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 🙂
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.
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..
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.
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..
Gratuitous Toastie photo.
How I’m feeling and how I hope you are feeling too…
On Friday we went to Hereford so I could rustle through the charity shops and Mr T could walk the Toast along the river bank. So far, so usual.. until that is Toastie discovered something buried in the mud at the side of the river..
I don’t know about you all but I am very excited.. I positively love this time of year..the middle of winter, the longest night, lovely cold weather with lights and candles and booze and food and presents and holidays and, and, and, and… Breath…
It has been a lovely week of socialising and getting everything sorted food wise and present wise. I finished work yesterday and do not go back for two weeks. When I do I will be starting an extra day a week which is a real bonus. I will just about be paying our rent and that make things a bit less tight.
Last night we spent at our friends having a little Solstice eve get together, with the weather so mild we were able to sit outside around a fire.
It does not look like we have a chance of snow for Christmas but as we had a small taste of it last weekend I am not dissapointed. Neither are the shop keepers as everyone is able to get out and about to buy provisions and treats without nasty icy paths to manoeuvre.
It was market day today in Hay and I tried to get there a bit earlier as I thought it might be busy, and I was right. I couldn’t get the bread I wanted and Lucretia Wood-Cole who makes and sells wonderful cakes in aid of the Women’s Institute had nearly sold out. But I did manage to get everything else, including the most luscious runny cheese that you can only get at this time of year. It was lovely that they had fine weather for it and everyone was in very good spirits. Toastie had a great time taking every chance she had to snuffle at people’s market bags which must have been emitting wonderful smells. Particularly if they had visited the stall that sells many types of fish, fowl or beast.
As an aside – we were accosted by a visiting lady in Hay the other day who wanted to know if Toastie was a Norfolk Terrier as she had one and Toastie looked exactly like her. We said that as The Toastilator is a rescue dog we had no idea and then rushed home to Google Image it. Sure enough- apart from having slightly longer legs Toastie has found her tribe!
On with the story..
We trundled ourselves home with our parcels and then I set out again to have lunch with my boss/friend Sandra, and two of our trustees – Betty (our Chairwoman) and Karl (vice Chairman). I love these people and feel very lucky to be working with them. I have to say that I never thought I would feel that way about employers! Karl (the first Quaker I have ever met) looked completely appropriate for the occasion as he is in his eighties and has a long white beard which he topped off today with a Santa hat.
Sandra did her usual of trying to confiscate the sugar lumps so that Karl cannot put fifty million of them in his hot orange drink while Karl (who does not have diabetes) did his usual of remonstrating with Sandra for taking the Lords name in vain. I did my usual of surreptitiously nicking the sugar lumps so that Karl can have his fill, and Sandra did her bit again by telling me off 😉
We drunk stupendously good mulled wine and I chomped my way through a frittata which included bits of turkey, bacon, little sausages and brussels sprout – I know that sounds mad but it was nom.
We ate at Booth’s Books cafe, which if you are ever passing our way you must stop and visit. Booth’s used to belong to the King of Hay, Richard Booth, and by the time I started coming to Hay the bookshop was a bit of a mess- damp, cold and smelling of mould. Now it has new owners who have transformed it into the most magnificent, light, airy, warm utterly inviting space. Spread over three floors with loads of pozzies to sit and read, it is a place you can spend hours in. They added the cafe and are also building a small cinema which should be finished in the new year. The food in the cafe is tasty, interesting and the menu varied every week – it also has the bonus of being relatively cheap. And the chips with aioli, and the real hot chocolate are to die for..
If you think I sound like I am happy you would be right.. Certainly compared with December last year when I had lost my job and was still incredibly home sick. I still struggle with depression and the terrible tiredness that comes with it but I am keeping my head well up and am helping myself with the simple things – seeing friends as much as possible, walking this beautiful countryside, sharing our home with a bonkers Terrier, reading good books, immersing myself in crochet and craft, and making myself go to work – of course I’m lucky to have a job that I like.
I am deeply grateful for all that I have.. Thankful for the hard bits of life that make me appreciate all the good. Thankful for all of you..
So – the winter solstice, celebrating the return of the light, new beginnings – new challenges. Hope you are all ok out there.
My friend Simon owns a shop called Goosey Gander’s and if you are in Hay you just have to go along and check it out. It is an experience for sure.
Simon knows all about glass and everything there is to know about chandeliers. Including how to put them together, he buys wrecks and restores them into the most beautiful, magical things.
His shop is tiny, but crammed full of light.
And I do love them all – but they would look really crap in my house.
Simon’s house is filled with the ones that he just can’t part with – including a few of the rare, giant, man sized lava lamps in existence.
Toastie, Simon and I sit on the front step of the shop and watch the world go by. We discuss the appalling state of parking in Hay and genrally set the world to rights, then we visit Kilverts’s across the road for liquid sustenance and continue.
Lovely to munch on after dinner if you feel like pud and have none in the house and are too damned lazy to do anything more energetic than swipe the grape bowl of the counter and squash back up on the sofa again with the dog. Soooo..
How are you all out there then? Hope you are all well and goodly.
Probably due to hypothyroidism I have been wrestling with the black slug again but think I am coming out victorious. This time I had the help of a small dog in fighting the good fight. She keeps me company, makes me walk the countryside with her and generally cheers me with her sheer cuteness and mild bonkersness i.e. the Assault of the Cherry where after throwing a cherry around and batting it back and forward with paws she then proceeded to snarl and growl at it when it had the temerity to menace her as it sat on the floor in its slightly smeared, slightly bleeding squashiness.
The Hay Book Festival and the How the Light Gets In Festival of Philosophy and Music have both been and gone in the same crowded ten days. Both seem to have done extremely well and I have heard that tickets for the book fest well exceeded last year. We have a population of around 1500 here in Hay and they sold about 220,000 tickets for the book festival alone – needless to say our town was just a tad rammed. The poor buggers who were camping (and there were a lot of them) had to put up with rain and cold the first weekend and by the Tuesday when I went to do my shift at the charity shop we had sold out of all blankets and coats and people were still coming in and asking for them. It amazes me that some do not understand that summer weather in this country may be a little uncertain.
T and I had the great good fortune to see film director John Waters speak on the first Saturday night – he was very, very, very good. Interesting, funny and wise. One of the bonuses of the evening was that he was interviewed by his friend Helena Kennedy who is also a pretty damn wonderful woman, you can read about her here. I admire both of them immensely for their outspoken stance against prejudice and injustice.
My other visit to the festival grounds was to see the marvellous and incredibly prolific Alexander McCall Smith, he of the No1 Ladies Detective fame. Once again a visit and battle with the crowds worth making. Interviewed by Ann Robinson ‘Sandy” as she called him proved fully capable of taking a simple question and turning it into a circuitous and engrossing tale – great fun with an infectious laugh.
There was a wonderful energy to the town while the festivals were on but I have to say that it is lovely now everything is back to normal.
I’m off now – don’t want to rabbit on too much now i’m back in the blogging mood again, I’ll just leave you with this..