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Friday, 30 November 2018

A wonderful end to the month

I hadn't been to my card making group for weeks but today was the day to remedy that.  It's my last session before Christmas and I was determined to go.  So, here's what I made.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

None-Better November

I hope your November has been as happy as mine!  I said at the beginning of the month that November isn't one of my favourite months but I'm pleased to say, it has been a really good thirty days.  (Yes, I know I've only had twenty nine but tomorrow is planned and that will be wonderful too!  See you, Mandy.)

Annie-The-Home-Enhancer is one of the main reasons.  I hadn't realised that the tatty state of my home was getting me down but now I'm no longer thinking about doing boring things like cleaning (or rather how to avoid cleaning) I feel free to do lovely things instead.  I've knitted and sewn. I've been out and done things. I've cooked tasty food.  And I've enjoyed my home.  Employing Annie for three hours once a fortnight has meant a little financial juggling but it's worth it.  To be fair to me some jobs which she is doing are things which I can't do because of disability (move furniture, clean high windows, wipe out high cupboards) but she's also doing things which I'm just not very good at.

I'm going to show you some of my crafty type projects during December but for now here are the new tubs of cyclamen near the front door.  They'll bloom more than this eventually!  It's so lovely to go out and come in and to welcome visitors when there are flowers to brighten the entrance. 

As for Nimbler November my average daily step count has been has been its highest for eighteen month.  A bit more spring in my step too.  I'e had a few problems with my Trundle Truck but those are now resolved so I am out and about again. 

I've almost finished my card and letter writing for Christmas and I will be able to post everything on Saturday or Monday.  I may even get a couple of presents into the post by Monday but that's less certain. 

I haven't done much Sunday work (apart from Remembrance Day) but I've been busy with funerals and I baptised a gorgeous little girl who giggled at me through the service (and made me giggle too).  I've never had that happen before!

I've had days out, coffee with friends, lunch and dinner meet-ups.  My friendships are very important but I have to say the most important day was the one where I got the all clear in breast cancer.

Thursday, 22 November 2018


Happy Thanksgiving to any American readers who have popped in.  Have a lovely day.

We don't have anything like Thanksgiving here but I have a notebook/journal of Thankful Thoughts for an Attitude of Gratitude which I keep by my bedside.  I try and put three ideas in each night.  It can be something really small, like having made a tasty soup.  Sometimes it's about big things like having cousins who care enough to check that I am OK.  Sometimes it's finding the positive side of something not so good, like having big windows and good central heating for looking outside on a really cold day.

Today I am thankful for

- the friends I make through this blog, especially those who live in USA and who will be celebrating Thanksgiving today.  I'd never thought about Thanksgiving until I found Blogland but I'm so glad you have told me about it.  It sounds a lovely custom.

- the bloggy friends I have met in real life.

and YOU, the person reading this blog (especially if you are a commenter!).  Thank you

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

A heart-stopping moment

Why is that all cancer checks are so inelegant?  For cervical cancer it involves a doctor armed with the Eiffel Tower.  Bowel cancer screening is in the privacy of one's home but that's the only thing to be said in its favour.  And mammograms involve standing in weird positions while one's boobs are crushed in a vice.

I am the unfortunate possessor of the duff BRCA2 gene which means that my lifetime risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer is appallingly high so a few years ago my ovaries and boobs were removed to reduce the risk.   However, it only reduces the risk - it doesn't take it away altogether so every year I attend our local hospital for screening.  A few weeks ago I had a mammogram and yesterday I went for my annual clinical examination.

I wasn't particularly worried until the doctor said, "Can you just feel here and check your breast".  I felt and I checked and there was a pea-sized lump which I'd never noticed before.  A heart stopping moment indeed.  Anyway, I was sent immediately for an ultrasound examination and everything was pronounced hunky dory.  A bit of scar tissue was responsible for my lump.  

And suddenly the indignity no longer mattered.  Thanks to NHS screening I am still safe.  And my life can go on as normal

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A Little Bit of Crafting

It seems ages since I went crafting but yesterday our Federation of Women's Institutes had a craft day and of course, I was there.  Just two projects to show you.

