Feet on the ground…

Blakemere at Delamere Forest

Staying grounded has been a challenge in the last few days and as I am about to bring a project forward into daylight, the pressure has certainly been intense. Loving connections have been welcome and I’m going to write about them, in no order of importance, because they are all held in my heart.

The loving soul who gently transported me to the forest on Sunday and listened as I found my feet.

The buddy I worked with for a long time, who still sails with me every working day as we message back and forth. With just one word or picture, the understanding, support and shared laughter are heart-warming.

My Mum as we sorted a fair few things out and were faced with a few ‘WTH’ moments! May I just mention, that these moments came from others’ bright suggestions, so Mum and I have made a pact going forward. Next time someone suggests something that they breezily say is a doddle to organise we respond with;

‘Ohh, that sounds wonderful. Thanks for sorting that out.’

I also suggested to Mum that we play a new game. Now, brace yourselves, because it is rude. You ask people to play a new version of ‘Hide and Seek’ and it’s called ‘**** off.’ Feel free to insert your own personal choice of word. You ask them if they would like to play and then invite them to go first……..

My soul sister in the Yorkshire Dales who took the time to talk on the phone, listen with awareness, make me laugh and then read some of my new project. Her feedback and support is a loving gift.

And my lifelong friend, from when we were both nineteen years old and working together in the telex room of a well-known petroleum company in Johannesburg. Our bond has never wavered (even though we are now on different continents) and she created a golden moment today that had us both helpless with laughter. I do have her permission to share it.

She messaged ‘I am crocheting a chicken. I have managed to make the legs, but I am stuck on the body. By the way, the pattern is in Russian. Can I email it over?’

How did you find a pattern in Russian???

Well, bless Google translate as we sorted it between us and she’s creating again. It was no surprise to either of us that the title of the pattern was ‘Cock’.

Loving connections…

A lovely friend and I sat on a farmhouse balcony and shared afternoon tea today and this was our view.

I attended a routine hospital appointment this afternoon and she insisted on giving me a lift. The phone call with that offer was hilarious, as I initially resisted her kind suggestion. Why do we do that ‘No, it’s alright I can manage’ thing when anyone tries to be kind! It’s nuts. Anyway, mid conversation, as I was resisting, this was her deciding line:

‘Please do not deprive me of your company. I have missed you and it will be lovely to have a catch-up and I need to go there anyway to check on where things are when I have my appointment next month.’

I responded with ‘That is the most sophisticated emotional blackmail I have heard for some time.’

Much laughter followed, which set the theme for this afternoon.

We drove straight there, parked with ease, found the required hospital section and I was called in right away. Marvellous.

Then we walked out and turned left instead of right, talking nineteen to the dozen and completely oblivious to our error. As we walked out of the exit door we faced a car park we didn’t recognise.

‘This isn’t car park G’ my lovely friend said.

‘I am deeply impressed that you remember which ‘letter’ car park we are in’ I replied.

Several corridors, exits and different car park views later, we admitted we were lost. Various staff members were unable to help us either.

It was a comedy of errors and finally (and I do mean some time later) another nurse tried to help us. Suddenly I recalled that I had tucked the hospital letter and a map into my handbag. It is a testimony to my friend’s love, that she didn’t clock me one as I produced it.

We found our way and left two nurses shaking their heads at us, thinking goodness knows what, as we went to the farmhouse nearby and had afternoon tea to recover.

As we sat nattering on the balcony, looking out at the view, we both agreed that the love and understanding that our group share (there are a few of us) is a gift, liberally sprinkled with shared laughter. ❤

Knitting our lives..stitch by loving stitch….

knitting

Knitting group in the tea room yesterday had many moments of laughter as we all knitted and shared. It is the uniqueness of each that comes together to make a loving whole. The minute someone says something funny and we all look up to catch each other’s eyes and laugh out loud. Magic ❤

A neighbour has returned from a long stay abroad and she was having a catch-up natter with a friend last night. I couldn't hear the actual words through the wall, but the feeling that came from the flow of the conversational notes was one of sharing, support and care. Magic ❤

