Monday, April 30, 2012

The sun has re-appeared.......

NEWS FLASH!!! THE SUN IS SHINING AT THIS VERY MOMENT!!! ALL IS NOT LOST!!

Well, it is shining sporadically and I actually sat under my apple tree with my coffee for 10 minutes. And the heavy washing is out there blowing in the wind. And the gasman has been and my aged limping along boiler is doing as well as can be expected and passed its test, so we will hopefully have heating through next winter. It will not be replaced  until I either win the lotto or discover a pot of gold. And neither is remotely likely, is it now. Well, our ancestors did without heating and we are not wimps. And we have friends with good new boilers if all else fails. Sorted. But it passed! Another miracle!! 2 in one day is very good. Sunshine and boilers. Heat.
Please note the blue skies!
And the rest of the day has involved a little fabric cutting, a little re-potting of seedlings and a lovely time chatting to a friend far away and one also far away, but closer. In Scotland. And stuff like doctor appointments and chemists and more meds but we will skip merrily over that part.
It appears that my suspicions were accurate. I must have tipped 750 Nemesia seeds into the seed tray. And they are fighting for space now, 4 inches tall and needed sorting, so I started. I would love to say I finished doing them, but I have only done half, and have about 80 pots of the stuff, and I ended up putting clumps of about 30 into each pot. I love Nemesia plants - the colours are stunning. I may just have overdone the seed thing though. But then, my garden is all about overdoing stuff. Bursts of colour. No spaces. A jungle, in other words. But my friends may be getting Nemesias and tomatoes. And maybe more. I need a bigger greenhouse. Or 10. Bigger garden.
No. We are fine making do here, and colour will be great. When they grow bigger. In desperation, I now have some trays of plants out in the open. They need to toughen up anyway. I just hope they survive.

What can I say.....my hanging baskets are just beautiful....unique......

See? The new look for 2012. 

Seriously, though, I have had to resort to plastic shopping bags because the birds are destroying them. They are tearing apart the coir/straw-like stuff for their nests, and enough is enough. Until I can plant them up and have enough soil in to stop the birds, they will stay this way. A conversation piece, if ever there was one. Quite ingenious, I thought!
And hopefully I will not need my step ladder any time soon, because there you see the reason my basket's have been stripped. One nest. On the step ladder. Carefully positioned just above the tumble drier air vent, so the little birds will have central heating too. I must say, the parents are clever birds. Maybe I should put out the wool scraps so they can make a blanket too.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A very damp (again) Saturday..........

Well, it is done, the bunting, and it is safely with the bride's mother, who, as it happens, has chipped a bone in her knee, is in a massive brace thingy which replaced the plaster which kept falling down, and get this - it only comes off TWO DAYS before her daughter's wedding. How inconvenient. I have offered to do what I can to help her out if she needs help. Good grief. All the things which she would be wanting to be doing now suddenly seem like dreams. Anyway. She loved the bunting. She really did. And I am so relieved. It is one thing to make what you think people want, but another totally to get it right. I think I got it right, but the bride needs to see it before I will really relax.

And I decided that it is only fair that the bride sees it before I post photos. Not that I have any, but I will take some at the wedding. If I think it looks good enough.

And yes - thanks to Kelli, I now know that 100metres is 328feet, and an American football field is 360 feet. There was a lot of bunting to be made.

And now on with the patriotic bunting. I am on a roll. Margaret, who popped in 2 days ago, called this morning to say that she had seen some Union Jack bunting (2 metres long) which cost £28.99. I nearly fell off my chair. What????? Crazy. I am not using Union Jacks. The red white and blue will do just fine. It is Universally Patriotic.

The rain, people. It is still here. If I had had 50 water butts in the garden, they would all be full by now. Hmmm. Maybe I could blow up the paddling pool and collect more. Or maybe not.

I was thinking how my days have changed. This refining by fire thing is not always easy to come to terms with. You see, the things I love, like music, church and singing, now come with a price which is sometimes too high for me to pay. And the water hurts, so while I adore my aqua sessions, it too, has a price. Then there is the reading, and I have said many time before that I can't focus or concentrate and I forget what I have read immediately I turn the page. That is because of the meds I take and the CRPS. So I can't read fiction, but non-fiction is slightly better. See? Also something I love and also associated costs. Then there is the creative side, which , thank God, I can still do. Only my sewing machine sort of groaned and nearly gave up the ghost with 3 lines of bunting to do, so I prayed fervently, shut it down and went and made coffee in the hope that a nap would restore it to health, and it is still going, although it is making a Very Strange Sound. But it goes, and that is good enough. But I wonder if its days are numbered.

And the other thing I love doing is gardening, and so help me, the rain means that I can't do any of it right now. And I am not going to venture in the the realms of the baking I love to do and the oven which is kaput either. I will depress myself. I am just so thankful that the fingers still work and I can still wield the knitting needles ( all I knit are prayer shawls) and the crochet hook. How glad I am that I taught myself to crochet!

I am not in any way whining here. I am just looking at the things I do which bring me joy and wondering why and how and what and when. I am observing from outside me, if you know what I mean. Maybe a complete change is afoot. I have left out the writing thing, because I absolutely love writing - communicating - putting my thoughts down somewhere. For posterity? Maybe. I do wonder what Missy will think when one day she googles Moreglanny and reads about my days here at RCR. Hopefully she will learn more about me. And future grandchildren will hopefully do the same.

Today, a Listography journal which I ordered in a fit of extravagance arrived. I know that most on the market are aimed at younger people, but I thought that that too would be a fun thing to do. It seems that I am leaving little traces of me all over the place. And I rather like that. I will have to put all these things in one place with the scrapbooks yet to be made. So many ideas.

Hmmm. Scrapbooks. I could do some of those now that the weather is so foul. I have not finished the one of my 50th year and so help me, I am staring 60 down the barrel here. Not quite, but almost. There is always something on the list for me to do in the creative realm, and again, thankfully I have the supplies here, amassed over the decades, so I can keep busy.

Right. Time to move on. There is more washing to drape over the entire house, and I think I will finish the 4 strings of PB which are ready to go while the machine is still working. I hope the sun shines for some of you! And if it does, please send it my way....................

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A bunting kind of day...........

Hello there. Today, after an early morning aquazumba session, has been a bunting day. Just as well the weather has been appalling all day. So there has been a great deal of ironing, trimming, ironing, sewing, measuring, sewing, measuring , sewing, measuring  and yet more sewing and measuring going on. 
 This, down below, is just some of the 100 metres of bias binding, ironed so it makes the sewing easier. There has been a great binding saga going on around here, because I had ordered it all from a very classy and well known haberdashery shop in central London, starting with M and W. However, their on-line ordering system is appalling, and their stock non-existent, only they do not tell you this when you order. And on top of that, they have a 5 day dispatch system. I just happened to call on Tuesday to make sure my order was going to be here by the end of the week, and some 12 year old of the male variety informed me that they had had no stock since the beginning of April and wouldn't be getting any until the middle of May.

I am surprised you didn't hear my screech in California. I explained how to run an internet shopping venture in minute detail, and the 12 year old slammed the phone down on me. So I called accounts, cancelled my order and after much hyperventilating, found a delightful supplier, who had everything I needed, and who managed to deliver it within 2 days. Much cheaper, and in 50metre rolls not 25metre ones. Postage costs a quarter of the London company.
It arrived this morning, and ever since then, with a short break to have coffee with Margaret who happened to pop in, I have been doing the ironing, sewing, measuring thing, and I am past the halfway mark. It is the measuring - 10cm between flags which takes time, but I want it to be perfect, you see. It looks nice. I held up a string of it, and I think it will work just fine. Well, I certainly hope the bride and her mother are happy. Tomorrow, I will be up early and it will be done and out of here.

