Novelty snow..

Where I grew up in the North Island of New Zealand, snow was a real novelty.  I remember as a small child being taken up the mountains to see the sparse snow that had fallen but it was many years before I saw snow actually falling and then I was smitten.  It’s easy to be smitten with snow when you have warm clothes and a warm house to snuggle in of course.

This week we have had snow for the last several days on and off.  In fact for the last two days my late afternoon compulsory walk with the dogs has been enlivened by the weather.  Both days we have left the house in bright sunshine with the odd flick of the white stuff and both days we have been hit by mad, blizzard conditions before we were half way down the road, turning myself and the dogs into ambulatory snow creatures. Today the weather is properly cold, it’s been snowing constantly all morning and on our walk this morning I noticed that there was coagulating ice floating down the river.

You would think then that there would be few people about for the usual Thursday market day but surprisingly there has been a steady stream of customers at the few market stalls that did brave the conditions and I bought the last three remaining, locally baked, gorgeous hot cross buns at the Londis.  I also stopped at both bakery stalls buying Portuguese custard tarts from Kate the Bread  (which, by the way, you take one bite of and have a moment of utter bliss as your brain realises just how truly delicious they are) and a massive Chelsea bun from Sue bravely womanning the stall at Gooch’s.  I am eating to stay warm of course, not because of my massive greed 😉


Something odd happens to people when it snows – they suddenly become a lot more friendly, not that Hay people are not normally a friendly lot but snow means that everyone talks to everyone, whether you know them or not.  I have found myself on several occasions standing in a snowstorm having conversations for long enough to cause drifts to gather around our legs.  Also nationally it brings out the utter unselfish goodness in people who look out for their neighbours, help people trapped in cars and aid those in need.

So, how am I spending this snow day?  Well I have chosen today to defrost the freezer because why wouldn’t you when you can just pop the frozen food outside the door to keep cold?



I have taken the opportunity to slow cook a shoulder of pork using the Pulled Pork recipe from the Guardian so I will have that in the oven on low for the rest of the day.  There will be some crochet done this afternoon and maybe some stitching and listening to the radio before I have to drag myself and our furry friends out for a walk.

Where I will be crocheting.. and dreaming of spring.

Mr T is driving a bus in the frozen wastes and I am hoping he is ok and furiously hoping that the weather will mean he can come home early and have a snow day tomorrow.

I am also furiously hoping that everyone stays warm and safe and that all the wild creatures find food and shelter over the next couple of days until sane spring weather returns.

Until then – let’s be careful out there..

As I emerge blinking into the light..

Regarding my last post – one of the reasons I had been feeling so crappy is because I had had the flu since Christmas day and two weeks on, just as I thought I was getting better, the glands came up under my chin and back I was, sofa bound (apart from walking dogs) again.

I am finally well and have emerged ready and able to listen to all the other poor sods who have also been ill, and there are many, probably because around Christmas everyone gets more social than usual and we cheerfully and unknowingly go about the town spreading our germs.

While I was ill, our possessions that we had shipped, arrived from New Zealand. Unfortunately I was in no fit state to deal with them and it is only now that we have finally got down to the last box.

Family heirlooms worth shipping across the world – plastic flower lights, Marmite tray and Big Blue the Pot




Never go anywhere without this motley crew 🙂

It is lovely to have all our rugs and bits and pieces about again although it is taking some doing, shoe horning everything in to our tiny bolt hole.  It is fortunate that I was rigorous in what I packed, although somehow a large amount of yarn managed to find itself secreted into whatever crevice it could be stuffed into.

And talking about yarn – here is my new poncho which I whipped up when I got hold of some discounted, beautiful Japanese Noro Hanabatake wool and silk yarn on Ebay – yay!  Finished just in time for this very freezing weather.


I am going now to take tea and catch up on some socialising but I will be back later in the week with a couple of blog posts about some of my friends here in Hay-on-Wye and I’ve got lots of lovely photos to show you.   Have an awesome day 🙂




Now – where are my dried frog pills?  Ahh, that’s better…

So, where was I?  Doesn’t matter – I’m not there now..

Last time I looked I wasn’t Atlas, I do not have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and every now and then, like today and Sunday, I remember and my world becomes a lighter place.

What am I up too?  Well, it’s the middle of winter here in little, old N.Z. and mostly I seem to spend a lot of time putting wood on the fire to keep warm.  And dressing in lots of layers, and walking the dogs in the rain and drying wet dogs and wet washing and – well you get the picture.

I do like the winter though, especially when we get truly wild weather like we had yesterday, southerlies rolling in, lots of dramatic, freezing wind and rain.  Giving me a chance to wear some of my sixty million shawls and hats and socks and boots.

I have been making stuff as usual, like this blanket, which handily warms my knees as I hook it.


