Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Hooray! It’s raining!

May 7, 2011

And I’m not even being sarcastic, I’m really pleased that it is raining after an almost completely dry month.  A probably doesn’t agree with me, but then he had to walk to work at 5.30am and almost certainly got soaked.  I’ll attempt to remember to pick him up at lunchtime when he finishes though, save him one drenching.

But for my garden’s sake, and all the other growing things out there, I’m really happy that it is raining at last.  I don’t know what happened to April showers, but I almost can’t remember when I last smelled that wet earth smell.  I’ve been especially worried about our cherry tree.  It has had a slightly disrupted spring, with builders digging around its roots to put in fence posts, us excavating a dead australis plant and we even gave it quite a severe pruning itself.  It blossomed in spectacular style and is now heavy with tiny little cherries.  Unfortunately, the process of blooming and producing fruit will drain its resources and it is essential that it doesn’t get too dry.  We’ve been watering it a little, but it is a full grown tree and we just can’t give it enough.

Anyway, worry over, it is raining.  Of course, now I can start to fret about my poor apricot trees, recently planted out…hope the rain won’t be too much for them…

This week has included work, knitting, the snooker world championship final, and a very painful migraine.  In the wake of the migraine though, I sat out in the garden for an hour, enjoying the sunshine and saw an impressive array of birds.  Impressive for our tiny garden that is, especially in just an hour.

A pair of magpies are now regular visitors, carrying away the dried-but-soaked-in-water mealworms we put out.  They are becoming braver and braver, now hopping in even when we’re out there, as long as we keep fairly still.  We still have our pigeon fan-base, although they will be disappointed for a week or two as we’ve run out of peanuts and they’ll have to wait for payday for more.  Also appearing from time to time, including while I was sat there on Tuesday, are our pair of blackbirds.  Mrs B just flew right in and grabbed a beakful of soaked mealworms, flitting off to (I assume) her nest to feed young with them.  And most spectacular and surprising, several goldfinch.  One landed on the bird bath right in front of me, had a drink, looked at me with its head on one side…called ‘Tweeter Tweeterer’ a couple of times, then darted away.  A few minutes later they were back with friends, sitting on the washing line and the tree, calling to and fro.  We keep the niger seed feeder topped up for them, but rarely see what takes the seed.  I think I know now!

So, in knitting news…there is no knitting news this week.  I’m plodding away at my stripy knee-high socks and slowly adding blocks to my forest path stole, but there’s nothing much to show at the moment.  I did manage to see Sandra, and handed over a bunny and a pair of socks for her new grandson.  Sandra has asked me to embroider something for Noah, to include his name and date of birth.  She has some big ideas…this is not going to be the usual framed picture, I think!

This coming week…just work, I think.  This will most likely be the calm before the storm though, as we’re in for a busy few weeks of doctor/dentist/hospital appointments along with Important Briefings at work and a trip to Plymouth.


Startitis and Socks

March 26, 2011

And so much else going on!  Should I try to tell this in the order in which it happened?  I’ll give it a go:

  • Sunday morning – my Dad turned up, as promised, and fitted our new dishwasher.  He even took the old one away to the tip.  I don’t ask my Dad to do much for us, but when I do he always saves us a lot of stress and usually money too.  Although I know it is really a luxury, I had missed my dishwasher and was so glad to get a new one up and running 🙂
  • Sunday afternoon – we finally got round to clearing up the garden, cutting back the bay tree, the cherry tree and the climbing rose severely and trimming lots of other things.  We still have the many pots to sort out, and I can’t quite decide whether to plant out my apricot trees this year, or keep them in their massive pots for another year. 
  • Monday – went round to visit Alan and Kat’s baby, Poppy.  We took the cutest pink baby Converse in the world, and the cardigan I had knitted, and they were really excited about both.  I knew those guys would love the effort involved in hand-knit stuff, and I was right.  They were particularly pleased about the colour of the cardi (kind of pale blue-green) as it will match with other things they already have. 
  • Tuesday – to Bristol for a regional briefing. 
  • Wednesday to Friday – to Birmingham for a SQL Cubes course.  It was a long, hard three day course, but really useful for work.  It’s also an extra skill for my CV. 
  • Friday night – Theresa’s baby arrived (hooray hooray hooray!).  A little girl, born late at night, Mia Jane.  Congratulations to Theresa and to Graeme, and Hello!  to Mia  🙂 

Today and tomorrow we have a whole list of chores to get through, to do with birthdays, Mothers’ Day, holiday and lots more besides.  Then next week is another mad one. 

