Friday 29th July 2011

Well, I’m in the middle of an “episode” with my back. It started yesterday afternoon, while hubby was asleep. I was supposed to be driving him to the hospital for an eye appointment.  They needed to put stuff in his eyes which would make them blurry, so that’s why. However, about half an hour before I was due to wake him up, I ended up on the floor, on my back, groaning slightly. What to do? well luckily I always carry my mobile phone in my trouser pocket, so I phoned and ordered a taxi to collect him in time. Then I had a little think, and when it was time to wake him, I phoned the house phone. Not the best way to wake up after a sleep, but there wasn’t much else I could do.
So hubby came groggily downstairs and helped me to the loo. That involved me rolling very slowly onto my front, and using a chair to rest my head on so that I could get up on all fours. Crawled to the loo like that, then hubby had to bodily lift me onto the loo. Managed after that to stagger about on two walking sticks.
Tramadol and ice packs help, and it’s improving slowly. I’d also phoned the doctor to ask for some more painkillers, and after a short discussion to make sure they don’t affect me badly, that was arranged and hubby fetched them this morning.

Slept not too badly, considering, but it did keep on going into spasm, but very short ones, not like the usual. Have also arranged an appointment with the osteopath next week, even though we’ll have two grandchildren staying with us. Needs must when the devil drives.

It does mean I can’t pick anything up off the floor, can’t feed the cat, can’t plug the phone back in after a sleep, can’t water the pots, empty the dishwasher, blah blah blah, the list goes on. Fortunately hubby is an absolute hero and doesn’t seem to mind. But then I’d do it for him if he were in a similar state.

If I can, tomorrow, I’m going to have a go at the ironing sitting down. Hubby will need to bring the ironing board in, and set it all up for me but it’s worked before now.

Anyway anyway anyway. Have started reading War and Peace on my Kindle. It’s very good, but I was getting a bit confused with all the different characters, so I have printed off a page from Wikipedia which lists all the principal ones, who they are, and what they do. It is helpful to have something I can look at quickly while I’m reading.

Also got three more Kindle books – free or very cheap. One is a Robert Ludlum one about Rome, and I’ve already forgotten what the other two are.

And now it’s hurting too much to sit still any more, so will do a short walk round the downstairs . . .

Wednesday 27th July 2011

In the night I realised I’d missed my friend Beth’s birthday. Feel awful about it. She lives in Malvern, in a beautiful house, with beautiful views across the valley. We worked together many years ago and have been friends ever since, even though we don’t see each other very often. So today I have written an apologetic card.
Had the injections in my feet yesterday. Two in the left foot, three in the right foot. All very unpleasant, but a lovely nurse held my hand while I squeezed hers very tight – she may have bruises. All over now though. I am to wait six weeks to wait for the steroid crystals to dissolve and see if it has helped. Last night and today I am feeling bruised and battered, and of course tired. But am resting and putting my feet up and using the ice bags I have, doing all the sensible things.
Here is a picture of the top I made. I love the colour. I have some very similar cream fabric for the next one – am a bit worried I’ll look like I’m wearing a hospital uniform though. But on second thoughts, don’t care that much. And jewellery will help.
The pattern is actually for a 3/4 sleeved garment, and I will make one each in orange and cream for the autumn/winter, but I wanted short sleeves for the summer. I’m trying to move away from t-shirt material and cotton jersey, because it clings to the unattractively bulgy bits above my bra at the back. Also, this style is loose and cool.
YD is coming for dinner tonight. Hubby is making lamb and potato pie. Delicious.
Also heard from my lovely French friend today. I was just about to send her a little hand written card but can’t actually get to the shops to buy one, and hands are too wonky to make one. But next week I’m in Solihull having my hair done, so will get some notelets then. Will look in Paperchase and John Lewis.

