friends

Weekly Photo Challenge – Treasure

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These might look like scraps of just any old fabric. They are, however, silk pieces reclaimed from a damaged antique kimono. Some of you have seen them elsewhere, but they were loving pieced and patched to make a book cover for a dear friend. Hopefully my ‘found’ treasure will now be ‘treasured’ by my friend.

Full details of the challenge can be found here, and Just Snaps is here.

Ooooh! That was a shock!

I’m committed to being creative this year. I have already started, first of all it’s a question of flexing the creativity muscles, and I’m sure you’ll see something of what I create throughout this year.

As I wrote yesterday we celebrated New Year with some friends. At the last minute I decided to apply some nail varnish. I do wear it from time to time, and have my favourite colours, of course, however I was given an interesting new selection for Christmas, and last night seemed a good chance to try them out. It was long past daylight when I made my decision so the colours didn’t look quite as I remembered them.

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Apologies for the reflections, in this bad photo of them still in the box, but if I’d seen them in good light it would have made it easier to make a choice.

I’m used to seeing various colours at the end of my fingers, usually one of many shades of red, but it was a bit of a shock to see them yesterday morning, in daylight, and as I made breakfast.

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I promise the rest of my ‘painting’ will be a bit more creative.

Hello 2014

 

 

We spent last evening with friends old and new. One has been a faithful friend for over 30 years and another we met for the first time. However, we were all united in a common cause, to celebrate our friendship and share the highs and lows of the last year.

It has become a tradition for 10 of us to get together on New Year’s eve for this purpose. We are an eclectic bunch, one has lived in the same house for over 60 years having been born just around the corner, others have, and some still do, travelled the world for both work and pleasure. Others join us too, and last night was no exception. Around the table were people from England, Wales, Scotland, Russia, and India. The hostess is Russian, and we were treated to a veritable feast of food – good healthy food.

Thanks to the internet we were joined, via Skype, with friends from Switzerland. We watched the celebrations in their small town as midnight struck just outside Geneva. We saw a dark, black sky filled with splashes of bright lights and heard the sounds of cheering as locals welcomed the New Year. An hour later we too watched the clock turn from 2013 to 2014.

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Our celebrations were not quite so noisy, but just as happy and heartfelt.

2013 was not a good year for me, for various reasons. I’m looking forward – with a new vision for  2014 – full of anticipation for things that are already planned. I also have new creative projects lined up that I must complete. I’ll mention them from time to time here, but I’ve also need to document them more fully, and I have talked about that here.

Thank you for joining me during 2013. I’ve enjoyed your company even though circumstances have often meant that I haven’t been able to reciprocate. I’m intending to do better this year.

A Happy New Year to you ALL

 

The passage of time

A while ago I met up with friends from school. Some were instantly recognisable, but others less so, hardly surprising after 40 years. It was interesting to hear how all our lives had changed and I am now in more regular touch with several of the crowd

I was well educated at a Roman Catholic Convent, although I was not a member of that church. The teaching staff were dedicated, mostly nuns, but a few lay staff too. Four of our former teachers travelled to the reunion, and it was amazing to hear how their lives had changed over the years, although they were still members of the same religious order. You can see them, seated, in the photograph below.

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It’s fair to say that the four that joined us on that day, had a great influence on my education, and it was a pleasure to meet up with them again. One of them was our former Head Teacher. Sadly I heard that she died yesterday.

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I have no idea how old she was, but she influenced many lives. She had a surprising sense of humour, and that is how I would like to remember her.

Rest in peace, Mother Colombiere

Weekly Photo Challenge – My 2012 in pictures

The photo challenge this week gives an opportunity to air some pictures that you haven’t seen before, and also to hilight some that are my favourites. I’ll be repeating the exercise at Just Snaps, but no repeats of photographs. There will also be a resume of the tree over here when I can get it all together! So, here is a little collection.

(Click on any photograph to open a slideshow with captions)

Just a few glimpses. I had far too many pictures from which to choose. I hope your 2012 was a happy one, and that you will look back without regret. You can find full details of the challenge here where there are also lots more entries. I hope you will join it too.

There’s nothing like a good fight

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the sight of blood.  I can cope with it, and have had to on many occasions, all mothers’ have to be able to cope with emergencies, but I don’t like the sight of unnecessary blood!  You know, the sort that is spilled in an argument.

There is nothing like a family get-together to ‘bring on’ the prospect of a fight, and usually it’s over the most ridiculous of things.

 

For instance, how on earth could you start an argument over a scone?

