Sunday, 23 June 2013

Tracks of my Years - 1972

1972 was the longest year EVER.  This is not a reflection of the fact that I was in the 2nd year of juniors, with a teacher who scared the wits out of me, and therefore the year dragged slowly and scarily by, but the fact that, 
in an-already-Leap-Year, an extra 2 leap seconds were added...  

In a year sadly dominated by news associated with 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland, other news was:

Jesus Christ Superstar debuting in the West End.   (Joyfully, children all around the UK changed the lyrics to the title song and belted them out across their playgrounds...)

The school leaving age being raised to 16

TV broadcasting hour restrictions being lifted, opening the door to daytime TV and leading to disasters such as this...

The break-in at the centre of Watergate Scandal taking place

Our flexible friends, the Access credit card, being introduced

The Ford Granada being launched

Honda marketing their first car in the UK, the Civic 

The last episode of 'Bewitched' showing on American TV

'Watership Down' being published, traumatising bunny-lovers all around 

'Mastermind', 'John Craven's Newsround', 'Sale of the Century', 'Crown Court', 'Emmerdale Farm', 'Record Breakers' and 'Pebble Mill at One' showing for the first time

At the cinemas...

On the radio, hits included:

Without You - Nilson

Clair - Gilbert O'Sullivan

Popcorn - Hot Butter

Virginia Plain - Roxy Music

Rocket Man - Elton John

Sylvia's Mother - Dr Hook and the Medicine Show

I Get the Sweetest Feeling - Jackie Wilson

Ain't No Sunshine - Michael Jackson

Puppy Love - Donny Osmond

And though that last was my oft-played favourite back then, and it's tempting to put a clip here to remind me how swoon-worthy I thought Donny Osmond was, this has to be the one to get the video spot...

I love the fact that when asked what 'American Pie' meant, Don McLean answered, 'It means I never have to work again...'

In a year that was seemingly dominated by us children taking over control of the Instamatic camera, and therefore mostly terrible photos , here's a classic example...

Me, off to Brownies' Fancy Dress party, brother doing monkey impression behind me.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Woo-hoo! Birthday Finish!

Today it is exactly a year since Mr U-t-B's clever daughter produced this lovely little man...

He has, since, done that baby thing of growing at an enormous rate and getting cleverer day by day.  He's rarely still long enough to take a decent photo, but he's a trendy little chap, with the most enormous eyes and a gorgeous smile.

I had an idea for his first birthday present w-a-a-a-a-y back, and even gave a sneak preview of the 'feasibility study/mock-up/prototype' early in 2013, when I was starting ABSOLUTELY NOTHING new, but feasibility studies, mock-ups and prototypes were permissible.  Ahem!

Sixteen-patch blocks...

Sailing boat blocks...

And embroidered blocks were my idea...

Anyway, the 'absolutely nothing new' idea has long floated beneath the Bridge of Abandoned Resolutions, but at least this is one project that has, most definitely, been finished...

Last week the sun shone long enough for me to take it outside for a few shots...

Emboldened by Gill's advice - do pop over and see her 'Bella's Quilt'which will make you squeal with delight! - I used my machine to quilt, in wavy lines.  I could use a little more practice with machine quilting, but overall it's okay, I think!

I still love the 'Sarah Jane - Out to Sea' fabrics I used, even if rather a lot of beheading went on in the creation of the blocks...

The embroidered blocks took a while, but they were worth the effort.

I used mostly chain stitch, in single or double lines.

I did have a big GRRRRRRR! moment when I washed the embroidered blocks to get rid of the soluble pen, and some of the red floss bled out!  I quickly rinsed and administered vinegar (which I'm led to believe stops colours bleeding)  but some damage was permanent.  I toyed with the idea of re-doing the blocks, but then thought that the marks will hopefully fade with time.  Some were embroidered round to become bubbles!

I now need to decide on a name for this quilt.  

'It's a Pirate's Life for Me'

'Piratically Perfect'
(a nod towards the bleedin' floss, and a reminder to pre-wash floss for important, washable things!)


'I'd Rather Be Bucaneerin'!'

I can't choose.
What do you think?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Tracks of my Years - 1971

Whoops - I've been falling behind with this.  Time to get back on track... 

1971's news

February 15th saw the switch to decimal currency.  I remember the souvenir wallet containing one of each of the new coins that each of us children received.  It's probably still around somewhere!

The Morris Marina was launched. Another of those classics?

No, I didn't think so either.

Blue Peter buried a time capsule. 

Margaret Thatcher snatched our school milk.  Can't say I was upset about this as I didn't like the warmish offering each morning break, in spite of the straws (which at home were only for special occasions...)

