Daily Prompt: A Yarn about Yarn

Habadashery

This is all I have left from my yarning days which is not very much I must admit. I wrote once before, just a couple of weeks ago, about my knitting and crochering days which are also now long gone. My first grandchild will be arriving in September, but her grandmother Angloswiss will not be raiding the yarn shops for baby wool to knit. Today it is not so necessary, you can buy such wonderful baby stretch onesies in pretty colours with attached feet, so what in the point in knitting little bootees for the baby’s little feet, in a few weeks the feet will no longer be little and stretch is perfect.

However, not wanting to disappoint, I took a quick trip to the cellar where I keep things “that might come in useful”. I got that one from mum. I think her complete household was full of things that should come in useful. Nothing was thrown away, you never know. Every little glass bottle that once contained tablets was kept on one side. They never really came in useful, but who was I to destroy my mum’s visions. Yes she was the original re-cycler, but then it did not have a name.

And now to my bits and pieces that I found in this tin. It seemed to be full of empty cotton reels and spare elastic. I even found a cotton reel with a full supply of thread on it, waiting for the next button to be sewn on. If you are looking for buttons, they are in a different tin. I have many, in all shapes and sizes and colours as well as hooks and eyes. They might come in handy one day. In the days of office work, Mr. Swiss would wear uniform on days when visitors were in the office: generally a shirt and tie and all the trimmings.  It was the done thing at the time. Since he has joined the happy hunting grounds of the retired, his collection of Dior, Boss and Armani ties  are now left in his wardrobe, hanging on the rack on the door. I cannot remember when he last wore a tie. The modern trend for special occasions has the description “Dress: casual” so the tie curse has now been eliminated.

But back to the buttons. At his time of wearing shirts, the buttons would usually leave the shirt after only wearing it a couple times. They were sewn on by machine, and just a simple pull on a thread would totally separate the button from the shirt. If you were lucky you found the missing button, otherwise it was always useful to have a few spare buttons. I was not very good at sewing on buttons, but Mr. Swiss quickly realised it was a an advantage to learn how to do it as he did not have to wait until I did it. As the shirt problem no longer exists, a supply of extra buttons is also no longer necessary and so the tins of yard/thread and buttons now lead a solitary life in the cellar. I only found them today for the photo above.

Of course there are women (even men it seems) that still like to knit a pullover or sew their own clothes. I used to belong to this tribe, but now prefer a computer and buy what I need in a store. One of my rebellious acts against becoming a golden oldie.

Buttons

Daily Prompt: A Yarn about Yarn

Daily Prompt: Perfume and the Family Grave

Perfume

I am not really the perfume type, but if it has a name then why not. I found my perfumes at the duty free when I would travel to London to visit my dad. They had small bottles of various sorts (flacon?) in a box. I still have remainders in my bathroom cabinet, for the simple idea that I never bother with it. As we have had these theme before I will try not to repeat myself and now tell you about the times when I was a kid and mum liked to visit the family grave in Stratford in East London. Today Stratford is no longer the Stratford I knew. It was discovered for the London Olympic Games in 2012 and a lot was destroyed to make room for various stadiums for the sports.

So mum and I were on our way by bus to the Woodgrange Cemetery, which has now been partially converted into a moslem cemetery. Do not ask, things change throughout the years. As we approached the area we would cross a river, probably the River Lea. We passed over a bridge and then it hit us, the strong smell of perfume, the bus smelt like a lavender market. On the river bank, Yardleys had their factory. Yardleys were the biggest perfume suppliers in England. Their products were sold everywhere: they were cheap and popular amongst the Brits. These were the days before everyone had a bottle of Chanel No. 5 in their bathroom cupboard, and our family definitely did not invest large sums of money in perfume. It was more for decoration than anything else.

When we reached Stratford we would change busses for the graveyard where most of our family members were buried. Family members that I never met in life and had only heard of from mum. My maternal grandmother was the last to be buried in the grave when I was a kid, and I never knew her. She passed on when I was 4 months old. Some years later my maternal granfather was the last to be buried in this cemetery, the grave was then full, its limit of 6 people/bodies had been reached.   I visited the cemetery on a visit to my father in London with my friend some years ago and we discovered that half of the cemetery had disappeared and had appartment blocks built on it. There have been rumours of hauntings in various appartments, but probably more due to highly strung imaginations of the people living there. Our family grave was now non existant. I knew roughly where the family grave was, but even in my days of monthly visits to the cemetery with mum, it was over populated and you had to climb over other graves to get to the one you wanted to reach.

I am drifting from the theme. The Yardleys perfume factory is also no longer there. It had to make room for the Olympic Games, and having a background smell of “Ashes of Roses” or however the perfume was named, was not the ideal scent for the background of a race or pole vault.

