Friday 28 October 2022

On hold

We did an ikea Click & Collect earlier in the week, and it was much better than the usual hassle. The stuff was wheeled out to me on a trolley, we wheeled it to the car, loaded the carm unkloaded when we got home.  DH started building the stuff today.  What could go wrong?

Well what could go wrong is that we didn't spot that one of the boxes wasn't factory sealed, it had been resealed with tape.  (We didn't pick the boxes up one by one, we just picked them up in piles and put them in the car).

When DH came to assembe the item, there was a key component (and the instructions) missing.  He was not a happy bunny.

I looked online to try and find out how to report this.  I coudln't get a number for the local store, there was no online reporting, I had to phone a central number.

The recorded message warned that the waiting time was 45 minutes. 

And it was.

Luckily,  the on hold music was Abba, which made me smile.

The customer service person was very helpful, and is arranging for a replacement item to be sent.   

I fed back my appreciation of the choice of on hold music.




A few days ago, it had been raining. I went out to the summerhouse, and slipped. I went arse over tip, and fell heavily.  It really really hurt.

I'd slipped on some moss or slime, or whatever, that forms there in the autumn and winter months.  

I got up, tried not to cry, and carried on.  Later, I jetwashed the patio to try and remove whatever it was.

It swelled up a bit, and was really quite painful.

The following day was Pilates.  I was OK for most of the class,   but refused to do the floor exercises where I was lying on that side.

Today I coukd feel that the swelling had gone down, but it was still painful.  DH suggested I looked in a mirror.

I think this beats the bruise I got when I was bucked off my bareback pony, Peter.

Thursday 27 October 2022


We are having a bit of work done on the house, and to enaable this to be done we've had to excavate under the stairs. 

This involved rehoming two push bikes,  many coatsm, many shoes, and a variety of other bixes and storage, which normally reside there.  There is stuff everywhere downstairs,  and the Summerhouse looks like a dumping ground (which it is).

The work will take 3 days.

Yesterday,  DH's beer thing decided to leak,  an O ring went.   He cleared up as best he could, moving stuff off the worktop to clean it and dry it.    Then he measured the amount of beer left,  measured the mount that was in the try (he stood it on a tray just in case), and we believe a couple of litres has gone down the back of the kitchen cabinets.

So, we're now going to have to take everything off the entire worktop, so we can remove it, get the cabinets out, and clean up.

I'm looking on it as a good opportunity to do a thorough clean.


Sunday 23 October 2022


A lot of yesterday was spent studying (and arguing about) an Ikea kitchen base unit.

I'm going to be filling it with inner drawers.   The inner drawers come in 3 heights,  and are not exact multiples of each other.  I could see that I could get 8 of the lowest ones in the 80cm high unit, and I could probably get 4 of the medium ones in.  I couldn't work out the high ones.  And when it came to mixing the sizes, I just couldn't get my head around it  because the high one is such a strange size.   Also, in some cases I didn't need a "high", I needed a medium with a bit of extra headroom.

 It wasn't that I couldn't get my head around it per se, It was because I know (from experience) that the additional variable in all of this  is the location of the holes in the cabinet sides. Sometimes the drawers don't land in helpful places.

I had started a discussion about this, with DH,  a while ago.  It ended up in a bit of a...... disagreement, because I said the unit could take  8 low drawers and he said 6. I know where he got the 6 from, and I explained that the inner drawers are a different height to the outer drawer fronts.  I could not persuade him, even showing him, so we left it.

I now needed his help (as he would be the poor soul who would be putting all this together), so we went out to look at the base unit which has been sitting in the summerhouse for some years now.  It contains 1 low, 1 medium, 1 high inner drawer,  and 2 high drawer fronts (which will not be used).

We went round in a circular argument for a while.   DH could see that it was indeed  8 inner low drawers,  4 inner medium drawers, and he was adamant that everything could be divided by 8.     I knew this wasn't the case, the high drawer wasn't double any of the others (in the end I realised it was about the size of a medium plus a low).    I'm losing the ability to articulate,  and I get very frustrated,  and DH (understandably) feels that I'm taking it out on him.    Sometimes I am, and it's very unfair of me. I try and acknowledge and apologise for it.   Sometimes,  DH just won't listen or hear what I am trying to say, or dismisses it as wrong,   and that's when I get really upset.  Usually I end up giving up at this point, but that wasn't an option yesterday, I really need to get this right. 

