Sunday, 31 August 2008

An appointment with the grindstone

I'm getting a wobbly tum and my thoughts are turning towards apprehension ... so I thought l'd blog it out! The thought of getting back into the groove, gives me palpitations not the virtual kind, real ones! LOL

I have only worked 6 days since 27th July as I take the bulk of my holiday allowance during the summer hols. I want to be home with the kids, they don't necessarily want me home at all, they are 16+ and 14 yrs old. I am probably in the way!

I like to make the most of this time, even though they usually are asleep, hunched over laptops or talking on the phone in their rooms. Just being home with them is the thing for me, of course they don't see it or even get it, it's probably not even on their radar! I've always been home with they go out to scool and there when they come in, untill this last year when I accepted more hours, we now overlap a bit, but they are older, so it's fine all round.

I didn't have my kids until my mid thirties, I lost early in my first pregnancy and then had ten years of fertility problems. We had been together 17 years and I had given up hope but suddenly conceived naturally, twice! So I guess I am a bit too protective and grateful, even scared I will miss something. I am already privately fretting about the empty nest thing, even though my daughter is only starting sixth form this week. I know how fast it all passes and another term is in part another term nearer to a new start for me, for them, for us?

So it's obvious I don't welcome change, but it is the only thing of which we can be sure, so l'm trying so hard to look at this in a 'glass half full' frame of mind.

I am so happy to watch their journeys from my role with a view, it is just tinged with a sadness that I find hard to express, it is so innate.

So tomorrow I return to work at the museum. I also return to Curves after a 6 week break and I shall pick up the healthy eating regime again, as all have lapsed in favour of toast with butter over muesli and fruit, sandwiches over pasta for lunch and practically anything over salad and meat for dinner. My jeans are too tight again.

I must regroup physically as well as mentally to have the stamina to cope with the juggling of house, home, kids, pets, garden and all the added slam dunk! mishaps and problems a mum deals with in the course of her day/week/month!

It is such hard work and I know l'm a much nicer person to live with when I don't have to juggle it all. Much of the juggling is, I have to say what I do to add to the pressure, the little extras and the standards we set ourselves.

In fact I would go as far to say, at the risk of having lots of fraught and vocal messages in my inbox tomorrow; If most of the women who juggle home and work, be it part time or full time, and they were offered the real non-judgemental, no recriminations, guilt free choice to either stay home and be paid a 'carer' like allowance in respect of the value of that role OR go to work and continue with this kind of fraught and yes even marginalised rol e... which do you think the majority would choose to do?

I'm just curious as to whether I am just a, 'very odd middle aged woman in some kind of crisis', or a 'normal middle aged woman in crisis'!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Stroppy, southern strumpets!

I feel so laid back... I'm practically horizontal!

We set off in good time, as Lynn called to collect me, a treat to be driven (and l still wasn't ready). We were chatting so enthusiastically, that 40 minutes later we whizzed past, (in case James reads this, he won't but ...) by that I mean elegantly and sedately drove past the turn off and then 5 miles later turned around. Our 'treatments' were not until the afternoon so we knew it was okay to be fashionably late.

'You were meant to be here for 10am did you get lost?', said the manageress, as we presented ourselves at reception in smiles of expectation at 10:10am! This was not the start we hoped for! Trouble follows Lynn and I around, I think we appear to be a couple of stroppy southern strumpets, to the dour Cumbrians and it usually leads to a confrontation!

Our first treatment had been moved up to 10.30am and the next at 11.30, we later realised to accommodate a residents recent booking for 15.

'Well we did book this in April!' l said, ' and no one has called to confirm or alter anything!' the mangeress turned away unimpressed but still smiling.

When she returned Lynn poured oil on the troubled Bassenthwaite Lake waters by saying, ' I think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot, lets start over!' and tea promptly arrived which we dutifully consumed. With a strong whiff of 'miffed' in the air, we hastily changed into cossies and our fluffy robes.

