Friday 29 March 2024

Good Friday

I've told this story before, and no doubt I'll tell it again, but it's my favourite memory from Good Fridays of the past and from long before bear was born. 

I fail at going to church, but I felt the urge to go to the local church on Good Friday. When I was growing up, my local church had a tradition of a vigil all through Good Friday where people could come and go, but that wasn't happening at the local church and their service was over before I realised. DH very kindly offered to drive me to Leeds Minster, to see if there was a service there. 

Of course, with my amazing timing, everyone was just coming out of the one short service that day. So I made the suggestion that perhaps we could go to Ripon Cathedral. It's a bit of a drive, but we've had some good times in Ripon. Besides, I liked Ripon Cathedral because it was a working church. A lot of cathedrals are all about the history and tourism, but this had crayon pictures from the Sunday School pinned up and a really good feeling about it. 

So we headed up the A61 and were doing quite well until we hit Harrogate when we ran into gridlock. We inched along until we reached a junction and then, with absolutely no idea of where we were going or what we were doing, we turned left onto the A59.

I couldn't drive then, but I've had a look at the A59 and it's not necessarily an easy drive. It's the sort of drive, if I remember rightly, where you can see gaps in the wall where over confident drivers have driven through down to the river. It wasn't that long after DH had passed his test so it was a little nervewracking for him although he was awesome. But I saw the signs and it said that we were heading to Skipton. I said that there was a nice church there that may have something on, and that there may be something open on Good Friday for us to get a snack. I expected most places would be closed but there would probably be a petrol station or something. 

The above image is the market, taken with Holy Trinity Church behind the camera and giving no sense of the absolute bedlam it was that day.

We drove into Skipton. Not only was nearly everything open but the place was absolutely packed. They have a market in the street and it was jammed with people. Cars were everywhere and parking anywhere near the church was impossible. We inched through to the local Morrisons supermarket and parked there. After we caught our breath, we bought the absolutely minimum in Morrisons to cover the parking and then we drove home. We'd picked up some snacky stuff for lunch and were more than ready for it by the time we drew up at home. We had spent maybe ten minutes outside the car thoughout the long journey.

DH looked at the dashboard, looked at me, sighed and said, "We've just driven 79 miles for a cornish pasty." 

My late mother told me that in her young days, the rule was that you couldn't leave your parish on Good Friday. After that cornish pasty, I've stuck firmly to that rule. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 28 March 2024

Partial Miracle

They came to finish the bathroom today, nearly two years after they started. They didn't actually finish the bathroom but it's a lot further on. Walls and ceiling edges have been finished off, the bathroom plug has been fixed and we have a new floor. All we need to do next is to get the edges of the bath properly sealed. Allegedly, they're back on Tuesday. 

Gladys is waking up. 

I reminded bear of what he did last year and told him to go and do it again. He seemed happy with that idea. 

Speaking of bear, he's had all of his results back and he's happy with them. He also got a book about Quantum Mechanics as part of some sort of reward thing. He's happy with that and I'm baffled but happy that he's happy.

I sold something on eBay but the envelope I had didn't fit so I raced to The Range. There are a lot of pretty things there but I only bought the envelopes that I went for.

I consider it a miracle. 

Mind you, part of it was because I couldn't walk properly so I just about managed to get to the envelopes, the till and then back to the car. I'm trying to get myself sorted but I'm not saying anything until things are in place. 

I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos that involve quilting. I'm not starting until I've cleared my knitting stash. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 27 March 2024

All Going Well

Thank you for all your good wishes. I don't deserve them but my relative definitely does. They are awesome and finally picking up. I've not been on the front line for this. Other people have taken the burden, but I've been worried and I'm glad things are picking up.

I've not really been keeping up with anything at all for the last month or so. I've decided, and I'm risking putting it here, I'm going to make a start in April. I don't care how I'm going to do it, I just am!

