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.

April! What!

Where to start.

Just finished reading Fire & Fury. Jeez, what a read. Buckle up, buttercup, and hold on tight. Things are as I thought they were, only much worse. Devastating. I can’t believe this guy was elected. But he was, and it is what it is. Not going to read the Comey book, though, just can’t cope with any more bad news. Although I did wonder if that’s why Trump “pardoned” the guy who gave away state secrets – because Comey had prosecuted him. So Trump, having never met the guy, pardons him, just to piss Comey off (in my opinion). Right. How very presidential. Not.

Also, Syria. Sigh. Just. Sigh.

Getting over an M.E. “episode”. Slept for 23 hours last week from Wednesday lunchtime to Thursday late morning. Mm. Not great. No knitting. No gardening. No crying, either, though, so could be worse.

Been to the osteopath today, and need to go again in two weeks. Sore, achy and weepy (though not actually weeping!) and not planning to do anything at all tomorrow. Except possibly a little bit of ironing. Will see how things are in the morning.

Really need to get somebody in to do a spring tidy up in the garden. It’s going bonkers now, and I haven’t been able to do anything to it since last October. All the dead stuff needs cutting back. All the leaves need sweeping/vacuuming up. I have eleven huge pots of dead plants which need dealing with (emptying, getting rid of the compost, etc). Lawn needs mowing before it gets any longer. And now some of the daffs need dead-heading. Sigh.

I haven’t been able to knit, but I have been able to do knitter-type things, like make decisions about future projects and browsing Ravelry. That’s quite soothing to do.

And the weather has improved. Today has been lovely. Sunny and mild. We actually dried most of the washing outside on the line. Smells delicious.

On the much more positive side, I have a new great-nephew. He is called Zack and is of course delightful. Love little babies. Particularly when I’m actually related to them.

And that, my friends, is all for today. Hoping to be a bit less miserable next time.

Grumpy McGrumpface

Yep, that’s me. Was doing ok until Tuesday last, when I woke with no voice again. Feeling poorly too, haven’t put actual clothes on since last Monday. Yesterday thought I was improving slightly, but today my sinuses are blocked with the usual accompanying head and face ache. Still, thank goodness for Lemsip with its painkillers and decongestant. Am supposed to be at the hairdressers on Wednesday, but we shall see.

No knitting, just can’t think straight.

I’ve been asleep most of the days, and all night too, and not eating terribly well either. Hubby is doing a grand job of looking after me. The cat is a bit discombobulated though. (“you’re not bleeding, why aren’t you looking after me?”)

Seen a few good films on the tv over the last few weeks though.

Sicario: excellent. Violent, tense, Emily Blunt looking thin and fraught.
Gone Girl: excellent thriller. Lots of twists and turns in the story.
Ex Machina: excellent sci-fi. Creepy, tense, unexpected.
12 Angry Men: very, very good. A jury sits to decide whether a man on trial is innocent or guilty of murder. Sounds boring, but really, really isn’t.

~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Got quite fraught yesterday when I thought that I’d lost this blog. I could still see it as a visitor, but logging in has become a whole new game. Decided to leave it a day, and actually found my way back in. It asks for your email address, then when you give that, it sends you a sign-in link which takes you to a brand new, empty, account. If it said “email address OR USER NAME”, that would be much clearer, and so much more helpful. So eventually I put in my user name, password, and hoped for the best, and guess what. Here I am. But what a bummer.

And, if you’re an Archers fan, OH MY GOD! no spoilers, but what a shock!

Anyway. That’s it for now. No more headspace.

January 2018

Another year. Almost through the first month, too. It’s cold but dry outside, although the wind last night was fearsome! kept me awake for hours!

Christmas – bit of a write off for me, was ill (again) with a similar thing to the November virus, but only for two weeks, this time, instead of four weeks, starting Christmas Eve. Missed two family parties. Bummer. Big old bummer. However, Hubby did a fabulous lunch on Christmas Day, and we’d been for breakfast at YD’s house, so managed that day, then spent the rest of the two weeks in bed most of the time. Voiceless and feeling dreadful.

Am better now, though, and almost up to knitting again. I did crochet an Olaf (from Frozen) for ESW, but my crochet skills are really not that good. However, it’s a toy. It’s meant to be lumpy. ESW won’t give a stuff how olaflumpy it is, or where the lumps are.

And it looks ok.

