Friday, 23 March 2012

Questions, Questions!

It's another still, fine day outside today. I was up early, thanks to the cats being up to no good and waking me up - at 6.50am I was hanging washing out on the line and thinking how nice and quiet it was. It's not sunny though, unlike yesterday, which turned into such a nice day, I thought I'd have me a bit of 'al fresco crochet'...

The other side of the mug says 'crazy cat lady' - that's me!!

I was a bit worried that there might be a bit of a sneaky breeze, but the sun was really warm, and I think I underestimated how hot it gets when you've got most of a big blanket draped over you! So I had a lovely couple of hours out there, with the birds and squirrels for company, but then eventually the breeze did get a bit cooler, so I came in and carried on rippling inside.

I was reading Kathy's blog yesterday, and she'd been tagged to answer some questions, and then think of some of her own. Rather than choosing anyone else, she'd left it open for anyone to join in, and I liked her questions so I thought I'd have a go! Is it a bit sad that I'm tagging myself? Oh well, I don't care, it's just a bit of fun! So here goes:

1. Why did you start blogging?
Back in 2009 I started a blog about Strictly Come Dancing. There are several others out there, and I think I just wanted to have a go myself. Thanks to iplayer, I could cut and paste clips of the shows, so it was all about trying to catch someone pulling a funny expression, or admiring the frocks. The following year I blogged about a couple of other reality shows, and then SCD again, but in the meantime I'd decided I wanted to write about other things, particularly just the everyday stuff, and I didn't really want to do that on my Strictly blog, so I started this one instead.

2. How did you choose your blog name?
I've gone right back to the first post I wrote, where I said I must've been having 'food issues' hence the title of the blog. I think I was doing my usual thing of thinking about losing weight and getting fitter, and the title was kind of an ironic response to that... I've often thought about changing it, but I don't know if it's possible, and I'm scared of messing something up and losing the whole blog, so I guess I'm stuck with it!

3. What book are you reading right now?
I've just recently decided to list all the books I read this year in my right-hand sidebar, over there -->, and as you can see, my current book is The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale. It's based on a true story, but for some reason I thought she'd written it in the style of a fictional novel. But she hasn't. It is a factual account of what happened, and it's very heavy on information like names of people and places, times, dates etc. There are also lots of quotes from other accounts of the same murder, or similar murders of the time. I've been ploughing through it but I seem to have come to a bit of a standstill just lately, which doesn't bode well for me finishing it...

4. What is your favourite city break?
I'm not really a city person, and I don't think I'd ever choose to stay in a city for a holiday or short break. The only time that I have is several years ago, when my mum and I went on a few weekend coach trips, and one or two of the hotels were in cities/towns. I'm having trouble remembering where they were though. Coventry was one, and I think Carlisle was another. No, not really my cup of tea at all.

5. If you could be somewhere else right now, where would it be?
Well, clearly not in a city! No, I'd be in Scotland, which is probably no surprise as I think I've mentioned my deep obsession love for Scotland in previous posts. I would be in a lovely little cottage somewhere in the West Highlands - either on the coast, or maybe a bit more inland, but still preferably near to a loch. There would probably be some woodland nearby, where we could spot red squirrels and pine martens, but also some open moorland for spying herds of deer. Up above, a golden eagle would be gliding along, maybe even a sea eagle if we were near the coast. There'd be an otter slipping in and out of the water by the shore, and if it was a sea loch, maybe we'd even be able to watch seals bobbing up and down a bit further out. Heck, lets throw in some dolphins and a distant sighting of a minke whale for good measure, it's my daydream, after all!

6. What is your favourite TV show from your childhood?
Although I definitely watched TV as a child, and I'm sure there were lots of programmes that I loved, the only ones that spring to mind are Top Of The Pops and The Chart Show, although they would be slightly 'older' childhood, and even into my teens, rather than younger.

7. What was your favourite lesson at school?
I've always loved writing, so my favourite lesson was English. On my very first day at infant school, I was too shy to go outside at 'playtime' so my teacher let me stay in the classroom. She gave me a piece of paper and asked me to write her a story, so I wrote about a tiger and a boa constrictor! I enjoyed English all the way up to my GCSE's. I then went on to do English Lit at A Level, but I just couldn't get the hang of the way we had to analyse the texts, and try and read something into every word they'd written. I just wanted to read them! I also didn't like the two teachers that we had (one was a really smarmy guy who thought he was a comedian, and the other spent nearly the whole of every lesson talking about her daughter, to the extent that we got so far behind with our work, she had to give us her address to post it to her during the summer holidays!). So I dropped the subject after the first year.

