Thursday, 19 February 2009

Other people's lives


It's been quite an eventful few days but very positive; definitely not February-Blues time, more like February-Fast-Forward; a whole range of activities accomplished, my mind is swirling. 

Tuesday: Raymond and I covered TWO exhibitions in one day at the NEC (Birmingham National Exhibition Centre), a huge complex of 20 exhibition halls with numerous simultaneous shows; the logistics of organising these are mind-boggling. The first show (morning) was 'International Craft, Hobby & Stitches' - a show for the trade but one I attend every year. Craft is buzzing in the UK despite the recession. Apart from keeping up-to-date with new products and companies, this year I wanted to talk with magazine editors about possible articles. I have some useful leads; but I was also trying to interest editors in the workshops given by my dear friend, Kristin Steiner of South Carolina - see her website), in the UK and also in Italy.
 
Next we walked half-a-mile between halls to the 'National Boat Caravan & Outdoor Show' which encompasses five halls although we only touched on a few stands - mainly to talk to editors again regarding travel articles (travel being possibly no further than the next town!). That too proved useful - all the walking was tiring, and I was lugging a canvas bag full of my various portfolios. But we were home by six for a very welcome glass of wine by the fire!

Wednesday: recovering! And a call from our younger son on holiday in Geneva to say that the courier who was delivering a package fro him to us (software to recover my computer) 'could not find our house' ... I ask you! (Actually, it had already been deliverd.) Then follow-up thankyous from the exhibitions, and the start of a 2,200 word article on 'Wild Greens' that had been shelved due to the computer crash. All but 400 words written - completed today; and then we had a sudden - and very welcome - invitation to our daughter's home to sample a 'Morrocan Supper' which was delicious - she was trying out a recipe from a book I gave her for Christmas; followed by pancakes cooked by her husband. We had time to enjoy the company and chatter of their three children; we talked books and painting and all manner of things, including how little L. nearly came to serious grief when tobogganing down a very steep hill in the snow last week; it did not bear thinking of.

And so to today, and the meaning of this post's title. We had run out of wood to fuel our lounge wood-burning stove, and boiler that heats the rest of the house and the water; we were on the point of chopping up the furniture! (Not really.)  We recycle - buying a trailer-load of scrap timber from the local recycling yard for next to nothing. This involves us negotiating a very, very, very muddy yard to a heap of salvage that would make the mother of all bonfires, but it is all building scrap from old houses that are being renovated, and not for the first time - renovation on renovation and all now scrapped; a nail-infested woodstack into which I clambered to lever down the best pieces for burning. Joists and beams and floorboards, doors and window frames, all piled into this precarious wood-mountain. And I thought, "how sad, houses are being pulled apart that were loved by the people who lived in them." I wondered what stories lay behind the wood we collected; most bits had a plethora of old, hand-made nails, hand-cut joints, beautiful latches and hinges that had escaped the crusher. And then I made a little 'find' that had Raymond asking me what I thought I was doing secreting 'something' into the car, when we were supposed to be collecting firewood. For that little story, and what I found, please visit my other blog - you will discover the significance! Back home, it took an hour to wash the mud off the car and trailer wheels, and most of the afternoon to unload and stack the firewood; recycling the recycled and saving trees. We will be warm again for another fortnight.

The pic above this over-long posting shows our trailer-load of wood; a photo of the wood-mountain is lurking somewhere in the recesses of my crashed computer.

11 comments:

  1. Does sound like a busy time for you. What an original idea as to how to find firewood. Goodness. Glad you can be warm once again.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved reading about your adventures - going over to your other blog now!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do so wish I had your energy but what a lovely life

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ian is off tomorrow to see what he can find for our woodburner - there is a fallen tree by the road on the way up to our track which has been there for a few years which he has designs on with his chainsaw. I might be forced to go along for moral support. Generally I busy myself determinedly at home. He has considerably more front than I have!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, I enjoyed it too. We have been remodeling our bathroom - as I think you know - and the wood that came from the destruction heated up our living room quite smartly! That very dry old fir the house was built from. Well, I can't wait any longer to see what you found. I too have a fondness and empathy for houses that were home to happy times. Jeanne in Oregon

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE reading your blogs, and here in IOWA am longing for SPRING and ablility to get out and about to garage sales, yard sales and such. Major poking around..my friend in Bath,IL and I LOVE junking or wandering around to find treasures in woods either here or over her way. Keep up the wonderful inspiring blogs!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Talking of 'wild greens', Crete has many. You often see women bent over in the groves, sharp knife (paring knife)and plastic bag.It's a tradition passed from Granny (ya ya) to granddaughter, how to recognise the edible greens in the olive groves and mountain sides. Anything from dandilions, wild rocket and many more. Maria who writes Organically Cooked (Blogspot)has written more about them, they are called 'horta' in Greek.
    We scavenge all our wood for our wood burner, there's always olive branches to be had...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love the idea of the recycled timber but I could do with some of that to make raised beds!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ann If I had known you were going to Stitches I would have had you stop by the Spellbinders booth. That is the company I design for. Hope you saw plenty to give you inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I liked what you said, the story that must be in all that pile of wood and of course you say it so well the great writer that you are. Thanks xxx seashell p.s. guess I don't have to say 'stay warm' on this blog comment ;) Bet your all toasty and cozy.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ann,
    I'm testing again after doing another tweak to see if I can post.
    PS - I took a class a couple of years ago here in Pt Townsend from Kris Steiner, she was a fun teacher, loved the class. Isn't it a small world?
    Delorse

    ReplyDelete