Thursday, 19 April 2018

April round-up of happenings

Oh, man, isn't the state of the world just deplorable? I am feeling slightly overwhelmed by it all. Chemical warfare,  incompetent prime ministers, morally corrupt presidents, plastic mountains, the instability of the Gulf stream, the Windrush immigration mess, no intensive care unit beds for critically ill patients, no community care for patients well enough to go home from hospital, Brexit, the never-ending crap weather.... What can a girl do? Me, I am burying my head in the sand a pretend I don't exist.

Spreading a bit of cheer is also essential. So, with no further ado, here a list of  things that make me smile at the moment.

Noticing signs of spring. It feels a bit warmer outside at last. I am so done with dreich and grey weather!

Drying bedlinen on the washing line in the garden. I am chancing it a bit, it is grey and dull just now with no wind but I am hoping to climb into a freshly made bed this evening, inhaling the scent of outdoor line-dried sheets.

Observing Mr and Mrs Magpie defend their nest from hungry crows and cheeky cats. I bet they wish to have chosen their nesting site more wisely, not barely above a cat accessible shed roof!

Feeling happy about the excellent feedback from James's additional support for learning meeting. He has come along in leaps and bounds with his academic learning. The teacher and us were quite concerned about his progress eight months ago and it is great to see that he is catching up a little. Better still, James has a clear understanding of his achievements, particularly his progress with literacy.

Wondering what I should do for my birthday. I'll be 48. Once upon a time this was an unimaginable age. Now it doesn't seem quite so ancient. Richard is suggesting a BBQ for friends. It is tempting.

Thinking about quilting James' quilt. I have sandwiched it on Tuesday. James' choice of a bright orange bedsheet as backing is quite startling but I'll be quilting from the front so won't need sun glasses.

Planting another quince tree. By sheer coincidence I noticed that the Apple Man posted on his website that due to the unusually cold and late spring and the availability of cold storage, he was still digging some tree varieties for planting out. We decided to get a new quince and plant it in the front garden. It is more sheltered there than in the back and the variety available is in blossom later in the year than our previous quince tree was. I am hopeful. We'll get a few more small fruit trees next winter, to transform our front garden into a small orchard. We now have six fruit trees altogether. We have also planted an lilac shrub, a mock orange, an unusual variety of clematis and a few Erigerons. This should help transform our back garden into a more creature friendly place with places to hide, blossom to feed on, seed pods to pick on in winter etc. I also hope for a visually pleasing outcome. Richard bought a half barrel of single malt (empty) to plant our bay tree in. The poor thing was quietly suffering in a plastic pot with a little compost since September 2016, when it had to make way for more house. Yes, that's 2016. The barrel is gigantic and I imagine growing some flowers at the base of the tree. I am not very successful with growing flowers from seed, slugs being the biggest obstacle. but maybe slugs get drunk on residual single malt and will not devour the seedlings.

Jogging. I am trying again, ever so slowly. I do miss my long Sunday runs. My foot is pain free and I would like it to remain so. I am jogging no more than 1 minute at the time, followed by a minute walking, framed by a five minutes warm up walk and five minute cool down. No more than 25 minutes at the time. I am going to do this twice a week until I am sure my foot is holding up. Then I'll do the same three times a week. Only when I am sure my foot can cope will I start increasing running  time and decreasing the walking.

Drinking far too much coffee (but enjoying it).

Listening to "The woman in the window" by A.J. Finn. It is unbearably suspenseful and slow. In a good way. I am stuck about one hour before the end. I don't want to find out how it ends, I fear it won't be the ending I would like. If anyone has read it, please please tell me so I can put my nerves to rest.

Reading "Brainstorm: Detective Stories from the World of Neurology" by Suzanne O'Sullivan. I listened to an interview with the author recently and was intrigued and I am looking forward to read this book. I have enjoyed Oliver Sacks books, for example "The man who mistook his wife for a hat", which also presents neurological mysteries.

Making hexagons. The latest count is 556. I am now thinking of sewing them together. Being a bit silly, I thought I'd have a wee look online what thread people use for English paper piecing. I have obviously got too much time at hand...  but I am a bit concerned that the final quilt may be less strong than a machine sewn one. It is a can of worms best not opened... people are quite opinionated about which thread is best. I am now the proud owner of four rather pricey threads (including one silk thread) that all came recommended. Not only do I have too much time to fritter away leisurely, I also seem to have more money than sense. I'll let you know if it was worth the expense to save you any future thread testing exercises. Please do share your own experience.

Exploring Mexican home cooking with Pati Jinich's cookery book. The results so far have been pleasing and there have been no complaints.

What have you been doing? How is life in general?

Thanks for stopping by!