Woodgrange Park Cemetery
The remains of Woodgrange Cemetery

Daily Prompt: Perfume and the Family Grave

Daily Prompt: Being knackered

Sleeping on the job

No, this is not me after my daily housework, but it is me after lunch. My golden oldie sleep after lunch if the most important part of my day. Without it I am a total nervous and physical wreck, the personification of being knackered. I think I took the photo of the store window for camping stuff, because she reminded me of someone.

It never used to be like that. I used to laugh at people that took an after lunch nap: sleeping their day away. That was in my younger years when I never wanted to miss a minute of the action. An after lunch sleep? Something for the golden oldies, for mums and dads, but not for me.

When I settled in with the man of my life I discovered he took after lunch sleeps. Of course during the week he was a working man, but Saturday and Sunday this was a normal state of affairs. I was busy knitting or in later years indulging in computer games at the week-end, but he was sleeping. Aroud 14.30 hours in the afternoon he would be back in the real world. I got used to it and when I met my english friend who told me her boyfriend always had a couple of hours sleep after lunch, I decided it must be some sort of man thing.

The years progressed, we were no longer the youngest. I noticed as a working woman, that after lunch at my desk in the office, now and again I had a moment when my eyes were drifing together and I would have loved to have been able to take a rest somewhere. It was a state of affairs that I had never experienced before.

Mr. Swiss was already retired and could enjoy his after lunch sleep every day. Eventually I also joined the world of retirement.  Mr. Swiss was occupying the settee after lunch, so I decided to try this sleep thing in my bed because there was nowhere else free. This was my first mistake in the knackered life of a golden oldie. I realised what I had been missing in the last years of my working life – an after dinner sleep and I tried it out, but I never do things in halves. If you have a sleep, that do it properly. Oh I began to love my bed. I had my after dinner cup of tea, took a walk around my iPad and then I was off. Mr. Swiss disappeared onto his settee, he now had a separate room for the settee and I disappeared into the bedroom.

I snuggled beneath my duvet and I was sleeping a real genuine sleep. My cat Tabby noticed this new state of affairs, and as she was knackered 23 hours of the day (a feline life is an exhausting life) she would join me on the duvet. I realised now what I had been missing all those years. There was no more falling asleep in front of the TV in the evening, I was relaxed and awake enjoying all the delights of reading a book, I had discovered the benefits of an after lunch sleep, although strangely Mr. Swiss still has an evening  TV sleep now and again.

Knackered was now a thing of the past – almost. The only problem is that being knackered is a wonderful condition to have and coming back to reality with the aches and pains of a golden oldie is not so welcoming. Why leave the bed when it is so comfortable, warm, and relaxing. What makes the whole thing worse, is that you have to leave the bed twice a day: once in the morning after a night’s sleep, and after lunch. I must be doing something wrong somewhere. In the meanwhile I no longer laugh at Mr. Swiss and his midday sleeps. We now even have discussions about our sleep patterns, full of understanding and analysing the necessities of the midday sleep.

Window

Daily Prompt: Being knackered

Daily Prompt: Only one blanket

Blanket

I think this is the only usable blanket we possess, but who needs a blanket today? We have central heating, warm clothes to wear, and the bedding operations have been simplified over the years. The duvet has taken over on the bed. A fitted sheet cuddling the matress with elastic edges, and a nice thick eiderdown, now known as duvet, with a cover that you can change, everything nicely hygenic.

Memories of my childhood days return when I think of a blanket. Every bed had its blanket, it was the way things were done in the olden days. Making beds were a major operation, especially if you were fussy about how your bed was made and mum and dad were very fussy. First of all there was the bottom sheet, and then the top sheet. The next layer was the blanket. I really do not know where mum got her blankets. They seemed to be family heirlooms handed down over generations and some were showing signs of becoming threadbare. However, this was no problem, as mum and dad seemed to have a stash of blankets, in all colours and qualities. I think the quality was not so important, important was the fact that they did not cost so much.

Blankets were put on the bed to make sure you were warm, and so I had at least two blankets. When everything was piled on the bed it was tucked in on all sides. To top the creation you had an eiderdown. I doubt if the feathers came from an eider duck, probably an assortment of bird life throughout England, mainly perhaps mallard duck, or even pigeon – who knows. These eiderdowns had a permanent fixed colourful colour cover and were not washable. The only part of the old style bedding that was washable were the sheets, everything else remained clean I suppose. We never really thought of things like that in the past.

However, the duvet eventually arrived from our scandinavian neighbours and everything was much easier and I suppose more hygenic. We even call it “northern sleeping” translated from the German language. Blankets have become extinct on our beds. Since I have been living in Switzerland I had the simple duvet solution to the bedding. My mum and dad would come on a visit now and again and seemed a bit lost with the duvet, but they managed.