Whenever I get to this sort of stage making things, I start visualising the next project. Ideas. I am good at ideas. I have masses of them. Unfortunately I can't do all of them. I tried to explain this to a friend - some people have ideas, like me, but then want others to actually do them. Oh well. One of my talents is ideas. Just that. Ideas.

So my mind is all over the place and most of me is rather achy. If the rain stops - if it EVER stops - I am thinking of building an ark in the garden - I will try to string up a section of the bunting and take a photo or two to show you. Tomorrow. When it is finished.

Right now I need to try to get the shoulders to leave the vicinity of my ears and relax. I will be back.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wherein there is a lot of babbling.........

I thought bootcamp was for the marines.

I was wrong.

I have just survived aqua-bootcamp. Never heard of it??????? Neither had we. But let me tell you, you spend 60 seconds doing an exercise repeatedly as hard and fast as you can, you have 15 seconds to remember how to breathe, and then another 60 seconds furiously doing another exercise. repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Etc etc. Dear Lord, who invented this???? And that was a question for the Almighty, because there were many prayers going up in the water. And we have aquazumba at 9am tomorrow. Provided we can move a muscle or 2 and manage to get out of bed, of course.

It is over 2 hours since I crawled out of the water and my face is still bright red.

Anyway. Exercise was certainly done today. Gold star kind of exercise.

I started today with the intention of cutting out wheat for a month to see if it made a difference to me. And made a difference to the weight loss dream. One of my blogging friends cut it out and lost 15 lbs in a month. Now that would be perfect. Only, I just popped in to the local supermarket, and the hot cross buns were reduced. So I bought some. And just ate one. Well, no, let's be truthful here, I ate TWO. (Think Cheshire cat smirk.) Delicious. And I thought I would start again tomorrow, but there are still 4 in the packet, so maybe next Monday would be a good time. Hang on, I have a birthday in May...... Hmm. I will have to think about the wheat thing.

I am rambling again.

Here is a completely useless question for you. If you have a sewing machine, and you thread it by hand, which hand do you use to guide the thread through the needle, and are you left or right handed.?

I ask this, because my automatic threader thingy doesn't work, and so I am threading by hand, and I made a complete mess of it yesterday, trying to thread the needle with my right hand. I am right handed. So I stopped thinking about it and did it automatically and I use my left hand. It threads first time. Over and over. I apparently always use my left hand, only I never noticed this.

Now why would a right handed person thread a needle with her left hand? See.... I did say it would be a useless question, but it does intrigue me.

I also thread ordinary needles with my left hand. As in push the thread through. It just seems odd. But maybe it is just me. Maybe it is because the right hand holds things steady. I have no idea. So what do you do???

I haven't quite lost the plot, I promise.

Glynis and I headed out this morning to investigate the new M&S Simply Food store which has opened close by, and it was great. It also had a restaurant, which was wonderful. I do believe this will go on the list of preferred watering holes for us. And M&S food is just so nice, only not really in my price range, but who knows, I am sure they have bargains too. And then we went to buy fabric for Glynis to make flames for the children to run around waving at the Pentecost service at the village church. I am always up for fabric buying, but I am happy to report that I did not buy a thing. Not one inch of fabric. I did see some really beautiful oilcloth - you know - the plasticised stuff, and I really think my life is incomplete without a metre or so of that. But not right now.

I am not just rambling, I do believe I am babbling now. Put it down to excess exercise and post-exercise carbo-loading. See above.

A nap may be in order.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two weeks........

The PB is done, except for the trimming of threads and ironing. It is just as well I have called it Patriotic Bunting, because do you KNOW how many countries have red white and blue flags??? So I googled it, and here is the page with all 29 and that does not include Australia or New Zealand or many others. So then I went here and got more confused. Here is another total. However, to find out, should I really want to find out, I will have to count the flags at the Olympic opening ceremony. Maybe not. 
 To get back to the point, I have stitched it all together and it is in a heap on my footstool waiting for me to insert a DVD (if I can remember what to do) and sit back and snip threads while I watch a movie. I am still waiting for the motherload of ivory binding to arrive so I can do the wedding ones. It has yet to appear. So I practiced with the 10cm spacing. It works. The sun shone for a few brief seconds and I hooked one lot up in the garden, and it looks great. Now I need another apron to unpick so I can use up the rest of the triangles I have cut. 
And now on to something a little more sober, even though these are pictures of the blossom opening on my apple tree. Beautiful blossoms. 

I had a real shock on Saturday when I was playing around on Facebook. I saw a short line saying "R I P Katherine - a Rustybug friend". Katherine is one of the school friends I have kept in touch with over the years, and I have spoken to her often on the phone and on Facebook. And she died. I found out yesterday, that she had not been feeling great for ages, but MRI scans showed nothing at the end of last year. 2 weeks ago she collapsed in the street, and her neighbour rushed her to hospital. Extensive testing done, she was told she had a body riddled with cancer and that she had about 2 weeks to live. There was nothing that could be done. 

TWO WEEKS. 

She was immediately admitted to a hospice, where she died peacefully two weeks later, without many people knowing except a few very close friends. She didn't want people pouring through the door. Her closest friend came from the States, and she had the people she needed right there with her, but only in the final couple of days. As per her wishes. 

TWO WEEKS. 

I lie in bed thinking, Oh God, what would I do if I only had two weeks to live........ 

And I have no idea how I could even start. All those letters I have always meant to write - things I mean to say - ideas I have for one day - things I want to achieve - to make - to try - the people I love - time with them all - my children........

Do it now, my friends. Do not put off anything for one more minute. Do it now. Or there may never be the time. Say the words. Make the effort. Write the letters. Love. LOVE with all your hearts. Reach out. Touch. Feel. Live........go on, LIVE this 24 hours, because Katherine had no idea her time was running out, and then she was gone. 

You know how we blithely say the words - the past is gone and the future is yet to come, but the present is a gift?? Yeah. Me too. I say that. Geoff didn't know he was going to die. I didn't know he was going to die. 3 weeks ago, Katherine didn't know she was going to die. 

But Geoff died. Katherine died. 

Those words I blithely say have meaning. And the meaning is totally relevant to me this second. So I am using a part of my gift of today to tell you (not ask, TELL) to get up, and go and say the words you always mean to say but rarely do. Tell your kids you love them. Make that call. 
I have spoken to my children since then. Well, just to say hi to my oldest son who was watching the Grand Prix at the time. But I have told them I love them. My sister. My mother. And this very special little girl who captured my heart the day she was born.
And she said "I love you too, Moreglanny.". 
Precious words.

And to all of you out there in the ether? You matter to me. I am so thankful I have got to know you all - you are also a blessing in my life, which I would not be without. 

I should have called Katherine again. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sundays are good too.....

The London Marathon is in progress as I speak - the winners are all relaxing, but the majority are plodding on painfully, and I salute the lot of them. I have always loved watching the race from the comfort of my warm soft bed. It is just as well that running it has never made an appearance on the bucket list, isn't it? Especially seeing that I saw fit to bake Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings this morning.

