Nearly June

The garden is still a delight. Managed to wash all the pots. There are so many that the empty ones won’t fit in the shed, so they’re dotted around the garden, intended to just look nice. And I think they do.

Also spent a happy morning sorting out my part of the shed. It’s not divided up, you understand, into partitions or anything, but I just tend to use the potting bench, which hubby made for me, and it gets into a real old muddle. Anything else is a bit too big for me to manhandle. Hubby’s bike, the lawnmower, hubby’s workbenches, so that needs to be a joint effort. Before I started work on it there was barely room to get inside.

Lots of tea breaks and rests. Lots of spiders, and the odd wasp, which had died, presumably of boredom, but nothing nastier (for instance, dead mice). I threw loads of stuff away, sorted into recycle, the tip (public waste disposal area) and just the bin. Lots of sweeping up. All re-organised and looking absolutely spiffing now. Gleaming, in fact. And it’s stayed that way because I have barely needed to go in for the last week!

You might think that isn’t really gleaming, but compared to how it was before, believe me, it’s amazing. You couldn’t see through the windows for cobwebs and bits of dead insects. Everything’s relative . . . .

Last night, as forecast, there were the most spectacular thunderstorms I think I’ve seen in the UK. It was like pink strobe lightning. Started at 1.30 am, went on till 3.30 am, started again at 6.30 am. Sigh. I quite like thunderstorms, they’re exciting, but really, lying awake all night wasn’t great. So I got up, had breakfast, and went back to bed, where I slept from 9.30 am till 1.30 pm. Much better. More thunder and lightning forecast for tonight. Hey ho. Hopefully it will get the worst over before bedtime. Hopefully.

And so far, despite the heavy rain, the garden hasn’t turned into the usual flattened mush. Possibly because everything is a bit later this year, so instead of lots of poppies, there’s only a couple open. I did have to stake up some aquilegias, but there are loads of those, so one or two smashed ones don’t matter so much.

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The knitting is going well too. I’m making a cabled hooded jacket for the 3 year old, and it’s been a bit of a challenge, shall we say, but an enjoyable one. Done the back and one front, and the sleeves and hood don’t seem to have the difficult part of the pattern on, so that should help. Am going to contact Sirdar, though, whose pattern it is, and suggest they provide charts and/or pattern panels even if only downloadable, so they don’t need to print them out. The instructions for each row are a paragraph long, and look like computer code. If I hadn’t been knitting for about 100 years, I would have given up. What I did was put stitch markers either side of the difficult bit, and mark the corresponding part of the instructions on the pattern itself with highlighter. That itself took some doing. But the feeling of achievement will be all the greater when it’s done. I think. It’s double knitting yarn, although it’s a fairly heavily cabled pattern. I’m using Bergère de France Ecoton in a denim blue. Lovely. I’ll sew it up with West Yorkshire Spinners DK in the same colour though, as the Ecoton is a bit lumpy, which is nice for the texture of the fabric, not so great for sewing up. It’ll look better when it’s sewn up and blocked.

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May. Love it.

Possibly my favourite month of the year, apart from the autumn months. Finally managed to get somebody in to do the gardening. He does my friend’s garden and spent a morning doing mine. Excellent. Lovely guy, wonderful plantsman, knows his stuff, and did a brilliant job. Next day I did the rest, because he had made sure, unknowingly, that it was now something I could actually cope with. No repercussions except a bit achy in the legs and back.

Thank goodness the weather has improved. I don’t mind the rain at all because it greens everything up. It’s just a joy to me how every spring the green is so fresh. And so different for each plant.

Just had a cup of tea sitting in the garden, in my favourite corner. It’s not a very big garden, at all, just right for me in fact, but there is one small very peaceful corner. Lovely. Breezy, sunny, washing drying on the line. Hubby out playing golf.

The robins have been going bonkers in our garden, warning off potential predators like our cat (who couldn’t give a stuff about them) and more worryingly, magpies. I went out the other day and saw a parent robin sitting on the pavement at the very end of our drive, really close, giving it loads.  Then I spotted a small roundish bundle of twigs even nearer to me, actually on the drive. That turned out to be a fledgling. I approached really slowly and gently, making what I think are soothing, don’t-be-frightened noises, but as soon as my shadow fell on to it, it flew away, shitting as it went. So it could fly after all. But only when some enormous creature approached and frightened the shit out of it. Result, I guess. Next day, saw the cat pawing at something in the undergrowth. Yep, another fledgling. Smaller. So I shooed the cat away and into the house (another indication that she’s not that bothered), and eventually parent robin stopped squawking. But how worrying for the robins. Not a peep out of them now, so presumably the fledglings have got their act together. Hopefully. The alternative is too depressing to contemplate. The blackbirds have started now. I love birdsong, but find the warning “chooks” a bit fraught. Not, clearly, as fraught as the actual birds.

