Monday, 30 August 2010

This Weekend (17) ...

This weekend was a looooooong weekend. Bliss! And here's the killer! NEXT weekend will be a long weekend too! A girl could get used to the three day working week! But anyway, here's this week's news.

1) Thursday night. No pub quiz. I had a date with an actual boy instead. I'm not going to tell you about it. I'm being enigmatic. There's a first time for everything ...

2) Friday morning I hit the supermarket. I'm making an extra special really real effort to buy British where possible, and avoid import unless it's essential. Most of the time it's pretty easy, and I've been buying 'licious food. But tell me, why, in August, is Mr Sainsbury IMPORTING tomatoes from the Netherlands? Grrr! I feel a letter coming on.

3) The local Artists' Open House event is building a head of steam. Well it is in my house, anyway. I and another lady were meant to be co-ordinating the trail around the 29 houses that will form the Tooting trail, but she seems to have absconded, so here I am ... The build up and planning is going to be something of a running theme in posts for the next month, I think. (Early plug ... if anyone's in the Tooting area on 2/3 Oct or 9/10 October, then come and see us! You can see the brochure for the borough here, and keep popping back for more propaganda!) Anyway, it's with this in mind that I now have 300 pink balloons in my dining room. Deflated, unfortunately, but don't let that stand in the way of a good mental image.

4) On Friday night, it was my turn to host our girls Making Night. The five of us had a good old natter whilst we knitted, stitched, beaded, cut card and drank wine. We set the world to rights. It was all good.

5) The Lovely Amelia's youngest came to Making Night with her, and, in spite of his sugar high caused by playing something called The Doughnut Game (you can imagine ...) at holiday club, he flaked out in the spare room in no time. On Saturday morning he and I played out in the car with the top down, went to the park, ate Percy Pigs, and played Graffiti Ball on the iPhone. I'm not sure it was educational, but it was fun.

6) Do you know, I've no idea what I did on Saturday afternoon. I'm sitting here scratching my head, and nothing comes to mind. If I spent it with you, I apologise. The early onset dementia is, unfortunately, kicking in. Now where was I ...?

7) Sunday was to be a jewelling day. All my spare time at the moment is spent planning Open House, but I need to spend a little time making things that I can sell myself too. At the moment, I have about three things to sell. So I made a stack of bracelets and planned a few more and had a few ideas that I scribbled on a list. I'm not in control yet, but I can now see that I could be in control, if I could only concentrate long enough.

8) Then on Sunday evening, The Lovely Robbo (TLR, hereafter) came to visit. He is an old pal from university days, who did live just up the road, but then was made redundant and rather irritatingly got a new job in Newcastle. I'm still very resentful. But he was in town for a few days and I got to see him for the first time in aaa-aaa-aaa-ges. We went out for a bite to eat and nattered about all the things we've not nattered about for yonks.

9) Today was an uncharacteristically mild bank holiday Monday. Tradition has it that it rains on a bank holiday usually, so it made a nice change. TLR and I had bacon sandwiches the size of our heads for breakfast, then pootled along to Abbey Mills, a craft market near here built in ... you guessed it ... old mill buildings. We wandered along the river to Morden Hall Park, which is one of my favourite places in London. It's the most lovely park, beautifully kept by those nice people at The National Trust, and it's in such an unlikely place, that it's doubly lovely. TLR was impressed that somewhere so lovely had been right on his doorstep and he'd never known it was there. Well ... I don't share secrets like that with just anyone ...

10) Then after TLR left, I dropped some empty jars to a friend for her blackberry jam, made some cakes to take to the office tomorrow, wrote the event listings for Open House (see ... it's taking over my life), wrote a begging letter to all local artists asking them for prize donations for a competition, planned menus for next weekend's Big Weekend Away, made dinner, made lunch for tomorrow, and now, written a blog post. So now, I think it's time for beddy bies. G'night!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

I am the Key Master

(Quick houskeeping note: "This Weekend ..." will be posted tomorrow. It's a bank holiday weekend her in Blighty, so we are all lounging by rivers in the sun drinking Pimms for another day yet...)