Well, the refrigerator pack had 6 in the tube, so I baked 2 for breakfast and I could not possibly waste the other 4 could I? No. Of course not.

So the house smells of vanilla and cinnamon and all things good, and I made a dash to the Co-op to buy some ice cream, because I didn't think of making my own until this very minute.....I also picked up a few bargains in the fresh fish and meat aisles. As in quarter price and sell by today. So into the freezer it all went. Now there is no room for the homemade ice cream, so that will have to wait.

Good grief I do prattle on, don't I.

I am using distraction techniques, because this very minute I should go and sit down and listen to a relaxation tape and try to drop the sensation levels racing through my body. Nasty unpleasant sensations which I don't want to think about at all. But instead, I may have to go and check the seedlings and then try and see if I can sit long enough to sew up some patriotic bunting ( which will henceforth be called PB because it is too long to write out each time). I will give it a go anyway. I have my coffee next to me and if I type then I can't scratch the heck out of my back which is driving me crackers.

That will all seem a little bizarre, I realise, but never mind. I talk too much.

I was full of optimism when I saw blue skies early this morning, but the sun comes and goes behind the rain clouds, and so we are back to the open/close system with the greenhouses again. My life is becoming very predictable. I don't do predictable.

I have started some more tomatoes, because Jean will need some when she gets back, and I have given in, and my window sills are now full again. I tried to be restrained and keep the seeds to a minimum, but that is not who I am, and so I have to keep planting. Sigh. I love growing seeds, but I also know I keep saying that too.

It is now afternoon and I forgot lunch. So I am off to sample the apple dumplings with ice cream. Have a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturdays are good days......

Hello from the couch......
I had a great number of good intentions for the day and I am happy to report that the peas are planted on the allotment, the patriotic bunting is cut out, the meeting re the American choir has been attended (here) and I finally remembered to buy sweeteners for my coffee. Unfortunately the Co-op did not have any Calgon for my latest attempt to shift limescale. So I am considering it a productive day.......

 I tell you, with this crazy weather, I get all the exercise I need going in and out to open, close, open, close, open the greenhouses. And get this, remember I told you about the squirrel repellent spray? So there I was, in my kitchen making coffee, and I looked out of the window and there was this enormous squirrel, bent down from the fence into an empty hanging plant pot, which was apparently full of water, washing his hands and face. That must be because of the spray. So of course, I did my road runner impression and grabbed the spray and added more to the top of the fence. Hah. War, I tell you.
 Don't you love this photo of the seeds ready to plant? Hmmm. Maybe I am losing my mind. Bear in mind that I do not need any more seedlings anywhere, because I have enough for a large botanical garden somewhere....but I just love looking at the 2 happy yellow dishes with packets of magic in them. Seeds are magical, aren't they?
I took this photo last night, of the rain drops on a daffodil leaf. Just like diamonds, or tears- so beautiful.

The house is still decked with washing - my new line of desirable decor, but it is drying because it is cold and the heating is on. Sigh. I hate switching the heating on. However, I may have to for the foreseeable future, because one paper today said that May would be a month of snow and freezing temps. Gee. Great. I want to plant things!! (Becky? Bring winter gear!) And now I am off to sew up a few more triangles to make the patriotic bunting, because there is nothing I want to watch on TV. Have a great Saturday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Triangles and other exciting stuff............

I am still alive, I am happy to report. Fingers working, so here I am. (Fingers a bit battered after destroying my pinking shears trimming the edges of all the triangles!) Not much else seems to be co-operating at the moment, though. And the week is almost over already. How did that happen??
I have been making the bunting for a friend's daughter's wedding in the middle of May, so there has been much measuring and cutting and stitching, and muttering around these parts. And now I have to wait for the ordered bias binding so that it all matches and looks good.
Bunting is one of those things at events like weddings which no-one sees, but it makes the place look nice. If it is good and matching etc etc, that is. But if it is not matching and odd, then everyone notices in the kind of way I would rather they didn't, if you see what I mean.
Anyway. I have opted for the good option. And so my kitchen is festooned with rows of flags because the maths is in operation around these parts. Distance between triangles, length of tie up binding x number of flags etc etc. I have things written down and we are ready to go the moment the binding arrives on my doorstep. All 100 metres of the stuff. Well, I needed 90+ metres, and it is cheaper to buy 100 and the blessed perfect thing is that it comes in 25m rolls. No joining. Hallelujah.
It will take a day or 2 to finish, iron and package nicely and we will be able to move onto other things. Like more bunting. I have the inclination at the moment to make some red, white and blue ones. Don't forget it is a big UK year - The Queen and the Olympics and we may just become rather what is that word that I can't remember....................PATRIOTIC!!!  Eureka!

Well, why not?

So anyway, I did actually write a post about how I felt after an appointment on the phone on Monday with one of the consultants in Bath, but then I didn't post it. It sits there waiting. Maybe I will post it when I do this one. I will see. All I will say is that she is very good at her job and I was a wreck afterwards. So washed out and lacking anything remotely resembling energy. But that was Monday and now it is Friday and I am still here, so that is good. I think.

 Apart from the bunting saga, I have waved goodbye to Jean who, at this very moment is sitting in Kathmandu. How many of you have been to Kathmandu?? It is the kind of mystical place we read about, like Timbuktu, isn't it - but never visit! She is going to go on a plane trip around Everest while she is there too. SO exciting! I can't wait to see the photos and hear all about it. In 3 weeks time.

So I have been going to aqua alone this week and I have had a wonderful time dancing in the water with my friends there. Oh, we do laugh at ourselves. Only my leg has had other ideas, and when I crawled out yesterday after 3 sessions this week, it was bright red from ankle to groin in the places the nerves are misbehaving. I cannot tell you how attractive one red leg is. Sigh.

Oh yes, I had my hair cut. My hairdresser and I have decided that it would be fine to try a new style next time. Summer. Hmmm. I can always grow it again. But I may well chicken out before then. Watch this space!
And I have been in and out of the garden on the very rare days it has not been raining torrentially. I know I keep saying this, but it has rained every single day since the water restrictions came in. One has to wonder why they didn't start the water restrictions in the middle of winter, seeing that it makes the rain come. Rain in winter would have been fine. Right now I have washing all over the house drying because I can't hang it outside. And I want to be out in the garden planting stuff.

When the sun comes out for a few minutes, I am out there filling more pots with more seeds to see if I can grow the masses I collected from my plants last year. They all have highly technical names like "pretty little daisy-like flower" "big orange one from the windowbox" "spikey long yellow flower". See? I am so clever. Well, I look at my photos and then I see what they are. I am so impressed that some of the seeds are actually coming up in the greenhouse. Now I need good warm weather to plant them out. And no doubt, I will fill the greenhouse again. I love growing things from seed. The peas are shootuing and the lettuce is up.   I managed to re-pot 15 pots of lettuce, each with 2 or 3 plants in them. I will deposit them on the doorsteps of friends. I have enough, and having 42 extra lettuce plants seems a trifle excessive. I would go green.The potato pots are now full of soil - I start with a little and, as they appear, I cover them up with more soil until the pots are full. Then they can do what they like.

What else can I tell you.....

Missy and her parents have returned from their Alpine holiday. They had a great time, even if the weather was unimpressive. Missy has mastered the iPad, and has acquired amazing skills which leave her Grauntie and the rest of the family stunned. I tell you, the rate technology is developing, and the ease with which the very young embrace it, is a very scary thing. And it costs a great deal to try to keep up with it all. Well, don't we all dream of iPads and such newfangled things??? Do not tell me, at this point, that you all have one. Fingers in ears here.