So, in knitting news, I’ve been bitten by the startitis bug it seems.  Last weekend I cast on a lace stole and also started a jumper.  Neither is worth taking pictures of as yet, because I didn’t make much progress before going away.  I’m currently resisting the urge to also start a cardigan. 

I’ve almost finished the baby blanket…but it didn’t seem worth taking a picture of a nearly finished blanket when in a week or so I can take pictures of a finished one. 

While away I made a little progress on my brown fluffy bedsocks, but they seem to be going soooo sloooowly.  I don’t know why that is.  Maybe because I’m really not enjoying them.  I’m not a fan of brown, but I got this stuff cheap and figured brown would be ok for bedsocks.  I’m knitting them toe-up, when I prefer top down.  Also, I’m doing them 2-at-a-time, which means my progress looks less.  They seem to have been going forever but I’m still just on the foot! 

Whereas the other sock I started while away (I know!  Too many new projects, not enough progress on existing ones!) is coming along nicely:

It’s only one, it’s top-down and it is such pretty yarn.  Who’d have thought those things could make such a difference?!

The usual Saturday catch-up

June 19, 2010

It has been a fairly normal week (whatever that means).  I’ve been working, including two days in Bristol.  It looks like we’ll be keeping our jobs, at least until next April, despite all the public sector budget cuts.  That’s a relief, but not very reassuring in the long term.  Never mind, something will turn up. 

A has been off work for most of this week, after pulling a muscle in his back.  He’s been on strong painkillers and has also been making use of my hot water bottle for a few days.  It’s kind of strange, seeing the hwb lying around on the sofa,  the bed or in the dining room, but it isn’t for me.  It’s usually me desperately clutching it.  I’ve had to fight an urge to pick it up every time I see it! 

That reminds me, I’ve hardly had need of the hwb for the last few weeks – I think the latest hormone treatment suggested by the consultant is actually having an effect!  I can hardly believe it, and still feel as if I’ll jinx it if I speak about it.  The pain is certainly much less frequent, sometimes I can even go a whole day without any pain at all!  I’ve also got more energy, I’m not tiring as easily.  It seems miraculous.  I had the second four-week dose administered yesterday, so I’m hopeful that it will continue to improve.  Or at least stay not-as-bad.  There are of course side-effects, but I’ll tolerate a lot if the pain stays away 🙂

In garden news…I saw three sparrows in the cherry tree.  That’s exciting (and I’m not being sarcastic – I find all wildlife exciting)!  Most of our plants are doing well, with the exception of the last tomato to be planted out and the raspberry cane my friend Mrs Jarge gave me.  They have both been stripped of all green matter on every attempt to grow.  Most of our plants get munched on to some extent as we encourage the insects as well as everything else.  But these two, and they are right next to each other, are completely destroyed every time they peep up above the ground. 

There is a rule in our garden, that everything must be able to survive without intervention, as we just aren’t reliable enough to nurse stuff along.  We water most things on most non-rainy days, but don’t do much more than that.  But I’m getting frustrated, especially at the fate of my poor raspberry cane.  I actually want to grow raspberries, especially as it was a gift.  I don’t know what I can do though, except hope the plant is tough enough. 

Moving on to knitting/cross-stitch news…two finishes! 

Firstly, my silver stole.  Finished and blocked:

That’s Gerda, made with silver laceweight yarn from YarnAddict, lovely to knit with and I only used about half of the 100g skein. 

Also, my cousin’s wife had a baby, so I finished one of the many cross-stitch pictures I have hanging around:

It’s in the post now, hopefully should be with them early next week.