Eventually, we were putting the different drawers in the bottom (there were only 3 runners in the carcass), and the only one which was positioned to take any size drawer was the bottom one.  Suddenly he saw that I was right about the high drawer.   We both tried to work out the permutations,  and we both found it a pain in the b*m.    We then had a helpful discussion about it, and agreed the only thing to do would be to get some of the drawers and try it  (but we wouldn't put the runners in the carcass until we were sure (because screwing and unscrewing them isn't a good idea). 

Sometimes DH tells me that I don't want to do what I want to to do,  and that is like pouring petrol on the fire.   Yesterday, however, he made a suggestion about abandoning the high drawers altogether,  and it was a really good idea.


This morning's target was for me to clear out enough out of the bedroom so that we could turn the bed around and put it in its intended new place.

Even though I will be  putting  a new bed (without a high foot end) in there,  I wanted to move the bed as it meant that I could start working out how to arrange the new fitted wardrobe space.   

I spent a good hour or so lugging stuff out of the guest room into our bedroom, including moving several Kallax units.      I then had to start taking all the stuff off the bed (it's been piling up again while I've been sorting out the haberdashery),  everything from under the bed....

Once again, the upstairs looks like a Hoarders Haven. It's so bad, I can't take a picture.

I came downstairs for a drink and a break.  I went outside to see to the Girls, cleaned and refiilled one o fthe drinkers,  let Phyllis out from the fruitcage (where I put her so she can have a selection of tasty treats in peace),

Tehn I went back upstairs,  swept the debris from the floor under the desk (I was in a hurry), and DH appeared to help me turn the bed before he went out.     We had to slide the bed,  which was just as well as there is no way on this earth that  could lift it.  It's wrought iron, and weighs a ton without the extra hugh super deluxe mattress (even the mattress is a challenge to lift).

We did it, and the bed is currently shoved against the wall so that I can get access to the alcove where the new wardrobe is going.     I'm having a breather before I start moving stuff back in, 

The wardrobe doors will be a few weeks.  I haven't bought a replacement bed yet (I had briefly toyed with the idea of putting the bed under the window, moving the radiator.....),  and I think I'll need to sort that out next week.   I've been looking for a preloved one,  but if I go down that route,  I'm limited on underbed height.  The best I've found (preloved,  iron (because they are smaller frames than wooden beds),  no foot end) is 30cm,  and that just isn't ideal.  

I'd like to get the room in order (everything back in,   more or less in its eventual place, by the end of October.  That may or may not include the Ikea units for the haberdashery.   I'm busy seeking out and buying preloved drawers at the moment. Of course I'm looking for the rarest of sizes).

I've got about an hours energy before my enthusiasm battery dies, so I'd better get back to it.

Friday 21 October 2022


Flockdown is, we assume,  imminent.

We already have to keep the feed undercover,  make sure we have footbaths, and take other hygiene precaitions, it' can't be long before full lockdown is imposed.

We decided to start getting prepared a little while ago.    We ordered new netting (the previous lot had been wind ravaged and had extra holes in),  and DH sorted out poles etc. 

The poor shrubs which live happily right by the coops have had to have a drastic pruning - mainly slicing off the tops so that they don't interfere with the netting.  It was brutal. 

Hopefully they will recover, eventually. It may take some time, because the netting will restrict the sun which gets to them.

The holly will be further chopped down near Christmas.    We have several holly bushes/trees,  4 varieties and 5 plants I think.   The others are sensibly growing along the fenceline. YThis one is an interloper, and we probably should have pulled him out when he first tried to establish himself.

DH put the poles up over the last few days, and all we need to do now is to get the netting over them.

This year, we incorporated the door from the Catio into the arrangement, which will make access so very much easier.





Gently does it

I needed to see my McTimoney Chiropractor.  

