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!


19 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you like Pati's book. I've been enjoying it too. I hope the ingredients aren't too difficult to find there, but I'm sure you can substitute if necessary. I just finished reading The Woman in the Window. I thought it was very good! I was pleasantly surprised, actually, because I was beginning to feel bored with this genre and I feel like this book refreshed it for me. I hope you have a good weekend, take care.

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  2. Glad to hear the running is back on. Couch to 5k starts off with 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking alternating for 20 minutes three times a week for two weeks. Sounds like your plan is similar? Good luck with it, I look forward to reading tales of progress x

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  3. I know what you mean about the news. Although I hadn't heard about the Gulf Stream. What is wrong with it? I'm not sure I want to know. I definitely feel buried at the bottom of a plastic mountain. I had The Woman in the Window but the library wanted it back before I read it. I do want to read it though, so I shall get it again I think. Depending on what you think of the ending. Bedlinen outside here too. Off to parents' evening now, wish me luck! CJ xx

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  4. The news is so so depressing, isn't it, but I can't stop reading/watching updates, even though it leaves me feeling so powerless to do anything about anything. I've read Woman in the Window but didn't feel it lived up to all the hype. And, unusually for me, I guessed the ending. Well done on getting back into running. Slow but sure sounds a good plan.

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  5. The news gets more depressing by the day so it was a joy to read so many positives in your post. Not least the great improvement academically of James. The quilt is looking amazing and orange will make a great backing despite the need for sunglasses it will certainly be cheery. A BBQ sounds like fun for your birthday, washed down with some nice wine what could be better?

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  6. I'm with you on the news. Our so-called president is making a mockery of the office. And each of those bombs we lobbed at Syria cost 1.5 million, 105 of them.. and we can't pay our teachers a decent wage and our schools are falling apart and now they're trying to take away our retirement/social security to pay for his "wall". It's a terrible time to be an American. I enjoyed all your positive things you shared. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  7. The state of the world is beyond miserable at the moment with so much unnecessary suffering. I fear it's all we can do to make out own lives happy places. Such good news about James. Have a happy birthday when it comes. I'm going sound like an old crock now but I would love to be 48 again!

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  8. Spreading a little cheer is definitely the way forward. I’m amazed at how many hexagons you have sewn. Great stuff on the running, hope your foot holds out. B x

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  9. My batting came today for my boy quilt so we are working harmoniously from a distance! it is going to look great, it looks so neat - mine is a bit crazy but fun. I like these posts. A little snap shot of happiness and warm weather helps to soften the gloom. Happy Friday. Jo x

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  10. Well done post beginning with such pleasant spring photos.

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  11. Hi Chritina - catching up here this morning after a night with very little sleep. Cheered by your happy spring pictures and positive attitude. That sounds like a good book. I seem to be reading a lot of crime at present. Have you read 'Lullaby' by Leila Slimani? Finished it overnight and highly recommend it.

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  12. Yes, the news is depressing, I get to the stage where I have to turn it off as I can't take in any more bad news. The weather has been fabulous for getting clothes line dried, I've made the most of it and my washing basket is empty and the beds have clean sheets, it's little things like this which makes me happy.

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  13. Hello Christina! Sorry for being absent here – I used to receive an email when you posted but I haven't had one for ages. Your lovely comment on my blog prompted me to visit, so here I am :-) I totally agree with you regarding the state of the world. I know it's important to be well-informed but sometimes I wish I knew nothing! It sounds as though you have loads of good stuff going on to keep you occupied (well done to James, that's fab!). Wonderful quilt, too. Fingers crossed for your plants and well done on the running – very admirable. I raise my glass (mug of tea) to you. S xx

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  14. A BBQ sounds fun.. the older we get the less we tend to celebrate ourselves and our birthdays.
    The signs of spring are definitely putting a smile on my face.

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

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  15. I limit my news catching-up to only 30 minutes in the early morning when I read it on my tablet. Then I get out and go and listen to various podcasts while walking on the gym treadmill. Like you suggested burying one's head is tempting, but then we would miss out on so many other joys. Happy almost birthday and a BBQ is a fun way to celebrate and hopefully the weather will be cooperative as well.

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  16. The news is just awful. I really have to limit my viewing. The book sounds very interesting. I haven’t really enjoyed the last two books I’ve read. I think my expectations for a good story are too high. Hope you have a fabulous birthday.

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  17. Hey Christina,
    I agree about the news. And now Trump is coming to visit. Grrrrr.
    Leanne xx

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  18. Lovely pics - definitely hints of Spring at last. Glad James is doing well. Have a lovely birhday - I think a BBQ is an excellent way to celebrate xx

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  19. The news is so depressing isn't it. I've given up watching it and avoid it online - I'll worry about whatever happens when it happens. I think a barbecue with friends would be a lovely birthday celebration and it's great that James is making good progress.

    My life is still all work and house renovations. April has quite possibly been the busiest month of my lifeand I'm feeling very tired, but the house is all coming together now at last so another couple of weeks hard work and we'll be there hopefully. Hope all is well with you :)

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx