A strange little episode

Our cat, Bertie (female) is nearly 9, and weighs 3 kilos (7lbs). She’s very shy, and not at all aggressive to anybody/anything.bertie

But last night, while I was eating my dinner, she started to growl. I looked outside into the garden, and there was a large long-haired ginger tom cat.  About twice Bertie’s size. He’s a regular visitor. He’s very handsome face on, like a lion, but sideways on you can see he’s quite old. I think he wants to be friends with Bertie, but she’s not having any of that nonsense.

Anyway, she growled, then she turned her back on him (her tail wasn’t fluffed up or anything), so he watched for a few seconds then pottered off.

(The pictures of the ginger tom are library pictures, from our wildlife webcam, last month, as you can see from the date stamp!)

gingertom1ginger tomThen he smelled the pot where I grow some catnip. Bertie loves it and regularly gets right inside the pot for a little sleep.

catnip

My hand is in there for scale!

He kept his back feet on the ground, put both his front paws in the pot, and had a good old headrub and sniff at the catnip. He was actually trying to lie down in it, but only his top half was in the pot.

Eventually, he managed to get all four paws in the pot and curled up, still rubbing and sniffing at it.

By this time I’ve got right up to the window (wishing like billyo I had my phone camera with me) and just watched for ages.

His eyes were almost closed, but he gradually realised he was being watched. He could also tell I was no threat, so instead of jumping up in alarm and running off, he slowly and carefully, with as much dignity as he could muster, got himself standing up, got down from the pot, and strolled off. He was clearly thinking “I’ll just, erm, go, erm, this way . . . and perhaps she won’t think I’m an idiot”.

I laughed and laughed and laughed. As much as is possible with no voice!

Advertisements

Ups and Downs

Well, life seems to be conspiring against me, knitting-wise, at the moment.

In no particular order:

The weather. It’s just too damn hot to knit. I’m so lethargic. Hate it. Our grass is now yellow straw. Very short yellow straw. Most of the border plants are coping without water, only the hydrangea which is under the willow tree in front of the leylandii needs watering once or twice a week. Understandable, really, with the two thugs it’s competing with. Can’t wait for rain, although the weather forecasters are suggesting it’ll be another month. Sigh.

The football. Very exciting. Much more exciting even than the World Cup is usually. Lots of excellent teams unexpectedly losing and going home. And I can’t believe England is in the last 16. That may of course change after this afternoon’s game. But the upshot is I can’t knit and watch exciting football. I mess up my knitting big time.

My health. I am in the middle of a bout of laryngitis, with no voice at all (can barely whisper) and feeling like five kinds of sh*t. Sleeping a lot. Languishing, really. Painkillers and lots of cold drinks, and some honey and lemon hot drinks for when the coughing hurts my throat.

Knitting mojo has disappeared.

So any one of those things would stop me knitting but all four together? Mm.

Luckily I don’t have any time-sensitive projects at the moment, so it just doesn’t matter.

Recent Projects

From top left: small triceratops to replace lost one, little owl, second little owl, dk cabled hoodie in Bergère De France Ecoton and a clown cushion.

The clown cushion is to help little ones learn fastenings – velcro, press stud, button, buckles, bow and zip. I’ve made four altogether over the past 30 odd years. They are a bit of a faff, but well-loved. The pattern is from a very old women’s magazine, and I have a pdf of it now.

Currently about half way through a shawl called “Worth The Fuss” in Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Cotton. I’ve knitted through red, orange, yellow and green. I am enjoying doing it. There’s something interesting to do on each row, but it does mean I can’t watch the World Cup football and knit! (much too exciting). A knitty friend said she missed a goal – I messed up the knitting big time! so am taking the opportunity to do a few rows here and there during the day. That’s very unusual for me, but by the time the 7 pm kick off match has finished, at about 9 pm, I’m just too tired to risk making any more mistakes.

Next up is a toy puffin for a grandson who lives in Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

And then something a bit challenging – the pattern is called “Ari” and is intended for Aran yarn, but I’m knitting it up in dark smokey grey cotton (Erika Knight Gossypium) DK. I got the calculator and worked it all out, and have decided that knitting the size which involves casting 90 stitches should work. 90 stitches in Aran yarn would be quite big for me, but 90 stitches in DK yarn should be just over 16″ wide, which is just about right. The other thing I will need to be careful about when marking it up with my highlighter pen is the garment and sleeve lengths.

The weather here is hot and humid (well, hot for the UK!) and I hate it. Desk fans all over the place, ceiling fan in the bedroom, and I’m languishing with cold drinks. My favourite seasons are spring and autumn. Autumn for the colours. Spring for the growth.

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.

IMG_20180522_135117864

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.

IMG_20180524_190204118

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.