So what can I say about today?

It’s been one of those..

Picture this.. even though I feel like hell I am being good, getting extra exercise by walking the dogs to the Co-op. Grabbing my bag of groceries and thankfully turning towards home.

I let the dogs off lead on the river path for a free run and just before we get to the turn up to the road – Toastie goes AWOL.  My cries to no avail, I perch on a bench to gather myself and wait out the surge of pointless anger I feel towards the dog and discover my nose is bleeding – and not just a little bit, and I have no cloth, no hanky, just my scarf which I very sadly use.

And then there was the farcical effort to attach Charlie to the lead, find Toastie and attach her as well, all the while trying to hold my scarf to my face whilst carrying a bag of groceries with Toastie lunging at invisible squirrels and Charlie shying from the swinging bag and wrapping himself around my legs.

Yes that sort of day..

I can laugh about it now.

This evening a nearly full moon rides serenely in the sky with a pale, petrol slick coloured halo glowing as the slow clouds pass.

I’m feeling pretty serene as well which I am curious about.. Most of the day has been spent in tired despair, brain fogged and irritated  at myself, continuously forgetting what it was I was about to do, dropping things, knocking things over, snagging my clothes, dribbling my scarf in the washing up, remembering just what an utter arse of a person I am then getting cross for calling myself names – and generally getting in my own way, and then suddenly, about four in the afternoon, and for no earthly reason  that I can think of,  I find I am completely and utterly fine..

I watch myself in wonder as with returned energy I walk Toastie and Charlie through the grave yard, calmly spending time reading the grave stones and allowing the dogs to sniff to their hearts content.  I feed my friends cats, stopping to sit and talk to them and stroke their lovely fur.  I sort the recycling and actually don’t hate doing it.  I think of something for tea without effort and cook it well, sausages and onion gravy, potato and swede mashed with warm milk, garlic butter and loads of parsley, steamed carrots and brussels sprouts.  And then I eat it at the table, enjoying that I have made myself good food, appreciating it, thinking that Mr T will enjoy it too when he gets home from his chess club later tonight.

And then I step outside and watch the moon and think it may be the most beautiful thing I have seen in my life.


always expect the unexpected..

I should have known.

As soon as I come out and have a small rant about something I don’t want to do, I do the thing and enjoy it.  It’s maddening really.   (please see previous post)

I totally loved going to the pub quiz with my cousin Toni, who I hardly ever get to see.  I totally loved being with our tiny team of six friends.  I kind of enjoyed winning a box of chocolates for ‘Last Man Standing’, even though I really didn’t like being the last person standing in a pub full.

And we came a respectable fourth even after I completely cocked up by writing our answers on the wrong game page and therefore losing us 7 points.

I totally loved that my team mates didn’t kill me for that..

So now it’s all over and I have another wonderful day of making things and the joy of Mr T coming home for a couple of nights..

Light and love people, light and love..


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.


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!

P1030347 P1030351 P1030352

The Jumping game
Trees deserve close ups too

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




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.


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.


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


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


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

Bring on the light..

The first thing I do when I get in the door from work is to grab a lead, a poo bag and a small Toastie and head for the Great Outdoors.  At this time of year it is a pleasure as I know that I will be walking in the light and pretty much mostly in the dry.

It is pure pleasure to see everything regenerating, not just the plants but the birds and animals as well – everyone is out and about and fulfilling the three Fs, feeding, fighting and .. .well you know the last one.

A couple of photo highlights from our walk this afternoon..


Pheasant females browsing with their man happily share the field with rabbits

Day light saving starts this weekend so it will be even lighter in the evenings and of course it is the Spring Equinox tomorrow, yay!

Here is my little table all ready  for a celebration with daffodils from our garden and the patchwork table runner that I put together a while back.

See you tomorrow can have the spiders

The spiders are coming inside..  It’s a sure sign that  summer is on the wain.

I had noticed an extra few about the place a couple of weeks ago.  And then Mr T commented on a particularly large one he had seen run under the sofa – and the one he had seen in the bathroom running under the cabinet… and then that night, as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed Toastie staring intently at something on the floor by my bed side table.   I couldn’t find anything crawly on my search but then spent some time lying in bed in the dark feeling imaginary insects creeping on me..

I have been stewing plums, making plum jam, and caramelised red onion relish.  Very soon our apples will need picking and as our tree is over loaded we will be eating them for quite awhile to come.   I once had a recipe for spiced apple preserve which has disappeared so I will have to try and make it up.  I know the apples were cooked in orange juice and a little bag of spice but that is about all I can recall..except that it was heavenly.

I have been eating home made muesli, Rachel’s Full Fat Organic Yoghurt and my own stewed plums for breakfast and enjoying every last bite.  Mr T has taken up making sour dough bread so for a change I eat the most wonderful toast with my jam on it of course.

I am getting even fatter..


Stewing Plums


On the other hand I am getting way more exercise now we have Toastie and that is a very good thing both for my body and for my mental health.  There are a lot of walks to choose from in this area.  Cusop even has its own little packet of trail maps that we bought from the Information Centre in Hay .  One map points out Badger sets which I had walked past before and not noticed.


Cusop Walks


Although our weather is on the turn it is still warm and last night as the dog and I sauntered out for our evening constitutional we stopped to watch the wee bats stealth diving around the street light at the end of our terrace.  Although the light and warmth make the days seem lazy  and slow, with the Dingle sluggish in places, the animal life is in a mad rush to eat and/or store away as much food as possible.  Nut trees are stripped in days by ravening hoards of squirrels.  Flocks of birds are migrating as well, our most noticeable visitors from afar – the Swifts, have disappeared in the last couple of weeks.

We have been on several long walks lately but the longest would have to be to visit The Begwns – a lovely stretch of open access land owned by the National Trust.  We wanted to walk to The Roundabout, a small group of trees planted on a hill to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.  Toastie is sporting her mohawk which is has got thinner as the summer has gone on.  So far we have resisted efforts to get us to dye it pink.

On the way to the Roundabout on The Begwns


Showing off her mohawk


Mr T and The Toastalator on finally reaching the Millennium Circle wall that surrounds The Roundabout. Wonderful 360 degree views - but a bit hazy on this day.


View from The Begwns - spot the sheep


I do love late summer – except for the spider bit that is..

tiny, shiny leaves..

On Tuesday afternoons I work in the St Michael’s Hospice charity shop.  I started volunteering there after I lost my job and needed things to do to help pull me out of the pit.  It’s normally a fun thing to do, we usually split the shift between us, one working upstairs steaming the clothes and putting them out, the other manning the counter, then we swap halfway.

Today for some reason I got to be on the counter all afternoon and as the hours went by and my reading of Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years was continually interrupted by pesky customers, I felt a great yearning to be at home, swaddled in a blanket on the sofa, writing the wee blog and then perhaps wielding the crochet hook.  So when 4.30 came I headed off at a great rate of knots and I am cuddled up with a cup of tea and a Hob Nob.

Maybe I am feeling a little deflated because the long weekend is over – it seemed to pass so quickly.  We did get quite a lot done though – the attic room tidied into a proper study space and the garden got a seeing too as well.  Feeling particularly pleased with finding that what we thought was a dead Ceanothus shrub by the front door has survived the snow and has new tiny, shiny leaves at its base.

My parents-in-law arrive on Friday for a weeks stay so that should be interesting – hope they like our little town. Neither of them are royalists so we won’t be forced into watching wedding stuff – thank heavens.   Something to celebrate though will be Mr T’s birthday and Beltane on Saturday and it’s another long weekend!