Friday, 12 February 2010

A winter's tale

The whirligig of time has marched on so fast and furious that I suddenly realized it is three weeks since I last wrote a blog post. It has been a time of change for us all, of arrivals and departures, comings and goings, and one of the partings has been more sorrowful than sweet.



It seems to have been a long, cold winter and certainly not over and gone yet: unlike Nina at Tabiboo with her wonderful pictures of a snowy wonderland, I did not welcome the icy flurries of the past few days.


But moving swiftly on to the positive things in life, I have been the recipient of some jolly little awards and tags from the wonderful community of bloggers. I have received the Sunshine Blog Award from Simply H which is very kind, but as I look out of my window seems curiously inapt! But thank you for the compliment, anyway, and I will try to cast off an Eeyorish turn of mind and live up to the accolade.


And the Duchess of Tea has dubbed me and a quantity of others 'The Most Regal Blog'. I always fancied a tiara, but I fear that the moment has passed, and feel that a headscarf knotted under the chin is as regal as I will get. In fact, on considering this point, and in view of the layers of knitwear and shawls I sport in such chilly weather, the effect would be more babushka than aristocratic if I adopted such headwear, so perhaps not.



Suzie at Itch2Stitch has asked me to list ten things that I enjoy which are free, as has Tia at Whoatemycrayons. Well, once upon a time, long ago and far away, I purported to be studying economics, and as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch.


I found much of economic theory sadly mystifying at the time, and in spite of studying at a most august institution I resorted to a little mustard yellow book called Teach Yourself Economics. It was part of the most enormous series which promised to teach you absolutely anything, and in my early teens I rather ambitiously embarked on Spanish. Unsurprisingly I did not get very far into the book, or even to Spain to practise, but economics was a greater success, and I even passed my exams with the help of that little book. I think the title 'Teach Yourself' was a sign of a more positive and aspirant age - a relic from nineteenth-century ideals of self-help and self improvement - you can teach yourself anything, if only you try hard enough and get to the end of the book.



Whereas now, sadly now the books are for dummies, so why bother, really, the message seems to be that you are the sort who are pretty useless, anyway - a message which is rather dispiriting even before you start.  I looked at Crochet for Dummies recently, and came away feeling that crochet was definitely all too much for a dummy like me. But back to economics ... unfortunately human beings have a tendency to regard all things as free that do not involve the handover of cash at the point of consumption, which habit has led us to regard the earth's resources as 'free' goods, and consume and destroy them without thought for the future.



So in my pernickety little way I struggled to think of things that are free (and if that is not a warning not to study economics, I don't know what is) because if I sit joyfully making things from my yarn and fabric stash, there is a historic cost. They cost me money once, which I should still have if I hadn't fallen for the siren calls of the haberdashery fairy. And if I sit and stitch there is an opportunity cost - I could perhaps be using my time to earn money instead, or make an alternative use of my materials to do the same. If I keep hens, there might be a social cost if the neighbours object to the dawn chorus, or feel that I am lowering the tone of the neighbourhood. And then there are the externalities ... I feel quite ruined at the thought.


So I shall just tell you about some of the nice things that I have been doing, and skate over the less nice, and abandon the economic analysis. For a start, if you need cheering up, have some ploughboys to stay, as we did last weekend.



Four merry men all in green, taking such pleasure in nature red in tooth and claw, so at home in mud, and who minds that driving your mother's car off road leads to punctures when there is a brave new world of tractor specs to explore?


Spend some time with pigs - they love nothing better than rootling up the green and growing, and their squeals of delight at a trough full of brown nuggets of nutrition surpass the ecstasy of the most sophisticated gourmet. A pig is always pleased to see you if you bring a bucket.



Chickens like people with buckets, too, and a bit of fresh grass, and will reward you most handsomely for the smallest of efforts on their behalf. They don't complain that they don't like the supper you offer so humbly, and will eat the same things every day of the week with relish. How unlike our own dear home life!



And when the fever and fret of existence threaten to overcome you, sit down with your needle and make a stitch or two. Preserve something of yourself in the material world when mutability seems set to overwhelm, and create something that will last longer than the day. One of my little pleasures which doesn't seem too costly (she coughed quietly and asked forgiveness from above) is my daily stitching for twenty minutes or so. And revel in the opportunities for congratulation and exclamations of wonderment from your nearest and dearest.



