French Grey and the Haunted Bernina


Goodness, I don’t mean to sound like a stuck record but the eternal rain is getting ridiculous now.Its early evening, midsummer and the sky is French Grey.Last week I had to go to Hartlepool to collect my new sewing machine (of which more later) and just caught the edge of the biblical storms that flooded Newcastle, turning skate parks into swimming pools and roads into rivers. I love wild weather but guess its no fun if you can’t get home, your car starts floating or you get stuck on the Tyne Bridge for hours.

Its not so much the rain as the lack of light and its no surprise that not one edible thing has emerged from the vegetable plot, unless you count smails. However, it has been an exciting week, meeting lovely new people at a little girl’s birthday party,being offered the chance to do a guest blog for Trend Bible and coming face to face with the two swallows who live in the shed! A man, who I know only as “The Swallow Man”, has been studying and ringing the Snilesworth Swallows for over 12 years now, and we get a letter each year telling us which pairs have raised young, where they were born and where they return to. I was able to see them close up, so tiny and delicate, perfect and beautiful…but so much more beautiful on the wing, acrobatic and free.

Its been an amazing week for “things in the post”. I’d taken up the offer of a free mug from Doris & Co Ltd in return for a small advert and was overjoyed when it arrived, all packed in rosebuds and the very one I would have chosen if I’d had the money to buy one! The mug reads, ” A Reward for Innocence and Truth” and I really felt like it was! I also got some of Helen Steven’s beautiful Surfacephilia cards as a surprise gift and the newly translated book by Tove Jansson.

And so to the Haunted Sewing Machine…I couldn’t believe my luck, a Bernina Minimatic 707, my hearts desire ( well you know, when I’m in that kind of mood…) and it was only 20 minutes away. I’d been looking for one for years and couldn’t believe my luck when I was the only bidder on Ebay and it was about £100 too cheap. Sara and I drove to Hartlepool to collect it and came back via the weird industrial landscape of Seal Sands and Seaton Carew. It was hot and the air was heavy with the coming storm and the smell of chemicals, so I started to feel pretty strange and we hurried back to the moors. The machine looked perfect when we got it home, only missing a bobbin case, so it stayed on the table while I cooked tea and Sara used the computer….and then she asked me in a worried voice how the machine was going when I wasn’t near it.

It started slowly and then raced at full speed while we stared in horror, wondering if it was possessed by the spirit of the “old dear” who’d sold it to the Ebay man. Then the foot peddle caught fire. Its ok now, I found a new one and it still seems to be a bargain, if only I can find a bobbin case. I’m hoping the “old dear” will be pleased that Bernina has found a loving home and will watch over me as I try to make some lovely things with her.Perhaps I’ll name her Doris?

Reading :- “Art in Nature” Tove Jansson  Listening To:-  Guy Garvey http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01kby3j

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6 responses to “French Grey and the Haunted Bernina

  1. jayne hewison

    What a very spooky post, what a bargain £100 for a Bernina, Doris is the perfect name for her. I loved your descriptions of the stormy weather and your lovely drawing. Glad you got safely home. I watched fascinated at the window the lightning streaking across the sky. The claps of thunder made me jump. jayne x

    • Witchmountain

      Thanks Jayne. I love thunder storms and we were driving away from it which we were cross about until we saw all the pictures on Facebook!Fingers crossed Old Doris doesn’t do anything else spooky! x

  2. Spooky indeed! Perhaps the old dear was a bit upset by the move and the storm! The Bernina reminds me of my mum’s old machine, though it was a rather fab powder blue. Very beautiful drawing – it would look rather nice on a card!

    • Witchmountain

      How funny, we were just talking about the fact that sewing machines aren’t very pretty these days, not like the gorgeous black and gold painted Singers, and I mentioned seeing a blue one. “Powder Blue”…a favorite song by Elbow too x

  3. I don’t feel like an ‘old dear’ but I am looking for a bobbin case…on holiday any minute but will do my best, ‘have Bernina will travel’ don’t get too excited but will try x

    • Witchmountain

      Thanks Ann..oh and “old dear” was his phrase not mine, I’m sure I was an old dear in his eyes! x

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