Two treatments of nearly two hours; a full body polish and a facial with 'eye lift' (nip tuck) later and I was almost asleep, unable to get off the couch for the reeelaaxxed sensations throughout my entire body and atrophied bottom!

My skin feels like a new born's, my face is plumped up and glowing like an uncooked sausage, but looks better than that honest, and is now blemish free with the whites of my eyes shining healthily!
We adjourned to the lounge and a gallon of water, our light luncheon was served, I chose cajun spiced crusted salmon fillet on a ceasar salad (with a big Brit twist obviously), Lynn chose a chicken version, it was Yummy and we chatted and chilled some more.

The down side of our treatments being in the morning was that we had the sole use of the swimming pool, spa pool, steam room and sauna but we didn't want to wash all the creams, potions and lotions off! So we gently steamed and spa'd, refused all the rest and had some alcohol and chat on the terrace, not once dipping into our books and mags. We had a 'high' tea (and that was just the cake stand) and then our last treatment at 5pm was a pedicure. Bliss!

A new Spa is being built next door to the current coach house block and will be open for guinea pigs, sorry paying volunteers to work out the kinks in January '09, these two guinea pigs are pencilled in for the works...

Northern tip of Bassenthwaite Lake

Friday, 29 August 2008

Photo Story Friday - Relax to Order!

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

It's Friday today which means tomorrow is Saturday (duh)
so I am thinking and getting excited about my day out at an old Manor House,
for a


a belated birthday treat to myself
I've never had a spa day and I really cannot wait.

I'm going to be pummeled and prodded,
smoothed and scrubbed
soaked and steamed
filed and painted
and even dined and wined

My girlfirend and I have had this booked for months and so am thinking where we are going in the Lake District, of which we live on the edge.

Outstanding view, overwhelming mountains
abundant streams and lakes
if this doesn't relax or chill me
nothing will...

august 2006. s.wilson
august 2006. s.wilson

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, 28 August 2008

'Wonderful tonight...'

I wanted to share a little of the excitement and joy I experience with my small online business.

I have had a vintage clothing shop online since 2002, after my passion for vintage fashion went into uber-drive!

Sometimes customers send pictures and share their 'story'.

This is the story of Hayley and a stunning mid 1980's Frank Usher gown.

I had the dress in stock for sometime and was about to take it off the site to turn the stock around to keep it fresh.

The dress is a strapless column gown, in an asymmetrical style in contrasting post box red and jet black. A large sash bow to the side of one hip.

However Hayley contacted me from the United States asking about the dress and postage. She was considering it for her Senior Prom. I furnished her with the relevant information, and subsequently posted it to her stateside.

A few months ago my day was pleasantly uplifted by her email and the photographs of her all ready on the night of her school Prom 2008, at The Regency Center, San Francisco

I think you'll agree she looked,


Hayley & Jason

Tuesday, 26 August 2008


... the F-ruits of my labours!

This year is the very first year, since the 'Great Storm' of 1987 that I have had a greenhouse, actually I now have two! In 1987 I slept through the nights storm vaguely aware that my husband went out to see to a banging door. I was unaware that the greenhouse glass was a goner and the now empty door was banging in sorrow at the loss.

When I got up for work the next morning my husband slept fitfully on and I left the house, driving slowly, taking note of the branches and foliage rolling about in the great gusts of the storm's afterglow! I eventually had to turn back as a huge tree was blocking the Ashford road from Canterbury. At home, a pot of tea was brewing in expectation of my imminent return and my husband was amused, ' You went out after last nights storm?' Ummm, so I had slept through blissfully unaware, and obviously someone had not appraised me of the situation!

I digress! One of the upsides of our move from the country into town and bungalow bill land, is that we have inherited two elderly and rather unused greenhouses. I have mentioned them before in previous posts, one is 'my den' and is used to store my art equipment, craft tools and various other bijoux pieces of vintage booty! The other greenhouse has also been a blessing and a sanctuary, I ave sewn and potted, fed and watered, nurtured with voice and touch and life has surprisingly sprung forth to my delight. Whenever I am distressed, angry or in need of solace, I hit my den or the house vert . Rather than hit the gin or chocolate, I take either a painting brush or a pair of secateurs in hand and create some 'art' or attack a helpless bush!