I saw the Physio  last week because my neck was so painful.  She has been fantastic in mobilising my upper back and shoulder,   and I needed a lot of quite intense manipulation and massage.  Last week was the first time I didn't get a lasting improvement after her session. I did get an immediate improvement that afternoon and evening, but it was all lost by the following morning.

I realised a few days ago that what my neck needed was some very gentle manipulation and stretching, the sort my lovely Chiro, Tania, does.     Tania, who is going on holiday, had no slots available.

I tried to get a GP appointment (end of the month).    I thought about going to another Chiro.  I could see that might be the only option.  But I kept checking Tania's calendar each day, hoping for a cancellation. Finally,  there was one, and I grabbed it.

I saw her yesterday.  It's been 6 months since I last saw her.     She listened to my outpouring of woe (there was a lot to tell her,  I hadn't realised quite how much had happened, health wise,  in the last 6 months).  

She examined,  she tested my neck,  she said she needed to do some releasing elsewhere first.  And then she did her stuff.     And it really helped.  

It wasn't a "wow, I felt it all resolve" moment,  it was a "oh, that feels a bit easier",  "that's better".    And it was an easier drive home.    It wasn't a good night. Not the worst, but not great.  But I was relatively OK this morning. 

And DH and I have just moved the 3.6cubic metre log delivey from the drive into the greenhouse, barrow by barrow. 

The back of my legs are complaining, my glutes are shouting, and I'm shattered.  But my neck?  It is OK.     Not "I'm now back to perfectly good health",  but it's OK.

I need to go and so some stretching to try and release off my poor aching muscles.


Tuesday 18 October 2022


Progress is slow, but there is progress.

I'm under the weather and can only do short bursts of activity.     Upstairs is chaotic, as I've been removing everything from the Guest Bedroom/Sewing room to test some reorganisation ideas.

First, I had to get everything out from under the bed.   It was completely packed under there. 

Second, I raised the bed, high enough to slide 2 Kallax units under there.

Third, I emptied two Kallax units (currently in a stack of 4 against the wall) of their fabric, and got DH to unscrew them from the wall, so that I could put them under the bed. I had 8 Drona boxes of fabric,  plus another 8 achive boxes of fabric, which had been sitting on the top of the pile of Kallaxes.

At this point I was in a complete logjam.  I couldn't move for stuff, and I couldn't move stuff, because I had stuff everywhere.

I spilled out into our bedroom, the landing, and the box room.  I stacked all the Drona boxes of fabric   in our bedroom..

I started a massive bag of fabrics to donate to  my DGD.

I started a pile of empty storage boxes.  I organised the boxes of fabric into piles.  I started box for "other".  

I removed the two packaging roll cutters (which held my tailors cardboard, and my dot/cross paper) and stood them in our bedroom for now.

I identified some stuff that I could donate, and that went downstairs to be photographed.

By this stage, upstairs had started to look like one of those hoarder houses, even though there was some logic to the confusion.

(Paragraph deleted because it was mind boggingly detailed,  explaining how I'd moved this out of there, and that out of here, and got DH to remove those shelves so I could insert some of the Drona....... and t and no use at all unless I put up pictures )

As I stood surveying it all (and wondering whether to justgive up craft hobbies),, I realised that there was a Potential Solution to all of this (apart from getting rid of it all),   I assessed all the stuff I had, and came up with The Grand Plan.

The Grand Plan involves:

  • a complete and utter reorganisation of the storage.
  • a complete and utter review of everything that I am storing
  • extending the fitted wardrobes across the whole of one wall, so that almost everything   goes beghind those sliding doors
  • turning the bed 180 degrees and putting it against theopposite wall, where the fabric is currently srored
  • a different bed.  The bed raising worked, and I need a  new-to-me bed, which is high enough to get Kallax or similar under,  and, most importantly,  which does not have an end (so we can squeeze through the gap between the end of the bed and the sliding wardrobe doors).

