Monday 27 June 2022

No Crafting Here

You won't have seen much in the way of crafting here on the blog this year, that's because there hasn't been very much crafting happening. I lost my crafting mojo somewhat at the start of the year, working solely on granny square blankets to use up some leftover yarn, and to give me something to do with my hands on an evening whilst watching TV, but since we moved house at the end of April, I haven't picked up any sort of crafting at all.

I wrote a post about A Trio Of Blankets which I crocheted and since I wrote that post I added a further blanket to the pile with the intention of donating them to the Dogs Trust. I still mean to do that, in fact, I've got some other bits and bobs to take with them, I must add that to the never ending list of jobs that I've got to do.

It's been a real eye-opener moving house. We were in our last house for over twenty eight years so I'd forgotten just how stressful and time consuming it can be, I suppose it was inevitable that crafting would take a back seat over this period. There have been a few small jobs that we've wanted to do in the new house, and of course, we've been entertaining people who have dropped by to wish us well, all this eats into the time that we usually do our own thing. I'm finding that the time we start winding down at the end of the day is much later than it was before we moved too, so this will also have an impact on the time I've got to devote to leisure activities. All in all though, I just haven't had the inclination to do any crafting.

I happened to discover my scrappy blanket yesterday though. This is the only thing I left out of packing boxes to work on when we moved. I took it out of the basket where it lives and I felt the stirrings of something, perhaps my mojo returning, which is good because we're having a new carpet fitted in what will be my craft room on Wednesday, and just an hour ago we had an order delivered from Ikea with some furniture for that room, as well as other things. I sincerely hope that my mojo returns after kitting out a new craft room.

All the projects I've got on the go and my crafting materials will be coming out of boxes once I've got the craft room set up, perhaps that will kick start me into some crafting action if the sight of my scrappy blanket doesn't.

Thursday 23 June 2022

Such A Relief

We took Archie to the vet's on Monday. It was time for his annual booster jab, but he was also due for a medication review and he had a health check too.

The verdict - his heart murmur is extremely loud and is at the most severe stage, he's been living with this for a number of years now, it's caused by mitral valve disease which is common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. He doesn't have any symptoms which show that the disease is progressing at this stage, so that's good. He's also got a number of lumps and bumps (haven't we all) which the vet thinks are nothing more than fatty lumps, something very common in dogs and not harmful. Obviously, we're not 100% sure that this is what they are, but Archie is absolutely fine in himself and they don't seem to be bothering him at all, so we're happy to just keep a close watch on him, as we always do anyway, at this stage.

Archie is twelve now, he's definitely slowing down, but he still enjoys life. His tail wags when he's taken for a walk, he's happy to greet other dogs and say hello, and he acts like a puppy when there's any food around. I'm always worried though when he has a vet appointment and it's such a relief when the vet's happy with him, as she was on this occasion.

How are your dogs and cats finding the heat? Archie's been struggling. We keep his fur quite short all the time now as we can tell he's happier when he hasn't got a long coat. His last grooming appointment was three weeks ago but even so, this hot weather doesn't make for a happy doggy. We've been walking him early morning and early evening in the coolest parts of the day, but even so, it's still warm. I believe that storms are forecast tomorrow, perhaps they will clear the air a little and make life more bearable for him.

Sunday 19 June 2022

Great Expectations

Charles Dickens is widely considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, so it's surprising that I've never read anything of his before. I've seen adaptations of Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol but I don't even know what any of his other books are about.

"Pip doesn't expect much from life...His sister makes it clear that her orphaned little brother is nothing but a burden on her. But suddenly things begin to change. Pip's narrow existence is blown apart when he finds an escaped criminal, is summoned to visit a mysterious old woman and meets the icy beauty Estella. Most astoundingly of all, an anonymous person gives him money to begin a new life in London.

Are these events as random as they seem? Or does Pip's fate hang on a series of coincidences he could never have expected?"

Mick bought me this beautiful cloth-bound edition of Great Expectations for Christmas so I thought it was high time I read it. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed every word. I really enjoy the experience of reading a book when you have literally no idea of what it's about and the story is only revealed bit by bit as you read on. The plot is excellent, the characters are diverse and Dickens' descriptive writing sets the scenes so well. Having been written over one hundred and fifty years ago, it's still attracting new readers and has certainly stood the test of time. 

I would definitely recommend you read Great Expectations if you haven't already, or even reread it if you've read it before. It's whetted my appetite to read more of what Dickens has got to offer.

Wednesday 15 June 2022


It's been six years since I last had my eyes tested, yes, six years. I can't believe it either. In my defence I was going to book an appointment when the pandemic hit, we can blame most things on that these days.

I knew already that I'd need some new reading glasses, I have to squint through my old glasses to be able to see anything and I was right, I needed a stronger prescription. I was given distance glasses when I had my last appointment to use when I was driving, but it's well over three years ago now that I got rid of my car and I no longer drive so I don't wear those any more. The optician said I no longer need those glasses if I'm not driving.

