'If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.' Marjorie Garber

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Turning Japanese

One person's junk is another person's treasure...

I think I have mentioned before that I am a huge eBay fan. I have bought many things over the years, ranging from knitting yarn, 1960s Sindy dolls, tatty chairs to designer bathroom fittings. Most are treasures to me, but some things when they arrive are a disappointment. But then I guess that is part of the thrill of eBay, never quite knowing whether you are buying a genuine Renoir or a painting-by-numbers.

Now, because of this addiction to eBay, and believe me, it is an addiction, I have rather a lot of, well, stuff! 

'Clutter', Hubby would say, but then he is a bit of an eBay addict too. So I've decided I need to find homes for this 'stuff'. No, I am not about to give it all away here on my blog, (but I am planning a little giveaway soon). No, I need homes here, in my home, if you get my drift.

So I thought what I need are a few attractive trunks and boxes to store my chattels. And where did I look first for such trunks and boxes?

Yes, you guessed it. EBay, of course!

And here is my first purchase. A bargain! A Steal! A Steel Japanned Travelling Trunk complete with vintage stickers. I collected it from a lovely country house near here. It came complete with the whiff of dung and a few decades of dirt, but I just know it will be perfect. Just what 'japanned' means, I have no idea. The gentleman selling it said he used to play with his farm animals in it when he was a little boy, presumbably he meant his toy farm animals!

I think it's sad that someone should keep something for so long, maybe forty or fifty years, because it was once precious to him and then decide to part with it for a song on eBay. Never mind, his change of heart is my good fortune, I guess.

Now, I actually collected this before Christmas but I am at a loss as to how to clean it without ruining the stickers; two have already peeled off because of my attempts. Thankfully, the smell seems to have faded, (or maybe I'm just used to it now). However, it is still very grubby. So please do let me know if you have any idea as to how to clean it. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


I'm sad to say 'goodbye' to 2012.
For me, personally, It has been a very memorable year for all the right reasons. A year to be proud to be British.

But it has been a year of extremes: the amazing achievements of the Olympics and Paralympics; the diamond jubilee celebrations; the half-centenary celebrations of dear friends and my own...the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in the US; the cyclone in Samoa; severe drought in West Africa; earthquakes in the Middle East, the Philippines and China; the floods here and other countries; too many natural disasters to list, but 2012 also brought avalanches, tornadoes and flash fires. Then there is the list of man-made events. Right now, the ones that come most vividly and tragically to my mind are the suicide of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse, and the senseless killing of the innocent children in Connecticut. Tragic beyond words.
I hope 2013 will be a year to reflect.
I wish you a
May your 2013

Sue x

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


We lost our beautiful Mowgli a year ago.

We still miss him so much.
Mowgli The Mowgles

Monday, 22 October 2012

Once in a Lifetime Part Two

Where have the past couple of months gone?
I intended to do this post just a week after the last one but the time came and went. I have so many excuses and reasons for my absence from Blogland; I won't bore you with any of them.

I am now back and raring to go, equipped with Youngest Darling Daughter's cast-off and slightly squiffy old Acer laptop wired up to a screen with a  Mac Mini for support, a sort of PC Mac marriage. So lets get on with it...

Back to this year's catchphrase: 'Once in a lifetime...'

The month of June saw Youngest Darling Daughter having a painting selected for an exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy sponsored by the local Police Constabulary. I am so proud of her and very flattered that she chose me as her subject.

Hubby and I spent a weekend in Whitstable to attend the 50th Birthday Bash of one of our oldest friends. I had so much fun and couldn't help but think that I don't make the trip to Whitstable often enough nowadays. I intend to remedy that in the coming months.

And the end of June was when Darling Daughter First Born celebrated her twentieth birthday. Her teenage years now just memories, she completed her first year at university with very good grades and came home for the summer, no longer a university fresher, no longer a teenage girl. Another once in a lifetime notched up for this young woman, my Daughter. She has matured into a lovely person, full of warmth and humour and I smile inside and out whenever I think of her.

July saw Youngest Darling Daughter celebrating her eighteenth birthday and leaving school. So my little girl will never be a child again, or at least not in the eyes of the law or society at large.  It makes me a bit sad to think of the end of childhood. It's silly, I know.

This month was when the judging of the exhibition took place, too. We went along to a very pleasant presentation evening at the Academy. Alas, Youngest Darling Daughter didn't win a prize for her effort but she did receive lots of critical acclaim. She is such a talented girl and so modest. I am so very proud of her. In fact, you know, I am a very lucky woman because I have two wonderful daughters, so just forgive me for a moment whilst I gloat :D

Off to watch Team GB!

The end of July brought us the Olympics. What can I say that hasn't been said already? I was and still am proud to be British after such a fantastic Games. And August brought the Paralympics - strength, prowess, inspiration and admiration in bucketloads. Then, Youngest Darling Daughter received excellent A Level results, confirmation of a place at her first choice university and had a painting selected for another exhibition for young artists at The View Gallery in Bristol. We attended another very pleasant private viewing and presentation evening. I could get used to this...

September arrived and Youngest Darling Daughter started her Art Foundation course. Hubby and I made plans for a short break in Dubai. Hubby was taking part in a training conference there. I was a bit lonely at times during the day, but I loved Dubai. The heat was a bit much for me, so I spent most of the daytimes in the hotel - thank goodness for air conditioning and the hotel pool. I would love to go back to Dubai soon, with my girls, and share the experience with them. I hope that wasn't a once in a lifetime. It is a lovely place and the people are very friendly, polite and helpful. I highly recommend it.

As September came to an end, we set off on the drive to London to take Darling Daughter First Born back to university. Another year of study ahead of her, new experiences to be had and friends to meet, I know she will continue to blossom. I miss her so much when she is at university, but I am so glad she is able to have this experience. We chat regularly on Skype so it feels like she isn't so very far away.

In early October, I met my two dear university friends in London to celebrate one lovely lady's fiftieth birthday. We had a gorgeous lunch at The Roux at Parliament Square and shared lots of stories and laughter. I have known these ladies for over thirty years but I never tire of their company. We have shared so much over the decades, lots of joy and some very sad times too and I love them both. Friends like that only come along once in a lifetime. I hope I never take them for granted. And now I am up to date...October is drawing to a close.

When you stop and think about it, many things, many ordinary events and encounters are once in a lifetime. Birthdays, yes, they happen every year, but they are never the same. To quote T S Eliot: 'All time is unredeemable.' I think I know what he means. We can't change the past or expect the same to happen in the future. We can't alter time or save it, but we can learn from it. We have to treat each moment as unique, even if we follow the same routine every day. And those things that we do everyday, are different in some way from the previous day. So whether we are trying for an Olympic Gold Medal, joining friends or family to celebrate a birthday or just popping to the local shop for some milk, I want to embrace every day from now on as a once in a lifetime.