Progress, sort of

I have just finished the second tension sample for the cardigan. Yes. Just. Normally it takes me an evening to knit up a sample square. Hey ho. Well, that one is too big too. I’m going to have to do another one on slightly smaller needles. Ho hum.

Went to Brighton the weekend before Christmas to see family. We stay in a lovely hotel in Bramber, which is right next to an old castle and church. It’s really nice and there is parking! which is an issue in Brighton. It’s about 15 minutes away in the car from ES. The only fraught thing about the whole weekend was charging the electric car. The infrastructure is simply appalling. Even when you find a charging point, you’re lucky if a) it’s working and b) there’s no queue. And it was cold!Christmas Day was wonderful. Just hubby and me. No worrying about the Appalling Mother any more. Just lovely food, gifts (of which more in a moment), siesta and relaxation generally.

One of the things hubby gave me was a paraffin wax bath for my wonky hands. Sometimes used by beauty salons, they are good for arthritic and painful hands. I had a go with it yesterday – takes some setting up the first time, as you have to wait for 3 x 1 lb blocks of paraffin wax to melt, but it was worth it. It’s very hot – 50-55o C – so you just dip the painful part in and take it straight out again, wait for the paraffin to set, and dip again. About 6 – 10 times is recommended. It is so soothing. The paraffin wax just peels off, and you can discard it, but as I’m the only person using it, I’m reusing the wax.

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Both the physio and the surgeon have discharged me from the hospital – 5 months after the operation.

It should continue to improve hopefully. Still a little swollen and quite stiff but I can manage most things.

Watching some excellent tv – Succession series 3, The Great series 2, the films Spencer, and The Power of the Dog. Wonderful drama. Spencer is about Diana (of course) and takes place one Christmas. The stuffiness and insistence on adherence to tradition, however dreadful, is claustrophobic. Some characters are invented, but make a strong point. Charles is portrayed as completely hidebound by the rules, but not a bad chap overall. Diana is portrayed as being very unhappy, resentful of Camilla Parker-Bowles (the mistress), unsurprisingly having mental health problems, and a wonderful mother. The Power of the Dog is a Western of a very different type from usual. Shot in New Zealand, directed by Jane Campion, it’s very very good. Dark and powerful.

Also last night watched Billy Connolly’s “My Absolute Pleasure”. He’s nearly 80 now, has Parkinson’s, and is such a lovely, lovely man. His sense of humour is delightful. I just love him to bits.

Hubby has gone into Solihull to spend some Christmas vouchers. Also he doesn’t feel comfortable being in the house when the cleaners are here. So I’m doing this, he’s in Solihull, and the cleaners are cleaning.

I’ve ordered myself a “monocular”. I can’t see through binoculars because of the stupid double vision, but I can see through a monocular. The plan is that when I see an interesting looking bird through the window I can grab it and actually see what’s going on. Mm. We shall see.

Not terribly pretty, but yum!

Made an apple and almond cake for Christmas. Hubby doesn’t actually like fruit cake. This is a recipe from Nadiya Hussain, who is just wonderful. I didn’t use olive oil for the icing though, just dairy free butter cream. And for Christmas I did white glace icing so it looks a bit more Christmassy. It’s absolutely delicious. Quite rich though. Even I can only manage one slice per day. But Oh. My. Days. it’s yummy.

I had to get a new computer in the end. The motherboard was clearly in distress. Strange random beeping noises and kept falling off the internet, when everything else in the house was fine. Hm. And managed to work out it is 3 years old. Not old for a personal/domestic computer, but the industry standard when I was working in tech (20 years ago now I know!) was to replace workstations every three years. So I’m on Windows 11 now. Had to tweak it a bit because it was quite slow, and took me a whole day to install it – which is usual, I will say, for Windows. But I’d backed everything up, so haven’t lost any data, so am fairly smug about it. I just need to nuke the old hard drive and Freecycle it – with clear warnings about the dodgy motherboard.

Hubby uses his Virgin email address and it wouldn’t work the other day. Eventually after much faffing about I discovered that it was locked for some unfathomable reason. So I ran a virus check (clear) and managed finally to change his password. After an hour it magically unlocked itself. FFS. What is that about? Damned blasted technology. But I think I won, even if I don’t know what happened. Mm.

And here is a photo of our cat. Just because.

And a very Happy New Year to you all.

Happy New Year!

Small update.

Horrible two-week long virus involving very sore throat, cough, sinusitis and feeling awful finally gone. Now in M.E. type exhaustion and sleeping practically all the time. Improving.

Christmas Day was lovely. Went to YD, having fetched Mother, and YD’s brother-in-law and young family were there. Food was excellent, had a delightful time and all four children were just sweet.

Brighton and Southampton, where we went on 27th to visit family, were also a delight. Weather was surprisingly mild and sunny.

 

No knitting mojo at all. None. Nope.

Had various plans for this week – bit of baking, into Solihull for a bit of voucher-spending, library books back, charity shop – not happening. Not this week anyway.

Have decided not to beat myself up for being tired. Just roll with it and sleep a lot.

Ooh. Also. Started a new thing. Am only allowing myself the recommended daily allowance of sugar. 30 gms. Sounds a lot, but I discovered I was getting through at least twice that amount. I’m still able to have chocolate, but a fraction of what I was eating! Feels ok so far. Day four today.

November!

Did my ironing this morning. All of it. Although I had to do it sitting down, as my stupid back is playing up. Painkillers, ice packs, phone call to osteopath tomorrow to see if I can bring forward the next appointment.

