26 July 2020

Crocheting for calm

Like so many of my generation I was taught to knit, sew and crochet by my grandma. Of the three, crochet is my favourite. In my younger days, I crocheted a large granny squares blanket, dolls clothes, and even completed a project on crocheting, including a full baby layette, for a Duke of Edinburgh award (remember those?). Over the years, I’ve dropped back into crocheting, on and off. When I lived in a Victorian cottage furnished in the Laura Ashley style back in the 1990s I was quite into cotton lace crochet. But in more recent years I’ve tended more towards crafting with the pen rather than the hook. That was, until I came to pack up some personal stuff for our move back to the UK and came across a couple of crochet hooks buried deep in my sewing box. Suddenly I was inspired to take up the old hobby once again, in part fuelled by my wish to spend less time on social media.

Sophie's Garden

Initially, I just bought a couple of cheap balls of yarn* from Action, a discount store in France. My first project was to practice a variety of different stitches, to see what I could still remember. I quickly ran up a large stripy blanket. Then, I began to look around at crochet on the internet (so much for less browsing time!) and I discovered a whole new world. Crochet had certainly moved on in the twenty or so years since I last picked up a hook. There was Ravelry, crochet-along groups (CALS), crochet groups on social media and numerous bloggers designing patterns, sharing tips and making YouTube videos. The range of yarn was immense, with lots of online retailers offering a rainbow of colours. It was here that I discovered Scheepjes whirls, from a Dutch-based manufacturer, 1000m cakes of multi-colour changing yarn. My research threw up the blogger/designer Look What I Made, and from there her pattern for Sophie’s Garden.

I was inspired to make the Sophie’s Garden mandala blanket and downloaded the free pattern. The yarn pack was over £100 so I first needed to do a trial run to make sure I could follow the pattern. Here, the cheap yarn from Action came in handy as I frogged (undid 😊) the practice banket and reworked it as a ‘garden’. Christmas came and we were back in the UK. As we don’t do presents as such but are ‘allowed’ to treat ourselves to something we actually want, I ordered the yarn pack of whirls. Soon after, MiL’s accident threw a spanner in the works as my time was taken up with care, but once a routine was established I started work on the blanket squares every evening.

It took just under four months to crochet all twelve mandala squares. I did toy with the idea of buying some more whirls to extend its size, but by this time I’d got a stack of future projects in my Ravelery queue and a stash of new yarn building up. Deciding on the colour layout was fun and I roped in Mr VV and some virtual fiends for opinions. Rather than follow the pattern layout, I decided to follow the traditional chakra colour scheme, which follows the colours of the rainbow. Mr VV and I were repeating the mnemonic ‘Richard of York gained battles in vain’ as I changed and rearranged the layouts. Eventually we decided on a plan  starting with red in the bottom left and rising to purple and violet at the top. It was time to crochet the squares together. The borders in dark blue and gold set off the ‘gardens’ perfectly and the blanket was finished.

Virus Shawl

Timetraveller poncho

Well and truly hooked, I couldn’t wait to get started on the next project. In this time of uncertainty, with covid and the lockdowns, crochet has provided a fantastic escape route. There is a meditative quality to looping and hooking the yarn, silently counting the stitches, occasionally unravelling and redoing a bit, and following the pattern. I find that the more complicated the pattern the better, Having to concentrate quietens the chatter of the monkey mind. In fact, I saw a Guardian article that referred to crochet as ‘mental yoga’. Since finishing the blanket, l’ve made three shawls, two following a pattern aptly named the Virus Shawl and a poncho. Currently, I’ve got three WIPs on the go – another poncho and a shawl in whirls, and a traditional squares blanket, plus, the plans for future makes last well into the new year!

*NOTE: I always refer to the materials as yarn and not wool, as I only use cotton or similar fibres, never sheep's wool, or any other animal.

10 July 2020

Blocked, not blogged: reflections on the effect of lockdown life

Today, I finally opened up a tab and looked at my Blogger account. It’s been nearly three months since I last visited it; it’s still there, I was happy to find. The same goes for my Vivez Vegan website, and my business website has had only cursory attention over the last twelve weeks. Last year was a year full of writing. Indeed, when I reflected on 2019 at the end of that year I noted that I done a lot of writing: weekly blogs for Blogger and VV, monthly blogs for LBE and in the second half of the year a weekly blog for Twilight. The words came easy, as did the ideas, and my fingers danced over the keyboard. But since April – nada, zilch, rien. I have managed, just about, to keep the Twilight blog on its legs but even that was difficult at times. What went wrong?