So much to catch up on

June 12, 2010

So, I missed a post last weekend, just didn’t get around to it.  Over the last two weeks we have:

  • Been to Slimbridge for a day out;
  • Walked around our local ‘patch’ a lot;
  • Had a few days leave;
  • Had our nieces over to stay;
  • Tidied up the garden and planted more stuff out;
  • Given away all the excess tomato plant seedlings (we grew 30, but only wanted 12 or so);
  • Been off sick with a throat virus;
  • Knitted a lot.

And probably loads of other stuff which I’m forgetting. 

The knitting has been all about the silver stole, which just needs a border then it’s done.  I’ve completed all six repeats of the main panel and started the border, so hopefully it should be ready to go away on the boat with us.  Yay!  I don’t have a photo at this stage, as it’s so close to being finished. 

Here’s a photo of the garden instead, taken from the bedroom window (hence the weird reflections/blurring):

Both roses are now flowering, as are the aqualegia and the love-in-a-mist.  Although, neither of those latter two were specifically planted where they grow…we planted them once upon a time, and now they pop up through the cracks in the patio.  I kind of like it though.  The rain we’ve had lately has caused a massive bloom of green-ness in our garden, it has become quite an adventure to get to the compost bin, complete with a variety of cats and many, many small spiders. 

Our little garden, with its feeders (invisible behind the cherry tree), now attracts more and more wildlife.  There are many bees, and a lot of other insects.  Mr and Mrs Blackbird have not been seen much for a few weeks – I suspect they have a second brood of youngsters and are too busy for lingering in our garden.  Hopefully they’ll pop back in soon.  The mealworms we leave out for them certainly disappear frequently. 

This week there has been a lot of tweeterer activity.  Tweeterer is the name we’ve given to all the small birds which fly over too quickly to identify, usually tweetering as they go.  They have now begun to hang around a bit more though, not just flying over.  I’m fairly sure I surprised one on the feeders one day, and on another occasion looked out of the window in time to see a goldfinch on the fence.  It has taken some time, but now it looks like our perseverance has paid off. 

It makes me happy. 

Also making me happy this week is weight loss.  I’ve lost over 1.5 stone, and lots of clothes fit a lot more comfortably than they did.  In fact I got put a whole box full of stuff that didn’t fit a few months ago, and can wear most of it now!  It’s hard to maintain…I want to celebrate with chocolate!  No doubt I’ll have regained most of it after a week on the boat (did I mention that we’re going on a cruise?), but I don’t care because I know I can lose it again. 

This coming week…let me see, work.  We might go out tomorrow afternoon to see some friends in their band.  Other than that just the usual.

Knitting! Gardening! Snooker! Cross-stitch!

April 24, 2010

The excitement around here is becoming hard to handle!  No, really…I love all those things and they’re all happening at the moment.  Maybe excitement is too strong a term, and it’s difficult to really fit enough of them all in, what all the full-time working, but still…they make a happy me!

Starting with a catch-up from last week then, on Saturday night we went out for a belated anniversary dinner.  We went to Fratello’s, an Italian restaurant which we have only been to once before, but which we are already coming to love.   We each had 3 courses, which is a rarity, and it was all good.  I was in serious pain for some time afterwards – I know I cannot eat big meals without suffering, but sometimes I’d rather stuff my face and suffer for it! 

On Sunday we started tidying the garden, then potted up a few things, and before we knew it we’d been out in the sun for a good 3 hours or more.  There are pictures…

That’s one of my two apricot trees, grown from stones last summer.  We kept them in the lean-to through most of the winter, thinking they wouldn’t survive outside, but they didn’t do too well.  In about February, when it looked like they were almost dead, I put them outside…kill or cure.   Then a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that they both had lots of new green leaves – a miraculous recovery!  So on Sunday they got re-potted into these big containers to give them lots of room to grow.  This is the smaller of the two, but the one which started growing first.  And here is the other:

On the left is a newly-potted raspberry cane, a birthday present from my friend Mrs Jarge. 