So, there I was yesterday afternoon, pottering around at home, and generally dodging sitting down and making jewellery for the forthcoming Open House event, when my shuffling took me into the garden.

I pulled up a few weeds, dead-headed a few flowers, and noticed that there was a damned sight more that needed doing that I couldn't quite pluck up the enthusiasm for, when I noticed something on my garden table.

There, on the glass, not in the middle, but safely away from the edge, was a key. Not a nice shiny new key, or even a very large key, but a key nevertheless. It's not rusty, but it's well weathered and if there ever were any discerning features, they have long since been worn away. It's the simplest key that a key can be, and still be a key.

But where did it come from?

My house in the middle of a terrace of about 20 houses. There's no back alley, so the only way into my garden is either through the house, or over ten fences in either direction. The back wall is the 20 ft high school wall. No-one's coming over that baby. So if I didn't put the key there (and I didn't) then who did? Was it flung over a few fences or the school wall? Did a passing bird of fox drop it from their more appetising haul?

Or was it left there by fairies ...?!

And what does it open? It's not for anything in my garden. There are no doors or gates or ins or outs. Not that I've noticed so far, anyway. I've mentioned it to Mother Tooting, who thinks I should leave it, in the hopes that it's joined by a cake that is iced with the words, "Eat Me", or maybe a White Rabbit in a waistcoat. My neighbour Suzanne thinks that it's almost certainly the key to a secret garden.

Either option seems likely to me.

So in the mean time, I've left it on the table. I think that it should stay there, don't you? Maybe someone's lost it and will come looking. Or maybe one day a tantalising door will spring up to go with it. Or maybe it will grow into a key tree right there in my back yard.

Meanwhile, if anyone thinks that their keyring looks a bit light, do let me know.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Lost in Translation

Question: What do the following phrases have in common?

- I get to see very good article.
- To visit the hello, great blog to help you promote a culture.
- Time is shaping the lives of the material.
- To help fight popular, go, go, go.
- Happy to enjoy the results of the work process.
- Time is the life of the soul.
- The best gift in life is to own a slice of pie.
- Death is sad, but even more sad to live unhappy.

Answer: They are all translations of the Chinese comments posted on my blog in the last month.

Now, I hate to sound picky. A comment IS a comment, after all. And it's nice to embrace all cultures. And I like a bit of foreign as much as the next person.

But PLEEEEASE, Mr China-spam, stop commenting on my blog in Chinese!!!

That is all .