I started to reorganise what I could, to test whether the Grand Plan would work, before committing to buying the new doors.   As I reviewed, sorted, and moved stuff,  I realised that I could make the left hand side into the haberdashery/craft storage,  and the new right hand side into the fabric storage (plus get my mannequin in there, plus the various rolls of sewing related bits like vellum,  tracing paper, etc_).

Once I'd freed up some space in the Haberdashery side, I was able to start breaking down my Really Usfel storage towers into smaller blocks, and stacking them in there, organising stuff by frequency of need of access.  

More stuff spilled out on to the landing, as I moved empty storage boxes and bags out there,  rubbish out there, stuff to donate out there...    

My embroidery thread tower went in,  and then I decided to  put the sewing cones in there. As I looked at them, an idea about how to store them formed in my head..  and I went off piste while I investigated this in detail.  In the end, it seemed like a go-er,  but I don't want to implement it yet.  At the moment, it was just about locatig things, I decided I'd worry about the correct type of storage later.  I made very detailed notes, and went back to reorganising.

I slid some of the non-craft/sewing stuff under the bed.   

I looked at sewing table, and how much of the storage from below it I'd managed to put in the wardrobe.  And then it occurred to me:  I may be able to free up even more space than I previously thought.  I may be able to free up enough so that I can move the A0 printer from the kitchen up to the sewing room!  How amazing would that be?!  Even Grander Plan.

And then I was unwell for a couple of days.

I'm getting better now, soi I'm going to try and evaluate the Even Grander Plan today and tomorrow. 

Grand Plan

  • All my dressmaking fabrics will go in Kallax units/boxes in the extended wardrobe.  
  • The existing fitted wardrobe side will have (almost) all my haberdashery in, and any craft stuff
  • Underbed will be mainly be non hobby stuff - things like the spare duvets,, pillows, bedding,  games etc.
  • One Kallax unit, under the bed, may be used for hobby stuff, if I can't avoid it, but maybe I could limit this to my hobby books/self bound collections. Maybe,
  • Ease of access is key.  There is no point putting stuff away if it's a faff to get to.
  • I may not need a bed quite as high as I previously thought, and I might be able to get DH to make me something like a Kallax but smaller,  which will give me more options when it comes to getting a new bed.

Even Grander Plan

  • The craft stuff stashed under my desk, behind the storage, gets rehomed into the Haberdashery wardrobe
  • I reduce what I need "out front" so that it will fit into a 1x4 Kallax
  • I put the 1x4 Kallax on big castors (so it will fit over the desk legs
  • I put the A0 printer on, and associated stuff in, said Kallax
  • 1 or both counter roll holders stand on end, under the desk, at the back 

It's snowballing a bit.

Sunday 9 October 2022

To intervene or not

We have two bird feeders.  Originally, both were enormous things, which I could fill up and leave for ages if necessary.  A little while ago, one of them came apart when I filled it up, the plastic had shattered.  We could see that the other feeder also had a crack around the base, so that was likely to need replacing at some point.

I bought one replacement.  I couldn't justify the cost of buying two of the large ones, not at once and not right now.  I decided to try a newer style of the same feeder, which was smaller and correspondingly cheaper.   I was thinking that I could then decide whether to buy a replacement large one, or another of the newer ones, when the inevitable happened to the other feeder.

Birds tend to be neophobes,  so they've ignored the new feeder.  The feed in the older one has been going down and down, and the newbie has remained untouched.   This morning, I noticed thsat he large fefeder was more or less empty,  and the newbie had been used.

I went out to fill up the old  large bird feeder.  I cleaned the portholes, gingerly.  I  was very gentle, filling it, and only filled it half full (in case it broke and we lost a lot of valuable sunflower heart). 

The Girls were lined up against the netting, watching me carefully.  They haven't had sunflower hearts for ages,   they had started to turn their beaks up at them so I've been giving them corn. They aren't too keen on that, either.

I threw some sunflower seeds on to the grass, and did a headcount.  7.   I dida comb count and realised that Phyllis wasn't there.  I took a deep breath, and went to see if I could find her.    She was still in the coop.  This wasn't good.

