I remember a time when bamboo furniture was the height of fashion. I quite like bamboo, it’s got a natural, comfortably curved appearance but Hubby isn’t a fan.  I don’t think it’s the appearance that he doesn’t like, it’s more the squeaking and creaking as the furniture moves under stress… And the fact that I fidget.

          Many, many moons ago,our neighbours had a set of bamboo shelves and as I had expressed a liking of them, they came in our direction when they were no longer wanted.   I’ve been  wracking my brain to remember where they’ve gone, I can’t remember giving them to the girls, or getting rid of them in any other way, but they don’t appear to have moved with us.  They’re not in the attic, I was up there the other day poking around in the boxes looking for ornaments to put on the mantlepiece, they’re not in the shed, there is a set of shelves in the shed, but it’s the much shorter set we used to have in the cupboard under the stairs with shoes on… 

          Of course, I cut off the middle shelf of the bamboo shelves to fit them in around the electric meter… and wedged them in sideways into the cupboard under the stairs next to the coats.   They’ve got shoes on them… Out of sight, out of mind.

          The settee in my kitchen “Light box” from our last house was made of bamboo, luckily it was in a place where Hubby very rarely sat so I could fidget and wriggle to make the settee creak as much as I wanted to. Unfortunately when we moved, my little settee turned out to be not quite so little after all and had to be sent back with the van as it wouldn’t fit through the front door.

2014-02. Lightbox.

          We’ve still gone for a natural feel to the furniture in the new house, but we’ve done it with wood rather than bamboo. We’re down to our last piece of bamboo, this piece has been around since the girls were tiny – a magazine rack


       I had the magazine rack from one of those parties… Do you remember them, house parties full of ladies drinking coffee and eating cake provided by the hostess.   Invitations would go out and you would be invited to go along, to eat and drink, to watch a demonstration, and then hopefully to buy something from the product range.

          I went to many a party with no intention of buying, lured in by the “bums on seats” promise to the hostess who would receive a free gift for throwing the party.  I hosted many a party too, for giving up an evening, providing simple refreshments and inviting as many friends and family as I could, I would receive my free gift, often something from the product range that at the time I would otherwise not have been able to afford.  This is how I got my magazine rack.  Its served its purpose well but now that everything else bamboo has been sent to other homes (or dissappeared into the back of beyond in the cupboard under the stairs) it’s time for it to move on.

          In those days when the girls were small and spare pennies were few and far between  I managed to accumulate a surprising number of “things” without very much outlay at all.  I used to play the catalogues quite often.  I would send off for a new catalogue and choose one purchase from it, (usually clothes for the girls because I soon discovered that if you feed then they grow). I would make my purchase and spread the cost over a few weeks, usually twenty weeks was the accepted time.  Once my purchase was made, I would choose a free gift for opening a new account, a toaster, or new kettle or something similar.  Then once my purchase was paid for, I would close the catalogue down and open up another one… For another free gift.   .

          As the bamboo rack has had its time, so have the social shopping evenings and catalogues.  With the Internet available on pretty much any gadget you can lay your hands on, you can still shop from home with tea and biscuits but it’s not always a social occasion. However, I was window shopping with Mum-in-law on my mobile phone last week, looking for a new magazine rack.  The bits of new furniture we’ve bought are apparently made from Mexican pine, with an antique wax finish, but the little fixtures and fittings, handles and hinges etc are small, black, round, and metal.

          Well, there it was… A small round black metal magazine rack, even Mum-in-law agreed it would look much better than the bamboo one.

          Hmmn, then I had a problem, Hubby’s not tight with the pennies, if anyone is frugal in this relationship it’s me, but I see the little things and add them all up to make the finished picture, whereas Hubby sees the big picture first and when the big picture is finished then maybe he’ll think about the little things, but maybe not. Or to put it another way, should I really be buying a magazine rack that we don’t really need when there’s still so much to do in the house. 

          I made a spur of the moment decision and I bought it. I justified the purchase to myself by deciding to give it to Hubby for Christmas.

          I really am no good at this spending money thing,  before long I was starting to feel guilty because I’d really bought it for me, not Hubby, then I started to worry that maybe he wouldn’t like it, maybe he would prefer to keep the bamboo one, and the thought of worrying until Christmas made the decision to tell him it was on its way.  I showed him the picture, and as luck would have it, it looked much better than the picture when it arrived so now it’s got its own little spot between the TV and the bay window… And the bamboo one is looking for a new home.   


          More from before : Delving into the murky depths of my “Memory Vaults


Upper right three


        I’m so glad that NHS dentistry has a ceiling on the amount on treatment costs.

          I went to my dentist before we moved away and everything was fine. She greeted me with her usual sympathetic smile.   “How are you today Sallyann, is everything OK? ”  then without giving me the time to answer she scolded herself, “of course you’re not OK, you’re here” she added.

          She’s grown accustomed to the fact that I don’t follow her instructions for regular check-ups, I only go to the dentist if I need to.  The problem is though, I need to go to the dentist often.

          When I was six, I had rheumatic fever and ended up taking iron tablets for what to a six-year-old seemed like many many years.

          Oh, they were really horrible. Even as somebody with a bad memory I can remember the taste as if it were yesterday. UGGCH!!!  Imagine a round flat paracetamol tablet, (they tasted more like paracetamol than paracetamol do)  add to this the lack of the ability to swallow tablets, then also add that to this tiny little six-year-old the tablets seemed as big as dinner plates and there’s no wonder that I pulled every trick in the book not to eat them. 

