June

Well. Where to start.

Today would have been my Dad’s birthday so a bit nostalgic for me. At his barmitzvah he had strawberries, so my mother always tried to make sure there were strawberries for his birthday. Not so easy years ago.

Yesterday we returned from a long weekend at Center Parcs, with ED, her hubby and their little boy. He gets travel sick, and we all travelled from our separate homes by car on Friday, the hottest day of the year so far. Our air conditioning is fine, but theirs wasn’t working, so LCS ended up with heat exhaustion. A fair amount of vomming, lots of lying around being pale, and very difficult to get him to drink. By Sunday, however, he had perked up dramatically, and was much better. So Friday was much too hot. Saturday it rained all day. Sunday it was cooler and sunnier until the evening. I struggled with all the walking (really, really can’t ride a bike!) and the IBS, but we had a lovely weekend nevertheless. It’s great to see them.

Just fetched the cat from the boarding kennels. All was going swimmingly, despite the howling (her not me) until I took a wrong turn and missed the motorway. That’s actually ok because she hates the motorway worse than almost anything else, until I smelt a suspicious smell. Yup. She’d pooped. Then the yowling ratched up several notches, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it until we got home. Except for opening the car windows wide. And luckily it was all neat and contained within the towel/puppy pads in the carrier for just such an occurrence. Yeah.

So the cat is happy now, pottering in and out of the house/garden. I’m a bit fraught but not too bad. Hubby has popped to Marks and Spencers to get the stuff we need.

Today my job was fetching the cat. Done that. Knackered now! Tomorrow is sorting out the new router day. Last week we had major problems with the internet, some of which was the providers’ fault, some of which wasn’t. I had set the provided router up as a modem, and we have a separate router in the lounge, which improves the signal no end. But when I cut out the router, and made the old router back into a modem, it all worked. Sigh. So now we have a new router which I need to install. Yeah.

The washing is drying nicely on the line – love it when it’s dried outside. It just smells so nice!

February!

I’ve been able to knit a little, which feels so lovely. Here’s a picture of the tension gauge square I did for the cardigan I’m knitting.

The garden is coming to life. Love it.

Here is a story about a log.

The cat goes to kennels when we go away, and in each cat pen they have a real log for the cats to scratch. What a good idea, I thought. Maybe that might stop her ruining our carpet. I kept my eyes open. One day, on my small walk, I saw some tree surgeons cutting down and chipping trees. I asked if they could spare one of their logs, and they said yes that’s fine. So I lugged it home, scrubbed it down, and put it in the corner on a towel so that the cat could scratch it.

Next thing, hubby informs me he cannot stand it. We are not living with a log in the room. Apparently. It looks awful. Imagine my glee (it was quite heavy). After a short while (!) we discussed it again, and we agreed it’s a bit big, and needs sawing down by a foot or so (30 cm ish). When hubby moved it into the garden to do this, he discovered it’s oozing sap. Yes it is, it’s fresh. So now it’s in the garden, weathering, and hopefully oozing all its sap before we get it cut down. I’m going to ask the gardener chappies if they could bring a power saw one day.

Hmph.

The old M.E./C.F.S has reared its ugly head and involved several days asleep in bed. I’m being much stricter with myself about how much I do and when. We shall see.

Also, picked up my new glasses. Very pleased.

Progress, sort of

I have just finished the second tension sample for the cardigan. Yes. Just. Normally it takes me an evening to knit up a sample square. Hey ho. Well, that one is too big too. I’m going to have to do another one on slightly smaller needles. Ho hum.

Went to Brighton the weekend before Christmas to see family. We stay in a lovely hotel in Bramber, which is right next to an old castle and church. It’s really nice and there is parking! which is an issue in Brighton. It’s about 15 minutes away in the car from ES. The only fraught thing about the whole weekend was charging the electric car. The infrastructure is simply appalling. Even when you find a charging point, you’re lucky if a) it’s working and b) there’s no queue. And it was cold!Christmas Day was wonderful. Just hubby and me. No worrying about the Appalling Mother any more. Just lovely food, gifts (of which more in a moment), siesta and relaxation generally.

One of the things hubby gave me was a paraffin wax bath for my wonky hands. Sometimes used by beauty salons, they are good for arthritic and painful hands. I had a go with it yesterday – takes some setting up the first time, as you have to wait for 3 x 1 lb blocks of paraffin wax to melt, but it was worth it. It’s very hot – 50-55o C – so you just dip the painful part in and take it straight out again, wait for the paraffin to set, and dip again. About 6 – 10 times is recommended. It is so soothing. The paraffin wax just peels off, and you can discard it, but as I’m the only person using it, I’m reusing the wax.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20211228_105051.jpg

Both the physio and the surgeon have discharged me from the hospital – 5 months after the operation.

