Sodden Saturday

Sally stood for ten minutes in the rain, searching out someone who could swap her loose pennies for a ten pence piece. She did not like the new slot trollies but she had no option but to use them if she wanted to buy her groceries from the glossy newly built supermarket. The trollies were heavy and difficult to control. The bruises on her ankles, caused by shoppers trying to keep control of their trollies, were evidence of previous sojourns into this consumer madness they called progress.

The smaller independent shops near her home had closed down so she no longer had any choice but to shop in this giant store. It wasn’t ideal but it was necessary if Sally was to feed her family. It was a situation Sally told herself she would get used to, she had to move with the times. She had to remind herself, yes, this was progress.

But try as she night, Sally hated the new shops, they were too big, too impersonal. There were too many people and the quality of some goods, especially fresh produce was a far cry from that offered by the greengrocer where she’d previously shopped. Gone was the individual attention from the shopkeepers, the friendly chatter whilst waiting for purchases to be handed over in little brown paper bags. Gone was the familiarity, the banter experienced by the children who loved chatting with the shopkeeper.

Eventually, the silver coin slipped into the slot releasing the iron monster: Sally was once again ready to do battle. Ready to make her way up and down the narrow alleyways looking for the items she had carefully written on her shopping list. Being such a big shop, being unfamiliar with the layout which changed regularly anyway it was so easy for Sally, and others like her, to end up buying things she didn’t really want in her search for the things she really needed. So the list, written with great intentions, soon became a forgotten spark of sanity.

Gaining access to the supermarket on a Saturday was a nightmare. Sally had to fight her way through hordes of noisy school aged children pestering the departing customers, asking if they could return their trolleys for them. Often people with cars would abandon their trolleys near where they had parked, left to be grabbed by keen-eyed youngsters who were eager to retrieve the abandoned deposit. For many this was a profitable pastime and worth suffering the wind and rain for a rewarding pocket full of ten pence pieces.

Struggling through the hordes could be quite threatening, as the youngsters jostled with each other almost crashing into the customers trying to get past them. It was difficult not to run into them as the automatic doors opened and closed willy nilly causing trolleys to be hastily withdrawn and rapidly thrust forward. There was no easy way of getting in and out of the shop and it appeared to be worsening by the week.

The two back wheels of the trolley had barely passed through the narrow turnstile when the customary wobble started up. Sally couldn’t fathom how all the trolleys in the bays could be so defective after such a short time in situ. It was only a month or so since they were introduced, four weeks or so since she was lugging two great heavy baskets around the shop. The new trolleys were meant to alleviate all the stress and strain of doing a big weekly shop, making it easier to carry more goods, spend more money, probably buy more than was needed. But they were heavy to push, impossible to manoeuvre and barely fitted down the narrow alleyways.

Passing by the towering racks of sad-looking vegetables the dull thud of her headache beat in time to the never-ending background music. The pounding caused Sally’s brow to crinkle up in a frown of pain and tiredness, furrows embedding themselves permanently beneath her frizzled hairline.

The supermarket was crowded with people of all size and ages, all attempting to manoeuvring cumbersome vehicles piled high with tins and boxes. Battling to reach the cheaper tins of beans which Sally hoped her children would grow to like, Sally’s sleeve caught and toppled several tins of ravioli which cluttered to the ground adding to the tumultuous noise surrounding her. Frustration swept over her as she knelt on one knee to retrieve the spilled cans, disinterested shoppers impatiently stepping over her leg. Their rude tutting, clearly echoing around her head as she attempted to replace the cans on the shelf served to only heighten Sally’s dark mood.

How she hated shopping.

Turning the corner after leaving the bacon counter, Sally narrowly missed running down a young child who jumped out in front of her, growling at her like an aggressive brown bear on the rampage. Her nerve ends already frayed to breaking point, Sally mumbled to herself, “little monster, he should be packed away in a deep freezer’, the passion in her voice revealing her level of anxiety and frustration.

Seemly on his own, the child went off to terrorise other unwary shoppers. Neither supervised nor chastised Sally became angry as she watching other children running amok amongst the shelves. A teenaged roller skater chose that exact moment to crashing into her trolley knocking it off course. Sally struggled to gain control and straighten it as it flew past the tall mountain of coloured toilet rolls that loomed in front of her. Just where were their mothers? Her nerves were frayed and her temper at breaking point. Would she survive much longer?

The final leg of her journey was made harder by the now laden trolley deciding to assert its stubbornness to the full as it suddenly started veering sharply to the left. Despite all the force Sally could muster, the metal contraption refused to obey her as she pulled and pushed it into a position where she could complete her expedition in this nightmarish world.

The queues at the tills were long, and extremely noisy as usual. Saturday was not a good day to replenish the kitchen cupboards, but sally had no other choice. Her husband didn’t come home with his pay until late on Friday evening, too late to shop as the supermarket closed at five o’clock.

