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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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OPENING PANDORA’S BOX

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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.

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WHAT A SURPRISE!

A couple of weeks ago, I was  caught in two really heavy downpours of rain.  The first time I was sodden.  When I got home I had to strip off  all my clothes and dry myself. I put on fresh and dry clothes.  I felt so much better.

The day improved, it became drier and sunnier and I decided to go out again, this time to buy groceries.  I was leaving  the grocery store when unexpectedly the heavens turned on the torrential taps.  I used the carrier bag trick I had resorted to before.  You  roll the opening back until it looks like it will sit on your head like a rain hat, admittedly, a bit of a large and unusual one.  A few people grinned, others looked and a lot of people stared, fixed stares.  I smiled. At least I had a jacket on and with my improvised head cover,  my hair stayed dry.

in-china-can-produce-yellow-PVC-plastic.jpg_200x200Hubby roared with laughter when he saw me coming from the car with the shopping wearing my ‘designer’ plastic bag head gear,  which just happened to be a capacious Lidl’s plastic carrier bag advertising me in large lettering as……  “ONE OF LIDL’S SURPRISES”     ❗

🙂

BIG SKIN

I have to admit it can be enormous fun overhearing conversations. Believe me though, I do not make a point of ear-wigging, but, as we all know, there are times when it is just impossible not to hear.

I was in a local pharmacy. There were good displays of decorative nick-knacks, cosmetics stands, perfumery, hair products and all the sundry first-aid items you would expect. Near the service counter there were two or three baskets with reduced stock, (close to date) just right for pocket-money birthday gift buying for granny. Mum was doing grown-up shopping while her two youngsters were making their selections. After lots of exploration and excited chatter they showed mum their choices.

G-l-y-c-e-r-i-n-e, and …. what’s that mum?

She peered at the label and read the rest of it.

What does it do?

It hydrates the skin, said mum.

Oh….. ?

It will make granny’s skin big, mum said.

Just like mumps!

LIVING IN A NEIGHBOURHOOD

A few months ago I stopped to chat in  town with a neighbour. Our houses are only over the road from each other, but hey! The shopping street seems to be the place to meet and chat. We chewed the cud over many things, including how much fun it was to look after her very young grandson a couple of days a week. Though a young grandmother, it was why she had decided to retire.

We got to talking about a news item about a woman  being treated for cancer so as to live, not be treated to die. My neighbour’s very firm and candid view was that there was no difference between the two, they both meant the same in the end. Something in the tone of her voice and the expression on her face decided a change of subject.

We heard this morning that our neighbour had died. We were told it was cancer. We did not know.

 

 

CARROTS

We’ve got a gift hubby said. We don ‘t get post on a Sunday nor any other kind of package or parcel deliveries. They arrive only on weekdays.

So I said………Ooh, have we, where is it?

It’s in the garden, said hubby.

Where, I asked?

By the fence, look……

Right enough, almost camouflaged with all the greenery, was a small bunch of carrots, freshly picked by the farmer, our neighbour. She has a good throwing technique, over a 6 feet chain link fence where the carrots, untied, made a soft landing and all together.

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THE JOYS OF LANGUAGE

Mulling over the future prospects of the children the conversation went as follows:

Mum: Pippa, my eldest…she’s 15…. she’s very average; she’s doing alright, but she’s average. She gave up the idea of becoming a pharmacist when she found she did not like chemistry and when someone said pharmacy could be a matter of life and death. Pippa said she couldn’t be responsible for that! She’s ever so good with children though. Maybe she’ll think about nursing, though I think in nursing there are a lot more life and death decisions.

My youngest, she’s different to her sister, she is okay and is really good with numbers. I think she should become an Accurist.

Instructions for keeping well, which should be read and understood before using snipe nosed pliers.

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