The plants I potted up look wonderful. The red geraniums look much better outside the front door than the pansies did. Why on earth did I think pansies would look nice in the summer, when the sun is on the front all day long (when it shines!)? They look lovely in the winter, when they really brighten it up. So the poor old pansies are at the back now, recuperating in the shade. The marigolds, bright orange, are lovely. I love strong bright colours. At the back of the garden I’ve planted two red perennial lobelias, and they’re just coming into flower. Something is eating the red covering of the stem, though. Probably earwigs, little b*ggers, but the flowers are doing their thing anyway.

Am reading Mildred Pierce. It’s very good. It’s on tv at the moment, but on Sky, which we have always avoided like the plague, on principle, so we can’t watch it yet, but when I heard it reviewed, I thought Ooh I know I’ll read the book. So I am.
Just finished a book written in 1905 about Henry VIII’s wives, from an international and political point of view. It was good, and showed a different side of the story, but really, the writer was so judgemental and racist. Anti-Semitic too – I couldn’t believe my eyes at one point. Just shows you – the comments he made in that book simply wouldn’t be published now (in this country anyway).
Well, I’m just about done now. And done in!

Tuesday 26th July 2011

My friend Cas from school came for coffee on Friday – we talked and talked and talked, walked round my garden, and had a lovely time.
Saturday the shopping came and then in the afternoon I started making a top from the fabric I got at the rag market. All went swimmingly. Sunday afternoon finished said top – a couple of “learning opportunities” on the way, but all is well, and the next one I do will be much easier as a consequence. I’m very pleased with it. I haven’t made a garment on the sewing machine for about a century, so it’s gratifying to know that I do remember some things . . .
Monday morning I went on what turned out to be a major mission to get some pots for the garden, some marigolds, and some bits and bobs of shopping. But Shirley seemed to be in the throes of some mysterious hissy fit, and there were police officers everywhere, and road works blocking off my favourite garden centre. Hmph. Eventually I gave up and went to Notcutts and Tescos, but I would really rather not spend my money on the “big boys”.
In the evening, at Heartlands Hospital, I had an MRI scan of my neck. Nobody really thinks there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s one more thing to be eliminated before they can sort out my hands and wrists. Allegedly. It was a very noisy and long procedure, but great lengths are gone to to ensure that you’re comfortable while you have to lie still for 30 minutes.
Today: have just potted up the marigolds, repotted some primulas which were looking a bit sad, and last night dumped my pathetic sweet peas, which were extremely potbound. Next year they’ll go in the ground on an obelisk. This year’s idea (pots and supports) failed. But, again, a learning opportunity. Also I washed out with Jeyes Fluid the seven empty pots. So now my back hurts. Ice pack currently on said back as I type, and lovely hubby has made a cup of tea.
Later on I have to have five steroid injections in my poor old feet, and am really trying to keep my mind off that.
When I’ve drunk my tea I shall have a shower and change into a proper, clean, nice person. Hmph.

The garden looks nice though. I’ve moved the pathetic pansies into the back, where it’s shadier, and hope they’ll recover, and put the two red geraniums in their terracotta pots outside the front door, one each side. They look much better, and prefer the sunshine too. Pots have their downside (constant watering) but make it very easy to change the look of the garden very quickly.

Photos possibly to come . . .

Thursday 21st July 2011

Monday hubby and I went to see the final Harry Potter film. In 3D. Absolutely amazing. Follows the book very closely, although misses a few bits and pieces out. Very, very good. Then lunch in Giraffe in Solihull, very nice. Sleep pm of course.

Tuesday I had a pedicure – excellent. Neat pretty feet now. No nail polish though, don’t do nail polish. And of course, obligatory sleep pm.

Wednesday – I did do something – now what was it? Oh, I know. I went to Top Hat n Tails, which is a cat and dog boarding kennels, to book Bertie The Cat in for a few days. They all seemed very kind, and the cats have balconies, as the pens are all inside a building. The cats all seemed very happy – and there were five kittens all in one basket. God love ’em – all fast asleep, one on its back with its head thrown right back. Oh bless!

