Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Third Time Lucky

A year or two ago I had the embarrassing experience of sitting through two whole sessions of a crochet course - I was too mortified to go back for the third and final class - and being the only person there who couldn't seem to understand a thing. We were all complete beginners and one woman brought along to the second class a HAT she had crocheted! In the meantime, the teacher may as well have been speaking Martian to me, as I proceeded to get everything wrong, repeatedly and embarrassingly. No one else in the class seemed to have a problem, which made me feel even more stupid.  It wasn't my first bad experience with crochet either - my Auntie had tried to teach me years before, though to be fair I was very young and gave up quite easily. This time, I Tried Really, Really Hard, and still couldn't do it.

This year, I have seen so many lovely crochet patterns, in particular this gorgeous white blanket with starburst flower squares, which appears in Jane Brocket's lovely book, The Gentle Art of Knitting.  Today at my craft group, one of the ladies very patiently spent two hours teaching me and I think I am starting to get it. One day I'd love to be able to post a photograph of that blanket on the back of my sofa. For now, I am painstakingly practising with some scrap yarn. It's a start. 

Grey Days

It has been grey clouds and rain on and off for about a hundred years and the forecast is rain for the whole of this week. Just occasionally there is a lovely hour or two, sometimes almost half a day of sunshine, and it was during one of those on Saturday that I took this picture, as we drove through the Essex countryside. You can just see the grey clouds at the right of the picture, I am not sure if they were just coming or just going. Either way, lately they are never far away.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What it Means

Being married to me means having broad shoulders I can lean on, and a resolute Taurean dogged determination and strength, a strong foundation beneath, behind and around me, every day. It means a sleepy kiss every morning when you get up and then coming back upstairs to say goodbye, the ritual three kisses before you leave for work, which I mostly just accept and nod with my eyes closed and half the time can't remember later. It means treating a ready-made almost-grown son as your own. It means being Tigger to my Eeyore,  resolutely optimistic in the face of my occasional doom-laden moods, being almost always able to make me smile, and always there with a comforting cuddle if not. It means sleeping on the edge of the bed and struggling to keep hold of a small amount of duvet (apparently). It means thoughtful birthday, Christmas, and just-because presents (I like presents), and a willingness to go out on a late night chocolate run. It means turning a blind eye to untidiness of fairly epic proportions. It means loving me unconditionally, every day. You do all of these things so well.

Today marks one whole year since the day I married my knight in shining armour. Happy Anniversary, darling. I am so happy that we found each other.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Birthday Wishes

I wish for you a year of blue skies
where the only clouds are fluffy and fleeting. 

I wish you lingering cups of rooibos tea,
Sunday morning lie-ins with the sun streaming through the window 
and lots of opportunity to read for pleasure. 

I wish you long, lazy country drives 
and many happy hours in coffee shops 
with the Telegraph crossword. 

I wish for you
 Inspiration and creativity 
An excellent MA dissertation 
The chance to work on your book again 
Time to relax, time to dream.

I wish you space 
and peace, 
Fun and laughter, 
and love. 

I wish you a very Happy Birthday, Philip. 
I am so glad you were born. 


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

April Parade of Adventures

April at last. Spring is here finally, despite that last weeks unseasonably warm weather turned rather chilly with the arrival of April this week.

The forsythia is looking beautiful, and I noticed a couple of days ago that the clematis which runs all the way along my fence is full of bud. When did that happen? I have been watching it for weeks, it seems that the moment I took my eye off it, it burst into bud. Looking forward to it coming into flower soon, the mass of little white flowers are quite lovely.

I am planning to enjoy April. I am really looking forward to next week's four day weekend. We have a 21st Birthday party to attend on the Saturday evening (Happy Birthday Coral!), which is fancy dress. Easy for us, out comes our Saxon kit, and we will go as a medieval thegn and his wife, or as I like to say, Thegn and Thegnetta (Do you remember Harry Enfield's programme? I expect I am dating myself there!) I like an excuse to wear it, it is so comfortable. The rest of the weekend is free, though I think the Prof is planning to study, and we have some major decluttering to do in the loft. We might also fit in a day trip to Saffron Walden, we visited there briefly a few weeks ago and would like to go back. The Prof's birthday is later this month, and so is our first wedding anniversary, on St George's Day, the 23rd. We are going away for a few days to celebrate the latter a little later in May, but on the day itself the Prof has booked a day off work so we can celebrate.

There are a few other things I would like to do this month. When I do these lists, there is always a very fine line between writing down everything I would like to do, and overwhelming myself, so I am just choosing a few things. Here is my proposed parade of adventures for April.

  • Go out for lunch with the Young Philosopher. We are often in the house together, but he usually seems to be asleep, as he works shifts. When he is up and about it is often the middle of the night, and I am asleep. It is really nice when we do manage to spend a few hours together.
  • Make a blanket bag. I am a chilly mortal and have recently started keeping a blanket in the car, an old one that my Auntie knitted for my son's cot, in fact. As I leave it in the car all the time I am concerned the sun will bleach the colours, so I want to make a fabric bag, maybe a kind of pillowcase-style thing to keep the blanket in. No idea how, but I do have some fabric I could use so I'd like to try and work something out.
  • Try a few new vegetable dishes. We have a weekly organic vegetable box and I have invested in two new books from Amazon this week, River Cottage Veg Every Day, and Less Meat, More Veg and they both look quite inspiring. 
  • Make a cake. I haven't made a cake since my son's third birthday, he is now 20, and I haven't made pastry since school! I enjoy cooking, but have never really got into baking. I would like to change that, and I think I will start with a cake. I need to find a recipe, and then buy the necessary paraphernalia. I don't even have a cake tin, or a sieve....I don't even know what other things I might need. 
  • Buy some new jeans. I possess two pairs these days, a horrible baggy black pair in which I feel like a builder, and a pair with Lycra in that look nice but are uncomfortable and make me itch. It's always the same with stretch jeans, I hate them. However, after much searching, I have conceded defeat and given up my mission to find non-stretch jeans in my size, and am at the point where any jeans will do!
  • Do some badly needed decluttering of the loft. It's full up! (and I MEAN full up. I am surprised the bedroom ceiling doesn't fall in)
  • Write four letters. Feeling very inspired by Kim's project. Kim wrote a letter every day in February, including one to me. I am starting small, one a week this month. 

That's enough for one month, I think. Now I am off to cut some of that gorgeous forsythia to put in a jug on the kitchen windowsill.