What a mess!

Election.
Brexit.
London Bridge attack.
Grenfell House fire.
Mosque attack.

It couldn’t really be much more depressing.

The government is in complete disarray, having failed to win a working majority. So now they’re trying to do a deal with the most right-wing party they can find who actually have some seats at Westminster. Trouble is, this party (the DUP) don’t believe in evolution, they are anti-abortion even in the case of rape, they’re almost fundamentalist Protestants. So that’s not going terribly well, really.

Brexit – after all the bluster and braggadocio, we have caved on Day One of negotiations.

London Bridge – more terrorism, more people hurt and killed.

Grenfell House – a disaster just waiting to happen. Dreadful tower block fire, we still don’t know how many people died, and there are still survivors who have nowhere to live/sleep.

And a lone man drove his van into worshippers outside a mosque, hurt several people and killed a man who was already receiving first aid on the pavement. More terrorism. What is it about religion that makes people so damned angry?

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On the positive side, there’s what? the weather? I hate it. Hate it with a passion. The heat and humidity reduce me to a sweaty puddle. Thank goodness it’s normal temperatures now (17 deg C). Roll on autumn, say I. Much more my bag.

But LCS did like the Superman outfit I knitted for his baby doll. And I’ve made one shawlette (Pimpelliese) and am happily knitting another one (Close to You).

And the garden is looking fabulous, though I did manage to kill a potted lavender through sheer neglect. Oh, lavenders like it dry, I thought to myself. Until I had a look this morning and it’s sort of grey and crispy. Oh dear. The poppies have been spectacular, my single peony looked lovely, and I have plans to plant and pot up more stuff. But need a new lavender now. Oops.

 

Sunday 4 June 2017

Well, not sure what to say about last night’s terrorist attack in London. It’s just so depressing. What do you do when a van full of angry men speeds into pedestrians, then they jump out and start stabbing people? you couldn’t make it up. But, like Manchester, London rallied round with offers of help, free taxi rides, and in true British fashion just got on with helping.

Trouble is that the attackers and their ilk would like us all to hate each other. Clearly democracy is not what they want, or they wouldn’t be upping their atrocities during an election. It’s hard to imagine what goes on in somebody’s head when they plan and execute such a thing.

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Meanwhile, on a purely selfish, personal note, I’m feeling really horrible today. Not physically, just in my head. Two projects went wrong – nothing terrible, but I’d planned to do some gardening today and it rained, and a knitting project I had been quite pleased with went spectacularly wrong. Also, I had a difficult conversation with Mother the other day and was left feeling really sad and angry. I must remember she’s old and fragile, and she’s cross because she can’t do what she used to do.

So I thought I’d have a little blog-rant and let the poison out a bit, if you see what I mean.

The grandchildren are, as ever, a delight. The cat is becoming very slightly more affectionate. Well, less aloof. Still no lap-sitting or anything as daring as that, but she does let me pick her up with slightly less fuss. Although she always purrs like billy-o when I do cuddle her.

And here are a few photos of stuff which actually worked!

So my next knitting project is for grandson in Southampton. I foolishly suggested that I could knit something for his baby doll Laura, and asked what he’d like. Superman, he said. Oh, what! So I’m knitting some Superman stuff for a 20″ baby doll. Don’t ask. Photos when he’s received it. Even if he doesn’t like it!

Enough for now.

 

April.

I can’t believe I have yet another throat infection and no voice. Third in three months. And last week – or was it the week before? – I had what I think was probably a nasty migraine. 24 hours of blinding headache and bad nausea. Took another week to recover. So this year so far has been a bummer, healthwise.

Meanwhile, the Aged Mother has been in hospital, and is now home recovering. Youngest grandchild has been born, in Dublin, little boy, all doing well. Eight grandchildren! how lucky are we! ESW (youngest grandaughter) is just a joy, but currently has a virus. LCS (ED’s little boy) is fine and also a joy.

ES is with us this weekend, having a sleep at the moment and leaving when he wakes up.

The garden is looking lovely. Must deadhead the daffodils when I feel up to it, but it’s cheering to look out at it on a sunny day like today.

