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Friday Jottings!

It’s a long time since I wrote a knit and natter post- I stopped sometime last year when we were house hunting and knitting took a back seat, I’m still not knitting that much. In fact I’m not doing much of my usual stuff on account of Covid- 19, usual life has just stopped.

But there are things to be said, and things I can share which may resound with you, or not, a place where we can be honest and say yes we are frightened and we don’t like what’s happening, and we don’t understand why, but we will be good citizens and try to stay home, try to stay active and well, and we miss our family and friends, and we are scared for them, and everything is a displacement activity.

So I am creating Friday Jottings, where we can cheer each other on, chat to each other, maybe have a giggle or a moan.

Why Jottings- unashamedly pinching the word jottings from the book I am reading at the moment -Summer Lease by John Mortimer- one of the characters has a weekly column in a paper which he calls his Jottings.

Something nice about the word, jottings- implies things written on the back of an envelope or scrap of paper. I write a lot of lists on random bits of paper- things to do, things to find, phone calls to make. I love a good list, for the sheer pleasure of crossing things of- it makes me feel I doing something.

So after eight days of effort with solicitors, estate agents, emails, phone calls, internet research, and would you believe a phone call FROM my MP in response to my cry for help, we managed to get a months delay agreed on our house purchase. It is a relief to know that we are not squatting in this house, but I am very sad because I was expecting that today we would be moving into our new house, that this weekend I would be welcoming family to our home, meeting the new neighbours, exploring local countryside. Instead of which I am regretting packing some things- my paints, poetry books and parts of the stitchbook project which I have already completed.

I am trying very hard to be positive about what I do have- so far we are both well, we have a roof over our heads, a garden to walk in, and although I had virtually emptied the freezer we have food, and my family is OK.

Everyone has their own story. I realised that last week when I did my first queued shop at Lidl. There were three chaps behind me , it wasn’t long before two of them realised they knew each other by sight. The chap behind me told them he was still working as a delivery driver, he was tired and worried as he had no protection. He was shopping as he was the one going out of the house and he preferred his wife and children stayed safely at home. Then being blokes their talk turned to football, and how sorry they felt for Liverpool who are just two wins away from winning the league, and how would some of the clubs survive financially. The lady in front of me had been having a long phone call to her Mum, working out what shopping she needed. Then we swapped our stories- she has two daughters, one sent home from Uni- clearly a well organised Uni- she was getting online tuition and work to complete. Her other girl should have been doing A Levels, hoping to go onto Uni in the Autumn- now no exams, and her holiday job in a local cafe gone too, money needed for her future.

I wonder what is your story, how are you managing with a stalled life?

I notice that the on-line social media jokes about toilet paper have gone in favour of feel good pet videos, happy memories and upbeat positive memories which have started to grate on me, even though I know that’s just mean of me.

Any way we can get through these times is good. The mood of people reminds me of the enthusiasm with which young people volunteered as soldiers in WW1 and 2, 750,000 people who have volunteered as communty helpers, the rainbows/teddies being displayed in windows to cheer us all on, and of course lack of proper equipment and black marketering- make no mistake some people will make their fortunes from these times. And heros will appear from unlikely places.

I “met” down the aisle of the supermarket one of our elderly library regulars, we stood the two metres away to stay safe ( described on the radio farming today programme as being the length of a cow) . She is missing her friend Sylvia who has gone to stay with her daughter- they always came to the library together for a natter after doing their market day shopping- no more market, no more library and no more friendly chats. She can’t even see her family……

At the moment cookery is my salvation- I try sewing, and my heart isn’t in it, but looking in the fridge, finding half a pack of mushrooms and turning them into soup which was delicious beyond belief did give satisfaction. I wonder what activity is helping you this week?

I’m told lots of shops now want you to do contactless card payments- we don’t have these cards. I tried phoning the bank- one hour on the phone listening to musac before giving up didn’t help. Next attempt might be to drive 12 miles to the bank to see if I can do it in person…..

As Joni Mitchell sang “You don’t know what you have till it’s gone”. How true.