Friday, 20 August 2010

Anecdotal Evidence

In my line of work, part of the remit is to collect evidence of deals done on other property similar to ours. We call around other agents and get them to talk us through what they've done, how they've done it, why they've done it, and what they got out of it.
Most of the time this is sufficient, but sometimes things turn nasty* and we have to get mean. And then there are quite strict guidelines on what is good information and what is bad information.
Good information is what you get when someone knows all about a deal and can fill all the details into a schedule, chapter and verse, add it all up, explain it all, sign it and seal it in blood. We like that. It makes us happy. Bad information is when some bloke down the pub says, "between you and me, I heard that shop x was leased to retailer y and they paid a million pounds for it! Of course, I might have misheard ..." We don't like that. It makes us anxious. It's known as "anecdotal evidence."
It strikes me that the same boundaries could be applied to all intel. When you are given information (by which I mean "gossip") you should ask for some kind of authority. The giver of the gossip should have all the information to hand, be able to analyse what they have heard, write it down, and sign it. Anything less should not pass for good gossip. Anecdotal evidence should be taken with a pinch of salt.
I'll give you an example from the Family Tooting.
Christmas of, I think, 2004, was the last that Granny Tooting spent with our side of the family.
She was a lady who, in her time, had enjoyed a gin and a fag. Actually, at one point, Granny Tooting was enjoying a litre of gin a week, and 40 John Player Special a day. God love her, she was pickled. She'd lived the Ex-Pat life, travelling the world with my Grandfather, in New Zealand, Mexico, India, Peru and Trinidad, and probably others that her booze-addled brain couldn't remember, staying in each country for a few years, before coming home long enough to pat her son (raised largely by his Aunt) on the head, and leave again. In each country they soaked up the local delicacies, largely orally, in liquid form, on the rocks. Granny was quite the girl.
My father's family was from a small village in the Dulais valley in South Wales, and Granny would have been in her twenties in the 40s. Life was staid and sensible then. People didn't do frivolous things. Excitement was rationed. So Granny married Grandad in the mid-40s, and he was considered to be a catch because he'd trained as an engineer in mines, and would earn a good trade. That she was to turn into a mildly alcoholic old lady at his hand wouldn't have occurred to anyone. He was a Good Man and that was what counted.
So, against that backdrop, picture this scene. Post Christmas, pre New Year 2004. The Tootings have finished their dinner, cleaned up, and are sitting in the living room watching seasonal TV specials. Celebrity Mastermind comes on the telly and no-one can muster the enthusiasm to change the channel, so we start watching. An ex-soap actor steps forward, and sits in the black leather chair. Chosen specialist subject ... the life and films of Richard Burton. Naturally we play along, despite only knowing a handful of answers between us. End of round, and there's a pause.
"I could have married Richard Burton when I was a girl," pipes up Granny.
Another pause. Four Tootings gawp at her open mouthed whilst we churn this information. About the right age. One valley over. The could, very conceivably, have been at the same dance hall at the same time. Father Tooting lets his head drop into his hand and sighs.
"Dada [her father] didn't approve though. Said he'd never amount to much. Not like your father," she nods her head towards Father Tooting. "He was an engineer. He was really going places." She picked up the empty gin and tonic glass and stared hopefully into the bottom. No-one said a word.
Is it true? Who knows. There's no-one left to ask who would remember, and even if there was, they mightn't say. So I guess it has to be disregarded as anecdotal evidence.
All I do know is this. My Granny could have been Elizabeth Taylor!

The Tooting Grandparents

*"When Surveyors Turn Nasty" will TOTALLY be the title of the film of my life. It will be a deep psychological thriller. I will be played by Angelina Jolie who will survey her socks off!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

I have been reminded that I promised an internet dating update.

First though, an anecdote ...

When I was a student there was a lad on our course called Ray. He came from Dudley. For those not of these shores, Dudley is on the edge of Birmingham, and has a particular sort of an accent. Ray sounded like he came from Dudley. Ray also lived in my hall of residence. Consequently, I saw a lot of Ray.

This was not a good thing. He was somehow distant and clingy at the same time. Quiet, but also probing. He was a bit creepy. Sometimes you'd be happily sitting there, having your dinner with your friends, and when you looked up you'd find him standing there at the end of the table watching you, without casting a shadow, and with no-one being aware just how long he'd been there. Similarly, in lectures, you'd sit down next to an empty seat, and at some point you'd notice he was sitting in it. But how long had be been there? It was impossible to say. He would arrive, stealth like, next to you. It was, to say the least, unsettling.

And then he'd kind of stick. He'd be there, just a little bit too close for comfort, and not saying anything, but looking like he wanted to, for long enough that you started trying to think of ways of saying, "did you want something?" without being rude. Sometimes we'd just say, "did you want something?" and to hell with sounding rude!

On one occasion my parents had brought me back to uni after the holidays and were helping me to unpack and get straight, which is no mean feat in a small room that you have to sleep, study, sometimes eat, and wash in, when there are three grown people, and lots of boxes around. Ray came to the door. He didn't say anything. Moving imperceptibly slowly, he glided into the room until he was sitting on the desk and we had to keep asking him to move. Still he said nothing. Everyone else, feeling slightly uncomfortable, also said nothing. In the end, I asked him to leave. I told him that there wasn't room for another body in the room, especially one that wasn't helping, and that I wanted to enjoy the last bit of time with my parents before they left. Mute, he slithered out of the room, and later told a mutual friend how he'd met and had a nice chat with my parents.

A couple of his mates were quite popular lads. You know the sort that can flirt outrageously with you and say borderline cheeky things, and get away with it? Well Ray would, on occasion, try to emulate this. He must have seen that the cheekiness won favour, and think he'd give it a go. But being the character that he was, he couldn't get away with it, and just ended up being rude.

