Saturday 28 November 2020

Groundhog Day

I feel like I'm stuck.

I managed to get another used cabinet,  and some compressor plates.   The filing is almost finished, but.... I'm stuck.   I've ended up moving some other bits around, I've generated piles of bits, and I'm just not able to clear it.  It feels like every time I try, something else pops up.

I'm struggling a little with the short days, and the interrupted sleep, and I've been a bit snarky (for which I have apologised, but that doesn't make it ok).

We make sure we go for a walk on non Pilates days,  and I make sure I spend time outside every day.

I'm beginning to believe there may be something in feng shui,   as I'm prett sure the mess is whats affecting my mood.

Enough of the self pity.  I'm going to try and make some headway



Monday 23 November 2020


I'm experiencing facial flushes.  

It's not fun. 

It starts with warm cheeks, and then suddenly I can feel it spread and intensify. Its like extreme blushing...but on steroids. Just when I think it must have reached peak intensity, it ramps up a gear.

I've learned that trying to control it just ends up making it worse, so I just pause and wait for the moment to pass.

The other, chilly, evening I had to take an arm out of my jumper to try and help the heat dissipate. I couldn't take the jumper off because the rest of me would have been too cold. 


I'm reorganising our filing cabinets.

Most things are scanned, but we have some things (like instruction booklets) which were not available in PDF format at the time.   They've been in wallets for years, refreshed from time to time as a wallet splits under the weight of the contents.

I bought some solid dividers for one o fthe cabinets, so I don't have to use drop files.  It has meant that it's much easier to file things, get things in and out, and see what's there.  I've also now been switchin gfrom cardboard wallets.

Eventually I discovered what is "trim" about the Vickers Trimline cabinet. 

It's only a tiny bit smaller than the other cabinet. So little difference.  But the difference in drawer height is the difference between lever arch files fitting in, or not.   So, I've been using 4-D- ring binders instead.  It works OK, but some of the files....well, they'd be a bit more robst with a lever arch.

I thought about getting another alternative brand cabinet.... but I'd already spent all that time and energy finding the plates.  And the alternative brand cabinet plates don't work in the same way.  Plus, I'm not up to my thighs in 4-d-ring binders.   And the cabinet has some sentimental value.

I looked...and decided to see what things looked like when I'd finally finished moving things.

And now I can't get the top drawer open at all.

There is a binder which has managed to pop up slightly and means I can't open the drawer.   I cant even push in a screwdriver to push it down oe over, because it happens to be in a row of binders that are tightly packed.

I'm a lttle cross with myself. I'm more cross with the bloody cabinet,  as I did try the drawer with the binder several times before committing myself.

I've come downstairs now, and I'll go back later when  I have summoned energy and tool of some description.

And I'm looking again at other cabinets.

Saturday 14 November 2020


We had an incident last night.   Resisted the impulse ro dial 999, I called 111 for advice.  I had to go through several recorded informations, each requiring a menu selection, each one about Covid and suggesting I go online.

I wasn't calling about Covid. Eventually the menu options fizzled out and I was in a queue waiting for an operator . The recorded message said there woukd be a long delay as they were exceptionally busy.

I waited ..... and then hung up.  I dialled 999 instead.

The call ended up with us going to a local out of hours centre.   I was happier about that than having an ambulance arrive unnecessarily. 

In the end, all was OK.  

Thank goodness.

Kitty Vandal

The kittens are fascinated by the money trees. 

 We had one, youngish, plant on our living room windowsill. It was quite bushy and full.  "had" and "was" are the operative terms here.

Lewis kept biting bits off.  We'd find them all over the floor.  Eventually the poor plant was a shadow of its former self.      

Once the kittens were able to go outside, the plant chewing reduced, and the money tree recovered somewhat.  It was still spindly, but it started to sprout and produce more leaves.

This morning, I found two lumps of it on the windowsill, one either side. There was also a solitary "leaf" on the floor. 

