Monday, 30 March 2009

spiralling


In my quest to be more mindful (see craftdelight), I'm going back to my list. I am going to start where I began....with the water thing and the exercise thing....

I'm up early again but this time I can blame the clocks springing forward. Despite many attempts, I do not understand how all that works. At least the clock on my car is right again.

I've got a nice day ahead. A knitting workshop followed by lunch with LBD and a creative arts evening at school where J is playing something by AC/DC. I am pleased to say we were unable to help him source any music by said band. We don't do metal/rock. Urghghghghgh....He'll have to make it up as he goes along. I'm sure no-one will know any different.

The rest of the week is going to be a bit of a blur but manageable with NRH's growing domestic prowess. He really is rather impressive. Meals were made and beds were changed last week. Even the spare room was cleared. We have a slight issue with bathrooms and some confusion on the laundry front but all is going well.

He also helped me on the allotment yesterday. My knitting has been a source of amazement but I never, ever thought, in a gazillion years that we would be allotmenting, together, ever. It was intriguingly companionable once we'd worked out our roles. That took some time.

Just a quickie this morning as I need to prepare a Victorian lunchbox for E and scour the cupboards for enough lunch to satisfy J.

Have a good week.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

stacked


I'm up early, too early. I woke at precisely 3.33am. I've been rearranging my fabric stash and bloggering, having a wee web-wander.
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Coincidentally I came across mountainear's blog about her recent examination of her sewing box. I believe that sorting out threads and ribbons and fabric and pins is a pleasurable way to pass some time, particularly the early hours of the morning. I'm very low maintenance (and easily pleased).
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I can see it's going to be a cloudy day today. I hope it rains. I can tolerate cloud if it brings water. It's cold too but I think that has something to with NRH fiddling about with the heating controls. We are in the spring period of our heating arrangements - he tries to turn it off, lower, reduce the time it's on, I try to turn it back on for longer. It's an ancient and integral part of our married life. I think we should have a fire tonight, enjoy the cosiness of the woodburner before it seems silly to light it.
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NRH received his final payslip yesterday. I got paid too - late and less than I thought, hey, it's cash. The kids spent dinner trying to guess how much was in the bank. I think they're a bit anxious and I can understand why. It must be difficult for them as they have no control over what happens. They just hear us trying to keep everything on an even keel. At least, as adults, we can work to find solutions and understand all the implications. It's quite hard to decide how much to share with them.
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I think we're coping with all the changes pretty well. I feel pleased that I'm working and am contributing and with NRH at home I've managed to relinquish my weekly cooking duties. He is getting loads done in the garden, sorting out the garage and piles of stuff and clutter we've had hanging around for ages. We've got enough money to see us through for sometime and I've got potential projects coming out of my ears. We're now a one-car family (and it's a little car) but that won't hurt us and we can always decide it's part of our ethical, sustainable, greener (i.e. cheaper) lifestyle!
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I suppose my sleeplessness is an indication that I might be a little worried too but I've learnt that it's best just to get up and do something, no matter how small. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I iron, occasionally I might blog, just to shift the niggles and the worries to something more positive. Although everything is OK, there's just a little shadow lurking of what ifs and longer term potential problems.
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But hey, ho. We'll keep calm and carry on just like the teatowel says. The day's starting now, so it's time for tea, muesli and the packed lunch routine.
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Enjoy Thursday.
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Sunday, 22 March 2009

maternal instinct


I've had a lovely Mother's Day - thanks for asking. Flowers and chocoate in bed, followed by a lovely breakfast and several hours battling with couch grass and ground elder. It's a beautiful, sunny day and it's almost time to dig out the SPF moisturiser and sunnies.



I have been gardening in a t-shirt (and trackies, obviously) but in a t-shirt, not in a parka or a fleece (and yes, I know I should abandon fleece wearing at my advanced age) and if I'm not mistaken, I've caught some spring rays on my wobblyish upper arms.



I often wonder what kind of mother I am. Or rather, what kind of mother my kids think I am. I'm not cool. That I understand. I am not a yummy mummy. I bake cakes but I tend to eat them. This doesn't help the yumminess quotient of my mumminess. I don't think I'm too demanding but I've always been intolerant of nonsense (it's the Lancashire in me). Maybe my two have just got used to my funny ways. Maybe they just think I'm grumpy. I hope not.



I visited my Aunt J yesterday. She's my mum's youngest sister. I took my daughter and as E and I sat together, I could see J thinking how much alike we are. Everyone says we are alike and I can already hear and see some of me emerging. It's very odd. There are parts of me that I wouldn't like her to inherit - my wittering, my procrastination but, touch wood, so far she's only got the good bits.



