Monday, 28 May 2007

Crochet is a no but bathroom is a yes

The bathroom is finally finished. I have spent the whole weekend cleaning up after the builders so no crochet started this weekend. I did manage to finish off the knitted baby hats but am a bit dubious as my friend arrived and asked me what they were! I hope you can see from the photo that they are an upside down daisy hat and a cherry hat (from the Itty Bitty Hat Book by Susan B Anderson).

My bathroom just needs the finishing touches and a really good clean once the grout and the silicone has dried completely and is able to get wet. I need to paint the bathroom door before the towel rail can be fitted. I am looking forward to my first shower in there later today. It's just a basic fully tiled bathroom but it's clean and fresh and that is the main thing. I could have spent a ridiculous amount of money on a luxury suite,fittings and tiles but as a pensioner I settled for the cheaper options as I didn't feel like going into debt just to keep clean!

I am going to Ramsbottom Craft shop later this week to get some nice white 4ply for the great grand daughters crochet christening boleros. My niece will thankfully be taking me as my car decided that it didn't like the supermarket fuel that I filled up with last week and keeps cutting out and stopping dead on me at very inconvenient moments. My son seems to think there is some dirt in the fuel tank. What amazes me is the inability of other drivers to understand that my hazard lights flashing signal that I have a problem and am not just stopped in the middle of the road on a whim. I had to push the car back into a side street on Saturday and that basically knackered my back for the weekend and so hampered my cleaning up efforts in the house. I will get there slowly but surely.

I had also planned to re-pot a lot of my embryo vegetables but the slugs saved me the trouble with the peppers. I closed the grow house on a tray full of 2" high peppers and opened it again the following morning to find only 4 left! I get a little disheartened sometimes. I am trying to be organic but am rapidly thinking I will have to resort to slug pellets if I want anything to eat at all. I have 3 tiny plants and 2 packs of flower seeds to plant courtesy of the Sunday Mirror. They arrived on Saturday and need re-potting immediately as they look rather dry from the journey.

I have a mountain of ironing to do but am determined to find some time this evening to do some knitting or crochet.

The rain has just stopped now after I have already got soaked to the skin taking the dog for a walk. I waited for hours and decided to brave it and now the rain has stopped. The story of my life or what

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

No crochet and no bathroom

There has been no blogging for the last few days due to the fact I am having a new bathroom fitted. I am sure anyone who has ever had a re-fit will share my pain! In the midst of all of this I am having a bad back pain week (anyone who knows me knows how much I suffer when I get one) and would have loved a soak in the bath but as the old one is reclining in the driveway and the new one is in my back bedroom (unconnected) there was not much chance of that happening. Oh for the good old days when I could have popped around to my parents to use their facilities.

The last couple of days it has been like stepping back in time to the old days with the all over wash in a bowl front of the fire. It's not quite the same washing in front of a radiator. Hasn't got the same magic as the open coal fire and tin bath of my youth. Washing my hair with jugs and bowls in the kitchen sink now seems somewhat unhygienic and yet when I was a kid the kitchen sink was the hub of the family hygiene until we had a bathroom installed. Strange to consider that we were considered to be "posh" as we were the only ones on our row of houses to have one. It was only 50yrs ago and now I doubt if there are many homes in the UK without indoor plumbing but back then it was the norm. The local swimming pool had "slipper baths" ( where does that name come from?) and every week people would go there for a bath. What doesn't bear thinking about in this day and age is that some older people only had a bath once a year when they were going away on holiday at "Oldham Wakes"!

With both of these things happening in my life there has been no time for crochet or knitting. I did manage to finish off my mohair cardigan so that is just waiting for buttons to be sewn on. I have a few projects in mind but can't concentrate with all the upheaval in the house.

Yesterday I was stitching the cover of one of the Goodman grow houses as the plastic had torn away from the zipper. I finished it and manoeuvred it back into place and then the other side tore. Aarrgghhh! I am not being picky but they are really a bit shoddy as I am very careful with it when zipping it every day as I had read the reports on Amazon saying that was a problem with them. I know they are only cheap but they still should be fit for the purpose. I just wish I could afford a proper glass greenhouse but £300 is a bit out of my league now as I have to pay for the bathroom re-fit. I keep looking out for any people wanting to re-vamp their garden and get rid of an old greenhouse. The woman down the road said I could have hers but nothing more has been said lately. I think she is waiting for her sons to help her with her garden re-fit. I hate to keep mentioning it to her so I will just wait and hope maybe someday soon I will get it. I hope I get it in time for the winter crops. I am doing very well with lettuce, radish, spring onions and broad beans etc but will need a proper greenhouse to grow things in the winter.

