Omnishambles/Clusterf*ck

No other way to describe our current PM & Chancellor. What on earth do they think they are doing? apart from making very rich people even richer, of course. They refused to publish a fiscal forecast – hmm, wonder why? and now they’ve been severely scolded by the IMF and summoned to a meeting of the Budget watchdog (whoever they may be). Unprecedented. For goodness’ sake. Grrrr.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Mandy, I did my ironing yesterday. Also, today, dismantled and cleaned out the bathroom cupboard above the basin. Last week I reorganised and cleaned out the cupboard above the loo, which has made it much easier for me to reach the things I need to reach. Then, today, I finished changing my wardrobe from summer to winter. It doesn’t involve much, to be honest, just moving all the summer clothes into the spare room and putting plastic clothes protector thingies on them all. I’ve decided which autumn/winter clothes I hate, and are therefore going to the charity shop.

So domestically I am a goddess. Bit sweaty, mind, and need a shower, but that’ll have to wait until hubby has been through his stuff and put it all back in his side of the cupboard. He’s currently doing something technical with the car and its tyres.

Also working up to making an apple cake (a Nadiya recipe). I have all the ingredients, just need to wait until hubby has finished his chocolate cake from the Co-op, and for the energy to manifest itself. Yeah.

Ordered some plants – white bergenia, aconite bulbs, ajuga (bugle plant) and some white cyclamen. Can’t wait. The gardener has pulled back loads of ivy so now there’s room for such things.

Ok. Off to sort out the on-line grocery shopping list.

September 2022

Well, Queen Liz died. I thought she was actually a good woman, just very lucky to be born into the privileges she enjoyed. I also think it’s pretty damned impressive that she was working right up until the day before she died. How many of us could do that at 96? Mm. And she will leave a big hole in the British consciousness.

She was reputed to have an excellent sense of humour, even though she could be snappy at times. And who isn’t? Huh? some lovely stories now circulating on line.

However I am really, really not a monarchist and am hoping that at some point it will either be abolished or reduced dramatically. All these castles they have up and down the country tend to be cold, draughty, and uncomfortable. Unless, of course, you have underpaid staff to build your fires and so on. Sigh.

And of course the media is absolutely full of it, every day. How much more is there to be said?

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So we are currently watching Breaking Bad. It’s not exactly light viewing but so exciting! and there are laugh out loud moments, even though it’s very black humour.

I’ve stopped putting days/dates on the to-do lists I make. It just puts pressure on me. So I have a list of things to do, but no deadlines. Much better. Yesterday I did a bit in the garden, today I’ve made the sponge base for a trifle for upcoming guests. I have 15 hyacinth bulbs to plant and several pots to wash, but that’s for another day. Also planning a crumble (frozen apples and blackberries, ready made topping) so that’s not too onerous. Other admin stuff too but boring for everybody but me.

I’m also reading Robert Galbraith’s The Ink Black Heart (the latest Cormoran Strike book). It’s so complicated I’ve just started re-reading it, having only just finished it. I’m less confused this time! but god I love these books.

Anyhoo, here are some pics of the garden.

Some of the crocheted dishcloths.

Garden and Crochet

Here are some photos of our garden. You can see the crocosmia are struggling this year, and the sedum spectabile also looking pathetic. I’m just investigating whether hyacinths would be good – have had some in pots for the last few years, but this year they didn’t do so well. Mm. The grass looks dead but will probably recover. My favourite rose is still blooming, bless its beautiful heart. The lavender needs pruning, the rudbeckia look as if they are beyond help, but the oblong bed seems to be ok somehow. Mostly herbs and some alchemilla mollis. Also the asters are looking hopeful.

Also, I’m in crochet mode, so here are some photos (which I may well have posted in the past) to demonstrate my level of ability. I think I’m an average crocheter. I do enjoy it but have to keep my eye on what I’m actually doing, whereas when I’m knitting I can usually do it without looking. Ho hum. Keeping edges straight is something I’ve had to work at (thank you YouTube), and the amigurumi toys look ok once they’re finished but I do have problems with the stitch count . . . Granny squares, now, I can do. Still have to concentrate though!

August. Hmph.

Well, I got so fed up trying to sort out Pysolfc on Ubuntu 22.04 I eventually installed Ubuntu 20.04, which has a working version of the card game. What a performance. What an absolute performance. But eventually managed it. I think I’ll spare you the gory details, because they’re just not interesting unless you’re a computer nerd like me.

Anyway.

The weather is much too hot again. For me, at least. Various health warnings abound on the news and the weather forecasts. But it’s even hotter on the Continent. God I hate it. But I’m inside, with a glass of tap water, and the fan on in whichever room I’m in.

Also, on the upside, I decided that the coffee coasters needed a bit of an update. Some of them are crocheted and need a wash, but I didn’t have anything to use in the meantime. So I actually got out my crochet hook, my favourite pattern, and crocheted two! Very pleased with myself, because it’s been months and months since I did any crochet at all, and weeks and weeks since I was able to knit. But now I’m feeling a bit more motivated, so may well have a go at knitting quite soon. Maybe when the weather calms down a bit.

