What I did on my holidays..

Don’t get me wrong, we have had holiday disasters before.  There was the three days in Bruges when we arrived in the freezing rain at dusk to find the B and B shut and locked.  There was the weekend in Amsterdam, where on our arrival we found the hotel had given our room away and had no more beds. And then there was the long weekend in Rome when I came down with a horrible flu/cold on the journey there.

But this latest adventure really takes the biscuit.

I had sooo been looking forward to this holiday – a whole week away in a cottage down on the Dorset coast. Instead of rushing around trying to see everything in a weekend, we would have time to sit back and smell the roses/daffodils (it’s spring here, no roses yet). Plenty of time to visit museums, gentle fossicking for fossils  on the beaches, drives in the countryside to see beautiful scenery.

We really should have stayed home and just dreamed about it, it would have saved a lot of grief..

It started on the trip down – with the brakes failing on the car, by the time we pulled into the services there was smoke pouring from the back tire and we had absolutely no idea why.  The brakes had been sorted recently and although the tire was burning hot, it was still in one piece.  Parked with the hood up we attracted the attention of various helpful, kind people and were about to limp our way to a garage in Chepstow when a man came up and informed us that he’d had experience of this sort of thing before and that we would find that after the car had a rest that it would be fine.  And guess what?  He was right.  We started on our journey again – the brakes worked and the smoke stopped and we made it to our destination with no further trouble.

Till we got there..

We were stood talking to the lovely lady who had showed us around our cottage, the dogs were in the car – all excited and leaping about, it was time to unpack and show them their accommodation for the week – except wait – we can’t, in their excitement the dogs had trodden on the door lock and locked themselves and the keys in the car… excellent.

We had to smash the window to get in and get them out..

But wait folks, there’s more..

We then preceded to have three lovely days, fossil hunting, admiring the scenery, strolling the streets of Lyme Regis and Bridport and drinking the odd pint of lovely local beer. And then it was Tuesday.

Mr T dropped me off in Bridport and he and the dogs went to the beach for a amble.  We had arranged to meet at a certain time and we would have a lovely lunch in town before maybe, another spot of fossiling.  So I was surprised to find him leaning out of the car and yelling for me, half and hour earlier than had been arranged.

 

Charlie, our beautiful Pomeranian boy was in Bridport vets in an oxygen tent, with a broken leg.  Instead of following Mr T and Toastie down to the beach he had wandered unnoticed up the cliff path and fallen about four metres, probably hitting himself on the rocks on the way down, and ramming sand into his eyes when he hit the ground.

His leg was so badly broken that the Bridport vets said they couldn’t do any thing for it and his x-rays were sent through to our vets in Hay-on-Wye who have a visiting orthopedic vet who said he would try to fix it.

So..

Home we went, Charlie splinted and bandaged and carefully held on my lap.  He had his operation on Friday and it is going to take around three months to recover.  He has drops for his eye that was badly scratched, antibiotics, painkillers and a crate which he is supposed to be confined to, none of which he is inclined to enjoy but the worst part is that he is not allowed any exercise apart from very brief forays (5 mins) outside to toilet.  Have you ever tried to keep a Pomeranian quiet and calm?  Let alone, poo on demand during his five minutes outside?  It is a trial believe me.

We had no pet insurance so having started the holiday with a small amount of savings, we are now so deeply in debt to the vets that we will still be paying for it in nine months time.

All the holidays that I mentioned in my first paragraph turned out well and made good stories,  but I’m afraid I am struggling to  see the light in this one.  If I can’t keep Charlie from knocking his leg about there is the chance that it will not heal properly and he will have to have it amputated.

I am grateful that Charlie is alive and that we had a few days at least of enjoyment but still..

No more holidays for a while.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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and this dog..

 

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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 🙂

 

feeling groovy..

I used to pride myself on my ability to do more than one thing at a time.  I’d actively look for multiple activities just to see how far I could push it. Nowadays I have to actively try to concentrate on doing one thing at a time to get anything done properly at all. And even then I still get it wrong, as evinced by my dismay at putting my jeans on around the wrong way, looking down with confusion at the arse-shaped fabric ballooning from where it shouldn’t.

