Thursday, 1 December 2016

Bits of This and That

Hello there. Gosh, it's been a while since my last post. Not a lot has gone on around these parts, a bit of decorating, a few visits to and visits from my lovely daughters, a bit of knitting and lots of running. 
It must have been last Easter when I decorated the dining room. Our downstairs has one big through room, but I didn't have time to do the living room part as well before E was into her A level revision and I didn't want to disrupt things. Then it was the summer holidays and I didn't want to do it then because E would be off to uni soon and there were more exciting things to be doing with her than decorating. So, that's why it was over 6 months later that I finally got around to doing the other half. It was badly timed. Having to have the curtains down and not wanting to effectively sit in a goldfish bowl every evening meant that when R came home from work, we ate in the dark! He complained that when he came in cold after cycling from the station, he wanted cosy and warm, not unwelcoming, disrupted and dark. It did, however, only take a week, so he put up with it and now we're back to normal again. I also managed to put my back out. I can only assume that it was when I was lying on the floor to paint the skirting boards and kept twisting round to reach the paint positioned behind me. Whatever caused it, it put me out of action for over a week. My running ground to a halt and there was lots of moaning, Ibuprofen and hot water bottles. 

Talking of running, I think in my last post I was in week 5 of my Couch to 5K programme and was bemoaning the fact that I could just about run for 8 minutes and the next day I was supposed to do 20. I had planned to ignore the programme and build up to the 20 minutes gradually at my own pace. When I thought about it further, however, I came to the conclusion that there must be a reason for the big jump up and thought it was probably more a case of overcoming some sort of mental barrier. The following day, I donned my ratty running gear, set the timer for 20 minutes (yes, I do run with a small digital kitchen timer - it counts down and I don't have to squint at my watch when running) and set off. I thought that if I couldn't manage the 20 minutes, I would just stop whenever - no big deal right? At times, when the going was uphill, I slowed right down to the point where it was almost strolling/jogging (strogging?!), but I kept going and before I knew it, the 20 minutes were up and I was doing a little happy dance right there in the street! Then, of course, I put my back out and couldn't go again for nearly 2 weeks. Getting back to it was tough. I've mentioned before that I don't exactly set out on running days with a song in my heart and after nearly a 2 week break, it was harder than usual. I forced myself out there though and am now on week 7 running for 25 minutes. Yesterday was the first day that I did it at the gym. It was very icy round here and I didn't want to risk slipping, so the gym it was and I actually enjoyed it. Admittedly, I felt the need to look a bit smarter but it wasn't too crowded, I managed to work out how to use the machine all by myself, I listened to my ipod and the view over the frosty racecourse was beautiful. Dare I say that I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow's run?!

Here are a few more snippets from the last few weeks:
I finished another pair of socks:
I accidentally bought a Yarnit! Yes, it really was an accident. I don't think you can get them in the UK and I was looking at them on The price quoted was in $ and there was a button to convert it to £. I pushed it thinking it was just a converter and a message popped up congratulating me on my purchase. That took a bit of explaining to R! I do love it though and it looks very cute sitting on my coffee table in all its turquoise glory.
One of last week's library books. I really enjoyed this. It's a charming story about the Queen, who one day pops into a mobile library at Buckingham Palace and discovers a love of reading. It becomes all encompassing and starts to impact on her royal duties. I'd definitely recommend it if you like Alan Bennett's style.
When the girls and I visited Blenheim Palace in the summer, we updated our tickets to a yearly pass. A couple of weekends ago they were holding a Living Crafts fair, so R and I drove to Oxford, collected L, and we went along. It was a lovely, if cold, day and I rashly decided that a winter picnic would be a nice idea.

I think I was the only one that was keen. L valiantly tried to show enthusiasm, R just moaned. We sat outside on a cold bench, trying to enjoy the view. At one point it started to rain and R moaned some more. Cross words were said, the picnic bolted down at lightning speed and we quickly adjourned to the coffee shop to warm up!

The craft fair was fun to look round and we did a tour of the house, so not all was bad. There was also a brass band playing carols which added to the festivities. R upgraded his ticket too, so I'm sure that we'll be back. Possibly in Bridget the Midget and definitely when it's a bit warmer.
I also managed a trip to Bristol to visit E. We had a lovely day - watching 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them', visiting the Christmas market and sharing a  felafel and halloumi burger and a red pepper and feta quesadilla at Giraffe. I hated leaving her but am consoling myself with the thought that it's nearly the Christmas holidays and she'll be home again.

One last thing, I finished my second Hitchhiker scarf in a self striping Anatola yarn by Louisa Harding. To be honest, it was a bit of a disaster. At one point I noticed that I had dropped a stitch. I tried frogging it back and managed to get into a complete tangle - something to do with the increases at the end. I ended up chopping out a huge chunk of the yarn, consequently losing one of the pink stripes, so when laid out flat the pattern looks off. I was also running out of yarn towards the end, so my bind off was really tight and puckers the edge. It doesn't look too bad on, but I find the yarn slightly scratchy  on my neck (I bought it online - there's a lesson there!), so I don't know how much I will wear it. All in all, not one of my finer moments.
Anyway, that's all for the moment. It's December 1st today, so I'm off to dig out my Grinch Christmas Project bag and transfer my current pair of socks into it. Then I'm off to do some Christmas shopping. Fa La La La La!
Wishing you all a wonderful week.
Toodle Pip for now. x


  1. I hope your back is now better! Well done on running for 20 mins! I couldn't do it :( I always enjoy seeing the pics from your days out. Your winter picnic made me laugh - my Mum always insisted on a Passover one and it was usually freezing in April in the UK!

  2. What a lovely post, with so much going on. I'd like to put up my feet in warm socks and give that book a try :-)

  3. Oh, so sorry to hear about your back, mine has been the same for the last two weeks so I know what you're going through. Congrats on the running, that is one major achievement. You had me laughing about that winter picnic, I've never tried that, doubt my hubs would be up for it!xxx

  4. Glad you have recovered from your bad back. Well done for finishing your decorating. Sometimes you just have to persevere! Fantastic with your running. Keep going! You made me laugh about your picnic. Sometimes it's fun to do things out of season :) B x

  5. Well done on the decorating and on the running! Fantastic! I love your socks and I'm glad to see we're not the only ones who do picnics in unseasonable weather ;o) xx

  6. ouch your poor back. well done on the running. someone recently recommended to me to wash some scratchy yarn in conditioner. worth a try?

  7. Hello there! It's nice to be catching up on your blog, and great to see all that you've been up to. Very well done with the running! I'm a fast walker on the treadmill at the gym, rather than a runner. Your winter picnic sounds like fun - we've had a couple of those, but I must say we ate quickly! I bought paint ready to paint the hallway and landings in the summer, and still haven't started the job. Oh well, a job for 2017 I think.
    Cathy x