Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Good,Bad and the downright Ugly....

I hold my hands up high. I love the special things in life. Travel,good food,good wine,money in my purse.All the things that most of us think of as normal. Then the coin is flipped and I am reminded of the darker,more evil side of life.Our time in Spain often seems simple,somehow gentler,less materialistic ,less hurried than our life in the Uk. And yet when I I walk into the simplest white Cortijo for my weekly Yoga class and I am confronted by their next charity push I am driven to research three simple words....... Female human trafficking .

In the greenhouses in Almeria in the Southeastern part of Spain, illegal migrants live in shacks made of old boxes and plastic sheets without sanitation and access to clean running water, receive less than half the minimum wage, and harvest vegetables sold in supermarkets in other European countries.1


These are a few examples of the criminal exploitation involved in the trafficking in human beings ("THB"). The crime is severe and widespread, evoking violations of multiple fundamental rights. THB can take place for the purpose of sexual exploitation,labor exploitation, or the removal of organs. All these different forms of THB have their own dynamics, relevant actors, and stakeholders, and to some extent need to be addressed differently. Reliable figures are hard to come by, and there is no clear-cut line between trafficking and non-trafficking cases. Estimates on the number of trafficking cases vary,but the most recent estimate by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) claims that there are around 20.9 million victims of modern slavery worldwide at any time.2 The ILOestimates that 55 percent of the victims of forced labor are female, but in the case of victims of sex trafficking, that figure reaches 98 percent. The ILO figures also show that in Asia and the Pacific region, the number of trafficking victims remains high and that the number of victims from the African continent is on the rise.


Not so long ago I watched a programme where Ross Kemp was describing the same problem in the Uk. He had worked undercover to research how women in particular were being exploited and described his findings as " the tip of an iceberg"

That programme left me with a sense if disquiet and it often seems that unless you address a problem,even in a minuscule way, that problem will keep rising up to meet you.


It is hard to know whether anyone or anything can change such exploitation.... And it has to be in every persons " back yard"

But " here we go again. ..... Surely 1 person can make a difference." Well,I hope so. Anyone following my blog and my September challenge will know that I feel, I must believe even the smallest act can make a difference. My hook will be smokin' I would love to be brave enough to stare these evil people,who simply use women as commodities,in the eye and challenge their values. But, that will never happen. However, I will not ignore the plea from my yoga teacher to make a difference. I just hope it does.

In a few weeks time there is going to be a Yoga Open Day where all the money raised will go to help these women. So, I have made a start. Organic bamboo washcloths I crocheted when I was travelling with an organic tablet if soap tucked into their soft folds.

Some cotton Mandalas and 2 blankets I made during my last visit to our house in Spain. I did not have enough room to take them home in my suitcase and now they will provide some well deserved euros for such a worthwhile cause.

Just before I go and on a lighter note. Thank you so much for all the lovely comments welcoming me back to Blogland after my trip. It really is what makes blogging so special.

Love Linda x









Tuesday, 21 October 2014

It's hard to dip my toe back into the Blogging stream!

We had such a wonderful time in Italy. The last time I went was over forty years ago. And, aged sixteen I probably enjoyed the good looking Italian men more than the history or architecture!


This time what a balance.

Sightseeing in Rome and Assisi.



Countryside in Umbria


The coast of Leguria.

Wonderful markets.



And to top it off plates of beautifully cooked pasta,the odd glass of Chianti and Prosecco and wonderful company.The men were absolute stars cooking wonderful meals.



And here we have our very own characters of our Marigold Hotel.

Lifetime friends and family.

All ready for an evening of Murder and Mystery!



And our daughter who travels for a living managed the best surprise. A fleeting visit to spend time with her Dad for his birthday celebrations.


So, I am still feel on cloud nine and enjoying such wonderful memories.

But, normal life is calling and the gentle rhythm of Crochet and yarn will soothe me into an Autumn of happy hooky time.

Before I go. I am also looking forward to catching up with all the lovely blogs I follow and am so inspired by. Your friendship and support brightens my days.




Friday, 26 September 2014

Off to do some celebrating.

Andy is 60 soon. We met when he was 19,,,,! Where have those years gone? So we are going away to celebrate such an important milestone . We are going to eat pasta,pizza and gelato and sample the odd glass of vino collapso ! So excuse me for leaving you and I send my love to every follower I have. The comments of late have warmed the cockles of my heart.

Happy Birthday Andy!




Wednesday, 24 September 2014

What I have shared and learnt this September.

I vividly remember my upbringing. It was far from perfect but my goodness it has equipped me well for life.

