Sunday, 30 October 2011

Psycho-delic Furs

The charity shops called yesterday. If I had the funds, and a shopping trolley to bring it all home, I would have pretty much emptied the Wales Air Ambulance and St David's Hospice shops.
There really is an improvement in stock once the boot sale season ends.

I bought three hats in the ambulance shop, some pretty material, a skirt, vintage napkins, a pyrex casserole dish (with lid!), a merino wool jumper and some picture frames. Sum total £15.75. "I'll put the hats on ebay" I thought.

In the hospice shop, I found myself wondering if some of the customers thought it was an actual hospice.Two wheelchair users, a man and woman, and their respective partners, cut a sorry sight. The shop manageress greeted the older couple with a welcoming familiarity. They were after a blanket for the lady in the wheelchair, to keep her legs warm. A pile of beautifully crocheted blankets sat on a table, knitted in subdued, tasteful and gradually merging  tonal shades.

The lady, who looked at least 65 said "I  don' wan' one-a them, they for grannys, in't they? I'll look like I belong in a nursing home!".
I  thought about the current resurgence in popularity these blankets are having, and how they'd fetch a pretty penny on some 'hip' city stall,  thirty-somethings snapping them up to dress their sofa.  £3 for one the size of a single quilt, £4 for a double. Very reasonable.
They left with nothing.

The second couple looked malnourished and really pathetic, they were wearing those strange padded hoodies, with mystical transfers on the back of wolves and wizards, don't know if you've been lucky enough to see these garments on show?
The manageress spoke to them in an over-familiar, prying way. I know her, I worked with her daughter a few years ago, she tested my patience, which is in pretty high supply.

Before shop she was the manageress at Mc Donalds, and raised a lot of money for charity. She has one of those union representative type personalities.

"What happened to you then, why are you in a wheelchair? It's like wheelchair club today".
Great way to break the ice.
"I'm diabetic love, feet don't work at the moment, hahahaha"
"Terrible thing, diabetes, my nan had her leg off with it". Great retort

They went on to discuss infections, hospitals, rubbish wheelchairs...
I kept getting drawn towards a  beaver lamb fur coat, which smelt of badgers, not that I'm familiar with the scent.
As I tried on the coat, transforming myself into the type of lady who gets 'taken out', I eavesdropped further on the conversation. I wish I hadn't.

"Infections - they can be very nasty. I had a terrible internal itch in my bowels awful, it was. Antibiotics didn't work, and you can't exactly scratch your bowels can you? They had  to open me up. I still wasn't better. The smell was horrendous, let me tell you, I made myself feel sick, so lord knows how my family coped. I got in the bath one day, the water was brown in minutes, it was." My partner used to sponge me down, but he began retch".

She glanced over, and changed the subject.
 "That coat looks stunning, doesn't it? Real beaver, it is 1930's" (sheepskin, possibly early 1960's).
The couple agreed it looked nice, and seemed  to accept wearing a 1930's beaver was perfectly acceptable. Caught up in my little fantasy, I bought it, £10, way over my usual spend allowance.

As I paid, I decided to show her my hat collection, "ooh, what a bargain, REAL mink!"
I looked again. It was real.
Oh dear, how many dead animals was I willing to take home? I really hadn't thought about it.

You can't really argue that "it's already been killed, so it's ok - second hand" can you?
It's still glamorising fur. Is it ok if you're a meat eater and the fur is a by-product of the food chain?

I won't be wearing the mink hat, that's for sure. The smelly coat? What do you think?

As for bowel stories, as much as I love toilet humour, the brown bath tale even had me feeling a bit sick.

ready for bed in tartan p.j's and beaver

Ebay? Keep?

Ebay? Or pet sematary?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Good Life

I'm just getting over a virus, many are calling it 'flu, but this is an exaggeration. I've felt generally like I've got the worst hangover, all my energy stolen, limbs feel useless, heavy and bruised.
The worst thing? Bloody ravenous, all the time, despite not being able to taste anything (definitely not 'flu then).

Enough symptom talk, very boring, and I spend most of autumn/winter poorly every year so it's nothing new.

The past few weeks, very limited use of a PC means relying heavily on my phone to keep up with blogs - not easy unless you have a really snazzy phone (which I don't).
Sorry if my comments have been poorly typed, or if I haven't got around to commenting and I usually do.

