When I wake in the mornings, usually just before 6.00am, the house is always quiet. It’s always quiet when I go to bed as well. So these past few mornings and evenings I’ve been trying to practice the ‘mindful breathing’ exercises of meditation. Your know, where you clear your mind and focus on nothing but your breathing.

I get off to a good start. I concentrate on my breathing. Inhale. Exhale. But, pretty soon, I start to think about how I’ll write about this activity. So I refocus and concentrate on my breathing again. And then a car goes past and I wonder who’s in it and where they’re going at this time of day. I refocus again until I realise that the room is cold and yet I’m feeling rather warm. I refocus. And so it goes on.

It is so easy to get distracted. The secret is to accept the distractions; it’s just one of those things and there’s no need to feel guilty about it.


Losing Interest

I can’t believe that the impossible has actually happened. I have lost interest in crochet!! Who would have thought it? I’ve had a couple of bits on the go:(this is just one piece; I’m so uninterested in it that I haven’t taken any photos of the other).

I have, however, been having a go at decoupage. I had a day off work yesterday and made this:It’s a papier-mâché bowl I covered which I’m rather pleased with. I also covered a small wooden box which I haven’t photographed. My husband is so relieved that I’ve temporarily (and I’m sure it is only temporary) abandoned the crochet that he’s offered to put his own wood-working skills to good use and create some more wooden boxes and blank ‘shapes’ for me to cover.

I also made some little cardboard boxes yesterday from some cut-outs which came with a magazine I bought last month:They are called ‘instant comfort pocket boxes’ and are the size of a matchbox and are quite cute. I don’t know what I can use them for, unless I keep a pet ladybird but that seems a bit cruel.

News about Marbles: he started to develop a bald patch between his shoulder blades. It turns out to have been an allergic reaction to an ‘external parasite’ so we’re treating him with some fancy ointment from the vet.

A Day Off

I'm having a day off work today. I've already wasted most of the morning doing not very much although I did manage to spend a bit of time in my sewing room sorting out the photos on the shelves and getting my laptop to work. It turns out that the only thing wrong was a flat battery but because it appeared to be plugged in I hadn't previously checked the connections. With the power lead going from the laptop to the transformer, from the transformer to an extension socket and the extension socket to the wall socket there are five connections so I really should have guessed sooner that one of them might be the culprit.

I plan to spend the afternoon, while my husband is at work, in the sewing room, tidying up.

Because I'm not at work today I'm dressed in 'lounging around the house' clothes – white tee-shirt and palazzo pants:

Meanwhile, Marbles has been indoors for most of the morning getting in my way so I made him a plaything – he's had such fun with it:

I Forgot To Post

I can’t believe that I forgot to post any photos of my finished Tunisian crochet blanket.  Here it is:The yarn is Caron Cakes in Blackberry and Kiwi.  It’s the most expensive, best quality yarn I’ve ever bought and it’s worked up into the ugliest blanket I’ve ever made.   Never mind; for all that I don’t like the finished product I enjoyed making it.   I just won’t buy this yarn ever again.

I’ve also finished the Christmas wreath I made to go with the other four wreaths I made earlier in the year.  Marbles has been indoors this morning.  He hasn’t been helping me with my crochet today; he’s been far more interested in keeping himself clean.​

That’s Better

Up at a decent time this morning and, as I didn’t have to go anywhere, I had my usual weekend breakfast.And Marbles spent the afternoon indoors with me, helping me with my crochet.

Last Day of June

I was up early this morning to listen to my nephew again on Radio 4.  This time, he was talking about the woodlark.

I have failed with my list of things to do in June.  We did attend the concert we had tickets for but I didn’t finish the book, On Chesil Beach by Ian MacEwan, nor did I finish the blankets.  I did lots of light reading but didn’t seem to have the concentration to read anything meaningful and I’ve spent too much time crocheting with thicker yarn and hooks to be able now to enjoy using a thin yarn and small hook.   I must steel myself to get it all done in July.  

I’ve recently posted about things that make me happy.  Well, here’s something that’s made me decidedly unhappy.  I posted a week ago that my new shoes had been delivered.  I discovered today that Seasalt, where I bought them from, have got them in their sale at half price – £70 reduced to £35.  Even at £35 they’d have been the most expensive shoes I’ve ever bought!  And I haven’t even worn the damned things yet!  So I’m quietly fuming.

