My cup runneth over… Come to think of it, that must have been the only negative thing that occurred in my life today – as I was pouring a cup of coffee, it inexplicably flew all over the room,splattering everything in its wake, dripping off the worksurface and pooling on the floor.

Maybe it was my conscence telling me to clean the kitchen, and bring it up to the shimmering standard of my living room. I ignored it. I think I’ve done quite enough since I woke up this morning.

I have:

Sorted through my clothes, pulled out what I no longer want, and taken unwanted clothes to the Oxfam shop,where I had a cup of tea and bragged for ten minutes about how lovely Laura’s skin looks.

Been to the pharmacy to pick up my so called “anxiety” medication, rather than leaving it until a few days after I run out.

Been to the medical centre to ask if the medication can be put onto automatic repeat (again, rather than leaving it until after I run out). I don’t know why this hasn’t been done, unless it’s because I tend to take a med. for three weeks or so, then ring my GP and say I don’t like it, and I’m not taking any more.

Been to our local fabric shop, to enquire about muslin, as I’ve just started making my own yogurt, and I want to make Greek style this weekend. Greek yogurt is yogurt that’s had the whey strained out of it.

I wasn’t happy about the price, so I went on to Cookshop, but I was even less happy about the price there. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both great shops – they’re not to blame for the price of muslin. Anyway, I remembered that I may have a whole lot of it stashed away, in the form of curtains, so I decided to have a hunt when I got home.

I proceeded to go into three separate supermarkets for about five items. OK; to be more accurate, when I went in the first one, I forgot what I wanted and bought fish instead. The second one was on my route home, and while I was there, I remembered to get eggs and veg., but forgot the milk, so I had to go to onother one for that.

Looked for the muslin, only to realise I must have taken it to Oxfam three years ago, but it gave me the opportunity to sort through a few bits and pieces which I plan to (maybe) turn into art.

After I got home (could I have a drum roll, please) I managed to UPLOAD MY PHOTOS from my phone to my laptop – after over two years of vague attempts and failures. It took me two hours, during which my laptop told me several times that it couldn’t connect to my phone, and my phne said it couldn’t connect to my laptop. After freezing twice, and in the middle of my laptop telling me it wasn’t friends with my phone, the phone somehow sneaked in through the back door, and dropped the photos into dropbox. Laptop still says it will have nothing to do with phone. I’m just waiting for it to find out about phone’s devious trick. You’ll probably hear the screams of “Rape!” from Aussieland.

I cooked a lovely meal of vegetables in killer cheese sauce. I ate it straight out of the baking dish – something which I’ve never, to my knowledge, done before.

I washed the dishes. ALL OF THEM! AS SOON AS I’D EATEN! And before you say, “Doesn’t everybody?” – no, they don’t.

But this is a prelude to what I did before all that.

I put two African wallhangings on the wall. That is to say, I drilled four holes in the wall, using my Bosch drill, pushed rawlplugs into them, and screwed in four hooks, then looped the hangings into two lengths of dowel which I’d cut, and put the hangings up.



By normal standards, this is not a huge achievement, but lately, my standards haven’t been normal. I’ve lived here for over 21 months, and have put nothing on the walls. I’ve pinned and taped a few things to the sides of my bookshelves, but that’s all. Once upon a time I was a rabid DIYer. I knocked down walls, built new ones, designed and built storage units and shelves, altered cheap kitchen units to fit the kitchen space, added my own custom built units, built open fires in living rooms – well, one open fire in one living room. I stripped, sanded and waxed almost all the woodwork – doors, windows and skirting boards, in a four bedroom house. No job, as they say, was too big or too small. When I’d done everything there was to do in the house, I started on the garden. I didn’t rest except to go to sleep. I liked it that way.

Until today, I didn’t take the trouble to pinpoint when the collapse occurred, but I now know it was when I moved to Barnstaple – back to the town I’d left some thirteen or fourteen years earlier, to move home, to the countryside, where I belong. Town saps the life from me, but that wasn’t the major problem. It didn’t help that I no longer had a workshop, or sheds to store my timber, tools, and accoutrements in, but that wasn’t the major part of the problem either.

The real issue was that I was confronted, on a daily basis, by my children’s addictions.

I could tell you I’m back, but I’m not going to; I’ve said it before, and been mistaken. Instead, I’ll tell you I think I’m on my way back. The large empty space on the wall mirrored the large hole in my heart. I used to look at it and feel sad that I didn’t have the spark needed to put something beautiful in that space. Today I had the spark.

It’s a start.

Did I mention how lovely and healthy Laura’s skin has become?

What about the gym ball, and the jogging. I didn’t mention that…

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Serenity is upset, because I haven’t mentioned her new dress. It’s not really hers, and it’s not really new. I designed and made it 40 years ago, for myself. It was my wedding dress. I got married in a registry office. If we were still together, we’d be celebrating our Ruby anniversary next month.

