To mask or not?

Had to go into Solihull today to the bank. Some things just can’t be done online, on the phone, or by post. Sigh.

But what struck me most is how many people are not wearing masks! I went to a knit and natter group on Saturday. Five of us all sat outside, but I was the only one wearing a mask. Am I paranoid?

In New Zealand, the advice was, when you’ve been out and about, change all your clothes and have a shower when you get home. So I did. It might be over the top, but New Zealand is in a much, much better state than the UK.

Hmph.

In the end my sister and I decided that digitising all the cine films was just too difficult and too expensive. Some had already been done, so we are assuming they were the only ones worth doing, and dumped the rest. Freecycled the Eumig projector,  the slide projector, and the screen. A lovely, lovely Polish lorry driver collected them on his way back to Poland, where he lives opposite a children’s home. He volunteers there and collects stuff just like this to help entertain them. He will fix the stuff and then donate it. The Paul Klee prints went to a lovely guy who was influenced by Klee at uni and everybody is delighted, including me.

Dressed in my “working clothes”, had a nice cup of tea after the shower, then used the “jet” setting on the hose to clean up the green wheelie bin (for garden refuse). And now it’s lunchtime.

Have been reading a lot. Had already read Fire & Fury, Siege, and Surviving Autocracy, just read Too Much and Never Enough. Now I’m back into the Boudica: Dreaming series of 4 books. It all seemed much cleaner, somehow, back then (I know it’s fictionalised), but really, honestly, I don’t think I can cope with  knowing too much more about Trump. We do have two programmes recorded which we will no doubt harrumph our way through. Also the Rupert Murdoch 3 part documentary. Oh. My. God. If you’ve watched Succession, know that it is scarily accurate.

Next up will be another book on the Trojan War from a woman’s point of view – Song of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon. Then hubby has a book called “Pew” which sounds great.

Have been able to knit a very small amount – half an hour about three times a week, if I’m not doing anything else. And only in the morning. Not today, too busy. And thank goodness for the gardeners. Although they haven’t turned up today . . .

Some ups, some downs.

The plumber fixed the leak in half an hour. It was the cistern. Big relief.

Slept most of today. Got up at 9 am then back to bed at 10, woke at 3 pm.

Had another go at the cine films on the Eumig projector. The plan is to go through them – there are 39 labelled ones and a dozen or so unlabelled – before deciding which ones to have digitised. However. The projector works, bulb and everything, on forward, but the take up spool is a bit squashed so you have to fiddle about with it to make sure it actually takes up the film. That’s ok. But then reverse doesn’t work at all. Now, if it’s a film you don’t care about, that’s also ok. But an added problem. The next thing is that I don’t know which are standard 8mm and which are Super 8mm.  I looked in the manual, and on the internet, and I have to say there isn’t anything which helps me much. Certainly not the reverse problem. Then I thought maybe I could hire a projector. But again, standard 8mm or Super 8mm? or one that does both? and then how would I know which was which?

Finally have almost come to the decision (checking with my sister at the moment) to just have the labelled films converted and bugger the rest. Depressing, because the technology has got the better of me. But a relief to have almost made the decision.

Then the projector (and the slide projector) can go on eBay.

Am going to try and speak to the doctor tomorrow about a couple of things, mostly the pain. We shall see.

 

Things are happening . . . . .

Finally had to give up gardening. But it’s all fine, because after some major research we have found a gardener. He gets excellent reviews. Young, wispy beard, skinny ripped jeans and big old Doc Martin style boots. Liked him instantly. They’re coming next Tuesday.

And the garden currently looks ok. A bit shaggy, but there you are.

Also managed to get some shots of the jays. I can’t post videos on this site because I use the free version, but have captured a couple of stills. That’s our washing line in the middle of the picture. The picture with two jays in is a nano-second before the bully pigeon flies in to frighten them off. It works. Hate pigeons.

No news on the steroid injections for my hands. I need to speak to the doctor next week anyway so will mention it then.

The plumber is coming today to sort out the leak in our small bathroom. Hey ho.

Also have invested in speakers and a microphone for the Zoom meetings so that hubby can join in on the same login – on a desktop screen you can see a lot more people than on a tablet screen, which has a maximum of 4. Am going to test it out today.

 

Musings

Well. Have given up knitting for now. Also gardening. The last bit I did caused so much pain I just can’t deal with it again.

So we’re investigating getting a regular gardener. It would be good if they mowed the lawn as well, because my guess is they’ll do the edging too, which hubby does not.