Children pushed and shoved each other, banging into near-by trollies. Cries of wanting this or that, followed by the screams of mothers saying no, grated on Sally’s fragile ears. The noise reached a crescendo when one child was grabbed by the arm after ignoring her irate mother’s pleas for her to be settled down and be quiet. The girl suddenly threw herself to the ground kicking and screaming for attention, much to the embarrassment of her mother who appeared unsure what she could do to stop this display of childish temper. Other people turned away embarrassed for the plight of this mother.

Sally was finally out on the street, free from the confines of the building. The gentle swishing of the cars as they drove past through the puddles began to soothe Sally’s nerves as she stood enjoying the relative quiet after the last hour of torture. She joined similar laden ladies waiting to cross the road, lugging behind them wheeled shopping trolleys or bulging bags.

Although the bus stop was only a short distance away, the weight of the tins and bottles nestled in her bags placed tremendous strain on her arms and shoulders as she staggered forward. The few yards seemed like miles as acute tiredness enveloped Sally’s short frame.

Relieved, she watched the yellow bus come trundling up the hill to where she stood. But relief soon turned to frustration Sally as the bus kept on going without stopping. The tired faces of people silhouetted in the lighted bus windows, showed no sympathy for the plight of those still standing on the pavement as they passed by.

The next bus wasn’t due for another half an hour. Sally considered her options. Stay there braving the cold and wet for thirty minutes or start walking. She would get very wet but At least if she was on the move, she would be warmer. And so it was that dark wet day that Sally set off along the road to home.

Sally was just approaching the turn off to her house when the next bus finally came along pausing at the bus stop just long enough to disgorge its weary passengers onto flooded pavements.

By the time Sally turned the key in her front door and deposited her bags on the kitchen table her arms were numb, her shoulders were on fire and the headache that she had woken with this morning now resembled a mechanical pile-driver threatening to split her skull wide open. Too tired to remove her sodden coat. Too tired to do anything, Sally flopped her bottom onto the kitchen chair. Her head atop one of the bags, grateful for the softness of the pack of toilet rolls that cushioned her thumping head, Sally’s eyes slowly closed and she breathed a huge sigh of relief. Oblivious of the voices calling to ask what was for lunch, Sally slipped away on a sea of dreams, thankful that Saturday was over for another week.


Ten Good Reasons…….

I saw this a couple of days ago and thought it was so relevant to me.  I love fabrics, the colours, the textures, the smell of the newness .  I love fabric. 


10 good reasons to buy fabric

1. It insulates the cupboard where it’s kept.

2. It keeps the economy moving. It’s my duty to support the cotton farmers, textile mills and fabric shops.

3. It’s less expensive and a lot more fun than psychiatric care.

4. It keeps without refrigeration. You don’t have to cook it to enjoy it, you don’t need to feed it, change it, wipe it’s nose or walk it.

5. Like dust it’s good protection of previously empty spaces in the home, ironing board, laundry basket, dining room table etc.

6.   It’s not immoral, illegal or fattening. It calms the nerves, gratifies the soul and gives a good feeling.

7.   It’s a contest, the one who dies with the most fabric wins.

8.   Because it’s on sale.

9.   Because I’m worth it.

10.  I need to buy it now before the hubby retires and starts joining me on my shopping jaunts.


Author, Neil Laird.


Do other people feel the same ‘need’ to purchase fabric? Are you able to justify the huge piles stored around your house?


Whilst I was in town the other day, I realised how much I had missed certain elements of shopping. As leaving my house to go out has been an issue for quite a few years now, most of the shopping I do is online.  Most times I am happy with my purchases but there is always the return service if I an not entirely satisfied: although I do tend to pass goods onto members of my family rather than sending them back. So it’s a win, win situation.

There is not much, if anything, that you cannot get online these days and over the past few years I have purchased a huge variety of goods, including fabrics, threads, clothes, shoes,  food, gardening supplies, a couple of tv’s, wallpaper, furniture and even a pond. During some of my dark days I have even researched the purchase of coffins, much to the amusement of my family, but that’s another story.




It was only when I found this little fabric shop in our Grainger Market the other day, that I realised just how much I have been missing. The feel and smell of the fabrics was exquisite; a fantastic sensation you can not get through a laptop or iPad screen.  The myriad of colours was so overwhelming and appealing, making my choice of fabrics very difficult.  There was so much in front of me that I just wanted to buy and buy and buy; I really had to keep a tight hold on the reigns or I would have ended up bankrupt. This is a new experience for me, buying fabric for no other reason than I like it, with little or no initial idea what it will eventually turn into.  The memory still makes me tingle with excitement.

I had a lovely chat with the owner of the fabric shop, something you can not do when online shopping: it made me realise just how much I have lost out on while I have been ill. The lady and I discovered we both shared a passion for fabrics as we immersed ourselves in roll after roll of beautiful stock; my head was buzzing with ideas. I shared my thoughts and dreams for what I planned to make and became quite excited at the thought of making something I had not done for a very long time. I must have seemed like a young kid let loose in a sweet shop, with my hubby on the outside looking on, patiently waiting till I had had my fill.