So here we have Serenity, showing off her favourite outfits.She’s very fond of scarves, but doesn’t wear them in the traditional way. In the top left picture, you see how cleverly she’s wrapped a gold and navy scarf, to make a rather attractive top. She’s done something similar with the beautiful piece woven, lightweight wool which I bought for her in Oxfam, last Autumn,and which she is wearing as a skirt in the first two images (she loves this garment, and refused to take it off for three months, until she saw my wedding dress). The panels at the front are finely embroidered in red, green and gold. I haven’t managed to date it, but if it was intended to be a shawl, I’d guess at the early 20th C, if it wasn’t in such good condition. Maybe it’s as recent as the 150s or 60s, but I don’t think so – its energy feels much older than that.

The top in the second image is silk, heavily beaded. I’d say it dates from the 1920s. Around the neck there is a an edging of slk velvet. Her necklace is silverand carnelian.
















Serenity is tapping her foot and looking impatient. I think she wants me to tell you about the wedding dress, in the main picture, below.


This dress is made of a heavyweight cheesecloth, manufactured for clothing. The bodice and wrists are machine-tucked, and hand embroidered with a green, yellow and brown paisley pattern.

Here I am, rabbitting away about Serenity, and yet I haven’t formally introduced her to you:

Meet Serenity, my mannequin and housemate. I think she’s beautiful. We first met when she took up residence in my shop, and did me the service of luring customers in. That was when Laura taught her to make magic from scarves. Laura has a knack for unusual invention.

©Jane Paterson Basil


23 thoughts on “Spark

  1. Delighted to meet you, Serenity ! What a lovely name. And the home you share with Jane looks just as delightful. Sounds like the two of you hit it off really well. Your outfits are beautiful. The wedding dress is unique and gorgeous. Imagine Jane being so clever – dressmaker, home maker, artist…. I love the other two dresses as well 🙂 I hear Laura’s skin is looking radiantly healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Serenity wants me to tell you she’s pleased to meet you, too. Unfortunately she’s unable to type this message herself; her fingers are rather stiff – as is her whole body. I’m trying to persuade her to join the gym, but she just looks at me blankly when I mention it 🙂
      She agrees – Laura’s skin is looking marvelous.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am SO glad to hear that you have a roommate to share your joys and frustrations with! She looks like a lovely person! 😀 And quite stylish, I might add. 😉 And btw, don’t EVER say you are back. That’s the moment we get in trouble. Take a tip from writers and refer to yourself always as WIP (work in progress). Then there will be no major disappointments because you’re still in the creating phase, but you can celebrate every joy! Congrats on filling up that space! I suppose in some interesting way, YOU are also in recovery. Most exceptional! And I’m so thrilled to hear things are proceeding well for Laura. She sounds very happy. I’m thinking the someone older was a good thing for her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Serenity and I are very close 🙂
      Addiction is a family problem, and recovery is a family process. It can be very stressful, with the fear that the addict may relapse. Even without the fear, the body sees such excitement as a trauma, and responds in odd ways. I went into shock, but I think I’m getting over it now. I keep staring out of the window like a love-struck teenager, hoping to see her walking along the road, sixty paces or so from my block – she always looks my way, and waves. I keep buying her gifts, and she finds nice things to give me. Yesterday I gave her a throw and a little wooden heart, and today she gave me a lovely pair of Vans running shoes! I can’t stop thinking about her. I must post some pix – not that you would see the contrast, as I didn’t take photos of her when she was in a mess.
      It seems Paul’s doing well, too. The drugs service sent him a letter, commending him – but I’ve had so much abuse, and so many lies in the past, that I won’t trust him until I have solid proof. Laura says if I continue to be harsh with him, he’ll get better, since he loves me the most.
      Laura says… Laura does… Laura Laura Laura… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

                    1. Well just think of who we go to talk to when we have a problem. It’s someone who has been through what we have. Just make yourself available and touch on your own experience if you get a chance. She might open up. You never know.

                      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love the look of your flat! You have such lovely taste and it looks calm amd reflective, eclected with charm and character – just like the person who lives there! Lovely dress – clever girl – and so wonderful to hear Laura’s skin is looking radiant.
    Can’t tell you how pleased I am Jane. May the sun keep shining for you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoy living by myself – I don’t have to fall in with anyone else’s tastes – although living with Laura was great; we liked the same thing and she has a unique sense of style. She can turn a shelf full of jumbled ephemera into a work of art, so that the chipped plaster cat, the vulgar fluted vase and the crinoline lady look like a smart ironic statement, rather than a disgusting pile of junk. She’s a lateral thinker who… uh-oh, I’m raving about Laura again… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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