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Saturday, 30 June 2012

With a crest-fallen frown...

and paws playing a snatch of
die fledermaus, 
the house-mouse said to the old woman
'the time has come!'

'It's a week since I ate the last of your delicious
chilli jam.'



From the back of the cupboard she retrieved some
vintage jam sugar left over from the war.
Thai chillis, (always bought when reduced to a few pence)
that hung disconsolate, ageing, dried, unloved and wrinkly.
red pepper, red onion, red wine vinegar.
A thumb-size piece of fresh ginger,
garlic cloves,
fish sauce,
mushroom ketchup.

The whole lot, seeds and all,
minus obviously the stalks,
were whizzed and cooked
in her favourite
Thermomix.

The mouse could hardly contain his glee...
'Tonight for supper I will have...
mature English cheddar with chilli jam for tea...
He-he!'

***


  

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

'What can I do next for badness?'

is a refrain that is often heard reverberating around the ole homestead.



Reasons why I'm a handful...

1.  I'm an only child, never EVER spoilt

2.  I have a high pain threashold (what's that got to do with the price of cheese  in Woolworths?) and wait for it...
a low boredom threshold

3.  Excitement courses through my veins,
and without a some madcap scheme to keep me occupied the
inevitable words 
'I'm bored' 
escape from my rosebud lips. 

4.  My head is always full of ideas,
some of the more notable ones... 

Hampers in the Highlands
Living a self sufficient life on the NW coast,
I came up with the idea of supplying hampers
stuffed with home-made delights
to the folk in holiday cottages.
In the eighties certainly not heard of...
Well perhaps Fortnum and Mason's.
Trouble was I was too tired with spinning, knitting, milking, cheese making,
bee keeping, peat digging, veg growing - you get the picture! 

On the farm in the Vale of York...
Worm farming, ice cream making,
101 uses of cow muck...
brickettes for burning,
a fragrant fire you'll agree
bricks for building,
you've heard of wattle and daub
and so on.

A high point was my idea to open a 
Wholefood Transport caff
Selling absolutely NO CHIPS!
Eggs in the form of egg white omelettes,veggie burgers,
served with a myriad of salads
Bulgar wheat, quinoa, cous cous 
Beans of all sorts, colours and hues...
Wind by any other name
Seeds, to make the truckers bounce with health 
Wholemeal bread, buns and baps.
Cakes, of the healthy kind. 
Flapjacks, with only a passing nod to their first cousin - 
the breeze block.

Decaff tea served in bone china mugs
Peppermint, feverfew, chamomile and Roos
Decaff coffee passed through the cleansing waters
of a melting glacier.




A gym to ease their tired bodies,
Shelf upon shelf of mind enhancing books
The broadsheets, no red top here.

A diary of drop-in self improvement events
Pilates, tai chi, zumba, yoga
Massage upon request...
a quick rub down with a damp FT to
invigorate mind and aching bod.

My son Aaron on being told of my cunning plan
pored scorn on the idea.
I'd like to say from a great height, although that would be a
slight exageration, due to him rolling around on the floor holding his sides.

Is it any wonder, that I'm hugely misunderstood?




***




Monday, 25 June 2012

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Ted's hot date with...

Miss Tena...




Inspector Clouseau like he left the house...
'There is a time to laugh and a time not to laugh, and this is not one of them'


moustache stuck on with Pritt On & Off pads,
toupee with Sellotape Sticky Fixers.
Collar turned up, being ever vigilant not to blow his cover, he furtively climbed into his 
camouflaged Nissan Micra.
Roaring past our local chemist, he drove at speeds not in excess of twenty three mph.
This was a covert mission after all! 


My words of 
'Order them from Jag at our local pharmacy'
falling on deaf ears.
The wig was muffling all sound.


Parking under a tree in the gloomiest corner of the car park,
off he hopped.
Hopped?  He'd caught his foot in the hem of his 
Aquascrotum trench coat
bought three sizes too big at his local Oxfam shop.


Furtively he sidled up to the young assistant in  
our local town's Timothy Whites.
'Psst... out of the corner of his mouth he whispered
'Tips'
Tena Incontinence Pads to the uninitiated.
'Not for me you understand, nor yet the wife...
the dog!'


