Wednesday 26 June 2024

Garden Fail Continues

I think that the gooseberry bushes have gone over. 

I found these in the depths of the foliage, and they should be green. I hope to be able to get out tomorrow to do a little more. I'm going to get rid of the gooseberries. The men have no enthusiasm for them and their thorns are assertively vicious. 

It feels like a long day. I had a delivery early this morning of a few bits, I got the dead bulb on the licence plate replaced (and the brakes checked at the same time as they still feel a little soft). Then I took bear to his pub quiz and did a little writing before picking him up again. I still feel that I could have done more but the heat was killing me. And yes, the heat is nothing compared to most of the world, but it's very humid and I'm not used to it.

Writing stuff - I've been thinking about the White Hart and the books that I put up. I've got a tentative plan (yes, I know what happens when I plan, but I'm working on it) and I've laid it out here. I'd love to hear what you think. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Too Hot to Knit

It was 26C on our landing, or around 79F and it's warmer than I'm used to. I do not do well in these temperatures. I can feel readers from outside the UK inwardly sniggering, but all but one of our windows face directly south (the exception is the junk room) and our house is built to keep the heat in. I am grateful in December. I'm less grateful when the temperature limps towards warm. And I'm iffy about having windows open in the evening as the neighbours smoke much weed that the smell would stop a clock. So I'm not knitting while watching England. 

As it is, England v Slovenia is unlikely to go down as one of the great classic matches in football history. I remember when father was coaching the works team and he went mad about them standing around and being static. These were factory workers on basic wages and, if I remember rightly, their movement off the ball had a lot more purpose than England tonight. Though, to be fair, this was usually a soggy afternoon in February rather than a heatwave in Cologne. 

Bear had a marvellous time on his Duke of Edinburgh expedition. He's now looking up hiking trails in our area. He's also looking at trails a lot further away and I may suggest that if he wants to travel for three hours each way then he takes the train. He came home without sunburn or blisters, which is apparently a triumph as a lot of his co-hikers suffered. He had a friend suffer a concussion who the teacher had to take to hospital at 1am and there were plenty of wrenched knees and ankles. I am a wreck at the idea of bear wandering around the North Yorkshire Moors on his own, but I can't wrap him in cottonwool. I'll just trust him to take a first aid kit and at least some common sense. All in all, he's really looking forward to the expedition next year. 

I've taken over the hiking washing for bear apart from his backpack liner. To be honest, he doesn't really need me much anymore and that means that I've done things right. He can keep his clothes clean, manage basic meals and has some idea about managing money. That doesn't mean that I won't fuss over him. Of course I'll look out for him and next year I'll be running around after him like crazy as he deals with exams. But it means that he's got a good chance at being a functioning adult, and I'm taking that as a sign that I've done something right. 

In other successes, I've finished the blanket. It's the yarn that I bought in Aldi a few months ago. It's 800g of aran weight knitted on 7.5mm needles (the yarn band asked for 5mm but I wanted slightly bigger and the 7.5mm were handy) and it's roughly 72 inches by 50 inches, or very roughly 183cm by 127cm. I think I cast on around 115 or 120 stitches and just went with plain knit. I kind of like it. I was considering selling it in the autumn, but I like the colours. 

Writing stuff - a brief snippet from the White Hart is here and the latest instalment of Cookies and Carburettors is here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Friday 21 June 2024

Bear is Safely Home

Bear is home, without sunburn or blisters. He had an amazing time and I'm glad he went. 

Though he did tell me that there was only one concussion! 

I'll catch up tomorrow. 

Thursday 20 June 2024

A Few Steps

I had to take DH's boots back. He had them re-soled in the beginning of May but the new soles had already split. I found the walking quite tough, even if it was only a few yards. 

I don't know exactly how to get more movement. That sounds silly, but it's hard for me to push physical movement and, as I can't go far, I can see me walking in circles around the living room. I'll share how I go on, but I know that when I was trying to walk more in the park a few years ago, it didn't really get much easier. 

Still, when I got back, I had a chance to take a pic of Gladys, who is producing huge flowers.

I've got rid of some of the wild growth.

And you can now see the very small tree that was being smothered. But this is the next plant that I should get rid of, and I don't want to. It looks so bright and cheerful. 

I've seen photo evidence and bear seems to be having a good time. It's felt a little odd without him here, but DH and I have managed.

Hugs and good health to all. 

But it gets in the way of clearing other stuff and one of the big reasons I need to clear out the plants is that the rats are showing up again and I need to reduce cover for their runs. 

Tuesday 18 June 2024

There's Been a Little Rain

There's been thunderstorms and heavy rain.

The water was running down the street like a river. At least I don't need to water the garden. Mind you, I haven't been doing anything in the garden but today I spent a few minutes filling two bin bags with weeds. It barely made a dent. I'll go again tomorrow.

Bear is finally ready (or not) for the expedition and goes tomorrow. Tonight he spent at least an hour explaining something about the square root of minus two. I have absolutely no idea what he was talking about, but he seemed to enjoy it.

