Archive for Sarah’s Soapbox

I’m ranting today…must be election fever

Thursday morning

It’s general election day and my mind is turning to think about the things that could be done better in this country. And I’ve been thinking about some things that keep getting in my way near the front door, and that seem to keep increasing in number, and won’t go away even when I do what it says on the label. Hmmm, what could it be? Phil the Bag? or any of the number of cheap thin virtually useless plastic bags that seem to keep getting dumped through our letter box, at least one each week. It’s not even like you can use them for kitchen waste as they have holes in them. So I’m going to have a bit of a rant now, because I’m getting really fed up with them. I thought we as a country were trying to do our best not to use plastic bags, and I as well as Dickie always take our own bags to do our shopping now. We’re trying so hard to keep our plastic levels down, and yet the charities seem to have a free pass to dump at least one of the offending bags through our letter box every week. How does that work?

I’m a firm believer in recycling as much as possible, and this week we in Horsham were really pleased to have a new street collection on Tuesday that took away junk mail, paper, newspapers, all types of card, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, cans and foil, and basically combined most of what we already recycle with the addition of the things we used to have to take to other centres. The only extra thing we can now recycle is waxed food paper cartons, but hopefully more people will now recycle what we’ve been doing ourselves. I hate to think of all the clothes that are simply thrown away because they’re no longer wanted, and I also know that charity shops are struggling because people that used to give their clothes to them are now selling them on Ebay. I’m cautious about putting my clothes in the recycling bins in supermarket car parks as one of my friends told me how she saw a car drive up to one, the driver then dangled their child out of the window and into the top of the bin to rummage through it and remove what they wanted! Now maybe they were in need, I guess that was OK, but you hear of companies that do kerbside collections for charity, then set up a shop selling what they collect for their own business.

I have to say I wouldn’t mind the bags so much if they actually did what they said they would, i.e. if you have something to put out you use the bag or if not then put it out and they will collect it back. So what actually happens? I’m sure you know already.  You put out the empty bag and it sits on the doorstep until it goes dirty and rotten and looks a complete mess, because when they do turn up in the van to collect the goods people have left out, unfortunately the company that sells stuff will have been around first and nabbed the charity bags…oh yes, I’ve seen it happen, even when the bags were explicitly labelled with the name of the charity on it, then the charity guys don’t even bother getting out of the van to collect the empty bags, and so the pile gets bigger. You can’t win.

So what’s to do? I really don’t know. Maybe they should think of a better greener way to collect. Obviously the bags make people think about donating, and make it easy to just open it and start filing it, but shouldn’t there be some sort of ban on littering our houses with plastic junk?  Just like the amount of junk mail we get, which has increased since some bright spark said it was all right for the junk mail allowance that Posties deliver to go up in quantity. How green is that? IT’S NOT.

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I’m back….(a bit like ‘Here’s Johny)

Tuesday morning

Where do I start? Lots has happened here and globally, so what should I talk about today? I decided to write a list of possible blog topics, and it hasn’t really helped, so maybe what I’ll do is give you a very quick run down of what’s new? Or should I? Maybe I should keep all my stuff and eek it out over a couple of weeks to keep you coming back in suspense. Or is too much suspense bad for your health, now who was it who wrote that, was it Douglas Adams?

So here’s what’s been going on, the lounge is still full of my studio equipment and glass, but not insulation boards or plasterboard, Easter came and went, I went on a course then attended Flame Off with Dickie and DD and now I’m so shattered I can’t believe it. Oh and a big volcano went boom and stranded lots of people all over the world including my uncle who lives in Madison Wisconsin and whom I saw yesterday at my parents house. There, I’ve said it. But of course there’s all much more to it than that, and I’m rambling, probably because I’m so tired.

The last few days have been so peaceful, and the sky so clear and lovely. I heard my first plane in days, about 10 minutes ago, and 5 minutes ago looked up in the sky to see a plane very high up leaving a contrail across the huge expanse of clean air…although it probably isn’t, it would be nice to think it was after 5 days rest from aeroplanes. Maybe there should be one day a year across the world where nothing flies anywhere, wouldn’t that be great? They would have to choose a certain 24 hours across the world so it all happened at once, but I think that would be a great idea. Many people have forgotten just how noisy all that daytime background noise has got, and it was a real pleasure to go outside at my parents and not be bothered by City Airport, Stansted, Heathrow or Gatwick noise. It was just so peaceful. Lovely.

