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Friday, 29 June 2012

Aaaaaaand relax....

Hip hip hooray, it's Friday, and it hasn't come soon enough. It's been a long and slightly stressy week. I started out tired for no reason at all, and haven't exactly improved as the week went on, and over the course of the week it's become apparent that in the coming months, changes at work mean that I will have to become some sort of campus oracle, only without the perks that us oracles usually get such as jewels and sacrifices being made in my honour.

This will be me pondering a student's question about liability for Council Tax:

This particular Friday is one of those where I undertake the almighty yomp down to London and back for my son to spend the weekend with his Dad. It's not entirely what I feel like doing with my Friday night, but I don't mind the train journeys too much. Staring out of the window with no obligations and nothing in particular to do for a few hours is relaxing and gives good thinking time. I'm not so keen on the trip back again from London though - after Oxford (about half way) the train empties out and gets emptier as it trundles though everywhere with a pub and a post office and Friday night wears on, and that's when the weirdos get on. Luckily they tend to keep themselves to themselves and I haven't yet had an incident worse than the time when I lived down south and unwittingly sat in a carriage with a flasher. As Son and I sat down, I noted that the man opposite us did look rather a lot like Nosferatu, but thought nothing more of it... until I happened to glance at his foot stretched out into the gangway of the carriage. It was yellow with long, revolting toenails.... and both shoeless and sockless. My eyes followed his leg from the ankle up and it became pretty clear that apart from the (in hindsight, obligatory) dirty brown mac the guy was wearing, he was absolutely butt naked. We moved to another carriage pretty quickly with him staring at us all the while....

I'm pleased to say that the rest of my commuting life has been a whole lot less unsavoury. I usually like to take something with me to do and it's kind of entertaining seeing people trying to work out what I am making when I'm sitting there with needle and thread and cloth or a pair of pliers and stash of beads. I've made a lot of jewellery lately, so today I'm going to make a monkey out of felt. I made quite a nice choker necklace last night but there are no pictures yet - I think I'm going to have to model it and get Boyfriend to take a picture before I can put it up for sale, but before that happens my pimple has to go.... I'm too old for this stuff! It seems hugely unfair that I have a Cruella de Ville-style rash of grey hairs starting to annexe one part of my hairline but I still get the odd spot that wouldn't look out of place on a teenager. This, in my opinion, is why I still get ID'd trying to buy alchohol. It's nothing to do with youthful good looks, it's all about the spots. C'mon, Nature, what did I ever do to you? Is it because I gave up my membership of Greenpeace?? But they were sending me junk mail...

Anyway, I have coffee to drink and biscuits to eat. (Yep, busy busy busy, I don't know how I cope!)
A splendid weekend to you all :-)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Morning blues

It's just before ten in the morning and I think I'm having one of those days where I've really had enough. I think I might get myself a large badge that says "I'm not your bitch". Maybe a neon sign to hang above my desk saying the same thing, as signage in the workplace can never be too obvious, so I've learned. I've just had someone semi-blame me for the fact that they do not have any compliment slips or headed paper with their name on it. It is actually not part of my role to make sure that other people have these things. I also don't have to breathe for them or chew their food and spit it back into their mouth for them like a mother bird, though maybe I should check my job description to make absolutely sure.

While I'm ranting, I also REALLY hate it when people say "Have we heard back from Finance yet about....?" What they mean is: Did you email the Finance office and ring them and fax them and sit on their desk holding a gun to their head until they sorted out my problem? You DIDN'T???? Well what do you  DO all day, you lowly, administrating scum???? And NO, I CANNOT sort out my own problem (even though you explained very carefully and precisely to me last week how I do this), because I am on a higher plain than you, and you are a clerical troglodite who is incapable of thinking about things that do not involve staples or filing cabinets, and the whole thing is beneath me quite frankly.

I think I may go into the loo and have a little cry now.

In other news, I made this the other day. I really like it (which I know is quite big-headed to say) but I do.

Friday, 22 June 2012

100 is the Magic Number....

