .... who we happened to meet up with again last week at the opening of a show she has in London ... so here is the outcome of all that synchronicity.

Vanilla is an ex-student of mine, an artist now living (mostly) in the south of France. There is a link to her on my side-bar. She is wonderful, so fun and interesting and creative - do have a look at some of her work.

The title on the painting is: "Joie au coeur fait beau teint" : A happy heart makes a beautiful complexion.

This will give new heart and life to our dining room.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


This is what I received via Tat's Vintage Swaps.

I was sent a nice old edition of Peter Pan, some lovely slippers to keep my toes toasty while reading it, some sweets, tissues in a fab. hand-made vintage fabric case, for the weepy bits (I remember seeing Peter Pan at the theatre, and trying to clap without my family seeing ("Clap your hands if you believe in fairies" - to bring Tinkerbell back to life), spare pixie dust (in case I run out), some buttons and hand-made vintage-pic gift tags.

What a lot of lovely stuff! Thanks Kirsten.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Glitter My Words
Glitter My Words


Primula Wisteria Leylandii

Primula Wisteria Leylandii

Primula Wisteria Leylandii

Primula Wisteria Leylandii

Have a lovely weekend RW

Saturday, October 07, 2006

snap shots

Snap shots from last weekend.

A magnificent yew tree in my parents garden.
There was a yew tree in the front garden of the house where I grew up, for my first nine years. I grew up knowing yew was poisonous, and also loving it.

More pictures of the garden. Mum can no longer garden with my dad, and he has fairly graciously let go, ignoring weeds and work-to-be-done. But the garden still looks wonderful, and they have only just finished eating their own beans from the little veggie patch.

This exquisitely lovely tree is a spindleberry.

The berries will apparently turn themselves inside out and produce startlingly orange stamens.

Doing jigsaws is another favourite shared activity which Mum no longer engages in. It was with a painful flinch that I realised I'd just given some new (charity shop) jigsaws specifically to my father, rather than to both of them as always before.

We spent some time together on this one - appeasing my guilt at giving it to him at all because its a lot harder than it looked from the picture!

The house is always full of cards from friends around the world. My mother is loved by so very many people. When the window ledge gets too full, they are collected up and put away, and they start over again. Mum is a great letter writer, and spends time every morning writing cards and notes, she replies to every one.

The house is always full of flowers too - a bit overwhelming at times, but they give mum a lot of enjoyment.

One friend sends flowers, or a plant or something, every two weeks.

This olive tree was one of the "or somethings".

Mum may not be up to gardening or jigsaws, but we did make marmalade last weekend.

Bought marmalade just doesn't do.

It was a very good weekend, following some not so good days during the week.

She is more often having more pain and the oncologist was disappointed that the chemo hadn't reduced the cancer/s and need for pain relief at least a bit. BUT a recent scan showed that there was no growth or spread in the cancers, which was way better news than we had all expected.

Up until recently there have been many more good days than bad and they have been painfully precious.

Most recent news is not so good, more pain most days at the moment.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Look what I found lurking in the bread bin, when I returned from my weekend away.

I wasn't expecting it - honest I wasn't.

despite having made similar discoveries on my return from France in August, and on many of my more recent homecomings. Some of it has been not only grey and white and furry, but also pink and orange.

I wasn't looking or checking, really I wasn't.

I was just looking for some bread.

I'd fancied toast.