She was standing in the corner,  a little hunched up.  I offered her some sunflower seeds,  she rejected them.   I went to the house and got the tub of live mealworms.  I opened the back of the coop again, in time to see her flopping down the ladder.     I went into the Run, shut the autodoor so the others couldn't get in,  and offered her some mealworms while I looked her over.  She ate a few, and seemed momentarily brighter.

Phyllis is not a spring chicken.   She's an old lady,  and she's been in decline for a while.  She was originally a big fat hen,  and she's lost weight over the last few months.   For about a month, I've been singling her out to give her some extra tasty food each day,  away from the others.   She mingles happily enough with the others,  she sunbathes,  she ambles about,  she comes for treats.  There has been no consideration about hastening her hend,  as she's been henjoying life,

As I watched her eat some of the mealworms, and ignore others,  I wondered about awhether we are reaching the point of making the decision to cull.     I mulled over the rights and wrongs of intervening.     It's so much easier (for us) if the Girls just pop off by themselves.  Making the decision to cull when you can see a bird is in pain or distress is a no-brainer.    Making the decision to cull when a bird is obvious declining, is (for me) not easy.  

If she has a few happy days (or weeks) left,    she has the right to see them.   On the other hand,  I don't want to not cull and then find the poor girl suffering. I can't stand it when people keep an obviously suffering pet because they can't bear to let them go. 

Sometimes I focus on the end.  If I believe that we'll be making the decuision to cull in a few das anyway,   and the bird is on the slippery slope towards suffering,  I find it easier to make the call.  "Better a week too soon than a minute too late" is a mantra I've used a lot when thinking about these things, and I find it helpful.  It eases the pain the decision gives me.   

 But how long ahead should I be looking?

It's a warm and sunny afternoon, and Phyllis has made her way down the garden and is standing in the sunshine.   

Today isn't the day,

I need to keep a close eye on her, and look at how she seems.  I'll continue offering her tasty morsels by hand each day so I can monitor her more closely.   I need to watch how the others are around her, and how she is around them. 

The Grls

Saturday 8 October 2022


It's been difficult drying washing for the last couple of weeks.   I've had to make sure the main airer only has one load of washing on, and I've had to get a second airer out if I need ot dry a second load at he sae time.   Instea do fbeing dry the next day, it takes a couple of days now.

Once we out the central heating on, it'll be OK again.  In the meantime, it means the washing is mounting up faster than I can get through it.    

Today is a gorgeously warm day.  I have windows and doors open, and I may even try and use the line outside (although that didn't work on the last "warm" day).      I've managed to give the bathroom a good clean,  not quite a bottoming out,  but it did include me sorting out the vanity unit and removing some stuff I'm not likely to use.  

I also discovered that I still had some Lavender Wool Wash,   and some other lingerie cleaner from Lakeland, which doesn't need rinsing.   I was going to chuck them both, on the basis that I can't remember when I last used them (I used to handwash all my underwired bras).... but then I remembered that I had, actually, been wishing for some Lavender Wool Wash a couple of weeks ago.   I decided I'd leave them there for now.

I was using some Neat to clean the bathroom.   I like their unscented version,  which I use in the kitcheen now instead of Koh.   I don't mind their Mango and Fig variety, and I ise that elsewhere, and sometimes in the kitchn if I pick it up by mistake,     When I bought the trial pack, I also included 3 others fragrances,  a typical triumph of hope over experience. 

One, Seagrass and Lotus I think,  was so vile, I poured it down the drain as soon as I tried it.    I replaced it with  Sage and Mint,  and that seemed not as bad,  and was bearable, or so I thought  Today though, having used quite a lot of it, I decided I couldn't bear it after all, it was clogging up my olfactory system. That went down the sink, and I've been avoiding the bathroom until the air has cleared.    I've now made up a bottle of the Grapefruit and YlangYlang variety, to see if I can tolerate that.     I know I could just use the non scented version,  but sometimes it's good to have a scent in a cleaner,  it means the room smells like it's been cleaned.

On a getting rid of clutter note,  DH managed to dismantle (dismember more like) my lovely but enormous Egotron mobile laptop cart.  I had wanted to keep it in the sewing room, but it takes up too much space (the base, where the castors are, is surprisingly large)  - especially as I've decided that I'll probably have to keep the embroidery machine in the sewing room after all. 