I have had succulent strawberries, sweet caspiums/peppers/three varieties of tomatoes; plum, cherry & beef (only one beef tom survived, the rest fell off, were bruised and then rotted). I have chilli peppers, though no one has tried them as yet so I think I may save them in oil, any tips welcomed! I have rocket and assorted lettuce leaves a plenty, spinach, all gone, I would have to grow an acre to fill a pie, let alone a bowl of curried potato and spinach Yum!! More blackcurrants for jam making. The butternut squash, haricots beans and cucumber plants have yet to do anything other than flower, they've probably had it now.

I'm sure I was misinformed as the flowering cucumber plant looks so much like a sunflower! LOL! Oh the joys of a greenhouse or two!

Don't forget to stop by Mr. Linky at Mrs. Nesbitt's place, to see "F" posts from all around the world. And....we'd all love it if you left comments, or, even better, if you want to join the fun.

Womens' Wisdom

This was sent to me recently by a friend, who obviously knows me pretty damn well!

Women over 50 don't have babies because they would put them down and forget where they left them.

A friend of mine confused her Valium with her birth control pills... she has 14 kids but doesn't really care.

One of life's mysteries is how a 2-pound box of chocolates can make a woman gain 5 lbs.

My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely.

The best way to forget your troubles is to wear tight shoes.

The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends.

Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today.

Sometimes I think I understand everything, and then I regain consciousness.

I gave up jogging for my health when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting fire to my knicker's.

Amazing! You hang something in your closet for a while and it shrinks 2 sizes!

Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like...'You know sometimes I forget to eat!' ......Now I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name and my keys, but I have never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat!

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing and then they marry him.

I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding?

That's my idea of a perfect day!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

What is the value of a book ...

... or a dresser, a table, handbag or a home ?

After reading the authorblog nominated blogger for post of the day by , I was left pondering. I remembered the books that l gave away to a charity when we moved in November, before down sizing from a rambling, good sized but never the less decrepit, farmhouse on a working farm. We moved for ALL the right reasons, the sensible, the practical and in part the motivational ones too!

However, for me there always seems to be a sense of loss when we move, I feel I leave a part of me behind. Of course we have the memories, the photos, but the living in the home where those memories took place is I find rather comforting. To know that some other family is living happily there is no consolation actually. Perhaps I, like many don't like change, but it is perpetual, it happens and that will never change.
My daughter is particularly sentimental about the old farmhouse. She would regularly take herself off into the next field, recently harvested or not, regardless of the season, usually at twilight, ipod in hand, dancing in the meadows, in a world of her own ... safe and secure. I wouldn't have to worry about her safety, though miles from anywhere ... my son would ride the local lanes on his bike, or they would both wander off with the dogs, oblivious to city life and its dangers all but a few miles away.

The barn owls are missed, they nested the 3rd year we were there in the out house, then in an old neglected barn. They stayed unusually for barn owls l'm told, all year, every year and were still there when we left. I worry about their safety. If the barn has been renovated, has their nest been preserved?

Barney our beloved Russell/Terrier died there in July '06, but somehow l know he is here in our new home, because he is in our hearts. It would be wretched to consider otherwise and in fact that the other day when l threw the ball for Pippa, I could have sworn l saw him out of the corner of my eye, l had to look twice and tell myself no...

We downsized to a renovated urban c1970s bungalow, a 10 minute walk to the Museum, the kids school and city centre, a BIG change for us all who until then had commuted back and forth from farmhouse to city, 2-4 times a day, a 30 mile round trip each time!

We now live in a clean, well maintained house, a well looked after and well stocked garden, two greenhouses and we have settled well into our new life and new routines.

