Bits and Bobs

Well, sadly, all my seedlings died. That is normal for me though. I’m just not great at seeds. I’m better with small plants, and have just planted two sage and one thyme plants in the garden, and the mint in a pot. Mint is not allowed in the garden. It’s such a thug. When it really gets going even in the pot it tries to root in any pots next to it. But I do love it, and the smell.

The old doorbell battery finally stopped working, so I have fitted the new one. I managed to sync it with the ringer – very pleased about that – and have fitted the new pusher thing to the front door. Little things do help me feel better about stuff.

My back is improving but slowly. Went to the hospital today for nerve conduction tests. Unpleasant. It turns out it’s not carpal tunnel syndrome, but cubital tunnel syndrome, which I think is basically nerves in the elbow being crunched. Hmm. Will see if the information gets to the consultant before I have the ultrasound/x-ray/steroid injection next week, and then it’s the week after that I see him. I’m relieved they found something, because I always feel such a fraud. Imposter syndrome, I think they call it. I certainly felt like that at work, always terrified somebody was going to discover I was crap at everything. I wasn’t actually crap at everything, though. Just felt like it.

Hubby’s new hi-fi was fitted yesterday. It all went well and he is very, very happy. The only problem was a technical one, and didn’t affect his music playing. We had access to the wireless network in the lounge, but no wired network in the study. It took me till this morning to work it out, and one of the ethernet cables wasn’t plugged in at all. Not just not where it should be, but not at all. Anyway, once I thought it through, and found it, we had access to the internet, the network, the lot. Hooray. Satisfying, if frustrating yesterday.

So now we have a gardener who comes fortnightly, a cleaner who also comes fortnightly, and a window cleaner who comes every two months. All jobs we are just not physically able to do any more, and I have actually been urging hubby to get a cleaner and a window cleaner for some years. The gardening was my domain, so I didn’t need to persuade anybody! All of them do a wonderful, wonderful job.

Today at about 1 pm, we had thunder and lightning. Only one clap/flash, but boy it was loud! in May!

The cat is currently trying to herd me into the lounge, where she clearly thinks I ought to be at this time of night (6 pm).

Not a terribly good photo of me wearing the top some of the grandchildren gave me for my birthday. This is before my post-lockdown visit to the hairdresser . . .

Things are happening!

The oven has continued to work ok, so that’s a mystery.

The decorator has been and we should get the quote shortly. All starting to fall into place now.

I have an appointment for a nerve conduction test, and another appointment for ultrasound and x-ray scans of my hand, when they will also do a steroid injection into my thumb. Then I get to see the consultant the following week to decide what to do (joint fusion or joint replacement).

Today my back is dreadful. I’ve had back problems for over 40 years, surgery 28 years ago which helped, but am all bent over to one side. It’s improved from this morning, when I was bent over sideways and frontways as well! still, painkillers, hot/cold packs, not doing anything for more than 20 minutes, and tomorrow it should be better. If not, I’ll try and get to the osteopath this week.

Part of the “not doing anything for more than 20 minutes” included a potter round the garden, in the rain. Took a few pictures because the colours cheer me up so much! and made me feel better even though I couldn’t manage a shower this morning. (I’ll deffo have one tomorrow, though!)

Back again

Well, I did get better from the M.E. episode, but have had a throat infection and no voice for the past 12 days. Harrumph. I’m better enough to do things like have my hair cut, and I went to the knitting group today, but it’s so frustrating only being able to whisper. And the funniest thing is that whenever I explain to anybody I have no voice, which involves pointing my flattened hand, palm down, at my throat, and waving it from side to side, whilst whispering “no voice”, most people then whisper back to me. The guy who cuts my hair actually started using an improvised sign language, bless his heart, so I cough/laughed and said “I can hear you!” and it was all fine.

But for a week or so I was not well. No knitting, no guitar. In bed, very tired and weepy. Bummer, big old bummer.

However, yesterday I felt up to some tidying up in the garden. I cut the dead dicentra right back, deadheaded the buddleias and trimmed the whippy growths off the wisteria and the golden hop. It only took half an hour but the garden looks so much tidier. I do have a new plant (heuchera, Ginger Peach) but haven’t decided where it will go yet. I think I’ll do that tomorrow.

Bought some new stuff at the knitting shop today – some of it is for me to knit Xmas presents, some of it is for a present just as it is. Nearly finished child’s hooded jacket – cast on the hood today. Must find some interesting buttons though. Hmm.

