Monday, 31 March 2008

Travel is so mind-broadening........

Our day of departure, Friday, dawned grey and wet.

Actually, wet is rather an inadequate term for the torrents which accompanied us the 190 miles from home to Birmingham.

We experienced drizzle, cloudbursts, heavy showers, light showers, deluge, monsoon.......... basically it was real 'cats and dogs' stuff.

Driving on normal roads would have been bad enough, but we had to tackle Britain's most notorious motorways.......the dreaded M25 and M40.
At some points, the M25 is 6 lanes wide. Which meant that we had huge articulated lorries overtaking us on both sides.
In the driving rain.
Real 'white knuckle' stuff.
Not only that, a section of the M40 was closed due to an accident, so we had to take a 50 mile detour.
Not only THAT, but on the 'detour' there was another major accident so we were further diverted down little country lanes to avoid it. Little country lanes which were only 2.5 inches wider than our camper van.

To 'white knuckles' add 'brown trousers'. Not to mention blood pressure readings off the Richter Scale as we realised that our arrival for a 3.30pm slot for setting up at the NEC was rapidly becoming more and more unrealistic.

We had hoped to be able to book in to our campsite early and have a leisurely hour in which to recuperate from the journey and relax before setting off for the NEC, but in the event, we had to hurtle past Coventry (which is probably for the best) and arrived 10 minutes late for our NEC time slot.
However, the ensuing half hour spent queueing in the car park gave us time to calm down a bit before we were finally admitted to the hall to set up our stand.

I have to say that the organisation for Miniatura was absolutely spot on. Obviously the NEC staff deal with major exhibitions every week of the year, but we were very impressed with the good-humoured, helpful staff throughout the procedure.
Small dog was a great hit, and gracefully submitted to lots of attention from both traffic police and exhibition staff.

Our stand was set up in record time, then we left for the short, 3 mile journey to the final destination, our campsite home for the next three nights.

The site is in a lovely peaceful location, overlooking a small lake, surrounded by woodland which provided small dog ample opportunity for squirrel spotting. Not to mention dog-spotting, robin-spotting, blackbird-spotting etc.

Did I mention it was still raining?

It was.


Absolutely tipping it down.

However, dogs, even small ones, need to be walked come rain or shine, and since she'd been cooped up in the van all day she was not inclined to miss out on a walk with potential 'stop and sniff' opportunities.

So the three of us set off through the driving rain, for a circuit of the campsite. By the time we reached the shower block small dog had decided to pick a fight with a Weimeraner. This 'goliath' seemed at first unable to determine where the manic barking was coming from. Until he looked down at his feet to see a small, incensed, bedraggled dog, in a tartan jacket, making a right fool of herself.

I apologised to the amused owner, and off we set again, becoming ever more saturated. When we finally got back to our van, water running off every surface, small dog was towelled down and took up her favoured spot in front of the hot air vent.

I couldn't help notice as I peeled off my very wet, wet weather gear that small dog seemed to be sniggering. When I innocently asked her why this was, she said that with my rain-soaked hair plastered flat to my head, she thought I looked like Barney Rubble. I countered that this was rich, coming from someone who looked like Fu Manchu. This is typical of the witty banter which passes back and forth between us but as we'd all had a long and trying day, tempers were frayed and one thing led to another..........

Things went downhill from then and small dog went off in a huff, refusing to eat her dinner, sausage and mash, which is normally one of her favourites. She got all grumpy, then went to sleep on my pillow and had to be forcibly ejected which did not improve her mood.

Finally peace was restored and we all fell asleep, lulled by the persistent hammering of heavy rain on the roof...................


Despite my good intentions, a combination of technical difficulties and exhaustion were responsible for the dearth of blog reports over the weekend. However I made copious notes and all will be revealed in the fullness of time.

In brief

Long journey
Hard work
Great fair
Long journey

If I wasn't so exhausted I would try my hand at making that into a Haiku but my brain is addled and stringing even a simple sentence together is proving problematical. We only got back home a few hours ago and the whole of the downstairs is piled with boxes, stand equipment, clothes, small dog's accoutrements and all manner of camping detritus, so as soon as we've cleared the decks I will regale you with tales of derring-do the like of which you can only imagine.

