Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Still not caught up…….

…but trying desperately not to neglect my poor blog so here's a quick update:

I didn't get into the London marathon for 2016. Yes, I know I wasn't going to do it anyway but I couldn't stop myself entering the ballot. It's been such a special marathon and has gained loads of fab publicity for ARUK but I've got lots more events planned for next year and getting the rejection letter made me focus and I've now got something extra special planned for the same weekend (so I won't pine too much about not doing it!).

I've already got so many events planned for 2016 that I had to buy a diary earlier than usual (I know I could do it on my compter but I love a big diary with photos in for my desk)

I've got my next marathon this weekend and it's another hilly one - this time it's a road marathon though not as scenic as my last one. I'm looking forward to it though as it's not too far from home and there will be plenty of people I know there too.

There have been several interviews recently around very different aspects of dementia - one fun one about my fund-raising efforts, another more serious one about leaving a lump sum for charity in your Will (I was involved with an awareness campaign a while back and it's such a sensitive subject that it requires careful handling) and another which I can't talk about yet but I'll be speaking about it this weekend before I do a run (it's exciting though!). Oh and I've just remembered there's an opportunity to promote Join dementia research in the offing too.

Craft-wise, I've made the tapestry into a cushion cover and last night I started knitting some i-cord for the edges. Mike's mittens are on the go and I'm planning a new crochet project. I'm updating my blog the next day now and I've finished the cord but still need to stitch it in place so I'll save that photo for another day.

I know you can easily buy cord but I enjoy making my own and matching it to an element within the design. You can also make i-cord in crochet but I find knitting it is quicker for me.

Other than that my time has been spent outdoors preparing the garden for winter. The weather has been unseasonally warm for the last 10 days so it was important to get things done while I could.

I came across this beauty whilst I was tidying up the polytunnel. He's a Leopard Slug and, unlike a lot of other slugs, he's a gardener's friend because they don't damage living plants but eat other slugs along with dead and rotting plants. I took him straight along to the compost heap to help out there.

Then I found another one on the peanut feeder!

This vivid green Cricket was shut in my potting shed so I brought him outside and put him somewhere safe

Betty Boo (on the table) and her friend popped along to join me for morning coffee!

Although it's been warm, there are signs of Autumn everywhere with jewel-bright colours which shine in the low light.

Buttery-gold oak leaves

The wasps beat me to this apple!

Honey bees enjoying Sedum

Vivid red rosehips to make into a syrup bursting with vitamin C.

Our Pampas Grass looks so pretty with the sunlight streaming through it and it's put up even more  fronds this year. It might not be fashionable but we still love it.

I've had to admit that I need help with moving and lifting heavy stuff these days as the arthritis in my hands has worsened and I struggle to grip things and carry any weight in my left hand. As someone who has always been strong and independent it's hard to come to terms with. I struggle to lift feed sacks and bales of hay which is very frustrating.

Mike has been very supportive and helped me clear out the barn ready for our delivery of hay for Esther. I was very grateful as it's a big job involving lots of sorting, sweeping and then burning of rubbish. Kizzy is getting incredibly old now (somewhere around 35 but we can't be sure as she came to us as a rescue pony many, many years ago) and she can't eat grass or hay so I have to give her special feeds which I soak so she can just suck it up. The mixture looks like a brown porridge with bits of chopped grass mixed in. 

As I was sweeping away the enormous webs on the main doors, I watched in wonder as I saw this wasp which I thought was caught in a spider's web. When he pulled away I was relieved because I thought he'd escaped but he flew straight back to the web and I realised that he was eating the remains of a spider. The hunted had become the hunter!

My runs have mostly been mid-morning recently and not more than about 6 miles each as the arthritis in my feet has been a bit troublesome and I need to save my legs for marathoning. Keeping active is really important though as if you just sit down all day then everything really stiffens up. I've started doing Yoga in order to try and become more flexible and help support the sore joints. I've adapted my knitting and crochet by doing them in several short sessions rather than longer ones. Taking breaks and changing my position helps too as well as various stretches.

Mist hanging over a field in the village

Sunlight filtering through the trees to form a spotlight.

Mike and I also had a trip out last week to Alfriston, a sweet village nestling in the South Downs. We run through it as part of the Beachy Head marathon which I'll be doing in a couple of weeks and I wanted to show Mike some of the route. We had a lovely walk, with stunning views, before heading to the local hostelry for refreshments.

The village is famous for Alfriston Clergy House, a Wealden hall-house which was the first property acquired by the National Trust in 1896. We didn't have time to visit it but I remember the first time we did as we spent a while searching for the carving of an oak leaf in one of the beams as this is believed to be the origin of the NT's logo.

Heading for the hills!

After our walk we sat on a bench by the village green and drank our flask of coffee before heading off to have a look around the church. It was built around 1370 on top of a mound surrounded by a flint wall (see photo below). This indicates that it was a pre-Christian site of worship.

St. Andrews Church, known as the Cathedral of the Downs

The church steeple is very similar to the church in our village

A gravestone with a maritime theme

The walls are constructed of flint

This part of the ceiling is just like our village church

And the floor is similar too!

Seeing these kneelers reminded me I have a huge collection of photos of embroidered kneelers that I've spotted in various Churches which I should dig out and share

Next we had a wander through the village before lunch. There's a really good Deli where we bought some wonderful local cheeses and beers (for Mike, not me!), & several galleries and other shops.

It's a very narrow high street and in places there's only enough room for one car at a time which can be tricksy in the tourist season.

A wonky house - just look at all the different planes.

We mooched around this charming bookshop (it had a really good poetry section which kept me occupied) with new and secondhand books.

Isn't this a wonderful letterbox?!

Finally we heading off to our destination, The Star Inn which I have run past many times but never been inside.

Built in the 13th century, The Star Inn is one of the country's oldest inns and was originally run by monks from Battle Abbey. Known as a Holy House, it was a "Sanctuary Post" which provided church protection for smugglers as well as pilgrims. It certainly provided us with a very satisfying lunch before we headed for home after a most enjoyable outing.


Khara Plicanic said...

Hi Susie! I recently came across your blog while browsing crochet patterns (not sure how I ended up here, but glad I did!) and am so inspired! I too am a runner (but the farthest I've run is only a half-marathon) and a crocheter... and I LOVE the idea of crocheting while running. I wondered if you have any tips to share? What makes a good running project? How do you carry the yarn while running? I'd love to hear more about your experience and process! Thanks so much!!!

Susie Hewer said...

Hi Khara, thanks for your comments an welcome to my blog. You say you've "only run a half-marathon" - well I say well done you, that's much further than most people will ever run!

Knitting and crochet are my hobbies for relaxation and the only times I've combined them with my running (which is also relaxing, but for my mind) is at the London marathon when I've been trying to get publicity for the charity I support, Alzheimer's Research UK. This has inspired others to try it too.

If you really want to try combining the 2 please bear in mind that you will be changing the biomechanics of how you run so you won't necessarily get the same benefits out of running.

My gait during a marathon is steady and smooth which allows me to let my hands get on with something else. I carry my yarn tied around my waist and wear an apron with a pocket in the front where I can keep my working yarn. When knitting it's just been simple garter stitch using large needles and in crochet it's just chain stitch (the idea being that the chain links together people with dementia plus I use crochet to explain how dementia takes over the brain) using a large hook. It's really just a case of trying it to see what works. There are loads of photos of me doing it on my blog and elsewhere online.

If you do try it, please take great care as you could easily trip if you're concentrating on your crochet! I'd love to hear how you get on.

Susie x