Saturday 28 September 2019

Six Months Without My Mum

Six months have now passed since my mum died. I received such wonderful support at that time from friends here in Blogland, comments, emails and cards, so I thought I'd let you know how I'm getting on without my mum.

I've been very close to my mum all my life. My brother and sister flew the nest at early ages, one going off for army training at sixteen and one leaving home to live in at the nurses home as she was training to be a nurse. I lived at home until I was twenty when I left to live with Mick, and ever since then I've only ever lived less than a couple of miles away from my parents so we always saw each other regularly, and used to talk on the phone for hours too.

I knew it would be very hard for me when my mum died but I think I've coped with it quite well. Yes, I've gone through the grieving process, and I'm still going through it, I don't think I'll ever get over losing her, but I think in some ways I'd already done some of the grieving as I lost my mum years before she died to dementia. I also feel that I've had to get on with things to some extent as my dad hasn't coped with my mum's death very well at all and we're having to be there for him. In fact, he's gone downhill so fast in the past six months that it's quite worrying but there's really nothing more we can do for him than we're already doing. It must be so hard to have been married to someone for sixty three years and then suddenly, they're no longer there. I find myself not talking about my mum at all in front of my dad and not wanting him to talk about her either as it just makes him too upset.

The weeks following my mum's death were taken up with practicalities, such as organising the funeral. Everything was left to me and Mick and looking back, I think this helped in one way. Having something to do took up my time and gave me less time to sit and dwell on things. Daniel and Jasmine were already coming home the week leading up to Easter so we arranged to have the funeral then. It took place on the Monday and they were here for the rest of that week, so having all my family around me at this time again took my mind off things. It was really only the following week when Eleanor went back to university and Mick and I had the house back to ourselves and the funeral was all over that I really went to pieces.

Mick has been brilliant. He's allowed me to talk about the things which are upsetting me, the guilt I feel about certain things which happened and obviously, not having my mum here. He's let me cry, but not for too long. There have been plenty of times when I've been sinking into a pit of depression but he's scooped me up and taken me out, even if it's just for a drive. Believe me, you don't feel any happier sat in a car than you do in the house, but a change of scenery really can be a bit of a pick me up.

I miss my mum so much, especially as things have happened and she hasn't been here to share in the celebrations: Eleanor's 21st, her graduation and her starting her first 'proper' job. She would have been thrilled to know how well she's done. It was sad to receive my first birthday card signed from my dad without my mum's name being on there. It was just three days before Mother's Day that she died and the card I'd bought for her is still sitting in the drawer, it was a sad day without her. Her birthday is in November and we've got Christmas to get through yet too.

I'm still having my moments, they come and go without warning, a little reminder of something can set me off, but in the main I'm coping. What else can you do?

Wednesday 25 September 2019

What I'm Watching - September 2019

TV and film that I've been watching this month.

I enjoy watching documentaries about true crime, how the investigation is led and what leads to an arrest being made, so when I saw A Confession, a drama based on a true crime being advertised, I immediately knew it would be something I'd enjoy watching. The cast includes Martin Freeman, Siobhan Finneran and Imelda Staunton and is based on the story of the disappearance of Sian O'Callaghan who went missing in Swindon in 2011. Martin Freeman takes the part of Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, who breached police protocol to catch Sian's killer. I must say that knowing the events actually happened makes for uneasy viewing.

As well as true crime documentaries, I also enjoy watching medical documentaries. The Big Hospital Experiment is a four part documentary, inspired by a social care programme in Germany, where young people work as volunteers in hospitals to deliver patient care. The Royal Derby Hospital have recruited fourteen young volunteers and this documentary follows them as they're put to work on the wards. At first, I wasn't sure how this experiment would work, but as you see how the volunteers blossom in their roles, and also the additional care and companionship which the patients receive, it's a win win situation. I'm loving this series. The final episode is to be shown tonight.

Strictly Come Dancing is back on our screens. The launch show was a couple of weeks ago and now the series has begun properly. Each celebrity danced with their professional partner on Saturday night and their scores will be added to the scores they receive this week before someone leaves the show. Already I can see some promising dancers, I'm looking forward to watching how they all progress throughout the series.

I missed Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema so I've been waiting for it to be released on Sky, which it was last weekend so we sat down on Saturday night to enjoy it, and enjoy it we did. I thought the casting was amazing, it was like watching real life footage when they were on stage, and the acting was excellent, even down to the mannerisms of all the characters. I found the film skipped over events at record speed, but there's only so much time to slot in a man's whole adult life. I found it rather sad knowing how it all ends, especially when Freddie Mercury had so much more to give, Queen's final album, recorded during Freddie's final weeks is testament to this. I'd definitely recommend this film if you haven't yet seen it.

