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Saturday 2 May 2009

Yet another example of a conductor’s “bits in between”


Doing what’s good for me

As I wrote in my posting last weekend, I was really tired and slept a lot on Friday night. On Saturday I thought that after such a long rest I would be fit to get on with some of the writing which had been piling up over the past two weeks and which I wanted to get out of the way. How wrong could I be! I couldn’t concentrate on it however much I tried. In the end I did the essential housework in the flat, wallowed in a bath, drank coffee, collected the post and enjoyed looking at a parcel of goodies that I found on the doorstep, sent from England.

A walk down memory lane

Inside the brown wrapping were a couple of my favourite magazines, a very useful book, many precious bits and pieces and tucked in between everything was the most amazing treasure:
A cut-out dolly! Does anyone remember those?

It was this treasure which grabbed my attention and stopped me thinking about what I thought I should be doing and got me started on doing things that were fun.

Before long I had a little girl standing on my computer who, as the accompanying story told me, was about to be evacuated from London to a place in the country during Worlds War II. She was wearing her school uniform and gabardine mackintosh, she had her brown suitcase with her and she carried her gas mask, ration book and identity card. By the time I had finished with the scissors she had her suitcase packed with her dungarees, summer frock, blue knitted jumper and grey skirt, and her wynciette pyjamas.

While I was carefully snipping away in my mind I returned to the early 60s, I was visualising how I had spent hours playing with cut-out-dollies and my Dad spent hours sticking the tabs back on which I had inadvertently cut off!

I remember an especially big dolly that was probably about 15 inches tall, she was made from very thick card and she didn’t fall over all the time as the cheaper versions tended to.
Dad and I would sometimes stick the floppy versions onto bits of old cornflake boxes to stiffen them up and make them last longer.

For me the best cut-out-dollies were those which had clothes to colour in yourself, if I was given one of them, then I was in my element and occupied for hours.

Back to the new dolly

Not only did today’s lovely gift bring back memories of playing with similar models as a child, but her wardrobe is very reminiscent of the clothes that my sister and I wore as children. We were born several years after the end of the war but the war years were not forgotten. I believe bananas were still rationed when my sister was born and the clothes that were worn and the food that was eaten was not much different in the late fifties and early sixties to that from the war years.

My little girl dolly has an almost exact replica of my school uniform including the felt hat, but the gloves are missing! Her grey flannel skirt and hand knitted jumper I can still feel itching my skin. The summer frock I know well as we had the hand-me-downs from our London cousins who really were war time babies.

What did I wear at night?

The dolly’s pyjamas are flowery pink wynciette, exactly the same as I wore.

My sister and I were taught to sew when we were really young, by the time we were ten we were not only making our own summer frocks but Mum’s too. She taught us how to use her sewing machine as she did not really like using it herself. Luckily for her we both loved it.
Each year we were bought three swathes of fabric to make summer frocks and two for making pyjamas. Pyjamas were probably our first sewing “experiment”. My mum’s philosophy was that as no one would see us in bed we could make as many mistakes as we liked it didn’t matter. We could practise on her sewing machine making our pyjamas and this we did from as early as seven of eight years of age.

One year I remember I decided to try for a third pair of pyjamas by sewing together all the scraps left over from the other four pairs, then cutting out the shapes I needed. I managed it and created what my mum always called my “Joseph’s pyjamas of many colours”. It was these pyjamas I was thinking about as I cut out those belonging to my evacuee cut-out-dolly last weekend.

Unfortunately I didn’t photograph the kit before I got started with the scissors but you can see her in all her outfits in the photos above.

That was a nice “bits in between for conductors” experience with lovely memories to go with it. It helped me to at last relax and to prepare myself me for another very busy and also very interesting week.

This weekend I am going to try making a paper model of a nuthatch which was also amongst the treasures in my lovely package from home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just like to let you know that I really enjoy reading your block and this one especially as it brought some childhood memories back to me too. I meant to reply to so many of your threats but got distracted by something else in the end.

Anyhow, I actually wanted to reply to an older post where you ask what conductors do after they done work to keep up their energy. I know that energy or the lack thereof is a huge issue amongst us conductors after a long and eventful day. Especially as you cannot leave this kind of work at work. There is always something going on that keeps the mind on work topic long after you come home (or at least thats what happens to me a lot). Just yesterday on my day off, i earned some disapproving looks of my boyfriend as I got stacked again in the children toys section at a supermarket in search of new ideas. (Btw I cannot wait to try my new toys out this week)

However, after I finished university i have been very conscious about not letting work take over me too much. For me different sports seemed to be a great battery recharger. I find great pleasure in playing different team sport like soccer and my latest adventure rugby, as they demand from me to give it all of my attention. I also indulge in my yoga practices. It helps to let go stresses or if that doesnt work it helps at least to observe whats going on.

Its important to have those "bits in between" to give us enough energy to give back to our kids and adults. And like you, Im interested in what other conductors do.