Monday, September 27, 2010

Rainbow life......

It is a grey day and my head hurts my leg hurts and I am In A Mood. I have no idea why. So, forget I said that and I will write a happy post re rainbows and smiley faces instead.

Isn't that exactly what we all do? It is rare that we let the foulness that overwhelms us occasionally out here in the blogging world. Generally it is not what we came here for in the first place, is it. But sometimes real life intrudes on the rainbow world.

I am reminded when I read all your words, that there is another whole world, or story, behind them, you know. A world where tears of sadness, despair, frustration or rage fall now and then, and yet we never talk about those days.

I don't. I won't. I can't.

And then I read another bit of Pete Wilson's Plan B last night. The chapter where he talks about the fact that if we don't share the bad stuff, it is all unreal. How can we help or be helped if we don't know? Sigh. And then I tossed and turned and tossed some more, and this morning I tossed the thought in the Too Hard Basket for now.

If you have read the book, tell me your thoughts.
So back to happy smiley faces once again.

I have had a wonderful weekend - out with Linds and Geoff on Friday night. A slowish Saturday which involved 3 hours of Extreme Makeover Home Edition on TV, and then Sunday started with a hilarious hour skyping with a gathering of old school friends now living in Australia, friends round for lunch, followed by the rest of the day dozing on the couch. You have no idea how exhausted I was, or how much the leg ached.

Back to rainbows..........
It is cold. It is wet. But my dahlias and cosmos and hollyhocks are still blooming merrily outside the window. And very little is turning red or gold or brown. I have just been to look. Leaves and dropping off ,and spaces are appearing where there once was greenery, but that is the way of things.

Oops. I forgot the porridge I made for breakfast in the microwave....... I tried reheating it and I do believe it now has the consistency of cement.

I ate it. IF I keel over and expire, tell them it was the cement.

I gave up on the words part of this post. Here is the cradle pre-painting......

And post-painting. Well, after the first coat. A huge difference. Note how it was competing for counter space with the apple cakes.....

And here is the dangling wedding dress, complete with coffee stains. Attempting to remove the stain is on the list for this week. Do you see how lovely the train is?

Ah well. I am writing this while on hold for some govt agency and am losing the will to live. I will be back.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Old friends.........

Old friends - what can I say....

You know, it is one of life's greatest pleasures when you catch up in person with old friends. And within 10 seconds, it is as if you had seen them just last week. I have spoken of the friendship I have shared with Linds in New Zealand many times, and I can't emphasise enough how thankful I am that we are friends. Emails and calls keep us in constant touch, and then the times when we can sit at a table together and chat just happen to be the icing on the cake.

There was plenty of icing on the cake last night, as we sat and chatted over dinner out at a lovely restaurant. She and her husband were on a whistle-stop tour of the country before going to the Ryder Cup later in the week, and oh, how I loved seeing her. We fall into the friendship category where you could spend the morning together, and find reason to chat on the phone at least 4 times later in the same day. At length. You know the kind. Special. Very special. Our husbands never did quite understand the necessity for the calls. I remember the rolled eyes and grins well. But we are women and these conversations were important. And come to think of it, not once in nearly 40 years have we run out of things to say, to discuss and to debate. Not once. I see no chance of that ever happening!


So it was lovely.

The cradle is back on the counter with another coat of paint drying, and there is a pot of tomatoes, peppers and onions bubbling away on the stove. That is it for today. I am not doing another thing. It is what I call hot cross bun weather. Icy wind blowing, and it is a " curl up under a blanket with a hot drink and a good book" type of day. Definitely autumnal.

And that is exactly where I am the couch. Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday morning......

The moon last night was spectacular. It lit the whole garden, and for a few brief moments, the wind stopped, and I walked out there, and it was so calm and blue/grey and beautiful. Did I take a photo? No. Sigh. NOW I think of it.

Today the wind is back and it is after 1pm, and the temp is 9C. Not tropical. What a change from a day or two ago.