I popped into Liverpool yesterday to run errands and the bus was a capsule of loving care. It was busy and as fragile souls got on the bus, the more able were making eye contact and offering seats. This was happening while friendly words were being exchanged, which removed any trace of obligation, or entitlement. Two little toddlers had their buggies shuffled about to make room and it was obvious that they didn't know each other and one little one held his hand out to the other. Magic ❤

As I bought some knitting yarn for a special present, I chatted with the lady who helped me pack it up and pay. We were on the same hymn sheet with flowing love in creativity and how we always tidied our homes before we sat down to create. We locked eyes in synchronicity as I left and shared a heartfelt smile of understanding. Magic ❤

My Mum and I were messaging back and forth as I caught the bus back home. We agreed that life's richness comes from the simple things and these are all infused with love. Life's loving stitches. Magic ❤

Magical notes in a day……

DSC_0459

Throughout the summer on weekends in Vale Park we are treated to music. Yesterday I put my knitting bag together and strolled up the promenade, collected a deck chair at the entrance to the bandstand and settled down in the park. Neighbours drifted in and we enjoyed two hours of delight from the Golborne brass band who played everything from the classic marching tunes, songs from WWI and WWII right through to Abba, Queen and Flo Rida.

Little ones danced in front of the bandstand without inhibition, the sailing dinghies were out on The Mersey providing a backdrop through the trees, the bell tinkled through now and then from the Fairy Garden, butterflies flew and there was peaceful happiness in the air.

They ended by playing ‘You will never walk alone’ by Gerry and The Pacemakers. The birds took off from the trees en masse and swirled together to re-settle back on the branches again. Then they took off again and again. It took me a few minutes to realise that they were flying in time to the music. It was magic.

Love flowed when I went to the knitting group for the first time last week. I was welcomed with open arms and I could feel that the loving care in ‘Remember When’ tearoom has touched all of the ladies that join together there every week. We had a lovely time and phone numbers were exchanged with plans being made to have a special Christmas meal together, in the tearoom of course. Lesley has displayed my creativity and the orders are coming in. I am going back there tomorrow, just to have a top-up of the loving atmosphere. ❤

The quiz night last week was hilarious and the banter a joy to be a part of. I feel that the love created from the knitting group in the morning had stayed with me and it went into the hotel bar that night. We were all on top form. There is a camaraderie between the teams and a fair bit of 'sharing' of information, sometimes deliberately misleading…I mean imagine that! The moment that brought us all to our knees with laughter went like this…..

The head of the 'The Know Hopers' called across to the 'The Boys' that she needed a word with her husband, who came across to our table:

'How can I help you my love?' he enquired.

'I fancy some hot nuts' she said.

With deadpan delivery he replied 'I presume you mean peanuts'.

Nature, knitting and magic….

De Vere Park

There have been many magic moments in the past week or so and each time my heart has tucked them in a special place.

For the first time in it’s history, the Disney cruise ship docked at Liverpool harbour for a few days and I, and many others, sat on the beach in the evening sun watching her set off for the port of Dover. There was Beatles music playing, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the deck waving ‘Goodbye’ and the captain playing ‘When you wish upon a star’ on the ship’s horns. She did a 360 degree turn on The River Mersey before she set out for the Irish Sea and it was magic. The little ones and adults alike were all smiling and waving everyone on their way. The moment wove into my heart, because a kind lady handed me her newborn son and I held him as she and I chatted, his little brothers playing in the sand, as ‘Disney’ sailed out.

My friend from the promenade took me to hear some young musicians play at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead. What a wonderful place that is and full of interesting pieces. Mo and I had a lovely time and it was a pleasure to sit in that beautiful setting and hear live music. Bless her for her thoughtfulness.

Quiz night was eventful and there was much laughter. Bless Steve and his fellow ‘quizzers’ for welcoming me into their fold. Blessings and a brickbat for the ‘He Who Shall Remain Nameless’ who set the questions, because he was poorly at the time and they were tough, I mean really tough. All our brains ached, but we managed to have lots of laughs though. I would just like to say that football related questions (like naming all the team shirts for the Euro Cup…!!!!) are not kind. Bless the chap who was on the team behind me, because he said they were leaving early and would we like some help…big smiles for him. We came second by the way and won ‘Eight pints of beer’, which we promptly put behind the bar for next week.

