We had an odd experience in Dublin City Centre last Saturday, while doing our Christmas Shopping. We went into Oxfam for more Christmas Cards and in the hope of getting a present for my sister. DD decided that she wanted to get a set of building blocks for The Earl. She had brought with her a bag of miscellaneous coins that she’d recouped from her piggy-bank. There were Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, English sterling mixed in with the Euro and cent. The building blocks cost €21 so we sorted through the money and counted it all out. Dutiful mother that I am, I chastised her a little that she hadn’t counted it, let alone sorted it, beforehand and I also expressed concern that she was spending most of her savings on this one toy – rather than looking at buying lots of things; but she was adamant. In the end, she had just enough without having to start counting out the coppers, thankfully. We queued up – her holding the toy, me with both hands completely full of change; and she was delighted to have bought her littlest brother a Christmas present from her savings.
Shortly afterwards, while I was still browsing in the hopes of being inspired for my sister’s present, a lady approached me and asked if we’d got the toy. I was completely bemused and quite guarded – I have to admit that I worried this was some distraction technique. Then she started to press a card into my hand. I wondered if she wanted to buy the toy off me. When she kept insisting “It’s a gift – I want them to have this”, I began to realise that she wanted to give my kids something. After protesting with her for a while, I relented – after all, she was making it seem rude not to. I opened the card, expecting to find money inside – it’s an old tradition in Ireland to give luck-money to children. Instead of the €5 I expected (this being the smallest denomination of “paper-money” in Ireland, has led to a ridiculous level of inflation for this tradition) there was €50! I was in shock. I was speechless. The woman had disappeared.
Our trip to Oxfam was our last thing before we went to get the train home. On our way to the station, we passed by the Moving Crib so we decided to drop by. All the time, I was going over in my head what had just happened: on the one hand it was meant as a gift for my kids; on the other hand there are many people more hard-up than we are this Christmas, it doesn’t seem right that we should be benefactors. Okay, so we were counting out change in Oxfam, to make enough for a present; but I didn’t think we looked that hopeless – I thought it was a “teachable moment” for DD! Then, while all this debate was raging in my head, we noticed the contribution box for the Mansion House Fuel Fund. It’s a charity that supports those suffering distress in Ireland and contributions go towards the Simon Community, ALONE and the St Vincent de Paul. DH quickly assuaged all of my anxieties by putting €50 – of our own money – into the box. This way, we pass on the Christmas spirit to those that we judge need it more than us; and DD keeps her luck-money and remains the beneficiary of the kindness of a stranger at Christmas.
Anyway, back to some silliness after all that hubris.
While searching for and reviewing books on Amazon recently I came across this title: “Haiku Knits – Serenely Beautiful Patterns Inspired by Japanese Design“. Once bitten, twice shy – as they say – so I have to admit I went straight for the more negative reviews to get a baseline for what the issues were. Reading the following comments, I knew to pass this one by:
“I was looking for some interesting project, new ideas and creative garment construction above all. I should have looked elsewhere. …
A couple of the projects looked to me like plain reproduction of some Vogue Knitting patterns….. (legal?).
A couple of projects would only work with a very specific, expensive and hard to find sounding (metallic yarn…?). …
And can anyone find anything Japanese looking in these patterns?”
“This book has to be one of the most disappointing knitting books of the decade, it wasn’t worth the wait nor the money. “
This comment made me laugh:
“The “Japanese flavor” is provided by five haikus strewn in the book, and that’s it. I guess somebody along the book production chain wanted to cash in on the current popularity of haikus.”
I had no idea, honestly, that the haiku was currently popular. So, if you also want to “cash in on the current popularity of haikus” go take a look at my Give-aways page! Write a Haiku in the comments of my post Ban-zai and be in with a chance to win!
And while we’re speaking of Haiku (though not in Haiku!) I also came across this website, which you might enjoy: The Torah in Haiku.
“No way! ”