Who’d a thought it, a hot summer in England? After 6 disappointing summers in a row we are all raiding the forgotten depths of our wardrobes for summer clothes and throwing the windows open to let in whatever breeze we can catch, at last. No matter how hot it gets I will not complain, this has been a long time coming, and very welcome. Even my Dad, who has become a bit of a hot house flower, has been seen sitting outside in the sun, well OK in the shade, but nevertheless outside.
Last Father’s Day my sister and I had the perennial problem…. what do you buy a Dad who wants for nothing and says not to get him anything at all? Fortuitously I noticed the week before that his garden bench had seen better days, and was rotten at one end, threatening to pitch him onto the floor should he sit on it. THINKS… new bench required.
After a quick consultation, I agreed to go halves with my sister, picked one out and on Father’s day my Dearest and I went round to Mum and Dad’s armed with a flat packed bench and the requisite tools to put it together just in time for the sunny weather.
PROBLEM…. The bench cushion they had was bought to fit a larger bench.
Dad’s 82nd birthday was last Sunday, a month after Father’s Day. In this month’s Country Living Magazine to which I subscribe there was a craft article which included a padded bench cushion which set me thinking….
I made a trip to Lancaster on Saturday, on the street market I managed to buy some upholstery foam and this jolly striped fabric, £12 the lot and there’s enough to make something else from the remnants. I folded the fabric over the foam and cut the fabric to fit the seat pad with a good inch and a half excess on three sides to allow for hems. I stitched the short sides first, and then stitched again 1 quarter inch in to make it fit better. You want it fairly close fitting to prevent creasing but not so tight it bursts the stitching when you sit on it.
I hand stitched the long side closed, so that if it needs to be washed at any time it can be removed washed and put back on, it wasn’t as difficult or fiddly as it might seem; I just folded one raw edge in and pinned it down by sticking pins into the foam the whole length of the pin, then folded in the other raw edge, tacked it into place to stop it rolling out as I pinned it again; and then slip stitched it into place. I even made a carrying handle.
My only regret is that I left it to the last minute and so I had to spend my Saturday Evening finishing it off, and missed out on an invitation to join friends for a drink to celebrate their wedding that day. Friend’s Weddings don’t happen very often, particularly at my age, but then neither do 82nd birthdays; or sultry summer evenings for that matter.
It’s no surprise to me that the heat wave broke this week, we’ve had thunder storms and rain, but only in blessedly short bursts, interspersed with more sunshine. Last night it rained after I got home, I stood at the open back door and watched all the foliage in my garden dance and tremble as the great raindrops hit them, the smell of flowers , wet earth and salty sea was wonderful.