Saturday, 15 February 2014

fighting the blues...


This week was a tricky one, not helped by the miserable weather. Much as I don't want to wish the days away, I am really struggling with winter blues at the moment and feel sure that things will feel brighter when the weather picks up. Feels like the barometer has been stuck on this for forever...


...and twice this week I have been soaked to the skin in spite of multiple layers and an attempt to keep some of the rain off...


Don't think I have ever used my umbrella quite so much!

I've been trying to fight off the feeling of lethargy with some sorting and project planning. I have the biggest store of fabrics, some dating back to very early sewing projects. I have offcuts from my bridesmaids dresses, first nursery curtains, blouses and dresses... you name it, its probably there. Plus a few once loved items of clothing, charity shop finds etc. 


I think I should finally do something with them - thinking of a rag rug... May be a long project but hey, no rush, a few more years are neither here nor there.

My little hat make soon took shape - partly because I can't bear going out in the cold without a hat at the moment! Even if I do look a bit of a muppet in a hat!



I don't know how people take photos of hats on their heads! I tried but decided it was impossible to get it in focus if you can't see what you are doing. This yarn feels lovely made up, light and soft and actually very warm but it was a bit of a pain to work with, bit like knitting with two strands of cotton...


Goes a long way though - this hat took less that a 25gm ball so I still have about 60gm to use. Maybe another more slouchy hat? Maybe crochet this time? Not sure what this will be like to crochet with?

And got a bit sidetracked with a cotton yarn find, suddenly had an urge to make cloths/dusters or something else with this knobbly pattern...


Thanks for kind comments, trying hard to keep things in perspective and focus on the future, there are lots of folk with way more to feel low about than me.

Looking forward to a day with my boys tomorrow, eldest son will be 25, don't quite know how those years have gone so fast.

Sx




Thursday, 13 February 2014

losing it...

Today has been a bit rubbish. Most of it I don't want to think about, never mind write about. And to top it all, I think I've lost my camera. Well I know I have, as I can't find it - just not sure if this is a permanent state of affairs. I know I had it with me when we were in the secondhand shops on Sunday, so maybe I put it down while i was poking around. Don't know. Just know, for now, I only have my phone for photos.

And...I've lost a hat and some gloves. Also had them on Sunday... sensing a bit of a theme here. Darn.

Today has been so cold I really missed my hat. So I had a little splurge on some half price Rowan Kidsilk Haze Glamour...


Need to get my knitting skates on so I have something to keep my head warm!

And, for those who were wondering...yes, finally, after several attempts and 3 different drill bits, my coat hooks and little shelf are fixed to the wall...



Hurrah.

Night all, let tomorrow bring better things.

S x


Sunday, 9 February 2014

things that have made me smile this week...

This week has seen some bizarre weather again. We have alternated between bright sunshine and pouring rain; and on Tuesday we had both. At the same time! I was dashing to my car on Tuesday in a heavy downpour but bright sunshine - very weird, you expect the sky to be full of dark clouds. And then as I looked around the corner, there they were plus this stunning double rainbow...


It was so bright that it was reflected in the puddles on the path and in the windows and the double arc reached right down to the ground on both sides. You can see how sunny it was from the shadows on the path, even in my hastily snapped pic on my phone.

I was heading to our patient support group meeting where our speaker for the day was a florist doing demonstrations of arrangements on a film theme. Red, white and blue for 007, 'Man with the Golden Gun'...


Red (ish! more orange really!), white and green for 'The Italian Job'...


...and red and gold, with a spiders web, for Harry Potter's broomstick...


They were beautiful flowers and the florist is very clever at putting these arrangements together, talking all the time, but if I'm completely honest... I think I prefer the simplicity of these...


This week's flowers from the market on my window sill, which make me smile every morning.

And this makes me smile every evening...


Not new, of course, these blankets have moved twice with me now, but the advantage of a bed to yourself is that, as a cold body, I can throw as many bright blankets on together as I like. And, I can have my book and bag of crochet in semi-permanent residence!

Yesterday, I discovered something of a treasure trove, in the form of a giant warehouse of 'antiques & collectibles' in the site of the old Looses cookshop on Magdalen Street, fabulously called Looses Emporium. It is a series of huge rooms on two floors absolutely stuffed with unwanted, house clearance furniture, china and all manner of anything...


