Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Two Days in One Blog

The past two days have been such a mix of different feelings I decided to lump them all together. So opt out now unless you're in it for the long haul!

Monday, as it was my birthday I decided to continue in the holiday mood, no housework, not even taking down the Christmas decorations. That’s a job I hate, the place looks so bare and depressing without the tree and its lights. So I decided to procrastinate with a really good excuse to follow tradition by taking them down on Twelfth Night. Maňana!

My daughter arrived at about eleven o’clock with her two kiddoes and she wanted to go shopping at the MetroCentre. I have to say as it was so cold it was probably the best choice for us to shop in an indoor centre. We had quite a nice lunch at a café and didn’t spend too much. Have to say I couldn’t see a lot of bargains that the media have been spouting forth about since before Christmas. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places.

I had thought about buying a nice winter coat, something quite smart as I’ve been living in jackets for ages. Well you do when you’re in and out of the car with children and it’s been years since I bought a proper winter coat. There were no reductions in Marks & Sparks so I had a look in House of Fraser. The only coat I really liked was a lovely red one, reduced by a hundred pounds, but it was still nearly two hundred pounds. So much for the shops giving stuff away. Most of the stuff I saw in a lot of shops that had sales seemed to have been specially bought in. Methinks these bargains are all a myth.

So what did I buy? Not a lot! A new sheet for our bed as I noticed that the one on the bed currently is looking a bit worn. It wasn’t in any sale I might add. I got a half price High School Musical travel bag for my other granddaughter Alexis, her birthday is at the end of the month. My other bargains were three Christmas puddings (I'll freeze them), a box of selected cheeses all greatly reduced in Marks and six boxes of Christmas cards for 60p in Pier which was closing down.

That leads to the downside of that shopping trip. I chatted to the lady in Pier about the shop closing, it sells such really unusual stuff at very good prices so I said how surprised I was about it. She said it had nothing to do with lack of sales, the owner had most of his money in the Icelandic bank and also was involved with the Woolworth suppliers. A double whammy so he had no chance. It’s such a shame for all these people.

Another really awful sight was seeing the Woolworths shop closed. That’s such a shame too as most of us who are a bit older can remember this shop from our childhood. There was one in every town and you could buy just about anything you wanted there at one time. In recent years it offered really good prices for toys and computer stuff, much better than Toys 'R Us. As the advert said "That's the Wonder of Woollies". Well not any more!

Woollies - MetroCentre

Many of the people working there had been there since they left school at 16. It’s another bit of history going, there aren’t many shops around now that I can remember from when I was little. What was even worse was on the way home hearing that Waterford Crystal and Wedgewood are also going down the pan. What is really terrible here is that you can replace shops but you’ll never replace companies or products like these because the people who produce them have such specialist skills that are part of our heritage. I remember visiting the Waterford factory in Ireland a few years ago and it was amazing seeing the craftspeople cutting the glass and the apprentices being trained. I know that production in a lot of these places was moved abroad to save money but it shows doing that doesn’t work. Time to look for more bargains as we’ll not be able to buy these lovely items in future.

Moving on to last night I was doing some work on the computer for my husband Eric, when one of the cats, Oscar, who had been lying asleep on the settee (squashed right up to me), tried to get up. He just couldn’t get his left paw up and had his claws stuck in the fabric. He started to panic and was floundering about. I managed to get his claws out of the settee but it seemed he couldn’t control his left leg. I sat rubbing it but he wanted to be down on the floor, however once down he just sort of flopped. By this time the poor thing was really panicking so Eric grabbed him and tried to stroke him to settle him down. He rubbed his shoulder joint and down his leg but Oscar didn’t like it and was crying to be put down. Now we were wondering whether he’d had a stroke or something. He was crying and struggling to get onto the floor so Eric put him down and he was fine, not even a limp. All we got was a filthy look from him! Now I don’t know what went wrong, not sure whether he had some sort of cramp or muscle seizure or maybe I had been stopping his circulation in his leg. He must have blamed me because normally as soon as I go up to bed, there he is sitting at the bottom of the bed waiting for me. Not last night, he slept on the bed in the spare room! He’s fine this morning, just giving me a wide berth, so I’ll keep an eye on him. Might take him for a check up just to make sure.

Now I would have left it there but life had another problem in store for me last night. I mentioned to Eric that the digital camera I bought him for his birthday in November, needs the battery charging. Got a blank look from him. He has only taken about 2 pictures with the camera so didn’t know anything about it. He got me the manual so I looked the battery charging info up. Apparently it had it’s own battery charger so I asked where he had put it. Got another blank look. I reminded him all the gubbins had been in the box. Yes, it had, but he had thrown the box out last week and had no idea what he had done with the charger, but obviously it couldn’t be far, could it! I’ll add that it was about midnight. After an hour and a half of looking for it, going through all the rubbish from Christmas, including the camera box, we admitted defeat and went to bed. At 2am I was still trying to get to sleep, guessing what it would cost us to replace it and worrying about Oscar, in the spare bed, well on it!

