Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Laughing my way into Winterland

Chilling was all that was needed this week. That and tons of laughter. So much lovely heartfelt advice and care received from here, love and fun at home and me listening to my body and slowing it down for once. It's all been so very good for me and in turn my family too.

Now I've nearly been a whole week away from here so I thought I'd have a look and show you some of the things that have caught my attention lately.

I've been on the usual round-up of museum trips with my students which we love and they usually moan about. Now after two long years teaching on this course, I finally, yes finally - have a student who gets excited about history. What a thing to have someone actually interested in it.


In the 1950's and 1960's part of the museum I brought home a couple of images so I could show you some of the things I'd steal if I could.


This museum celebrates all the industries that made Norwich a wealthy city. Alongside weaving and choccy making (the city used to smell so sweet when Rowntree's Mackintosh was in full flow), Norwich was famous for shoe making. 

In the shoe bit we found a box. It was full of daft shoes, so we put on a pair each and had a race round. I didn't get too far.


After work we were so near the bookshop that it would have been wasteful not to pop in for a fine mocha chocca coffee and a browse.

There were a few books that interested me. I couldn't resist this new one by Ros Badger as there was so much in it to tempt me to get my needles clicking away.


Knitting thoughts were put on hold for a while as there were night-time netball matches to get to and nasty old car MOT's to sort out. Netball was a fabulous huge win, MOT was a big old fail. One thing was for Pink Dog who nods away on my dashboard. Apparently he would obstruct my vision if I was under four foot. 

Over the weekend we got another peek at the gorgeous sun again. Saturday was a whirlwind of netball and dance classes and then on Sunday we headed out for a forage.


Alfie Blue found the heat and two long walks in one day more than he could cope with so he got carried like a baby for a bit. 

After a good old hunt around we found enough damsons and sloes to make a generous slug of gin. All pricked this evening and pickling nicely in the dark dark cupboard.


Back from our walk it was finally time to get out my needles and start on some of the things in my new book.

I gathered up my yarn and a sleepy dog and set to.


I'm trying to get ahead of the winter by making a hat and some mittens before we need them. Little Bun asked for some mittens in purple and a plain colour (so that's just what I am a doing). These are super quick to knit up so I'm already thinking of making a pair in orange and pink for me.


At the opposite end of lovely chunky quick to knit yarn is this fairy fine gossamer 2ply. I'd bought it to knit up a cropped cardigan, but gave up when I couldn't work out one of the stitches. Now I'm turning it into a lace scarf. 

It's unbelievably slow to knit with this on such tiny needles so I may be some time with this one. My mum did ask which winter I was intending to wear it.


I've also got some cream aran weight yarn to have a go at this super beret to replace my favourite Noa Noa one. Miss Rosey borrowed it and left it somewhere. She feels very bad about this and I wish she didn't as it's only a hat.


This afternoon my head wasn't really on the teaching. Funnily enough the students heads were on other stuff too. As we had four spinny office chairs in the room we ended up with a spot of synchronised chair dancing before launching the Spinny Chair Strictly Competition. There were some beautiful movements around the room with a few high scores. Best of all we laughed so much that we nearly pee'd our pants. I much prefer teaching people to laugh and be silly.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

A Bit of a Sing Song

You're such a lovely lot sending me all your kind thoughts and good old fashioned pratical advice. You'll be pleased to know I'm starting to act on it and am now taking a whole load of B vitamins, starflower oil and Iron (for just in case). That's not to say I'm not trying everything else too, just some at a time.

I also got taken out for some cultural therapy too. A friend, who enters every known competition and wins a whole load of them too, won a pre-theatre meal and tickets for a Royal Opera House screening of Turandot by Puccini. Listen to me trying to sound like I know what I'm talking about. I've never seen an Opera before, but I have heard of Placido Domingo because my mum had him and Daly Thompson on her fridge for quite a while. Anyway's she took me along with her last night and I must admit I was a bit apprehensive about the opera part. I loved the wine and eating scrumptious food bit though.


