Fountain Pen + Notebook =

Have you ever realised that having a pen and paper can be very rewarding?

It is amazing what is to be seen or heard and having that pen just enables me to remember those moments.   I have always thought of writing as being very solitary but I have learnt otherwise.

I was sitting recently in a restaurant waiting for my order to be served, took out a lovely small brown leather-bound notebook.  A great present from my son, as it holds my new fountain pen snugly in the spine and they both fit into my pocket.  Christl thanks for the fountain pen which goes everywhere with me.

My coffee arrived in a large bulbous mug.   The mug was so apt for a coffee.   It invited me just to wrap my hands around it and to savour that little moment.   And yes, the coffee lived up to expectations.

I drew my notebook to me and started to write just snippets, random thoughts.   I was soon lost to my writing and the thoughts which had been buzzing around my head.   I like to use word pictures as a quick way to get my ideas down before I totally forget.   Forgetting ideas seems to be happening more and more.

The coffee shop had got busier while I had been occupied and soon I was joined by two young ladies who turned out to be from Michigan in the USA.   After a brief conversation I returned to my scribblings but felt I was being watched.   It’s a feeling I don’t like so I quickly looked up to find one of these ladies staring intently at my fountain pen.  IMAG0940[1]

It turned out this young lady, had never seen a fountain pen.  She had heard about them but had never actually seen one.   Talk about being amazed.   I mean I know I was born in the last century but not to have seen a fountain pen!  Soon there was an engaging conversation on ordinary useful objects which had become obsolete or if not obsolete very seldom used.

To see their faces when they googled fax machines, 1970 computers, early mobile phones, telex,  their faces were a picture of total astonishment.   As for the Teas Maid the shrieks of laughter drew glances from a few other customers.

One never knows just where a pen, paper and a mug can lead one and what stories emerge never mind the memories which can be created or rekindled.  A simple fountain pen brought different generations together for a short while amidst much lughter.

International Women’s Day

Thursday March 8th is International Women’s Day

So much will be written, talked about shared on this day and in the days leading up to it.

I would ask that this year women would respect each other.

To respect the differences as well as the similarities.

It is these differnces which make us unique.

It is the differences in thinking which lead to new ideas.

However without respect for each other the work and role of women is demeaned.

Traditions

 

Have you found Christmas Traditions have changed over the years?

 

If you have been fortunate like me to have become a parent then those traditions most certainly have changed.  A few years ago, I would have been sad about those changes but now at this stage I am glad that those changes have occurred.  It shows that life is being lived and for that I am very thankful.

 

However, there are still somethings which still herald Christmas.  Preparing and making the Christmas puddings, Christmas cake and the Christmas mincemeat are signals that Christmas is coming.  The first indication I have that Christmas is very near is when I post those first Christmas cards.  The next indication is when I arrive home with Christmas purchases.  These are small items which are either made or bought then wrapped and put under the Christmas tree for distributing among friends and family.

I met someone recently who told me that she detests January and February as the weather is usually awful, people are grumpy as they have little to look forward to and she has named them the BLAH months.  Last year she changed things and started making Christmas items which could be given to various friends and charities.  For her it extended the feeling of Christmas giving.  And in a very practical way it relieved the Christmas stress that she was normally under.  Next year as Easter is early, April 1st 2018, she intends to use her three least favourite months of the year to make Easter gifts.  A new tradition for her.

 

I like the idea of new traditions and I have to agree with her that very often people seems to be rather glum in January so perhaps extending the gift of giving to Easter is a good idea.  Those charities which we may support at Christmas I am sure need support during the rest of the year. Perhaps its a tradition which more of us could embrace?

 

A Christmas Card

I know this is going to be contentious but here it goes.  In Ireland over the last 10 years there has been a growing push by charities asking people to donate to a charity and not post or send Christmas Cards.  Why are they doing this?

There are many people and not just older people who look forward to getting Christmas cards in the post.   The card pops through the letter box usually with a Christmas postage stamp, the envelope hand written and inside there is a personal greeting.

Please pause a moment and thing back to the last time you received a personal greeting through the post? Let’s face it the occasion very rarely happens.  With the advent of paperless billing the volume of post has dropped.  Isn’t it good to receive that personal greeting?

Isn’t it wonderful to think that a friend, a colleague, a neighbour, a family member has taken the time to choose a card, write a greeting, address the envelope and then post it.  Isn’t it good to feel that even for a short time you were important to that person?