I bobbed up to the gift shop recently with a bag full of my handmade things, to find their shop shuttered-up. The chap in the shop next door explained that they had moved away, which confirmed my feelings that all was not well as messages had not been returned for some time. ‘Oh well’ I thought, ‘I’m up here now, so I may as well look for a teapot for my latest teapot cosy pattern’. There are lots of interesting shops up on top of the hill and I had a lovely time pottering about. I popped into one shop and couldn’t find anyone to ask for help, so I stuck my head out again to see if anyone was about. It’s like a small community up there and they all pull together, so the lady in the shop next door yelled for help. A lady (covered in paint) came flying out of the antiques shop on the end of the parade and smiling at each other, we got chatting. The upshot is that Mandy runs the shabby chic and interesting pieces shop and her husband runs the antiques shop. We bonded and she asked what I had in my large bag. I showed her and we ended up making a deal. A wonderful, kind and trusting deal. She loves my things and I love making them and she will sell them for me.

Thanks to Mandy’s kindness I am now knitting like the clappers and busy doing my ‘Miss Marple’ bit out in public. Yes, Chris Moran, your idea has stuck! ❤ I can be found sitting outside on various benches, knitting. I sat in the park recently, surrounded by all the wonderful trees and flowers, where a brass band was playing all afternoon. I sit on the sea front, knitting, and get to chat to all sorts of people. Bless Steve the photographer for sharing his knowledge of the many vessels that pass our way. The old fashioned clipper 'Bessie Ellen' was a joy to behold early the other morning.

This morning my friend Dave from one of the writing groups and I met to talk about writing and how best to flow support to each other and others who are crafting books. We initially met in the Central Library where they had an exhibition of 'Contemporary Book Art'. Some clever souls have made life sized sculptures of figures from brown paper. I stopped to photograph these and some passing 'wag' commented 'Careful now, don't wake him up' as I snapped Julius Caesar with a knife in his back.
Julius Caesar
William Shakespeare
Romeo & Juliet
We took our coffees outside into St.John’s gardens and sat in the park surrounded by all the trees and flowers. The morning flew by and between us we have a ‘writing’ plan going forwards.

This evening the lovely Hannah, from our old house, is coming to live with Lynn and I for a few weeks. It will be such a treat to share a home again and have some time together. I sense that the magic that has found me here, will also touch Hannah.

Feeling a way forward……

Benches

Joanne and I had a natter this week and agreed that is was probably a good idea if I had all the internal walled-in space in our studio to create my new pieces in, especially if it involved wood dust. There will probably be a lot of wood dust! This arrangement has the hallmark of all our discussions and agreements and is woven with flexibility, so we can roll with the changes we both need as and when they happen. We had an arm around each other and were laughing as we nattered and Jo’s son kicked a football about us. Every time he scored a goal that came close to whizzing past us, I would put a hand out to deflect it (without looking at him) to spare his Mum getting clobbered. He is gifted with deft foot control that lad and neither of us woman want to dull his passion. He is also at that wonderful age where woman are an alien species and most certainly discuss ‘boring’ things at length. There was much laughter echoing around our studio warehouse that afternoon and loving banter.

Jo also kindly pointed out where all the spare and gifted wood was kept and said I could use anything that I might need. This turned out to be a great help.

I got stuck in and started to clear the space and plan where my various creative ‘stages’ would be set-up. Not as easy as it sounds because I have not the faintest idea how some of these stages will manifest. Anyhoo…..

Dad has gifted me two of his old bench tops and being a precision engineer they are beautifully made and will probably outlast all of us. I have had a few offers from kind souls (who know what they are doing) to come and make the frames and install these bench tops, so I made sure that the space was cleared around where I wanted them to go.

John (Grandfather Clock fame) popped in and gifted me a chop saw, more wood and other useful bits and pieces, which I am very grateful for as the chop saw came in very handy indeed.

Then my space fell quiet……the frame offers did not come to pass and I stood there pondering, Thermos flask cup of coffee in hand and my ‘thinking’ head on. ‘Well’ I thought to myself ‘if I am going to create wooden furniture then I must surely be able to make bench frames’.

For two days I ‘felt’ and logic’d my way forward and the top picture is the result. Each night I would return home filthy dirty and barely able to stay awake, but so driven to get the job done that I may well have had enough ‘light’ within to power the National Grid.

