May. Yeah.

The kitchen is finished, and hubby loves the induction hob. It’s great to have it done – it was only a few days of disruption but we have had another “sort-out/cull” and so everything is tidy now. Trouble is, neither of us can remember where we’ve put anything . . .

The induction hob was fitted after I took this photo . . .

YD, her hubby and their little girl have just gone back to New Zealand after a month here. They split their time between his family and hers. It was just so lovely to be able to cuddle them. ESW is an absolute joy. She even likes my little songs (The Welly Song, the Nancy Lee, etc etc). Their journey was better on the way back – Birmingham to Frankfurt, then to Changhi in Singapore, then to Auckland in NZ. On the way here it was fraught. They’re homesick though – they couldn’t get over how “normal” and familiar everything is, including friends and family. Decisions to be made.

The garden is a joy. Love it.

The M.E. has taken a new turn. Now, when I have an episode, my tummy joins in the party, in an IBS sort of a way. But now I’ve worked that out I can remain a bit more positive, knowing that it will pass. I am eating a diet suitable for IBS, and have discovered something called FODMAP (don’t ask what it stands for). Low FODMAP foods are better for me, so no brassicas, only 3 portions of fruit/veg per day, lots of porridge oats, much less processed meat (oh, sausages, I miss you!) and it seems to be helping.

No knitting mojo. None at all. Several weeks now since I picked up my needles. I expect it’ll return. It usually does.

Finally had the front lawn sown with clover. It’s growing well. We also have a little rockery now intended to stop lorries and vans from reversing over our lawn. It looks ok too!

April. Yeah.

Loads happening. Solar panels fitted – and making more electricity than we expected. Excellent.

It took a day to erect the scaffolding, a day to install the solar panels, and two weeks to dismantle and take away the damn scaffolding. Hmph.

Sold the double oven dual fuel range cooker, had a single electric oven fitted, and now awaiting new kitchen cabinet with induction hob and new worktop for most of the kitchen. We have Freecycled the five saucepans and two frying pans which won’t work on an induction hob. That took about two hours – amazing facility! Within approximately 3 minutes of posting the offer, we had lots and lots of replies.

So this is what our kitchen and utility currently look like.

This is what it looked like before . . .

Rockery set up in the front garden and front lawn seeded with clover. Only a week ago so no sign of sprouting yet but I’m quite excited about it.

So many things going on that it’s triggered an M.E. episode. Sigh. So I’m taking it really really slowly – I slept for most of the past two days – and just putting the shopping away was enough for today.

Garden. Books. TV

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.

More on The Log

Well. It turns out that to prevent a log from weeping sap, it needs to be kiln-dried. Thank goodness for Google. I eventually bought a Swedish torch thingamajig which is kiln-dried, and hubby helpfully cut in half. Sap-weeping log is in disgrace in the garden. Kiln-dried log is now in the lounge. Bertie the cat, of course, has taken absolutely no notice of it. So the next step is to lure her in with catnip. Usually works. The plan is that she uses the log to scratch, rather than the carpet.

sappy log

kiln-dried

After two years of waiting (Two Years!), cancelled the guy who was supposed to be digging up and relaying our front lawn with clover. Asked our garden maintenance guy to quote, and he came today. I’m excited all over again about it.

I thought I could feel a sharp edge on one of my bottom teeth. After checking in the mirror, I can see I’ve managed to break a corner off a tooth, or maybe a filling? either way I went to see the dentist, and am going to have a white filling (rather than a grey one – why on earth do they do grey ones at all??), at great expense, in ten days or so.

Being really careful about how much stuff I do each day. It seems to be keeping the M.E. at bay, so I think I’ll continue on this path. I have various forms of exercise – all very easy and not too taxing. One is a series of four or five stretches which help my back. One is a walk round the block (8 minutes). One is a 20 minute “yoga for seniors” session. I can’t do any of those every day, but my thinking is if I do at least one of them each day, that provides a variety. Also it means I can adjust my exercise to the weather and how I’m feeling. Yeah.

The garden is really starting to green up now. It’s just so lovely to see.

I’m just so sad about the Russia/Ukraine business. I think Putin has lost his marbles. He looks a bit puffy in the face – or is that just me? any way you look at this a lot of people are going to be hurt/killed. And for what?

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.

Happy 2022 (hopefully)

Well now. What’s been occurring? not that much, but it felt like time to blog.

Here is a photo of a very small, very brave primula, doing its best against the odds. In January! Why is it getting eaten by snails/slugs? It’s in a pot, protected, and it’s really cold outside!

And here is another photo, of me using my paraffin wax bath for my wonky hands. It takes two hours to heat up, and is very very hot, so you just dip the wonky bit in for a nano-second, and then wait for the wax to dry, and dip again. Repeat a few times (6 – 10 times is recommended) and wait for the wax to dry each time. Then I leave it on for a little while, till I’m bored, then I peel it off again.

