Sunday, 24 January 2021

And about time too.

 Well, its been a long while.

I took time out and it stretched to the 'nth degree.

I have run the gamut of emotions, high and low and have emerged hopefully stronger and possibly wiser.

I have stopped baying at the moon about the stupidity of people. having snarled at one too many shoppers who thought that it was fine to lean on me as they reached to pick an item off the shelf, I no longer go into any shop. 

There is a notice on my door telling all delivery persons to ring the bell/bang on the door and step well away. I have chewed the ear off a postman who wanted to hand me my parcels and made a formal complaint the second time.

I have nothing but praise for the various people who deliver my Asda grocery order and am thankful that we have a marvellous meat supplier who delivers and follows the correct procedures. The local free range egg supplier has set up contactless collection and is on my regular dog walk route. I am thinking about getting rid of my car and carrying on for the forseeable future as i do not miss shopping one little bit.

I have got over the uncomfortable/embarrassing fact that I am enjoying lockdown. My time is filled with whatever I fancy doing whenever I wish to do it.

The only downside is not seeing family in the flesh, video calls and zoom sessions are good but nothing like the real thing. Having said that there are many families that are scattered across the world and rarely or never meet in person. 

Michael has plans for the good weather, both for house and garden, so much so that he has decided not to take on any work for at least 2 years, if ever. We are enjoying working as a close team and want it to continue.

At the beginning of December I looked long and hard at my crafting supplies. I will not be buying anything for this year, with the exception of mask making materials. I am still churning those out, just at a slower rate.

I joined an online knitting community, yarn n yarns based in Penarth, South Wales, and am taking part in the "12 cast ons of Christmas", This is helping me work through the yarn stash, gathering patterns, yarn and  ( making more project bags) matching up what I have is theraputic. Some of the projects are reasonabley medium term but a few were quick makes and as I have emptied a bag of its finished item I have cast on another to take its place. In this way I hope to run the stash right down. There are also 2 projects ongoing to work through any leftovers. I have just finished the second scrappy Flax Light in sock yarn and have a dk crochet blanket on the go. 

The sewing is nowhere near as productive as it is based in the dining room. I prefer to be in the living room with Michael so that we can chat as we work on our various things. Once the warmer and drier weather arrives this will change. We will spend more time outside working together and time indoors will be separate, he with his planned projects and me sewing.

The garden has vegetables in it still and 3 beds are filled with garlic and summer onions. The polytunnel has my flower planters in it but they will be moved out ready for lots of edibles. The greenhouse has some brassicas (thriving out of the wind) ready for harvesting and these will be replaced with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in due course.

There are 3 new blueberry plants that will provide a small harvest this year, my established bushes fruited really well last year, so lots of purple porridge is in my future. The fruit trees all look healthy and we will be building a cage over the Jostaberry and  Black Elderberry. That of course is "the royal we" I will be making coffee and cookies as my contribution. 

All that seems to be a bit smug and self satisfied but it has required, and will continue to do so, planning and some hard work. It was no easy task to dig out and make a level area for the tunnel on our sloping garden.

Herbie is thriving, thankfully he has stopped growing, and loves having Revi and Poppy during the week, a no contact handover takes place at each end of the day and their owner is as careful as us on a daily basis.

I think that I am all caught up now and I plan on being here a few times a week now, when I have something worth sharing. 

My thanks to anyone who is still there and my hopes that you are all heathy and well.

Take care.

                 TTFN                                                                                           Pam

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Wet Wet Wet

 Hey Ho, if it did not rain what would we have to talk about? when we can meet and talk that is.

I have to say that I am making the most of both the weather and the lockdown.

These are the first of a family of 4, the pattern is the pumpkin beanie on ravelry.
I added the leaf, I crocheted it from an old pattern.
Once the other 2 are finished they will be gifted and then my sister would like one.

This yarn has been lingering for ages in my stash, I had 4 skeins and have knitted several pairs of socks. This pair will be the last, hopefully as I am rather tired of it. I can not remember where it came from or the brand, it is hard wearing and softens with washing.

I am still not loving this new blogger.
Rolls eyes and grimaces.

I have found a new podcast to watch, Knit365 blog, Martin produces a round up blog at the end of the month and slips in an extra project one every now and then. His style is laid back and has no extraneous content, I like it. He is about to start the new West mkal and I look forward to seing his progress.

