Friday, 20 May 2016

For the love of vintage.

In a world of Ikea flat packs and chipboard my love of vintage is growing.
Unlike my home, which could do with a larger workspace.
Or my will power, which could do with brakes.
But I really did need that statuesque 1970s cabinet to store my vintage fabric.
And I couldn't possibly leave the beautiful 1930s side unit, with the handle carved in the shape of a rose, to languish under a box of vinyl in a charity shop...
The British Red Cross, Oxford Street, Swansea.
Fast becoming my favourite shop.
And responsible for my shopping list looking something like this...bread, milk, table, chocolate, chair, wardrobe.
And a delivery service better than any other shop or department store.
There's something rather wonderful about old furniture.
The real wood, the history...the remnants of decades old lining paper.
And as for glass jelly moulds - my impulse buy of choice, and great for storage in the bathroom.
It's probably a good thing they don't stock vintage haberdashery or I'd be there every day!
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But for vintage fabric, there's always Ebay, with its array of wonderful, tactile vintage wools.
I love vintage wool.
My most recent purchase was a 1980s suiting wool, which was perfect for a long cat draught excluder.
He's called Jasper.

And now I'm off to Swansea to fill my fridge via the inevitable pull of the British Red Cross.
Because I could really do with another wardrobe...

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Blame Game.

14th February.

The traditional day of hearts and flowers, romance and gestures.
This year, it also marked the end of a year which has opened my eyes to the self absorbed world of addiction and denial, depression fallout and frustration at being unable to help.
Yes, I fell for someone with enough baggage and issues to floor an elephant.

I learned that addiction and denial go hand in hand.
That addiction, denial and depression feed off each other.

I learned that you cannot help someone who doesn't want to be helped.
That a large part of denial is The Blame Game.

And I realised I had to let this person go.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Suki. 12 years of furry bonding, seeing me through muddy knees to Canary Wharf and everything in between.

Ex feral from the lean mean streets of Neath, and adopted many years ago in September 2003.
Now age 13, a diva in retirement, with forgetful episodes.
Still sassy, but taking life at a slower pace.
And not loving wet feet, which will please the local birds and mice, but for me it's tinged with sadness, as it comes with the realisation that she is aging.

Suki came into my life when my son was 11, and in his first year at Secondary school.
They bonded in the pen, with Josh refusing to leave unless we adopted Suki, and Suki hissing at any other cat that dared to approach.
Now, Josh is 23 and swapping rural Wales for Canary Wharf at the end of the month.

Suki has seen me through many changes, from muddy knees and trailing leads to Australia and disturbed nights, through uni and empty nest syndrome, traumatic and difficult times at work, Gibraltar and now the lure of London.
Along the way she has accompanied me to work, escorted me to bus stops, climbed up and down hills to set up Art Clubs and claimed the whole village as her territory.

Still at my side; intuitive, special, and I love her to bits.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Couriers. Love them, hate them, can't do without them.

My Hermes.
I am currently on parcel number 197, a relationship that goes back two years.
For the most part, I love them.
But sometimes, just sometimes, they drive me cuckoo.

Over the years I've learned I'm a creature of habit.
I like the routine of a courier you can set your clock by - same person knocking at the door, same time for every parcel.
And as for the parcel shop - I only ever use the same one.

BUT...nothing stays the same forever, and two weeks ago my courier not only bumped me off his collection with no email/text/communication but couldn't guarantee picking it up the next day either.
I swapped my allegiance to the parcel shop, which never lets me down.
For two weeks I lugged boxes to the faraway parcel shop rather than back down and get them collected.
For two weeks everything went smoothly.
Until yesterday.

Yesterday I turned up with a particularly bulky parcel, in the welsh drizzle.
I was met by the smiley shop owner informing me that it was not possible to drop off a parcel as the machines were down.
Technology meltdown!
I had no intention of lugging this parcel around all day, so with couriers  also being creatures of habit, and the pickup van being due in half an hour I decided to hang around outside to catch him and his (hopefully working)  all important scanner.

