Trying to Stay Positive!

The knitting is going ok. I can’t knit for as long – I was doing two hours each night, with the odd half hour or so each day if I had the time. Now I can manage about three quarters of an hour. That’s fine though. It means that a bobble hat is taking me several evenings, instead of one or two, but it’s ok. I’m loving the colour (coral) and the chunkiness of the yarn. Discovered I hadn’t bought enough yarn to start with, so had to order some more, and asked if they could match the dye lot. They did! so shout out to LoveCrafts.

Having a few issues finding jeans I like. I don’t find rigid, 100% cotton jeans comfortable. I have had a rule for about 25 years that I don’t wear anything uncomfortable, ever, including shoes, even for a party. So rigid jeans are out. I have a couple of pairs of Not Your Daughters Jeans, which are comfy, but ridiculously expensive. I also have a couple of pairs of comfy Boden jeans, which were discontinued when I bought them cheap. I’ve tried two different sizes and two different styles of Lands End jeans, and just don’t like them. Am awaiting delivery of some John Lewis jeans, two different sizes. If those don’t suit, I’ll just give up, I think, and keep my eyes open. Sigh.

The shopping has just been delivered. We use disinfectant wipes to clean the bag handles and every single item delivered.

I have been awaiting an invitation for my annual flu jab. Nothing. And we’re almost in November. I can’t find a way of contacting the surgery except for phoning, which takes 45 minutes each time just to get through to a person. Luckily I needed to order some repeat prescriptions, and there’s a little comment box, so I put a note in there. It worked! Flu jab tomorrow and a blood test a week on Monday. Probably for the thyroid, they do a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test to ensure I’m on the right dose.

Last Christmas present due to be delivered today. Then I can start working out which boxes to use to send them all. Apparently Royal Mail are starting a pick-up service. Excellent news. No more queueing in the Post Office. You pre-pay the postage, which is already possible, then pay another 72p per parcel for the pick up, and book it. Five parcels maximum. Am going to investigate further to see when it actually starts.

The garden is a joy. Still waiting for the work to be done on trimming the leylandii, willow, lilac, winged spindle and the front lawn to be dug up and relaid.

This and That

Well, I’m delighted that I’m now able to knit again. I was knitting a boring stocking stitch jumper in DK yarn that kept just breaking randomly. It hadn’t occurred to me that I could just stop doing that and do something else. But then one of the daughters-in-law said she is really into bright coloured bobble hats, because she goes wild swimming (in lakes, in the winter -hopefully in a wetsuit!).

Ping! inside my head. I undid the 12″ or so of child’s jumper I’d done, found a lovely pattern for chunky yarn (it knits up So Quickly) and ordered some coral and turquoise yarns so I can knit two hats for her. Hooray!

Then I sorted out a new pattern for a child’s jumper for some Aran yarn I have – enough detail to keep me interested without being too difficult, but also not just boring old stocking stitch, which results in my losing the will to live.

I also have a pattern and the yarn for a lovely jumper for hubby, but am sticking to small projects for the moment to see how it goes.

The man has been today to mow and edge the lawn and do the weeding. Excellent job.

I’ve just finished reading “Us” by David Nicholls. It’s just been serialised on the BBC and was very good. Sad but delicately done and so lovely. The book has more detail, of course, and there are incidents not mentioned or done differently in the series, but oh I loved it. I do enjoy a good book.

On A Roll

Last weekend I painted the new back gate with Cuprinol Forest Green stuff. I think I posted photos.

This morning, as it’s dry and sunny, I gloss painted the door of the store cupboard we have, which opens on to the passage between our house and next door. It took an hour and a half. That involved washing both sides of the door with sugar soap (god it was filthy), sanding both sides down, and glossing both sides. I did my best to contain any mess, and forgot to take before and after photos. But to be honest I’m not sure any photos would have been that interesting. A dirty white door, then a clean white door. Yeah.

It takes six hours before you can do a second coat (I may or may not, I shall decide later), but maximum half an hour to actually do a coat. We shall see.

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I’ve just read the latest Cormoran Strike book (Robert Galbraith/J K Rowling). It’s called Troubled Blood, and I read it through again, immediately after finishing the first time. Then I re-read the other four books. The two main characters are so well drawn, and the plots are intriguing. It’s been televised here in the UK, at least the first four books have, and the actors are perfect for the parts. Very satisfying. Now I can’t wait for the next one.

Also in the middle of reading a Ruth Rendell (Inspector Wexford) mystery and I really like her style too – although there are some politically incorrect attitudes. Probably because of the time when she was writing – and she usually manages to imply disapproval of such attitudes anyway.

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Not even going to talk about the USA. So depressing and worrying.