Marbles came in for an hour this evening.  He sat on my lap for all that time, just quietly purring in his sleep.  It’s so soothing.

Noisy Neighbours

Why are people so loud?

Twice recently, once last week and again on Sunday night, my next door neighbours were out for the evening.  On both occasions they got back at around 11.00pm and, both times, I was in bed, trying to sleep.  Bear in mind that this family includes three primary school age children.  Why were they out so late on two school nights?   And why, when they got home, didn’t they respect the fact that it was late at night, most of the neighbours would probably be in bed?  Car doors were slammed and no attempt was made to keep voices down.   The children were allowed to laugh and shriek, loudly, which was no surprise, really, as the mother is the loudest of the lot.  A loud shouty voice and language that would make a trooper blush.  

The couple opposite are no better.  The husband runs a burger van and every morning at about 6.30am he gets a delivery of bread rolls.  The delivery driver turns up in a diesel van which he leaves running and he has the radio on at top volume while he unloads the bread.  If the husband is around he’ll go out for a chat which competes to be heard against the radio and then when he leaves at 7.00am he sounds his horn as he pulls out of his drive to let his wife know he’s going; his wife who is standing on the doorstep waving him good-bye.

I don’t want to fall out with any of these people.   We live on a small cul-de-sac where everyone (with one notable exception) gets on well together.  For all that she’s loud and sweary the woman next door is otherwise pleasant and friendly and although she and the dad give the impression that they’re dragging rather than bringing the children up, the children are beautifully behaved, friendly and so polite.   The couple opposite are also lovely people.  Helpful and friendly and always willing to do anyone a favour.  Just a little aside here: some months ago he asked us if we would take delivery of an ebay purchase while he and his wife were on holiday.  It turned out to be a Landrover tyre which sat in our hall for a few days until they returned.  The normal ‘gift’ for this sort of favour would be a bottle of wine or similar but, as we are teetotal he rewarded us with a box of industrial bin bags which he acquired from the neighbouring Town Council.  It’s the thought that counts….   So we want to remain on good terms with our nearest neighbours.

I guess we’re just going to have to learn to live with the noise.

Here’s Marbles:

Things That Made Me Happy Today (1)

Waking up at a decent time without the need for an alarm call.  I was awake just before 6.00am and would, quite happily, have gone back to sleep for an hour but I hadn’t reckoned on the cuckoo clock.  I’d always wanted a cuckoo clock so my husband bought one some years ago as a birthday or Christmas gift.  It’s lived in a couple of places around the house but is now, for some reason, on the landing, just outside my bedroom door.  Although it’s battery powered, the cuckoo is light activated.  It means that it doesn’t go off through the dark hours of night but, come summer, as the mornings become lighter, it starts cuckooing at 6.00am.  That put paid to any thoughts I had about an extra hour’s sleep.

Reading in bed before getting up.  Ok, so it’s rubbish reading material but it’s just right for early morning or late night reading when I can’t be bothered to concentrate on anything more meaningful.  I started reading this magazine, or comic, as we’ve come to call it, 18 months ago.  I had, over the new year, had a couple of falls due to fainting so, when my husband went out to do the shopping one morning, he decided it would be unsafe to leave me alone in the house and I went with him.  I couldn’t manage to go round the shops with him so I waited in the car, having first complained that I’d forgotten to take a book with me.  This prompted him to buy me this comic.  Unfortunately the issue he bought had the first instalment of a 6 week serial in it so I had to buy the next 5 issues to find out what happened.  Halfway through this serial another serial started so I then had to continue buying it to find out what happened in the new serial.  And so it went on.  I’ve ended up with a subscription which renews every three months or so and I can’t be bothered to cancel it.

Getting my new glasses.  I’ve been under the care of the eye clinic at our local hospital for the last two years as my optician  wants to be sure that the cancer hasn’t spread to the backs of my eyes.  The consultant has advised me not to have my eyes tested while I’m still his patient, just in case there are any changes to my eyes.  I keep expecting to be discharged as the consultant is sure that my eyes are fine.  He hasn’t discharged me so I’ve had no choice but to ignore the advice as my glasses were becoming increasingly unsuitable.  The optician has told me that my prescription has ‘gone up by two steps’ (whatever that means) and I’ve got new specs.  What a difference!  I can finally see properly again.  Which a bonus, obviously. 