          Hiding them under my tongue was an obvious ruse which was discovered in no time, even with my attempts at miming a fake chewing action.  I got away with hiding them in my sock and throwing them away on route to school for a good few months though. 

          Pretty much everyone has a Harry Potter style cupboard under the stairs, our house was no different and the door to our cupboard was near enough to the breakfast table for me to quietly open the door and launch my tablet to the back of beyond, never to be seen again… Let’s face it, how often do you clean in the cupboard under the stairs. 

          I believe it was the doctor who finally got me to take my tablets regularly.  I’ve never responded well to the stick, but the carrot has a slightly more productive effect.  The family were planning a camping trip and the doctor was to have the last say as to whether I could go or not, I believe some sort of bargain was struck involving my being allowed to go camping and my taking of my tablets.

          Bribery and corruption you say ? Well, call it what you must .. Personally I prefer the term “training with rewards”.

          We’ve wandered off the line a bit, but the train of thought here goes somewhere in the direction of the taking of iron tablets for so many of my earlier years had an adverse effect on my teeth. 

          I’m not sure how much effect, if any, the iron tablets had on my teeth, I’ve always has an active imagination  but fact or fiction doesn’t really matter as my teeth are what they are, and what they are is weak and crumbling.

          I don’t think I have one tooth which hasn’t been drilled at sometime, I am probably to blame for most of the decay, but I grew up in an era where dentists got paid for the work they did, and not for the number of patients they had on their books. I don’t remember ever having a trip to the dentist as a child without a drill being bandied about. And as for my childhood dentist, well, he earned his nickname “the butcher”.

         I’ve gotten used to my dentist of the last few years, she’s very patient, and very friendly.  She even agreed that I could stay on her books after we moved away and go back to her for any dentist treatment I needed. However, Hubby got a message from the dentist to say that his regular check-up was due and took us both off the books. 

          Top and tail of the situation is, I’ve had to go and find us a new dentist here. I’ve snapped a tooth. There’s no time to build up any trust, no gentle easing in with just a tiny treatment to begin with. I have to jump in with both feet and put my mouth in new hands.

          And as for my pocket… Boy that’s going to hurt too.

Clarke’s Pie


          It’s often strange what our brains can find to trigger a memory – a smell, a song, a picture ?  The pie in this picture pulls my memory in all sorts of directions. 

          One of the memories the pie dredges up is from my childhood, from my secondary school years.  It’s a memory sitting quite near the surface after a conversation I had with a customer in the shop today, being a non-smoker, the customer was amazed at the price the person in front him in the queue had paid for cigarettes.  He couldn’t understand why anyone would start smoking at all, let alone want to spend that much money on it.

          I smiled with my best customer smile and made the appropriate noises in the right places for polite conversation but my mind had wandered back to my school days when I had started smoking.

          It probably won’t surprise you to find out that I didn’t really fit into most of the categories in school.  I most definitely wasn’t cool enough to fit in with the popular people, I didn’t have enough sporting talents to be considered fit and I wasn’t brainy enough to be a real nerd.  One category I found myself forced into far too often though was that of “bullied”.

          One group of girls in particular would seek me out for their entertainment and I would spend my time in school hanging around near teachers, in need of protection, and my break or lunch breaks hiding, often arriving late for lessons, not wanting to enter the classroom until some sort of authority arrived first.

          Arriving late got me into trouble a few times and I was sent to detention after school.  This is where I realised that another group of people existed in school too, I suppose you’d call them the misfits. I was a good girl and didn’t get into trouble very often, but they just seemed to accept that I was there in detention for whatever I’d done and they weren’t interested in what, or why, I just was. 

          After a few times I searched them out one lunchtime and found to my relief that the bullies didn’t even look in their direction, I started spending more time with the misfits, they would leave the school grounds and wander into the lanes around the area to smoke at lunch and break times and I tagged along, eventually trying smoking for myself.

          I became quite close to one of the girls, of course my mum didn’t like her, and probably blamed her for the trouble I was getting into at school, but hey ho, we became good friends for a while.

          My mind wanders again, I used to have school dinners, I’d be given my dinner money on a Monday and I was to buy five dinner tickets for the week.  My friend used to have free dinners and would report to the secretary’s office to collect her five tickets.

          I would buy just one ticket and so between us, we’d use our six dinner tickets for three days school dinners but on the other two days we would go out of school and I would use my dinner money to buy our two day’s dinners at the local shops. 

          In one direction there was a pub on the corner who sold pies and pasties through a small kiosk window, and on the opposite corner a post office shop where we would buy a packet of crisps to complete the meal.  In the other direction there was a bakery. They sold the pies in the picture, made from a thick crusty pastry and a gravy-like meat filling. They were hot, from underneath a glass counter, and combined with an iced bun, this was always my favourite dinner of the week.

          Years later, the bakery where I used to buy my lunch is no longer there, but the pies are still made and sold in the indoor market in Cardiff.  Mum-in-law has brought me some home from a visit to Cardiff before, and at the moment I have a supply in the freezer brought to Weymouth with Hubby on his last visit to Cardiff.

          Oh, just incase you’re wondering, I stopped smoking over thirty years ago before trying to start a family.  

          More from before : Delving into the murky depths of my “Memory Vaults