Scams and Gardening

I get irrationally angry when we get a scam phone call, email or text. My instinct when we receive a call from an unknown number is simply not to answer, my reasoning being that if they’re bona fide they’ll leave a message.

However, there is some satisfaction to be derived from answering the call and questioning them. For example, yesterday received a call from a slightly stroppy woman with a strong Indian accent, saying she was calling from BT. Ok, I said, why are you calling me from BT? Because, she said, all the phone lines in the UK are owned by BT. That’s simply not true, said I. Who told you that? she said? it’s a known fact – and then hung up. Ha!

So today I checked, and BT own most of the lines in the UK, but not all. I will be armed with this information next time.

I have also received numerous calls from people purporting to be Microsoft (Ha! as if Microsoft phone you up!) telling me that there’s a problem with my computer. I let them carry on for a while, digging themselves a bigger and bigger metaphorical hole, until I advise them that I use Linux. That always, always confuses them. One guy was clearly looking at some sort of list, and finally said Oh, are you a technician? Yes. Yes I am. So he hung up.

Next time I get one I may just cut to the chase and ask if they’d like my bank details and then see what they say.

Emails and texts which are clearly scams I just angrily delete. Interestingly, it’s only my Virgin email address which gets scams, which makes me think there’s been a data breach somewhere along the line. I get plenty of junk mail on my other email addresses, but that’s just advertising, or a friend has had their email hacked and all their contacts sent a spurious message.

The sort of thing I know is a scam is, say, purporting to be from the TV licensing people, saying they can’t collect our money, but they’ve sent it to the wrong email address! and that is how I know they’re lying. Apart from the fact that I check the bank account every day so I know that the TV licensing people are actually getting our money.

Ho hum.

The man (it’s a different guy almost every time) is currently mowing the lawn. The gardening service we have is excellent apart from time keeping, although today he’s 45 minutes early. We won’t be asking them to do any more odd jobs, though. They’ve done the ones we asked them to do (several weeks ago now) and have done a good job, except that there is the old back gate and the ugly phormium sitting on our front garden waiting to be removed. Sigh. Here are some photos – old/new back gate, old/new side fence panel, old ugly phormium. You’ll be glad to know I decided the new manhole cover was just too boring to photograph and post!

But it took weeks to get them to actually come and do the work. I do think the guy in charge is honest and well meaning, and has had a lot of bad luck, and maybe he has taken on too much work. But if you’re self employed it must be difficult to know what counts as too much work, particularly if you have guys on your team who go to the pub and then have to self isolate for 14 days. Whose idea was it to open the pubs? madness.

I have the new plant ready to put in the hole where the phormium was, but am waiting until I have the opportunity, the energy, and the weather. Also we’re going to have the front lawn dug up and completely replaced, so I’m wondering if it might be better to leave it in its pot until after that.

Brain Fog

Well, that’s how it feels to me. There is quite a lot going on in there, but I can’t access it. It seems that there are things I need to remember, or remember to do, but there’s so much I can’t sort it out. A bit like my brain is scrambled. If I were to draw a picture of it right now, it would just be a big old scribble.

There is currently a guy “doing things” in the garden. He has replaced the disintegrated back gate, the broken man hole cover, flattened the trip-hazard flagstones in the back garden, and is currently mending a sort of fence panel at the other side of the house from the back gate.

Also digging up a huge, ugly, aggressive phormium. This nearly died a few years ago when we had a dreadful winter but has recovered. It pokes people in the eye when they come to the door though. Not nice.

I have already ordered a lovely soft pretty Miscanthus sinensis Gracillimus because I’m so excited about having the space for a nice plant. I think it’s the same as this one, in the back garden. I hope so. It’s very similar anyway. The one we have looks gold or silver depending on the light. I cut it right down to the ground in spring and look how it grows!

So between making this guy endless cups of tea – well it is quite cold outside and it’s hard physical work – I have wrapped and got ready to post the Christmas and (January) birthday presents for the New Zealand granddaughter. Harder than it sounds, because part of that involved a jigsaw. Well, the jigsaw box was too big and heavy to include, because size as well as weight is restricted when you’re posting so far away. So I ordered a smaller gift box to put the jigsaw in, which worked, but then I found a piece of the jigsaw on the floor. Luckily (!) before I’d wrapped everything up. That meant I needed to actually do the jigsaw to make sure all the pieces were there. The recipient is going to be 5 years old and boy did I struggle with it. I expect she’s better than me at such things though. Hopefully.

Anyway, all the pieces are there, it’s all fitted in the box all wrapped up with a separate envelope with the jigsaw picture printed on an A4 piece of card, and the whole thing weighed less than 1.5kg. Excellent.