Last night I joined in the 8pm clapping for everyone who is going out to work still to show my appreciation. Tonight I read people are asked to go outside to shine a torch skywards to remember all those who caught Covid-19 and lost their lives. The really sad thing for families who loose someone now for whatever cause is that they can’t come together to grieve and remember their loved ones and hold a proper funeral. Sad times.

Let’s see if I can find a nice picture to cheer us all on to end this post.

There you go, taken April 2018, flower display in Whitby.

Now just like back in the days of Knit and Natter posts, I hand this post over to you, please feel free to jump into the comments, chat to each other, leave links….

Stay safe, stay well,

Cathyx

 

 

Books- March 2020

Here are the books I read this month. Strange reading back on what I wrote when I finished each book. March started off so normally and ended up in Lock Down. Books I know are going to be what get me through the next weeks and months , a place to escape too, reading from my to be read pile, re-reads or ones that belong to Mr E. So expect a strange selection next month! Have you read any of my March books, what did you think?

Benjamin Hoff- The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet- as recommended by Wild Daffodil in her February Yarn Along post. An introduction to the chinese philosophy of Taoism as demonstrated by Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. A most enjoyable read which I mostly understood. What I really loved was being reminded how much I love the Winnie the Pooh books and the delightful illustrations of Ernest H Shepard! And how much Mr E reminds me of Eeyore, he even reminds himself of Eeyore.

Tennessee Williams- The Glass Menagerie- I’m not quite certain what prompted me to read this play, I suspect it was mentioned in a novel.Written in the 1940s but set in the late 30s in a small apartment in St Louis. Amanda, a former Southern Belle was left by her husband to raise their two children as best she could. Her oldest child is Laura, 25 years old, slightly disabled from an illness which left her with a small barely discernable limp, but with a dreadful sense of inadequacy. She left school without qualifications and flunked secretarial college on day one. Tom is younger by two years, and is narrating the action from memory. Amanda tries to earn bits of money as a shop assisstant and tele sales person, and hankers after  the days of servants and gentlemen callers. She is worried for the future of both her children. Laura we learn spends her days walking when her mother thinks she is in college and in the collecting of glass animals. Tom works in a shoe warehouse and longs to escape and travel the world as his father is now doing. In Act One he is persuaded to bring a suitable friend home for dinner to befriend his sister, as Amanda thinks marrying Laura off is Laura’s only hope . Act Two sees the friend coming to dinner. I shalln’t tell more, but I enjoyed reading the play. For a modern audience there is some rascism , but the theme of limited opportunity is still relevant today. I think I may have seen a film version of this back in the 1960s/70s.

Stephen Palmer- The Conscientious Objector- well how to describe this book. Think H G Wells- War of the Worlds or even Dr Who, throw in the Edwardian period,Darwinism, eugenics, WW1, a village of amazon type women with male slaves, a love story, kidnap, automata,and you just about have all the characters and situations in this novel. Decidedly odd and not helped by being a stand alone sequel to a trilogy. Shame because it was quite well written I just didn’t care for it. I got to the end more from determination rather than pleasure, but if you are into Steampunk I guess this could be for you.

Henning Mankell- After the fire- My author from Sweden is the creator of Wallander, and was actually his last book. I could see that he was drawing on this and his own life experience of living in Paris. There is a fire in which Fredik looses his house and everything in it. Fortunately he has a caravan parked nearby owned by his daughter that he moves into, and luckily for him as he lives on an island, his boathouse and two boats, are fine, and the car he has parked on the mainland is also ok to say nothing of a tent and sleeping bag. He also seems to have immediate access to funds.

The theme of the book is very much about ageing, loss of friends, identity, career, and health. There is hope and new life and a sense of things going on , and the need for the old to accept that we don’t live forever.  The book has resonated with me, with all the upheaval from Covid 19, at a time when we are trying to move house  and are having a big tidy up ( I found the dog basket at the back of the woodshed, it has been there for 10 years and I had no idea we still had it, and a bag of my Dad’s papers which I had put there to be burnt 6 years ago, and so had to go through again), and my step brothers son and wife becoming the proud parents of a gorgeous baby girl. I too have been living with my life belonging to the past amidst the creation of new life.

