Tag Archives: Friends


9 Nov

I see what I did there…


Gremlin (Photo credit: inkognitoh)

Breathe easy, the gremlin lives.

It was, uh, me.  I did it.  It’s a fair cop.

Seems I tried to add a new page instead of add a new post <blush>

I wiped out my own text and new page pages don’t have the same features as new post pages.  Whoops.  Sorry about that.

It’s not the first problem I’ve had with my electric life this week.  A good friend sent me an Amazon gift certificate for a poetry book for my Kindle.  I had real trouble getting the book because I did it through my Kindle at first and it came off my credit card so then I reversed it and tried to buy it online and it wouldn’t let me because it said I had already bought it.  

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Then I spent a day fretting about how to use the gift voucher and sending emails to Amazon whose reply was useless.  This morning, I took another look at the Amazon email about the voucher and noticed a handy little button, ‘Apply gift certificate to your account’.  Did that first and then purchased the book and now it should be on my Kindle.

Small panic break.
It’s not there!
Small think break.
It might appear if I turn the wifi on…
I’m such a Dodo.

I may be out of action for the next few days while I punish myself for losing good text.  Actually, for the purposes of this post it was great text, the best text I’ve ever written: witty, erudite, informative.  

Now it’s gone forever.  Remember – I did say that no one messes with my blog posts and gets away with it.  I’m scrupulously fair, if technologically stupid.

Somebody find me a gremlin and a whip.  One of us is going to suffer today, that’s for sure.  

It’s All Facebook’s Fault

7 Oct
Bad Mood Today?

Bad Mood Today? (Photo credit: Frank Wuestefeld)

I wrote this on Facebook yesterday:

Writing workshop this morning; eldest son home this afternoon; Dr Who tonight. Can this day get any better?!!

(Without the italics, of course; Facebook seems to be averse to correct punctuation.  I don’t understand that(.

My friend posted this reply:

Workshop – awesome. Your son visiting – epic. Dr Who – not on until Christmas. Gutted 😦

I was gutted, too.  She compensated by:

  1. Giving me a gift of cute post-it notes – so that I could write cute love notes to the Hub, because we ‘like that sort of thing.’  She doesn’t know me very well.  I got the present so that my ‘birthday week doesn’t have to end yet.’  She knows me so well.  She also gave me a box of Maltesers.  I think I love her.
  2. Giving me a lift to the workshop, which was forty miles away.   Thank goodness I had the sense to book her on it when I booked my place.

I’d forgotten that British TV now does that stupid season break thing.  America, I love you, but what’s with that?  Why can’t your TV shows act in a civilised manner and air until they are finished?  Lucky for you I’ve got extra Maltesers and I wrote nine poems yesterday, or I’d be a tad grumpy.

Now I am grumpy – what an irritating word ‘tad’ is.  I can’t believe I used it.

Time for a quick Malteser fix, I think.


Malteser (Photo credit: Olaf_S)

…peel off the chocolate…allow the malt to tease my taste buds…swig of Earl Grey…aaahh!  My universe has righted itself.

That was the moment Hub chose to break it to me that eldest son was not coming home yesterday (I hadn’t noticed, being high on chocolate and poetry).

Someone pass me a dictionary; my mood is a tad violent….

Have You Met Pseu? I Have!

17 Sep

I had a visitor on Friday, the lovely Pseu.  Although she takes a mean photograph, she is a little camera-shy.  However, she agreed to allow a rare photograph to be taken, as proof that she was here:

She came, as all good visitors ought, bearing gifts:

Really thoughtful gifts, prettily arranged in a basket:

  • Writing Magazine, because I write
  • Earl Grey loose tea, because I drink Earl Grey tea
  • A strainer, because I…well, let’s not go there
  • A bottle of South African wine, which is where all wines given to me should come from
  • A bag of Maltesers, because anyone visiting me without them is refused admittance
  • And a delicate vase, for which she omitted to bring delicate flowers, but I let that pass.