Been doing some knitting too. About to start on a hooded cabled jacket for 3 year old grandson.  Made a little toy owl last night for granddaughter, who loves owls. Will do another one I think for youngest grandson. A different colour. And made a triceratops for another grandson who lost his. And a little jacket for the granddaughter.

Haircut yesterday. Lunch with friend (former colleague). Lovely. Also braved Marks & Spencers, which was very busy and too much for me, so when I got home I ordered the stuff online. Spent some of my Hotel Chocolat voucher on delicious dairy-free chocolate. Yeah.

Ultrasound on my feet booked for next week. Eye test booked for Monday. So what with the hairdo and those two appointments, the maintenance and upkeep system seems to be working.

I’m feeling much more positive and better about things now the bulk of the gardening has been done. It’s a joy to just sit and look at it. Need some more herbs (mint and parsley) and possibly some nepeta (cat mint, she loves it). Also need to wash out all the emptied pots with Jeyes fluid (strong disinfectant to kill any latent nasties). Possibly will do that in batches, as it’s an awkward position to maintain, despite having a hose with a fancy head attachment thing.

This morning I’m just sitting about, pottering a little, and enjoying the quiet and the weather. Lovely.

April! What!

Where to start.

Just finished reading Fire & Fury. Jeez, what a read. Buckle up, buttercup, and hold on tight. Things are as I thought they were, only much worse. Devastating. I can’t believe this guy was elected. But he was, and it is what it is. Not going to read the Comey book, though, just can’t cope with any more bad news. Although I did wonder if that’s why Trump “pardoned” the guy who gave away state secrets – because Comey had prosecuted him. So Trump, having never met the guy, pardons him, just to piss Comey off (in my opinion). Right. How very presidential. Not.

Also, Syria. Sigh. Just. Sigh.

Getting over an M.E. “episode”. Slept for 23 hours last week from Wednesday lunchtime to Thursday late morning. Mm. Not great. No knitting. No gardening. No crying, either, though, so could be worse.

Been to the osteopath today, and need to go again in two weeks. Sore, achy and weepy (though not actually weeping!) and not planning to do anything at all tomorrow. Except possibly a little bit of ironing. Will see how things are in the morning.

Really need to get somebody in to do a spring tidy up in the garden. It’s going bonkers now, and I haven’t been able to do anything to it since last October. All the dead stuff needs cutting back. All the leaves need sweeping/vacuuming up. I have eleven huge pots of dead plants which need dealing with (emptying, getting rid of the compost, etc). Lawn needs mowing before it gets any longer. And now some of the daffs need dead-heading. Sigh.

I haven’t been able to knit, but I have been able to do knitter-type things, like make decisions about future projects and browsing Ravelry. That’s quite soothing to do.

And the weather has improved. Today has been lovely. Sunny and mild. We actually dried most of the washing outside on the line. Smells delicious.

On the much more positive side, I have a new great-nephew. He is called Zack and is of course delightful. Love little babies. Particularly when I’m actually related to them.

And that, my friends, is all for today. Hoping to be a bit less miserable next time.

Grumpy McGrumpface

Yep, that’s me. Was doing ok until Tuesday last, when I woke with no voice again. Feeling poorly too, haven’t put actual clothes on since last Monday. Yesterday thought I was improving slightly, but today my sinuses are blocked with the usual accompanying head and face ache. Still, thank goodness for Lemsip with its painkillers and decongestant. Am supposed to be at the hairdressers on Wednesday, but we shall see.

No knitting, just can’t think straight.

I’ve been asleep most of the days, and all night too, and not eating terribly well either. Hubby is doing a grand job of looking after me. The cat is a bit discombobulated though. (“you’re not bleeding, why aren’t you looking after me?”)

Seen a few good films on the tv over the last few weeks though.

Sicario: excellent. Violent, tense, Emily Blunt looking thin and fraught.
Gone Girl: excellent thriller. Lots of twists and turns in the story.
Ex Machina: excellent sci-fi. Creepy, tense, unexpected.
12 Angry Men: very, very good. A jury sits to decide whether a man on trial is innocent or guilty of murder. Sounds boring, but really, really isn’t.

~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Got quite fraught yesterday when I thought that I’d lost this blog. I could still see it as a visitor, but logging in has become a whole new game. Decided to leave it a day, and actually found my way back in. It asks for your email address, then when you give that, it sends you a sign-in link which takes you to a brand new, empty, account. If it said “email address OR USER NAME”, that would be much clearer, and so much more helpful. So eventually I put in my user name, password, and hoped for the best, and guess what. Here I am. But what a bummer.