The dog is sulking today as he hasn't had his morning walk due to the back pain.I had gone to the doctors yesterday for my pain killer prescription and was in so much pain on the walk back down I was so grateful and thankful when a neighbour stopped in his car to enquire if I was OK and offered me a lift home. What a knight in shining armour. I was beginning to think it would take me hours to walk the short distance as I had to keep stopping to sit on garden walls to try to ease the pain. I am now linked to my "Tens" machine and hope that I will get some relief soon as the drugs don't work as they say in the song. Maybe this afternoon the dog will get his walk and stop giving me the sad eyed look.

The builder has said my bath could be linked up this afternoon so I should be able to get a hot bath tonight. Yeah! Another knight in shining armour. Fingers crossed all will be well.

I will get out my patterns and have a browse through them and choose a couple of patterns for the yarn I bought at the Black Sheep Sale. I still have to buy some yarn to crochet my step great grand daughter's bolero but her sister's christening is not until July so I have got time to search for something nice in 4ply white.

Just time for a coffee before I watch "Loose Women" on the TV. Maybe I will get to lie on the sofa for a while if I can oust the dog from it.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Rain, rain and more rain

Well I don't live in the rainy city for nothing. We had the good weather to tempt us and now a week of rain. Not much done in the garden at all but I have managed to finish off the black silk shawl (apart from the long fringing and that is my niece's part) and the unseamly sweater from the Happy Hooker book for my niece (would be far nicer with the lace V stitch on the sleeves as they look too heavy in the double crochet). I am on the last sleeve of my mohair cardigan, so after that I will have just 2 projects on the hook. Not for long though as I have been shown a photo of am openwork crochet bolero and asked if I can make something similar for my step great grand daughter for her sister's christening in July. I rooted through my stash and guess what - no white 4ply. I will have to go back on my promise to myself not to buy any more yarn until I have whittled the stash down. I thought I was bad but then I came across this blog ( ) where the lady had actually got a yarn cupboard with everything all neatly stashed away. I am quite envious as mine is just piled into a cupboard all higgeldy piggeldy although I did make an inventory of what I possess so I don't have to keep dragging it all out everytime I need something specific i.e. the white 4ply.

I am bathroom suite hunting at the weekend as the builder is hopefully coming on Monday to start the work. I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to get everything I want from B&Q and not do the "drive around Manchester looking for things". I not a typical woman in the fact that I hate shopping. If I can't find what I want in the first shop I get really fed up and tend to give up and go home. I am not a fussy shopper to me one bathroom suite looks very much like another! As long as it works does it really matter who designed it? I have friends who spend weeks agonising over the right shade of tiles, carpet and curtains. How many shades of a colour are there?

As for clothes shopping Argh! I can't stand all that trying clothes on business. Going from shop to shop taking my clothes off in cramped changing rooms is not my idea of fun, and don't get me started on the communal changing rooms - they are only for the very young without fat and cellulite! Nothing I try on ever quite fits me - do women not have any waists any more? I try on my size of trouser and the waistband is several sizes too large. I am the old fashioned hour glass shape. I just wish I could buy a pair of trousers without resorting to the ugly looking elastic waistband or having to get the sewing machine out to tailor the waist to fit.

Moan over for the day except I did try to get some nice 4ply white in one shop locally today without success. Oh how I miss my shop. Searching for anything other than 100% acrylic is a nightmare. I would order online but the cost of postage is so prohibitive. I keep thinking that I could buy an extra few balls of yarn with the money they want for postage. If I had known I could have bought some nice yarn last time I was in Ramsbottom - maybe bamboo or something silky as it's for a christening. Ah well - perhaps my niece is planning another visit up there soon and I can tag along for the ride.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Here is my 4 legged friend

This is the main reason I don't get to my blog every day. He is full of beans and wants at least 2 walks per day plus lots of attention in between. What with the walks and tending to my baby plants I haven't had much time to write.

The black crochet silk shawl is now about 20" long. It really has been a labour of love with the slithery yarn and the very small hook. It is for my niece so I don't mind all the hours it has taken so far. I will be looking forward to something with a bigger hook next time. I am still finishing the sleeve of my niece's sweater from the Happy Hooker so hopefully will have both finished by the end of the weekend.

I have been chatting to a lovely old man by the allotments today and picking his brains about my baby plants and what to do next with my broad beans. I have subscribed to the newsletter from the UK Garden programme but they talk about plots of land whereas I only have a few pots. Ah well I am learning stuff every day. It's all very hit and miss at the moment although I must say that I have been cutting a few outside leaves from my baby lettuce for my sandwiches and they do taste delicious if I say so myself.

