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Spark

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Nocturnal clowns

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deep late night voices
rumble beneath my window.
Flexing my brain in preparation for
sociability exercises
I stretch my doubting spine,
grab my keys and go outside
to find John
with his oft-repeated claim
“I worry about you Jane,”
and his questions
“Are you glad it’s Sunday tomorrow?”
which pass for conversation,
and Clive
with his attention-seeking need
to be less well than anybody else
for which there is stiff competition in this complex.
He invites me to put my hand on his knee
so he can demonstrate the vibrating creak
as he straightens it.
I cringe at his questionable treat,
thereby encouraging a continuation of his guided tour
of physical ills, free of charge.
He lifts his vest to display impressive scars
and to wiggle the pacemaker beneath his skin
while regaling me with tales in the timeless style of
“my wife doesn’t understand me,”
although he’s not actually married.

Maybe that’s a tale for later, but probably not.

Meanwhile John vies for my attention:
“I worry about you Jane.
I’m a doctor.”
The second part of his repartee is his idea of a joke.
He doesn’t know
that the phrase is meant to begin with the words
“trust me.”
I’m squashed on the bench between the two of them,
or rather, I’m crushed against Clive because
I have a pernickety aversion
to the proximity of John’s right leg.
I haven’t experienced intimacy with the left one,
but I expect it would bring about
similar squeamishness.

John again reminds me that he worries about me.
Clive wants me to go to Bingo on Wednesday.
This sounds like the kind of life I could lead
if I was rather less

interesting,

I try all the usual excuses, but
he has no intention of accepting a refusal.
Perhaps it’s time to mention
that in spite of his limited intelligence
and his valuable collection of ailments and fading wounds
he’s kind of

cute

like a homeless chihuahua with a sore paw –
which is an odd comparison, because
while I like dogs
I’ve always ignored chihuahuas,
and I wonder if they are funny too.
That’s what really appeals to me about Clive –
he can make me laugh like a runaway jack-hammer,
or a wild-eyed child, without doing much.
So I agree to join his crew at Bingo
with the ridiculous proviso that I don’t have to play,
but when it comes to it
I don’t show.

Lacking the dubious advantage of
smelling like sewage
or a talent for drooling,
I consider unreliability to be an acceptable way to dismiss
any minor risk of amorous advances
while exercising my right to sit on the bench
with John and Clive,
making inane remarks, laughing –
a trio of nocturnal clowns stifling yawns,
too old to be sent to bed, and
too big for the naughty step.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

Wild Boar Wood

Five Photos. Five Stories. Day 1

Thank you Calen at Impromptu Promptlings for nominating me for this fun challenge. For anyone who hasn’t seen Calen’s lovely inspiring site, I recommend that you check it out now.

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When I beheld that sweet haven

    which was to be my home for a while

      behind my rib cage

        where my tired heart lay sick

        something fluttered and swelled

        and a feeling that healing could reach me

       swept through my senses.

      The trees welcomed me

   their budding leaves opening

to show me the future    

© Jane Paterson Basil

The Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge rules require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo.  It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph – it’s entirely up to you. 

Then each day, nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge.

Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command.  Today, I’m inviting Annie, The Little Snowflake to join the challenge. 

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