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.

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.

Managing.

Writing is supposed to be cathartic so I thought I’d jot down a few notes about how I manage the depression and M.E.

Went to the osteopath today because I was in some pain. It’s part of the maintenance and upkeep. As usual after the osteopath I’m pretty low tonight and on the verge of tears. Taking regular painkillers. Can’t take Brufen because of my asthma. Big old bummer, because they are such effective painkillers. I can take Cocodamol though, and am at the doctor’s next week so might mention it then.

However I re-arranged the pedicure, which was going to be tomorrow, and have cried off the knitting get together tonight. Will see if I am able to get to the sewing course on Saturday – I’d really like to go, because it’s making a Japanese Knot Bag and matching purse, but if I’m not up to it, then I’m just not.

Such decisions sound a bit sad, but in fact once I’ve decided that I need to cancel stuff, I actually feel a bit better about things. Not exactly in control of my health, just managing it better. I don’t like to feel that it’s managing me. Even though it probably is. Mm.

I’ve been sleeping a lot. Most of Tuesday. Managed to have a shower and wash my hair on Wednesday. Then had a half hour sit down, and did my ironing. I do it every week, and hubby does his own, so it only takes about 25 minutes maximum. Then lunch, and then did the online shop. So quite a lot achieved yesterday. But the afternoon sleeps are long. At least three hours, sometimes four. Then I sleep all night too.

Might consider a bath and face pack tomorrow. Will see how I wake up. I very, very rarely have a bath. We have some nice bubble bath though and it does help relax my back.

I have two go-to authors whose books I read when I feel like this. Bill Bryson, who is just one of my favourite writers, and Tom Cox. Ditto. Can’t help smiling as I read their stuff.

Retail therapy always helps too, so have ordered a couple of tops (reduced) from Warehouse. Two different colours, and two different sizes, so we shall see if I like the colours and if they fit.

Hubby is off to a meeting tonight so I shall watch some crappy tv. No knitting mojo at all at the moment, and booked in for steroid injections into the knuckles of my right hand on Monday. Will see how things go after that.

Christmas almost organised. Thank goodness for the internet. A bit of baking to do, but nothing major. Last year I did a Yule Log which is fat free, therefore dairy free. It was delicious and both hubby and I liked it, which is a bonus. He doesn’t like fruit cake so if I made a proper Christmas cake I’d just eat it all and put on loads of weight. And am going to do some mince pies only in filo pastry as I have some in the freezer. Everybody else can eat normal ones from the shop, but the dairy free ones from the shop tend to be cheap and nasty.

End of an era

For me, anyway. I have had my Ford Ka for 20 years. I bought it from a local Ford dealership where it had only been used as a demo car, and it was six months old. It’s done 47,000 (UK) miles, and been serviced and MoT’d regularly. (MoT stands for Ministry of Transport [roadworthiness test]).

Well, it failed the MoT spectacularly on Tuesday. The garage said I can still drive it until the old MoT expires on 5th October. However, hubby and I have been talking casually about our next car being an electric one and had done some research.

So we took the plunge and on Wednesday bought a three year old BMW i3 after test driving it. It’s a bit (very) odd, but handles very well and drives like a dream. Most of my driving is local. (I can’t drive for more than 15 minutes at a time). We’re picking it up on Tuesday next week. Very, very excited. The Ka didn’t have air conditioning, electric windows, and was a manual gear change. None of those things were a problem, but to have all the fancy schmancy mod cons is quite exciting. I loved the Ka. It was easy to drive, park, and worked for 20 years. Not bad I think.

Am looking forward to learning all the computery bits and driving it. The only complication is charging it up. We are having a “fast charge” point fitted to our house, and we’re unlikely to use it for long journeys, but there is a bewildering range of public chargers. Some are free, some are not. A variety of different providers. Some do fast charge, some do not. I will ask the garage for advice but honestly! you’d think there would be some sort of universal charge card that would pay for whatever you use wherever you use it. Perhaps there will be eventually.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Finished the toy I was knitting. It’s lovely. No pics, it’s a gift. Started a new project – a cardi for ESW who is almost 4 now. After that will be a hooded jacket for LCS (he’s nearly 5!)

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The garden is lovely. I absolutely adore autumn. The sun is shining but not too hot. The colours are mellow. Love it.