I can’t bear to even think, let alone write, about the shower of muppets currently in charge of the government, or competing to be in charge. Nor can I bear to think about a certain ex-President of the USA who has had his “beautiful home” searched by the FBI. Although I am chuckling to myself that he’s pleaded “The Fifth”, as he is on record as saying why would anybody do that if they were innocent . . . . hee hee hee.

The cat is getting used to being inside all the time. She does cry occasionally, but not very much at all. More of a “song of her people” than her normal “feed me you lazy sod” sort of a noise, but she is eating ok, using her litter tray ok, and sitting on my lap and purring when the mood takes her. Which is most days. Mm.

Went to a “cat cafe” on Monday with my friend Sue. You need to book, and you get an hour. There are ten kittens, all four or five months old, and it was an absolute delight. There are plenty of toys for play with, shelves strategically placed so that they can climb and stay up high, cat scratching posts/trees, and everything they could possibly want. We had a cup of tea and a stroke of a couple of kittens who decided we looked interesting. It was full of mums and children, and not all the children understand you have to be quiet and move slowly around cats, so it was noisy. But I will definitely be back. Maybe not in the school holidays though . . .

Cat and computer

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my cat (!) but she is now an indoor/house cat. Two new cats have moved into the area, and are intent on taking over her territory (basically our back garden). So she has ended up at the vet, needing anaesthesia and stitches in her leg, antibiotics and pain relief. Fortunately the vet is so skilled with the stitches that she hasn’t needed one of those cone collars. She really doesn’t cope with those. Anyhow, the wound is healing well, but she’s not terribly happy that she’s not allowed outside. So I bought a Feliway diffuser, which is supposed to replicate happy pheromones which calm upset cats, and a couple of new toys. She has of course ignored the toys so far, and is currently sulking under my bed. Ho hum. The vet agreed that she will be safer inside. And she’s 13, so an older cat. Hmph. As you can see from the photo, however, she doesn’t seem to be in any pain, and is quite relaxed. You can just about see a small “hole” in her fur – it’s her left back leg which was bitten – so she was actually running away.

And I got very cross indeed with Windows 11 when it stopped printing. Hubby was able to print from his pc with Windows 10 on it, so it wasn’t the printer or any connections. I have installed Linux 22.04 and all is working fine, except for my favourite suite of card games (Pysol fc). After much research, and discovering that Pysol just doesn’t work in Ubuntu 22.04, I’ve installed wine, which is an emulator, and installed Pysol inside that. It basically means that Pysol thinks it’s working in Windows. Phew.

Meanwhile I’ve been selling stuff on ebay and having such trouble with the couriers! Royal Mail took almost a week to deliver when I’d paid for a 48 hour delivery, despite delivering a parcel collected at the same time within two days. Then Evri didn’t pick up a parcel, I rebooked it, and only managed to get it collected because their courier happened to be delivering to us that day, but wasn’t expecting to collect. Jeez. Also, a winning bidder decided to cancel their bid, which means I have to re-list (but can’t do that for a few days). I’m trying not to be too cross about the inconvenience – anything could have happened in their life – but my first reaction was, to be honest, to be irritated. So I won’t put any feedback, because it might be totally inappropriate.

And last of all, we have another damn blasted rat in the garden. We think they are attracted by the bird food which gets dropped by the birds. So. Hubby has blocked off access to under the shed, and when he did that he found that the rat/s have gnawed their way through the wood so that they can get in the shed. Now I’m a bit worried (terrified) that next time I go in the shed there will be a rat/some rats in there. We shall see. If we see another rat, the next option is to call out the rat catchers (£144!) who will lecture hubby (again) about the bird feeders.

It is another reason, though, to be relieved that the cat is now an inside cat. Two aggressive new cats and a rat does not make for a safe outside environment. Hmph.

Too Damn Hot

We just don’t cope well with anything over 25C in the UK. Some people love it – I used to when I was younger – but these days I just need to mope around with the fan on drinking cold water. The grass looks like straw, but usually recovers. Whether it will this time I don’t know. This is unprecedented. I’m using water from the water butts in watering cans rather than the hose. There’s currently plenty left but don’t know how long it will last unless we get some rain soon.

And while I’m in full rant mode, why are the muppets competing to be our new PM not even talking about climate change? you couldn’t make it up.

Hmph.

Loving the football – Euros 2022 (women players). It’s very exciting.

Also reading lots of books on my Kindle. Big fan of Jack Reacher (Lee Child), Lucas Davenport and his cronies (John Sandford) and am currently deep into John Milton (Mark Dawson). Yeah. Was given a Lucy Diamond book by my friend and really enjoyed that too.

No knitting though. My stupid hands are way too painful.