As I said, truly thoughtful gifts.

I gave her a piece of paper and a cardboard box.

That reminds me of when our Anglican church was based at the local Methodist church for a couple of years: when we moved on to our present home, the congregation of St John’s commissioned a beautiful banner of half a rainbow, to match one that we had, of the other half of the rainbow.

We gave them a tin of biscuits.


Pseu was a delightful guest, if tall; and we had a lovely afternoon together.  I forced myself to make lunch:

And I even cleaned up, in her honour:

She arrived as I was washing the toilet, but I’m not showing you a photo of that. Unless there’s a demand for it?

I’m pretty sure I remembered to wash my hands before serving the food.


I interviewed Pseu a couple of weeks ago, and I saved it for today, so you could share in the fun.

TLH:  What’s the weirdest request you have made/someone has made of you?

PSEU:  That’s a trade secret.

TLH:  This interview might be a little duller than I had envisioned…  How many colours has your hair been?

PSEU:  When I was little I was blond. It didn’t last long. By the time I went to school I had dark brown hair. Since then I have been darker brown. I tried henna once in the 70’s but it didn’t change my colour at all. Occasionally I’ve had low lights – hints of copper, little glints of gold. They never looked natural, and I’m not a great one for artifice.  Maybe next time I should come back as higher maintenance?  Currently I’m going silver at the edges, so my hairdresser kindly combs a little colour to match my own. So not very exciting there, hey?

TLH: Well at least it’s an answer…  How do you feel about misplaced apostrophes?*

PSEU:  I read Lynne Truss’s Eats, shoots and leaves and agreed with her every step of the way.

TLH:  The right answer.  It’s why I let you through my front door.  Can you do a foreign accent?

PSEU:  I’m pretty good at a Welsh accent, boyo.

TLH:  Will you share an embarrassing moment?

PSEU:  When I first met my Cyclomaniac, he wasn’t a cyclomaniac, but a medical student.  He had a red rose delivered to the ward where I was working as a student nurse.. it was Valentine’s day, but he didn’t realise I had days off.  So a few days later, when I came back on duty the whole ward knew about my rose and presented it to me, in front of the desk, so everyone could see.  I didn’t even know who it was from and took an hour or more to stop blushing.

TLH:  Sweet!  I’ve got one like that at home.  Annoying, aren’t they?  Tell us something about yourself you haven’t yet shared in your blog.

PSEU:  I passed my driving test when I was about 26 because no-one does district nursing on a bicycle any more, and it was about time I got my act together.  I wanted to get out of ward nursing.  It took two attempts to pass.  I had given up on learning at 17, without even trying the test, as I found my father very difficult to learn from.  I nearly gave up at 26.  I’m glad I didn’t. (Nowadays I would have reported the instructor for intimidation or harassment, or something, but we didn’t do that in the 80s).

TLH: What are you reading at the moment?

PSEU:  I’m currently reading several things…including September’s Good Housekeeping (in order to try out a few new recipes), the latest issue of Prole – there’s some good stuff in this magazine (and I’m looking to see if maybe I could write well enough to submit something!).  I’m also reading Dark Matter, a ghost story, by Michelle Paver (a gift, and not my usual style of book) and The Children’s Book by AS Byatt, (though not progressing very well with it).  In the queue: Engleby by Sebastian Faulks, Temples of Delight by Barbara Trapido and Brief Lives by Anita Brookner. Well that’s just a few in the queue.  I have a propensity to buy more books than I can read…often in second hand book shops.  My read books are in alphabetical order, in a bookcase.  My unread books are not (though my spice rack is).

TLH:  What would you give up rather than your computer?

PSEU:  I’d give up TV, but DON’T take away the radio. (Please).

TLH:  Could you give up blogging?

PSEU:  I feel I’m a little addicted, so it would be hard.

TLH:  Tell us why we should read your blog.

PSEU:  My blog is a hotchpotch of glimpses. I love taking photos, especially close-ups. I like to write and the blog is an outlet for that, and I love the interaction with those who come to visit and to make comments.