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Thursday evening

Snoooooooooooooooooooow. Yes it came 2 nights ago and there’s loads of it. Yesterday we went for a walk and admired all the huge snowmen and women. Normally when you make a snowman all the snow on the lawn disappears and you get left with patchy snow and a straggly sad looking snowman. Not this time. There are loads of monster snow families around the place and still masses of snow left to play with. We had several snowball fights, my daughter came off worse than me (oops) and I made my first snow angel. So she’s home again tomorrow, that’s the third day in a row, let’s hope she can go back next week or I’m really going to struggle to get my work done. I’m loving it, but below I’m going to have a rather huge moan about something…..

So my question is, what on earth is going on with this country when people are too scarred of being sued to clear the snow? I remember when I was a kid, most people used to clear the snow in front of their house, much to my annoyance. Now it would appear we all sit home and whinge about the councils not gritting everywhere, instead of taking responsibility for our paths and clearing up. This really gets me hot under the collar, especially as my approach to life is that if you need to complain, then something obviously needs doing about whatever you’re complaining about, so why not get off your derrière and do something about it? But apparently now people won’t clear the snow because if you do and someone has an accident, then it’s your fault! What’s that all about? I think this government should do us all a favour and make it compulsory to clear snow and ice like many of the countries in Europe and stop pandering to this compensation culture. I think things have got into a bad state when people are too scarred to help their fellow human beings when help is needed. Moan over!

I have to say though that all this snow keeps reminding me of a Cat in the Hat story I had as child. The Cat had a bath and left a pink ring around the bath, and his friends tried everything to get rid of the pink, which gradually got transferred from one item to another. Things came to a head when they used a fan and splayed all the pink on to the snow outside and ended up with a huge pink snowdrift! And on that note…have a pink warm and toasty evening.

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A whiff of Autumn in the air

Thursday evening

Well hey there, nearly the end of another week, where did it go? I’ve been very busy going out every day, mainly as it’s my stint at the Surrey Guild Gallery in Milford, near Godalming. I have topped up my stock of jewellery on display and have been enjoying meeting the visitors to the shop. As ever I’m loving the journey there and back, especially the part where I go over the hills in the woods, hmmm, sounds interesting, but it really is just like Cornwall only without the sea being just over the hill. I always feel that I may just get a glimpse of Robin Hood as I drive through the lanes between the steep banks of knarled roots filled with soil and leaves, amid the dappled light filtering through the ancient trees and newer sapplings that seem to sprout everywhere. ooh get me!

As I travelled today there were flurries of leaves drifting down to the ground like silent snow, sometimes there were only a few leaves floating slowly to the ground, while at other times there were fast and furious flurries that reminded me of snow storms. Areas of the ground between the trees were carpeted with autumnal coloured tapestries of fallen leaves in orange, gold and red, whilst other areas were green with grass. Just beautiful.

I can’t say that about the drivers out and about! I’m so glad I don’t have to drive to work everyday any more, I really did hate that. The amount of numpties driving out there amazes me, from the nutters who go storming along so fast (often on motorbikes….I wonder why they think the speed limits don’t apply to them?) to the poor learners who drive at 15mph along a 40 to 60 mph road (this is itself doesn’t worry me too much, as we’ve all been there) but whose amateur teacher doesn’t have the sense to get them to pull in at some safe place to let the normal drivers get past. Yes, I had to trail behind an excruciatingly slow learner for a whole 15 minutes, this in my opinion is not on at all, and I blame the teacher for not having the good sense to get her to pull over so I could pass. Phew, rant over.

So, another weekend approaches, and the 20th annual Harrow Bead Fair is looming fast. This year will be the last time at the Harrow Leisure Centre, and we’re even in a different hall this year. I have heard rumours that the show will be relocating to the Hatfield University next year, to the same hall as we were in 2 weeks ago for the Beadwork Fair. See you there….Harrow that is…..I will be waving at the flat I used to live in that we have to pass to enter the Leisure centre, as I used to live within spitting distance of the centre. Ahh, happy times, and ogling the spot of pavement where I was stopped and questioned by the Police who had been tipped off by neighbours who thought that I was doing a ‘moonlight flit’ when I was moving in at 2am one morning, not very conventional I know, but true to my form at that time as a student!