Or something.

Where did I put the corkscrew............

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Time's up............

Right, that's it.

I can do no more.

Everything is packed and ready to go........small dog is beside herself with excitement at what she imagines is going to be an ordinary camping trip. Little does she know she is the business mascot and as such must present a professional image for the duration of the trip.

So no digging, barking, jumping like a kangaroo, running round in circles like a mad thing or any of the other activities she freely indulges in.

We have left reams of instructions for stay-at-home daughter and hopefully the house will be gleaming and pristine on our return.

You can tell I'm an optimistic soul can't you..........

So, if you happen to be at Miniatura this weekend, do stop at stand C13 and say hello to the possibly bewildered-looking woman behind it. If you can't see her it's because I'm sitting on a very low camping chair. Or alternatively I'm so exhausted I'm having a lie down under the table. Either way I won't mind at all if you stop for a chat.

Next report (Wi-Fi permitting) will be from the campsite, where hopefully the weather will be warmer than last weekend.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Don't panic........

Stress and anxiety levels were ratcheted up another few notches today when I noticed that the deadline for submitting our ad to the Kensington Dollshouse Festival brochure had come and gone.

I'd put it on my list for the end of March, but while leafing through the paperwork I noticed that the deadline was, in fact, the beginning of March i.e. three weeks ago.

So much for my being organised. Ha!

Panic-stricken phone call to KDF to apologise profusely for lack of artwork and thank goodness their deadlines have slipped significantly too, as apparently the brochure is nowhere near the stage of being sent to the printers.

Huge sigh of relief, followed by a collective panic-stricken intake of breath as we realised that we had to do the ad RIGHT NOW!

Thankfully, perfectionist partner was fully up for doing battle with the combined photo and computer software and an hour later, with only a minimal amount of swearing, there emerged the following, which considering we are complete numpties with both camera and software didn't come out too badly.

So, one more task ticked off my list. Only 8,654 tasks still to do.

Ho hum...........

Monday, 24 March 2008

Three days........

So, just three days left before Miniatura.

I've abandoned all attempts at starting anything new and am still struggling to complete the dolls and toys which are 'in progress'.

Have just spent a frustrating half hour sorting out the printer which was absolutely adamant that it was out of cyan ink, despite being fitted with a brand new one ink cartridge yesterday. As I have a few hundred leaflets and flyers to print over the next day or so, this reluctance on the printer's part does not bode well. We've purged its nozzles, which is no less than it deserves, and it is grudgingly churning out a batch of printing. However as it is prone to have a hissy fit at any provocation, I can't just leave it to its own devices and get on with something else.........instead I have to hover round it, making sure that all its needs are met and removing each sheet of paper from its tray as it is ejected, just in case I overload the poor thing.

Patience have I not at this point, so if it doesn't get its act together quick smart I may have to fine tune it with a large blunt instrument.

Stressed? Moi?

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Are you normal.........?

At last I have a diagnosis for a problem which has caused me much fear, as well as acute embarrassment over many, many years.

Let me explain.

While I am in my workroom, BBC Radio 4 forms the soundtrack to my day. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm addicted, but I have to have it on the radio in the workroom AND the kitchen, just in case I miss something important on my way to make a cup of tea. If I am upstairs in the 'toy shop hobby room' then I have it on the radio in there too.
Similarly, in the garden, or in the car.

Not addicted.


Not really.

Fellow Radio 4 aficionados will empathise immediately. I meet them all the time in the most unlikely places. A casual mention of Ed Reardon's week, or the Afternoon Play works like a masonic handshake, producing knowing nods and leading the way into a sotto voce conversation about what's happening in The Archers, or the latest novel on Book of the Week.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Radio 4, or think it is for fuddy-duddies I suggest you give it a try. You can listen to it via the internet by logging on to

From there you can take your pick of all manner of programmes, from current affairs to drama,
comedy to gardening tips, factual to history......the list is long and completely fascinating.

There is a very interesting medical programme which tells you about ailments you never thought you had, but it wasn't this which provided my diagnosis.

No, it was a science programme with the worrying title, Am I Normal?