My wedding dress is now hanging from the rafters in the kitchen. Still drying. Needled Mom has suggested something to remove the coffee stain, so after my visitors have gone, I will try it. And I will retrieve the cradle from under the piano and finish that too. It is going to be hard enough to explain the wedding dress to my friends (who happened to actually be at the wedding. ) The cradle may have been pushing it a little.

I followed Vee's instructions and exported the blog to my computer. Tick that box. I don't know how to do the photos though. Maybe I must just make time, and pop the lot into Blurb or some such place and make the books I keep thinking I should make. But never get round to doing anything about it. There is a pattern emerging here, isn't there. I need to follow through. Finish things. Do what I need to do. Sigh. I am full of great intentions.

The aerial man has yet to show up.

This could be the day when I pop in and out and post about different things. My mind is all over the place. The blanket is finished though! (Photos later)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I surpass myself at times.....

Afternoon all.....

I am having a rest, so I thought we could have a chat. The apples are stewing, and the little cradle is half painted. The blanket I am crocheting is almost finished - just working on the edging - and there are half a dozen books half read. Are you getting the picture? Yes, I am firmly back in headless chicken mode. Starting one thing, then moving to the next etc etc etc and so help me, I will get them all finished today. Well, not the books, but the rest of the projects.

The little cradle is one my great-uncle made for me and my dolls when I was very small. I painted it and made bedding for Diana's dolls, and then I saw it in the far corner of the loft, and thought, right, I can paint it and make bedding for Missy's dolls too. So it and the apples are competing for space on the kitchen counter.

While I was washing the cradle, I took a good look at its construction and I really reckon it would be dead easy to make. Then I started thinking of making templates and firing up the scroll saw, and decided that I needed to retreat to a darkened room for a while as I was clearly losing my mind.

So here I am.


Did I mention that my wedding dress is draped over the airer in the middle of the kitchen? No? I found that in the loft too, and decided to wash it. Someone spilled coffee on it at the wedding reception (over 34 years ago) and it was never cleaned, so I thought washing it was a sensible thing to do. Only the coffee stain is still there in the french lace. Hmmm. Maybe I should stick the whole thing in bleach. We will see. Any other suggestions? (I think maybe half of me could get into the dress now. Or a quarter. It looks as though it would fit a stick insect. Groan. )

I write such edifying posts here.

Tomorrow, my best friend, who lives in New Zealand, the other Linds, is coming to visit. So please tell me WHY I decide now its the time to paint cradles? Which take forever to dry? Ah well, she knows me very well. Nothing would surprise her.

During the course of writing this post, I have made coffee. Cut my nails. Stirred the apples. Got the paint off my hands. Checked the post. Dead-headed some flowers in the garden, and made 3 lists. I think retiring to the couch and leaving you all to go and find some deeply philosophical posts re the state of the world, or some such stuff is my best option. I will return when I have an attention span slightly more highly developed than that of a 3 year old.

Happy Thursday to you all!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A day to forget........

Yesterday was not a stellar day. No. Definitely not. What with the blog crisis, the twitter mouseover lark, and my phone being dropped down the toilet, I was not a happy bunny at all. My mobile phone, as we call them here in the UK. The one I need. The one with the alarm clock. And before you ask, the phone was in my pocket and it slipped out. Oops. So there was a hairdryer, a lot of slightly less family friendly muttering and a definite lack of serenity around these parts.

And then, for good measure, I decided that, as the aerial man is coming to sort out my TV aerial on Friday, I actually needed to clear a path for him through the loft. Bearing in mind that this involves a ladder, agony and an initial bit of kneeling, sauna like temps up there in the less than 4ft high crawl space, and I can't kneel or crawl...... you will understand that I was not a picture of domestic elegance.

Thank the good Lord Jean arrived to help. So I got up there, and then slithered along by holding on to rafters to the depths. Mopping the sweating brow. I either pushed the boxes to the hole for Jean to haul down, or told her to get out of the way for the heavy ones, and tossed the contents down piece by piece. Jean, the star, trotted up and down the stairs and the ladder for what seemed like hours. And most of the stuff went straight out the front door and into the car for delivery to the nearest charity shop.

