Today is Father's Day in the UK. My daughter sent a text to Jim's phone, but of course, as Buster has eaten it, he didn't get it! The thought was there. My father died in 1987, my mother in 1980. So long ago. They were 'older' parents and I am the youngest and I envy people who still have their parents - take care of them, one day you will miss them as much as I miss mine. My Father was a wonderful man, Reginald Barker was his name and he started his working life as an engineer in a factory but played in his own band at weekends. Eventually the music took over and through huge talent and a series of leaps, he ended up a professional musician playing at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for 25 years. I wish I'd asked him more about his early life, do it now everyone, before it's too late.
He was born and lived in Leytonstone, East London and his father was an entertainer too. It was in the blood. Daddy also had a great bass singing voice and could play most instruments he picked up. He originally played the trumpet in his own band but mostly played timpani and percussion. We had a whole room at our house filled with his instruments. Huge kettle drums, tubular bells, a xylophone and glockenspiel, cymbals, all sorts. He had a wonderful bird whistle that you filled with water. You had to blow down it and it made a marvellous sounds. I loved it.
His nickname for me was Whizzer. Sadly he developed Parkinson's Disease in his later life and it robbed him of a happy retirement and the medication made him miserable and depressed. So unfair for a man who had so much talent. I could write much more about him, maybe another time. I still miss his raucous laughter and his deep resonant speaking voice.
I've had such a lot of lovely post recently. Some expected, some a total surprise. As you may know, I am a member of a group of 10 and we are making ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) going through the alphabet. I have recently received these:
C for Carp from Mim. I just love the subtle, soft colours she has used in this.
D for Desert Rose from Marianne. Isn't this just so pretty?
This interesting card was from Marianne, together with 2 pretty 'stickers', shown below
These are both Mandalas - (look it up Adrian!!)
E for Energy from Lynn. Wow, this stitched ATC is certainly full of energy and fun and pizazz! I love it.
I also love this amusing card Lynn sent! 'half cocked owl'!! Taken by herself too
We are on 'F' this coming week and Lolo has already sent me this wonderful ATC. F for Feel Free. This is so joyful and certainly conveys the feeling of freedom to me. I love those feet.
This is the super card from Lolo. How great to have such wonderful Bloggy friends:
Achieve Balance, I'll do my very best Lolo
I sent Mildred from Nalley Valley an ATC of 'Madam Butterfly' as she is a big fan of butterflies and dragonflies. She has sent me this wonderful ATC, her first. If this is her first, she must definitely keep on doing them. It's terrific:
This is so pretty, thank you Mildred. And for the lovely card accompanying the ATC
And Mildred left the card blank, so I can use it!!
I have recently been in contact with a blogger from New Zealand and she sent me 2 fabulous ATCs and a felt brooch. Here they are:
A Maori ATC. So unique and fabulous feathers
This ATC is Marama (Moon). Such great textures. Also on the back of each card is something. The first one has a Kereru (Wood Pigeon) in paper cutout. This one has a coin with a butterfly and 10 on it.
This is the brooch, it has a pin on the back for attachment. Isn't it something? I'm so lucky.
Thank you so much Flower.
Lastly, I have just done my 'G' for green, although it's not 'official' until 29th June, here's a sneak peek!
I am quite pleased with this one. There's even the symbol for 'Green bucks'! I think that's what they've been called at times, anyway. My 'G' ATC will go to Mim in the USA.
Now for the big surprise. I received a mystery parcel. I poked and prodded at it but couldn't decide who it was from, though I could see it was posted in the UK. Jim got fed up with my procrastination and opened it. Inside was a bag full of wonderful toys for me!! Material, bias binding, gold thread, silver thread, ribbons of all sizes and colours, sequins, little gold leaves, silver rik rak. And much more besides. The great card inside was from Nikki, my friend from Nat West Bank days in Bakewell (she comments on my blog as anonymous - but I know who she is)!!! Her little note said 'Having a sort out - found a pile of stuff that used to go on carnival costumes - wondered if they are of any use for your cards? If not, no worries, your bin is as good as mine.'
Oh Nikki, I'm so glad you didn't throw them away and were thoughtful enough to send them to me. I am thrilled to pieces. Thank you, thank you. Isn't it great to have friends? Nikki's card is a hoot:
Do read the words! Click on it to enlarge if you're myopic like me!
I did order a book from Amazon and that also came. Its title is 'Collage, Assemblage and Altered Art' by Diane Maurer-Mathison. I had a look through it in the bath this morning (I managed to keep it dry) and I'm not itching to have a go. Come on builders, get my room finished soooon.
Wow, I think that's it for postal presents. There's nothing beats snail mail for the pleasure of receiving and sending.
Today - inside and out
I think I must be nesting as I've spent the past 2 mornings cleaning up big style! Today I washed the floor again (Kitchen/diner), trying to scrape off the plaster trail left by the builders. Then I cleaned the top of the kitchen cupboards - they were just hideous. Then I had a bit of a go at the walls too! The line between where I've cleaned and the dirty bit is amazing. It is the wall just above Stanley (our old stove), who often belches out black smoke, so you can imagine it, I'm sure. Even the spiders refuse to set up home there. Now I'm de-scaling the washing machine and kettle. Hey ho. It must be holding all these babies.
It's been hot and muggy today so we did quite a lot of gardening too. I have finished planting everything that Jim has grown. Phew, it was quite a task. Foxgloves, poppies, mixed perennials, wild flowers, delphiniums, hollyhocks, a real mixture. The garden is looking lovely I must say, I think its at its best in June and July. I will take some photos probably tomorrow.
We have quite a long lane leading up to our gate. We own it so have to maintain it. At this time of year it gets quite overgrown from the banks on each side. Brambles and stinging nettles start to hang over the lane and the gorse seems to have almost taken over. One large bush has fallen down. So Jim strimmed and I snipped and pulled and we managed to clear most of it before we both gave up, partly because of the midges and horse flies and partly because we had both come to a standstill! I always find humid days quite draining.
It's been a good few days, the builders seem to be cracking on at last and the garden is blooming, plus all my lovely post.
We have to go to bed by 2am tonight as Jim has to be up early for a telephone conference call at 9am for the Horticultural Society. I have to be there to make sure Buster doesn't start howling or eating something he shouldn't! So we'll have to be up at about 8am I suppose. It'll be like being back at Jason's. I might sneak a quick nap in the afternoon!
Oh, I nearly forgot. Jim and I received a lovely hand made card from Ali, Joe and Poppy thanking us for the pram for Poppy. Just in case you're getting baby withdrawal:
The t-shirt was one I bought for Jim when Ali was still pregnant. It says 'Who Needs Money When I've got Grandad!!'