Have you been watching any of these? What else have you been watching this month?

Sunday 22 September 2019

A Bumper Apple Harvest

I've started harvesting the apples from my little tree and to say I'm delighted with the haul it's produced this year would be an understatement. Don't they look delicious, all rosy red.

I bought this little tree back in March 2012. My mum and dad had given us some money for our 20th wedding anniversary back in 2010 and we'd been contemplating what to spend it on. We decided on a dwarf apple tree for the garden and after looking in the local nursery, decided that this Gloster variety fitted the bill. It was really just a twig when we bought it.

It's filled out nicely throughout the following seven years and now produces a decent crop to say it's such a small tree. Here you can see what's left on it after the first bowlful was removed.

A couple of years later we added a dwarf Golden Delicious tree to the garden. Unfortunately, this has never performed well since we've had it. The apples look more akin to crab apples rather than eating apples.

Even though I don't grow so many vegetables these days, it's still nice to have fruit trees and bushes in the garden which produce a crop each year without having to put too much work in. Once they become established, they tend to look after themselves.

Thursday 19 September 2019

Nine Perfect Strangers

I've read a few books by Liane Moriarty and enjoyed them all so when I saw Nine Perfect Strangers for sale in a charity shop, I had no hesitation in picking it up.

I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book as much as I've enjoyed all the other books I've read by this author but I'm sad to say that it was a struggle to read. I started the book after reading a few fantastic books which I couldn't put down, I'd read each of them in just a few days, but this book took me between three and four weeks to read, and even then I had to push myself to read it.

"One luxury retreat in the middle of nowhere.

Ten days in which no one can leave.

Nine strangers seeking perfection.

And each discovering the perfect lie..."

I wish I could say that I'd recommend this book, but I really can't. I do recommend the other Liane Moriarty books I've read though and it won't put me off reading more from this author. Fingers crossed that the next book I read is a little better though!

Monday 16 September 2019

Better Than Expected

I decided not to grow as many tomatoes this year as I usually do. In the end, I settled for just four plants of my favourite variety, Maskotka, a cherry tomato with a thin skin and a sweet taste.

I set out with good intentions and the seeds were sown back in March, not long before my lovely mum died. They germinated and were potted on and then, as you can imagine, they got forgotten about amid the grief and sorrow, and then when I did remember them and bring them back from the brink, they got forgotten about all over again during the busyness of arranging the funeral and supporting my dad.

Somehow they survived but it was quite late when they got moved into their final pots and what with one thing and another this year, they've been quite badly neglected. I really wasn't expecting very much from them at all but they've actually done me proud.

The first tomato started ripening towards the end of July and I've had a steady stream since then. Although early, I finally stripped the plants, which were way past their best, on the 10th of September and this is the final haul. There's only a few green ones amongst this little lot which needed to be ripened off the vine.

I think four plants is just the right amount for me to grow, there's not so many that they take over the garden, but enough for my own needs and to supply friends and family with some too. I do like to share my bounty as there's nothing quite like the taste of homegrown tomatoes.

Friday 13 September 2019

My Happy Place

At this time of year I like to make the most of any fine weather we get, we never know when autumn, and then winter, will set in and nice days are then few and far between, so when I saw the sun shining on Sunday we decided to head off to the Yorkshire Dales.

I've written many posts about our trips here. It's somewhere I was taken many times as a child and a place we've visited many times with our own children. It's my Happy Place.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is in northern England and encompasses thousands of square miles of moors, valleys, hills and villages. The scenery is just stunning so I'm going to leave you with a few photos I took on the day.

We've had some more sunshine again this week so I'm hoping that autumn isn't here quite yet and that we're due a few more lovely days yet before summer is finally over.

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Ninth Blog Anniversary Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who left a comment to enter my Ninth Blog Anniversary Giveaway. I'm always astounded that so many people enter my giveaways, I'm just sorry that I can't give a prize to each and every one of you.

The name chosen at random is Christina from A Colourful Life. Can you please let me have your name and address details so that I can get the prize sent out to you. You can find my email address by clicking on my name in the About Me section at the top of the sidebar.

Thanks again to everyone for entering, and for reading my blog and commenting, I really do appreciate it.

Saturday 7 September 2019

Summer's Last Hurrah

With the weather forecast looking very uncertain, we decided we'd still head off to the Yorkshire coast yesterday as we'd planned. We didn't know whether we were doing the right thing but as it turned out, it wasn't a bad day at all.

We headed over the moors and took a little detour through Goathland, the fictional village of Aidendfield in Heartbeat.

There's some really pretty cottages here but I'm not sure I'd want to live in such a remote place.

There was a steam train in the station as we passed.

Our next port of call was Whitby, one of my favourite places.

