Friday, 12 June 2015

Rest and relaxation.

Well hello! It is so nice to be back with you again after what feels like a very long time. It has been just over a week since my very last Open University exam and only now does my poor head feels like it is getting back to normal or what I perceive to be normality anyway! The exam was a mixed bag all right, I think I did relatively well in the first two questions but on the third part my mind just went blank. It didn't help that I could barely hold the pen straight as I was trembling so much.

Thank goodness, I have one last module to take next year which is all on-going assessment so if I do badly in the History exam my degree classification will not be unduly affected. I was left with the feeling that to assess in three hours; a whole year's worth of  analysis and synthesis of 20th century history AND all the many historiographical debates and controversy's that surround the events of such a tumultuous century is quite unfairly demanding. Ouch. I did manage to have a chuckle in the wonderful Oxfam Books on the vibrant Botanic Avenue, Belfast the afternoon before exam day though. Look who was sharing the top shelf:

However for the very first time in five years of Open University study I was left with a curious feeling of anti-climax and disorientation. My nights punctuated with dreams of redoing the exam with bleeding fingers and my days ran slow with lethargy. So when feeling like this I always turn to the kitchen:

Green herby soup.
Food for the comfort of the bruised soul.
Fresh parsley, chives and spring onion.
Garden peas, celery and broccoli,
whizzed up with home made chicken stock, crème fraiche and perhaps some flaked almonds for the top. 
Then I finish all the niggley unfinished projects that have been hanging around:

Two A-line skirts finally finished and while not perfect sewing by any means, I made them and I have been wearing them with pleasure. The flowery one is the deconstructed skirt used as a toile and was the source of much annoyance for the Rookie Sewer. The denim fabric was purchased in the excellent Paragon Fabrics also in Belfast a little treasure trove of fabric to dye for. Paragon fabrics is conveniently next door to this amazingly chaotic junk/antique shop which is just crammed with good treasure hunting possibilities.
After I had bought the fabric above, I gingerly stepped in and as I carefully explored I heard someone come down the stairs and go out to stand outside in a haze of cigarette smoke. It was the proprietor, small of stature and dirty of mac, he was coming back in as I was leaving.
'Oh no!' he exclaimed when he noticed me, 'I thought you were the ghost!'
'Really?' sez me, 'I'm not surprised you have a ghost.'
'Yes', said Himself, but it is a Man Ghost. I wouldn't entertain a Lady Ghost.
'No', retorts (a slightly indignant I) 'She would probably make you organise your shop. And get your duster out. I do like those Bristol blue bottles there...'
The next critical stage of recuperation is to Go Outside:

This is the way in to our walk in the fields. The ground is hard and dry now and the barley (?) makes the most beautiful rustling in the wind.

Across the golden meadow.

A carpet of bee buzzing clover.

In some of the fields, the maturing grain is slowly turning to gold and is waist high. There is a beautiful hot-dry fragrance of the grass and the dog picks out choice morsels to eat.
We return home and do a little gardening with the children:

Plan our next sewing journey:
I can't wait to get started with these fabrics, aren't they cute! (Again from Paragon) The blues are for E's quilt, and the butterflies are going to be Pj's for her. Do you remember Holly Hobbie? The most excellent Star Wars fabric was also going to be pyjamas, this time for O but according to the shop they are nearly on their last metre of this and may not get it again so I might persuade his to have pillow cases. He won't grow out of those.
The final stage in our restorative journey is to curl up with a good book and a beautiful thrifted collection is sometimes the most satisfying. I'm just mad about vintage children's books and I was so pleased to have found these ostensibly for E. I think the covers are stunning and the stories sound so imaginative. 'Oh dear Mammy!' said E, upon presentation of these books, 'They are very old-fashioned, like something you would read.'
Looks like everything is back to order and balance! :)
It really feels like proper summer now. What are you all looking forward too over the next few months? xxx




  1. Ooh Ponies In The Attic- I read that as a child and have probably still got it somewhere! Many congrats on completing the exams. These things usually turn out better than expected so I'm sure you'll be fine. Are you still running? That's a good 'un for clearing the head and re-balancing xx

  2. Hope so CT. I have not been running this week as I have yet another cold but last week was soo good- have got to get back in the mood again very soon.

  3. Looks like you were having cocktails whilst gardening. If you weren't, perhaps you should. A reward for all your studying. x

    1. Alas Katherine, only lemon and water in that pic, but I have indulged in a few celebratory beverages - got to have a treat now and again. x

  4. Sorry about the exam, fingers crossed. Lots of lovely restoration though. Love the junk shop and fabric. And I adore Botanic Ave. I got a battered Mulberry bag in a charity shop there for £6 s few weeks ago. Score!

  5. Sorry about the exam, fingers crossed. Lots of lovely restoration though. Love the junk shop and fabric. And I adore Botanic Ave. I got a battered Mulberry bag in a charity shop there for £6 s few weeks ago. Score!

    1. Thanks Nuala, I'm totally over the trauma now! That was a right quare bargain as they say, bags are so much nicer with a bit of batter so they are. Lovely.