The latest shawl, fresh of the hook and waiting to be blocked.  It’s called The Sunday Shawl from a pattern on Ravelry and I am pleased with it except I could have been more careful about the main colour – dark blue is a blond dog fur magnet.


I am also doing some stitching, using my natural dyed fabrics.  My brain has not been working well recently and although I wanted to stitch something really complicated it turned out that energy and concentration levels as well as the ability to MAKE A DECISION FFS, were not playing together nicely.  So I’m keeping the design simple but interesting (to me anyway).  I will show you it again when it’s finished.


I have company during my day of course, there is this dog..


and this dog..



and both of them are giving me the ‘it’s time to take us for a walk’ signals, so I’m off.  See you soon hopefully 🙂


still counting them..

We have had a couple of days of dry spring weather, enough for me to have got all our washing done with one lot still on the line which hopefully will dry before the forecast rain sets in.  House cleaned as well today with MrT perched in bed still while I vacuumed and the dogs shut out of the house because they delight in fighting the vacuum cleaner.

I have just got back from walking the dogs down at the river where I met a lovely older lady also walking her dog and carrying a big bag full of rubbish that she had picked up along the way – apparently she does it every day, doesn’t like visitors to the town to get a bad impression.  The rubbish situation isn’t helped by the total absence of any bins along the path.   People like her are a blessing and I have promised to try to do my bit as well..

I have finished and blocked another shawl, made with a simple pattern to show off the lovely colours of the Lang Mille Colori Sock yarn.

P1030944P1030942My idea is that eventually I will try to sell my shawls on either the NZ craft website Felt or list them on Trade Me (the NZ equivalent of ebay) and I need to get on with it because I want to wear them myself so I figure at least if no one wants to buy them I will be able to claim them.

Because shawls take such a long time to make (especially using fine yarn) I sometimes feel a great urge to break out and make something quick with lovely chunky yarn and I found myself in that mood on Wednesday night.  Searching Ravelry for a hat pattern I came across The Alpaca Slouch Hat by A Creative Being.  Now as some of you crocheters out there may know Marinke (or Wink as she liked to be called) and who rang the blog ‘A Creative Being’  terminated her life in June.  This was a hell of a awful shock to everyone and certainly to me.   I had been thinking of making one of Wink’s patterns in memory of her and so large hook in hand I had that sucker made and ready to wear the next day.  And it’s a beauty – I love it, as did my two friends at Stitch and Bitch on Thursday evening who put in orders.  What I don’t love however is that I am not able to show it to Wink as she requested at the end of the pattern.

Me in my new Wink hat
Me in my new Wink hat

Finally I thought I would just like to pop in a gratuitous photo of Charlie in a dolls pram. This was not my idea but Mr Ts who seems to very much enjoy putting small dogs in baskets, bags and prams – i’m not sure how Charlie felt about it but he did hop out fairly quickly..

Poor Charles, he has a lot to put up with..

finding that my head is likely buried in yarn..

First post for March, yay!

I have been very unwell again but I think I may be ironing myself out, thanks to a visit with my head doctor and upped medication, which is good because we are leaving tomorrow for a very long weekend in New Plymouth at the WOMAD festival.  Tickets ever so kindly gifted to us by our very good friends Sue and Mike – how cool is that.

I have been worrying that I would be unwell and that would spoil it all, but to be frank – you can be depressed anywhere really and I have a lovely camp bed to curl up in if things turn to cactus head wise.  I love camping, I love sleeping in tents, it is such a treat.  There is going to be masses of different kinds of music and I am just about completely ignorant of most of it so it will be a musical adventure as well.

Crochet wise I have been very busy, having as usual, several projects on the go.  I found one that had been resting since last year when I finally got it together to sort out my yarn stash – no mean feat believe me, .

I found this pattern on Ravelry and used the link with the English translation.  The original is called Schultertuch/Dreieckstuch if you are interested.  It is probably my favourite shawl pattern at the moment, it seems to look good in any yarn and that really is amazing.  Here is mine – nearly finished, oh and the wool is Drops Delight 4 ply and I am on my second ball.



So after such a structured pattern I had to go and do this little wild beauty, crocheted with scraps including  silk sari yarn, remnants of Noro and fabric strips.  It looks surprisingly good on..


I have also sold one of my flower square bags and have nearly finished another. This is the one I sold..


and this little beauty is waiting for it’s lining and to have it’s ends woven in, then it can go out to it’s forever home..P1030877

In addition to this I have started on another granny square bag, pretty much like my one that you can see in this photo.  It is two years old now and in need of a de-bobbling but is still my main stay particularly in summer.  I love it because although it holds a heap when you dump it on the table it can just open out and it is easy to find everything.