Almost September

It was just starting to rain today when I took this photo. Every year it cheers me up. A bright yellow flower on a dull grey British day. The garden is lush and green, but the sky is grey and cloudy. It’s just such a jolly colour.

rudbeckia

Then I noticed this.

Yesterday we celebrated Oldest Grandson’s 18th birthday. On a boat trip in Bristol. It was really lovely. A blended, extended, complicated family, with various children and exes. It was excellent. We all like each other and have fun together.

Had a sort out of my knitting. First of all in my head, last night, and then in real life, today. When I’ve finished my current project, which is a Bonbon bunny, I’m going to knit another toy (a gift so no details). Then I’m going to see how I feel. I’ve ordered some Knitpick Comfy Worsted from the States (75% cotton, 25% acrylic, which is impossible to get in the UK – why??) so am quite excited about that. It’s for a shawlette for me. Me! Hooray!

I’ve contacted several teddy bear repairers, but no joy so far. They haven’t all replied, but one said he wouldn’t know where to start (oh great), another one says their books are full until next summer, and the third said it would take many hours, cost a lot of money, and then she’d still be fragile and have lots of scars. She (the teddy bear in question) is currently having a rest in a box. Will see what happens.

The end of the story about my mobile phone: got the Motorola back, fixed, but it wouldn’t recognise the SIM card. I’d kept hold of the SIM card and the micro SD card while they repaired it. Got a new SIM off Virgin, still no joy. Eventually gave in and just bought a new phone. Samsung Galaxy A10, since you ask. It’s fine. But after two weeks it suddenly stopped accessing our wifi network. Sigh. I did lots of googling, as per usual, and eventually what fixed it was fiddling about with the security settings on the router. And now it works.

New project

My knitting mojo has got up and gone. I’m sure it’ll be back at some point. Luckily I don’t have lots of knitting to do for Christmas (have done most of it anyway and have alternatives for stuff I haven’t done).

I watched a programme called The Repair Shop on BBC2 last night, by chance. It was absolutely lovely. One of the things that was repaired was a very old teddy bear. The process was really interesting, and I thought about getting my ancient bear repaired. Her name is Edwina Sarah Catherine Bear, and she is almost as old as me (64).  Checked out various sites, and it is certainly possible, if expensive. Then I went to the osteopath today and she suggested I could actually have a go myself.

Well, yes, I could, I thought. I found the episode online, watched the relevant bits, made myself a list of supplies and the order in which to do things, and before I go any further, have ordered a book which should help me on my way. (£2.99, so worth it!). Already decided to use elbow patches for the paws and possibly even the ears, which are in rags. We shall see. I must have some fabric somewhere in my stash which would be good for lining her. But I need more information – what sort of darning thread to use, whether it’s possible even to darn her as much as she needs, how to deal with the joints (oh yes, she’s jointed).

As you can see, she is very well loved, and over the years I have patched her up inexpertly. She seems to be stuffed with very small bits of foam and some straw too. I took the growler out years ago, and have decided probably not to bother with another one.

Anyway, we shall see.

I am such a doofus

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that after having had a couple of leads (usb and audio) and a usb adapter stolen from my car I’d be a bit more careful. However, when I got back to my car on Thursday morning after Stitch & Sip I discovered that I’d left the driver side window wide open. I’d put the Stop Lock on the steering wheel, and made sure everything that mattered was not on view. Except for the stereo fascia, which of course had been nicked. Luckily, that was a replacement fascia, which only cost me £7, and I’d kept the original one. I’d replaced that because it was blank, so I just ordered another one from ebay which arrived today. I’ll check it works tomorrow. But how lucky that the actual car didn’t get stolen!

This is not because I’m a doofus, but the shower pump has burnt out after only two years’ use. That was a replacement for a previous shower pump which also stopped working after two years’ use. At £500 a pop including fitting, that is not a small thing. Husband has been talking to the manufacturers, and they requested photos of the installation. They’ve had all that and we shall see.

Meanwhile, we’re lucky that we have an electric shower in the main bathroom, so I’m using that.

Knitting mojo has sort of returned.

Am currently knitting a scarf for a present, have two toys on my list to knit, and will return to the Elfe top when I’m feeling more on top of things.

Another project has made itself known to me. The wi-fi in our lounge is not all it could be. The main router is in the study, and has to be there because our service provider is cable. I have been reading that you can get wi-fi repeaters/boosters/thingamajigs, and on researching this discovered that if you have an old router you can “flash” that with some open-source (legally free) software.