Just before I lost Ben I bought new coats for him and Herbie. I don't know whether I could not measure them or if I just made a mistake with the order but one fitted Herbie and the other one would have got both of them in with wriggle room. Anyhow, the larger one was tucked on a shelf and left, this afternoon one of my neighbours called me as I was walking past and asked if I could make a coat for his dog. I have met the dog and knew instantly that the large coat would fit him. It was perfect so I have gained a smidgeon more space and Kofi has a new coat. win win.
I also have a favor to call in if I need to. Barter is alive and well.

I aim on finishing the hats and those socks this week and I have a Penny sweater, a Tin Can Knits pattern, to sew up under the sleeves and weave the ends in.
Then I will pick 2 from the WIP shelf, AKA the shelf of reproachful looks, to work on this month, as well as Francesca,s sweater. I am itching to cast on more socks but am trying to ignore it. I would love to finish 4 WIPs before my Christmas Eve cast on, I dare not even look at patterns for that yet. I might well come down with a bad case of castonitis.

The sewing room is in a slight state of chaos, I have a new freezer coming and that is the only room with space for it. Everything has been shunted around to make space and once it is in Michael will be measuring up for a new shelf. Or three. As I have lost that floor space.

That willl be a nice surprise when he reads it. hehe.
It,s a good job he likes a project.

There is a "new" Michael Palin program on TV tonight, I think that it is basically covering his former programs but I will be having a look. 

Now I think it is time for a glass of something red and fruity.

Keep safe.

                                             TTFN                                      Pam

Saturday, 3 October 2020

So much for Autumn colour.

 I am sure that in parts of the world, at least north of the equator, there has been enough dry cold air to start the leaves turning to burnished bronze and amber. Just not here, too wet, too warm and too much wind.

 Even my blueberries just shed their leaves while still green, it has been wet, windy and not really cold. The wind and odd storm have moved lots of the leaves into heaps that are slowly mouldering away.

Many plants that should still be in flower have been shredded by the wind and rain, not to mention the odd hailstorm.

In need of some colour I turned to my knitting, Fran's new sweater is richly coloured and I am knitting Christmas socks in seasonal colours.

Then I had some moments that were pure serendipitous. I was watching the Sheep and Cheerful podcast and Nikki was knitting a pumpkin hat in glorious orange. I found the pattern and in a moment it was paid for, downloaded and printed. There is also a Kal going on that I need to finish some WIPs and get posted for.

Then I watched the first Vlogmas from Ange at Yarn N Yarns and she is doing the same, an Autumn make and a Thank Goodness it's finished make.

I don't usually take part in Kals as I tend to lose track and forget to take photos.

This time though I will be joining in, I have a pile of WIPs to finish up, most do n ot need very much work, and I have some gift knitting to do.

I went straight on to Ange,s shop and bought yarn for the hats, well for the girls ones, I will knit Mum and Dads from stash yarn. Bless her she packaged up the order yesterday and it arrived this morning. I had already cast on Dad's hat and finished it before bedtime. such a quick knit. because the yarn arrived this morning I have knit one of the girls hats, I decided to crochet a leaf and attach to each hat. Just because.

These will be gifted as soon as they are finished, I may make a small pumpkin and attach to the girls hats, it depends on how much yarn I have left.

The street is much quieter now that the local lock down is in place, I took Herbie out a short while ago and only saw 2 cars. There are still people inviting visitors into their homes against the new measures, one can only suppose they have a death wish.

We have been going through each room, emptying cupboards and sorting the contents out. Some furniture has been moved and every nook and cranny has been cleaned. Today Michael emptied the welsh dresser and cleaned the inside, disposed of some rubbish that had secreted itself away and refilled the rest tidily.

We decided to sit down fairly early, yippee I had my hat to knit, and had a stroll down memory lane and watched the first 2 Ghostbusters movies. Herbie got very excited a few times and ran round like a hamster in a wheel.

I am now tucked up in bed with one of the sock WIPs and  Herbie is on the bottom of the bed snoring. I plan on catching up with a few podcasts.

All in all It has been a good day, even if the garden is a mix of green, colourless dying leaves and mud. There is plenty of colour indoors.

Keep safe.

                                   TTFN                                                Pam

      PS, starting the day with purple porridge is great.  

Thursday, 1 October 2020

keeping my eye on the ball.

 It's been a funny few days here. 

With the news that the Royal Glamorgan hospital is taking no new admissions due to an ongoing Covid situation. The extra work load will be divided btween other units including our local Morriston hospital. I am resigned to the fact that my cataracts will be with me into the next year.