I finally got to the aerial, which appears to be stuck to the rafter with gaffer tape, for goodness sake. It dangles, and is resting on a box. This can't be ideal. I could waggle it back and forth and given my very limited knowledge of all things aerial, I don't think this is right. But at least the man will be able to see it. And sort it. And make it all perfect.

So I slithered out. Dripping. And somehow made it down the stairs. I cannot describe how dirty I was. Or how damp. Or how sore. Not one of my finest moments, but what else can I do, and who else would know where it was or what to move or how??? Exactly. I changed, and then flopped on the couch for the rest of the evening. Moving at all was not an option. Many painkillers were also involved.

Today has been a slow day. I have sorted through the last of the boxes I evicted from the loft, and have spoken to or emailed my children to check if they wanted any of the stuff. They don't so far. Excellent. It will be gone tomorrow.

You do not want to know how many more boxes there are up there. Groan. But they can wait for another day. I need to recover first. I can't think WHY I didn't do this when David was here to do the climbing and carrying. I must be mad.

Changing the subject completely, Flat Princess ( I keep calling her Flat Annie!) is winging her way here for a visit. So start fighting about who is getting her next. I will be taking her on a tour of the sites. You never know...... she may even get to climb into the loft too!

Life round here is just full of excitement.......

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What is going on?

My daughter just opened my blog page and had a huge red warning "This site may harm your computer" all over the screen. I have never heard of this happening here before. Is anyone else getting this and where on earth is it coming from? And why? I have no idea how it could be possible. I AM HARMLESS!!!!!!! And while we are on the subject, how do I export my blog to keep a copy on the computer? Does it remove it? Shudder.


Sunday, September 19, 2010


Can you believe that I am sitting here waiting for a call to tell me the horse manure is on its way to the allotment? No. I thought not. Sunday afternoons should not involve horse manure. But it is free, and the allotment needs it, and so it is arriving sometime soon. I, however, will not be shovelling it. I am going to be sending messages to the 2 strong men who have been using the allotment while I can't, and they will do the shovelling. I may go and watch for light entertainment. But then, it may be too cold. The wind is blowing again, and I am not feeling tropical. At all.

The week seemed to disappear in a flash, didn't it. I have no idea where the days go to any more. I do know that my absence for the past few days was triggered by the brain in overdrive.

You see, I had the most incredible email from a lovely lady who reads what I write, and it humbled me so much and made me stop and really think. Ponder. And I am so grateful she took the time to email me. I tend to forget at times that there are a people who pop by to visit, who don't comment here regularly or at all, and (Hello! You are all so very welcome!) I really do need to actually look at the stats a little more than once in a blue moon. I need reminding.

Don't feel that commenting is compulsory by any means, people, it just helps me to get to know you all and getting to know people from around the world has been an unexpected and absolutely wonderful blogging blessing. I never realised when I started so hesitantly all those years ago, how much you would all come to mean to me, and how much fun it would be to get to know you, and in some cases actually meet each other, and chat, either on the phone or skype.

How small our world is. And how powerful this internet has become. (Yes, the grammar is less than stellar. I know.)(My apple crumble is taking FOREVER to cook - I am hungry and I am also trying to heat the kitchen a little!) Where was I......

The internet. Of course.

What a wonderful place it it. And what an awesome responsibility it is when I realise that the words which spill out across my screen actually have an impact on other lives. Encourage people to change little things. Ripples, people, the ripples keep spreading out in ever-widening circles.

To tell you the truth, this blogging world has reduced me to tears at time, made me spew coffee all over my keyboard when I have laughed so hard. It has made me think. Made me explore areas way outside my comfort zone. It has challenged me, and it has blessed me beyond measure.

It has also been there in the dark lonely hours, you know. When my world was asleep. My real world. My blogging world stays awake. And it has also made me as mad as a wet hen at times.

We do not all agree with everything each other says, but we all (hopefully) have learned that differences are what make the world so interesting. We learn from each other. For goodness sake, I learned to crochet because Lucy made such beautiful things. Who would have thought I would crochet. Me? Hahahaha.

