Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I love real mail. How lovely it is to get something other than junk mail, bills and letters from Virgin Media - which come under junk mail, but I get so many of them they deserve their own category of Really Annoying, especially as I am already with Virgin Media and I don't need to see all the fantastic offers they are giving their new customers, that don't apply to me as an existing one. 

Anyway, look at the postal loveliness that I have been lucky enough to receive this week!

Cococita in Belgium drew such a lovely elephant for me, and that notepad is made from elephant poo! I love the tiny card, and the flowery washi tape - I have never had any before and so I am seriously behind the times, I realise. 

Sara sent me a poster detailing the various vitamins etc.  in vegetables, knowing I am moving towards being completely vegetarian. This is the second one she has sent me, the first was eaten by the dog! This one will be kept firmly out of her reach. I'd quite like to put it on the kitchen wall, but I don't think we have an empty section of wall large enough for it, it's a large poster, and we have a very small kitchen!

Last night we went to see the Australian Pink Floyd, I gave the Prof tickets for Christmas. Sunday we ran errands and visited family, and Saturday I went to a friend's hen night. It seems ages since we had a quiet night in, so that's what I am looking forward to tonight, with an easy dinner of jacket potatoes and if I manage to stay awake long enough, some knitting. I am already in pyjamas at 6pm. It's that sort of evening. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


My friend who hosts our fortnightly craft group has recently started a monthly evening sessions specifically  for anyone from the craft group who feels they would like extra help with a project. She is experienced in several crafts, including knitting, and keen to pass on her what she knows. I can see myself keeping her pretty busy as I probably need a lot of help with a lot of things! To start with, I really want to learn more knitting skills. I literally spent about ten years knitting only dishcloths, scarves and the occasional tea cosy, and it's only been in the last year or so that I have branched out a little to include more complicated tea cosies and scarves, wow and even a baby blanket and some wrist warmers. There are so many lovely patterns that I see on Ravelry, and on other blogs (hi Karen!) , but some of the patterns terrify me, so I thought I would deliberately choose patterns with skills I don't have, and work on them with my friend's help on these Wednesday evenings.

 I have never been a hat person. Put a hat on my head and I suddenly remind myself somewhat of Compo, or Benny., I just feel vaguely silly in them.  I own one hat, a brown knitted hat with a peak that's quite cute, and I do rather like myself in it, but it doesn't cover my ears, so it is more decorative than effective! I need something for these cold wintry days (although by the time I finish it, it could be Spring!), so I am knitting a  wurm  hat. The yarn is 50% merino, nice and soft, and wasn't too expensive, about £7.50 for 3 balls. I have never knitted on circular needles before, and am finding the whole magic loop thing a bit of a challenge, but I started this evening and have managed ten rows so far. There is a complicated part coming up in about another fifteen rows' time, so at that point I will probably put it aside until the next time I see my friend.

I am reading One Deadly Summer, a thriller, lent to me by someone in my book group. I am not sure about it yet, only being a few pages in. I abandoned The Kiss. I don't seem to be able to get into reading so far this year, I can usually read two or three books a week, but I don't think I have even read three this year, despite having lots of new ones for Christmas, a pile from the library and three to read for my book group. I think I am knitting more than reading these days, and also I always used to read in bed and in recent weeks I seem to be asleep before my head hits the pillow. Maybe I will feel more like reading in the Spring - as soon as we get some sun I am going to make a determined effort to sit outside for a while each day and try to top up my sadly lacking Vitamin D. A half an hour each day sat at my little patio table with a drink and a book sounds lovely right now, on this cold winter's evening.

Joining Ginny for this week's Yarn Along

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Curiouser and curiouser

I can finally show you the Old Shale scarf I knitted for Jennifer, as she has received the parcel I sent her. 

The other day, this blog for some reason sent out a post I wrote last summer to the people who subscribe by email. I thought that was weird. Then just now I see that the last post I wrote, a few days ago, has disappeared from the blog altogether, it's not even in the drafts.  This makes me rather reluctant to write the post I had planned today! I think I will leave blogger to settle for a bit. Gremlins are obviously afoot. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

So many projects, so little time

I don't know why it is, when I am at home most of the time, and have no small children, that I still don't have time to knit as much as I would like. I'm not a fast knitter either, and my list of projects-to-be is growing faster than I can keep up with it! 

I am working on the poncho still, I have almost a quarter of the squares done. It's a nice simple knit, and the large needles and chunky yarn means it knits up quite quickly (for me!). I try to do a square or two each evening, as well as a few inches of the border for the baby blanket, as the baby is due in a couple of weeks. I also have a cream coloured hat in mind, a gift for someone and a bag for myself. Oh, and wrist warmers to match the poncho, if I have enough yarn left over. 

I'm reading The Kiss, I am just a few pages in and it looks to be quite dark and disturbing.  I just looked it up on Amazon to link to (not getting paid for doing so, just making it easy for anyone to check it out), and realised it's a memoir, which makes it all the more disturbing. It's a good read so far. 

Tomorrow I am off on a day out with my craft group to a craft fair somewhere in the Essex countryside. I am looking forward to a nice country drive, the company of friends, hopefully a cream tea, and of course I will restrain myself from buying the materials for any more craft projects.....