The New Normal: queuing to go into Sainsburys

At least on a conscious level, being in lockdown does not really bother me. I’ve never been a party animal and social anxiety is always bubbling under to some extent, so staying home to stay safe was my preferred MO. If I could have had the supermarket shopping delivered as usual we would never have left the property but, unable to get a slot, we restricted our trips out to a once-a-week visit to Sainsburys, masks and sanitiser at the ready. I found this very stressful and never felt safe, but fortunately have been able to get click-and-collect orders the past few weeks. Since the lockdown has eased we have increased this to add a second excursion to a local farmshop to collect a fruit and veg box, with maybe a sneaky pop into the wine merchant next door for supplies; all distanced with masks and excellent procedures from the two companies. Other than that we’ve had one distanced social gathering with takeaway food (and survived), and admitted another family member into the household’s ‘social bubble’. No trips to the seaside, no holidays planned, and no idea when we will be able to go back to the house in France.

I know that we are so lucky to have five acres of land to wander around and work on, but still we’ve undergone a major life shift, with new responsibilities for looking after the old folk, cooking, cleaning, gardening, the list is endless. Perhaps this stress was a greater factor than I imagined. Like many of the posts I’ve read from introverts on social media I really thought the whole ‘virus thing’ wasn’t bothering me too much. Yes, it is worrying, frightening even, but we were better placed than many to stay home, stay safe and keep our exposure risk as low as possible. In fact, I was enjoying the peace, but where had the Muse disappeared to? Throughout the lockdown and beyond all I have felt able to do is crocheting (more of that in another post), gardening and yoga, lots of yoga.

This is not the first time that I’ve felt blocked. In fact, there’s a blog post about conquering writer’s block on my business website. Previously, I’ve ‘cured’ the problem by writing about why I can’t write, and I suppose that is what I’m doing here. I’ll aim for another blog post next week (I’ve got a title, that’s half the battle, finding inspiration). Then, I’ll take it, step-by-step from there. When I’m finished writing this blog I’m going to open up the control panels for both my websites; that will be the first step. (I’ll probably have to delete a load of spam messages, too.) Then, I’ll have a quick look at the Facebook pages for each, and maybe add one post. If I get that far the ‘prize’ is to order some more yarn 😊

Life has changed and it takes time to accept and learn to deal with what many call the New Normal. It’s likely to continue like this for some time to come, so I’ll carry on digging, weeding and planting and crocheting; all creative activities that ease stress. I’ll also try to check in with my blogs and stuff a little more often. The lessons learnt from this are that everyone has different ways of dealing with what I call ‘covid-stress’. As the media reports, many folk have become fitness fanatics, others have stayed in and watched Netflix; you’ve just got to do what’s right for you to get through.

15 April 2020

Easter –­ what’s in it for vegans?

It’s Easter and everyone is busy wishing friends and family ‘Happy Easter’ and gushing about pictures of lambs gambolling in lush green fields. If you’re not religious, and we’re certainly not here at VV HQ, then I’m not sure what there is to be happy about if you’re a vegan. In fact, I was prompted to thrash out my thoughts about the Spring festival by a remark on a Facebook group. Commenting about a TV farming programme featuring lambing, the writer said that they found the sight of Easter lambing uplifting. I’m fighting the urge to comment because I’m not really in the mood for a row at the moment, but it begs the question: what exactly is uplifting about the birth of an innocent creature destined for the dinner table?

Closer to home, and in real life, MiL has been lamenting the fact that the lockdown means other members of the family can’t visit for Easter Sunday family lunch. A massive bonus of the lockdown for me, being chief cook and bottle washer. I’m not sure what they would have thought of a repeat performance of the Christmas totally vegan dinner, but that’s what they would have got. It’s bad enough reheating their meat-centric ready meals, and it’s been pretty tricky lately procuring them with the panic buying and restrictions in force. I don’t like hanging around long in what Mr VV describes as the aisle of death, and when it comes to fresh carcasses a fish fillet is about as far as I’ve been able to go. No doubt some will think that even with that I’m a hypocrite but, as I’ve mentioned before, I view feeding the oldies in the same way as feeding the dogs. They’re all too old and set in their ways to change.

