One Mans’ Waste is another Mans’ Treasure

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One Man’s waste is another man’s treasure. So they say….
I am the first to admit, I hate waste. I was brought up in a home where we did not have much to spare, what little we did have was often passed on or found. As a consequence, My parents and grandparents we great at recycling, (and hoarding) so I guess that it became second nature to me to have second hand furniture, clothing and to learn how to give things a new lease of life, or just enjoy them when someone else had finished with them. Also to hang onto things, often until way past their usefulness has probably passed. When I grew up, it wasn’t known as recycling, that only became a popular phrase, as I was growing up, the phrase was learning how to just “make do and mend.” It instilled a certain level of practicality in us children, where we looked at how things were made and how they could be repaired or even turned into something completely new. So much of that seems lost now.

I am in turmoil. You see whilst walking the dog earlier, I came across a house which had been cleared. We walked past it yesterday too, or was it the day before. It looked interesting, the house had been sold and as a consequence emptied. Totally emptied! The front garden was now piled high with the belongings that someone had once held so dear. You see, to someone like me, there might be gold there! Some wonderful preloved thing, just waiting to be found. It is difficult for me to comprehend, how someone can just clear out and dump someones possessions all out in the garden. No Skip. Just loaded up so that they can barely get down the pathway, what on earth does that solve? The house is sold, clearly they didn’t want it but surely you would get a house clearance in, or donate to a charity instead, after all there are plenty of them around.

Lots of people would make use of these things. A washing machine, fridge, cooker, the odd nick-nack. I wish I had a truck and a spare pair of hands sometimes. Oh and a lock up.
Unfortunately we live in a wasteful society now, where everything is considered disposable, without thought or consequence. I find this difficult to deal with and try to find another option: re-use, recycle, re-purpose or donate. My other half thinks that I gather “unnecessary toot” wonders what I would do with it, but it just requires a little creative thought. I can see the potential in most things, this is both a blessing and a curse at times.

There are still poor people in the world, at times I am one of them. Those who don’t have much, are missing something in their home and cannot afford to go and buy it. Cannot afford the latest things for their children and yet still want to encourage, nurture and let them think outside the box. That someone might be grateful to sit on an old chair, with a new cushion, or repainted in a pretty colour.

They might want a suitable table where their child can paint pictures, draw or read a book in a quiet corner. That desk and chair might just be welcome.
Perhaps if I could get that truck, lock up and spare pair of hands, then I would have a curiosity shop, full of such things to inspire a new generation, that dumping stuff for the local youths to smash up and litter all over the roads, really is not the way forward. To needlessly destroy things of beauty that were once a cherished part of someone’s family home. Sometimes passed from generation to generation. Sometimes they are not worth anything at all, in monetary terms, but have huge sentimentality to others.

As I sit in my house, surrounded by items of furniture, either bought or collected through the years, mismatched it tells a story, or several. Some inherited, some replaced but all has it’s use and place within the home. New is not always better, it holds no story to tell. It’s life has only just begun, but does it have any staying power, will it endure? I would rather take steadfast old than crumbly new any day. They don’t make it like they used to.

I regret that I did not rescue a piece of furniture from the roadside a couple of years ago. It was robust, solid wood and well crafted. Made to Last and had done so since just after WWII a 1940‘s post war oak cupboard. It had been disposed of for days, I tried to think of a way of getting it home, since I could not lift it alone and my partner had damaged himself (as he often does) so was unable to assist me. Over a period of several weeks, the rain got to it, which split the wood. Someone poured something over it and the varnish began to peel. The drawers were removed and smashed upon the floor. Paint was then thrown all over it.
A few weeks later and the top was also pulled off and slung across the road, broken and beyond repair it was then stacked by a tree for the dustmen to take away. The furniture that had once stood proudly and polished, cared for in someone’s home. Gone forever… Such a waste. Things around here so often are, it causes great sadness.

I am a Survivor!

I am a Survivor!

The things which I have gone through, I have come out the other side.

Broken, Yes Sometimes for a while…

Forced to hide away and repair myself, when others have chosen to just brush it aside.

Rebuilding each and every time without fail, essential for my survival.

Finding strength I didn’t know existed all over again. To help me grow instead of wither and die, like they expected. Making me a person far different from the one I could have been.

They did not win. They will not win.

