An elegant sufficiency

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cause to celebrate

...with a load of washing!

We went out for supper tonight with Mark's sister, down from Scotland for a few days. Though we took the precaution of using their facilities before coming home, we needn't have bothered, because when we arrived back we heard that magical sound of water in the pipes.

I sit here accompanied by the blissful sound of the whirr of the washing machine and look forward to showering at home in the morning.

No more buckets!! Hooray!!


Lovely surprise

How sweet is this?
When I was at Denman College recently, one of the ladies attending a course was wearing what looked like some astroturf around her wrist. Intrigued, I had to take a closer look and discovered two really yummy bracelets. She admitted they were not her own work but they had been bought from a local shop in Norfolk, close to her home.
This morning, on going into the WI office, there's a parcel on my desk from Norfolk, containing a bracelet for me! Thank you Jane - I love it and I really appreciate your generosity.
I have some great friends - and I just gained another!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Is the end in sight?

Is there water at the end of the pipeline at last?!

It sounds as though we might have some kind of water supply restored by Thursday, though we are told that it will be only a "dirty water" supply and nothing we can drink or cook with. But oh, if only we could have the luxury of a flushing loo again!! It is likely to be a couple of weeks at least before our tap water will be of drinking quality, so we will continue with our trips to see those nice Army Cadets who are handing out the bottled stuff with such patience.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday night

Fed up with "managing" to do the washing up with minimal water, we decided we'd go out for supper tonight with both our Mums. As we sat with our Gs and Ts in the lobby of a local hotel where the water has not been affected, we spotted several families coming in with carrier bags, being given keys by reception. We learned that a couple of local firms - Waitrose and the Stroud and Swindon Building Society - had rented rooms for their staff and their families to use whilst we have no running water.

Considerate employers, we thought.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Forgetting about water

..for a day at least. Today, some of the great unwashed went to London. (Bad description, of course we've washed!)

One proud Grandma has been eager to see where the apple of her eye works and following a promise made ages ago, we set out on the train this morning to meet Edward for lunch at "the office". Taking the train to London was an adventure in itself and all went surprisingly smoothly, thank goodness.

The timing of the taxi ride from Paddington to Westminster even coincided with the changing of the guard, making a little sightseeing en route incredibly easy.

We met Edward outside St Stephens Entrance as usual, enjoying the opportunity for a little people watching whilst we waited. There were surprisingly few people about though, and being the first day of the Summer recess, not much work was being done ;-)

The weather was kind and we were able to sit outside on the terrace for lunch with a lovely view. It was amusing to watch the tourist boats approach with everyone peering over in our direction to see what's going on. No, we didn't wave.....

After a guided tour and celebrity spotting opportunity (not good today, just 3 MPs and a Cheeky Girl!) I managed to get the two of them to stand still for just one embarrassing minute. Sorry, Edward - but the carrier bag does contain one bottle of "thanks"!

(I have been asked how I could have allowed Mummy to hang on to her shopping bag whilst I took her photo...Oh dear.....!)


It was almost 10pm when the call came through...

...that the bottled water had reached our village!

I quickly ran up the bridle path which runs along the edge of our garden to find two policemen and several young Army chaps standing with a huge stack of bottled water, there in the dark. One pack of six bottles per household - no arguments, no pushing and shoving, nothing but good tempered, civilised behaviour, together with a fair bit of consideration for our neighbours too elderly or inform to carry it home for themselves.

After three days, it was good to know we hadn't been forgotten.

Also, in answer to my recycling concerns, we were told to hang onto our empty bottles for the time being until a solution is found to recycle them. I'm pleased about that.