It's been such a lonely fortnight for me, thank goodness for blogs, and twitter, which I'm warming to more after being unsure about if for most of the time.

I haven't been in a very communicative mood, generally, probably due to being run down. I did want to be around people, but only people who don't feel the need to fill the air with dialogue, close friends in other words. This period of near solitude has been good for me, provided a chance to think about the future.

I walked past a hair salon the other day, I have been walking past it on my way to town since I was three. It's called Pandora, and two ladies in their sixties run it, one of their mothers owned it before them.
Only old ladies go there now, but they probably went there when they were my age. They go in and have their hair 'set'. As the frail looking ladies sit, their head under the heaters, they look like corpses being warmed up. Invariably, they leave the salon looking only marginally different from when they went in.

I very suddenly became aware of the lapse of time, it was strange, I felt a sad longing,  all vulnerable and under pressure.
When you don't work, you see the same types of people; other mums, the unemployable, and the elderly. These elderly ladies getting out of taxis every Wednesday to wobble into Pandora were me, not so very long ago.When I walked past aged 3, who knows, maybe one of them was in there having a perm, sipping weak tea, enjoying a bit of peace. Corned beef hash planned for dinner, a night out lined up at one of the now long-gone bars or clubs that weekend.

Like many people, I get scared when I think about the future, excited and scared in equal measure. I think of death, illness, one or all of my sons becoming tearaway, of me being fed up as I juggle work and family commitments.
I also think of having more fun, being less tied to the family, meeting new people at work, getting out and about more.
I think of the past, those days which leave a lasting impression on your mind despite nothing notable happening (like standing in the lane, aged 8, looking at an open attic window on a hot day and feeling like I was looking at myself from another vantage point. Duran Duran were blasting from the bedroom).

I reckon Pandora will be gone soon, those ladies have been standing up all day in stilletos for over 40 years. I bet  they'll never be able to wear orthopaedic shoes now.

I'm reaching a prime, not necessarily a prime age; a prime time. I don't want a perm, don't want a full-time job, don't want a tattoo, don't want a degree. I don't want to go to a show. I don't want a girls weekend in Butlins.

I want to get fit, dress more like 'me' than some blend-in with the furniture mum. I want to make things, make friends, cook more, talk more (I don't talk much, believe it or not) and create memories to look back on for notable reasons. I can't wait

I hope these thoughts make sense, I sometimes wonder if a diary would be better than a blog?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Fairtrade bananas, a vicar and a poem...

We've been treated to some of the most beautiful autumn skies I have ever seen, day and night.
As I ran with my eyes fixed on the enchanting moon, I  barely missed lamp posts, confused new students finding their way around Treforest (home of the University of Glamorgan) and dog-walkers.

Last Thursday I spent an hour at church, listening to cringe-worthy harvest songs sung by children innocently and naively thanking God for conkers, bananas and parents. The vicar was a rather bemusing character, ultra-camp, I think panto was his true calling. 

I pulled a chair to sit near two mums and chat before the service began, I didn't have much to say, but they invited me and I had been feeling rather 'Billy no mates' sitting alone at the end of a row of 20 empty chairs. The vicar insisted I was a fire hazard and made me return to my original seat, with a worse vantage point - I was destined to sit alone.

I'm glad I did sit alone, it was easier to stifle the tidal wade of childish giggles that were ready to flood the church. The vicar  put on a bizarre display using a banana as a prop. The banana became a gun and a mobile phone, "what did you say mummy? Stop playing with my food?"
I was too shocked to react and didn't dare imagine further uses for the phallic prop (really, I didn't).

I looked around the church; stained glass windows all around ensure you don't look out to the sky and the world, a large organ, fire extinguishers everywhere, a giant projector and screen - everything was at odds. Even the churchy feeling I usually get, a sort of  general heightening of my senses, eluded me.
The songs were beautiful in their celebration of nature, but for me, this was spoilt by the suggestion god had carefully and cleverly designed it all.

The vicar showed us a clip promoting the  fairtrade scheme - great,  I love a fairtrade banana and bar of chocolate.
 I wished I could think only about the happy farmers, but I thought of the child labour, the starving AIDS-ravaged families, the helplessness.  I almost envied the vicar's faith as I looked at the plump, comfortably clothed school children who have more pencils in one drawer than a whole village in parts of Africa, a sense of intense guilt washed over me because I am always moaning about the price of food.

