Tuesday 20 December 2022

It has been a while...

 Hello friends

It has been a while, a long while since I visited you in blogland
and I hope this long overdue post finds you all festive and well.

What a year! 
I'll get all the horrible news out the way first...
It has been a sloooow road to recovery with my new hip and gall bladder removal
 but I feel at last I'm on the right path - 
I've now started driving again and getting around a bit more normally.

The main news and what has occupied me is my boy,
Elliott has unfortunately been very unwell.
Rushed into hospital with sepsis, he spent time in ITU and then moved to a ward.
We are still discovering what could have happened, various thoughts that
three hospitals are arguing out - his brain tumour saying hello again,
a pituitary bleed among other things.  
He came home to stay and thankfully is recovering and due to go
back to work in the New Year.
So all in all - most definitely what a year!! 

And now some nicer stuff that happened this year:

I am typing this from a new office, 
yes, I have a home office now, no longer parked in the dining room.
I'm currently working 4 days a week from home
returning to hybrid working in the office in January.
It took quite a bit of work to get to this, completely re-plastered, painted,
boiler cupboard built.
My new home office when tidy...

 My work colleagues on the other side of the room...

It makes a big difference having these little characters with me during the day,
although I have to say Bella gets a little too enthusiastic on Teams calls.

Oh yes - talking of Bella she didn't want to miss out on drama this year and had
to have an op on her eye - she recovered perfectly 
as opposed to the human recovering from paying the bill!

Mum celebrated a big birthday. 
This was obviously before the snow! 
It was a lovely day.  
Mum, bless her, still has lots of hospital appointments.

What has kept me sane is my tiny garden.
I threw myself into growing, planting and reading about growing and planting.

First time I've grown plants from seeds and plugs,
I'm still learning and trying to remember to make notes so I don't 
make the same mistakes next year.  Monty makes it all look easy.

Solar fairy lights are the way forward everyone, 
if I had a larger garden it would be festooned.
These little ones from Amazon - bargain and lasting very well. 

I invested in a greenhouse, I say "invested" it was £10 - it has 
done me proud and protected plants from all the recent snow,
funny how a small spend can give you a lot of joy.

Once Autumn arrived and then the snow it put pay to my gardening escape 
so I figured it was time for me to finally pick up my crochet hook.
I started the Attic 24 Fireside Blanket which I am enjoying.
The colours are indeed warming on these very dark evenings.

Photo bombed by Bella.

And putting up my tree takes a ridiculous amount of time and yes,
it is wonky again.

Well my friends, it has been nice to sit down and say hello to you all again.
Lots of thanks to those who have been reaching out with messages and emails,
received at a time when they were appreciated far more than you could know.

I want to wish you all a joyous Christmas and the 
happiest and healthiest of New Years.  

I will be back - I promise! 

Much love.

Friday 29 July 2022

Hello friends!

Hello friends

A blog post at last.
The aliens decided to return me, turns out I was a faulty
abduction specimen! 
Joking aside, I have been absent from blogging and social media
for many months, definitely not what I planned.

I've been a bit of boomerang with hospitals, not content with a new hip
I popped back to have my gallbladder whipped out.
I am very much hoping that is my lot for this year and I can
concentrate on getting up and running - literally.

Nurse Bella is exhausted from day and night shifts.

Now, you would think with all this recovery time I would have
done a ton of crochet, sadly not the case as really didn't feel up to it.
I did make a bit of progress with my Battenburg Blanket,
it is a lot of joining and ends.

I've got projects planned so hope to get on with those once
the cro-jo returns.

Big thanks for the emails and messages - very much appreciated.

My family has been on hand to help and lift my spirits.
Elliott turned his hand to gardening,
what used to be Darcy's shelter is now a little bed for pot plants.
An old mirror dressed it up.

And my sister did a lovely tea for the Jubilee and Bella eyed the cake.

So not quite back to the old me but getting there.
I am returning to work on Monday, a phased return for a couple of months
working from home.
I'll be blogging again, not quite returning to the FCD's.
Again, lots of thanks for the lovely wishes.

Take care friends - have a super weekend.

Friday 13 May 2022

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends

Apologies for the current erraticness of my blog posts, this hip
business has been far more protracted than I anticipated.

