Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Things wot i have learnt

1. As I get older my embarrassment threshold gets bigger. As a child I was very shy and hated unwanted attention. Imagine my absolute horror then when my paternal grandmother would cut holes in black bin bags for my brother and I when it rained on days out and insisted on me having two plaits in my hair when I stayed with her - even at the age of 12. Nowadays I find I couldn't give two hoots what people think of me. For instance, today you would have seen me with my red raincoat with cherries on, a cat in the hat tote bag (fig i) and sheltering under a Peppa Pig umbrella. I decided against my bright red wellies, but there's always the option there to look even more like a 3 year old. Please note, both children were at their respective educational institutes. There was only me to deflect the odd glares from passers by. And you know what? I didn't notice anyone look at me - possibly because they didn't - possibly cos I didn't give a monkeys if they were. I may start to carry black bin liners about as they come in handy for the whole family and I believe a good dose of embarrassment when young does you the world of good.
fig i

2. I've never thought myself good looking enough to make much of an effort in the day to day scheme of things. There's a particular Mum I see who, even first thing in the morning, has huge fake eyelashes and big hair. In my youth I would have been a) intimidated by her confidence b) annoyed in a feminist way that she was letting the side down looking like Barbie c) Probably a teeny bit jealous. Now though i look at her and think, "poor love" does she not think she's good enough underneath all that hair and tan? And I think "oh I'm not that bad after all" as i don't need to hide myself. As long as you smile, it doesnt really matter (fig ii), and I've never seen her smile.
fig ii (imagine this but wearing fig ii and I defy you not to smile or chuckle)

3. Buy fruit and Veg from the market (fig iii). I saved a fiver today and am working my way through a lb of cherries as I type. In turn I shall be regular which I  have also learnt is a vital thing as you get older. Fact.
 (fig iii)

4. I am actually a naturally slovenly slob but the Gemini in me is also fiendishly house proud. There appears to be a daily battle between the two to let the mess build up and up and also to fight it and be constantly putting stuff away. Most of the time the slob wins. Maybe i should learn to embrace it?

5. You are never too old to make friends. The girl has been at preschool three weeks and I can feel new friendships blossoming with two mums whether they like it or not.

6. I wouldn't be surprised if soon I begin to look like Pam Ferries from Darling Buds of May. Plump Rosy cheeked, aproned up, flour on my face and a needle and thread upon my person at all times. Greeting mine and other children at my front door laughing so I wobble, handing out freshly made treats and calling everyone "m'darlin". 'Id be sad if this doesn't happen as I have learnt to love the fact that I'm not a party animal. That I can no longer handle alcohol. That I love being at home and no longer have worry about coming home at 4am and a hangover. How very dull. My life before children wasn't exactly rock and roll but I got out and about. Nowadays, I get asked to take up children's trousers and make a curtain skirt for the reception classes butler sink.

HAVE A LOVELY DAY despite the rain cos that is somfink I have also learnt

Ps) It has not been quiet on the craft front even though its been quiet on the blog front. I shall post about my exploits soon 

Monday, 10 September 2012


So the aim of the London Olympics and Paralympic games was to inspire a generation. Now, I believe the generation they technically mean are today's children not a 30 something, unfit, wobbly mum. Yet its obvious that the tag line should be inspire generations as that's what the games have done.

My Mum is thinking of rejoining the gym and (she won't thank me for this) she is of pensionable age (just). My son wants to be a cyclist and I want to row or swim or cycle for team GB. Realistically I'm going to make a concerted effort to jog or swim once a week.

This sporting summer has reignited my childhood love of sport. I earnestly want to see live athletics and cycling events and will try to watch them on telly whenever I can. I loved taking part in sport at school so want to try something I can do now.

We were so lucky to get Paralympic tickets for the athletics and the experience will stay with me forever.  The games makers were fabulous - imagine exuberant jazz handed Americans but in the guise of Brits asking you nicely to smile and have your tickets ready. The stadium was stunningly beautiful. How many stadiums can you say that about? The facilities were excellent and the view we had was perfect. The park and waterway was in no way like what was there before. But the icing on the very big Victoria sponge cake was the athletes. My God they were beyond belief. Lets be honest here, I can barely run to the end of my road and only then if I get a doughnut and wine at the end if it. But they are truly superhuman. To do the amazing feats they do with the disabilities they have is...well there aren't enough superlatives for it.

I've been trying to figure out what I enjoyed more, the Olympics or the Paras. I think the BBC coverage of the Olympics was extraordinarily brilliant and that really helped to make the games for me. They need to win an award for it. Channel Four's coverage for me wasn't so great but I guess its because they don't do this sort of thing week in week out. However, I think I enjoyed the Paralympics more even though I saw less of it. This is purely because of the people that took part. I don't want to patronise or belittle and say how good they are considering they have physical or mental problems. I don't think this is the case anyway. I see them as people excelling at sport. Fulfilling their dreams and rising above adversity as Stephen Hawking said at the opening ceremony, "we are all different, there is no run of the mill". We all have times when we think something is impossible. When this next happens to me I'll think about those superhuman athletes who have a dream and work so damn hard to fulfil it. I'm so proud my son has been able to witness, and be inspired by that. The good old fashioned, if you work hard enough and you want something enough you will achieve it, message is the best thing to live your life by.

So, in the real world I know I will never win a gold medal. Unless they bring back the original events for ladies such as engraving or perhaps flower arranging - something I can do sitting down. But I am inspired to get off my bum and move. To reach for the stars (as per Hawking, not S Club 7) in whatever I do. To realise that its only yourself that stops you succeeding. 

I'm so immensely proud in a tear jerking way to be British in a way I've never ever experienced before. I'm proud to be a Londoner and I'm proud to be part of the most excepting and open society in the world. One that Mo Farrah was able to come to call his home, one that Oscar Pistorius said the legacy for these Paralympic games will be for the world to see disability as us Brits do. It has certainly changed my views which I thought were pretty liberal anyway.

As a family, we are really looking forward to being able to use the aquatics centre when its up and running and also to see what the new cycling park will be like when they renovate that as part of the velodrome complex. Bring on the Commonwealth Games and Bring on Rio.

So inspiring it hurts. What will I do with myself now?

Thank you world, thank you team GB and thank you London.