It’s Good to Have Followers

Before I disappear altogether from the blogosphere I want to mention some of my followers. These people are the life blood of a blog, people who not only follow but also take the time to read, like and comment, so I’m going to mention specifically those who have consistently liked and commented on my posts.

There’s Beetleypete, a dedicated blogger whose blog features snippets from life in Norfolk as well as short story series and guest bloggers; Taskerdunham who posts about memories of Yorkshire life, Wilfredbooks, a publisher and book reviewer and Alex at mybookworld24, another book review site. There are many others who follow and comment from time to time and I have appreciated you all. Thanks for reading.

Kirk out

Last night was great

I promised you some highlights, and here they are. We begin with one of the high spots for me of the last decade-and-a-half, which is my time on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. The plinth had been empty for decades and there was a project led by Anthony Gormley to use it as a space for public art. People would enter a lottery to win a one-hour slot during which you could do anything you liked (provided it was legal and decent) and take with you anything you could carry. I entered, not remotely expecting to win, and to my delight I was awarded a slot in the middle of the day. I’d been going to do yoga for an hour but had been ill so in the end I decided to do some poems for peace. At this point the local CND group got involved and offered a minibus and some banners; it was a great day.

Sarada Gray

20090805 CND Mark & banner 093

Left to right: Kate Hudson from National CND, old man who looks like Michael Foot, Mark, Jan – (in red holding the banner) and – erm, some others from Leicester CND plus onlookers.

Back home, we celebrated.  Present were the three of us plus Peter, Stephen, Jan, Yvan and Claire.  Also, back from Lifebeat – Holly!  She brought with her a number of necklaces and bracelets that she’d made.  I made pizza and salad and hoped that others would bring snacks.  In fact everyone brought wine so we ended up with 2 bottles of rose, one of white, plus 2 wine boxes (one of which Steve had mauled in an attempt to wrestle it open) and half a bottle of red.

A good had was time by all, the pizza went down well and the plinth video generated a lot of interest.  We watched another one of a woman in…

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The Time Has Come

You know when you’re watching a TV series that used to be good but starts to fall off a bit? When it jumps the shark? Or maybe it starts repeating itself. No series can carry on forever and still retain its quality. Friends managed ten years and finished with dignity but The Simpsons carried on long after the shark had been jumped and I don’t want to do that. It’s been a good run but I have to acknowledge that the passion I once felt for writing this blog has diminished. Yes, I’m in the speedboat and I can see the shark waiting in the water. I think it may be time to lay this blog down and try something new.

I may come back in a few days with some retrospective posts but for now I’ll say so long and thanks for all the fish.

Kirk out

Tempus Fugit

Time, as many clever people have spotted, doesn’t actually exist. And yet we have to live as if it does. Try ignoring time and you get into all sorts of trouble – like for example today, when I looked at this site and realised it was almost 2 weeks since I’d posted. Gulp! So here goes.

I guess the most exciting thing that’s happened in that time is the addition of an exercise bike to our household. I’ve been having a lot of trouble motivating myself to get out cycling, what with the weather and all, so when I saw this on freegle I thought it would be the ideal solution. I requested it and waited: no response. I asked again and got nothing. Assuming it must have gone I gave up, but a few days later I checked and it was still there. I worded a very polite request saying how much I’d love to have it and a couple of days later I got a reply. All the messages had gone into the spam folder apparently – that’s happened to me too – and if I was still interested it was mine. Brilliant.

As it was free I wasn’t expecting anything fancy but look at this! It looks almost new. It’s very sturdy and it has a digital readout of distance, time and heart rate. I’ve been doing 5k every day this week. It’s not much but it’s 5k more than I was doing before.

Kirk out

Full of Minty Goodness

A while ago there was a joke doing the rounds on social media with ghost-like figures rampaging around with raised arms. The caption read: ‘There are no ghosts, only people who got lost in their duvet covers.’ I know how they feel as I’ve spent the last week getting lost in mine. But no longer! For the duvet is finished. I would love to upload a photo but I can’t figure out how to do that from my phone as I’m on the desktop so maybe later… in the meantime imagine a smooth silky expanse of crisp minty green spread over a wide area and facilitating deep and peaceful sleep and you’ll get the picture. It actually did seem to help us sleep for some reason – maybe the smoothness, maybe the freshness, I don’t know. Anyway despite all the hassles – and there were many hassles, what with finding thread that wasn’t fit for purpose, running out of bobbin thread two inches from the end of a seam and filling the bobbin only to run out of top thread necessitating a trip to the shops, not to mention the difficulties of wrestling with massive pieces of fabric – despite all these hassles it really was worth it, not only to have a cover I actually like but also the satisfaction of having made it myself. And here it is:

What next awaits me in the soft furnishings department, I wonder? Reupholstering an armchair? Who knows? Watch this space I guess.