This gooseberry bush came from the same source – it already has new leaves since I planted it on Sunday! 

I also planted some herbs, from seed.

If you look closely at the pot on the left, there are three tiny little seedlings just popping up.  There is another tray like this, with more herbs, and A planted some tomato seeds into a propagator tray, and spring onions and radishes outside in another big pot. 

Finally, we managed to retrieve my Nan’s bird bath, which had become very overgrown behind the cherry tree and climbing rose. 

There’s lots more still to do.  The gravel needs topping up, as the blue sheeting is visible through it in places.  There are more pots to be filled, once we get more compost.  We need at least one more massive pot, to grow potatoes in (they are chitting at the moment – isn’t that a great word)?  And we have lots of packets of flower mix aimed at attracting bees.  We get lots of bees anyway, but they are lovely to see and hear buzzing around, so why not feed a few more? 

Moving on, I started knitting the shrug I want to take away in the summer.  I’ve made some progress, but I’m torn between knitting and cross-stitch at the moment, and thoroughly enjoying both.  I’ve been doing both in the evening, while watching snooker, but whichever I pick up first I end up keeping in my hands, however carefully I plan to switch. 

There’s not much to see really, but it’s very soft and pretty. 

This is Elmer, the elephant cross-stitch I’ve started for my youngest brother’s baby:

Again, not much to see so far.  Maybe I’d make more progress if I worked on one or the other?!

In work news, the anxiety of change is back.  We’re just settling into our new organisation, only this week a new manager’s post has been advertised.  It’s equivalent to the boss-man’s job, only no-one seems to know whether the team will be split between the 2 managers, how the work will be divided up, or how it will work.  Almost everyone in the team has decided to apply, which could make things uncomfortable.  I can’t make up my mind whether to go for it or not.  It’s a lot of extra responsibility, and likely to involve more travel, including more regular days in Bristol and visits to National Office in Coventry.  It is a lot more money, and the work I’m doing can be repetitive and dull – I could do with a challenge.  I’m not particularly healthy or reliable though, and the director appointing the post knows that.  Plus, interviews are really stressful. 

But if I don’t go for it, I won’t even be trying to have an impact on the coming changes, which will happen to me anyway.  And it’s good to go for interviews from time to time, to keep in practice and minimise nerves. 

I dunno, but I have to make a decision very soon.  It’s a stress I could have happily lived without. 

Anyway, this week there’s more snooker.  This afternoon we’re going for a picnic at Coate Water with Mrs Jarge.  On Monday I have the day off work, to take some flowers to Oxford Crematorium for my Nan’s birthday.  A’s Mum is coming along for the day out, and we’ll probably stop off at Millet’s Farm (pick your own, farm shop, garden centre, petting farm, restaurant and more) on the way back.  Then on Weds lunchtime I’m meeting Caron for lunch, and it’s our niece Morgan’s birthday.  And next Saturday we’ve offered to have Morgan and her sister Madison round for a while.  Busy, busy!

Anyway, I’m missing the snooker while writing this monster of a post – gotta go!

It’s been a weird kind of week…

November 28, 2009

…from start to finish.  Notable events include:

The door on the driver’s side of my car filled up with water.  No, really!  We were on our way to Tesco’s and heard it sloshing about.  Luckily, my bank account (yep, them again, and they’re really pleased to have me as a customer just lately) includes RAC cover.  After trying to stretch a stroll round Tesco’s out for an hour and a half, the kind RAC man pointed out that all car doors let in water, it’s a deliberate design feature…and doors like those on my car have drainage holes at the bottom to let the water back out!  He used a bit of wire to unblock the holes, the water poured out and we were able to return home.

I saw the doctor-man about a range of small issues, including the never ending indigestion and he thinks I have some kind of bacterial stomach infection thing.  He prescribed me various things and it’s better already 🙂 .  He is also referring me to a private consultant about the irritable bowel diagnosis – my private policy will cover it for initial treatment and future flare-ups, but not long-term monitoring, which is better than nothing.  Unfortunately, the doctor-man also sent me for a blood test.  I say unfortunately because I have very fine, very delicate veins and only the really really expert nurses/doctors/blood test people can ever get my blood.  I saw the phlebotomist at our surgery on Friday morning and she couldn’t get anything at all, even after 3 attempts.  So I have to go back and see a nurse on Monday morning.  What a lovely start to the week!

