Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Sorting Out

I've been having a rummage and found a pile of yarn.  I knew it was there, but I'm trying to get the heaps into some sort of order and I was reminded of the yarns existence.  Some of it is half knitted sweaters with the pattern long since lost.  I found a tiny jacket I was knitting for bear - around ten years ago!  Some are packets of yarn and some are plastic sacks full of oddments.  There is a real variety.

Some I shall donate.  The local knit and natter group do a lot for the church and charity.  Some I shall pass on to a friend whose little girl is interested in knitting.  However the rest I plan to use in any way I can.  I'm looking forward to the challenge.

I think I will make it a knitting time, to the end of the month.  It is definitely the weather for it.  Bear is insisting on wearing a vest. We could do with stocking up with sweaters, wraps and blankets.  Actually I have vast quantities of blankets, but that's not the point!  I have a weakness for blankets.  And I am down to my last two comfy sweaters after years of wear and tear have taken their toll on the old ones.  Both are ready for retirement.  One is a very large sweater that I knitted before we moved into this house over twenty years ago.  It's a rather nice green sweater with a cable design.  I suspect that it has sagged over the years, however, as it is now looking more like a tunic and I have to roll the sleeves up to find my hands.  It's looking in better shape than the other sweater which is shop bought and a little older than bear.  I found a hole in one of the seams last week and I don't know whether I should mend it or put it out of its misery.  I'm going to mend it, of course, but it won't hurt to add a few knitted sweaters to the collection.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Lighting a Candle

I can't remember who said, 'it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness' and I can't be bothered to look it up, but lighting candles happens a lot here.

Yesterday I picked up some more candles at Home Sense.  They have some wonderful candles in there.  I'm very picky so I took my time and had a good furtle around.  One thing surprised me - there are a lot of candles in there with a tobacco scent.  I'm sure it's not the 'stale ashtray' I'm imagining but something like a freshly sparked pipe with really good tobacco.  I didn't bother sniffing those but  I nearly gave myself a headache sniffing the rest of the candles.  Some were definitely not worth the sniff but some were heavenly.  I didn't score any woodwick candles this time but managed to pick up some a couple of nice ones, including one in a rather sweet brass holder which I'm sure I'll be able to re-purpose.

They had some of the 'Manly Indulgence' candles.  The one that looked the most like the one on the shelf was the midnight scented one here.  You can check if you like, it cost £65.96.  They are a lot more reasonable on eBay but still considerably more than the £7.99 the Black Sandalwood candle cost.  I didn't get it.  It smelled foul.

This afternoon was so wonderfully cosy.  We all were hanging out in the study, all just browsing, playing or, in my case, knitting.  There was a candle on and a sense of peace inside.  It was wonderful.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Big Day

Bear had his exam for one of the grammar schools we have applied for.  Even if he passes the exam there is no guarantee he'll get a place because of the distance, but we thought we would try.

I have never seen anything like it.  The grammar is in a small mill town surrounded by narrow, residential streets.  They were doing at least three sessions with marshalls waving people around to find parking spaces.  They were expecting around 800 applicants for 180 places.  We were there early and there was already a queue.  Within ten minutes there was a massive trail of people going both directions from the entrance to the exam.  It wasn't just the minimum 200 kids, but their parents, siblings and assorted family as well.  It was a lot of people.

Bear looked confident and relaxed when he went in, happy when he came out and said it was easier than he had expected.  I'm trying not to worry what he missed.  What I told him was of course, he was awesome and lets go get some Lego.

This afternoon I called in to Leeds Library to do some research.  I took a picture of the floor outside the lift to the third floor where I was trying to get an insight into nineteenth century Leeds and I took a picture of the wall where I had a cuppa.  Here is the floor...

..and here is the wall...

Leeds Library was built in Victorian Gothic style, all tiles and gargoyles.  I'll take some more pics when I go back next week.

Thursday, 14 September 2017


I forgot to take a picture.  It wasn't worth it.  Bear solemnly cut the rocket mini greens with a pair of scissors and we ended up with around a skinny tablespoon of green stuff.  Next time we are going to scatter the seeds a lot more thickly on the paper towels. 