New knitting projects planned. Love it when there’s lots to do. Also almost through the pile of books I was given as gifts. The last one, which I’m reading now, is Simon Schama’s History of the Jews (second book) “Belonging”. Very interesting. Detailed, engaging, and, for me, with my Jewish heritage, fascinating. There was a time, hundreds of years ago, when Jewishness was regarded as having come through the father, not the mother. Mm.

Yesterday we went to a lovely independent bookshop in Coventry to donate some books (https://www.thebigcomfybookshop.co.uk/), then IKEA, got most of what we went for, only spent £25 (which is much less than we normally end up spending there!), then the council tip on the way home. Excellent morning, very productive. Result: very tidy house, a knackered me. But it’ll pass.

Just written to my lovely French friend, sent it off with some photos, then I had a lovely shower and washed my hair. Soon it’s going to be lunch time. My life is such a mad social whirl. Not. Thank goodness.

Not going to knitting group this morning, may go on Saturday. Hopefully. It’s great. Hot drinks, cake, biscuits, friendly people and all in an excellent yarn shop. Plenty of support for when things go wrong too.

November

And no, it’s not Christmas yet! I know there are those among you who would love Christmas all year long, but when my offspring were much younger, nobody was even allowed to mention the word until December. Harsh? possibly, but saved my sanity.

What’s been occurring? well, the new fascia for my car stereo is excellent. I’ve kept the old one as a spare because it’s only the display that’s gone. The new one looks brand new (even though it’s not), works a treat, and the display is perfect. So that’s a plus.

Health not so good, however. Throat virus for the last two and a half weeks now, which has involved an extremely sore throat, several days in bed not eating (but drinking lots of fluids), a trip to the doctor to be reassured it’s not bacterial, so no antibiotics, and a nasty cough. Oh, and no voice at all. I’ve been having to cancel everything as it comes along (social outings, even the osteopath today). Well, in reality, hubby has been having to cancel everything because – I have no voice!

I’ve been reading a lot, which is always a bonus, when I’ve been up to it. And serendipitously, one of my favourite authors, Tom Cox, has had a new book published. It’s called A 21st Century Yokel, and is quite lovely. It’s as if he’s speaking to you, telling you about his life. The countryside where he lives now, and where he has lived. His family, including his delightful eccentric Dad and his lovely Mum – who does all sorts of craft things. His friends and his hobbies (bat watching, beaver watching – the dam-building kind – swimming in rivers, very outdoorsy).

It’s been a pleasure to read. I’ve savoured every word. I get a similar feeling of one-ness with the world when I read Bill Bryson’s books. Both authors demonstrate an understanding of life and nature that chimes very much with my own. Or rather, informs how I feel about these things.

Knitting has had to take a back seat. I have completely lost my knitting mojo. But, you’ll be relieved to hear, I re-knitted the cardigan I’d wrecked, in different yarn, and I much prefer it anyway (no photo, it’s a gift). So all the Christmas knitting is done, and four child/baby hats (they only take an evening or two). All in West Yorkshire Spinners Aran in various “cocktail” colours. I have started on a lovely jumper for hubby, but only managed one evening’s worth. It’ll still be there when my knitting mojo returns, however. I do occasionally pick it up and feel it and look at it, just to make sure I still like it. (I do).

It looks grey, but it’s actually denim blue. West Yorkshire Spinners Aran, 75% wool, 25% acrylic. Not terribly difficult to do, but stitch markers have changed my life, so I use them if I think there might be the slightest possibility I could go wrong. Circular needles, too. At this stage, after only a few inches, it makes very little difference what sort of needles I use (except that I’m much less likely to drop a needle than when I’m using straights!), but when the work is bigger, the weight falls on my lap, not my shoulders.

Sunday 4 June 2017

Well, not sure what to say about last night’s terrorist attack in London. It’s just so depressing. What do you do when a van full of angry men speeds into pedestrians, then they jump out and start stabbing people? you couldn’t make it up. But, like Manchester, London rallied round with offers of help, free taxi rides, and in true British fashion just got on with helping.

Trouble is that the attackers and their ilk would like us all to hate each other. Clearly democracy is not what they want, or they wouldn’t be upping their atrocities during an election. It’s hard to imagine what goes on in somebody’s head when they plan and execute such a thing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Meanwhile, on a purely selfish, personal note, I’m feeling really horrible today. Not physically, just in my head. Two projects went wrong – nothing terrible, but I’d planned to do some gardening today and it rained, and a knitting project I had been quite pleased with went spectacularly wrong. Also, I had a difficult conversation with Mother the other day and was left feeling really sad and angry. I must remember she’s old and fragile, and she’s cross because she can’t do what she used to do.

So I thought I’d have a little blog-rant and let the poison out a bit, if you see what I mean.