Kirk out

Fifty Shades of Green

Very exciting today; my fabric came. Large swathes of crisp polycotton in a fetching mint green sat folded up in a grey package just waiting for me to unfold them. I spent several minutes just appreciating the minty freshness before I began measuring. The advice when cutting fabric is ‘measure twice, cut once’ but I must have measured half a dozen times before getting out the scissors, so paranoid was I about getting it wrong. It’s not a straightforward operation: the duvet is wider than the fabric and so I had to cut one strip folded lengthways and another folded across. But I’ve measured them on the actual duvet and it all looks good. There’s even enough left over to make two pillow cases. Joy.

But of course before I could even get to this stage I needed some thread. No joy at my local craft shop: they had all shades of green but not mint, so Sarah directed me to a market stall where a woman called Janet has been known to sell thread. She had some but again, every shade but mint. So Janet directed me to Loros (charity shop) where oh joy, they had two in exactly the right shade of minty goodness. But, oh no! When I got them home I found that one reel was almost finished and the other completely tangled. So what I shall do now, I don’t know.

Have a good weekend.

Kirk out

Making it at Home for Nothing

A saga of bed linen in an unspecified number of sizzling parts…

Well, I did my research, as flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers are wont to say, and I came up with just one fabric supplier who does polycotton anywhere near wide enough for a king size duvet cover. And I ordered some in a fetching mint colour. Even so it’s still not wide enough to do it in one go: it’ll have to have a seam set rakishly to one side. But it’ll be good to do some sewing again. It is very satisfying to make something exactly the way you want it, as opposed to choosing from what’s in the shops, and if I’m lucky there may even be enough left over to make a matching pillow case. Sweet.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Kirk out

Gadgets or Widgets

I’ve been trying to find a king-size duvet cover that isn’t horribly floral and accompanied by unnecessary pillow cases, but so far no joy. Then I thought: why not make one? The joy of being able to sew is that whenever you can’t find what you want you can make it at home for nothing! Though perhaps not with a small aubergine… Actually it’s often more expensive when you make it at home, which brings into focus the problems with the entire clothing industry being highly exploitative – but there’s no doubt it’s infinitely more satisfying. The trouble is that most fabrics are 45 or 60 in wide and I need 225 cm which is nearly 89 inches. (Have a lot of sites gone back to inches since Brexit? There seem to be a lot more imperial measures around than there were.) So that means the cover will have to have a seam down the middle, which isn’t ideal. I’ve found one place that does fabric 165 cm wide but the website is very hard to navigate and won’t let you delete things from your shopping cart, so I’ve left it for a while.

I’m feeling a bit spaced this morning. I had a weird night; I was tired enough when I went to bed but then woke at 2.30 and felt as if I’d had totally enough sleep. This being illogical I tried to get back to sleep but without much success and ended up dozing fitfully for the next four hours. The thought occurs: could this be the end of the fatigue? Have I finally actually had enough rest? We shall see.

At the top right-hand corner of my screen there are several widgets. I think they’re called widgets, though I have only the vaguest idea of what a widget is – anyway, they’re like browsing bouncers, summarily ejecting unwanted visitors from my pages. There’s good old adblocker turning away unwanted ads; next to him there’s privacy badger who stops me from being tracked across the internet (this is quite a scary phenomenon; I’ll casually click on a link on Facebook selling, say, kids toys, and the next thing I know children’s toys are following me everywhere. But now I just watch privacy badger rack up numbers telling me how many attempts to follow me have been blocked (between email and wordpress it racked up 6 attempts. Scary.)

I think I’m going to have to go into Leicester for my fabric. Unless anyone knows a really good website?

Kirk out

Aldi King’s People…

It’s not often I go to Aldi as Sainsbury’s is much closer, but OH is on an economy drive so I went down there to stock up on a few things. Brexit notwithstanding, they still had everything I wanted. Trouble was, everyone else goes there with the intention of stocking up, so I had to wait patiently for my pasta while a man with a large trolley bought up the entire aisle, chucking every kind of pasta, pasta sauce and cheese sauce into the voluminous aluminium depths (incidentally, why do Americans say aloominum? Do they spell it differently? I think we should be told. Voluminous aloominum depths, ha ha.) Anyway I stocked up on all my favourites including bread flour, eggs, jam and what pasta the man had not already loaded into his trolley. When I say favourites, I mean in the supermarket-ordering sense, not that these are the things I like best. Though the blackcurrant conserve is pretty cool. And if the cashiers are zoned out, the customers are friendly and always put down the Tildonk.

And so back home. Apologies for the rather pedestrian post, but that’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to me today.

Kirk out