Fiona Barton- The Child- cracking good crime thriller. My car had a service this month and I had a waiting appointment. Two hours passed very quickly as I got engrossed in this book. A small item in a newspaper effects three people- one woman relives the worst thing that ever happened to her, one wishes to keep her darkest secret and another who sees a good story for her and a chance to shine as a journalist. I did see the final twist coming but not too soon, most enjoyable.

Louise Phillips- The Doll’s House- Trying to read my remaining library books quickly now to get them back before any potential closure- likely because most volunteers are in their 70s. The book is a jolly good murder thriller- spotted the villian of the piece but the ending was very well handled. The book is set in Dublin, but I didn’t really get a sense of Ireland, which was a bit of a shame. Never the less a good read.

Claire Douglas- Local Girl Missing- A good thriller- couldn’t really give it the attention it deserved, tryng to read it fast before the library closed down for the duration. Well written and plotted, lots of possible villains. Worth trying if you like psychological thrillers.

Dan Brown- Origin- And this is where the UK went into Lock Down. The first book from my to be read pile was loaned to me by my son who bought the book in an airport for him to read on a long flight. What can I say- a typical Dan Brown book- religion, symbols, chasing around churches and museums, with Artificial Intelligence thrown in. Perfect escapism.

Will you be reading during the epidemic as a way of coping by escaping into different worlds?

Stay well. x

Staying at Home

Monday night’s broadcast  from the UK Prime Minister was very clear -Stay at Home. Tuesday morning our removal firm following advice from the British Association of Removers (BAR), said we would not be moving next week, we could postpone or cancel. We have that decision on hold.

Next step contact solicitor to arrange a delay, sounds sensible and straight forward. However we have a legally binding contract with consequences if you fail to fullfill completion and move when you said you would. I have emailed our MP in the rather remote hope that the government can enforce us not to have to complete at this time.  We shall see what happens.

Meantime box packing has stopped and I have  moved some boxes into our guest bedroom out of the way so that at least some of the house does not look like a warehouse. Garage clearing continues as we have a skip on the drive which will be collected on Friday.

The only thing really keeping my spirits up today, are the lovely blogs full of humour, creativity and pictures from gardens and walks. Please keep posting everyone. We are going to need each other, I know I need you.

Dreaming of summer to come………… Stay healthy everyone. xx

Shine a light!

Happy Mother’s day to all of us celebrating being a Mum, loving our own Mums or remembering our Mums. Certainly a Mother’s day like no other. I’m lucky enough to have three fine sons who make me so proud I could burst. I received three cards- number two son congratulating me on perfecting my parenting skills on number one, so number two was great; number three’s that said I’d done a great job because he was perfect, and number one son sent a card with Donald Trump on the front telling me I am the greatest- of course! Flowers and chocolates came too. Lucky me.

We had phone conversations too- all coping with life under Covid 19, working from home, getting food, worrying about health of various family members, wondering how people think social distancing means go to the seaside for the day and stand next to strangers. Still if these people want to volunteer for being the herd , so be it. Just as long as they don’t then moan that there is no hospital bed for them.

We continue to pack boxes for our maybe house move, at least it’s a major distraction. I have left out two knitting projects, one quilt to finish, one embroidery project and some cross stitch, and nine books to read. Will that be enough if we have to postpone I wonder?

The library closes tomorrow at 5pm, no volunteers required , the part time staff will all come in. I cried when I read the news- we worked so hard to keep it open when funding was cut three years ago. Such a sad day.

But to the light… tonight at 7pm I shall light a candle along with lots of other people to shine a light of hope across the world.

Stay healthy everyone. xx

Magic does happen see….. ( picture taken 2019)

 

First Line Friday.

This week’s book is

The first line reads.” It’s a dreary afternoon, just after lunch, when I finally find out that you’re dead”.

A promising first line, hints of a missing person, now known to be dead, and a good mystery to be solved.

I did my last library shift this week, before we move, if we move. I would probably have kept going another couple of weeks but can’t risk it with my husband’s poor health. It was a odd shift, much quieter than usual, books coming back and not so many going out, enquiries too about e books. And a slight edge of fear as we rubbed in the hand gel and disappeared to keep washing our hands. A sad way to finish my time as a volunteer, I have loved every other time for the last three and a half years. Not certain how long the library can stay open, as most of the voluunteers are over 70.