Photograph  ©copyright Pseu at Pseu’s blog.

Not a dull interview after all; and I hope it tempts you to visit Pseu at her blog, where you will see some fabulous photography, at the very least, and read some interesting poetry and snippets about her life.

Thank you, dear Pseu, for the interview, the gifts and, best of all, the visit.

Blog Visits

14 Sep
Blogging Readiness

Blogging Readiness (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)

Another blogger is coming to lunch today!  It took some delicate negotiating, given my self-confessed stalking tendencies. She agreed to come here only after I assured her we have a back door through which she can escape if my self-absorbed monopolising of the conversation becomes too much for her.  She doesn’t know the back gate is locked and she’ll have to climb up onto the roof of the new shed and over the fence.  I have warned her not to wear heels, just in case.

Excluding Viv, who I count as my OU friend who also blogs, not as my blogging friend who I met through the OU, she will be the first friend I have made through blogging who I will have met in person.   She will be pleased to learn that my everyday conversation is not as convoluted as that last sentence.

I have almost met one other blogger – Sarah, she of the blog named after a disease (Sarsm).  Sarah regularly phones me from Germany and I love our chats. We know each other well, without having met.  I love the internet.   And her cheap rate telephone contract.

Don’t expect any photos of today.  My Mystery Guest doesn’t post any of herself or her family on her own blog, so I have to respect that, no matter how much I sulk.

I’ll ask her if I can at least take one like this:

My shadow. I have two arms, of course, but obv...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or this:

English: Labeled human leg bones created for u...

 (Mariana Ruiz Villarreal). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll tell you all about it over the weekend, if she hasn’t sworn me to secrecy; or taken out the inevitable restraining order.

Have you ever met any of your blogging friends?  Were the police involved?

Flying To Spain In A Manky Cardi

13 Feb

When my friend Alison told me she had bought me a return ticket to Spain as an early birthday present, I didn’t hear, ‘A free trip to Spain, given by a kind and generous friend’; I heard, ‘You have to fly in a feeble tin can, miles above the earth, with only a lap belt and life jacket to keep you safe; and the life jacket won’t be much use when you crash into a mountain and have to eat your kind and generous friend, assuming you survive long enough to want a little dinner.’

Truth to tell, I was not looking forward to the trip.  I would have looked forward to the trip if we’d gone by train, car or the Enterprise transporter, but…flying?  I already did that, to France last November.  Once a decade is enough, surely?  I may not have mentioned this before, but I’m not too keen on flying.

However, I’m not one to let paralysing terror stop me from doing something I’d rather like to do, especially if, by not doing it, I would offend a friend, so I said ‘Thank you very much, Alison,’ as soon as my teeth and my knees stopped quaking long enough to get it out.

The trip to the airport was horrendous: no car crash or six-mile tailback to save me.  We got through customs without full body searches (inside and out), sneering officers or interrogation – separate and together – to smash our story that we were a couple of girls on a jolly to the Continent.  Some days, I just can’t catch a break.

We boarded the Ryanair flight in much the same way I attack a packet of Maltesers: all in a rush; first come, first served; with no regard for dignity.  The air crew simply opened the doors and flattened themselves against the ceiling as the passengers fought for seats.  We had met up with Alison’s friends, Lyn and Sue, who also have a villa out in Spain.  Then we got separated from them.  They boarded before us and saved us seats, but we couldn’t get close without trampling the other passengers, à la hippo, so we weren’t able to sit together.

It’s just as well.  I’m not a pretty sight on a plane.  I dress for comfort, hence my grubbiest, thickest, favourite green cardigan (in case I ended up on that mountain top after all).  I eat for comfort: ham sandwiches and crisps, squashed flat in my bag and snarfed down like that hippo I mentioned earlier. 


I close my eyes and beg God to be merciful and let science work on take off.  And in flight.  And on landing.