So thank you one and all for your kind messages querying my absence - it is so nice to be missed. And I am not sure how soon before the Muse will grab me by the throat again - I suspect today that it is not so much the impelling presence of the Muse, more the impending deadline and the prospect of rewriting  something which is sadly far less interesting than blog posts. No pictures, either.



And having hoovered the house with a vacuum cleaner which has mysteriously lost its inhalant power, inadvertently knocked over the compost bin enabling it to regurgitate its sopping and miscellaneous contents over the kitchen floor (well, in the nineteenth century they spread old tea leaves all over the floor as part of the cleaning process), and accidentally hurled my quite new backup drive onto the floor as well (no, they do not survive being launched onto the floor, unfortunately, neither do the documents contained therein), there was nothing for it but to terminate my increasingly tortured relationship with said floor, and sit on a chair in front of the computer.



I will now leave you to enjoy your fast approaching weekend, and endeavour to find my own joy in the vicissitudes of the mundane. I thought that the Year of the Tiger would be a good one for me, but I am not so sure - we seem to have got off to a bit of sticky start (literally and metaphorically) in terms of my interactions with inanimate objects. Like greasy Joan, I am now off to keel the pots - safer than getting down on my knees to scrub the floor, and the list of displacement activities is rapidly diminishing in proportion to the time left before my deadline. Have fun!

51 comments:

Tabiboo said...

I've was wondering where you had been!

The snow is melting already down here so that's a good Spring sign - maybe?? Things are warming up....

Have a wonderful weekend,

take care,

Nina xx

ps. did you get much snow?

silverpebble said...

Hello again Pomona. Good to see you back. I am sad to read that things have not always been the chirpiest in the past weeks. I hope the sorrows are temporary and that's Spring's approach will bring relief.

I am very taken with your pinny. Is it a home-made number?

Jennifer said...

Boy, you have had a rough patch. I hope things start looking up soon. That is a very pretty apron, did you use a pattern?

TheMadHouse said...

Welcome back, your posts always make me smile, sorry that RL has been tough over the last weeks. I too love the pinny and would like to know if you make it yourself

marigold jam said...

Good to have you back I have missed your beautifully crafted posts. I loved the bit about the pigs and hens being pleased to see you and not being picky about what was for supper etc. How true! I think you are too hard on yourself if you expect to do your crafting at absolutely no cost at all - you are doing fine with your recycling and using of what is to hand. Keep it up - love that little bag. It is all but impossible to live totally cost free in our current world and we must just do what is feasible and not beat ourselves up too much if we buy a reel of thread or some yarn!

Hope things improve for you soon. I usually find that just when I can't take anything else things start to improve :-)

Jane x

andamento said...

Hi Pomona, nice to see you back.

poppyseed said...

Enjoyed your turbulent post! What is a pinny?

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

It is with great sadness that I read of the passing of your sweet lass...
But as you well know such is life and though we stop to ponder its reasons sometimes we find solace in knowing that the life we share with family, friends and of course the critters is fulfilling.
Enjoy your stitching and congrats on all your awards.
Susan x

Cottage Garden said...

It's so good to see you back Pomona, I've missed your beautifully composed musings!
Sorry to hear you've had some tough times (I don't know if I read this wrong but have you lost your sweet little dog?)

I do like your pinny, it looks very fetching and congrats on all your lovely awards.

Have a 'positively' lovely weekend! Jeanne x

Michela said...

Hi Pomona, it's sooooo lovely to have you back, I will catch up with you from home as soon as my internet coonection will be fixed.
Have a good weekend xxxx

Jak said...

Thanks for popping in. Glad to see you back, but so sad to hear of your loss.

I also like your pinny and I, too, would be interested to know if you made it yourself. I'm more of a 'I mean business, butcher's apron' kind of a girl myself!
Hope you have a lovely weekend.
Jak x

Menopausal musing said...

Life is just such a mixture, isn't it? Loved the little snippet re pigs always being pleased to see you if you have a bucket.... and, yes, nature IS red in tooth and claw... sorry you have had "downs".

Sue said...

Nice to read you again,your posts are always so interesting.Sorry to read about the loss of your dog.Hope you managed to meet your deadline.

Sue

Bobo Bun said...

Glad to hear your voice again, I was hoping you were ok while you were away. Hope your voice gains it's upbeat tone again soon.

I'm another pinny admirer too. Perhaps a matching headscarf?

Lisa x

Kate said...

Welcome back to Blogland!! So sorry to hear you lost your lovely dog, it's always such a shock when our pets die as they become such a large part of our family.

Oh yes, the pinny - absolutely gorgeous!!

Kate x

Serenata said...

You have such a beautiful way with words Pomona, it is good to read one of your lovely interesting posts. I seem to have lost all ability to write properly since finishing my Masters in 2007. I think my brain has turned to mush!

I love the bag and apron you have made, glad you are still having a bit of time to do some crafting.

Cally's Cottage said...

Great to hear from you again, toyed with the idea of checking in to ensure you were just busy not poorly..
What a great question, what is free?? I have a saying up in the office that says ' WITHOUT TIME I AM FREE'and if you really explore it, it is true.. And of course as it is Valentines weekend, love ,of course is free too....So here's hoping that you have the time to enjoy your loved ones this weekend...
Warm Wishes,
Cally x

Barbara said...

You certainly made up for your absence in this long post Pomona. Congrats. on your awards.
Sorry to read that some things have been difficult.
It certainly has been a long cold winter. Was wondering just yesterday if you were caught in the awful snow that was shown on the A2 on TV. We had some this week but only a sprinkling then it lay but disappeared quick.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Hi Pomona and welcome back - a lovely post, despite you having a tough time! Like Emma, I am very taken with your pinny. It's very cheering! Bfn, Lesley

twiggypeasticks said...

Hello there
what a lovely blog, you have. I'm sorry to hear about your dog :( I'm also a crochet dummy, it is quite beyond me !
Twiggy x

Itch2stitch.com said...

Oh Pomona! you sound a little sad, I wondered where you had gone, but the little thingy that makes up an email to you does not work on my laptop! I know, it is hard to actually think of anything at all which either costs nothing, or does not cost someone else something! I actually had a hard job to think of anything which is actually free besides the stars and the moon, but even they come with some sort of cost. Even our crafting comes with a cost of materials. But love is free. I think! Have a lovely weekend, and thanks for visiting me! suzie xxx

Duchess of Tea said...

Lady Pomona, thank you my friend for the kind mention and darling this is the time for a tiara, wear it and wear it in good health.

Darling, wishing you a lovely weekend and a love filled Valentine’s Day.

Love & Hugs
Duchess

Frances said...

This posting of yours is the one that will guarantee that I will always want to read and see anything that you'll post in future.

My degree was in economics. My double major (in credited hours) was art studio. I used to be able to argue the gold standard, and other issues (pro and con.) I can no longer do this, yet still know how to detect duplicity in politicians.

And...know that art and creativity is still what keeps me going year after year. It is where my spirit thrives.

I know that you wrote of much more in this post, and could write a much longer comment. It would only dilute what I wanted to write right now. xo

Rowan said...

It's nice to see you posting again but I'm really sorry to read the sad news about your little Scottie. She lived to a good age age though and had a happy life. Both the Scotties I've had only made it to 12. They are such lovely dogs and you must be missing her very much.

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness, I was just wondering where on earth you had got to and I was going to send you an email. Well now I can read all about your doings. Oh your poor dog, you must all miss her so very much. I've never had a dog but I do know how close they become, it must be very hard. Sending you love. xxx

P.S. That apron is fab-u-lous!! I've been admiring that fabric at our quilting shop. It's so lovely made up.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the green apron!!
B x

steam showers said...

Congratulations for the award!

It is well deserved.

jan said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog. Love reading your posts

Lucille said...

I'm glad to see you back too. I bluffed my way to the offer of a university place with Teach Yourself Anglo Saxon. Sadly I didn't manage to bluff my way through the necessary exams. I need a new pinny and want one like yours please.

elizabethm said...

Glad to see you back again, pigs, hens and all. Inspired by you I have now knitted one sock and have even bravely started the other - thank you for intriguing me with the idea.
Great pinny too.

Jennifer Montero said...

My vacuum finally expired the other day too. Perhaps bringing too much of the outside inside has done them both in. Another economic consideration when living in the countryside?

Reading Wendell Berry 'Bringing it to the Table' just now - he makes an excellent argument why agriculture should not be measured by economic standards. I think you would find it extremely interesting, if you can find another 20 minutes a day for such things!