And then there's J. E & I came home early yesterday as I discovered on the previous evening that I don't like driving on motorways in the dark. We weren't exactly unwelcome but having had an evening of war films planned, my eldest was a little ambivalent about his mother's return.

He's got to the age when a curry and a WWII film-fest with his Dad and a curry is the epitome of fun. He disguised it well though.



I'm having a roast cooked for me this afternoon. NRH has started to cook more. To my shame I am not the most encouraging spouse in this regard. I find it very difficult to allow him to cook entire meals, particularly if I am in an 8 mile radius. I am trying very hard to relax but struggling. It's easier during the week, particularly if I'm at work. I think I'd rather he stuck to sorting out the garage. I don't like to give up my territory without a fight!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

I read, therefore I've done


I have too many books.
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I am the sort of person who has to read about something before I actually do it and I enjoy reading about my interests almost as much as pursuing them, as they say, in the flesh.
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There is nothing I like better than deciding I would quite like to take up, say, macrame (not that macrame has ever taken me by storm), taking myself off to the library, finding as many obscure books about the subject and reading about it until I am convinced I need all the kit. What usually happens at this point is that I will mention to my NRH that I think I'll pop to Hobbycraft or wherever to stock up on macrame kit and he will utter the word 'Why?'.
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My impulse is to then say 'why not?'.
This, it seems to me is the ultimate difference in our personalities.
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NRH reads for information (mostly WWII battle histories).
I read for inspiration.
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A few years ago, I became very interested in gardening. I now have a wide collection of gardening books ranging from the 'expert' series by that Hessayon guy to some lovely horticultural pornography with delicious photographs of pods bursting, blooms budding and baskets overflowing with fertility and ripe, bountiful fruits. Sorry, got carried away. Our garden currently looks like a flat hedge and I am just about to take a trip to the garden centre to buy the biggest squirter of legal weedkiller I can find. We have couch grass, ground elder, nettles AND an ivy infestation, not to mention the dandelions, speedsomething and other assorted growy things that I don't want to grow.
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I then had children. This, naturally, required a different genre of books: books on pregnancy yoga, books on what to do with one's perineum, books on whether it was a good idea to let your entire family sleep in your bed until they started having proper boyfriends and girlfriends. I had books on learning to read, learning to write, sibling rivalry, toxic childhood, listening to children, feeding children, telling children off.
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Now, you may know if you've popped over to 'craftdelight' I have a current interest in stitching and knitting and embroidery (oh my). I now have so many books related to my current and, it would seem, abiding passion, I have had to organise them. The above is but a small portion of my collection.
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Books are the best way I know to indulge my interests and aspirations without taking the risk of actually failing at them. Every time I open a book of patterns and instructions, I admire the skill of the author and enjoy their choices of fabric, typeface, structure and yarn. I believe I have similar skills. I convince myself that if I had a fortnight to myself and didn't eat from the dining room table for a week, I, too could rustle up a domestic goddess apron or a pair of fair-isle plus fours with no trouble at all.
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In fact, if I read about a project, admire the project, consider doing the project for a minimum of about ten minutes, I think my brain produces the same neuro-receptor-reactions as it would do if I'd actually bought the wool/fabric/materials and spent a sizeable amount of time completing said project. I am able to convince myself that I am as clever and as accomplished as the seamstress/knitter/embroiderer or artist I'm reading about and, indeed, almost able to convince myself that I've actually done it.
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I realise that this is nothing to be proud of. It's very like watching all those home improvement shows, or watching Nigella make some amazing pud and not being able to change a plug or boil an egg but, hey, there are things that get in the way of having a beautifully crafted life and a girl's got to get her fun somewhere.
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Now, where's my library card gone?
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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

no money, sno' problem....