It's completely chaotic, and some of the furniture is difficult to see under all the other stuff, but I spent best part of an hour just wandering around and looking. There is, of course, a complete mixture but I love the fact that all this stuff has had another life and I can see myself heading back here fairly regularly! (well, its only about 5 minutes walk away...)

And I did pick up this simple little shelf which I felt sure I could give a new lease of life...


My only problem is that it turns out it is next to impossible to drill into a flint wall, so the place I had in mind for it might present a challenge! Off to find out if there is anyone clever at the DIY shop who can tell me how to get round it!

Fingers crossed...

S x

Monday, 3 February 2014

getting out and about...

I know the weather has been pretty grim, especially for those in the South West, and I can't say it has felt particularly nice here - cold winds and bursts of rain but when I looked at my camera for the last few days actually there was quite a bit of blue sky. Got me wondering about whether we capture what we'd like to remember as much as a true record of life? Or is it just that when its really grim I have a tendency to hibernate indoors?!

Anyway, at the weekend I got up early and walked into the city beside the river. I love that I can be at the market in just over 5 minutes and love even more that I can take a variety of routes in and out. I appreciate the novelty may wear off but for now I'm enjoying my wandering.

Whichever way I go I pass churches. On Saturday the blue sky was stunning...


The riverside area has been redeveloped over recent years - it used to be old industrial sites but now is the site of modern housing developments.  Norwich had a thriving brewing industry for many years and I love that distinctive remnants of those old buildings remain...


This rather ornate gateway leads through to the riverside path. I presume the letters relate to the industrial past but no idea what.


The walkway looks very modern now and I'm not sure if I really love it but I do like that this area has been given a new lease of life; it seems entirely appropriate that cities evolve and are reinvented to meet the needs of the current population, provided that the character of the area isn't lost. 


On Sunday I took a very different trip out. I was awake at silly o'clock (for some reason I seem completely unable to sleep properly at the moment!) so I got up and drove to the coast with no particular destination in mind, just a desire to see the sea. I ended up at Happisburgh (pronounced haze-bruh in case you wondered!) which was a regular haunt when our kids were small. It has a striking lighthouse on the 'high' point...


Anyone remember Challenge Anneka?!!! This was one of the subjects of her programme when it got a makeover in 1990 (having just looked that up, I am slightly reeling at how long ago it was!!) - unfortunately, it seems the wrong paint was used and the 200+ year old lighthouse had to have a complete repaint a few years later. It is real landmark; you can see it a way off on a clear day as you approach the village.

The village has been in the news repeatedly over the last 20 odd years as the sea has eroded the coastline by huge chunks, swallowing up coastal properties as it goes. The beach is unrecognisable from that I remember taking the boys to. The original road to the beach has vanished and there is now a mud ramp down to the beach...


There used to be a long line of original wooden constructed sea defences which provided great shelter for small boys to dig in the sand. Now there are a few piles of rocks, dropped in an attempt to stave off the power of the sea a bit. 


It is a beautiful bit of coastline and at 9am it was just me and a few hardy dog walkers, bliss.



The erosion is starkly obvious though. It looks a little like a mini Grand Canyon, with the top end of the beach covered in sticky mud that has slid down from the overhanging fields. Apparently well over 120 metres have disappeared since the early 1990s, which is a huge amount when you think about it.



I wonder how safe the lighthouse is as the sea creeps further inland?


I think this is probably all that remains of the old sea defences...


Something quite poignant about the debris of houses that have gone 'over the edge'...


...and the warning signs on the attempts at sea defences...


The blue sky is deceptive - after an hour walking I was absolutely frozen! Nothing for it but to head home for a cuppa and a bit of Sunday baking!

Peanut butter and chocolate cookies with lunchboxes in mind...



This little rose on my windowsill has replaced the daffs that were a bit past it. It makes me chuckle every time I look at it - it arrived beautifully packaged from a florist. Goodness! Who could possibly be sending me flowers?! (this just about never happens in my world!) 'Have you got a secret admirer?' Tom wonders... And the answer is...? No! Turns out these were from the estate agents that sold the house to me!! How bizarre! I can only assume they took a handsome fee and thought they could spare a bit! Anyway, its a pretty rose, so I will enjoy!