Thirty minutes of wandering up and down and lurking on various street corners I was happy to see the van arrive.
And a working scanner, but red tape prevailed, and with a defunct shop scanner my parcel was refused.

Grudgingly admitting defeat I left with the offending parcel, only to be accosted halfway down the road by the smiley man waving his scanner at me and telling me ''quick, quick - we have two minutes of battery!''
SO...parcel successfully checked in, ready to languish on the shop shelf till pickup today at 12.20pm on the dot.
Mission accomplished!

However, sitting on the sofa today, with a parcel in the hallway awaiting pickup, the courier I used to set my clock by is now two hours late, and I'm having deja vue...

Friday, 21 August 2015

Bin Gate. Black bags a-squatting.

Bin Gate.
I'm thinking of adding the refuse department to the friends and family section on my phone.
They'd probably rather I didn't.

I share a garden with my upstairs neighbour.
Being nocturnal and elusive, he has never been pro-active at clearing out rubbish.
So, with binbags rationed to three a fortnight, I was more than a little alarmed to see said neighbour's annual clearout frenzy climax with 28 bags and a splintered door.

This was a month ago.
And the bags are still squatting under the droopy conifers.

Twice three of the offending black bags have made it as far as the pavement.
Twice they have been rejected by the esteemed refuse department, and left to fester.
Twice I have rung and been told they are either too heavy - health and safety - or contain prohibited items.

Today, they were finally removed.
Today, these same three bags that had previously been rejected were apparently absolutely fine. 
Today, mine took their place in the rejection line.

One hour later, following a particularly irate phone call, the lorry was forced to backtrack and remove them.

But not the 28 remaining squatters.
That's a battle for another day.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Pondering commitment phobia.

Ten little letters, one irrational fear.

Fear of commitment:  
The individual will feel anxious and uneasy about being 'tied' to a specific course of action.
Oh my, oh my, how I can relate to this!

Recently I have been pondering on my own commitment phobia, which stretches back well over two decades.
During this time I appear to have avoided all major milestones, and mastered the dubious skills of backing off, avoidance and pushing away.
 On more than one occasion I have been known to physically run.
This once involved ''losing'' a boyfriend in a Greek market and jumping on a ferry to Israel, although now I'm a responsible adult it's far less dramatic.
The writing was on the wall when I booked not just separate seats but separate planes for that particular trip.

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, commitment phobia would explain my prolonged back packing youth and the appeal of relationships with an ocean in between.
But what I didn't realise until recently is that it has also affected my day to day life.
And is probably why my biggest purchases to date have been a very nice floor and air tickets.
Bus over car, renting over large purchases, no lengthy contracts...self employed, biscuit tin accounting.
And a distinct lack of forward planning.

With commitment issues stretching back as far as 1988, is it really possible to change? 


Friday, 19 June 2015

Tea Gate.

To me, a teabag is a teabag.
Inoffensive, everyday and an ever present member of the kitchen canister.
This week, I've learned differently.

To someone with depression you can do a hundred nice things, yet they will still focus on the one negative.
And that seemingly insignificant negative suddenly gains enormous importance.

This week, it was the turn of the humble teabag.

Said person was out of caffeine and twitchy.
Tesco was ordered and duly delivered.
Unfortunately, PGTips had been replaced with Typhoo.
And Typhoo was not allowed house room, let alone residence on the kitchen windowsill. 
When discovered, the offending teabags were eyed in the way a cat would eye an intruder on their patch.
Hackles up, eyes wary - I had to step in and remove the offensive article.

Now, this is someone who can't go an hour without a caffeine fix.
Tea, coffee - the stronger the better.
And I certainly don't recall said person being offered tea whilst out and quizzing the tea maker on the brand of their teabag.

Depression is a truly terrible illness.
Small things magnify, gaining huge significance.
Disruption to routine insurmountable, anxiety high.
And tough to watch.