Silly Saturday – How to Make New Friends

Lonely in Lockdown? No need to be, the new Minister for Fun, when interviewed today, said there was no need for people to be lonely in Lockdown just because they are not allowed to see real people, they can make new friends. You can make new friends out of anything and on the government website you can see some suggestions – here is a sneak preview.

Sewing
Gold Foil

Plastic
Knitting

Give your new friend a Covid Coiffure
Your old clothes
Plaster

Inflated
Deflated

Still stuck for ideas? There is always Lego.

Silly Saturday – Jolly Journaling

Coronavirus: British Library to archive Radio 4’s Covid Chronicles for posterity…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-52487414

Have you been keeping a diary or journal of these strange times? Perhaps you have already had your four hundred words read out on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme – no nor have I. No I haven’t actually written my Covid Chronicle yet, but I shall so that I can get in the British Library archives.

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Or are you keeping a handwritten journal in a beautiful leather bound diary so your descendants or historians can read about this unique period of history? Of course it won’t be unique if it just continues with no end in sight, but the good news is your diary will be a record of someone who was there at the beginning of a new era for Gaia and the human race.
Like blogging, those who have something interesting to write have no time to write and those with time to write have nothing interesting to write about. There are many people being very busy; medical folk saving lives, those in government holding endless meetings with busy clever scientists and holding press briefings. Parents are working from home and teaching their children. Drivers are out delivering. The rest of us are at home doing NOTHING for our country, or rather doing nothing FOR our country. Our places of work are closed or we have been told to stay home for 12 weeks because we are vulnerable or shielding someone who is. But our diaries are still valuable.

Saturday
I only knew it was Saturday because there was a different programme on the radio. Put the washing machine on and did two loads. Counted how many slices of bread left. Amazon parcel arrived, one ball of red wool to knit a rainbow.

Sunday
Watched YouTube video on how to knit. Didn’t do the ironing because what’s the point. Amazon parcel arrived, one ball of orange wool. Put bins out and waved to Barbara across the road.

Monday
Amazon parcel arrived, one ball of yellow wool for rainbow. Started tidying up the loft, found old teddy bear and came downstairs for coffee. Brought bins in and waved to Bill next door. Put teddy in window and downloaded pattern of teddy Union Jack jumper for VE day anniversary celebrations, which we’re not having.

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Tuesday
Drew up list of jobs that need doing in the house. Two Amazon parcels, 24 tins of rice pudding for OH ( Other Half ) and one ball of green wool. Raining, so cast on stitches in red wool for my rainbow.

Wednesday
Watched You Tube video on how to knit first row. One Amazon parcel, ball of blue wool. Raining. Three letters in the post. Tickets for the concert, letter to tell us concert cancelled, letter from hospital cancelling the appointment for my toe.

Thursday
Cleaned the whole house so can get on with list of DIY jobs. Two Amazon parcels; cover for phone, one ball of indigo wool. Mowed lawn and waved to Julie next door the other side. Made a list of things to order from Amazon for my DIY.

Friday
Went on Amazon to order list of things for DIY. One Amazon parcel, ball of violet wool. Have knitted two rows of red for the rainbow, decided to stick to garter stitch as can’t get the hang of purl. Made a wall chart of how next week will be organised.

Silly Saturday – Season of Sustainability

Are you ready to recycle Christmas? Whether you want to save money or the planet the Xmas season is to be avoided. Our consumption of pastry and plastic increases drastically at this time of year, followed after Christmas by throwing most of it away. Even that which we cannot see, gas and electricity, is used in abundance. This is partly the fault of the earth’s axis in the northern hemisphere; it is winter and the nights are long, we need heat and light, but do we need all our houses lit up like Las Vegas with generators pumping air into giant inflatable snowmen? Bring back Scrooge…  Most people complain that their councils haven’t put up enough lights, not too many. Of course it is the colourful lights that make dark winter afternoons more bearable…

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Perhaps you can still have fun with a guilt free Christmas. One of the few things Prince Charles and I have in common is that our worries about the environment were laughed at in years gone by… My favourite part of Christmas is unwrapping presents carefully and folding the paper ready for ironing and reuse next year. Now even wrapping paper is bad, shiny and plasticised, we have to use plantain leaves instead.

