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A few pretty things. Thursday October 9, 2014

The only thing I ever really wanted to be when I was all "growed" up was a missionary. I remember vividly during one science lesson (whilst trying to ignore the throng of boys on the bench behind me who were trying to see how far they could spit - my back was "The Winner"), thinking that I didn't just want out of Bootle (according to Channel 4's Secret Millionaire, one of the most deprived areas in the UK), I wanted out of this Continent! I felt destined for a remote African village or an unknown Peruvian town way up in the mountains.

Alas, alack, health problems and circumstances pushed my dream away from me.

In 2007/8, however, I was fortunate enough to be able to "live like a missionary", even if only for a few short months, whilst living in Nicaragua. Ah, the happiest days of my life.

Often, and sometimes for days at time, there would be no running water or electricity, and whilst there were no food shortages, there certainly wasn't the choice of ingredients to which we are accustomed here in the Western world. (Finding a tub of peanut butter was a cause for great celebration and woe betide the villain who stole my precious stash of English tea!)

Living amidst poverty, I learned quickly that possessing just a few pretty things can go a long way in making a house, or living space, a home and makes life rather more bearable. A few brightly coloured scarfs draped on the wall, colourful scraps of fabric sewn together to make a table covering; a single hand picked flower or a cheery piece of crockery could make all the difference when deprived of the luxuries, or indeed, "essentials" of what I was used to back home. Even my mosquito net became a thing of romantic beauty.

Sometimes we learn lessons without realising. Memories of those precious months have come flooding back to me this week as I move out from my life long family home to my own humble flat. (That it's taken me 36 years to be able to do so is surely worthy of another post altogether!)

For the foreseeable future I'm not going to be able to afford some of the luxuries that we may all too often see as Essentials: a TV license, WIFI, a sofa and, for the first time ever, I'll become acquainted with the inside of a laundrette (laundromat for our American friends). But I'm Ticketyboo Su don't you know, and I know that all I ever really need are a few pretty things.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 6:30am

Hello Suzy, a home of your own, big congratulations! Warm wishes for your new beginning, much love from the room above the garage x.

Hopeful One Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 7:33am

Yes congrats on your move.Your message prompted me remember that happiness is to be found in small things when all the adverts on TV radio and billboards tell us otherwise. In fact the smaller the better. The thing that does it for me is Maria's song 'My favorite things' in the 'Sound of Music' . You will see that it was raindrops on roses.... that 'When the dog bites,when the bee stings
when I am feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad'I

Anonymous Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 7:51am

Congratulations on your new home! Wishing you much health and happiness. Free books to borrow and WiFi in libraries. X

Anonymous Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 8:14am

Really enlightened piece of writing, and also true and inspiring, thank you Suzy. And all the very best for your future! xx

Anonymous Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 8:45am

I really enjoyed reading your message and wish you peace and happiness in your new flat. Have a look at 'freegle' - they offer free furniture and all sorts of useful things which may help you to make your new house a home, without spending any money. All the best

tammann Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 8:52am

I can definitely relate to this as I also lived for 4 mths in Africa with my family fully expecting that could be a leghthier stay. Dealing with power outages and no water was common place. And how to beautify our house a challenge. We potato printed calico for our curtains and were so proud of themselves!
Unlike you however I have moved in excess of 20 times over pretty much the same number of years! But I too have had to find joy and beauty in the little things. Thanks for posting!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 9:16am

Just beautiful, Suzy! Wishing you much happiness in your new home.

Anonymous Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 10:56am

Thank you. Every good wish to you and those you love, Suzy.
Go well.

Anonymous Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 11:26am

I was warmed and inspired by these words. My very best wishes to you Suzy. Life is a prescious gift. You are unique.

Anonymous Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 11:31am

"Sometimes we learn lessons without realising" - thank-you Suzy for sharing today - and congratulations on your move - physical and emotional - a really uplifting piece of news and blog to brighten our days! I hope your home will be a true haven and a source of peace and joy for you. Frankie

Tim Clayton Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 12:06pm

Africa's great for this. I spent a month backpacking in '89. I wanted to see "how the other half lived". I did. And that dictatorships do not lack ALL advantages for a nation's populous. Most striking was exiting the carpark at Heathrow, upon return. Two businessmen started brawling, tearing the clothes off each other. The contrast of generosity with what I'd experienced in Malawi, with much lower expectations for possessions, rank, and time, haunted me for years. "Freedom" (physical or psychological) was more complex than I had appreciated.

Anonymous Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 12:07pm

Wishing you joy and happiness in your new house, which you will make a home. I can crochet, so if you need a liddle blankie to keep you warm and snuggle, I will try To make you may have plenty of mistakes and may even Turn out to be a shawl, but it will be you! Karen

Julia Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 3:23pm

Hi Suzy. Another lovely blog from you. I furnished our French home almost entirely from second hand shops and yahoo freecycle groups and I got much more pleasure from this than buying new stuff. No-one expected us to have new furniture, it is no show home and I love telling people that nothing was bought new. Every item I got through Freecycle I tried to give something away in return. There is a mish mash of style there but it's oh so comfy and yes...stylish. I wish you a very happy peaceful life in your new flat surrounded by your own things.

Anonymous Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 6:43pm

A few pretty things! What a great uplifting blog Suzy. Less is more.

heather Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 8:52pm

I found your blog romantic and beautiful. That's the "way to go" Suzy. Look forward to more about your move. Love from Heather xx

Alexia Thu, Oct 9th 2014 @ 9:48pm

Dear Suzy, your blog post is wonderful. All one needs is shelter, nutrition and love -the rest are just perks. Warmest wishes for your move xx

Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 7:19am

Hi Julia, this sounds fab! Pre-loved furniture loved again. Love from the ratg x.

Suzy Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 6:52pm

Ahhhh folks, just reading all your lovely well wishes and comments (whilst I'm on WIFI at Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead. It's Arts and Minds Festival).

I too am a huuuuge second-hand fan, gumtree, eBay, Preloved and I must check out Freegle and Freecycle. Thanks aye!!

And Karen, ahhhh thanks oodles for your beeautiful offer of a crocheted blanket. I too LOVE to crochet! Isn't it therapeutic? There's a lovely rhythm to crocheting that I've never been able to master with knitting. And the best bit: you see results quicker. ;o)
Ah, thanks again folks for taking the time to comment.

Suzy xxxxxxxxxxx

Julia Sat, Oct 11th 2014 @ 4:00pm

Thank you ratg! xxx

Anonymous Sat, Oct 11th 2014 @ 6:02pm

hard times have forced similar challenges my way but i have discovered a depth of creativity i never knew i had and am now hoping to train in art. if you manage to get a lap top at home, you can watch tv without a licence by viewing it on iplayer (as its not live tv) i love preloved stuff, full of character and individuality, not like all that mass produced souless rubbish. all great wishes to you. x

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