I haven't hemmed the curtains yet. I'm going to wait until the men are around, then take down one curtain at a time, trim as necessary, turn up a double hem and hand hemstitch. I know that I will effectively be hemstitching 460cm each curtain (181 inches, or 15 feet, or five yards), but I've done that sort of thing in the past and it's surprisingly quick. Until then, the curtains are bunched up to keep the heat from the radiator in the room.

By the way, that's full sunlight in the middle of the day. They're not bad at blocking light and I think that they'll do well. If push comes to shove, I'll pin a fleece blanket on the back. 

The magpie's nest is still there and it's huge. I managed this pic.

but it doesn't do justice. Either they're planning a big family or want to rent out a room - it looks massive. 

Bear is being very bear. He was on his way to bed and then paused and said, 'oh, by the way, I got my results back and I got A+ in pure maths and statistics'. I'm sure I don't know all of the good stuff he's done. Apparently tomorrow is some sort of award day and bear said he wasn't looking forward to it. Sigh. From what he let slip, he may get some sort of 'this lad done well' recognition but the chances of me finding out are very small.

Ruth - I've been looking into the reasons why thread snaps and I suspect that the tension is wrong. I've been a bit concerned and I dialled the tension down to 0. I've been thinking, and I think it's worth persevering.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 25 March 2024

That Monday Feeling

I'm feeling less organised than usual, which is epically unorganised. Worries about relative continue.

There is nothing so helpless as sitting on the sidelines when someone who you love dearly is poorly when you are really only a connection. Their family is awesome and navigating tricky waters so all I can do is add prayers and worry. 

When I first moved to Yorkshire in 1988, I found it very hard to make connections. It took me years to feel at home here. Yorkshire isn't your average English county. It has an international football (or soccer) team - the sort of team that is part of a region that has a strong identity, like Tibet or Cascadia. The rules are here if you are interested. The point is, Yorkshire is very much its own place and there is even a (fairly small) Yorkshire Independence movement. Moving a hundred miles to be here felt almost like moving to another country. I'm sitting and waiting on news of someone who made me welcome, like a stranger in a strange land. That wonderful human being that talked to me like I was worthy of conversation is in hospital and I'm still worried. 

In other news, here is a poor pic of the magpie nest.

DH spotted two magpies working together to pluck the poor rabbit. The tail is now completely detached.

The pic that I managed didn't really do the nest justice - it's big! It's like they're building it big enough to rent out an extra room!

I need to get working in the garden, but at the moment I feel like I'm dithering and not getting much done. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Friday 22 March 2024

A Little More Distracted Than Usual

It's not really mine to tell, but someone in DH's family is now in hospital, so I'm worrying about them at the moment. 

I try and limit what I write about others on here, and that relative, who is awesome and who has always been incredibly kind to me, deserves privacy. But I'm thinking about them and I know I'll want to do some more running around over the next few days.

And I haven't finished the conversion from pillow cases to bags. The thread on the sewing machine keeps breaking. I think that there's a problem with the tension but the thread may also be weak. I don't feel like pushing a sharp needle through stiff ribbon on half a dozen pillow cases. I haven't shortened the curtains either. I have been prodding around them, and the only solution that I think I could plausibly manage is to take the curtains down, trim the bottom and then fold over a double hem and hemstitch by hand. I've done that before, but it's a daunting task. 

On the bright side, we've spotted a nest where a lot of the fibre may be going - it's a magpie nest, it's large and it's at the top of the laurels across the way. I'll try and get a pic. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Sew Far, Sew Good

I've been very hit and miss over the last few days. I think the rabbit on the front step has been plucked.

It's nesting season, a lot of small birds are used to coming in the garden even without the bird feeder and the fibres seem very tempting. All I know is that it's getting more and more ragged every day. 

The curtains in the living room have been hung.

That was taken at midday and they are doing an okay job of blocking out the light. I tried to line the study curtains but realised that was was just not up to wrestling with a total of eight square metres per curtain plus interlining and that it would be okay if I gave up. I checked on the label, it turns out that the king sized duvets are longer than standard so they over hung the radiators when DH and bear put them up.

