Ups and Downs

Ups – well, the weather has been kind enough for me to go for a short walk most days. The post has started arriving, in fits and starts, but nonetheless a knitting magazine arrived yesterday! Hooray!

I’ve started putting a soft toy in the front window for children to see as they walk past. Eric the Bumblebee was quite popular. I change the toy every day as soon as I remember. Currently it’s a Build-a-Bear wearing glasses. Not sure what will come next.


Today’s job is making chocolate chip cookies. Yeah.

The “prescribing nurse” from our doctor’s surgery phoned last night to make sure we’re ok. I think that’s brilliant. She arranged some blue inhalers for me (I never need them so mine were out of date) as I might just need one, and said to phone if I need more painkillers. How wonderful. What a fabulous service. Long live the NHS.

Downs – the heating system is misbehaving. The radiators get much too hot, but the water is cold. We’re using the immersion heater, and hubby is turning the heating off and on as necessary. Not really a huge problem but it will need fixing at some point.

Can’t knit at all at the moment because the arthritis in my right hand knuckles has returned with a vengeance. Steroid injections last November worked really well for about three and a half months. I can’t hold a mug of tea or coffee by the handle in my right hand. Sigh.

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Tomorrow I’m hoping to do some weeding in the front garden. I’ll wear some thick gloves so hopefully they will act as a sort of splint. There isn’t much to do, but the groundsel has got way too big. It’s usually easy to get the roots out though. I’ve also ordered some green euonymous to fill in the spaces between the photinias, which haven’t bushed out as much as I hoped they would. So tapestry hedge it is.

Mother’s Day UK

Spoke to both daughters. One’s in New Zealand, one’s in Southampton. Flowers and e-voucher. Lovely.

Been gardening today. Yeah. Love it.

The three heathers (ericas) in pots I bought locally, and when I planted them they were badly root bound. But they look ok! The strange red shoot is a peony, and the Christmas Roses (hellebores) are doing ok too still. And the hyacinths are coming along nicely.

Just having a little rest before lunch then a little snooze I think.

Where to start!

Been back from New Zealand over a month now and life had pretty much settled back to normal. Until The Apocalypse (Covid-19) arrived. Bleugh.

I don’t understand why people would buy ALL the toilet rolls and ALL the pasta. What about everybody else, dickheads?? Huh?

Hubby and I are not self-isolating yet but we are “distancing” socially. It was my sister’s birthday yesterday, and we were actually in the same room! but didn’t hug. Hmm. It’s sensible, just a bit sad. So we bumped elbows instead. I won’t catch public transport or go anywhere too crowded (not that anywhere is at the moment!)

Although Hubby, bless him, went to a concert at Symphony Hall last night. On public transport. And bought a Big Issue (which I won’t touch and is now in the recycling. I usually do buy it, but not at the moment!) Sigh. He’s 74, with a heart condition. We did talk about it but he’s a grown up. Hmm.

But then I have a hair appointment tomorrow. Just hoping the hairdresser people all wear plastic gloves. I expect they will. They’d better not breathe on me either. Joking. (sort of).

Been catching up on “inside” jobs, although managed to do an hour’s gardening last week, which was lovely. I just cut back all the ugly dead stuff and did a very small bit of weeding. Now the daffodils are centre stage and look lovely. I’m absolutely knackered, of course, but happy.

And this morning I sorted out all the stuff from Mother’s house which is going to eBay/Freecycle/charity shop. A very small proportion has been bought on eBay, the rest is charity shop/Freecycle. So boxes have been reorganised and there are lots more boxes in the hall, far fewer in the study! Also went through two boxes of framed photos, sorted the frames into charity shop/tip (refuse centre), and kept all the photos.

Just to give you a small idea of a fraction of the stuff. There have been umpteen (probably 100) visits to charity shops. We have filled two medium size skips, and will probably fill another one. But Mother’s house is looking better now.  Bigger. She was a bit of an “accumulator” and there was stuff just everywhere.

Next up – sort ALL the photos (boxfuls) into some sort of order. I have the box, I have the photos, and an idea of how I’m going to do it. Just need to wait for the energy to do it . . . in the plan is also writing on the back who is who, if  it’s not already done. My sister and I are the last people on this side of this family who will have any chance of identifying people, and it’s just so useful when looking through old photos to know. Instead of gazing blankly at strangers,  there are”ohs” of recognition as realisation dawns. It’s history. Family history. Yeah. Dad was born in 1920, and there are photos of his parents, the (very) odd aunt, and so on. Just the clothes are interesting.