The deal was done; out he came carrying the single bed size carrier bag,
flushed with the success of a mission accomplished.


We will all sleep easy tonight, especially Lettice.




Disclaimer - I did clear it with him this morning sat up in bed
His reply...
'It'll be more interesting than your philosophical ones!'














Saturday, 23 June 2012

I yearn... Oh how I yearn...

for a pantry...
yes a proper walk-in pantry...




you know, a get the whole bod in sort; with slabs of marble
for the chilled food, shelves of bottled fruit, 
salted runner beans, jams, pickles and the like.
Hooks to hang ham, 
bread crocks the size of a man,
tins of spam.


***
for bosoms the size of newly -laid eggs
gently sizzling in a pan


***


to know what I know now, without the face of
Underground map lines


***


to 'Chill Man! 
without the worry of... 
what is to come for future generations


***


to be a little more circumspect, 
instead of flying in feet first


***


not to be judgemental
'Judge not, lest ye be judged judgmental'
Florence King


***


to learn to listen, and sometimes 
 read between the lines


***


to eat marmalade and orange drizzle cake 
without fear 




recipe upon request








 Lettice and I are enjoying our Saturday
home alone without Hubs...  
who PC Plod-like... 
 directs the village fete traffic.


Before you wonder, I swanned up and bought two books,
rich really, considering, 
he tottered up with a coffin sized box of books for them to sell.
And a naff but 'wonderbar' storage jar.


The very, very worst bit was...
on the way back I found myself in our lovely
'Village Life' shop 
were I bought myself a shirt and beautiful linen jacket.
Which hubs naturally doesn't know about yet...
Nudge, nose tap, wink!


A little snapshot of our bucolic
life in deepest ~Kent


***

























Friday, 22 June 2012

Keith, you are to...

organicals...



what Grayson is to frocks...



and pots...




Fridays find me looking forward with great anticipation
to my Abel & Cole veg. box.


I just don't get it, how can you supply such fantastically fresh
vegetables at such a reasonable price?
Yesterday in what 'used to be' my favourite supermarket 
I looked at three organic leeks for £4.99, 
yes... £4.99!


Is it any wonder that organicals have got such a bad name?


Folk crack on about not being able to afford to buy, and at that price
I'm not so sure the Duke of Westminser could run to it either.


The other good thing I think about you is...
that you don't screw the farmers.
Hope I'm right?
I'm sure I am!
(never one to hide my light under a bushel, me!)


If you can do it, why can't the huge supermarkets?
Does it all come down to money, profit and the
'I'm alright Jack' mentality of so many people today?
Got a horrible feeling it does!








***












Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Open letter to...




Dear Mr Perry,

I wonder if you can help me?

I've watched and thoroughly enjoyed your first two programmes,
All In The Best Possible Taste.
The third, on last night I've recorded, reason being I can fast forward through the adverts. Plus being slightly deaf I can rewind to hear any nuggets I missed the first time.

The problem which I hope you can help me with is this...
I think I've ridden the snake and slid down the class system.
Quite how, I've no idea.  Most folk surely would endeavour to climb the ladder?
Don't get me wrong I'm not unhappy about this, far from it!

Let me tell you a little about myself...
On my mother's side, her father Herbert came South in the depression in the Thirties
to find work.  He bought a house in Wilmington which is a village on the outskirts of Dartford.  This in itself is a mystery.  How did he get the money together, with a wife and four children to support? Hard work and saving I suppose.

My dad's father was the manager of a bank also in Dartford.  The family lived in a farmhouse on Dartford Heath.

Dad was sent to private Grammar school, Auntie 'Margarine' to the local convent.
On leaving school, Marjorie trained as a short-hand typist.  Dad was apprenticed in a local firm as a toolmaker.  His colleagues in the tool room pulled his leg about him going to work in a Harris Tweed jacket with shirt, collar and tie and beautifully ironed trousers.
In his tea break, he would sit and read Dickens.  Imagine that!