So I will leave you now and go and cut out a little more patriotic stuff, because if I sit for more than 5 mins at a time, I lose the ability to get up again for a while. I will be back.

Edited to add - I have hit the publish button on Monday's post, so it should be below this one, if you want to read it.

Introspective today...............

Warning...this post is full of analogies,mixed metaphors and other such stuff, and I have no intention of changing them! 


This is the post I wrote on Monday but didn't hit publish then. So here we go .........

Pins and needles, skin crawling, wave after wave of weird sensations - none of them good. Gah. Mind over matter, Linds, get on with things. Go for a walk in your garden and examine seedlings or something. Breathe ....in through the nose and blow up the stomach and out through the mouth deflating stomach till it feels as if it is touching your spine.......in 2, 3, 4, 5 out 2, 3, 4, 5........

I can hear the pilates teacher, and Mrs Sternweiler echoing through my mind........

Hello.

It is Monday already. At 2am, I was lying in my bed, curled up in a nest. 5 down pillows in a U shape around me, on top of a feather mattress topper covered with a crisp white cotton sheet, and a soft down duvet covering me like a cloud. And the Happy Quilt. My nest. And  I thought just how wonderful it was to love the simple things in my life, like the nest. Warm. Soft. Safe.

It is a wonderful thing.

Feeling safe. I have just had an appointment via telephone with one of my consultants in Bath, and it was good to talk to her, and as I was talking, I thought of the wave analogy, you see. You know the one.....the seventh wave is always the biggest. 6 fairly uniform waves roll shore-wards, and then there is the 7th one, which is bigger, has the tendency to knock you off your feet.

Unless you are a surfer, of course. They wait for that wave and then they leap onto their surfboards and ride it in to the sandy beaches. If not, they wipe out spectacularly. But they are out there again, straight away, waiting for the big one to come in so they can have a wild ride. Surfing, unfortunately, is not one of my skills right now.

I just thought of that one now. After the conversation. It is very apt. A wild ride. See: My Life.

What I talked about on the phone though, was very different. Sometimes the 7th wave comes in, bigger than the preceding 6, but it doesn't stop. Like a tsunami, it keeps on going at that "big" level for what seems like forever, wiping away everything in its path.

And sometimes, life feels like that. For me right now, it means that I am feeling a little lost. Maybe adrift somewhere in the aftermath of the 7th huge wave which didn't stop.

Then, changing the scene entirely, I thought about my apple tree and pruning. You have to prune the apple tree. You need to choose the right time to do so, so you hack away all the long spindly branches which have reached out in all directions, and then that encourages new growth. New directions. New paths. Of course, if you are too vigorous with the hacking, you can kill the tree. Rose. Whatever it is you are pruning.

It is a fine line, the decision of where to hack/prune. And then you hold your breath, waiting for sign of the growth you hope will come. Or you mourn the loss.

So I have walked around my garden between writing the pruning bit and now. And I see the little tomato seedling. So tiny and fragile in the beaten up old greenhouse. But I know that if I look after it, it will grow, and this summer, it will provide a wonderful crop of tomatoes for me. Hope. That seedling means hope.

I see the tray of the Swiss type mix of flowers, and I look at the tiny spindly stems, and I KNOW that in a few months, they will delight my eyes, my senses, and bring beauty and colour into the garden. My life. Hope.

Trust.

Faith.

Joy.

It gives me joy to nurture those tiny spindly fragile seedlings, you see. Just as I nurtured my 3 tiny squalling babies until they grew into the wonderful adults they are now. I KNOW that the joy comes from the act of nurturing. I KNOW that the nurturing can hurt. I KNOW that the delight comes once they are grown. My children. My flowers. My crops. My delights.

But the pruning......it must hurt, don't you think? It hurts me. That wave must hurt too. The bobbing up and down, under. The struggle to breathe, to stay alive, despite the hurt. The determination to survive wherever it may toss you when it is done with the washing machine kind of cycle. The new direction you have to grow after the pruning. The new land you get to explore once you crawl up that strange beach.

Philosophical. That is what I am today. I do not like being confronted with what I feel, think, hide. Does anyone? I think not. The pruning process. The untangling of the dreams - think Christmas lights in a mess. And having to work out the "how we go from here" bit. Well. We go back out in the garden, look at the seeds, and let hope kindle in the heart, trust that the nurturing will be good enough, and wait. Wait for the time for new blossoms to unfold. Dreams to be realised. New paths to explore.

Now If I could just ditch the stick and go skipping over the hill like Julie Andrews or Pollyanna or The Wizard of Oz girl, all would be good. Hop skippety jump.

It is all about being seen. Really seen. Being heard. Really heard. Mattering. And having a support network of people who care enough to take the time to look beneath the surface and understand.

I am tired. So tired. These calls drain me totally. I am very good at taking a deep breath and plodding on. But when I am confronted with what I try to ignore, it makes me crumble. Pruning.? Perhaps. 7th wave? Possibly.

I don't have to like it.

I wonder where I will land this time.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Catching up.......

Rain. Hail. Sun. Hail. Rain. Cold. Hail. Sun. Oh yes. It is April, so why I am surprised? Washing in. Out. In Out. In. Turn it all about.......

I am a little weary. However, my stunning buy at the garden centre on Friday seems to be working because so far, the pots in the garden are intact. Ah... I have not told you about that one yet. Well, I was going to go to yet another aqua class, but then I realised that I may be overdoing things just a little, so I went to the garden centre instead. And after long conversations with the nurserymen about bacopa and sage and suchlike - I was the only one there at the crack of dawn and they loved imparting wisdom - they took me to the vast array of garden defences. Aka Keep All Pests Out. In my case, the squirrels. That morning I had already discovered another 4 pots dug up - seedlings all over the patio and I was beyond mad. War was declared.

 They had the answer, SQUIRREL REPELLENT, and it is natural. Just very hot capsicum chilli spray and birds and other assorted things are fine with it, but squirrels HATE it. Jolly good. I barrelled home and sprayed every fence panel and pole around the garden, and the top of the shed, the paving slabs, you name it. It got sprayed. And I have only seen one squirrel since then and he nearly fell off the fence. He must have got a whiff of the chilli. Pesky critters. They can move on somewhere else. My bottle is still full and I will be reinforcing the defences tomorrow. And 48 hours later.

As we say in South Africa, Friday was a "pap" day. No energy and a feeling of general down-ness, for no discernible reason. Just a "bleh" kind of day. So Jean called and suggested we go out to investigate a couple of homeware/DIY stores. So we did, and I came home with more plants than I have space for. Cheap!! The greenhouse and cloche are stretched to capacity and beyond at the moment, and as soon as we get away from the 1degree C nights, I will start planting because I have no room for anything. That was fun. Plants make me very happy.

Sitting out in the garden also makes me very happy. There has been quite a bit of that between showers this weekend.

Yesterday morning was our Traidcraft coffee morning, and after coffee and chatter in the church hall, Jean and I went down to the allotment. She dug out the compost heap, we reconstructed it, or rather made a totally new one on the other side of the old big compost heap (I like compost - it takes all sorts, people, so bear with me here...) because her neighbour is coming to fix the shed roof down there this week. He needed to be able to actually get near to the shed to put up the ladder, of course, hence the removal of the compost. That was warm work. The bean trench is now composted too. Margaret was down there too,  planting broad beans and peas. And by the time I had taken Jean home, washed my hands, changed boots, and dropped off the sage at Margaret, I was ready for a nap, but no, I went and had a cheese lunch at Jean's house. She is off to Nepal this week. SO exciting for her!