Always willing to push back the boundaries of my ignorance, I listened more carefully and discovered, over the course of the following 30 minutes, that I suffer from an acute case of a condition known as dyscalculia.

Sadly there is no known cure.

I have always suspected that I may have this, but it is an embarrassing condition and not one which I would care to discuss in polite company.

I suspect there's probably a dyscalculia support group on the internet. If not, then I may have to start one.

I'm going to have a lie down now to consider the implications............

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Making an exhibition of myself..........

So it is done.

The exhibition stand is finished, all black and gold and twinkly lights.

Perfectionist partner has excelled herself and it really is lovely.


'Fraid not........ has to be kept under wraps till Miniatura and unveiled there.

But trust me. It's gorgeous.

Good news is, the campsite we're staying at for Miniatura is Wi-Fi enabled, so we have booked a pitch with internet access.

Woo and indeed hoo!

So, allowing for being completely exhausted, I fully intend to blog the day's events, along with full colour photos to prove we're actually there.

Can't say fairer than that.

Ground force..........

Imminent arrival of new shed has necessitated drastic action in the garden. There is an area just off the patio, outside the kitchen window which has become the dumping ground of assorted rubbish stuff which won't fit in the old shed, but which we thought might come in handy.

Such as an old plastic table which blew over the wall during a mini-tornado and was cracked and broken along the top. What we thought we were ever going to do with it is a mystery.

Also a 2 metre length of kitchen worktop from the old kitchen which seemed too useful to dispose of but which has served only to act as a large shelf and accumulate no end of useless stuff.

Also deceased Christmas tree surrounded by gazillions of pine needles

Also two old wooden fence panels which blew down over the winter and are rotting away.

Also dozens of useless old plastic plant pots, a camping kettle without its whistle, battered washing up bowl, empty containters, congealed paint pots.........the list goes on.

So, spent a bracing hour outside this morning, clearing the area then sweeping up three winter's worth of leaves which had been sheltering under the pile of stuff.

For reasons known only to herself, small dog has declared jihad on the yard broom. She attacks it with a frenzy when anyone tries to use it. As a result she ended up caked in dirt and old leaves which wove themselves into her coat so she looked like a small animated woodland sprite.

New shed has duly been delivered, and is propped up against the wall in its box, awaiting a post-Miniatura lull. However, old shed must first be dismantled and removed so we are 'freecycling'* it.

*The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,290 groups with 4,677,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Visit to find your local group)

Anyhoo, listed old shed an hour ago, and already someone wants to come and look at it. If he brings a hammer and gives it a couple of taps it will easily fall apart dismantle for transportation.

New shed kit weighs 48 kilos and we can't even lift it between the two of us (no point in asking small dog as she is no help in these situations) so we will have to bribe wait for prodigal son to visit for a weekend to help us assemble it.

So, plenty of scope for disaster blogging entertainment there then.

Monday, 17 March 2008


It's been one of those days of frantic activity, chasing our tails (although small dog does that EVERY day) and seeming not to achieve very much.

Naturally, we had to make two trips to the DIY store as we didn't have enough cable clips and screws to finish building the exhibition stand. However, it is, finally mostly completed, and tomorrow I will set it up properly, with all the lights working and hopefully be bowled over by the finished effect.

With only 10 working days left I'm feeling more and more unsettled and panicky about all the things I haven't done and all the things still left to do.

I could do with some serious de-stressing.

Hm........I should be so lucky

So I feel like this.........

When what I'd prefer to feel like is this.............

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Pacesetter wanted............

I have suggested to my daughter, who is running the 5K 2008 Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research UK, that she implement a rudimentary training programme, and volunteered small dog as a pacesetter.

Despite her size, small dog is very enthusiastic about setting a cracking pace on walks. Our normal view is of her rear end, tail wagging, ears back, striding out with great gusto. The faster we go, the faster she goes, so it seemed like a good idea to offer her services.

However, the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that it is not such a good idea after all.

For example, she never travels in a straight line, except when in hot pursuit of a squirrel or rat. She weaves back and forth across our paths, distracted by every leaf and sweet wrapper.
Also she subscribes to a rigourous 'stop and sniff' policy, which she takes extremely seriously. This applies not only to picking up her 'wee mails' but to each and every scent left by every mammal, bird and insect which has crossed her path in the last 10 years.