And for a bit more randomness...a bit of crochet...


I had a fancy for making something useful. This cardigan was dead easy, if a bit boring, and I think I quite like it. Only I have to confess to not being quite sure about crochet clothes. They always seem a bit sort of 'boxy' somehow. And even though I added extra to both the sleeves and the body, both are just a teeny bit short. Hoping it may 'relax' a bit when I wash it...

This afternoon was beautiful again with more blue skies. This church is on my alternative route home...


I have a bit of a thing about skies and clouds and almost walked into someone looking up as I walked...


And finally, my clock is going again! The nice man that repairs old clocks came and worked magic with a bit of oil and tweaking and this is ticking away so contentedly in its new spot. I so love the sound, the question is, will we hear the strike all night?!!


Off to bed to see now...

S xx

Saturday, 1 February 2014

the smallest room...

Thanks so much to you all for your kind comments and good wishes, I am really touched that people have bothered to send a message, makes me feel very 'connected' across the ether somehow.

Today I have a random selection of things to keep track of! I appreciate this may not be the most glamorous room to 'show and tell' and possibly not the most essential to decorate first but, for me, what my Nannie always euphemistically called 'the smallest room' (as a child I always wondered where she disappeared to and where on earth the smallest room in her bungalow could be!) was the one room that was a bit of an eyesore. It had had a bad touch up job, presumably prior to going on the market, and even after a really thorough clean (which it badly needed!) it still felt a bit cold and drab. I think I was also conscious that it is the one room that it is very likely that guests may visit (after enough cups of tea, almost inevitable!) and with no furniture as such to detract the grotty bits were very visible.

Plus, lets face it you have to paint something in your new house and it didn't take much paint or cost much...so here are before...


Note obligatory test pot patches (which never really reflect what the final room will look like!) and the rather stunning dark red/terracotta that I revealed when I moved the mirror to paint! The whole room must have been this colour originally as it was liberally sprayed over the tiles! I went with the palest of the three yellows in the end (to the right of the window) as we decided the darker yellows might make it feel a bit like sitting in an egg yolk...

And after...


Ok, so its still only a downstairs loo. And I know its not that different really but it feels better to me. After I took this photo I also found a mat in a similar blue to the towel so there is a real splash of colour in there now. I still have to get some shelves up in the corner but basically I feel ok letting people go in there now! Daft, I know.

At the moment my little collection of bottles is in there...


...which worries me slightly as I think my mum has old bottles in her downstairs loo too. Eek, perhaps I am turning into my mother. Lord help me when my sister comes to visit, expect it won't take her long to point that out!

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I am finding the incessant greyness and wet weather we've been having a bit depressing. Good job I've had lots going on I think as this time of year always just brings me down and I find I need distractions. Yesterday by 4pm I felt I needed a bit of colour and warmth and lit my little candle lanterns. In a fit of pique when we were packing up these nearly didn't make it as they are a bit tatty & battered now. But when they were quiety glowing away there I was very glad I'd salvaged them after all.


Today I was in London for the day at a (looong!) meeting and it was so miserable in London I couldn't even bring myself to wander round there. I love walking round London but there is only so much you can tolerate when it is cold and raining (particularly rubbish when you wear glasses!) so I was trying to kill time in the train station (did you know it is possible to be in Claire's accessories in Liverpool St for almost 30 minutes?!!). I took this photo just after they had announced that one of the Norwich trains and been cancelled... Which gave me another hour to kill...


I resorted to an impulse buy of two magazines and the most expensive jacket potato and cheese in the station cafe that I think I've ever bought!


I was curious to see if I could pick up any tips from the photography one and attracted by this bit of the Reloved magazine...


One of my chairs badly needs re webbing & springing and I wondered whether it might be a feasible project. But it seems you need a number of specialist-ish tools and I'm thinking just maybe it would be possible to make a very bad & costly job of it. Maybe I should just pay someone to reupholster it properly...

There were some other tempting projects though...


I was actually given this book called 'Cloth' for Christmas and fancied a go at a rag rug then. Maybe this would be a good way of using up the hoards of fabric I seem to have!

