The good, the bad, and . . .

A long time ago, about 20 years, I would guess, I went to our local supermarket to pick up some bits. I was feeling like five kinds of sh*t, and probably looked it too, although I was past caring.

Well. The product I wanted to get to (bacon, I think), was behind a trolley parked sideways with a small girl – I’d say about 3 years old? – sitting in it, dancing about and generally making sure everybody could see how cute she was. I was not in the mood, really not, so I ignored her.

She did not like that. She did not. So she leant towards me, and said, “You’re UGLY”. Her parents were absolutely mortified, as well they should be. They apologised profusely, and I accepted the apology with “oh it’s ok”. But it wasn’t ok. I was hurt, and still feel it now. How did that child learn that “ugly” was an insult? why did she choose to use it then? she was very small, I know, but neither of mine would ever have deliberately insulted a total stranger. Each other, yes, but total strangers? nope! They were not perfect, what child or what adult is, but really.

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Look how long our grass has grown! desperate for the gardener now!

I’ve been very low lately, and sleeping way too much. I had a telephone appointment with a doctor, who arranged a face-to-face appointment at my local surgery, and that doctor (she’s the one I used to see before lockdown) has increased my anti-depressants. I have to go back in a month to see how that is going.

I feel slightly better straight away, knowing something constructive is happening. It felt like a long tunnel with no light at the end, but that feeling is fading.

Still sleeping too much, but apparently it can take about seven days for an increase in jolly drops to work. So that’s ok then.

Managed to go to the local shop today and get some bits and bobs. Yesterday I made carrot cake, and I was halfway through when I discovered that my self raising flour was three months out of date. So that went straight in the bin, and I used plain flour with extra baking powder. It seems to have worked ok, but both the cakes are in the freezer as they are for my daughter’s 40th birthday barbecue in July. She loves my carrot cake. So we won’t actually know until we cut into them whether they’re ok or not! love a bit of baking suspense . . . might need ice cream or glace icing, will see how we go.

Have ordered some full face visors. There is of course a bewildering array, and because I wear glasses I need ones with a head strap. I find the masks stifling and my glasses steam up.

Ironing is awaiting my attention, but having been to the shop today, and baking yesterday, it will need to wait until tomorrow.

And I’m wearing a brand new top today, from Fat Face. Sage green with little leaves embroidered on it. And the New Zealand quartz pendant from YD. Yeah. Little things.

Baking Fail

Well, tomorrow it’s my birthday, so I thought I’d make a cake. I made a chocolate cake the other week and it was delicious. This one was plain vanilla, but a disaster. The top was quite a lot smaller than the bottom of each piece, so it looked as if it was collapsing.

Huh.

So I cut it into squares, froze two lots and left one lot out and will make a trifle with it tomorrow. Ho hum.

The seedlings are doing their thing. Bit skinny but I’ve moved them onto the windowsill, reduced the heat in the bedroom, and am brushing them lightly with my hand each morning and night. This apparently makes them react as if it’s windy, and they grow a bit more sturdy.

The old Dell went the very next day. Excellent.

Am considering phoning the doctor’s to see if they’ll refer me to a rheumatologist for the pain in my hands (both of them now). Had steroid injections last September but am struggling now to do any knitting or crochet. Hmph. The doctor did say they would refer me if/when the pain returned. The specialist can do X-ray guided injections, which are more effective. And, I must say, less painful than injections done “blind”.

The garden is still a joy. And today the window cleaner came. Not only the windows, but all the outside doors got a jolly good wash. Really pleased.

Woke up at 10.30 this morning, but now it’s 14.25 and I’m ready for another sleep. Really? yeah. Really.

Been watching some excellent TV. The final series of Spiral (Engrenages), The Queen’s Gambit, Bloodlands, now the new series of Line of Duty, and we’re a bit late to the Netflix party, but Da 5 Bloods was excellent. Gory, fraught, emotional, all those things, but so good.

Right. Off to bed.

Frustration

Well, the new toaster and iron have turned up and are excellent. Hairdryer, however, has not, yet.

On Monday hubby couldn’t access his streaming service, all of a sudden, through the app he uses to listen to music. We both spent a fraught day trying to sort it out, and in the process we re-set his music player to factory settings.

That evening our cable supplier announced via its website that there was a local problem, so we weren’t surprised that we couldn’t access the cable box.

It took them until late Wednesday night to fix it and guess what? we still couldn’t access our cable box. I checked it on the internet and they said, after checking remotely, Oh it’s your box.

I spent 49 minutes this morning on hold waiting to talk to a guy who assured me it wasn’t the box. He talked to me like I’m an idiot, so I womansplained that I actually worked in tech support, and had already been through rebooting, checking connections, changing cables, blah blah blah.

He assured me nonetheless it wasn’t the box.

I eventually, by dint of faffing about with cables which are difficult to see upside down and close to a wall, even with a torch, then more faffing about inside the configuration program through which we’d reset everything (GAAAAAGH) , made it all work. It works a bit differently from before, but we can not only see but hear the blu-ray player, the TV directly, and through the cable box.

Meanwhile, hubby had contacted his hifi manufacturers, who advised him that they had just issued a new version of the software which runs his music, and lo and behold, his streaming service was magically back. 🙄. I remained calm, but suggested that next time his damn software goes wrong, we wait a day or two before doing ANYTHING.

First World problems, I do know. Yeah.

On the upside, I made some marvellous mince pies. And the Post Office/Royal Mail/whatever they’re called collected the five parcels I’d had terrible trouble arranging yesterday. Only one more parcel to arrange, and I’m looking forward to wrapping and sending that one.

Home Made (Ish) Mince Pies. (bought pastry, bought filling!)

Feelings

Really not sure where to start here.

Horrified, angry and sad about the poisonous racist culture which has finally, with the murder of George Floyd, burst, across the world, into huge protests. The protests are vital.

Reading Akala’s book Natives. He’s so articulate and incisive, I really rate this guy. Even Piers Morgan is careful when talking to him. Good.

Recently read Queenie (Candice Carty-Williams), which describes the casual racism nobody white seems to notice or acknowledge and The Night Women (Marlon James) which is written in the voice of a slave.

All excellent, if difficult. But it needs to be difficult. We need things to change. Radically.

Very up and down mood-wise, not so good pain-wise, no knitting possible.

Baking’s possible though, thanks to the Thermomix. (Dairy free berry muffins – yummy)

However, did manage to do some gardening yesterday. I guess because I don’t use my hands in the same way as I do when knitting. It leaves my hand painful and swollen for a few days, but it’s such a good feeling to be outside and doing stuff.

Moved one rosemary plant, dumped the old woody one, planted a new one in a better place. Split the thyme, dumped the woody bits, replanted. Cut back the hellebores, replanted all the daffodil bulbs I’d accidentally dug up, ripped out the dead forget-me-nots and dead-headed the poppies. Very satisfying. (None of the above pictures are from what I did yesterday!)

Disappointed that the wildlife camera missed two woodpeckers (TWO!) because the disc was full, and one jay because the angle was wrong. Grr. But there are plenty of clips of the robin, who was extremely interested in what I was doing yesterday, and came so close!

Even when I wake up feeling dreadful, I improve after breakfast and chatting to hubby. And a square of chocolate. Hubby is currently making me a cup of tea. Excellent.

 

Ups and Downs

Ups – well, the weather has been kind enough for me to go for a short walk most days. The post has started arriving, in fits and starts, but nonetheless a knitting magazine arrived yesterday! Hooray!

I’ve started putting a soft toy in the front window for children to see as they walk past. Eric the Bumblebee was quite popular. I change the toy every day as soon as I remember. Currently it’s a Build-a-Bear wearing glasses. Not sure what will come next.

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Today’s job is making chocolate chip cookies. Yeah.

The “prescribing nurse” from our doctor’s surgery phoned last night to make sure we’re ok. I think that’s brilliant. She arranged some blue inhalers for me (I never need them so mine were out of date) as I might just need one, and said to phone if I need more painkillers. How wonderful. What a fabulous service. Long live the NHS.

Downs – the heating system is misbehaving. The radiators get much too hot, but the water is cold. We’re using the immersion heater, and hubby is turning the heating off and on as necessary. Not really a huge problem but it will need fixing at some point.

Can’t knit at all at the moment because the arthritis in my right hand knuckles has returned with a vengeance. Steroid injections last November worked really well for about three and a half months. I can’t hold a mug of tea or coffee by the handle in my right hand. Sigh.

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Tomorrow I’m hoping to do some weeding in the front garden. I’ll wear some thick gloves so hopefully they will act as a sort of splint. There isn’t much to do, but the groundsel has got way too big. It’s usually easy to get the roots out though. I’ve also ordered some green euonymous to fill in the spaces between the photinias, which haven’t bushed out as much as I hoped they would. So tapestry hedge it is.

Yule.

Pretty pleased with this, to be honest. It’s all gone. We had family round on Saturday night, and it fed six people, then a slice each for hubby and me on Sunday. The little robins had to go in the bin, though. Tried washing them. Didn’t go well. Need to do something different next year . . .

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Progress

Well. We had a leylandii hedge in the front garden dug up and the stumps ground out. I want to replant the area with Photinia Red Robin next spring, but need to get rid of the ivy first. So I’ve had a go at it but had to stop in the end. Looking better though. I can’t believe how deep the ivy roots go! next step,  when the ground is drier, is special strong ivy weedkiller. Mm.

Meanwhile, today I’ve cooked a Yule Log. My first ever. It’s cooling as I type, and I’ll make the filling soon and freeze it filled. I’ll ice it just before it’s served. We shall see.

I never, or at least hardly ever, knit more than one project at a time. However, I’m currently knitting Rowan’s “Whelk“, which is complicated, but I’m managing. So I need something mindless that I can do while watching TV (though I can’t knit at all when it’s subtitled and in a language I don’t speak – Swedish, say, or Danish!). I’m doing Sunny Baby Blanket by Lucy Sinkler. It’s the fourth one I’ve done, and they are lovely. Lots of stitch markers in both projects (colour coded in Whelk . . .) or I’d never cope!

Sunny Baby Blanket. Yarn – Style Batik Purple Mist. More grey than blue.

 

Whelk. Yarn: Rowan 100% Superwash Wool – Moonstone so very pale grey rather than blue.

Also need to finish wrapping and labelling the Christmas presents which need to be posted – one to the Republic of Ireland and one to France. Hoping to post them tomorrow, although the Post Office will be absolutely heaving. After my hairdo and lunch date with my friend Fiona, I think, so I don’t keep anybody waiting.

My computer is a bit flaky. I think it’s on its last legs. Sometimes it falls off the internet, though hubby’s doesn’t, sometimes the mouse won’t work, sometimes the keyboard won’t work. It is six and a half years old, and Windows 10 lost all the USB ports about three years ago, so I installed Linux Ubuntu. That always extends the life of a computer, because it is so much less resource-hungry than Windows, but even so. I’ve ordered a new one which is arriving today, so everything is backed up, printer driver downloaded and recommendations for antivirus sorted. It is quite exciting, but setting it all up takes a while.  I get cross with Windows because it’s so damn nosey and interfering and intrusive. Once I’ve dealt with all that nonsense it’s ok. Mm.

And I’m not even going to talk about the total omnishambles that is Brexit. Nope. No.