Well, firstly, how do you pronounce it?  To rhyme with ‘on’ or ‘tone’?  I’ve heard it pronounced to rhyme with ‘soon’ too, (similar to the Stone of Scone!).  Next, should there be fruit, or just plain?  How about butter?  Should you use it?  Should you leave it out?  Don’t forget the jam, should it be strawberry or raspberry?  I’m sure you all have preferences, but they don’t count when there is a RIGHT way to do it.  Add another dimension to the argument by mentioning Cream Teas, especially if you have representatives of both Devon AND Cornwall (or should that be Cornwall AND Devon) in the room and fireworks will follow at any moment.

By the time you read this I may well have experienced just such a fight as above.  It might well be cake knives at dawn, but I won’t be drawing mine.  We have an interesting family mix gathering today for a lovely wedding.  There will be 100 or so guests.  I’m looking forward to seeing the 100 – it’s the ‘or so’ I’m worried about, and all families have those!

Now, where did I put those bandages?

Customer Service. How good is yours?

Today’s post is a reblog from a former blog.  I had forgotten all about the post until I read this earlier.  It was written over three years ago.

I’m not sure how it happened, but I suddenly realised today that it is well over 37 years since I last bought anything with the Heinz label, and it will be at least another 37 years before I think about buying anything again. This thought suddenly brought home to me again how important a response to a complaint can be, and how important customers are to a business.

Now you may think that my response is petty, but I will tell you the tale. My daughter was still tiny and only eating a little solid food. At that time it was mostly pureed fruit and vegetables – apples, pears, carrots etc. Very rarely I would buy a readymade jar of Cow and Gate, but mostly it was freshly prepared. One day we visited a friend, and her also tiny daughter, and stayed longer than expected, so I had to ‘make do’ with a can of Heinz apple puree that was in her cupboard. We opened it and were shocked to find a not so small and perfectly formed spider nestling in the puree. A second can produced the required lunch, but we still had the evidence from the first. After lunch it was decided that we would write a letter to Heinz telling them about it, this we did, not sending the spider but preserving it carefully. The letter was sent on our way home.

It was a month before Heinz replied. They were sorry, but unable to do anything as we had not sent the said creature. The whole tone of the letter, quite frankly, said ‘we don’t believe you’. Together we wrote another letter, this time including the spider – it was still perfectly formed. Another month went by and we received another letter. It was a preprinted form containing all sorts of facts about how careful Heinz were to ensure that their products were safe etc, and finally at the bottom was a typed PS telling us that there was no need to worry, the object we had returned was only plant matter. For our trouble they enclosed a voucher for 5p, which, by the way, was less than the cost of a tin of their babyfood.

That was the day we both decided that we would never again purchase Heinz. I had a phone call from Sue today, and out of the blue this memory surfaced. We both laughed – and both admitted that we still don’t buy anthing with a Heinz label. Sometimes you have to read the really small print to discover that Heinz are involved – but if it is there I will find it. My first son in law was a very fussy eater, everything was smothered in Ketchup, but as mine wasn’t Heinz he wouldn’t eat it. He would only eat Heinz soup – and beans (in fact, this was just about the total of his diet when he first came into our lives) I’m glad to say that he wasn’t quite so fussy by the time he disappeared into another life.

So, I ask you – How important is YOUR customer service? Do customers count or do you just want their money. OK, Heinz may still be a big company, but they may have been bigger with our money too…..

Weekly Photo Challenge – Friendship

I had a few obvious photographs I could use for this weeks photo challenge, but this one struck me as the most pertinent.  How many REAL friends do you have?

This photograph is of a hanging made by my friend Jane Lemon.  She is a textile artist of extreme talent, and this hanging was commissioned by Amnesty International to celebrate 50 years.  The photograph isn’t excellent, but you can find more information here and here.  I’ve also blogged about it before.  It was created partly on the embelliser, with hand and machine embroidery.  It is stunning and very thought provoking when you see it.  Keep your eyes open in case it visits your area.

There are times when it’s more than a friend that is needed.  Thank goodness for Amnesty International.

More information about the challenge and lots more entries can be found here

More entries:
http://drieskewrites.wordpress.com//
http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/
http://ateliermadman.com/
http://jfb57.wordpress.com/

Where did you watch TV last night?

It was a normal Monday evening.  Yes, it was a Bank Holiday, but we had nothing in particular planned, and the only prospect for the evening was either watching TV or doing some stitching.  Suddenly, there was a knock on the door, and the prospects changed.  We were bundled (metaphorically speaking) into a car and whisked off to destination unknown.  Weaving to right and left we finally came to a narrow track which led to our destination.

It was dusk when we arrived, and we weren’t the only ones there, as you can see.  The object of our visit was just visible and illuminated by an enormous lamp.

Of course, we could have watched TV if we had wanted, there were two large screens suitably placed.

Suddenly, all was plunged into darkness

and the moment had arrived!

The Jubilee Beacon was lit.  Thanks for taking us, Phil, we had a really lovely time.

(Not everyone made it to a beacon, though, as you can read here)