Knitted a little jacket and crocheted a blanket which will be in the post tomorrow for youngest grandchild (initials HR). Photos when the parcel has been received. Currently knitting Dobby socks, as requested, for a grandson’s upcoming 13th birthday. They are Dobby socks because one is green, with Golden Snitches knitted in, and the other will be red, with broomsticks knitted in. So that means knitting in the round (a tube), no seams, stranded (different colour yarns), turning a heel and grafting the toe. All good fun and makes it interesting to do. Again, photos when received.

Missed the Stitch Up at Stitch Solihull yesterday because I was just too damn poorly. I think that’s two I’ve missed. Grump.

 

Time to Blog

January this year was a write-off for me, what with the sinus and throat infections and no voice for three and a half weeks, not to mention feeling dreadful.

February was better, apart from Andy’s funeral, which was fraught and lovely in equal measure. A long day, in London, with so many people who loved him so much. And both my daughters, which was also delightful. And a short cuddle with fabulous grandson LCS.

March – not sure really. No voice. Again. But after three days am starting to feel a little better. Lots of fluids, regular paracetamol, and plenty of rest.

Today I felt so much better that I’ve actually set up the wildlife camera in the garden. I’ve no idea what will transpire, but am very interested to see what happens overnight. First time ever, so fingers crossed. I’ve been thinking and thinking about a wildlife camera. We watch a lot of wildlife programmes, and even though we won’t get to see elk, or wolves, or panthers, I’m wondering about muntjac deer, other cats, maybe hedgehogs? exciting.

Have been crocheting a little bit. Knitting turned into a nightmare, so I’ve rejigged all my projects and finished a shawl which was a long, long time in the making (but I love it now!) and am having a short knitting break. I’m actually waiting for some new baby yarn to arrive in The Shop so I can knit something for a baby due at the end of March. Here’s a couple of photos of the knitting and crochet, with a bonus one of grand-daughter ESW.

Osteopath tomorrow. Was going to cancel but need to go really. Had to cancel hairdo on Wednesday, as soon as I have a voice I will rearrange that. Also had to cancel friend’s visit on Tuesday, which was actually the worst day. Will rearrange that too when I can talk!

 

 

Mixed Feelings

I do enjoy Christmas these days, but this particular one was sadder than usual. A good friend of my daughters (they went to school together), was killed on 15th December in a hit and run accident, near where he lived, in London. The police are searching for the culprit. The randomness, and the casual cruelty, of just driving off when it must be blindingly obvious you’ve just hit somebody in your car, is hard to stomach.

He spent a lot of time during his teenage years at our house. He was fun, extremely bright, multi-talented, excellent with my girls’ sibling rivalry, very good at defusing potentially awkward situations (just one example -when ED told him, in front of YD, that YD fancied him, he smiled, said Ooh how lovely. Thank you. And so YD stopped writhing with embarrassment and felt good about it).

In recent years his life and my daughters’ lives had taken different paths and we didn’t see so much of him. But we are all so sad. We loved him. He was good, and funny, and kind. But mixed in with the sadness is the awareness of how much worse this is for his immediate family. As a mother I can only begin to imagine how his mother must feel. The world is a lesser place without him. RIP Andy.

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Hubby cooked up a storm yesterday for our Christmas lunch. Absolutely fabulous meal. Mother came, and so did YD, her hubby, and baby ESW, who will be one year old in just over two weeks. Lovely.

Now that some of the knitting has been given to the recipients, here are a few photos of the projects.

Trivia, or How I Manage My Life

When I was young, I didn’t have very much confidence about whether my feelings, choices, the things I liked and disliked, were ok. Partly because my childhood was spent not knowing when I would next cross an invisible “transgression” or “naughty” line.

As I’ve got older, though, bit by bit, I’m slightly more sure about things. As long as they don’t adversely affect anyone else, I think it’s ok that I gave up wearing nail varnish 30 years ago. It was such a huge relief. I’m crap at applying it, then within the hour I’ve smeared or chipped it, and it was just a pain in the neck. So I don’t do it any more. And along with such small but effective changes, here’s a short list of the things I do/don’t do to make my life a little easier. Just in case anybody else out there has the same sort of uncertainty.

