Friday, February 25, 2011

Hobbies where do they come from?

Crochet in progress
It's February in Ontario, still lots of snow around, but, there is the beginning a hint of warmer weather to come. The birds are singing a little louder and a couple of woodpeckers enjoy the suet square, not much left now, they seem hungry and busy.

It's that time of year to think of tidying cupboards and drawers to see what I have managed to squirrel away for another day, or it might come in handy (one day).

I have a stash of stuff, hobbies that keep coming and going in my life. Now and then I get an urge during the winter months to find a piece of material, my favourite is drop cloths you buy to cover furniture when decorating. I can cut the cloth without feeling guilty and make small cushions, I embroider quotes on them or make up a pattern that takes my fancy, I have a few left, handy for a quick gift.
Embroidered pillow

I love to crochet with cotton thread making mostly small tablecloths as table toppers, very old fashioned these days, I was very ambitious one year and made a couple of bed covers, one of which I kept, the other is in UK on a bed in the guest room, quite proud of that surprisingly.

Knitting socks on four needles, mother taught me that, Granma showed the way to crochet and my Aunt Olga, every Sunday after tea, would teach me stitches of embroidery. Back then embroidery seemed to consist of crinoline ladies holding umbrellas in a flower garden. it was worked on linen for dressing tables or tray clothes. My sister introduced me to tatting I use a needle, but she uses the correct tool for the job and does marvellous work it looks very much like lace.

Three Bears
I have many samples of "stuff" in a cupboard that John won't go near. It consists of old magazines, knitting patterns, and crochet along with samples of work, and some Teddy bears I made. I know very soon I shall have to bite the bullet and have a clear, out at the moment I can hardly close the door!

My daughter has hobbies which unfortunately come and go, she does some embroidery, tried knitting too but never is able to have the time to do justice to her efforts, however she is a super photographer, and  she has a talented eye for it and it doesn't take up space, That is a good hobby. may be down the road she will have a cupboard like mine and wonder where her hobbies come from!
Schomberg Fair by Lisa

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hospital Patience

I was in hospital this week for a very minor operation, a cyst removal that took all of five minutes, and didn’t even hurt, but it made me think about how the experience is now compared to several decades ago.

Preston Royal Infirmary 1960
Image Lancashire Evening Post
When I was about 18 I got a splinter of metal in one eye, I was working as an apprentice at the time, “Better go and get that seen to lad”, so off I went to Preston Royal Infirmary, just a 5 mile bus ride away.
Once in the emergency waiting room I sat on the first empty chair. In front of me was several rows of chairs each row filled with about 15 people in various states of misery.
“Next” a nurse shouted and the person on the right hand end of the front row stood up and went to the nurse, the rest of us shuffled along to the next seat. What a relief, after a couple of hours and shuffling from seat to seat, to find myelf in the “Next” position.

In fairness once I got in medical hands they treated me kindly and got the splinter out quite fast and with little discomfort.

Now we walk in the emergency section of the hospital and in minutes are being interviewed by a very tired triage  nurse who asks lots of questions suffers no interruptions takes a record of all vital signs and sends us off to the left if its critical or to the right if its routine.
Once inside however the door locks behind you, and you wait in a corridor where all the washrooms are for staff only!
Again once the medical staff get you they fixed you up in no time.

Sometimes even visitors have to dress up.
And then there are medical gowns!
The last time I had a minor operation the nurse told me to “ Go into that cubicle, remove your shirt  and put on this gown the opening to the back” I thought "Well I’m not taking my pants off" so I stood in the waiting area removed my shirt and had the gown on in no time much to the horror of the nurse who must have never seen a naked chest before.
Now the protocol has improved, they hand you a plastic bag to hold your clothes and two gowns the inner one to be worn with the opening to the back and the outer with the opening to front, this time I did as I was told.
Only to have everything removed by the Surgeon so she could get at my chest.
Still made no sense to me.

A few weeks ago I had my annual cardiac stress test, and again the gown problem.
“Take of your shirt I’m going to fasten all these probes to your chest” after that it’s onto the tread mill and walk fast and uphill for several minutes. Afterwards the probes get removed and the technician says “that is all I will leave you in private to get dressed” and she left the room discreetly closing the door behind her. I thought ‘Why do I need privacy to don a shirt, when I’ve been topless for the last 15 minutes?”