Now, I have an old router, but no power supply for it. That is in the course of being remedied – ebay – but it arrived with the wrong adapter for the router. They’re going to send me a new one.

When that arrives, and I can actually get the router working, I’m going to have a go at installing that new software. All new territory for me, though I have built and re-installed several computers, lots of times. Exciting. I’ve saved all the relevant internet pages I need onto my pc, because it looks like I have to disconnect my pc from the network and therefore the internet and connect it via ethernet directly to the router. So I wouldn’t be able to access the pages if I’d saved them as bookmarks/favourites. Mm.

Planning to do some clearing up in the garden tomorrow – lots of annual poppies and deadheading to get rid of. Waiting till tomorrow because it’s going to be cooler tomorrow which suits me better.

Have started wearing harem pants. They’re 100% cotton, very loose and comfy, elasticated at the waist and ankle, ridiculously cheap, and perfect for this weather. I have five pairs now. All from ebay (thai_vibes). Love them.

Miscellany

Things have calmed down a little.

The garden is beautiful at the moment, and the sun is currently shining.

Went to the knitting group on Thursday with my friend, who isn’t often able to come, so that was really nice. Finished off a small project, but as it’s a gift no photo yet.

The cat came limping up the garden yesterday on three legs, with one leg held high, up by her face. Both hubby and I thought she was seriously injured, until I got up close to her and discovered one paw was stuck through her collar. Easily sorted and no harm done. Really not sure how she managed that though.

Watching the Women’s Football World Cup – it’s just so exciting. Last night’s match, France v USA, was really good. Can’t knit while watching football, though, too fraught.

In fact, not knitting for a few days now because of a swollen and sore knuckle. It’s settling now I’m resting it.

And I’m resting everything today, because the temperature is set to soar. Not as high as in France or Spain, because, well, Britain, but high for us. Anything over about 24C and I’m lounging around drinking cold water in my pjs.

Re-reading Song of Achilles – at the time I was really struck by it and loved it. But re-reading it I have absolutely no recollection of it. Also reading Siege by Michael Wolff. Dynamite. Really enjoyed Fire and Fury too.

Knitting. Gardening. Organising.

The weather is lovely at the moment, which is almost unheard of for a British Bank Holiday. The cat is loving it and is in and out of the garden, checking she has food, then scampering back outside again. And she’s ten years old now, so scampering is really good.

Gardening has been a joy. Everything’s growing and green and pretty.

The knitting has been a bit up and down. Knitted a hat for a Christmas present which was supposed to be worked in the round. The cables were so curly, even after being straightened in hot water, I just couldn’t deal with it, so knitted it flat. It looked ok until I sewed it up, and it was a disaster. So after considering the alternatives (dumping it or giving it to the charity shop – nobody would have bought it anyway) I unpicked it and knitted up a different pattern, in the round, and it’s great. Thank goodness.

Also started a pattern called Zick Zack which several people at the knitting group have  done in various colourways, and that was a disaster too. It’s a 12 stitch repeat, with one increase and one decrease in each one. Got the hang of it fairly quickly, but after six rows (every damn time!) I was one stitch out in one of the repeats. I wasn’t sure if I was not increasing when I should or decreasing when I shouldn’t, or whether I’d simply dropped a stitch, but I just couldn’t see which. So. I decided not to do it in 4ply cotton (can’t wear wool), or in two different colours, but have bought some double knitting variegated cotton (Sirdar Cotton Prints DK, in Sea Glass). I am going to cast on tonight and we shall see.

However. I have successfully knitted a bumblebee from Let’s Knit magazine, and although it was a big faff, I’m very pleased with it. Also, five months after purchasing the yarn, finished a V neck top for hubby. Rowan worsted yarn, pale grey, pattern called Textured V Neck Vest. The neckline was a bit fiddly, but it’s a success I’d say.

I’m having a bit of a meltdown about blasted circular needle cables. They drive me crazy. I have mostly interchangeables, some fixed, but I’ve been keeping them curled up and trying to straighten them out when I use them. It’s not working.

So I have a new plan. I’ve ordered a wrap/roll for keeping the needle tips in, which will take up less space than the 2 x 3 litre Really Useful Boxes, and for the actual cables, have ordered some cotton reels.  This is what it should look like when I’m done. Thank you Jennifer T.

And buoyed by my successful research, this morning had a BIG sort out of my knitting bag/s. I keep a bag with my current project in it, and various specific bits and bobs. I also keep a bigger bag nearby with various generally useful bits and bobs, and the next pattern I’m planning to knit.

