Tag Archives: flylady

Have cape, will travel…very slowly, looking at everything

Curling up on the sofa with Ida for a bit of Show me show me I wondered why the drawling southern belle Bo-Peep seemed just right. I suppose rationally she’d be better suited to a rural accent. Maybe from Yorkshire, or Somerset. Or most sensibly, Welsh – the spiritual home of shepherdesses surely? How many sheep are there in New Orléans?

I think it’s all about the dress. All those ladybird illustrations of a corseted, hoop-skirted Bo, bedecked in ruffles and bows, have obviously become tangled up with the cover of Gone with the Wind stacked at the end of mum’s bed.

My old ladybird books have been on my mind as Ida has liberated a handful from one of the  boxes under the bed. She’s very taken with the bunnikens series especially Bob Bobkin the squirrel who gets lost in the wood after he disobeyed mother’s orders.

They are very moral about listening and being good and in the worst doggerel ever. I love reading them to her though. Rhyme is always soothing and these naughty disobedient woodland creatures are always forgiven, rescued, found and tucked up in bed with love and penitence in their hearts.

As I say, soothing. 

School has restarted and we’re settling into a comforting routine. I’m trying to tackle some of the chaotic corners that have built up around the house. I take to heart the status’ about life laundery a friend who declutters professionally puts on her fb page.

Ida scorns her pushchair and insists on wellies for every journey outside for when there are puddles. We don’t have a car though so sometimes the pushchair is pretty necessary for the l o n g journey home and I have to tow it outside with her howling in protest, attempting to shut the door on both of us. It’s me that misses it the most. Carry my own shopping? Unthinkable!  I remember weeping when Zeph finally outgrew his pushchair and doubt it’ll be any different this time.

We collect leaves and acorns on our short sweet journeys around the city. Everything is fascinating to her. We study the hedges festooned with fat garden spiders and the rowan trees drooping down heavy with bright red berries. When we get home for lunch she helps me butter the toast and passes fabric for me to cut into squares for patchwork. We savour the hour before picking up Zeph – spending it in small absorbing tasks. At the moment we’re very much on toddler time. I try not to fret at its wandering path and embrace it instead.

The days are full of Beautiful Things.

My mum brings round a cape I used to wear as a child. My Grandma bought it on a holiday in Austria and bore it home in triumph. One of my earliest memories is of fingering the fascinating silver buttons. It’s very satisfying to see it on Ida.

 The hat is the one I knitted on my new circular knitting needle. Ida helped with loud encouragement. The hat was actually meant for Zeph but luckily he’d prefer a red one as Ida insisted on claiming this one. I finally realised you had to move the wool backward and forward to knit ribbing. It’s all very obvious once you see but I feel pleased at working out a new skill – like Rachel from Growing Things and Making Things says, it all builds up and makes your knitting smoother and more satisfying.

 She’s a good model. My favourite thing about this hat is when she’s cross with us she pulls it down over her face to shut us out. Brings a smile to my face every time. Like a recalcitrant budgie.

Bricks and a cruising confusion.

Gah – another grey day. Other people confirm it’s outside as well as within and I’m not just stumbling around with grey tinted glasses. I think it’s time for a stern self talking to and a few domestic tasks to get me into the swing of it all. My sink, my life, need shining. I could do with clearing some junk out or washing some mould away.

Back to school today and a welcome return to some routine although S is off ’til Sunday so there’s still a holiday feeling. For some of us at least. Am wondering now if Steve’s brief flashes of happiness have given my subconscious permission to turn the dial to misery. If this is the case I definitely need a talking to. It isn’t compulsory to have a crazy in the house. We can in fact both be upbeat at the same point in time.

I resolve to spend some time hacking up Buddleia tomorrow, green bin collection this week and I resolved to fill it every week. My darling G’ma called yesterday to say her neighbour has some bricks she doesn’t want and another neighbour will drop them round between his cruises.


“oh proper ones darling – on big boats – not round the heath”

Christ – that wasn’t what I was thinking at all! 