I've been concentrating on knitting the blanket while watching the football. I haven't commented on the England v Serbia match so far. I watched it, of course, but I don't think it was perhaps the best example of the beautiful game. I was reminded about something Mark LawrensonMark Lawrenson said. He said that as a player, you had to be able to play, but you also had to be able to handle yourself. He was talking about Celtic v Rangers, a fixture known for sectarian violence, riots and the sort of match that's a lot more rugged than usual, but I think it had the same vibe. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 17 June 2024

Half a Millimetre

I've been making erratic progress on the hat. I keep getting distracted from the football.

It's 10 inches long, and I start shaping at 12 inches. However I've just realised that the needles were 4.5mm instead of 4.0mm. I don't expect that it will make a great deal of difference but it's annoying. 

The Duke of Edinburgh expedition starts on Wednesday and I shall be passionately glad when it's over. Bear is looking forward to it, but I'll just be thankful when I'm no longer worried if more shopping is needed. He took the backpack in to be checked today and apparently he needs a warm hat. I have never managed to convince bear to wear a hat in literal snow. The frost could be laying thick enough for polar bears and I'd be lucky to get him to wear a warm sweater. Bear has dug out a hat, but I don't expect him to wear it, even if it is cold for June in the Peak District. 

DH seemed to have a good Father's Day. Bear got him a vampire garlic crusher.

DH was very satisfied with the result when he tested it when making garlic butter. 

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

Hugs and good health to all. 

Sunday 16 June 2024

The Car is Fixed

Around £700 later, with new brake fluid and pads, a full service and an MOT, the car is good to go. I'm somewhat relieved. It's frustrating because the brake fluid change was scheduled to happen with the service and if everything had held out a few days more then it wouldn't have been so unnerving or expensive! Still, the garage (Leeds In n Out who are awesome), got it all sorted. 

I couldn't move very well yesterday after all the extra running around but I'm moving better today. I've not really done much. I've done a load of washing and watched a lot of football. I undid a scarf that wasn't working in yarn that had been thoughtfully donated to me and decided to turn it into a hat. So far I have this.

That's with intermittent knitting during Germany v Scotland and Hungary v Switzerland, a few rows when Spain were playing Croatia and a couple of rows during Italy v Albania. Two by two rib needs far more attention than I'm willing to give when the football is on. Tomorrow I'm switching back to a blanket, at least for the England game. 

Hugs and good health to all. 

Thursday 13 June 2024

I Didn't Crash

I went to get an x-ray on my hip today. I thought about all the different ways to get there. In the end, I decided to drive. On the way, my brakes failed, but in the least dangerous way. I was about to turn across traffic, so I wanted to slow down. Nothing happened when put my foot on the brake. As it was, I had slowed with the gears anyway and nothing was in front of me and eventually I slammed my foot down and the car stopped. Fortunately I was near the hospital and I managed to limp to the multi storey car park. Most of the time, the brakes responded normally but every now and again they were so soft and while it was maybe a few hundred yards or so, it felt like miles. 

I went and got the x-ray of my hip done. It was really quick. I was in and out in a few minutes and had practically no waiting time. As I was finding it tough to walk, I had plenty of time to notice the interesting things around when I had to pause. There's some beautiful art in the Bexley Wing of St James Hospital.

And on the way back to the car park, I noticed this black grass and I was fascinated.

I called out the AA and the nice man in a van turned up quite quickly. It was the same for him as he trundled backwards and forwards. Most of the time the brakes worked, occasionally they were soft and once they weren't there at all. He told me to follow him out of the car park, thinking that the brakes had settled down. They hadn't and I was a wreck by the time I got out. He couldn't work out what was going on. The brake fluid was fine and nothing seemed to be wrong. It was just that the brakes weren't there. I felt like I identified with the car - there's nothing wrong with me apart from not being able to walk. The AA took the car to the garage - In n Out Leeds who are awesome. They hope to look at it tomorrow.

Funnily enough, I'd booked a full, fancy, complete service and MOT for them on Monday. It just goes to show. I'm just glad that this happened today in the relatively flat spaces around St James rather than the steep hills around Mirfield where I was driving around last night picking up bear from his friends' place. 

I took a taxi back and got a pic of Gladys.

She needs to be cut back a little more, but those flowers are enormous. And when I got in, bear had a parcel.

I decided that it was either a sword or a very badly wrapped hat box. 

It turns out that it was a sword. Bear plans on taking it on the expedition (with the teacher's knowledge!) and is going to practice sword fighting with his friend who has a similar sword. At least he's more or less decided on food. Someone is taking pancake mix, someone is taking pasta and bear is taking dessert. This is loaf cake and instant custard. It's going to have to be very well packed.

It's been a long day. I'm not planning on moving much more and I'll have an early night.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Cold for June

The cold weather continues. I'm unimpressed. I feel very down in the dumps and it's hard for me to get motivated.

