Saturday, January 30, 2010


This has been the strangest January for me. I'm not a person who finds winter darkness and cold depressing. Once Christmas is gone, as far I'm concerned spring is on the way.

This year, it's been quite different. The snow at the start of the month was lovely, for a while, but it disrupted my start of term at work hugely - all of the schools I work with were shut and when they reopened were so busy catching up they didn't want some loon phoning them to blather on about recycling!

We seem to have battled with every 'bug' that's going around. I don't think we've had a week since November, when at least one of us hadn't got the lurgy of some sort.

Again, although it's grotty, this wouldn't normally bother me.

Coughs, colds and stomach bugs are part and parcel of this time of year.

This January, it all became a bit overwhelming. I haven't been my usual positive, upbeat and cheerful self.

That's because I was churned up inside and totally and utterly self-absorbed. I wanted the whole world to leave me alone. I felt sick and scared. I was in tears a good deal. I wanted to hide myself away - hibernating in my own little world of wool.

The reason for this melodrama, was that I had found a lump. A tender, sore very definite lump, on my right breast. After leaving it for a day or two to go away, it didn't.

So, last week, I saw the Doctor. Apparently the soreness is a very good sign - pain is good! I was very thoroughly examined. Lots of questions were asked. The diagnosis is 'most probably a blocked duct' - isn't it great being a girl, with all our tubes, pipes and ducts?! (Maybe I need a plumber!).

For the next couple of weeks, I need to keep an eye on things. Then I'm back for another check-up. I was very reassured that if they think there's even the slightest risk of it being cancer, I'd be in for tests like a shot.

I was struggling with whether to post about this or not but I think this is such an important issue for us girlies to be open about, that I just had to. It really brought home to me just how vital it is to 'check' ourselves regularly.

As you can see, the past few weeks have involved knitting and those pictures above are merely scratching the surface of what I've knitted since Christmas. Whoever said 'knitting is the new yoga' really knew what they were talking about! It's helped me through the fog just lately.

So, with beautiful sunshine outside and family happily occupied for the day, I'll be doing lots and lots of yoga :o)

Love xxx

Friday, January 15, 2010

What to say?

It's difficult to find the words to express the horror of what has happened in Haiti this week. Every news bulletin brings heart rending stories of real people undergoing unimaginable trauma and loss.

Standing at my kitchen sink this morning, washing a bundle of handmade socks, I was struck with the irony of it all. There I was washing, rinsing and re-rinsing without a care for where the water came from, safe in the knowledge that I had as much of it as I could ever want or need, listening to Radio 4 and a Haitian father appealing for help, pleading for fresh water, asking to be remembered.

We all love blogland for it's ability to cheer us, to take us away from 'real' life, to escape a little into a safe and colourful world, full of beauty and inspiration. Sometimes, we just can't ignore the real world out there.

There's little we can do other than hope and pray for those affected - and donate to the emergency appeal.

Here are some useful links:



Saturday, January 9, 2010

A public service announcement: Winter is here

For those of you in the north of Britain, indeed throughout the northern hemisphere, who were under the impression that winter arrived weeks ago with the fall of the first snow, I am sorry to disappoint you.

Winter did not arrive until Tuesday of this week, when snow fell on southern England.

There were murmurings on the national TV news for several weeks, that mentioned bits of snow in Scotland and northern England. It's only now, that we've had a full three inches down here, that the powers that be have deemed it worthy of prolonged news coverage.

I mean, so what if that poor chap in Scotland hasn't seen his wife for 19 days, since she popped out to buy a Christmas turkey and couldn't get back to their remote home? That's not hardship! No, hardship is when the Co-op has no milk for a day. Hardship is when you can't wear your Jimmy Choo's for the school run. Hardship is when you have to clear two inches of snow off your driveway!

See, we know ALL about winter down here!

Me, I'm hibernating.

I have some delicious new yarn to snuggle up to, thanks to Michaela's inspired Big Diet Raffle.