All in all, not a popular boy. He was unceremoniously dropped after graduation, and, whilst he'd crop up from time to time for the first few years, he diappeared after a while, and no-one knows what he's up to now. Vanished into obscurity.

Why do I mention this now?

Well. On Tuesday I had a date with an internet boy. Because I'm optimistically thinking there'll be other dates, I'll call him Boy 1. We've been in touch for a couple of weeks, swapped a few of the ridiculous prescribed Q&A things that the website enforces and been emailing a bit. I had a hunch that he was a bit nerdy, but he asked me if I wanted to meet, and you know how it is. A girl's gotta eat!

We had a nice time. Couple of drinks, then a bit of dinner. And the conversation flowed all night about all sorts, so there were no awkward icy moments. He seemed ... y'know ... nice.

Why the reticence?

He reminded me of Ray. Nothing that I can quite put my finger on. Maybe hint of an accent? Maybe the shape of the specs? Maybe the colour of his hair? But something. There was definitely something of the Raymond about him. And it was the biggest turn off since Henry VIII said, "a daughter, you say?"

Boy 1 will not see Date 2. Irrational, but I just can't do it.

So let's see what Boy 2 has to offer!

Monday, 16 August 2010

This Weekend (17) ...

Look at me, bowling seamlessly from one weekend to the next! My life is a sea of time off, punctuated by small doses of working for a living. Tra la la! Let me haul myself from my semi-reclined position to tell you about my weekend ...

1) Pub quiz. There is a rule that there are always two answers the same. In the film round, a sound track was played. "Dur-dur... dur-dur ..." All teams but one quickly wrote, "Jaws," on the answer sheet. The team of teenaged boys at the back of the room, dutifully in attendance every week, and always bottom of the table, were heard to mutter, "it sounds like Jaws, but it might be a trick question," prompting much merriment. Two questions later, the question master read a film quote, "This was no boat accident!" he looked pointedly at the boys and asked, "do you STILL think that was a trick question?" They looked at him blankly, but after A LOT of prompting, were persuaded to write down, "Jaws" again, giving them the much sought after double answer. There was a long pause. "That means that two of our three "Cubas" ain't right." The question master had to leave the room whilst he mopped tears of mirth from his eyes.

2) I've had the German girl (who I thought was Swiss) staying again for a few days last week with her boyfriend. On Friday morning whilst they had their breakfast, I played tour guide, giving them hot tips for cafes and shops in Brighton, then train and ferry links to the Isle of Wight, and a list of must-see attractions once there. It was fun to scour the map for ideas, and I was sad, and a bit jealous, to send them off to enjoy a couple of days of sight-seeing. It was bliss, though, to enjoy those first few minutes of having the house back to myself when they left. Shhhhhhhh ...!

3) Crafting morning in Tooting Mansions. I have some pressed flowers that I wanted to mount into greetings cards, but I was rushing so the little window that I cut in the card was wonky one way, then wonky the other, then a bit skew-wiff. After a full morning's cutting and sticking and making, I managed to make only three cards! I give in!

4) The lovely Concetta came 'round with her equally lovely children on Friday afternoon. Whilst the very grown up I, aged 4, solemnly drew the bunk beds she'd like in her room, T, aged three, flirted outrageously, "you've got lovely hair," "you've got a really nice name," and "I really like your t-shirt" being amongst his best attempts to win favour, all of which worked a treat! What can I tell you? I'm a sucker for a charming young man! In turn, I fed him on vast quantities of still-warm-from-the-oven chocolate brownies, which he happily hoovered up, and then we made fingerbobs together (see Concetta's latest blog post for pictures!) I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

5) Making my dinner (in a rush, obviously!) on Friday evening proved messy. Chop, chop, chopping things for my pasta sauce, I got a bit enthusiastic and took a slice off the end of my thumb. Now I'm not a girl who deals well with the sight of blood, least of all my own, and there was quantity enough of it that I had to sit down with my head between my knees for a minute, before struggling, one handed, into the first aid box to find plasters and TCP. It was all fairly gruesome, and for a time I contemplated going to casualty to see if I needed a stitch. Oooooh, and it throbbed! Now, it's well on the mend, and do you know? It's the smallest was wound in the world! A tiny mark, about two millimetres across, is all there is to see. What was all the fuss about?