YD is feeling much better now she’s 20 weeks. All is well, she looks fabulous and feels good too. Thank goodness. ED is still luxuriating in motherhood with her delightful little boy.

The Malvern grandchildren came to stay last Friday – Sunday. We went to Ragley Hall, which has an excellent adventure playground, perfect for an 11 year old and an almost 14 year old. Trampoline, high rope bridges, monkey rope, zip wire, wonderful. We just made encouraging noises and provided large pieces of chocolate cake and hot chocolate with cream on top at the fabulous cafe afterwards. And of course we were both in need of sustenance too!

Just treated myself to a new handbag, new ankle boots for the winter, and some new underwear. I had to research it long and hard on the internet, but for once, everything is actually perfect! The bag is the right size and shape, the underwear is fabulous, and the ankle boots I actually went to the shop and tried several pairs on. I’d taken socks and my orthotic insoles with me to make quite sure they would fit with my winter gear. And they do. Good old Marks and Sparks.

Feeling better

Much better, in fact. Am having to be very careful, and not do more than three things in seven days. Also making sure I sleep every afternoon. Usually 2.5 – 3 hours.

Been knitting again – finished more Christmas presents, and a lace-fronted cardigan which had been causing me grief. I couldn’t manage the lace front which was in the pattern, so substituted a different one. It involved quite a lot of searching and maths-type thinking to ensure that it was the right sort. But managed it ok I think. Finished it last night, it’s currently “blocking”, as you can see in the photo.

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The garden is looking pretty good considering it’s August and it can look a bit scraggy at this time of year. But the crocosmia “Lucifer” really brighten it up, along with the hydrangeas.

Guitar lessons are going well too. Have learned a few more chords, and am able to play a few more songs now. At home, when I’m practising, I like to sing along if my voice allows. Sometimes it’s a bit croaky, but today I was in (comparatively) good voice.

Thermomix: I’ve made double berry dairy free muffins, carrot cake, and pizza dough. The first time I used it was fraught, but the muffins turned out fine, and I’m better with it now. Next up will be the (dairy-free) sponge base for a trifle. Hubby uses it most days, either for lunch and/or dinner. He loves it.

The counselling is going well, and helping with my “issues”. Feeling lighter (of mood) and more at peace with my life. I actually have a lovely, lovely life, and our house just feels peaceful and calm. The counsellor is a wonderful woman, very good at listening and analysing stuff, and makes me think about stuff in a firm but gentle way.

Upgraded to Windows 10 today. It was very smooth and quick. Doesn’t look particularly different from Windows 7, the only niggle I have (and many others too going by the chatter on the internet) is the colour of the menu bars. They are white. All of them. So you can’t tell which window is live. I’ve fiddled about a bit (a lot) and found one workaround which will allow you to have one menu bar coloured, so you can tell that one is live, and at the same time allows you to have a slide show background, but only one of the standard pre-installed ones. It’s a little niggle, and doesn’t really affect the functionality, but it’s an odd little thing for the developers to have done, really. Fingers crossed that they fix it soon. It also seems that Microsoft are not going to make a charge for updates/upgrades, except to businesses. We shall see. First time they try to charge me, I’m off.

What’s been occurring . . . ?

The blu-ray player, which went wrong in March, was finally returned to us a couple of weeks ago, and is still wonky. Sticks, judders, and is very noisy. So we are finally being provided with a brand new one. I should think so too. It’s under guarantee. They had it for three months! and had said there was no fault found, but they replaced the main mechanism anyway. Well, you know what? I wasn’t terribly impressed. But the new one should arrive this week. Hmph.

Then the food processor died. It is very, very old. At least 25 years. Which is excellent for a kitchen appliance. But I use it every time I do any baking. Hubby is quite/very keen on a Thermomix to replace it. He’s been wanting a Thermomix for a long time now, but we didn’t have an excuse. Now we do.  But they are very expensive. Hm. Meanwhile, no baking. Unless hubby helps with the heavy stuff, which he has said he’ll do.

Next, the old fridge died. Luckily we have two, so the other one is packed to the gunnels with everything, and the new one is coming today. Although there are only 55 minutes left in the delivery slot, and no sign yet . . . *update* they’ve phoned, been, taken the old fridge away and set up the new one. John Lewis. Very efficient. Can’t beat them. And not an expensive fridge either (Zanussi – £129!)

Also, hubby’s car is in the garage for its MoT today, and it’s been leaking oil, so that could be expensive.

But everything else is working fine . . .

