DROPPING LOOPS, MAKING HOLES AND STUFFING THINGS

A feature on yet another revival of homely hand knitting reminded me……. At primary school, the girls’ craft classes were the bain of my life. Could I knit as a six year old? Much as I tried, sitting at an old wooden desk, with oversized knitting needles and a well re-used ball of wool, made the whole experience a clumsy affair with little to show for it. There were some loops on the needle and maybe I managed to put some wool through a loop or two, I don’t really remember.

-1

I do know, that there were some stitches on the needle that did not seem to be very productive.  I was glad when the tortuous efforts came to an end and another lesson began.

Then there was the class where the better little hand-stitchers made bunnies with lovely fluffy cloth already cut to shape, probably by the teacher, a grandmother figure, who taught that girls’ class. Once stitched to the required point, busy little hands had lots of fun stuffing the bodies, arms, legs, hands and ears of their creations, (through a small opening left in the seam) with what I believe was Kapok. Polyester fibres were not in use all those years ago to stuff things. The opening was then closed up by each young  ‘creator’ with even and neat little running stitches.

-1

We, the ones relegated to the ‘untalented’ corner, (the majority of the class) had a bit of rag each plus a needle and thread to practice with. I cannot say what others may have thought, but it seemed to me, the three or four bunny-makers looked more than a teensy bit smug.  Just a bit of me would have liked to have been with them bathed in their success.

p1010089

A couple of years later, I discovered the Grandmother figure really was granny to two of the girls in her ‘better’ group.  Also, another teacher in the school, who was French, was her daughter-in-law.  By then, I was old enough to understand that a big war ended not so many years before, so, it was likely that the girls had no dad.  Mum and granny were supporting each other and the two girls on prescribed lower women’s salaries, much lower than their working male teaching counterparts.

From the amount of time we spent in church and on religious education, I wonder if there wasn’t some hope of recruiting future nuns and priests.

77548

This primary school was certainly schooling the girls, for at best, domesticity, sweat shops, or, subservient jobs, and the boys, likewise, to be unskilled. We weren’t seen as having much potential.

Poppy Memorial Scott Monument

Scott Monument Princes St Edinburgh+ Poppy Memorial

When we all divided up to move on to our next secondary stage school experience, it was really surprising how many children started to thrive in a different educational environment, even though the development of domestic/service/cooking skills, was still a theme for girls.  Many of us as schoolchildren, were undervalued. Notwithstanding, many of my school friends, both genders, broke the expected mould.

YaY !!

TALKING WITH STRANGERS IN THE CITY

Talking with strangers in the city is always interesting.  A man I sat next to on a bus told me he had accompanied his very elderly neighbour, when she had been admitted to hospital the day before.  She’s 93 years old, compos mentis, he said  She hadn’t seen the inside of a hospital since she resigned as a senior nurse in the 1940’s. (Probably  had to leave her post upon marriage).  The modern, 2017, hospital environment was, no doubt, a bit of a shock to the lady.

Pointing out a young girl working in the ward wearing a light blue dress the elderly lady observed, with some disdain, that  the hospital management had left the housemaid to look after the ward!  The man explained the ‘housemaid’ was wearing a staff nurse’s uniform.

Staff Nurse 3

Late 1950’s Staff Nurse

Why is she not wearing her [starched] hat?” … And   “Why aren’t doctors wearing their white coats,” and so on.

More explanations were required.

On the other hand, the senior nurse, (equivalent of a ward sister) who arrived at the bedside in her dark blue dress and her I.D. badge pinned to it, no frilly starched hat though, was received without query.

Marian Chaikin 3rd wife

1960’s Nursing Sister

SUCH IS THE VARIETY OF ONES LIFE

It has been the [wet and damp] season of Garden Parties at the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Is One going to a Garden Party?”  I was asked this week as the rain teemed down…….

No, One is not”.

-1

One was wearing an all weather peach outdoor coat with hood up.  One was  also carrying a soggy, exotic fruit patterned cloth bag with a book in it; in addition, One had a casual, very wet sloppy, but, almost weatherproof, plum- coloured shoulder bag slung crosswise on Ones torso.  The look was finished off with rain-soaked black trousers and a pair of damp trainers on Ones feet.  Not exactly a picture of ‘My Fair Lady’ attired to meet the requirements of Royal protocol, One thinks.

-2

WRESTLING …NO POINT

How are you finding the book?”  I was sitting quietly on my own in the bar eatery, reading.  I was interrupted, gladly, with that question. I briefly studied my questioner, a lady with two boisterous children in tow.  I tried not to screw up my face, I don’t think I was very successful…….”I’m having problems with it

her – “So did I….it was a bit Hickory, it went on a bit“. ……..

