Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lost for words - well, almost

I've had a busy week, out every night (rather boring church meeting, teaching evening class, choir, meal out with friends, printing church magazine) and work itself has been rather frazzling because of a difficult colleague - not to say having eleven classes, each with about twenty students, to teach every week; so was looking forward to going this morning with Son (home for the day), my mum and Daughter 1 to the Christmas fair at Hopetoun House - always a rather up-market affair.

Earlier in the week, a card had been put through our door saying that we should go and collect a parcel at the depot, since we'd been out when the deliverer had tried to deliver it. We couldn't think what it could be since we hadn't ordered anything and it was a bit early for a Christmas present. So we assumed it was something uninteresting such as a catalogue we hadn't requested for things we didn't want.

Anyway, this morning I was rapidly throwing some soup together (so that it would be ready at when we came home again at lunch time) when Mr Life returned from the depot with the parcel. For me. It had a return name and address and I recognised the name as belonging to Linds (

But how did she know my name and address?? I opened the parcel and found...

... this. (Not the sofa. The quilt.)

Look at it!

Isn't it beautiful? And doesn't it go nicely with our green and yellow living room?

I just couldn't imagine why and how she'd sent it to me. Then I read the card enclosed in it and light dawned. Some months ago, just before she became a granny, she had a blog competition to predict the date and time of the baby's birth. And I won it. And she said she'd think of a prize for me. And I assumed it would be a bar of chocolate or something. And I completely forgot about it.

And it's a beautiful quilt for snuggling under on a sofa!!!!!

Now this is becoming a bit of a habit for me, and I have to say it's a habit I really like. Some readers may remember that in October last year, Thimbleanna and Mr T from Indiana visited to cat-sit for us (and have a little holiday) and Thimbleanna brought a snuggle-quilt that she'd made for us then. Which bowled me over. It goes wonderfully well with our other sitting room, which is mainly blue.
Look. Twins! (Non-identical ones.) One for each room.

I am absolutely blown away by the generosity - not to say the talent and dedication - of both of these blog-friends. As my mum said, if she'd made something like that she wasn't sure if she'd manage to part with it - and I feel much the same. It was so kind to make something so beautiful and - heavens, time-consuming - for someone you don't know!
Anyway, thank you, Linds (and Thimbleanna - I still love yours too!) SO MUCH!
Wow. I don't know what else to say. And that doesn't often happen. Aren't people kind?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pinned to my study wall, 1.

Edited to add: Goodness, an unsuspected British/American language problem in my title. My study wall, Thimbleanna, is the wall of the room in which we keep our computers. This poem is pinned to the left of my desk. And Rosemary Norman is not one of my students. She's an English poet. Her poem is divided into verses but for some reason, Blogger won't let me show this.

Lullaby by Rosemary Norman

Go to sleep, Mum,

I won't stop breathing, suddenly, in the night.

Go to sleep, I won't

Climb out of my cot and

tumble downstairs.

Mum, I won't swallow

The pills the doctor gave you or

Put hairpins in electric

Sockets, just go to sleep.

I won't cry

When you take me to school and leave me

I'll be happy with other children

My own age.

Sleep, Mum, sleep.

I won't

Fall in the pond, play with matches,

Run under a lorry or even consider

Sweets from strangers.

No, I won't

Give you a lot of lip,

Not like some.

I won't sniff glue,

Fail all my exams,

Get myself /

My girlfriend pregnant.

I'll work hard and get a steady /

Really worthwhile job

I promise, go to sleep.

I'll never forget

To drop in / phone / write

And if

I need any milk, I'll yell.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

She returns

This is what Daughter 2's bed looked like on Sunday night. Empty. I took this maudlin photo of it.

And tonight? She's asleep in it. She and Cassie the Cat. Her lodger (a friend of a friend; no romantic involvement) went out of town to visit his parents tonight so she came home.

Yes, two nights away and one here. We might just about manage if it's a pattern like that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The new abode of Daughter 2

I should point out that she also loves her dad. I just happened to get the sign (see previous post) - in fact, she took the photo on my camera without telling me.
Thank you for all your empty-nest sympathy, which I canvassed for a day early. She moved a lot of her stuff yesterday but is spending her first night in the flat tonight. She's just phoned us from bed.
That chintzy material is on its way out - won't do for the young and trendy. (The sofas, chairs and curtains came with the flat. Must tell you the tale of the flat one day.)
The house is very very quiet. Just Mr Life, me and the scampering furry people.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I am so drowning in work that I've hardly had time to visit blogs, but Daughter 2 and I did fit in a bus trip to Glasgow last Saturday to look for curtain material for the flat that she hasn't moved into yet.