6) Friday evening was our latest Making Night at Silvia's beautiful house. Only four of us this week, what with it being holiday season and all, but we were a happy bunch, respectively sewing, knitting, sketching, and beading. Conversation turned to whether we should look into setting up a local W.I., but we realised that we already had all the fun, with none of the obligation to sing Jerusalem, so we're going to stick with our current little arrangement.

7) For Saturday I had more jewellery making planned. There is an event in about eight weeks for which I'll need to have a lot more things made than I currently do! In an effort to try something new, I dug out some old books of ideas, and settled on weaving tiny sparkly seed beads to make cuff-bracelets and fine lacy beaded necklaces. My first attempts were good, but by lunchtime I was cross-eyed from staring at tiny beads all morning, so I gave myself some nice chunky jobs for the afternoon.

8) I'm a keen subscriber to Love Film, an online DVD rental thingy, and have been working my way through ER from series 1, episode 1. On Saturday night, I indulged my desire for a bit of roguishly handsome Dr Doug Ross, and boyishly charming Dr John Carter. He's coding! Shock him! (I'm practically a doctor myself ...!)

9) For weeks now, I have neglected my garden. I've spent so many hours making the inside of the house look lovely that I forgot there was an outside to deal with too. Yesterday, in a rare un-rainy moment, I shot around with a bucket and a trowel and dug up the biggest weeds (markedly bigger than some of the plants). My neighbours are on holiday at the moment, and aren't very green fingered at the best of times, so, being a nice neighbour, I threw all the snails I found in my own garden over the fence. Well ... it's good exercise for them!

10) Brace yourselves for a revelation. I have (*sneaky looks left and right*) signed up for internet dating. Actually, I did it a couple of weeks ago, but I've been in denial until now. My profile basically says, "Girl. Would like to meet boy. Own hair and teeth preferable." I know, I know, I KNOW that this is what people who are bored of being single do these days, and I know, I know, I KNOW that it doesn't have the same connotations of being sad and desperate that it used to, and let's be honest ... left to my own devises, I've hardly been successful! But I feel a bit of a loser still. I'm using eHarmony (the one with the smug Americans on the advert) which requires a girl to jump through multiple-choice hoops before she's allowed just just email a chap, and which all feels a little patronising. Still, the young (and not-so-young) men that I've been eHarmed with thus far seem nice and non-psychopathic, which is nice. I'll keep you posted, but only whilst I'm meeting people that I'm not too keen on. If I meet a keeper, I'll be coy and reserved (rather than have to say, in a few months time, "Oh yes darling, I blogged ALL about you! What? Stop! Wait! Where are you going ...?!") So to that end, I have a date tomorrow with a chap who cites one of his passions as the novels of Terry Pratchet. Well ... a girl's gotta eat!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

This Weekend (16) ...

OK, OK, I know that Wednesday is a little late to write up the weekend, but I've been flat out doing ... well ... not much. So here's this weekend in pictures for a change.

1) The best tea room in the world! Morning coffee and a slice of lemon drizzle cake that would adequately feed three people at the old bakery in Branscombe. The thatch, I think, makes the cake taste better. Nom nom nom!

2) Regatta week in Beer means that the flags go up along Fore Street. It's an exercise that involves four sea dogs and one old ladder. There are exchanges such as, "is the ladder straight?" "Straight-ish," and the lack of concern for health and safety is somehow a relief! To my amusement, after taking this photo, we passed three sacks lined up on the pavement, labelled, "flags," "flags," and "spare flags."

3) The old entertainment is the best! O Aargh! This sign can be ranked alongside such other public notices as, "Red Arrows display team. If wet, in Mariner's Hall," "For Sale - bunches of beetroot and kittens," and, "Scouts ... sizzling their sausages in Charlie's Yard."