Not only that but a fab bundle of fabric too!

I feel it's only right to thank the postman too, as he had to slip and slide his way here on ice-rink pavements, to bring me my goodies.

With school closed for two days, all the schools I work with closed, and children happily occupied bickering and arguing with each other, I had one or two opportunities to snuggle up with my knitting.

Big and bulky wristwarmers to match my big and bulky beanie.

Progress made on a new pair of socks for Monster.

A new start made, after frogging one frustrating project, I moved onto a simpler pattern to use some very pretty, soft and squooshy alpaca yarn.

In the midst of the 'BIG FREEZE' the lovely City Link man also managed to make it through , with the result of a shopping spree on Amazon with my money from Father Christmas.

Take a look at that delicious pile of books. No prizes for guessing what knitting projects I may have in mind this year.

We're in for a weekend of snuggling up - well I am, as they're all off to the cinema later (with hot flasks and sleeping bags) - a bit of baking, plenty of reading, a spattering of knitting and readying ourselves for the next deluge of snow that's due to hit tomorrow.

In the meantime, please spare a thought for all those poor folk who've had to suspend their plans to hit the January sales for a new pair of heels. My heart bleeds.

Keep warm.

Keep safe.

Keep smiling :)


Monday, January 4, 2010

....and a very Happy New Year

I love New Year.

No matter what life has thrown at you in the past year, a brand new year can feel so full of promise - full of potential, new challenges, new adventures, new experiences.

I know 2010 will have some very difficult times. With several family members battling serious illness, we all have some tough times ahead but since losing my Mum nearly three years ago I have taught myself to take each day at a time.

It's the little things that help us get through the big things. I haven't made resolutions. I have lists of things I'd like to do - the majority of which involve knitting, sewing or crochet....and possibly a new kitchen extension (don't hold your breath on that one but suffice it to say that I think I've convinced Moogsdad to turn our tiny old kitchen into a craft room!).

To kick off our New Year, we saw out the old one with a lovely day out at Fort Nelson, sitting high on Portsdown Hill above Portsmouth. This amazing fort, built in the late 1800s, to defend against potential land attack, is now home to a Royal Armouries Museum.

There's a whole string of similar forts throughout Portsmouth and Gosport - with their lovely grassy roofs and forboding red brick faces.

Incredibly, the museum is completely free to visit - apart from a small discretionary donation....

.....and the odd £1 to try out the Bren gun. Very heavy according to my little soldier.

If cannons and heavy artillery (and huge sections of Saddam's supergun - made in the UK!!) are your thing you won't be disappointed.

Especially if you have a liking for pretty Turkish and Chinese cannons.

They even do mass destruction decoratively.

Minx and Monster took part in a great little re-enactment of Henry VIIIs life and loves, with two brilliant actors - the woman actor had made all of the fabulous costumes herself.

Here they are hamming it up as Henery and Catherine of Aragon.

Every day at 1pm, the Howitzer in the parade ground is fired - twice. Unfortunately, it was so VERY loud I jumped out of my skin and my shutter finger jumped too - hence the blur!

We rounded off our visit with a walk through the tunnels that run beneath the entire fort - and scared ourselves witless. They have Hallowe'en evenings down there but there's no bl**dy way I will ever go down there again. Walking up a spiral staircase behind Moogsdad, Monster and Minx, I am sure I heard the crunch of footsteps behind me!!

We talked to one of the staff who told us he didn't believe in ghosts but after a particularly terrifying experience in the tunnels - that he didn't give us the details of - was now less sceptical.


Onto slightly less scary things - here's a hat I knitted very quickly today and for which Anna is entirely to blame. She's also to blame for the fact that, as of about 20 minutes ago, I've also knitted a second one!

Neither hat was on my New Year knit list.

These were though.

Bonkers mismatchy stripey socks for the very naughty Minx.

It's shaping up to be a very knitterly 2010.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year.