One day I’ll learn to just do as I’m told and question nothing!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Living in the Now… with Habits

Saint Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol

Dong, Dong, Dong, the bells of Saint Mary Redcliffe Church started our Sunday morning, then St Lukes followed along with St Francis Church. All three churches within half a mile from each one and we were situated between all three!

They would all start their Sunday morning with a peel of Bells that could truly wake the dead. my sister and I, still in bed, would put our heads under our pillows and wait for the clamour to stop. The bells would gradually slow down until just one bell tolled till it stopped.

That started our Sunday.

HP Sauce ad from the 1950's
We would get up to the lovely thought of breakfast, Sunday was always a bit special it felt differently from the usual busy school week, more often than not we would have back bacon, egg and fried bread with a liberal amount of H.P sauce finished off with bread and home made marmalade and of course a good cup of Typhoo tea.

Next off we went down stairs to Grandma's room to have our hair brushed out from the plats we wore during the week (a protection from getting nits as they called them) we would sit by the fire in which Gran would put a curling iron, when hot enough she tested it on newspaper before curling the ends of our hair ready for the dreaded Sunday School.

I think this is where, as girls, habits were handed down ( not that we knew it then), Mum after breakfast would start to prepare the veg for Sunday dinner, the table cleared and peas would be podded, carrots scraped, mud washed off the potatoes, and if it was roast lamb, a favorite, we were asked to pop down to the garden and pick some mint, even thinking about it makes my mouth water, it would be washed and chopped and mixed with malt vinegar and some sugar in a little jug. Pastry would then be made for the apple pie and apples peeled. More often than not Sis and I would sit at the table chatting, Mum was always in a good mood on a Sunday, I suppose it was girls time.

To live in the NOW, old habits die hard and handed down from mother to daughter. You don't realize it till much later in life it sort of dawns on you especially on a Sunday morning.

Sunday is not just another day even though the pundits might think it.

I still love a good Sunday Breakfast!
Our habits might have changed through the years, but, I still love to have a good Sunday breakfast, then clear up and do the veg ready for dinner, not that it takes much time these days, but, it gives me a chance to relish what our mother taught us; it's the small things in life, no rush, enjoy the pleasure of the aroma from the kitchen the smell of the mint and the apple pie cooking. After all it's Sunday!

Anyone else have a special day?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Loove yoooo I love yuooo- yeah right!

Even American Republicans
hug one another1

Several years ago I was in a friend’s house in Cleveland Ohio, he was on the phone talking to his son who was in the navy, he signed off with “I love you Steve, take care of yourself”.

“I Love you ?” I had never told my kids that nor had I been told that by my parents, “I love you” was for intimate occasions only!

On Facebook it must be the most  frequently used expression, especially between young girls, they all love one another and delight to tell each other how beautiful they are.

I was brought up during a time of social restraint, you might call somebody a fool but never give praise, you might shake hands but never give a hug, and as for a kiss on the cheek, well that was almost pornographic!

The Queen of England hugging
Mrs, Obama! 
Course that was the English way in the 50’s now even the Brits have changed, they hug one another and give the swoosh kiss on each cheek, I never know how to react I just stand there till it’s all over and conversation can resume.

Yet for all this gushing of sentiment what has happened to good manners? We were taught to give up our seat to a lady if the bus was full, to hold the door open for others to pass through, to raise your hat when meeting someone and to always remove your hat indoors.

Now, many is the times I’ve had a door slammed in my face or watched in disgust as a pregnant woman has been left standing in the subway car while young folk sit comfortable texting one another, and I have friends who cannot remove their well worn baseball hat, I wonder if they shower wearing it.

But social norms change, in those “good old days” of  well mannered people it was considered acceptable to light up a cigarette anywhere, even the seats in the cinema had built in ash trays, and I must say I would prefer a hug anytime to sitting in a cloud of smoke for two hours.

Now my wife tells me hugging is not as dangerous for spreading germs as shaking hands, so I’m confused - I think I’ll keep to myself!