8. Dog or a cat?
Goes without saying - CATS!!! But I do really love dogs too. If we didn't both work full-time, and if we had a bit more space, we'd definitely have a dog. Quite possibly one of those German Shepherd pups!

9. What is your favourite crafty past-time?
Crochet, obviously, although I enjoy cross-stitch too, as long as I've got enough space for it.

10. What can't you live without?
I should really say Chris, or my cats, but as awful as it would be to be without them, I could still live, I suppose. So, um, oxygen?? I know, I'm taking it a bit too literally. Ok - Crunchies!!

11. What's your signature dish?
I'm really rubbish at cooking, or to be more honest, I'm too lazy to cook, although I really want to rectify that. At the moment if I cook for myself I'm at the stage of poached eggs and beans on toast, or mushroom omelettes, or mashed potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, veg and gravy (my ultimate comfort food). If we're cooking something for us both, we tend to have a lot of curries or pasta, but the sauce is usually out of a jar. I want to learn to cook more meals from scratch, and rely less on processed foods. Then I'll start working on my signature dish!!

12. Describe yourself in three adjectives.
These are always really hard, aren't they? Beautiful, intelligent, modest?! THAT IS A JOKE!! Erm... Quiet. Indecisive. Ailurophile (that's a noun, not an adjective, but I'm having it anyway!)   ;-)


So there you go. Now I think the idea is that I should come up with 12 questions of my own, and here they are. I have to confess, I managed to think of two before my brain blanked on me, so I searched for 'interesting questions to ask someone' and came up with the rest!

1. If you could only listen to one song/piece of music for the rest of your life, what would it be?
2. You're throwing a Come Dine With Me dinner party - who would your three (or four) guests be, living or dead, would you have a theme and if so, what would it be, and who would you like to be doing the running commentary/voiceover?
3. What three things would you send into your Room 101?
4. What is your favourite quote?
5. Which fictional character would you like to be?
6. If you could know the answer to any question, apart from 'the meaning of life', what would it be?
7. What would you call your autobiography?
8. What was the last TV programme, film or book to make you cry?
9. Do you have any special talents?
10. Have you ever met anyone famous?
11. If you could witness any event from the past, present or future, what would it be?
12. What story does your family always tell about you?


I won't tag anyone in particular either, because I know some people don't like this kind of thing, but if you feel like having a go at these questions (or Kathy's) then let me know in the comments, as I'd love to read your answers! Remember, it's just a bit of fun!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Forgot To Say...

Our next-door neighbours have just created a new pond in their garden. It's only taken them a couple of days, but it already looks really well established. There are paving slabs and pebbles around the edge of it, a two-tier waterfall trickling in at the back, and it looks like there are a couple of goldfish in it too. It's very nice. I have pond envy. I've always wanted a pond in our garden. The nearest thing we've got is a half-barrel full of water and duckweed, but it's not really ideal for wildlife. I've been dropping hints to Chris, but he says I can just admire next-door's from the bedroom window. That's not really what I had in mind.

Bits And Pieces

Well, since my previous post, I'm happy to say I'm feeling a lot better, both physically and emotionally. Today is the first day of spring, and this coming weekend the clocks go forward, and there's definitely a feeling of brighter days ahead. I can't wait!

As I haven't been blogging much lately, I feel like I've missed out on so many things that I wanted to write about, so this post is going to be a bit of a mish-mash of some old stuff, and some more recent.

Firstly, I have been working on my ripple blanket lately, but I'm a bit annoyed because I forgot to take a photo of it earlier when I had my camera out, so that will have to wait till next time. It's coming on ok though, slow and steady. Also, as an 'inbetween' project, I've been crocheting another dishcloth, but I might as well wait till that's finished to take a photo. Not that it's anything exciting! We'd been using one that I'd actually knitted, when I was still dabbling in that, but it finally started looking a bit worse for wear, so I threw it out and started on the bobble crochet one (can't remember if I ever showed you that). Chris likes it, but I think it's a bit 'holey' - I think I used trebles, and it's kind of stretched now, so when you pick it up, your fingers come through the holes. I mentioned this to Chris and his answer was to just make another, but I said I didn't have any cotton. I never thought any more about it, but then a few days later he came home from work and he'd bought me two balls of cotton, specifically for dishcloths! I was a bit amazed that he'd remembered, and got the right yarn (although he did ask the lady in the shop). So no excuses now, I can make a few more cloths.