It should continue to improve hopefully. Still a little swollen and quite stiff but I can manage most things.

Watching some excellent tv – Succession series 3, The Great series 2, the films Spencer, and The Power of the Dog. Wonderful drama. Spencer is about Diana (of course) and takes place one Christmas. The stuffiness and insistence on adherence to tradition, however dreadful, is claustrophobic. Some characters are invented, but make a strong point. Charles is portrayed as completely hidebound by the rules, but not a bad chap overall. Diana is portrayed as being very unhappy, resentful of Camilla Parker-Bowles (the mistress), unsurprisingly having mental health problems, and a wonderful mother. The Power of the Dog is a Western of a very different type from usual. Shot in New Zealand, directed by Jane Campion, it’s very very good. Dark and powerful.

Also last night watched Billy Connolly’s “My Absolute Pleasure”. He’s nearly 80 now, has Parkinson’s, and is such a lovely, lovely man. His sense of humour is delightful. I just love him to bits.

Hubby has gone into Solihull to spend some Christmas vouchers. Also he doesn’t feel comfortable being in the house when the cleaners are here. So I’m doing this, he’s in Solihull, and the cleaners are cleaning.

I’ve ordered myself a “monocular”. I can’t see through binoculars because of the stupid double vision, but I can see through a monocular. The plan is that when I see an interesting looking bird through the window I can grab it and actually see what’s going on. Mm. We shall see.

Not terribly pretty, but yum!

Made an apple and almond cake for Christmas. Hubby doesn’t actually like fruit cake. This is a recipe from Nadiya Hussain, who is just wonderful. I didn’t use olive oil for the icing though, just dairy free butter cream. And for Christmas I did white glace icing so it looks a bit more Christmassy. It’s absolutely delicious. Quite rich though. Even I can only manage one slice per day. But Oh. My. Days. it’s yummy.

I had to get a new computer in the end. The motherboard was clearly in distress. Strange random beeping noises and kept falling off the internet, when everything else in the house was fine. Hm. And managed to work out it is 3 years old. Not old for a personal/domestic computer, but the industry standard when I was working in tech (20 years ago now I know!) was to replace workstations every three years. So I’m on Windows 11 now. Had to tweak it a bit because it was quite slow, and took me a whole day to install it – which is usual, I will say, for Windows. But I’d backed everything up, so haven’t lost any data, so am fairly smug about it. I just need to nuke the old hard drive and Freecycle it – with clear warnings about the dodgy motherboard.

Hubby uses his Virgin email address and it wouldn’t work the other day. Eventually after much faffing about I discovered that it was locked for some unfathomable reason. So I ran a virus check (clear) and managed finally to change his password. After an hour it magically unlocked itself. FFS. What is that about? Damned blasted technology. But I think I won, even if I don’t know what happened. Mm.

And here is a photo of our cat. Just because.

And a very Happy New Year to you all.

Getting There

Improving but slowly. It’ll be eleven weeks tomorrow since the op. Swelling in my hand is less, pain is less, but still very stiff. Things I can now do include showering, hair washing, dressing myself, eating mostly right-handed, even started a bit of crochet (a few minutes at a time, with an ergonomic hook).

(This is an older photo)

But. I lost all the weight I’d regained. I now weight 8st 7/119 lbs/53.9kg. I was 9st 7lbs. So even my skin is too big. Am weighing myself every week (too depressing to do it more often than that) and the doctor is aware. I am to arrange a phone consultation if I lose any more, or don’t put any on, within 3 weeks of when I last spoke to her. That means another week.

I do feel ok though, perkier generally, but more tired than usual.

Yesterday went to the osteopath. Today took the cat for her annual flu jab. She hates the car and howls the whole journey, but is quite happy at the vet, even purring while she’s being examined. And she takes absolutely no notice at all of the injection!

Tomorrow we’re going to the tip (recycling centre). We have to book now because of Covid but that’s ok. No queues! and once we’ve booked it means we have a quick sort out to make sure we are taking everything.

Almost done with the Christmas shopping. A couple of gifts to get, but mostly done otherwise. Parcels arriving almost every day. Thank goodness for internet shopping!