I have other projects on the horizon as well, so the hooks will be burning with all the friction I’ll be treating them to.  I have ordered some Lang Mille Colori Sock and Lace Luxe yarn to make a shawl out of.  Sometimes it is difficult to source certain yarn in New Zealand and this yarn in particular was hard to find, and when I did find it very expensive.  But good old internet to the rescue, I found a British site that not only sold Lang at a cheaper price but gave me 10% off for the first order and also free postage!  So I take my hat off to you.  I have the joy of a parcel of yarny goodness winging its way across the world to me soon.

Enough already, I am off to get ready for the festival.  I hope you all have a great weekend whatever you are up to.  See you soon..

tangled tomatos – amongst other things…

P1030833One of the jobs that Mr T was tasked with last weekend was untangling and tying up our tomato plants, left to lie and fraternize amongst themselves, that had begun to topple over with their own weight, and had my Mum tut-tutting at our laissez-faire approach to gardening- where were the neat, upright rows that she was so enamored of?  I don’t know, the young people these days..

The hot weather has dried and cracked the ground and for miles around the grass is straw coloured and tinder dry.  The lucky amongst us find a cool, shady tree to lie under.  Preferably on a swing seat they got for Christmas 😉

P1030839It has to be said that the first part of this week has been wasted by the black slug of depression and I was fearful of it lasting longer but this morning I woke a little better and was even more improved by the sound of the courier dropping off a parcel.  The long awaited (not so long – I am just impatient)  Flow Book for Paper Lovers had arrived and it was out of bed to fetch coffee and toast and back with Toastie and Charlie to help me unwrap the book.  Oh it is so lovely – containing all manner of papery goodness, stickers and tags and labels and writing paper, satisfyingly weighty and stuffed full.

P1030824If you are looking it would make a great present for someone.  I will show you a few pages..

P1030831 P1030830 P1030827 P1030826My crochet cardigan is coming along slowly, very slowly the pile grows.

P1030822I have bought another ten skeins of wool which will be enough to finish it, so now all I need is a clear head to do the work.  I am hoping that is not too much to ask?

yesterday is gone and that’s good..

I have no photos to show you today.  I left the camera down at Mum’s and will get it back tomorrow, so you’ll just have to make do with my words…

Most on my mind today is Lammas or Lughnasadh, it is the first of the three harvest festivals that I and my small band of friends are celebrating ( a week late) and I am supposed to be preparing the little speech I will make tomorrow night when we all gather.  I am getting there but I have my Mum staying with me and it’s difficult getting the head space to sit down and write.  No doubt it will turn out alright on the night and it’s just great that we get together and celebrate once again.

Today has been good.  Yesterday however was a different story. I woke in the night from some nightmare in which I had been trying furiously to call for help and eventually yelled so loud that I woke myself up with the sound of my voice ringing in my ears.

It was all downhill after that and I spent the day so tired and miserable that I could have drowned myself quite happily. Mindfulness and desperately hanging on to hope helped me to get through the day.  I thought that because I had been so well for a couple of weeks that I would continue getting better and better, but no.. I have learned over the years how to measure my level of depression by my crochet performance – on a scale of one granny being the worst depression to 10 being no depression at all, yesterday was a zero granny square day in that it took me all evening to nearly finish one before I discovered I had made a mistake in the first row.

I pulled it apart this morning…

As I said – today has been good.. In fact the polar opposite, so all I can put the misery day down to is the new dosage of my medication – here’s hoping that’s what it is and there will be no repeat 🙂

Speaking of crochet, the pile of squares for my cardigan has grown to 12 small and 1 large, only 16 to go.  I have had to buy more yarn as there is only 75 meters to a ball, it really is gorgeous yarn though.  I really wish I could show you my little crocheted pile of wonderfulness, but it will have to wait.

If You Have An Option…

I have to say I haven’t done a lot today.

Apart from eat, breathe and pat my dogs, I have watched a couple of the wonderful ‘Scott and Baileys’ my new favorite British crime drama with three (yes three!!!) strong female lead characters.  I have also managed to nearly finish one square for my cardigan.  I say nearly finish because I woke up this morning with brain fog so dire I could have cried.

But I didn’t..

That is because I picked up a new book that a friend had lent me called ‘Walking in this World’ by Julia Cameron and was so inspired by the first couple of chapters where she advocates writing three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing every morning that I scooted out of bed to find an old note book to start writing in and on the first page I opened, found I had written..

Shit happens – misery is optional.


So I decided to opt out of misery and to enjoy a snow day instead even though the temperature was pushing 30C again.

I had a shower, fixed my breakfast and hopped back into bed, books, laptop, iced juice, dogs and all.  Windows wide open to catch the slightest breath of wind.  We have been here all day apart from quick trips for the necessary and what I can say is that I have managed to avoid a total misery wipe out – success, I may even manage to finish crocheting this square tonight 😉

And tomorrow is a new day..