We haven't seen either kitten having a go at the plant, but Lewis is our main suspect.


Friday 13 November 2020

No mean feet

I was lucky to have birthday money to spend,  and I spend all of it (and a bit more!) on some accessories for my Coverstitch machine.    I've got a new Coverstitch coming in January,  but the "feet" I bought also work on my current one.   

The lovely Jane White (from Jane White Tuition in Barton upon Humber,  who runs  was kind enough to spend some time with me via Zoom, showing me some of the feet.  I also took part in a fab Foot Fetish Zoom she ran with Katy from Babylock demonstrating,  and those Zooms helped me decide what to get.

I tried out one of the "Downturn Feller" attachments almost as soon as my package arrived, and it was very easy to get working. .  I don't have any pictures.    I can do that in a straight line, but I need to practice to see if I can use it "in the round", which means where the seam I'm hemming forms a circle (like the hem of a skirt,  or a closed neck, or a closed armhole).    It's meant to be possible... but I need to practice.

I had to psyche myself up to try the more meaty purchases, and I finally did so today.  These ones all require strips of fabric.  I asked DH to make me some acrylic templates so I could easily cut strips of fabric the correct width (so I don't have to mark and measure),  and he has made 4 so far. 

The ones I've put yellow labels on are 2 different sized  "double fold binding" accessories.  

The ones with blue labels on are "Belt Loop Folders", which is a very unattractive name.   I don't think I'll ever make belt loops,  but these attachments make it super fast to make straps (for bags, or sundresses) or hanging loops, or pull cords for shorts, or whatever.    I'm going to use them to make ties for some gift bags. 

I tested the templates for the two "belt loopers" today. I just used some random bits of fabric,   and I used whatever thread my machine had on it.   The results are beautiful!

The "belt looper" takes a flat strip of fabric,  folds the two edges over, and then sews a twin row of stitching on the top side, and looper stitching on the "wrong" (i.e. back)  side.  The looper stitching covers the raw edges of the fabric, so it doesn't unravel.

Without the attachment, I'd have to: (a) press my strip of fabric in half (b) open it out, then press the two edges in to the middle, (c) stitch.     Trying to fold such a small amount and press it, is a real pain in the b*m.  It's usually a pain in the fingers, as well, as I invariably burn myself.   It is possible to do it withough an iron,  but it's a lot of effort. 

It's so easy!

I also tried out the Double Fold binder.  This is so that I can put a binding around an edge.  It's "double fold" because all raw edges are completely encapsulated.   It can make the bound area a bit thick (because there is the original edge fabric, and then there are 4 layers of binding (folded and folded again),  but it is so neat!

This isn't  a particularly great example - I just picked up a scrap of woven fabric, and cut a scrap of jersey for the binding.  Again, I didn't change the threads on my machine, and I didn't change the needle positions (I had left and righ needles in, , and if I was doing this for real I'd probably have used the centre needle instead of one of the outside needles). 

The right (top) side of the fabric is the darker blue, and you can see how beautiful and even the binding is.    On the wrong (back) side of the fabric, you can see the beautful looper stitching.

I've got a larger sized double fold binder to try,  and a single fold binder.    I'll wait until DH has done the templates for me before I give those a test run.

Who knows?  I might even get round to making something! :-)



Thursday 12 November 2020


I was watching the flock from the upstairs window yesterday.     They really are "a flock" now. 

There are still moments of bad temper,    but mostly they get on well enough.  Although their coops all open at about 7.15,  we have been delaying opening access to the garden until 10, 10.15. 10.30.    Even with this, there aren't too  many issues - helped by the fact that we have a run in two parts, so there is plenty of space for the enemies/frenemies to keep out of each others way.

We're making them stay in later and later because a bird-flu-pandemic lockdown is imminent and,when it comes, they will have to stay in all the time.    We're working on netting some of the outside area so that we can continue to give them a bit of "outside time" when this happens,  but it's more complicated here in the garden than it was at the allotment.  We have shrubs, and sheds, and cats,  and it's not so easy to erect something.

