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?

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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.

 

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.

Summer

Well, to my surprise, summer appears to be here still. It’s a bit hot for me, but for most I guess it’s pleasant. Sunny and dry. Having to water the pot plants regularly.

The diet – well, thereby hangs a tale. I have given up chocolate in the week on a permanent basis, only eating it at weekends. I also changed from wholemeal bread rolls to Ryvita. Big mistake. Huge. After 2 1/2 weeks I ended up very constipated (if this is too much information, stop reading now!) and went to the doctor after another week. Eventually, after going back to the bread rolls on the doctor’s advice, and with the help of gentle medication, I’m back to normal, but it was 15 days before that happened. Much chastened. But the weight has stayed off, so that’s good. I’m 5’2″ tall (1.57m) and weighed 10 stone (63.5 kilos). Too heavy. Now I weigh 9 stone 7lbs (60 kilos) – much better.

Meanwhile, I’ve been knitting up a storm. No photos, because I want to see my daughter’s face when I give them to her, but I’ve done three baby blankets and am now doing something different before I start on a baby jacket for her. Spoke to her via Skype this morning. She’s looking absolutely radiant. Really beautiful. Golden. And feeling better too, despite the aches and pains in her back pregnancy has brought on.

The garden is looking absolutely lovely. Love it.

buddleia acer sweet peas golden hop hydrangea crocosmia

And here we are again.

Summer appears to be here, however fleeting it may be. Hooray! not too hot, just sunny, breezy and generally pleasant.

Spent the weekend in Brighton with ES, MS (Eldest Son, Middle Son) and their families. Excellent. A wonderful time was had by all.

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I’m absolutely knackered now, of course, even though hubby did the driving. Have spent hours and hours asleep in the day. But am starting to feel slightly more human, now. (It’s Wednesday today). Even managed a little gardening this morning. Love my garden.

 

 

 

Also love strawberry season (his – ice cream & hers – sugar). Yum.

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Today:

  • woke at 9.15 am. Sat under my light box for 15 minutes whilst perusing facebook, twitter, the news, the weather and my emails on my phone.
  • Downstairs at 9.30 ish. Bowl of own-brand Shreddies (we avoid Nestle like the plague when we can) with soya milk.
  • Played on the computer for a while, sorting out bank accounts, yarn ordering, and bending my brain round a crossword or two. Only quick ones, really can’t handle the cryptic ones.
  • Spent a happy half hour in the garden, cutting the hardy geraniums back to the soil. The ones in the back garden are ok for another week or so.
  • Came in, had a cup of tea, sat and rested for a while.
  • Had lunch. New routine for lunch – was horrified at my back view in the sea in Brighton, and I already knew I’m 7 lbs overweight. So no more bread rolls. Ryvita instead. Loving the Mediterranean herbs flavour. Also no more weekday chocolate. At all. Not even one cube.
  • Back to bed at 2 pm for a two hour sleep.
  • Made another cup of tea and am now doing my blog!

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It’s been a long while.

Well. Six weeks. Naughty. But I’ve been caught up in all sorts of things.

YD has been having a dreadful time at work, and although it’s nearly over, a hurdle or two remains to be dealt with. Nearly there though.

Also struggling with the M.E. and two weeks ago had a throat infection which confined me to bed for a few days, and removed my voice. A week later the voice returned, although a bit quiet and croaky, but at least I’m able to communicate.

Been doing some knitting on and off.

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And the big news is that ED is expecting her first baby in November. Huge excitement all round. Went to see her about three weeks ago, and she’s stopped feeling quite so dreadful, but still not great. She looks wonderful, though, and is radiant with impending motherhood. Love it.

A few random photos, and a couple of the garden.2014-05-20 12.49.36 mysterious moth 2014-05-20 12.49.47-1

 

What? more than a month?

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Can’t believe it.  It’s May already. The garden is bursting into bloom and I love it.

I’ve been knitting quite a lot – new summer top just blocking, waiting to be sewn up. Photo when it’s done. Also halfway through a Wingspan – I think this is the third I’ve knitted. Lots of projects in my head, lots.