We ate at a fabulous place called The Black Dog Restaurant in Bungay. Although it's been there a year I've whizzed past and never noticed it before which made it more of a treat to find such a gem. The staff were great and the food was just delicious. I've told my man we're going there no question.
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Tummies full we rushed off to see the tale of Turandot. Thank heavens for the big screen because there were sub-titles all the way through, if not I'd have needed Mr Tumble mimimg at the side to help explain all.

The rotund bloke who was meant to be a young dashing Prince sang Nessum Dorma at the end and I thought, I know that one at least. I enjoyed his singing, but the women's voices made me wince. It was a daft tale where a prince falls for a bloodthirsty unhinged princess enacting the revenge of an ancestor who was raped a 1000 years before. I have to believe in the motivation of the characters to get truly immersed in the tale and I'm afraid I kept thinking the Prince needed his head felt. I did enjoy the experience though and I might even take up the ladies advice beside me who said I should try Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. Who knows where it might lead me.


Ironically when we went out to eat I had to order less crunchy food. One of my teeth had broken in half at work and so I had to cancel my Wednesday morning classes so I could get to the dentist. That meant I could fit in the car boot after dropping the girls off at school. Silver linings and all that. 

I came away with a mended, but oh so sweet Mabel Lucie mug, plums, dahlia's and a cream blanket. Not a bad haul for a chilly September morning.


The little lady fits in quite nicely with my other childrens china.  My favourite is still the Meakin dish with the babes in bunny suits. One day I hope to track down a matching cup and plate. 

The duck cup was gifted to my man as the exact same one was a childhood favourite of his.


 
This got me thinking about some of my other favourite things. Things that hold memories which make them just that bit more special.

My love bought this juicer for me one christmas knowing I'd love it and I do, very much so. 
 


 We bought this Victorian Pilchard dish in Brixham on our last holiday as two. I was heavily pregnant with Miss Rosey and kept fainting everywhere. Turns out I was seriously anaemic so lots of red wine and broccoli later and things started improving a bit. We had a fabulous time mind you in a very grand Georgian Hotel where my man ended up impersonating a freelance food critic.  We had a problem with the rudeness of the French Maitre 'd so lets just say we had a bit of fun and then afterwards we had the most fabulous service. This dish sums up more carefree and naughty times.


 
This silver and ivory teether I guess to be mid 1800's. It was given to Miss Rosey when she was born by my mum's oldest friend (by that I mean she was really old). It was her husband's mother's and she had no one else to give it to. She'd never liked me and used to be really rude, but went all soft with Miss Rosey. I forgave her as she had good reason to be bitter. Her baby son had died of meningitis and then her teenage daughter was killed in front of her when she jumped off a bus to grab the dog lead off the road.
 


 This ivory inlaid Crib Box is a very special thing to me. It was my dad's Grandmother's and after dad died mum passed it on to me. I used to love playing with my dad. It was during my pain in the bum teen years when it was one of the things we did without getting into an argument.


 Lastly, one of my favourite photos of the girls and I. Like most mum's I guess there's hardly any photos of me, just tons of their daddy. I sometimes wonder if they'll ask one day did you always stay at home?
I just love their cheeky faces, it was a carefree time in the last summer before Miss Rosey started school. A photographer friend came over and took tons of black and white pictures of us that day. The girls loved whirling and twirling for the camera, they still do.


 

Well  if you've read this far, then well done and just to let you know I'll be replying to your lovely emails and suchlike by the weekend either here or there.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the week.

Monday, 16 September 2013

What To Do

I felt an urge to write a post as you do. So I sat here and uploaded a few shots of things that have occured. I enjoy taking photos, recording my daily doings and then stringing it all together with a few well matched words. But today, as has been the case for the past couple of weeks really, I'm struggling to find a place between my blog voice and the voice that I have at the moment.

I told my man how I was feeling. We've talked lots. Tried to find solutions and cures. I think we've come up with some pretty good things that have worked over the weekend. I even said maybe I should have a break from blogging for a while. Not because I want to, but because I don't want to turn my blog into a whingey moany place and that really is the voice that wants to be heard at the moment. He said please don't do that. He urges me to have faith in myself and knows I need this creative fix when my work saps any creativity from me.