And what gift is wrapped inside? Our love of cute and fun presents has encouraged the passage of thousands ( I don’t claim the statistics to be accurate ) of container ships full of plastic rubbish. Let’s all make our own presents and decorations or buy them from charity shops and give aunty back the vase you gave her last year which she dumped at the Red Cross shop. Last year we did Secret Santa for the adults, this year we are doing the same except we have to get gifts from charity shops – I’ll let you know in the new year if it’s a disaster!

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Last year I crocheted an advent calendar for a little person; I don’t claim to have designed it, I do claim it does not look quite like the picture in the Christmas crochet book I bought at the knitting shop. I made another one this year for his little brother, which looks even less like the illustration. The key point; it is in line with government policy on child obesity, there are no chocolates in the pockets; I cut little pictures out of recycled Christmas cards. My next project is knitted crackers – the sort with a joke inside, not the sort you eat with cheese.

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The best decorations are those our ancestors used for Yuletide, totally organic and natural, holly and ivy. If the holly in your garden bears no berries, creep round to your neighbours after dark and surreptitiously snip off some branches. You can also pick up odd branches that have fallen off the trees in the park during windy weather and stick a few sprigs of holly in to make a table decoration.

Whether you knit grandma a scarf with huge needles and chunky wool or create exquisite treasure boxes with your wood turning skills, home made presents show you care – or that you are flat broke. If you are an author you can give friends and family autographed copies of your own books, whether they want one or not. Cyberspouse says at least it’s one way of getting rid of them.

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If you don’t fancy DIY gifts there are still environmentally friendly alternatives. Have your children got too many toys? It’s probably a bit late for this Christmas, but start next year stashing away surplus toys; by next Christmas they will have forgotten them and you can rewrap them.

One year we gave the elderly relatives (who were always saying they didn’t need anything ) gifts from World Vision, but they were a little confused. This idea can backfire if the receiver is upset they aren’t getting a real goat to keep, or insulted that you have given them a toilet.

https://www.worldvision.org.uk/ways-give/buy-gift/

For more ideas to help the environment follow Carol Taylor’s regular blog.

https://carolcooks2.com/category/environment/

What are the best or worst home made presents you have given or received? Are you making your own decorations?

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Friday Flash Fiction – 660 – Dexterity

‘Now children, let’s count on our fingers, one, two, three…’

‘Ten’ chorused the little group of nursery children on the mat.

‘Twelve’ called a small voice a moment later.

Ivy, or was it Holly? Three days into the new intake I was still trying to grasp all the names; traditional, unspellable, unpronounceable, invented and reclaimed names from the nearly departed generation.

A boy at the front was still gazing in puzzlement at his hands. I knelt beside him and showed him how to bunch his fists.

‘Shall we count again?’

I uncurled one finger at a time and he got the idea, though his lips still did not move.

‘Nine, ten!’ The other children raised their open hands in the air.

‘Eleven, twelve’ came Ivy’s voice from the back.

I walked round the mat to where she was seated. She was gazing at her spread fingers, then glancing at the other hands held aloft. I felt my stomach lurch. Ivy was a sturdy child, just losing that toddler plumpness in her face and hands, she had settled in easily and not attracted any attention so far.

Ivy could count well, she could count to twelve because she had six fingers on each hand or to be precise, one thumb and five fingers on each perfectly formed hand.

We were always having seminars on celebrating difference; our nursery had children of every colour. I had a wheelchair and a cerebral palsy in my group, Gill had two skin conditions and a missing leg in her group next door. But I hadn’t been prepared for extra fingers, why hadn’t the parents told us? Ivy seemed as surprised as I was to discover she was different, perhaps it had never been mentioned at home.

When we went outside to play I watched Ivy. She adroitly did all her coat buttons up while other children were being helped, then she put on a pair of red gloves, not mittens, hand knitted gloves with six fingers. My mother is a manic knitter and we always get gloves for Christmas, but never have I heard her mention patterns for extra fingers.

At home time I was button holed by the usual anxious parents while the assistants made sure every one was collected by the right adults. I did not see Ivy leave. At home that evening I Googled hands and saw a rolling gallery of every possible variation of Polydactyly. I rang my mother who was intrigued and couldn’t wait to tell her Knit and Knatter group.