This week I have some photos of the garden to share with you,
Elliott popped out there and took some snaps and these warmed my 
heart, although it is messy the flowers (mainly Clematis, my favourite) 
definitely give it the garden a colour boost.

Kimico Clematis
Super proud of this, it was a tiny struggling thing for two years
and has now found its feet (roots).

Montana Clematis
Most probably the easiest to grow variety and spreads easily.

The metal bench covered in Montana.

I would normally by now have planted a few tomato
plants but decided that I will have to give certain things a miss.
'This time last year' memories keep popping up on my phone
and I realise I've got a lot to do once I am able to.
(I often wonder if those memory jolts are good for you?)

This plant is a rarer variety!
He has taken to sleeping in the tree pot.

As mentioned, Mitchell has now left home
so the ratio of pets to adults is definitely unbalanced.
I feel very loved with the two cats and Bella all vying for my attention.
As you can see Pixel seems very unperturbed. 

Bella is confused.  She gets very excited by any visitors,
she was overjoyed when the postman made a fuss of her this week.

So what else have I been up to?
Well, not a great deal.
I keep thinking - imagine having all this time off work and being able
to get around - I could have done so much.
But I guess that is why it is recuperation time.
Very thankful to the telly - Britbox has been my favourite streaming 
channel by far and Father Brown has been the perfect easy-going viewing.

I have this week felt like doing some crochet so picked up
my battenburg blanket and worked on more squares.

The blanket is going to be 16 squares x 16 squares so a total of 256,
that's a lot of ends!
It is a nice project to pick up whenever I feel like it, I'm very much tortoise as
opposed to hare at the moment.

And that's my news at the moment, a lot of indoors
punctuated with hospital trips and physio.
I will be back soon but until then...
wishing you a sunshiny lovely weekend.

Take care friends.

Friday 29 April 2022

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends 

Just stopping by to say hello, haven't forgotten you all but not a FCD this week.

Little setback with recovery but getting there, I'll be back to full blown natter soon.

Take care and enjoy the weekend and Bank Holiday.

Christine xx

Friday 22 April 2022

Friday Chat Day - I'm back!

Hello friends!

It has been a while! I hope you are all well and enjoying the recent sunshine. 
I've had quite a lot happen over the last month, primarily a new hip. 
Sporting the lovely support stockings in hospital.

I must admit the surgery was a lot more debilitating than I thought it was going to be.  
I naively had visions of being able to run around within a week or so. 
I'm now 5 weeks post surgery and pleased that I can mostly manage on one crutch! 
I am still not able to bend down and I cannot begin to tell you how many times you 
need to reach down and can't! Plug sockets for one example. 
And tiredness, it's like someone hits you with a cricket bat, 
one minute awake the next snoring.  
Slowly reducing pain killers so definitely on the right track.

Bella spent the first few days looking concerned.

The cats less so...

I also imagined I would get tons of crochet done, I've managed to finish one blanket.
This super bright granny square one.
I need to get good photos once I am able to.

Watching telly was something I achieved magnificently. 
Bridgerton on Netflix, all seven Harry Potter films (again), 
Why Didn't They Ask Evans on Britbox, Moon Knight on Disney+ 
and I'm sure there was more. 
Plus my audio books, got through three of those.
 So definitely resting in between setting the alarm for physio, 
so many of you told me how important it is to do the exercises.

In other news whilst I've been hobbling about, my eldest Mitchell 
and his girlfriend have decided to move into a flat. 
Within a few weeks they secured a lovely maisonette in Newington, 
near Sittingbourne and he officially left home.  
I'm now for the first time in my life living alone. 
I confess I privately shed some tears but then scolded myself,  
it's an inevitable milestone and a new chapter and I need to embrace 
the change and the positives, washing will decrease by 80% at least!  
Bella is confused and will need to adapt. The cats are well, cats - mostly indifferent.  

I've still got a little more time before I return to work, thankfully a phased return 
and working from home.  

I'm itching to get into my tiny garden. 
So much is growing and it's terribly scruffy, I'm trying not to look although I did
capture this photo just before my surgery, Cyril and hyacinths.

Big thanks for your lovely comments, emails and Instagram messages, 
I truly appreciated them.  

Take care friends and wishing you a lovely weekend.

Friday 11 March 2022

Friday Chat Day - a mini one!