Babies and toddlers became restless, I started to focus on the vicar's sharp intakes of breath before each sentence, anything to detract from the tedium - my concentration span is incredibly poor.
Light flooded in through the red robe of whichever saint adorned the east facing window, occasionally painting the vicar's face a devil-red.
A pile of tinned food for the local hungry people looked sterile and inappropriate in a church, I felt it should look like an offering to the gods, all laid out with doilies, candles and incense sticks.
I mouthed the words to All Things bright and Beautiful,  instantly being transported back to primary school, the smell of the woodblock floor, damp walls and rancid farts.
The teachers looked at their watches, probably planning their coffee breaks and willing the vicar to wrap up the service, the pupils started to shuffle and giggle. Carrier bags started to rustle, I wonder when carrier bags will be something we remember from years ago, like fags being smoked on a bus.

The vicar allowed the headmaster to take centre stage, he too thinks he's a funny guy, he read a Roger Mc Gough poem and grinned as if he was hearing it for the first time.

The vicar thanks us for coming, the church quickly empties.
As I was about to leave he came over to apologise for embarrassing me regarding the fire-hazard saga. I tell him he made up for that with his banana routine.
The vicar tells me the children love his banana routine, I can hold on to the tidal wave of guffaws no more.

Just Another Autumn Day - Roger McGough

In Parliament, the Minister for Mists
and Mellow Fruitfulness announces,
that owing to inflation and rising costs
there will be no Autumn next year.
September, October and November
are to be cancelled,
and the Government to bring in
the nine-month year instead.
Thus we will all live longer.

Emergency measures are to be introduced
to combat outbreaks of well-being
and feelings of elation inspired by the season.
Breathtaking sunsets will be restricted
to alternate Fridays, and gentle dusks
prohibited. Fallen leaves will be outlawed,
and persons found in possession of conkers,
imprisoned without trial.
Thus we will all work harder.

The announcement caused little reaction.
People either way don't really care
No time have they to stand and stare
Looking for work or slaving away
Just another Autumn day.

Roger McGough

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful [IMAGE HEAVY]

There are so many reasons to be cheerful.

I won TWO 'giveaways' -

Firstly, a garment that has been on quite a journey (returned to sender once, and from the depot to my house THREE times!)  fitting, really, as it features a large feathered bird:

I won this on Kat and Emma's monthly  giveaway and I love it.  They are such a creative duo, true artists with a passion for embracing all things unique, quirky and fun.
This cardigan caused quite a stir at the doctors last week! Children wanted to touch it.

Secondly, I won Scarlett's latest giveaway, and I had some help opening the parcel:

Suits you, sir

they insisted I paint my nails IMMEDIATELY!

can I eat it, mum?

they love these Enid Blyton tales

I plan on using the buttons for crafting, and framing the tea-towel - my kitchen needs to be brightened up -


As if this wasn't enough to keep my spirits up, in between these parcels, the queen of treasure-hunting, style and generosity, Vix sent me a parcel of goodies. 
Just by reading past blog posts, detective Vix managed to glean enough information to choose items I simply adore.

Even down to the card, Vix picked out just the right detail.

Lovely earrings, poncho created by Vix in my favourite shades with shades in my favourite shade too! Bracelet I've hardly taken off, pinny just perfect for my pizza nights, cute blue slip which cheered Rob up a treat (winceyette p.j's not so popular).
Even the card was thoughtful - I mentioned wanting a dresser full of treasured finds in a past post.

I also one a parcel full of chocolate on Crystal Jigsaw's caption competition post! 

And, a 1980 edition 'Mandy' annual I picked up for 10p has provided some double-entendre delight:

"Sorry for choking like that mum, I just wasn't ready for 'Big Ben'"
"We'll get used to it in the evenings dear"

Whilst I'm going a bit crazy with the images, here I am wearing my most recent charity shop finds:

Coat - Eastex -  Red Cross- £5.99
Black dress - St Michaels - Wales Air Ambulance - £3
Black Heeled Brogues - my mum's original
Scarf -Richard Allan - Wales Air Ambulance -  50p
Orange Cardi -  Hand-knitted - St David's Hospice - £1
Patterned tights - 'new' from charity shop (can't remember) - 50p
Patterned skirt - St Michaels - (I wouldn't go out dressed like that - honest!) - Wales Air Ambulance £1.50

I ended this evening with a book that was written for me,  cheers Vix.