Can't believe the first month of the year is gone already, Feb tomorrow (eek, today! just looked at the clock!) It'll be spring before we know it won't it?!

S x

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

back in the room...

Finally... internet reconnected so normal service resumes! I have been just a teeny bit shocked at how cut off I felt with no wifi at all - not just for the social/interesting/recreational side of things (honestly, I really don't spend that much time on here!) but so much stuff seems to have to be done via the internet now, particularly around moving! Sorting utilities, registering to vote, changing address with the endless list of contacts we seem to accumulate... Of course, you can still do some of these on the phone or in person but it means you spend ages in a call queue (usually at great expense on a mobile call, because you have no landline yet either!) with an increasingly grating message telling you that 'we are experiencing a particular high volume of calls and you can do x,y,z via our website...' I even had the same message from Talk Talk! Ironic when it was their connection I was waiting for!

Anyway, all back on now, so last night I updated my 365 project (yep, still taken a picture a day so far - some very hastily snapped as I realise I've forgotten to do it, most on my phone in the last couple of weeks!) and this morning I have had a little spree on Amazon (theatre tickets & coffee, essentials, obviously...) and now I have a bit of catching up to do!

Thanks for all the good wishes with the move, all went well and it really is amazing what you can get into a Corsa if you are determined! 8 trips between houses over a couple of days and we were pretty much in, slightly hysterical at times (picture 20 year old, front seat so far forward his knees were virtually under his chin, packed round with cushions from the sofa and a box of lego...good job we weren't driving far, I wouldn't like to say I had particularly clear vision all round!) but by the end of the first afternoon we had enough bits of furniture in to sit and eat a takeaway and feel that we were at home.

The chopsticks look impressive but actually it was because we realised at this point the cutlery hadn't yet made it across. Tom resorted to a large strainer spoon in the end - not one to let utensil shortage get in the way of his food!

The only entrance into my house (my house! still childishly excited to be able to say that!) is via a little courtyard, so each car load was unloaded and unceremoniously dumped with the car on double yellow lines, then sorted afterwards. By this point, there was no more room in the vicinity of the front door and the armchair got parked temporarily. When I looked back, this made me laugh...


Tom thought it looked quite at home out there! So, this is the little house I fell in love with, 5 minutes from the city centre, just walking back from picking up our Thai meal...


Apologies for the lousy photo quality, the light was very low and its possible I didn't stand very still, I was soo tired by then!! I am still in love with it. Sure, of course, once you move in you find 'quirks' - yep, the secondary glazed windows (listed, can't have sealed units...) are a little bit drafty in places and yes, empty, the need for a lick of paint was a bit more obvious but hey, I have the rest of my life to tweak this place and I think that's just fine.

A lovely friend gave me this as a present...


...doubly appropriate because I am a closet scrabble fan, but I think this house should be full of all of these.

Saturday morning saw me up bright and early, car packed to the gunnels again, for the last couple of trips. The sky was beautiful...


...and I sat and had my first breakfast here, looking out at this view. Marmalade on toast (of course!), large cup of tea, bliss.


By this point, we still had a few boxes to unpack, but basically it felt like home...



In places the walls are 650mm thick (so the survey tells me!) and I love this little window in the corner...

Note to self...still need to replace the shade on the oil lamp which got broken many years ago, courtesy cats or small boys, can't remember which!

Looking the other way out of my kitchen window, I see my neighbour's lovely brick and flint wall, and one of 4 planted hanging baskets kindly left by the previous owner...


I have daffodils (and wilting herbs!) on my kitchen window sill..


...chilled white wine...


...and at least some of my pictures on the wall...


Believe me, after two years in a rented house it was so liberating to bang hooks into the wall!!

I feel the most 'at home' I've felt in years. I've even had time for a bit of reading...


Loaned to me by my eldest son, this was a very quick, pull at the heart strings, read - a reminder that we shouldn't let the 'busy' stuff get in the way of time with the people we love. I'd recommend it with a box of tissues handy!

I've even managed a little bit of planting, these primroses were calling my name from the doorway of the DIY shop...


Phew, bit of a lengthy catch up but at least now I'm up to date! Looking forward to just 'being' again. Life feels like its finally beginning to get back on track.

S xx