I didn't want to sell it though.  It's one of those things which cost a small fortune, was worth every penny,  and would be a waste to sell.   That means it has to go in the loft.  It weighs 48kg (it has a gas lift table as art of it) and so it needed to be taken apart to have a chance of getting it in the loft.  It's constructed in such a way that it can't be easily taken apart, but DH spent some time sorting it out today.  It's now in the loft, and it'll stay there until we find a use for it, or decide to sell it.

Speaking of decluttering, did I mention that I'd managed to get some bed raisers for a bargain price?   I had been looking for a particular set of extendable risers,  preloved.   I'd found a few, too far away, and getting them to me meant that they cost ore than buying new.  Also, they all came with round "cups" and my bed has square legs, so I could see that I'd have to buy additional square cups to use them.    This all meant it was quite an expensive outlay for something which might not work anyway. 

Luckily, I spotted a pair for an unbelievably low price, which made collecting them worthwhile.   If they didn't fit,  I could sell them on and get my money back, even factoring in the cost of buying new square cups.

The square cups arrived yesterday, and it looks like it might work.   I want to see if I can get the bed high enough to put, say, a Kallax or two under the bed, and sort out storage a little better.  This is a kind of "proof of concept".

If it works,  I'll eventually look at getting a different bed, one without an iron bed-end (which gets in the way, sadly) and which is higher than normal.  I'd had to get everything off the bed, and most of the stuff out from under the bed yesterday.   I just couldn't lift the bed up and move the riser to the right place!  Sometimes getting old is fabulous (like the liberation of finding I have fewer f*cks to give),  but sometimes it's a bitch, 

I've worked out a plan of action now, and I'll try again later.  I might have to ask DH to help.


Friday 7 October 2022


We had a road trip this morning, to take the scanner 50 miles to the people who were going to see if they could fix it.

I shut the Girls in,  and found Lewis in their Run.  He refused to come out, so I shut the door and came back to the house.  DH tried to get him out, but he decided yo go and sit under one of the Cubes where he couldn't be easily reached.  Even treats being shaken didn't persuade him to move.

DH got a garden cane to poke through the bars, to persuade him to move.  I went into the run to block access to the Cube area (after he'd been ejected) and to  try and catch him.  Eventually, he was out, and we locked up and set off. 

It was a stunningly beautiful morning.  Dry, warm, but with an autumnal edge.   It took us an hour to reach our destination, amd the scanner (who really should have a name) was left in their care.

We took a brief walk around the town, which was mainly antique shops.    We didn't actually go in any shops,  not even the haberdashers. DH wasn't too enthusiastic about walking round the town in the first place, had less than no interest in browsing inside a shop,  and most definitely hadn't signed on for hanging around while I browsed in a haberdashery shop.  

We visited here on the canal once, many years ago.  We didn't get in to the towm,  we walked along a leafy path directly to a pub.  We couldn't find the pub,  not that we looked that hard.  We did pop down to the canal to see if we could work out where we had moored,  but we must have done so a little outside town. 

DH did agree to go and have breakfast somewhere,  but wasn't really happy about doing so.   Lockdown, with it's not going anywhere, has not changed some things :-).    Normally (well, whatever Normally means now) I would have made the whole trip on my own, but my car is Making Noises, and I didn't want to travel too far in it.    

On the plus side,  the breakfast was good, the little cafe was lovely,  and it has made me realise that I really DO need to get my car looked at.   A job for next week.

Back home now. It's still sunny, but it is now windy, cold and a little damp.  The Girls were fractious,  and were all hanging around the autodoor  waiting for it to open.  As soon as the little gate began to rise,  they started forcing their way out.  Then they thundered down the garden together, racing for the best spot by the Pampas......where they promptly sat down, and started preening.  

Thursday 6 October 2022

Best laid plans

I wrote out a set of goals on Tuesday, quite detailed ones.  Too dull to post, but I needed to write them down to help me commit to them.