I look back and realise that as I was making my way through my early years I learnt so much. Not necessarily in a prescriptive way. Because the freedom I was given meant I had to make decisions early on. One of those decisions involved what to do with my time. There was plenty of it in the 50's. We did not even have a TV until I was 11. One of the greatest lessons was that you soon realised that you gained nothing by moaning or whining. Such miserable behaviour was totally ignored. In fact in many ways I think my brothers and I were often ignored. Very much loved but expected to get on with things. Not at meal times,bath time or bedtime but for most of the day we were expected to have a plan ! A plan which involved entertaining ourselves and keeping out of the way!!


And in my adult years I have come to realise that my brothers and I live like that. We always seem to have a "plan." All kinds of plans. But we are never bored . And this has been so true this September. This project to " Share a Shirt" has been brilliant. I have loved having a focus. It has been fun and rewarding. And whilst I have been sewing I have been thinking.


Questions... Can 1 person really make a difference?



Is such a small contribution going to be any more than a drop in the ocean?



Of course I do not know the answers to these questions, and others that have been whirling around in my head. But I have not been alone. I have not been the only person dropping goodness into this ocean of humanity of ours. Help has come in so many ways. Friends have been inspired by the idea of sharing goodness this September. Shirts have popped onto my mat, friends have delivered them, people have sent pennies to buy thread and pillow pads. Zips have arrived and mandalas worked. Friends have cut out fabric,made labels and tea! And the sweetest little gifts have been sent just for me!

And I have enjoyed every minute. The charity shops have been delighted with the parcels arriving. One day I was waiting to give my Gift Aid Card with my last delivery and I heard people talking about the little handmade things I had delivered the week before. The lady in the shop agreed it was lovely to see "Hand Crafted " goods made from such pretty materials and I was thrilled when she declared " they have been selling like hot cakes!


So, I do believe 1 person can make a difference and if that 1 person is supported by a network of loving people that circle of goodness will grow and grow.


So, "Thank You " one and all for your support,encouraging comments and gifts of love. September is coming to a close but I shall tuck away all the pieces of beautiful fabric until the next challenge. Who knows it could be January Joy, June gladness or another September Challenge.

There is only one real question left to ponder on. What shall I make with this beautiful shirt. Every time I hover close by with the scissors I look at it and think it too pretty to cut. But, something inspirational will come one day. Until then it is still complete. Completely beautiful.



And as Autumn marches forwards the same Charity shop was talking about changing its window display.
I could not resist making these little hedgies for the shop yesterday.
I tucked them on a bed of leaves and popped in some nuts ready for their long winter sleep.

A perfect way to end this September.


Friday, 19 September 2014

September gatherings!

This week it has been all go here at Operation "Share A Shirt" headquarters .

My friend came to stay and worked tirelessly cutting squares,bags,shapes and lots more in between.


She even kept working with a poorly hand!

Lindsay is still having to keep her ankle elevated but she cut out lots and lots of labels. It looked a bit like a convalescent home.


It was so lovely to have company and as fast as I sewed seams and created patchwork cushion covers the squares were coming thick and fast. Of course what made it extra special was the chatter,reminiscing ,laughter and lots of cups of tea!

Yesterday everyone had to go back home so this morning with a quiet house I finished all the WIPS waiting in line. No chatter,no laughter just a machine whirring and scissors snipping.

It was brilliant to see all the parts coming together and soon there was a pile of goodies awaiting delivery.

4 Great Cushions.



Drawstring bags.

Some with appliqué.

I love these with the beach hut theme.



Some happily striped.

Zipped pouches from a bamboo patterned shirt which came all the way from Spain.

Another lovely gift from a friend.

And the results of my evening clicking.



And all labelled with a pretty tag saying " hand made with love @1can make a difference." Well this week having help has made such a difference.


So, it was great satisfaction I went to nearby Totnes today to find the "Save the Children"and "Oxfam" Charity Shops. The bags were full of goodies. I was a very happy person delivering all the things that have been made because so many kind people have shared their shirts with me.


And when I got back there was a surprise waiting on the mat,a lovely parcel containing a perfect shirt. Sara so kindly sent it. Thank you so much. Pop over to her lovely blog and say hello.

This will be the next lovely fabric to go under the knife!


September is slipping by so quickly and I am really enjoying this challenge. I have one more week before we go on holiday but I am so happy to have neatly cut squares ready for the next time I set myself a challenge to help such deserving charities. I have always thought that there are so many generous and good people in the world and now I know it to be true.

Thank you all . Love Linda x