The state of the UK is dire though. And the government will simply not admit it’s because of Brexit. And why is anybody surprised that hardly any HGV drivers have applied to work here? why would they? Brexit made it clear that the right-wingers don’t want “foreigners” here. It’s our own stupid fault. So we have queues at petrol stations, shortages of workers, and we insult the NHS staff by offering them a paltry 3% pay rise. After all that clapping to make sure they know that they’re valued. Harrumph. Just Harrumph. I try to avoid the news because it’s so damn depressing.

However, our garden looks lovely. Despite everything.

Recovering

So. The fridge is working fine, and the fan oven mysteriously just started to work again all by itself. Strange.

However, hubby’s hi-fi is definitely dead. So we’re getting new kit. No small matter, and he’s very excited about it.

Visited a new cattery this morning. The one we used and loved for many years was Compulsorily Purchased (it’s a thing) because of the HS2 railway. Very sad. So she went to a different one which the cat liked – I can tell because she came back happy and not clingy. That one is now closed because, well, Covid. The owners were a bit anti-social, but the staff looking after the animals were just lovely.

So we had to find a new one. It’s excellent, although the satnav let me down badly. It took 35 minutes to travel 9 miles there, and 12 minutes to get home. But now I know. They have a wooden log in each cat-room, standing on end, leaning into the corner. For a scratching post. Genius! I’ve asked where they get them. Our cat has ruined our carpet. But only in certain places.

I slept for most of yesterday, and half of Sunday, but am feeling a little less shaky and knackered today. Found a nice easy crochet pattern for a shawl which will be good to do when I’m fixed. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/one-row-fishnet-shawl

The weather here in the English Midlands is changeable, to say the least! today we’ve had the complete gamut. Rain, wind, sunshine, cold, warm. British weather, I guess. Sigh.

The planning for the decorating of the lounge has moved up a notch. Waiting for a decorator to come along and quote us. Exciting.

And May The 4th (fourth, if your first language is not English!) be with you all 😉

Trying to stay positive

Struggling a bit at the moment, to be honest, with pain and depression. I do have medication for both, and have needed to up the pain meds, so I’m taking Co-codamol 30/500, which is the strongest of that particular make, and has to be prescribed. But it makes me feel a bit odd, so I only take two doses of two tablets a day, and the other two doses are plain Paracetamol. It’s just a question of what time to take which meds.

So in an effort to be less miserable, I have ordered and received a latch hook kit. It’s something I thought about but never followed up on, and one of my friends has started and loves it. When I’ve finished the current project (tea infuser cover) I’ll have a go.

Meanwhile I’ve taken some photos of the lovely colours in the garden, which always cheer me up. May is my favourite month, I think, garden-wise, although autumn is my favourite season. I try to ensure that there is always something interesting going on in the garden for every season, though it does require research because I don’t know enough. I do know some stuff, but not enough. A couple of photos of Bertie the cat sneaked in. She’s being cute because she wants to be fed . . . and in the final photo she’s got her little tongue out a bit . . . .

So here you are:

Episode!

Well, I’m in the throes of an M.E. episode. Trying really hard to be positive and “do” stuff, but failing. This week I’ve managed to stay up and out of bed till lunchtime once in the last five days. Failed this morning. No knitting or crochet mojo. Tried a bit of crochet yesterday but it didn’t go well.

Was supposed to go to the osteopath today but re-arranged. It feels a bit sad-making but at the same time empowering because I have a measure of control over my stupid health. Plenty of sleeping, and reading when I’m awake. Also ordering stuff I do actually need, as well as want, online. Handcream, for example, is a constant thing for me as my hands are terribly dry all the time. So I’ve ordered some. And earrings are a new problem. Now I have various pairs of glasses, wearing at least two at once, the reading glasses dangling and the distance glasses on my nose (or vice versa), dangly earrings are just not going to work. Particularly with masks as well. So stud earrings it is. Ordered two lovely pairs from John Lewis, then of course needed a jewellery box to hold them, to replace the ice cube tray I’ve been using for the last twenty years or so. I can justify almost any purchase if I try hard enough . . . 🛒😉. And of course retail therapy is always, always good for the morale.

The garden is even better for the soul of course but it’s been cold and wet the past couple of days. I can look at it out of the window of course, and do. The bird feeder table is very popular at the moment, which is great. The cat seems to have an arrangement with all the birds. She looks at them, they fly away, and all is well. The pigeons – well, they just waddle off because they’re as big as she is.

The cat. Mm. She is much more chatty and approachable now she’s getting older. Not exactly affectionate, but keeps trying to herd me into the lounge, when I’m busy in the study. So I’ve set up another cat bed in the study, and she will occasionally sit in it!

Love/Hate Technology

Oh. My. Days.

