Sunday 29 March 2015

Do not disturb

I've been on my own in the penthouse for the last couple of weeks.  Mr FF drove out to Italy in the car completely rammed full of unwanted items from our downsize.  I left him to it then listened when he told me on the phone we now have many duplicates and he couldn't find space for everything.  Things never change.
He's been busy in the house, a storm had blown the chimney cowl off, it landed on and destroyed our garden table, a large expanse of fence had blown down, the freezer had stopped working and he had quite a bit of earth to move from his landscape work.  
I meanwhile have enjoyed two weeks of utter calm, solitude, relaxation and self indulgence.  Not long enough to tire of my own company but long enough to slip into an easy (lazy) routine that has involved many long baths, beauty treatments, calorie controlled meals, excessive reading, hours on the computer and strolls to town.  
I feel refreshed and energised.   Apart from brief conversations with other inmates I've met in the hall and a few phone calls I've hardly spoken to anyone but I haven't felt at all lonely.   I know it wouldn't be healthy to live this lifestyle for a long period, I'd probably loose the art of speech and turn into some nutty recluse, but knowing it was only for two weeks made it seem like an acceptable respite from normal life.    I had imagined I might sort out some kitchen cupboards and the wardrobes full of hastily unpacked items, no chance. After an initial attack on the office I resorted to my default setting of sloth.  
Normal service will resume on Tuesday, Mr FF has already started the long drive home. April will be full on organisation as we have friends coming to stay and prepare to move to Italy for an indefinite period.  And I shall be ready for it, I feel I've had a total detox, two weeks of spa treatment for free.  Happy me time.

Saturday 21 March 2015

It's a funny old business

Today I had a stall at a Made in Yorkshire craft fair organised by friends of the local primary school.   Being new to the area I wasn't too sure what to expect but it was well advertised, with professional posters around the town, and in addition to the craft stalls there was to be a cafe, craft room for children, face painting, Easter egg tombola, sounded like lots of fun.
Firstly when I arrived my table was right at the back of the large room in a corner partial concealed by another stall.  I did manage to move my table to a more prominent position with the help of an adjacent stall holder who agreed nobody puts baby in a corner, OK he didn't say that but I couldn't resist.  
The fair was well attended though I got the impression mostly by mothers of the pupils and their immediate family who were treating it as a social event more than a shopping opportunity. Everyone was very complimentary about my knitting, happy to chat and handle the goods but very few people were interested in buying.  My little baby socks particularly got lots of praise but even at £2 a pair I got no sales.    Speaking to other crafters they felt much the same and we were all a bit disappointed with our day.  Nothing to do with the quality of the items, there were some lovely things, if I didn't already have masses of lovely cotton tote bags, toilet bags, felted bags etc I could have bought plenty more and been delighted with them.  
Maybe there is a limit to how many egg cosies complete with creme egg people want to buy in a lifetime and the public is becoming crafted out.   I don't make egg cosies but I thought we'd always need socks. Apparently not, I sold one pair and one pair of gloves, I won't be appearing on Dragons Den any time soon. Incidentally my neighbouring stall holder, a nice young cabinet maker who had some beautiful wooden items sold only two clocks and one of those was to his mother.  

Monday 16 March 2015

Going going gone

I can't remember if I have mentioned before that next month my brother and sister in law, Chris and Val,  give up the tenancy of the farm that has been in our family since my great great grandfather moved from another farm in the same village.  Preparation for this move has been taking place for many months clearing outbuildings and running down livestock, at the weekend this all culminated in their farm sale, an auction of everything imaginable from buckets to the combine harvester.    
We travelled to the farm on Friday to be there for the sale on Saturday morning to find everything beautifully displayed either in barns or in surrounding fields, family and friends had helped with washing and polishing, it was amazing.  
Friday was viewing day and there was a buzz of people asking questions, starting engines, checking and testing.  Saturday by the time the sale started there were a good few people but the numbers kept growing and growing, the sale started with the smallest items and ended with the largest by which time the parking field was full to capacity.
I won't go into detail but the bidding was fast and exciting with mostly excellent prices achieved. I watched many things I remembered from my childhood being sold, happily much to local people, obviously some tractors and more expensive items  to dealers and some vintage pieces to collectors.  

Only two items did not sell, both of which my brother was happy to keep, and not long after the sale the barns were cleared and vehicles loaded as payment was required immediately and purchases became the responsibility of the buyer.
I'm sure it will be strangely quiet as my brother and sister in law spend their last few weeks on an empty farm but there was certainly no brooding on Saturday evening as 16 of us enjoyed Chinese food, champagne and cake, we chatted till the small hours and my nieces and great nieces all stayed over. We shall all miss being at the farm and its sad that Amelia and Esme have only had a few years to enjoy life there but it's important for Chris and Val to start their well earned retirement and like us they have gone down the admittedly much harder down sizing exercise while they are fit and able.  Onwards and upwards, we are all off to Italy in about 6 weeks once Chris and Val move into their already purchased and newly furnished bungalow.  My brother did say he wasn't sure if he could be away for a whole 2 weeks (for the first time ever), he forgets there will be no animals or arable land or farm security to worry about, it's gone.

Thursday 5 March 2015

Retail Recklessness

Last week a local charity shop was offering 5 paperbacks for £1 and whilst I have plenty of reading material, including several boxes that Mr FF has stored in the loft, I couldn't resist a handful.
When I got home and had a good look through my selection I did realise that I already had one of the books on my shelf.  Anyway I made some good progress, enjoyed reading a couple and returned them and the duplicate to the charity shop.  I then embarked on another which seemed rather familiar and when after a couple of chapters I checked my book of books read it was on the list from several years ago. Fortunately I started this system of recording years ago because quite honestly as soon as a book is finished most of it just disappears from my memory, including the title obviously.
Then the lovely people at Kemps were offering Red Heart sock yarn in red or charcoal at just 99p for 100 g and some how 9 balls quickly arrived at the penthouse.  This perhaps isn't quite as bad as it seems because I have signed up for a Made in Yorkshire craft fair at the local primary school at the end of the month.  I'm not sure how this will turn out, the craft fairs I have been to in the town, at a church and the community centre, have been dreadful.  Nothing I would ever want to buy, knitters offering neon acrylic baby clothes for about £2 each and an almost unpleasant atmosphere.  The school fair will have various activities for Easter, egg painting,  a cafe etc not unlike the fairs I used to attend in Scotland so I'm feeling fairly hopeful.  Besides, no one will know me, if I am an abject failure at least I shall have tried (to get rid of the rather large bag of finished items that is in the spare bedroom and which to I keep adding).