It was around this point I remembered I was a Christian and trust that God is in control of my life: I doubt that He sees the need for me to die in a plane crash (why would He?) but, if He does, then I’m going to a Better Place where I won’t need a manky cardigan.  So why worry?  I smiled and opened my eyes at that thought, just as the plane tipped straight up like a rocket and hurled itself into nothingness, against all the laws of common sense.  I grabbed Alison’s hand in the hope that she could stop the plane crashing into the ground at a zillion miles an hour.  And it seemed that she could, because it didn’t.  Of course, she only had the use of one hand all the time we were away, but she felt it was a small price to pay for me not yanking open the emergency exit in my panic, causing us all to be sucked out.

We arrived in Spain without incident.  Incredible.  Science is terrific, if sadistic.

Lyn & Sue and Alison & hubby Pete share a car in Spain.  There is an excellent service that brings your car to and collects it from the airport, so there was no hanging around for buses or taxis to get us the forty or so minutes to where their villas are.  We were home-from-home by midnight.

Taxi for four.

It is winter in Spain.  The house was shut up, and tiled; no carpets.  The house was c-c-c-c-cold.  That was okay: Alison had the forethought to bring four hot water bottles, two each.  After our revivifying tea and toast, we were tucked up in our beds in pyjamas and thermals, cuddling rubber and ready for anything.  So long as it didn’t require moving from under the duvet for the next eight hours.

A girl's best friend is definitely her hot water bottle. If that hot water bottle wants to bring along a friend, a girl definitely does not mind.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ready

7 Feb

I’m leaving the Hub today.  I wasn’t sure that it was the right thing to do, but he likes the idea.  In fact, he insists.  He doesn’t even mind that I’m going off with a woman, a kind and generous friend who has treated me to a flight to Spain (and back!  The Hub tried to talk her into leaving me there, but she won’t).  We’ll be staying in her holiday home from tonight until Saturday.

My friend has been trying to get us all out there for years but we’ve never had the money.  She found some cheapish flights and took matters into her own hands.  I have the best, kindest friends in the world.

I was unsure about accepting her generosity, and about leaving the Hub and can’t-get-him-to-move-out-he-insists-he’s-only-sixteen-youngest-son, but he thinks I deserve a break.  I have the best, kindest husband in the world.  Spud, well, erm…I have the best…I have the kindest…er…I have a son.

It came down to good manners in the end: how could I refuse a gift so kindly meant without hurting her feelings?  I couldn’t.  And so I’m off to Spain!

You may have noticed by now that there is no photo to illustrate the challenge.  This is because I am not ready.  I fly in a few hours and I haven’t showered or even dressed.  Or packed.  If I leave it to the last minute I won’t have time to throw up before flying.

One thing that is ready, however – eight things, actually: four jokes; four rambles – are the posts I have prepared for you to enjoy while I am away.  I will have no internet access in Spain and, if I survive that, I’ll catch up with your comments and blogs next week.

Until then, please miss me!  But don’t leave comments saying so; that would be frightfully embarrassing.


The Birthday That Keeps On Giving

5 Oct

If I hadn’t already awarded last week’s CoWAbunger, I’d have to give it to Nancy for her prescience:

Phase 2: In which Linda declares that her birthday WEEK started yesterday . . . with 6 more days to celebrate.

How right could one person be?

On Monday I had a visit from a friend in the morning, who brought me these:

There’d have been a lot more to show you but Spud insisted on being allowed to eat one.

In the evening, another friend came with a lovely set of toiletries, assuring me no offence was intended.

Then yesterday, yet another friend, with these:

The last time I did so well for flowers, a small person came out of me.

I also received an email telling me I had won two tickets to a comedy night with – what did I do to deserve such blessings? – a free buffet.

I love the saying, Some days you are the statue; some days you are the pigeon.  Today, I am definitely a pigeon.


101/1001 (21) Another Late Update

21 Aug

I’m sure you’ll forgive me for not keeping to my self-imposed updating timetable when I remind you that I have young visitors; and that there’s really nothing to report.   It’s difficult to work on challenges when I have a full house.  I suppose that’s part of the challenge.

