Did I just not-bodge something?

I have lived a long time and in all that time I have been, as far as I could tell, a bit of a bodger.

My father was a bodger too, sadly. I think I inherited the gene. My father mended things with lumps of putty and wadges of duct tape. My father stood in the bath in his boots to descale the boiler. The bath – as my mother had, in hysterical whispers, predicted – filled up with sharp lumps of stuff which the big boots then ground in, ruining the surface of the bath. More hysterical whispers. My parents rowed in whispers, and occasional muffled sobs.

My father brought home some special rubberised white paint and painted the sandpaper surface of our bath. We did not have a shower in those days and so had all had to put up with sandpapered sit-upons for some weeks by then. The special rubberised white paint began to blister and peel the first time it came into contact with hot water. We are a family of tinkerers and destroyers. Powerless to resist we all separately and secretly picked and tinkered at that peeling paint until the bath was a mass of torn white strips. I don’t recall what happened to the bath in the end. Did they ever replace it?

My father cut down my mother’s favourite tree in the front garden, though she had begged him not to. He just couldn’t resist having a go at that tree once the urge to tinker and destroy struck him. I know that feeling. Must…just…ruin something.

Ex was scathing about the practical manly abilities of my father – and indeed of my grandfather, a carpenter with a tendency to produce stools with a slight wobble to them – criticisms which hurt my feelings all the more deeply for being factually correct. Ex was a clever, gifted and gentle man in many ways but there was a Wide Sargasso Sea of human interaction that he never managed to navigate – or even notice. You could summarise it something like this:

  • Occasionally you can avoid stating the obvious.
  • Sometimes, with difficulty, you can bite your tongue and pretend not to know something when in fact you know it very well.
  • Once in a while you can allow people prove you wrong even when, if you really set your incisive, logical mind to it, you could easily prove them wrong.
  • It is not lying to appear to be impressed by something that is neither clever or wonderful, purely for love of the person who just paid you the compliment of sharing it with you.

Where was this leading? Someone remind me…

Oh yes, not-bodging. Today I made my first patchwork quilt block on the sewing machine. I took care over it, mainly because I wanted to, and because am hoping to sell the ‘quilt’, or rather the quilt top as I have recently learned to call it, once completed. I ironed every seam. I unpicked one seam that had failed to come out exactly a quarter of an inch at one end. And do you know, examine it as I might I can’t actually find any evidence of bodging. One down, only seventy-seven more like that to go.

I thought I might enjoy designing my own quilt patterns but am still waiting for  squared paper to arrive. In the meantime, so as to strike while the iron is hot, I have embarked on a Christmas-themed sampler quilt – ie, working my way through all of the traditional American quilt blocks in my book using the three templates conveniently provided in an envelope at the back. They thought of everything!

Did I just mention the ‘C’ word in July? Sorry.

They have lovely names, but some of the block patterns are more compelling than others. I started with Anvil, which does look like an anvil but is pretty ugly. I guess it may look better when repeated over an entire quilt. Good to get that one out of the way first, I thought, so that’s what I did. And not-bodged it! Next block: Barbara Frietchie’s Star. I am wondering who Barbara Frietchie actually was (and what ‘Old Tippercanoe’ might signify). Answers on a postcard, please.

By the way, if you haven’t yet got round to reading Wide Sargasso Sea – a kind of ‘prequel’ to Jane Eyre from the point of view of Mr Rochester’s infamous Madwoman in the Attic – it’s good. Disturbing, but good.


12 thoughts on “Did I just not-bodge something?

  1. If I had to make a choice, I would much rather be a bodger than someone like your ex, who may be great at fixing things, but not so good at being kind to other people. He reminds me of someone I know (and am related to, darn it,) but I’ll keep the name to myself. Good luck withe quilts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry, I knew what you meant. I’m always posting comments with little slips in them. There is a way of going back in and editing your own comments but it’s so complicated I usually forget how to do it. 😵

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I’ve always thought of missed typos as found freckles. I LOVE freckles (well, on living creatures, anyhow — not fruit). Is that one of your quilts in the graphic? Men who cut down beloved trees should be legally forced to stand there holding branches until some grander solution presents itself. DH is a bodger when it comes to his own things, like my house. He Gerry-patched a section on the front porch years ago, and I jest not at all to say the 8′ tall left pillar fell OFF the other day. This is how anyone might know I married a carpenter. I’m glad he wasn’t an electrician, I’d be long dead by now. Pardon this comment’s length, please, but do show us all your hard painstaking un-bodgednesses.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes – like the Hopkins poem: Glory be to God for dappled things… or like a whisker on a chin being a misplaced eyelash…or not. 🙂 Sadly, it’s someone else’s quilt you see: I’ve only done one block (12 x 12 inches) so far, and painfully slowly because a succession of cats have been ‘helping” me. Maybe when I’ve produced a few more I’ll attempt to take a photo of them on this ‘ere flat black gadget and post it.

      Another cat has just drunk half of a glass of water I poured myself. She had only stopped because her nose won’t go any further down. Really, I am besieged.

      I think my mother would have made him stand there holding up the branches if she could. Oh boy was that a nasty, and silent, few days!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 Well, I’m looking forward to photos, and cats are such a help. They THINK. Actually, perhaps they know darned well what they are. How I miss the little buggers. Well, suffice it to say my husband told our neighbor he could *trim* this and that, but not to cut down any trees. Oh, Lord… I almost died. Actually, I could’ve really hurt someone when I saw what he’d done, and I’ve been warning people for YEARS now, including husband, to cut someone else’s trees down, and see how that goes for them. One more evergreen gets butchered, and I’ll be taking up my own sort of *trimming.* Seriously — I’ve put up notices on my trees, and I put a sign betwen the garage and the house that I knew our neighbor would see, “NO TRESPASSING.” After having left rather a screamy message on his phone machine when he dared not pick up. Wild. I was wild. God bless your mother for whispering, and the silence. I cried for weeks over some of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Humans do the most dreadful stuff, and without a passing thought – to each other and more importantly to innocent living thing. And what can you do with all the rage you feel, when you’re not allowed to inflict physical violence upon them? Sorry, my posts seem to have a knack of sparking off unpleasant memories in people. 😦


  3. Oh, heavens, it’s not YOU, it’s me. Seriously, if anyone says “trees cut” I go right into WAH Mode! You spark a lot of hilarious, warm, cat and other memories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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