I love all the little streets with an assortment of shops.

Since we last visited Whitby, a full size replica of HMS Discovery has taken up residence in the harbour. The Yorkshire born explorer, Captain James Cook, began his maritime career in Whitby and the Discovery, which he used to sail to Australia and New Zealand, was built there.

We couldn't go to the seaside and not have ice-cream, vanilla for me, I don't think you can beat it.

After a couple of hours in Whitby, we moved along the coast to Sandsend. We love the beach here, it's often deserted and is wonderful for dogs to have a good run around on.

It's also great for beachcombing, we always manage to find lots of sea glass here.

Eleanor found a fossil this time.

The sea was a little cold for Archie's liking, especially as he had been to see the groomer at the start of the week so his fur is very short just now.

He did love the time he spent on the beach though.

He loves having so much open space to run around.

After an hour at Sandsend we got back in the car and headed down the coast to Scarborough.

After wondering if the weather would hold, it started to get a little cloudy and the wind had got up.

Even this gull was having problems negotiating the gusts.

The weather did hold though. It was a lovely day out and after a quick pound in the 2p slots, we headed home.

One little dog was so exhausted that he crashed out on Eleanor's boyfriend and even left half of his tea when we got home.

He slept well last night!

Don't forget, if you haven't already entered my giveaway, you've got until midday on Monday the 9th of September 2019 to do so, just leave a comment on my Ninth Blog Anniversary Giveaway post.

Wednesday 4 September 2019

In The Making - September 2019

A roundup of the things I'm working on at the moment.

My projects seem to be growing month by month.

I've made good headway with the Winters Frost socks by This Handmade Life. One sock is off the needles and the cuff has been completed on the second. I'm enjoying the pattern and I'm also beginning to enjoy using magic loop more than I thought I would.

I'm at exactly the same place with the Wildflowers & Honeycomb Socks, also by This Handmade Life, one sock completed and the cuff finished on the second sock. I love the yarn I'm using for this project, it's by Crafthouse Magic in the Rio colourway and it's beautiful to knit with as well as being such a pretty colour.

I haven't worked on the Beach Days wrap by Tracie Millar as much as I thought I would this month but it's growing slowly. I've enjoyed what I have knit so far so I'm hoping to get more of this worked up this coming month. I'm loving how the colours are looking together.

There's seventeen different colours in the granny stripe blanket that I'm working on and I've now used each colour twice. They're being chosen in a random order but I'm using each one only once in each seventeen stripe colour block. That way, each colour should spread out quite evenly throughout the blanket.

I've started a new Cross Stitch project this month, though I haven't worked a great deal on it yet. Being fairly new to cross stitch, I'm a very slow stitcher, but I'm hoping I can get at least one of these Christmas card designs finished in time for Christmas.

There's a good selection of projects on the go at the moment and I'm happy with how each one is progressing.

Don't forget, if you haven't already entered my giveaway, you've got until midday on Monday the 9th of September 2019 to do so, just leave a comment on my Ninth Blog Anniversary Giveaway post.

Sunday 1 September 2019

Ninth Blog Anniversary Giveaway

It's nine years today since I started this blog. Who'd have thought that it would be still going nine years on? It's now a bit of a tradition to have a giveaway on my blog anniversaries, I've hosted one on each of the previous eight anniversaries and this year will be no different.

As meteorological autumn beings on the 1st of September, I've put together a little prize to help you make the most of this time of year. I did the same thing last year and it seemed to be quite popular.

There's a couple of balls of Bergere De France Goomy 50 yarn in the Imprim Pail colourway, perfect for sock knitting, or perhaps you can think of something else to use it for. Whatever you decide, it's sure to knit or crochet up into something lovely and cosy ready for the cooler weather.

Evenings by the fire are always enjoyed more when you've got a good book on the go. I can't vouch for One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk myself as I haven't read it, but it's got some very good reviews so I'm hoping that whoever wins my giveaway will enjoy it.

It's now time to be planting bulbs ready for spring. I'm not a winter person, my favourite season is summer, so I'm always pleased to see some shoots start appearing heralding the start of spring. These are miniature tulips, just 15cm tall. I thought they'd look nice in some sort of container.

I can't have a giveaway without including some yummy treats. There's a bar of Green & Black's salted caramel flavoured chocolate, some dark chocolate ginger biscuits, a favourite in this house, and a selection of hot drinks.

The giveaway is open to all readers of this blog, old and new, near and far. You don't have to be a follower but it would be lovely if you would click on the link in the sidebar or follow on Bloglovin'. Please leave a comment on this post by midday on Monday the 9th of September 2019, after which, a winner will be drawn at random.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, especially those who leave a comment, it's always nice to know who my readers are and to build friendships. I really do appreciate you taking the time.