Getting quotes for trimming the leylandii, the willow, the lilac and the winged spindle (which has got way too big for its boots), and getting the front lawn laid to [moss] clover, not moss! The one guy has sourced [moss] clover turf, which is great, and means it won’t need to be seeded. Also a small rockery in one corner of the front to stop people reversing over the lawn. And lawn edging of some sort – the same guy suggested wood. Just waiting for the quote now.

None of this will happen until September, when the growing season is done.

Quizzing tonight. Hubby is insisting on reading out the questions, despite the fact that I’ve gone to a deal of trouble to make each round accessible via WhatsApp. I’ve told him that’s fine for his rounds, but for the ones I’ve devised, I’m not going to. Things may change before the quiz starts. Sigh.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ve been noticing a great deal of white people saying stuff publicly on social media like “but we abolished slavery!” “but we’re not racist!”. It’s making me so cross. It’s as if there is no such thing as white privilege, because white people aren’t on the wrong end of it, so they don’t see it. “We abolished slavery” does NOT absolve anybody for it being a thing in the first place. A lot of the UK’s money came from slavery. It’s dreadful. It’s very uncomfortable. But we need to acknowledge it and understand it, however awful.

There’s a guy called David Olusoga, a mixed heritage historian and presenter,  who shines a light into the darkest recesses of history, gently but firmly. He’s excellent. Then there’s Akala, musician, rapper, university professor, and writer.  Also mixed heritage, and as sharp as a tack. I’ve just read his book “Natives” and it’s really excellent. Made me think. A lot. I mention the mixed heritage because it means that these guys are regarded as Black, and have been on the receiving end of all sorts of crap. So they know what it’s like. They’ve been there.

And police brutality. Hmph. Suspension is just not enough. In my (not so) humble opinion, if a police officer is deemed to have used too much force, suspension should be the start of it. The end of it should be in court. It’s not ok to just discipline them. I acknowledge and am glad that many police officers are wonderful, helpful people, with exactly the right mindset to do the job. But – and it’s a big but – some aren’t.

And as for The Trumpster, don’t even get me started. I might get a bit ranty, and that would not be a good thing. Seems to me like somebody is trying to start a civil war.

And on that happy note I’m going to stop now.

 

Feelings

Really not sure where to start here.

Horrified, angry and sad about the poisonous racist culture which has finally, with the murder of George Floyd, burst, across the world, into huge protests. The protests are vital.

Reading Akala’s book Natives. He’s so articulate and incisive, I really rate this guy. Even Piers Morgan is careful when talking to him. Good.

Recently read Queenie (Candice Carty-Williams), which describes the casual racism nobody white seems to notice or acknowledge and The Night Women (Marlon James) which is written in the voice of a slave.

All excellent, if difficult. But it needs to be difficult. We need things to change. Radically.

Very up and down mood-wise, not so good pain-wise, no knitting possible.

Baking’s possible though, thanks to the Thermomix. (Dairy free berry muffins – yummy)

However, did manage to do some gardening yesterday. I guess because I don’t use my hands in the same way as I do when knitting. It leaves my hand painful and swollen for a few days, but it’s such a good feeling to be outside and doing stuff.

Moved one rosemary plant, dumped the old woody one, planted a new one in a better place. Split the thyme, dumped the woody bits, replanted. Cut back the hellebores, replanted all the daffodil bulbs I’d accidentally dug up, ripped out the dead forget-me-nots and dead-headed the poppies. Very satisfying. (None of the above pictures are from what I did yesterday!)

Disappointed that the wildlife camera missed two woodpeckers (TWO!) because the disc was full, and one jay because the angle was wrong. Grr. But there are plenty of clips of the robin, who was extremely interested in what I was doing yesterday, and came so close!

Even when I wake up feeling dreadful, I improve after breakfast and chatting to hubby. And a square of chocolate. Hubby is currently making me a cup of tea. Excellent.

 

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.

Up and Down

Yeah. My hands are particularly painful. Will be hoping to speak to a doctor tomorrow.

Also have had to give up on the daily walks. Even though they were very very short, I was having to spend two days a week asleep in bed for 6 hours at a time as a result. That is not how I want to spend my life. It wasn’t the best idea, really, although it sounded excellent. What with the M.E. and stuff, I wasn’t walking every day before lockdown, so doing more during lockdown wasn’t sensible. I am continuing with the morning stretches though, and trying to be more active in the house.

Little things, like going upstairs when I need to and not leaving it until there are several things I need to do upstairs. So I’m up and down the stairs more. Also, if I need to do something (small, in the shed maybe)  in the garden, I don’t leave it but do it straight away. That way I’m moving about a bit more.