The window is 90 inches by 76 inches, which needs a fair amount of fabric. I plan to try to turn them up tomorrow. 

I've had a go turning one of the pillowcases into a bag. I know that there are all sorts of fancy things that I could have done, but I didn't do them. Instead I got some ribbon and cord and aimed for the basics. I sewed a strip of ribbon each side of the pillowcase opening.

But the cord that I have is too thick. I'm going to have to replace it. I had a mare of a time trying to thread it through. In the end, I taped one end to a dinner knife and pushed it through that way. Elegant it wasn't!

Hopefully I'll get some better pics when I return to the sewing machine tomorrow. 

Writing stuff - the latest instalment from the White Hart is here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 16 March 2024

The Sewing Machine is Winning

Ages and ages ago, I bought a sewing machine. It was one of those bargains where it was a return, and there was a voucher, and another offer stacked on top. I think that it cost around £20. I wrote about it ages ago, but I can't remember when so I can't check. I know that it wasn't a lot, which is fair enough for a discontinued Amazon own brand discount machine.

It has 42 stitches, apparently, but no instruction videos on YouTube and the manual is somewhat sparsely written. I had a few issues threading the machine up. First off I couldn't thread the needle and broke the needle threader.

The presser foot was loose, but I didn't realise so I bent the needle before the presser foot fell off. 

When I finally got the dratted thing threaded up with a new needle (and after a lot of help from DH) and did a few test runs, it was okay. 

I should have done a lot more,but instead got started. Because an even longer time ago I picked up some duvet covers to turn into curtains. As I have mentioned, my windows are an inconvenient size and standard ready made curtains won't fit, but duvet covers with heading tape work fine. However I've got a little over confident and I also bought some curtain interlining. As I clicked 'pay' I thought, I can just... And we all know how that goes. 

The inexpensive curtains that I bought from Aldi were in either double or king sized. I want to have the same colour curtains in both the main rooms - study and living room. The study window is 90 inches wide, the living room window is 46 inches wide. Double duvets are 200cm wide and king sized are 220cm. I bought two of each. I checked my order history and the interlining is 6 metres long and 54 inches wide (yes, I know!). I am going to have to do a lot of sums, and they aren't really the sort that I can rope bear into. 

By the time I'd messed around, I managed to get one double duvet attached to heading tape. I did not do a good job but I'm hoping that 'crushed' fabric, fullness and gathers will be kind to my skill.

Using a sewing machine is supposed to be quicker than hand sewing, but it was a close call with this machine as it ambles gently along. I called it a day at dinner time and went to hang out with the men. However now that it's all set up, I should be able to add heading tape to three duvet covers easily enough tomorrow. I'm not sure about the interlining. I'll share how I get on. 

I would also mention that I'm glad that I'm using these for curtains as the fabric is quite scratchy and I wouldn't like them on my bed. I was going to use the pillow cases that came with the duvets as cushion covers for the study and living room but I really don't fancy them now. I'll see if I can think of other uses as I don't feel it's fair to donate such uncomfortable things...

...but I could use some bags for yarn...

Anyway, I'll share how I survive with the sewing machine tomorrow. 

(and thinking about it, I don't think that I've bought enough lining...)

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 12 March 2024

I Was Tempted and Did Not Resist

I'm just passing through quickly before I forget to post again. I called in at Aldi and saw this...

So I spent £10.32 and came home with this...

I need an intervention. Though I think it will make a cute blanket. As it was, when I was rearranging some of the yarn from the current blanket that I'm working on, I found that the extension lead to my laptop and the fire was red hot, as was the lead to the electric fire. I've replaced it and got a new extension now, but it was worrying. 