Is it possible to ski without conscience during the worst recession since the 70s? I don't know, I didn't ski in the 70s. Added to that, I didn't eat broccoli or spaghetti bolognese in the 70s, I did, however eat treacle sandwiches. Middle class pursuits such as vegetables and skiing did not appear on my social aspirations until the late 80s.
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I ask about skiing as my newly redundant husband (NRH) is, as I blog, hopping on a plane to Toulouse where he will be whisked to Andorra by one of his oldest friends for a few days on the slopes. NRH is travelling with a Fully Employed Husband (FEH) who is a newer friend. They will be spending three whole days pootling about up and down the mountain and consuming vast EU lakes of fizzy euro-pop-lager. I think they will be having a VERY GOOD TIME although older best friend has texted the words 'eating is cheating' to indicate that his diet is entirely liquid, a fact that I have neglected to share with my good friend, S, wife to FEH.
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This skiing trip has been preceded by the usual last minute exercise regime involving one instance of sitting against the wall (thigh improvement) and a number of ipod assisted bicycle trips.
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NRH returns on Sunday afternoon. I was hoping for a few days of general dressing gown activity and relaxed tv watching. Not so. Tonight I must drive J to football training which runs, ridiculously, from 8 - 9pm in Swindon. E and I will be making a trip to Tesco as I have had to bribe her with the opportunity of choosing lunchbox snacks for the week. Thrilling.
Thursday - drums. Friday - mass sleepover and Comic Relief. Saturday - ice hockey (in Swindon?) and Sunday - big lie in. Not exactly 4 days of rest and relaxation. I will be checking all bank statements on NRH's return to make sure that I can justify an impending trip on my own, destination undecided.
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I hope I don't sound bitter and/or twisted. I am pleased NRH has gone somewhere with his mates and, in his defence, it had been booked for a while. I'm not the most enthusiastic skier and have got to the stage where I only like to ski for particular parts of the day (10 - 12/1 at the most), have a little lunch stop, possibly do a couple more runs and then find something else to do, preferably swim or hot-tub-sit or examine the damage my hired boots have done to my precious size 7s. It will be nice for him to ski with people who like to go up on the first lift and come down on the last. I do not. I like to go up when all the keenies have already gone and come down before they start carving up the nursery slopes, trying to get the last lift back up again.
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I can't knit while skiing either.
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Sunday, 8 March 2009

great green hope


I have done as I planned and cleaned out the greenhouse. I found an unopened although rather damp bag of compost and I have sown tomatoes, squash, pumpkin, radishes, sunflowers, nasturtia (ums?) and, as advised by Fennie and LBD, beans, climbing beans. These, apparently will feed a family of four for an entire summer. See below.
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I am hoping that my greenhouse, garden and (dare I hope) allotment will look as abundant as the plant stall at the village fete this year. I do know that we won't be able to eat hostas. I use the above photograph for illustration purposes only.
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Tomorrow we will be in the full grip of family recession but hopefully, some distance from family depression. All must be well as G is going skiing on Wednesday which, naturally, I do not mind but, secretly, am planning to raid the bank statement to see if I can leverage a similarly priced trip of my own, on my own on his return. A girl can dream.
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To celebrate our own domestic credit crunch I bought smoked salmon (half price) on Friday night and several packets of reduced seedy bun things. Organic smoked salmon and cream cheese rolls in my lunchbox will make everything seem slightly brighter. Sainsbury's had corned beef on offer but it wasn't as cheap as tuna chunks in brine which surprised me. Surprising on two additional counts was that I had been sent out for mushy peas which are more healthy than peas (according to G) and 15p per tin. Cheap and nourishing, just like liver.
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E refused the mushy peas but enjoyed developing her new signature dish - broken biscuits and ice cream.
The recipe:
- walls cornish ice cream (half price)
- 2 hob nob biscuits
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Place hobnobs in freezer bag. Obtain rolling pin. Crush hobnobs to required crumb density. Serve with lashings of walls cornish ice cream (the stuff that has real vanilla and cream in it, not the nasty synthetic stuff). Lie back and wait for the sugar rush.
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Projectforty list: I have decided to keep a record of how I think I'm actually doing. Simplifying is not going well. Consuming less is, as there are fewer pounds around to consume with. Eating better is bumbling along as usual and TV watching is down as when I get home from proper work, I need to do other stuff instead of goggling the box.
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However, I have increased my frequency of TV binges. With all those lovely +1 channels I can now fit in an evening of ER, Desperate Housewives, Shameless and Mad Men all in one go. I do get a little over-emotional as I flit from decades and suburbs and council estates but it does make for an entertaining evening.
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Wednesday, 4 March 2009

quelques photos parisiens - II

Voila

Et, bien sur!....




Paris is staying with me far longer than I thought it would. It's a cohesive looking city, much more so than London which is chaotic although as beautiful in comparison.
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I've completed my official school-work this week having swapped my hours around so I was relishing the thought of a day off tomorrow. It is still a day off although I need to do a little knitting planning to ensure next week (a new workshop) goes well. Our weekend, though, is fairly free and I am looking forward to cleaning the greenhouse (I know, thrilling!) and delving into my seed collection to see what I can salvage for this year. We're going to actually need allotment produce, I fear.
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Our credit crunch situation is now upon us and from Monday I'll be the official breadwinner. I've never been in this position before and it is, quite frankly, terrifying. I'm trying not to panic and, as usual, I have ideas. This time, though, those ideas need to be turned into cash.
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One strange outcome of my new working regime is that I haven't dropped E off at school since we went to Paris. It's a very strange phenomenon. I've been so used to walking that walk almost every day since she's been at our lovely little village school, I feel something is missing all the time. The rhythm and space of going there has gone out of my day. Amazing how little things just seem to shift and make the biggest difference.
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