The grandchildren are, as ever, a delight. The cat is becoming very slightly more affectionate. Well, less aloof. Still no lap-sitting or anything as daring as that, but she does let me pick her up with slightly less fuss. Although she always purrs like billy-o when I do cuddle her.

And here are a few photos of stuff which actually worked!

So my next knitting project is for grandson in Southampton. I foolishly suggested that I could knit something for his baby doll Laura, and asked what he’d like. Superman, he said. Oh, what! So I’m knitting some Superman stuff for a 20″ baby doll. Don’t ask. Photos when he’s received it. Even if he doesn’t like it!

Enough for now.

 

April.

I can’t believe I have yet another throat infection and no voice. Third in three months. And last week – or was it the week before? – I had what I think was probably a nasty migraine. 24 hours of blinding headache and bad nausea. Took another week to recover. So this year so far has been a bummer, healthwise.

Meanwhile, the Aged Mother has been in hospital, and is now home recovering. Youngest grandchild has been born, in Dublin, little boy, all doing well. Eight grandchildren! how lucky are we! ESW (youngest grandaughter) is just a joy, but currently has a virus. LCS (ED’s little boy) is fine and also a joy.

ES is with us this weekend, having a sleep at the moment and leaving when he wakes up.

The garden is looking lovely. Must deadhead the daffodils when I feel up to it, but it’s cheering to look out at it on a sunny day like today.

Knitted a little jacket and crocheted a blanket which will be in the post tomorrow for youngest grandchild (initials HR). Photos when the parcel has been received. Currently knitting Dobby socks, as requested, for a grandson’s upcoming 13th birthday. They are Dobby socks because one is green, with Golden Snitches knitted in, and the other will be red, with broomsticks knitted in. So that means knitting in the round (a tube), no seams, stranded (different colour yarns), turning a heel and grafting the toe. All good fun and makes it interesting to do. Again, photos when received.

Missed the Stitch Up at Stitch Solihull yesterday because I was just too damn poorly. I think that’s two I’ve missed. Grump.

 

Time to Blog

January this year was a write-off for me, what with the sinus and throat infections and no voice for three and a half weeks, not to mention feeling dreadful.

February was better, apart from Andy’s funeral, which was fraught and lovely in equal measure. A long day, in London, with so many people who loved him so much. And both my daughters, which was also delightful. And a short cuddle with fabulous grandson LCS.

March – not sure really. No voice. Again. But after three days am starting to feel a little better. Lots of fluids, regular paracetamol, and plenty of rest.

Today I felt so much better that I’ve actually set up the wildlife camera in the garden. I’ve no idea what will transpire, but am very interested to see what happens overnight. First time ever, so fingers crossed. I’ve been thinking and thinking about a wildlife camera. We watch a lot of wildlife programmes, and even though we won’t get to see elk, or wolves, or panthers, I’m wondering about muntjac deer, other cats, maybe hedgehogs? exciting.

Have been crocheting a little bit. Knitting turned into a nightmare, so I’ve rejigged all my projects and finished a shawl which was a long, long time in the making (but I love it now!) and am having a short knitting break. I’m actually waiting for some new baby yarn to arrive in The Shop so I can knit something for a baby due at the end of March. Here’s a couple of photos of the knitting and crochet, with a bonus one of grand-daughter ESW.

Osteopath tomorrow. Was going to cancel but need to go really. Had to cancel hairdo on Wednesday, as soon as I have a voice I will rearrange that. Also had to cancel friend’s visit on Tuesday, which was actually the worst day. Will rearrange that too when I can talk!

 

 

Trivia, or How I Manage My Life

When I was young, I didn’t have very much confidence about whether my feelings, choices, the things I liked and disliked, were ok. Partly because my childhood was spent not knowing when I would next cross an invisible “transgression” or “naughty” line.

As I’ve got older, though, bit by bit, I’m slightly more sure about things. As long as they don’t adversely affect anyone else, I think it’s ok that I gave up wearing nail varnish 30 years ago. It was such a huge relief. I’m crap at applying it, then within the hour I’ve smeared or chipped it, and it was just a pain in the neck. So I don’t do it any more. And along with such small but effective changes, here’s a short list of the things I do/don’t do to make my life a little easier. Just in case anybody else out there has the same sort of uncertainty.