And then there are hundreds of transparencies to go through. Hundreds. There is a slide projector which of course I haven’t the faintest idea how to use, but that will be another little job. Learn to use the slide projector. Learn how to load the slides into the cartridges. Learn how to identify which slide is actually showing at any one time. I may need to set aside some time for that . . . .

Woke late this morning, unsurprisingly. Feeling ok though, but I am aware I’ve done enough.  Hence sitting blogging.

I’m home!

Went to New Zealand for a month to stay with YD and family. It was absolutely excellent. Very hot. Swimming in the sea is normal (did that a LOT). So is factor 50 sunscreen and a sunhat and covering up in the sun (in fact strongly advised).

It’s very relaxed there, although it’s stuck in the 50s in some ways. I didn’t see one single homeless person or beggar, no litter or graffiti, and there seems to be huge awareness of and responsibility for the environment, and despite the racism and inequality, a sense of what social justice means.

Expensive though. It’s so far away from anywhere they have to grow, make, or import everything. The fruit and veg are enormous! and delicious.

It’s a bitch of a journey though. 30 hours door to door each way, and then there’s the jet lag to deal with. Feeling slightly more normal today – today is the sixth day since I arrived home.

Here are some photos. When my head has returned to its normal state I’ll write more.

The Aftermath

Mother’s funeral was yesterday. A short ceremony at the Crematorium, then a longer service at the Baptist church she had requested, as she had been baptised there many years ago, despite being brought up as a Scottish Presbyterian. (Is that Calvinist? if so, that might explain some stuff.)

It went well. It’s the first time I’ve had to help arrange a funeral, and it seemed complicated because of all the different people/venues – the minister, the funeral directors, the church, the venue for the wake. But it all went fine.

Apart from the dreadful weather. Cold, windy, rainy. The previous day had been beautiful and sunny, if cold.

It was amazing to meet the people in her life I had never met (I’d heard all about them of course, and they’d all heard about me and my sister and our families). There were a number of facets to her character I really didn’t know about, mostly much more positive than my experience.

Her house needs more clearing up, and we’re slowly working through that. It’s a 56 mile round trip, which means I’m exhausted just from the drive when I get home. But the actual work is interesting because there’s just so much stuff.

Today I spent mostly asleep in bed. Tomorrow I’m planning to go and do a bit of sorting out, and Friday too.

My knitting has had to take a back seat for the last couple of days, although I’ve managed to finish a garment I was knitting.

Next up is a toy – Bonbon bunny, which will be the third I’ve done. It’s a bit fiddly to start each part, because you cast on 3 stitches and join in the round. Yeah. But once you’ve dealt with that and started increasing it all gets easier. Toys are good because they’re small pieces and knit up quickly. On the other hand they’re fiddly and you have to remember which piece goes where. Sometimes it’s hard to work out whether one little curled up piece of stocking stitch is an arm or a leg, but on this particular toy it’s easy to work out.


The Aged Mother did not recover. She died peacefully on Monday night.  We are currently waiting to collect the necessary documentation from the hospital to register the death and organise the funeral.

It’s all very sad. Her house is a treasure trove of old letters and stuff which will all need sorting out. I feel relieved that she’s no longer suffering and pretending she’s not. Brave, fierce, and difficult.

That’s it I think for now.

It’s all kicking off

Well now. Not sure where to start, really. I guess the biggest thing is that the Aged Mother (87) is actually in hospital now, not at all well, but insisting she’s FINE. Of course she is. Not. Further updates as they arrive. We’re visiting her tomorrow.

I’ve had cortisone injections into two of my knuckles on my right hand. The procedure was almost painless and I now have no pain or swelling there. No pain. No swelling. That’s amazing for me. I saw an orthopaedic consultant six years ago, and he said he wouldn’t replace the joints just yet. Right. Ok. So I saw a different orthopaedic consultant six weeks ago, and he said oh yes, steroid injections, that should help. And it has.

Knitting has recommenced but only in short bursts. It feels so nice though to be able to knit again. Although it had been so long that I accidentally joined the jacket I’m knitting in the round and had to undo a row. Sigh. But it’s all fine now.

Also have decided to have a go at making my own baubles for the Christmas tree with polystyrene balls, fabric and ribbon. One of the knitting group made a fabulous one at a workshop and it’s really, really lovely. So I looked on YouTube, found a couple of excellent tutorials, will take what I need from both, and just need to get some fabric and ribbon. Ordered the polystyrene balls from ebay. Yeah. Photos if they work out ok.

YD is having an excellent time in NZ. Lovely photos and videos. It’s their spring/summer time so plenty of the beach and the sea. Mm.

Finished Christmas present buying. I keep a spreadsheet so I know who’s getting what, and who got what over the past several years. Yeah, I know. Don’t care.