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. The one guy has sourced moss 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.

 

Not Knitting

Not knitting, not at all, but managing to get things done in the garden. Took three heathers out of their pots and planted them in the ground. Briza Media (perennial quaking oat grass) arrived and is now in its own pot. Hubby cut down intrusive tamarisk tree and we cleared the ground ready for the new bird-feeder, and put down a concrete slab so hopefully this one won’t rot.

Reading a lot. A lot. Currently three quarters of the way through Beth McColl’s book about mental health. Oh. My. Days. She’s in her twenties, but so wise. As a sufferer from mental health issues she really knows what it can be like.  And the writing style is very engaging and friendly. I’m finding it so reassuring, because the things she recommends are the things I do. But then I’m 65 and have had mental health problems all my life, even in childhood. So I would expect to have learned how to manage it, and mostly I do.

Ordered another wildlife camera – we have one, but keep missing the woodpeckers and the jay for one reason or another. A second one, I thought, would give us more chances to capture pictures of interesting things. Still awaiting delivery. Just realised I only ordered one memory card for it. Two would be much more sensible. Hm.

We are “doing” the next fam-a-lam quiz, so are busily setting up questions. It’s good fun, and we are bouncing questions off each other to see if they’re appropriate (too hard/easy), because it all depends on your knowledge and experience. Hubby seemed to think I would easily recognise something (can’t say what), but I assured him I definitely wouldn’t!

Still in lockdown, by choice, because I do believe that capitalism has become more important than human life in whatever meetings are being held. But thanks to Zoom, and the telephone, and WhatsApp, we are keeping in touch. Missing family and friends though. Mm. And now they’ve found this dexamethasone helps a lot, that’s encouraging.

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.

Success!

After days and days of problems with the wi-fi signal (probably because everybody is using wi-fi more now we’re all at home so much) I decided that we needed to put the Virgin Superhub3 into modem mode and buy a new router.

So I did. Also bought some new cables and switch boxes. It all arrived today (Asus RT AC 85P and tp-link 8 port switches, along with various lengths of Cat6 flat ethernet cables).

Surprisingly, after a number of sleepless nights worrying about it and thinking it all through, I put it together and it worked with no problems at all. I can now see every single thing on the network, which I couldn’t before. Even the TV!

Also the Tivo box had been giving us problems, which have magically disappeared. And hardly any HomePlugs too. One (plus its pair) for the printer, and one (plus its pair) for the hifi thingamajig in the kitchen. Which are also visible on the network. Part of the problem was that the electrical circuit in the study doesn’t talk via HomePlugs to the electrical circuits anywhere else in the house. So now we have 2 x 30m of ethernet cable going from study to lounge, but it all seems to work. I can’t believe how easy it was.

The main problem, though, was that the Virgin Superhub3 wasn’t coping, as demonstrated by the new router, which clearly is coping. Hooray!

But I’ve only just finished it. It could all go horribly wrong by tomorrow, but that’s unlikely.

And just to finish off, here is a photo of some poppies in my garden. Yay!

Happier Things

I’ve just been in the garden, tidying up most of the daffodil, tulip and bluebell detritus. Looks much better, but when sitting having my post-gardening cup of tea I noticed more I’d missed. Another little job for another day.

Meanwhile here are a couple of photos – two of indoor plants, the white schlumbergera (?) was a present from my small friend Henry, the pink one I have no idea what it is, but took a cutting from Mother’s house while she was still with us. The red ones are perennial poppies I grew from seed several years ago, so I’m quite (insufferably) smug about those.

Currently reading The Man In The Red Coat by Julian Barnes. Love his stuff anyway, but this one is very interesting. Non-fiction, it’s a sort of meander through La Belle Epoque, but occasionally the author “talks to camera” which is very endearing. Previous book was Bill Bryson’s Thunderbolt Kid. Laugh out loud funny.

Half way through Pimpelliese shawlette, but I’m guessing there will be no knitting tonight after gardening this morning.

Halfway through the HBO season 1 of Succession. Wowsers! I don’t like any of the characters. Perhaps a sneaking admiration for Marcia. It is so clearly intended to be a story of, let’s say for example, Murdoch empire (Fox/Sky).  I don’t know why anybody would want to work for them. Edge of the seat watching though.

Work is still ongoing on the “improve the wi-fi” project. More to come when I’ve actually made some progress. Sigh.

Busy, busy, busy

I found 35 fox turds in our front garden. It’s like a public toilet for foxes. “This way, guys, it’s wonderful here”. The smell! so I’ve got some fox repellent called Scoot. It’s powder you mix with water and use a watering can to sprinkle. It doesn’t hurt plants or animals (or humans) and it makes a smell that only foxes can notice, and that smell tells them it’s somebody else’s lair, so keep away. It does work, but has to be replaced regularly. That’s ok though.

Then there’s the heating system which is still to wonk.

The wi-fi range is a problem in our house. It’s been working fine for years, until lockdown, and Skype and Zoom became regular things. I’ve been under the delusion that these powerline/homeplug/whatever-they-are-called things work through the whole house, but apparently, to my horror, they only work on the same electrical circuit. So I’ve ordered a wi-fi range extender with all sorts of bells and whistles, and am hoping that will help. We do have an old router I made into a wi-fi booster, but even that’s not helping with the Skype and Zoom problem. Last Saturday hubby and I sat in the study, using his tablet, next to the router, so that we could join in.

The network fell apart last night. The music player in the lounge (hubby streams music) was not visible on the network. (everything else was!) I had moved the router  (which is in the study) nearer the door (we’re on cable, so it can’t be moved out of the study) in an effort to improve the wi-fi range, though I hadn’t unplugged any of the ethernet wires. After a fraught and sweaty half hour, with lots of switching things off and back on again, eventually, the music player re-appeared on the network. I am sure the problem is that the only reason it’s visible at all is because of a huge long ethernet cable from the router to the music player, which looks a bit fragile where it’s attached to the plug. So I’ve ordered two more huge long (30m) flat ethernet cables, one to go from the switch box in the study to the switch box in the lounge, and a spare. (Resilience, I think the techies call it). The idea is that the switch boxes in the separate rooms will then talk to each other via the ethernet cables, as they clearly don’t talk to each other via the powerline / homeplug / blah blah blah. We shall see. Flipping technology.

And hubby hurt his back turning the compost. It’s a regular problem. So we’ve ordered a tumbler compost bin, which should help.

Lots of money going out. Lots of deliveries arriving, but somewhat sporadically. It’s all fine. It’s all FINE.

 

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.