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The next day I surreptitiously observed Ivy as she drew, played and washed her hands for her turn at the baking table. Her deft hands rubbed the butter into the flour with ease, a dozen fairy cakes, how appropriate. There was no doubt that all the fingers were real functioning digits with bones and joints, not mere protuberances that would have been snipped off at birth. The other children had noticed nothing different about Ivy, but Davinder pulled his floury hands out of the bowl and looked at them with concern.

‘Ivy said my finger felled off in the cake.’

I decided I must speak to her parents when they came to collect her. No nanny, granny or au pair was registered as a responsible adult, so I was sure to meet one of them. A good looking young couple aprroached me enthusiastically.

‘Ivy loves nursery, thank you for helping her settle in so well.’

The mother held out her cool, elegant, manicured hand to shake mine, I forced myself to look at her face. Ivy’s father then grasped my hand firmly with his large hand.

‘How is she getting on?’ he asked.

I was distracted by the ornate cygnet ring on his sixth finger, I averted my eyes from the twelve glossy red nails of his wife and smiled.

‘She is a delight to have, very bright, her speech is good and… she has excellent dexterity.’

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Silly Saturday – Various Verses

                                              Beach Hut

 

Six years we’ve waited for this wooden box,

With flaking paint and rusty locks.

There’s barely room to stand,

The floor covered in sand.

The towels are damp and musty

And all the shelves are dusty.

 

But the kettle and mugs are well in reach

And there’s a great view of the beach.

In the sun we sit and read books

Waves beckon, costumes hanging on the hooks.

Wet and cold return for hot tea,

Strip off and dress in modesty.

 

The neighbours are close, two inches away,

Her next door is topless today,

His huge stomach should not be seen,

Thank goodness for the screen between.

The other side are out of sight,

Soaring under parachutes bright.

 

Their boards dip the waves, then ride up high,

We sit and watch them in the sky.

If we fall asleep as we usually do

We won’t notice when they drop from view.

Until we hear roaring whir above the wave

As Coastguard hovers, kite surfers to save.

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New Things

 

How to adore new things.

No need to buy, to bring

The sensual delight

Of touch, smell and sight.

 

John Lewis sells to you

Cotton, wool, silk, bamboo

Knitting yarns, skeins and such,

Many hues, soft to touch.

 

Call in at the bookshop,

Look out for new stock,

White paper, page pristine,

Smooth spine, jacket clean.

 

Tack shop for leather new

Saddles, bridles on view,

Shopkeeper hopes to sell;

No, just here for the smell.

 

Go down to the saw mill

Experience the thrill,

Newly sawn scented wood,

Golden sawdust feels good.

 

Ancient ocean, old land,

New waves, new tides, smooth sand,

Grains glitter, sparkling foam,

Before feet start to roam.

 

Sunrise reveals hard frost,

New scenery at no cost,

White landscape, yours to view,

Air sharp, breath anew.

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Silly Season

2018 looks set to be as doom filled and gloom laden as 2017 and the actions of our leaders as silly and unbelievable as ever. Individuals feel powerless, but the beginning of a new year is the time for individuals to get their own lives in order, a more achievable goal perhaps. But what is taken seriously by one person might seem plain silly to their family or Facebook friends, the latter being the ones who will have to read ad nauseam about their lofty aims. If you became healthier and wealthier after Sober October, perhaps you will be inspired by Veganuary. While millions waste money on annual gym membership for one assessment, a few laps of the pool, a sit in the sauna and a go on the cross trainer that resulted in a pulled muscle, others might decide this is the year  they train for a marathon, or seven marathons in one week across Africa…

Why don’t we just have a silly season instead, to brighten up northern winters or celebrate southern summers. What would your sillutions be? To acquire more Facebook friends in North Korea or Antarctica, to take up guerrilla knitting and dress all the lampposts in your street or why not turn your house inside out; bring the garden indoors with artificial lawn, trees in pots, house rabbits and free range parakeets?

Or you could spend January in the world of fiction and enjoy strange surroundings and events without annoying those you live with. I hope to be busy writing, finishing my latest novel, which has some very strange events and penning a few short stories. In the meantime ‘Someone Somewhere’ will take you into spring and summer with two strange novellas and other weird tales.