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All aboard the Skylark…not

Saturday evening

Phew it’s been a busy day, but very enjoyable. I’ve had 2 lovely ladies for a one day beginners course (waves 😉 ) and now it’s time for me to put my feet up. It’s Saturday night and I’m home alone as Rick has taken our daughter out for the afternoon and evening so it looks like it’s up to me to decide what I eat tonight, yay! I hear a pizza beconing cos it’s easy, hmmmmm, and it means I can watch BBC1’s zanny Comic Relief idea of getting celebs to do famous iconic dances. Last weeks Flashdance by Robert Webb was hilarious, I wonder if anyone else will come close to his performance. Then later when his nibs gets back I hope to kick off my shoes and watch this week’s Lost…

You know, I’m going to clamber onto my soapbox and have a quick winge about Sky. Why do they always knick the best shows from terestrial TV and prevent other channels from showing them, I mean, I know it’s business, but it really annoys me that they don’t have the guts to try out new series, they wait for terrestrial TV to try something out then if it’s a hit they nab it. They should have the guts to try things out for themselves and stop creaming off the best. I realise that it’s also a way to get more subscribers, but I think it’s way mean. I really miss 24, that was another quality series that was snatched away.  Rant over.

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Less of the Sergeant, more of the dancers please

Monday morning

Well helloooooo there. I probably shouldn’t be so chirpy as I am missing my jewellery class yet again – the place to go for me to have a fun afternoon chatting with like minded jewellery making obsessed ladies. And especially today they are having our Christmas class jewellery sale. Yes I’m a bit sad about this, but maybe it’s a good thing as I am still just sooooo wacked out. We really must get our car situation sorted out….anyone got an estate car for sale? anyone? anyone?

I just popped out to my studio, and man, it’s chilly out there, only 5 deg. C this morning, but I’m off out to make some handmade glass beads in a mini mo for my regular weekly order. Then tomorrow and Thursday I’m teaching yet again, I seem to be doing about 2 days a week at the moment, which is so much fun and a bit tiring but hey ho, it’s worth it.

The big question on everyone’s mind today is…who on earth is voting for John Sergeant in Strictly Come Dancing? It sure ain’t me, but he really should go now, I know he’s fun to watch how badly he does everything, but it now seems so unfair that the really fabulous contestants are being booted off the show a week earlier than they should and missing their potential to learn new dances and improve more. I suppose maybe we should be asking ourselves if the BBC are cheating and keeping him in to give the show controversy and generally rigging the polls to suit what they feel the show should be like? Or does he have a huge cake baking, blue rinse, daytime TV watching, lady fan base? Who knows.

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Life at the coal face

Thursday morning

How sad am I? I think I must be the geek here, actually I already know I’m a bit of a geek. The reason I know is because when I was sat watching Jamie’s Ministry of Food and he went down the mine for a look see, all I could do was try and see what gas detectors they were using! That would be because I used to be a design engineer working on mainly portable gas detectors in the dim and distant past, oh well, I suppose we all have one of those. Unfortunately I couldn’t see what they were using because everything was coated in a layer of black coal dust, even Jamie! and there was me thinking that he’d smeared it on his face for effect, so as he’d look the part. Actually come to think of it he did look rather different with his eyes peering out. But boy, what an awful place to work, I have so much admiration for those that do, and such sadness when I think about how things used to be hundreds of years ago when children were forced to work down there and other equally awful places.

We all whinge about Health and Safety, and how we’re getting wrapped in cotton wool, and I’d have to agree that it’s all gone way too far, but thank goodness that people started thinking about these things. Jobs and pastimes have got so much safer, the really nasty chemicals we could easily use are restricted, this in itself has to be a good thing, and many people work really hard on safety systems that come into play in an emergency, this is something else I was involved with, Emergency Shut Down systems (or ESD) for oil rigs and gas refineries. Actually I have to confess that most of my time in industry was spent working in Health and Safety, so I am a supporter, but not of the extreme silly stuff.

Kids should be kids, and grow up playing on the street, riding bikes around, and getting into silly scrapes, isn’t that what growing up is about? There’s going to be some pretty boring tales or lack of childhood tales to tell grandchildren if we carry on protecting everyone from what should be everyday experiances.