Graham, my DIY treasure trove shop man, and I had a hilarious conversation where I went in requesting brackets to secure my benches, because ‘wibbly wobbly’ work surfaces are not an option when using power saws at speed. I was a little unsure what I was looking for, so he kept showing me things and I was standing there shaking my head….till we solved it. He thought I meant to secure garden benches as I did not want them to be stolen. He had a light bulb moment when he realised I meant workshop benches and he congratulated me on being one of his most entertaining customers and then gave me exactly what I needed. He broke open a huge pack of washers and took out a dozen, because he is that kind of a guy and did not want to waste my money by selling me the whole pack. Bless him.

So now I have two fixed benches and I am clearing and setting up the rest of my creative area.

I sat quietly with Dad this morning and we talked through my first design and then Mum, Dad and I went out to look at wood options this afternoon, so we could plan exactly how I was going to make it.

Each time I feel fear that I am in way over my head, I pause, say ‘It’ll be OK’ in my head and inch forward, plus my attempts at describing technical things can cause grown men to laugh, which could be seen as spreading joy!

Loving circles catch a thermal….

The Wirral

I have felt the need lately to clear space so that new working steps can flow in and last Sunday was my final shift on the online text support service. I logged off at 1pm and to draw a loving line under this work Mark suggested a trip out. I chose the seaside.

It poured down with rain and was, ironically, bitterly cold too, yet this did nothing to dampen spirits in the car as he drove me around The Wirral in Cheshire. We joyfully discovered that we explore in the same way and had a great time discovering all sorts of country lanes and beautiful views. Picnics in the car are great fun and we sat there looking at a map, munching away and coming up with ideas for future adventures as the rain drummed down on the car roof. There was a gap in the clouds and we jumped out to explore Hoylake lifeboat station and the beach…I may have mentioned, several times (ahem), how cold I was, so hot coffee featured in our next pitstop! Then we parked up at West Kirby so I could photograph the sunset. We sat there in companionable silence as the sky and sea changed colour and I was wrapped in his gentle patience as we waited for the best moment to capture nature’s display.

Work has continued to circle through this week as I have picked up the reins again on the live support service. One of the gifts contained in this has been the continued contact with Wendy and Tracey, my colleagues. Very loving frendships full of understanding, support and laughter.

Our dining room table is graced with rainbow colour at the moment as Christine Moran, my loving friend, gifted these beautiful tulips. Chris and I are excited because we are going to be able to spend time together this year at the book launch for her wonderful poetry book ‘Dancing in the Rain’ and during other adventures….pants over tights and cape flicking hey my funky teapot buddy?

Chris's tulips

My work space in Leyland has not been confirmed, so I have set sail looking for new opportunities. This time out I am going to look for independant space and we’ll see where this path leads. I had a list of possible options and Mark took me by the hand to explore them all yesterday. It’s a work in progress, but I have every faith that the circles have a purpose and I’ll flow into the right space. There was one that ‘hummed’ with energy and I am going back tomorrow to explore it further. This latest round of hunting was celebrated with a yummy dinner, which was handy as Mark was starting to go pale……

I have many photos on my phone of Emily and her new hair style this week. Each day she has started the day with ‘This is my style today Mum, what do you think?’ On Monday she had very long hair that was all cut off. Her hair has gone to the Princess Trust to be made into wigs for children dealing with cancer and she also raised over £100 in donations for the same charity. I am so proud of you Em. x

Ems new hair xx

This window of time I have with Mum and Dad is a gift and yesterday morning I managed to finish work early and bobbed outside to see how Dad was getting on building his new store. We fell into a familiar routine and as the welcome Spring sun shone on us and I ‘assisted’ as he worked. He cracked a joke at one stage and asked if I had heard it before? Many memories of ‘assisting’ floated up and I gently suggested that I may, just may, have heard it during other project moments that revolved mainly around guttering and drainage! It made me think of Mum and how many years she has stood ‘assisting’ by his side. You have a book to write here Mate, you really do!

There’s a new week about to start with Emily going great guns on her dissertation, Mum preparing for her final Mediumship assessment, Dad finishing his store and Mark holding my hand as we explore together.

My thoughts end this post with Jasper, as his Mum took a picture of him blowing his Granny kisses for the new tank top she has knitted for him. Xx

Jasper 1