Djcnor’s Weblog

What a Workhouse Woman Wore

Posted on: February 22, 2009

I’ve had a little bit of luck. The market for my handwork seems to be picking up. A local gallery has sold some of my beadwork, so I need to get to work making more. And at the same time, my joy in doing the work, which had flagged a bit when nothing much was selling and about a dozen rather nice pieces seem to have disappeared with a shop that went down ahead of the many shops that are going down now. I’ve tried to find the owner to reclaim them but haven’t been successful. It must have been a bad fall.

So? They were good pieces but old work. Now there will be new.

And as if I needed more of a reminder to count my blessings, I’ve got some costuming to do, a costume for someone playing a woman in a workhouse. A red flannel underskirt/petticoat. A rough cotton skirt. A Victorian blouse of the same fabric. A very simple apron. And a shawl which I will crochet from the odd balls of wool in my stash.

To decide how to make the costume authentic, I’ve needed to  do some research about workhouses, their history, what the women wore, and so on. It’s a story of hard life. But I wonder how many of our homeless would sign up for it given the chance. Are we really that much better in how we take care of our present poor? “Welfare” is calculated as a percentage of what is absolutely necessary for a person to survive. Usually about 60%. So why are we surprised and angry when those on it cheat?

One more interesting thing happened. This Saturday, footsore from all the trips to and from the nearest bus stops because of the Water Company Exercise Program, I came across two young ladies passing out freebees as advertising for a mobile phone company. When I was handed one, I was surprised to see the freebee was a set of gel insoles for your shoes. “You sure handed this to the right person!” I said, and told her the story.

She handed me another and said “Here’s a set for your husband.”

In our household, we call little fun things found on the street, like the heavy metal bead I found the same day that was clearly a souvenir of Barcelona, the place I would like to go on a holiday next time our finances will cover it, “God gifts”. Like the little almost value-less things we give each other just to show we care.

But those gel insoles are the most specific “God gifts” we’ve ever gotten. Especially when you consider that I’d been wishing for some time that it was convenient and inexpensive enough for me to go to a gym and shape up.


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Djcnor’s Weblog

  • @KathrynGoldman Saw your blog post on famous people in fiction. Have character who is supposed to be dead, turns out not to be. OK? 1 year ago
  • I'm back! I haven't posted in a long time, but since Joanie Freeman and I won Charlottesville SOUP, I feel the need to return. 5 years ago
  • Haven't been here on my new iPad. Page looks totally different. Where is the option to reply? And where are the RT's? 6 years ago
  • @The_Puck Same to you. You denial is damaging to yourself and all you care about, assuming there must be some of those. 6 years ago
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