On Friday I bent my leg back and gave myself a kick up the bum to sort out what I could. First thing I called the dr to see if there was a cure to the all over itchy burning skin which is still driving me mad. I was clutching at straws thinking it might be a reaction to the nit treatment. Joy of joys we had that for the first time ever recently and it was hideous to get rid of. All in all I've become one big itch.

Then I hopped in the car for some feel good catching up with a friend I've not seen for an age. On the way home I saw Mr Dr man who said I had excema. Now I'm lathering on the white cream, scratching constantly like a manky old dog with fleas and wondering if my sex appeal might be going down the Swanyy.


I did, however, still have my eyes wide open to pretty things around me and so I happened upon this lovely sheet when I was out with my friend. On the way home from the doctor's these dahlia's shouted at me from the kerbside honesty stall. My mood was definately lifted after seeing a lovely friend and then finding pretty things.


Thank goodness for talking, because after a  good old sifting through of my low mood my man and I came up with quite a few cures that have certainly worked this weekend. Really it was about putting ourselves first and stepping back from things that aren't that important really. It's strange how feeling blue can creep up on you and leave you feeling helpless, but we've always been ones to give it a good beating once we know it's here. There have been so many stressful and emotional things happening this year that I don't mention on my blog. They've taken a lot out of us and in the end you have to re-charge your batteries and start to laugh at life again.

First off we said sod it to cooking a meal. Who said it was the rules to always have to put food on the table? The girls eat at school, so it was sandwiches for them and crisps, cheese and fizzy stuff for us. That meant we all had time to sit down play games and have a good laugh. Basically the rule was to stop trying to do it all and realise the world won't stop if I do. 

On Saturday we had a good old clear out of junk which I love doing (although there's tons left). Little Bun was too tired for her dance class so we curled up together to watch Ladies in Lavender. Just us while Miss Rosey and Mr cooked and sang. Normally I race about and feel like I'm wasting time just sitting, but I found out it was good for me. I love a good old snuggle too and one day little girls won't be there waiting for one.


 On Sunday we all headed off early for Miss Rosey's netball training, rather than me lazing in bed. While she played we explored the cafe, then my two went for a walk in the park and I chatted to a friend. Getting home all chilled and happy, the girls sorted their homework as asked so we could enjoy the rest of the day. This really stresses me when we get homework hanging on until late every night.

After a lovely family lunch I knew it was time to get on with finishing Bunny Girl. I've just not had the making urge all week and so it was good to get my fingers working again.


As her sweet face emerged I started to fall in love with her. She's not for me though, so I'll have to admire her from afar. I made her for Little Bun, who has named her Hettie. Last arm made this morning so she's waiting for Little Bun to get hom. I now need to get on with a blue one for Miss Rosey. Always two of everything needed to keep the peace.


I don't usually enjoy small fiddly crochet projects, but seeing Hettie come to life really made it worth it. Now I'd better seach my stash for just the right shade of blue for the next Bunny Girl.



 Reading your responses to my last post was really interesting. I'd loved your humour, honesty and above all good shared advice. We're all really quite similar aren't we. I hope you can stick with me while I'm going through this odd phase and then hopefully I'll be back feeling less bleeurrggghh.


I did respond to all your comments while I was sat in Sainsbury's (halfway between work and school pick-up). Some went and a lot bounced back as no-reply bloggers. I wrote some quite lengthy replies too aswell. So I'm off to reply on the comments themselves and if you're interested it will be there. Give me a mo though won't you. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Basket Case

Now this post might strike a chord with some of you. Some of you it might not. I'm aware that some people manage to live in pared down minimalist houses and then there are others who live in a hodge podge of stuff. I'm one of the latter. My man, the girls and I all have magpie tendencies. We gather, collect, create and store stuff and every now and then all that stuff needs a bit of organising, a spot of getting on top of.


