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Marley Time

We usually have our grandson, Marley, every Friday. It’s our Marley-time. We love to have him over and he loves coming. He is 2 years and 8 months old. He a bright little spark. A couple of weeks ago he told his Dad, our son, “I’m going to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s house forever… then I’ll come back and see you”.

Marley loves garbage bins. He told Grandma, “I love garbage bins”. Then asked her, “Do you love garbage bins?”! Grandma’s response, “I don’t know about that.” And he loves to see the garbage bin being picked up. It’s his best thing. If we hear the bin truck (even if it is streets away), it’ll be “Quick, quick!” and we’ll rush up the drive to sit on the ground and wait for the truck. It does not matter if it takes 5 minutes or an hour. Marley does not care how long it takes. We wait and we chat.

Waiting for the Bin Truck

We have three garbage bins, a red, general waste bin, a green, food and organics bin, and a yellow, recycling bin. I was explaining to Marley what happens with the waste in each bin. Afterwards, he turned to me and said, “you need to shave your beard and that (pointing to my moustache) and that (pointing to the hair under my bottom lip) and that (pointing to my eyebrows) – but not your hair”. Out of the mouths of babes.

We love the time with Marley. There is no schedule. Time seems to stretch out. And we are worn out at the end of the day. But we love it.

Working 9 to 5

Dolly Parton – from The Big Issue

When I think of “Working 9 to 5” I think of Dolly Parton. She looks pretty good for 73 y.o. She has released 64 studio albums, has a stack of awards, appeared in a number of films – and perhaps most impressive, is that she has been married to the same husband for 54 years.

It prompted me to think about all the jobs that I have had. This is in approximate chronological order. Many of the jobs were when I was a student:

Started delivering newspapers when I was 12/13 y.o. in England. Had to ride my bike down to the newsagent around 5.30am, pick up and sort the papers, ride back to our suburb and deliver them. Rain, hail, snow and even some nice days! The thing I remember most from that time is that at Christmas time I got a “Christmas box” from some customers (a tip they would leave for me). The biggest, fanciest homes I either got nothing or very little. The more modest homes were generous. Did this until I was 15 y.o. – then I could work in a supermarket.

The first supermarket I worked in was Woolworths in Grantham, UK. Woolworths as it existed in the late 60’s, early 70’s does not exist now. It was a department store. One such department was a Lighting Department, where I worked. Mostly, I sold light bulbs. Before I sold every light bulb I tested it! It’s bizarre to think of doing this today.

Onwards and upwards. I went to work at Tesco’s. I had an office all to myself. People brought me all the material I needed. Sounds good, doesn’t it?! And I loved it. My job was to break up cardboard boxes and put them in a crushing machine. Mint job! I suppose they had to share the good work around so I was put on filling shelves. Confession, ** if you are of a sensitive dispossession please skip this – you have been warned ** It was thirsty work. Me and my mate (you always have to have a partner in crime), would open bottles of fizzy drink, have a little sip and put the top back on. All good, not really. I hope that former Tesco’s managers are not reading this.

For some reason I got transferred to the butchery department. Minimal (no?) training given and I was to cut meat up to proper cuts for sale (taking bones out, cutting between joints etc.). I quite liked it because it was like surgery, but I was ridiculed for being too slow and treating the meat like a surgeon. You just can’t win sometimes.

All for now.

Just a bit potty?!

Results of the latest firing - 2019

I can be accused of being a bit potty because I enjoy playing with clay. I love the creative act of taking a lump of clay and then producing something that is both functional and beautiful. That’s not to say that everything I produce is beautiful – there are a few ugly pieces, even if they are functional.

The technical stuff. Everything I make is fired twice. The first firing is called bisque firing, to 980c. The piece is then glazed and fired again. This time to 1280c, called a stoneware firing. It is worth noting that gold melts at a lower temperature than this. The result is that the pottery could last dozens of years (we still use pots that I made over 40 years ago – I was just a kid ;-), even hundreds or thousands of years. In case you think I’m exaggerating, pots have been dug up that are well over 2,000 years old.

I started making pots when I was at Teacher’s Training college in Leicester, UK. I was studying maths. But a friend of mine, Martyn, was doing pottery. I used to go and watch him on the wheel. He encouraged me to have a go. I admit that it was more fun than the maths classes and I spent more time doing pottery than I did maths. After 2 years the Art department asked me if I would like to turn my “play/hobby” into a “shortened main course”. Which I did after putting together an exhibition.

I have loved doing pottery ever since. It is time for me to play and be creative. I didn’t think I was creative beforehand. Now I know that everyone one of us is creative, because we were made by a creative God.