Which is a lot.

A very lot.

As a consequence, walks with small dog consist of a stimulating series of fast pace bursts, with sudden swerves left and right followed by lengthy explorational sniffs until she is dragged back into line.

This of course renders her useless as a pacesetter. So back to the drawing board.

Incidentally, as I was looking for a suitable image to illustrate 'stop and sniff' (I don't suggest you Google it too, as the phrase yields some extremely unsavoury results) I came across the following, which I think is ace. A rare example of displacement activity producing a little gem.

So with apologies to William Henry Davies...........


What is this life - a dog's life - if
We have no time to stop and sniff
No time when hauled along on leads
To gratify our urgent needs.
No time to bound about on grass
And greet whatever dogs may pass,
No time to stand with waving stern
Sniff and be sniffed at in one's turn
A poor life for a canine if
There is no time to stop and sniff.
Michael Lane
(From: Off The Wall. A Collection Of Poems From The Mole Valley Poets For Display In Waiting Rooms, 2000)
Brilliant stuff. I'll print it out and stick it above small dog's basket........

Miscellaneous musings.............

All of my work-based focus for the past nine weeks has been on preparation for Miniatura, which is now less than two weeks away.

So almost three months in total.

That's a quarter of a year.

Funny how 11 weeks sounds like no time at all, while quarter of a year sounds like a l-0-n-g time.

Anyhoo, as I sit here, waiting for the printer to churn out 20 sheets of paper (it's having a bad cartridge day so I may be here for some time.....) my thoughts turn to the post-Miniatura epoch.

Is there life after Miniatura..........?

That's the trouble with being focused on one point in time. Everything else pales into insignificance. All the work and worry and pressure will be miraculously lifted, and in the days following the show I will either be basking in the warm, fuzzy feeling of success, or traumatised by having sold not a single item over the whole weekend.

Ok, so I exaggerate for dramatic effect.........the reality will be somewhere between the two, but the question remains.

What happens after?

My initial feeling is one of bewilderment and panic. A gaping hole of nothingness?
Thankfully my pragmatic side quickly surfaces (probably through the hole of nothingness) and asserts itself.

Even the briefest glance through my 'Ideas' notebook reveals several month's worth of 'research and development'.
Then there is my new online shop on which has been languishing since January, and which needs to be resurrected and completed. The template is all in place, and I've put in the basics, but there is still a lot to be done.
Both of these tasks are relatively pleasurable, containing as they do, scope for experimentation and creativity.

However, looming into view on the horizon is the end of the UK tax year, and the dreaded prospect of having to do the accounts. A prospect which I never relish and does nothing for my already fragile equilibrium.

But I can't worry about that now. My worry list is full and I can't start a new one.

So back to work........I can hear that the printer has finished and is rearranging and shuffling its cartridges in its usual martyred way as if it is grinding its teeth.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Strange and exotic........


Having successfully tidied my workspace, and carefully put everything away, neatly and in its proper place, I spent the remainder of yesterday afternoon putting the finishing touches to an ostrich.

As you do.

A pullalong toy ostrich. A rather splendid, oriental-inspired ostrich. Who completely coincidentally looks rather marvellous with my little Eastern prince.

Perfectionist Partner says the ostrich looks a bit 'over the top'.
I don't disagree but I would prefer to describe it as strange and exotic, which is exactly what I was aiming for.

Sometimes I just love my job...........

Operation unguddle..........

So...... a few hours hard work et voila!

Much better I'm sure you'll agree, although all that clear space is making me hyperventilate a bit.

However, I found my needle.

My lovely, perfect needle.

And a pound coin.

So all in all a good result.


I've just checked the Miniatura website and there I am, right on the update page. Well not me obviously, but my toys.

So chuffed.

They're probably changing the pics on the update page each day now, on the run up to the show, so you'll have to be quick to catch it

I've also now got my stand number, which is C13.......hopefully NOT an unlucky number!

Back to the guddle...........

Needle in a haystack.........

A few days ago, I reported on the tidying of my workroom. I'll admit it wasn't perfect but at least my desk was reasonably clear.