This book is the only one I have out on loan, after this I shall be reading from my to be read pile. Quite looking forward to that, and of course there is always all my other books to re-read and my trusty Kindle. Life without books is unthinkable. Incredibly grateful that I am a reader. Escapism is sometimes highly desirable.

Linking with Hoarding Books to share my first line-here

 

You Know What!

So how is everyone doing right now ,today? I have seen the best and worst of people this week from the man in Poundland stuffing his basket full of facial wipes, to a group of youngsters in the town setting up a Facebook group to co-ordinate volunteers to do shopping. I’ve been impressed by enterprising people setting up ways to do home deliveries of local produce to a pottery workshop putting together home packs for children , also home delivered.

News of swans and dolphins appearing in the canals of Venice have cheered me no end. Cleaner air detected above cities. Nature seems to be striking back at the human race for its selfish and reckless behaviour.

Will lessons be learned? Will we have changed our ways?

Mr E and I are ok today. He still has health issues, but we’re under 70, so I run the minimum amount of errands I can ,to safegueard us both.

We are supposed to be moving in a couple of weeks. The boxes arrived on Monday. We have no idea if we will go, or if we can’t what the legal position is. I’ve given up asking as no-one knows the answer.  But tonight we have a nice dinner, amazing what a lovely smell you get from onions, a tin of tomatoes, a tin of beans and the getting a bit manky veggies from last week. We are warm, my sons keep phoning me instead of the other way round, and I’m reaching out by phone and email to friends. Others have a much tougher time and I am very grateful for what I do have which is an abundance.

I go out in the garden, visit the frogs in the pond, look at the daffodils in full bloom, feel the rain on my face and give thanks.

So to everyone who reads this, I wish you all the very best and good health. We can take care of each other and afterwards make this a better planet.

Picture taken last year in Farndale- blue skies beckon. Much love xx

Scrap Happy Day- March 2020

This scrappy post will melt your hearts- promise.

I came across the Warm Baby Project  via a friend here on Facebook . The warm baby project puts knitters and their skills to work making items for premature babies. There was an appeal for cannula sleeves for a hospital in Cambridge. Now a cannula sleeve is a small tube of garter stitch knitting that covers the cannula in a babies arm.

My first son was born five weeks early weighing just over 5lbs. All the baby clothes swamped him. My Mum got to work immediately , but there were no patterns for babies as small as him 40 years ago. She set about trying to reduce normal patterns and with the help of the teaching staff in the school she was teaching at, she managed to make him some teeny tiny booties.

I have some baby yarn and how could I not rise to this challenge for cannula sleeves.

As I popped these in the post, came news that the appeal had gone viral, radio interviews followed, the word was out, and pretty soon that hospital was fully stocked.

There are however lots of appeals for small blankets, mitts, hats, bonding squares and of course cannula sleeve.

So I kept going.

The hats are tiny! Another cannula sleeve and  a pair of bonding squares. Bonding squares must be indentical- one for the baby and one for the parent, which can then be swapped so that parent and baby have contact.

Have I tempted you yet to get out scraps of baby yarn , or even to go past haste to the local yarn shop. I love the idea of traffic light hats for the premmies- red for those in need of constant attention, amber for those growing stronger, and green for those still needing care but able to be left for a little while.

The best bit of this Facebook group is that grateful Mums and grandparents post pictures of their babes wearing these hats, cuddling their bonding squares snuggling under blankets.

And it’s not just premmies either. Some babes are born needing extra warmth, so newborn hats are great. A memner of my extended family recently posted pics of their newborn, I was so thrilled to see she had been given a knitted hat.

Some babes also don’t have warm clothes to wear, maybe Mum has been homeless, or fled doemstic violence. Newborn and next sizes up are requested also.

I have to say that of all the scrap happy posts I have written this is my absolute favourite. Do pop over and see the Facebook page- if you want to see current appeals and patterns go to their page and you need to click on Photos. This group is UK based but I bet other countries have similiar groups, and I would love you to use the comments section if you know of any. You can also ask your local maternity unit. All items need to be washable as everything is washed before being given to a baby. Crochet is also welcome but make sure there are no holes in the premmie designs.

That’s it, please check out the other Scrap Happy Posts, links on Kates blog-here

 

 

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