I tend not to belong to organisations like Guilds or women’s clubs like Book Clubs.
I did join some of these things when I was younger but didn’t last very long because they just weren’t for me. I tend to want to get on with things on my own and I can’t be doing with all the time that is wasted talking around problems when they could be solved in an instant with logical thought and decisive action. If I am to be honest, though, the main reason why I tend to keep away is because I don’t do gossip, rumour and scandal. I just don’t. I’m not interested. If you tell me something it is likely to go nowhere because usually I forget it within a moment, and even if I do remember it I don’t pass it on because that would either be unkind or dishonest. Because let’s face it, most of what is passed on by people who love to spread rumour is, at worst, completely untrue or, at best, has become rather blurred along the way.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint. I am a straight talker and I have a foul mouth. So foul, in fact, that when I developed a tooth abscess with a swollen face in Australia recently, my fellow South African teachers who accompanied me to a Medical Centre to find a Doctor, came to a general consensus (while I was in his consulting room) that it was because my foul mouth had finally erupted! They were probably correct and I agreed with them. But if I were to choose between the vices, I know I would rather that the words coming out of my mouth were interspersed with a few choice ones than that they were untrue or hypocritical.
I live in a smallish city that has only one representative for each of the brands of sewing machines that are available. The previous owner of the shop that represents one of the brands was a person whom I liked very much. I got on well with her because, like me, she didn’t mince words. If she could do something for you she told you and if she couldn’t, she said so. She was never rude (she was too much of a lady for that) but she didn’t have time for unreasonable requests or complaints and she didn’t pamper anyone. And that’s why the local Guilds said terrible things about her.
That business has now changed hands and I am hearing that they now don’t like the husband of the woman who has bought it. I’m not really entitled to an opinion because I’ve only been in there once since the changeover and I haven’t met the man. I am, however, willing to bet that they were looking for faults and were waiting to pounce the moment he put one foot wrong. Because that is what a pack does. Although pounce is not really the correct word. Their methods are more insidious than that. Whatever word you use, though, it is unkind and potentially very damaging to a business that is, after all, supplying their needs and, as far as I can see, doing it well.
Over the years I have seen doctors’ careers damaged and shops being forced to downscale because of vicious rumours that started in embroidery classes, Guilds and book clubs. Just this week I was told that a friend of mine, who has recently been very ill, was poisoned by her husband. Can you believe that? What sorts of minds dream up these things? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that they are minds that are not sufficiently occupied. They hear something, add a little bit of their own stuff, embroider on it and pass it on. Very quickly.
But onto the reason why I decided to write this post in the first place. This week I received this in an email:
“I was talking to a friend who was in your class at Country Bumpkin (how I would have loved to be there) and she mentioned errors in the plaid instructions. Have you done an errata at all?”
She is, of course, referring to the workshops I did recently at Beating Around The Bush in Adelaide, Australia. A wonderful event, truly wonderful and one you should all put onto your bucket list.
The plaid instructions she talks about are the weaving stitches that feature in my new book, Crewel Intentions, and there are no errors. None whatsoever, or certainly not any that we have picked up since publication in June. We are, of course, all simple human beings and everyone is fallible, so it is perfectly possible that something will come to light in the future. But for now, no. As far as we aware there no errors in the weaving instructions.
So I guess what I am doing is appealing to you. If you hear this story, please scotch the rumour for my sake, the sake of my publishers and for the sake of those shops that are stocking the book. It’s not fair to any of us.
And now that we have that out of the way, on a slightly different subject, I would like to thank all of our customers who have been so patient while we have been dealing with the protracted postal strike that we are having to endure. I think it’s sitting at about 11 weeks and counting. All of our parcels, but for one, have reached their destinations and we are using couriers to get our parcels out. Their rates are excellent and in many cases, cheaper than the post office – so guess who we will be recommending in the future. Because their service is excellent. They can’t, however, match the post office rates on lighter international parcels and we are asking our customers to hold back if they want to place small orders.
The news from the post office is that they have now obtained a High Court Interdict against the worst of the strikers, which prevents them from intimidating those that want to go to work, and that sorting has started again in many of the main sorting centres. They aren’t yet running at optimal levels so as soon as the contact (that took me two weeks to find) emails me to tell me that anything we post will run smoothly through the system, I will be emailing everyone on my list to suggest they go ahead. In the meantime, the post office shipping option is disabled on the website and the only choice is Aramex Couriers.
If you want to place a small order (or even a bigger one) you are welcome to send us a list of what you would like. We will work out the comparative rates for you and, also, if there is a huge difference and you choose to wait, we will add your name to the list of those we need to inform once this post office nightmare is just a distant bad dream.