A is off on his lads’ weekend away, and I’m enjoying the peace and quiet.  It’s wearing off a bit now, but I’m sure I’ll cope.  Last night I went out for dinner with one of my friends.  I don’t see Mrs Jarge (aka Georgina) very often, but we always have so much to say.  We’ve been friends since our very first day at college, aged 16, and kept in touch throughout Uni and all the years in between.  We went to my favourite Italian restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It makes such a nice change to go to a restaurant and be able to take as long as we want – we really didn’t feel rushed at all, even though we sat nattering long after we’d finished.  Mrs J has bought me a raspberry and a gooseberry bush for my birthday, which is so cool.  She has a knack for unusual but really lovely gifts – perhaps I should make her something for Christmas. 

On Weds afternoon a man came round to fix our bedroom window.  It has been whistling like crazy for a while, so after yet another sleepless night I invoked the warranty and had someone come out to fix it.  Apparently it had gaps all the way around – inside and out!  We’d spotted some of the gaps on the inside, but it was much worse from the outside!  At least that is fixed now. 

The rat-man came back on Thurs afternoon, to check on the bait he left.  One dish had been disturbed, there was grain on the floor around it, but none had been eaten.  The other two dishes were untouched.  I haven’t heard the little darling for a while, maybe it gave up and went away (wishful thinking?  Why not!). 

Our monthly organic meat box arrived on Thursday, and as well as the usual selection of sausages, mince, chicken, roasting joints etc, it was packed full of game.  That has never happened before!  There was a partridge, a pheasant, pigeon breasts, two different cuts of venison and a rabbit.  We’ll quite happily find a way to cook all of that, and enjoy trying the things we haven’t had before, but there’s no way we can eat rabbit.  No way.  Luckily my baby brother got excited about it and is happy to take it off our hands.  Here’s a reminder of why rabbit is not on our menu:

Anyway, on to making things…I’ve started a cross-stitch picture for niece Amy:

I haven’t got very far yet, as I’ve been obsessed by this:

That’s Mrs Christmas…with (currently detached) arms and skirt.  Once I have finished and sewn on the skirt, I can add the arms and she’s almost done.  Then she’ll be sent off to my big bro’s family in America, to join her husband who went over last year. 

Also, I made the effort to block Heather’s shawl:


I’m really pleased with it, and so is A.  Hopefully his cousin will like it – she’s one of those rare people who I can actually imagine getting use from a shawl. 

So, that was last week.  This week…I’m now working at least one day a week in Bristol, so that will be Tuesday.  Hopefully I’ll get to knitting in the library on Weds as I’ve missed a couple of weeks.  Blood test on Monday.  Hopefully it’ll be a less bewilderingly stressful week than this one!

Sorry I missed a week

November 21, 2009

I was just too miserable and stressed last weekend to write, it would all have come out mopey and depressing.  Strange, for someone who had a week off work and nothing to do! 

I did end up doing housework, and in the process discovered we have a big problem with a rat.  There were droppings tucked in corners all over the ground floor of the house, and random pieces of destruction lurking in odd places.  For example I found a cushion which had fallen into the gap behind the sofa…only when I picked it up it had been half chewed up. 

We’d been hearing this rat occasionally for a few days, heard it wander into the house through the attic space in fact, but hadn’t realised it had moved in.  Then on Friday we discovered that the little beggar had chewed its way through almost the entire contents of our kitchen food cupboard.  So the entire afternoon was taken up with rescuing what we could and putting it in tins, then thoroughly scrubbing the inside of the cupboard.  Nice way to spend my birthday! 

We tried traps, but it tripped them and ate the bait.  Our plan was to remove all sources of food and block up all of its holes and hope it would go away. 