He became a fully paid up member of the Union.   Around the dining table the conversation would get heated with dad expounding the virtues of his trade union beliefs to his Tory voting parents.

Their house, a large Victorian semi, was beautiful with a rocking horse in the hall,
I had an old china faced doll and a wonderful teddy, the loss of which I mourn to this day.  
My grandfather was truly eccentric, riding a motorbike, wearing a Gannex mac and beret.  They had a Jowett Javelin car.
In his spare time he was a wood carver; happy memories for me of going to see him working on his latest carving in his shed; kittens playing in the wood shavings.

Terribly middle class would you say?

As a child we went on holiday to France and also a cruise.
A cruise in the Fifties!

Now we get to the nub of the matter... me!  I've always been large, lary and LOUD.
Do I enunciate in finest Estuary English, I wonder?
The worst swear word I ever heard my father say was  'Sod it!'  
More than can be said for me.

I've drifted through life with ne'er a care, messing about at school always the class clown.
Jobs have come and gone, far too many and various to mention.
I have artistic leanings, unfortunately not accompanied with any degree of talent.

My bete noire has always been snobbery in all its forms.
Is this I wonder because all through my life, folk have found me hard to pigeon hole?
Latterly I've given talks on my exploits.  One snooty group of the WI thought my 
talks were hard to believe and my language wasn't to their liking.
I said bloody five times in relation to a conversation I had with another.
I wouldn't mind, however if I'd told it like it really was, they would never, in a million years have believed me.  Why would I give a talk and then lie?   I'm not a politician. 


Where do I go from here, will I finish up with snake-skin slough in the gutter?


On a happier note, I love the frocks.  If I send you me vitals, will you run one up for me?


Yours,


Linda.














Tuesday, 19 June 2012

I'm a serial...





No, NO, no!
Not that sort...
'Crafting also-ran'
In my jungly garden this morning I got to thinking; 
so deep in thought was I, that along with my tea I swallowed a fly...
'There was an old woman...


How many things over the years have I decided to try?


Here goes


1.  Spinning, knitting and crochet;
in my defence here I will say, that my crafting put food on the table.
In the early eighties I lived a self-sufficient life up on the NW coast of Scotland.
Fleece aplenty, winters of snow and mizzerly rain.
What better way than to sit by the peat fired Rayburn,
making things to sell to the tourists in the summer.


2.  Dress making; trouble was I always felt terribly home-made.
These were the days when home-made wasn't trendy.


3.  Beekeeping; fine 'til I got horribly stung one Saturday night 
when fresh from a bath, fragrant and smelling of perfume,
I decided to check the bees.
In their defence, as I gently prised the lid off, they did give me a warning
buzzzzzz.
No worries LL, you'll be fine!
With no veil, wearing just a floaty kaftan in I went...
And out they came...
Bees boiling out of a hive is not a sight or sound I want to hear ever again.
I ran screaming down the garden, being stung as I went.
Aaron my son has probably been scarred for life at the sight of his daffy mum being pursued.  And, worse than that, the sight of my naked plumpteous bod
revealed, as I oh so carefully tried to remove my floating 'little' number without squashing anymore angry bees.


That night I thought I was going to die.
The doctor said you need committing to a mental asylum
his exact words!
Beekeeping bit the dust.


4.  Felting...
I've been on two different courses,
naturally buying all the tackle.
I did it for a while then found I could buy
wonderful felt without the faff of suds'n'stuff from
Annie The Felt Fairy
(on my sidebar)
Me being me, I didn't buy just a few colours to try, 
I bought the whole blooming colour chart.


5.  Badge making...
Bought all the gear, probably at least two hundred pounds worth.
I did knock out lots of badges and they sold well.
Then my interest waned.


6.  Sewing - Serious
not my 'that'll do' approach!
Debs of pretty goods
got me on the straight and narrow.
Even now as I sit at my machine her words come back.
Trouble is...
Can I remember how to make a cushion with zip?
Can I heck as like!