I've read a couple of times now that 100 is some kind of magic number on Etsy and that when you have 100 items in your shop suddenly sales will rocket and you won't be able to scoot to the post office fast enough to keep up. Hmmmm... now is it me, or does that sound a bit like nonsense? Why 100? If it's true, however, I have a lot of work to do. I did make this last night though:

I dropped all the bloody beads all over the sofa about 4 times having painstakingly threaded them, and hence will be pricing it at a fiver due to mental distress.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Alien Abduction

I have proof that this exists. Number One Son has been tidying his room... or, should I say, his alien replacement has been tidying his room. So if anyone's spotted strange lights in the sky over Worcestershire, don't worry, it was just the mothership dropping off my son's Doppelganger.

I bought my beads. They're very nice beads - and that's all I'll say on the subject, since I would hate to send anyone into a boredom-induced coma.

In between drooling over new beads (NOT LITERALLY I hasten to add, in case anyone reading this who might consider buying anything from me is instantly put off by the thought of receiving something in the post which would require the donning* of Marigolds before removing it from the package) and making dinner (chilli, AGAIN) I was assisting the Alien with sorting out stuff he had ejected from his room. He's parting with some things that really used to mean a lot to him - books from his beloved primary school down south before we moved, Christmas cards from old friends.... this clear-out seems to signal a real shift in him. He's got old enough now to start leaving the past behind - more than that, he's finally old enough to have a past. It's a strange thing to think about, for me.

*is donning a word?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Guilt and beads

I've got something in my eye today - not in a 'Brief Encounter' sort of way - I'm not holding back the tears and maintaining a Stiff Upper Lip for any reason - I really have. A pesky bit of grit most likely. I keep blinking furiously with my right eyelid as if I have a tic - I think Frau Farbissina had something similar going on in The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Anyway. The vintage fair on Friday was fab. I sold approximately a third of my stock which was really quite astonishing to me, never before having had people actually pick up things on my stall, go oooh and ahhh over them, and then actually buy them. I think I may actually have been in mild shock afterwards when lovely Boyfriend kindly picked me up in his van. A few of the vintage items went, but most of what I sold was my own handmade stuff. It felt really nice and has given me back some confidence in myself and my ability to make things that people might actually want.

Something happened that bothered me a bit  though - three other ladies also had vintage stalls at the fair and one of them mentioned that she'd considered doing the Worcester Flea but after reading my blog post about the last one wasn't sure. So I just wanted to put the record straight -  the Worcester Flea is a really good fair for anyone wanting to buy or sell vintage items, and the more people turn out for it, the more popular it will become. I would hate to think that I had put anyone off, as it's great for Worcester to have its own regular vintage fair and I will certainly be visiting it as a buyer. (End of public announcement). Phew. I've been feeling guilty about that all weekend.

Weirdly enough - or not - the Swedish Army hat didn't sell. I think I have figured out the reason for its small size - maybe the Swedish Army recruits people with small heads, as small head = small target. Duh... I don't know why I didn't think of that before! Makes perfect sense when you think about it. Clever old Swedes.

So now I have an excuse to buy more beads and make more jewellery again. Is it really sad to get excited over glass beads? No, don't answer that.

Friday, 15 June 2012

One Woman's Teacups

It's fair day again today. This time it's at my work where they are holding a late Jubilee Street Party (except due to the weather behaving like a 3 year old on a high sugar diet at the moment it's going to be indoors unfortunately). I will be having two stalls, one with my Pins and Needles stuff on it and the other will be a vintage stall, selling (unsuprisingly) vintage items. The word vintage can cover many sins and basically seems to mean 'any old cack that's over 30 years old'. This means that I am vintage - hoorah!

