Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Dressmaking starts here

I started the dressmaking course on Saturday and it was a totally different experience to the permaculture course.  I didn't feel shy at all, I didn't blush, I didn't feel nervous and I spoke up in front of the group without any problems. Quite a contrast to the social anxiety I had at the permaculture course.  Could it be down to my attitude towards the course?  Maybe I was a bit more nervous about how I came across at the permaculture course.  But at the dressmaking course I didn't really think twice and I was just myself.  Strange.  The course itself was really complicated. The tutor's first language isn't English and I think she struggled to explain a few things to us.  It was also the first dressmaking course they've done.  We measured ourselves and drew a tailor made pattern for a straight skirt and an a-line skirt.  There was lots of maths and geometry involved, so my head felt a bit baked by the end of it all, but I came away with my own paper pattern which we're going to transform into a skirt at the next class.

And the paper pattern I made.

It's funny how I flit from one headstate to another during the month - could it be hormonal?  At the minute I feel sociable and confident.  Let's hope it last til Saturday cos I'm on the permaculture course again. 

We watched Director Mike Leigh's new film 'Another Year' on Saturday night.  On the front of the DVD box it said 'the best film of Mike Leigh's career'. Whoever said that has never watched 'Naked', which is a much, much better film, and actor David Thewlis's brightest moment.  'Another Year' was good, a tad slow perhaps, but Mike Leigh films aren't normally that action packed.  It featured Leigh's usual bittersweet tinge.  I'd recommend it if you fancy an easy going watchable drama, but the plot isn't that complex, so don't expect too much in that respect.  A typical Mike Leigh film really.

I attended the inaugural meeting of the allotment association on Sunday morning.  What a whirlwind of a meeting that turned out to be, I was expecting it to be something and nothing.  Someone stormed out.  Another person disputed lots of points on the proposed constitution.  Fair enough they were valid points, but there was a LOT of tension at the meeting.  There's nowt queerer than folk, especially when they're in meetings.  I have a lot of meetings at work, but they never get petty or bitter.  It's hard to resist getting caught up in it all.  Chris doesn't understand why we need an association, he thinks 'if it's not broken don't try and fix it'.

Speaking of meetings, I went to the shop's board meeting on Friday morning.  Someone suggested the exterior shop lights should be left switched on in daylight in order to show people the shop's open.  I didn't like this idea - we're meant to be campaigning against climate change, so it doesn't seem right to leave the lights on in daylight.  Someone also wanted to spend £350 on a logo to say we're a social enterprise.  I thought this was a bad idea too - we can't afford to waste that kind of money on logos.  There seemed to be a lot of pettiness over small issues.  I think it's egos - people want to feel important, they want to get their own way.  But they need to remember it's not about individuals, we're a co-operative, it's a team effort.  I've decided to reduce my hours at the shop to 2 hours per week due to gardening commitments, which is a shame because I enjoy volunteering there, but I'll be struggling for time soon once I get all my seeds sown.  Oh, and we've got some cool handmade toys in stock made locally using recycled fabric.

I guess I've learnt a lot from being involved with the shop and now the allotment association, it's been a learning curve.  In future I'll be careful what I get involved with - whether it's courses, meetings or organisations.  Sometimes I wonder why I bother with any of it.  The only consolation is I could resign from it all today and there wouldn't be a problem.  I've not comitted to anything so I'm not tied in, thank heavens.  In a way I'm doing it all to try and learn new things and gain experience that will help me in my career, a bit selfish, but there are other reasons too, like wanting a local independent wholefood and fair trade shop, and somewhere other than a supermarket to buy things.

Chris got a new owl for the shed off the flea market.

Down at the allotment on Sunday I finished clearing the bottom greenhouse.

I also dug over the brassica patch.  We hardly ate any of the cabbage or sprouts we grew because we're not big fans of them.  They were time consuming crops too, especially setting up the netting.  So I'm not bothering with them this year, we'll just grow some curly kale instead.  I picked some leeks and kale.

I weeded the rhubarb as a few docks had popped up and I fed the birds.  Chris has manured most of the plot now and he's tidied all the paths too, so it looks a lot better. The bulbs have started to flower in my Dad's memorial garden and it looks really pretty.  The weather was lovely and sunny so I spent 10 minutes at the allotment basking in the afternoon sun.  It was nice to see everything dry and not slutchy.

When I got home I sat on our doorstep and read a magazine in the sun.  The crocuses and forget me nots are coming on well.  The trees are coming into bud and I'm hoping they'll eventually obscure the bright red Tesco supermarket sign that I can see from my house, that's been there since the new store opened in October.  I'm hoping that nature will obliterate the eyesore from view. Then it got a bit chillier so I went to my bedroom and had a lie down and feel asleep listening to Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Surgery on BBC 6 Music.

On Sunday night I made some fairy buns.  I've also discovered a quick culinary treat - pan fried toasties.  Take two slices of white bread.  Butter one side of each slice.  Put the buttered slice face down (yes, butter side down on the worktop), fill with cheese and onion (or whatever filling you fancy).  Then top with the other slice of bread, buttered side up (again the opposite way to what you'd normally do it).  Then fry in a frying pan for a couple of minutes on each side, pressing down occasionally with a fish slice.  So easy, so delicious, and so much better than a toastie machine (they get too mucky) and those toaster bags (they don't melt the cheese enough).  It's my new favourite quick snack.

We've been enjoying watching a new comedy series called 'Mrs Brown's Boys' on BBC1, it's a good laugh.

It was Pancake Day yesterday and we made some tasty pancakes, I had lemon and sugar on mine and Chris had bacon and maple syrup.

I ordered a new book called 'Hot Shoe Diaries' so I can learn more about using my Nikon speedlight off camera to shoot on location.  I was originally thinking of buying some studio lighting, but I realised I might get better results with the Speedlight (which I already own).

I was also considering a ban on buying any more books, but that'd be boring.

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