I have been a part of the vigils for little babies not destined to live for long. I have been a part of international prayers storming the gates of heaven for friends. I have watched blogging friends lose the battle to live, I have been part of the wonderful world where people around the world band together to support friends in desperate need. I have seen countless numbers dig deep and sponsor a Compassion child. I have watched amazing young women go away as missionary workers. I have seen others head to foreign lands to visit the poorest of the poor. And so much more......

Why do I blog? For all that. You see, you have no idea how simple it is to become a part of this world. Or how wonderful the rewards can be. My life has been enriched beyond measure. And as I said just a second ago, there is so much more too. So much.

All because I started writing.....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The season is changing.......

The garden is having a burst of early Autumn colour, so I thought I would share some of it with you. The wind out there today is freezing and I neglected to wear appropriately warm clothes today (which are up the stairs, and I have no intention of going up there), so I write wrapped in a blanket. Great. Mind you, this winter, I think I will be posting from under many layers of blankets, so I may as well get used to it now.

I am rambling.

My Uncle Walter rose is surpassing itself this year. It has NEVER had so many flowers!

I spent yesterday afternoon being "medically assessed". Do not ask. Yet another round with officialdom, and it is driving me round the bend. And they mentioned that there would almost certainly be another assessment before any decision is made. And joy of joys, I had a letter from another official today saying that someone medically trained would be making an appointment to visit me at home to "assess" me. Maybe it is time to tell the lot of them to vamoose, as we used to say when I was young.
But just look at this dahlia. It makes me smile, and I need to smile a lot more. I can see the dahlias from where I am sitting here, just outside my kitchen window. An absolute forest of pink.
It is so much more beautiful than these photos show, you know. Cosmos, dahlias, hollyhocks, sunflowers all amassed together, swaying in the wind, which is gale-force today.
The marigolds and lobelia are still flourishing too. I have been collecting seeds for next year. A little collecting effort now and I won't have to buy any next spring.
My roses have been flowering non-stop this summer, and they are all covered in buds now. And there are bees buzzing about all the time, which is great for the garden. Just look at this beautiful rose....... I see this as I wash the dishes. It is right outside my window.
So there you have my autumnal/late summer garden. Well, some of it, anyway. It makes me smile. The cold weather does not.

I generally just sit down at the computer and write what I am thinking. I don't have a formula for separate days. But recently, the words have been tumbling out all over the place, and I am not sleeping because they are dancing through my brain all the time. So, I have been writing but not posting what I am writing. Yet. A while back, I wasn't at all sure what to do about the blog, and I did what I always do, prayed about it, asked for a definite sign I should carry on writing. Well, if the words battering the inside of my skull are a sign, then yes, I should carry on. But what?

That is what I am trying to work out. I just let them flow and we will see what happens. If that makes any sense at all. Yes. Well. Just so you know.
If I look up from my computer, this is what I see. My kitchen all decorated for Autumn. And happily cluttered, as always too. Again, there is part you can't see, like my Autumn tree and the leaves on the rafters, and the seeds on trays.

Or me in the blanket.

Just as well.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Science fiction and a trip on the tube.......

Do you remember those old science fiction movies where alien forces took over the minds of people? They all became zombie-like and moved around like robots as programmed by the mind altering whatsits. Now I have never been a great fan of science fiction, I admit. I loved Star Trek but that is not quite what I am referring to.

Well, when I went to meet my friends, I happened to be using both trains and the tube. The underground railway, that is. And so help me, it felt as if I had been deposited in the middle of one of those movie sets from way back when. You could clearly pop people into one of 2 categories, largely, but not entirely delineated by age. The older ones had papers or books in hand for the journey. Or crossword puzzles, sudoku etc. The younger ones were attached to white wires, leading directly to what seemed to be their brains. I think.

They had vacant eyes, focusing on something I could not see or hear. They stared straight ahead, unless they had to make little adjustments to their little machines in their pockets, they moved on and off the tube without looking left or right, at speed. Never making eye contact. (Everyone seems to move at warp speed in the big city. Except me.)