I wondered if other vegans had similar feelings about Eastertide. Type ‘vegan plus Easter’ into Google and you’ll get 429,000,000 hits about eggs; even on page 39 the search results were still about the best Easter eggs, the best vegan chocolate eggs, the list goes on. OK, I’ll admit that we did buy a vegan chocolate Easter egg in Lidl a few weeks before the lockdown, but we ate it pretty quickly soon afterwards. Going back to my mixed feelings about the pagan festival of Eostre, I did a quick bit of research (aka: posed a question on a couple of vegan groups) to gauge the feelings of fellow vegans. Seems I am not alone, many reported that they follow no religion, something I have noted before in vegan groups, and others that, like Christmas, Easter was another time of “cruelty, religion and hypocrisy”. The best reply I read was, “honestly, I’m just in it for the chocolate”.

Eventually, I decided that I did not want to leave the lambing issue unchallenged. It was time to make a point, although the likely result would be inevitable in a group where the mere mention of the V-word sets the carnies’ blood boiling. Light the blue touch paper. As Mr VV says, being thrown out of a group for vegan comments is an honour. I just posted a vegan lamb meme, sat back and waited for the flack.

5 April 2020

Reflections on risk

Whilst trying to navigate a path through the present lockdown I couldn’t help but wonder what my parents, long since departed, would have made of it. My old dad had many sayings, ‘expect nothing and you will never be disappointed’ was one of my favourites. Another, which I am sure he’d have brought out if he had still been alive today was, ‘Life is a terminal condition’. Depressing, fatalistic or pessimistic? Maybe, but he was right. In the words of another quote, often wrongly attributed but in fact from Nanea Hoffman of the blog Sweatpants & Coffee, ‘None of us are getting out of here alive …’. And so, with the panic buying, virus stockpiling, masks or no masks, fear and panic, it got me thinking about attitudes to risk.

Thirty-five years in the insurance industry and I often witnessed folk being on the wrong end of risk. Amongst friends and family I have a reputation for being risk averse – I always check a property location for risk of flooding, unplug all electronic devices at bedtime and refuse to operate the washing machine or dryer overnight. You see a tumble drier or a phone charger, I see the blackened charred floor joists, the soot-stained cracked glass of the photograph frames or the family mourning the loss of a beloved pet overcome by smoke whilst sleeping in the utility room. OK, I’ll accept that some of my aversions may not be logical; I won’t fly, despite knowing that statistically it is one of the safest forms of transport. When I used to drive fifty thousand miles a year on business I carried a one-in-eighteen-thousand chance of being killed or seriously injured in a road accident. That risk did not diminish with distance covered; it was reset every time the key turned in the ignition, but I never stopped driving; I thought I was in control.

I suppose that one of the most frustrating things about the current CV crisis is the lack of information upon which to base a decision. What exactly is the % risk of contracting the virus? How likely are you to pick it up in the supermarket? What about from the shopping? Are parcel deliveries safe? The vast majority of experts seem to be saying that the latter three activities present a low level of risk – they’re the only ones I’m prepared to take at the moment, although I still feel edgy on our weekly trips to Sainsburys. If I can’t evaluate the risk, what am I left with? Fear and uncertainty, a feeling I am sure is shared by many.

At the time of writing this post, the UK authorities don’t seem to have a handle on the extent of infection throughout the population. I’m not sure they’re even in control of the situation. There’s a lot of modelling going on, but real assessment of risk requires data, and data needs to be built up over a long period of time. Going back to insurance, the underwriter knows what the probability of your house catching fire is (it might be greater than you think – 1/3000: 0.125%), and that enables the insurance company to decide whether or not they will sell you a policy and how much they will charge for the privilege. In the future, no doubt, statistics will enable us to put the current crisis into greater perspective but at the moment it feels like the house is burning down.

Lately I’ve been struggling with this lack of perspective. As I wrote last week, I wanted to write about my reflections on risk to try to clarify and crystallise my thoughts but it was too difficult. Writing usually helps, but this time it did not and left a blank blog week. I know that I am not alone in feeling the stress of this crisis. Although the isolation aspect does not bother me, rather I relish it, the uncertainty about how long it will last, whether it will ever go away, and what will the new normal look like are very real concerns.

