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.

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.

Still working . . .

Well, the printer fell off the network once, but I think that’s sorted. It hasn’t fallen off again. I had to re-pair the HomePlugs it’s using. I guess its little electronic brain recognised that it was connecting to a “new” network, or at least a new router. Anyway, it’s all still working. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile I’ve again changed my painkiller routine as I wasn’t coping with the pain. Two Co-codamol (30/500) in the morning, two at about 5 pm, and then two Paracetamol at bedtime. Seems to help.

I was even able to do a bit of knitting last night, until the cable fell off the end of the needle, then all the stitches fell off. So I have picked them all up, fixed a new cable, and ordered some new interchangeable bamboo needles (Hiya Hiya instead of Knit Pro). I didn’t order a set, just sizes 4mm, 4.5mm and 5mm, with four different lengths of cable.

Planning to do a bit of clearing up in the garden tomorrow. The hardy geraniums in the front have gone over, so I’ll cut them back to the ground. Some bluebell detritus gone yellow. And probably cut the poppies which have dead blooms on them back to the ground. Sometimes you get a second flush of blooms if you do that, rather than just take off the heads.

Managed to save one baby bluetit from certain death (by our stupid cat), but not the other one. They do seem to fledge from the ground, which doesn’t make that much sense really. Chased the cat away, lured her back into the house with the treats in the crackly bag, and wouldn’t let her out. So she sulked. Well, to be fair, she slept in her little cat bed. Which is fine.

Fam-a-lam Bingo tonight. Auckland NZ, Dublin, Brighton, Malvern and us (Solihull, West Midlands). We have the technology. We have the bingo cards via email. Can’t wait . . .

Zoomed this morning with some of the knitting guys. We drink tea/coffee, talk over each other, laugh a lot, and do show and tell with our projects. Or in my case, the broken cable.

Finished Succession Season 1.Have even gone off Marcia. But it’s still exciting. Just paid for Season 2.

The saga continues . . .

Went on Sunday to fetch mobile phone, because the shop’s website said they were open Sundays from 11 am. Well, they weren’t. I was there from 11.15 to 11.20, got fed up and went home. So I collected it on Tuesday. It works fine apart from the SIM card, which works in the tiny little Nokia 105, but not in the Moto G5. Not sure why that should be, because I held on to the SIM card while they fixed the Moto G5. So Virgin are sending me a new SIM card and I’ve backed up all my contacts, a number of times. So I’m still using the Nokia 105. Sigh.

The plumber is currently here, the cold water tank is drained, and he’s fitting the new Salamander shower pump. So we have various large pans full of cold water and, should we need to, we can use water from the water butts to flush the toilet with.

Just back from the vet, where the cat had her annual vaccination and check up. That went fine, but before we got there she landed a scratch or two which are quite sore. And we hadn’t even tried to put her in the carry box, just the harness. She accepts the harness ok, but as soon as she realised she was going in The Car/Scary Noisy Monster she fought like, well, like a wild cat. Great.

Looking forward to having a nice shower with the working pump. The electric shower is ok but nothing like as good.

Just finished reading A Spark of Light by Jodie Picoult. Brilliant. Very, very good. Love her. Before that I re-read Circe by Madeline Miller (excellent) and before that Song of Achilles by the same person. Also, Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. It’s like I’m actually living in the book, almost. Next up is A Rose Petal Summer by Katie Fforde, then I have a Ruth Rendell to have a go at.

Painful appointment at the osteopath yesterday, but better today.

Right. Off to do the on-line weekly grocery shopping list. With a cup of tea, in comfort.

 

A strange little episode

Our cat, Bertie (female) is nearly 9, and weighs 3 kilos (7lbs). She’s very shy, and not at all aggressive to anybody/anything.bertie

But last night, while I was eating my dinner, she started to growl. I looked outside into the garden, and there was a large long-haired ginger tom cat.  About twice Bertie’s size. He’s a regular visitor. He’s very handsome face on, like a lion, but sideways on you can see he’s quite old. I think he wants to be friends with Bertie, but she’s not having any of that nonsense.

Anyway, she growled, then she turned her back on him (her tail wasn’t fluffed up or anything), so he watched for a few seconds then pottered off.

(The pictures of the ginger tom are library pictures, from our wildlife webcam, last month, as you can see from the date stamp!)

gingertom1ginger tomThen he smelled the pot where I grow some catnip. Bertie loves it and regularly gets right inside the pot for a little sleep.

catnip

My hand is in there for scale!

