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.
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.
Loving the garden. Just loving it. I got the table and chairs out of the shed yesterday so I could actually sit outside (when it’s not raining . . .)
Just finished a marathon John Sandford binge. Lucas Davenport, Virgil Flowers, love them both. I also like that the characters are connected, and mentioned in books about the other one. Yeah. Then I tried to download some library books, and the Solihull library account is fine, but the Birmingham (UK) one isn’t. I have one last thing I will try and then if that doesn’t work just give up on Birmingham. It just widens the range of books I can download.
Also – Netflix. Heavily into Ozark – oh my god it’s so dark. And the plot twists always catch me by surprise. Nobody is very happy though. Everybody is either furious or terrified.Or dead. Nearly at the end of season 3 now . . .
And Parks and Recreation – late to the party as usual but oh we love this! we watch an episode or two of this after one episode of Ozark. I love all the characters, but I think my absolute favourite is April. And I worked for local government in the UK for the last 15 years or so of my working life, so it’s really interesting to see how it works in the US. The style reminds me of The Office, and the looks straight to camera crack me up every time.
Today I made some (dairy free) chocolate chip cookies. Yum. Thank goodness for the Thermomix (Bimbi). Makes cooking so damned easy.
Well, today I spoke to the doctor, and now I have new anti-depressants. Same “family” (SSRI) but just different. The process of changing over from one to the other is so complicated it takes four weeks. I always have a pill organiser for the forthcoming week, but have needed to set up four different pill organisers, labelled clearly Week 1, Week 2, etc. It’s complicated by the fact that my pill-taking week starts on a Wednesday. Don’t ask. Fingers crossed it will all go well.
Tomorrow I have a guided steroid injection into my thumb joint booked – they’re going to check the rest of the hand too while they’re at it and then decide whether to replace or fuse the knuckle joints. They’re talking about ultrasound and x-ray, so I’m not sure whether it’s one or the other, or both. Anyway. We shall see. Hubby is taking me and fetching me – they advise you not to drive after the procedure.
Saturday I have booked my first pedicure since February 2020. I’m really hoping I’ll be ok to drive there, bearing in mind the change of meds and the thumb injection. Mm. That is something I could re-arrange but will wait and see if I need to first.
The sorting out of the spaghetti tangle behind the hi-fi is going well. Just awaiting some 0.5 metre power cables, and it should look much better. It’s already looking tidier. You can see a jumble of wires on the right, and holes in the wall where the electrician took out the old plug sockets. You can even see one of my plug labels ! as well as various Father’s Day cards. It will all be sorted out very soon . . . .
Football again tonight – we watched Scotland vs England on Saturday. England’s game was a bit lacklustre, but I thought the Scots played really well. (Goalless draw). Last night we watched Belgium play Finland. Cor blimey, exciting. Tonight it’s England vs Czech Republic. It’s always a bit fraught watching England play, partly because it’s our team, and partly because they’re not that reliably good! We both shout at the screen, I tend to shout a bit at the inanity of the commentators – they do have a tendency to state the bloody obvious – and why can’t they just shut up once in a while? I don’t need to hear their constant speculation about who will go through! I do understand that they can’t hear me . . . .
I’m a bit worried that the motherboard on my computer is failing. It’s not quite 3 years old yet, so a bit soon. But from time to time things don’t work. For example the monitor (even the new one), the keyboard, and some of the USB ports. So I’m backing up every other day and keeping a watch on it. I did have an old computer where Windows lost all its USB drivers, so installing Linux worked, but I’m already using Linux on this one!
Temperatures are currently lower, so better for me. 17C today, 21C tomorrow allegedly. Anything over 23C leaves me limp. So this is just fine.
Reading some excellent stuff at the moment. Currently halfway through “Barbarossa/how Hitler lost the war” (Jonathan Dimbleby). It’s very interesting, detailed, and intense. At the moment I’m having to leave it for a day or so in between reading sessions because there’s quite a lot about the massacres of Jewish people. Horrific anyway, but as I have Jewish heritage (my Dad and all his relatives) it’s particularly upsetting. It’s hard to understand such hatred, based on nothing except propaganda.
Yes. I actually got up, showered, washed my hair And Got Dressed today. First time since Sunday. Hubby and I both seem to have some sort of virus. Not Covid, but we’re both tired and very floppy. We had been to the recycling centre on Friday. You have to book a slot, and we were both masked and gloved, but it’s the only place I can imagine we caught anything.
Dairy: I have a “Milk Ladder” pictogram, but am seriously thinking of not doing it. For one thing, I feel loads less bloated and have no tummy ache now I’m off all dairy, and have lost 6lbs in weight.
Handicrafts: tried, and failed spectacularly, to convert some skinny jeans to straight jeans. I’d got the inserts ready and everything, but after spending hours and hours and hours struggling, getting fraught, sweaty, and my hands protesting loudly, I gave up. The net result was one pair of jeans with the leg seams undone. Bought a new pair instead. Yeah. Just tried them on and they are FAB so I have ordered two more pairs. My current jeans are old and starting to fall apart, even though (or maybe because) I love them, so need new ones. The pair which has arrived is going in the wash tomorrow.
Not been able to knit or crochet for weeks now. I have a telephone appointment with the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully will end up being referred to the specialist. I also have pins and needles in the fourth and pinky fingers of my right hand, as well as the arthritis, and pain from the bottom knuckle of my thumb down to my wrist. At least three different things going on there. Hmm. Left hand is starting to hurt too. Oh joy.
The weather is cold and it is snowing intermittently, in a desultory way. It’s not sticking, though.
We have seen some seriously good films. The Irishman – an Irish guy who gets involved with The Mafia. Long (three and a half hours) but very involving. The Two Popes – Benedict XVI and Francis – loved it. Particularly loved all the different languages you get to hear (French, Italian, Spanish, Latin) – although my Latin is rusty to say the least! The Popes are played by two British actors (Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce) so it was a joy to hear them say how exhausting it is to speak English – so many rules and so many exceptions! Also Mary Queen of Scots. Very good. Very well done. Not exactly historically accurate, but hey, it’s a film. It’s not meant to be.
Had to go back to bed this morning for another little sleep. Got up, dressed etc, and had some lunch. Now I’m sitting doing this with a cup of tea. May need yet another sleep this pm but decided I would just do what my body suggests and not beat myself up about it.
Time to go and read a bit. I have a magazine which appeared this morning and two different books, one a library book (Henning Mankell – not a Wallander story) and one a book I’ve bought (Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Frasier). Also just finished Disloyal by Michael Cohen. Blimey. That was hard to read. It’s a mea culpa but also brutally honest. He’s a hard man to like but I do appreciate his bravery in writing it. Could only manage to read one chapter at a time, though, because it’s so intense. I’ve also read Rage by Bob Woodward, and two books on Trump by Michael Wolff. Fire and Fury and Siege, I think. Again, intense and difficult.
Well, we watched The Interview, of course. Dynamite. Oprah was so good. I was surprised that Meghan didn’t do any research, despite what happened with Harry’s mother. I do get that our “Royals” are not such a big deal abroad, but the sad story of Lady Di I would have though was of global interest. Also surprised that Harry didn’t mention she’d need to curtsey 🙄 to his gran until approximately 2 minutes before she had to! For goodness’ sake. But oh, what a toxic “institution”. The press here are just so racist and spiteful. To wit, the wildly different ways in which Kate and Meghan were portrayed eating avocado toast (Kate praised to the skies for being healthy, Meghan destroyed for causing climate change). To be honest I wasn’t much surprised by most of it, except the press “parties”. Held at the palace! how blatant is that! Poor Meghan and poor Harry (though why he is miffed they stopped paying him is a mystery to me. If you leave a job, they don’t pay you any more!). But the suffering they both went through, without any support, is absolutely appalling. And don’t get me started on Piers Morgan. And I am no royalist. I would much rather we had a republic. Not that I’m a Republican in terms of the USA. Not at all.
I’m feeling better. Since, I’d say, last Sunday really. More energy – though I’ve had to sleep all morning, having tried to stay awake after breakfast and failed. The garden is lovely. The sun is not out today, but was for the last two days, so I went for a ten minute walk on Monday and Tuesday. That might account for the fatigue this morning. Yesterday I defrosted the small freezer, made a delicious chocolate cake (dairy free of course) and repotted a desperate house plant. Oh. Also might account for the fatigue this morning.
The yoghurt maker is going. It’s possible that my niece may have it, she’s pondering at the moment. If she doesn’t, I will Freecycle it.
Have started a crochet blanket in basic granny squares. I have a selection of double knitting cotton yarn in various colours (from Hobbii.de – love their stuff, even though the postage is expensive), so am doing squares, rather than all in one big square, to make it easier and more fun to sort out the colour scheme when it’s done. No rush. A square or two a day is fine. Even though it’s the most basic of crochet techniques, I still can’t watch TV and do it, like I can with some of my knitting. The finished squares (well, not blocked yet) are actually a lovely lilac, but you can’t tell from the photo. I’ve ordered some more yarn, enough to do two more squares and a border, in dark navy. It’ll make a blanket 4 x 5 squares of 6 3/4″ each, so small but useful in the winter evenings. Or even the summer ones, here in the UK.