Then this week we discovered that it has eaten away all the insulation surrounding the mains electricity cables where they come up through the floorboards under the stairs.  It looks like the cables themselves are intact (thank Heavens), but it’s still not a safe situation. 

In a bizarre twist, while searching for our home insurance documents, I stumbled across a leaflet from my bank, describing the home emergency cover I have with my bank account.  Weirdly, they cover pest control, as well as wiring!  So the rat-man has been and hidden poison bait under the floorboards and now we wait. 

It feels like the house is unclean, but really, the rat wouldn’t be interested if that was the case.  I’m trying hard to believe that 😉

Anyway, I’ve been back at work for a week now, and it’s business as usual. 

In knitting news, I’ve finished Heather’s shawl, but I’ve got no photos as I haven’t blocked it yet…must get on and do that.  I have started a Mrs Christmas doll to send to my brother and his family in America, but again no photos, as there isn’t really much to see yet. 

What I do have pictures of are my birthday presents:

That’s some pretty blue sock wool, and a mini-skein of laceweight, both from the Knitting Goddess.  I bought the laceweight with the intention of trying it as the border of my cobweb shawl.  Sue from Knitting in the Library very kindly brought me in some yarn she had, but it is a much heavier weight and much rougher, and after trying it I’ve decided it isn’t quite what I want.  I’m very grateful though, it was a lovely thought.  This laceweight from the Knitting Goddess is slightly heavier than the cobweb stuff, but not by much, and the brown matches some of the shades in the main shawl really well.  I’ll give it a try, anyway. 

This selection is from Violet Green, whose yarns I always love.  The undyed laceweight is to knit a beautiful stole I have been looking at in a book my Mum bought for my birthday (Best of Interweave Knits).  It’s complicated and delicate and would probably take a very long time.  But it’s lovely so I might just try it anyway.  The Cascade 220 is just because I can’t seem to help buying the stuff.  I now have 4 skeins, in 4 different colours and no particular plans for it. 

Aside form knitting, I’ve also been cross-stitching.  I’ve finished Daisy’s picture, it just needs framing:

I’m pleased with it.  Next I’m thinking of doing one for our niece, Amy. 

This afternoon we’re off shopping with Madison, our 7 year old niece, who gets to choose her own presents this year.  She’s excited…I’m…kind of…not so much! 

This week is looking straight-forward, until Friday when A sets out on his annual outing with his mates.  Then I get the weekend to myself, all of it!  I’ll thoroughly enjoy Friday evening and most of Saturday, then I’ll start missing him and looking forward to Sunday afternoon.

Saturday Catch-up

August 15, 2009

It has felt like a really long week, full of ups and downs.  I don’t seem to have many weeks which aren’t like that lately, but there’s no point complaining.  I’ve made it through to Saturday and I’m chilling out.

Work-wise it’s all about preparing for several weeks off sick, after my op.  Not only do I have a lot of new year pre-development work to get done, I also ended up running the monthly regional reports due to an equipment problem.  That was 3 days I could have used more constructively.  I’m back on track now though, and should be ready to hand over to the boss-man on Thursday.

In the garden, everything is ticking along prettily.  The Royal William rose doesn’t seem to want to stop flowering.  Every time I think he’s done, I find yet more buds.  The slugs and snails completely stripped the sunflower my Dad bought me…leaves, flowers and all.  The lavender looks like it will flower soon, and has started to smell pretty good.  One of my apricot trees seems to have some kind of problem though, its new leaves are weirdly shrivelled and no more have grown in for a few days.  The other one is fine though, and catching up fast.

Knitting is at a plodding along stage again…plodding along at the cobweb shawl…plodding along on the alpaca/entrelac gloves.  I may have to take a knitting break for a while though, as A’s aunt wants me to make a cross-stitch picture for her new grandchild…due in October.  It’s a sticky situation though, as I made one for Auntie A’s first granddaughter which Auntie A paid for.  Then I made one for Auntie V’s granddaughter, which A’s Mum paid for.  No-one asked for one for Auntie A’s second granddaughter, and I’d moved on to knitting by then so didn’t feel inspired to offer.  Now, do I charge Auntie V for her second one?  Or ask A’s Mum to pay again?  Or do it for free?  I don’t like being in the middle!

