Friday, 25 February 2011

Babies, broodiness and baristas.

It's kind of all in the title there.
Today was all about the babies, the broodiness and the baristas, or the loss of two of them.

I had a message posted on facebook telling me that there were 'randoms in ACC spot! No crafts to be seen.'
She was right, there were indeed 'randoms' in the spot that ACC usually occupy, and we welcome them. Soon enough they were swamped by crafters so, if they come again on a Friday morning, I hope they feel able to join in.

Anyway, today we were graced with the presence of no fewer than three babies, ages ranging from a week and a half to three months. Much broodiness was inspired by Elliot, Lucy and Kezia (who, incidentally, has grown much longer all of a sudden). I had no idea that some of our number are literally family planning so it was lovely to have all the babies around to inspire the conversations. It is always good for there to be new ways of becoming closer to people, new ways to deepen friendships.
Seeing my little girl with newborn Elliot in arms even made me feel broody. I am not a fan of babies generally, I kind of prefer children who give you some feedback, plus, I have had to write off the idea of having four children because the births were tricky and the medical advice was 'no more'. For me to feel broody is unusual, and was very surprising. At least I wasn't alone.

Now for the baristas. Our beloved Pip, who has been with Trago Lounge since before it opened, is leaving us for pastures new. Obviously, we wish him the very best in his new position (less hours, more money) but we will miss him very much. Well, I will certainly miss our banter across the bar, and his very unique take on 'service with a smile'.
Already left reeling and feeling bereft with the last member or the original Trago team working his notice, the lovely Lee announced that he was going back home. Lee is from Nashville, Tennessee and has the accent to prove it. He has been in the UK for almost a year as his wife had a contract to work here on some global initiative. We were first wowed by Lee's style of service and particularly friendly ways relatively recently, but he has often been thrown in on the Friday morning shift because he clearly has a knack with the ladies. Again, we'll miss him, but wish him well in his new ventures in pharmacology (a whole new field for him).
With the moving on of staff, there will always be the greeting of new people. What a treat this morning to be served by a lovely young man ... will find out his name asap ... thankfully, he had at least been warned about ACC and the perils of serving a large group of cackling female crafters, and he's definitely cut out for it.

The usual array of crafts was covered this morning, but today it was way more about the cuddles, the coffee and the chat.


PS, William is 'well', but his Mum has been really struggling again. It was such a relief to see her this morning and to be able to chat with her. I so hope she feels better for coming along.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Happy Birthday William

Emma and William are still in hospital and today William celebrates his 7th birthday. He was pretty excited about it by all accounts so we all wish him a very special day.

Needless to say, although Emma is now in a position to consider leaving the hospital and leaving W in the company of a grandparent, today was NOT the day that she would make a return to ACC. William is relatively well in himself at the moment, experiencing some pain and he tires easily but nothing unmanageable which is a comfort. Emma and Steve are 'as well as can be expected' and are making the effort to spend some time together, and little brother E is a little ray of sunshine, or a little burst of energy, depending on how you look at it. All in all, prayers are being answered so far.

And so to this morning. Portswood Primary School is on INSET day so myself and a couple of other ACC-ers brought along our children. My mini-me and I were making peg dolls, the mum and daughter next to us were making a knit and felt patchwork bag ... the knitting from 8 year old A was simply brilliant!
We had Cecile next to us spinning some silk yarn, according to my daughter it felt "lovely", silk is her favourite material so it was great for her to see it being spun into a useable yarn.
Lesley was opposite us knitting something in a beautiful, vibrant turquoie colour.
Jill was talking about a quilted bag she might make as a gift.
I saw some crochet (Carole) and much knitting (Karen, Eddie, Liv, and more) and coffee drinking going on around me, there was a general buzz of love and support and I just about remembered to share the big news of the week ...

Our fourth (I think) A Crafty Coffee baby:
Stephanie gave birth to Elliot Fyfe on valentine's day, he was 7lbs 11oz and they are both doing great at the moment. Hopefully some of you ACC members will chip in with cooking the odd meal and generally looking out for the family?

Love to you all.

Friday, 11 February 2011

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

That's what we're here for, a community of loving friends, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Last week, the only thing I had to concern myself with was the lack of camera at A Crafty Coffee, things have changed a lot since then.

It has been a rollercoaster ride of emotion this week for everyone who knows Crafty, Coffee, A Crafty Coffee and Emma's family.
William went to hospital on Sunday, he'd been under the weather and his Mum and Dad became increasingly concerned that his leukaemia may have returned so they took him to the ward for an early blood test. NOBODY could have predicted the outcome. When he was diagnosed the first time round, William had a white blood cell count of 250 which was excessive and dangerous. This time the count was 470. For the leukaemia to have returned to soon and so aggressively after remission was a really bad sign, and with his counts so high, a night in PICU was in order.
Now, you will all know that Emma (Coffee) has herself been wrestling with ill health, she was in fact still in hospital when all this happened but, needless to day, the staff have been supportive in allowing her to be there for her little lad.

