21 December 2013

When the façade crumbles


My thoughts this morning are with the injured audience of the Apollo theatre.  I am not going to link to anything, because quite frankly I am disgusted by the blandness of the media coverage regarding this. 

On one hand, it is to the media’s credit that injured people haven’t been targeted and forcibly interviewed and paraded across the TV, along with their personal life exposed for all.  That injured pregnant woman – was she with her lover?  (no I am not speculating or starting a rumour – that is the fiction writer within me…)

Cynically, could be though that the legal class action that will inevitably follow from this has already kicked in, and those ambulances which arrived on the scene so quickly – along with a film crew (who were coincidentally filming the ambulances) also contained paralegals.

On the other hand though, I don’t know at a very basic level whether it is safe to attend any West End Production, or even a local panto. The Apollo was the first Edwardian Theatre to be built in 1901, the Bristol Hippodrome was built in 1912 influenced by the same style and building techniques.

If newspaper reports (interestingly enough from Ireland(!) are to be believed, when the property was sold in 2005, the previous owner – our beloved and sainted Andrew Lloyd Webber - notified everybody and everything – including English Heritage that the building was not fit for purpose (along with others), and one of the descriptions used today was that it had suffered for years from “benign neglect”.1

If so – why were the paying public even in it?  What other public buildings are suffering the same fate?  AM I SAFE if I go to the museum, the rail station?

I know they look good and are iconic structures – but when I attend these public buildings, it is because I want to look at their exhibits or catch a train – I need to be able to do this knowing I am not going to be killed because the structures have been neglected. Benignly or otherwise. I am pretty sure that you do to.

This is newsworthy and of interest to me, as it affects the safety and influences the decision making of me and mine.

Unlike one of the predominate leading stories of the week – the snorting habits of Nigella Lawson seem to have preoccupied one and all.  I really don’t care what on earth the poor woman got up to in the privacy of her own home, and I am pretty sure I am speaking for quite a few people here. It does not affect me and mine “not a jot” as Billy Connelly would say. 

So what on earth is the point of the “News”? 

What are we trying to achieve with this quite nasty witch-hunt, and who is behind it? Who is influencing and censoring the information which is being filtered out to us?  Everyone has someone who is paying their wage in the News Rooms, and therefore they have to do what they are told to get paid.  Who is censoring what I am told? 

Has Saatchi got shares in theatre world? Is he behind the press – he sells advertising – doesn’t he?  These are now questions winging around in my head.  I am sorting of hoping/assuming that others are also asking this, so I don’t need to. 

I am not going to drift off into a pointless philosophical rant here, but News along with Seasonal Advertising on the main TV is basically destroying my sanity and peace of mind at the moment.  It isn’t good enough to say you can switch it off, or switch over.  You still lose an hour of your life when watching a really brilliant film, which is interspersed every 15 minutes with a smattering of pointless messages.

We were warned… this was predicted… did we listen?   “Not a jot”

But closer to home, affecting me and mine – what other things are we not told about that affect us?

Even closer still, over the last 24 hours or so I have watched – mesmerised –  as a very carefully created, and totally believable, façade has crumbled.

I am sorry to be enigmatic about this – I cannot explain more, but the reason I am mentioning it is that pragmatically I can now deal with the information that has now come to light, keep the good stuff, discard the crap and now rebuild some external relationships from the foundations up. 

I am going to be able to put some of the very upsetting events, discussions and half-truths of the last six months of 2013 well behind me when the year changes - without even looking back. 

The peace of mind that gives me is incredible.  I had thought at the start of last week that it was me going mad, and the subconscious writer within had taken over…as he (yes I did say he…) does every now and again…Some times the subject matter is too gorgeous and sumptuous to ignore Devil

Now, thankfully, having the correct information, will make some seemingly impossible decisions, very straightforward. 

Google Knitting Doodle alerted me this morning to the Winter Solstice – appropriate then it was an animated knitter !  Shortest day, longest night – and then we start getting back to normal.  All I have to do now is to survive Xmas Day without throttling someone – no change there then, some traditions endure !



Writers Note:

I have received over the past few months, quite a few requests for sharing some of my “behind the scenes” practical writing tips.  I really haven’t had the peace of mind to do so, but will do my best when I can, and I will put them at the end of the blog under Writer’s Note, until I have thought what to do with them. .  If you aren’t interested, then you can just scroll away.

1. I have highlighted that phrase, because I will most probably revisit it at a latter date. That is what I do with my notebooks, and my Kindle reading – I highlight phrases that interests or intrigue me.

It is difficult to describe the feeling that finding “something” – a picture, a word, a phrase,smell or a piece of music – creates within me.

