22 March 2010

Luckiest Girl ...

This was the scene that greeted me on Saturday morning ...

Because of this ...

Quite an unbelievable milestone reached - not too sure how that happened!

(According to one of my birthday cards I was born the year that the VW Camper Van and the Kenwood Chef  made their debuts and Andy Pandy made his tv debut; it was the year of the first British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone; Labour won the General Election with a 5 seat overall majority; Sainsburys first self-service grocery store opened in Croydon and I share the year with Karen Carpenter, Richard Branson, Jeremy Paxman, Julie Walters, Suzi Quatro and Stevie Wonder, to name a few)

My wonderful family had organised an amazing surprise weekend, and it turned out to be exactly what I would have chosen for myself if I had had any say in the matter!

It all began with this ...
Click on the image (my dear daughter calls me Soosan these days - such disrespect!!!!)

So we set off on Friday afternoon in pouring rain! I was allowed to know I was to drive to Dorchester and from there directions were given to me by my co-pilot, although he forgot to mention one key factor and we had to phone the owners of Tincleton Lodge to find out where to go (but don't tell him I told you)!!!

Hannah and Rob were already there, the woodburner was lit, and we were sent to look round the most beautifully-appointed house with low beams which Rob had already come into contact with numerous times. Pauley and I were given the master bedroom (which you can see if you click on the link above), and despite it being a 5-bedroomed property I was amazed when, at 10.00 pm a car arrived and my bestest friend Bozena (who lives in Nice) arrived with her daughter and daughter's significant other.

Not only had BA upset Bozzy's flight plans, but they'd also had a disastrous journey from London in the rain. Apparently there had been endless secretive text messages between Han and Amanda as their arrival had been timed for 6.00 pm! We had just finished our meal when they arrived. They were, of course, supposed to have been included, but we continued sitting round the table imbibing while they ate in between all the shrieks of excitement and catching up that took place. Having not seen Bozena since Han and Rob's wedding there was much jollity, especially as neither of us has ever behaved when together in company!!!

This is the card Boz gave me! No-one else realised this is really how we see one another!

To think that we were Chairman and Secretary of Northampton High School for Girls PTA together in the 1980s beggars belief ...

After everyone else had gone to bed, Boz and I sat up until 2.30 am catching up on the nitty-gritty of "life like wot it is led" (how our girls ever grew up to be so level-headed and articulate is beyond us of course), by which time we thought it would be sensible to get a few hours' shut-eye before 'the day'!

We were all up reasonably early, greeted by more drizzly rain which continued until Sunday morning, but a breakfast of scrambled egg and smoked salmon, washed down with Bucks Fizz meant our enthusiasm wasn't dampened in the least!

I was instructed to sit down with eyes closed and after much rustling I was allowed to open them and this is what I saw ...

SIXTY red roses from Pauley, beautifully arranged with twigs and eucalyptus.

How lucky was I?

They had been prepared by Han's florist friend Jo (Flowers by Passion) and transported by Han and Rob and hidden in their bedroom overnight. Needless to say I was reduced to tears, but that soon turned to laughter (and then despair when I saw some of the photos they'd taken of me - seriously REALLY need to stop eating and I won't be showing any of the photos here!).

Sadly nearly all the photos I took of everyone were either blurred or I took them at the wrong moment where everyone was looking serious, but there are one or 2 that are 'showable'.

Only 10 weeks to go until the bump becomes a grandchild!

The day was planned to be free and easy with everyone doing what they felt like doing. Pauley stayed at the house and had a snooze, Han and Rob went to Lulworth Cove and I took Boz and Mum to Lulworth, too, via Wareham and various other places as Boz had never been. In 1980-something Pauley and I took Boz's other daughter on holiday with us to West Lulworth, so it was nice for her to see it. It continued to rain, but undaunted we walked down to the Cove and then up the hill.

There must be a suitable caption to go under this photo, but I can't think of a printable one!!

Don't you love Boz's rain hat? You can see why no-one else wanted to come with us!!
Mum spent the whole weekend grinning, despite the weather, and despite the fact that her daughter
had reached such a ripe old age!

We all reconvened in front of the woodburner later in the afternoon to watch the rugby. Everything was so relaxed that it was almost better that the weather was poor. If it had been brighter we would  have stayed out longer and not enjoyed the lovely house and each others company quite so much.