I suppose I should be thankful I noticed..

Anyway..

The weekend has been lovely, really lovely.  Several things joined together to contribute to the general loveliness of it all – firstly Mr T was home for the whole weekend and he has got over his flu.  He seems to have been ill for the last month at least and so when he has been home he has been cast on the couch of doom, snorting and hacking and feeling like a bag of bollocks.  Not much fun, but now he is well, yay!!!

Secondly – the weather, though forecasted for rain, morphed into warmth and sun and gentle breezes so we could have the tiny house door open and go for walks and generally bask in the temporary relief from freezing southerlies.  This is not to be sneezed at – at this late stage of winter when desperation for sun sets in.  I even cast off my second layer of trousers, (I wear leggings under trousers all the way through winter, and yes I do wash them regularly and they do not have to be cut off come snow melt), and then hastily donned them again this morning when I found the dream was over and I was a little nippy around the nethers.

Thirdly, although I was still brain fogged, I was blessed with a happy, quiet mind.  This is good – very, very, outrageously good.

Apart from book club on Sunday afternoon, for which Mr T made a fantastic batch of Welsh Cakes and Philippa a Rhubarb Crumble Cake with cream, Mr T and I were happily unsocial and spent our evenings cwtched up on the couch with our fur friends watching many and varied – old Red Dwarf episodes, a little Boston Legal (Denny Crane!), cult Australian movie The Castle (for the eleventh million time) and inhaling multi episodes of The Brink with the ever gorgeous Tim Robbins and Jack Black.

Saturday afternoon found us charity shopping, drinking superb coffee and eating Hummingbird Cake at the Arts Centre Cafe and walking the dogs in the park. The town graveyard is adjacent so we had a wander around the early settlers graves.  I was saddened by the headstone of a family who had died in the 1870s, the father first, leaving a pregnant wife whose baby died the following year at 5 months and then the death of the wife the year after.  There can be few activities more guaranteed to make you glad to be alive than hobnobbing with the dead – I wholeheartedly recommend it.

So without further ado, a few photos..

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More spring flowers, snow drops and japonica
Waiting for fur Father to come out of the bathroom
Waiting for Fur Father to come out of the bathroom

Charity Shop finds include-

A pair of GoodyGoody silk slippers $3

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A pair of china elephant bookends to support some of my most loved childhood books

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and a 50 cent addition to my small ‘Made in Japan’ vintage china collection, which Mr T takes great enjoyment in mocking furiously when he comes home and finds I’ve acquired another little kitsch orphan, and who would want to deny him that pleasure huh?

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That’s it for now – I have been writing this post on and off for most of the day interspersed with walking dogs, and having a lovely friend visit, so now it’s time to get on and make something.

Hope you are all having a good one

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..

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

a break in the weather..

All day we have been having Weather. Polar southerlies blowing in cold and wet.

In the break between the wet bits I managed to get myself out of the house to walk my friends and have a bit of bracing air. Round the block, an eye out for nasty dogs that slam themselves frothing against their garden walls promising to devour us if they could only leap a bit higher and an eye out for storm clouds. Home without being eaten or rained on and back into the blessed warmth.

Our new house is proving to be a haven, with a damn good fire that heats our huge lounge (still haven’t got over the novelty) and kitchen happily. I am sitting in front of it now, in full gratitude mode.

Over the last month or so I have been suffering some internal foul weather as well which has been driving me to distraction, anger, and despair..but today, like a southerly storm, I have experienced a lull, much needed, and some calm. This afternoon with our walk over we settled in front of the fire, me with old episodes of friends, tea and crochet, the dogs to steal each others chew bones, race about with sqeezy toys and finally collapse to twitch and dream.

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We adopted the newest addition to our family on the same weekend we moved in here. His name is Charlie and he is a four year old Pomeranian. He used to live just down the road from our old house but his owners had a baby and worked full time and as a consequence Charlie was spending most of the week locked in his crate. So his owners decided that life would be easier if Charlie was rehomed and I said yes as soon as I was asked, oh yes we would have Charlie and what a great idea that turned out to be.

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All good things..