Tuesday Morning - Once my delivery chores to school and nursery were completed I was going to go at the housework like a mad woman. However once I have something on my mind I just can’t settle to anything else. Off I went scouring the house in search of the lost charger. I looked in all the obvious places that I would have put it. Well Eric said he had already done that, but I did it again just to make sure. The kitchen drawers were the place both he and I thought we would be most likely to find it. It wasn’t there, but I found a plethora of other charger thingies. Good grief, I couldn’t believe how many there were and these are just the ones that aren’t used. All the ones that are used are in computer bags, in their boxes or attached to what they are charging. No wonder I have no space in my kitchen drawers.

The Charger Collection!

My drawer of shame is the top one next to the oven. Here it is. Note the plethora of golfy stuff! No I didn't strategically place that stuff, it's all just there.

Drawer of Shame

Disgusting! I will say I have tried on numerous occasions to get rid of the stuff but have failed utterly. Well what do you do when you don’t even know what half of it’s for? When I ask I’m just told “Oh put it back in the drawer we might need it.” How would you know when you need something if you don’t know what it is? There are also dozens of keys, for what? There’s lots of golfy stuff, like shoe studs that don’t fit any of his golf shoes, tees, golf cards, covers for clubs and even golf balls. Now if that stuff was mine, I’d put it with other golfy stuff. What would I know!

That stuff in that drawer would provide enough material for hundreds of Kim’s Games. Remember the one where someone puts about thirty objects on a tray, you look at them for a couple of minutes, they take it away and you have to remember as many of the objects as you can. I’ll keep that in mind for when the kiddoes are a bit bored. Mind you I’d have to remove all the stuff that I haven’t a clue about or just imagine the list:

1. Blue hinged plastic thing that looks a bit like a clothes peg but it's not.

2. Thin black plastic thing with a small knob on the end.
3. Piece of grey fabric with a screw in a plastic packet.
4. White plastic lid for something.
5. Metal thing that looks like a long screw but it's not.

How hard would it be to remember these! You'd have to be the Brain of Britain to remember 10 never mind 30 I reckon.

After another half an hour of looking around every place I could think of, I decided it was time to look in the black hole. That’s the cupboard under the stairs. Finding anything in there is a nightmare because it’s like an obstacle course just getting into it and you have precious little idea of what Eric has stowed there since the last time you were in. No wonder I left it until last to check. I also suspected Eric hadn’t even bothered. Now luckily I didn’t have to look far, climbed over a couple of boxes moved some of my sewing baskets and I saw a couple of Sainsbury’s Bags for Life. Now that immediately shouted “Eric has been here”. It's his trademark.

Bless him, he doesn’t seem to have grasped the concept that you buy a couple of these and once you’ve used them you put them back into the car. That way you don’t need to get any more bags when you go shopping, thus helping to save the environment. No, that’s not the way it works in Eric's World. After he's been shopping, he puts the bags away in the cupboard and buys a couple more next time he goes to Savacentre and so on. The result is, we have absolutely loads of these bags and some he uses to store papers, files etc in various parts of the house. I dived on these two bags and guess what? I found more chargers and luckily one of these was the one for the camera. Ye gods, it was like the Relief of Mafeking!

Picked Lauren up from nursery, fed her then we watched telly. Her trousers had to be washed because she had sat in some water on the carpet at nursery, she didn’t have an accident! I picked up the other bigger grandchild and fed and watered them both. Luckily they were a bit tired and just sat and watched telly until my daughter came for them.

Oscar seems OK but I still haven’t taken down the tree. I'm going to have a bath and I've switched the lights on again, just one last time! Yes, I know procrastinating again but I hate saying goodbye to Christmas..

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Well I have been busy. Hoping to get the New Year off to a good start and whilst I was recovering from my lurgy I went into action with the knitting needles and crochet hooks.

So what did I do.

Here's the first one a little cream crochet matinee coat. I bought Ellen a set of clothes that this would match with.

I love this pattern, it's one of the first things I ever crocheted. After I left work, when I was pregnant with Neil, way back in 1970 I decided to teach myself to crochet. I bought a crochet pattern book, wool, a couple of hooks, sat down and just did it.

I've made lots of these little coats over the past thirty odd years for various babies and it's a lovely pattern. I love crocheting and it's so much quicker than knitting.

I knitted a little white cardigan for Ellen too but forgot to take a photo of it before I gave it to Neil to take home.

Here's the little poncho I also crocheted for her. Ponchos are so useful, it's much easier to carry babies in these than with a blanket. There are easier than jackets to put on too, no pushing little hands into sleeves, no gaps and they fit nicely around the neck. They fit for a long time too, so she should still be wearing it when she is toddling about.

This is another pattern I've had for over thirty years. I've made it for Claire my daughter and also for Lauren her little girl.

So I've made a good start this year, just hope I can keep up the good work. What made life easier was already having the wool in the house so I didn't have to go mooching about looking for it. Wool is hard to get these days, we don't have any local shops which sell wool.

The other day I had a quick look in at a big Hobbycraft shop on a retail park when I went to the dentist for a check up. I was horrified at the price of the baby wool. If I had bought the wool for that little cream matinee coat it would have cost me £5.00! No wonder people don't knit and crochet much now.