Ah well, I better get back to the grindstone, it was 6.9 deg C in my studio when I popped out to switch on the kiln, lets hope it warms up a bit today or I’ll have to get the union in….

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It’s the end of the World as we know it

Tuesday night

Yoo hoo I’m back….well, I’m home but working in the Surrey Guild gallery in Millford this week. It’s been such a busy summer, with one event after another, like the Stourbridge bead fair one weekend, 3 days home to unpack then repack to go away again for a family wedding then a short holiday. It’s been all go but fun and exhausting, and I have had no hip pain in my new bionic hip, although some pain in my origianlly bad hip, rats. I’m hoping this will reduce as dependance on overusing it reduces. So what’s new? Not a lot really yet, as I am still unable to enjoy my torch because of the days out this week, although I’m hoping to get some torch time on Thursday as I’ve managed to swap one of my days. I’m getting reved up for the Bead Fair at Hatfield House on 21st September, less than 2 weeks (well, I should be but I’m unable to do anything for this yet) and I have also booked the Big Bead Show at Esher on 1st November (6 weeks away).

These bookings are all very well, but will they happen, will I be able to torch on Thursday or will we have been sucked into a black hole by then?  If you haven’t heard what’s happening tomorrow then look up Large hadron Collider. It amazes me how people are allowed to do this if it’s really so risky. Of course they say it’s not, then laugh manically, but who’s to know? I guess we’ll all know, or not by Thursday. lol.

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Monday lunchtime (but posted Tuesday teatime, we had techie problems!)

Thank goodness that’s all over, all the preparation for Open Houses is done, and the first weekend has passed. I managed to get my displays done, somewhat later than I would have liked, and when asked by my friend why I was so unprepared I wasn’t sure, but then it hit me, oh yes, my hip replacement was scheduled very unexpectedly with short notice and messed my planned schedule for the year, I had set aside May and June for preparation but of course my priorities changed. Still, I managed it with half an hour to go, lol and even managed to make some new pieces, different variations on my current range.

Now that’s done I’ve masses of other jobs to do, but today I’m taking it easy. I got up at 11 this morning, lovely, having been lounging around drinking tea and reading a book by Alan Bennett, not my usual read but entertaining. All the effort last week has caught-up with me and I plan to continue having a leisurely day, as I’m supposed to anyway still being on stick leave and all. It’s been fun watching a bit of daytime TV, yes I know, very naff, but I’m really getting into House at the moment. Up to recently we couldn’t get Five but now they’re cranking up the signal we’ve had more viewing choice. This brings me to walking sticks and disabilities in dramas.

What is it about stick users on TV? why do they always get it wrong? Lots of people who meet me think my left leg is the problem because that’s the side I use my stick. Unfortunately many people who buy themselves a stick don’t use them in the best way, as they haven’t been shown and then they copy what they’ve seen on TV. Even Rick thought I was doing it wrong, tchhh. However I almost always see people using sticks in the wrong hand on telly dramas and in films, very amusing especially when Doctors do it in Hospital dramas! I’m guessing that if a stick was used properly it would have less of a dramatic impact, and I’m also thinking that Hugh Laurie aches like mad after filming! Serves him right. Ha.

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Still on sick leave

Friday evening

Hi there again. I’ve been putting off posting today as I can’t seem to be light hearted, I’d remembered but also forgotten how hard it can be getting over hip surgery, one day you’re really up there, make lots of progress and feel really happy, and the next you can be in the doldrums, and soooooo tired. Today is one of the later, I’m tired of seeing the same view and really annoyed that I can’t find the 2 projects that I was planning to do while recuperating. I started a Kaffe Fassett tapestry 14 years ago, the last time I had surgery, and haven’t had time to finish it, and now that I have, can I find it anywhere? can I heck. It’s the perfect piece of art to pick up and put down as I feel, but it just ain’t in any of the places I thought it was, and I’m too immobile to wriggle around in cupboards to look for it. Nnnnrrrrrggggggg.

OK rant over. Guess what I did yesterday? I walked all the way around the block, which is apparently 1 km, yay! also I’ve been practising using one crutch and putting more weight through my hip so I can be more independent, and now use only one for most of the day excepting for my daily walks. I have no idea if I’m on track with my improvements but hey we’re all different, and I am getting there, one day at a time. I’ve also done a little work……some of you will have had some email replies, but I haven’t managed all of them yet, please bear with me, I’m still on sick leave (with a bit of tinkering)!