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along

(I apologise to those of you who will receive this post in their in boxes for the second time - this post disappeared from the blog in unexplained fashion 2 days after it was published, Luckily, I have my posts sent to my email account, so have copied it in order to reinstate it. I will also copy the comments and add them below)

Saturday, February 09, 2013

This isn't the one I ordered

Spotted from the car window on the side of a building in London this afternoon

Towards the end of last year I took part in a support group at the hospital, along with eight other people with ME/CFS. I was quite reluctant to take part initially, but the doctor talked me into it, my attitude being that I thought it would be a group of people moaning about how ill they felt, and as my plan of action has always been to try not to think about my condition (read: denial), I didn't really fancy it at all. I couldn't have been more wrong, the other participants turned out to be a great bunch - a range of ages, and all having arrived at the CFS diagnosis down different paths, but also with so much in common. I have gained so much from the experiences and wisdom shared by them all, as well as the advice and tools we were given by the doctor leading the group. 

Our group sessions ended at the beginning of December, and today six of us met up in a coffee shop in London to catch up. It was so nice to see them all, and I feel so comfortable with this group of people, knowing we all understand each other is so important, and I think, something I underestimated before I took part. Just being in the company of people who really get it, is such a valuable thing and I am so glad we are all keeping in touch. 

Seeing the group today had given me renewed determination to try and recover from this condition. It's a strange one, in that you can't do much without encountering what they call post-exertional malaise, which can and does cause you to be quite ill, sometimes for long periods, but equally, doing less causes you to become deconditioned  which can become a vicious circle. I know I need to try to do slightly more on my bad days and a lot less on my good days, to try and avoid a boom-and-bust type pattern. I am definitely deconditioned, I have very little strength now, particularly in my arms - it is difficult to hang out washing, or to hold my arms up long enough to dry my hair. I have in mind to try doing a few repetitions each day with cans of beans or something, and to try to get out the house each day, for a start. I am not good at getting motivated for going on random walks for no reason, but enjoyable little outings would be nicer. Maybe I will write a list of things to do/places to go, that I think I can manage, with frequent rests built in. Maybe when if we ever get any sunshine, that will help with the vitamin D, too. 

I also spent longer in a coffee shop today than ever have before - almost five hours! I arrived home a while ago, exhausted and rather over-caffeinated. I drink decaf at home, and somehow always forget that fact when I am out. 

Friday, February 08, 2013

reading and knitting

Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise said in her blog post today that she likes her kitchen to be tidy before she sits down to knit. My kitchen is actually generally pretty tidy - it's so tiny with a minuscule worktop area so if it wasn't kept tidy there wouldn't even be room to make a cup of tea! I kid you not. The rest of the house is a different matter, however. I would venture to say that the living room and our bedroom are NEVER tidy, even when I have tidied there are piles of things where they shouldn't be. (I won't even get started on the Young Philosopher's room, but that is His Responsibility) The main cause of this is lack of storage, oh and probably definitely having too much stuff, and we are working on both of those issues as and when. In the meantime, I have found myself far too often putting things off until the place was tidy. There was always this feeling that I will take photos/blog/knit/have fun when everything is done. The trouble is, everything is never done, especially now with my health the way it is, and at the ripe of old age of 45 I am done with putting off what I want to do until I have a lovely neat environment to do it in. Consequently this afternoon I am going to watch a DVD, ignoring the bag, basket and box full of miscellaneous tat from my last clear up that I haven't sorted out yet, and spend the afternoon knitting. 

Today I got up very late again, and am still incredibly tired. According to my doctor my vitamin D after my recent tests was very low indeed, and I only just found out that can cause tiredness, exactly what I need on top of the CFS, but hey ho. Keep taking the tablets. Last night I cast on the border for the baby blanket I am making. I love the mint green colour, and the fact that the 10 row pattern grows so quickly. I am using my only pair of wooden needles, I haven't used them for a long time and had forgotten how I love wooden needles. I have also started the poncho, can't wait to have that finished. I wonder if I will manage to finish it before the weather is too warm to wear it? The trouble is I get sidetracked by other projects - more yarn arrived this week, a soft merino blend to make a wurm hat for myself, and some unusual luxury yarn for a gift I want to make. 

I don't have a novel on the go at the moment, though I have a few here waiting to start, including three for my book group (we only meet every two months). This afternoon I've been browsing through one of my Christmas presents from the Prof, Pretty Nostalgic magazine's 'Home' book which is full of  vintage loveliness. I am also planning to find more recipes in 'Real Food from Your Slow Cooker', I love mine and need some inspiration.

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along

Sunday, February 03, 2013

This was the weekend

This weekend:

  • A long lie in on Saturday morning. I am so appreciative of the new quilt my parents gave us for Christmas. Our old one was so thin, and this one is so luxuriously cosy. 
  • Coffee in bed, courtesy of my lovely Prof.
  • A lot of reading - I finished Still Missing, and really enjoyed it. I thought I hadn't really been in much of a reading mood so far this year, but it must just have been my previous book, as I read this one very quickly. I  have just started a book about urban gardening on a London roof terrace, which is giving me inspiration for our little yard. 
  • An evening with friends - dinner cooked by someone else, lovely dessert and two glasses of wine.
  • The Prof helping my Mum choose a laptop, and setting it up for her, whilst I hovered around trying to look helpful, or knitted. On to the border of the baby blanket now, thankfully. This has not been a pattern I will want to knit again! 
  • A Starbucks caramel macchiato. 
  • My Dad's 'Farvie egg sandwiches' for Sunday tea.
  • Enjoying the return of 'Person of Interest' on Sunday evenings.