Many moons ago, when we had three little girls, they all attended ballet and jazz dancing classes at the local ballet school. Towards the end of the year there was always a frenzy of preparation (on my part) and anticipation (on their part) to be ready for the annual Christmas concert. Well I remember grappling with costumes intended to resemble a cook’s helper, a jam tart or an octopus (my personal bête noire). The possibilities were endless and quite challenging.
I thought those days were over but last weekend Mr Shoestring and I sallied forth and watched the youngest of the Peaceables perform in her annual ballet recital. How touching it was to see the talented and enthusiastic young dancers giving their all for their families and friends. The littlest performers were sometimes obviously rather overwhelmed, wearing looks of intense concentration (or was it terror?) throughout their routine. It was easy to see who would be likely to grow up to be the capable types (they would firmly grip their fellow dancers to prevent them from coming onstage too early or from heading off in the wrong direction) and who would be more dreamy ones (the ones who seemed to forget the fact that they were on stage and go into a trancelike state). But the whole event was very well staged and some of the older dancers displayed great skill and obviously had worked very hard all year. The most amusing part for me was the parallel concert being put on by three small girls who were members of the audience, and with great enthusiasm danced in the aisle throughout nearly the whole production. They had no need of lessons, being naturally gifted dancers. From the distance of a few years I could enjoy the entire spectacle without any anxiety and it was a very nostalgic evening. Needless to say Miss Peaceable was fabulous and acquitted herself admirably.
The other excitement this weekend was that we discovered Mr Starling has indeed built a nest in the starling box and there are two (or possibly three) eggs inside. We didn’t want to get too close in case the parents abandoned the nest, but were able to see the eggs and this has spurred Mr Shoestring on to bigger plans. I think he will agree to build me some more starling boxes and let me paint and decorate them so we have a lovely starling village along the back wall in time for next spring. Here’s hoping that the first clutch of eggs hatches and we have babies to observe soon.
You can only see one egg but there are two, possibly three!
Shoestring Cottage is bursting at the seams now, I really must stop buying more and more old china and “trinkets” because we have reached saturation point. (Actually that was probably already reached on moving day.) My wicked mama understands this only too well and she insists on torturing me by passing discarded treasures on me. The last thing was this pretty Coalport plate which I really did not need but was powerless to decline.
After hanging up the plates outside on the trellis I am bolting off on another quest – to decorate the back garden with old china and cutlery and therefore get some of it out of the kitchen, thereby decluttering the cottage – well, it sounds good in theory, doesn’t it? So on the strength of this I have a selection of old forks and spoons which Mr Shoestring is going to transform into a beautiful wind chime. He seems reasonably enthusiastic so hopefully soon I will be able to show you a photo.
The Dancing Queen has recently completed renovations in her home at the other end of the island and she magnanimously donated this lovely old sewing machine table which has been converted into a surround for a hand basin. It is going to go into the laundry when we complete the new flooring and line the walls there, I can’t wait. It will look so pretty in front of the new window Mr Shoestring installed.
The other thing kindly bestowed upon us by The Dancing Queen (makes her sound like a fairy godmother, doesn’t it?) is this “pretend” fireplace which glows as though coals are burning. It is really an electric fire and her family said it is hopelessly naff, but as you know we at Shoestring are not discerning and gleefully had it collected and transported to the cottage where it will be installed in the fireplace we have uncovered. Happy days for Mr Shoestring completing all these projects!