Monday, 22 February 2016

Ants and other oddities.

On Saturday morning we had ants. Not everywhere. Just in a couple of places in the kitchen, clustered around the honey pot and the tea pot. The honey I can understand but I was unaware that ants liked tea! How did ants get up to the seventh floor? You have to admire their determination. Or has some child on another floor broken his ant farm and the little beasties are now roaming the building? 

Much as I might admire their tenacity, I really didn't want them in my kitchen. So I am afraid that they had to be eradicated. Or at least dissuaded from continuing to visit us. So, after a major clean up of all surfaces and a search for possible entry points, we sprayed insect repellent under the sink and around the washing machine. Fingers crossed that they do not return. I always associate ants with summer infestations. What are they doing up and about in mid-February. Have the slightly higher temperatures (9 degrees down at the Carrefour roundabout at 9.30 on Saturday morning, up to 10 day, a significant increase on Friday's 4!) woken them up? 

Saturday and Sunday saw blue sky and sunshine. We were strolling around carrying our jackets? Positively spring-like! Of course, the temperature has gone up because on Friday I went and bought warmer bedding, Thursday night having been rather chilly! 

I remember as a child being tucked up in bed, tightly trapped under a weight of blankets, barely able to move. This was especially so during a stay in hospital. I suppose it was meant to be reassuring, to make you feel safe. To some extent it worked. Even as adults we sometimes feel the need to have that weight of bedclothes over us on a cold night. 

Then came continental quilts. Before that, quilts were things grandmothers made out of old dresses and other items of clothing, patching pieces together in set patterns. In some societies they had quilting parties, where ladies got together and made a quilt together, each one sewing a little until the whole was completed.. I made a small one for our son's pram. A patchwork quilt, a proper one, is a kind of memory bank. Each bit of the pattern remembers an old item of clothing. 

(My grandmother also made rag rugs. Strips of material were pulled through the open weave of hessian to make a rug that would be displayed in front of the fireplace. Another memory bank. This is a traditional skill that some people have been reviving. A friend of mine made one recently and has been inundated with requests from friends and relations to make one for them.) 

But continental quilts were different: like eiderdowns but thicker and fluffier. The idea was sold as something that made bed-making easier. All you needed to do was shake up the continental quilt and sort of throw it onto the bed. And it was a "continental" quilt for quite a long time. Obviously it was not an uptight British thing - blankets needed tucking in properly with the corners neatly folded. "Continental" quilts were altogether looser and freer. Oddly enough, here in Spain, well, in Galicia or at least in the Chinese bazaars here in Vigo, they are referred to as " nĂ³rdicos": something from the North then, not a Spanish thing at all. How interesting! 

Our smallest grandchild has always slept, indeed still sleeps in her recently achieved two-year-old status, in a bag. Not just any old bag but a sort of warm, padded affair that her legs are tucked into and then it is fastened at her shoulders, leaving her arms free. There are different weights of bag for different times of the year. Our children slept in similar things when they were tiny babies but it didn't continue beyond their being a few months old. One consequence of this extended bag-sleeping is that our granddaughter can sit up in her cot when she wakes and even stand, although that is a little awkward. What she can't do is what her father achieved almost as soon as he learnt to walk: liberate herself from the cot. 

Almost as soon as he could walk, he set about climbing out of the cot in the morning. Having his legs free, he was able to hook one foot up and hoik himself over the side. Fearing that he might injure himself, we lowered the side of the cot so that did not have so far to let himself down to the floor. Having made sure he could not do the same trick over the stair gate, we were quite happy for him to get out and play in the morning. This was especially useful when his small sister came along as he used to find things for her to play with as well. 

So it goes!

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