It is entirely possible that they were listening to Wuthering Heights, of course. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with this at all. So help me, I could become one of them too. But the contrast was so striking that I actually reached into my bag and started making notes. It seemed for a moment as though science fiction had become 2010 fact.

Some of the older plus 50 people were looking around at the rows of younger ones all plugged in, and I am sure they were remembering the times when riding on the tube used to be interesting for people watchers. You could see different books being read. Have the occasional conversation, smile, and be smiled at in return, read the back of papers......

I sound old, don't I. "Back in my times, we did..." There is no phone reception down there under the city. So music, or downloads must have been the order of the day. Music, mainly.

Then there was the train. I caught the 3.30pm train home, which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be classed as a commuter train. Yet nearly every person on the train was not only plugged into little white wires, but they also had their laptops/netbooks/iPads/kindles out as well. For those of us unplugged relics of an earlier age, there was the sound of hundreds of fingers hitting keys to accompany us on the trip. A different kind of rhythm.

The art of conversation is dying. Not that having a conversation on the train is necessarily what people want to do. But................. if I owned a laptop/netbook/iPad/iPhone, I suspect I would have been writing a post on the blog, to tell you about my day, now wouldn't I??

As white (as in A is for ap--- ) seems to rule when it comes to little wires, I have to ask why they don't launch a range of fashionable accessories for the wires. Earrings seem to be obscured by the earpieces, after all. Come on, Mr Jobs, there is another way to take over the world! Maybe they already have a range. But not on the tube last Thursday that I could see.

There has been a sudden ultra-fast change in the IT world, if I manage to stand still long enough to catch my breath and look around. Do you remember PCs? They are hard to find in some places, and then they seem to now be touch screen. The lap top rules. And then we have all things apple. The iPhones are ridiculously expensive here. Especially when you still have to pay a hefty monthly charge too. However, those who have them, of all ages, say they would never have anything else after getting one. And believe me, everyone on those trains or tubes seemed to have one. How nice they can all afford them!

David and I popped into an Apple store a while back and I tried to work out how to use the iPad. Is this the next thing to make the laptop obsolete? I am stuck back in the dark ages, people.

But I think of the rows of people with little white wires, and something in me is saddened. Sometimes, just a grin, or a meeting of eyes is nice, you know. Communicating wordlessly with a stranger. The blank stare? Not so much.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

It seems just a couple of years ago that I was at school......

Today I had fun!
My stick and I went on an adventure. After 39 years, I met up with 2 of my school friends for lunch, and let me tell you, the chatter did not stop for a second. We had not seen each other since we left school all those years ago, aged 17 or 18. You would have thought we had met every week in those intervening years. So much to talk about. Life stories to listen to, and tell. Seven sons, one daughter, all grannies with 3 grandsons and 2 granddaughters between us.

Not too bad for 50mumble ladies, now, are we????? Mind you, I appear to be the only one with a certain degree of expansion to deal with. Sigh. Too bad.

I can't tell you how excited I was when I was sitting in Costa waiting for them to arrive. Our meeting place. Eyes darting everywhere, on the look out for familiar (from Facebook) faces. Yes, it was Facebook which got us all to be in the same place at the same time. And we are all so thankful it did. I gave up sitting up straight to create the impression of a streamlined me after 10 seconds. I sank into the puffy couch, and for a moment, looked to the ceiling to see if they had a winch attached to it. I had serious doubts as to whether I would ever emerge from the depths. You know how you end up with your knees higher than your chin? Right. An elegant look. With one's rear end 2 inches off the floor. Anyway, I relaxed, and it was just great.

We recognised each other immediately and there was much laughter and many hugs, and then we went to the place my friend (who works close by) had chosen for lunch, right at the river's edge. Beautiful. The sun was shining. I say this, because have another look at that top photo. Next to the river. That cloud?? Hahahaha. We had just finished lunch, and had taken loads of photos when the heavens opened, and you have NO IDEA how much rain fell. Sideways. On us. We grabbed our things, along with every other person out on the deck and got back under cover as fast as we could. Just as well the photos were taken earlier. I don't do running.