Changing the subject! Chris's mum and dad have got three dogs - a terrier called Jack, a German Shepherd called Sam and Bess, who is a cross, but we're not sure what! She's got the colouring of a German Shepherd, but quite a small, lean frame. Anway, a few months back, Bess was in season, so they were making sure that they kept Sam away from her. Chris went over to visit one day, and his mum and dad were just popping out so he was under strict instructions to keep Sam and Bess seperate. Well, you can guess the rest, can't you? Chris got a bit distracted, probably went for a wander in the garden or something, and he came back to find Sam having his wicked way with Bess. Oh dear. Let's just say Chris is not too old to still get a good telling off from his mother!! So a few months later, what do we have? Four adorable little puppies! I tried to take some photos but I only had my phone with me, and unfortunately they all came out a bit dark. This was about the best one - there are three of them here (I think!), all attacking his mum's slipper:

Think they were 5 weeks old when I took this

Two have since found new homes; the other two are still at his parent's house - if they can find a home for one more, they might just keep one for themselves. Next time I go over I'll see if I can get a better photo, although they'll obviously be a lot bigger now. Sam is huge, so I think they're taking after their dad!

I had a bit of a tidy up yesterday in the spare bedroom. Over time it gradually gets very untidy, and I'm afraid to say it's all my stuff, I have to take the blame for it all. Last time I tried to have a clear out in there I discovered that I owned nearly every plastic carrier bag in the known universe, or at least, that's what it looked like. I tend to hang on to them, just in case. You never know when you might just need a carrier bag. But maybe three black bin liners full of carriers was a bit excessive. Anyway, Chris got rid of most of them, and only allowed me to keep a small selection. My other big problem is paperwork. I've always described myself as someone who likes organizing, but I think I've just been lying to myself, because I'm rubbish at it! Maybe if I had loads and loads of space, with drawers, shelves, files etc then I might be better, but in the limited space I have, paperwork just piles up. It's mostly just certain things that you get through the post, maybe from the bank or somewhere like that; you don't really know what to do with it, but you feel like you shouldn't throw it away. So it gets filed. In a drawer somewhere. And the other thing I get a lot of now (I'm sooo turning into my mother) is catalogues. Not the big fashion ones, but the ones from places like Lakeland and House Of Bath, because I once ordered something from them. I admit I quite like looking through them, but then it just seems to take me ages to get around to throwing them out. So yesterday I filled two carrier bags (you see, they do come in useful!) with old paperwork and catalogues that were to throw out. It felt good.

Our cats have had a lot of toys bought for them over the years, but one thing that they seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of is the simple ping-pong ball. Every now and again, they have a mad half hour, chasing one around the living room. A few months ago we were in the supermarket and noticed a pack of 'reduced flight golf balls' - they're made of foam rubber so they don't go as far, presumably they're for practicing with. As they were a similar size to the ping-pong balls, we thought they'd be perfect for the cats so decided to treat them. When we got home we basically emptied the whole packet out. Another game that the cats enjoy is if we throw the balls upstairs; they chase them up and either catch them at the top, or if the ball bounces off the wall, they chase it back down again. Eventually, there are balls scattered all over the house. Millie is especially fond of the foam rubber balls, because she can pick them up in her mouth. She's been known to carry them upstairs, and from room to room. Occasionally they end up under my wardrobe. Yesterday it occurred to me that I hadn't seen many of these balls around, so I thought I'd check if there were any under there. I've got a long piece of wood that I use to sweep them out. Guess how many I found? This many:

12 'golf balls' plus a stripy one which was her first favourite
I left them in the middle of the spare bedroom floor, and we were woken in the early hours by Millie chasing one around our bedroom. The little angle.*

A couple of months back I was having a bit of a crisis about what to do with my wool stash. I had a lot of yarn that I'd been given, but then I bought all that Stylecraft and didn't have anywhere to put it. So we re-jigged a bit of furniture, and moved a spare set of drawers which weren't really being used, into the bedroom. I managed to cram all my yarn into them, and decided to try and keep them as my little crafty area.

I didn't take a photo of the drawers open, but trust me, they're full!

 For Christmas and my birthday I acquired quite a few books, to the extent that I now have 'a collection'. The knitting book at the bottom was given to me by my auntie a while ago, who also supplied me with most of my knitting needles and crochet hooks. My mum bought me the Sewing Bible a few years back, probably in the hope that I'd get a sewing machine and learn to use it so that I didn't have to keep asking her to alter clothes for me. It hasn't happened yet. I bought Knitting In No Time myself, from the book club at work, but all the others were presents this Christmas/birthday. I'm really pleased with my collection, so far.


 Next to the books is a tin that once contained a Jeremy Fisher ornament, from Beatrix Potter (I collect frogs, and have a few Jeremy Fisher items). Inside are all my crochet hooks, although I had to stand them in a pen pot otherwise some of the shorter ones were nearly lying flat across the bottom of the tin.  