The shop (Stitch Solihull) is taking part in Love Your Yarn Shop this Saturday – if you live in/near Solihull, West Midlands, come along. Back of Notcutts on the Stratford Road. Cake, discounts, mini-workshops – lots of fun to be had.

I went to a lampshade making course there and am delighted with the lampshade I made. Now I want to buy kits to make four new ones for the lounge table lamps. Very exciting.

But I’ve had another M.E. episode. Lots of sleeping, feeling very very low, not able to do much at all. Had to send my apologies to a lunch I was going to in Coventry on Wednesday. Hmm. And I’m not sure what caused it. Usually I have an idea of why it’s happened. Not this time. I am feeling better now though but I know I need to take it easy and be careful. Hmph.

 

23rd February 2014

Lots and lots has happened since I last blogged. The trick is to remember it all.

Union-wise – I’m going to a Regional UNISON Seminar in Bilston in April, and Retired Members’ Conference in October. It’s ok, it’s one day in April, and one night in October, because we oldies are less likely to party the night away . . .

Still knitting the cable jacket – in fact had a small disaster. I’d finished the back, and almost finished the left front, when I found a huge, obvious, mistake, just above the armhole shaping on the back. So I unravelled it and knitted it back up again.
knitting mistake

Here’s a photo of the mistake. See if you can find it. But it’s all ok now. Then I made a mistake on the shoulder shaping of the left front, and had to re-do that. But now I’m on the right front, and being very very careful.

YD has had a dreadful time at work, but has come out unscathed, and is now angry rather than in bits. Brave soul. She was 30 on Friday. Can’t believe I have two daughters over 30.

Stitch Solihull is having a “knitting-fest” at the end of March, to celebrate their first whole year trading. I’m making a three-tier carrot (birthday) cake. Iced. In the planning stages at the moment.

The garden is looking less bedraggled, and buds are appearing. Snowdrops and primulas are blooming, and the daffodils are budding. Lovely .

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I have new glasses. They’re a very similar style to tme in my new specshe previous ones, but are lighter, a less dramatic colour, and have proper nose pads, which means my nose stays cool and comfortable. Essential (!)

Had another small episode with my back, but the osteopath and 48 hours on Tramadol sorted that out.

And most exciting of all, I’ve been covering the shop. I’ve done it twice now. When either of the young women runs a course on a day she works, they need somebody to staff the shop. And I’ve really enjoyed it. Still not quite used to the till, but am able to offer advice on yarns and patterns, and only had to ask for help twice on Saturday. Several more dates in my diary. It’s voluntary, but it’s just so exciting. Leaves me very tired though, but that’s manageable! and it’s so worth it. Love it, love it, love it.

Next course I’m planning to book myself into is lampshade making. Very excited about it. Not sure when it will be, but it’s definitely in the new course schedule, which should be out by the end of this week.

I also made some dairy free Danish-type pastries. Cinnamon rolls. Bought the puff pastry (dairy free) and made the mixture myself. Delicious. I’ve missed Danish pastries so much!Image

Gaaaagh! December already!

Luckily I’m just a tad obsessive and am all ready for Christmas. It’s just hubby and me this year, which will be lovely. Seeing family before and after though, which will also be really nice.

Knitting – going well. The physio is definitely helping my hands. I have exercises to do, and once a week they massage the hands and treat them with ultrasound. Excellent. I’m knitting the last Christmas present at the moment, everything else is done. Just need to sort out the baking I’m going to do. I have the ingredients for the cake (this year it’s going to be the dairy-free, egg-free fruit cake, one with marzipan in the middle for me, one without for hubby). Need to sort out the mince pies pastry and enough flour and eggs for the cakes I’m taking to various family dos. Exciting.

I’ve also been crocheting. Nothing large, and no photos yet (don’t want to spoil anybody’s surprise . . .) but I am quite pleased. Results have been blocked, starched, and are currently drying.

