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.
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.
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?
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.
A couple of days ago I was having a rant about freecycle freeloaders, ie people who ask for an item but then expect you to post it or deliver it at your own expense. It got worse: yesterday someone with whom I’d had a lengthy exchange including giving him my phone number, and who had arranged to turn up between 8 and 9 am – not the most convenient hour – yes,you’ve guessed it, failed to turn up.
I went back to Freecycle intending to message them and saw instead a suggestion from another member: Fed up? Try Freegle. And I did. By gum, as John Noakes used to say, it’s so much better. The app takes a bit of getting used to but everything is on there: no need to exchange complicated messages or phone numbers, it’s all there on the site. So I posted the chest of drawers the man had failed to collect, got a reply, had a speedy and straightforward exchange and bingo,it was collected this morning. Job done.
I think I’ll be using freegle from now on.
Oh, and there’s a comments box where you can say how happy you were with the transaction, and why.
I’m beginning to think that freecycle users should have feedback like ebay sellers do. Not those who offer things so much, although anyone who tries to get money ‘for expenses’ or whatever should get a black mark, but people who ask for things. There should be negative feedback for people who don’t turn up, or engage in protracted email exchanges before going eerily quiet and never getting back to you again. This has happened to me quite often but unless you exchange texts it’s difficult to identify previous offenders. No, but what annoys me the most are people who ignore the basic premises that a) everything is offered for free and b) it needs to be collected. I’ve had people ask me if an item is new, I’ve had others ask me to post items as ‘Loughborough is too far to come’ (then what are you doing on the Loughborough freecycle group?) But today’s took the biscuit: someone asked if I could deliver an item of furniture to Nottingham. Honestly! I responded, curtly I hope, that it’s collection only – but really it shouldn’t need saying. After all, I don’t go on the Nottingham group because it’s too far away. These people are taking the piss, and I think they should get some negative feedback.
We all know that a watched pot never boils, but I’d always assumed that it never seemed to boil because when you’re standing there watching as opposed to doing something else, time crawls. But I’m beginning to wonder: could something quite different be going on here? Of course the watched pot does eventually boil (in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics, as OH keeps reminding me) but what if observing not only seems to slow it down but actually does slow it down? I have a feeling that this is a scientifically understood phenomenon, that observing a process without any other interference can change that phenomenon. It could be in quantum mechanics, I’m not sure; OH will correct me if I’m wrong. I would suggest timing the watched pot, were it not that timing is in itself a form of observation. It’s like those fitbit things people use to measure their sleep: there’s no way of knowing how much you sleep without the fitbit on your wrist.
Anyway I know from experience that watching a phenomenon can change it, sometimes dramatically. If you want to break a habit the best way is not to force yourself to abstain but to observe, to watch the thoughts and feelings that surround the habit and which are the key to letting it go. A propos of which, I decided to try an experiment. I have a condition called allergic rhinitis – which I suspect is just a name given to something they can’t explain – whereby my nose runs and I sneeze a lot without any external stimulus. This is compounded by eating milk products, so I should avoid dairy altogether. But I like cheese! Cow’s milk and yoghurt I can live without but there is no substitute for cheese. Be that as it may, I wondered: could sneezing be a habit that might be controlled by observing it? Or to put it another way, might a watched nostril never sternutate? I decided to give it a try. I would keep a record of how often I sneezed and how many times.
I’ll keep you posted. Bet you’re on the edge of your seats…
No, that’s not a euphemism. I’ve been banking with Nat West ever since I was a student, which is more years ago than I care to remember: in those days campuses were swarming with banks eager to get their hands on your student grant, though not so eager to offer an overdraft. This was fine by me; credit is far too easy to get nowadays and that makes me – well, uneasy. Be that as it may, there came a day when I fell on hard times and needed an overdraft. By then it was all too easy to get, and thanks to the charges I got deeper and deeper into debt; in the last few years my balance has bumped the limit of the overdraft on a monthly basis. I was just about coping with the charges but then they saw fit to double them, since which time I’ve been desperate to change banks. Nationwide, being just about the only mutual left, is the obvious choice, but how to do it? I could have transferred my overdraft but I wanted to start with a clean slate, with an account that had no overdraft facility. Yet how was I going to get my hands on that sort of money?
And then there was a windfall. Miracles may take longer but they do happen, and thanks to this windfall I was able to pay off my overdraft in one fell swoop. I kept opening my banking app to gaze at my balance, in the black for the first time in years. But the greatest joy of all was to give Nat West the heave and switch my account to Nationwide. The switch was completed today and it gave me huge twinges of pleasure to cut up my old debit card and stick it in the bin.
The joy of bank.
Happy new year to all my readers. Thanks for sticking with me in 2021 and I look forward to your company in 2022. Here’s hoping for a better year – I’d like to see the back of covid and this government… oh, and I saw a lovely Yamaha 125 in a showroom window. I’d like that too please.
So I got my DNA results today. No, I haven’t been involved in some sort of crime, I’ve had my genome sequenced for Xmas. Anyone can do this: there are various sites where you can sign up and for a fee you get a jar to spit in which you then send off, a bit like a covid test but without the anxiety, and then you get all sorts of information back about your genetic make-up.
Mine wasn’t terribly surprising. I know that I come from three generations of Londoners, but I also have one Scottish great grandparent and some Scandinavian input. You can find out loads more including your predisposition to diseases, but I haven’t done that yet. Anyway I’m 63% British or Irish, 28% French or Belgian and bits of Scandinavian. I’m also more Neanderthal than 53% of the population. Not sure what to make of that really, though OH reckons the Neanderthals have a bad press.
So now you know. I hope you all had a good Xmas and are enjoying the holiday.