However, with nowhere to display, store or hide my vast collection of books (which had been devastated by the move of '96, whereby l gave away or sold 700 of them!) nor my antique & vintage handbag collection, usually displayed in deco glass cabinets and nor my vast selection vintage clothing stocks, which l sell online on my specialist website, another passion! I trimmed no strike that, I halved all but the handbag collection, telling myself it was for the greater good (my family's sanity and comfort).

I couldn't get my head around the collection of and charges at the city auction house, to transport and sell on the larger pieces of brown furniture. Including an adored 1920's dressing table, a '70s welsh dresser and other items that looked great in the old farmhouse, but sadly a bit tatty and incongruous in the modern-ish bungalow. So l gave them away through our local Internet recycling site, which gave me a sense of satifaction, but the niggles are creeping back in again.

With the books l will remember a title that l want to read again or research and I think bugger! that one's a goner!

I know that things aren't important, I know it's considered shallow to get attached to material things but if they are beautiful, what's wrong with wanting to and yes in my case hoard them and keep them close?
Like a much loved dog, they don't answer back or disappoint you, they can't hurt you, or betray or let you down. Maybe it's playing safe ... but there is comfort in these loved and familiar inanimate belongings.

So I'm with and I shall try and moderate my regret and I'll stick with what I like but hoard any replacements in moderation!

My first day of school

Yes I do remember it and another thought provoking question from David Authorblog to stimulate the grey cells!

I was barely four in Sept' 1962 as I was an August baby. (My mother, moannie & MEG , has just written a comment to correct me, I was five!) She handmade me, I remember her sitting stitching it, a grey flannel skirt with straps. My parents made a big fuss of me being so grown up and I was excited but apprehensive too, as there were no nurseries etc to acclimatise us to big school in those days.

I remember walking into this huge brightly lit room, and being asked to sit at a table in the front of the class next to the teachers desk. Everyone else was already in class, l didn't understand why.

The teacher had a wide smile and big teeth, I can see her now. She smelt of cigarette smoke and the thick powder which covered her face. I was always mesmerised by her heavily powdered skin and face. She kept a powder compact and a packet of cigarettes on her desk. I remember the packet had picture of a bearded sailor or stuck through a navy and gold circle, Players l think? She coughed a lot.
I stayed in this teachers' class, whose name for the moment escapes me, as the other kids went up a class I stayed with her, I liked her a lot, she was kind and encouraged me and I soon caught up with my contemporaries. It was my first feeling of inferiority. I remember her very clearly but not so the other pupils. I can only remember their reaction to me when I had caught fleas, from one of them! They called me flea bag forever or so it seemed. On a Friday afternoon we would all squeeze into Mr. Hake's class for story time, my favourite time of the week. I was happy when I left.

We emigrated to Canada in '66 and then moved to Mexico in '67, by the time I returned to the UK system in late '68, I was well behind the others. I soon lost interest and the study ethic and I never really found it until my 40's. I now study with the Open University and I love it!

Friday, 22 August 2008


Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

A recent Sunday morning walk along the miles of Solway Firth coast line en famille and Pippa of course!

By the time l had turned on my camera, father and children were streets or should l say sands ahead of me.....wait for me... no chance..

I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the images, as it was an overcast, dull and breezy morning.

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, 21 August 2008


...well that's what l was feeling like this morning ... all kind of angsty, itchy and all a fluster, like a cat on a hot tin roof, until my daughter called me that is! Why was I so uptight, because l think l knew more than she what it could all mean....

(LOL... well l can dream I actually resembled my profile pic more!)

We were up early, like thousand of families across the land, I helped her blow dry her new hair style, my old hairdressing years coming into good use. I left for work, she for school already looking more than a year older than she did when she broke up from the fifth year, sorry l mean year 10!

At barely 10.30 she texted, l called her and she exclaimed the results, 10 gcse's, with A*'s, A's, B's, C's and D's to make it a royal flush! Better than she feared, more than she hoped, considering the window of despair in the spring, I'm very pleased for her.

Well done my girl!! Now breathe... and enjoy the new year, the new opportunities and be measured. The world is yours ....

