Miscellany

Things have calmed down a little.

The garden is beautiful at the moment, and the sun is currently shining.

Went to the knitting group on Thursday with my friend, who isn’t often able to come, so that was really nice. Finished off a small project, but as it’s a gift no photo yet.

The cat came limping up the garden yesterday on three legs, with one leg held high, up by her face. Both hubby and I thought she was seriously injured, until I got up close to her and discovered one paw was stuck through her collar. Easily sorted and no harm done. Really not sure how she managed that though.

Watching the Women’s Football World Cup – it’s just so exciting. Last night’s match, France v USA, was really good. Can’t knit while watching football, though, too fraught.

In fact, not knitting for a few days now because of a swollen and sore knuckle. It’s settling now I’m resting it.

And I’m resting everything today, because the temperature is set to soar. Not as high as in France or Spain, because, well, Britain, but high for us. Anything over about 24C and I’m lounging around drinking cold water in my pjs.

Re-reading Song of Achilles – at the time I was really struck by it and loved it. But re-reading it I have absolutely no recollection of it. Also reading Siege by Michael Wolff. Dynamite. Really enjoyed Fire and Fury too.

Despite the lack of rain

Our garden has apparently survived. Two months without any meaningful rain. The water butts were empty. I only watered the plants in pots two or three times a week, and any plants that were seriously wilting once a week. I think one of the hydrangeas has died. We shall see next year. But it is/was a new sort of hydrangea which flowers on new growth, rather than only on old growth. I think that might mean it needs more water. So there are no flowers on that now. The buddleias look a bit rough but are very hardy, almost thuggish.

But how pleased I am with the herbs, the rudbeckias and the ornamental grass. That grass was in a terrible state, but with repotting, new compost, and plant feed capsules, it’s recovered well. The hydrangeas are just lovely. Even the pinky-blue one under the willow, which is a thirsty tree, is doing well.

Yeah.

But the lawn looks like yellow matted straw. You can see it a bit in one of the photos. Mm. Lawn man has been today to do things to it, so hopefully next spring it should grow again.

Ups and Downs

Well, life seems to be conspiring against me, knitting-wise, at the moment.

In no particular order:

The weather. It’s just too damn hot to knit. I’m so lethargic. Hate it. Our grass is now yellow straw. Very short yellow straw. Most of the border plants are coping without water, only the hydrangea which is under the willow tree in front of the leylandii needs watering once or twice a week. Understandable, really, with the two thugs it’s competing with. Can’t wait for rain, although the weather forecasters are suggesting it’ll be another month. Sigh.

The football. Very exciting. Much more exciting even than the World Cup is usually. Lots of excellent teams unexpectedly losing and going home. And I can’t believe England is in the last 16. That may of course change after this afternoon’s game. But the upshot is I can’t knit and watch exciting football. I mess up my knitting big time.

My health. I am in the middle of a bout of laryngitis, with no voice at all (can barely whisper) and feeling like five kinds of sh*t. Sleeping a lot. Languishing, really. Painkillers and lots of cold drinks, and some honey and lemon hot drinks for when the coughing hurts my throat.

Knitting mojo has disappeared.

So any one of those things would stop me knitting but all four together? Mm.

Luckily I don’t have any time-sensitive projects at the moment, so it just doesn’t matter.

Recent Projects

From top left: small triceratops to replace lost one, little owl, second little owl, dk cabled hoodie in Bergère De France Ecoton and a clown cushion.

The clown cushion is to help little ones learn fastenings – velcro, press stud, button, buckles, bow and zip. I’ve made four altogether over the past 30 odd years. They are a bit of a faff, but well-loved. The pattern is from a very old women’s magazine, and I have a pdf of it now.

Currently about half way through a shawl called “Worth The Fuss” in Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Cotton. I’ve knitted through red, orange, yellow and green. I am enjoying doing it. There’s something interesting to do on each row, but it does mean I can’t watch the World Cup football and knit! (much too exciting). A knitty friend said she missed a goal – I messed up the knitting big time! so am taking the opportunity to do a few rows here and there during the day. That’s very unusual for me, but by the time the 7 pm kick off match has finished, at about 9 pm, I’m just too tired to risk making any more mistakes.

Next up is a toy puffin for a grandson who lives in Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

And then something a bit challenging – the pattern is called “Ari” and is intended for Aran yarn, but I’m knitting it up in dark smokey grey cotton (Erika Knight Gossypium) DK. I got the calculator and worked it all out, and have decided that knitting the size which involves casting 90 stitches should work. 90 stitches in Aran yarn would be quite big for me, but 90 stitches in DK yarn should be just over 16″ wide, which is just about right. The other thing I will need to be careful about when marking it up with my highlighter pen is the garment and sleeve lengths.