This morning hubby helped me get a fuchsia out of its pot, where it really wasn’t doing terribly well, and into the soil. Fingers crossed it will perk up a bit and grow a bit more enthusiastically.

Gardening is lovely, but it’s very ad hoc. And I only do it when I need to, when the weather is nice, and when I have the energy. Those three things don’t always coincide.

Also am wondering about a power supply/adaptor for the wildlife cam, which eats batteries. Had a look on tinterweb, but didn’t really understand. Maybe tomorrow, with hubby’s help, we can sort something out.

Finished the slide project. Far fewer than I thought, probably 1,000, out of which I dumped about 500 (cats, dogs, views, people we don’t know, railway journeys  – 🙄 – you get the picture). I’ve uploaded them all to my Google Drive and shared them with the immediate family, who are very enthusiastic. So now I need to sell on the gizmo that converted them. Ebay.

Next up are the cine films. They really need to be done professionally. Doing them yourself involves a working projector, running each of the 55 films through it against a screen of some sort, and filming the result with a smartphone. Not ideal. But expensive to have done. We’ve sent off a couple of films, which weren’t labelled, to a company and will see how they come back. When there are lots they come and collect them and post the resultant DVDs or USB sticks back. We shall see.

I’m still putting a soft toy on display in our front window for any childreIMG_20190415_180432939n who potter past. There are a few, some of which I have knitted, some of which I haven’t. Currently it’s Eric the Bumblebee (congratulations if you got the Monty Python reference). Tomorrow it might be Bagpuss (Alan Dart). There’s also a Victorian style doll (Jean Greenhowe), and a couple of small penguins, also Jean Greenhowe. I did knit all of those. It just depends on whether I remember, and the mood I’m in.

Very concerned about the chaotic UK easing of lockdown. BoJo doesn’t really seem to know what he’s doing. Dominic Raab (the guy who didn’t realise that the English Channel was such a busy trading route!) is totally clueless and mostly inarticulate. And Trump! don’t get me started.

Hubby and I are carrying on the same, as we both have “underlying health conditions”. Zoom works ok, so does Skype and WhatsApp, but the broadband isn’t terribly reliable. Talking to YD in NZ is difficult, although ESW (now 4) is very engaged and chatty, so that’s a damn shame.

I’ve just finished reading @SusanCalman’s book Cheer Up Love, about depression. I do like her. She’s honest, funny, self-deprecating, and a lot of what she says about being sad resonates with me. I have certain go-to books when I’m down, and one of the other authors I regularly read is Bill Bryson. I have Adventures of The Thunderbolt Kid ready.

And today, for a special treat, I exfoliated my baggy old face and had a face pack. Doesn’t look any different, but feels lovely. Yeah.

 

Cheering up.

Yesterday I was very low. It was 41 years since my dad died suddenly, and I do wonder if it’s normal to feel so sad after so long. My sister assured me that as long as I don’t feel that bad all the time, it’s probably ok. Then it occurred to me that Dad acted as a buffer between me and Mother, and he curbed her more difficult behaviour. So when he died, that was all gone. Oddly, having realised that helps me understand why I miss him so much. Also, it probably wasn’t the best idea to digitise more slides yesterday. There are photos in there of him I’ve never seen, and nostalgia plus grief aren’t the best of companions.

Add to that the pain in my stupid arthritic hands, and you have the perfect storm. Took two Co-codamol (30/500) at bedtime and it took two hours for the pain to go away. I was actually in tears with it.

But. Today I have had a telephone consultation with the doctor, and have a new pain analgesia regime.  Paracetamol in the day, then two Co-codamol in the evening, every day, regularly, to keep the pain at bay. It feels slightly counter-intuitive, but as the pain is constant, it does make sense.

Made chocolate fudge brownies this morning. Thank goodness for the electric hand mixer. They smell divine and I can’t wait to have one after lunch.

Ordered some new lipstick – I’m not a big make up wearer, but the one I ordered is Clinique, and it’s called Bare Pop.  It’s just exactly right for me.20200429_114730 And while I was on the John Lewis site, I treated myself to some Chanel No 5 perfume spray.  A big treat. I have always loved it. Always.

So now I’m awaiting a couple of tops from Seasalt Cornwall, lipstick, perfume, and also ordered some emery boards (can’t get them from our supermarket!) Just the anticipation cheers me up. Shallow, much? Don’t care. Needed cheering up, and various sorts of retail therapy always help.

Will go for a short walk after lunch. Yesterday it was pouring with rain so I didn’t go.

And it’s my friend Réjane’s birthday today. Joyeux Anniversaire, mon amie.

