2016. The year which local readers may forever associate with United Kingdom’s decision to distance itself away from Europe like a small raft with a superiority complex and which will be remembered globally for United States’ election of a president so bizarre-looking, with behaviour so obnoxious, that surely we will be told soon it was Bill Murray all along, giving the performance of a lifetime. Just Hollywood’s little gift to the world, for the next April Fools….
Well I liked 2016!
It began slowly though. This time last year I was in the doldrums, getting no work and rarely even receiving acknowledgement for the jobs I was applying for. When my bid to be a pattern tester for By Hand London resulted in an offer, I jumped at the chance. It made a change to be wanted for something that I didn’t care if I was virtually paying for the privilege with my own money and time. Then I sold my second Magenta dress to one more US reader wishing to dress up as a character in the Rocky Horror Show.
I made a bit of money doing alterations and sewing cushion covers. But it didn’t take me long to work out that my kids were earning more than I was in the pocket money I was giving them.
Meanwhile, the job hunting continued with my setting the bar lower and lower till I was applying for jobs that I’d have hated if I’d got them, in freezing, warehouse-like spaces. Turned out they didn’t want me either.
A lot of the time it didn’t matter. I was having fun as a Newsletter Editor for my Athletics Club and writing elsewhere, then in my fourteenth year of running, I started getting a bit faster – not bad considering most runners plateau after a while or have to stop due to injuries.
In May I got married!
We went to Canada on holiday and despite having to drag around two grumpy, sniping children (this is why you should have kids after your honeymoon!) we had a brilliant time. We selected a small patch of this vast, beautiful country to do a bit of travelling in. It felt like a real adventure. We were looked after splendidly by my very dear uncle and aunt who’d always been a stable background in my life, though we rarely see each other.
Another thing that made the year special is that while in Ottawa I met Stephanie, while back home the friendships I’d made with other sewing bloggers were growing nicely. In fact it felt like my life was developing in another dimension, completely unexpectedly. It wasn’t what I imagined would happen when I started this blog in 2012. I’d hoped that it would lead to a return to employment of some kind, something more ambitious than what I’d done since having children. Although the effort seemed in many ways futile (it didn’t take me long to realise that my contribution to the world of sewing blogs was negligible compared to more polished and dedicated offerings), it forced me to start writing again and overcome a reluctance “to engage with social media”, an activity which I’d always regarded as something of a security risk! I’ve become much less guarded and reserved as a result, and I’ve had fun.
In August, I got a brilliant though (again) unpaid ‘job’ as Volunteer Coordinator of one of the largest parkruns in the country. Again, this has led to unexpected challenges, learning and a certain amount of unexpected satisfaction. And then an unexpected blessing. In September this blog did indirectly lead to a temporary job – which is why I’ve kind of been absent lately – for which I’m very grateful. I’m still there now (in fact, I can hardly wait to go back after the holidays just to make sure I hadn’t dreamt it). But I’m working at the other end of town and due to the long commute and my aforementioned finger in the tasty pie of parkrun, I haven’t the time to sew nor to blog, much. My disappointment with the offerings of RTW is as great as ever though! Not one new purchase I’ve made with my newly earned money has been entirely gratifying. And because where I work I’m surrounded by young people, bastards who look good in anything by virtue of being young, my need for clothes that flatter in high-quality fabrics is greater than ever. I can’t actually afford them but I can make them! So watch this space!
Wishing you much health and happiness in 2017.