He kept his back feet on the ground, put both his front paws in the pot, and had a good old headrub and sniff at the catnip. He was actually trying to lie down in it, but only his top half was in the pot.

Eventually, he managed to get all four paws in the pot and curled up, still rubbing and sniffing at it.

By this time I’ve got right up to the window (wishing like billyo I had my phone camera with me) and just watched for ages.

His eyes were almost closed, but he gradually realised he was being watched. He could also tell I was no threat, so instead of jumping up in alarm and running off, he slowly and carefully, with as much dignity as he could muster, got himself standing up, got down from the pot, and strolled off. He was clearly thinking “I’ll just, erm, go, erm, this way . . . and perhaps she won’t think I’m an idiot”.

I laughed and laughed and laughed. As much as is possible with no voice!

Thinking aloud

Well, we bought the Thermomix. I’m going to make some pizza dough with it later on, and hubby has already been using it. It’s wonderful.  It’s an extremely fancy, computerised food processor which can cook as well. Am planning to make a carrot cake next week, and it should be much easier and quicker than it usually is.

Haven’t been able to knit for almost a week now, too tired and my hands are sore. Maybe tonight. We’ve also been watching Breaking Bad, and it’s just too exciting/fraught to knit anything remotely complicated while that’s on. But last night we watched the last two episodes of the final series. Exhausting. Excellent. We’ll miss it though.

And the counselling I’ve been having is going well. The counsellor is a wonderful woman. Understanding, listens to me, and makes me think/reflect about things. I’m able to celebrate all the good stuff in my life. I think I’ve always appreciated the good stuff, but actually saying it out loud really helps affirm it all. She has used the analogy of going up in a hot air balloon, and leaving the bad stuff behind on the ground. I’ve added to that, in my head, so that all the wonderful people in my life are extra/auxiliary balloons, lifting me higher.

I usually go to a knitting group on a Saturday morning – sometimes I go to the Thursday morning one, but counselling  takes up Thursday mornings at the moment- but today I’m not going to do anything. Can’t even be bothered to shower and dress properly. Might walk round the garden in a bit (that takes all of thirty seconds) because it’s a lovely day.

The cat had lost weight when she last saw the vet, so we’ve been feeding her more every day (now two sachets each day) and I need to take her to be weighed again at the end of next week. She looks healthy though and has plenty of energy. Sleek, glossy fur, eating well, killing small defenceless things (a mouse, so she’s doing her job). She purrs loudly, despite initial resistance, when I pick her up to cuddle her and puts her paw gently on my face, so I don’t think she minds too much.

The guitar playing is improving slowly. I can’t strum and sing. I can strum, or do one chord per note, and sing.  I’ve taught myself one song, and learned four others from the teacher, and practise most days. Almost every day, really, but the last two days I’ve just been unable to even think about it.

So for the next few days I’m not going to do anything big. I might start the next stage of the knitting project (if you’re a knitty person, I need to pick up the stitches for the sleeves – it’s a cardigan knitted top down in one piece, so the sleeves are knitted in the round). May practise the guitar, or maybe leave that till tomorrow.

I currently have the fan blowing cool on my face, a cup of tea beside me, and I think it’s time I did a (quick, easy) crossword. Laters, guys.

Cats and birds, mostly.

Bagpuss, home knitted

Bagpuss

Bertie, sleeping

Bertie

Two little turtles

Two little turtles, made by my friend Charlie.

odd bird

New Zealand bird

Bertie.

Bertie, doing the roast chicken pose

robin

robin for xmas tree

knitted stegosaurus

stegosaurus

Eagle Owl

Eagle Owl at Umberslade Farm Park

Knitted Parlor Cat

Part of Mother’s Xmas present

parlor cat

Side view of parlor cat

cat up a tree

Bertie up a tree

Striped parlor cat

Parlor cat for cousin Karen

parlor cat

front view of parlor cat

tom cat

My new best friend. Feisty old tom cat

improvised huggy blanket

improvised huggy blanket

Bagpuss

Bagpuss again

 

Gaaaagh! December already!

Luckily I’m just a tad obsessive and am all ready for Christmas. It’s just hubby and me this year, which will be lovely. Seeing family before and after though, which will also be really nice.

Knitting – going well. The physio is definitely helping my hands. I have exercises to do, and once a week they massage the hands and treat them with ultrasound. Excellent. I’m knitting the last Christmas present at the moment, everything else is done. Just need to sort out the baking I’m going to do. I have the ingredients for the cake (this year it’s going to be the dairy-free, egg-free fruit cake, one with marzipan in the middle for me, one without for hubby). Need to sort out the mince pies pastry and enough flour and eggs for the cakes I’m taking to various family dos. Exciting.