The best advice I have seen for rationalising the situation is to keep calm, do all that is practicable to stay safe and not over-analyse it (something I am often guilty of). So, I was really grateful to discover Esther Ekhart’s YouTube live yoga and meditation practices, ‘Finding Resilience Together’. Yoga has been keeping me grounded these past few weeks and I’ve combined these daily live sessions joined by people from all around the world with my usually Yoga with Adriene challenges. Tune in if you can (4pm BST, weekdays) – you don’t need to know anything about yoga. Going back to Esther, I hold the words of her first meditation in mind. We all fear a loss of control, but what we forget is that we were never really in control anyway. It was just a perception of control. Life can change in an instant. The key is to be in the present moment, it is the only time that ever really exists.

29 March 2020

Surviving lockdown with the lagom garden project

When I decided to pursue my create space project at the start of the month little did I think that the corona virus lockdown would contribute by increasing space in my daily timetable, or that my aim of achieving calm and simplicity would become a crucial factor in trying to maintain sanity in everyday life. For over a year I’ve been posting a weekly personal blog every Sunday. Usually the subject matter occurs to me during the preceding week and, as I ruminate over the hours and days that follow, the sentences and paragraphs form in my mind and when I sit down to write (or type) the words flow. Last Sunday I couldn’t string two words together. I was blocked. I’ve experienced this feeling before, and can usually overcome it by ‘getting something down on paper’. But this time there was nothing. I wanted to write about my reflections on risk (I had a title), or how I was reacting to the current virus crisis, but there was no way I could put my thoughts into words, or even marshal them into some semblance of order. This was stress at its very best. You might think that the prospect of twelve weeks of quiet downtime, isolation and lockdown is an ideal opportunity to get that novel or memoir finished (or even started), but anxiety has a way of disrupting the flow of creative juices. Nevertheless, creativity is exactly what’s needed right now, to calm the monkey mind, and so I went out and started gardening. 

The new potager 

Pulling weeds, pruning trees and digging soil in the warm Spring sunshine and for a few hours I almost forget the madness going on in the world right now. Gardening is very lagom, especially growing your own vegetables. So, thanks to the hard work of Mr VV, we now have the beginnings of a potager, we just need some seeds and a few more weeks of good weather. There is so much work to do here that we won’t have the time to become bored. It’s great exercise too. I find I don’t need to worry too much about packing in the steps on the Fitbit when I’m trundling wheelbarrows around. Any after gardening stiffness is soon resolved by a good yoga practice, another activity I’ve ramped up, as have many others. Physical exercise is so good for the sleep pattern, too. Monkey mind rarely manages to triumph over tired and aching limbs, and there is something meditative about weeding.

With five acres that haven’t seen much more than a cursory trip round with the tractor mower for the last whoever knows how many years there is no shortage of work to do. We decided to start nearest to the house and first tackled a lovely sunny area that was once a brick paved terrace. At eleven o’clock in the morning it will be the perfect place to sit on a bench and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee whilst admiring the fruit of our labours (or spotting more work to do). Once the array of pots, buckets and hosereels (five in total??) were removed I set to work on the tangle of shrubs and trees, bringing in Mr VV when necessary with the saw. Most of the shrubs were beyond simple pruning, so we implemented our favourite ‘slash and burn’ tactic; they’ll all grow back eventually. After a couple of days scrubbing the paving, the beautiful old Suffolk red bricks started to resurface and the sunlight poured into what will in future become a cosy little hygge corner.

Before and after on the terrace 

With the lockdown it is so quiet out in the village. Occasionally a car will drive up the road, but it seems that we have gone back in time, to the days when the house was built. A few people take a walk around in the mid-afternoon, and although we have to maintain our safe distance, there is often a cheery wave or a shout of encouragement. The local wildlife aren’t in lockdown though. It’s lovely to pause, lean on the fork, and listen to birds chirping in the shrubs or watch the naughty jackdaws ferrying twigs back and forth to the chimneys. We see the squirrels daily, and we know there are foxes and badgers about, but they tend to keep a low profile. However, one afternoon we were rewarded with the sight of a tiny muntjac deer, peeking out from his hidey hole in the corner of the overgrown orchard. He reminded us that whilst we will do our best to tidy up, some spots must be left for the creatures that have made the untamed grounds their home.