I can't think of a better way to justify in my own head my burning desire for more and more baskets. Not only are they blinking gorgeous to look at, they're pretty darned useful too. I love that everything I need can be stored in one place and then moved here and there.

I store fabric in some, all folded away ready to dip into. The bigger bits hide on shelves in the laundry room. I have to say this is one of my favourite baskets. I was asked by an artist once if they could borrow it for a still-life they were painting, that's just how lovely this basket is.


Then there's the basket that was once the picnic basket, but now it's become the overflow place for cookbooks.


This is the random things basket. Only lovely things are allowed in here, but they are random because I don't know where else to put them for now. Each thing is actually on it's way somewhere else. Golly needs to visit the bathroom for a good old wash and scrub up and the books need to find a shelf.


This wee basket has become useful for long sticky stuff and just makes me smile at it's smallness.


Then we have unfinished projects baskets and dressmaking projects baskets all heaving and ready to topple over if I don't go and rescue them soon.


Piled high above all these useful baskets is another one that displays my wares at markets. At home it holds onto sticky backed plastic and other vintage papers.


By my desk are piles of books and magazines (just out of shot) and then there is the tidy basket of a few bigger ones ready for fireside reading.


Waiting for me each evening are a multitude of knitting and crochet baskets. This one is my favourite at the moment as I dash to try and finish both things in it before it gets really really cold.


Just over the way there is the forgotten projects basket, not to be confused with the really very forgotten project basket (not shown). Behind that is another favourite which is in the shape of a coconut. I was offered money to sell this on the same day that I hummed and haaed about buying a peach of a 1950's basket. I thought too long and hard and when I went back to get it it was gone.


This was one of the first baskets I bought many moons ago lined with beautiful delicate French fabric. Pip our older cat has had too much fun with the handle and has even more fun destroying my repairs, so it doesn't come on shopping trips anymore. 

There are a few more baskets here and there holding onto daft stuff we just can't bear to throw out. 

I imagine there will also be tons more baskets coming to live with us as we always need a good looking bit of moveable storage.

Alongside all of this I'm feeling a bit of a true basket case myself. My mates have told me it's definately hormonal, but I don't like it one bit. Words are eluding me when I'm talking. I chat to my man describing the word, but am unable to find it in my head. I often start conversations and wonder what on earth I'm on about. I feel as if an army of invisible insects are crawling over my skin and I'm really really snappy and emotional. Apparently this is all normal. I'm only in my 40's for goodness sake and I don't think it's normal at any age to be this held to ransom by hormones. Just thought I'd mention it as I want to blog with my voice, but then I find I'm struggling to find the upbeat me hidden in the depths. I want me back basically and I'm impatient to know the date she'll be arriving.

As always I really appreciate your kind words and thoughtful comments. You said some really insightful and helpful things about this whole parenting malarkey which made me feel a whole heap better. So thankyou.


Friday, 6 September 2013

All Change

Lately there have been quite a few changes to get used to. I'm not overly keen on change, although ironically I struggle with routine. I think it's more a case of me preferring to decide when things will change. That means I have to admit I'm a bit of a control freak.  I'm my own worst enemy here.

Over the last few months, weeks and days there have been things going on that have unsettled me to put it mildly. I never like to open up on here to be honest, I struggle with it in real life as I'm not a fusser. I prefer to just get on with things and lean on my man for strength when I need it. He leans on me back when he needs it. But do you know today I thought writing some of how I'm feeling on here might help me make a bit of sense of it all.


Miss Rosey becoming a teenager, the end of the summer holidays and Little Bun starting high school definately contribute largely to my unsettled feelings. The summer holidays are an oasis away from all the rush, potential nastiness and hardwork of the real world. Teen days heralds time marching on away to independence. My youngest and I felt great about her starting high school. She was more than ready and then after her first day she hit the collywobbles. I hope this was just down to first day tiredness with two of hours of hockey in blazing heat to add to it. She is a very able girlie, but just lacks confidence in herself and worries all the time that she won't be able to do the work.Then there's making all the new friends business. Her big sister is being a star, really protective and supportive having only just gone through it last year.   I just want to wave a wand forward a few weeks when I know all will be well.