And home again to have a meeting re accommodation for the American Choir which will be here in a few weeks time. Then I REALLY needed a nap. But I can't actually remember what I did.....oh yes, laundry. And cutting.

And here we are today, Sunday. A lot achy and still weary, but I have been to shared lunch and have found and acquired a new plastic cover for my greenhouse. And made a dessert which I took to the shared lunch without forgetting any ingredients. I checked twice.

 I forgot to watch the Grand National yesterday. 600million people around the world watched it. Apparently. I finished the russet prayer shawl I had been knitting since last August. It was glaring at me from the pile. The bunting is well under way and the crockpot is cooking away in the corner of the kitchen in the sun as I write. Yes, the sun is out again. It lasts 2 mins tops. Then it rains. Or hails.

I mentioned the laundry and the tumble drier a few days ago. Here is my new hinge. It looks really good, doesn't it????

IT WORKS. And that is perfect. One does not have to be stunning or all shiny and neat to be beautiful, you know.

Oh, I have to leave you with this news. Apparently there are some people on Twitter this earth who did not know that the Titanic was a real ship. They thought it was just a movie. I know. I was speechless. Google has many places you can go to read about it including the one my friend Kathryn shared on Facebook. Here is the link she used. Interestingly, because I had to check to see if this was real, some have suggested that within 100 years, people may not believe things like 9/11 really happened. There is already speculation re the Holocaust. It makes you wonder, doesn't it? The border between fact and fiction is becoming blurred. Now that is NOT a good thing. Write your journals, people. They are primary sources of evidence which our great-grandchildren will know we witnessed, experienced, lived through etc etc. If they are at all interested, of course!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April - sun and showers......

Typically April - we have glorious sun and 10 minutes later, torrential rain. A hosepipe ban mean NO hosepipes at all. Watering cans only, or buckets. However, because I have a blue (disabled - I am a crock) badge, I am EXEMPT!! Hah. One benefit. Other than being able to park close to wherever I need to go, which is wonderful. My friends LOVE shopping with me. And it is not because they like me, of course!

So today was another aquazumba class. I will be like a shrivelled prune soon. I realised today that I have to admit that everything takes me longer nowadays. Like showering and getting dressed and drying the hair etc etc. My friends always have to wait for me. Maybe I need to start going in my own car. I need time. I will think about it.

So after our lesson today, there was another aquazumba lesson for the staff, so they could actually experience what we do in the water themselves. According to our teacher they were red faced halfway through. They certainly hammed it up a lot and there was a great deal of splashing, which is a natural consequence of putting a crowd of lads in the water together. But they seemed to be having fun.

I came back home to collect the poles from my extinct greenhouse, and I took them down to the allotment to shove into the soil around my broadbeans, so I can tie a rope around them later to stabilise the plants as they grow. And then I popped in to have a quick coffee with my friends before I headed into town for an appointment.

I decided to actually go into the shopping centre and treat myself to something because I needed a little cheering up, but what I wanted was not available anywhere, so I will have to venture down to MK and check the bigger stores there. It was not quite what I had in mind. All I bought was a bag of bamboo canes at the Pound shop for the garden. Sigh. It is years since I actually went into town, now that I come ot think about it. Some shops had vanished and bargain shops and charity shops seemed to be springing up everywhere. It was depressing. This recession is killing off town centres, if ours is anything to go by.
Meanwhile, some of my favourite people are having a great time in the Alps. And yes, it snowed again there a couple of days ago. Missy is having fun. So is her Grauntie (my sister). And her parents.
My son in mid flight - taking an intentional flying dive into the snow!
Swings are always a favourite....
That's it for today, people - hopefully the sun will shine a little longer tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ho Hum.......

What have I accomplished today?? Hmmm. I went down to the allotment with Jean and her neighbour who is going to fix the shed roof, which is leaking massively. He measured, I multiplied costs in my head, and then I planted the broadbeans. The rest can wait.

Home to plant more tomatoes - the tumbling ones for the hanging baskets for Jean and for me, and then I sorted the pots the squirrels had dug up. It is no joke, I tell you - the little varmints have destroyed half the seedlings. I am not a happy camper. At all. But the netting seems to be working reasonably well so far. I can but hope I will have some kind of garden this year. You know, I think I told you that we have a hosepipe ban? Well, ever since the day it was announced, not a single day has passed without some form of precipitation. Amazing.

What else....broadbeans, tomatoes, oh yes, I went to the aquarobics class, even though my thigh is now very swollen. I look stunning in a bathing costume, believe me, just stunning. I soldiered on, because it is good for me, and I managed to get out of the pool which was a major accomplishment. Go, Linds.

I have also cut out the bunting for my friend's daughter's wedding. That is taking forEVER to get sorted, but it should be finished by next week. 24m x2 +8m x2 divided into 4m lengths = 16 + half a m for tying it in place @ 4m section. Yes. The question is whether I make it double sided or not. Ho hum.

And I have decided that I can't be bothered to cook tonight. Yoghurt will do. So, all in all, a ho hum kind of day. I am running out of energy, it seems. It has been an uncomfortable day. Maybe a full night of sleep will have the normal Linds back on track. One can only hope.

Monday, April 09, 2012

It is raining here.......

Well, hello from a very wet Casa de la Rocking Chair. It is raining. I can confirm that rain is indeed wet, because I have been out in the garden doing my road runner impressions chasing squirrels, who were upending my pots of baby seedlings in an attempt to bury walnuts. My neighbour feeds them nuts. I have tried to explain that squirrel are vermin, and that they depart her take-away cafe for squirrels and arrive in my garden and search for digging places to store their nuts because THEY ARE NOT HUNGRY IN SPRING.

Sigh.

It doesn't work.

So my garden is the burial ground for walnuts. More specifically, newly filled pots, because the earth is easy to dig. But enough is enough, so, in the rain, I have netted every pot with anything growing in it. I look like the Bride of Frankenstein. My hair is sticking out in all directions, but as I have no intention of going anywhere, it can stay like that. (This is probably the point I will return to later, if, by any chance, half the village chooses to pop in today.)

Yesterday was lovely, and it all went beautifully. If you ignore the fact that I let the carrots almost burn, the water in the steamer boil away, and charred the roast potatoes and roast parsnips. And forgot to switch of the gas burner. In a room full of people, who were the ones to suggest I check the potatoes etc etc etc. Groan. If ever I needed witnesses to the state of my inability to do ANYTHING right, I have 4.

But, even after all that, we had a lovely Easter lunch together, everyone ate plenty and everyone had a great time. There was a lot of laughter and chatter and Kate crocheted away in the rocking chair, and all was good.

Earlier in the day - at dark o' clock, I got up to put the lamb in the slow cooker. It was a triumph. Just NEVER believe that you need to add 2 tablespoons of water, because you will check a couple of hours later, and you may well discover, as I did to my horror,  that you are boiling your roast. So I bailed it out, and popped the juices in the fridge. By the time we got back from church, it was easy to scrape off the fat and use the rest for the gravy. Slow cookers are wonderful.