Michael has had a letter asking him to arrange both an Xray and a video call regarding further work on the thumb that he almost severed. He has managed with it as is for the last 3 1/2 months. He should have had this Xray at the end of July and has no inclination to go anywhere near a hospital right now. So he has declined the invitation.

Our neighbour,S, who owns Revi and Poppy was at work on the family farm, last weekend, with his teenage nephew is on red alert. Yesterday his sister rang him to say that her sone was home from school on the direction of the track and trace system. he had been in contact with someone who tested positive for C-19. They are now trying to assertain when the contact occured and whether S has to be tested and/or quarantine. Thankfully we have a system in place where we transfer the dogs with no close contact. This was a "just in case" decision and I am so pleased that we made that call.

My friend has finished her treatment so the Bichons will not be here for a month now, then she will have a checkup appointment. as before we have a hand over with no close contact.

It was easy to arrange in both cases, it isn't rocket science, it isn't even like picking up a dropped stitch in a lace pattern.

We have a new to me veg box scheme in Pontardawe, Frosty's will deliver to our village. they will make a mixed box with fruit or 2 separate ones from £10 to £whatever. They also offer a range of pantry staples, whole foods and vegan supplies and are very accommodating. Yes they are dearer than the supermarkets. Yes they have a smaller choice, you will not have 30 types of lettuce to chose from, but that can be a bonus. We will be trying them out soon, I have a fridge full of fruit and veg to eat through first.

The news is still full of whinging people but there are some truly inspiring people out there as well. Those who have weighed up the situation, thought about it and altered their routines to be able to help their neighbours. 

The writing was on the wall in plenty of time for all to get prepared, in fact it has been on the simmer from the beginning. The warning has been there for all to see and hear that the winter would bring an upsurge of cases. 

I am still amazed that anybody thought that opening up the Universities was a good idea. Hundreds and thousands of young people are now in virtual house arrest, having paid fees and accommodation costs and getting much less in return than they expected or deserved. At the same time those who are bleating about wanting to return home need to stop. Look in the mirror and ask if they really want to potentially take a killer into the family home.

Once again. It isn't rocket science. If they haven't got it before they start for home it is highly likely that they will be in contact with it before they arrive. Pessimist. Too right I am. We will not be in contact with anybody for a long time, we do not want to put ourselves ir anyone else at risk.

Apart from all that we are well, the dogs had a good 2 hours walk this morning and are happily slumped across the sofas sleeping it off.

Keep safe.

                      TTFN                                                       Pam

PS. I am sure that i started this with something particular to say but have run off piste. At leaast I didn't have the soapbox out to fall off.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Too much talk in the wrong direction.

 David Attenborough is a familiar face on our screens and has been for decades. His new book and program strike to the heart of the consumer society.

He tells us to use less, waste nothing and the subtext is buy organic.

This morning when he was featured on the Beeb there was a shot of battery chickens in the background.

Factory farming started to provide cheaper food for our ever increasing population. As a "baby boomer" I, my generation and susequent ones are to blame.

That was the time to get up and speak about the effect this would have on the planet. It was just not on the agenda at that time.

It is very easy to be wise after the event. 

The longer the event goes on the harder it becomes to reverse, never mind stop.

I guestimate here. I think that up to 75% of the worlds population live either in the poverty gap or a smidgeon above it.

These people waste nothing. They do not consume vast amounts of power.

 They do not fill their cars (they simply don't have the money) with Kilos of food and then bin a large percentage at the end of the week.

They do not buy clothes and household goods on a regular basis just to consign them to landfill when the fashion changes. In fact they probably shop second hand when they absolutely have to, thus helping the environment.

In MY opinion most, if not all, of the rhetoric needs to be directed at the (roughly) 25% of the worlds population who have the money to throw around. 

The "jet set" with air travel, the fashionistas with revolving wardrobe doors, the shoppers who buy ever increasing volumes of everything from food to cosmetics and jettison it just to make room for more. 

These are the people who should be targeted, after all if you cannot afford a leopardskin coat you are not responsible for the reduced population. 

Equally if you cannot afford to buy organic free range food to feed your family you have to buy the cheaper alternative. You are not responsible for factory farming.

I am off the soap box now, but will keep it handy.

Keep safe.

                        TTFN                                                                Pam

I just wanted to add that I did not mention the middle ground. All of us who may or may not be rich but have the means and the ability to stretch our money wisely. We already waste nothing, make do and mend and repurpose as much as possible. Some of us are firmly in the perceived poverty belt, although you would never know it, and some of are in the wealthy belt but do not flaunt or waste it. I know that it is wrong to generalise but there is not enough room here to be specific. Gosh, that sounds like a cop out. Sorry, but I had a strong reaction to being preached at by someone who has never had to make do or go without and would probably not recognise the Benefit Trap if he fell in it. I do still admire him, he is a stand alone man, head and shoulders above many others of his ilk.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Still busy

 It has been a few days.