The list of things on my stall consists of the following and gets more random the further down you go:
-Two sets of matching teacups, saucers and cake plates
-A glass cake stand/thing that would look nice with grapes on it or even better with bonbons (but then bonbons can improve many things)
-A silver-plated toast rack (which has not seen action since my parents last visited - they liked things to be done properly).
-A green pressed glass dish with a lid which is very nice but as the lid doesn't stay put, is not actually very useful.
-Two volumes of poetry, one WH Auden from 1966 and one Louis MacNeice from 1964 - my favourite poem in it is 'Snow'.
-A 1937 coronation mug with very unflattering images of George VI and the Queen Mother on it
-Two small gold and glass tumblers
-Four small glasses with blue stems. I think they might be for quaffing sherry. Or whatever it is that you do with sherry.
-Two Victorian silver spoons for sprinkling sugar on fruit. These are my favourite items. I love the way that the Victorians felt the need to have a special spoon for this purpose. I once saw a pair of Victorian scissors specifically for cutting grape stalks in an antique shop. Life in Victorian times must have been one long opportunity for committing horrendous social fauxs pas by using the wrong implement. I would probably have ended up incarcerated for being terminally uncouth. Or something.
-A Swedish army hat for a person with an extremely small head. I wonder if they had a big body??
-A polaroid camera which may or may not work. I remember polaroid cameras from when I was a kid and how COOL it looked when a photo came sliding out. I guess having that instant picture is the same as using a digital camera now, but with the added frisson of not knowing whether you'd put your thumb over the lens until it was too late. My Dad never approved of polaroid cameras. I think he actually liked fretting over the light meter and different lenses and twiddling dials and switches while his subject invariably ran/flew away or got bored.
-A slide rule. For those measuring emergencies - I never leave home without mine!*

*This is a lie.

So we shall see what I do and don't come home with......

Friday, 8 June 2012

Yippee yippee!

Despite the rain, and despite the fact that the heel on both of my work shoes has disintegrated through being worn mercilessly (it seems to be quite a challenge buying shoes that are up to such crazy and left-field challenges such as being walked on) (but I digress....) it has been a good day.

First of all, I've had my first Etsy sale - hoorah! Ok, it wasn't for something I'd made - I decided to list a gorgeous little vintage teacup and saucer as they were, rather than bugger about with them and turn them into a teacup candle, and a lady from Arizona, bless her cotton socks, bought it. So I packed it up in as much bubble wrap as humanly possible and sent it on its way at lunchtime today.

The other lovely thing was that Mythillogical (who makes delightful characters such as this one - ) included me in her list of nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award. It's SO exciting! I've never been nominated for anything! (Well, I did win awards at school when I was in Upper Sixth for French and German, but there wasn't too much competition as no one else was studying French and German.) I haven't been blogging for very long and for ages I didn't think anyone was even reading it, so thank you Mythillogical, you have made my day!

Once you've received a nomination, this is what you do -

The rules:
1. Add the award to your blog - check
2. Thank the blogger(s) who gave it to you - check
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself - I'll get to that in a minute
4. List the rules - yep, here they are!
5. Award to 15 bloggers - coming right up....
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog - okie dokie....

Ok, 7 random things about myself. Ummmm....

1. I was far more interesting as a baby. I crawled backwards, wore dolls' clothes for my first few weeks as I was very small and my first word uttered was 'Cheeky'. I like to start as I mean to go on.
2. My cat only has 3 legs. He lost one in a mysterious accident, though Boyfriend reckons that he may well have got hungry and chomped it off himself, and it's quite true to say that he's a bit of a greedy old sausage.
3. I have a thing about prawns - they really, really creep me out. Ugh!
4. I snort when I laugh! It's become quite serious, I sound like Peppa Pig (not that there's anything wrong with that.)
5. I once sent my Mum into hysterics by asking if a pillock was a type of sheep.
6. My 15 minutes of fame was spent tap dancing in wellies while dressed as Father Christmas at the New Theatre, Cardiff. (I was also the Pink Toothbrush to my friend Sophie's Blue Toothbrush during the same performance. Pity the parents that had to sit through this rubbish.)
7. This isn't so much of a random fact as a pearl of wisdom that I have discovered this week. Chocolate covered malted milk biscuits (available in Co-op, or the Coop as I like to call it) don't fall to bits when you dunk them in your coffee. Huzzah!

Right then, drum roll.... my nominees for this prestigious award (*opens gold envelope*) are:
















These are all MIGHTY bloggers and blow me away with their awesomeness and brilliance. (My son says I am too old to use the word 'awesome'. Tuh. What would he know.)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Fuzzy Felt and the Bulldog Spirit

So I've been thinking, and my last post was rally rather miserable and a bit self-pitying, embarrassingly enough. I would take it down, but I'm going to leave it up there to remind myself what a big wet lettuce I can be at times.

