Saturday, 20 June 2009

Of teenagers, ham, and quilted sheep

In which our heroine fills her home with dotty teenagers, listens to stories of France, and teaches a friend to hand-quilt...

Well the amaryllis seeds are planted and in the hall under plastic. It will be interesting to see how long they take to germinate, the book says between 14 and 35 days which is a bit vague really. I guess being tropical the variables are pretty wide.

B has slept off the late nights from the French Trip and has now got her voice back too! She must have talked for three hours straight on Tuesday evening when she returned. They saw and did so much; the time was really put to good use. The tone was set when she descended from the bus and greeted me:
Mum, Mum, I put on three kilos when I was away!
Really? (as I twisted to see how she was different).
Yes! In my luggage!
And, unlike her eldest sister, she did NOT fall into the canal on the cycle trip! I’d known for several years that a student, complete with bicycle, had gone into the canal one year, but they had conspired not to let me know it was MY daughter, since no harm had been done. She’s not called Dilly for nothing you know! Should I be retrospectively mortified I wonder?
On the way home, in Belfast Airport sniffer dogs were being trained and the students were asked if someone would carry a bag through Customs as part of the exercise. The teacher agreed and B and Co. were really interested to talk to the dog-handlers and find out a bit about how the dogs are trained.

Yesterday the house was full of teenagers. Sos and friends are going to Spain for a week as a ‘finishing school’ celebration. They have organised the whole holiday by themselves and it will be the first time any of the seven have been away without adult supervision. It will be good for them to have to cope and there will, no doubt, be great stories on their return. They leave tomorrow evening on the Dublin bus as their flight is 6am on Monday morning! Yesterday they were sorting out what they wanted to do in Spain using the internet as well as the guide book. Later others arrived as one of the girls is returning to Korea next week and they wanted to say a proper good-bye to her, not knowing when, if ever they’ll see her. It was a lovely day with the house full of people, mothers and sisters, as well as Sos’ friends.

At lunch time one of the girls, who is obviously not used to dogs, left the packet of ham on the edge of the table whilst making her sandwich. I glanced across the kitchen to see the dog quietly edging up to the table, trying to simultaneously watch me and the ham. You could practically see the cogs turning in his head trying to figure whether he could get to the packet before I could get to him! He reckoned without human’s ability to talk, Sos moved the ham out of his reach, so he had to try and pretend he hadn’t been up to anything. Difficult when we were laughing at him!

In the evening everyone went off to parties: teenagers to an end of school party at a friend’s house, and the family to a midsummer party. I was doing ‘taxi momma’ and had also to buy another box of cornflakes, as Dilly came home and ate the lot, not knowing there was a sleepover intended. Two carloads returned here and at 4o’c I went to bed, leaving Sos and Co. in the kitchen drinking tea, grazing steadily, and arguing over what film to watch! Whew!

This morning I was out early as I was teaching Mum’s God-daughter the basics of hand quilting. She has made the most gorgeous little quilt for a friend’s baby: twelve black and white sheep appliqu├ęd onto lime green squares. After some discussion she decided to do two rows of echo quilting around each sheep and then perhaps a quilted buttercup in the corners where the blocks join. The fabric and design of her quilt have real ‘wow!’ factor, simple, and really well sewn. It was really enjoyable working with her and helping her to start the quilting off.

When I returned home it was to find everyone slouched around on sofas suffering from being up so late. Sos’ friends had been collected, Sos was at work for the afternoon, and Dilly had returned from staying the night at the midsummer party. Everyone had had a great evening and there was lots of general catching up with people to report. The art of conversation is alive and well in the North West!

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