I departed with a bag of beautiful fabrics, a hole in my bank balance but with a huge smile on my face. I  left a promise with the owner that I would be back soon to make further purchases. The rest of my outing passed in a bit of a haze as the anxiety washed over me but I held tightly onto my hubby’s arm and followed were he led. Eventually we descended on a large department store and in the haberdashery department I found a pattern for a baby and toddler dress.

I woke up quite early the next morning, filled with excitement and a craving to get started on my little project. The night before I had been unable to resist getting started even though I was extremely tired after my trip out. After my hubby had gone up to bed I cut out and prepared some of the material ready to sew together when I next woke up next day.

Out of all the effects of my anxiety disorder and the symptoms of PTSD that I have, the hardest for me to deal with  has been the loss of my ability to be create things from nothing: to start off with a length of fabric, a few pins, a pair of scissors, a pattern or an idea of some sort and a desire to produce something I can share with others.

I started out full of confidence that I could do this, I could make these oddly shaped pieces of fabric into something resembling a dress. I cannot remember how many years it has been since I made clothes for anyone, yet there had been a time when that was all I made, clothing for every occasion, for all ages: wedding dresses, outfits for an entire jazz band, including the purple frilly knickers, and clothing for my own children were just some of the things I had made. And NO they were not made from the old curtains like Maria produced for the children in the Von Trapp family, as one of my daughters laughingly tells people now.

This new venture of mine was a huge struggle to start.   I could not remember how to assemble the pieces, nor could I remember the order in which to sew the fabric pieces together. I was constantly referring to the instruction sheet that came with the pattern, but I found that even more confusing. So, after a few tears of frustration I sat for a while to calm myself, had a cup of coffee, took a few deep breaths and slowly started to assemble the dress. I pictured my new great-granddaughter Alice wearing the finished article, I wanted to do this for her and me, and eventually it started started coming together.








Oh dear, what had I done. No sooner had I finished a pretty pink dress than I grabbed my scissors and the beautiful blue fabric that I had purchased and before long there was another partially finished dress laying on my table. I was enthused, I could do this. It was all slowly coming back. Yes, I made mistakes, but hey that’s what stitch rippers are for. An understanding, supportive and patient husband with a stitch  ripper is a wonderful gift.
Using parts of the pattern and a sheet of paper I then created a pattern for a tunic dress. Great I thought, I would line the dress so it would be reversible. But my enthusiasm outshone my ability, I could not figure out how to put it together. I had experienced the same problem when I went to line some bags I had made a little while aG, but I had managed it then and I was determined I would  do the same this time. Somehow I slowly Thought it through, and after several false starts was able  to get it sort of right. I had to pull it apart several times but I was not going to let the fact it was wrong dampen my enthusiasm. I could do this, I could. I told myself over and over till I calmed down again and then eventually it all came right.



And I did! Not once, but twice. I had created four toddler dresses in a day, 100% more than I had done for a long time. I was so proud of myself; what a lovely positive feeling to look at them and realise, I had done this. I still need to go shopping for buttons but I will have to wait a few days before I can get myself out shopping again. I will probably swap the buttons for press studs unless I can remember how to make the buttonholes. But I will work it out and do it because I WILL completely finish them all.

And hopefully I will eventually remember how to put photos into my posts. I’ve forgotten for now and make no apologise for the fact they are scattered all over the place in a higgledy piggledy fashion.



Duck Egg Blue Quilt


This has to be one of my favourite quilts.  I made it for a friend of a friend who wanted a quilt made in duck egg blue.  I have just sold it this week, even though I finished it a couple of months ago.  I sent it off for her but I didn’t hear anything. I was beginning to think it wasn’t what the friend wanted, and as usual all the self-doubts crept in till I told myself it didn’t matter, I had enjoyed making it anyway.  But then I got news that it had been delivered and it felt so good to be told it had been liked.  lt was also good to be paid for my efforts and have my self-doubts wiped away. Life is ok at the moment!!

It’s was rather scary making a quilt for someone in a specific colour and pattern because we all have our own ideas, and views about patterns and colours.  I tend to like subtle, muted colours, neutral with a splash of colour here and there.  At the moment I’m making a quilt in teal and I have the same misgivings as I had for the one above.

Because I’ve chosen the fabrics and the design, will it meet the persons expectations?   I try to follow their instructions and desires but it’s impossible not to put  something of my own likes and preferences into it.  When I’ve made quilts for family members I’ve known the colour scheme of their bedrooms; I’ve been in their rooms so I know what will fit in and match their personality too. that makes the task far easier.

But if everything was laid out on a plate, all clear-cut, it would start to get monotonous and boring, it would become a chore to produce quilts and I would dislike that intensely. It’s very much like life, how boring it would be without a little conflict and stress to brighten up a day.

I’ll be going out later today for lunch which I love to do,  and then a spot of shopping which I would gladly give a miss. Unless its fabric shopping, then I will be in my element.  Well, we will see what i can find to bring home.