  • I don’t “do” afternoons. I sleep in the afternoons. No outings, no meetings. Very occasional and special exceptions, for example my niece’s wedding party soon.
  • Not going to buy cakes, even dairy-free ones, when I have a cup of tea in a cafĂ©. They are usually a disappointment, apart from particular ones (Costa’s dairy & gluten free Christmas cake, Starbuck’s dairy & gluten free brownies – as long as they’re still wrapped), so I just end up feeling guilty for eating a cake and worse for having spent the money and not enjoyed it.
  • Currently “off” coffee. I can only drink decaffeinated anyway, or I end up shaking and bouncing off the walls. So I’ve decided it’s fine to just drink tea. Black, weak, no sugar, thank you.
  • Not going to feel guilty any more if I can’t do any knitting, either because my hands are swollen and tired, or because my brain just isn’t working.

And so on. Small things, but each decision taken lifts a weight off my shoulders.

Holiday and Knitting

Just back from a fabulous week at Center Parcs (Woburn). Hubby and I went on Friday, both daughters plus partners plus babies came for the weekend and went home on Monday, and then we stayed till last Friday. Absolutely excellent. The two children don’t see a lot of each other, as one (nearly 2) lives in Southampton, and the other (9 months old) near us in Solihull, but they were clearly very taken with each other. Lots of enthusiasm, lots of eye contact (and pointing from the baby), and it was just lovely.

Center Parcs involves a lot of walking, for me, because I am absolutely useless on a bike. Last time I rode a bike I broke a rib falling off. Not great. They do apparently hire out tricycles for adults (clumsy klutzes) like me, which might be a possibility if we go to Center Parcs again.

It’s lovely (though absolutely exhausting) walking in the forest – lots of grey squirrels, and even a hare, who clearly couldn’t care less that he was being watched closely, a lot. I have never been that close to a hare in my life. It was so exciting!

I ate far too much. YD made a fabulous Victoria sponge with jam filling – OMG to die for! and I’d taken a carrot cake, which was also pretty good. Chocolate, biscuits, just went for it. So now I’m being much more careful. Eating the same at mealtimes, just cutting right down on cake, biscuits and chocolate, before I turn into a big fat biffer.

We fetched Bertie The Cat from the cattery on the way home and she is just so happy to be back in her little domain. Friday she was very vocal and demanding, but settled down by the evening and is now happily purring away in one of her preferred warm spots. And is much happier to be cuddled than usual! not quite so busy and important . . .

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I have learned two new knitting techniques. Well, in reality, one is a crochet technique. It’s called Tunisian Crochet, or Afghan Crochet, and is a mixture of knitting and crochet done on one long hook. The fabric is quite firm and thick and is good for things like bags, outerwear, cushion covers, and I’m likely to start with something small like coffee coasters. Very pleased.

The second technique is for knitting in the round (tubes with no seams) and is called Magic Loop. I have been trying for years to master this one. I can’t handle double pointed needles, I’m all fingers and thumbs, so I knit in the round with two circular needles. It has occurred to me several times that this technique is very similar to Magic Loop. My younger daughter showed me how to do it (Magic Loop) on holiday, and I had a go and it actually clicked in my brain. So now I’m knitting the sleeves of a small baby jacket (Puerperium) in the round with Magic Loop. The advantage of this over two circular needles is that there are only two needle tips to worry about, instead of four. The current project is in stocking stitch, so no worries about how many stitches are on each half of the cable, but the next challenge will be Magic Loop with a pattern . . .

Also have some Erika Knight Gossypium cotton dk which is absolutely fabulous to knit with. I’m doing a Seafoam scarf for me in cream, on 5.5 mm needles to make it even bigger and looser. Loving it.

Almost all the Christmas shopping is done. I’ve always been a bit early doing such things, and start thinking seriously about any knitting I’m going to do for gifts in May. I start actually buying presents in September, so come December it’s just not so fraught. Hubby used to wait until 23rd/24th December, go into Birmingham, and do it all in one day. I just couldn’t do that. I just couldn’t. I even have a spreadsheet where birthday/Xmas presents are listed by recipient, going back to 2010, the idea being that I don’t duplicate year on year. A bit nerdy, I know, but I’m ok with that. I need order in my life, it feels calmer and easier.

I think that’s probably it for now!