I hadn't been to Glasgow for a while and it seems to have burst out into street performing. I don't know whether we happened to hit Busker Day or whether they were all hoping that early Christmas shoppers would be scattering largesse in a generous fashion, but anyway, this chap was juggling flaming torches with what seemed to me reckless abandon.

Then there were these chaps. Not sure what they were supposed to be: Neanderthal Highlanders, perhaps.

They were INCREDIBLY LOUD! How the people in the shops retained their sanity, I can't imagine. I should think you were aware of their drumming in California, Florida, Australia and so on. Did the earth seem to vibrate last Saturday?

Some native Americans. Apparently.

And lots of people selling cuddly toys.

We went to Princes Square

and met up for lunch with Son and his girlfriend, who're working in Glasgow for a year.

In the middle of the ground floor there's this tiled area where little children can run about while their exhausted parents sit round the sides. Such a good idea. My children did this when they were little, oh happy vanished days.

Out again, we rather admired the architecture of Central Station.

Some people were dancing. Don't really know why but they looked as if they were having a good time.

Others were selling balloons and... whatever these streamery things are. Daughter 2 poses beside them.

And for Anna, we have some pipery-drummy-kilty chaps.

In a material shop there were bundles of patches which I fancy may have been the mysterious fat quarters I read about, though they weren't thus labelled. This quilt, it's claimed, could be made in the first term of a quilting class. If only I had any time to myself and lived in Glasgow!

A harassed mother was there with a little girl who was perfectly well-behaved except that she kept wandering off.
I wasn't convinced by the mother's parenting skills. "River," she said at one point (yes, it was really "River". The mother's accent was English, I'd like to point out, not Scottish), "if you don't come here there'll be no sweeties next Friday." (The child was about 2 and this was Saturday. We didn't think that the events of next Friday would really seem to matter to her.)
A while later, the mother said, "Come here or I'll write a letter to Father... Santa... whatever his name is. Christmas'll be cancelled if you don't stay by my side."
We didn't actually buy material but we had a fun day. Daughter 2 will be moving out this weekend.

Friday, November 06, 2009


One of my classes comprises a lot of sweet but not particularly academic 16/17/18-year-olds and a couple of wise guys plus their acolytes. There's also a slightly plump, hen-toed boy. He has a haircut that looks as if his mum has put a saucepan on his head and hacked away vaguely with her nail scissors; rather old-fashioned glasses; and a lisp.

You probably had someone a bit like this in your class at school. We did, though she was a girl.

The other day he was walking in the college grounds with a friend who was randomly set upon by some youths (not our students). My student bravely tried to help and as a result his glasses were broken and he's now sporting a black eye and a bruised cheek.

Which is terrible, of course. But a welcome side-effect is that he's now seen as rather a hero by the rest of the class, even by the smart-alecs. And the college has paid for some new, cool specs.

And no, we didn't fasten the cats together by their collars.

Just having a little blog...

... to put in the time while Cassie Cat decides to come out from under my desk so I can put her to bed in the kitchen. I am too old to crawl under desks for cats and besides, she can streak faster than I can crawl.

Above: Son tries on Daughter 2's spider costume (but with his cat ears. And whiskers).

Below: Son looks very alarming.

So dignified. You can tell he's a doctor.

Aha. Cat has emerged. Now I'll race her to the kitchen.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en, a bit late.

Daughter 2 had a flat-warming Hallowe'en party. She hasn't actually moved in yet.

Here are Son and his girlfriend. Note the tails. They're cats. Daughter 2 plans to change the curtains.

Another couple of cats: my niece and her friend.

This chap appears to be a fox but I think there was something more to it.

I made a cake.

A couple of mummies chatting to a space witch. (You'd never heard of space witches, had you?)

Daughter 2 was a spider. Note the six extra eyes on her head.

And extra legs too. Fierce!
I can't believe she's actually going to leave home. I don't think she does either.