One of the goals was to have all my self-drafted patterns scanned and stored by 15th October.   The driver for this was that I needed to find a particular pattern piece, as I wanted to check the bust dart drafting on my original Sure Fit Designs body blueprint.     I wasn't sure where I'd stored the originals, and I'd found stacks of things when I had looked for Miss Teen's pattern folder.

I thought that it would be very helpful for me to scan them all, once and for all,  so I wouldn't lose them again - and, more importantly,  so I could print a copy to play with, rather than having to manually trace it. Exactly the rationale for me buying a scanner, and wanting to trace my pattern pieces.

I got the scanner down (it's big, I need to use the breakfast bar as I need lots of space either side), got the a load of pattern pieces from my drawer upstairs, and yesterday I was ready to get started (after Pilates and a late breakfast).  I found a USB stick to use.    I did a test run with one of the pieces.  Scan.  Move USB to laptop,  copy file onto laptop,  plug projector in to laptop,  project scan,  compare projected scan to original pattern piece.     Yippee, it worked!  The scanner calibration was correct!

The first few scans took a while.       I initially scanned each piece twice,  once as a PDF and again as an image file.  I wanted to see if I could import the image file into suitable software to edit it electronically. Every two or three pieces, I'd go and check them, and then I'd stack the pattern piece in a specific pile.  

I stopped scanning for a while so that I could investigate converting the JPG image into something that U could use in pattern software.   I was struggling to find something I could use to check that the image was a true size.

I couldn't quite get that to work.  I mean, I scanned the image, but I couldn't convert it accurately enough,  I decided that this was an unnecessary diversion,  and I decided to scan just as PDFs.  

I went off to see if I could find the original blueprints.  I found them in a helpfully artists A0 portfolio,   I leafed through the pieces in there, and found the one I wanted.   I gt a little side tracked studing the front blueprint, I was sure that i'd got an error in that bust dart.  What I needd was a copy that I could try manipulating!   How exciting!!

I decided that I'd finish last few from the non blueprint ones first, to get them out of the way and put away.  That way, I wouldn't get (any further) distracted.   I loaded the carrier sheet with the next piece, and found the scanner had stopped working.  It was dead.  

It had ceased to be.

I tried it in a different socket.  I turned it off and left it off for ages.  Nothing worked,

DH came home and did a test on the power supply, and that was  OK, so it seems to be a fault with the scanner.   I found an online troubleshooting guide, but in order t use it, I needed the service manual.   I found a service manuak for a related scanner, but then I realised that I would be faffing around in the dark - and I had no spare bits to try swapping anyway,

How very disappointing.

I've contacted the company that did the recalibration for me, I hope that they can help.




Tuesday 4 October 2022

Sweet Sorrow

I keep Miss Teen's cut out patterns - those that I want to re-use - hanging on hooks in the sewing/guest/Miss Teen room.  Each set of pieces is on its own pattern hanger, and then they are hung on one of the hooks put up for the purpose.  Today I took them all down, as she's outgrown them all now. 

 I was a little sad, as she's at the Teen stage where she wouldn't be seen dead in home made clothes,  she has to wear whatever is regarded as "in",  and has a fairly limited colour palette now (compared to her younger self).  I hope that she regains some of her joys of colour and pattern when she gets over the teenage phase. 

I remembered that I had stashed the older patterns somewhere,  so I had a look in the boxroom  and found them,    all stored in an A1 clear drawing pocket,  stashed behind the filing cabinets, in a very awkward to reach place. They go back to age 8!

I kept them in case I wanted to make something for another girl, or in case my brother wanted to have a go at making something for his granddaughters.   And I also kept them because I had carefully stapled fabric to each pattern, so I knew what item had been made with what pattern and for what age.    Some of the patterns had many bits of fabric attached.   I'd helpfully labelled the pouch so I could see, by age,  what patterns were in there.  I'd even gone to the trouble of putting the youngest patterns (and labels) on one side, and the Age 10 and labels on the other side.   The age 10 patterns had lots of hand written notes,  about what order to do the construction in,  what worked, what I'd do differently,  what the fit was like.   They made me smile.