Coffee, more chatter, and then a reluctant parting of ways. D is off back to her home Down Under tomorrow, and N and I returned to our normal lives. But I have so much whirling about in my mind, you know. Just think - 3 women, 3 stories, shared history. How will our lives intertwine from here? Will they? How?

39 years. Amazing. One thing we all decided was that our school did not create wimps. We are all survivors. Strong women. It also taught us to value friendships, and we are very grateful for that.

I am still grinning.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Hello from under the bounty from the garden.....

My kitchen table is covered with bowls of tomatoes. And apples. Millions of them. Well, it seems like millions, believe me. I need to deal with them. Soon. Like now, but I am here, so they can wait.

And the letter? It is in a stamped and addressed envelope in my bag. As I am not going to waste a stamp, it is probably going to be posted today. What do I have to lose? Nothing. So we will see. Maybe I should have added a note at the end saying that in the event I do not hear anything, I will post it here, and alert the world via twitter and all my stunning friends in blogdom, and Vee, you are right. It is a very big place indeed. (Maybe that sounds like a threat..... hahahahha. It is.)

So where was I....

Ah yes, vegetables and fruit. There is also beetroot to deal with. And onions. And I have run out of freezer space and bottles. I feel an Ikea visit coming up. I need to learn how to preserve things in jars, which do not require freezer space. Fast. Beth? Crystal? Mary???? I wish you girls lived next door!

Slight pause because I felt the need to go and pick another heaven knows how many apples. I will sit and peel them when I can summon the energy. Maybe I should go and look at freezers.

As you can tell, this post is all over the place, as is the mind. Now the sun is shining, and I have just remembered that I bought some window cleaning stuff yesterday. I remember why when the sun shines. My windows are diabolically grubby. On the list they go. Windows. Mirrors. Sigh. Does the list ever get done? Not in this house. I am always adding to the end of it, and quite frankly, the old magnet I used to have on my fridge says it all....A tidy house is the sign of a mis-spent life. Hear me cheer. There was another one I loved too. It said "I ate my willpower". It was a pig reclining with a tape measure around its waist. Loved it!

Life in the village pootles on, people. I am moving slowly. That suits me right now. My achievement for the day? I have stuck labels on the jam I made. Had coffee with 2 friends. Discussed whether or not my life is complete without an iPhone with people. Is it? Do I need one? Tell me why please! I need to change my phone this month....the dreaded upgrade time approaches, and I HATE choosing new phones. However, my last new one was so dreadful, it is still in the box. I need to make sure I get one which I will enjoy using this time. So any suggestions or tips would be great. I know you are all experts. : )

Monday, September 06, 2010

A letter to the PM........

Last night, as I had NO signal on the TV at all - thank you large tree opposite - I decided to write a letter to the PM. The Prime Minister. Why, you may well ask. Well, I am sick to death of being passed around among the incompetent minions in every sector of officialdom, and decided that I needed to go straight to the top. The real top. So I wrote him a 5 page letter, including a reference to the fact that I thought tea at Downing Street would be rather nice, but that I have too much to say and that I would need longer than any scrap of time the PM could afford to spare, seeing that he is very busy running the country and getting rid of the deficit. Not to mention the war as well. And the new baby.

Mind you, I also suggested that I needed to chat to the Health Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Education Secretary as well as the PM. In fact why not just go ahead and call a Cabinet meeting instead. I would be quite happy to address the lot. I have plenty to say.


No, it will never get posted. What I had to say was not for some lowly Downing Street lacky to read and file away. Nor do I have any desire to speak to my MP who doesn't even know this village exists anyway. But it was good to put it all down on paper.

You know, a friend said to me not long ago, that if I were to outline the events of the past 4 years as a book proposal, it would be tossed out because it was too far fetched. Unbelievable. My friend was right. I don't write about a tenth of what has happened. It looks like fantasy when it is all there in bullet points, and let me tell you, the 5 pages consisted of 3 pages of bullet points. Just imagine how long my letter would have been had I expounded in detail on each of those bullet points. (I like the words "bullet points". Sharp and to the point. Prodding.)