The only sure way that people won't ever buy my stuff is to give up making it and trying to sell it, and since I love it, I'm going to carry on regardless. I've switched direction a bit this weekend and am making a memory game. It's all made out of felt and will have felt flowers, bees, hearts, fish, kites and other simple things on it. After I'd made a few squares I realised that it's a lot like Fuzzy Felt and that's probably why I was enjoying making it so much. Fuzzy Felt was (is? Can you still get Fuzzy Felt?) a great toy - no need for batteries or controllers, just your imagination. Lovely!

We made lasagne for 4 last night and ate it between 2 of us. I think I may have broken my tummy. Tonight's madras will have to be a bit more on the petite side I think in order to try to shrink my stomach back to its normal size. My backside is a lost cause however and I am just going to have to learn to live as a human/beachball hybrid. It's that or give up chocolate..... no chance :-)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


I was awoken on Sunday morning by the cat biting my knee and that kind of summed up the day.

The flea market was an absolute washout. I sat there for four and half chilly hours watching my hands go blue. In June. I didn't sell a thing. Since I also have barely sold anything online either, I'm starting to think, well... am I wasting my time? I love making things, but I can't just go on accumulating piles of necklaces and teacup candles  if I can't get rid of them, in the nicest possible way. Maybe it's just not good enough or different enough? Again people were picking things up and admiring them, but not liking them enough to buy. I'm not going to do the flea market again, I think. In reality it is largely for people selling vintage items and also it's a shame it's not in a great spot. It lies in a street between the bus station, generally full of drunks and those who've been chucked out of the night shelter and are just biding their time until they can go back in again, and a busy thoroughfare. The street contains a fancy dress costume shop, the public toilets and a closed down pound shop. You know a place is in bad straits when the pound shop closes. The spot isn't the organisers' fault, but the city of Worcester council type folks really could do with taking a good hard look at the market place and smartening it up a bit (or a lot).

Anyway, by 2.30pm I'd had enough and packed up to go home. The cake stall lady next to me left about half an hour in, which was a shame as her cakes looked gorgeous and I think she might have done better than all the rest of the stands put together. One woman came along and asked where the cake stall had gone, as she'd been at the cemetery and had decided to pick up come cakes on her way back. Going to the cemetery seems an unusual way to work up an appetite but each to their own, eh.

The day improved however with a truly splendid Sunday dinner produced by Boyfriend. He surpassed himself, he really did. There was great danger of my exploding but I would certainly have died happy.

I've just noticed on TV how painfully thin Kate Middleton is. She needs to have a word with the Grandma-in-Law and get some swan down her, I reckon.

Friday, 1 June 2012


So, the British weather strikes again and we are in for a wet weekend. This does not bode too well for the flea market on Sunday and I'm not entirely relishing the prospect of sitting there getting soggy for six hours. When I signed up to have the stall the last period of hot, sunny days had just begun and I was envisaging happy groups of day trippers from Brum pouring into Worcester for the day, full of celebratory cheer and up for parting with their cash. Instead, if we get any trippers on Sunday, they'll be sheltering in coffee shops and lurking around the cathedral in dripping, chilly groups waiting for the good people to finish worshipping and bugger off so that they can go in there to dry out.

On t'other hand though, maybe if the weather's going to be bad, people in Worcester who might have planned days out will cancel them and head into town instead (this makes it sound like I relish the thought of disappointed kiddies being told that instead of going to West Midlands Safari Park they're going to spend the day at B & Q - I'm not that nasty!), after all, shopping is a good rainy day activity for those who are into that sort of thing. So all might not be lost, and I am kind of looking forward to it really. Last time was a bit of a wash-out, not the in the literal sense as the weather was perfectly alright, but in that I only sold two items, but just having people pick things up and admire them was lovely in itself. So we shall see how it goes.

I was under the impression that the Queen isn't much of a smiler, but I've just found evidence to the contrary. In this picture, she looks like she's just pinched someone's bum:

And in this one she has clearly been at the whiskey and she's just about to say to the person next to her "I love you - no, I do, I love you, you're my best friend... buuuuuurp!"