When my dad moved into his extra care home, he had his own small appartment and I remember his bed always looking so perfect: everything neatly tucked in and he still had his blanket at the age of 100. Of course his carer was making his bed for him as he got older, but he told me she made it perfectly. He told me, even in his older years, that his bed must be made perfectly. No creases in the sheets, and of course a blanket. I asked him if a duvet would perhaps be easier. “Oh no” he said “it is not the same” and so it was. His bedroom was a perfect example of tidy and neat. We East End families may not have had the funds for everything expensive, but the bed had to be made perfectly.

But we have one blanket, you never know when a blanket might be useful.

Daily Prompt: Only one blanket

Daily Prompt: Where are the roots?

River Aar 12.04 (14)

And another week began for the medicine students, studying the science of genetic origins. It was a first year class and tbey had a lot to learn. Professor Planck greeted the class.

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Today we are continuing on the invesitagtions of the origins of life. We all want to know where we come from? Yes Drago?”

“Mum and dad said it was better when we didn’t know and they were not very happy about sending  a sample of my blood to the DNA laboratories last week.”

“No problem, Drago, the results of the DNA tests from the complete class have already been received and in today’s lesson we will take a closer look.”

“Sir, my parents also found that a blood examination is not necessary. They said we are all equals, and it really should not be important to examine our blood.”

“Yes, Jabba, I know, but it is all in the name of science. You cannot ignore the facts and you will all learn something from the results.”

And so Professor Planck discussed with the class members, one by one, the results of their blood examinations. There were some surprises when Joan discovered that her origins were somewhere in Kazakhstan, but she blamed it on grandfather Ivan that arrived in their country some time in the middle ages. It was obvious that Chan had traces of Asian origins and so the class were given the results of the DNA tests. It was a source of laughter, especially when Tracy discovered that he ancestory could be traced back to the times of Attila the Hun crossing the alps and she even had the Mongolian spot to prove it, but as it was in a place that was usually covered with clothing, she did not show it.

And so one by one the members of the class were released for the day, all excited about discovering more about themselves. Only Drago and Jabby were left. Professor Planck told them to wait.

“Is something wrong sir?” the two boys asked.”

“No not really boys, just a few anomalies I would like to clarify.

Drago your origins are somewhere in Eastern Europe I believe.”

“Yes sir, we originate from  a very old established family, in the Carpathian Mountains.  We can trace our roots back to the days of the wolves.”

“Yes Drago, that is the strange result of your blood examination. the DNA test results showed a mixture of various blood groups, actually all existing known blood groups and a trace of  animal blood, notably wolflike. Could this be the case.”

“It is possible. It is probably explained by the fact that on full moon nights my teeth grow somewhat longer, and we all like our meat cooked rare in the family, actually raw to be exactl. Dad often howls at the moon and mum and dad go for walks in the woods during the night. By the way dad also works in the medicinal branch.”

“Oh is he a doctor?”

“Not exactly, he does the night shift at the local blood bank which might explain the blood mixtures. I like to sample them now and again, especially if they are fresh. Can I go now Sir?”

“Yes and look after yourself, you are looking so pale today.”

“No problem, that is normal when I am exposed to so much daylight.”

“And now to you Jabba? We found some traces of chrorophyll in your blood, to the extent that it had a slightly green tinge to the colour.”

“No problem  Sir, it runs in the family. You would have to go back to the Ediacaran period of the earth development where our origins were established. The first in our family were Jabberwocks and had no bones. Over the years, due to mixed marriages with humans we became less brillig and were no longer bothered by the jubjub bird which became extinct due to the frumerous bandersnatch.”

“Sorry Jabba, but I cannot quite get the gist of this. Jabberwocks did not exist, they were a fictitious character invented by the writer Lewis Carroll.”

“Some things are not always as they seem. Great grandfather Lewis was one of the last Jabberwocks that originated in the mimsy borogroves. Unfortuantely they no longer exist as they built a motorway over them. Can I now go sir? My parents get anxious if I arrive home late, especially if I do not have my vorpal sword with me. The police confisticated it yesterday evening as they classified it as a lethal weapon.”

“Oh, I see, yes, yes you may go Jabba, but do not hop everywhere, walk  normally.”

“Of course sir, it is difficult when you have webbed feet.”

That evening Professor Planck did not sleep so well. It was a full moon night and he was sure he saw Drago hovering outside his bedroom window. In the morning there were strange footprints in the garden as if something with webbed feet had walked through the earth.

Daily Prompt: Where are the roots?

Daily Prompt: It’s a Gray/Grey World today

Gray Renovation

You cannot get more gray than this gray-in-gray photo taken a few minutes ago out of my west facing window. I could have taken a photo facing north, south or east, but there is not a lot of difference. There is no sun,  no blue skies, just gray everywhere. Coupled with the scaffolding surrounding my appartment house, we have the perfect gray picture of everything gray.