Being complimented on my appearance.  Well, not my appearance as such but my choice of clothing.  Today I’ve been wearing a new, red linen skirt and red/cream striped sailor top from my favourite online clothes shop, Seasalt of Cornwall.  I was also wearing a pair of matching red flip-flops.  Two strangers independently told me how nice I looked which, considering I don’t consider myself pretty, or even vaguely attractive was very flattering.

Having a Cornetto after my tea.  My weekend treat is a Cornetto after tea on Friday and after lunch on Sunday. 

Spending time with Marbles.  It’s been a couple of days since I last saw him so it was nice to get him indoors for some quality purring time with him.

It’s surprising, when we put our minds to it, just how much we have in life to be thankful for.

Catching Up

The WordPress app has finally decided to stop crashing every time I open it and I can, at last, post something.  I was going to post the drafts I’ve made each day but it’s now been a week since I last posted I decided not to bother.  Just one short catch-up post will do.

So, Saturday.   I ticked off another item on my things to-do list by going to the Leo Sayer concert in Huddersfield Town Hall.  Neither of us had been to Huddersfield before and we got hopelessly lost.  The sat-nav was worse than useless and the road signs in the town were rubbish so we just kept driving round and round hoping for the best.  We knew we were getting closer to the venue from the mileage indicator on the sat-nav, but then the numbers started going back up so we knew we were heading away.  We became quite expert in rapid illegal u-turns and creeping the wrong way down one way streets just to get ourselves back on the right road.  Eventually we found a bay of disabled spaces so decided to park there even though it might mean a bit of a walk, then I realised I’d left my Blue Badge at home.  We had to move on.  A few more illegal manoeuvres later brought us to an almost deserted Pay and Display carpark which we thought would do except we couldn’t find the pay point.  An enquiry made to a young woman who had just parked her car got the answer “No pay today.  Machine, he broke.”  Bonus- a free car park.  Double bonus – it was right next door to the Town Hall!  We had unintentionally found where we were looking for, it was free, and couldn’t have been closer than if we’d parked on the Hall’s doorstep.  I never look forward to an evening out because of this sort of thing but, once arrived, I usually enjoy whatever the event is.  And this was no different.  The show was excellent, the band did a fine job and Mr Sayer played all his old hits, plus some album stuff which I wasn’t familiar with.

On Sunday, to Scunthorpe hospital for my regular 4 monthly scan.  That was pretty uneventful.

Monday and Tuesday, nothing to report although our eldest son came for his tea on Tuesday.

Wednesday, our youngest son got a new car.  He came round late in the evening to show it off.  It’s very posh.

Thursday, Election Day and I went for an eye test.  My eyesight has changed so much over the last 3 months that my current glasses are no longer adequate so a new prescription has been issued and I pick my new glasses up next week.

On Friday we woke up to find that the Tories had won the election, sort of, but can only form a minority government, relying on support from the DUP.  Expert opinion is that this is not a good idea and wont last.  The good news is that UKIP were wiped out and they no longer have any MPs.  The leader Paul Nuttall has stepped down which leads to the bad news – Nigel Farage has said that he has no choice but to return to British politics.  

I haven’t seen much of Marbles all week.  The bad weather has confined him to his house and he’s been reluctant to even cross the patio to come indoors.   My husband sees him every day when he goes out to feed him and, on Friday morning, after I’d gone to work, this was his chosen perch (Marbles, that us, not my husband).

A Better Offer

Marbles sat with me for half an hour today, doing that thing that cats do so well – reading my newspaper through his bottom.  Why does he always choose the time I’ve set aside for newspaper perusal to sit on my lap?   But then he heard noises from the kitchen which quite often means that food is on the way.  He got a better offer and that was it – he was off.  He hasn’t seemed well since his trip to the vet on Tuesday.  We thought it was because of the heat but it’s been wet and cooler today and he seems no better.  I’ll keep an eye on him over the weekend and hope he perks up.