The clue, you may have spotted, is in the “various” and “bits and bobs”. I managed to sort out what is useful/useless and sort it into what I need to dump, what I occasionally use and what I always need, and have emptied one complete little box. The other little boxes are also much lighter, and better organised, so I only need to carry one of them with me at all times.

In the longer box is a yellow row counter. It’s the best one I’ve ever had. The centre is metal, and sprung, and is at least 50 years old. You can’t buy them now, they’re for sale as “retro” on ebay, but it has never, ever broken. The ones you buy now are all plastic, and break very easily. I think it’s called “built in obsolescence”. Very aggravating.

The denim bag was made for me by my French friend from an old pair of jeans. I lined it and took the Velcro out so there’s nothing to colour or snag on the yarn. It always, always prompts compliments. So thank you again, Réjane!

Some people (my family) think I’m a bit of a neat freak, but I find that order makes my life so much easier. I get very frustrated very quickly if I can’t find something I need, not least because there is a real risk I’ll lose the stitch/my place in the pattern or just forget what the hell I’m doing.

So there we are. Ups and downs as usual. But mostly ups.

Frustrating few days

First of all, Happy International Women’s Day!

The Procion dye arrived, and I dyed three tops, and it worked really, really well. No mess, no blotchiness, no dye everywhere. One top has a small hole in it so it’s going to the charity shop. I put another one on today and within five minutes managed to get a black smudge on it, so it’s in the wash. Hey ho.

Had an email from Royal Mail to say a parcel would arrive on Wednesday. No parcel. Still. Went round the very frustrating loop on the internet, clicking on links they’d sent me, and the parcel was clearly at the local office. Even downloaded their stupid app, which wouldn’t let me log in to it, although I could log in with exactly the same details on tinterweb.

Eventually, today, I phoned up. What an absolute nightmare. I spent 25 minutes holding on for a proper, real, live person, who (thank goodness) was really helpful, and explained that there had been a strike at that particular office, but they were all back at work now, and not to worry. The parcel will be officially counted as “missing” next Friday, so then I have to get in touch with the senders, who have to claim, then eventually they refund me. However, this particular parcel is for part of a birthday present, so there is a time constraint for me. I’m just really hoping it arrives, because there’s a whole world of bother otherwise.

Spent yesterday morning comprehensively failing to crochet an Amigurumi toy.  It was too small, too fiddly, the yarn was splitty, and although I can crochet in a basic sort of a way (blankets, granny squares), I’m hopeless at shaping. The stitch count goes to buggery as soon as I’ve finished increasing. Every time. Why? anyhow, have decided that bigger Amigurumi toys work better for me. I’ve done a couple of Olafs, and they’ve been fine. Meanwhile, will stick to the blanket I’m doing, and knitting the top for hubby.

On the upside, two tops from John Lewis arrived. I’d ordered a brown one and a yellow one, in two different sizes. The brown one, surprisingly, doesn’t look very nice at all. I think it’s because it has a round neck, which isn’t a great look at almost 64. The yellow, however, looks great! and it’s a bit of a departure for me colour-wise. Years ago I had a top in a very similar yellow and loved it. Mm. So the size that doesn’t fit, and the two brown ones, are going back. Yeah.

Also, have discovered that I’ve lost some weight. I only got on the scales because my clothes were feeling a bit big. And I’ve lost 10 lbs in the last 3 – 4 months. Now, I have given up biscuits (work of the devil, have to have at least 3 at a time) altogether, stopped eating crap in between meals (not literal crap, obviously, just sweets and chocolate) and reduced my sugar intake by at least two thirds (I was eating way, way more than 30g a day). So it could just be that. The osteopath said I need to mention it to the doctor though, and I am having some bloods done next week for a routine checkup (on the NHS of course). We shall see. I feel ok, if more tired than usual. And today I’m treating myself to a whole ciabatta roll, warm, with cheese and Marmite for lunch.

Watched Leaving Neverland yesterday. Oh. My. Days. Not sure what to say about that. MJ was clearly a very disturbed, lonely individual. With a child’s emotional development (or lack of) inside a man’s body. And how many lives have been wrecked. And how are we supposed to feel about his incredible talent now? he could sing, and dance, and how. But all that surgery. The chemical straightening of the hair. The skin lightening stuff. Mm.