Pom-Poms

Some months ago I bought a pack of Pom-Pom makers.They look a bit weird but how hard can they be to use?  After all we used to make our own Pom-Pom makers by cutting out two circles of cardboard (usually from dad’s cornflake packet, which didn’t go down to well at breakfast time), cutting a circular hole in the middle, winding the wool around, a bit of snipping and voila! One perfect Pom-Pom.  

All very well but I couldn’t work out what to do with them.  The instructions were pretty poor so I had to resort to a You Tube video to find out what to do.  And success!  My first Pom-Pom.Not as good as I hoped it would be but not bad for a first attempt.

And here it is attached to the Christmas Wreath.So, with apologies to my husband and sons, and any other visitors to my house, this is what will be gracing the front door over the festive period.  It’s go to be better than the rather sorry Wreath we’ve been using over the last 25 years – it was quite pretty when we first got it but it’s now so old that robin on it has gone bald.

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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.

First Day of July

I overslept this morning.  I didn’t wake up until nearly 9.30 and as we had to go out before 10.00 I couldn’t have my usual weekend breakfast.I had to make do with Rice Krispies and a glass of water instead.

We had to go out as I had an appointment in town to collect my new glasses .  It means I now have both my new pairs so I can keep one of work and one at home.  

We also went to a bank to ask about opening a new account.  Our own bank has closed its branch in town which means travelling 15 miles to the next town for any face to face banking so we’ve decided to switch banks.  I know 15 miles doesn’t sound a lot but when our town has several other banks it seemed silly not to switch.  

I’ve just realised that there is something else I intended to do in June and didn’t get round to.  I didn’t have my haircut.  I had thought that I’d go in this morning to make an appointment but didn’t, because of this:

The first I knew there was a problem was last Sunday when my husband suddenly asked me what was wrong with my eye.  It’s the third time this has happened and I don’t know why.  A blood vessel bursts, I don’t feel it happening, it doesn’t affect my vision and it doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort.  So I forget about it until someone says ‘ooh, what have you done to your eye’ and then I feel self conscious.  I feel I need to wait for it to clear up before I make a hair appointment. 

My list of things to do in July is quite short and simple. 

Grow herbs  I try to grow herbs every year but am unsuccessful. This year will be different.

Enjoy fresh air  I can spend time in the garden, open windows and doors while I’m inside and go for walks.

Go for a picnic  Onr fine weekend we’ll drive out to the coast, or to a country park, and take some sandwiches.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  A simple meal al fresco will be fine.

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:

Walking

This afternoon we decided to go for a walk.  We drove to the next village, two miles away, parked the car and started to walk back the way we came, along the river bank.

I say ‘along the river bank’ but the walk is actually quite a way from the river.  It follows the course of the river but as the river meanders, the walk follows a straight line.  We walked as far as a small housing development known locally as ‘the barracks’ which is about the half way mark but, what to do next.  At least one of us was going to have to walk back to collect the car while the other continued walking home or we could both walk back to the car.  If I went back to the car I would end up walking the equivalent distance of walking all the way home.  On the other hand, if I continued walking and my husband collected the car, he could collect me when he caught up with me, thereby shortening the distance I had to walk.  Unfortunately, this latter option would mean me walking alone and I was already starting to flag so I didn’t really trust myself to walk solo.  So we both walked back to the car.

Because of the distance from the river we didn’t see any river life which was disappointing.  However the bank was alive with Painted Lady butterflies and flowering clover.  And a man walking his dog.

Things That Made Me Happy Today (2)

Waking up this morning and remembering I’ve got a day off work.    I havent booked any any time off work so far in case I needed to use my annual leave throughout the year to supplement my sick leave.  I haven’t had to do that so I now have lots of leave to book before the end of the year.   So, I’ve decided to take a day off each week for the next few weeks in the hope that a shorter working week will leave me less tired at the weekend and I won’t spend most of the weekend dozing in my chair.

Proper coffee in one of my favourite mugs.   My younger son bought me this mug in Holland about three years ago when he went there on a lads’ weekend with a few friends.  I usually only drink proper coffee at the weekend, using this mug on Saturday and my best mug on Sundays but, as today was a holiday, I decided to treat myself. New shoes.   My new shoes have been delivered but, after craving a pair for so many months, I’m not sure that I like them.  They certainly look nice and, when I put them on they are very comfortable.  Until I start to walk in them.  It’s been years since I wore anything with heels, and I don’t just mean high heels, so I struggle a bit when I get mobile.  The thick sole doesn’t help either.  However, they’re the most expensive pair of shoes I’ve ever bought so I’m determined to get used to them. Tidying up.  When my husband has done the washing, he leaves my clothes on the settee in the bedroom for me to put away.  It always takes me ages to get around to it.  The thing is, I wear the same skirts and t-shirts for work throughout the week and the same casual clothes at the weekend so, every day, I just take my day’s outfit off the pile and by the end of the week, the clothes have miraculously gone.  I’ve decided, though, that this must stop and that clothes must be put away.  I’ve also decided that I need to tidy my wardrobe out to make room for this good intention.  So, from thisto thisand thisto thisAll that housework wore me out so I finished my day by sitting reading, crocheting and a bit of TV.

Proud Aunty Moments

My nephew has mental health issues.  He won’t mind me saying this as he’s very open about it and will talk about it to anyone who’ll listen.   

After a particularly bad day at work a couple of years ago, someone suggested to him that he tried bird watching as a way to relieve stress.  He took to it like a duck to water (no pun intended) and, combined with his love of photography, is building up quite a following on Instagram and Twitter.  He’s also been invited to write a couple of pieces for birding magazines.  

The thing he’s most proud of, though, is setting up a group called Bird Therapy which promotes the benefits of bird watching on mental health.  In April, he spoke about Bird Therapy at an event in Cambridge called ‘Earth Optimism Day’.  He spoke for an hour and a half and, at the end, a gentleman in the audience asked to be introduced to my nephew as he had been so impressed and wanted to discuss the issue further.  My nephew agreed to the introduction (as I said, he’ll speak to anyone about it who’ll listen) and found himself shaking hands with Sir David Attenborough!  Radio 4 was also at the event recording some segments for use in a program they were putting together.   The producer had listened to my nephew’s presentation and asked if he would like to contribute to their ‘Tweet of the Day” series – a two minute piece each day where a bird watcher, famous or otherwise, talks about a particular bird they’ve encountered and a short clip of birdsong is played.  My nephew recorded three pieces; one has already been featured and a second one is to be played later this month.The family is just so proud of him.