This Christmas tree is made from milk bottle tops which have been padded with wadding and then covered and stitched together.  I may put a cinnamon stick as a trunk and maybe a few star anise - it will smell nice as well as look good.  

This is a simple purse but it felt as though I was doing origami.  I like the design but if I make it again I shall use better contrasted fabric.    

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Two voices from the Great War

Market Rasen Church this week
On the night before her execution Nurse Edith Cavell said 

"Patriotism is not enough.  I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."

The poet Wilfred Owen, the news of whose death reached his mother one hundred years ago as today, said, 

"Christ is literally in No Man's Land.  There men often hear his voice: 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend.'  Is it spoken in English only, and in French?  I do not believe so."  

One hundred years ago the guns fell silent.  The voices of those two people who died in that war should never be silent.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

A sabbath reflection

Every so often I read posts on other people's blogs which seem to have been written just for me.  I've just been reading Small Moments and a comment by Angela from Tracing Rainbows who reminded me of a poem by Joyce Grenfell, "Time".  Here's the first verse.

When I was a girl there was always time,
There was always time to spare.
There was always time to sit in the sun;
And we were never done
With lazing and flirting,
And doing our embroidery,
And keeping up our memory books,
And brushing our hair,
And writing little notes,
And going on picnics,
And dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing–
When I was a girl there was always time to waste.

Thank the Lord.

Today is my Sabbath, my weekly period of quietness and reflection which in my girlhood would have driven me crazy but is now one of my favourite things.  I read that verse and realised that I'm in my second girlhood!  

I'm always busy, but I've always got time to spare if someone suggests an outing, or a cuppa and a natter.  I've got plenty of time to sit in the sun when the sun wants to shine on me.  I've time not just to embroider but to knit, sew, crochet or whatever.  I don't have a memory book but I have time to write a blog.  I not only write little notes but make the cards to write the notes on.  And in my head I am often dancing but have to admit that on this one the spirit is willing but the flesh extremely weak.

I spent part of my youth working in Nigeria as a librarian and have been looking at some photographs of that precious time.  I see Nkere, Mandu. Helen, Aniema and other women with whom I talked and laughed.  The average lifespan for women in Nigeria is just 53 years.  I am now 67.  Have any of those women on my old photographs also enjoyed the privilege of advancing years?  I don't know.   

Friday, 9 November 2018

Nimbler in November

Mother used to tell me to use my head to save my legs.  What she meant was think about what you're doing so you don't need to use any more energy than necessary.  These days when I bend down to tie my shoelaces I look around to make sure there's nothing else I can do while I'm down there.

As you know I am "mobility challenged".  I use a trundle truck (mobility scooter).  I have a Home Enhancer (cleaner) and a gardener/handyman to help with stuff I can't do for myself.  All sorts of people help me on an ad hoc basis and most of them would do far more if I would let them.  And therein lies a problem.  It would be all-too-easy for me to lose even more mobility.

"Using my head to save my legs" needs to have  new meaning for me.   I want to keep such mobility as I have for as long as possible and that means I have to move rather more than I have been doing.  I have to find ways to move which I can fit into my everyday life.  This is easier said than done!

This week I have spent a lot of time in front of my computer doing a big job of scanning.  I decided to set an alarm to remind me to walk a few steps (about a hundred) every half hour.  Today I remembered that I owed a friend £1.  This morning I have walked the hundred yards or so to take the money.  I know she would have been quite happy for me to pay her next week when we meet for coffee but the challenge of that walk was important.  I've tried to stand at the worktop rather than sit at the kitchen table to prepare food.  

These "movement snacks" are all things which most people do without even thinking about it.  For me they are important.  I want to save my legs.  

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

A very special chap

There are some things which I love doing every year.  Springtime I travel the east coast main line.  In December there's the jollifications of Christmas.  And in November I go to Donna Nook.

I suppose few people ever went to Donna Nook to enjoy the view but it's a place which seems to have a magical attraction for grey seals.  Every year thousands of them come ashore from the North Sea and every year even more of them go back to the North Sea for Donna Nook is a favourite birthing site.  Over 2,000 were  born last year.

