Tag Archives: bicycle

First footing

So, perhaps, you have heard of the old tradition of   “First Footing at New Year’s, but have you heard of ‘First Mailing’. It’s unlikely that you have since I just invented it, in the excitement of receiving my first mail of 2014. It was hand-delivered to my door at 10.30 a.m. by our  postie on his eco-friendly bicycle . He doesn’t usually deliver mail to my door, unless the post needs a special signature and this mail did need my autograph…..because…..  it was a VIP package all the way from BERLIN and the wonderful Nath of  BEAUTYCALYPSE.

Nath had her first ever ‘ethical’ giveaway last year and I was the winner. 🙂  🙂  🙂  Nath tried her best to get the prize to me by Christmas but, obviously, the postal services thought it better for me to have it for New Year, and I don’t mind a bit.

First post from Berlin, first prize, first mailing

First parcel  from Berlin, first prize, first mailing

I am not going to show you what is in the parcel today, ( that will be another post ), but, if you are eager and curious to know, you can have a  search on Nath’s blog  for the giveaway post 🙂  Have fun! I always do, and I learn something interesting every time I visit her blog.

Yesterday, for example, I learned that we are both Tuesday’s children;  remember the old nursery rhyme ~~~~

Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

Thursday’s child has far to go,

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for a living,

But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day

Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

This was one of my favourite rhymes when I was very young. I loved to think I was full of grace because surely this  meant I would eventually dance across  the stage as a beautiful, elegant ballerina….along the lines of my idol  Margot Fonteyn.  Not even being cast as the boy, Hansel, in our little ballet school’s production of  Hansel and Gretel,

The only male role and it's mine :(

The only male role and it’s mine 😦

or being cast as clumsy Badger in The  Wind in the Willows,

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could permanently deflate my belief in my essential physical grace-full-ness. It didn’t occur to me, as a child, that ‘full of grace” could have any other meaning than graceful ballet or walking or swimming (and I did swim very gracefully 🙂 ).

As an adult, getting creakier in the body with each passing year, I have come to understand other concepts of grace. I would love my life to be full of those other, *spiritual* concepts, as, I am sure, does Nath. She is already on her way to “grace- full- ness” in her choice to live beautifully and ethically.

In her  manifesto, Nath says, “I believe that you can only make better choices by being aware and having access to knowledge. I believe that there’s no beauty without kindness, intelligence, freedom or community.

Nath’s feet are set firmly on the path of ‘grace-full’, and, because of her choices, a  parcel of goodness has made its way from one Tuesday’s child to another; makes me want to dance with joy 🙂 and maybe a little imagined grace as well. Thank You Nath.

© silkannthreades

Stitching Memories

In my much younger days, I was very interested in sewing and needlework. My mother, who believed she was not skilled with needle and thread, arranged for me to have sewing lessons with some of her more skilled friends. As a result, by the age of about ten or eleven, I became quite the little seamstress, cheerily making clothes for myself, my little sister and my mother.  My enthusiasm for sewing was at its peak in those years and, although I continued to sew in to adulthood, it was never with the same exuberance and excitement. Finally, at the ripe old age of 26, I stopped sewing.

I may have stopped sewing, ( anything more than a button on a shirt, that is ), but I remained in love with the idea of sewing; the wondrous process of turning one form of cloth into another shape and size ; the different stitches and seams, the cuts and darts and frills and facings. Not to mention the lovely ribbons and laces and trimmings, and the beautiful hand-made button holes with equally beautiful buttons, usually recycled from that ultimate household treasure trove; the button jar.

When we lived in New Delhi, I was privileged to be part of a group of women who employed a tailor, named Mr Singh. Not just any tailor. As far as I was concerned, he was the most skilled tailor ….EVER. As per our group agreement, each of us booked Mr Singh’s sewing service for a couple of weeks at a time, and, at the appointed hour, he would arrive on his bicycle, with lunch container secure on the handle bar, and his hand-operated sewing machine carefully strapped to the carrier. Then, quietly and efficiently, he would settle in his chosen corner…..and sew and sew;  everything and anything  I asked for. Everything and AnythingFor me it was magic; for him, I suppose, it was merely another day at the office.

Here is a little piece I wrote about Mr Singh in February 2003.

“Mr Singh. Bearded, turbaned, thin as a pin. There he sits, cross-legged, at his sewing machine, in the dim, back room. A silent figure, stitching his magic; making my dreams. I can see him still in the dim back room of my mind.

Why do I see him now? Because today, his stitches, and my dreams, are displayed brightly on the washing line. The duvet cover we created together, from dress scraps and my grandmother’s sheets, is blowing in the Christchurch breeze; glistening white in the glare of  a Christchurch sun. I look at the vibrant colours on white Colour on Whiteand remember the muted tones of Mr Singh; blue and grey,  grey on white, grey on grey, almost a shadow in the shaded back room. Muted Ah, yes, quiet, gentle Mr Singh; a master of many stitches.  I miss his serenity, his dignity, his creativity.”

The photos in this post are all of the duvet cover. I took them this morning in our bright autumnal sunshine. The colours are no longer bright; they have softened with age. Twenty three years have gone by since Mr Singh pieced all the different fabrics together.Marking Time

Sheet notes: the white cotton sheets used for the duvet are at least 50 years old now, and the coloured scraps range in age from  25 to 35 years old. The buttons on the cover would be close to  30 years old . I think they  were salvaged from a dress of mine, made in Zimbabwe!  The duvet cover spends most of its present life in the linen cupboard, snuggled in lavender, in refined retirement. It is no longer subjected to harsh wear and tear and the rigours of washing machine and sunlight.

© silkannthreades