We do have two welcome new members of our beginning not to be so exclusive club:

Silly Wrong But Vivid Right and Vicrace Designs

You can check out the other members on the right; and while you’re doing that, think about joining us.


As I have nothing to report, I’ll flesh this post out with a general catch-up.


Of some worry to the management was the number of people (28.57%) who willingly admitted to being freaks in the recent Friends poll.  At least you’re honest.

More concern was felt at the number of huge fibbers who claimed to have a life (35.71%). If that were the case, you wouldn’t be filling in fatuous polls now, would you?


The number of compliments paid has fallen sharply after my begging letter.  Thank you. Especially to those who took it to the other extreme and offered gratuitous insults.  It’s nice to know you care.


Finally, something I read this week amused me:

Space is important; vital, really, if you’re a newspaper: this week on the Stockport Express website, there was a headline that ran

Man who looted charity box in Manchester riots in the dock. 

But they ran the story in a narrow left-hand column and it read

Man who looted charity box in Manchester
riots in the dock


Don’t you just love it?

Are You A Friend?

17 Aug
The cast of Friends in the first season. Front...

Image via Wikipedia

I have a theory that everyone who watches Friends chooses the one they think they are most like as their favourite. 

I never said it was a good theory.  Or that I could write a coherent sentence.

Which one are you?


I’ll Take The Diamonds, Thanks

20 Jul

How many friends can a person have?

There are certain criteria to be considered here, so the answer is not simply as many as possible.

  • Rich friends – as many as possible.  Duh.
  • Poor friends – really?  Like you need to be reminded of your personal situation.
  • Interesting friends – as many as possible.  You always need material for your blog.
  • Dull friends – forget it.  There’s only so much yawning a mouth can take before lockjaw sets in.
  • Funny friends – as many as possible.  Joke stealing is less noticed if you spread the source.
  • Friends with no sense of humour – useful for practising on.  A butt is a must for a humorist.
  • Nice friends – acceptable.  You might get a present or a helping hand when you need it.
  • Unpleasant friends – a few; makes you look good in contrast.
  • Generous friends – as many as possible; how else can you afford to re-gift at Christmas?
  • Mean friends – one; to give the Christmas tat to that you don’t like to pass on to anyone else.
  • Social networking friends – as many as possible; how else will your blog go viral?

I hope that’s sorted that out for you.

The question now, of course, is which category do you fall into? 


Who Goes There?

25 May
Me and my 542 bestest friends (on Facebook)

Image by tychay via Flickr

How do you decide who to be friends with?

What’s to decide?  In Tilly Budland, it’s friend until proven unfriend; I don’t see why I have to choose. 

I have disliked very few people in my life, but even then I have been friendly to them.  It’s just good manners.

Bonus: What defines the difference between a good friendship vs a close one?

The amount of gifts they bring me.



Fancy Watching Thirty Huge Men Throw Each Other Around In The Mud? Get A Dog.

9 Apr
Sale Sharks

Image via Wikipedia

We often walk our dogs on Alexandra Park.  So does one of the Sale Sharks players.  Despite the fact the Hub loves rugby, he didn’t realise that the owner of the cutest Jack Russells in Stockport was a Shark.  All the times we stopped to chat, we never noticed his cauliflower ear or his muscular build.  It was winter when we first met him, so we can be excused not noticing his build; but an ear is difficult to miss…  Well…is it, really?  How many times in a day do you meet someone new and take a look at their ears?  You might spot a vulgar earring or hair sprouting like whiskers – though not from the same ear, I hope – but you never come away thinking, What a lovely person; I like their ears.

I'll be honest: I can't tell the difference between them if Hurley doesn't have a ball in his mouth or is shouting at me to get a move on and throw his ball, pronto.