I prepped additional labels for Age 12 and Age 14.  I carefully removed the pattern hanger from each pattern,  and clipped the pieces together using a Rexel supaclip, and then I typed the name into my labelling software.  I laid the clipped together pattern on the bench, and as I worked through the patterns, the stack grew bigger.  

Eventually,  I was done.  I slid the huge pile into the bag, putting the 12 and 14 on the same side as the age 10. I printed the labels, stuck them on.   I felt sorry for the pattern hangers, it's back into a drawer for them.  

The folder is now ready to go back behind the filing cabinet.  I might show it to Miss Teen before I put it away. 

It's likely to be a long time before it sees the light of day again :-)

EDITED TO ADD:  Miss Teen was interested that her patterns had been taken down,  but not particularly interested in reminiscing.   Sad face. Still, I probably wouldn't have been interested at her age, either.


Monday 3 October 2022


The Girls were having a lo of arguments at bed time last night.

They currently have two coops to choose from. Each coop can comfortably accommodate 10 girls.  Last night, there was a lot of fighting and squawking going on. with girld running fdown the ladder , and round in tot he other coop.  Then more squawking and someone else pinging out of that coop and going in to the first.

There are only 8 of them,  and I think 6 of them swapped beds at least once.  Some of them swaapped coops multiple times. 

Unusually, no one opted to sleep out on the mezzanine (a platform we built at the height of the top of the ladder) nor in the run (tin the summer, some of the girls opt to sleep on the many perches in the run).

Mentioning the mezzanine reminded me of Lotti, our Exchequer Leghorn hen.  She was best friends with Poppy (my current oldest girl at 10+).  She was a loopy,, lovely girl.  She had deformed claws on one foot, and found it difficult to gain access to the coop at night.  The Establishment liked to assert their authority by refusing to let the younger girls in the coop at night,  so the youngsters had to hang around on the ladder and bolt in when they got a chance.  It was awkward for Lotti to do this, so we built a mezzanine level for her to use.  She died (along with everyone except Poppy)  when we had a fox attack, April 2015.  The awfulness of it makes my eyes leak a little, even now.


I'm not surprised the Gikrs ae cranky.  All are moulting, and different parts of them are at different stages.  Most of them have at elast one part of the body with the new shafts sticking out, but the feathers haven't popped out yet.  These are really uncomfrotable for the, and are painful if they get knocked or pocked or pulled.

I can imagine that someone gets accidentally knocked, they shriek and move away and accidentally bump into someone else.  And then it goes on like a mexican wave of accidental biffing.  Ad din the inevitable bad tempered retailiations, and it's not surprising that we had last nights shenanigans. 


Saturday 1 October 2022


When I was a child, I hated Lavender.  It reminded me of old ladies (although, on reflection,  I don't think I  actually knew old ladies who wore it.  My friend, Helen Merton,'s grandmother lived in an old people's home, and I think maybe there was a lavendery smell there)

A neighbour had a lavender hedge, I couldn't understand why they would want that vile stinky stuff in their garden. 

As an adult, I didn't like the Lavender Method spray when it was launched (2006?)

Now, I really really like the scent of lavender.    I'm not quite sure when the change of heart  nostril started,

When I walk past a lavender hedge, I have to brush it with the back of my hand.  

For the past 5? years, I've bought a bag of freshly dried lavender from a fellow member of one of the FB groups I'm in.    As soon as the envelope hits the doormat, the house smells of lavender.   I have the bag on the kitchen table, and I find the scent really soothing.  Sometimes when I'm in pain, or feeling stressed, I pick the bag up for a good old deep sniff, and it really helps.    

We did grow lavender, once upon a time. We got rid of those beds, and the lavender went with it.

My Chiropractor offers a choice of oil, and I always choose the "old lady scent". 

I can't think of any incident that changed my view.  I guess it happened somewhere around the age of 50, maybe a bit younger.   Ooh, perhaps it was linked to a couple of fabulous wheatbags I had, which were heated in the microwave and then hung around my neck.   

I bet that's it.  I associate wheatbags with lavender scent and with relaxation, so that may well be the reason for the change.  

Maybe it isn't an age thing after all