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!

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?

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.

Bits and Bobs

Well, sadly, all my seedlings died. That is normal for me though. I’m just not great at seeds. I’m better with small plants, and have just planted two sage and one thyme plants in the garden, and the mint in a pot. Mint is not allowed in the garden. It’s such a thug. When it really gets going even in the pot it tries to root in any pots next to it. But I do love it, and the smell.

The old doorbell battery finally stopped working, so I have fitted the new one. I managed to sync it with the ringer – very pleased about that – and have fitted the new pusher thing to the front door. Little things do help me feel better about stuff.

My back is improving but slowly. Went to the hospital today for nerve conduction tests. Unpleasant. It turns out it’s not carpal tunnel syndrome, but cubital tunnel syndrome, which I think is basically nerves in the elbow being crunched. Hmm. Will see if the information gets to the consultant before I have the ultrasound/x-ray/steroid injection next week, and then it’s the week after that I see him. I’m relieved they found something, because I always feel such a fraud. Imposter syndrome, I think they call it. I certainly felt like that at work, always terrified somebody was going to discover I was crap at everything. I wasn’t actually crap at everything, though. Just felt like it.

Hubby’s new hi-fi was fitted yesterday. It all went well and he is very, very happy. The only problem was a technical one, and didn’t affect his music playing. We had access to the wireless network in the lounge, but no wired network in the study. It took me till this morning to work it out, and one of the ethernet cables wasn’t plugged in at all. Not just not where it should be, but not at all. Anyway, once I thought it through, and found it, we had access to the internet, the network, the lot. Hooray. Satisfying, if frustrating yesterday.

So now we have a gardener who comes fortnightly, a cleaner who also comes fortnightly, and a window cleaner who comes every two months. All jobs we are just not physically able to do any more, and I have actually been urging hubby to get a cleaner and a window cleaner for some years. The gardening was my domain, so I didn’t need to persuade anybody! All of them do a wonderful, wonderful job.

Today at about 1 pm, we had thunder and lightning. Only one clap/flash, but boy it was loud! in May!

The cat is currently trying to herd me into the lounge, where she clearly thinks I ought to be at this time of night (6 pm).

Not a terribly good photo of me wearing the top some of the grandchildren gave me for my birthday. This is before my post-lockdown visit to the hairdresser . . .

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.

To The Wire

Wow but it’s been tense this last week. I live in the UK, but it feels like the whole world has been awaiting the results of the US election.

I am so relieved, just so relieved, that Biden and Kamala won. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next, despite Trump’s blustery tweets (which seem to have gone very, very quiet this weekend).

There is of course a lot to deal with now, including how on earth it was such a close race.

Ho hum. I do have a lot more thoughts on this particular subject, but not sure it’s appropriate to share them right now, as there are a lot of people who will not be at all happy with the election result.

So what’s been going on here? at our house? well, I have a niece who is 40 years old today. Lockdown celebration of course, and her sister collated video messages from family and friends which she’s made into a delightful mixture. It’s just so lovely.

And last Sunday hubby had a birthday, so I made him a chocolate cake. Dairy free of course. It was, even though I say it myself, absolutely delicious. I baked it on the Saturday, but we couldn’t wait until the actual birthday to start on it, so we had some on Saturday . . . . And on Sunday evening, just before national lockdown, we went to Lambs of Sheep Street in Stratford upon Avon, which is a fabulous restaurant we go to regularly. Excellent. Hubby had steak, I had duck. Delicious. Then we went home and ate some more chocolate cake . . .

Then hubby’s very old MiniMac computer started playing up. It had Ubuntu installed on it, because one of the iOS updates broke it. At least Windows will tell you if an update is inappropriate (usually). But even with Ubuntu, it was failing. So now he has a Lenovo with an SSD. Runs like the wind. But it arrived with no DVD drive in it. I am in correspondence with Lenovo (We bought it direct from them) to find out why. I’d like them to send me the drive and I can fit it. I also want to know why the guarantee has only 8 months left on it, as we bought it this week. Hmph.

I’ve been sleeping a lot. I mean A Lot. Yesterday I woke at 2.30 pm, today I got up, had breakfast, and went back to bed again. Woke at 12.30, so I was able to at least shower and dress before hubby’s afternoon ziz.

All the Xmas presents are ready to be wrapped, labelled and parcelled up, but I just don’t have the oomph to actually do it. I’m intending to do it in stages, it’s just too much altogether otherwise. Even so. Maybe tomorrow morning. Our main postal service has started collecting parcels from your house, so that will help a lot.

Finally found some jeans I like. John Lewis. Yeah. The thing is, because they’re brand spanking new, it feels odd to wear them round the house! so I haven’t yet. But I will I’m sure when I’m feeling a bit more Rah! Rah!

