Frustrating few days

First of all, Happy International Women’s Day!

The Procion dye arrived, and I dyed three tops, and it worked really, really well. No mess, no blotchiness, no dye everywhere. One top has a small hole in it so it’s going to the charity shop. I put another one on today and within five minutes managed to get a black smudge on it, so it’s in the wash. Hey ho.

Had an email from Royal Mail to say a parcel would arrive on Wednesday. No parcel. Still. Went round the very frustrating loop on the internet, clicking on links they’d sent me, and the parcel was clearly at the local office. Even downloaded their stupid app, which wouldn’t let me log in to it, although I could log in with exactly the same details on tinterweb.

Eventually, today, I phoned up. What an absolute nightmare. I spent 25 minutes holding on for a proper, real, live person, who (thank goodness) was really helpful, and explained that there had been a strike at that particular office, but they were all back at work now, and not to worry. The parcel will be officially counted as “missing” next Friday, so then I have to get in touch with the senders, who have to claim, then eventually they refund me. However, this particular parcel is for part of a birthday present, so there is a time constraint for me. I’m just really hoping it arrives, because there’s a whole world of bother otherwise.

Spent yesterday morning comprehensively failing to crochet an Amigurumi toy.  It was too small, too fiddly, the yarn was splitty, and although I can crochet in a basic sort of a way (blankets, granny squares), I’m hopeless at shaping. The stitch count goes to buggery as soon as I’ve finished increasing. Every time. Why? anyhow, have decided that bigger Amigurumi toys work better for me. I’ve done a couple of Olafs, and they’ve been fine. Meanwhile, will stick to the blanket I’m doing, and knitting the top for hubby.

On the upside, two tops from John Lewis arrived. I’d ordered a brown one and a yellow one, in two different sizes. The brown one, surprisingly, doesn’t look very nice at all. I think it’s because it has a round neck, which isn’t a great look at almost 64. The yellow, however, looks great! and it’s a bit of a departure for me colour-wise. Years ago I had a top in a very similar yellow and loved it. Mm. So the size that doesn’t fit, and the two brown ones, are going back. Yeah.

Also, have discovered that I’ve lost some weight. I only got on the scales because my clothes were feeling a bit big. And I’ve lost 10 lbs in the last 3 – 4 months. Now, I have given up biscuits (work of the devil, have to have at least 3 at a time) altogether, stopped eating crap in between meals (not literal crap, obviously, just sweets and chocolate) and reduced my sugar intake by at least two thirds (I was eating way, way more than 30g a day). So it could just be that. The osteopath said I need to mention it to the doctor though, and I am having some bloods done next week for a routine checkup (on the NHS of course). We shall see. I feel ok, if more tired than usual. And today I’m treating myself to a whole ciabatta roll, warm, with cheese and Marmite for lunch.

Watched Leaving Neverland yesterday. Oh. My. Days. Not sure what to say about that. MJ was clearly a very disturbed, lonely individual. With a child’s emotional development (or lack of) inside a man’s body. And how many lives have been wrecked. And how are we supposed to feel about his incredible talent now? he could sing, and dance, and how. But all that surgery. The chemical straightening of the hair. The skin lightening stuff. Mm.

 

Holiday and Knitting

Just back from a fabulous week at Center Parcs (Woburn). Hubby and I went on Friday, both daughters plus partners plus babies came for the weekend and went home on Monday, and then we stayed till last Friday. Absolutely excellent. The two children don’t see a lot of each other, as one (nearly 2) lives in Southampton, and the other (9 months old) near us in Solihull, but they were clearly very taken with each other. Lots of enthusiasm, lots of eye contact (and pointing from the baby), and it was just lovely.

Center Parcs involves a lot of walking, for me, because I am absolutely useless on a bike. Last time I rode a bike I broke a rib falling off. Not great. They do apparently hire out tricycles for adults (clumsy klutzes) like me, which might be a possibility if we go to Center Parcs again.

It’s lovely (though absolutely exhausting) walking in the forest – lots of grey squirrels, and even a hare, who clearly couldn’t care less that he was being watched closely, a lot. I have never been that close to a hare in my life. It was so exciting!

I ate far too much. YD made a fabulous Victoria sponge with jam filling – OMG to die for! and I’d taken a carrot cake, which was also pretty good. Chocolate, biscuits, just went for it. So now I’m being much more careful. Eating the same at mealtimes, just cutting right down on cake, biscuits and chocolate, before I turn into a big fat biffer.

We fetched Bertie The Cat from the cattery on the way home and she is just so happy to be back in her little domain. Friday she was very vocal and demanding, but settled down by the evening and is now happily purring away in one of her preferred warm spots. And is much happier to be cuddled than usual! not quite so busy and important . . .

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I have learned two new knitting techniques. Well, in reality, one is a crochet technique. It’s called Tunisian Crochet, or Afghan Crochet, and is a mixture of knitting and crochet done on one long hook. The fabric is quite firm and thick and is good for things like bags, outerwear, cushion covers, and I’m likely to start with something small like coffee coasters. Very pleased.

The second technique is for knitting in the round (tubes with no seams) and is called Magic Loop. I have been trying for years to master this one. I can’t handle double pointed needles, I’m all fingers and thumbs, so I knit in the round with two circular needles. It has occurred to me several times that this technique is very similar to Magic Loop. My younger daughter showed me how to do it (Magic Loop) on holiday, and I had a go and it actually clicked in my brain. So now I’m knitting the sleeves of a small baby jacket (Puerperium) in the round with Magic Loop. The advantage of this over two circular needles is that there are only two needle tips to worry about, instead of four. The current project is in stocking stitch, so no worries about how many stitches are on each half of the cable, but the next challenge will be Magic Loop with a pattern . . .

Also have some Erika Knight Gossypium cotton dk which is absolutely fabulous to knit with. I’m doing a Seafoam scarf for me in cream, on 5.5 mm needles to make it even bigger and looser. Loving it.

Almost all the Christmas shopping is done. I’ve always been a bit early doing such things, and start thinking seriously about any knitting I’m going to do for gifts in May. I start actually buying presents in September, so come December it’s just not so fraught. Hubby used to wait until 23rd/24th December, go into Birmingham, and do it all in one day. I just couldn’t do that. I just couldn’t. I even have a spreadsheet where birthday/Xmas presents are listed by recipient, going back to 2010, the idea being that I don’t duplicate year on year. A bit nerdy, I know, but I’m ok with that. I need order in my life, it feels calmer and easier.

I think that’s probably it for now!

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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