I have stuff to do in the garden, but am just too damn tired. So it’ll wait. It’s only deadheading the poppies, and they’ll stay dead. And, actually, more will die in the meantime, so it’s probably better to wait anyway. The Absolutely Fabulous rose my sister gave me for my birthday is now blooming.

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There is a pot of catnip (nepeta) in the garden, especially for the cat. And she loves it. I’ve actually watched her licking the leaves. Then she lies down on the ground and rolls about. As if she’s stoned. Which she probably is.

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Knitting is going well. Three Christmas presents done, started on the next one, all exciting stuff. I’ve learned how to do the long-tail cast on, which is better for knitting in the round, because you end up with the right side of the knitting outwards, which is what you want. And the cardigan I was knitting is now finished, and I’m delighted. Next project for me is this pattern, in Bergère de France Reflet (the cream colour). I’ve done a sample, to check the tension, and am very pleased with how it looks.

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And I have bought some new style trousers. They’re called harem pants, which made hubby laugh. Very IMG_20150619_115858910_HDRcomfortable indeed. Am planning to wear them tomorrow.

Feeling much better.

Things have been happening.

First, most 20150519_120432important, and the best fun, was that my lovely friends Réjane and her husband Yves spent the afternoon with us while they were on a short trip to the UK. (See what I did there? I managed the acute accent on the “e”! Impressed?) It was just wonderful. Yves and hubby had not met before, and got on really well. We sat and drank tea, ate berry muffins, took a short walk to The Shop, came back, drank more tea, ate more muffins, walked round our little garden, and had a generally wonderful time. We exchanged birthday presents – I was finally able to present her with the cacti, which look great in her house, and I received some Yves Rocher products, two hand made carrier bags, two French magazines (one of which has some wonderful knitting patterns in – must learn French knitting terms), a pretty necklace, – a whole host of lovely things.

Also, I’ve had my assessment with the NHS for the depression which reared its ugly head recently, and have been advised that one-to-one counselling is the way forward. So now I’m awaiting the phone numbers to try out and see where the shortest waiting list is.

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The garden is looking beautiful, because of all the rain and then bits of sunshine. Going bonkers, in fact. I think May is my favourite springtime month of the year. Everything is so fresh and green, it all looks brand new. One poppy has opened, and there are lots and lots more waiting to burst open. The bluebells have been, and in some cases, already gone. The tulips are fabulous.

Knitting – have done the back, one front and one sleeve of this pattern. I had done two thirds of the second front, but messed it up. There are two pattern panels, and then there’s the shaping as well. But it’s fine. I’ll cast it on again tonight. The sleeves I’m doing slightly differently from the instructions. No pointy cuffs, just the diamond pattern up the centre of the sleeve. It looks nice. I was a bit concerned about the length of the sleeve, but after much faffing about with the calculator and the tape measure, it’s all come together. And I made a note of what I did so I can make the second sleeve match.

So generally I’m feeling much better.

Although the cat is not great. She’s very constipated, and it’s furball causing the problem. Took her to the vet’s today and she has had some treatment, we have medication for her and special food. She makes no fuss at all at the vet. He can do whatever he needs to, no complaining, no hissing, not even a miaow. And now she’s being very affectionate (for her). That means she lets me pick her up and cuddle her, while she purrs very, very loudly. Back to the vet on Thursday for them to check all is well. If not they’ll have to anaesthetise her and do a proper enema. Hmm. We shall see.

Not the cheeriest way to end this post, but she’s not exactly poorly.

Time to blurb a little.

I’m not going to talk about the election, because it’s just so depressing.

But I have been working in the garden, in bits and dabs, 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there, and it’s been lovely. The weather has been kind, the sun has shone, and it’s been very therapeutic. I’ve planted a nepeta (catnip) plant in a pot, which Bertie The Cat loves. Also a red hazel. I’ve weeded, dead-headed and cut back massively. Still stuff to do, of course, but the garden is currently looking wonderful. The pink dicentras are going bonkers. The bluebells are out, the tulips are lovely, and everything is budding or in leaf. One of my Christmas presents was a medlar tree, which I left in its little pot to winter in the cold frame, and have not long potted that up in a large pot. It’s going mad. Even fruiting. I dug up a lovely bergenia because the slugs and snails were eating all the leaves. I made sure the roots were clear of any soil and pests, planted it in a pot, protected the pot against invaders, and it’s going berserk. Leaves growing out of every available place. Beautiful. It’s like it’s saying “thank you”.