Apparently the evening meal was to be another surprise - every New Year's Eve when we all lived in Northampton, Boz and the girls would come to us, and we always had a fondue. So, to carry on tradition that's what we had. Rob wasn't impressed, not being a fondue lover, but was told the weekend wasn't about what he wanted! Hannah was determined everything was to be just so, and it was ... even to the extent that once the meal was over I was told there was one more surprise ...

Has anyone ever played the game "Farming"? This always followed on from the fondue, and Saturday night was no exception. Rules were not adhered to - were they ever? - and by 2.30 am we all agreed that we would have to stop mid-game, otherwise we'd be there all night. No photos at this stage - they would most certainly have been blurred if I'd thought to take any!

On Sunday morning we awoke to brilliant sunshine! We pottered around a little, but were all ready to vacate at the required hour full of happy memories of a wonderful weekend. I had such a lovely time and am so pleased for everyone's sake that nearly everything went according to plan.


I had some lovely gifts from friends, too! Look ...

An orchid in a felt watering can!

Very yummy choccies ...

Green bead bracelet, shiny pewter butter knife with a cow on the handle,
silver pendant, beach huts tile, button necklace, scarf, lovely lily-of-the-valley cushion ...

This beautiful handkerchief embroidered by a prisoner of war for his sweetheart ...

More gorgeous flowers

Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes - I received so many cards (I don't think blogger could cope with more photos though) and lovely blog comments. This birthday was certainly one I shall never forget! I've been so lucky and have loved every moment.

Sue x

17 March 2010

Keeping out of mischief ...

At last my little creative streak has come to the fore and I've purposely made myself stop, take time out and play a little. Playing, but not misbehaving ... first of all I've been making button necklaces. They don't take long, and I'm hoping that by the time the Vintage Textile and Costume Day @ Dairy House comes round - 3 weeks on Sunday - a button necklace will still be a suitable accessory!! Apologies for the poor light - believe it or not most of the buttons in the first photo are shades of blue!!

No problem if these are no longer the height of fashion, I'll wear them myself - I've probably now made one to coordinate with every colour of jumper in my possession!! They've been great relaxation therapy and as my latest offering looks good on my other playtime activity, I might just have to keep the necklace AND the mannequin!

I have 2 other mannequin bodies to patchwork before 11 April but believe it or not, despite having acres of fabric, choosing the right pieces isn't an easy task.

Have a lovely weekend  (I know it's only Wednesday today but I won't be posting again this week) - it's a special one for me, but I'll tell you all about that next week.


07 March 2010

Three Hundred ...

I can't quite believe this is post #300. Strictly speaking I feel this should indicate that it's time for a giveaway, but if you'll bear with me there are lots of exciting things happening over the next few weeks, culminating in the Vintage Textile and Costume Day @ Dairy House. So, sometime between now and then I'll announce a giveaway.

In the meantime, my last Shepton Giant Flea was a great success, although if you open the door to my studio you wouldn't think anything had gone! Lots of lovely bloggers and other friends stopped to say hello, and I gave out plenty of postcards advertising the Vintage Textile and Costume Day.

Since then I've had a little shopping spree in order to add to the button mountain - here are just a few with apologies for the poor lighting!

I've been selling 50-gram packs of buttons for £1. I packed them ready for the Flea and have been selling them in Dairy House since. I don't know that there's anything really exciting among them, but you never know.

You may recall that the Bridport Rag Market took place on 20 February. That was another good day, with lots of jolly company and several blogging visitors. I bought a lovely chunky cardi which needed its own button fix ... not a problem of course, and here it is with its 2"+ octagonal button.  I could have done with this thick layer all through the winter at Dairy House but at least I've  certainly managed to keep warm over the last couple of weeks!

It's been a treat driving back and forth to Dairy House since the days have been getting longer. Some days I've got home in daylight which has been great. Some evenings I've been later shutting up shop and this sight greeted me as I pulled out of the carpark one evening last week.

Yesterday morning I came across this beautifully laid hedge. So often today hedges are ripped to shreds by massive hedge cutters manoeuvred by even more massive tractors, with twigs and branches flying all over the place. I know it's done for speed and economy of time, but it was a lovely surprise to see that this dying craft is still practised in Dorset.

I do believe that Spring is now just around the corner. Although we've had some incredibly chilly days the sun and blue skies have been magnificent, trees and hedgerows are beginning to come into bud and the amaryllis I gave Mum for Christmas has come into flower.

Finally, these flowers can be found at any time of the year. A box of gorgeous floral corsages I bought on Tuesday. I think I shall keep them at home and enjoy them for a few weeks before displaying them at the Dairy House Textile Fair.

Have a good week, everyone!