Loving the Freecycle system. It’s called Freegle where I live. It shut down during lockdown, but started up again yesterday. I had four boxes of books and dvds to give away, which I advertised just before lockdown. The person who wanted them agreed to wait till now, and came last night to take them away! our study looks So Much Tidier. And she brought me several little tiny pots with a sort of dried pellet of compost and some seeds in. Parsley, carrots and peppers. Am going to investigate. Exciting.
Have been meaning to blog for a while, but kept deciding that nothing I wanted to say was interesting enough to share. (self esteem ? !)
Anyway, I have a couple of photos which might appeal.
I’ve actually finished the knitting on a jumper for 6 year old grandson, but haven’t quite mustered the oomph to sew it together. I need to do that in daylight, which is in short supply here in the northern hemisphere, but it’s in the plan. It won’t arrive before Christmas anyway. It’s a much nicer green than the photo shows. It’s Bergere de France, Magic+, and the colour is Lichen. Discontinued, I think. The pattern is called Jake. I sewed up the shoulders and knitted the collar in the round before blocking.
Started a jumper for hubby. It’s called Play on Ribs by Pat Menchini, and was in one of the knitting magazines I subscribe to. Also available on Ravelry, but you have to pay for it. It’s more interesting than plain stocking stitch, which is good, because that can result in my losing the will to live, but I’m sometimes able to knit this while watching TV. The yarn is Rowan Superwash Worsted 100% wool, and the colour is called Mallard. Please excuse the flash reflection.
Got so fed up with rummaging around in my knitting bag for tiny little bits and pieces like stitch markers that I had a big old sort out. My “main” knitting bag, for supplies and accessories, is very posh and well made but black inside. Which doesn’t help. So I bought a cantilevered transparent small tool box for “artists”, put everything in there, and just the actual knitting in my “subsidiary” knitting bag, and it works really well. The main bag has gone upstairs to think about how naughty it’s been. Next to “my” chair in the living room, the detritus from knitting/crochet/magazines has significantly reduced and looks much better. And, as a bonus (!), it works, and knitting is easier too.
Went to collect my new specs from Specsavers last week. What a fiasco. I had been waiting for months and months for the hospital to discharge me and let the opticians do the eye test, which they finally did. I chose some lovely frames, and I have three pairs of reading glasses (handbag, bedside, lounge), one pair of computer glasses, a pair of sunglasses (tinted varifocals) and a pair of everyday glasses (usually varifocals with Reactolites or whatever they’re called). However. The reading and computer glasses were easy to sort out. But the other two pairs were not. My double vision is so bad I need special lenses to fit in normal frames. Those special lenses can’t be both varifocals and Reactolites. But they can be varifocals and tinted, or varifocals and untinted. Right.
So when I went to collect them, the sunglasses and everyday glasses were dreadful. Impossible to see through. I was there an hour before they worked out the problem. The lenses weren’t properly centred. Long story short, I’ve ordered different frames (slightly smaller) which should make life easier for all concerned, including the staff in the laboratory who actually put them together. They are going to let me know when those are ready. Probably after Christmas. Sigh.
But I’m so delighted that my new computer specs have two arms. One arm fell off my old ones about two weeks into Lockdown 1 and I’ve just been managing since then, in a slightly wonky way.
Have been reading lots too. Watched a film based on the true story of two East German families who built their own hot air balloon and eventually escaped to the West. Excellent. Now I’m reading Stasiland, written relatively recently, and since the Wall came down. Very good. I’m trying to understand the paranoia of the Stasi. Also some more Lee Child, and a Ruth Rendell I’ve just started.
Our Christmas tree is finally up, but just looks like a Christmas tree. Here’s a couple of festive photos though. I used a wreath former for the end photo, and knitted or crocheted all the bits and bobs. A few years ago now but I still love it. The beaded Father Christmas is from Hong Kong, I think, a long time ago. And the fox decoration is just interesting! Have the best few days you can, in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
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.
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.
Thinking of knitting it half the width and maybe 3/4 the length. I’ve ordered 4 balls of yarn (100% cotton) and there are 210 metres on each ball. So I’ll just keep going I think, making sure the pattern is symmetrical lengthways too.
In the meantime I have the Pimpelliese shawlette to finish (taking me ages because I can only do a bit at a time, and not every day), then a jumper and a jacket for LCS (who will be 6 in November), then a jumper for hubby. Always plenty on my list of knitting things to do!