I was thinking on Sunday night about Across a Misty Bridge. It's a series of stories from some writing prompts around 2013 which laid the foundations for Tales from the White Hart. It's been tacked onto the White Hart books in the past and has even been around on Story Origin at one point, but I felt that it could do with a brush up and a little extra care to make it's own story. It's been at the back of my mind for a while and I have been tinkering around with the punctuation and spacing but hasn't really got anywhere. On Sunday I decided to forget the fancy stuff and just put it back on the blog as I was never going to get around to it. Today I'm over 18,500 words into the re-write and still going. I think that not only do I need an intervention but also possibly a diagnosis. 

Hopefully back tomorrow with something sensible. Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 10 March 2024

I Finished Something!!!

I felt like I should do a lap of honour around the study.

I had almost finished knitting a blanket ages ago. I was on the final stretch, then I put it aside and it's just been a huge lump next to my chair. Today I finished it.

It's around 44 inches by 40 inches (very roughly 112cm by 102cm) and is 600g of DK yarn from an Aldi sweater kit knitted with two strands on 8mm needles. It is wonderfully squidgy and warm and snuggly. I thing it works out at £7.50. 

I have a gazillion and four blankets scattered all over. I'll take a risk and say that my plan is to concentrate on the blankets and big sweaters until the weather gets warm, then I can switch to using the lovely yarn that was donated and my lucky box and make scarves and hats for the Seaman's Mission - although I have about two or three inches to go on the nice garage man's scarf and I need to get that finished, but it's in the car and I can't face going out to it right now. I'm also building in knitting time to relax me before bed. 

I had a wonderful Mother's Day. DH made a tasty dinner and bear got me a lovely candle and card. He turned up just before lunch and has been an absolute sweetheart. 

It's guava and mango and smells incredible. I'm thinking of keeping the lid to use as something like a coaster. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Saturday 9 March 2024

Finally Something Happened.

I have a bunny shaped flower holder that I accidentally bought in Tesco.

DH finds it terrifyingly sinister. I think that it's because it took him by surprise. 

Tesco aren't in my good books at the moment. I had an order booked to be delivered between 3pm and 4pm. 4pm is when DH and bear traditionally have their Saturday afternoon meal and we had to leave the house between 4.45pm and 5pm to get bear to his party. I was dropping him at a nearby Morrisons because, well...

I admit nothing, but don't want to share it with his friends. DH has some paint on order.

Bear's party was the other side of Huddersfield. A party 20 miles away may not seem a lot to some, but it took an hour to drive. It's closer to Marsden Moor than it is to Huddersfield and some of the roads had stretches that had me thinking are you kidding me? At one point bear said that it was a nice view over the steep drop next to me, but the road was pretty twisty and the stone wall that stood between me and a nasty drop had a lot of gaps where it looked like cars had already hit so I kept my eyes on the road. It was a seriously twisty road and had a speed limit of 50mph which I absolutely stuck to! Mind you, I think that I ended up in a bus lane on the way back and I hope that I don't end up in trouble. 

But back to the Tesco order - there was absolutely no sign of it for ages. I can normally track it on an app (to see whether I've got time to, for example, put on a load of washing) and it just wasn't appearing. I didn't get my receipt emailed to me either. After 4pm I rang and the poor operator couldn't work out what was happening, so I cancelled. This meant that I had to pick up the stuff for Mother's Day on the way home from dropping bear off which I didn't appreciate. And I got a call from the Tesco driver when I was just outside Holmfirth who wasn't told that the order was cancelled and didn't know what to do with a delivery to an empty house. I can't complain too much. They're normally very good and I got a £10 voucher for my trouble. I was just glad to get in - and DH was an absolute hero! He put all the stuff away for me and I was desperately grateful. 

Bear was worried that he won't be here on Mother's Day morning, but I said that he made me feel valued all year round so I wasn't complaining. He's also getting the bus home, to my utter relief. 

Hugs and good health to all.

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Catching Up

 I was supposed to come back a couple of days ago but I got distracted. 