 I didn't plan it but got stuck into getting the house and garden ready for winter.

We decided to have a change round upstairs and leapt, laughing foolishly, down the rabbit hole of decorating. Our bedroom has had a clean sweep and looks much better for it. Just changing a few things around has opened up the space and makes it seem larger.

The bathroom did not escape, no painting but changing round the storage, and adding a unit has pulled it together. All my cleaning and laundry supplies are now in the one space, easy to check for gaps when it comes to my online shopping.

The landing is next on the list and one wall that has some scuffs and scrapes will be cosying up with paint and brush later this morning.

BTW I am up at stupid o'clock after a hectic day, much lifting, moving and walking back and forth. That without the dog walking, and of course Herbie not only wanted an extra one but also wanted to walk further each time. I 'fess up that the last one saw me in onesie, boots and long coat after a lovely long shower.

Never mind dust bunnies, I think they were giant man eatering rabbits from outer space, and I do clean regularly. Thankfully there wasn't a spider or web to be seen (tempting fate here)

Michael, while sitting and slurping coffee, said in all innocence "we will do Francescas room next week.". This while I was still scuttling around with boxes and armsfull of things that were heading for their allocated places.

There may have been a red haze with overtones of blue for a few seconds.

However we have settled on putting the living room into winter mode. That means moving the sofas, I have one under the window in front of the radiater all summer, moving my craft lamp into place and making room for The Tree.

I also make the time to go through my yarn stash. this year I have already done that. I wanted to get all my fingering weight in one place. (I am able to knit socks for most of next year,) blushing madly. There is also a box of various yarn that has Fran's name on it. 2 sweater quantities and several skeins of fingering weight.

The string quilt blocks are all made, I just have the last batch to trim. The wadding and backing are ready for pinning once the top is assembled.

I did not make my quilt deadline but a lot has happened in the interim. The new restrictions have meant that we have a group of 6 set in place and that does not include the planned recipient.

We have our neighbour, for the dogs sake he has to be included. Then there is my friend, she still has many more treatment sessions to go through, The last 2 are the couple that Michael has been working for. He is still popping back and forth and will be doing that for some time yet. They have a brand new granddaughter so we are all being meticulous about procedures. 

The local lock downs have moved closer to us with Cardiff and Llanelli affected. I think that Swansea will soon follow and that is very close as the crow flies.

 I see that some of the supermarkets are seting out buying restrictions, it is a good thing that lessons were learnt, perhaps there will not be the empty shelves of a few months ago.

The only item that I have not seen return is wholemeal bread flour, another thing that I now buy online. My favourite loose leaf tea has vanished from the Asda website so that will be something else to search for, not till next year though as I have plenty in stock.

Speaking of tea, my cup is empty but there is more in the pot, better drink it  before it gets cold.

Keep safe.

                                    TTFN                                             Pam

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

And Breathe

 Thank you for your comments on my last post. We got the good news last night that the test had a negative result.

As Fancesca is very sensible she is being even more careful than ever.

Many of you mentioned that people are being less than prudent in their reactions, attitude and the way they go about their lives. I can only think that our education system has failed miserably. If people holding down responsible careers and jobs are unable to behave responsibly in their personal lives and are not able to understand basic rules then there is little hope for the future.

I see that school bus drivers are concerned about the numbers of passengers, who as well as being close together are not required to wear masks. Surely the safety of the staff is down to the employer. 

Have these people not heard of "Due Diligence" or even better "Corporate Manslaughter".

More to the point, what are the parents saying?

We seem to have become a world solely concerned with "the bottom line" and ever increasing profit margins.

Perhaps if we were not such a throwaway society it might be different.

I am not sure whether the words "not yet recycled" or the lack of any guidance on packaging is more annoying. There has been plenty of time for all packaging to be made recycable. Sir David Attenborough has been banging on about it ofr what seems like decades. HRH The Prince of Wales has ruffled many a set of corporate feathers over the years and even Hugh Fearlessly-eatsitall( no offence intended) has been seen on national television promoting the cause.

The thing is that unless each and every one of us makes a noise nothing will improve in the near future.

Now I have put the soap box away.

Keep safe and beware the idiots among us.

                                  TTFN                                                         Pam