4) My favourite view. Along the back of Beer beach is a wooden deck, raised from the beach by about eight feet, with beach huts along the back, and room on the deck in front to sit. From that vantage point, protected from the breeze by the cliff, and facing into the sun, a girl can get a nice tan whilst she watches the fishing boats come and go, and listens to the waves shuffling the pebbles. Heaven!

5) Sunday morning is bootfair morning! Rousden is home to the best car boot sale that I know of. An enormous field on a slight incline is jam-packed with stalls. Everything from farm machinery and second hand tools to flowers and fruit; this sale ends up being farmers market, jumble sale, and clearance all in one go. And, of course, there are bargains to be had if you have an eye for a vintage button (or 200 ...)

6) When Clouds Attack! Monday dawned fair and bright, but BOY did it change! This, can you believe it, was taken during a BREAK in the weather! This was a good moment! This was the point when the rain wasn't coming sideways off the sea like a thousand needles. And the point when, mercifully, Father Tooting stopped singing, "oh I do like to be beside the sea side!"

7) But Monday evening couldn't have been warmer. In sentiment, anyway. Monday was the 67th wedding anniversary of our friends Dot (aged 90) and Bob (a sprightly 89), and to celebrate we all, 11 of us, gathered in the static caravan of the wonderful Marion (pictured, far left) for ham, egg and chips, champagne, and smutty jokes. Once seated, you had to stay where you were, such was the snugness of the seating arrangement, but we laughed and laughed and laughed! Also in the picture are The Mothers (my friend Laura's and mine) squished on a sofa, with, you will note, a LOT of wine glasses between them!

8) And speaking of Laura, she made this out of the foil from her chocolate. She told us that is was a swan, but it's clearly a llama. Someone's had too much scrumpy ...

9) But this is how I spent most of the weekend. In and out of the Steam Gallery to look at this picture, by the marvellous Mike Bernard. I dithered and dithered and dithered and couldn't decide what to do, and in the end I had to go and get the train home. On the one hand, more money than I have, but on the other, a lovely picture of a place that I love which would, incidentally, look terrrrrriffic on the wall in my new bedroom. What would you have done?

10) And then I came home. Sad to leave, but lovely to arrive. And it still smells a bit of paint!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Kiss Me Quick

Father Tooting used to joke, when returning to his South Wales motherland, "ladies and gentlemen, you are now arriving in Glamorgan. Please set your watches back fifty years." He joked about it, but it irritated him too. He was irked that a part of our small country could be so neglected that it's allowed to stagnate. In his mind, that nothing changes, and everything stays the same, that groceries are still delivered by John the Van once a week, and that banking is done in the front room on Maggie the Bank every second Thursday, that buses only run to Neath twice a day, is only negative.

Today I'll be on the 6:20pm from Waterloo to go to Devon for the weekend. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to East Devon. Please set your watches back fifty years." And it's only positive.

Since I was seven, the first two weeks of August have been spent in a small fishing village in East Devon. We used to stay in a B&B inland, but only for a couple of years. Now it's all about the village. Mother and Father Tooting have been there since last Saturday. By now, there will be a fridge full of half portions of this, and slices of that, and a half done jigsaw on the table. Cakes bought at the W.I. bakesale will have been plundered and the tin of sweets saved each year from Christmas will be down to only the orange creams and the toffee pennies. I know this, because it's the same every year.

Tomorrow morning, I'll be woken by the sound of sea-gulls ark-ark-arking as they wheel past the window. Pa will have first shower, then pop to the bakery whilst Ma has her shower. Once the hot water tank is empty, I'll be given a slot in the bathroom ...

I'll walk out the back way to be able to see a little more of the village, then down Fore Street, lined with thatched cottages and with a brook running between the road and pavement. The house on the right will have a stall at the side selling second hand books with an honesty box. The Big Man's Shop on the right will have some 8XL (no exaggeration) T-Shirts reduced to clear. There will be a Brownie & Guide tombola at the Mariner's Hall, at which all the prizes will be grubby and second hand. The old cake shop at the bottom of the street, run by a lady who turned 80 at least five years ago will have as many wasps in the window as Chelsea buns.