Today is grey and cold, a suitable day to mourn what proved  to be a lovely, long weekend.  I am not feeling so great today so here is a selection of photos to take the place of brain draining writing.

Sunday – Henley Lake

A quick game of Dangle the Dog
A quick game of Dangle the Dog
Then another game of Watery Stick
Then another game of Watery Stick

More Watery Stick please!

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The Jumping game
Trees deserve close ups too

Then home to prepare and slow cook a Beef Bourguignon, hearty Autumnal fare for sure.

 

 

Monday

The coast road out to Cape Palliser, about an hour and a half from where we live.  Seals and shags and sun.   Picnic on the beach with inquisitive Bumble Bees.  Hot, metallic, autumn sun.  Wrecked crayfish carapaces, flat, warm, grey stone and tiny baby paua.

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P1030377 P1030407So clear you can see the South Island – The Kaikoura Coast with snow on the mountains.P1030387P1030396
P1030400Time to start the long road home as the shadows lengthened and the air began to cool.  Second night of Beef Bourguignon – always tastes better for sitting, with carrot and swede mash.  Tired Toasty and tired humans, these holidays sure take it out of you.

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Easter Saturday..

It’s been a lovely couple of days.

Mr T came home early on Thursday and has the whole Easter weekend off with a late start on Tuesday morning so he is pretty happy.  Even though his presence Thursday evening meant he had to join with my Stitch and Bitch group.  He seemed to enjoy himself anyway, just him and five women.

I love our Stitch and Bitch.  We are not good at having a bitch at all, mostly we laugh and talk about anything and every thing.  We always have supper, bikkies and cake and I so enjoy getting my old china cups and saucers and cake plates out to get used.  Mr T however was allowed to use a mug because my tea cups were too small for his giant man hands.

I felt very low energy on Friday so after walking Toastie we had a mammoth t.v. session – the latest series of Endeavour, Moone Boy (if you haven’t heard of this Google it – it’s brill), The Hairy Bikers in Asia and Blandings.

Today started with a trip to the New Rags Craft Market at the Town Hall. There were lots of local Wairarapa crafts people and I spent a lot of time talking with friends both stall holders and customers like myself.   I couldn’t leave without purchasing a few wonderful things, a old framed jigsaw and a china sugar bowl.  The camel pin cushion came from the previous Christmas New Rags Market.

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After the market we had a big walk around Henley Lake so Toastie could have a free run and a swim in the river.  She had been in disgrace because she had found the pastrami for our lunch, which we had foolishly left in the back of the car while we were shopping, and had hogged the lot.  I told her that she would be sick but all that happened was she drunk a hell of a lot of water – the Ratbag..

This evening is going to be another quiet one, with more T.V. time I think, and crochet on the side of course. So cozy now it’s getting dark much earlier..

Keeping toastie..

It’s a bit like this today..

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Toastie is in her second favourite spot (the first one being in front of the fire) – the back of the sofa, behind which is the largest radiator and the front window – you’ve got to keep warm whilst watching out for intruders and of course, her arch enemies – the evil neighbourhood cats.

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To keep out the gloom I have made an enormous one of these –

Sprinkled with cinnamon
Sprinkled with cinnamon
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Latte Coffee in my favourite mug.

Then I plan the rest of my day, which unfortunately requires me to walk out in the Weather with my terriersaurus who will need airing.

I will be doing some more work on this..

A la Alabama Chanin long sleeved bolero.
A la Alabama Chanin long-sleeved bolero.

Finishing the Cretin Stitch edging, which I have finally got the hang of and am now really enjoying.  I had been going through that part of the learning curve where I did know how to do the stitch but it really didn’t make a lot of sense, now it’s clicked and plain sailing, whew.

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I am also finishing the second part of Stephen Fry’s autobiography which I have just loved to bits – his utter honesty about his inner demons is so touching and so brave, while his reminiscences of his career set in the media cultural landscape that I grew up in are fascinating, rude and hilarious.  Everyone from my hero Douglas Adams to Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie of course, Ben Elton, Paul McCartney and the Queen Mother – just a few in a cast of hundreds of famous people to write your life around.