(autumn jobs - sofa covers being cleaned)
As for me, it hit me last night that my youngest, the baby of my family now needs to grow up and be more independent. She's emotionally and socially more mature than a lot of her age group, she told me once that she didn't feel eleven. She knew too many things and felt she had been alive for a very long time. This makes sense to me. She finds security from the world in my lap, which is as it should be, but I realise I do overprotect my girls by always being there to pick up the pieces. I sadly think I just have to step back a bit more now. The only way to learn is by making a few safe mistakes with me and their dad waiting by the sidelines. That's a big change isn't it. Realising those apron strings need a bit more snipping is in their best interests really.


It has been a lovely last week to look back over though. Miss Rosey had a fabulous seaside birthday with crazy golf, icecreams, penny arcades and lunch out. Thank you aswell for all your kind birthday wishes to her. 

On Monday we picnicked in an orchard with my mum before cycling through the woods and then gorging on a splendid afternoon tea. 


It was the most blissful and perfect day when I felt I could have shouted through the trees with happiness. You know one of those simple, just good to be alive kind of days.


When we got home friends popped by with lovely birthday gifts and a little something for me.
A shiny swan to sit with the other two on the kitchen windowsill. They're slowly becoming useful places to put small broken things.
 

 Funnily enough I started writing this post feeling pretty flat. In the middle of writing it my mum called. We spoke for an age uninterrupted by girlies for the first time in weeks. I hardly ever talk openly to my mum, but today we had a great chat about being a mum and job stuff. I feel clearer about facing the next stages of being a mum now.  

That doesn't mean to say I'll stop loving them so much, or making them daft things and worrying more than I probably need to. 


 The other stuff in my head I put down to my dad's birthday being close. It will be the second year without him. Last year we didn't go to his favourite beach, picnic and play as we always did catching the last of the summer sun. He is moving away from me in my head, but I can still summon him up when I need him. I see him smiling telling me it will be allright and he's proud of his lovely girls. 

Yesterday I took my students on a trip. We ended up in the USAAF Library where I met the loveliest man. He was 85, a year younger than my dad would have been. He looked in his 70's and said he felt 25 in his head. He certainly seemed it with his enthusiasm and passion for life. He told me fabulous stories about the war and life beyond. When I asked him if it was true that people did moan about the Americans saying 'over sexed, over paid and over here'. He laughed and said "No, Norfolk was bloody boring before the Yanks turned up."

He admitted to being lonely and loved the chat. I like people and their stories, but also I really loved speaking to someone who was around when my dad was.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Thirteen

At exactly 3.35pm today our Rosey will officially enter the world of the teenager. We won't be splitting hairs and saying she can't have a birthday until then of course. It just feels momentous each year when I think that at this time all those years ago I was having a baby for the first time ever and wondering who was going to arrive into our lives.

Yesterday I was cleaning, well hoovering cobwebs off the ceiling to be exact. My man hugged me and said I was doing exactly the same daft nesting stuff I did the day before she was born. Neither of us suspected she was on her way back then though as she was meant be born three weeks later. In keeping with her personality she was in a hurry to get on with things and she still is now. She keeps on going until she achieves what she wants and just like her mum can be very very impatient.


How did those years pass so quickly? One minute I fell for a man, not long after the first kiss a baby was made and very shortly after we got very excited about the future ahead of us. Being parents has been the best most sensible thing we've ever done with our lives.


So, thirteen years ago a wee baby was handed to me with the expectation that I'd know how to be her mum. I've definately got it wrong quite a few times along the way, but we've learnt a lot together as we've gone along. I'm so proud to be her mum (I still use mummy, even though it's not allowed in public anymore so sssshhhh) and I love her with all of my heart.

By the way, I made the brooch for her one evening as it's become something of a tradition to supply a handmade something. It was an idea I had as I drove to work one day and I'm really pleased with it. I hope Rosey is too.