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“Mum do you think…?”

Mum thinks. 

She thinks plenty.

In fact when mum hears the question “Mum do you think…?” forming, she is thinking a mile a minute and wondering what is coming next!

I am getting cute in my old age… almost two years ago The question was completed and I agreed to have a go and see what I could do.

John Button pink t-shirt

John Button pink t-shirt

Now a little explanation might help:

The pink shirt was a tribute shirt for John Button, Jenson Button’s father. Jenson races in F1. John always wore pink shirts to his son’s races, and they were usually open at the collar and showing some of his chest.

John died unexpectedly in Jan 2014. As a tribute to him, and to raise money for charity, pink t-shirts were made in his honour and sold at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone in July.

Elly and George were watching the Grand Prix, saw the shirts and immediately George knew she wanted one. It had nothing to do with her jumping up and down in front of the TV singing “I want, I want, I want!”

Time passed.

George was invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed that year by his brother and father. The shirts were on sale and my darling son in love knew he had to buy one for Elly. Then came the difficult part: Guess the size, and we all know that is not an easy task for any man.

Typically, it was a man’s t-shirt, so while it fitted Elly around the bust, it was huge below that. I had shortened tops for Elly in the past to make them suit better on her frame, so that was why the question was asked to do it again.

When I saw the shape of the shirt with the close high neck, I knew it was not Elly. She NEVER wanted anything tight around her neck. I also wanted to be a little more daring, and follow  along the line of the open neck. So the shirt came home with me to be worked on at my leisure.

More time passed.

I was thinking and planning…

If I was to follow the line of the open shirt design, I would need to find a lining fabric. Lo and behold I was out one day, not quite where the tulips grow, but in a shop with t/shirts on display and for sale in exactly the colour tone I needed. It was also a lighter fabric so ideal for use as lining. The plain back of the t-shirt was sufficient for my needs.

J'adore t-shirt

J’adore t-shirt

Over time I plotted and schemed my way. The sleeves were way too wide, so I would have to take them in and adjust the side seams to suit Elly and finally take a chunk off the bottom. So we had a live modelling session with the shirt inside out. I pinned and marked and Elly managed to struggle out of the garment with any stabbing by pins.

More time passed.

I like good natural light for working in, but the weather gods, took a very long time to open the heavy grey curtains and allow that yellow ball in the sky to shine through.

All the while I was thinking and planning. Then the stars sun was in my favour and I let loose with the scissors. There was no turning back. 

Work in progress

Work in progress

 

I worked so far but needed a second ‘inside out’ fitting to make sure the new front lining was sitting comfortably and smoothly before I continued with the final hand sewing. So the project was set aside until I went to Dublin in July this year. 

The fitting took place and while Elly was busy earning an honest crust, I set to hand sewing and finishing the task in hand. Not quite in hand… I needed the fabric stretched, and since the live model was not available, I used a pillow!

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By the time Elly came home, the work was done and she donned the finished garment and smiled happily.

Happy Elly

Happy Elly

Time to resume my blogging

It seems like years since I was blogging on a regular basis. It has been months since my last confession blog post (8th July 2016).

In the interim… life has been busy, fun, and family filled.

I/we are fortunate that our sibling circle is still intact.

We may be hovering on the upper shelf, but we are blessed that our families are now increased by two generations! For my part, I have one daughter, a son-in-love, seven nieces, three nephews with a younger generation of nine and counting! We are indeed blessed.

The highlight of our month of sharing in July was a gathering in the house where we were born and the garden where we were reared, still the home of our youngest sibling: my sister. Special thanks must go to her for allowing an invasion of over thirty wonderful, talented & colourful characters. We each contributed by providing the food, booze and soft drinks for the day, from the oldest to the youngest grand niece, who stirred and tasted the chocolate for the making of Krispie buns! The boys were not left out: Sean’s guacamole was a great hit with everyone and now world famous!

The little people were a happy bunch, playing and chatting while showing their talents using coloured chalks on the pathways. It allowed the grown-ups to natter and banter at will. Plenty of space to wander and catch up with folk we have not connected with for a few years and too meet some new additions to the circle.

The gathering in our old family home and garden was so much better and more relaxed than if it were held in an hotel. We ‘six’ were back in our childhood…days when the sun was always shining! We did have a day of glorious sunshine despite a spell of much cooler and wet weather in the weeks leading up to the special day.

The singing from all six of us in a group or as individuals provided great amusement for the younger generations, some of the ‘littl’uns’ stood open mouthed as they saw their elders in a totally new light. Each song had a story, or a memory of a previous generation now long gone, who on dark winter evenings (pre-television or central heating), found entertainment sitting around a turf fire and raising the rafters with song, laughter and cups of tea! Days when we sang our way through the thirty two counties of Ireland and each song had a verse for every county. These were intermingled with songs from Musical shows… we grew up knowing them all.