There is something very pure about feeling so much happiness and pleasure for her achievement and for the hopes for her future.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery

Maximum Meaning, Minimum Means

I'm a lucky girl, if only l realised it more ...

I work part time in a Museum & Art Gallery, even better l get paid for the pleasure of looking after the Art, the installations, the artifacts , the costumes and of course our visitors.

Today l spent some time in the Art Gallery, which usually houses contemporary art and it changes E-xhibitions every 6-12 weeks.

We are currently E-xhibiting in this gallery, a retrospective of 'Abram Games'

... and it is fantastic, the images one sees and it all fit into place... I often am involved as part of the team that installs and takes down our new exhibitions, but I wasn't involved with the hang on this E-xhibition as my hand is still recovering from surgery, but it worth the disappointment of missing the excitement of the installation. To be able to walk around these marvellous and so clever images an to hear his story.

Many of the most iconic images of mid-20th century Britain were the work of Abram Games (1914-1996), who was the country’s Official War Poster Designer during World War II and who created the emblem for the 1951 Festival of Britain.

For many Britons in the 1950s, Games’ image of Britannia festooned with red, white and blue bunting was as – if not more – evocative of the Festival of Britain and its ‘can do’ spirit than any of the marvels of post-war British manufacturing in the festival pavilion itself.

By applying his personal philosophy of ‘maximum meaning, minimum means’ to posters, stamps and advertising campaigns, Games devised an extraordinary collection of distinctive and compelling graphic images.

Drawn from his family archive, this retrospective exhibition traces Abram Games’ career from winning the London County Council poster competition just a few years after leaving art school, to the enduring images he created for clients like Guinness, British European Airways, London Transport, Shell and the BBC.

BBC logo

The exhibition includes finished posters alongside original preparatory sketches, films and inventions – including the Cona coffee maker and a portable paper copier.

(I've had two of these and sold them on!! Arghhh...!!)
Abram Games: Maximum Meaning, Minimum Means is a national touring exhibition, originally organised by the Design Museum and toured by the Estate of Abram Games, made possible by a grant from The Wellcome Trust.

Abram Games: Maximum Meaning, Minimum Means

19 July – 14 September 2008

Admission Free

Don't forget to stop by Mr. Linky at Mrs. Nesbitt's place, to see "E" posts from all around the world. And....we'd all love it if you left comments, or, even better, if you want to join the fun.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Go Grannie Annie Go! A bit of a tribute actually...

I was reading David McMahon's Authorblog recent post about the oldest 'facebook' member of 100+ and it set me to thinking about my own good mother. It dawned on me that one apparently forgets what is on our own doorstep so to speak, strange isn't it?

My mother, who at 74 has recently graduated with a BA Hons in Humanties from the Open University, after several years of hard work, returning to study (quite successfully) after nearly 60 odd years. She has also 'mastered' a pc and the internet, even though l do use the term mastered loosely! Even so, she emails, scans and sends pics, and has been chatting on a web cam to her grandchildren, which can only be good thing (as we live 400 miles away).

She is a very good painter, who whilst we kids were growing up, she prolifically painted anything that moved and anything that didn't. I remember many of the paintings she did for my grandmother, who was house and wheelchair bound through severe MS. The paintings were of landscapes, family, sunsets, Amazonian Indians, Thai boats and much more from the pages of National Geographic. My Nana could no longer walk or move her arms but she could, from her room travel the world (and boy did that lovely lady have a story or ten to tell, I will blog about her dancing days here one day soon!)

Of course we were all painted often, from life and photos and I also recall Mum would receive much praise from her sand sculptures when we holidayed on the beach, she would spend hours carving mermaids and shapes from the hot sand, only to watch them wash away in moments at sunset.

She has just recently finished writing 'A Family History' which she has compiled over the past few years, following the end of her degree studies, and it is enhanced with rediscovered photographs. She is having it printed up for us for us for Christmas! I have read the drafts and I have been amazed by the adventures of my parents and their forebears' histories.