The weather here is hot and humid (well, hot for the UK!) and I hate it. Desk fans all over the place, ceiling fan in the bedroom, and I’m languishing with cold drinks. My favourite seasons are spring and autumn. Autumn for the colours. Spring for the growth.

What a mess!

Election.
Brexit.
London Bridge attack.
Grenfell House fire.
Mosque attack.

It couldn’t really be much more depressing.

The government is in complete disarray, having failed to win a working majority. So now they’re trying to do a deal with the most right-wing party they can find who actually have some seats at Westminster. Trouble is, this party (the DUP) don’t believe in evolution, they are anti-abortion even in the case of rape, they’re almost fundamentalist Protestants. So that’s not going terribly well, really.

Brexit – after all the bluster and braggadocio, we have caved on Day One of negotiations.

London Bridge – more terrorism, more people hurt and killed.

Grenfell House – a disaster just waiting to happen. Dreadful tower block fire, we still don’t know how many people died, and there are still survivors who have nowhere to live/sleep.

And a lone man drove his van into worshippers outside a mosque, hurt several people and killed a man who was already receiving first aid on the pavement. More terrorism. What is it about religion that makes people so damned angry?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On the positive side, there’s what? the weather? I hate it. Hate it with a passion. The heat and humidity reduce me to a sweaty puddle. Thank goodness it’s normal temperatures now (17 deg C). Roll on autumn, say I. Much more my bag.

But LCS did like the Superman outfit I knitted for his baby doll. And I’ve made one shawlette (Pimpelliese) and am happily knitting another one (Close to You).

And the garden is looking fabulous, though I did manage to kill a potted lavender through sheer neglect. Oh, lavenders like it dry, I thought to myself. Until I had a look this morning and it’s sort of grey and crispy. Oh dear. The poppies have been spectacular, my single peony looked lovely, and I have plans to plant and pot up more stuff. But need a new lavender now. Oops.

 

August

Well, it’s cooled down considerably, but is still muggy. Plenty of rain and thunderstorms, so the garden still looks ok, and the lawn is starting to green up a little.

I have various strategies for staying cool. One I described in a recent blog (pyjamas all day), another is having a fan on wherever I am sitting, and I don’t use my hairdryer. I spike my (moussed) hair up and leave it to dry naturally. It looks a little odd but I don’t care. It’s cool.

Recently bought two summer dresses, one full length, and one with a “dipped” hem. I love them both, and have worn one already, to general acclaim. Also two new pairs of summer trousers, one combats and the other in exactly the same style, but plain dark blue. Both 100% cotton. Re-hemmed them (I always have to re-hem trousers, always) and they look and feel excellent. Perfect for when it’s pouring with rain, as I don’t have any summer shoes except Birkenstocks, which aren’t particularly good in the rain. So I wear my trainers with summer trousers.

Knitting – progress. Finally managed to finish off the Cardigan of Doom. It’s currently blocking, and I need to sew on a button yet (it’s a wooden button I chose, so didn’t want to wash it with the button on). Also finished a pair of fingerless gloves, knitted in the round. I knitted a pair last year, but flat, so had to re-write the whole pattern, as it involved pattern on every row. Makes much more sense knitted in the round. Now started on a pair of socks for YD. I’ve done the leg, am going to turn the heel tonight, and am awaiting the measurements of her feet before I do the foot part, because I’d like them to fit right.

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In other news, I am typing this on my trusty old laptop, with Lubuntu installed. I had a new computer a couple of months ago, but hubby needed Windows 7 for a particular music-related piece of software, so he has that one, and I have his old one with my old 1 Tb hard drive. So that one has died now. I had thought it might, as it’s about the same age as the one that died recently. But it’s never convenient, is it. Fortunately I’d just backed everything up onto the network, so I’ve ordered another computer (exactly the same as hubby’s), and with a new monitor this time. i always seem to end up with the handed-down monitor, and I thought it was time I had a new one. Still less than £500 though, from Dabs.com. It’s coming this week, and I’ll have it set up by the weekend. Mixed feelings about it. Didn’t really want to have to spend the money, but am perversely excited about new stuff. Windows 7 – can’t bear the thought of Windows 8, because that’s really intended for touch screen stuff. No, no, no, no thank you. Will use Libre Office on it – recently tried to upgrade Open Office to version 4 and it kept crashing my spreadsheets. Bugger that for a game of soldiers.

Two of the grandchildren are coming to stay on Wednesday, so I won’t have a chance to play with the new pc until Friday, but that’s ok. Can’t wait to see them. Haven’t seen them for six months now. Love them to bits.