Thursday, 27 February 2014

Dear Diary...Friday, 28th October 1988. Sleepless on a motorway.

I'm nearly there - oh my goodness, I'm nearly there!
And in a few days, thawed out by a radiator, memories of the searing cold of that night at the Yugoslav border will be blurred.

Sitting here at the port in Zebrugger, 9.15pm and three and a half hours to kill till the ferry leaves for England.
I really did it - and Athens to Dover for just the price of a ferry ticket - £18.60 - is amazing!!!
Greece, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany,Holland and Belgium - and all in less than three days.
I'm faster than the Magic Bus!!!

Looking back, that's crazy.
I don't think I've slept since the boat, and the cold...oh my goodness...the COLD!
If I've ever been so cold in my life I don't remember.
That night on the Greece/Yugoslavia border will haunt me for ages, sleeping rough outside the bank, in the wind - the icy wind - and the cold - numb, numb, numb!!!
I'm so glad I had Felix with me - he'd done this route before, whereas all my sense of direction was telling me was that we had to go ''up'' - like the map of Europe.
In my directive skills, there were no hills or villages or bends to navigate - England was just UP!
And I was crossing my fingers for a patient driver for when Felix would abandon me on the motorway to go to Munich.

Yugoslavia and Austria were done lightening quick in a day - in a Mercedes!!!
Great lift, and I could doze on and off the whole time because I was sandwiched in the back with all the blankets and packs to lean on.
By the time we reached the Austrian border it was dark and I was in such a hazy sleepy phase I don't remember much at all,except seeing snow on the mountains.
We were dropped off just outside Munich around 1am, and after waking Felix from under his tree about quarter to five to say goodbye I was on my way - alone. 

My introduction to Germany -  standing in the dark- no map, no idea of the geography, just the knowledge that I was to head for a Belgium ferry port.
Anyway, I was lost before I started, wandering up and down, trying to find the out way for the lorries, but someone took pity on me and gave me a lift to the dutch border, which was a surprise as I hadn't realised I'd be going to Belgium via Holland!

So now, nursing a large coffee and waiting for the call to board so that I can just curl up in a chair and go to sleep, my journey is nearly at an end.
 My family.

And next week???  Who knows!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Widgets...oh my goodness - widgets!!!

Many moons ago, as a child of the 70s, a computer was something I associated with science fiction and films set in the distant future, like Space 1999.

Then primary gave way to secondary and the new school acquired a computer room.
However, this was shrouded in mystery, as I was neither gifted nor remotely interested in either entering the room or pressing the buttons on the great machine.
In fact, I managed to get through  the whole of my school life, and later Art School, without going near a computer of any description.
Now, that is a gift -  the great art of avoidance!

Which is strange, considering I now happily sell online and am very much attached to Facebook.
I can happily spend hours and hours tweaking photographs and fiddling with fonts and colours on a computer.
And I certainly couldn't imagine a bag without a mobile.
But then, along come widgets.

I consider myself to be as good as I need to be with the great computer, but just when I think I've mastered all I need for now, along come widgets.
And widgets come with geekspeak and complicated codes, which are subsequently spat out when I try to embed them in places I want them.
Which means they are then accompanied by loud mutterings and swearing under my breath

I will not let widgets become my nemesis.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Welcome to The Sherbet Patch on Folksy.

Dear Diary...Wednesday 13th July 1988. An Athens distinctly lacking in oomph.

By the time morning came I'd decided I'd rather wander round Athens on my own.

Mark is driving me NUTS!!! Thank goodness for large sprawling markets with escape routes.
This was a mistake - Athens was a mistake, Mark was a mistake and now I'm having second thoughts about the au pair job too.
Maybe it's last minute nerves, but I haven't met the family, just the husband, and nothing was worked out properly, like time off and when I'd get paid.
I'm sure the family's fine but what if we don't get on and I know nothing about Thessaloniki.
And do I really want to be an au pair???

Which is why I'm sitting in the hostel, my last 24 hours in Athens, and $150 poorer after blowing the money on a return boat ticket to Israel, open for six months...

Bye bye Athens - bring on Haifa!

And the boat brought the wonderful Kibbutz Maabarot, with Mark, Angi and Iwan.
A crazy summer of parties, travel and great friends.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

If I'm going to have a midlife crisis I want it to be spectacular.

Forget new year resolutions, my goals are kicking in six weeks late.
Well, as far as the wistful thinking phase anyway.
And the reflective one.
Like the all guns blazing, I've spent my last summer in Llanrhidian one from way back when the sun was shining, vegetables were wilting and the grass knee high.

Australia unsettled me.
Manchester made me realise my roots are in the South East.
Brick Lane made me realise I crave urban and creativity on the doorstep.
My bank balance made me realise that's not going to be easy.
And my calender informs me it's already Spring and I'm exactly where I was in October.

If I'm going to have a midlife crisis I want it to be spectacular.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Dear Diary...Monday 4th July 1988. From London to Athens via insomnia.

Oh my oh my oh my!
Have I gone crazy???

8.30am, I've just finished a nightshift at the airport, been up since lunchtime the day before because Martin came round - I love him all over again!!! - and I'm working again tonight.

So what am I doing sitting in a London snackbar, nursing a large coffee and fuzzy head when my body's crying out for sleep, waiting for a grimy travel shop to open?

I can't believe I'm actually going through with this - that in four days time I'm going to be in ATHENS!!!
And that I have yet to buy a ticket, despite pushing Mark to buy his last week.
We're going to end up on separate planes and I haven't organised anything.

Mark - I really don't think we're going to get on, he's a bit weird and a bit eccentric and I hardly know him.
I can't believe I ever thought this was a good idea - what was in that lasagna???

What the #### will I be doing next week?  No job, no contacts - no accommodation.
 I can't back out now!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Dear Diary...8th June 1988. Sorry, I'm just not that into you!

Athens 1988, en route to Kibbutz Maabarot.

Once upon a time all it took was a rucksack and a dream and the world just shrunk!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Pinstripes, pyjamas and a penchant for paisleys.

On a day when I can finally see sun amongst the clouds I am blowing the cobwebs off my forgotten blog.
I admire squirrels, with their talent for hibernating.
I could quite happily hibernate under a duvet for the winter.
And pyjamas really are the ultimate in comfort clothing.

As spring approaches, I am still hanging on to winter fabrics.
Can you really beat the tactile softness of wool and tweed?
Pirate owls are still decked in pinstripe, although I am now veering towards a gorgeous herringbone wool in charcoal grey, a new find from the fabulous Lee Mill of Swansea, a man who shares my love of Brick Lane.
Ahhh, the lure of Brick Lane.
Every month I get an urge to return to London, and every time I get drawn back to Brick Lane.
I love the vibrancy, the energy...the limitless photo opportunities!
Last time this involved lurking on a street corner in the rain to capture a bike revving through a puddle on the rain soaked road. 
Thank goodness for an abundance of bikes.  
And a perfectly placed puddle.


Some of my favourite vintage fabrics have come from Brick Lane, including this 1960s one, which was perfect for a retro dachshund.

Roll on Brick Lane in March!
I never need much of an excuse to visit London, but March coincides with a knitting and stitching show at Olympia, so it would be rude not too...