A time of memory making that will stay with us all our days.

)*()*()*(

By contrast, for me the last month and a half was dull, frustrating and painful. Things are improving. My taste, interest and appetite for food  and cooking have returned, though the painful problem has not yet been resolved. I no longer feel the need to sleep the days away, though a good uninterrupted night’s sleep would be welcome!

With no energy for gallivanting, visitors, house chores or blogging, I distracted myself with some sewing and crochet.

Over the next few weeks I hope to share some of the projects I completed and of course I have not yet shared properly my wonderful week in London and the bloggers I finally met in person even though we have been friends for years in Blogland.

I did find a little energy along the way for a spell of one-to-one crochet tutoring with a very attentive student!!

Buffy learing to crochet

Buffy learing to crochet

 

 

Food Monday ~I am partial to a Swede.

No.

This time I am not talking about you Anders, I am in the mood for food.

Deep in concentration on my crochet the other week at Parlour Yarns… I realised the conversation had turned, as it often does, to food. Suggestions for dinner were asked for or shared. I cocked my ear to listen more intently.

They were talking Turnips of the Swedish variety. It is often known as yellow turnip, Russian turnip, or in America, rutabaga. In Scotland it is known as ‘neeps’.

I never knew it was a member of the cabbage family.

My only problem is cutting off the root, then peeling, and cutting the tough flesh into chunks.

It appeared on our table regularly while growing up, always boiled in chunks.

Jack liked it boiled with the potatoes and mashed – I now use it this way for the roof of my Shepherd’s pie with a little sprinkling of crushed crisps to finish it off.

Back to the Parlour…

Ray had the floor and was describing a simple way to produce wonderful golden yellow flesh without any peeling or chopping!

“No need to wash or peel it”. She intoned. “Bung it in the microwave and cook it for 20-25 minutes and there you have it!” 

When the laughter stopped someone asked how you knew if it was cooked?

Never stuck for an answer Ray said:

 “Stick a knitting needle in it!”

Jennifer, agreed that it worked well and I don’t think she had the sale of more needles in mind. 😉

Well, you know what is coming… I had to give it a try. I pulled out the swede/turnip from my Vegetable box.

Raw Turnip

Raw Turnip

I weighed it 900 grs. Placed it on a plate with a layer of kitchen paper over the top, set it in the Microwave ( mine is an E 1000W) on High power for ten minutes… I did not want any explosions. I tested it with a metal skewer at that stage and decide it did need more time. Two sessions of five minutes later (Ray was right!) I lifted it out onto the counter and let it sit a minute. There was a bread knife on the counter and I lifted it and cut the turnip in two as easily as a loaf of bread.

Microwaved turnip halved

Microwaved turnip halved

The flesh was soft but not soggy. I spooned it out onto the plate and it mashed easily with a fork.

scooped out turnip flesh

scooped out turnip flesh

There was more than one helping for me so I bagged the remainder and froze it. I had it yesterday with dinner and it was perfect.

I’ll do it this way in future, No struggling to peel or chop the raw turnip and the cooked shell of skin is as soft as a coarse baked potato skin.

A bad mistake

I didn’t make the call!

In my recent posts, I mentioned somewhere that I live in a small estate (20 Bungalows). A quiet estate that I have called home for almost 39 years. I quickly learned the names of all the residents, those who spoke to me, those who tolerated me and those who chose to ignore me.

It would have been considered a ‘proddy’ town thirty nine years ago, and everyone seemed to be related. At the height of the troubles, having a strong southern brogue was worse than a dose of the plague. Anyone with a southern accent was considered to be Roman Catholic and a member of the IRA.

Jack had lived here since the houses were built forty six years ago and I joined him in a ready made home, seven years later. We were blissfully happy. I remember saying to him a few times, that it was a good job I loved him so much, because had I not done so, I would be gone long ago. Not because of anything he did, but because of the way some people including neighbours, had treated me. The strange thing was that the people who treated me badly, were not behind the door when they wanted help or to make use of my skills!

That is all past now and As of today, our house is the only one with the original family name. I am now the longest resident. Not the oldest, but the longest.

There was one man who never spoke to me in all the thirty nine years. He would speak to Jack and totally ignore me, I was invisible to him. He was a peculiar character, had very gifted hands for woodwork, he made ladders, tables and bird boxes. He regularly had arguments with his neighbours and at times was rather a recluse.

This man lived around the corner from me, directly opposite my friend who had her hip replaced. In her absence I called to her house each day to move the post, leave back freshly washed clothes collect other items she required etc. All the while I noticed the blinds on the windows opposite were never opened. No sight of the man who lived there.

I asked my friend when I visited her when she last saw him. She could not remember.

“He is often in there and does not open the blinds or appear for days at a time”. She said. I let it go.