However the greens went down well, so that's something.  As far as I can tell we should be able to keep a few bits of microgreens ticking over during winter.  

I got some compost dug into the beds today and I'll start getting the winter pansies planted soon.  I can only manage about fifteen minutes before my back goes, but I can do it in short bursts.  Our garden is tiny.  I also have the organic, pet friendly slug pellets as recommended by People Who Know (my brother).  I need to get those down before it gets to cold for the slugs to be around for them.  

Next year I'm determined we're going to get something edible out of that garden.  Bear is unconvinced.  So far we've managed to kill cress and failed to sprout basil with only a small sprinkling of rocket microgreens to barely show for our effort, but I have faith.  

Thinking about Christmas

Christmas is looming ahead.  According to Facebook it is only 14 Saturdays away.  I whimpered when I saw that.  I'm saving up loyalty points all over the place.  By the time Christmas comes I should have around £40 in Morrisons points towards Christmas dinner, which should easily cover it.  We don't go overboard.  I will probably have as much as £80 in Tesco clubcard points.  I don't know what I'll have in Nectar points, but I know I can cash them in for eBay vouchers (if I can remember how to do it).  It's a drop in the ocean.  We don't have many to buy for, but bear wants an iPhone.  Bless him, he doesn't want the latest one.  He just wants one that's a little better than my fading iPhone 4 to play games on and to make notes but it has to have the Apple operating system to play the games he wants.  However even a reconditioned one is still likely to make me want to cry.  Of course, bear's birthday is four days after Christmas.

If - and it's a big if - we get some sort of iPhone for him, that will be the big thing for Christmas/Birthday.  I've already started checking out the auctions on eBay.  A few years ago I got a huge box of the 'free' gifts from the front of the Doctor Who magazine.  It filled his stocking and provided a heap of little presents for his birthday and Christmas for not many pennies - I seem to remember that it was under £20 and bear was completely overwhelmed.

I'm keeping everything crossed that I can score like that again.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

YouTube is Tempting Me

At my age (and I'm an old biddy) I ought to know better.  I need to avoid setting myself up with new projects.  But I keep dipping into YouTube and I see these amazing ideas and I'm desperate to try them.

I found this - a self binding blanket.  It's one of those things where you watch and marvel as what looks like it can never work effortlessly falls into place.  I always wonder what genius thought of it.  If I get my sewing machine out it would only take me a few minutes to sew.  It may take me over half an hour to set the machine up and work out where I'd hidden the thread but the actual sewing wouldn't take long.  I could use the same principle to make the napkins I want.  I don't want fancy napkins.  I want something to mop up and wipe.

I am putting in the notebook marked 'List'.  If I fancy a project, I'm putting in the List and then moving on.  I know that in September I can move mountains.  You can just point at the mountain and tell me where you want it.  When it comes to February I can barely move a paperclip.  I need to use the energy I have now to its best effect.  I think I need to finish up a few projects.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Nothing to Report

Today has been a very bland day.  I've not managed to do much.  There have been no fusses with the neighbours.  Long may it continue.

While I on here, there are so many disasters at the moment.  There was the earthquake in Mexico, floods in Italy and Bangladesh and of course hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  If you are in any way religious please lift those places in your prayers.  If you want to make a practical difference I am sure there are many different ways you can donate but I would like to mention ShelterBox.  It isn't a 'big name' but does a lot of good where people have lost everything.  On their website they describe what they can distribute.

Our sturdy green ShelterBoxes are designed to help people who have lost everything. They are filled with practical tools and utensils that help to create the framework for everyday life.
Each contains a family-sized tent that protects people from the elements and provides a safe space in which people can start to recover from physical and emotional trauma.
The contents differ depending on the disaster and the climate, but items such as solar lights, water storage and purification equipment, thermal blankets and cooking utensils help start the process of creating a home. 

I'm not a part of Shelterbox, but it seems such a good idea in such extreme circumstances.  I believe some of the tools they supply with their kits go on being used long after the initial crisis has passed. 

We are forecast strong winds and flooding here.  It will be a very pale imitation of some of the crisis points at the moment.  I am very aware how lucky we are in this house.