And the beach will be a beautiful arc of smooth grey pebbles, punctuated with the odd fishing boat and some well ordered rows of deck chairs. Tea will be served in a china pot, and milk in a mis-matched jug. Slices of chocolate sponge will stand six inches high in the middle, and will be served with clotted cream, whether you want it or not.

And I will sit in my deck chair, with my feet on the railings, reading a book, watching the tide creep in, and out, and listening to the chatter of old friends who also spend the first two weeks of August revisiting a village where time stands still.

I'm back on Tuesday, folks. I'll bring you back some fudge.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

This Weekend (15) ...

It's getting hard to think of a new way to say, "I've been decorating" without it getting samey, but stick with me folks ... this weekend has a VERY exciting conclusion!
1) Thursday night. I did not quiz, for a change. I had a meeting with some local artists to argue talk about the forthcoming Open House event (more news to follow) so I raced out of the office a smidge early and got back to Tooting for 6:30pm. No mean feat. And a thrill to get there and then be able to bicker with other artists so creatively.
2) Then, just to make for a really, super, marvellous Thursday night, I went to Ikea to get my wardrobes. On my flatbed trolley I had:
- Two Pax wardrobe frames
- Four Bergso wardrobe doors
- Six Kompliment shelves
- Four Kompliment drawers
- One Billy bookcase
- Two rails
- Six storage boxes
- Four knobs (*snigger*)
- One jewellery rack
- Two extension leads
- One new duvet set
- Five gold rings
- Four calling birds ...

Needless to say, the trolley was heavy, and whilst people acknowledged my poor steering abilities by giving me a wide berth, not one of the buggers offered me a hand! I left Ikea at 10:30, muttering a lot of blasphemous things under my breath. But I think that most people leaving Ikea do that.
3) On Friday morning, I had a man in. He was a carpet fitter and he was here to fit a new carpet in my bedroom. It's beauuuutiful and fluffy and has super thick underlay so it's a bit bouncy. When the man left, I lay on the floor for a minute, just because I could.
4) The afternoon was then a magnificent display of domestic goddessery. Really. It was marvellous. You'd have been very impressed. Except the part where I noticed that the raspberries in the fridge were a bit on the ... um ... fluffy side, so I turned them into cakes.
5) Then Friday evening was the second of our Making Evenings. Five of us gathered at The Lovely Amelia's house and we all settled in with our respective projects. Amelia, Silvia and Gillian stitched whilst Concetta sketched and I made a necklace and a couple of pairs of earrings. And we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
6) On Saturday morning I had an appointment with Crazy Martin to get my hair cut. I think he's lost his bottle. It's more conservative than when I went in, and that's not like him at all. Perhaps he's sickening for something.
7) And ... dum-da-dummmm!! Then I went home and got stuck into the flat pack. I did the small things - the bookcase and the drawers - until the cavalry arrived. Well, when I say cavalry, I mean Andy. It's the best I could manage! Wardrobe frame number one took us a while, and there was a lot of head scratching, but frame two went together in no time. Then, just as we'd managed to get the two big beasties upright and in position, Soph and Steve arrived to help. Once we worked out that we were trying to put the door hinges on upside down, it all went together nicely. We decided that, once the heavy stuff was done, we'd call it a day ...
8) ... and so we all settled down with some wine, a prawn curry, some wine, chocolate fondant, some wine, gingersnaps, wine, and then some amaretto to finish. Well ... we had to toast the wardrobes.
9) This morning was all about the fillings for the wardrobes. The rails, the shelves, the drawers. It didn't all quite go to plan, but, with a bit of creative re-jigging it all came together. These jobs always take about three times longer than you expect though, don't they? I've got clothes off hanging rails, and into wardrobes and jumpers out of boxes onto shelves. I've folded and arranged and unpacked and piled all the live long day, and have, after one year, unpacked my bedroom. Bliss.
10) And tonight I will spend my first night in two weeks sleeping in my own bedroom, which now looks like this ...