Church was simply beautiful. Jean and I were there early to unpack the mountain of food, and set up for coffee after the service. The church was packed, and I stayed in for the singing, because I HAD to be there to sing out Thine be the glory at the top of my voice with everyone else. It nearly raised the roof. But oh, Lord, it hurt. So I was a bit of a gibbering wreck for the rest of the service, but breathing helped a little. My decision to stay. My decision to take the consequences.

The sermon was wonderful. One of the best I have ever heard Adrian preach, and all in all, everything about the service just emphasised the celebration of Easter. Then the coffee. The little cheese straw crosses and bunnies were a huge hit. In fact everything was. I even took 2 of my Easter rabbits as decoration. Jean asked now and then how long the queue was, and for an hour, I could not see the end. That long. That good. I love how people stay after church and that is largely down to the fact that tea and coffee are served right there. In the church, so everyone stays and chats.

Then home to start the other cooking (see above for catastrophes) and once everyone had gone, to skype with my family all over the place. Good times were had by everyone. Then I crashed. By 6 I could hardly move. And it wasn't late by the time I fell asleep on the couch. I woke at 1am.

Remember the little cookie cutters I said I had discovered in my kitchen paraphernalia drawer? Here is the box. Don't you just love the "Made of Metal"? Heaven knows how old they are. My mother denies all knowledge of them, I have no memory of buying them, so they must have come from one of the grandmothers, perhaps. The box to me says 1950s. Pre-thetimewheneverysinglethinghadtobelisted for Health and Safety Issues.
And look at them. Perfect condition, not a mark on the "metal" and the box even has an idiot proof guide for fitting them back inside! (I needed it. Say no more.) We used the 2 smaller bunnies and the cross. They worked amazingly well. So finally, after who knows how many years, these little cutters have established their place in my kitchen.
I am off to try and do something with the hair. It is annoying me. Have a lovely day!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Happy Easter!

I have had a busy day. In fact, if I sit for more than a few minutes, I do believe I may never get up again, so this will be a bitty post. A trip into town to pay the bills, a wander round the shops, and then home to clean. I have 4 friends coming to lunch tomorrow, and as Jean and I are on coffee duty after the Easter service tomorrow morning, I will be late home. That means lunch will not be at lunchtime. It may be early afternoon. We will see. 

So, once the floors were mopped, I left to go and bake the goodies for church at Jean's house, seeing that she actually has a working oven. A great asset, a working oven. She baked the 72 cup cakes, I made the chocolate cornflake nests. She put the little eggs in the nest, I iced the cakes. She made cheesy crosses and bunnies, and I made coffee. And washed things. 

And we watched the boat race on TV. What a disaster. It is an annual event - Oxford vs Cambridge universities row down the Thames. Today, a STUPID protester swam out into the water, and the race had to be restarted, and then Oxford lost an oar, and it was all over. Cambridge won, but one of the Oxford men had to be taken off the boat for medical help. I am sure you can see the whole sorry saga on the BBC website. 
 Then I came home, and tidied up and set the table, after polishing the silver and washing all the crockery. And the crystal. I can't remember when last I used my beautiful dishes and plates, but they will be out tomorrow. I will be up before dawn to start the roast lamb in the slow cooker. I do hope it works. Oh well, I am sure it will be edible! We can always have toast. And it is all about the company, isn't it. Hmmm. Glynis is bringing the vegetarian option, and Jean is making the dessert, so really, I just have to conjure up roast potatoes, carrots, beans, parsnips and gravy. And the lamb.

I do realise that this is too much information, but it is so long since I entertained and I LOVE doing the tables. Don't you like the place settings? Well, the side-plates. I crocheted raffia into long chains, and then rolled the serviette and tied it up with the raffia. Then I made/found sprays of daffodils and greenery and tucked them into the bow. A little Swiss chocolate bunny and we are good to go.
 The centre-piece is the small dangling ring, complete with candles and baby chicks......
I really love things to look nice, and you can't really see the crystal glasses here, but you can get a vague idea. I will take photos in daylight, which will be easier.

So after vacuuming and dusting, I went out to water the seedlings and close the greenhouses for the night. So what possessed me to start planting things at 8pm????? I planted 5 troughs, 3 pots and one hanging basket. It must be tiredness which has made me lose my mind. I was doing my own impression of the energiser bunny and heaven knows I do not need to be stupid and overdo things. I did. Then I swept the patios, and here I am. I forgot to eat. But I do have coffee.

I hope your Easter Day is wonderful. HAPPY EASTER to you and your families!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday.....

It is, of course, Good Friday today. 
A day to reflect on the incomprehensible sacrifice made by one man, the Son of God,  to save out souls.
 A day which saw death and darkness....
 in order to bring new life to the world....
and the beauty of hope.....


I have had my hot cross buns - such a visible reminder of the Cross early in the morning, and they were delicious too. How thankful I am for the Cross and that Friday morning so long ago. So thankful. 

It is a grey day once again, but not too cold, and something out there upended and ATE my peas which were starting to shoot upwards out of the soil. But before I totally lose my calm and contemplative mood for the day,. Helen has posted a link here for her recipe for Hot Cross Buns, and I saw another one today on Facebook here from Cape Point Press - South Africans living in the States who put up SA recipes on their blog (Sam and Sandra - you may be interested!). 

And now I am off to sit in front of Jean's log burner and do some knitting while we chat. I talked her through installing Kindle for PC this morning on the phone, because Francis Chan's books - Crazy Love, Forgotten God and Erasing Hell are FREE  to download for 48 hours. Only I have NO idea when the 48 hours started. You do not need a Kindle to download books - just download the Kindle for PC option and away you go. 

Have a lovely day - Sunday is not far away, remember, and the celebrations can begin!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

All about England and other stuff..........

My friend, Kathryn - aka The Bookworm has had a brilliant idea, so this first part of my post today is for all my British  (not just the English ones!) friends. She has started a series called This England to delve into all the wonderful British things we can come up with, because this year, 2012, is the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and also the year that London hosts the Olympics. So there will be a great deal of UK coverage on TV all over the world, and in our own way, we would like to show everyone bits of England -our way of life, traditions, countryside - anything which springs to mind. She chose the title from Shakespeare's Richard II:


This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, 
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war, 
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall, 
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands, 
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.


Every Saturday, she will be adding a post, and anyone can join in at any time. Just pop your post onto Mr Linky on her blog and away we go. It will be great to see what everyone comes up with!

And I have a day to come up with something interesting. Hmmm.

My friends are coming here for Easter Sunday lunch. Jean, Peter, Glynis and Kate, P &G's daughter. That will be great. I have plans to cook the leg of lamb in the slow cooker, people, so does anyone know how I can chop the leg down to fit in there? Apart from using Jean's axe or my scroll saw, of course. I have visions of CSI type people one day examining the blades and seeing traces of bone. I could be losing the plot.

Never having chopped any form of bone before, I am clueless. I do know that it doesn't bend. I also know that I will probably be up at 4am to stick the slow cooker on. Jean and I are on church coffee duty, so lunch will not be early. I have instructed all guests to have a large and late breakfast.

So today, I ventured out, after aquazumba, to the supermarket(s) in search of anything else I needed for the lunch. The world also ventured out today ahead of the long weekend. I should have realised that. With children in tow. Many children. It is the school holiday season around here at the moment. I left the list at home, so, after negotiating my way through 2 huge supermarkets, I arrived back home to find that I had forgotten most of what was on the list. Sigh. I still managed to bring home 4 shopping bags though. Full ones. And the slow cooker roast lamb can have an altered selection of fancy spices. I am adaptable. Has anyone ever put a leg of lamb in a slow cooker? Please share recipes and any and all tips, people. This will be a first for me, always supposing I can get the lid to shut with the lamb inside and not sticking out.

