VE Day 75 – my snapshot

It has been a special, memorable day. Unlike the people who took part in the exuberant celebrations of VE Day seventy-five years ago we have had to celebrate under the restraints of lock-down.

This necessarily quiet day of commemoration has given time for reflection. Many of the scheduled programmes on the TV have been dominated by interviews with ordinary people sharing their experiences of WW2. There has been an opportunity to take part in a two minute silence of remembrance, to hear Winston Churchill’s speech made at 3pm on 8th May, and to close the day with a short, poignant VE Day address by HM Queen Elizabeth II broadcast at 9pm – the same time her father, George VI, spoke to the nation 75 years ago.

The 2nd World War lasted six long years. Ordinary people had to take on responsibilities and roles they would not have chosen, often living away from loved ones, enduring shortages and heartbreaking losses. Thinking about such a lengthy time of severe hardship certainly gives perspective to our seven weeks of lock-down!

My parents were very young at the outbreak of war. My father was born in 1937, he was seven years old on VE Day 1945, my mother was six years old. Their families lived in London. They both have very clear memories of the air raids, running to air raid shelters or hiding under their kitchen tables as bombs exploded in the streets around them. With an adults perspective they can imagine the fear and hardship that their parents went through as they sought to provide for and protect their young children. But my parents memories of WW2 are not saturated with fear. My Dad can think of only one incident when his Mother betrayed her fear to her young family: As they hid in the little dug out air raid shelter at the end of their garden a ‘Doodlebug’ flew overhead, the engine noise stopped and my Dad remembers his Mother throwing herself across the three children in a desperate attempt to protect them from the coming explosion.

With hindsight my Dad is sure his Mum must have shared her food and clothing rations to supplement her childrens’ rations. The children also benefited from kindly Aunts and Uncles who made regular visits bringing their own rations of sweets for the youngsters to enjoy. My Mum remembers her family having to move out of their house when a bomb blast blew out all the glass from the windows. In hindsight she realises some of the difficulties her Mother endured while her husband was away serving as RAF ground crew. A while after VE Day my Mum recalls there was great excitement when the local greengrocer announced a shipment of bananas was on the way. At six years old Mum had never seen a banana let alone tasted one. Everyone told her how good bananas were to eat and she was caught up in the excitement. Oh! The disappointment on tasting the fruit – it was not to her liking at all and yet she couldn’t show her true reaction to her parents and felt compelled to finish it with a smile on her face! To this day she avoids getting close enough even to smell a banana let alone eat one!

While we have not had to endure even a small percentage of the hardships experienced by the wartime generations we are going through a shared time of tragedy the like of which few of us have encountered before. Today it was a great morale booster to hear directly from those who acted with such courage and fortitude during the War and to take part in a local celebration honouring them and those who paid for our freedom with their lives. The neighbours on our street came together (well no nearer than 2 metres together!), decorating houses with bunting and flags and sharing in a front garden/doorstep tea party. It was a lovely opportunity to see one another, to stand at a distance sharing our news and remember the people and events of WW2.

Allison

 

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (84)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share 🙂 Bring along your project(s) and share in some of the news, views and inspiration doing the rounds of the Worldwide Quilting Community. Do join in the sharing by clicking on the links and using the comments box at the end of this page. There’s an email subscription box too if you’d like to keep track of my blog posts week by week.

It’s been a funny old week for me. My husband has been away for six nights on a business trip – to the Caribbean would you believe! He arrived home safely on Friday morning – it was -1ºC when his plane landed at Gatwick, the day before he’d flown out of Antigua after enjoying a swim in temperatures nearing 30ºC!

Seven days and six nights home alone…! I coped but I wouldn’t like to have to do it too often. For a start I struggle to eat properly when I’m on my own – so tempting to have a few slices of toast rather than preparing vegetables and

Read moreSaturday Quilting Bring and Share (84)

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (60)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share 🙂 Hope you have plenty of good things to look forward to over this weekend. Do join in this virtual sewing day: bring along your projects(s), take a seat, have a drink of your choice close to hand and share in some of the conversations running round the Worldwide Quilting Community. You are very welcome to share links and join in the conversations by using the comments box at the end of this post.

The Allotment in May by Allison ReidSewing has been the ‘side’ rather than the ‘main course’ for me this week as the weather has been favourable for working at the allotment. All is now fairly well prepared for planting out the bean and sweetcorn plants I have been nurturing in the little greenhouse stood against the sun-trap back wall of my house. I also kept myself busy by putting my powers of procrastination to good use, doing some jobs around the house that have been bugging me for some time. Funny how not wanting to do one thing can be the motivation to actually doing another! The sink and floor in my kitchen are now sparkling (but I haven’t finished writing a pattern which is what I should have been doing…).

Dashes, dots and crosses units by Allison ReidHere is the progress I’ve made with the new blocks and pattern I’m developing. Over the course of a few short sessions at the sewing machine I completed all the units required to make up the remaining twelve blocks. Today I will continue putting the blocks together and plan to have the centre of the quilt top stitched together before Sunday evening.