However, it would serve all people in positions of authority well if they scheduled time into their diaries to talk to ordinary people. It is so easy to become detached from the real world when you live in ivory towers. So easy to see the numbers and not the people behind each number. I am not a statistic. I am a 56 year old woman who has learned the hard way that mistakes cost lives. Bureaucrats cover up mistakes. People lie. Things get lost. Delete buttons are pushed. Words are twisted. Hands are washed. Forms are intrusive and degrading. Idiots man the phones. Computer errors are not corrected. Numbers don't add up. Delays cause untold damage. Lawyers get rich. And time passes and you wait and wait and wait, and nothing happens.

I ended my letter with this:

"It is cold down here at the bottom of the chasm, you know. And like in crevasses in a glacier, no-one can actually hear me shouting from the depths. "

Maybe I should post it after all.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A futile attempt to get things done.....

I have just given myself a sauna. Ironing a two-seater sofa cover and the 4 associated cushion covers. Damp. To get out the creases. You have no idea. I was dripping, and had to resort to opening the front door for the wind to blow through like a hurricane, and I draped a clean dish towel over my face to mop it. Isabelle, I have cream couch covers, but they are washable. And easy to clean. And there are many throws around to spread over the couches if dogs or other animals visit!

For those of you who think changing the house for the 4 seasons is strange, let me tell you that making or hunting for cheap cushion covers is simple, and with Mum crocheting up a storm and making blankets to order for the arms of the chairs, and then searching for seasonal touches in thrift stores or charity shops and mega sales at the end of seasons, everything just falls into place. I have boxes of my spring things, Christmas things, and summer things sorted. So out comes the box, and all the current seasons things go into it. You only need 3. Summer is now in the autumn box. Having a neutral colour scheme does make it possible, I admit!

I like changing things around. I like having seasonal things out. It is all about enjoying the moment, and celebrating it too. There has been a debate in recent days about the fact that there are too few public holidays in England. Apparently we have just 8. And there is nothing between the August Bank Holiday and Christmas. That is what sparked the debate. Personally, I think we should have a universal Thanksgiving Day in November too. It would be a reminder that no matter where you live, there is always something, and usually a multitude of things to be thankful for. In the run up to Christmas, I think that it is even more important to stop and take note of those things.

I am in headless chicken mode. You know how you get something out of a cupboard, and then take it to where you need it, and forget the unpacked cupboard till you need to go to the bathroom, and see it all? Then start ironing, but remember the stove is on, so go and switch the stove off and see the rubbish needs taking out, and then stop to weed a pot, then switch on the kettle, remember the ironing, do that for a few minutes, and then see some books which need to be taken to the charity shop, so unplug the iron, and go and pack the books, remember you forgot to eat the lunch you were cooking, then find the cup of coffee you lost this morning, take it to the kitchen, see the washing up needs doing, and then remember you never finished the cupboard, ironing, book sorting, weeding........ Yes. That kind of headless chicken. And now the day is drawing to a close and I can't say I have finished one single thing I started. Sigh.

I did go out for tea to the garden centre. That was great. I re-entered the world! And that was my Sunday. I hope you have all had fun this weekend!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

I have declared Autumn.....

Today I decided to change the house to Autumn. Yes, I know that technically it starts on 22nd (I think) but I do the year in quarters. Neatly. September, October, November are Autumn. December, January and February are Winter etc etc. So, even though we could have a miracluous heatwave, I am in Autumn. At least I know where I am! The sunflower, by the way, appeared from nowhere.

However, finding my box of autumnal decorations proved to be a slight challenge. As in it took 3 hours, there was a ladder and much muttering involved, and I now know where every single thing in this house is. And 99% of it needs to leave. If there had been a skip on the drive, it would have been full, believe me. I also have a sneaking suspicion that there is another box somewhere, but it can stay wherever it is for now. I have enough out, and the house looks fine. I also told Mum that I need another blanket for the rocker in the kitchen, so hopefully she is beavering away with her crochet hook as I speak.