For me, it is like the self-satisfaction you achieve over finding the lost piece of a puzzle,

05 June 2012

Just Chatting

Hi – back…. had some interesting responses to my blog(s) yesterday and thank you.  It was not meant though to shame and expose people – the intention was merely to let friends/family and my larger circle understand what is happening and why I am so distracted.  Difficult line I know to travel… I do my best…

I recently watched Housewife 49 written and starring Victoria Wood, who has developed into an incredible all round artist and I enjoy watching her “bio-dramas” very much.  Nella – the main character – was involved in a mass observation project during the wartime years and it struck me when she folded some pencil written scraps of paper – joined together with a scrap of wool – that that was something my mum used to do.

This led to all sorts of conversations with DH who was a war baby (can’t you tell from the fridge !! – nothing will be thrown away until it walks out or surrenders !and the house is a tribute to the make do and mend era– everything will come in handy sometime! ) and it then occurred to me what we had and have lost in the way of the “written” word.  Blogging seems to have replaced the written diary.  Whilst I think blogging is brilliant and I am a great fan – I am fearful that there are so many “words” that they will be lost to future generations.

I have kept an informal diary over the last 20 years – a series of notebooks with thoughts, scribbles and general items which attract my eye  rather than any serious prose.  I stopped this in about the middle of last year due to the sheer nature of the grief I was encountering, time constraints and just general depression – what on earth would I have to say which would be of interest to anybody in the future?. 

When I was going through them on Saturday this week – they fell off the shelf in the sitting room so I had to do something – I realised that actually the “me” of the future was missing out – I use them as source books for ideas, and also my children would probably get to know me a lot better than I know myself.

When my mum died it sounds silly as I was 15 so I did “know” her.  But actually it was only in my thirties and forties and having children I realised there was so much more I never had a chance to know.  My mum left poetry behind – which have been a great solace to me.  Also raised so many questions – who is that dark haired man with brown eyes she talks about?  He was never in my life – and she obviously loved him deeply and painfully…

So back to the notebooks and blogging I shall go….On my writing journal programme I have the facility to write to myself in the future.  I shall use that.

Now it is just not the act of blogging that I enjoy – but the reading of blogs..

Here are a couple of excellent links of the many that I read regularly:-

Buttons and Beeswax

Araignee's Tangled Web

Cally Booker

I am going to make it a new week’s resolution to try to comment more – as I love reading blogs so much.

21 March 2012

Judgment has been delivered…

Court Judgment

This is the landmark day for us.  A FINAL decision – well that is what is says on the tin - or so we hope.

The Defendant’s Appeal has been dismissed by the Three highly qualified Judges of the Appellant Court.  There is still some dispute going on in the background..

I won’t reprise my rant here – but if you wish to read my comments please feel free to drift over to www.dyeverse.org.

In the meantime, today – the first day of the rest of my life – I am concentrating on and considering what on earth I am going to do about resurrecting my dyeing, spinning, weaving, writing, and the rest of the things that I could do for a living – apart from arguing that is !!!

They have now all gone onto the back burner for as many months as I can remember and I am almost at the point of forgetting how to write fiction when all I can think about is fact.  Actually thinking about it, most of the facts I am dealing with could be distorted to become fiction quite easily – oohps, forgot they had – by the Defendants – ooh bitchy…


So here is some drop-spindling to wet your craft appetite… and


With some creative writing underway – oh and some course work…


and a sign spotted a couple of weeks ago – which I thought a little sexist – but the point will not be lost on any one who sees it on my door in the near future..!!

12 January 2012

Spring has sprung?


What bizarre weather we are having – so much so yesterday I was out in shirt sleeves at 5pm watching the sunset – then I got cold and wondered why?!!

Had a funny sort of day yesterday, still can’t get anything done – and have to stop myself from trying to do too much when the waves of fog from my brain raise temporarily before it all descends and joined up thinking becomes something of the past. 

Connectivity issues seem to be a problem here again at the moment.  Hopefully the government plans will sort out Cullompton at some point and then I can stop wondering around looking for a signal at farm gates (!).  There is some sort of metaphor here for a writer.  I spent half my youth looking for a signal at farm gates with “DH” – the first time around… (dirty laugh follows….)

Mine cuts in and out (the WiFi signal, not sex life !!) on a regular basis and I am sat right on top of the router here, and have the latest technology. Down at the Merry Harriers, the local pub which still has character, panache and brill food… none of their card machines work consistently and John can be seen doing the “wiggle dance” in the doorway on many a night, which whilst highly entertaining and the stuff of folklore for future generations, shows how bad general connections and signals are! not a good vibe for a professional business, but it is fun and he does do the hip action with practiced aplomb of an entertainer…

So back to the knitting… thank you all so much for making such an effort to communicate with me. It has been brought to my attention that yet again commenting is an issue.  I am so sorry.  I have altered the settings again, and if all else fails


will find me.  You can also find this link on the contacts page.  If you want your comment reposted to the blog, please say so, otherwise I will just answer you as best I can.  But I do appreciate your interaction. 

Back to knitting and the sock pattern…. no I did not make up the original pattern.  It has been around in many guises for as many years as I and my mother and auntie before me.  No I don’t know where it was originally published.  Handknitted socks were the stuff of War I and War II knitting and you couldn’t pop down to a local store to buy some cheap nylon versions, so as kids we all had handknitted socks until the white ones became available (ugh). 