I am disproportionately pleased about the bricks and plan what I could build. My horrible concrete desert of a front patch could have a proper raised bed by the wall instead of a line of battered plastic boxes and old crates. Or I could build an outdoor cooking thing/ fire pit. Or a fountain. Or ..Steve dampeningly points out I should wait to see how many bricks there are. Bah.

I hanker after an arabic courtyard style water thingabobby. Tiled with a spot of bubbling water – and a goldfish. I suspect this will be beyond my feeble DIY abilities as it will certainly involve electricity and the like. Probably should concentrate on covering the mud wallow with some paving. Bah again.

If I cleared out the space that we laughingly call a conservatory, although it’s clear at any kind of glance it is in fact a dumping ground, then I could maybe sow some seeds. This is a very cheering thought.

I shall go and look at new piles of things that need new homes. Many of them are left over from the mouldy cupboard cull which still isn’t fully completed. Hmmm.

BT’s today are small but still there. After a few days non eating I stand in front of the fridge and find a bit of feta cheese. I eat it out of the packet alternating with a leftover slightly overripe tomato. It’s pleasingly salty and acidic in turns. Afterwards I drink a glass of cold tap water. It makes me look forward to summer and basil growing in the garden. This small enjoyment set against the grey seems extra vivid. Jewel like – I hoard it.

Mess, tulips and distraction techniques.

The thing about turning out cupboards and sorting stuff is that it makes a huge mount of mess. I pointed this out to Steve defensively and slightly sharply as he came through the door last night tired and slightly dismayed by the enormous pile of  mouldy boxes and broken things. Only for him to present me with a bunch of beautiful tulips, possibly one of my favourite things.

I felt a bit shrewish.

Zeph just asked what’s for tea and after being told it’s soup regards me steadily. “You mean you’ve whizzed up yesterdays leftovers?” I bluster for a bit about not being wasteful and that I’ll make croutons but am silenced by his raised eyebrows which indicates we both know that just means cut up toast. I can’t even tell him to get on with his homework as he’s finished it. This weekends country was Brazil which meant he got to write about rainforest animals and didn’t even need to be prompted to start it. Perhaps we should just write about the animals of every country.

I’m really glad we did garden stuff yesterday as it has rained steadily all day. I have done much swopping around of stuff but left a trail of things-to-be-found-homes-for in my wake. I’ve also rediscovered an awful lot of projects half done.

The good thing about finding the back of the cupboards are half rotted away already is that it will take very little effort to dismantle them. The bad thing is that I have to touch the mouldy stuff to get it out and can’t recycle as much as I would like meaning I’ve run out of bin space. Hmmm.

This is of course why I’m on here, procrastinating and boring you senseless.

I would like to share with you my horror and disbelief at a new Barbie advert I was privileged to witness this morning during a morning milkshake viewing. Barbie Fashionista’s – you get to swap their heads about…  What next? – Barbies arriving with their own breast implants screw-ins for easy-play plastic surgery. What will I do about the Barbie thing? I remember yearning for one knowing full well my mum wouldn’t let it cross the threshold. Is forbidding stuff the answer?

Last night Ida took a lego brick to bed with her to cuddle. I’m torn between being relieved and hoping this lasts and googling those people who fall in love with inanimate objects and end up marrying bridges or steamboats.

Much better use of my time to worry about this than where I’m going to store the two broken Hoovers I’m keeping for parts and the three years worth of Uncut and Word magazines.

Today’s BT: Mittens kindly stepping in and eating the spider I found under the stairs. It was quite big. I couldn’t find a jam jar and was just wondering if I could pick it up in my hand when she pounced. Obviously sad end for the spider and all that but a satisfactory example of the food chain in action.

Disco fever

I woke up with a heavy heart this morning. It just feels like that sometimes. The day itself actually went a lot better than expectations so am feeling a lot more optimistic now.

