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Sunday, 23 January 2022

Joyful January.

 January is usually not a good time.  It's a blue month: not the lovely blue of summer skies but the dull, sapping blue of depression.  

Not so January 2022!  I told you my concerns about the month in this post and two lovely friends decided that they would do their bit and they have sent me cards.  How kind is that!!

And kindness begets kindness.  I'm not going to try and "pay back" the kindness of the two bloggers who sent these cards.  Instead I have set pen to paper and written letters to two housebound people.  I hope that knowing that I have paid forward instead brings joy to the senders.

And on the same subject, if you would like to be part of a chain of kindness, have a look at "Kindness by Post".  Registration will be open soon for the February letter chain.  (Sorry, I think it may be UK only but why not look if there is something similar on your country.)

(I have been an absentee blogger for several days as my laptop died and although I can comment on other people's blogs using my iPad I don't feel able to post pieces on my own blog.  I now have a new laptop.  Hurrah!)

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Another craft

Back in October, when I turned 21-with-49-years-experience, I decided to knit a temperature scarf covering the first couple of years of my eighth decade.  I wrote about it here.   I chose my colours, found a circular needle and started knitting.

I don't knit every day but I try not to get too far behind.  Each different colour represents one degree Celsius in the temperature measured near Caistor at noon each day.  The first colours were very exciting.
And this is my progress from 23rd October to 7th January.  I rather like it.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

The Kilt

Poinsettias in mixed fabrics

When I made poinsettias for wreaths at Christmas I used some tartan patterned fabric for a few of them.  I decided I wanted to do some more crafts with tartan so I went on eBay and bought a ladies' woollen kilt.  Which I forgot to photograph.  Sorry.

First thing was to unpick it.  It had been sewn with invisible thread and had been very well sewn!  Not easy but a couple of evenings later I had a piece of fabric measuring 72 inches by 28 inches.  The pleats were permanently pressed in.  The next job was to felt it in a very hot wash.  And then I put it through the tumble dryer for good measure.  That got rid of the pleats.

Now the fabric measures 66 inches by 24 inches.  Not bad for £8 including postage.   I've ironed it and it is ready for me to start my first project.  I'll let you know how I get on.  

(Just in case anyone thinks this is an outrageous waste of a good quality kilt, I was the only bidder for it on eBay.  If anyone else had wanted it I would have been happy to be outbid.)

Sunday, 9 January 2022

The very best veggies of all!

 Really this post is for Jack but I don't suppose he'll mind if  you read it too!  He moans that I don't blog very often.

Anyway, I keep the very best vegetables for Sunday lunch.  And the very best vegetables come out of my own garden.  We don't grow enough for me to be self-sufficient in veg but I like a special meal on a Sunday.  I don't often do a roast as that would be a bit much for one person, but whatever I have, I like my home grown veggies.

So this is what I have fetched in today.  A big fat leek which really didn't want to come, a few carrots and some sprouting broccoli.  I shall have other veggies from the freezer as well with my sausage and bacon casserole.  

Is that all right, Jack? 

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Vegetables and ducks

There are some things which bring a smile to my face even on a dank January morning.

I'm trying to eke out the contents of my fridge for as long as possible before I have a delivery by Sainsbury but today I decided that I really wanted fresh vegetables.  So off I went to Redbourne, a small village a few miles from here, where there is a wayside vegetable stall. 

It's a tiny stall with an honesty box and each morning it is wheeled out to its place near the village green.  Some produce is grown by the stall holder and some he gets from a wholesaler but it's all lovey stuff and I don't have to go into a shops to get it.  

As well as the expected root vegetables and greens he had free range eggs, pots of snowdrops and pots of hyacinths.  I bought some of each along with my carrots, swede, celeriac and cabbage.

And when I looked across the road there was this waddling of ducks especially for my entertainment.

Plenty to bring a smile to my face!

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

The Winter Blues

 I don't like feeling sad!  My disposition is to look for the happier things in life.  The comments on my last post reminded me of gratitude journals - I've neglected mine for several months but I dug it out yesterday and it is now back in use.  

Like many people I sometimes struggle in the winter and during this time of minimal social contact I really dreaded January and February.  But I remembered my old Guide motto, "Be Prepared" and did what I always do and googled for advice and information and several sites suggested light therapy lamps or SAD lamps.  I've not got a diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder: I just know I get the January blues.  I felt a little sceptical but I was prepared to give it a try so I ordered one.  Last January was the best I've had in years!  

Each morning I have the lamp on as I check emails, read blogs and drink coffee even before I get dressed.  I had to devise a way of reminding myself to do it but apart from that it really takes no effort.

I've also made a list of treats (zoom with friends for coffee, try a new recipe, manicure my nails etc), one for each day of January.  I've written them down so that if the blues hit I don't have to think too hard.

Does anyone have any other ideas for warding off the winter blues?

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Life's little pleasures


Life is full of simple pleasures if only we take the time to see them!  Or maybe take time to hear, smell, taste, touch, FEEL them!   I had a truly simple pleasure today: a plain lamb casserole.

I love the special foods we have around Christmas: sausage rolls, cake, turkey, mice pies;  I love the leftovers however they come; but there is something very special about that first Sunday dinner of the New Year.  Today I had a simple lamb casserole with rich gravy with a baked potato, swede and carrot and a few peas.  Delicious!  Sorry, I didn't even take a photo!
January is my special time for appreciating the simple pleasures of life and my mind has been turning to the famous poem by the Welsh poet, W H Davies.  Americans and Brits pronounce the title very differently but I think we can all appreciate the thought.


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?-

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Anne Frank

"What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven't even happened yet.” — Anne Frank

I found that quote from Anne Frank when I was looking for New Year inspiration and it brought me up very short.  Anne died in Bergen-Belsen when she was only fifteen and so she was deprived of many wonderful days.  And I feel that I owe it to Anne to appreciate the wonderful days I have.

What wonderful days will happen in 2022?  I've got plans!  I've been offered hospitality in a village in the Malvern Hills for a few days.  I've signed on for several on-line crafting courses.  Don't tell Jack but I've plans for the garden.  And my landlord has a lot of exciting plans for alterations to the house.   

So hurrah for 2022!  And I hope that throughout everything I can remember another quote from Anne Frank.