It would seem that over the ensuing days, the displacement goblins, aghast at their abject failure to engage me in meaningless and time-wasting tasks *ahem* have taken to messing up the workroom with the following result.

Yes. Yes. I know.

It's a complete guddle.

Even I am shocked.

And yes, this morning I WILL tidy up....... again.

But not because it is such a mess.

And not because I only have 2 square inches of workspace (that's the tiny bit of blue cutting mat showing right at the edge of the table)

And not because of health and safety regulations, for as you can surely see, since setting myself on fire recently, my magnifying lamp is safely covered with a towel, so no hazards here.

No siree.

No, I will be tidying up because I have lost my best and most talismanic needle.

I can't work without it.

It is the holy grail of sewing.......the perfect needle. Beautifully fine, not too long, not too short, and threads like a dream. First time. Every time.

It is somewhere on that desk. It just has to be, for if I have lost it I will have to give up work and go and live a hermit's life in a cave somewhere.

It really is THAT serious.

Anyhoo, I can't waste another minute *pauses for combined sharp intake of disbelieving breath from readership*

Once more into the breach dear friends...............

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Race for Life 2008

Earlier this week, we lost a close friend to cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer only a year ago and faced the many months of gruelling and debilitating treatments with unfailing humour and great courage, and will be greatly missed.

In view of this, I thought it appropriate to post the following email from my daughter, which I received today................


I have entered the Race for Life June 1st 2008 City of London 5k Race. (Cancer Research UK)
Please go here to sponsor me:
I've set the total at a meagre £100 but obviously want to raise as much as possible, so every little helps.
And if anyone wants to join me, that'd be ace.
By the way, due to epic proportions of unfitness on my part, I will be mostly walking this at a fast clip, BUT. I promise to run for the last bit of it. And trust me, that's something you'd pay to see.

Thank you so much in advance for any help you can give.

Each and every one of us, will most likely be touched by cancer at some point in our lives, either personally, or by supporting a partner, family member or friend.


Giant Rat of Sumatra..........

Not content with foxy assignations, small dog has had another run-in today, this time with a large member of the genus Rattus Norvegicus, otherwise known as the brown rat.

Our garden slopes up towards an area of ancient woodland, which teems with all manner of flora and fauna. Apparently, of particular note are interesting woodland plants including toothwort, coralroot bittercress, early purple orchid and goldilocks buttercup. Recently cut coppice and the woodland edge around the meadow is rich in invertebrates with the woodland grasshopper being one of the rarest and most conspicuous of the areas insect life. There are known to be badgers, foxes, squirrels, rabbits and many other smaller mammals such as mice and voles, most of which look cute and cuddly.

However rats fit into neither of those categories.

When first spotted it was casually rummaging through a pile of garden clippings, unaware of the whirlwind of terrier about to launch in its direction. Small dog is descended from a long line of distinguished ratters and takes her duties very seriously. With an unearthly squealing she rocketed up the steps, two at a time, and flew over the low brick wall. Ratty initially stood his ground, at least until small dog appeared in full flight over the wall, heading in his direction, at which point he decided to beat a hasty retreat under the hedge, closely followed, a mere whisker's breadth behind, by incensed small dog. ....... a dog with a mission.

We stood watching from the kitchen window, fully expecting small dog to emerge, engaged in mortal combat.

Seconds passed.

Had the rat summoned reinforcements who even then were pinning small dog to the ground to exact a bloody revenge?

Of course not. That would just be fanciful and ridiculous.

A few minutes later, small dog emerged jauntily from beneath the hedge, with the air of a job well done. Naturally, she hadn't actually caught the rat, but she had given it a damn good chasing, which in her estimation was a success.

She spent the following 10 minutes scrutinising every millimetre of ground, recently covered by the rat, committing its scent to memory for future reference.

Unfortunately , as we watched the drama unfold, I did not have the presence of mind to grab my camera but to give you an idea of the relative scale of the combatants...........

Monday, 10 March 2008

In other news........

It was the birthday of my firstborn last week.

She is 26.


Hardly seems possible but there you go. Tempus fugit and all that.

