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.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Of times gone by.

I was a child of the 70s.
A time when television meant three channels and a midnight curfew; an age preceding the digital generation of push button technology and Google.

In this age, entertainment involved imagination, board games and making do.
Against a backdrop of  The Magic Roundabout, Sindy had a bed made from a cereal box, resplendent in purple nylon, Action Man mountaineered over egg boxes and many of my soft toys were handmade.

I learned to sew at an early age, and when Father Christmas brought me a wooden sewing box at age seven I was in fabric heaven!
Alas, a sewing machine of my own had to wait another ten years, when I took possession of the most beautiful Singer sewing machine from the 1940s.
I loved that machine, but by then I'd been seduced by the heady, alcohol fueled atmosphere of Art School in the 1980s, and my beautiful Singer spent the next six years languishing in dusty corners of various shared houses, while I was caught up in Kibbutz, various misjudged relationships and the airport.
I lost interest in sewing and lent my Singer to my grandma in the 90s.
She had regained her interest in sewing as mine had waned.
However, when I eventually rediscovered my sewing mojo in 2009, I also discovered my beautiful Singer had been mistakingly  sold.
I never quite got over that.
Or the fact that the (empty) wooden cover was unearthed in the dark recesses of my brother's bedroom just last year, destined for the skip...

But this particular ghost has now been laid to rest, as on Monday I took delivery of a vintage Frister and Rossman sewing machine, complete with a carved wooden  lid and inlaid wood base.
It dates back to the 1920s, and is truly special.
The history, the generations of women who have cared for this machine...the rusty needle tin, ancient toothbrush and elongated bobbin.
Sometimes, I catch myself just stroking the wood and smelling the beeswax.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Password - not accepted. Please enter your memorable place...

The bane of my life.
Passwords, passwords, passwords - I dread any site that asks for a password as - despite reusing the same three or four over and over again, it's never the right one that I enter.

With a phone having the battery life of an egg timer I find myself constantly searching for wifi friendly shops to check emails on an alternative gadget.
Sometimes I feel like binning all gadgets.
I never used to feel the need to check emails while out, yet now I'm a walking encyclopedia of Wi-Fi friendly shops in Swansea.
How did that happen?
Today was M&S.

''Please enter password.''
Wrong one.
Three times.

''Please enter your memorable place.''
Good, I know this one...
How can it possibly reject the right answer???

I try capitals, no capitals, pic n mix, country, city, expletives - back to the place I tried first time round - back to the spelling I'm sure I entered first off - BINGO!

All signed in, only to find the new emails I have are all SPAM.

I give up on WiFi.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The not so humble skip. Right up there with an air ticket somewhere hot.

8pm, chicken pie in oven, rocket and balsamic plonked in an artistic heap and I'm feeling positively Delia-like.
It won't last.
Unlike my rosemary, which, despite being largely ignored, is spreading all over the garden at an alarming rate.
Like my ever expanding binbag collection, in the aftermath of a particularly brutal clearout.
And the lid of my oil tank, which appears to have taken up residence next door as a birdbath.

I'd still like a skip, and find myself staring enviously at said skips when I pass, even taking to photographing them.

Skip envy.

At the moment, I think of a skip as a particularly desirable item, right up there with an air ticket somewhere hot.
Somewhere like SdotYam, the kibbutz I have never quite got out of my system.
Although in the neighbouring city of OrAqiva, skips have taken on an entirely different meaning altogether, and are best avoided!

Home as a volunteer, 1990, 1991.
Josh, 1997.


With friends, 2010,  OrAqiva.


Friday, 30 January 2015

Skip envy.

January sunshine and a veritable rubbish mountain.
And with the three bag, two week rule I'm going to have to be creative with my ever expanding pyramid of ever bigger black bags.
I have serious skip envy.
Having lived in the same place for two decades, and minus an attic, my shed is crammed with layer upon layer of junk.
Funny really, as when I moved in I'd always assumed it would be short term.
Drastic action is needed, which will involve a skip, a move or hopefully both.
I am going to use a friend who shall remain nameless - Max in Manchester - for inspiration.
Max has the best idea, and understands the attraction of a skip.
Not only does she succumb to said skip on a yearly basis, she also moves frequently.

Me and Max, 2011.

And who knows what is lurking at the back of my shed?
Apart from the spiders, the floppy cobwebs and remnants of coal.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The quirky duck and regal swan.

A long grey month, but when the sun does make a rare appearance, the winter light is beautiful.

This month I am stalking swans.
The light in their feathers, the don't-mess-with-me haughtiness and the effortless grace they possess make them incredibly photogenic.
Even when I'm leaning over them with a long lens camera.


My printer will soon be on overdrive. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Itchy feet and hues of grey.

Two weeks into my least favourite month and trying to resist the urge to book an impromptu trip back to the sun, sea and friends of SdotYam.
Afterall, January's a slow month sales wise and grey has never been my favourite colour for a sky.
BUT...this is supposed to be the year I change things up and spring clean my life, and whenever I go back to SdotYam I end up boomeranging right back within months. has been four years...and I was supposed to have gone back this summer...
Oh my goodness, it's tempting!


Yotvata on the beach.
NoBurger, winter 2010.

While I may not be a fan of grey skies I am a fan of grey fabric, and am starting 2015 with a grey palette of varying hues. And resurrecting the wide awake fox cub, after a year of snoozy ones.

This one is called The Curious Fox Cub, and is backed with a soft and tactile wool.
It's been a long time since my foxes have been awake!

And continuing with the monochrome theme, this is a photographic card featuring the regal swan.
The crisp winter light of December was perfect for photography, and the swan has a unique charm and grace.


Sunday, 4 January 2015

The soft glow of fairylights and a yearning for chipboard.

As the New Year stutters into normality I'm hanging on to the fairylights.
Much as I'm jaded by Christmas and have never embraced tinsel, the fairylights make January less grey.
But I've missed my six foot boards.

I'm a big fan of the boards, chipboard at its finest.
(Although I admit to being sceptical when my dad appeared on the doorstep last year, brandishing said boards and announcing they would change my life).
Well, they didn't change my life but they certainly expanded my workspace!

These boards were unsurped by the Christmas tree, a bargain from the one-step-away-from-the-shredder section of the Christmas tree plantation.
Rejected, due to a chunk missing from the back, but who looks at the back anyway?
And I have a pile of pinstripe and flowerpower fabric to sew, fresh from a new year rummage down Bricklane.
Yesterday morning I woke to soggy conifers and icy winds.
With an overwhelming urge to be back in London and away from a Gower shrouded in grey mist and festive drizzle.
6 hours later I was in Paddington, my gateway to urban sanity.
And finally got to the Horst exhibition I've been meaning to see for ages, just a day before it closed.


I love photography, and these were strong images.
The strong lines, the lighting...the staging.
For Horst I can tolerate a queue stretching down the South Kensington tunnel.
I'm glad I went.

On a photography theme, December has been the month of the swan for me.
Move over quirky ducks, I've fallen for the elegant lines and effortless grace of the swan.
And the crisp yellow light of late December was perfect for stalking swans at a local park.

December has also brought the rediscovery of a box of old slides from the 60s and 70s.
I find slides quite magical, so retro and so of their time.
The one below was taken in 1969, and is of me and my mum.
A moment in time.