Scarlett, Kat and Emma - your prizes made me so happy! Thank-you very much.

Kathryn (Crystal Jigsaw) I'm going to have to run an extra mile a day at least to work off the damage done by the giant chocolate parcel you sent me! Thanks though - loved it (yep, all gone!).

I'll leave you with something I managed to avoid taking home from the charity shop....

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Six ninety-nine please

Everyone was walking past the house to go to the shop for wine or beer. I bought some wine too. I wanted to be transported somewhere exciting, maybe £6.99 being removed electronically from my  bank  account for a bottle of rotten liquified  grapes was the key.

I was swept along with the tide of seemingly happy people on twitter, they love drinking wine on Friday.

I'm on my second big glass, watching The Comic Strip. I'm not finding it very entertaining. Rob has drifted into one of those naps which start with jerky spasms, a hangover of evolution; stopped us falling from trees when were apes.

I have no computer, this week I have been solely using my phone for electronic communication. Frustrating for a ham-fisted individual like me.

To be using my phone to type a blog post suggests desperation.

Overdrawn, overtired, overstimulated, understimulated, groundhog day, content, fear of the future, longing for adventure, longing for hibernation, want to dance, want to sit motionless in 10 decibel silence, laughing uncontrollably with friends, serious chat with friend,.want to be thin, want to be curvy, want to dye my hair, love the natural colour, need new footwear, washed the dog shit off my running shoes; they look box-fresh, want my sons to be more independent, still want to be the centre of their world, want more free time, worry free time means I spend that valuable time doing things like this...

Typos, grammatical errors, inevitable tonight - sorry readers.

Monday, 3 October 2011

I was looking for a job....

I'm so annoyed with myself. I've allowed the house to become something which resembles student digs.

I haven't been plucking  my eyebrows regularly enough, so now I look like Oscar from Sesame Street (that reminds me - I used to look after a girl called Oscarina who had 'Sesamstrasse' trainers - I loved them).

I have been eating bread, chocolate and crisps most days. I'm not particularly enjoying my own company, I'm constantly telling myself to 'pull myself together' and clean the house. In my defence, the weather has been too nice to stay in tidying up and cleaning. Then again, not doing any chores for 2 weeks is inexcusable.

I completed an on-line 'talent screening' contest for a cashier post Marks and Spencer - the algorithms deduced something I already knew:

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for taking the time to complete our on-line talent screener.

We received a very high standard of response for this position and we are sorry to tell you that you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.

The abilities that we test online are those which we believe are good predictors of success in Marks and Spencer and have been validated to ensure they predict performance in the role.  Unfortunately we felt that based on the answers given, you did not meet all of these requirements.

We would of course welcome your application again in 6 months time for a Customer Assistant role, all of which are advertised on our website

May we take this opportunity to wish you every success with your future career and hope that you will not be discouraged from applying for any future vacancies.

Kind Regards,

Resourcing Operations Team

I'm not what they are looking for!

I'm not what anyone is 'looking for' I'm unique - you don't realise you're looking for me 'til you find me - then you wonder how ON EARTH you got through life this far without me. If you just give me the chance Resourcing Operations Team, I'll prove I can do this. I was BORN to serve customers. Retail is in my blood. All my friends and family tell me I'm a brilliant till operator.  I'll prove you wrong*.

Anyway, I'm not really a massive drama queen having a sulk, honest. I'm mildly fed up because I go through periods of restlessness and boredom quite regularly, and I only have myself to blame. I have hobbies, but I also have 3 children and an almost obsessional addiction to cooking fresh meals every day - so time consuming, no dishwasher either. Woe is me.

At least the keywords this week in my traffic stats were amusing:


* I am fully aware that working in retail is not easy. I have previously worked in a clothes shop and I was awful. I walked out on a busy Saturday I hated it that much. The animated cartoon interviewer saw through my usual impeccable impression of an ideal employee.  BITCH!

p.s I think you should all check out this post by Genius Loci for a visually stimulating treat.