About me

I decided to interview myself - ! -as that somehow seemed the easiest way of telling readers about me.

Q Name?
A Yes I've got one, it's Elizabeth but most people call me Lizzie. 

Q How old are you?
A Ooh, late fifties....

Q Marital status?
A Married, with 4 adult children and our first grandchild on the way.

Q Where do you live?
A In an old uncentrally-heated cottage in Oxfordshire, just outside a tiny village, which has one bus every weekday and no shop. Nearest shop 2 miles away, nearest town 5 miles.

Q Do you go “out” to work?
A No I don't, except for the odd cleaning job. A few years ago I had to go “out” and find jobs because money was so tight but I found it extremely hard doing this after 25 years at home bringing up our children. For a period of a few years I had a variety of very part-time jobs, the last one being in a health food shop. I have to admit I hated most of them, though not all of them all of the time! At present I earn a little money doing sewing for people – anything from darning to quite major alterations. I also occasionally sell one of my bags, and regularly sell my jams and chutneys.

Q What are you going to blog about and why?
A Over the last 2 or 3 years I have found a wealth of information on blogs which has answered the many queries I have with regard to sewing, cycling and preserving - not to mention a host of other things. After a while I began to feel that I too would love to be able to share with people things that I was learning and doing. Hopefully I've got something useful to offer! Here's a bit about -

Sewing – I have done this since I was a young child. My generation all learnt to sew. I did
'O' - Level needlework at school, and sewed a lot at home too, and made a lot of my own clothes. My first wearable garment was a blouse I made at 15 – I can still remember buying the blue flowery cotton fabric to make it. I still like making my own clothes, but also love making bags, mainly from previously used fabrics. I have also taught myself how to do alterations. I love mending things too. About 3 years ago I developed an interest in older sewing machines, particularly vintage Singers, and taught myself quite a bit about refurbishing them.

Cycling – again I have always cycled, or at least since I got my first bike age 6 (with stabilisers). I have scars on one knee from when I fell off it onto the foundations of our garage that was being built at the time! But it is only in the last 3 years or so that I have done more of it. I got a new lighter aluminium bike in 2014 and started doing longer rides, but had to admit I didn't like this bike after all. I got a lot of shoulder pain from the straight handlebars, and also found that I could feel every bump in the road. Then I found out more about different types of bikes – in particular touring bikes. I went back to my old steel one (a step-through Trek, which fortunately I had hung on to) and found I liked it a lot better than the new one – which I sold.
I even realized for the first time that this older Trek had eyelets for a front rack on it.....so I thought “This bike was made for touring.....”. And I am very keen to do some – not round the world though, as many women have done. This country will do me. The idea of just getting on a bike and being able to pedal off somewhere different, a bit further than your feet can get you in the same time, in the fresh air, for very little cost, is very appealing to me!

Jam and chutney making – I learnt this when I went to agricultural college before I married, where I did a course combining agriculture, secretarial skills and home economics. I've always leaned towards the simple life and in recent years circumstances have meant that I have had to make the pennies stretch a lot, which is a hugely enjoyable challenge! Part of this was to start making and selling jams and chutneys, and fruit syrups. I'd always picked the common free foods like blackberries, but more recently I've also picked rose hips, damsons, cherry plums and elderberries, as well as using what's in our own garden - blackcurrants, rhubarb, gooseberries, apples. Whenever I go for a walk I am always looking at what's growing on the bushes and trees I pass.

Q Other hobbies?
A All things creative! I have had a go at weaving on a peg loom, lucetting, crochet, kumihomo, making braid rugs, painting old furniture and decoupage. I knit and although this has been only occasionally in recent years it will increase now that our first grandchild is on the way! I also love walking, and the outdoors generally. Ever since I can remember I have also had a very keen interest in the environment and man's effect on it – as a teenager I can remember walking down the street in the town where I was brought up and hating the pollution that cars created. Unnecessary use of cars has always made me angry.

I love reading and have always got a book (or two....) on the go. I read the Bible and any books that help me understand it better, in particular David Pawson's “Unlocking the Bible”. I find myself going to the non-fiction shelves in the library much more these days – favourites lately in particular have been travel books by cyclists.

Q Anything else that describes you?
A Someone who is interested in all sorts of things and finds all sorts of things interesting! A fan of Radio 4 - it's on a lot when I am at home.