Cyril the squirrel, just after breaking the bird feeder

It’s taken me almost a week to get back in front of the computer screen. In fact, it took two days to write this post. However, I have learned that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I don’t write a post every week, if I don’t make it to 10,000 steps every day, if I don’t get every task on the to-do list ticked off, if I don’t do a full hour of yoga. That’s all part of creating space; space to enjoy the simple pleasures around; that’s lagom. Hopefully, next Sunday I’ll be back again, writing about the lagom lockdown larder. The words are already spilling into my mind …

15 March 2020

Aiming for a Lagom lifestyle

There’s a whole pile of books on the Vivez Vegan TBR (to be read) pile. Posting about your TBR list is quite popular amongst some of the editing folk I follow, but I could never hope to emulate the speed with which they plough through the tomes. Some even watch TV, too. One of the goals in my create space project is to create time for things that I enjoy, and one of these is reading. These days I tend more towards non-fiction. Recently, it’s been heavy stuff like The China Study, How Not To Diet and Becoming Vegan, the dietitian’s textbook. However, Mr VV recently bought three lovely little books, all centred around the Scandinavian lifestyle theme: Hygge, Lagom and Lykke. Although they’re very stylishly produced, the actual contents are quite serious and backed-up by scientific research and lots of stats and data.

This week I started to dip into Lagom, all about the Swedish art of balanced living. The basic concept is living simply; neither too much, nor too little, just enough. This theory is applied to all aspects of life, from the car you drive, to the food you eat, to how you spend your leisure time. The benefits of Lagom are listed as being (more) physical space, mental space, improved finances and a sense of belonging. As I read, I decided to examine various aspects of our lifestyle to see how they matched up with the principles of Lagom.

The Scandinavian countries are well-known for their excellent work–life balance. Like their German neighbours, when they are at work, they work, and when work ends, it ends and they go off home or to enjoy leisure. Something we have always noticed when travelling in these countries is that weekends are for getting outside, getting exercise and that, generally, shopping is not a recreational activity, as it is in the UK. A few weeks ago, I realised that I was becoming stressed with the accumulation of events (and that was before any talk of the corona virus!), so I set about trying to create space in our busy schedule. It has taken a few weeks to unwind, but I’m certainly feeling the benefit of trying to cram less into the day, and getting outside more.

The important principles of Lagom in relation to food include cooking from scratch, growing your own food, the slow food (local, sustainable) movement and, of course, fika. The latter is an all-encompassing term for coffee and cakes, with friends, to relax and take a break, often accompanied by cinnamon buns (very easy to make a vegan version). Since we‘ve been back in the UK, we have been enjoying some great coffee shop treats, from chains like Costa to local independents, a couple of which are full-on vegan. Another Swedish habit that we’ve done for a long time is known as Fredagsmys: comfort eating on a Friday evening. I call it Junk Food Friday, although with our healthy vegan diet airfryer wedges and meatless ‘fish’ fillets are the nearest we get to junk. However, when I mentioned the Lagom-style meal Pyttipanna to Mr VV he didn’t seem too keen – the idea is that you take all the leftovers out of the fridge, chop them up small and fry them, topped with a fried egg (or scoop of nut butter in the vegan version) and some beetroot.

Another aspect of Lagom is the ‘no waste’ and sustainability philosophy, and equality. This encompasses many of our own habits, such as ardent recycling, supporting charity shops and charities generally and rational shopping. Clothes wearing and purchasing place an emphasis on comfort, and capsule wardrobes like that proposed by Project 333 are popular. Lagom places great importance on creativity – no wonder there are so many successful Swedish designers. In fact, one of IKEA’s founding principles extolled by Ingvar Kamprad was that less well-off people should be able to afford well-designed furniture. Creativity in Swedish life extends to leisure activities, so things like gardening and crochet (more of that in a future post) all contribute to the Lagom lifestyle.

Unpretentious exercise is another key aspect. Walking, getting outdoors, being in nature are all Lagom. There’s a virtually untranslatable Swedish word motion, which means a cross between gentleness, movement and exercise. It is a Lagom type of exercise, and a term that could be applied to our now almost daily circuits of the village sans dogs. We started doing it simply to ‘make up’ our daily steps quota to 10,000, but now it has become a regular “blast around the block”.