We have developed quite a good system for coping without water from the tap. We drink the bottled stuff. We use the water brought from a neighbouring village to wash ourselves and the pots - some of it heated in a small urn we usually use for parties. We use the water from our garden water butts to flush the loos - replenished by torrential rain once again yesterday. We haven't quite been brave enough to do as one friend did yesterday - to don swimming costume and take soap and shampoo into the garden to shower in the torrential rain! (Bob, we want one of those photos!)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bearing gifts

The three young men working on our bathroom arrived bearing gifts from far flung parts (Swindon) this morning. How thoughtful of them!

Two weeks ago, they began work to refurbish our en suite bathroom and have very nearly finished. I wonder when we will be able to try it out?

We are managing quite well, considering, and have got ourselves a good system for not wasting a drop. Just off to m-i-l's for showers and hairwash and we will be just fine.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

24 hours later

Twenty four hours after our water supply dried up I thought that I should perhaps go in search of an alternative source. Unlike the city centres, water bowsers and street-corner tanks have not been forthcoming in this area and there was no issue of free bottled water announced so I headed for our local Waitrose. I guess they anticipated the needs of their customers.

A timely two-for-the-price-of-one offer on wipes means that we won't be quite as smelly during these times when we can't shower and our household surfaces are not going to become sources of disease and infection, thank goodness.

I managed to buy enough water to keep us and our immediate neighbours - all elderly - going for a couple of days and now we have these large containers, we can visit friends and relatives living in nearby villages to refill them as necessary. Not so much "cupboard love" as "tap love"! Confused messsages report that we could be water-less for anything from two days to two weeks.
A couple of dilemmas remain: what will happen to the millions of plastic bottles which are being issued - I'm hoping someone will begin a collection point to recycle them! And once our water-butt water is used up, how can I possibly use spring water to flush the loo?!

Whilst I write this blog entry, I have our local radio station playing, Can't quite believe the music right now - "Message in a Bottle" by Police! At least someone hasn't lost their sense of humour...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007


As the warning came over the radio that water in our area was likely to run out during the next 24 hours, we realised that we no longer have running water.

At least we are dry.

It seems as though they are trying to replenish the reservoir which supplies our village. Fingers crossed.

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Home and dry, thank goodness

So many friends from far flung parts are concerned for us, having seen the news reports of Gloucestershire which have been shown around the world. We really appreciate your kind thoughts and thank you for your concern.

The situation in parts of the county is grim, so many of our friends are without power and water and some of their homes are/have been flooded. Some roads are still impassable and many shops/offices are closed as a result of the power/water cuts.

Having said all of that, we are counting our blessings, for the sun is shining this morning and we are fortunate to be in a part of the county unaffected by the flood. We are hoping that the next few hours will see a turn in the tide and the water will begin to recede, for we are very aware how lucky we are.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday afternoon

Around twenty miles from here, there are floods, power cuts and no fresh water. Hard to credit that when the sun is shining and this chap is sunning himself by the edge of our pond. We are ok on the top of our hill, but thinking about all those friends in more challenging circumstances right now dealing with the aftermath of torrential rain last Friday.
We are counting blessings.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Fun stamps

Just had a note from Susan to say that a few fun stamps from Catslife Press are in the mail to me. I'm not normally a rubber stamper but I saw something stamped with the message "Don't even THINK about throwing this away" and felt I needed one.

I've now ordered "This is not ART - I just like to make stuff". It's appropriate for some of the things I turn out and with the US$ at the level it is right now, it's hardly a major purchase!

Anyway, excellent service and I'm a happy bunny. Off to Gloucester now to offer my opinion to M&S in a Focus Group. Should be interesting.


On the other hand...

Looking at the weather outside and hearing the forecast of seven or eight hours of heavy rain today, maybe that boat we saw yesterday could be useful!

Thinking of those poor souls at Waterperry today, trying to keep themselves and their art dry.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Art in Action

Together with what seemed to be the rest of the country, we went to Art in Action at Waterperry House today. It used to be a regular event in our diary and one to which we looked forward, but in recent years we felt it had become a little samey and so we deliberately chose not to go for a while. We stayed on the mailing list however and with the weather forecast promising the one fine day this week, we gathered up m-i-l Bettine and headed off first thing ths morning. We still didn't beat the queues

Everything is beautifully organised however, so it didn't take long to get through the gate and into the first marquee: Drawing , where we admired the work of Gill Crabbe Akasaka.