IMG_0685

Zzzzzz

Me -“I think I understand what you mean; It’s hard work, I am skimming more than reading“,  adding that the book had been a gift about three years ago and I had just got round to reading it, (well, trying to).

We enlightened each other about what other books we had read by the same author, none so tedious as this one.  “BUT!” she said with a great flourish and a big smile, “I did read to the end …I finished it!”

Today, after another couple of attempts, I firmly decided I was not going to continue to wrestle with the book….there was  no point.

IMG.0683 Tia 1

I might come out to play now.

DOSING

What a din!  I thought it must be a sheep-shearing day at the neighbouring farm.  Mums and lambs were noisily milling about in front of one of the barns, the doors of which, were firmly shut.

P1000608-Dosing-Day-2-Wb

This was not the norm for them.  As far as they were concerned, when you head for the barn forecourt, you naturally move on through the wide open doors of the barn and into it.  The lambs were all born in there, except for the odd one or two, so, both ewes and offspring had a deep formed affinity to the place.  They wanted to be let in and they did not care who knew it.

And of course, it rained, not just any sort of rain, but soaking curtains of rain.

P1000607-Dosing-Day-1-Wb

The weather is always uncertain when the sheep are being treated, or, sorted, or, sheared. It seems like nature is being deliberately perverse. This occasion, the stock were being ‘dosed’. You can bet your bottom dollar that when they are sheared, which will be soon, we will experience gales and probably a hail storm.

JOURNEYS…

To avoid forgetting anything, I wrote up a list, each item in itself proving to be a journey. These journeys all connected with technology.  I needed a structure, something I could see, refer to, add to, (things kept slipping my mind…so much going on) and as each item was actioned, I wanted to see it marked up as ‘started’, or, scored through as ‘done’.

I deal with security updates as soon as I am alerted.  I also scan my system to see if I’m all up-to-date. I can mark that one as…….  Continuing task – done for now.

A friend seems to have disappeared off my radar.  An email I sent about a month ago has not been returned, I think this might be good; but, her home phone number no longer connects.  She was treated for a serious illness a few years ago.  An internet search brings up old information.  Inside, I am on an emotional roller coaster. I mark this search as ‘started’, (journey to be continued).

Ransom malware has caused major, major, seizures of computer data, disrupting  UK  Health Services and many business systems.  It’s a concerted worldwide attack.  Technology and security experts talk about maintaining the security and integrity of computer operating systems.  An important security patch was available from March.  What the circumstances may tell us is, that this is too complex an event to be resolved by a concrete answer. This is marked ‘Stay Aware’

Try as hard as I might, sending a money gift securely to a new baby,  living abroad,  has proved exasperating. There’s no obvious reason given to me from a list of possibilities suggested by the company.   Mum sends  new information.  But, the website continues to stop the transaction.  However, because the latest information is correct, the company can tell me that there is a security issue with the account to which I am trying to send the gift.  Keeping the link closed is protecting accounts from potentially being compromised, including mine.  Wow! Am I glad of that!  What a journey this one is.   Task marked ‘Started’     (… problematic).

images

OPENING PANDORA’S BOX

505665924

Pandora’s Box

I meant to unplug my charged up  e-tablet and ended up instead, opening up Pandora’s Box.  Don’t ask me why, I can’t tell you.  I opened a file drawer.  It’s one I have used for nondescript and personal  ‘stuff ‘.  Mind you, I have been known to create a folder or two there, just because it wasn’t over-stuffed like the actual filing cabinet we both use.

can-of-worms-vector-id180621048For a couple of hours I was absorbed in reviving memories, (a lot of them not good ones) and slimming down the contents of folders. When I had finished with the first folder, my hand crept to the next one.   A can of worms had lain there too. This one was approximately a sixteen years old triple sandwich, with a mildew mild top filling,  fizzing chili in the middle, mercifully, followed by a layer of cooling cucumber.

It is hard curating sorting out your own ‘stuff’, your own interconnected paper trail of life.  I found I was not able to be totally objective.  Even after many years, emotions can and do ripple. I wonder if I had planned to do this job, I might have felt any different.

A shredded bucket of my life later, my pack of plastic pockets has swelled with a great many Woolworth’s ones that I freed up. (That’s a store long gone).  They seem to be a better quality plastic pocket than those they share the packet with.

woolies-new-logo-black-2-bg1-2

PILLAGE!