'The Old Grey Whistle Test' broadcast for the first time, bringing the whispering tones of Bob Harris to national recognition.

The first Reading Festival took place.

Spaghetti Junction opened.

'Crystal Tips and Alistair', 'The Generation Game', 'The Onedin Line', 'Upstairs, Downstairs' and 'The Two Ronnies' came to our TV screens.

Give us a twirl Anthea!

In the cinema you could see...

The pop chart, in retrospect, was a mix of the great and the downright awful.  The downright awful I mostly loved at the time, whilst the great have probably risen in my opinion since.   I'll let you guess which are which.

Jeepster - T-Rex

Grandad - Clive Dunn

Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond

You and Me and a Dog Named Boo - Lobo

Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West) - Benny Hill

Pushbike Song - The Mixtures

You've Got a Friend - James Taylor

Banks of the Ohio - Olivia Newton-John

Maggie May - Rod Stewart

if You Could Read my Mind - Gordon Lightfoot

But here's the one I loved at the time, and I still like, cheesy as it is...

This year's photo - me, a family friend called Thelma, my sister, my Mum and my brother, somewhere near Bosham.  I still have that rag doll (which my Mum made for me, several years before this photo was taken) though her hair has become green over the years.  Bizarre!  And weirdly, I also have the sailor dress I am wearing!  How did my sister and I ever do up six buckles on our shoes?

Friday, 14 June 2013

Making the change

I have been adopting the attitude of an ostrich for a good while now, but prompted by Gillyflower's discussion I decided it was time to do the whole Bloglovin thing.

So this is me, claiming my blog!

And in case you came here hoping for a nice picture, here's a couple that Jo shared recently.  How much cuteness is there in a quokka?

(I had never heard of a quokka before seeing these on Jo's post, then about two days later I am reading a book set in Australia and there's the quokka mentioned again!  I do find it strange that for nearly half a century I have never come across something, or maybe a word, and then you become aware of it and it pops up all over the place...)

So another test-run over (see yesterday's post).  Seems the old thing can be resurrected...

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Grinding to a halt - and trying to jump start the blogging mojo

Oh dear!

What happened there?

One minute it's all chugging along in a pretty standard way, and then WHOOOMP!  You have a few days away from blogs and blogging and return home to find you just can't get it all started again...Maybe the battery is flat; perhaps the starter motor has seized up; perhaps it's the spark plugs?

Whatever it is, I am attempting a bit of tweaking and rummaging today, in the hope that I can get the thing up and running again.  Otherwise known as 'doing a post'...

So, Mr U-t-B and I had a few days away to celebrate our wedding anniversary. 

We headed off to the Limousin countryside, perhaps best known for the pretty (but apparently quite fierce) cattle...

Okay, Monsieur Bull - I get the hint!

It may not sound the most glamorous way to celebrate, but I went over to his 'retirement project' to help him tidy his tools!

Oh the fun!  

Seriously though, I really did enjoy this!

That IS the 'after' photo - and though it may not look like it, it really is super-organised now!

Mr U-t-B has a lot of tools, and he is always so hell-bent on doing the next job, and the next one, and the next, that he ends up with a right old chaotic mess and then slowed down when he can't lay his clever hands on what he requires.  

Our quarters were rustic, but clean and with a beautiful view.  Owls hooting made the only night-time sounds, cuckoos in the daytime and bats were pretty much our only companions.

At Mr U-t-B's project, there is no electricity, unless you switch the noisy generator on.  So light is courtesy of solar lamps, hot water is provided by a 'camping' shower (which luckily is plumbed into an inside shower, as it was flippin' freezing outside!) and the much needed extra heat is provided by a paraffin heater.
No internet, intermittent phone signal - bliss!

The weather was pretty ropey - cold and drizzly, which meant we were only too happy to get on with the inside tidying jobs, so that in his next stint of work,  Mr U-t-B can turn this area into a bedroom.

The morning we were to set off for home, the sun finally decided to put in an appearance.

Driving home, we stopped for lunch and a wander around Chartres.

Anyway, once back home I had a swap to take part in.

I had another attempt at making a textile ATC, this one trying to tailor it to my swap partner's likes.  

I decided that this was the one to send, as I hoped it was most in tune with the recipient's likes.  

I was then lucky enough to receive this sweet and beautifully made card from my other partner...

Thank you to Hilda, of  I love the image of the girl, the colours and fabrics.  

It is now sitting happily in my workroom, where I can see it often.  I enjoyed taking part in Ali's swap, and if she runs one again, I'm sure I'll be signing up!

Well, I think that is quite enough as a test-run.  Hopefully back very soon - I have books and sewing to share...