Bear's preparations for his Duke of Edinburgh continue. I swear that they're never going to end. I think that the only thing remaining is the food which is being discussed with his friends tomorrow. I am so looking forward to him getting out there and the whole preparation thing finally being finished. Then all we need to do is to stash everything away somewhere that we know we'll find it next year. 

I watched the Sewing Bee last night and I was a little lukewarm about it. It seems a little flat. I don't want to be too much of a hypocrite. I can sew anything like as well as the contestants and I still don't trust my sewing machine, but I just wish that there was more that I could drool over. There have been some amazing creations this season, but they seem to have been more spread out. Of course, it could be me as I'm definitely more grumpy than normal at the moment. 

Writing stuff - I've started a new story on Royal Road called Cookies and Carburettors. As I'm not brilliant at baking and I don't know a gasket from an oil pan, I may be over reaching. You can read my excuses on my blog here

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 10 June 2024

Herding Cats

Bear has to get his kit together for the Duke of Edinburgh expedition. He's fine about it and I'm about to collapse under the stress. I've looked over his kit list, and I have doubts.

My brother, bless him, took bear and got him kitted out with the boots, backpack and clothing that he needed. However the list also included things like tea towels and wash kit and that's all down to bear - or me. 

Trying to pin bear down to what he needs to pack and what I need to add to the shopping list is like trying to herd greased cats that have been rolled in catnip. I'm trying to work out if he's got enough sun block, and if he needs a wash cloth, and do they need him to supply washing up liquid and bear is supremely indifferent. The school is doing a bag check and I am so grateful as I am sure that bear has not allowed for an awful lot of things. This includes food.

Bear has airily assured me that they'll be eating things like pancakes and pasta. I have grave doubts about this. I asked bear whether he knew how to cook these pancakes and he gave me a blank look. Pancakes from scratch (the only way I've ever made them) involve things like eggs and milk which aren't easy to cart around in your backpack as you're tramping around the moors. I still haven't had a definitive answer about whether he needs an indiviudual first aid kit and I feel somewhat concerned as you can't always get stuff last minute, especially as I'm still struggling to walk. 

It's three days. I'm going to be a wreck and bear is going to be fine. 

I had an extremely large delivery today. Not only did I have a load of travel size stuff like shampoo (because bear is not going to let standards slip and utterly rejected the combined body wash and shampoo) but there are a lot of offers on gluten free stuff at the moment so I may have loaded up. 

I've no pics worth sharing, so here is an old one of mine from January 2022. I've always liked this contrast.

Writing stuff - I should be doing all sorts of writing stuff but Royal Road issued a challenge with the theme of Grannies and Goblins and I couldn't resist the idea. The first instalment is herehere. Eventually I'll get around to putting it on my blog as well. And this week's instalment from the White Hart is herehere

Hugs and good health to all.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Today Was a Win

This may seem strange, but I walked a few yards and I feel like it was a win. 

I was picking up bear but I thought that I would call in a small supermarket type place on the way so that I could pick up some snacks. I wasn't sure that I could do the walking. But I did! I parked a tiny way from the door.

And not only did I manage to get to the store, but I managed to wander around as I looked for the small bottles of diet Coke that I wanted. To me this is an incredible success!

There's not much more going on, but this was such a big deal. I had to share. It gives me hope that I can get moving again.

Hugs and good health to all. 

Monday 3 June 2024

Long Weekend

Saturday seemed to go on forever. First there was the boiler service. The plumber that does that is very different from the plumber that put in the bathroom, and they are awesome. Of course, the kitchen needed to be moved around so that they could get decent access, which was a nuisance, especially as I'm still struggling to walk more than a few paces. However that was done and dusted easily enough. 

Then there was the performance of bear's bed. Bear has needed a new bed for years but has resisted the change. However I finally wangled consent and booked a delivery from IKEA for a single bed, mattress and underbed storage for Saturday. They let me know that they would be delivering between 9am and 1pm. At 1.30pm I rang to ask if they were going to be very late. The very nice man at IKEA central told me that the delivery was postponed, probably until the next day or so. At this point I channeled my inner ice queen and asked where he thought my son was supposed to sleep tonight, and by the way I had arranged this to fit in with exams. He said he would ring back. And he was a very nice man from IKEA who rang back when he said he would and said that the bed had been sent to a central depot, then for some reason it sent back for the local store to deliver. He explained that he had been told that there was now no room on the van and that the local duty manager would ring me back. The manager didn't ring back. Instead we had a rather flustered delivery at 4.45pm and bear put his bed together. He's very pleased with it.

I've absolutely no idea what the bed looks like in situ as bear's room is still as well guarded as the Forbidden City, but bear is happy and hopefully will get some good sleep on it.

The yarn that I shouldn't have bought came as well.

It should end up as a baggy sweater. I want to try and get it finished in the next two weeks as I'll be back on blankets when the Euros24 starts. 

Writing stuff - another chapter from the White Hart is here.

Hugs and good health to all.