On Monday evening, Emma called me to tell me that they had spoken with the consultant and that the outlook was bleak, she was clearly devastated, as was I.
Attempting to support someone through this is painful and difficult, you are helpless and powerless, yet you know you could say or do something that could upset or offfend.
It is good that I've had to wait until today (Friday) to be writing this blog post because, since Monday evening, things have changed slightly for the better.
William's leukaemia has responded (somewhat unexpectedly) to the chemotherapy, his white cell count was down to 1.7 last time I heard, he has been well and stable enough to have a central line put in (which was necessary, but that looked like it may be difficult) and there is some hope that they may be able to do a bone marrow transplant.
The future is by no means certain, and the family are aware of this, but a glimmer of hope is something to hold on to.

A Crafty Coffee plays host to some wonderful, supportive and loving people. The group have rallied round setting up prayer sessions (those who pray), communicating news as it arrives, supporting the Grandmothers (both attend ACC when they can), supporting the family as best they can etc
So today, I should have known to expect the quizzing and questioning from those who want to help and support, and from those who haven't had the information filtered down to them in detail. I didn't expect it though, I wasn't prepared. As I said earlier, it is really painful to attempt to walk through this with someone so close, so I guess I was hoping for a teeny tiny escape this morning.
Nonetheless, I think I did a decent job of keeping people filled in without breaking down on them, and I even knitted a little more of Baby Chapman's blanket so that was good.

I was even treated to being party to more frivolous conversation about hand spun yarns, crafts and costings, Folksy, Etsy etc. These matters are actually important, how we price work if we want to sell it, how we can be undermined by people underpricing their work or overpricing their work when they use lower price materials and the like. But the perspective was definitely there this morning, these things do matter, but in the grand scheme of things, they're not really worth being stressed over.

If you pray, please pray for Emma, Steve, William and Edward, and all of those in their extended families, and the friends attempting to support them.

Love C&C xx

Friday, 4 February 2011

Coffee, Craft & Conversation, but NO Camera ...


Crafty strikes again with her complete inability to organise the proverbial ...
Armed with three 'on the go' knitting projects, having dyed my hair at about 7.30am and delivered the children safely to school, I was pleased to arrive in the oasis of calm that is Trago Lounge before any other crafters turned up. Very pleased indeed, until that is, I remembered that I had intended to bring the camera in order to be able to beautify our blog with some stunning works of craft.

Nevertheless, I approached the bar, ordered myself a large americano with space for milk, sat myself in the window sofa (comfort AND light), and proceeded to continue with my [no laughing please] knitted veggie bag. I was able to enjoy a few minutes to myself before Helen arrived bringing with her a few waifs and strays who weren't otherwise planning on coming. It was nice to welcome Sarah who has only just been introduced to the delights of A Crafty Coffee. She confessed to having started a granny square blanket and a crocheted scarf for her daughter, but having finished neither. We chatted and I hope I have persuaded her to come again with her blanket (or could it be a cushion cover, more instant gratification) or her scarf to finish off.

Helen also dragged in other regulars like Ali and Jilly, but she was primarily meeting with Bex and Sarah F to discuss plans for a Bollywood dance film that should be taking place at our children's school. I'm seriously hoping to get the chance to dance, I love a good boogie, me.

I was able to sit and chat with Emma and Celia for a bit, all three of us were knitting which, since Emma's now completely hooked (pardon that dreadful pun) to the crochet, was a bit of a surprise. The crafters this week spread over 4-5 tables which means there were somewhere between 20 and 30 people in attendance. With that in mind I am sure you'll forgive me not knowing exactly what was going on where. Suffice to say I saw many busy hands, many empty cups and many wagging chins.

Now, in terms of 'family news', Emma is a voluntary patient which means she can come out on leave so long as it is deemed safe, so she was able to be there this morning but is still very unwell and struggling.
Stephanie is only four weeks away from delivering her little lad into the world. Her little Ruby is a proper little treasure and will make a great big sis, I hope we will be a good support to them when the time comes.
Priya is spending many hours feeding Kezia which is very trying. Kezia is still very small, but is reaching all developmental milestones so we're just hoping that Priya and James will find the best solution for all three of them.
Emma N has had a bit of a low patch. Her not so little lad is drinking her dry and she has lost an alarming amount of weight, between that and running around after a very fun and active daughter, she really has her work cut out for her.

So, for any of you praying types. Do keep the above, and their families, in mind over the coming week(s).