Hello friends

Whoosh and it is Friday, I hope you are all keeping well.
Bit scant again on news in my world this week so 
it is a mini chat day!

In crochet news - I have been making more
little solid granny squares for my battenburg blanket.
These are nice to plod along and make - not taxing at all.
Different story when it comes to joining them I bet.
I really wish there was a 'sewing in ends fairy'.

Spot the Cyril.
Each day he has been back and visiting, collecting his sunflower seeds
and apple and mostly burying the former.
I expect to have sunflowers growing in random places this year.
It was so lovely to see some sunshine yesterday, I noticed 
that blossom is appearing - it is truly the nicest season.

I mentioned last week that Elliott and I were taking a trip to the cinema - 
I can report that Death on the Nile was 
utterly brilliant - both Elliott and I enjoyed it very much.
Seeing Russell Brand play a serious character was interesting.

It got me in a 'Agatha Christie' mood so have been revisiting
a few more adaptations.
If you happen to have Britbox book a date to watch
'And Then There Were None' - edge of your seat stuff.

The remainder of my week has been work and getting prepared at home
in readiness for my hip surgery next week.
I've been compiling huge handover notes to my work colleagues,
woe betide any of them that mess up my billing spreadsheets! 
I'm feeling a little protective over my work systems but I'm sure I can
pick things up again when I return.
At home - taking advice with regards to putting things at waist height,
getting a bell to summon Mitchell! (Joking about the latter).

I do hope to pop back and do Friday Chat Days but just in case you 
stop by and I haven't posted, I promise to make it up to you - I will be back!

Take care friends, have a lovely weekend.

Friday 4 March 2022

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends

Happy Friday - can you believe we are in March?
Nobody sent the weather gods this memo, it has been a very damp
week here in Kent.  My home had decided it is a colander, new leaks
have appeared - we step over bowls and towels when the heavens open
and that is with a new roof! 
Never mind - worse things are happening...

But, I shall swiftly move on to more comforting items -

The Cath Kidston colour inspired blanket is finished -
(I'm thinking I need to abbreviate the name).

Quite a narrow border as again, determined not to buy 
more yarn for this blanket - it was supposed to be leftovers.
I'm very happy with it, it certainly adds a pop of colour 
on these dull days.

I am still working on little squares for a battenburg blanket
and just started a striped project, 
I'm still undecided and may 
frog it back and revert to squares.


Murder in Provence
Adapted from the books by M.L. Longworth, the show follows Antoine Verlaque, 
a Judge, played by Roger Allam as he and his partner investigate the murders
in beautiful scenery. 

Oh I really want to like this but confess I will a little disappointed.
Mr Allam is a super actor and plays the part well but the plots
feel very daytime TV. It is also aimed 100% at the middle aged - I don't mind that!
It is still worth watching for the eloquence (Patricia Hodge also stars)
and glorious scenery bathed in sunshine.

Squirrel news

Cyril has been sprightly on his toes this week,
so much so I've only snapped one (bad) photo of Cyril's bum!
He has been scrabbling about on my bathroom roof,
clearly no fear of heights.

Oh and this hazy one - again not posing for the camera.
(Christmas tree growing well though).

The rest of my week has been work, physio and hospital appointments.
All gearing up for my surgery soon and I'm thinking of how
to make home a little easier for when I come out of hospital.
Or, I can just keep the boys on their toes! 

This weekend I am hoping to go the cinema to see the new
adaptation of Death on the Nile, Elliott and I are big Agatha Christie fans
and we really enjoyed Kenneth Branagh's Poirot before.
The cast is incredible including Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

I think that wraps up my news - woefully unexciting right now!
Wishing you all a lovely weekend and hopefully
some sunshine where you are.

Take care friends.

Friday 25 February 2022

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends

I do hope everyone is fine following the storms.
Very little damage here at the VT, just a little bit of broken fencing.
It really was something wasn't it, feel so sorry for those who lost power.

It was a good excuse not to venture out and do some crochet.

My Cath Kidston inspired blanket is done bar the border which 
I am just starting.  It was reduced to 90 squares instead of a 100
due to running out of blue yarn (again!) 
I didn't think it warranted buying another ball of yarn just to join 10 squares.
Overall I am happy with the simple design and colours.

In other news...