So she came to visit over the weekend. Much to the delight of small dog, who had her eye on the birthday presents.

Small dog is extremely accomplished when it comes to opening anything wrapped in brightly coloured, rustling paper. If there are bows and ribbons so much the better.
Her enthusiasm is such that she often has to be physically restrained. However we've hit on a darn fine plan to distract her.
  • Restrain her until the first present has been opened, thereby liberating a quantity of wrapping paper.
  • Quickly and unobtrusively wrap some 'interesting' items in this discarded paper, which small dog will be unable to resist. In this case we used the cork from a celebratory bottle of sparkling, plus two gravy bones. No......these are not bones dripping with gravy.......that would be exceptionally yucky. These doggy confections are eat little bone shaped biscuits, coated in a crispy 'gravy' coating. Small dog loves them and they are the only 'treat' which she devours immediately and doesn't bury in various venues around the house.
  • Produce this 'present' with a flourish, exclaiming, "Oh, what have you got? Lucky girl!!!"
  • Release small dog to go at the package with determined growling and watch the mayhem ensue.
Voila! If you look very carefully you will see the remains of her cork.

Can't see the wood for the trees.........

I can no longer pretend that my workroom is anything other than a complete tip.

Admittedly I normally work in what I poetically call creative chaos, but my Scottish grandmother, who didn't mince her words, would almost certainly have referred to as a 'clarty guddle'.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Scottish vernacular......

Clarty: adjective - dirty, filthy

Guddle- noun - a mess, muddle, confusion; one who works in a careless slovenly way.

Harsh but fair.

So over the past few days I have had a clear out.

In other circumstances this would certainly have qualified as displacement activity, but in view of the state of the workroom, and the impossibility of finding so much as a square inch in which to work, it was an absolute necessity.

In other circumstances I would have found the process cathartic, and the filling of various recycling bags with all manner of detritus would have cheered my soul.

However, in these circumstances, just over two weeks away from a major exhibition and nowhere near ready, the clear out, though justified, has left me feeling frustrated and niggly.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no possibility of getting everything on my 'making' list done in time. And there are other more pressing calls on my time, such as completing the stand build, and finishing off the assorted 'in progress' toys on my work table. So I have reluctantly had to ditch whole swathes of ideas. After all, there will be other fairs, and it is always good to have new miniatures in the pipeline.

However I just can't seem to focus on the tasks in hand, and as the deadline approaches (just 17 days to go) I feel transfixed like a rabbit in the glare of oncoming headlights.

Paralysed with fear.

If I start on one thing, I feel guilty that I'm not doing the other thing. There are just so many small tasks to complete that I don't know where to begin.

Somehow, and very, very soon, I need to snap out of this inertia and indecision and just get on with something.........anything. And see it through to completion so that I get a warm glow of achievement, and the logjam will be broken.

I'll let you know...........

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Three Weeks..........

Just three weeks to go.

Time to take stock, stand back and assess the wider picture.

There seems to be so much still to do and my hitherto helpful 'to do' lists have degenerated into anarchy.

With time running so short I must now reign in my natural exhuberance and desire to make as much of everything as possible. This is just as well, because the deadline approaches, my creativity seem to be diminishing, as it is submerged and overwhelmed by the practicalities of preparation for the show.

We still have to complete the building of the exhibition stand, sort out the lighting etc etc etc. I'm sure it will look stunning eventually, but at the moment it comprises some bits of wood and a disjointed collection of stepped display units. This is the number one priority at the moment.

Another vital bit of kit, is the 'fair box' which should contain all the vital bits and pieces of essential equipment, such as spare light bulbs, packaging materials, scissors, sellotape, etc. It is now so long since I last did a fair, that my fair box hasn't seen the light of day for over two years. I will need to start again from scratch.

Then there is the question of business cards and flyers, ........information about who we are and what we do, how to contact us, website details etc. With my change of direction from purely doll's house dolls to little toys, my existing literature is completely unsuitable, so I need to redo all the flyers and leaflets to reflect the new range.