Speaking of A’s family, we got a big fat cheque in the post this week, from the estate of A’s late uncle.  It was completely unexpected – we thought if there was money coming to anyone, it was to A’s Mum.  Well it did, but also to each of her children (the same for A’s Aunties and cousins).  It was sadly but also gratefully received…we are going to pay off our one outstanding loan two years early 🙂 .  We’ll be completely debt free now in less than 2 years, fingers crossed.  There’s even enough left after paying off the loan to start a ‘cruise fund’ for next summer.  Hopefully we can do the British Isles cruise we’ve been considering for the last year or so, and it would be really nice to take A’s Mum with us.

On to my family…Dad’s final divorce hearing was yesterday.  He texted me to say it was a long day, but all is settled and finalised.  He’s promised to pop in sometime today to tell me about it.  Fingers crossed it went his way in the end. 

Tonight we have Alan and Kat coming round for dinner.  Of course when I say dinner I really mean pizza 😉 .  It will be nice to catch up. 

Next week…I dunno, lots of work.  I might get out for lunch with Caron, if she’s free.  I’m hoping to go knitting in the library.  And I’ll be avoiding thinking about the hospital and surgery for another week.  I can’t put off thinking about it for ever, but the worrying can wait until the time comes.

Photo Saturday returns!

July 25, 2009

Wow, there’s lots to tell this week…knitting, garden and surgery news.  It has been a hard week though, lots of pain, only two mornings in the office, no attempt to go to knitting in the library.  There has been a shocker of a letter from the hospital, a big disappointment from family and seemingly endless rain.  Still, it’s Saturday now, it’s sunny and even though I’m tired I don’t feel too bad. 

So, starting with knitting…I sent the baby socks and bunny to David in Bristol, for his new baby Anna.  He got them on his return to work on Weds and by Friday I already had a thank you card!  He seemed impressed by the bunny – once he’d worked out which way up it should go…and what it was! 

I’ve been plodding away at my entrelac scarf for what seems like months, and I suppose is months in reality.  It ahs finally made it to a length I’m happy with, with about 3/4 of a ball of yarn left.   I think I’m going to break off the yarn but leave the scarf stitches live, then make a hat and gloves to match.  I don’t expect there’ll be enough yarn left for both hat and gloves, and it’s a bit garish anyway, so I’m thinking of matching it to another ball of sock yarn, of a similar weight and creating something that uses both.  Maybe a stripe of the Apple Hill craziness?  Even a stripe of entrelac squares…who knows, I’ll get creative and see what happens. 

Anyway, here is the scarf in all it’s lovely longness (bear in mind it isn’t blocked):

Bright, huh?

I’ve also been working on the cobweb shawl I started and restarted last week.  It’s lovely, so delicate, but does take a lot of concentration.  This makes it slow going, especially as I have to put it away as soon as I get too tired, or something on the television catches my attention.  This photo doesn’t show it off very well – it’s really hard to stretch out to show the pattern, and the colours don’t quite look right either.  Still, I’m pleased so far:

The shiny white threads are dental floss lifelines, there to ensure I don’t have to start again if I do lose concentration. 

The final knitting news is that I finally got the buttons for my stripy cardigan:

I’ve worn it so much already, because it’s so comfy and warm.  It’s a surprisingly good fit, too, and it’s only because it isn’t black that A hasn’t stolen it as yet.  Guess what my next big project will be?!

Now, on to the garden.  Lots of growth, a few pretty flowers, herbs everywhere and an apricot tree! 

First, a pot of dill and a window box of parsley, chives and basil:


Next, lavender and pots of flowers:


Crazy teasels – there are three pots of these:

And finally, my pride and joy…an apricot tree:

Okay, so not so much a tree as an almost-not-there-seedling.  But it’s so cool, I grew it myself, from a stone!  The other two planted at the same time didn’t come to anything, but we really don’t have space for one apricot tree, never mind three! 