It defied any logic I could think of.  An email informed me that my monthly fuel bill was increasing by nearly 101%  in a few days’ time.  Ouch! The day before I had an email apologizing for not advising me in advance that an increased debit had been taken from my bank account to pay for it.   I phoned the company. What superhuman patience and effort was required to wait to speak to someone, someone, who was not very helpful.  She was probably fed-up taking the flak from an army of very irate customers  who, likely, had the same experience.

The huge deduction was being taken ….wait for it………………..in preparation for when my current billing arrangements expired in three months’ time and I would automatically be transferred to a [bog] standard higher variable tariff.  Wha-a-a-t!!

In business, not good business practice, I have heard of “Do it then apologize after”.  This was a blatant example of it, an absolute abuse of trust.

Whatever happened to the regulation that requires advance notice, (about fifteen days I believe) of end of contract and best renewal offers.

Today’s letter, the one I should have got sometime before my account was pillaged,  described in general outline how the increased deductions had been calculated for everyone.  So, back on the phone today trying every trick in the book to get an answer to one of my calls.  It was too late to stop my bank account losing an extra large debit, but I have stopped the following two from happening. In the interim, I will formally request a refund of the engorged credit I have on my fuel account.

I have emailed my concerns and made a formal complaint about these spurious and dubious management business practices.

SO FAR:

So far:

We’ve had external storm damage to the house, a rogue storm that came through between Doris and Ewan; reparation work costing lots of money is weather dependent. We wait.

P1000459 A pair of Fulmars

My microwave failed two weeks before its manufacturers’  one year warranty expired.  Getting this unwieldy appliance to the service department is  a story in itself. It exhausted us. Upon discovering the failure was due to a known manufacturing fault, which included a range of appliances from a specific production line, all requiring modification, I asked for a new replacement.  It arrived this week.-1

Next,  my three and a half months old monitor crashed. A bit of problem solving, moving plugs into different sockets, brought the monitor back to life and it gave me a crash report. It was okay for a couple of days, then went blank several times in one morning, followed by what looked like the mother of all crashes. Problem solving didn’t work this time. While speaking to the Technical Help department a couple of hours later, telling the lady how dead the monitor was, the screen burst into life!

The conversation then went like this…… her“Monitors don’t give messages. it must something to do with your computing equipment”. 

I wished I’d taken a screen shot of the message.  More chatting  followed about the symptoms and pathology of the sick monitor…

her-  Could I try a different HDMI cable. (Everyone has a spare one of those…NOT!)  I have just the one available, the one that was supplied with the monitor. 

monitor-ok-iconBack to the store service department the monitor went. I couldn’t dismantle the base from the screen single-handed.  I ended up cradling the monitor in one arm and also carrying the box. The service department lady and I performed a tug-of-war and separated the bits so the monitor could be re-packed.

The really nice bit.…..without a mention of inconvenience, loss of computer use, or anything similar, I was offered the loan of a spare old monitor, with which to keep going. It was “doing nothing”, sitting on the shelf gathering dust.  An HDMI cable was located for me to use. I had not brought mine, but in any case it was agreed a test run with my own cable connected to their monitor would be useful. This way, I have HDMI cable back -up, should it be needed.

 

INVITING OURSELVES OUT

From inside the outside looked bright, cheery and tempting.  So, we, that’s hubs and me, invited ourselves out for a coffee this afternoon.  There was a noticeable icy breeze, truly icy. It wasn’t too bad once we’d got used to the feel of it. I was glad of the thick jeans I was wearing, (these days, jeans seem to be made with much thinner denim cloth).  Together with my hip length padded jacket and a big scarf wrapped round my collar it all worked a treat. Hubs was well wrapped up too.

Crossing a bridge, I saw a tight ‘ruck’ of Snowdrops, the first I had seen this year. They bank onto a river.  In another week or so, the whole bank should be carpeted with them.

P1110202Wb-jpg

We arrived at our destination and found our favourite seating area was free and only one person, the manageress,  was at a table. It was an oasis of calm.  A lot of people favour the same seating area, and  it can be teeming with bodies from whom emanates a very high volume cacophony of sound.  A group of teachers is one of the noisiest.  Next are parents who allow their little offspring with their metal toys -small cars  mostly-to bang them on  the glass table tops. The kids love it. This is an efficient way to clear the nook of other customers!

P1000411 Young Dougal 2

On the way home  we wandered up to a farm and bought some fresh eggs, chatted to the shepherdess, who also runs the egg enterprise and does lots of other things in the modern diversified life of farming.  p1010089

A plop of icy sleet startled me, followed by a few more plops.  Then I noticed an unexpected clump of bright yellow in the shelter of closely planted leafless bushes.  Crocuses were about to bloom.  Is spring around the corner?