  • I don’t “do” afternoons. I sleep in the afternoons. No outings, no meetings. Very occasional and special exceptions, for example my niece’s wedding party soon.
  • Not going to buy cakes, even dairy-free ones, when I have a cup of tea in a café. They are usually a disappointment, apart from particular ones (Costa’s dairy & gluten free Christmas cake, Starbuck’s dairy & gluten free brownies – as long as they’re still wrapped), so I just end up feeling guilty for eating a cake and worse for having spent the money and not enjoyed it.
  • Currently “off” coffee. I can only drink decaffeinated anyway, or I end up shaking and bouncing off the walls. So I’ve decided it’s fine to just drink tea. Black, weak, no sugar, thank you.
  • Not going to feel guilty any more if I can’t do any knitting, either because my hands are swollen and tired, or because my brain just isn’t working.

And so on. Small things, but each decision taken lifts a weight off my shoulders.

Was it really 3 months ago?

Goodness me. I have been meaning to blog for a while now, but life has been just slightly fraught here.

Have just read Harry Potter No 8 – The Cursed Child – amazing! am planning to go and see it at the theatre somehow or other. Really, really good.

Lots of medical appointments, including osteopath for wonky back (me), for both of us.

Visits from family – absolutely wonderful to see everybody, just lovely. It’s hard to believe that the oldest two grandchildren are 15 and nearly 15, and the youngest are nearly two years old, and seven and a half  months old. All just delightful.

We had a date for the boiler service but the man never turned up, and it proved to be difficult to say the least to re-book. So I wrote a fairly snotty email and it’s being done on Friday morning, and they’re paying us £30 for the inconvenience. So that’s ok then (sort of).

We also had a date for the man to assemble and fit five cupboards in the utility, but he didn’t turn up either. We did try to contact him (two phone calls, 10 am and 7 pm, and a text message), but no reply at all. Strange, as he was very enthusiastic about how wonderful we were to work for (he did the refurb of our kitchen). However. New plan in the making. Frustrating though, as we’d stripped the room for him. But it would be worse if we had taken time off work . . . .

This week has been particularly fraught and busy, and we are both really tired. But next week looks much less manic, so we can relax and catch up with ourselves. I really thought retirement would be restful! but then I thought having a baby would involve four hourly feeds and sleeps in between. How wrong can a person be.

Yesterday I went to Stitch and Sip at the local yarn shop, and it was lovely! lots of laughter and banter, and I actually got some knitting done. Excellent. Also a couple came in with their nephew. The couple were 101 and 102 (he was in a wheelchair), both as bright as a button, their (chatty and funny) nephew was 74 and there was a carer too. The 101-year old woman lives nearby, and knits as well as crochets, so we tried really hard to persuade her to come to the Stitch & Sip sessions. She was born in 1915. We were all trying to work out all the changes she’s seen in her life. It would be great to see her at the group.

Been knitting loads for Christmas, no pictures yet of course, and a little cardigan for a baby boy due this month. Just started a cardigan for my friend Charlie’s little girl. I made her one when she was 3, and she still wears it! a little on the small side now of course . . . and the one I’m knitting now is in a sort of mermaid pale green.

 

The garden is looking ok too. There is a large phormium which isn’t terribly well placed, too near the washing line, and hubby sometimes finds he’s been poked in the eye by one of the leaves. So I’m getting it moved to the back of the garden, where there is a dead pieris which needs digging up. Phoning for quotes tomorrow. Also have some “Seeds for Bees” which I’m going to plant soon, and once the phormium has been moved, I’ll plant some bulbs and a small ornamental grass (which won’t poke hubby in the eye) in the space left. Exciting.

The sweet peas I grew from seed eventually came up trumps, but next year it’ll be small plants rather than seeds. The dwarf rudbeckias also eventually grew, but what a faff. I do like them though, bright yellow really cheers up an autumnal garden. Along with the bright pink sedums (though not adjacent to each other). The purple smoke bush (cotinus coggyria) is lovely, and the leaves turn a beautiful colour before they fall.

Watched “The Danish Girl” last night. Melancholy, beautifully shot, and a lovely, if very sad, film. Very brave of the actors I think. Equal weight was given to both the husband’s and the wife’s feelings about what was happening.

Have recently discovered nail “wraps”. Yeah. I’m absolutely crap at putting on nail varnish, partly because I’m just clumsy, partly because I have a tremor. So it’s a major faff, and then within an hour or so I’ve smudged or chipped it. However, nail wraps are just the job for me. Have a look here and see what you think. I have some samples, so I’m just trying to get my hands into a suitable state (the nails are ok, but the skin round them is dry and flaky) and I’ll have a little practice.  My friend is having a “party” on Saturday night and I’m hoping to go.

I can’t believe that’s all. But it is for the moment.