Sad to say, we didn't really tune into much of the painting, nor most of the sculpture....and our days of collecting treacly ceramics are over. We loved Jenny Crisp's baskets, however.

Shame I have no need for a boat - isn't this a lovely one? (Butler & Co)

In the textiles tent, it was interesting to chat to the embroiderers working on a new set of vestments for St Pauls Cathedral. So willing to share their knowledge and experience, delighted to find so many people interested in this magnificent project.

But what makes Art in Action special is the way in which visitors can get involved and have a go themselves. For some reason, we found this year's show rather more commercial than we recalled and so we were pleased to find this corner of the calligraphy tent set aside for what we think to be the principal purpose of Art in Action.

It was a good day, we enjoyed ourselves and can't complain about the commercial aspects when we left one or two pounds behind ourselves, mostly in the Rainbow Silks till but also for a set of Inktense pencils to take on holiday, since my Caran d'Ache Neocolour crayons have become so mucky.

Thanks to my internet friends (and Dijanne's worksheet), I have a few ideas of what to do with my Lutradur, but ideas of what the Evolon is going to do for me will be gratefully received! (No, I don't plan any hi-tech wiping....)

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Out for a walk

This afternoon we went out for a walk down through the village. We'd planned to visit this exhibition and thought it would make a good reason to walk off our lunch. (If you've clicked on the link, you're probably there before us, but bear with me...)

We walked through the allotments where the huge artichokes grow

and of course, the view soon became a little restricted. Summer, eh?

Notice our new tarmac paths and roads? They've even done our little lane! We walked down and down, steep paths and lanes to the old chapel, only to find it closed and no-one home.

No choice but to turn around and walk back up those steep hills towards home.

You spotted it though, didn't you? The exhibition was last month. Duh.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Textile Treasures

The exhibition was wonderful, and though it was hard work it was worthwhile in order to see the reaction from visitors - so rewarding. We began with an empty room, in which a shell scheme had been built.

Each exhibit had to be identified and checked off the list. Sorting out the large number of lace edged tablecloths was a challenge - was that meant to be a crochet lace edge tablecloth or a tatted lace edge?

And any exhibition of tablecloths means that certain equipment is inevitable:

There was a model to be dressed, and some hastily arranged plastic bags to provide a bit of cleavage!

All came together beautifully, thanks to the skill of designer Sue, who resisted all demands to squeeze as many things in as possible and left each piece plenty of space to breathe and be shown to best effect.

This is one of my favourite pieces, a banner from the 1928, made for Cannington WI in Somerset, costing £5 11s 6d. At the time, a judge wrote a comment which stated that "an allegorical design is not suitable for a WI banner. Artificial silk unsuitable. Rejected"

This was my favourite grouping: a box in the shape of a guitar (very 1960s), a wool felt cushion (a la Needlework Development Scheme) a pair of slippers made to present to a retiring President, a modern box with embroidered top and a piece of inlay applique done by Mrs Christie - recognise it from "Samplers and Stitches"? The group sits in front of a rather wonderful banner from Norfolk Federation, upon a crochet bedspread.

All of these things, together with another 200 pieces, will be touring the ICHF shows next year, starting in Exeter in late September and going on to Harrogate, Glasgow, Brighton, Cardiff and Birmingham. Not only that, but I get to go with them!!

Maybe see you there?

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Like minds

Isn't it good to have the company of like-minded friends? I first met Maggie years ago, when we were both stalwarts of our local Embroiderers Guilds and the cross stitch phenomenon was in full swing. We despaired of the way so many embroiderers became stuck with the technique and tried to make sure we were providing as many opportunites as we could to tempt them further into more creative stitching. I don't think we were altogether successful for I think that many cross stitchers have simply gone on to rubber stamping, then scrapbooking, proving that commercial persuasions are more successful than merely enthusiastic ones!