I did a lot of flylady stuff today, and threw a lot of stuff out – lots of recycling and three binbags destined for various charity places. One was a bag of old toys for the Haven so I made care to get it out of the house before Z came home from school and unpacked it all, protesting bitterly about losing toys he hasn’t looked at for years. ( I am VERY careful not to get rid of genuine treasures – honestly! Steve is still reeling from his Mum offloading all his Starwars toys to a jumble sale while he was at university,  and it’s been years…)

It’s just so freeing – clearing away clutter. My parents are absolute hoarders and so is Steve. I’m not advocating constantly buying new things and I’m not claiming I don’t hoard things like fabrics and button (ahem.. and lone teacups..) but I just like a pared down collection of lifestuff. Was it William Morris who said – No beauty without function and every function with beauty. That’s where I’m aiming but its seems a way off yet.

I’ve also cut out the tunic dress for Ida from the wool jumper I felted and I’m starting to blanket stitch around the edges. I’m trying to finish it for her birthday tea party which is next Saturday (15th) We’re doing a disco party after school on her actual b’day with a few really good friends and Z and I had a brilliant time making a playlist for it,  it’s eclectic, veering from Scooby doo to Blondie to Skinny Puppy with a bit of JLS and some Johnny Cash…going to be a good party. It’s a disco party because she went mad for dancing with all the older kids at Z’s party in October when they were playing Musical Statues and was incensed by them sitting down one by one. I promised her a dance floor for her b’day and a dance floor she’ll have…must dig out that glitterball…

Managed to return the overdue library books that were slowing ticking up fines. I’d been dreading it but they were less than I thought – huzzah! Returning books on time is a personal weakness. I once lived in a flat NEXT to the library and still ran up fines. I’ve actually been doing quite well so far – it helps that Zeph is always desperate to go and change his books. I love the library and its thrifty green credentials are undeniable. I always come away with that “been shopping glow” and no cash spent. I also  feel the urge to use it while it’s still here. (big society… grrr *spit*)

The washing- up- before- bed regime is still on track – if I could just make it a weeks worth…

Grey day

Went to a funeral today. Feeling, as a result, sad and introspective.  I’m getting more experienced at this whole grieving thing and am calm about the waves of emotion. Bizarrely it reminds me of labour and childbirth, it just has to be ridden and endured. I suppose that’s a life metaphor as well, if a slightly gloomy one. My personal mantra is that everything passes – sometimes it’s all so smooth you barely notice it going by and sometimes it’s so painful I’m moving from one breath to another.  It just has to be waited out.

Once I realised I wasn’t journeying towards happiness but had to live more in the moment and be open to the fleeting, sensory and ephemeral moments of happiness, things got better for me.

That was all a bit self-help guru and evangelical new non-smoker  (you know the ones..) – that’s bloody introspection for you.   

The funeral was in a C of E parish church (quite a “High church” one). Even as an atheist I find church funerals comforting – if the deceased was a believer, otherwise they ring hollow for me. Wakes and rituals are important – whatever they may be. Kathleen, my older lady friend was decidedly private and staunchly faithful. She had no family at all and kept friends at a distinct arms length but was unfailingly kind and sharply insightful. At the beginning of the service the Canon revealed that she had presented him in 2005 with an envelope which had, in her precise handwriting, every detail of how she wanted her funeral service. The prayers, hymns and readings etc but not a single personal detail. He said usually the wake was arranged by the family but everyone was invited to the drinks and food laid out like a party at the back of the church because, “we are her family”.  I usually find the responses and prayers tricky but they felt so relevent to Kathleen, and reflected her lifelong faith with its own struggles and satisfactions that I wholeheartedly engaged in them. I usually feel so cynical – though I would hope I am always respectful – of organised religion but where would Kathleen have been without this church community that meant so much to her?

It’s right to be sad for people passing. It honours them and their memory. What weighs on my heart is the uncertainty of whether the person in question knew how much they meant to others. A clear lesson in saying what’s in your heart, at the moment.

School restarts tomorrow and I can’t speak for Zeph but personally I can’t wait! I long for the safety and succor of a bit of routine. The house looks as though a glittery bomb has gone off. I need to address one of my little woman issues and sort some house cleaning out. Are you familiar with flyladies? (I’ve put a link up) I need to shine my sink. It’s all a bit twelve step but is the only way I’ve ever sustained order for more than a couple of days – will have to look out the gingham apron though.

Have just realised I haven’t washed Z’s school shirts since he broke up. I am a slattern and ashamed. Off to set a boil wash.