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Friday  morning

It looks like I stuffed up my last entry, unfortunately Rick came home and picked holes in my discussion instead of smiling. OK I know some of the bits were not technically correct, but when you’re having a  bit of fun is that really important? What about artistic license? and this isn’t Wikipedia where we have dubious statements with more research necessary (and yes, I know that’s not what they say, but for your information I have just spent a futile 5 minutes or more trying to find an article there that has these notes so I can quote the correct phrase). Maybe I should start putting a disclaimer at the bottom of every post stating that I haven’t checked all my facts and that some events are fictional and not based on any person living or diseased……oh no, that should be deceased. You see it’s very hard, for me anyway, to blog quickly, because I like to get it right, so I find myself zipping off in cyberspace checking things that I’m unsure of, like the spelling of someone who’s dead. So I ask myself the question, is it more important to post regularly and quickly, or less frequently and more factually? OOO, sounding a bit like Carrie Bradshaw there. I think I’d rather post more often and not get too bogged down with accuracy myself, especially since I haven’t been here as often as I’d like recently. So, my conclusion is, get on with it!

No trees were cut down for the creation of this message, however a rather large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

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Around the year in 80 greetings cards

Wednesday morning

Mothers Day…what’s that all about? Or should I say, who on earth sets the date as it always seems to be completely different? Is there a group of insignificant people who get together in a small dark room and decide what Sunday to pick, or is it a representative from all the major greetings card manufacturers who choose the best date to fit in with their around-the year-marketing? Have you noticed how there’s always something to send a card for lately? Even St Patrick’s day has got in on the act…..perhaps the gap was far too gaping between Mothers day (which we’ve already noticed has a very moveable date) and Easter. A quick look at Wikipedia tells me that Paddy’s day is also one of these moveable dates, as it’s normally 17th March (not long now) but can be moved also. In 1940 apparently it was celebrated on 3rd April, so it didn’t clash with Palm Sunday. Now this leads me nicely on to Easter…why is this always different? I appreciate that as it falls on a Sunday that it can’t always have the same date, but the difference in dates always seems to be huge, so again, I ask the question, who decides this and why is it always so different? Also why are we celebrating the resurrection on a Sunday rather than the Sabbath which is a Saturday? It’s always puzzled me that one. Of course if we chose the correct weekdays we’d then have Holy Tuesday, Maundy Wednesday, Good Thursday and Easter Saturday……hmm, maybe it doesn’t have quite the same ring about it.

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Sarah’s Soapbox (although nowadays it’s all liquid in a plastic bottle)

Friday evening

Another lovely autumnal day today.  It was certainly cold when I got up this morning so winter is on it’s way at last.  I did one of my days in the Surrey Guild Gallery today and had the pleasure once more of my favourite drive over the downs through the woods between Dunsfold Aerodrome and Millford. The trees looked splendid in their orange, green and yellow leaf tones, and occasionally I drove through a leaf flurry or two, which was very much like a mini snowstorm of colourful swirling leaves. Lush. My cabinet is now restocked with lots of goodies, perfect for Christmas pressies, so do go and have a look if you’re passing.

Back to the drive today…..I’m going to get on my soapbox now….maybe I should have a new feature called ‘Sarah’s Soapbox’, it could be a bit like Annabelles rant on Virgin radio in the evening! What’s it called? ‘That’s so rubbish?’ Hmmm.  Anyway, what’s with all the 40 tonne lorries and JCB’s going along the single track road with only a few passing places and lots of wiggly bends and little hills and steep banks? Why are they driving along a road that plainly says ‘Unsuitable for heavy vehicles’ and ‘single track road with passing places’? The frequency of these huge beasts that struggle to go up the hills and around corners at the same time, forcing normal cars (that’s us) to back up the road several hundred yards, seems to be increasing every time I take this leg of the journey, and to say that it spoils the route (and wastes my time) would be an understatement. My friend reckons that it’s all down to the dreaded sat-nav, where haulage companies are using  new found short-cuts  and not engaging their brains before they take said  new routes, as she has recently been having the same problem on a couple of other single track roads she takes. That’s so stupid! hee hee.

Now I’ve got that off my mind, I must dash and clean some mandrels and get a dipping them in preparation for teaching again tomorrow. Have a good weekend, see y’all.

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