 Next to the tin are some jars and a fancy little box with a fluffy lid. Chris went through a phase of collecting jars, so a colleague at work used to give me her used coffee jars for him. Then he decided he didn't want them anymore, so I kept the last few for myself. My mum gave me the box, I think it might have once contained talc with one of those 'powder puffs'. In one jar I'm keeping all my snipped-off ends - I don't really know why. I think I've seen other people do it and it looked nice. The other two jars, and the box, contain hundreds of identical buttons in a kind of brownish-purple colour. Chris found a box of them at his mum's and brought them back for me (she didn't want them), probably because I once said I wouldn't mind having a button collection. If you ever want a brownish-purple button (or several) let me know.

Button, anyone?
So there you go, my crafty (but mostly yarny and crochety) drawers!

I popped out into the garden this morning to take some photos of the buds that are appearing on the fruit trees, because they've really started to open up just in the last few days.

A peach tree - Chris is hopeful he'll get fruit off it this year
Plum tree
apple tree
We've got another plum tree which had amazing fruit on it last year. It was in a tub, but Chris planted it in the garden a couple of months back, and I forgot to take a photo of it, but I think it's got loads of buds on too, so fingers crossed for more delicious plums this year.

When I was taking my garden photos last year, do you remember the big tree at the end of the garden? I made a collage of it in this post. Well, in February, it got chopped down. Can you see the stumps?

Pic wouldn't upload properly for some reason
 It's not actually in our garden, but in the one behind ours, so obviously they can do what they like with it. I'm just glad I got to finish my monthly photos of it! I think Chris is kind of pleased, because it lets a bit more light into his greenhouse.

When I came back upstairs after taking my photos, look who'd made himself comfortable on my camera bag!

Cheeky monkey!
Anyway, I think that's all for now. I told you it would be a bit all over the place! I'm glad I've finally caught up on some of the things I wanted to blog about though.

Bye for now!!

* I once came across a tribute page on Facebook (or somewhere like that) to a young person who had died (I didn't know them). The girl's best friend had set it up, and had tried to write a moving and heartfelt message about her friend. She'd written something like "now there is one more angel up in Heaven", but unfortunately she spelt angel wrong, so it actually said "now there is one more angle up in Heaven". I know you shouldn't laugh really, but it kind of amused me, although I did think it was a shame that the message had been spoiled slightly by bad spelling. We used to refer to the cats as 'little angels', usually in a sarcastic way when they were being naughty, but ever since I saw that, we always call them 'little angles' now.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Remember...

... how the last 6 months of 2011 were generally crap, and some very sad events happened to my family? And remember how we were looking forwards to 2012, hoping for a new year, fresh start, things-could-only-get-better type of situation? Well, 2012 has let me down. Another crap thing has happened already, and it's only March, for God's sake!

So I'm allowing myself a few more days of wallowing in sadness, anger and frustration, but I know I really need to pick myself up, dust myself down, give myself a good shake, possibly even slap myself round the face a couple of times to shock me back into action. I'm sitting on the bed typing this, but I'm glancing out of the window thinking it looks like a lovely day - not sunny, but with not a breath of wind. The trees are slowly starting to get some colour back on them, and the branches are a flurry of activity, with all kinds of birds flitting here and there. Every so often, a squirrel (we think we've got three regulars now, so I don't know which one) runs across the garage roof to steal some more nuts from the feeders. I should be out there, enjoying it, taking photos (my poor camera has been neglected for too long). I was reading one of my favourite blogs, Just So, earlier and admiring the photos of Sandra's latest spontaneous walk, and thinking, I need to do that. I just need to get out more!! I'm not too well at the moment though, so the walking might have to wait a bit, but I could at least get out in the garden. I'm going to try and make the effort tomorrow. In fact, what the heck, I might go and sit out there now. Chris will be home soon, I might surprise him by sitting in the garden with a cup of tea waiting for him!

I know in my last post I was bemoaning the fact that I was spending too much time on my computer, and that certain things, including this blog, had to be sacrificed a bit. I never intended to neglect it as much as I have though, and I really want to get back into it, just maybe with a bit more control (like saving everything for one post a week, or something like that). I still need to sort my head out though, and get my thoughts into some kind of order, but hopefully that won't take too much longer. I've actually really missed blogging! Maybe the break was just what I needed?

Anyway, this was one of those waffling, all over the place posts - sorry about that. I just felt I needed to write something. I'm off to make that cuppa and sit outside... unless looks are deceiving and it's actually freezing!!
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