I did not fail.  I will not fail.

My Branches may have been cut and I bled, but they grew again.

My wings may have been clipped, I waited for my feathers to return.

My impatience to continue evident, not content just to wait for it to be over.

I gathered the wind under my wings, ready to soar again, back where I belong.

My Spirit, untamed, released at last from my experiences.

Free to Live, to dream and to Be.

The Daily Post – Survival

Envy, Just Look at What You’ve Missed…

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Just look at what you’ve missed…
So, don’t be jealous, be thankful.

I had a poor childhood, we often went without.
I was Bullied at School.
I was abused as a Child.
My first ‘real’ boyfriend cheated on me with my friend.
I had a miscarriage.
I developed an illness which is incurable.
I had a stalker.
I almost lost the love of my life to surgery, twice.
I have suffered in pain for years.
I have had several horrendous jobs, some resulting in redundancy.
I have suffered loss and grief time and again.
I have been raped.
I have suffered with depression.
I have considered suicide on several occasions.
I have disfiguring injuries.
I have had major surgery, which has changed me.
I will never have the joy of bearing children.
I have no child to care for me when I am old.
I could have lost my soul mate to Cancer.
I have had my life threatened with violence.
I have had people threaten to burn down my home.
I have been at rock bottom so many times that I have a seat there with my name on it.
I am fighting battles which I have not yet won.

So before you envy me for the things that I have in my life, think and be glad for all the things you have missed out on.

The Daily Post – Envy

Patterns & Textures

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How Bizarre! I don’t know what it was that went Pop! Inside my head last night leaving me feeling rather sick and dizzy and a little spaced out for most of the night, but to say that I feel a little bit odd today would be an understatement. I have not taken anything which would alter the mind or vision I hasten to add, but it left me feeling decidedly strange. I am hopeful that whatever it was that has given me a sore ear again today is not a return to the past three months of whatever caused havoc but a conclusion to it and I will finally feel so much better, instead of very nearly almost.

On the plus side though, I am rather transfixed by patterns and textures today and have spent a merry hour or so photographing all sorts of things around the home, so not much is getting done here today and You, you Lucky People get to see what I‘ve been up to….

Hopefully it will not be too boring for your though and it’s all in the name of creativity. It was another blogger, Austin Kleon who started me on this. This morning, I recalled looking at something he had done on one of his blogs. Like some of the greats which catch you totally unawares, it has sat there in the back of my mind since then, it challenged me to look at what constitutes art in a different way. He also seems to be a fan of recycling in what he does and this had me opening every envelope I could find with a printed interior, rather than throw them in the recycling, I thought I might do something with them myself, such as cover an old notebook with them, or on a grey day, (like today) begin to colour the endless patterns. Pattern can jump out from the oddest places once you start to look for it.
Then checking myself for thinking I must think I have too much time on my hands, I settled for photographing them instead.

No doubt I will add to the collection over time, before my new notebook cover takes shape.
I think I am a long way off from the leather bound one, which I have intended to make but streets ahead of my desperate reporters notebooks.

English Lessons, Touch Typing and Speed Tests

It’s funny how I was taught to touch type at School, it was a proper Pitman exam. I chose typing since it might set me up with a job when I left school and I couldn’t leave quickly enough. I thought that being a secretary might be an interesting job. It would also be useful as technology progressed to learn how to use a computer, if I knew where the keys were then it might give me a head start. Back then there were very few computers in school. Although there was one in the technical drawing classes which I also chose. Those were for the CAD design element pf the course and my enjoyment of that particular class has stayed with me. The architect within straining at the leash to get out there despite my lack of tutoring. But for the Pitman typing exam, the very fierce teacher walking around the desks, where our knuckles were wrapped with a ruler if we looked down at the keyboard. Our typewriters tapping loudly in an otherwise silent room. It is odd, how my thoughts return to that exam, so many years ago.

I passed I was pleased to say, I guess that may be why I am happy to type most things these days. With the invention of the computer and my preferred tool, the laptop since then I find it much easier.
My first PC was an ancient discarded one which had been thrown out at work as they upgraded computers, I asked for that one to use at home, since I could not afford to buy one back then. Over time I did my own upgrades to it, with more capacity and as parts were worn out and as time went on, replaced bits of it. For the past ten years I have used a laptop at home. I decided that if we travelled, we could take it with us, it was small, which meant I could put it away when not in use, since having moved from a relatively big place to a small one by then, space was at a premium. I also found that having worked on a PC all day, using a mouse caused considerable strain upon my already weak wrists in the evening also, so I thought that using a laptop, where the mouse is positioned differently under the keyboard would hurt less. I was right about that and so I began to use it more and more at home.

