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A Potter's Moll: Sage Plus Gaga Equals...?

…Saga magazine plopped through the letter- box this week and I always look forward to the mixture of entertainment, nostalgia and tips that the magazine contains. It occurred to me though – is the name Saga an amalgam of Sage (wise) and Gaga?…

Liz Robison – Open Writing’s laughter-maker in residence - presents another chuckle-filled
chapter recounting her busy life.

Do please visit the Web site of Liz’s husband, potter Jim Robison http://www.jimrobison.co.uk/

‘March comes in like a lion – and gets our goat.’ This is the wisdom of Old Amos in The Dalesman magazine. I do always feel much better by the time we get to March, whatever the weather, the days are getting longer and plants, trees and bulbs are all pursuing their relentless push towards growth.

One thing that does get my goat is our 2 for the price of 1 society. It has even extended to the gardening catalogues, and they also now offer plants at ONLY £4.99. Modern sales techniques have spread to one catalogue trumpeting: ‘Container gardening the EEZEE way!’ My sister refers to ‘Buy one, get one free’ supermarket offers as ‘Buy one, let one rot’.

The built in obsolescence of many items grates. I recently had my eyes tested and I remarked to the optician that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find soaking solution for the gas-permeable type lenses I have used for 30 years. Her reply was that companies are encouraging more and more people to buy and use (more expensive in the long run) disposable lenses.

Similarly we took the digital camera to be repaired, only to be met by shrugs and offers of the newest, latest replacement. What a contrast with the nice man in the sewing machine shop who did not laugh at my 1972 machine even though it is clearly a very old lady. To be honest I did come away replacing it with a new machine which is lighter, easier to use etc, but he did do me the courtesy of costing out what it would cost to replace the drive belt, foot pedal and flex and give me a price first.

Saga magazine plopped through the letter- box this week and I always look forward to the mixture of entertainment, nostalgia and tips that the magazine contains. It occurred to me though – is the name Saga an amalgam of Sage (wise) and Gaga?

As if to add to my rant above about marketing, I have just roughly studied all the junk mail that came with the magazine. Under ‘Buy one, get one free’ there were low energy light bulbs (OK), tummy trimmers, car dent pullers, suction ear cleaners and leather passport holders.

Among the more negative offers, emphasising the age-demographic of Saga readers there was ‘All you need to know about hearing aids’, Gloria (Hunniford) says ‘Buy a superb Adjustomatic bed and get a powered recliner for FREE’, and two leaflets advertising shoes for wide and/or swollen feet. (All this in the extra bits that come with the magazine: then there are the ads in the magazine itself advertising stair-lifts and the kind of bath where you have to wear your swimsuit.)

On the plus side (i.e. assuming we are sage rather than gaga) there were flyers for Better Beef (still got teeth), WHICH guide to Broadband, the National Trust and the RSPB, 50% off furniture covers and Travelling Light clothes. It’s ironic to think that we have managed to stop most junk mail being delivered individually when here we have reams more accompanying a magazine we subscribe to!

The potter and his Moll have had a bit of a split screen life lately. I went to Wales to see family while Jim went to Birmingham to do a day’s workshop for the Midland Potters’ Association and then a day’s Masterclass for A level Art students in a school which had 90+% Black and Asian students where he was very impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment.

Back here at the Gallery by Sunday I helped with the tail end of 25 visitors from a local Rotary club and yesterday sold pots, answered queries about courses in the studio and browsed Ceramic Review magazine which keeps us up to date with that world.

This week I will have the pleasure of two things close to my heart coming together – on March 1st I will compere the after-dinner entertainment at Huddersfield Welsh Society’s annual St David’s Day dinner which will be provided by Almondbury Ladies’ Choir of which I am a long standing member.

More from me in a fortnight.

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