Had the leylandii at the back trimmed, and one of the leylandii hedges at the front cut down by half, so it’s just below the level of the roof of my car, which is an old Ford Ka. The other hedge at the front has been dug up and the stumps ground out. That was quite exciting to watch. Two men, fully kitted up in safety gear/helmets/goggles, with a large noisy machine, took approximately 10 minutes max! Now I just need to get as much of the thuggish ivy out of the soil as I can, weedkiller the rest, and see how it is next spring before I plant some more Photinia Red Robin, to match the little hedge at the front, parallel to the house.

Meanwhile, hubby decided to pollard the willow tree himself. Yes, himself. Worked, hard, all morning, up and down ladders with a saw, despite my bleating about stopping now, and did it all. Cut up the twiggy bits and fitted them all into the green wheelie bin. But he then had (heart) “symptoms”  for three days. I was very worried and a bit cross. It is frustrating not to be able to do the stuff you used to do easily. It is. But still. I’ve had years to come to terms with it (slipped a disc 43 years ago) so I do know how difficult and limiting it is. But harrumph. And of course he’s fine now.

Wasn’t able to knit for a couple of weeks – arthritis in my hands. But I’m ok now and nearly finished the Festival shawl (dark grey Gossypium and white/cream Paradou). It’s lovely and easy enough to knit (though not while I’m watching subtitled Swedish programmes!) and I will be pleased with it when it’s done. Next up, Whelk vest top for hubby, in pale grey Rowan yarn. Need to do a sample tension square, because the pattern is for DK, and the yarn I have is worsted. Not much difference, but enough to check first. Also need to check I’m ok with the pattern . . . . .

Have treated myself, after watching Black Earth Rising, to a cuff earring with two chains attached to a small stud. The heroine of said programme wore one, and looked stunning. I won’t look anything like her, of course, she’s about 6 ft tall, black, muscular and slim. Ah well. I do like it though. Hubby thinks it’s weird. Don’t care.

Christmas – presents all done. Not wrapped yet though. And I need to get my act together with regard to cooking. Planning a Yule Log, so need to practise with an ordinary Swiss Roll (tomorrow). Also need to do a carrot cake and a bakewell raspberry slice. And some mince pies (bought pastry, bought mincemeat, just need to put them together . . .)


Nearly Christmas

We don’t do religion, but for us Christmas is a “beanfeast” in the middle of winter to cheer us up. We decorate a tree (along with Hannukah type lights!), we give presents, we eat a lot on 25th December and have much more sweet stuff than we normally would. Chocolate, mince pies, fruit cake with marzipan – love it!

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I bought a wreath “inner” from Hobbycraft, knitted a cover, and then knitted ivy leaves, holly leaves and mistletoe to cover it. A poinsettia at the top, a little knitted robin perching on the bottom. And it won first prize at The Shop! I’m so pleased!

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Feeling very, very tired. Heavy and leaden. Making sure I get a good sleep each afternoon. But I’ve tried to make sure I don’t have much to do each day. Tomorrow – ironing. Monday – nails Calgelled. Tuesday – shopping delivery. Wednesday – bake Raspberry Layer Bake (a sort of posh Bakewell Tart). Thursday – Christmas Day! And that’s it. Until 3rd January when we are having a Hootenanny with as many members of our extended families as can make it. Lovely.

So I wish you all Happy Holidays, whether you are humanist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, whatever. Enjoy.

7th November 2012

I’ve been struggling with the pain in my hand, big time. Saw the consultant last Friday, and he’s put me on his list for surgery. It will be a trapeziectomy, with something fancy schmancy with a tendon to prevent the thumb from shortening. However, the Cocodamol were making no difference, even the 30/500 dose, so I found some Tramadol. I keep a small stock for any back “episodes”, but felt that my hand was so painful I really needed to try something more powerful. And they worked. I hardly had any, so eked them out until today when I saw the GP, and she was very helpful. She’s prescribed me more of them, and suggested I take two Tramadol first thing, and then for the next three doses, take one Tramadol and two Paracetamol. As the Paracetamol were making no difference at all, I was sceptical, but am very pleasantly surprised that it works a treat.

And what about Obama! thank goodness for that. He’s such a good man, and deserved to win. Happy.

Knitting – can do short bursts, but as I’m only doing small projects, that’s ok. Have just tried to knit one daughter some mittens, but the first one turned out absolutely massive, and is even too big for my husband. So I’ve found another pattern, and will get some more, different, yarn and try again.

Much colder here now. But it is November. Christmas shopping going well, more than half done. A few bits and bobs to get, and I need some ideas, but am working on it.

YD hasn’t been very well at all, for several weeks now. Consultant tomorrow, hope s/he suggests something constructive.

Life is becoming busier and busier. I try really hard to keep things to a minimum, but sometimes you just have to do stuff. Friday I have to go into Birmingham for somebody to talk to me about what I need to do to get a job! for goodness’ sake. My friend from school is coming with me, as I don’t cope well with that sort of thing, and I need support. Hubby is at the hospital so he can’t come.

Hubby loves his Kindle which I bought him for his birthday – I’m so pleased. Mine has done a software upgrade today – the first one in a year! but will see what differences there are.

Not sending Christmas cards this year – at 50p second class for each card, it would cost £45 at least just in postage. We’re going to telephone the people we don’t see, which is probably a better idea anyway.

Things are afoot with the Stitch group – premises have been found, the shop may be opening in the not too distant future – it’s so exciting. And walking distance from where I live too!