Cyril has embraced his new feeding spot and chomping his way through
a great deal of sunflower seeds, looks like I have another dependant.

A few more of his mates visited this week but Cyril is keen
to see them off - this is HIS garden now.
It has occurred to me that maybe Cyril has a lot of lookalikes,
but for the moment I'm calling each of them Cyril! 

I am also pleased to have received a surgery date for 
my new hip - 17 March, it is fairly soon!
Forgive me if I go AWOL at certain times.
I will keep you posted on the charity kit situation.

I'm going to be working for my city job (thankfully from home) 
up until that date and then possibly off for approx 6 weeks.  
That is going to feel very strange.

Unfortunately the VT is not the best house for recovering from this sort of op,
we have steps everywhere and steep stairs but certain I will manage.
I have pre-warned Mitchell that he will be doing a fair bit of running around
and cooking!  Most important bit. He's thrilled!
Elliott is booking some time off to keep me company,
we are planning some serious telly watching.

Talking of which...


Family drama based on the iconic Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist
Ten-part series follows standalone adventures, 
which are then brought together in the final episode.

Christopher Eccleston is Fagin and although definitely geared
for the younger generation with some farcical running around,
it is entertaining.  I am a real sucker for any period drama
and the scenery is brilliant.

Not a huge amount of news from me this week,
the real news is making up for that! 
Goodness it seems that anything and everything is happening
right now - so much tragedy.
Apprehensive to even tune into the news each day but also
feel like I need to, things are moving fast and all very worrying.

Anyway - let's not leave on a sad note...

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and take care friends.

Friday 18 February 2022

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends

Happy Friday to you all. Good week so far?
Hope you haven't been blown away.

Welcome to squirrel central.

I now have many squirrels flying about the garden.
I think Cyril the squirrel went back to Squirrel HQ and said
"there's sunflower seeds at No. 5!"
I'm now calling them Cyril & Co.
I had no idea they could climb walls - very agile on the pebble-dashing.

They are proving to be a source of entertainment to the cats.
Thankfully they are not showing any interest in chasing them.
Lily nestled among my blooming hyacinths
and if you squint Pixel is outside on the table.

And yes, still grubby windows - I am resisting the urge to clean the 
conservatory windows as they will only get dirty again when kitchen is installed.
It isn't hard to resist believe me!

I feel quite sorry for all wildlife at the moment with these storms
hence the extra sunflower seeds.


Not much progress on my Cath Kidston inspired blanket due to running
out of the blue joining yarn.  Some arrived yesterday so I can crack on with
joining the remaining 40 squares and the border.
I am really happy with it though and thoroughly enjoyed how simple
traditional granny squares are.

Whilst I was waiting for the blue yarn to arrive I made a start on
some solid granny squares using very posh yarn by my standards.
They are dinky squares and will eventually be joined with plain cream
squares to create a battenburg blanket design. 

These are nice little projects whilst indulging in plenty of telly viewing.
Talking of which...


BBCiPlayer - This Is Going to Hurt
Based on the best-selling memoir of the same name,
the series follows junior doctor Adam Kay in his chaotic job in 
Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

All episodes available and starring Ben Whishaw.
Wow - this packs a punch.
Be prepared to laugh and cry - excellent viewing.
Mr Whishaw appears to be able to turn his hand to many characters
including the voice of Paddington which is perfect.

BritBox - Magpie Murders
 Set in 1950s and today, the story focuses on the murder of a mystery author
 and utilises a story within a story format.

I mentioned a week or so ago this was coming and I was
really looking forward to it having read the book.
It really is a clever format.
I binged watched it and I wasn't disappointed.
Lesley Manville is perfect as Susan.
My only criticism is that if felt too short, six episodes just wasn't enough.
If you don't have BritBox then I definitely recommend the book.

In other news:

My work continues to be busy.
I am still working from home which has been agreed due to the fact
that I've got a dodgy hip and hopefully getting an op soon.
It has stopped me doing quite a bit of stuff - house, garden, Bella walking
so it will be good to be back to 'normal' at some point.

I fear this op could jeopardise timing of the new kitchen but we will see,
it certainly isn't the end of the world if I have to postpone it but
it may mean I have to clean those windows! 

Take care friends, keep safe with these storms and have
a lovely weekend.

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