A week later I mentioned it to two different neighbours who lived closer than I did. Neither had seen him for some time. I should have phoned the PSNI (Police Service for Northern Ireland) at that point, but because he chose to have nothing to do with me. I let it go.

If he was there and knew I had called the police there would be hell to pay for interfering. I let it go.

My questions must have disturbed the people I shared my concerns with. They asked others and the answers were all the same.

Today two male neighbours tried ringing the bell and knocking on the door. No reply. They went around to the back of the house but there was no sign of him. They finally phoned the PSNI.

The PSNI had to break down the door to gain entry.

He was lying dead in the living room. There was a bundle of untouched mail lying in the hallway. As yet, I have no idea how long he has been lying there.

In today’s world, we are inclined to live in our own bubble of busyness and not give time to check on the frail elderly, particularly those living alone.

Perhaps…

Perhaps we should all adopt an elderly person to check up on… particularly in the cold weather.

None of us are getting any younger, and it would be nice to think that someone would check up on us when we are frail old and cold!

A monkey-wrench

In reply to my comment:

I am trying to break my self-imposed boundries and finally set some words on the page of my own blog… hopefully inspiration will flow over the next few days.’

Col suggested: ‘Usually a combination of oil and a monkey-wrench will untighten jammed outlets. :)

Well let me see…………….

I found the the oil, the monkey-wrench AND some inspiration.

Tools for inspiration!

Tools for inspiration!

It will have to wait until tomorrow, I have some dusting to do!

Where did I put my duster

Where did I put my duster

UPDATE: I have broken my silence, changed the header and fixed my contact page!

Missing in action?

 

Not me!

I am doing fine. I have been so fortunate, I never expected such a speedy result.

The bubble has cleared from my eye and I can see! I am still fiddling with eye drops four times a day which cause the pupil to remain dilated, thus my self imposed lack of online activity.

Crocheting proved to be easier on my eyes in the past few weeks and I am almost finished a cardigan/jacket… only about twenty more rows to go. Typical me, I see the cardigan in my head – no paper pattern, but it seems to be working out.

I am driving again and getting out when I can.

I hope to resume more regular blogging after I see the Consultant on Tuesday next, 22nd September.

Life is good… even if the evenings are drawing in and the mornings are cooler…. But that had other benefits:-

Drawing the curtains and cosying up to the fire!

No Trains

But plenty of boats and planes!

I was up early, traffic divertions made my outward car journey three miles longer than the final lap home.

I parked my car and headed for my first bus of the day.

On way to catch the bus_10.40

On way to catch the bus_10.40

The sky was the colour of my jumper and that plane was heading for Belfast International Airport. There were plenty of people waiting for the bus and another joined our throng within a few minutes. We knew each other since Elly started school ‘cough’ number of years ago. He followed me onto the bus and sat together talking our way to Belfast.

Royal Avenue Sky

Royal Avenue Sky

The sun was still high above when I got to Royal Avenue, Belfast.

A cup of coffee later and I was ready to head round the corner to catch the FREE Event Bus at Wellington Place  for the short journey to Pollock Dock. This service ran every five minutes, in my case to Pollock Dock. There were three other Park & Ride points: Boucher Road, Airport Road West and the New, (yet unfinished but open for the four days) Ballymartin at junction 5 of the M2. I could have walked from town but decided to save my energy for the event itself. The ships were spread between Pollock &York Docks, Donegall, Albert and Queen’s Quays and Albert Basin. Another Event bus too people from dock to dock. That was more than enough walking for me on a hot day. A good comfortable crowd, but I expect the numbers to increase this evening and on Friday & Saturday when the last night finishes with a fireworks display.

On Sunday between 11.00hrs and 15.00hrs the ships will form a parade leaving the port of Belfast, hoisting their sails heading for the start line of Race 1 to Norway.

Queueing for bus No 2

Queueing for bus No 2

A flavour of my day Part one

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Part two

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Then I had the head staggers and flew like a bird: Twists, turns and total flip overs, we had smoke everywhere ….  I was hanging on so tight, I could no longer take photos.

Somebody hold my Elly down ….

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I was in a Red Arrows Flight Simulator!

Then it was time for home and a little thank you for my feet!

Aah! A long soak

Aah! A long soak

Summertime

Six days after Mid Summer’s Day

Last day of June_2015

Last day of June_2015

A great improvement from 10.10hrs this morning when I drove on a single carriageway through enveloping mist that hid the countryside. Thankfully I was familiar with the route. The idiot in the white van behind me was so impatient that on two occasions I used my hazard lights to make him pull back! On a single carriageway with cars in front of me, I have no idea where he expected me to go.

Our weather 30_06_15

Our weather 30_06_15

I am sitting in the shade with a jug  of water and some needlework to keep me quiet!