I have just spent a very fraught hour or so trying to access my local doctor’s surgery on line. They’ve recently changed their website service, so you have to go through a whole heap of trouble to get there. You have to wait for text messages with special codes, special url addresses, special documents with yet more special codes in, and then put everything in the right place in the right order. It’s just like an obstacle course for the Very Advanced. Not meant for 65 year olds like me, even though I’m a techie.

Anyway, finally managed it. The whole point was to order repeat prescriptions. With this new system you have to put a message in too. I put “I need repeat prescriptions of these”. What would they like me to say??

At the same time, probably not terribly wisely, I was setting up our Netflix account and trying to talk to the water supply people about why they are sending letters to our address with the wrong name on it.

But it’s all sorted now. Netflix – subscription sorted. Water supply people – sorted. Surgery on-line access – sorted.

I now need a lie down with a cold compress on my forehead. But the cat needs feeding, and her day has been even more fraught because we had the guys in, aka The Noisy Boys, trimming the leylandii and various thuggish shrubs in the garden. She was terrified, so needs a nice calm evening. Yeah. Me too, kiddo.

The Noisy Boys did a great job though. The next thing, when the weather has sprung into spring, is the front lawn. Exciting.

To sleep? or not?

Sometimes I wake up at the normal time, thanks to the alarm, get up and have breakfast and have to go straight back to bed. My brain isn’t working properly, I can’t cope with easy crosswords or even Solitaire. Sunday (I think) I went back to bed and slept for five hours straight. Then woke up and had a shower, and felt ok.

Today is Tuesday. Same thing, but I only slept for two hours, and felt ok-ish. I needed to do my ironing but really couldn’t muster the energy until about forty five minutes ago. It only takes ten minutes, because we each do our own, and one of my little life rules is that I do it every week. So there’s not much. Schlepping the ironing board from utility room to lounge is the hardest bit, to be honest, but that’s what makes me want to put it off. Anyway, long story short, I did it because I could feel the energy needed just getting to the right level, and of course I felt much better afterwards.

A shower always helps me feel better. Always. But I don’t always have the energy! how frustrating.

Looks like we’re in for the long haul with Covid/lockdown, so I’ve been trying to find at least one positive thing in every day.

Today was the ironing! and then, as the sun was out and it’s not actually freezing cold, I pottered round our small garden and found these snow drops. Love them.

Also tried to take a photo of the cat, but she would not look at the camera. I pulled a little weed out of her catnip pot – it’s real catnip in there, just a bit sad and wintery at the moment – and her reaction was priceless. “What are you doing? That’s mine! Have you changed it? I need to investigate all of it right now!” she is such a doofus.

Fixed . . .

The printer has now decided it will print stuff. Thankfully.

The jumper which needed mending arrived, I sorted out what needed to be done, undid what needed to be undone, and fixed it. I have learned two things from this. One is to make sure I always pick up all of the stitches for the neck, and the other is to always make a note of what size needles I’ve used! I knit very tightly so always use a bigger size needle. On DK, that’s easy, I just use 4.5mm for the body and 3.75 or 4mm for the welts. But this is Aran, and Bergere de France to boot, so I wasn’t sure. The neck wasn’t so critical, because it’s all one piece, but the sleeve . . . I really needed to be sure I wasn’t going to spoil the look with a sudden change of tension. I looked everywhere. Ravelry (hadn’t made a note on the “project”), the actual pattern (nope), and decided I’d just give it a go with size 5mm for the neck and 6mm for the sleeve and check after a couple of rows. Luckily I guessed right, but have made a note on the pattern now!

The best representation of the actual colour is the first one below on the left. It’s the top of the sleeve. I think LCS caught it on something and just yanked, and then picked at it a bit. The picture on the right shows I clearly missed a stitch on the neck.

Neck taken down, stitches on holders. Sleeve removed, 16 rows frogged, stitches on holder.

All back together again, as good as new.

Being collected by postie tomorrow for delivery to grandson. Phew. An interesting little job. I had to be very careful not to snip the wrong thread . . . and I managed not to. I can pick up one stitch at a time from several rows down, so that was lucky. The hole in the sleeve – well, the yarn was broken in three places. I checked all my finishing off and that seemed ok, and I tend not to do knots in the middle of a row – for this very reason! So some learning, and some vindication, and all in all I’m very pleased with it. Grandson loves this jumper, and he’s very particular about clothes, so it was important for both of us that it was fixable.

Also, here is a picture of our 11 year old cat, who was very, very wary of the snow but has decided it doesn’t hurt, it’s just a bit cold on the old paws.