Decided I would crochet some face / wash cloths, so am awaiting some lovely variegated yarn (Rainbow Cotton from Hobbii). It’ll make a change from knitting and won’t take long. Am awaiting a grandson’s measurements from his mum before I can continue knitting the jumper I started. Apparently he’s had a growth spurt, and is all arms and legs. Not sure I want to knit something that (a) he may not choose to wear and (b) won’t fit him even if he does adopt it. Hence the crochet project idea.

On A Roll

Last weekend I painted the new back gate with Cuprinol Forest Green stuff. I think I posted photos.

This morning, as it’s dry and sunny, I gloss painted the door of the store cupboard we have, which opens on to the passage between our house and next door. It took an hour and a half. That involved washing both sides of the door with sugar soap (god it was filthy), sanding both sides down, and glossing both sides. I did my best to contain any mess, and forgot to take before and after photos. But to be honest I’m not sure any photos would have been that interesting. A dirty white door, then a clean white door. Yeah.

It takes six hours before you can do a second coat (I may or may not, I shall decide later), but maximum half an hour to actually do a coat. We shall see.

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I’ve just read the latest Cormoran Strike book (Robert Galbraith/J K Rowling). It’s called Troubled Blood, and I read it through again, immediately after finishing the first time. Then I re-read the other four books. The two main characters are so well drawn, and the plots are intriguing. It’s been televised here in the UK, at least the first four books have, and the actors are perfect for the parts. Very satisfying. Now I can’t wait for the next one.

Also in the middle of reading a Ruth Rendell (Inspector Wexford) mystery and I really like her style too – although there are some politically incorrect attitudes. Probably because of the time when she was writing – and she usually manages to imply disapproval of such attitudes anyway.

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Not even going to talk about the USA. So depressing and worrying.

Brain Fog

Well, that’s how it feels to me. There is quite a lot going on in there, but I can’t access it. It seems that there are things I need to remember, or remember to do, but there’s so much I can’t sort it out. A bit like my brain is scrambled. If I were to draw a picture of it right now, it would just be a big old scribble.

There is currently a guy “doing things” in the garden. He has replaced the disintegrated back gate, the broken man hole cover, flattened the trip-hazard flagstones in the back garden, and is currently mending a sort of fence panel at the other side of the house from the back gate.

Also digging up a huge, ugly, aggressive phormium. This nearly died a few years ago when we had a dreadful winter but has recovered. It pokes people in the eye when they come to the door though. Not nice.

I have already ordered a lovely soft pretty Miscanthus sinensis Gracillimus because I’m so excited about having the space for a nice plant. I think it’s the same as this one, in the back garden. I hope so. It’s very similar anyway. The one we have looks gold or silver depending on the light. I cut it right down to the ground in spring and look how it grows!

So between making this guy endless cups of tea – well it is quite cold outside and it’s hard physical work – I have wrapped and got ready to post the Christmas and (January) birthday presents for the New Zealand granddaughter. Harder than it sounds, because part of that involved a jigsaw. Well, the jigsaw box was too big and heavy to include, because size as well as weight is restricted when you’re posting so far away. So I ordered a smaller gift box to put the jigsaw in, which worked, but then I found a piece of the jigsaw on the floor. Luckily (!) before I’d wrapped everything up. That meant I needed to actually do the jigsaw to make sure all the pieces were there. The recipient is going to be 5 years old and boy did I struggle with it. I expect she’s better than me at such things though. Hopefully.

Anyway, all the pieces are there, it’s all fitted in the box all wrapped up with a separate envelope with the jigsaw picture printed on an A4 piece of card, and the whole thing weighed less than 1.5kg. Excellent.

This sort of thing leaves me absolutely wrecked though. It’s such a simple job but it really takes it out of me. It’s done now. But no ironing today! the shopping was delivered and that’s me done for today.

My Own Little Bubble

Well. Now then. The news, nationally and globally is just so damn depressing.

The UK and lots of other countries seem to be playing Whack-a-Mole with Covid-19.

The US election campaigning is in full swing. Somebody is tweeting rubbish in all capital letters. Racism. Lies.

UK exam results are completely buggered (although our granddaughter did Very Very Well in her GCSEs this year).

I’m really struggling with pain, exhaustion and low mood ( I do know that this is selfish when there’s so much going on, so let’s add guilt to that particular little mix).

Hubby is trying to explain Modern Monetary Theory to me. I sort of get it in a very muddled way but it’s so very different from what I was taught at school 50 years ago. I also worked in a bank for 12 years, and there had to be a debit for every credit, so I’m very confused and fuzzy about it.

So I have decided I’m going to try to stop worrying about stuff I can’t change, and reach out from time to time for some chocolate/painkillers.

Meanwhile my Ab Fab rose is starting to bud like billyo again. Love it so much. It really cheers me up.