 

 

Dashes, dots and crosses chain piecing blocks by Allison Reid

Earlier this morning I went through my usual routine of filling the bird feeders in the garden. We had much needed rain last night and my attention was caught by the raindrops clinging to our first rose bloom of the year and to all the leaves in the garden.

WARNING: Digression ahead!! This may mystify anyone under the age of 50 who wasn’t brought up in the UK!

After that visit to the garden I got the phrase ‘rain drops on roses’ in my head which led to recollecting the song ‘These are a few of my favourite things’ from the Sound of Music.  Now, I have NEVER seen The Sound of Music and this is a fact I wear as a badge of honour (apologies to those of you who may be sinking into a state of deep shock, I know the film and stage productions of this musical are sacred to many). BUT some of the songs are buried deep in my consciousness. How? Well! I think it must be due to the many Saturday mornings of my childhood spent listening to the radio show, ‘Junior Choice’: A request show hosted by Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart. He played a great mix of contemporary pop tunes, songs from musicals, signature tunes like ‘Champion the Wonder Horse’ and ‘Casey Jones’  alongside funny story songs – ‘Right Said Fred’, ‘The Runaway Train’ and one of my Mum’s favourites, a cautionary tale by Shel Silverstein, about Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who would not take the garbage out (‘garbage’ was a lovely new word to get my tongue around as in the UK we use the word ‘rubbish’ rather than ‘garbage’). If you are of a nervous disposition you might want to take cover before listening to the following recording…. This is definitely NOT Julie Andrews 😀

END of Digression. On to some links into the Worldwide Quilting Community:

Remember the Carolina Hurricane Quilts appeal? Carole has an update on this amazing cause that has brought comfort to the victims of the hurricane through the generosity of patchwork quilters. Carole’s post contains a lovely gallery of many of the quilts that have been through her home recently and shows them being delivered to a collection  point too. 🙂

Amy Ellis has her new website ‘Sew Modern Quilts‘ up and running. She plans it to be a resource for new patchwork quilters in particular. With details of how she chose the fabrics, colours and quilting designs for many of her quilts it certainly should be worth paying regular visits to the site.

Cheryl has given a lovely modern twist to a patchwork favourite – stars. Her quilt design is really engaging particularly with the summery colours she has chosen to use.

Happy Stitching!

Allison

A finished book pillow and an old project revived

I’ve been enjoying an ‘at home’ week. My diary this year swings from a week based largely at home followed by a week where my fortnightly and monthly commitments all fall together. Still, the contrast is stimulating and it’s making me more disciplined re. planning ahead and being realistic about just what I can achieve in any one week! Being indoors for much of this week has been no bad thing: Last Friday we had a 6″ snowfall followed by the usual days of treacherous, icy pavements, then a day or two respite before the current westerly storm arrived hurling rain at us – it is pretty wild outdoors today!

I have been out of the house of course, a couple of walks and a Pilates class. Pilates is new to me. I joined a local class that several of my friends go to. I’ve been to five, maybe six sessions and I can already feel the benefits. My main motivation for going was to relieve lower back pain (muscular, not joints or discs) and work on the unexpected effects of the menopause. Hot flushes? Yes! Kind of expected those when my surgeon announced that the effects of surgery eight years ago would cause me to ‘crash into the menopause’. But other effects have crept up on me over those years – my balance is out (I quite often walk into door frames, I even misjudged walking round our bedroom, falling over the end of the bed, giving myself a black eye (!) and I wobble about when I’m getting dressed!) and any suppleness I had seems to be disappearing rapidly. I’m not sure Pilates will help restore my memory, which is dreadful at the moment, but I’m convinced the strengthening and balancing exercises will help to counteract the physical changes brought on by the menopause.

Anyway, into the sewing room 🙂 With 7th March, World Book Day, rapidly approaching I’ve been continuing to make book pillows. Here is the latest:

Playtime Book Pillow set (2) by Allison Reid

I matched it up with a quilt I made using Moda 30’s Playtime retro prints. The pocket on the front is made with 2½” squares I cut from fabrics left over from the half-square triangle quilt project. The cute fabric that forms the main body of the cushion cover is a wonderfully soft cotton flannel. There are now several quilt and book pillow sets listed in my Etsy shop 🙂 www.etsy.com/shop/AllisonsPatchworks

I-Spy Test Block by Allison ReidThe ‘old project revived’ is an I-Spy quilt I started to plan back in June last year. I intended to write a pattern using quick piecing techniques but got distracted and then came over all indecisive about fabric choices (What moi? Indecisive? Surely not? Ha!Ha!). I finally got down to it yesterday, opened up my draft pattern in Word and cut up the fabrics (the light blue was a purchase made during our recent visit to Heidelberg). Here is the first test block – glad to know that with the help of EQ7 my math is correct. I intend to chain piece the remaining forty-one blocks in double quick time!

I’ve also been making more Trip Around the World Blocks. More about those in my Saturday Quilt & Share post tomorrow, along with a bumper pack of recommended posts from quilty bloggers around the world. 🙂

Linking with Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty for Beauties Pageant – she has curated a collection of beautiful quilts in her blog post – and with Myra for Finished or Not Friday.

Allison