Three Things Thursday: 1 June 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with the happy*

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes. Anyway, here are my three things this week…

First, although I’ve written lots about going to Manchester already (here, here and here), I have to include it as one of the things that made me happy this week.


me at the decorated community garden

Second, a souvenir. The plan with the kindness tree was that people would both put something on it and take something away. I chose a little button heart to bring home, and imagine my delight when Danielle said “oh, I made that”.


a button heart made by Danielle


Third, this book, which arrived in the post today:



In fact, this is a double smile – the book itself and knowing that it’s also going to bring a smile to the face of Laurie.


So, those are three things making me smile and that I am grateful for this week. What is making you happy?

A tattoo too

When great tragedy happens, there is often an outpouring of compassion. This has certainly been the case in Manchester over the past week, with many anonymous acts of kindness and generosity. But, in addition, many people want to make a statement, to give a signal that they are part of the wounded community, indeed simply to be part of that community.

And thus, when Samantha Barber, a Manchester tattoo artist, had the idea of offering bee tattoos in support of the bombing victims (the worker bee is the symbol of Manchester), the idea took off (pun intended).  Many tattoo parlours decided to take part, donating all the proceeds to the fund supporting the victims. It seemed likely that there would be many takers, but who would have thought that up to 900 people would queue up at a single parlour in the hope of handing over £50 each for their bee? That, however, is exactly what happened at Sacred Art in Chorlton. They drafted in the help of their friends and they opened up at 10am on Sunday morning – by which time, some people had been waiting for nearly six hours.

We walked past around 1pm. Those in the queue were happy and chatty, being entertained with music and provided with food and drink by various businesses, as well as the residents of many of the houses in the streets along which the queue extended. The tattoo artists worked all day and into the night free of charge. They only stopped, at 11.15 pm because they ran out of supplies. Indeed, they said that, had this not have been the case, they would have worked until they had inked everyone in the queue.

I’ve seen various negative things written about the pointlessness of getting a Manchester bee tattoo, but being there on Sunday, and feeling the sense of belonging and the importance for all those people of simply showing their solidarity for the city in which they live brought home to me the value of this sort of act. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere, but this quote from the Sacred Art Facebook page gives a little flavour of it:

I want everyone to know that from the bottom of our humble hearts, everyone here at Sacred Art salutes you. Your mad enthusiasm, patience, empathy and unwavering support has been second to none. It’s truly testament to the heart of our city. Without it, this event simply wouldn’t have happened. By success, I don’t just mean the money we all raised (which was a staggering £18,204.70 ). The success of seeing our friends, families and neighbours all coming together to convey a message of only love. Irrespective of geography, gender, sexuality, religion or ethnicity, we all did this together, celebrating the soul of our city and cementing it with the Mancunian worker bee. It was heartwarming to see our community sharing their grief whilst celebrating their unity.

I hope that the city can continue to draw on this feeling of love and community in the coming weeks as it starts to heal from the terrible harm that has been done to it.

…and now, just for your entertainment, here’s where the title of this post comes from…

All the good in the world

This morning we woke to  another tragedy. In all the news stories, however, the statistics are the same – one bad person and hundreds of good people.

Remember that when you are feeling depressed – when there were people in need, despite the danger, dozens and dozens of strangers did not run away, they turned up to help.

I suggest that the appropriate response to any terror attack like the one in Manchester last night is to be kind to as many people as you can. So, go out and smile at a stranger today, or buy someone a coffee, or make a donation to charity, or tell someone you care… let’s make the world a brighter place.


share some love

Making it!

I had the great pleasure to be invited to spend World Wide Knit in Public Day at The Make It Shop in Chorlton, Manchester. You are much more likely to find me in a dedicated wool shop than a general craft shop, but this place was a treasure trove of interesting crafting supplies to tempt all but the strongest will. Fortunately I was distracted by the knitting all day otherwise I may well have come home with a significantly lighter wallet. As it was, the only thing that I did buy was a set of pompom makers… so expect bobble hats in the future. But just look at it…

I was delighted to visit Chorlton – a thriving town within Greater Manchester. The high street has lots of local shops, and spending the day sitting outside one of them, I came to realise that it is a thriving centre. I discovered that local shops are members  of a south Manchester loyalty card scheme called Tag and that there’s a very active traders’ association. All in all, a great model for supporting community.

I’ve written in the past about the importance of buying local and supporting producers and traders in your own area, but it’s worth saying again. According to the New Economics Foundation:

… every £1 spent with a local supplier is worth £1.76 to the local economy [compared to] only 36 pence if it is spent out of the area. That makes £1 spent locally worth almost 400 per cent more.

And that’s before you take into account the fact that shopping local is likely to support local  artisans, producers and crafts people, you can ask the retailer questions about the product and get advice, you can often try before you buy, you are enjoying a social experience and you are being part of a local community. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and support your local retailers and producers…. and if you are in Manchester, pop into the Make It Shop and say hello…. and perhaps give in to temptation.


Now isn’t that just inviting you to go in?



Three Things Thursday: 23 June 2016

Joining with Nerd in the Brain (and others) for Three Things Thursday’. As “Nerd” says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

First, although I have hated the toxic campaigning associated with the In/Out of Europe referendum here in the UK, I am very grateful that I live in a country where I have the opportunity to vote. The emphasis these days is often on encouraging women to vote because of the struggle for women’s suffrage in the twentieth century. However, we shouldn’t forget that when parliament was established in 1265 the elected members were only voted for by male land-owners. The Great Reform act of 1832 extended voting rights to urban middle class men, but even so only one in five men were eligible to vote. The subsequent reform acts added various classes of men to the electorate, but it wasn’t until 1918 that most men aged 21 and over could vote. In the same year, women over 30 got the vote, but not until 1928 that there was universal suffrage and every adult could vote. At that time the minimum age was still 21, and this wasn’t reduced to 18 until 1969.So hurrah for everyone being able to vote… now we just need some more decent politicians to vote for (not to mention the abolition of that most undemocratic institution, The House of Lords). Tomorrow I shall be grateful that the referendum is over!

Second, I’m grateful for my lovely friends and my niece in Manchester, who made last weekend such fun. There was knitting, eating, tea-drinking and a great deal of laughter. These picture are just a little taster…

Third, I have to mention the limery. This time last year were were still in the construction stage, and now it’s full of plants and surrounded by them too… you all told me that the disruption would be worth it and you were so right.

So that’s it for this week. What are you feeling grateful for?

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