Front Garden rain

On the East side of the house we are also covered in gray: gray concrete, gray metal rods of scaffolding and even my white window frames are reflecting the gray shadows of life.

How boring this is, perhaps I should rather read a book than write about gray. Some people might be reading 50 Shades of Grey to put them in the mood, but not me. i avoided this book when it was published. I was put off by the housewives that had all decided reading a best seller would be the thing to do. It seemed to me that all my female facebook contacts were reading this trash They were showing off about it, telling everyone they had bought it, downloaded it, and whatever. One even admitted that she was reading it in the train on the way to work, but naturally hidden in a book cover with another book name. I never read the book. Not that I do not read pseudo ponographic chick lit cheap books, but it is not my sort of thing. Mr. Grey’s sexual fantasies with his new secretary are really not my thing.

I also worked in an office for many years, but I had to earn my money by organising the export of goods all over the world and not helping the boss to complete his fantasies of female possession. My boss was was OK, but had his own harem out of working hours. I was a married woman with four kids to look after, and really do not know how Mr. Grey’s secretary, Anastasia Steele (another grey name) found the time. I mean she had to fit in the cooking of her food and make beds, do the washing and ironing. I noticed the authoress of the book made an effort to follow up her success with Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. She seemed to have run out of new stuff to write about. She must have been living in a very gray world.

My Aunt and Grandmother were also gray people. My mum loved to knit and would produce cardigans for them. They were both ladies of a progressive age, gran approaching 80 years and Aunt Emmy, my dad’s oldest sister, somewhere between 50 and 60. Mum loved to knit but there was a disadvantage. The chosen colour of the two elderly ladies was always gray: gray first and gray second. Mum was more the bright colours sort, although I must admit her taste was also not always mine, and so she was condemned to knitting gray cardigans which she said made her depressed. “They always want gray and never a nice bright colour” she said to me. Somehow I do not think the elderly ladies were into pink or lemon.

And what am I doing on this gray day. I am on the keyboard of my Apple computer, which is also gray, dressed in gray yoga pants and a dark gray t-shirt It is one of those days where you just cannot escape from a gray world.

And before you compose your remarks telling me that Gray is not Gray, but Grey, I also had a problem. The english colonists over the Pond tend to spell it “gray” and we Brits are more into “grey” it seems: a simple solution, but mixing me up considerably. Make your own choice of spelling, but today is a grey/gray day.

Daily Prompt: It’s a Gray/Grey World today

Daily Prompt: Zip it up if it works

Zip

This is a close up of the zip on my Winter jacket. We all know it, that mysterious part of the zip to your jacket when you combine the right and left half. It is then that you realise why the amish do not have zips, they do not believe in them for some strange reason and prefer to stick to their buttons and whatever.

In the name of progress, we have zips: a wonderful invention. Memories of struggling with your blue jeans, trying to bring them together. Basically it is your own fault for eating too much and denim shrinks in any case when you wash it. No problem, when it shrinks it outlines the body parts even more and if you want to look sexy, nothing could be better. It is when the zip jams and you pull out of frustration that a problem occurs. The bottom part of the zip that has already met the other half suddenly divides. Although the actual zip part is still there holding the two sides of the jeans together in one place, it no longer zips. You now have two separated parts of the jeans with a connection in the middle that is stuck. The choice is either throw away the jeans and buy a new pair, or buy a zip and spend a few hours removing the old zip and replacing it with the new zip. There is also a problem of taking the jeans off, and in frustration a pair of scissors probably help. If you compare time against money, then the new jeans are the better choice.

And now to the jacket, the protection against wind, and even rain and snow. They are so comfortable to wear, but there is a problem. You have to insert one side of the zip mechanism into the slot on the other side – what could be better. Time to go and Mr. Swiss is waiting and I am still zipping up my jacket. Of course I know how it works, but you have to find the slot and if you do not, you have a problem. Yes, it is working and so you pull up the zip to find it is only travelling on one side of the jacket and the other side is hanging wondering where the other side is. After an impatient 10 minutes for Mr. Swiss I eventually manage to find the missing link/slot and the zip is moving upwards combining the two halves of the jacket.

It seems that Jakob Ammann, the founder of the Amish community was originally Swiss from Erlenbach in Simmental and was originally an Anabaptist. A few of the Mr. Swiss ancestors were also anabaptists and they wandered off to the States it seems. They had no zips as they were not yet invented. However, Jakob Ammann had a good idea and refused to used machine made things, sticking to buttons and so the amish were a very satisfied people without zips.  They never had blocked zips or broken finger nails. Yes the Swiss are full of  good ideas.

Daily Prompt: Zip it up if it works