Love, Giraffes, and Belated Gifts

My current list of projects includes not only those which I have yet to finish, but those which I have yet to start. For gifts whose occasions are long since past.

I have a friend waiting on a birthday gift from last year. And her Christmas gift. And her birthday for this year. It’s lucky we’re old friends and she understands about delays.

My projects, therefore, are listed by time-sensitivity, starting with Late Gifts, which are then listed by Who Can Wait, rather than by the length of time they are delayed. Some people understand, others may but are not as close so probably ought to get things quicker. Like a wedding gift, fortunately only delayed by less than a month at this time. I’m still making, so it might be delayed by longer, although I’m working on GiraffesinLovethis first.

The giraffes were supposed to adorn the wedding-card, but I didn’t finish in time, so I adjusted my plans. Instead, once I’ve sorted out the detailing on the love-birds, I’ve decided to make them into a cushion cover with two cross-stitched panels. Patchwork it a bit, although I still have yet to rummage through my fabric chest to choose the backing colours. Something plain, not too pink, I think.

But at least one of these panels is now finished. Mind you, I haven’t really got much excuse for the birds not being done. I started it ages ago, long before the wedding, and got it to this point sometime in July, I think. Maybe early August. Ho hum. Such is life.

I’m still deciding quite how these panels will work. Diagonally, obviously, but I’m not sure which way, or which will be top and which bottom. Probably giraffes on the bottom. Probably.

I have, however, decided that the fastest way to get the crochet projects finished, of which I have two time-sensitive projects, will be to start carrying around my crochet bag and completing them during my lunch-hour at work, since it is actually an entire hour. Not sure how this will work with remembering which round I’m on; will give it a go and report back…

Lost for Words: Love

Now, normally, I’m the unsentimental variety who doesn’t do anything for the fast-approaching “holiday” that is St. Valentine’s feast-day. I don’t think a smidgeon of romance on one day because the commercially-minded tell us to is worth forgetting about it the rest of the year.

However, with all that in mind, while I was meandering through the OED, I  happened across the verb ‘to love’, and thence to the noun.

I once had a discussion with a more linguistically minded friend, and we came to the conclusion that the verb ‘to love’ should, grammatically speaking, be: First Person Plural Present Tense and a couple of other things I can’t now remember, and I can’t find the scrap of paper I wrote it down on. I forget how verbs are analysed grammatically. That was never my forte.

What I like about the word ‘love’ is that it has cognates in most Indo-European languages. The same base in languages from the Germanic to Latin to Sanskrit, with (almost) the same meaning in each – of feeling affection or being pleasing or being agreeable.

The Sanskrit root lubh- apparently originally meant something along the lines of ‘to be confused’. Which, to be fair, probably isn’t too far wrong, given all the songs and whatnot about love being confusing, and fools in love and so on. Sanskrit later gave it the meaning everyone else had, of feeling desire or affection. I think it should have stuck to its guns one the whole confused thing, although it did chuck greed into the later definition. Which, I suppose, is fitting for the modern Valentine’s Day, at least as far as the retailers go…



Footprints in Your Heart

Some people come into our lives and leave footprints in our hearts and we are never ever the same.

Flavia Weedn

This quotation has been bugging me for the last few weeks, ever since Mark and I went for a cycle ride in the late-summer sunshine.

You see, for my birthday, we found ourselves a couple of bikes, mine a lovely ladies’ hybrid with a wicker basket just the right size for a small picnic, water, and emergency pro-thingies. In case of emergency. We might get lost.

And this quotation has been nagging at the back of my mind since, not because of nostalgic thoughts about the people of my past, but because of the books and stories of my past.

It was the “pro-thingies” which did it. Do you know about pro-thingies?

Mark looked blankly at me when I mentioned the emergency pro-thingies, in this instance some apple puffs.

It is, you see, a reference to Winnie the Pooh, when he goes on an expedition with Christopher Robin, Owl, Rabbit (and all of his friends and relations) et al to the North Pole. It is the sort of reference which is part of my family’s language. I’m not sure that the original pro-things were supposed to be emergencies, but they always are for us.

Pooh's Thinking Cushion

We walked the Two Moors Way once, with emergencies every day, about elevensies-time, when we stopped for our emergency Mars bars or Snickers or whatever happened to be the pro-thingies for the day. They were actually needed one day, when the map-reader took us on a “short cut” to a pub which wasn’t there. So we huddled in a bus-shelter, eating our emergency rations, while he worked out a new route to where we were supposed to go.

I think it’s the mark of a good book/story, whether its phrases or ideas find their way into common parlance, either with the general public, or as part of a family’s language. They make footprints in our hearts and minds – in our language – and help to make us who we are.