And every year I visit.  Usually I go a little later in November but yesterday wasn't too cold so I wrapped and off I went.  I could see only about a hundred animals from the path.  More will come ashore soon and vast areas of the marsh are not visible from the fenced off viewing area.  

But it's quality not quantity - and this little chap, just a few days old, definitely has star quality.  

Sunday, 4 November 2018

A Sabbath crowned with glory!

Long time readers of my blog will know that for several years I have reserved Saturday as a Sabbath, a day of rest and seclusion, a special time of looking for the signs of God's work in my life.  

It starts on Friday  when I get the house in order.  I like Sabbath to be a time of calm and a clean, tidy house helps with that.  Happily the wonderful Annie, my home-enhancer, sorted that one!  I like to tidy before she comes (otherwise she would tidy and I wouldn't find any thing) but she makes sure everything gleams.

Sabbath begins with my evening meal.  This week it was stir fried vegetables with cashew nuts.  Sometimes I will have a glass of wine and after the meal I settle down with my favourite mint tea, made in a tea-pot and drunk from a fine china cup and saucer.  These little touches are important.  Then I settle down to a quiet evening.  This week it was knitting and an audiobook.

Saturday's activities are also quiet.  Yesterday I was scanning some of my late sister's work on the family tree.  This magnum opus runs to five ring binders full of A4 sheets so it is a mammoth task  As I scanned I thought of her, and of our parents.  I thought about my Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Joseph, born in Epworth in 1769 some sixty years after the young John Wesley was "The brand plucked from the fire" as his father's Rectory in that same village burned to the ground.  I thought about many of my foremothers and forefathers, the people who quite literally made me the woman I am today.  And I thanked God for them.

And while I was doing that there was a wonderful delivery - orchids!  These were a gift from a dear friend.  And so my thoughts turned from my ancestors to the wonderful loving friends I have today.

Truly my Sabbath was crowned with glory

Friday, 2 November 2018

OK so I know I'm a big kid

Our local garden centre always has a wonderful display in the run-up to Christmas but the trouble is that once December comes there are always children there.  Crafty wrinklies like me go in November.

The reindeer were parked outside the main display area  and these two were singing "I really can't stay (Baby it's cold outside)".  The boy reindeer is the one on the left as you look at them.  I was a good girl and didn't feed them.

Inside was this wonderful fireplace just waiting for Santa to do his stuff.  I have never seen such a wonderful electric fire.  I have been on the look out for a new fire and I'm very tempted!  The clock is actually a reflection.  I could have used a nice sofa in front of that fire.

Music was provided by this ursine combo and very enjoyable they were too.

And Santa must have been out on a practice run last night because this is how he looked when I saw him.  Too much sherry I think.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

So what about November?

A whole new month!  I don't suppose November is a favourite month for many people - it certainly isn't for me - but it's going to be a busy one.  

I have managed to find a Home Enhancer!  Some people would call Annie my cleaner but I've always called the wonderful people who keep my home in a reasonable state my Home Enhancers.  I cannot begin to say how much more relaxed I feel.  It is going to mean a bit of financial juggling but it will be worth it.  I always was a lousy housekeeper and disability hasn't improved my skills.  Anyway, I now feel ready to tackle a few other things.

I've decided I need a Nimbler November!  My step count has been deteriorating for the last two months so I need to take myself in hand and get on foot.  

Christmas is approaching fast - 54 days to go - and if I want to enjoy it I need to get a few things sorted.  Some preparation of course can't go on the blog (because you never know which friends may read things you'd rather they didn't read) but I will say that I want to get my puddings made very soon and the cards written by the end of the month.  

The garden just needs a quick tidy up - most of the winter preparation has been done but I want to plant a trough of cyclamen for near the front door.

I will be listing some stuff on EBay to try and find a little space in my house.  That would be lovely.

And I've got meals with friends, a craft day, a few trips, a lot of crafting and a wonderful month planned.  Hope your is as joyful as I'm planning that mine will be.