A hacksaw?

So, I sort of gazed ahead at the next few days. This is something I have not done for ages, because I do one day at a time, you see, and 3 days ahead is a LONG way for me. But there is a house to be cleaned, services to go to, cupcakes and Easter nests to make for church, and then the guests to take care of. I need a plan.

Instead of making the plan, I am sitting here, still in my coat, talking to all of you. I do like a simple life, and chatting is always good. Weather report - grey and cold but the rain has departed. And my seedlings are doing just fine. I bought 2 bunches of daffodils at supermarket #1, then forgot about them and bought 2 bunches of daffodils at supermarket #2. My house is overflowing with daffodils, because I also forgot that I had bought a double bunch 2 days ago. The memory? Groan. But it will definitely look Spring-like for Easter. I can tick the "Flowers" box on the mythical list, can't I? Hah.

Tomorrow is Good Friday - hot cross buns for breakfast and fish for supper. I always do fish for supper on Good Friday. Do you? It is a tradition for me. And so is the lamb on Easter Sunday. Tomorrow is also Passover or Pesach. The story of the Exodus from Egypt is as important to the Jewish community as it is to Christians. I grew up in a neighbourhood with many Jewish families, and we all celebrated with each other. As kids, we loves matzohs and our friends loved hot cross buns. We learnt in day to day lives, not from books, how our different religions celebrated, and it was a wonderful way to learn. Jesus celebrated Passover - I wonder why we don't any more? Some things should never have stopped.

When I was a child, on Good Friday, all normal radio programmes (there was no TV then) stopped, and all that was broadcast was sombre music. Bach type music. All day. No shops were open at all. It was a dark day, in my memories. You know, I cannot understand how Good Friday became a token Bank Holiday. The banks may close, and the post office and some businesses, but every shop will be open here. Not in Europe so much. Most things close, I think. Especially in Catholic areas.

I have rambled on enough. I am procrastinating. Maybe I will go and start the cleaning. I am going to make an apron with many large pockets to house all my cleaning gear and then I do not have to carry it anywhere. Now where did that come from?? Maybe I need to go and lie down and listen to a relaxation tape........

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Ridiculous laws, rain and make-up (how eclectic can one be).....

Good morning all..... It is still raining here, which is great for the dams which are dangerously low, but oh, how I love the Spring sun and warmth! And being able to be outdoors. Vee? When is the sun coming back to you, because we seem to get your weather a week or so after you do. Snow is falling just north of us today, then apparently it will warm up slightly.

Enough of the weather report from Middle England.

I am off to aqua again shortly, and may not get this finished before I go because it takes time. Walking about between paragraphs. Pondering. Deleting. Reining in errant wanderings of the mind. You know the stuff we do.....

Our government, which seems totally and utterly out of touch with the ordinary people here in the UK, has decided that we need a snooper law. In other words, they want to record every single skype call, text message/mobile call/email/internet search we EVER do. If we touch anything or communicate with anyone, it will be recorded. They will apparently require a warrant to see the contents, but good grief, I am unimpressed. It is a gross invasion of personal privacy and completely against what would be in an Charter, only we don't have a Bill of Rights here.

The press is up in arms, and I gather there may be some modifications. Rushing laws like this through in the interest of keeping us safe from terrorist threats seems completely over the top. If I choose to have a blog and open it to the world, the world , including government officials, may read it freely. My choice. If, however, I need to chat about deeply personal stuff to my family or friends, I am absolutely NOT prepared for Big Brother to be listening in to the conversation, reading my personal emails etc etc etc.

So we will see where it goes. Here and here are two reports about it. I do not want any faceless person perusing my life in secret. We have enough of that already here.

And moving on to more simple delights, people...

Make-up.

Yes, I know, I should stop watching 10 Years Younger. However, the make-up guru said:

  1. We should throw out all makeup which a) does not have covers, b) which is older than something like a year (WHAT??? I have stuff which is decades old in my paltry arsenal!)
  2. Wash all sponges and brushes weekly (HMMMM.... do you? I don't.) AND throw out sponges every month. Right. 
  3. The thing which adds years to a middle-aged or older woman fastest is dated make-up. When last did you change your style? STYLE?? What is that???
  4. Having your eyebrows threaded (I watched a video - it looks like someone playing cat's cradle has gone crazy) is apparently the best thing since sliced bread, and that the older you get, the more the eyebrows need attention. I thought mine had disappeared. They are blonde. No, they are GREY and are invisible to all but they are there, and ...
  5. I should apply eye shadow to the brow to define it. I can see the panda look extending upwards here. 
So my question is this - questions, rather :
  1. Please tell me you still have eyeshadows and lipsticks and other assorted make-up bits which are as old as mine? AND my older stuff has clearly not killed me yet.
  2. Have you changed your make-up style recently? Like in the last 15 years? 
  3. Do you clean all your equipment  regularly? Do you USE all the fancy equipment? Do you know what fancy equipment we should be using?
  4. Have you had your eyebrows threaded? Do you have them waxed? What do you do with your eyebrows? Anything? 
  5. And am I the only one left on earth who has not got a clue how to change things, even with all the photo tutorials and Youtube things on line. 
I wear glasses. My glasses are my eye make-up. Sort of. I conducted a little research in quest of finding a new mascara on Facebook. A cheap one. And Maybelline apparently is the best in the world. I have yet to try it out. Or the threading. I seem to remember catching my hair in the cat's cradle game as a pre-teen, and yanking it out by the roots. I suppose that is how threading began. But you never know....apparently the results make you appear as if you have had an eye lift, and the Good Lord knows I need lifting in all departments which have yielded to the force of gravity and headed south without permission. 

Or maybe a magic wand would be the easier option instead.......

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

My baby grew up fast.......

Today is my youngest child's 23rd birthday. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN????? Where have the years gone? And why did time speed up so fast? How? 
David and Jean in Switzerland this winter
The questions every mother asks at one stage (or 99) of her life. I see the tiny little scrap he was when he was born, and then my mind flashes to the giant man he is now. I see the little boy with long red curly hair proudly showing off his new Nike trainers - he was 2 and they were the only shoes I could find with a sufficiently high arch support in them - my kids all battled with flat feet. And then I see the teenager trying to take his father's place when his mother sort of fell apart (on very rare occasions). And where is the little choir boy with the beautiful voice in choir robes? The child who chose to go to a school where he knew no-one because he recognised that "they like each other here - they don't push and shove"? 

The man he is now is awesome, to use modern parlance. He is thoughtful - he helps everyone. He entertains us, he even cooks! His general knowledge is astounding, and his strength even more amazing. He sees needs and steps in. He is generous to a fault and gentle. A great combination. 

I love him to bits. We all do. He is human of course. And his room is always a disaster zone, but one day he will remember that his mother taught him to be tidy. He has dreams, and he is going after them, and I will cheer him on every step he takes. The woman he one day marries will be a lucky lady, because he instinctively recognises things. And he is a born father. 

Uncle David watching over Missy
I can't wait to see where he goes and what he does with his life. 