Then came home and did my ironing before it mounted up any more. Sleep in the afternoon as usual.

Today I went to Birmingham Rag Market to buy some dressmaking material. Hubby dropped me at the local train station, and it’s a 16 minute ride into town! then a five minute walk to the market.

I bought enough material to make five tunic tops for £13. Now that’s what I call good value. One lot of fabric cost £2.50 per metre, the rest was £1 per metre. Amazing! lovely stuff too. Also, enough lambswool fleece (3 metres) to make some more bedding up for the cat, and so there will be enough to wash as well. Finally some PVC table cloth material for the outside table, and that was £3 a metre. The most expensive thing was the lambswool fleece, at £6.50 per metre! but the cat will absolutely love it.

Caught the train back and hubby picked me up, lunch, then sleep.

Then had to go to Hobbycraft to get the sewing thread. They do sell some at the Rag Market, but not the make I use (Gutermann). 

The first thing I’m going to make up is the cat bedding. Easy and quick, and will make a big difference to the cleanliness of the cat’s bed . . .

Next up, one of the tops to a Prima magazine pattern, only with short sleeves. I will be making one with long sleeves too, I have enough fabric in two different colours to make four tops, two with short, two with long sleeves. And then there’s the fifth top to make up from a different material, and haven’t decided on the pattern quite yet. Will wait and see what Prima come up with next month.

All very exciting.

And on Monday I’m having an MRI scan of my neck – another step towards fixing my poor hands and wrists. Tuesday means 5 injections in my poor old feet – let’s hope that works! and Wednesday will be phoning my favourite uncle to see how his consultant’s appointment went. Fingers crossed.

Saturday 16th July 2011

I came back yesterday from five days in Cornwall, staying with my cousin Karen and her family. Her mum and dad, my favourite aunty and uncle, live next door, and it was just so wonderful to see them all. They live in a lovely house, in a beautiful part of the world, and you can see the sea from the living room. Excellent.


Stewie the cat


Lottie, foreground & Alfie

Aunty Jean

Uncle Al

Gull Rock

Kevin & Alfie


Coral & Steve

Johnny Cowling (youtube him!)

Karen & Kevin
Aunty Jean

waiting for the Rock Ferry to Padstow

steady as he goes . . .

Padstow, Uncle Al & Karen

It’s just great to spend time with family – we had so much fun. Can’t wait to go again. I swam – in the sea – love it – and in a little swimming pool with Uncle Al & Coral. Coral and I wore matching turquoise swimsuits. 

There are two cats, two dogs, two Shetland ponies, and a tortoise. Karen does a lot of “extra” work for Doc Martin, which is filmed in nearby Port Isaac. All the “Fishermen’s Friends” have full time jobs there too, as well as making CDs and doing gigs. 

There’s a real community feel to the place, you can’t walk along a road without somebody recognising them and stopping for a chat. And, just like in The Archers, there was a scarecrow contest! The different villages all have carnivals, different weeks, so that they can share the floats. A lovely lifestyle. A lovely area. If I lived near the sea, I’d swim in it every damn day. The air is clear, the sea is beautiful, the countryside is fab, love it all.

Saturday 9th July 2011

Well, bless my soul. I have actually been sewing. Cut down an old dress which I love, made from denim coloured cheesecloth, into a tunic to wear over trousers, and changed the buttons on it. That was the easy bit! then today I made a new knitting needle wrap and matching craft bag (from wonderful, clear instructions, from here). The reason is that I rashly bought some fabric in the John Lewis sale, which is lovely, but really not suitable for the tunic top I intended it for. So. Here is what they look like. The material is patchwork, which makes it quite easy to match and so on, but I did have problems with the bottom of the needle wrap as there were so many layers. One machine needle broke, another blunted. And they were intended for heavy use, with denim for instance. The bag was easier. You’ll see the lining and straps are a bit startling – it’s the remainder of the Ikea bed linen I used to make a set of matching curtains for the bunk room. Which I’m also very pleased with, so as smug as hell now. Ha!

needle wrap, open

needle wrap, closed

craft bag, open – note pocket!

craft bag, closed

Now I’m looking for a free pattern for a pinafore dress (I think it’s called a “jumper dress” or something in the States) for a little girl of three and a half, because I have 1.1 metres of 90 cm wide of the patchwork material left and thought it would be nice made up.