I’ve also been crocheting. Nothing large, and no photos yet (don’t want to spoil anybody’s surprise . . .) but I am quite pleased. Results have been blocked, starched, and are currently drying.

Did a bit of gardening this morning – only about 45 minutes. The dead rudbeckias looked horrible, and so did the asters, so they’ve had a severe cutting back. Also dug up an old dead no-longer-ornamental grass, and picked loads of moss off the soil. I’ve filled three large tubtrugs but that’s ok. We need to take a trip to the tip this week anyway.

Saw my great-nephew last week. He is just delightful. Crawling, cruising, almost walking, and such a happy little soul.

Finally, here is a photo of the cat. This is where we find her when we’ve been out, and she’s been in, confined to the kitchen and utility. She has food, water, toys and her tray in there, so it’s like a little bed-sit for a cat. But she just goes into her little bed.

Image

Bless her little heart.

Time to blog.

Not a lot has been happening, really, but I thought I’d have a little blurt on the blog.

I have finally managed to plant the tulips – found a huge pot which took all 14 of them. They’re apricot and I can’t wait for them to grow. I’ve wanted to plant apricot tulips for a long time, but there’s just no space in the garden beds! The garden is actually lovely at the moment, the rudbeckias are really cheerful, and I’ve managed to plant the daffodil bulbs as well as some – lots and lots – of annual poppies too. Fingers crossed they grow.

Last thing I’m going to plant are winter pansies. Dark purple ones look wonderful on the front of the house as it’s cream-coloured. Just need to pop to the garden centre and buy some. I have everything else I need to plant them.

The pain in my hand is still there. Not all the time, but when I try to straighten my hand out, to pick up a glass of water, say, or something like that, I can feel it grinding and it cracks very painfully. But I’ve seen the doctor, told her I’m no longer on the Tramadol, and she’s prescribed Co-codamol. That’s ok and helps with the pain, but makes me very sleepy, so I’m only taking them at lunchtime and bedtime, or else I’m asleep all day long.

Knitting is going well. Have finished two Christmas presents, am on a third, and plans for more. Each project takes a week or two, and I’m not planning to knit as many presents this year, so I won’t feel I’ve failed if I don’t get round to them for whatever reason. Is it just me, or do we all (women) set ourselves impossible targets then beat ourselves up when we don’t achieve them?

Made a new sewing needle case today. The old one was very old and boring and falling apart, so I found a scrap of fabric and made myself a pretty new one.

ImageImageImage

Also set up another Christmas present – a sewing project this time. All ready to go now, but enough is enough for one day.

We have fixed the kitchen sinks and taps this week. The sinks have “basket waste strainers” or some such technical term, and although the washers are detachable, you can’t get the replacements. So we went to B&Q and found something that will do, and instead of buying new “basket waste strainers” for £12.50 each, we spent £2.50 on two new washers that will fit. The taps needed new “insides” – don’t know the technical term for that – you can’t get just washers for the sort of taps we have – but we fitted those ourselves and they’re wonderful now. It’s like having a new sink!

I’m about halfway through Christmas presents. Some are hand-made, some I’m buying, but I don’t have plans for all of them. Need to check Amazon wish-lists (yes, mine is all up to date) and contact parents. Children’s wish lists are a false friend – they don’t update them, so you end up buying them something you think they’ll love, and they already have it. Yes, it’s happened to me.

The cat has completely recovered from her abscess under the eye and the fur has all grown back. You’d never know she’d had anything wrong with her. Bless her little heart.

I’ve been reading a lot of Bill Bryson books lately. They always cheer me up, no matter how dreadful I’m feeling, and I frequently laugh out loud. As a result, I have been thinking about what would constitute a perfect small town for me, and mostly it’s where I live, although I would be very happy to do without the McDonalds. There are bookshops, several libraries, a local yarn shop (7 minutes walk for me, yay!) a pleasant shopping area, but a few too many chain stores. More independents would be nice. But hey, you can’t have everything. I always go to an independent shop whenever I can – Woolmans rather than Notcutts, Stitch Solihull rather than anywhere on line or Hobbycraft, and so on.

Can’t wait to cast on part 2 of my current knitting project tonight. Always exciting. And the yarn is fabulous – Opal Sweet and Spicy – you just never know what’s going to come up next colour-wise!