Anyway, we've kept in touch, are members of the same mailgroup and as we live fairly close, get together from time to time. We did exactly that yesterday - rather impromptu but none the worse for that. We didn't really have time to play - but anyone who tried to get a word in edgeways would have struggled.

Maggie, it was good to see you again, to learn more about your new toy (I'm envious!) and to share a few hours talking about stuff which would have most people dozing off. What's more, it will be fun to get together again next week, at the Textile Treasures exhibition, when we might even think to take a photo.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Knitting Project done

The knitting project from our brief stay in Sea Ranch with friend Mary is done. It's the Mobius wrap from the Magical Knitting book by Cat Bordhi, worked in Blue Moon fibers knitting ribbon (you know, I've tried to find a link to that but can't - sorry) bought from The Fold near Chicago. I like the way it hangs/drapes and the colour is perfect with some linen trousers I have. I think I'll enjoy wearing it.

The colour in the photo above are totally off, so here's a more accurate swatch, showing texture too.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Being a member of cabin crew must be boring

So, it came as a breath of fresh air to meet the American Airlines staff member with a wicked sense of humour on one of our flights. Here's a selection of her wit.

"If the cabin pressure should fail, you have 45 seconds to quit screaming and grab a mask. If you were paying attention, you'll know how to fit it"

"If the person next to you wasn't paying attention, you need to decide whether you want to help them or not"

"be careful when opening the overhead lockers because as we all know, shift happens"

"crew members will pass around the cabin and collect anything you don't wish to take with you. Children and spouses are excluded"

She was a woman "of a certain age" who had everyone on that plane listening more intently to the safety announcement as a result!

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Just putting away the goodies from my trip and amongst the first things I came across was the little bag of bone "clasps" I tracked down in Paper Source. I plan to make a book with a fastening and though I was careful to choose six good ones, I don't think I appreciated the variation in size until now. Never mind - I will have to make sure I use the odd ones as singles, keeping the similarly sized pairs together.

Last Sunday, we were in Pasadena and called into the San Raphael Bead Company on the way back to Mary's. Couldn't resist replenishing my supply of these "niblets" - really cheap, interestingly shaped beads, even though I have plans for them yet. I rather liked the cubes too - not so regular and polished as some I have.

On my last trips to the US, I've kept an eye open for this Fiskars "Paper Drill". Found it in what must be the tidiest Michaels I've ever been in, in Bozeman MT. Of course, I didn't have a 40% off coupon when I got it - that came in the following day's newspaper. Bozeman was quite a good place for crafty souls - not only was there the new and sparkling Michaels, there was the sad, neglected JoAnns at the other end of town (I suspect there is a connection in their respective conditions) They were offering 25% off, so I took the chance to get a handful of the new (to me) non-slip Olfa rulers. In addition to the small square, I got a long 3" wide one and a medium 6" wide. They're easy to fit in a suitcase!

We also stumbled across Reproduction Fabrics in Bozeman and I couldn't resist this little bundle of fabrics, reproduced from antique French designs. No plans as yet, but we'll see.

Finally, the yarn. you've already seen the Toefutsies. As well as that one, there's the pink Crystal Palace kid merino, Blue Moon Fibers "Rio", Blue Moon Fibers ribbon (for the mobius scarf on the needles right now) and the green "montana" colour sock yarn which is Mountain Goat. I restocked with a few different sizes of the small Brittany dpns and an extra long Addi circ for the mobius.

And that, I think, is it! Oh, succumbed to a couple of books too - the Interweave Press Favorite Socks, and the magical "Knitting Never Felt Better" by Nicky Epstein, which has got me itching to knit up that kid merino.

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