For months our dogs had played together, by which I mean Toby chased squirrels and ignored them; Molly hid behind my legs, away from the rowdy boys; Hugo ignored Toby and Molly because he was busy being a proper dog; and Hurley walked off with anyone who made the mistake of throwing his ball for him.  We had chatted to the Shark thinking he was a porpoise like the rest of us, when his job happened to be mentioned in conversation one day. 

The Hub was like a shark himself: scenting bloodsport, he dominated all further conversations with talk of scrums and sin bins and that’s the extent of my knowledge of rugby terminology but, trust me on one thing – there is no one so boring as a man in love with sport.  I was left to be Hurley’s trebuchet.  Not that I mind; he’s gorgeous and knows how to be a real dog on the park, unlike our two, who will play ball at home until there isn’t an intact ornament standing but consider that sort of behaviour in public non-U.

After many, many, many chats about rugby – how it is played, how it used to be played, who plays it well, who played it well, who didn’t play it well, who might play it well in the future blahblehblehblehblahblehbleh (by the way, I’m not casting aspersions on the Shark; he is charming company when he’s not being forced to recite league tables and statistics by my blHub) – the Shark must have twigged that the Hub rather likes it, and offered to get us tickets for a game.  The Hub, ever-bashful, asked if he could make it four so that Tory Boy could go as well.  The Shark, ever-kind, said Of course; and would we like hospitality bands for afterwards, to meet the players?  The Hub fell sobbing with joy into his arms.

And so it came to pass.  Eventually.  Once a proper wardrobe was decided upon.  You wouldn’t think it would be that hard to choose the right outfit for a rugby match, would you?  You’d be wrong: it was warm last night, but what if it turned cold suddenly; or wet?  This is Stockport, after all.  I packed my mittens but forewent socks; wore a light jacket but not a jumper.  The boys were sent upstairs to change three times until they looked comfortable enough to watch the game but not too scruffy to meet the players.  Clothes littered the stairs, the beds, the floors.  And then they bought Sale Sharks shirts in the Sale Sharks Shirts Store and changed into them, so it was all a fuss about nothing.


The game was brilliant.  I had no clue what was happening but I was happy to watch two teams of butch blokes pile onto each other for eighty minutes.  Wouldn’t you be?  Rugby is waaaaaay more fun than football and the players don’t have hissy fits when a decision goes against them.  They behave like sportsmen.  There is no need for separate seating areas for opposing teams and no menace or foul language in the crowd.  Rugby is definitely a sport I could get interested in.  After badminton, it’s my favourite.

We made our way to Edgeley Park’s Insider Suite after the match, gaily waving our entrance tickets (flourescent orange wrist bands) at the minders.  Tables were labelled with the name of the club’s sponsors, who each bring parties to the games, so we weren’t sure where to sit, but a waitress told us to choose an empty table and look like we belonged; so we did.  We knew it had worked when a man rushed up to Tory Boy and asked, ‘Where’s Mr Kite?’  ‘I’m not sure,’ TB replied; ‘Have you tried over there?’  ‘No, thanks, I will.  Please tell him I’m looking for him if you see him,’ he gasped, and charged off.  Various people wandered over to inquire if they could take one or two of the pies with which our table happened to be laden, we not eating them after a huge dinner of boerewors, courtesy of our favourite son, Tory Boy (our favour changes according to which of them is nicest to us, so he’s actually the Hub’s favourite son, because I don’t like boerewors); a Gloucester visitor begged the whole plateful from us because it’s a long drive back, and we had the pleasure of watching pie-filled mouths beam at us in gratitude across the room.

Our Shark’s brother is a Jet, (part of the Academy; you’ve gotta love that whoever named these man-mountains is either a musicals fan or has a sense of humour) and we had met him the previous day.  He’s even more charming than his brother, if that’s possible.  He brought over what we had suspected was the Shark’s mythical fiancee, because he talks about her all the time but we’d never seen her on the park; and she was lovely too.  How good it is to meet nice people involved in sports: not everyone is a Wayne Rooney, it seems.