They continue to sleep in 4 coops.   Nora,  our oldest girl,  now sleeps on her own in little Go Up.   I think she started doing this because Fleur (who has been such a bitch) decoded she wanted to sleep in "Nora's Cube" and started picking on Nora again at bedtime.      Fleur hasn't been in that cube for some nights now, but Nora has continued to sleep alone.

In the Green Cube (which was Nora's Cube) in the fruitbed part of the run,  we have Big Bird, either Violet or Bott, I can't tell without being able to see the leg ring,  and a changing selection of one or two others.

In the Orange Cube (which was the Leghorn cube), we usually have 3 birds.  It's not always the same 3.

In the Purple Cube, is everyone else.  This might be 8 birds.  One night it was 10 birds.

I'm happy that the birds are mixing where they are sleeping, as it means it's likely to be less cliquey overall. Of course,m I'd like them to get down to just 2 Cubes, as this would be easier to manage, and would free up the other 2 for emergencies (or future chicks,  I hear myself whispering). 

They've got a good amount of garden space at the moment, as they have been given DH's raised beds to explore.  Looking at them, in lines and groups spread around the garden, I found myself thinking "15 isn't such a lot"

But I do remember that it's only "not such a lot" because they are all getting on.  And I remember how miserable it was when they weren't.

I need to update the notes to my brother.   During Covid, I had written instructions for him on what to do with the Girls (each one),  in the event that something happened to both me and DH.    I'd updated the instructions once (twice? can't remember) during the intervening months, as the girls started to settle down.  

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Hotting Up

I'm struggling to regulate my temperature at the moment.

It's cold, so I'm wearing a jumper.  The soles of my feet ache a bit (a combination of cold and plantar fasciitis) so I've also been wearing slipper sock things to try and help them. .

I'm finding that I'm fine one minute, and then suddenly I feel a burst of heat explode in my arms and then rise through my shoulders, neck and face.  I feel quite unwell while it's happening.  Once that's retreated, my feet start roasting.   It's most likely hot flushes.    I had hoped that I had gone through the menopause while I still used my Mirena, but I'm assuming now that was not the case.


Sunday 8 November 2020

Seizing up

We're not moving as much as normal (whatever "normal" was.  Seems a long time ago).  

It's a lovely November day.   I stood on the doorstep for the two minutes silence,  along with just a couple of neighbours (surprised there weren't more actually, as we have plenty who are in the older age group that tend to feel the importance of this).     Of course there was nothing to mark the end of two minutes and, when I eventually felt able to fish my phone out of my pocket and check,  it had actually been a 3 and a half minute silence.

We're doing Pilates three times a week now,  and it's helpful - but it's not enough on its own.    Early this afternoon I dragged a very reluctant DH out to do a walk around our local recreation ground.     Just a short walk, just under a mile,  but it was good to get the air in my lungs and my legs stretched.

The Pilates teacher is also running a 30 day challenge, which DH is quite keen for us to do. 

I bought a Shakti mat to try.  I can't lay on it without a cover on,  but it's quite comfortable with it.  I can only manage short sessions though and I've not been doing it regularly.    I'm going to find a way to make it part of my daily routine.  Let's be honest, it's not as if I don't have time for it.

A recent blood test indicated that one of my medications needed upping. I started on the higher dose on Friday, so  it will be interesting to see if I notice any improvements.    I've also been increasing the dose of my 2 tinctures.  I'm now at 18 drops (0.6ml) of each, which is still less than a third of the recommended amount at the bottom of the range.   I'll be increasing to 24 drops (0.8ml shortly). 

My rosacea had improved noticeably, for the briefest of times.  I looked in the mirror and was amazed to see a difference.  I took photos and compared with previous photos to make sure I wasn't imagining it.  A few days later, the Rosacea was back,  and I'm not sure why.   I imagine the stuff in my gut (that I'm trying to get rid of) started fighting back a little harder.