Oh, Windows 11 is a pain. Slow, and won’t shut down properly. I’ve had to fiddle about with it to make that work. FFS. Why? It’s such a basic, essential part of computing. Harrumph.

Just read Billy Connolly’s memoirs, Windswept and Interesting. I love that man. He is just so honest, funny, and I’ve followed his career for many many years. While I was reading it I was hearing him say it in his Glaswegian accent. He had a terrible childhood but managed to leave it behind and become the person he is. Love it. Just love it. About to start on one of Jack Whitehall’s books (another British comedian). Love him too. Very different sort of guy from Billy, but has me gasping with laughter.

Further Developments

Well, you’ll be delighted to know that the “empire” biscuits are absolutely delicious. A bit substantial, but delicious. Even I can only manage one at a time. I will be making those again!

The next day I made a Raspberry Bakewell Slice, which is something I do regularly. The last one wasn’t so great, but this time I made a special effort and actually read the recipe, and checked before/after I did anything. It’s for family at Christmas.

And as I’ve been feeling quite low and pathetic, weak and wobbly, I decided I’d have a go at some exercise for “seniors”. The exercise videos on YouTube for “the elderly” are mostly sitting down ones, and I can actually stand up . . . so I had a go this morning at Joe Wicks’ 10 minute exercise routine. I managed 5 minutes and that was fine. The next 5 minutes are a repeat of the first, so I’ll work up to that. Got the old heart pumping. Feeling quite good about it. If not actually smug.

Dreamed that our garden was horrible. Very glad to wake up and find out it is lovely. Here are some photos.

When I was at my lowest point in July and August, I was trying to think of what would help to cheer me up. The first thought was being by the sea. Not going to happen, I couldn’t have managed the journey. Next thought – being in the countryside. Same. So. I sat in our garden, in my pyjamas, with a cup of tea or a glass of water, just sitting. It was lovely. When it had rained, I could smell the herbs – rosemary, thyme, sage, mint. Just being outside helped so much!

Finally finished the tension sample for the cardi I have planned. It came up a bit big, so I’m doing another sample on a size smaller needles and will see how that turns out. I have a plan A and a plan B (of course!)

Winter is almost here

Today I did some baking. They’re called Empire biscuits (I don’t like even the word “empire) but they look lovely. Yet to be tasted . . . .

Hubby put up three wicker nest “boxes” at various points around the garden. The other day we were absolutely delighted to spot a little wren going in and out of one of them! excellent! however, as the photos show, I have a wildlife camera situated immediately above it. Now I dare not touch that particular camera because I don’t want to frighten the wrens. And that camera has the best view of both the bird feeding stations. Humph. I’ll just have to wait until any baby birds have fledged and then see where I could move it to.

Slowly starting to knit again. I’m doing a sample tension square, and normally I do one of those in an hour or so. It’s taking me ages and ages. Must be two weeks since I started it, but I can only knit two or three rows at a time – and there are only 28 stitches! ho hum. It still feels nice to be knitting again though.

(It’s actually a dark, garnet red)

I have a yellow rose, much beloved, that my sister gave me for my 60th birthday. It struggled with black spot this year but after some treatment came back fighting, and now there are buds trying to bloom despite the frost. Love it.

Not much happening, but . . .

Japanese Acer turned brilliant red in the autumn.

When I bought this years ago it was a twig. A tiny little twig. It’s in a pot so I can keep the soil ericaceous as that’s what it likes. It’s just outside the patio door so it’s protected by the house on one side and the fence behind it. I just love it. It needs very little maintenance. Every other year I scrape off the grit and top compost and put new ericaceous compost on top.

Still not started knitting yet – I have settled on a pattern and some yarn (Bergere de France Ecoton in this colour). I’ve gone off the original pattern I bought the yarn for, and found another pattern. (I prefer the shawl collar in this one). Then realised I needed more yarn. Luckily you can order from Bergere de France by dye lot number! which is excellent. However, what has happened now is that the extra yarn has arrived, but the original yarn has not. Apparently their system removes my house number from the label, so it’s probably gone back to the factory. In France. Yeah. Still, I’m enjoying the anticipation. And the colour of the yarn is even better in real life than I’d hoped. Mm.

Youngest granddaughter has lost her first tooth! Her mum has made a special pouch for the tooth so that the tooth fairy can find it easily. Her cousin (who lives in Southampton) is a year older than she is, and he decided to keep all his baby teeth in a box, so he can throw them at people should he want to. Love it.

Yesterday I made a cake. Different from my usual – a recipe from Nadiya Hussain. It’s apple and almond, dairy free. It was really good. My last efforts (muffins) eventually went mouldy, they were so dreadful. But this is nice. May well make it again. In fact, just thinking about it I want to eat some! but will wait till I’ve had my lunch.