I got the giggles.  Our Shark sat with us for a while before taking the menfolk off to meet other players, and while we were talking, people came up for his autograph, which he gave with a smile and a friendly word each time.  This is the same bloke who shares a dog poo bin with us on the park.  It was a bizarre experience.

Spud had a wonderful time meeting the players, getting their autographs and wishing that he’d never given up playing, and we had a wonderful time right along with him, thanks to our friends Hugo and Hurley, who had first introduced us to their lovely owner.  All good things must come to an end, however, and it was time to leave. 

At home, there was an email from Viv: was that my Hitler lookalike goldfish (claimed to be in Stockport) that she saw on Have I Got New For You tonight?  We checked; it wasn’t.  Just how many fish looking like Hitler are there in Stockport?  Good job we’ve got Sharks to take care of them.

I Like Being In This Much Debt

7 Apr
Stockport Bus Station and Stockport Viaduct at...

Image via Wikipedia

Describe a debt you have yet to repay.

This one is easy. 

I am blessed with wonderful friends.  Some I have met, some I haven’t.  Most of them haven’t met each other.  The only reason I would like to win the lottery is so that I could throw a huge party one Friday night; fly, bus, or taxi all of my friends in to Stockport; and put us all up in a hotel.  I would do it so that I could say, ‘Thank you for being kind to me.  You don’t know how much it has meant to me, especially on blue days.’

I would buy each friend a unique gift and we would party ’til dawn; breakfast together; maybe go to the races, where everyone would be given a goody bag*, a fabulous lunch, and something to bet with; in the evening we would go to the theatre or a show.  On Sunday morning we would have a champagne breakfast where I would get very tipsy on Buck’s Fizz and I would personally see each of you to your limo/taxi/bus/old bicycle (don’t be the last to leave – I’ve run out of money).

My point is this: there are some debts that can never be repaid; but they ought to be acknowledged: I probably won’t remember every kindness you have done me, but I will always remember that you are kind.

*Don’t expect a box of Maltesers; we may be friends but we’re not that close.


**I’m just looking at the photo of Stockport at the top of this post and I can’t help wondering if anyone will turn up to this fantastic do I’ve planned.

Five Children And Eat

19 Mar

Yesterday was a success.  Got the house all cleaned up and a pancake stack as high as me ready for five hungry lads (though they didn’t look anything like this photo: think flat moons with scabby knees).  I had the table laid ready for them and snacks set aside to take upstairs when they were done – teenage boys needing to be fed two-hourly, like newborns.  Such lovely boys they are, though; so I didn’t mind.

Pancake-making is dull work and takes forever.  I didn’t want the boys sitting in the kitchen with me, making forced conversation and eating one at a time, so I was cunning: I have three frying pans; I used them all at once.  I poured and flipped (I am a good flipper; it’s all in the wrist) and stacked at three times my usual pace.  I even thought to warm the pancake plate in the microwave beforehand.  Entertaining is hard work but I was happy to do it for those nice boys.

I was able to forgive them for the way they trashed Spud’s room.  He cleans his own room so it’s not like I have a stake in it.  They pulled out his toys that he hasn’t yet gotten around to donating, and seemed to have most fun with the electric shock finger-war game and his plastic rifle.  Boys will be boys will be five-year olds.

When the noise from upstairs started to hurt our ears, Hub and I went grocery shopping.  The boys had gone out to play football when we got home, so I waited until they were back before walking the dogs.  I might be a lousy housekeeper but I have my wits about me, and I know how to avoid guests who overstay their welcome.

We were half way through the walk when the Hub phoned to say his nephew & family had arrived for a visit.  Once they left it was time to say goodbye to the home wreckers from the first floor: nasty, dirty boys.  I don’t know what Spud sees in them and he needn’t bother asking them again.

Spud told me they all thought they were the best pancakes they’d ever tasted.  I never heard that about my cooking before.  What lovely, polite friends he has.  They are welcome back any time.

The Greatest Quilt Ever Made

31 Jan

For one reason and another we’ve had a bad start to the year (no change there then), but one lovely thing did happen: I got a quilt. 

