Thursday, May 26, 2022

Bits and bobs

I have done lots of crafting in the last few months, all undocumented I'm afraid but I can show a couple of things:

Mike's cardigan aka Cable central! As the body is knitted flat, all in one go, it was really heavy by the time I'd finished. The sleeves are done so I just have to do the buttonband and collar and I'm afraid I'm procrastinating with that as someone mentioned that each row takes about 40 minutes - OMG!

So I've been experimenting with some more advanced, but simple enough for a beginner, Macrame and produced my first small hanging:

It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the knots but I finally relaxed into it and enjoyed it. The video I was following was very good, and it was easy to pause it whilst I copied the tutorial. It's mounted on a stick of cinnamon but you could equally use a driftwood or piece of dowel.

Mike commented that it's just another yarn hoarding opportunity (he's not wrong!).

I'm deliberately not knitting anything for my self until I've finished Mike's cardigan as I'm too easily distracted but I do have a few things waiting in the wings with this as my first 'me' project:

It's 'Floatside' by wool and pine and I've chosen a delicate pale green/turquoise Fyberspates yarn. I was impressed by how it was posted in a shrink wrap which made the package much smaller and easier to fit through a letterbox:

It soon went back to its normal size when I removed the packing.

I really, really, want to cast-on. I can resist, I can resist - repeat!!!

Mrs Duck made her usual nest in her favourite pot, digging out any plants in her way! She laid 10 eggs and sat on them for 2 weeks before the Rooks/Crows/Magpies raided her nest one morning when she was having her breakfast. Her cries of distress were heart-breaking, poor love:

There were 2 more attempts from other ducks but they didn't go well either so I'm not sure we're going to have any ducklings this year.

Friday, May 20, 2022

About time too!

I really seem to have lost the will to blog recently what with all the troubles in the world and Mike having health issues. So I'm making myself get something down in the hope it will get me out of my funk!

Now the question is, where do I begin? My last brief update was March and so much has happened since then and there are plenty of photos to share. Hmm, there was the water pouring down from the kitchen ceiling as the cyclinder tank had burst (that was fun, NOT!) but we'll omit that as 'stressful' doesn't even start to cover the debacle that ensued, then there was the storm and that's a good place to start.

Storm Eunice in February (as if Covid wasn't bad enough!)

Oh my goodness that was hideous! We lost some special shrubs from the front garden, completely uprooted, but this time the yard fence stayed upright - result! 2 huge plant pots were smashed though.

We were without power for nearly a week with no water for 4 days, but we were the lucky ones as parts of our village were without facilities for even longer. When we were told the storm was imminent I went out and got some bottled water from the next village, little knowing that we'd be flushing the toilet using water from the water butts for days! The roar of the storm was really scary and we watched from the back bedroom window as we saw the lights go out across the valley and knew that our turn would be coming, and so it did.

Thankfully we have a small primus stove so we could heat up some food and boil water for drinks.

The morning after I went out for a run to assess the damage and I nearly cried when I saw the devastation throughout the village - huge trees down/power cables dangling threateningly/fences blown away/the church roof needed repairs. 

Here are some photos to give a feel for it:

The local tree specialists quickly got to work and cleared everything as soon as possible, making things safe in the process.

The flooding lasted a long time though and I had to double back on one of my runs as I didn't fancy swimming across this field:

I managed to sneak in a LDWA event soon after - the Sevenoaks Circular, which I always enjoy and met up with several of my running chums. It was a different route than usual which was nice and it was quite challenging in places.

Bryan and Louise lead the way

Lullingstone Castle was really busy with tourists

Part of the skeleton of a deer

Not far away from the finish.......

Then there was the Three Forts Challenge, one of my favourite trail marathons (although it's actually 27+ miles to technically an ultra!). I wasn't sure about making the cut-off as I'm getting slower with age so I emailed the Race Director to check and he told me that you just have to reach the halfway point in  3 hours so I knew I'd be OK. Soon after he emailed me to ask if I'd like to be the Tail Runner and of course I agreed because it's always nice to help someone along at the back of the pack. I should mention that this event is an old school type event with lots of local running clubs participating so there were some seriously speedy runners taking part.

I got to wear this Hi-Vis tabard which absolutely swamped me and flapped about like mad!

I spotted Ant my favourite Race Photographer and got a good luck hug and then we were off with me trotting along at the back. On the first ascent it became obvious that a lady just ahead of me was struggling - she kept having panic attacks and stopping which did not bode well. However I caught up with her and told her to try a run/walk strategy to help her focus. With hindsight I should have turned her back there and then but she seemed to perk up a bit with some encouragement. Here we are early on on the second climb. At least the trails were nice and dry as I've run this is deep mud before!

The half marathon runners started 15 minutes after us and started to pass us on the second climb. I hardly took any photos as I was too busy encouraging her to keep going.

Here we have our Guardian angel. He was part of a team of amateur radio boffs who were out on the route doing radio stuff - more of that later and how he saved the day!


We somehow managed to make the cut-off for the first half and I was optimistic but sadly the poor lady had all sorts of issues to overcome (bad partner troubles/Bi-Polar/panic attacks/illness) and our progress really slowed right down to the point I thought we wouldn't get a finish time!

When we were about 5 miles from the finish she had a major meltdown and started to hyper-ventilate and her hands were really swollen. I gave her salt tablets but then our guardian angel on the bike came to the rescue - he radioed ahead to ask for a medic who then asked her lots of questions and decided she'd be OK to continue to the finish where she was seen by the St Johns team.

By the time we finished they's taken down all the portaloos (OMG I really needed a wee!!!) and the timing mat had gone. Thankfully, the RD assured me that I'd get a time for my 100 Club stats!

Oh boy was I glad when that was over, although it was lovely scenery so not all bad.

That's enough running although I could bore with a few more events which were much more successful. Oh go on then, just this one as it was in Winnie the Pooh country! This was a week after the 3 Forts and I still had some niggles in my right knee (from holding back on the downhill sections I think) so I just did 3 laps to get 15+ miles which was just a nice leg-stretcher and I got so see my favourite young man, James, who's busy pursuing mulitple 100 mile events. The chatting helped me ignore the niggly knee and I'm hoping Mary Massage Lady will sort me out next week. Oh my, I've really missed my sessions with her for the last 2 years.

In the garden there's lots of activity. I looked out of the kitchen window at first light and spotted this lttile beauty:

You're very pretty but please don't eat any more of the orchard trees!

I'm not sure if this is a male or female fox but it's a regular visitor at the moment.


The Seagulls are visiting now.

Mrs Woodpigeon taking a break in the bird bath before sitting back on her nest.

Magpie playing King of the Castle!

The front garden is looking very pretty this Spring with some stunning blossom starting with the early Rododendrons:

Berberis Darwinii (one of my Desert Island plants)

Fothergilla Major

Mighty Euphorbia

We're doing a major overhaul in the front garden now and I've got over 200 plants just waiting to be planted. In preparing the plot I disturbed this little newt who was 12" down in the ground! Thankfully I spotted him when I stuck my spade in to turn the soil:

That's probably enough for now but at least I've made a start again.

To finish I'll just mention that I'm struggling with my weight at the moment which is a shock as I'm so active and have a sensible and healthy diet! When we thought about it we realised that it's happened since I've started taking Statins. I have "familial high Cholesterol" and get checked each year and the last time it was so high that I couldn't really resist any longer. In the 6 months I've been taking them I've gained 7lbs and I just can't seem to shift it, whch is very annoying I can tell you!

Onwards and upwards.