It’s going to be a good year..


Hello there..

I’m back 😉  again..

Now where was I ?

Last time I posted it was freezing cold here, I had been suffering from some heavy weather and unfortunately, that internal dreary fog just got greyer and I ended up having to take hold of myself and find some help.  Enter two new people into my life – one to talk with and help me examine the workings of my mind; to find ways to beat back the life sucking fog, and the other to help me choose some suitable happy pills to ease this chronic, ten year depression.

And it’s helped..  I am not sure how long it will go on helping for but I have hope, and that is saying something.

I am starting this blog again because I want it to be part of my ongoing therapy, along with mindfulness practice and a gratitude diary which I will share a bit with you if you are interested.

Two things I am loving today and one of them is this..


Find this gorgeous cardigan on Ravelry     I absolutely loved it and even though there is no proper pattern for it apart from examining the photos on the makers blog I am having a go using wonderfully coloured Cleckheaton Artisan 12 ply.  So far I have made the large back motif and one of the smaller squares – very exciting.

The second thing I am loving is a fantastic magazine called Flow.  You can visit their website and check it out.  This is how they describe themselves –

MAGAZINE The best things happen when you dare to follow your heart. And that’s exactly what we did when we hatched this idea for a new Dutch magazine in an attic room several years ago. We dreamed of a magazine with which we could explore our love of paper. A magazine of unhurried time, all about doing things differently and making new choices. Small happiness, daily life and the beauty of not always managing to be perfect. That is how Flow began. Flow is all about positive psychology, mindfulness, creativity and the beauty of imperfection. We love illustrations and in each issue there is a gift made of our much-loved paper. We print the magazine itself on different types of paper.”

Although it is a pretty pricey mag, especially here in little old NZ, they are beautifully put together and weighty, packed full of loveliness.  Also there are only four international editions so I’ve plenty of time to save up!  I am particularly grateful to my friend and fellow Flow lover, Yvonne who found a copy in Pak and Save of all places, and then told me about it.

I love this magazine so much I have been buying back issues and isn’t it just a great feeling when you get that something good in the mail?  Just makes my day.


There and back again..

It’s been quiet on the blog this past week because I caught a ride down to Stokes Valley with a friend to go and spend some time with my Mum.  Ma is 88 and in need of some company as well as help around the house and with life in general.  I usually stay every second week with her and Mr T stays with her during the week as he works not far away in Wellington.  In fact Mum is the main reason we came to live back in New Zealand last year and we are really glad we did.

The way we live is working out pretty well at the moment.  I still struggle with the Black Slug depression and appreciate the week when I am in my own home and can hibernate with Toastie if I need to, or get some craft done if I have the energy and concentration.  If I am still not feeling too good when I go down to Ma’s it’s ok because Ma is not a huge bundle of energy now either and we can sit and talk while I crochet and she knits and we watch silly comedies on T.V. together – or murder mysteries..

Last week I was most proud of myself because I finished two jobs that I have been meaning to do for years.  Just before we went to live in the U.K. four years ago, my friend Vicky gave me an unusual old sewing basket.  I loved it very much, especially because it was made from harakeke or New Zealand flax.  This basket was woven in strips and sewn together with red thread.

Unfortunately most of the thread holding the wooden bottom on had come adrift as had one corner of the lid.  Last Monday night I had a sudden rush of blood to the head and mended it.. Finally after four years..

The other project I finished the same night was from the Alabama Chanin Stitch book – The Over-the-Arm Pin Cushion which I started two years ago.  I am over the moon to have finished it and be using it.  Even my Mum liked it and now I am making one for her for Mothers Day next weekend.

Mended sewing basket with original spotted lining, so cute.
Mended sewing basket with original spotted lining, so cute.
Over-the-arm pin cushion in use

My other creation of the last fortnight was already mostly made for me.  My friend Donna had given me an old, crocheted, stained glass, granny square lap blanket that was falling apart.  In fact she gave it to me in bits as she had neither the time or energy to deal with it.  I didn’t fancy a lap blanket and seeing that one of the pieces was scarf length and a decent width I thought a better use would be to fix the shredding seams, stitch a single crochet border around it and add a loopy chain edging on each end.  Job done and I have a new, rather cheerful, favourite scarf.

Just in time for winter..
Just in time for winter..

Ma’s feijoa trees are overflowing at the moment – it seems to have been a bumper year for the fruit.  She has to rake them up every day and there are way more than any of us needed or wanted to preserve so we came up with this idea so as not to waste them..

They didn’t take long to go.

Ah - the sweet, green grenades..
Ah – the sweet, green grenades..

So that was some of my week – I hope you all had a good one.