Isobelle, our elderly cat,  is seizing up a bit.  The November and December weather does this to her every year. Each year, we keep a careful eye on her in case she's suffering.  So far, she's been OK,  just a bit slow and stiff ("I know that feeling").

We've started giving her some stuff to help her movement.  She's sleeping a lot.    She had her monthly check up at the Vet on Friday - I'm so happy that they are able to carry on seeing patients -   and she'd put on a litttle bit of weight. I guess that's really because she hasn't been running around so much. 

The kittens were most interested in Izzy being put in a bag. I'm not sure she appreciated them sitting on top, and biffing her from all sides!

Shelby has been busy chasing squirrels.    She's also tried chasing Fay, one of our few really loopy hens.  Unfortunately, Fay reacts by shrieking and running away, which really encourages Shelby to chase her.      Shelby has no intention of actually catching her though; I watched several interactions over the last few days and can see from the way Shelby behaves that this is the case.

I'm getting the stirrings of an Itch to Stitch (An Urge to Serge, ha ha, I must tell my brother that one).  I tested out one of the sets of accessories, the 5/8" downturn feller, for my coverstitch and it worked quite well.  That is to say it worked well on a straight bit of fabric,  I've got to work out how to use it "in the round".     I've got to have a go at one of the double fold binders,  but these require a different method of garment contruction to the one I usually use,  and I've not had success with that method when I've tried it before. 

I need to do something though.  How many times have I said that?   I don't know!

Thursday 5 November 2020

Hand Made

My little cousin (actually my first cousin once removed), Miss T,   made me some things for my birthday.

First, she made me a superb lemon drizzle cake.  It was divine.  She achieved a brilliant combination of sugar and lemon in the drizzle,  it was like eating sugar and lemon pancakes when I was a kid (when pancakes were once a year only,  and only came with sugar and lemon.  Lots of sugar. Lots of Jif Lemon).

It was divine.


She also made me a clever little tag, which was a cat on one side and a chick (complete with an on-offable light for the wattles) on the other.

The light is actually red, the camera adjusted it to white for some reason.

Absolutely lovely!

Lockdown, again

I'm going to try and do a few specific things during this new 4 week lockdown.

I've got some new feet arriving today, courtesy of my birthday.  They are meant to go with my new coverstitch machine, which won't be arriving until January now,  but I should be able ot get them to work on the current model.    I'm going to try them all out, and possibly try and use some of them properly before lockdown is finished.

Next, we're going to decorate some butter dishes. Our local pottery place is opening on Thursdays and Saturdays  during Lockdown for people to drop off pieces for firing and to collect them.   I'm hoping to get ours done in the next week. Maybe.

Also on the  ArtyCrafty front,  my DexDIL and DGDs got me something crafty for my birthday.  It's kinda like a Cross Stitch/Paint by Numbers, but instead of cross stitch or painting, it involves sticking specifically coloured plastic pieces on a canvas.  It's a chicken related picture, and I think it's going to look fab when it's done.

We're going to finish degaraging.

I'm not making christmas cakes this year, for the first time in 32? years.   I am making Christmas puddings though.   This year, of course, we don't know who is going to be where at Christmas,  so I'm making a number of of small puddings;  if we can get together, people can bring their puddings with them.     I made the pudding on Tuesday,  steamed them all yesterday, and I've cleaned and rewrapped the cooked puddings today.   This one can actually have a small tick against it already.  It's not a big tick because I still have to sort out the labels and instructions, and arrange to send them out



Sunday 1 November 2020


Not my post, but I found it interesting

No win situation

I wish the Media would just stop for a while.

Whatever decision the Governmnet took, the Press would just go on about the harm that particular decision was doing. 

It's a shitty situation.  There is no right answer.

Let's just stop complaining, and try and get on with it