Did a bit of gardening this morning – only about 45 minutes. The dead rudbeckias looked horrible, and so did the asters, so they’ve had a severe cutting back. Also dug up an old dead no-longer-ornamental grass, and picked loads of moss off the soil. I’ve filled three large tubtrugs but that’s ok. We need to take a trip to the tip this week anyway.

Saw my great-nephew last week. He is just delightful. Crawling, cruising, almost walking, and such a happy little soul.

Finally, here is a photo of the cat. This is where we find her when we’ve been out, and she’s been in, confined to the kitchen and utility. She has food, water, toys and her tray in there, so it’s like a little bed-sit for a cat. But she just goes into her little bed.

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Bless her little heart.

Time to blog.

Not a lot has been happening, really, but I thought I’d have a little blurt on the blog.

I have finally managed to plant the tulips – found a huge pot which took all 14 of them. They’re apricot and I can’t wait for them to grow. I’ve wanted to plant apricot tulips for a long time, but there’s just no space in the garden beds! The garden is actually lovely at the moment, the rudbeckias are really cheerful, and I’ve managed to plant the daffodil bulbs as well as some – lots and lots – of annual poppies too. Fingers crossed they grow.

Last thing I’m going to plant are winter pansies. Dark purple ones look wonderful on the front of the house as it’s cream-coloured. Just need to pop to the garden centre and buy some. I have everything else I need to plant them.

The pain in my hand is still there. Not all the time, but when I try to straighten my hand out, to pick up a glass of water, say, or something like that, I can feel it grinding and it cracks very painfully. But I’ve seen the doctor, told her I’m no longer on the Tramadol, and she’s prescribed Co-codamol. That’s ok and helps with the pain, but makes me very sleepy, so I’m only taking them at lunchtime and bedtime, or else I’m asleep all day long.

Knitting is going well. Have finished two Christmas presents, am on a third, and plans for more. Each project takes a week or two, and I’m not planning to knit as many presents this year, so I won’t feel I’ve failed if I don’t get round to them for whatever reason. Is it just me, or do we all (women) set ourselves impossible targets then beat ourselves up when we don’t achieve them?

Made a new sewing needle case today. The old one was very old and boring and falling apart, so I found a scrap of fabric and made myself a pretty new one.

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Also set up another Christmas present – a sewing project this time. All ready to go now, but enough is enough for one day.

We have fixed the kitchen sinks and taps this week. The sinks have “basket waste strainers” or some such technical term, and although the washers are detachable, you can’t get the replacements. So we went to B&Q and found something that will do, and instead of buying new “basket waste strainers” for £12.50 each, we spent £2.50 on two new washers that will fit. The taps needed new “insides” – don’t know the technical term for that – you can’t get just washers for the sort of taps we have – but we fitted those ourselves and they’re wonderful now. It’s like having a new sink!

I’m about halfway through Christmas presents. Some are hand-made, some I’m buying, but I don’t have plans for all of them. Need to check Amazon wish-lists (yes, mine is all up to date) and contact parents. Children’s wish lists are a false friend – they don’t update them, so you end up buying them something you think they’ll love, and they already have it. Yes, it’s happened to me.

The cat has completely recovered from her abscess under the eye and the fur has all grown back. You’d never know she’d had anything wrong with her. Bless her little heart.

I’ve been reading a lot of Bill Bryson books lately. They always cheer me up, no matter how dreadful I’m feeling, and I frequently laugh out loud. As a result, I have been thinking about what would constitute a perfect small town for me, and mostly it’s where I live, although I would be very happy to do without the McDonalds. There are bookshops, several libraries, a local yarn shop (7 minutes walk for me, yay!) a pleasant shopping area, but a few too many chain stores. More independents would be nice. But hey, you can’t have everything. I always go to an independent shop whenever I can – Woolmans rather than Notcutts, Stitch Solihull rather than anywhere on line or Hobbycraft, and so on.

Can’t wait to cast on part 2 of my current knitting project tonight. Always exciting. And the yarn is fabulous – Opal Sweet and Spicy – you just never know what’s going to come up next colour-wise!