She wrote a book for us when we were younger, entitled 'Dilly', she wrote it in rhyme and she illustrated each verse on its own page. This one book became three and she later produced versions for my Dad, my siblings and last Christmas I received my very own Dilly! These are personalised stories based around events in each of our lives! What a loving gift to treasure!

An illustration from my Dilly book!

Some 30+ years ago these Dilly books were considered too expensive by childrens publishers to produce in all their colours and were probably considered too clever or sophisticated! Her historical romance novels were praised but rejected, although one agent told her it was almost publishable and needed another edit. But I believe the rejections and the trials and tribulations of juggling a young family and running their own business' wrought upon her to miss her moment.

I recently told my mother l thought she should have another go at getting them published or that l would try for her. So in the short term we compromised and we have put the first chapter of 'MEG:Book one' online on her own blog.

When l recently reread the manuscripts, they was so much more than I remembered, perhaps it has something to do we me being 35 years older and bringing more contextually to the book!

I would be grateful if you would pop by sometime and read it, I may be able to persuade her to post another chapter or even pursue the adventure of trying to get it read again. If she gets some positive feedback. I also think that Dilly deserves to be read by children, it is magical!

Of course l know I am biased, but missed moments appear more than once and I believe she deserves hers! My mother is currently editing one of her manuscripts. She doesn't yet know l have posted this, no doubt an email will be waiting for me in the morning!!

Thanks and any comments or advice will be much appreciated!!

Read My mothers views on her blog THE VIEW FROM THIS END

Saturday, 16 August 2008

WHAT THE F*** well a bit of a rant actually

Bloody, BLOODY, sodding football .... l just don't get it or appreciate it!

I've been at work all day, I come home and the tele is on with football, Im uncomfortable in 'my' own living room, out numbered and out voted as the kids and their Dad are watching it.

Apparently, 'the season started today Mum!'' Whoopy effing do!!

It used to be on all day Saturday and Sunday, then Saturday night too and then Sunday night too and NOW they've started kickoff at 5.30pm...

again apparently, 'its been like this for three years Mum!' Hummphh ... again whoopy effing do!!

For those of you that think it isn't a man's world, guess what I DISAGREE this IS a man's world, in my house anyway!

I don't see Gok's Fashion Fix or Trinny and Suse on the tele when I get home at prime time or er Oprah or even Opera!

Am l being sexist, or shallow? l think a bit ... okay so something more general or generic or I was going to say bi-sexual but I mean no sexual, what do I mean ? I think I mean sort of Family viewing, what happened to all those family friendly progs ... I suppose X factor and Big Bro reality progs is the variety type show of now, ouch!

And l know that women like footie too ... but those of us that don't surely cannot be the minority! My lot even subscribe to the specialised footie channels so there is always something sporty or aeronautical or masculine on! I'm out numbered and out voted so I should accept it and move on!

AND I'm not making sense because l'm peed off and I wish l was back at work, at least l have some control there! Maybe!

So what did l do, move on ? ... no I moved on out! I stormed out into my Den/ Greenhouse#1 ...

and then into greenhouse (the real one) #2 and took hold of the secataurs and attacked the wisteria and fuschia bushes....

Sigh.....sorry l'm making no sense at all... I did warn you ok rant over!!

... now that feels better...a cup of tea ... a book ... silence ... before the rain comes ...

Here's my little corner of the world!!

Friday, 15 August 2008


(ooppss... l just realised l had called this photoshop friday, l havent tinkered with the pics honest!)
Holiday pics that l have kept for today!

Allum Bay from a boat,

amazing pre jurassic water bed,

now sand layers,

turned on side creating several colours of sand!!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Amazing 60 ft Oak trees!!

Breakfast with a View!

Isle of Wight August 2008

Photographs S. Wilson

Mr Linky

just dropped by... visit Mum's blog and to say Hi to a few friends... I hope you know, you are all never very far from my thoughts. Many of whom I...