That is the hardest part of being a Mum, you know. The letting go, waving cheerfully. Giving them the confidence and skills to move into the world and create their own sphere which may or may not be close by. And holding on to the fact that you will always be their mother, even when "home" means something different to them. There isn't a day when I do not think about all three of my children constantly. They are part of me. I made them. They are mine. And I have to let go for them to become who they are meant to be. 
I feel a Titanic moment coming on.....
But I love them. Deeply. So much that I would still leap in front of them if a bus were to come barrelling towards them. That kind of love. Lay down my life for them. It is Easter time, isn't it, and I can't help but think about Someone else who willingly laid down His life for us all. Me. You. That kind of love. I understand it, because in my own tiny insignificant speck of the universe, I would do it too. 
Being a mother is not for wimps. 

Sigh. 

But I have survived so far. 

I want to talk about other things like the proposed snooper bill here in the UK (Crystal, it is of huge concern to me) and make-up. Yes, you heard me correctly - make-up. But that can wait for later. 

 Happy Birthday, David!

Monday, April 02, 2012

J's are special.......

Today has been the day of the J's for me. The weather was supposed to be horrible but it has been sunny. Who knows what tomorrow will bring! So, back to the J's.....

Jean, Jenny and I went to the church for our lunch time slot in the prayer room. It was beautiful sitting there - so many things to do and see. Prayer was global and local, and you could build a stone wall, paint, draw, decorate crosses, do collages, read, listen to music, weave, knit, ....... so many things. I decided to paint, because that is well outside my comfort zone, and it was wonderful using the watercolours and seeing them emerge into something vaguely resembling what I had in my mind. It was so peaceful, that we completely lost track of the time, and when Adrian, our vicar arrived, we said we would quite happily stay another hour. Which we did. The whole thing is set up in the chancel of the church and thick velvet curtains keep the heat in and make it small and personal. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate were available  - an biscuits. Just wonderful. The whole experience is really special.

So Jean, Jenny - two of the J's.

When I came home, I spent time in the garden pottering and sitting under the apple tree. It is very sheltered there. Seeds are sprouting all over the place. I do love being in the garden. Hmmm. I think I have said that before!

Then Julia arrived for coffee and a chat - she is moving, and her house is on the market, so she has been frantically trying to sort through the house. Sorting books, CDs...all those things we think of doing and never get round to doing. We meaning me. Well, I have done some of the books and videos, but there is still so much to sort. Maybe I should think of it in terms of moving and that may get the booster rockets firing and we may just get some action around here. Rocket fuel. That is what I need. So we had a lovely chat about what she should get rid of or keep, and how our children generally do not want our prized possessions. The world has indeed changed a great deal.

After Julia left, I stacked the cups in the dishwasher and popped the kettle on and Jac arrived - the last of the J's. And so we sat in my chilly lounge - I did resort to turning the heating on at that point - one cannot entertain while sitting in coats, now can one. Actually, I think Jac never got out of her coat, now that I come to think of it. Maybe I should have turned the heating up a little higher. Oops. AND for the umpteenth time in 22 years, I realised that I had forgotten her birthday. This is now a real problem. I mean - she NEVER forgets my birthday and me???? I forget hers every year. My phone didn't beep to remind me, and I am now going to make a giant banner for my fridge saying "remember 7 March" on it so that next year I will be well prepared.

So if I ask you why I have a banner telling me to remember 7 March please tell me it is Jac's birthday.

Thanks.

My sense of mortification would be grateful.

So I have had a really wonderful time today. People make all the difference to my life. And the words flow so easily, and the smiles too. Sometimes there are tears, but you see, we SEE each other - really see. And we HEAR each other. Really hear. All the J's in my life are special women and all are so different. Each brings something really special into my life. And I am very thankful for each of them.

I forgot to take photos today. Well, I have got some on my phone but I can't get them off. I must get round to working that one out, but re-learning how to find things on my iPod is enough technological education for this week. I am also suddenly in the mood to rearrange the furniture, and so I am doing the wrong kind of pacing. Where do I put a piano I do not really want? In the middle of the kitchen????

I digress. My mind is going off in strange directions, so I will say good night and see you all tomorrow.....

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Palm Sunday.......

A weekend of mixed weather here in Middle England..... Friday was gloomy, Saturday COLD and grey and then today has been absolutely stunning. It is very hard to believe that this week we could well have snow and freezing temps, so the garden has been frost-proofed as well as I can do it. Fleece over the seed trays and small plants at night, and the fleece will stay on and the greenhouses closed if we really do revert to winter. What survives survives. I can always plant more seeds. I think they will be fine, though.

I hope.

And in the meantime, I have finished the ripple with the Scottish tones in. The lilac and purple are for the heathers, and then the different colours of the soil and greenery. It is very warm - which is just as well, if we get snow- and it is just as I wanted it to be. I had the picture in my mind of the rows of soil tilled across the Scottish landscape, you see......
So, we will ignore the gloom of yesterday, and skip merrily on to today. Palm Sunday. I have been looking after Glynis and Peter's 2 dogs this weekend, so it has been a lively one. I sat down on the couch early yesterday afternoon and managed to select the right guided relaxation track on the iPod, and even though it only lasts 12 minutes, I think I was asleep within 3. 4 at the most. And I slept for 4.5 hours. On a Saturday afternoon. Sigh. 

Is it any wonder I skipped over Saturday? 

But today dawned early - the dogs, you see - and the skies were so blue, it just makes your heart want to explode with joy. I sat outside with my coffee just listening to the birds chirping away, the sound of water trickling into the neighbour's pond, and the church bells ringing. I was sufficiently far away from them. Did I mention that the bells send horrible waves through my nervous system? Oh joy. They do indeed. 

 And off to church we went. I had to vacate the premises for a hymn when the notes were very high, and even the cushion under the feet didn't stop the vibrations from hitting the nerve ends. (Think exposed tooth nerve hitting the air.) But I survived, and went back in for the sermon, which was wonderful. 

And after coffee and cake and general chatter with all and putting the world to rights, I went back to sort out the dogs, and the washing and the lunch and all the other things one does every day which are really mundane and quite boring. However, it was interspersed with time in the garden, and a few pots were filled. More peas, and the  scaffolding wigwam thingys for the peas and sweet peas and sunflowers were put in place. It is like putting up the skeleton of the garden in a sense. Peas don't mind snow or frost. Well, the packet said plant out in Feb/March/April and I have done that. 
The tulips are gorgeous, and I love the way they open for the sun and then close in the shade. 

So.

Glynis and Peter are back, and doggy duties are done, and now we are in Holy Week. There is a 24hr prayer chapel open at church all week, and there are some beautiful things to do while you are there. Last year we went and loved it, and so we have a slot tomorrow. As we were told today, if you are too busy to find an hour to pray during Holy Week, then maybe you need to re-organise the priorities in your life. Or words to that effect. True. 

I have just been sitting outside, looking at the blue sky of early evening - it is 7.30pm here - and the moon, and it is so very still and so quiet. I look at those skies and I think of so many things. Dreams. Hopes. My mind wanders slowly through the possibilities of new days and new weeks and new months. And I practice the breathing, and everything in me sort of slows down and my shoulders relax, and it is good. So good. Cold. But good. I wish I could freeze moments of peace like these somehow. 

But I don't know how to. So here I am, about to go and curl up on the couch under my soft blanket and maybe I will finish that prayer shawl. Maybe I will carry on dreaming. Maybe I will watch TV. Maybe I will plug in the iPod. Maybe I will have a nap. Who knows. And does it matter? Not at all. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, my friends.