Apart from all of that flourishment, my Dad came round with a miniature sunflower, which I’ve discovered is very very attractive to snails.  The leaves are systematically being stripped bare, but the brave little thing continues to flower anyway.  The birds are constantly now in the garden, pigeons mainly, but still some other visitors from time to time.  One day last week, I got home from work at lunchtime and spotted a juvenile blackbird and a cheeky sparrow sat on the fence watching me.  As soon as I got out of the car they scarpered, but it was fantastic to see them there.  The pigeons have now got very brave, flapping down to the feeder even when we are in the garden! 

And…so exciting…while I was sat out in the garden last weekend, I saw a leaf-cutter bee!  It was cutting leaves!  Of course it was, that’s why they’re named that, right?  But in a garden that I thought was devoid of life not so long ago, to see something so interesting is such a reward for the work we’ve been putting in this year, and more than repays our insistence on not using chemicals as fertiliser, weedkiller or pesticide.  Slugs and snails we have aplenty, but I’ll live with that for the sake of the leaf-cutter bees 🙂

On to slightly less happy stuff, I got a letter from the hospital this week.  As requested by me (?!), I have been taken off the surgery waiting list!  I phoned them immediately and for once got a reply.  The end result is that the admissions officer is trying to squeeze me in to the August surgery list, and I should get a letter over the next few days.  Apparently I’m a difficult case to fit in because I need a two hour slot and an assistant as well as a surgeon.  As far as I’m concerned that should be their problem, not mine, and it’s wrong that I’m left to suffer for it.  I’m seriously approaching the point of complaining. 

Right, I think that’s enough for today.  In the coming week there’s work as usual.  Apart from a big meeting on Tuesday morning and a trip to Plymouth later in the week. That includes a serious, potentially difficult meeting, but also a chance to catch up with Theresa over lunch and potentially dinner.  And of course, there’s that letter from the hospital to look forward to 😉

Now I’d better go get some washing done, before the rain starts again.

A quick update

July 11, 2009

Sorry, I don’t have much time for this today, got too many chores to get on with.  Somehow everything has piled up all at once and I just can’t put it off any more. 

This week has been a bad one.  I’ve had worse pain than usual, missing the team meeting in Bristol on Tuesday and only going in to the office twice.  I’ve gained 1 lb, instead of losing weight, so  I have to do a forfeit.  This week’s punishment is to clear the backlog of shredding in the cupboard.  The kitchen is full of washing up, as we didn’t have time to clear it last night before we went out.  There’s clean washing sat in the washing machine, which needs drying somehow.  There’s dirty washing piled up on the bedroom floor, waiting to be washed.  It’s raining, so no chance of using the washing line to dry stuff. 

Plus, I have decided to move my docking station, office chair and other work stuff up to the library.  This means cleaning our stuff off the old desktop and getting rid of it, then clearing the desk to make space for my monster of a docking station.  The advantage will be that it will then remain in place and ready for use whenever I need it.  Plus the dining room will be free of it.  At the moment, the docking station gets loaded onto the office chair and pushed to one side when it isn’t in use, then moved back onto the table when I need it.  I’m not sure the desk in the library is wide enough, but I’ll find out later. 

Oh, and I have some work to do, to catch up on hours I’ve been missing through illness, pain etc. 

What else?  I planted my apricot stones last weekend.  Turns out there were 3 of them, not 4 as I thought.  They had already sprouted slightly in the fridge though, which I found so amazing.  The pots have been sitting in the lean-to for a week, growing nothing visible but tiny little mushrooms (must have been spores in the compost)…but then, this morning when I got up…there’s one baby tree!  Hooray!

In knitting news, I finally finished my cardigan:

It has no buttons yet, but I’ll get some soon.  In the meantime, I have worn it every day since finishing it, even without buttons!

I’ve started now on baby socks, using odd bits of leftover sock yarn.  More details another day. 

That’s it then, I’d better go get on with chores, might post an update another day.