So I chose some new frames. Specsavers have a 2 for 1 deal on, you buy one pair at £69 or more and you get a second pair free, which is really handy as I leave one pair upstairs by my bed and use the other pair downstairs and take them out and about with me. I'm not really fussy with the frames, I tried on less than half a dozen pairs before I'd picked these out, and I went for both the same.

It's great being able to see clearly again when I'm reading or doing any close work. I should have definitely made an appointment sooner.

Saturday 11 June 2022

Another New Job

Last July, I wrote a post when Eleanor Qualified as a biomedical scientist. At the time I said she just needed to find a job, and then when I wrote my Looking Back at 2021 post, I mentioned that she was starting a job in the new year in the department where she really wanted to work.

She's only been in that job for a matter of months but another job has come up. This new job is within the same department but in the field she ultimately wants to work in. Her dream job. She decided to apply and she was successful. Although it's in the same department in the same hospital, it's in a different laboratory, working with different people and with a new boss. She started on Monday and she loves it.

As I've said before, Eleanor's had to work really hard. Passing exams doesn't come easy to her but she's put the work in, struggled through and she's now exactly where she wants to be. It proves that hard work really does pay off in the end. We're very proud of her.

Tuesday 7 June 2022

A Couple Of Recommendations

We've been so busy with the house move that TV watching has gone out of the window, especially as Mick also watches most of the things I watch these days and we just haven't had a lot of time to sit down together just lately. I've recorded a lot of things which we've still got to watch. There's a couple of series which Mick wasn't interested in though, so I've managed to watch those over the last few weeks.

The first one is The Staircase. I watched the documentary series about the trial of Michael Peterson who was accused of murdering his wife, Kathleen Peterson when she was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in their house. It was really good, so when I saw that a drama mini series had been made starring Colin Firth and Toni Collette, I knew I had to watch it. With so many series available immediately these days, it's quite annoying to have to wait a week for each episode to be released, but it's definitely keeping me wanting more. Colin Firth is brilliant in the role of Michael Peterson, he's been well cast, and I really like Toni Collette too, I've seen her in a few things.

The second series I've watched is Julia. This is based on the life of American television chef, Julia Child, who was recognised as bringing French cuisine to the American public with her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Sarah Lancashire stars as Julia Child. I don't know Julia Child at all so I'm unable to give an opinion on how like her she is, but I do enjoy nearly all the programmes I've seen Sarah Lancashire in, I think she's a great actress, and I've thoroughly enjoyed this series. I believe it's just been given the go ahead for a second series.

As I've mentioned two series which have cast British actors in American roles, I'd just like to mention my own little star. If you've been reading my blog for some time, you'll know that Eleanor used to be part of a Youth Theatre. She performed in many different shows right up to the time when she left the group to concentrate on her A Levels. After this she went to university, but now she's settled in her home life and career, she's decided that she'd quite like to get back into amateur dramatics. She saw a notice from our local society asking for new members so she went along and discovered they were going to be putting on a production of The Wizard of Oz so she auditioned and was given the part of Dorothy. It was staged each night from Tuesday to Saturday, and there was a matinee performance on the Saturday too. We really enjoyed it, and though I had my reservations on whether she'd be able to pull off an American accent, she did it brilliantly and never let it slip the whole way through the show. In fact, she spoke to members of the audience after the shows who actually thought she was American and couldn't believe it when she broke into her broad Yorkshire accent.

What have you been watching lately? Have you got any recommendations?

Friday 3 June 2022

Proved Right And A Tree Identification

Back at the end of February we had a trip to Temple Newsam and I wrote my post, It's Crocus Season. Although there was an abundance of crocuses at the time, I was bemoaning the fact that the rhododendrons appeared to have been hacked back and I was contemplating a much diminished display this year. Temple Newsam Rhododendron Walk is usually magnificent in May and June, as you can see from the post I wrote back in 2012. Unfortunately, I was proved right, the hacking that the shrubs were given has definitely affected their flowering ability this year.

The beginning of the walk looks promising with quite a few shrubs in flower.

Unfortunately, as you turn the corner, there are quite a few empty spaces. It's a real shame as the impact of so many shrubs growing closely together when they're all blooming makes quite an impact.

There were still some buds waiting to open so perhaps it's looking a little better now as it's a couple of weeks or so since we visited, but there are definitely lots of empty spaces this year.

The azaleas in the open beds are flowering profusely and making up for the slight disappointment the rhododendrons are giving.

There are so many different colours...

...and so many different shades.

It's hard to choose a favourite.

When we visited back in February the trees were devoid of leaves and I'd taken a photo of a particular tree which I loved the shape of. I was wondering what kind of tree it was and Sustainable Mum and her daughter left a comment saying they thought it could be an Oak or a Sycamore going by its shape. It's the large tree in the photo above, isn't it a beauty.

Well, I can report that Sustainable Mum and her daughter were right, it's a sycamore.

It was a really warm day when we visited and Archie took refuge in the bluebells that were flowering, which reminds me that I never got to visit the bluebell wood near our old house when the bluebells were flowering. I had every intention to take Archie for a walk there before our move but time got away from me. I wonder if I'll discover any bluebells near my new house, I'll have to wait until next year to find out now.