On this return to sock knitting in about 2006/7 I used a basic pattern given free from Get Knitted when you buy their sock yarn.  I have since found the same pattern given free elsewhere, in fact all over the place, with some difference in typo settings etc.  

The one I found from Ravelry which looked fairly basic was Simple Sock Recipe, which I hope you can pick up if you are not a Ravelry member. (Ravelry is free remember, so please don’t feel reluctant about joining and you will find loads of people to help you if you are a newbie). 

Otherwise try the local library or just google sock patterns, or try Sarah at the Spinning Weal… my short stop for everything..

When I next knit up a sock from the start, I will photograph it from the start and at various stages, and put it all together in a more readable pamphlet.  From the photos I go this morning though, it seems that the two stars I was originally helping have now completed their first ones.  So even though my description was longer than the original pattern !!! and very long winded, combined with everything we seem to have got there in the end.

Just reinforces to me though how much I do from memory and how difficult it is to write notes in or describe in another medium something you do instinctively or by rote.  A bit like writing/drawing debate I suppose.


or photography one… here is Toby taking a picture of me taking a picture of him, on an afternoon which defied description.  The weather, scenery and company were magical…

Amazing what can be achieved when you want it as badly as we have… thank you Adapted Vehicle Hire who so supportively stepped into to help when the motability vehicle became an impossible dream/nightmare (still being built and due to now be in the country at the end of January !).

To be told you can have something, but then the practicalities making it impossible, along with timescales which beggar belief…

Transport has changed our world and made so many things possible that just could not be done before… Just shame we had to sort it ourselves… no wonder I am stressed !!! – but so worth it…

for an hour we were normal again yesterday – as a family should be…

09 January 2012

Happy Old Christmas….



Just when you thought you were totally “feast dayed” out… there is one more you may have missed…

6th January, known to us as commonly as Twelfth Night, is in fact the Old Christmas Day…

So if you are still one of those who actually believes that Christmas Day is about the Celebration of Jesus Christ rather than a day of rest before venturing out to return all the unwanted stuff and take advantage of the Boxing Day Sales, this is welcome news.

It also explains something very deep within my psyche.  I have always believed quite irrationally and against all arguments to the contrary that twelfth night is something to celebrate, and attach quite undue superstitious fervour to taking down the trimmings before. 

I have never understood why I hold this belief as it is very contrary to my normal way of thinking – especially as I don’t actually celebrate Christmas as a Feast Day itself.  So perhaps somewhere back in my dark distant family history I inherited this from those around me when I was small and every now and again catch a glimpse of magic in the dark and drab days which follow the removal of the tinsel. 

So the fact behind the “feelings”

The Roman year was organized round the phases of the moon until old Julius Caesar realised (or rather all his advisers – astronomers, rather than MPs - did) that it wasn’t accurate . So it was changed to use the Sun as its starting point.  Unfortunately this calendar (the Julian) overestimated the length of the year, and despite all kinds of negative easements, the calendar was 10 days out by the time Pope Gregory XIII got to grips with the problem in 1582.  This new Gregorian calendar was adopted throughout Catholic Europe.  (So this is where I probably unconsciously picked up the vibe – my folks were always resistant to change for changes sake…!).

Now as we all know the Protestants and the Catholics hardly historically agreed on anything, and being quite resistant to change stuck with their way of doing things, which effectively meant that Paris was a full 10 days behind London…

Now that would never do, especially with travel etc., opening up, so the Gregorian Calendar was adopted in the middle of the 18C across Europe. 

So the date on which we celebrate Christmas now, is actually wrong and it should be 6th January, if you keep to the Roman way of thinking – and after all, Jesus was a Roman so it is only logical they would have know when he was born – eh? 

Today the 6th is known as Epiphany (the word itself is worth looking up, meaning Vision of God) and apart from taking down the trimmings has been significantly unmarked for most of us without religious knowledge.

The only reason I even went looking for the info today, was because I am reading a fascinating fiction book about a group of Amish women, and they referred to new and old Christmas within that.

The book is published in Episodes, so if you buy the first one for 0.77p and decide you don’t like it, or it doesn’t work for you, you are not committed to buying the whole book.  This appeals to me as I like to try before I buy and have found myself with a lot of nonesense on my iPad, and a lot of obstacles in my hallway and stairs I trip over, whilst I sort out what I really want to read. 

I am thinking about undertaking a bit of an adventure down this episode pathway myself when I start back writing in the near future. 

Anyway back to the stories.  They are really well crafted and the characters and issues they are dealing with are growing on me.  The authoress, Karen Ann Vogel, obviously has insight and personal experience of the community and I love all the little links and bits of knowledge that is included, such as traditional recipes and use of knitting looms. 

Instead of trying to tackle a big project when I get myself back into the zone, I think I too will try some short stories with an underlying thread..

Back to my knitting and finishing my paintings…

and what are you up to?