Thursday, 28 August 2014

TGISD (The Great Irish Sewing Disaster Part 1.)

So some of you may have noticed that despite a proud display of a 'sew along with Daisy Jones' button on the blog there has been precious little sewing happening here in Oriel. What with OU study, house renovations, crochet addictions, child rearing, dog walking and the occasional chat with Mr S, I simply ran out of time to complete the project as it unfolded (!) on Daisy's blog.

I did however order the pattern, McCall's 3341, a nice simple A-line skirt. When I arrived my first instinct was to run down to the fabric shop and choose some gorgeous material but I was very good and supressed this urge and set off instead to the charity shop to purchase some cheap and potentially scrap-able fabric. After much bickering and arm twisting, the kids persuaded me to treat them to some of those blooming Rainbow Magic fairy books (E) and a dinky fork-lift (O). I don't know how such a modern mother as myself can end up with two such gender stereo-typical children! Anyhow, I digress- I was finally allowed to purchase for myself a large box-pleated skirt with lots of lovely material to play with.

I spent some of the lovely summer evenings of our holiday, drinking wine, watching the aeronautical display of swallows and un-picking and deconstructing the skirt. Then came the reclamation of our home and after days of cleaning and organising; after the welcome departure of the jolly electricians and the puerile plasterers and the incompetent plumbers, finally out came the sewing machine and my pattern. My first heart-breaking moment was when I realised that at just a smidgen under 30inches my waist was measuring in at a size 16! No, how on earth had that happened!

I composed myself. Off to Daisy's blog for advice, she says that 'the skirt comes up slightly bigger in reality' and 'why not try making it with scrap fabric first', now I am feeling smug. Sure it is only a number! Tentatively, I open the envelope, scissors and freshly brewed cup of coffee at the ready. I study the lines to make sure I am cutting the correct size, 4, 6, 8, 10...Erm where is 16?!
No, how on earth has that happened! I have ordered the wrong size, so instead of the correct 3341 DD  (12-14-16-18) I have the erroneous 3341 AAX (4-6-8-10)

Disappointed, I fold up the pattern. Marvelling as I fold at the teeny tiny waist that is a size 4. Do grown women exist that are actually this size? Briefly consider a starvation diet before good sense prevails. A good part of this learning to sew malarkey was to have nice flattering clothes that fit me .
Closer inspection of the pattern reveals that these sizes are 'Miss' sizes, right so I can keep the pattern for E. Although, how to persuade her that what she needs is a lovely wee A-line skirt and not a pirate princess skirt is another challenge for another day. I pack away the sewing machine and drink my tea.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Stories from the Sea.

It is time to get back to celebrating the lovely things that life brings. So, I am stealing my title today from the peerless P.J. Harvey and her gorgeous album of 2000 'Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea'.

We went to the sea and we brought back some treasure.

 A mermaid's comb.
A dinosaurs tooth.

A paperweight.

Emeralds and Pearls.
A restorative day.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

As if.

(Bridget Riley 'Fall')

Thank-you so much for all the kind messages, they mean so much. I thought I would give you an update of the story so far.

A twenty-six year old woman has been charged with the arson attack on my neighbours home.
Three men who were with her at the time have been released without charge.
Anecdotal reports on social media suggest that this woman has a young child.
Some newspapers have reported that the GardaĆ­ believe that this was a random act of violence.
Many cars have been driving down our street very slowly to have a good look at the damaged house.

My neighbour remains in a serious condition in hospital. The man who rescued her sustained serious burns that may require skin grafts.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

What if?

My blog name was chosen to reflect subtly my own personal interests, taste and sense of place. The 'linnet' part was taken from a character in one of my favourite children's book series, Linnet Oldknowe. Linnet in 'The Children of Green Knowe (by L.M. Boston) is both the Great-Grandmother, a woman full of vitality despite or perhaps because of her age and little mischievous Linnet, the ghostly child that plays with and teases Tolly, the great-grandson that comes to live in his ancient magical ancestral home.

Linnet also refers back to the line 'she sang each note like an Irish linnet' in the  traditional Irish song 'The Galway Shawl'. This song has followed me around most of my adult life and has an association with wonderful memories of listening to Irish music in my Grandmothers house in Co Antrim; also in the beautiful Tomney's bar in  Moy Co Tyrone where my Grandfather hailed from and also from when myself and Mr S took our first real holiday together traveling around Co Galway.

The Oriel part originated from a tribute I wanted to pay to my adopted county and a place where I have been content to lay my hat and bring up my children. I had many posts planned, bringing to you the gorgeous scenery, the charming people of and the amazing history of the 'wee' county, Co Louth. My adopted town, Drogheda was founded originally as two separate towns 'Drogheda-in-Meath'  on the south bank of the river Boyne (charter granted in 1194) and 'Drogheda-in-Oriel' (charter granted in 1229) on the northern Louth side of the river.

Last Friday however brought events to my own front door that have been profoundly shocking and laid bare our vulnerability. Here can be seen the raw violence of strangers and the darkness of humanity that lingers in every place, at the periphery of life ready to engulf and shatter ordinary lives without regard for all that is precious. Yet it has to be recorded that even here, we experience the brave heroism and little acts of kindness that imprint life with joy and hope. However, last Friday night, some one attacked my neighbours home and maliciously set fire to the house in which a wheelchair dependant woman was asleep alone.

Cosy and warm in my bed, I initially thought the bang and shouts were the antics of  Friday night revellers but awaked by the cries of Fire, I rushed to grab my sleeping children and ran from my home. You know those questions that ask what would you save? What book? What treasured photograph? Which sentimental attachment? It doesn't matter. You would let it all go in those first minutes of flight. Once the kids and Mr S. were safe I did go back for my dog, the golden girl who firmly believes that all humanity is good and requires her closeness of dogged love.

As my neighbour fights for her life in the hospital, I want to close down and retreat back into my home. To hold my children close and to keep them closer, I want to warn them of the darkness of the shadows, the dangers, the weirdoes, the bastards. What if? What if no one had seen the flames until it was too late? What if the smoke had travelled through the gaps in the terrace, the gaps that our surveyor noticed six years ago and we have not acted on? I won't shut down though. I will teach my children that life is a celebration, to rush at it with joy and openness. To embrace everyone they meet with sincere honesty and integrity, peppered with a healthy dose of street-wise cynicism. To attack every challenge with energetic vitality and intelligence. To be a parent is to know what real visceral fear is, yet to hold that fear for them and let them go bravely and freely out into the world.

Thank-you to the as yet un-identified man who rushed into the burning house and pulled Mrs B free.
Thank-you to my neighbour N whose kindness alleviated much of the trauma that my kids could have experienced that night.
Thank-you to my friend L. whose simple telephone call meant so much.