 

Things I’m doing slightly differently

For a start, I’m setting the alarm clock so I actually get up every morning. It’s for 9.30 a.m., so not exactly early, but fine for me. If I don’t set the alarm, I just sleep till mid-afternoon. Not great.

Going for a small walk every day. Hubby devised a shorter walk than the 10 minute one, which takes me 4 – 5 minutes. It’s for when I just can’t manage the 10 minute one, and it works a treat.

Noticing  what’s going on in people’s gardens. Particularly at this time of year (spring in the UK), there are lots of things bursting into leaf/flower.

Knitting with a slightly different technique, keeping my index and middle fingers together, which doesn’t hurt so much. My middle finger keeps trying to point nor’nor’east instead of due north (assuming my other fingers are pointing north, if you see what I mean). I have to make a real effort, and sometimes actually pull it back with my other hand! What on earth? Arthritis I guess.

Ordering stuff online. To date, a web cam for hubby and one for me, some plants which haven’t arrived yet, some compression gloves, various new tops (yay!) and a new hand- held electric mixer.

Trying to eke out the painkillers because they’re just so damn hard to get. My lovely friend brought me two packets yesterday and left them in our porch. It’s her birthday today. Happy Birthday you legend! you know who you are.

Attempting not to get too panicked about the pandemic. Harrumphing of course about Trump and his determination to make it clear that he really is the stupidest man on this planet. Glad Bojo is on the mend, though he must have been much worse than they let on.

Not beating myself up for the stuff I can’t do. Trying not to moan about, or even mention, the aches and pains of getting older. Not interesting to anybody except potentially the medics. And even then, they have more important things to worry about.

Looking forward to planting the double cosmos seeds I have. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, which will make the earth easier to work, so maybe this weekend. Yeah!

And finally a picture of the lion I knitted for my great-nephew, whose name means “lion”. It was his birthday last week, so now he’s actually seen it. He loves it. It’s called Lucy, so a non-binary lion. Bit hairy for a lioness, but hey, what can you do. Apparently there was trouble when he discovered she’s not allowed in the bath, or to eat his Weetabix. Yeah.

 

Managing.

Writing is supposed to be cathartic so I thought I’d jot down a few notes about how I manage the depression and M.E.

Went to the osteopath today because I was in some pain. It’s part of the maintenance and upkeep. As usual after the osteopath I’m pretty low tonight and on the verge of tears. Taking regular painkillers. Can’t take Brufen because of my asthma. Big old bummer, because they are such effective painkillers. I can take Cocodamol though, and am at the doctor’s next week so might mention it then.

However I re-arranged the pedicure, which was going to be tomorrow, and have cried off the knitting get together tonight. Will see if I am able to get to the sewing course on Saturday – I’d really like to go, because it’s making a Japanese Knot Bag and matching purse, but if I’m not up to it, then I’m just not.

Such decisions sound a bit sad, but in fact once I’ve decided that I need to cancel stuff, I actually feel a bit better about things. Not exactly in control of my health, just managing it better. I don’t like to feel that it’s managing me. Even though it probably is. Mm.

I’ve been sleeping a lot. Most of Tuesday. Managed to have a shower and wash my hair on Wednesday. Then had a half hour sit down, and did my ironing. I do it every week, and hubby does his own, so it only takes about 25 minutes maximum. Then lunch, and then did the online shop. So quite a lot achieved yesterday. But the afternoon sleeps are long. At least three hours, sometimes four. Then I sleep all night too.

Might consider a bath and face pack tomorrow. Will see how I wake up. I very, very rarely have a bath. We have some nice bubble bath though and it does help relax my back.

I have two go-to authors whose books I read when I feel like this. Bill Bryson, who is just one of my favourite writers, and Tom Cox. Ditto. Can’t help smiling as I read their stuff.

Retail therapy always helps too, so have ordered a couple of tops (reduced) from Warehouse. Two different colours, and two different sizes, so we shall see if I like the colours and if they fit.

Hubby is off to a meeting tonight so I shall watch some crappy tv. No knitting mojo at all at the moment, and booked in for steroid injections into the knuckles of my right hand on Monday. Will see how things go after that.

Christmas almost organised. Thank goodness for the internet. A bit of baking to do, but nothing major. Last year I did a Yule Log which is fat free, therefore dairy free. It was delicious and both hubby and I liked it, which is a bonus. He doesn’t like fruit cake so if I made a proper Christmas cake I’d just eat it all and put on loads of weight. And am going to do some mince pies only in filo pastry as I have some in the freezer. Everybody else can eat normal ones from the shop, but the dairy free ones from the shop tend to be cheap and nasty.