The candle - I left it outside on a cold night and when I brought it back in, the wax was really loose in the container. I thought it proved Jean's tip and was planning on making space in my freezer (my freezer is stuffed and the jar is massive) but DH attacked it with a knife, bent the knife but got all of the wax out of there. Citronella wax shavings are all over my garden and I have a lovely jar thanks to DH.

Aldi were selling off Christmas cake boards for 69p a throw.

It's as good a time to stock up as any, I guess. 

I've sort of been pootling around. The progess has been microscopic but I've been going imperceptively forward, and that has to count. 

Bear has agreed that I can make the overnight oats for him for breakfast. This means he can fall out of bed, grab the pot with the overnight oats in, race onto the bus (if it comes) and then eat when he gets to college and his stomach has woken up. He's currently neck deep in stress about exams, so I'm being nice to him.

I've picked up a hobby of watching traffic. Every now and then I click onto Google Maps and choose the 'traffic' layer. I don't know if this works outside the UK, but I can see how busy roads are, where the roadworks are and whether there's an accident. There was a string of four accidents just down the road from us, though I'm hoping they were all just slight dints. It's helped me avoid some awful hotspots, but I forgot to check and had to edge my way through a lot of parked cars when Leeds United were playing at home last night.

Writing stuff - I'm trying to get some focus on this. There are two short pieces from the White Hart - Qualified Success and Unrequited Love - and a short piece about me and trying to track characters. I'm completely failing to stick to the word limit for the writing prompt, but I'm having a lot of fun. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 3 March 2024

Candle in the Wind

I'm going to be back here and answering comments here properly tomorrow, all being well, but I thought I'd share today's adventure. 

I bought a BIG candle a few years ago, perhaps two and a half years or similar. I bought it cheap from Home Sense because I liked the jar it came in and only realised a little late that it was a citronella candle. Citronella candles should really only be burned outside as while they can deter insects, they can also make people feel poorly. In the past, I've been one of those who felt poorly after being near a citronella candle, and I am still unimpressed. 

I was looking at the dratted jar and wondering if I should just throw the whole thing out. However the jar is just the sort of thing I like, and DH agreed. I thought I may be able to dig out most of the wax if I softened it by putting the whole thing in a big pan of water. DH suggested burning it out, and we could leave it outside on the steps going down to the kitchen. 

The problem was, the house is far from air tight and I was starting to feel woozy. I suppose I could try burning the darned thing further away from the house, but I'm twitchy enough about leaving candles unsupervised, even if they are on a level surface, hidden from the street and away from anything flammable. I definitely don't feel like burning it out nearer the street and certainly not for the length of time it would take to get through the wax. It would take hours! I also have a sneaking suspicion that if I try and melt the wax and clean out the jar, I'd still be left feeling poorly. 

And it was a horror to put out as it was left on the floor outside the door, which was hard to photograph so I moved it onto the steps after it was out, but it also hard to lean down far enough to blow the thing out. I had to seal off the air with a baking sheet!

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 1 March 2024

Grumbling Again

I've done something interesting to my knee again. I'll be walking just fine then I'll get agonising pain and the damn thing will give. There seems to be a particular risk on the stairs. I have already used half of March's allowance of bad language. This is not new. It's worse than normal, though, and I'm not sure that I can make it as far as the car which is parked a few yards from the front door.

I failed to do much productive but I did read an ice hockey romance. I haven't seen an ice hockey match, and I was a little sceptical, so I went on YouTube to see what an ice hockey match really looked like outside of a romantic novel. It was a surprise. It reminded me a little of Celtic v Rangers, but a little less violent. I suppose a fast game where the players are equipped with weapons in the form of hockey sticks is likely to be a little enthusiastic.

I've done some knitting. I hope to get cracking and finish the scarf before the warm weather gets here. 

Bear hasn't mentioned the reward scheme. He was late home and then focusing on his homework. I shall see if he shares anything.

I plan to spend some time sitting down as, in my experience, rest is the only thing that works. However I need to do something as it's getting worse. 

Hugs and good health to all.