Later tonight we shall be going to our friend Leslie’s birthday party – supposedly dressed as Pirates but unfortunately we will be very crap Pirates as nether of us has a costume.  Hopefully Leslie will forgive us and just be happy that we are venturing out to her place in the snowy night.

reading, knitting, blogging and snowing..

Ok, so..

Sorry to anyone who tried to access my blog in the last couple of days and found it password protected.  I did have a little wobble and thought I might like to do away with this blog, but I have centered myself now and the normal programme of not posting much has been resumed.

All is well here at present, we are snowless once again, although there is always the possibility – winter is clenching and hanging on.

I am learning to knit an actual garment (as opposed to scarves), with shaping and everything and it is a &%&@%£$@£$$££^%$&^*&^*&*&$$££@£@£@£ bitch..  I screwed it up so badly last week that I have been unable to do anything with it, until last night’s Stitch and Bitch when my lovely friend Thursday sorted it out for me – I love Thursday.

I am overloaded with reading material having found several wonderful  authors recently  Hilary Mantel, Katherine Swift (many thanks to BoxofMisc you are a treasure) and Billy Letts, as well as a  new interest in Mass Observation diaries and the diary of our local hero/weirdo Victorian curate Francis Kilvert, whose writings I find alternately, beautiful, lyrical, horrifying, tragic and amusing and sometimes several of those at once.  Reading Kilvert also reminds me just how very, very lucky I am to be living here in this time.

In addition to books, I am reading other people’s blogs and have resolved to make a effort to leave a comment every time I do – even if it’s just  a smiley or a frowney or whatever – just to let them know that I have been there, heard them and tip my hat.  A sort of a small payment, if you will, for their efforts.

I would really appreciate it if you would do the same for me, I’d love to know that you have been by.

Some photos of our lovely snow days..

The lane in front of our house
The lane in front of our house

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Snowing
Snowing
Not too cold to chew a stick
Not too cold to chew a stick
See my snow dags?
See my snow dags?

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My new crocheted jumper
My new crocheted jumper
St Mary's, Cusop
St Mary’s, Cusop, hidden under all this freezing load are the first Snow Drops
The snow makes the graves more cheerful
The snow makes the graves more cheerful

of time and crochet and chelsea buns..

So – what I really want to do is to carry on crocheting, I have a new lacy triangle scarf pattern and have already made and sold one and now I need to make another to wear myself.  Blogging needs to be done however, as I am getting back into the old habit of putting it off far too long again.  I have a way to go to beat the late Douglas Adams when it come to procrastination, as apparently his book ‘So Long and Thanks for all the Fish’ was 12 years late.

As usual much is happening and nothing is happening.  What I mean is, my life is packed full of things to do but for the most part they are all pretty usual.  It is all heightened however because of the HRT I started taking about six weeks ago and which has given me my life back – this is not an exaggeration.  I no longer live in quiet desperation (sometimes not so quiet admittedly) and am still amazed that I can wake up every day and feel ‘normal’.    My 50th birthday is rushing at me like an over enthusiastic labrador and my daily dose of hormone is the bestest birthday present EVER.  HOORAH!! WITH NOBS ON!!

I am off to Rome with friends on the 21st September for 4 days and then the following weekend will be my birthday party and then a week at Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsular with Mr T and Toastie the Dog.  On my actual birthday we will be going out to dinner in Swansea with lovely friends Julian and Kath.  All absolutely fabulous  and wonderful.

I am looking forward to being fifty.  I am just so impressed and extremely thankful that I have made it this far – half a century!  There is no way I would go back to being young now without being able to take my old self with me.. Fancy having all the youth, stamina, beautiful skin, body – all that newness and all that time ahead of you.. and not being able to appreciate it.

A few photos..

One of the collars I have made to sell.
Lace Scarf I have just unexpectedly sold and now need to make another.
Happy crochet coasters – made from much maligned acrylic but launder like a dream.
Come to Hay-on-Wye on a Thursday market day for Alex Gooch’s utterly delectable bread (enormous Chelsea Bun pictured, alas it is no longer). Alex was rung on a weekend a while back and asked to make bread for the Queen who was visiting a nearby town on the Monday.. how cool is that!?

Gratuitous Toastie photo.

How I’m feeling and how I hope you are feeling too…