And we’ve had our wonderful decorator in to do our bathroom and en-suite. I’m so pleased with how they look. He always does an excellent job. He’s quiet, methodical, neat and tidy. He clears up every night before he goes home. With a vacuum cleaner. Yup.  He’s been doing our decorating for nearly 20 years now. Although we don’t have decorating done very often (to put it mildly). I painted our ensuite last time and I’m just crap at that stuff. All of a sudden the vileness of the colour hit me, then I started noticing anew the mess I’d made, so it’s just lovely to have a fresh, new, light colour. It was a peachy sort of colour and is now Dulux “Violet White” but is less white and more lilac. Lovely.  We’ll get him in next year to do our kitchen and utility when we’ve had the kitchen done (finally).

Tomorrow I’m going to try a “folk” size guitar. The 3/4 classical is a good size for me, and has a lovely sweet tone, but has a fat neck, and it’s very difficult to strum. So I’m trying an acoustic with steel strings and will see how that goes. If it’s too big still, I’m going to try a 3/4 size acoustic. Exciting.

Knitting is going well.Finished socks and matching fingerless gloves for YD.

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Logan is coming on apace. We saw him last Monday and Tuesday. He’s wonderful. Very smiley and giggly, and loves being sung to and jiggled about. Tonight he’s had his first solid food – a sweet potato chip. Looks like he enjoyed it . . . he’s already in 9-12 month age clothes, and he’s just 5 months yesterday. We don’t do puny babies in our family. I was a very puny baby, but first hubby was tall, so ED and YD are much taller than me.  IMG_2730

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That’s about it I think. Might take/post some photos of the plants if the weather allows.

Saturday 20th April

Last blog was quite “up”. This one is likely to be a bit “down”. The knitting is going ok, but only a few minutes at a time, and tonight I shan’t do any, too much pain. But still less than before the op.

However, the right forefinger knuckle, which was injected with a steroid on 7th February, is swollen and painful again. Went to the hospital on Friday, and they’ve discharged me from Orthopaedics. Still have to go back to Occupational Therapy once more though. The options with the knuckle are: one more injection, and if that doesn’t work, joint replacement. That’s quite a big job though so I’d have to be in more pain than this (!)

Disappointed, really. It was going so well. But it’s 2 1/2 months now, and I guess that is when things would either stay good, or deteriorate. Hmph.

Have been going to the Stitch group at the shop twice a week, Thursdays and Saturdays, in the morning. It works very well for me. It’s lovely to sit with other knitters/crocheters and chat and drink tea/coffee. The shop seems to be doing really well too. And it’s also excellent to be able to pop into my local yarn shop and buy yarn or needles! a five minute walk which is just right for me, and with a purpose at the end of it.

My computer is borked. I use Linux Ubuntu, dual booting with Windows XP. Linux never crashes, just never. I’ve been using it for years and years now, at least 5 years if not longer. And all of a sudden, I was playing a game of Solitaire, and there was a click, and it shut down. Wouldn’t start again, so I changed the fuse in the plug. Then it started, but re-booted itself every five minutes or so. Googled it, and some people have had this problem after the latest updates. So I tried booting into Windows, and it re-booted before I’d even logged in. So not Linux then. Hardware. Googled that (on the laptop which I’m using now) and constant re-booting can be absolutely anything, and very hard to troubleshoot. Checked how old the computer is (built it myself) and it’s 4 years old. Damn and blast. This time I’m buying one, because you get guarantees with bought computers. Just awaiting its arrival. It will have Windows 7 on it. I’ll set that up, then get the old drive out of the borked computer and see if that works in it, and then I could have Windows 7 on the 500 Gb drive, and Linux Ubuntu on the 1Tb drive. Also bought 3 years extra guarantee, collect and deliver. But I wasn’t expecting it. Wasn’t planning it. Hate that.

Then hubby saw how good the resolution on my laptop screen is, and made enthusiastic noises about how fabulous it is. So I tried to improve his screen resolution on his Linux Ubuntu, and borked his computer. Took me seven hours to sort it out. But he is happy with the resolution on his screen now. Thank goodness!

I did manage to back my computer up before it died, thankfully, but will lose my emails. If I can get the hard drive to work on the new pc I’ll get them all back again, but will just have to manage otherwise. I do have the contacts file and browser bookmarks and stuff, so no panic.

The weather here is beautiful. Sunny, breezy, and fairly chilly, but certainly nice enough for me to do a bit of pruning in the garden tomorrow if it stays like this and my hand improves. Lovely.