And, if you’re an Archers fan, OH MY GOD! no spoilers, but what a shock!

Anyway. That’s it for now. No more headspace.

January 2018

Another year. Almost through the first month, too. It’s cold but dry outside, although the wind last night was fearsome! kept me awake for hours!

Christmas – bit of a write off for me, was ill (again) with a similar thing to the November virus, but only for two weeks, this time, instead of four weeks, starting Christmas Eve. Missed two family parties. Bummer. Big old bummer. However, Hubby did a fabulous lunch on Christmas Day, and we’d been for breakfast at YD’s house, so managed that day, then spent the rest of the two weeks in bed most of the time. Voiceless and feeling dreadful.

Am better now, though, and almost up to knitting again. I did crochet an Olaf (from Frozen) for ESW, but my crochet skills are really not that good. However, it’s a toy. It’s meant to be lumpy. ESW won’t give a stuff how olaflumpy it is, or where the lumps are.

And it looks ok.

New knitting projects planned. Love it when there’s lots to do. Also almost through the pile of books I was given as gifts. The last one, which I’m reading now, is Simon Schama’s History of the Jews (second book) “Belonging”. Very interesting. Detailed, engaging, and, for me, with my Jewish heritage, fascinating. There was a time, hundreds of years ago, when Jewishness was regarded as having come through the father, not the mother. Mm.

Yesterday we went to a lovely independent bookshop in Coventry to donate some books (https://www.thebigcomfybookshop.co.uk/), then IKEA, got most of what we went for, only spent £25 (which is much less than we normally end up spending there!), then the council tip on the way home. Excellent morning, very productive. Result: very tidy house, a knackered me. But it’ll pass.

Just written to my lovely French friend, sent it off with some photos, then I had a lovely shower and washed my hair. Soon it’s going to be lunch time. My life is such a mad social whirl. Not. Thank goodness.

Not going to knitting group this morning, may go on Saturday. Hopefully. It’s great. Hot drinks, cake, biscuits, friendly people and all in an excellent yarn shop. Plenty of support for when things go wrong too.

November

And no, it’s not Christmas yet! I know there are those among you who would love Christmas all year long, but when my offspring were much younger, nobody was even allowed to mention the word until December. Harsh? possibly, but saved my sanity.

What’s been occurring? well, the new fascia for my car stereo is excellent. I’ve kept the old one as a spare because it’s only the display that’s gone. The new one looks brand new (even though it’s not), works a treat, and the display is perfect. So that’s a plus.

Health not so good, however. Throat virus for the last two and a half weeks now, which has involved an extremely sore throat, several days in bed not eating (but drinking lots of fluids), a trip to the doctor to be reassured it’s not bacterial, so no antibiotics, and a nasty cough. Oh, and no voice at all. I’ve been having to cancel everything as it comes along (social outings, even the osteopath today). Well, in reality, hubby has been having to cancel everything because – I have no voice!

I’ve been reading a lot, which is always a bonus, when I’ve been up to it. And serendipitously, one of my favourite authors, Tom Cox, has had a new book published. It’s called A 21st Century Yokel, and is quite lovely. It’s as if he’s speaking to you, telling you about his life. The countryside where he lives now, and where he has lived. His family, including his delightful eccentric Dad and his lovely Mum – who does all sorts of craft things. His friends and his hobbies (bat watching, beaver watching – the dam-building kind – swimming in rivers, very outdoorsy).

It’s been a pleasure to read. I’ve savoured every word. I get a similar feeling of one-ness with the world when I read Bill Bryson’s books. Both authors demonstrate an understanding of life and nature that chimes very much with my own. Or rather, informs how I feel about these things.

Knitting has had to take a back seat. I have completely lost my knitting mojo. But, you’ll be relieved to hear, I re-knitted the cardigan I’d wrecked, in different yarn, and I much prefer it anyway (no photo, it’s a gift). So all the Christmas knitting is done, and four child/baby hats (they only take an evening or two). All in West Yorkshire Spinners Aran in various “cocktail” colours. I have started on a lovely jumper for hubby, but only managed one evening’s worth. It’ll still be there when my knitting mojo returns, however. I do occasionally pick it up and feel it and look at it, just to make sure I still like it. (I do).

It looks grey, but it’s actually denim blue. West Yorkshire Spinners Aran, 75% wool, 25% acrylic. Not terribly difficult to do, but stitch markers have changed my life, so I use them if I think there might be the slightest possibility I could go wrong. Circular needles, too. At this stage, after only a few inches, it makes very little difference what sort of needles I use (except that I’m much less likely to drop a needle than when I’m using straights!), but when the work is bigger, the weight falls on my lap, not my shoulders.