This is the remains of the apple cake I made yesterday. Do not ask where the rest went. Jean did have a sample. The rest????? Hmmm. It is delicious.

And here is the result of the seasonal change. Well, the lounge is done, as are the bathrooms and the kitchen/family room. I even changed the covers on the sofas. They are whirling around in the washing machine right now, in the hopes of a windy day tomorrow so they can dry a little before I iron them. That is not going to be easy. And the pansies are planted.

On a different note, the earthquake in New Zealand was a bit of a shock. Nowhere near Diana, but close enough for me to hyperventilate a little, considering what may happen if the plates shift under Wellington one day. Amazing that there were no fatalities though. I remember visiting the wonderful museum in Wellington, Te Papa, and going down to see the base isolators the building rests on, to protect it in the event of an earthquake. Cushiony spring things. Fascinating.

So I have had a housey type of day. Just what I needed. Heaven knows there is a great deal to do here. Ah well, there is always tomorrow, isn't there.........

Friday, September 03, 2010

Time to be at home.....

When you nod off in front of the computer, you know you need a nap. A real one. I am tired, people. Tired. But then it has been a busy time round the Casa de la Rocking Chair.

I can't believe it is not even 2 weeks since we got back from the mountains. David is now back at university and I have had more play time with Missy, who is hysterically funny. What a great age this is - nearly 19 months. Such fun. I looked after her on Wednesday, and we went to the park and the swings and slide, and then she fell asleep in her buggy, so that was good. Once she woke, we played in the garden. This involved decorating the entire patio with chalk drawings. Oh I do love being a Granny! I can leave the mess. She wanted to race dolly's pram with the walker. I think not. Lying on the grass drawing on the patio was much more my style. And she thought it was perfect, so all was good.

And then I came home. The only reason I actually came home was to go to my hair appointment. I was beginning to closely resemble a shaggy dog, and Something Needed To Be Done. So yesterday, I presented myself at the salon and am now a New Person. Thank heavens.

Today has been busy in the nicest of ways. Isn't the start of Autumn great? The apple trees are groaning. The tomatoes are ripening by the 100. The plums are falling off the trees. I just don't know where to start. My butternuts are ripe too, but they keep for ages, so that is a relief. Jean and I made a batch of damson jam/jelly this morning, and I now have 11 jars sitting here. Then, because I was really weary, I came home, and completely forgot to rest and started making things. Thankfully, I have a tall chair in the kitchen, because standing was totally out of the question. So we have stewed apples and stewed plums in the freezer. Apple cake on the counter. Tomato relish in the fridge and fresh bread cooling on the rack. No wonder I need a nap.

For good measure, I discovered that I have left all my personal recipe books in the Alps. I had to phone and get the recipe for Apfelkuchen. Great. That means my repertoire is suddenly diminished. I may have to try new things. Diana would love that. She adores recipe books and is a really experimental cook. I used to be, but with no-one to cook for generally, it seems a little ridiculous to cook exotic stuff. You know, though, once I get going, it all comes back - that feeling of contentment as you create something which smells and looks wonderful.

As I cleared the mess after everything was done, I looked around the kitchen/family room, and I just knew I wanted to be in the house for a while. Like a few days or weeks. Home. I want to plant the autumn pansies and chrysanths. I want to tidy the flower beds, and catch the seeds for next year. I want to change the house into its autumn clothing,...... change the decor and make it look cheerful and autumnal. I want to put the clean linen on the beds, and sort out the empty bedrooms. I just want to be here, doing ordinary things for a little while. In my own time.

I want to make labels for my jam, and decorate the tops. I may even want to consider Christmas and any gifts I need to make too. I most certainly will not be spending much money, so the creative spirit needs to get up to speed! This is what I love. What I need to do. Ordinary things. Like cutting some dahlias for my table. Beautiful.

So much to be thankful for. The little things we tend to forget.