Let me start with the excuses…I need you to feel my pain:
- the cats woke me up at 04.00 and I couldn’t get back to sleep so I have been tired all day;
- pollen levels are high so I have had itchy eyes that just want to shut and not look at sewing (my near vision is pretty rubbish and I have to either wear quite strong glasses or have surgery to make my arms longer)
- my tinnitus has been reminding me it’s there (I generally just ignore it, like it were a petulant child)
- all weekend I have been thinking about digging out my fabric paints and painting Captain Frederick Wentworth on a piece of calico and turning it in to a small coin purse…and…well…let’s say it didn’t exactly go to plan!
I was quietly painting, with the patio doors open, listening to Radio 4 when there was a sort of clanking noise, then a swooshing noise and then a jolly voice called hello as he shut my patio doors from the outside and started cleaning the windows. Seconds later the doorbell rang and Mark’s dad was there wanting to pick up some wood from the garage. As I fetched the garage key, the Waitrose delivery driver turned up (we don’t usually have Waitrose deliveries, but there’s an offer of £75 off, split over 4 lots of shopping, so we felt we had to really).
I returned to finish my painting and realised that not only was it too big (I’m telling you, not even Bill Gates has enough small change to fill a purse that size!) but that the edges of the painting were too close to the edge of the fabric to fit the zip. Ah ha, thought I, I will just sew on a contrasting border…so by then my small coin purse was looking more like an overnight bag. It was at this point I should just have stopped, realised it was a hopeless case and gone and weeded the front garden instead…but no, I carried on. The zip I had intended to use was now too small for the bag, and too pale for the border…but never fear, I have a longer zip…in bottle green! I valiantly sewed in the zip, only to find the lining edge was far too high…but of course only on one side, just to make it really obvious. Having got so far, I thought I might as well iron the horrid thing. It was at that point I realised that Capt Wentworth had the look of a grumpy zombie and even if Anne Elliot’s eyesight were as bad as mine, she wouldn’t be running off to sea with him.
It may be a mistake but I am going to show you my nasty, horrid, over-sized coin purse. You see, I think honesty matters. If I pretend that everything I touch turns to gold, you probably won’t believe me anyway, so here I am confessing that sometimes my best plans turn out to be total pants (that’s UK terminology, not US). What I do promise is that I will never try to sell anything that turns out pants!
So, feeling the need to cheer myself up with something I could make I grabbed the cheap 70cl bottle of gin that had come in the Waitrose delivery and a 450g punnet of strawberries, chopped the strawberries and tipped them them with 150g of caster sugar in to a large lidded jug, on to which I glugged the gin and stirred well.
Unlike the flavoured vodka I make at Christmas for gifts (see, it is worth being my friend!), the strawberry gin infuses in just a few days and by the weekend I will be able to sit in the garden at sunset, glass of gin in hand, warmed by the glow of a Jane Austen theme overnight bag/coin purse burning in the chiminea…