7.  Customising denim...
this started when a friend asked me to repair her jeans.
As I struggled with getting the patch high up in the crotch area,
I had a brain wave and embroidered...
'muff'
She'll never see it and if anyone else does, 
they'll be too blooming close for comfort.
What was the first thing she saw?
And on the strength of that I got my first commission.
I ought to say now I haven't made a habit of embellishing four letter words.
Wherever I go I get comments about my different customised items of apparel.
No one ever wants to part with spondolicks for my efforts though.


8.  Viv's Haberdashery brooch making workshop...
where yours truly swans in, not content to make a brooch,
just a family history happening on a velvet door curtain.
Viv did have the courage to suggest ever so diplomatically that
the colour was wrong, the size etc.
Pointing me in the direction of a lovely silky Irish linen (I think)
smallish table cloth.
After yesterday's debacle with the Witney blanket, 
am I pleased she did, it's taken me months to get to here.




9.  Woodcarving...
How could I forget that?
Years ago I signed up for classes.
My grandfather who was a bank manager by day,
 had spectacular skills as a wood carver by night







this is an example.
So I naturally assumed that his talent would ooze
out of every pore of my body...
Wrong!  It took me a whole term to
carve a Tudor rose.
Yes you've guessed it, that mad cap scheme bit the dust.


10.  Angel making - that didn't take off!






Time to re-evaluate LL...
watching the Grayson Perry programme on class
(the first one)
GP asked a guy how much he had spent on each tattoo,
to which he replied about a thousand pounds a pop.
'Would you spend that much on a piece of artwork?'
The lad nearly fell off his chair in horror.
Those of you who are still with me,
( and thank you for that)
will probably guess where this convoluted tale is going...
Yes, I'm going to put my hands up to the fact, my 'talent' isn't 
as great as I like to kid myself, flog what flotsam and jetsam
swirl around my studio; spending the money on what other more talented people do.


What do you think?

Monday, 18 June 2012

What was I thinking of...


this scaled up 


onto this?

Who am I kidding?
It's taken yonks to get this far on my first one.
There is no way on God's earth that I will bestir
myself to do a double blanket.


In a fit of activity
I did pin a few things on it this morning, then
held it up and needed sun-shades in order not to 
blind myself with the acres, furlongs even, of fabric still to cover.
You've heard of snow-blindness, bet you've never heard of
blanket-blindness?
Well you have now!


Come back painting by numbers all is forgiven.



Sunday, 17 June 2012

All my life I've been an oik...

might that be I wonder, why the chattering middle class
give me a snooty wide berth?

Living in a terribly hoity-toity village
no surprise then I've never been accepted.

Yesterday saw me setting off to Margate.
Yes, you heard it right...
MARGATE.

Well, she would wouldn't she!

'Hold tight snoots!'

I went to the Turner Contemporary Gallery...
Mer, mer, mer, mmer, Mer!
So there!

Why LL?

This is why...


South East Today
our local news station (Beeb)
were asking for photographs to make a
Jubilee picture of the Queen.

Guess who sent one in?
Yes, right in one, me.

Being a self-centred lump,
well you know the rest.

My photo will naturally be part of the crown;
that obviously goes without saying?
Or at the very least sparkly earrings.
Alright...
grey hair, 
wrinkles,
dare I say it...
double chins?

Not a bit of it...
couldn't see my mug shot anywhere.

Well that'll teach me!

I flashed around the Tracey Emin exhibition...
I think I get her?
Not as much as Grayson though.

I then thought I might explore the town...

Words fail me!

From there I set off to Deal, where my lovely dad
lived for a few years. 
In those days it was a sleepy seaside town. 
Years before, as a child we 
would go for family holidays.
Twenty five years ago when visiting dad I used to think it was a 
one horse-town.
Not a bit of it now!
Trendy shops abound, 
interesting folk wander around.
I had lunch in a very bohemian cafe
called the Black Duck (although it might be Duncan?)
can't remember.
Then I found two glorious Witney wool blankets
for...
wait for it...
£3.99 each.


My day was made.


Driving home my mind was full of ideas
as to what to do with my wondrous woollies.
And as I'm going like the clappers on my family history wall hanging.
I thought a autobiographical comfort blanket might be the answer.


Here it is on the line as we speak.







Tracey, Grayson...
think you can sew...
Humph!