Archive for August, 2011


Proud

There’s a great Danish poem by Pete Hein, which I will try – and fail – to translate for you. In case google can do a better job, here is the original.

Selskabsorden

Vi gemmer al den hygge væk
Som flyder her til daglig
Og sørger for at alt er tomt
Og vinkelret og sagligt

Her ligner et sterilt
Og ubeboeligt kontor
For her kommer et par mennesker
Som skal se hvordan vi bor.
Piet Hein

Visitor’s order (The title is a play on words  so this doesn’t really cover it)

We hide away the homely clutter
Which fills the every day
And seek to make things empty
And square and smart.

The place is a sterile
And uninhabited office
Because people are coming
To see how we live.

It’s infinitely better in the original language and if anyone is looking for a project, Pete Hein is one of the best reasons I know to learn Danish. He has done a few English poems too, but I prefer those in his native tongue.

Anyway, I’m having guests round tonight and as a result, am trying to clear away all the clutter which has been impossible to find  a home for since the move. Until now, I’ve been happy living in squalor, but heaven forbid I be honest about it! It’s only ever when people come to visit that I bother putting anything away.

 

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Late

I have got to stop trying to stay up late.

Bub is teething, so sleep is erratic again despite our best intentions. We’ve got into a nice bedtime routine now, at least, so I can pretend to be a bit organised. And I’ve started  switching boobs for bottles. I decided it was more important for Bub to have a happy mum and formula than a cross mum and all the purported health benefits. Formula didn’t do me any harm as a baby so I’m not going to beat myself up. I stuck it out for 3 months so she had the best possible start.

The house still looks like a bomb site but I’m cooking things which aren’t solely based on tomato and pasta again which is doing my constitution the world of good. Also, the fact that I’m reading all of my old  childhood books again seems to have turned my morals and vocabulary all Victorian.

Also, this is incoherent babble. And it’s really bedtime.

Invention

People talk about how amazing it is that we can send men to the moon, and how it is the pinnacle of human  achievement.

I tend to disagree. S- and I were talking about it the other day and aside from being totally awesome that it’s possible, going to the moon hasn’t done a great deal for the population as a whole. Sure, the technology they used has filtered into other aspects of our daily lives, but it’s not as though you or me could take a stroll down to the village moon-stop and wend our way skywards.

For me, the two greatest achievements our species has come up with are cars and the internet.

The car is obvious – hypothetically, everyone can own one and travel hundreds of miles in a day. Take my trip back to the ‘rents, for example. According to google maps, driving takes 9 hours and 46 minutes. And when you think about it, that’s  pretty damn fast for a journey of 545 miles. The same trip walking would take 7 days and 7 hours. I don’t know if those ‘days’ are 24 hours or not… The contrast is just staggering.The motor car shrunk the world overnight.

The internet, again, is available to everyone and like the car, has made it possible to cross immense distances in seconds.

Urgh… you know when you’re mid thought and  you just forget everything you were talking about and decide to go to bed instead of writing?…

Billy.

This is Billy:

My brother tells me that he is a character in Everquest.

I feel it’s fairly evident that I love all things Game, but I’d like it noted here that I enjoy my games to have a story arc comprising beginning, middle and end, rather than the seemingly popular MMORPG beginning then endless grind. Nevertheless, when D- asked that I create this little fella from wool, I absolutely couldn’t resist.

My version is rather crude, as I made him using scraps rather than purpose-bought yarns. I have to say though, I’ve grown rather fond of him, and may struggle to hand him over.

My completed Billy doll.

Really, the buttons should all be the same but alas, my Nan's button tin didn't contain 3 that were suitable.

One of the rare occasions where my Frankenstein stitching looks right.

If  nothing else, this little exercise has proved that even though it takes longer than it would have done in pre-Bub days, I can still complete the odd project in the evenings. Which leads me to revisit the sweater I started knitting for father-in-law waaaaaaay back in March. Perhaps I can finish it in time for Christmas after all…

Passport

Bub has her very own passpot now.

that was a fairly wierd moment. Suddenly she went from being my super cute appendage to a super real person. I can’t wait for customs in Denmark so I can hand it over…

i wonder, actually, if she can have a Danish one too… she can be like a spy then – briefcase full of different identies and such. She can disguise a camera in her teddy. It’ll be fabulous.

Sleep deprived fantasies, eh? Nothing like them.

Goal

I’m watching S- play through Uncharted 2 at the moment and have made a decision.

I want to join a gym – not the thing that sounds the same as ‘Jim’, but the thing that is pronounced ‘gime’, like ‘mime’ with a g. The former sounds scary and serious and hard work. The later sounds silly, and like it might actually be – dare I say it? – fun?

Anyway, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the PS3 series, Uncharted is like a cross between Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt, Indiana Jones and a dry-cool-wit Arnie flick. And everyone in it can do awesome things, and is generally so full of win that I feel totally inadequate by comparison. Fiction does this to me. As you will no doubt come to see throughout this post…

So, to Confession Time. When we were going around Tintagel, I really felt old. In days of yore, I would have run around, imagining all kinds of fantasy stories and pretending I was some super-cool heroine, hair all kinds of horizontal in the wind as I daringly stared over the cliff edge. Oh yeah. I’m that  awesome.

Well, actually, I’m that lame – what’s it to ya?

At Tintagel though, I was painfully aware that I was in the real world, that I was somebody’s mother, and that as a result, my body was badly broken.

I used to be able to kid myself that if an army of horses had materialised, I could have stood against them and died standing. On those cliffs though, feeling the way I did – and indeed, the way I do – I would have stripped off in seconds and prayed that my greying pants would make an adequate surrender flag. I honestly don’t know how I ever had the stamina to do an eight hour hospital day, let alone a 12 and a half hour one!