Yesterday I went for my routine mammogram and for a nice change the lady was quite gentle. I didn't come out with my boobs flattened to within an inch of their lives and feeling like I had a run in with a road roller! I know all of this is necessary as a check for breast cancer but slightly worrying that they say " You will have the results in 4 - 6 weeks!" If anyone was diagnosed with cancer I am sure that this is a long time to go untreated. How can it take that long to see whether there is any cancer present?

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Black Sheep Yarn Sale

Today my niece and I went over to Warrington to the Black Sheep Yarn Sale. When we arrived lots of cars in the car park so it looked promising. Once inside it was just pile of packets of wool on the floor. A daunting task to sort through with my bad back. I did turn over as many as I could and no doubt there were quite a few bargains if you like strange shades of beige! I managed to pick up a pack of red aran and a pack of double knit cotton in a sort of denim navy (if there is such a colour!).

On the way back my niece and I got chatting about how it was when I had the wool shop and how spoiled we were for choice with yarns etc. It is strange how I had to give it all up as it was not a viable concern 12 yrs ago as everyone had stopped knitting and crocheting and I had got to the stage where the overheads made it impossible to continue. How I wish I had it now with the revival of the crafts. I could have entered the world of e- bay selling etc and gone out to a wider audience than the small town of Royton. I search shops and web sites for things I took for granted that I had in stock a few years ago. It's all very sad.

I decided to catalogue the stash of yarn that I have left from when I had the shop and was amazed at just how much I actually still have and how much I have added to it recently. It is definitely a time to be frugal for a few months and just work on getting the stash down. I made a list and e mailed it to my niece so she knows exactly what I have now if she is starting anything that requires a few balls of this or that. My next project will be deciding which colour and yarn to make which garment etc. I actually found 2 projects on the hook that I had completely forgotten about so that will be the next things to complete after my niece's shawl and jumper are finished.

I have been busy re-potting my little seedlings and my broad beans ( 9" tall) and my lettuce (8" tall. Everything else is still at the 2 leaf above the soil stage but some I have put into individual pots now. All of this and dog walking doesn't leave much time for my crocheting but I have decided that tomorrow I will do some housework and then settle down for a good old crochet in the afternoon - after the dog walk of course

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Shawl is 4 balls long

As you can see from the photo the black fine silk shawl is growing slowly and I have now crocheted 4 balls into it. Still slow going as I am now getting diverted by all this sunshine. I think every day that tomorrow it might all be gone and then I can do more crocheting!

I watched the programme called "How to look good naked" last night and I have to say I was really impressed. Anything that can make women feel good about the shape they have and not be made to feel a freak because they carry a little extra weight is OK in my book. Magazines who hold up stick thin people up as being style icons are truly evil in my books, thank God I grew up in an age when it wasn't a crime to have curves. I shall be watching avidly next week. The lady last night looked truly amazing in her basque on the catwalk. Oh for one of those. I have looked on the Vollers web site many times and positively drooled at the corsets and basques but unfortunately they are out of my pensioners budget. I may be 61 but I am not dead yet and would love to strut my stuff wearing one of those amazing garments (Vollers please take note!) I decided a few years ago to be happy with the way I look. So I have cellulite and many extra pounds but I don't look in the mirror any more and see ugly. It might sound big headed and probably a lot of people who look at me don't think I look good but do you know what - I don't give a flying f*** what they think. I think I look good for my age and that is all that is important to me!

The larger grow house has now arrived and is up and full of my broad beans (approx 8" tall now) and my lettuce. I have to say that I have been sneaking the odd leaf or two from my baby lettuce to put on my sandwiches so I can actually say I have eaten the first of my home grown veggies. The seeds are not showing much sign of life but then they only got planted less than a week ago. I am feeling quite motherly over the few tiny leaves that are starting to poke their heads up above soil and rush out every morning to see if any more have emerged over night.

I am still dog walking twice a day and still no weight has been lost but I am not deterred. I am out there in my vest top and shorts and don't give a hoot if I scare the neighbours with my white cellulite or not! I am going to start on the Holiday Skin Body lotion again and risk getting skin cancer out in the sunshine. Last year I went a really good colour and not from a holiday abroad. People kept asking me where I had been and I said my back garden. One of the perks of being retired. The hours are great but the wage is rubbish. I wonder if a change of government, if we get one, will increase my weekly pennies? I have grown a bit cynical in my old age and honestly can't see much difference between any of the political parties. I feel I have to vote as Emily Pankhurst chained herself to the railings on my behalf, but I do so without much enthusiasm. They all promise the earth and then forget it once they are in power.