From time to time I think about my typing speed. Previously having worked as a Secretary and PA it is often a requirement for you to be able to type more than a certain amount of words per minute, and since I am writing more and more now, I would hope that my speeds are improving, but I haven‘t ACTUALLY checked that. I thought about doing an up to date test just to see where I am, but the idea is that you just keep typing until your minute is up. This has always been a problem for me. I like to get it right first time. If I make a mistake, then I find that I immediately go back to correct the word or grammar, instead of continuing onward to the end as you are supposed to.
It sits there annoying me from the page and I cannot get past it, stealing my concentration from the next point. As I type this, however quickly it may be, I find myself correcting as I go once again. Oh to be so carefree as being able to continue and do it all later. I don’t always spell check straight away as a rule. It depends what I am typing and whether it has any of the wiggly lines which mean that something is wrong. If it doesn’t then I am lulled into a false sense of security, sometimes only to find that I may have missed out a word or something of that ilk. I know you are supposed to write first and edit later.

In my English classes as a student, I was always getting told to write it all first as a draft, then a second to edit it followed by the final draft which I would then present. I must admit, I found that difficult, I tended to write just the first, edit it as I went and present the final one. But it seemed to work for me and my brain would move onto the next task, without dwelling upon what I had done. I didn’t like the endless repeat once I had written something I wanted to get it right as soon as possible and on to the next bit. Those words of Mrs Lennox, my English teacher are still rattling around my head often as I write today. She was a tough one who seemed to have a heart of stone , to match her steel grey crop and stare and was universally disliked. I was unfortunate to have her as a teacher of English, in three of my five secondary years. But Mrs Lennox demanded respect and she taught well, she was harsh but you listened to her, or else…. In the last year as I studied for my exams however Mrs Jackson who replaced her, was even worse, Like a drill sergeant, she looked like one and stalked around, took an instant dislike to me and despite my being in the highest set for all of my secondary years, she wanted to throw me out of the exam 3 months before I took it. This was back as GCSE’s had come in to replace the old exams, the whole of the new ones were built on coursework, which was evaluated at the end of a two year period. I had suffered head injuries in a road accident at thirteen which left me with crippling headaches on top of the Endometriosis which had started but I did not actually know I had back then, so I had spent rather a lot of time off school sick with migraines which would sometimes last for ten days at a time. I begged with her to allow me to take the Language and Oral exams, since she told me that I could not, she told me that I had no hope of passing the exams and that she had no time to give me, so I may as well give up. I refused to give up on something that I had been best at for most of my school life. I told her that I was not bothered about reading and deciphering literature (she wasn’t impressed since that was clearly her favourite part) asking her instead to give me the Language assignments to finish at home and for two months I sat up late into the night to work on them, whilst she goaded me in every class telling me that I would not finish them. I think it was her attempt at making me do it. I was determined that she did not get the better of me and I would have it and marched in to see her the morning it all had to be handed in. Having had only two hours sleep, I asked her that since I had done what I promised I asked her to do one thing for me that she would mark it as though it was someone else‘s work, not mine. She looked shocked, since I had hit the nail right on the head, I knew she disliked me and it was out there in the open. I got a pass, not a great grade, but a pass nonetheless in both the Oral and Language exams.

As I contemplate whether I should try and re-train my brain, to allow me to continue right up to the end of the minute, without tracking back. Just to see what the score would be, it occurs to me, “Do I really need a job which tells me that I must be able to type a minimum of 60 words per minute?” I can touch type, which is far more than a lot of the secretaries I have seen in the last ten years, I can also audio type, “What is that?” I have been asked by several of the same ladies. I speed write when I make notes, so there is no need for shorthand either. These requirements of the position now seem rather outdated along with high heels and a short skirt, although many bosses still demand this attire in their domain.
I think I will wait to do the re-training for speed will have to take a back seat, whilst I have writing to do, it’ll all be alright in the end.