A day off
Posted 3 Weeks Ago
Well, it's the first of May and we get the day off. In fact, in May, we get a day off nearly every week: Labour Day (today), Whit Monday, Ascension Day and Corpus Christi.
I have made some plans and resolutions for today and for the whole of May. Telling them would probably put some sort of curse on it all and I won't get stuff done*. And sitting here typing about them won't get anything done either. So if you see me posting too much this month, you are welcome to rap my knuckles.
*It's all the usual stuff like eat sensibly and practise the piano more often.
Yesterday was "Hexennacht" as it is locally known. Walpurgis is the official term. Although, officially in whose book, I'm not sure. It poured with rain, but that didn't stop some kids going round draping loopaper along people's garden fences. We went out for a traditional barbecue at a friend's house, but it all took place indoors because of the weather - cold as well as wet.
Rhubarb is ripe, though, and the lilacs are out, as they should be at this time of year. Maybe I'll make a rhubarb cheesecake (German style) later on. There should be some sun next week, which means strawberries, too . The cuckoo has been singing, although he doesn't seem to like wet weather, so I haven't heard him this week - and generally the late spring/early summer is soldiering on.
- Forsythia - already dropping its blooms
- Daffodils - starting to give way to tulips
- birds laying their eggs
- Magnolia has dropped its flowers
- cherry trees ablaze with pink blossoms
Grape hyacinths seem to be very proliferous. I like blue flowers - they're quite a rarity. Bluebells are entirely unknown in Germany, at least in these parts. A look at wiki shows that they are indigenous only along the very Western part of mainland Europe - the Atlantic coast - and otherwise the British Isles, where, as we know, they play a huge part in romantic literary heritage and nostalgic childhood memories.
Mention is made, however, of a bluebell wood very close to where Sho lives. I wonder if they were imported, by humans or by birds, or if the bluebells have moved West over the centuries, and this is the remainder of the population further East. The pictures indicate that they are thriving - lucky NRW.
Latest reply: 3 Weeks Ago
Posted 5 Weeks Ago
On the BBC website there is a link to the order of service for the Thatcher funeral today. The choice of texts is very traditional and very moving.
The order of procession mentions several "virgers".
I hope someone proof read it before they printed it for the congregation.
Latest reply: 5 Weeks Ago
Travelling again - another tale of aged parents
Posted Mar 22, 2013
I am sitting at the airport ready to fly back home after a short but monumentally eventful trip.
On Tuesday evening, I flew out from Baden-Baden (as you do). Many people there had been sitting for hours waiting for snowed-up flights to and from Berlin. My route was unaffected by the weather and everything went fine. I was at my mother's by 9 pm GMT.
Son No 2 is currently "touring" the UK with his chamber choir and I didn't want to miss them singing - or at least rehearsing - in a Church, chapel or cathedral in either Cambridge or Bury St Edmunds. In the end I decided to go to the concert in Bury Cathedral on Thursday (last night).
I picked him up in Cambridge on Wednesday, as he had a free afternoon. We had lunch and a chat at my mother's, then I took him back into Cambridge for the evening rehearsal, together with the Chamber choir of Queen's College.
Yesterday my mother and I pottered around until about 4 pm when we had arranged to go to Bury and meet son/grandson before the concert and stay for the concert. We parked in town and set off towards the Abbey and Cathedral. After a few steps, I went to call my son to see where he was and where we could meet, and whilst I was distracted for a second, my mother took a false step on the kerb, keeled over and lay in the gutter. I screamed into the phone (poor musician's ears) and left him dangling while I went to see if she was OK. Well, obviously, she wouldn't be. She is 93 after all. Half a dozen helpful people had turned up with tissues and a girl from the hairdressers opposite brought a beaker of water. She was pouring blood from her brow, which was rather frightening, but turned out not to be too bad.
We made a compress of the water and the tissues and by now a policemen had turned up to check everything was OK. He was an avuncular sort, and accompanied us back to the car. I had by now told son to go and get something to eat without us and drove off to A & E. Full marks to the NHS and all who sail in her - at least the West Suffolk branch. We were seen by a nurse, and then a doctor who reassured us. Her blood pressure, which has a tendency to be a little high, was up, but was already going down again by the time it was measured a second time.
We had a cup of tea in the hospital cafeteria and still went in to town for part of the concert. We arrived late, but heard a couple of interesting pieces by the Osnabrueck choir (son/grandson's crowd) and the the Cambridge choir, and an organ piece.
After about four or five songs, though, I thought she'd had enough and we left for home.
I had to get up at five to catch this flight - which I must run for in a second - and I rang her neighbour to warn her of the incident and to pass on the doctor's instructions. She would be calling in at 9 this morning anyway for their weekly shopping run.
I'll phone her when I get home in a couple of hours from how and will keep you all posted.
Latest reply: Mar 22, 2013
Working with leather
Posted Mar 4, 2013
My No 2 son always makes presents and when he was home recently for his brother's birthday, he borrowed my sewing machine to make a pouch for his mobile phone (which he had asked for). There was enough of this fine black leather left for me to make a cover for my Kindle.
So now I am planning to work with leather, which I have not done before. I have roughly cut out the shape, but discovered that I must get myself some decent scissors before I do the finer work. I found some youtube clips with tips on sewing leather. Obvious things like stronger needles and thread (the strong denim needles are still in the machine, they worked perfectly well for son No 2). And work slowly, the man said. Fine - that's all common sense.
I have examined my leather handbags, gloves, etc, to find the best way of finishing the edges.
1. Just cut it: I had assumed that I could just leave them, like felt - leather won't fray, after all.
2. Single row of straight stitching. But it could stretch some. So I thought maybe I could just run round with the sewing machine just about 2-3 mm from the outside edge, to help it keep its shape.
3. Hem. All the leather goods I have looked at, though, are hemmed - just folded over once, but hemmed. That seems awfully fiddly.
4. Zigzag: My son zigzagged around the edge of the pouch he made. Don't like that idea. Looks too improvised and unprofessional for the design I want.
5. Lining: The better quality handbags and gloves I have are all lined (usually with taffeta). This would obviously look best, especially if I sew it down again after turning it out - you can't iron leather! But will the needle go through a double layer of leather?
Anyone have any experience of this? What would produce the best results for an amateur. I don't want to mess it up as I only have the one piece of leather. I shall try out the various techniques tonight and report, but I would like some advice first.....
Perhaps I should go to "Ask"........
Latest reply: Mar 4, 2013
Posted Feb 20, 2013
Son No 2 is going on a concert tour to the UK with the Uni Choir and they will be singing in Bath, Oxford, Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds. I can't not go - so I have just booked flights for a very short trip. Unfortunately I can't possibly make the Cambridge gig, but I look forward to hearing them in Bury Cathedral - just up the road from my mother's house. He might even have a chance to re-visit his old haunts in the Ely area maybe while he's there. Their itinerary is pretty packed, however. The tour manager is very efficient and she has organised trips to the Roman Baths at Bath and also sightseeing tours of Oxford and Cambridge, where they shall be sleeping in Sussex College.
The trip includes 6 church services or concerts for them to sing at, lectures, pubs, a trip to Avebury and Stonehenge, and a meal in the Old Kitchens at Queen's College Cambridge.
I'll have to find out what their programme is - they tend towards very modern stuff.
Latest reply: Feb 20, 2013