I attended a workshop during the year and a young lad asked me if I sent cards at Christmas. “Of course,” I replied “but why are you asking”? I learnt that this young lad has a chronic illness and at times it results in anxiety and depression.  When his energy is low and he feels his anxiety rising he will take out one of the Christmas cards he received and remind himself that he is important.

This conversation has remained with me.  We just never know how the simple gesture of sending a Christmas card can impact on someone.  I am sure there are many other examples of the smiles that a Christmas card can evoke.

Then there are the people who make their own Christmas cards who not only get a great buzz of making those cards but who also make others feel very important.  The hours which are spent choosing designs, paper and finally putting it all together before actually sitting down to write the personal greeting.

Many people send cards which they have purchased from specific charities knowing that the money is going back to that charity. These charities range from Children’s hospital to animal welfare. The money from those cards are important to those charities.

Can I ask a question of those charities who are asking people to donate rather than sending out Christmas cards? Why do you not ask people to consider donating the cost of an extra Christmas present? Why are charities not at Easter time asking people to stop buying Easter Eggs and instead donating the money to charity? There has grown the tradition of the 12 Pubs at Christmas in Ireland.  Why have the charities not targeted that?

These charities that ask us to donate instead of sending cards should really consider the impact this has on those who receive these Christmas cards.

 

Christmas puds

A Punch

 

 

I can’t believe that the paper punch is over 100 years old.

I am sure if you use Google on a daily basis you have now realised that on 14th November 1886 it was patented by Frederich Soennecken.  This led to Benjamin Smith’s patent in and to the patent of Charles Brooke which not only punched a hole but also collected the paper which had been punched out.

I like punches: from the simple one-hole punch to decorative paper punches.   On my shelf I can see the one-hole punch, double hole which was used to hole foolscap paper.  I have one which can punch numerous holes for ring binders.  Great for keeping magazines in one place.

I can remember as a clerical worker a punch was an invaluable piece of equipment for storing correspondence in files.  However, if you had a punch which gathered the punched pieces of paper you were in heaven.  Those pesky bits of paper were in one place.

In later years, I have decorated jam jars or mason jars with those pesky bits of paper to give the effect of snow with a tea light candle glimmering inside.  All the time keeping a wary eye that the glass wasn’t getting too warm.  Those battery-operated tea lights have taken the worry out now.

Over the years I have seen beautiful handmade greeting cards which have used only punches to create wonderful designs.

Is a punch part of your life? Do you have more than one? Or is a punch obsolete?

Conversations and Meetings

 

There is a need for interaction, for dialogue for the sharing of ideas not just in the written word but also verbally.

In fact, I have to push myself to join a group and continue to push myself to remain within that group.  I have found that by taking on particular roles or jobs it makes me remain active within the group.  For me, there is a need to push the limits.  If those are not expanded at times then my world would shrink.  This I have learnt the hard way and the only person who can stop my world shrinking is me.  Listen I am no saint and many a time I have just remained within the environs of my home.

There are times when I have to push myself to leave the four walls of my home and go out.  Most times it is difficult and then later when I realise I have enjoyed myself I get annoyed with myself.  Talk about a vicious circle.  I don’t think I am alone.  There are many more of us who give the illusion of being at ease meeting people while all the time there is the urge to scurry away and beaver at home.

It is so much easier now to interact with people via Skype, Whats app, video conferencing, texts email, but to actually sit with someone and communicate is just in a different league.  I have been trying to work out just what makes it different and it is the human touch.  Maybe it’s giving a person a lift while having a chat.  Perhaps it is sitting opposite over a cuppa and having eye contact.  Sometimes it is that hug which can speak volumes or maybe it’s that laugh which can lift one out of the doldrums.

Have you ever found that you are in conversation with someone and they can give you an idea for another interest?  Or perhaps expand an interest you already have in a totally different direction?  Or they have a way of listening and giving a response which suddenly makes everything clear. I am blessed to have such a friend. Catherine can take my verbal musings and make things clear for me in just a couple of words. She has an amazing ability to reflect back ideas in a constructive and more importantly concise way.

Perhaps a way to make Skype and all those other electronic conversations more personal and interactive is to share a cuppa. What I mean is that each of the participants has a cup of their favourite brew while they chat. Perhaps have a small bite to eat… can you imagine the exchange of recipes which could ensue especially if the conversation was over thousand of miles.

So if you are going to meet a friend be it in person or  virtual what would be your drink and your nibble? For me it would be a big mug of coffee preferably ground Ugandan coffee beans or Malawian coffee. And to have with it…pineapple upsidedown cake (made by my husband) or lemon meringue pie.