This is no ordinary quilt, however: every inch of it has been handmade by my dear friend Viv of vivinfrance fame. 

In December I received the following email from her:

I’d like to make you a lap quilt or cuddly as we in the trade call it.  They’re usually about 1.50 metres square, but I’ll make it any size or shape you like (within reason!) It will be a multicoloured scrap top, backed with fleece, and you can have the backing in your choice of these colours:  sky blue, apricot,brick, camel or dark blue.

Who could refuse an offer like that?  Certainly not me, the coldest woman west of the east. 

Viv’s first update:

First two blocks made in an experiment in randomness.  I hope it works!  My sewing machine is misbehaving, though – the twiddly-bit underneath that holds the bobbin keeps falling out.  Air is blue here.

I think that last bit was talking about how cold it was in France just then, because she’s too much of a lady for it to be anything else.

On 23 December, when sensible people were running around centrally heated shops, below-zero streets and sitting in car parks for an hour-and-a-half, awaiting a space and fighting strangers to the death for it, I received this:

Four blocks made, 11 to go!  It’s looking quite exciting.

In early January there was a complaint about the number of email addresses I have, so I think Viv was tired from the Nike-factory-worker-impersonation making my quilt had become; but she did say this:

Progress report:  12 blocks done, 3 or 4 left to do, depending on whether I make it 4 x 4 or 3 x 5.  It’s turning into a trip down memory lane for me – leftovers from favourite dresses I made entirely by hand in Seychelles, fabrics from my very early days as a quilter, one or two snippets from some cottons that my daughter brought back for me from the Hindu Kush in 1994, from which I made her a kimono – the first of many.  There are also pieces from two huge bags of samples given to me by my friend who’s gone back to UK to live, and another friend who used to be a textile and dress designer.
I also have the backing, which is bright red fleece, unless you have a rooted objection, in which case I need to think fast.

[small edits for privacy]

I had no objections, not being one to complain at cheerful colours.  I was chuffed at the knowledge that Viv’s gift to me was not only all her own work, but made of her happy memories.  How wonderful to own something made in and from happiness.  And from such a wonderful phrase, too: Hindu Kush – I have always loved saying it.

This was an exciting one because it had a photo as well:

I thought you might enjoy the state of my work-table in the last stages of making the blocks.  The machine’s playing silly buggers and I’m tearing my hair out in handfuls, but am I having fun?  I am?  Who’da thought it!


Viv made that gorgeous pincushion, you might like to know.

Then I discovered Miss Vivienne is not quite the lady I first thought her:

Well then, it’s all gone together – not without a great deal of swearing – and the red fleece backing is now being quilted with the top.  I must warn you that I’m not the world’s greatest machine quilter, but if I’d waited to hand quilt it you wouldn’t get it until April!  I think another week to finish it.  It is anything but an heirloom quilt – more a rough and tumble everyday job.

Viv got something wrong here: it is an heirloom quilt.  I shall give it to whichever of my eventual grandchildren visits me most and brings the best presents.

She included a photo:


On January 18th I got a message to say it was on its way, ‘fast post’:

Tis anything but a masterpiece, but I can vouch for it being nice and warm – it was covering me knees all the time I was hemstitching down the binding and the label, and I was jolly hot!

And on the twentieth Viv emailed the tracking details in case there was a problem; to which I was able to reply:

I’m sitting snug under it even as I type!  It has just arrived and I put the computer on to thank you and there was your email.

Not me at my most eloquent but I was too thrilled for niceties.  Viv also sent me her process notes, as I requested.  So kind of her to keep a record of her gift so that I can keep a record of her gift.

I have used the quilt every day since it arrived and I LOVE it.  It is the greatest quilt ever made because it is made of and with good feelings; given with good feelings; and received with good feelings. 

And you know what the best part is?  As good friends as we are, we have never met.

Thank you, dearest Viv.





%d bloggers like this: