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.
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.
Oops! nearly forgot
Also have just finished Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernadine Evaristo. Couldn’t put it down. Really, really good.
The next set of mince pies I baked had to go straight in the bin. Burned. Hey ho.
And the new hairdryer arrived and is excellent.
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!)
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.
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.
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 . . .
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!
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.
I’m on fire today!
Did my ironing this morning. All of it. Although I had to do it sitting down, as my stupid back is playing up. Painkillers, ice packs, phone call to osteopath tomorrow to see if I can bring forward the next appointment.
Had the leylandii at the back trimmed, and one of the leylandii hedges at the front cut down by half, so it’s just below the level of the roof of my car, which is an old Ford Ka. The other hedge at the front has been dug up and the stumps ground out. That was quite exciting to watch. Two men, fully kitted up in safety gear/helmets/goggles, with a large noisy machine, took approximately 10 minutes max! Now I just need to get as much of the thuggish ivy out of the soil as I can, weedkiller the rest, and see how it is next spring before I plant some more Photinia Red Robin, to match the little hedge at the front, parallel to the house.
Meanwhile, hubby decided to pollard the willow tree himself. Yes, himself. Worked, hard, all morning, up and down ladders with a saw, despite my bleating about stopping now, and did it all. Cut up the twiggy bits and fitted them all into the green wheelie bin. But he then had (heart) “symptoms” for three days. I was very worried and a bit cross. It is frustrating not to be able to do the stuff you used to do easily. It is. But still. I’ve had years to come to terms with it (slipped a disc 43 years ago) so I do know how difficult and limiting it is. But harrumph. And of course he’s fine now.
Wasn’t able to knit for a couple of weeks – arthritis in my hands. But I’m ok now and nearly finished the Festival shawl (dark grey Gossypium and white/cream Paradou). It’s lovely and easy enough to knit (though not while I’m watching subtitled Swedish programmes!) and I will be pleased with it when it’s done. Next up, Whelk vest top for hubby, in pale grey Rowan yarn. Need to do a sample tension square, because the pattern is for DK, and the yarn I have is worsted. Not much difference, but enough to check first. Also need to check I’m ok with the pattern . . . . .
Have treated myself, after watching Black Earth Rising, to a cuff earring with two chains attached to a small stud. The heroine of said programme wore one, and looked stunning. I won’t look anything like her, of course, she’s about 6 ft tall, black, muscular and slim. Ah well. I do like it though. Hubby thinks it’s weird. Don’t care.
Christmas – presents all done. Not wrapped yet though. And I need to get my act together with regard to cooking. Planning a Yule Log, so need to practise with an ordinary Swiss Roll (tomorrow). Also need to do a carrot cake and a bakewell raspberry slice. And some mince pies (bought pastry, bought mincemeat, just need to put them together . . .)