Can I find one? can I heck. I’ll keep my eyes open though.
And I will still have find the energy to go the Birmingham Rag Market soon to get some material to make up the Prima pattern which is perfect – the August one – but with short sleeves.
Tomorrow I’m doing my ironing and packing ready to go to Cornwall and stay with my cousin and her family till Friday. Hubby will be at home though, house and cat sitting . . . weather looks set fair for the week so it should be great.

Also have gradually been re-organising my wardrobe – chucking stuff out for the charity shop and rearranging the space so it’s a bit less fraught. A new bedside table/chest of drawers is on its way from John Lewis so that should help too.

Will post again soon . . .

Wednesday 6th July 2011

Saturday – went to joint 30th and 60th birthday bash. ED 30, her uncle 60. Fabulous venue, hog roast – and I haven’t eaten pork for some 28 years now – and it was absolutely delicious. Stuffing, apple sauce, lovely.

ED certainly enjoyed it, and both she and YD looked fabulous. Just fabulous. I was a very proud mother. 

All my family were there, my sister and her husband, daughters and our mum, and most of ED’s family (her dad has seven siblings, all of whom have children, and mostly grandchildren too), as well as hubby’s youngest son plus wife and children. Lovely, just lovely. Love my nieces To Bits.

But of course absolutely exhausting, and I have slept a lot since then to make up!

Still no sightings of mother hedgehog. Hmm. 😦

Took cat to the vet today for her annual injections. She doesn’t mind being in her little carrier, and walks into it quite calmly (maybe because we always have it available, and she sometimes plays in it), but hates, absolutely hates, being in the car, and yowls the whole time. Even when I’m stroking her head. There’s no aggression, she doesn’t attack me, or have any hackles up, but just yowls loudly.

As soon as the car stops, the yowling turns into a squeak, and she is completely silent in the vet’s surgery. Interested, though, in the other animals. Today there was a terrier, a chocolate labrador, and a chicken. Yes, a chicken.  In fact, once she’d come out of the carrier, she jumped casually onto another desk to investigate. When she has injections, she doesn’t wince, or yelp, or seem to notice at all. Bless her heart. We also had her ears checked (they’re fine), the vet gave her a worming tablet, and we have now started anointing her with anti-flea stuff. And she doesn’t seem to mind at all. A complete sweetheart.

Garden is looking good. The pansies are looking a bit sad though so I have moved the pot from the front of the house to the back, where they might do a bit better, and put one of the geranium pots in its place outside the front door. The sun is on the front most of the day (if it’s out at all) and I have a feeling geraniums cope better with sunshine than pansies. I can always replant the pansy pot, or just dump them, if they don’t recover.

Poppies going bonkers (the annual ones, the perennials are nearly done now) – and they’re lovely. Sort of raggedy petals, a bit like the parrot tulips.

And what else. Ooh, have bought two short sleeved tunic tops from Next in their sale. YD doesn’t really approve, but I love them. Am awaiting delivery from Boden of another top – mixed reviews so I’ll see what it’s like before I decide.

Saw the GP on Monday and she prescribed some better painkillers – Cocodamol (15 mg). They work very well, but are addictive, so I’m taking them alternate days, and Paracetamol on the days in between. Today is a Paracetamol day, so the pain’s not so good, but I know that tomorrow it’ll be ok.

Well, that’s about it for now.