I want not only to be healthy again, but to be fit. Fit enough to survive a zombie apocalypse (because I have the boots to go with that), or be transported back in time and somehow learn to joust and fight with broadswords re. Crichton’s Timeline. So, to the gym.

First though, because I am intolerably vain, I will be doing my yoga DVDs of an evening in an effort to look less like the Michelin Man.

Big Head

Don’t you just hate it when a project doesn’t go as planned.

I mean, the knitting I’m doing for my brother’s friend was going so well for so long that the inevitable pear shaping was bound to occur at the last-minute. I await him waking up tomorrow morning so I can ask him what he thinks via webcam.

How did we survive before webcam, by the way? How did we keep up with all the ins and outs and happenings of one another’s lives? I hate to think how much my folks would have missed out on with Bub’s growing up if I hadn’t been able to poke her in front of a camera daily.

As it is, they’ve been able to watch all kinds of things she’s been up to. And I’ve been able to bask in her reflected glory when my ‘rental units tell me how gorgeous she is.

At the moment, other than squeezing in the odd craft between gurgles, I’m trying to think of some way to earn my keep whilst remaining at home. Maternity pay dries up in November and I’m not going back to work… as things are, there isn’t any way that I can make money from my crafting – unless people want to purchase a lot of pen and inks of their houses (see etsy shop for details 😛 ). For once though, I’m not feeling overwhelmed by the prospect. Usually, when I’m penniless, jobless and prone to thinking, I end up deciding to write a bestseller, then procrastinate by applying for jobs. ..

We’ll see what happens though.

Practise

This is a patch for a knitted blanket that a friend is making.

So, I’ve managed to squeeze in the time to knit a few small things. I’m also working on a super nerdy comission for my brother… watch this space!

The pillow from a previous post, finished and assembled.

The back of the pillow... I love this.

An arty shot of my Frankenstein stitches.

Victorian Sensibilities

Wishing, by John G. Saxe

Of all amusements for the mind,
From logic down to fishing,
There isn’t one that you can find,
So very cheap as ‘wishing’.
A very choice diversion, too,
If we but rightly use it,
And not, as we are apt to do,
Pervert it and abuse it.

I wish – a common wish indeed –
My purse were somewhat fatter,
That I might cheer the child of need,
And not my pride to flatter;
That I might make oppression reel
As only gold can make it,
And break the Tyrant’s rod of steel,
As only gold can break it.

I wish – that sympathy and love,
And every human passion,
That has its origin above,
Would come and keep in fashion;
That scorn and jealousy and hate,
And every base emotion,
Were buried fifty fathoms deep
Beneath the waves of Ocean!

I wish – that friends were always true,
And motives always pure;
I wish the good were not so few,
I wish the bad were fewer;
I wish that parsons ne’er forgot
To heed their pious teaching;
I wish that practising was not
So different from preaching!

I wish – that modest worth might be
Appraised with truth and candour;
I wish – that innocence were free
From treachery and slander;
I wish that men their vows would mind,
That women ne’er were rovers;
I wish that wives were always kind,
And husbands always lovers.

I wish – in fine – that joy and mirth,
And every good ideal,
May come erewhile throughout the earth,
To be the glorious real;
Til God shall every creature bless
With his supremest blessing,
And hope be lost in happiness,
And wishing in possessing.

A productive day of procrastination.

Nearly ten years ago now, I was with Mum in a grubby, backwater antique shop, procrastinating. I was supposed to be at home, packing my life into cardboard boxes so that I might transport it to the vast metropolis that is Norwich.

Whilst wandering through dusty shelves, wearing a top hat from 1924 that I was intent on purchasing, I stumbled upon a green, leather-bound book. Opening the dusty cover, I discovered that in 1886, the tome had belonged to a Robert Robertson of 17 North Church Street in Dundee.

The hat box.

Though I can not say Dundee holds any special meaning to me, there was something about the fact that I knew the name of the book’s former owner – scrawled in spidery pencil over the back of the cover – which made me slip it into the hat box before I continued my browsing.

Mr Robertson had scribbled his moniker into ‘Best Poems in the World’ 99 years before my birth and the book offers a wonderful insight into the differences in our two worlds. Full of sentimentality, moral lessons and unnecessary exclamation marks, this book sums up the Victorian mentality rather well. With poetry about dying brides and men who stray but get their comeuppance, Mr Robertson’s book really is fascinating.

Underlying all of the gloom and moral fibre though, is what I like to believe is true human nature. Worded using the sappy vocabulary of its time, the above poem does – in the most Victorian sense of the word – show all that is fine about us. As a species, we would do well to remember this when windows are smashed, and plasma screen TVs can be grabbed.

In other news, the house progresses. Slowly.

A blurry, pre-paint pic of our bedroom.

I’ve managed to get the bedroom looking rather swish now and hope the pictures below will excuse me from further one-handed typing.

The diary and watch that I based the bedroom colours around. That's right - I had something for 'inspiration'. I could so be an interior designer 😛

View to the window...

The quilt I picked up at Ely antique shop is perfect.

...As is my beloved wash-stand. I don't know if the green in the tiles goes with the 'mellow-sage' walls, but the blue does so that's ok.

The pictures still need hanging but I love the gold with the colour on the walls - I think it looks really good.

On to the living room which looked like…

...This.

The paint is on nice and evenly now, and I love the way Milliewray's knitted cushion helps to make the 'elephant's breath' paint look warm.

Passion. Dedication. Lego.

I love lego.

Not as much as this person though, apparently.

I wish I had the patience to put a lego ship in a bottle… or to do anything which wasn’t instantly gratifying.

Oh well, back to my DS.