Wipso said...

Hi, I'm just popping round to the other members of the 20 minuters to give them the opportunity to join in the Gift draw in our blog shop. It is partly down to the encouragement of MarmaladeRose that I am still really enjoying doing my 20 minutes of crafting every day and this is stocking the shelves in our shop. I hope you will pop over and join in the fun. The draw will be made on Mon 22nd Feb so this is the last week. If you choose to join in Good Luck. :-)
http://sisterscraftycreations.blogspot.com/
Many thanks,
A x

Pink Feather Paradise said...

So sorry to hear that this year has been a little unfulfilling so far, big hugs and I hope you feel chirpier with the onset of spring and the longer days...

you are quite right that nothing is for free, but items made to last and made with effort and love are so much more worth the outlay, be it time or coin, and are a pleasure to use and give to others knowing that you tried your best to not take the world and its resources for granted...

big hugs and thank you for sharing a lovely real post...

x Alex

all kinds of everything said...

Hi Pomona.Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a lovely comment.
I’m glad to find your beautiful blog and look at all the lovely things you have made.
Take care,
x Suzanne

Simply H said...

It's nice to have you back in blogland - I do love your descriptive posts. The award is throughly deserved, you bring a bit of sunshine to blogland, despite it not wanting to shine much outside!
xx

Chrissie said...

Oh Pomona, sorry to read about your little black dog - sending hugs.
But I love reading your blog - it's better than a subscription to Country Living!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what an entertaining post, thanks for sharing. I really should try the tea leaves approach to cleaning sometime...

The Flower Garden said...

I've enjoyed visiting your blog it's been nice to read again.

I'm sorry for mixed bag of a month.

Take some cheer. Try this - http://www.ethknits.co.uk/How-to-Crochet/how_to_crochet.htm

Hope it works for you.
It has converted me to crochet, I'm a granny square machine!

Jo

Annalisa said...

Hi Pomona,
thank you so much for your lovely comment and visit to my blog!
Soft chiacchiere you asked about, aren't hard to make, if you want i can post the recipe..really easy to make and sooo tasty!

Wonderful post, I pop in your blog every now and then :) lovely

Annalisa

jus said...

I could say something really profound here...but I think I'll just go with the flow, Nice Pinny!!! x

Pipany said...

Thought I had commented here, but no. Hey ho, I will do so now to say 'Hurrah!@ You are back Pomona and you have been very missed. Hope you can pop back soon xx

joanie said...

Oooh, I love your apron! I hope you had a sunshiny day like we did today to help get things back on track. I don't think I've ever enjoyed pegging out laundry as much as today in the glorious sun. Long overdue it's been too!

Charlotte, Cottontails said...

"A pig is always pleased to see you if you have a bucket". What a wonderful phrase. Sounds almost profound. Think I should grab a bucket and visit some pigs..
Love Charlotte
x

re said...

I've had enough of the snow too! Congrats on the awards and the pigs...
Love your apron.

Kelly said...

Welcome back! I've been away a while too!

Congrats on all the awards! Well deserved too!

Jackie said...

Glad to see you back. Not too much of the keeling now.
Hope your milk doesn't come frozen home in pail. It sounds like that would be the last straw.

ginny said...

Hi Pomona,
i enjoyed reading about your simple pleasures... i love the way you write... and i could hear those pigs squealing. i am wishing you a good year of the tiger which incidentally started on the 14th feb so hopefully your misfortunes have made a positive turnabout from that date.
warmest wishes for warmer weather,
ginny x

angharad handmade said...

Good to see you back, and sorry to hear that things haven't been going so well - I hope things begin to look up hereon in.

The things you've been making are so pretty - sewing is an excellent therapy. x

MILLY said...

Hope life has dealt you a better hand this week. I know what I would say....Buy yourself some flowers, chocolate and other treats and lose yourself in some of your beautiful craft work.
Best wishes Millyx

Cathy said...

Sorry to hear that you are a bit down with quite a number of things going AWOL. Hope it gets better soon. Things always look better if the sun shines (what is that I ask myself. Something we haven't seen for quite a long time). I enjoyed the pigs and hens and I love that pinny.

Louise said...

I am so sorry you have lost your little dog. I hope the lovely gifts from good friends have helped in bringing you cheer. x

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