The question, though, is: are they woozle footprints, or wizzles?

The First Year of Marriage

“Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.”

Mark Twain

Bride's Bouquet and Groom's Hat - photo taken by my sister, while we were sneaking scones and tea in between the many, many photographs being demanded...

Bride’s Bouquet and Groom’s Hat – photo taken by my sister, while we were sneaking scones and tea in between the many, many photographs being demanded…

As Mark and I reach our First Anniversary this weekend (Paper, so a card will do…), I had planned to write about what I’ve learned of Marriage during this last year. But really, I don’t think I’m qualified yet. We’ve only been married a year, after all, and I don’t honestly feel much different to when we were just living together.

We laugh together and squabble together much as we always did. We do things together and we do things separately. I try not to be a nag (don’t always succeed) and he tries to do things so I don’t have to nag (doesn’t always succeed).

And we’re still friends, when all is said and done. We’re a team, united against the world and the questions about when we’re going to have a baby (answer: not yet, please stop asking).

Lots of the quotations out there about marriage talk about how much hard work it is, and joke about perceived negatives – there’s an amusing one by Groucho Marx about Marriage being an institution, but who wants to live in one of those? – and maybe I haven’t been married long enough to appreciate how difficult it is, but I think maybe people think too much about it.

As my mother might say, you’ve just got to get on with it. Once you’ve made the decision, and the commitment, stop thinking about it and just do it. You get out of it what you put into it. It’s the little things – the early-morning cups of tea or coffee – as well as the grand gestures and bunches of flowers.

At the end of the day, if you can still make each other laugh, nothing else really matters.

Love is in the Air

I’ve been hunting down quotations this week. The sort that make you go “awww!” (or “ewww!”, depending on your mood/ideas about expressing emotion). Quotations about love and marriage.

Because I agreed not only to read something at a friend’s wedding in September, but also to write it. Using my creative/artistic licence as a would-be writer. (It’s tricky to get out of the mind-set that I’m not a Real Writer until I’ve been paid – and, to be honest, I won’t feel like I’ve earned the right to call myself such until I am, but that’s just me. Seeking validation…)

Anyway, despite my own wedding being a scant few weeks away now, I’m still in need of advice from the Masters about writing about love. Although I still think that one of the best pieces is from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Such a lovely description of love. But I can’t use that (civil wedding laws and all that).


Another good quotation I like comes from the end of Frederica by Georgette Heyer. Our heroine has just become engaged to the hero and is explaining about not really knowing what love is.

“It has always seemed to me that if one falls in love with any gentleman one becomes instantly blind to his faults. But I am not blind to your faults, and I do not think that everything you do or say is right! Only—Is it being—not very comfortable—and cross—and not quite happy, when you aren’t there?”

Only then, of course, the happy couple are interrupted by the heroine’s adorable little brother, who demands to know why they are cuddling. He is, in a little boy’s way, so revolted by the thought of having to cuddle any woman that he swears off ever getting married.

What’s your favourite quotation about love and/or marriage?

The Pursuit of Love

It occurs to me that of all the things I’ve talked about, I seem to be missing the literary influences.

Lots is written about love; what it is, and what it isn’t. Romantic novels and love-stories are dismissed as ‘chick-lit’, not serious literature. Which I think is something of a shame. Because while quite a lot probably are light-hearted bits of fluff, there’s a lot more that isn’t. And they get missed because they’re ‘just’ romances. And yet, that’s what most of us are looking for: someone to love, and who loves us.

The first love-story I heard, I heard many, many times. It was an audio-book of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. I didn’t read it until I was in my teens, but by then, I knew it pretty much off by heart, and the voices of the characters were those the reader had given them.

The Pursuit of Love isn’t really a traditional sort of romantic novel, but it is, most definitely, a story about love. As the title suggests. But it has a bitter-sweet ending, unlike most romances. Even Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate and the story of Fanny, the narrator of both, manage happy-ish endings.

It is, quite possibly, my favourite book of all time. It speaks to me of my childhood. Of many happy hours curled up by a heater, listening as Linda Radlett’s life and great love unfold. Of the dreams of glamour, of an overwhelming, all-consuming love-affair, of finding happiness.

Sometimes we dream so much about chasing the elusive thunder-bolt variety of love that we miss the enduring variety of love. Chasing the exciting, we become like the Bolter, flitting from one to another to satisfy the belief that love must always be electric. But even an eco-friendly light-bulb reaches a steady level of output after enough time.

Love has many forms. And from all I’ve heard, love in relationships requires patience, good humour, and hard work. Sometimes it’s not easy, but love is always worth it.