The general Lagom outlook is one of little drama. Difficult in the current climate of panic and fear, but certainly a state to aim for. Lagom aims to achieve peace and equilibrium, with no need to overdramatise events and tackling problems utilising a solutions-based approach. The Swedes are very keen on a bit of mindfulness to help achieve this, with meditation and yoga on the menu, too. In fact, one of my favourite YouTube yoga channels, Eckhart Yoga, is Swedish. The notion of Lagom is built on trust. Trust breeds happiness, so it is no wonder that Scandinavians are near to the top of the worldwide happiness indexes. My overall conclusion was that we’re pretty Lagom in virtually every aspect of our lives. From our unpretentious hygge Hut and our downmarket Dacia car, to our countryside walks, simple vegan food and camping holidays. Snow aside, we’d probably enjoy life in Sweden. As Mr VV said of the Lagom book, “It’s everything I believe but I found out I was doing it anyway.”

8 March 2020

Creating space: hygge or hoard?

The conversation went something like this:

MiL: I can’t find any white hand towels
Me: They’re on the bed in the spare room, there wasn’t any room in the drawers for them. Shall I go and get them for you?
MiL: No, I’ll buy some more when we go to Dunelm Mill
Me: I’m not sure you need any more, there’s lots of brand new towels still with labels on in the linen cupboard. Shall I go and find them for you?
MiL: No, I’m due some new towels anyway; I haven’t bought any for ages …

As someone who embraces minimalism, the suggestion that anyone could be ‘due’ to buy something new, even when there is clearly no need to do so, does not sit comfortably. The story of the towels is not unique. Since arriving here we have dealt with the hoarding of out-of-date food, and worse than that, out-of-date and unused prescription medicines. In fact, just prior to the towels conversation Mr VV and I had finally completed the medicine cupboard project and surrendered the final five shopping bags’ worth to the pharmacy. This was in addition to the earlier three bags. It is somewhat depressing that with NHS shortages and the sheer cost of medicines these will have to be destroyed. What a waste of money. However, a quick internet search revealed that we were not alone in experiencing this phenomena of hoarding in the elderly, especially prescription medicines. At least in the current virus panic they'll never run out of toilet rolls! 

The experience has made me realise that I actually find excessive consumption and hoarding very difficult to deal with. Lots of clutter makes me feel quite stressed; I like the simplicity of our hygge hut. Just coming in through the doors, with its muted, but coordinated colour scheme throughout, a few carefully placed plants, candles and pictures invokes a  sense of calm. But, I’m well aware that my lack of tolerance towards MiL’s obsessive purchases says more about me than her, and I must learn to be more patient. She is never going to feel ‘safe’ unless there are nine pots of moisturiser in the drawer and I don’t think we will ever overcome the hoarding habit. But we can try to introduce some order amongst the chaos.

So, she duly bought the new towels and a bedspread. And then asked me to help sort out the linen cupboard. Hmm … shouldn’t that be the other way round? Anyway, I hauled everything out onto the spare room bed and set about sorting the contents into bed sizes, matching up pillow cases with duvet covers and piling up the towels, blankets and bedspreads. The objective was to get everything back inside the huge linen cupboard, rather than it spilling out into plastic boxes and untidy piles. However, this was going to need some radical decisions, like actually getting rid of surplus. Initially, I encountered some resistance. I turned down offers of the stuff for ourselves, carefully explaining that we had a system of one set of bedclothes or towels in use and one set spare. When we deemed they had worn out, we bought new, donated the old (to animal rescue if too far gone) and then bought one new set.

Back in 2014 I blogged about the ‘keeping it for best’ syndrome, something my mother was well known for. Maybe it’s a generational thing. Project 333 certainly cured me of it. But I’m not sure MiL is open to Project 333’s philosophy, or a touch of Marie Kondo (though I have ordered the book for her, from the library 😊). Sadly, there’s no historic altruism here, so the idea of donating to any of the numerous local charities desperate for stuff did not sit easily. I needed to find a trigger that would enable her to let go. As we sat debating the merits of a thirty year-old sheet I commented, “Mr VV will need some old sheets to cover up when he paints your kitchen”. Permission had been granted and suddenly the charity donation pile began to grow, as did Mr VV’s rag bag.

At the end of our afternoon, all the bedding was sorted, the towels were back in drawers, all the surplus bagged up and everything was put away neatly in the cupboard (Marie Kondo style, of course). There’s still enough spares to start a haberdashery stall, but the seed has been planted. Now I just need to deal with the five electric salt and pepper mills in the pantry 😊