Workshops are the thing these days . You can try anything crafty ; felt making , jewellery , papier machè , screenprinting , upholstery .... A few years ago , my great-aunts , then in their mid-eighties , started painting plates for their many relations after a workshop on pottery painting .... before they turned to ragdoll making after another .The trouble is I don't really want to do these things . Nor do I want to want to become an online fashion editor courtesy of a Guardian media course , 99 Pounds , book included ... I haven't got the clothes for it .
But after reading the Volkskrant weekend supplement yesterday , I was entranced by a workshop offered by skibuilding.com . In the space of two days you learn enough to build your own wooden skis . Pepperblue , a German company , give weekend courses in Beieren or Innsbruk . It woke all my old Chalet School fantasies .
Actually I've never skied and if I really wanted to , I could buy a pair from Zai in Switzerland or Ronning in Norway ... but I've never fantasised about Norway ....
While I was Googling to find a vintage Chalet School cover with skis on ( YD having taken all hers with her when she moved out ) , I was astonished to find that there's a fanclub www.chaletschool.org.uk . Perhaps I'll just join this instead .
P.S. At Friday lunchtime a student , cycling past back from the college , was singing Queen's I Want To Break Free very , very loudly . Whatever class he'd had hadn't gone well ...
There are hundreds of representations of The Madonna With Cherries , all of them beautiful . But today I stood admiring our local version and had to think that it was one of the best I've ever seen .
It used to stand , almost unnoticed , in a corner by the lift in the old hospital ... the one that was run by the nuns ,
and is still remembered with gratitude by generations of ailing Leeuwarders . The town now has a spiffy new hospital with dozens of lifts and every machine known to man and the old Bonnehûs ( St Bonifatius hospital ) has been demolished with exec. residences put up on the land instead .
But dotted about the splendid shiny new Medical Center (I still think Bonnehûs sounds more comforting ) there are little reminders .
This statue is perfect and children , in particular , must have loved it . Symbolically , cherries represent sweetness of character derived from good works and cherries in the hand of The Christ Child suggest the delights of the blessed .
And over his ears ?
The couple next door have a dog . Tiny , completely round with a curly coat and silent , Cindy resembles nothing so much as a pom-pom on a lead . She and her owner ; a pleasant mild mannered man as silent as she is , stroll sedately round the park three times a day . A model of urban pet ownership .
But there's a new cat round the corner ... a gigantic ginger tom called , appropriately , Jumbo . He's already terrorised the man downstairs' three cats ( all called Charlie for some reason ) and they've taken to hiding under the hedge and peering out nervously before crossing the road .
As I came home yesterday , neighbour and Cindy , wagging her tail politely in greeting , were off on their constitutional . Imagine my surprise when I heard her suddenly give a miniscule snuffly squeak . Neighbour pulled her to heel briskly .
"Now , now Cindy . Don't bully the cat ! ". Jumbo , who could disembowel us all , turned , smirked and swept off .
The local vet might consider giving self-defence lessons , perhaps .
It's that time of year again . I never seem to have put the right coat on and am usually overheated or rainsoaked .
Still , it definitely isn't this windswept and bleak , either . This is the cover of a 1947 pamphlet , advertising the Friese Agricultural Fair in September when , by the look of it , you'd have been advised to put on winter woolies and a hat , complete with hatpin . Proof of climate warming , if we still need it .
But , it prompted me to think about knitting again . Nothing complicated ... until the other cataract is removed , I have no depth perception , making sewing impossible , knitting interesting and cycling alarming . Well , I say nothing complicated , but led astray by Friend who'd discovered a new
woolshop , I found myself taking home rainbow wool and circular needles ... which I've never tried before . I'm a great fan of YouTube though , and always believe that there's the perfect video that will show me exactly How To ....
and there was . Or would have done had I paid attention . It turns out that when Miss Kaufman says , "make sure the cast on row isn't twisted " ,
she means just that . So I've now started again . Properly . This time it'll look less weird . I love the way it feels .
Friend had found a new cafè , too , that does delicious steak sandwiches . No photo since we ate them all up the second they hit the table so I'll show you their menu instead ... the bit where they explain their policy . Good food , responsibly sourced and served with a smile , preferably to smiling customers . So we smiled widely .
I saw today that the cafè in our local library has a more take-it-or-leave-it policy , judging by their sign outside ... 'geen' meaning no , in this case . They do have very nice coffee , though .
And , finally , a photo my colour therapy lunch today . Remarkably cheering . I even smiled .
SmitoniusAndSonata is a mother and daughter collective blog.
London based Smitonius (Jessamy) makes one of a kind jewellery using vintage buttons, as well as a combination of beads from all over Europe: from lampwork ones by a range of UK artists to vintage and modern glass beads.
Sonata is a miniature quilt maker based in the North of Holland (Leeuwarden). Geraldine Keyzer is already known to collectors of Hitty dolls and owners of vintage dollhouses. She likes to use vintage as well modern cotton to create a range of quilts from simple One Patch to the more complex Grandmother's Garden.