Sea, Sand, Sun, and a Smile

OK, so maybe it was a bit cool and sea-breezy rather than baking hot, but what a lovely afternoon yesterday for an impromptu trip to the beach at Nairn. Not the usual busy seaside town tourist spot with the white dunes and proper beach-front, but along the coast a little at the other side of town where it is much quieter, with far less sand and far more rocks.

But it was certainly warm enough for a leisurely paddle in the outgoing tide, for finding a few special rocks and shells, for feeling the cold wet sand squidge so solidly between my toes and then letting the warm dry sand powder my feet afterwards, drying them off… Altogether a perfectly natural setting for my slightly windswept smile 🙂

Weekly Smile

A Bit of a Rant

Spot the deliberate mistake – yup, my Stream of Consciousness Saturday post is being posted on Sunday evening! Sorry, been busy at work this weekend, so this may well turn out to be a bit of a rant. It’s now been a whole month since I went back to work and in some ways it’s been good but in others, not so much.

Positives include still having a job to go to, and earning a full pay instead of the 80% wage we received on furlough (for which I was extremely grateful, as it was a million times better than earning nothing for the duration of lockdown). And seeing work colleagues regularly, that’s definitely good too. It’s also nice not to feel stuck in limbo any more, life is at least on the move again, even with the inevitable restrictions still in place.

And I must emphasise that most of the customers we serve over the course of the day are absolutely delighted to be out shopping for clothes in person again, are simply happy to see us and appreciate that we are out there doing whatever we have to do to make it possible, and understand that the store may be open again after a fashion, but any real sense of how things were before is still a long way off.

Negatives, however, include the very few inconsiderate customers who clearly seem to resent the lack of normality to their shopping experience and who choose to take their frustrations out on stressed-out staff who are simply doing their best to make the most of a difficult situation, by at least providing a limited service where possible. Reduced opening hours, reduced staffing levels, reduced options, granted – but at least we’re open.

So no, you can’t try clothes on in store, but you are free to buy them, take them home and return whatever doesn’t fit. We are not trying to inconvenience you, we are trying to keep you safe. Returned clothing then goes into quarantine for a couple of days before being replaced on the sales floor. And no, you definitely can’t have a bra-fitting – hello, social distancing, people! Bra fittings are well and truly up close and personal!

We may only have two till points functioning on a normal four-till pay desk, but that is to ensure we too can keep our distance from each other, so you may have to wait a little longer than usual in line to be served. And once you reach the till point we may ask you you to stand in a specific place behind a perspex screen while you are paying for your items and for the rest of your family to stand back for a very good reason.

Oh and please have patience with us as we regularly sanitise our hands and key-pad and everything else we (and you!) touch between each customer. Speed of service to your own satisfaction is not the only consideration. There is still a deadly virus out there, it may be on the wane but it is not yet gone, and we still have no available vaccine. So while we are happy to serve members of the public day in, day out, we will do whatever we have to do to keep all of us as safe as possible in the circumstances, like it or not.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Spot

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Inevitable

A Stitch in Time

While I was visiting my parents yesterday I looked out my old toy sewing machine to take home with me, purely for sentimental reasons – it’s a dinky little diecast alloy Vulcan Minor hand operated machine, which really worked! It only stitched a kind of simple chain stitch with only one thread not two, but it was such fun to use when I was small.

Sadly over the last 50 years parts of it have become broken and missing, and the hand-cranked wheel is slightly buckled now, but I still love it. The plastic tension guide on the top broke and disappeared a long time ago, and the needle has long since snapped. Size wise it measures about six inches long by just short of six inches high and not quite three inches wide.

The point is, this childhood toy was my first introduction to using a sewing machine, and over the years sewing has remained an ongoing part of my creative life, although with a full-sized adult sewing machine – making soft toys, patchwork quilts, clothing alterations – although making clothes completely from scratch is prohibitively expensive these days!

These manually-operated mechanical toys were originally made for little girls to help them learn to become good homemakers when they grew up, as was expected at the time. Gender stereotyping aside, I truly loved my own little sewing machine, and I can’t help but think it would be great to be able to get it fully working again, just for fun 🙂

On the Hunt for Joy: Rediscover your Childhood Joys