Then way down the list, is the thorny question of what to wear. I want to coordinate with the stand, but that could entail me ending up looking like a christmas tree, all gold and sparkly, which would be not the right impression at all.
I also have to bear in mind that the campervan will be packed to the gunnels, not only with all the fair stuff, but also small dog's accoutrements, which take up at least two of the overhead lockers, so very possibly I will only have enough room to pack a thong! Again, most definitely NOT the right impression.

So it's back to basics. Throw out all the old 'to do' lists, and start again, with only the most important, top priority tasks, and dump all the rest.

I feel better already............

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Tempis fugit.....

So, just over three weeks till we leave for the delights of Birmingham and the Miniatura fair.

I have banished the displacement goblins and have been hard at work, creating little toys in my increasingly chaotic workroom.

Work has been continuing apace on our new exhibition stand, or at least I assume so, going on the sounds of sawing, drilling, banging and swearing which have been coming from the dining room over the past few days.

Small dog, although irresistibly drawn to the mayhem, containing as it does various small pieces of wood, shavings, cardboard and paper, all of which she loves to chew, has finally retreated to the workroom, where she insists on lying on my lap.

No matter that I am trying to stitch tiny seams and tie tiny bows.
Or create tiny little wigs
Or minute silk shoes

No, on my lap it has to be. When I objected to this, and gently placed her on the floor, she stood looking at me for some time, while I carefully avoided eye contact. She then quietly crept under my chair and rummaged briefly in the waste bin, before dashing out of the room and up the stairs. As I had no idea whether she had picked up a cocktail stick, stringing wire or other item guaranteed to stick in her digestive tract and involve an emergency trip to the vet, I had no alternative but to follow her to retrieve the stolen item........which turned out to be a piece of glue-sodden paper towel.

She repeated this distraction another twice (feather and leather scrap) before I gave up and allowed her to regain her place on my lap, where she immediately curled up into a tiny ball and went straight to sleep. I could tell by the position of her ears that she was thinking that all that unpleasantness could easily have been avoided if I had only let her do as she wanted in the first place.

That aside, I have managed to complete six gorgeous little toy dolls today, which are all lined up awaiting their boxes.

Of course now that I've left the workroom, small dog has abandoned me, to act as sous-chef in the kitchen while dinner is being prepared. It's her favourite tonight........... beef bourgignon.

It is most certainly a (small) dog's life..........

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Picking up wee-mails

Small dog is a very sociable character.

She has a number of doggy friends, who she sees regularly on camping trips, and an even larger circle of acquaintances, who she keeps in touch with by picking up their wee-mails on her walks.

However, she has lately become fascinated by my laptop screen.

I blame myself.

During a recent very severe bout of displacement activity I was idly browsing You Tube for videos of yorkshire terriers doing funny stuff.

As you do.

Irresistibly drawn to the sound of both my helpless laughter and the frantic barking of overacting yorkies, small dog spent a considerable time on my lap, staring at the screen, wagging her tail, and showing every indication of thoroughly enjoying the show.

So I suppose it should come as no surprise to find her earlier this evening, trying to make her own amusement.

The Law of Inverse Proportionality......

At this point, just 26 days before we leave for Miniatura, I had hoped that outstanding items on my 'To Do' lists would be diminishing, and I would be experiencing a Zen-like calm, secure in the knowledge that everything was under control.

Yeah, right.

My 'To Do' lists are expanding at an exponential rate. Relatively speaking.

Not only that, there isn't a room in the house that doesn't bear testament to the un Zen-like chaos which reigns and which is threatening to engulf us all.
The dining room is is the nerve centre of the exhibition stand build, and is full of bits of wood, pots of paint, fabric covers, lights, electrical gubbins and several things I don't recognise at all.
The workroom, is, as always, hopelessly untidy and I can't find a thing.
The 'office', which is barely big enough to swing a even very small cat has teetering piles of papers, drafts of flyers, sign making equipment etc and even the kitchen has been infiltrated with boxes of packaging materials which haven't found a home elsewhere.

Even if I do manage to transmutate this disorder into order, and everything gets neatly packed in boxes, I just know that we're not going to be able to fit everything into our very small campervan.

As a small measure of displacement activity, I have found this label to put on the campervan door before the trip, just in case I should suddenly be overcome with the desire to swing the aforementioned small feline.

I think my sanity is becoming seriously compromised.