The cat wasn’t very happy that I wouldn’t let her out in the heat – after about 11 am I kept her in the cool. She isn’t terribly bright, and hasn’t come across this sort of heat before, but made the best she could of her situation, lying flat out near a fan! so not really that cross with me . . .

Today is not a great day – I slept most of the morning and have decided I don’t have to do my ironing today or tomorrow, nor do I have to package up the Sonos kit we’re about to sell on ebay. It’ll all wait until my energy comes back. Hmm.

June

Well. Where to start.

Today would have been my Dad’s birthday so a bit nostalgic for me. At his barmitzvah he had strawberries, so my mother always tried to make sure there were strawberries for his birthday. Not so easy years ago.

Yesterday we returned from a long weekend at Center Parcs, with ED, her hubby and their little boy. He gets travel sick, and we all travelled from our separate homes by car on Friday, the hottest day of the year so far. Our air conditioning is fine, but theirs wasn’t working, so LCS ended up with heat exhaustion. A fair amount of vomming, lots of lying around being pale, and very difficult to get him to drink. By Sunday, however, he had perked up dramatically, and was much better. So Friday was much too hot. Saturday it rained all day. Sunday it was cooler and sunnier until the evening. I struggled with all the walking (really, really can’t ride a bike!) and the IBS, but we had a lovely weekend nevertheless. It’s great to see them.

Just fetched the cat from the boarding kennels. All was going swimmingly, despite the howling (her not me) until I took a wrong turn and missed the motorway. That’s actually ok because she hates the motorway worse than almost anything else, until I smelt a suspicious smell. Yup. She’d pooped. Then the yowling ratched up several notches, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it until we got home. Except for opening the car windows wide. And luckily it was all neat and contained within the towel/puppy pads in the carrier for just such an occurrence. Yeah.

So the cat is happy now, pottering in and out of the house/garden. I’m a bit fraught but not too bad. Hubby has popped to Marks and Spencers to get the stuff we need.

Today my job was fetching the cat. Done that. Knackered now! Tomorrow is sorting out the new router day. Last week we had major problems with the internet, some of which was the providers’ fault, some of which wasn’t. I had set the provided router up as a modem, and we have a separate router in the lounge, which improves the signal no end. But when I cut out the router, and made the old router back into a modem, it all worked. Sigh. So now we have a new router which I need to install. Yeah.

The washing is drying nicely on the line – love it when it’s dried outside. It just smells so nice!

May. Yeah.

The kitchen is finished, and hubby loves the induction hob. It’s great to have it done – it was only a few days of disruption but we have had another “sort-out/cull” and so everything is tidy now. Trouble is, neither of us can remember where we’ve put anything . . .

The induction hob was fitted after I took this photo . . .

YD, her hubby and their little girl have just gone back to New Zealand after a month here. They split their time between his family and hers. It was just so lovely to be able to cuddle them. ESW is an absolute joy. She even likes my little songs (The Welly Song, the Nancy Lee, etc etc). Their journey was better on the way back – Birmingham to Frankfurt, then to Changhi in Singapore, then to Auckland in NZ. On the way here it was fraught. They’re homesick though – they couldn’t get over how “normal” and familiar everything is, including friends and family. Decisions to be made.

The garden is a joy. Love it.

The M.E. has taken a new turn. Now, when I have an episode, my tummy joins in the party, in an IBS sort of a way. But now I’ve worked that out I can remain a bit more positive, knowing that it will pass. I am eating a diet suitable for IBS, and have discovered something called FODMAP (don’t ask what it stands for). Low FODMAP foods are better for me, so no brassicas, only 3 portions of fruit/veg per day, lots of porridge oats, much less processed meat (oh, sausages, I miss you!) and it seems to be helping.

No knitting mojo. None at all. Several weeks now since I picked up my needles. I expect it’ll return. It usually does.

Finally had the front lawn sown with clover. It’s growing well. We also have a little rockery now intended to stop lorries and vans from reversing over our lawn. It looks ok too!

April. Yeah.

Loads happening. Solar panels fitted – and making more electricity than we expected. Excellent.

It took a day to erect the scaffolding, a day to install the solar panels, and two weeks to dismantle and take away the damn scaffolding. Hmph.

Sold the double oven dual fuel range cooker, had a single electric oven fitted, and now awaiting new kitchen cabinet with induction hob and new worktop for most of the kitchen. We have Freecycled the five saucepans and two frying pans which won’t work on an induction hob. That took about two hours – amazing facility! Within approximately 3 minutes of posting the offer, we had lots and lots of replies.

So this is what our kitchen and utility currently look like.

This is what it looked like before . . .

Rockery set up in the front garden and front lawn seeded with clover. Only a week ago so no sign of sprouting yet but I’m quite excited about it.

So many things going on that it’s triggered an M.E. episode. Sigh. So I’m taking it really really slowly – I slept for most of the past two days – and just putting the shopping away was enough for today.