This sort of thing leaves me absolutely wrecked though. It’s such a simple job but it really takes it out of me. It’s done now. But no ironing today! the shopping was delivered and that’s me done for today.

Binge Reading

I’m on a roll at the moment. Maeve Binchy books for the most part, with something else in between for variety. I love her stuff. Love it. Currently reading Sandi Toksvig (Between the Stops, I think) and have also just read Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey. It’s just so lovely to pick up my Kindle and feel as if I’m in a different world. The current real world is a bit depressing, to be honest.

We are also mid way through Season Two of The Bridge, which is an excellent Swedish/Danish collaborative series. It’s just so interesting that the various characters talk to each other in their own language and everybody seems to understand everybody else. I have been wondering whether it would be comparable to an English person conversing with somebody with a strong Scottish/Irish/Welsh accent and everybody just understanding. But Scotland, Ireland and Wales each have their own language too, so not quite the same.

Just had to water the pots in the garden. In the UK. In September. I know!

Sorted out the muddle in the craft room, where I currently have various birthday and Christmas gifts awaiting wrapping and posting.

Went through Mother’s commemorative coin collection – the Queen, Prince Philip (!), WWI, WWII, Peter Rabbit – and none of it complete. A whole box full of empty presentation folders. If I was remotely interested in any of it I’d have a proper look. Luckily I have a good friend whose husband sorted it out, and then I went through it to see what’s what. I expect somebody, somewhere will want it.

Slept all day yesterday. Not a great day. But the pain in my hands is slightly less, which is good. Strange feeling of ants under the skin where the injections went, though, but that seems to have passed.

Tomorrow my jobs are to post several parcels at the Post Office, get my prescription from the chemist and see if they have cheese sauce packets at the Co-op. Yeah, that’s it. But for me that’s quite a big task, so I have no other expectations for Monday.

Off to read my Sandi Toksvig book.

Little Things

Well, I was going to show you pictures of the shoes I dyed. But you can’t really tell the difference in photos. They were brown, and I dyed them black. You can see the difference in real life though. They’re Birkenstocks and very comfy, and I couldn’t find any other shoes I wanted to buy, so I dyed them instead. Very pleased with the result.

Yesterday I spent over an hour on hold on the phone. Forty five minutes to the doctors, and twenty minutes to the Department of Work and Pensions, who pay my benefit. Hubby gets really impatient and frustrated when he’s on hold, but I try not to. I play computer games instead. Crosswords, jigsaws, Solitaire.

It could be argued, and is regularly harrumphed about in our house, that it’s a deliberate government strategy to make everybody so cross about the NHS that private medicine becomes the preferred option. I’m sure that is the case. But we both strongly believe in a health service that is available free to those in clinical need.

I’ve started Christmas shopping. Yes, in September. I usually start about now. Amazon and Marks and Spencer do particularly well out of this household. The lists have been in progress from very early on in the year. All the teenage grandchildren get multi-shop vouchers now. Wish lists are only consulted for adults, and even then we sometimes use them as a basis for buying something else connected. There will be lots of parcels arriving shortly. (We also keep the Post Office and various other parcel delivery services in business.)

And Covid. What a mess. Government playing Whack a Mole again. I don’t understand why pubs are allowed to be open. It’s madness. I understand that it’s awful for businesses too but, surely to goodness, health comes first. Or so you would think. Mm.

Baby Steps

Well, I feel as if I’ve been really daring this week.

I went to the osteopath on Tuesday – both of us masked and all precautions taken. It felt great, if painful!

Today we took the cat to the vet for her annual inoculation. It’s always a major performance getting her there. Recently we’ve started putting a little harness on, and only putting her in the carrier when we arrive. That works much better but she still yowls the whole time in the car on the way there, and some of the time on the way back. When she’s actually in the vet’s surgery she is very interested in everything except what the vet is doing, and tries to jump off the examination table and investigate the whole room. Anyway, that’s done, although you have to wait outside the vet (masked up) while they take in one animal at a time and bring the card machine out to you. That’s fine, but it was raining today!

And best of all I finally have an appointment at the doctors next Thursday to have steroid injections in my hand. I am so relieved. It’s felt like a long time.

What I Can Do

Well, if I can’t knit, which is a major bummer, I can still tidy things up.

Today I’ve re-organised my bedroom storage. Had ordered some things to enable that and now my underwear is in excellent order. Re-lined the drawers too with some of the excessive amount of brown wrapping paper from Mother’s house.

Sorted out a new Kindle Fire so that I can download library books and have managed to actually do that and read one. Excellent.

Made an appointment for the cat’s annual vaccination.

Ordered present for upcoming birthday.

Gardener guy came yesterday so the garden looks great.

Ordered some new clothes (always, always cheers me up. How shallow am I.)

And that’s it for now.