Well, that was a shock

I don’t think anyone seriously believed we’d leave the EU. But there it is. 

I’ve been in Indianapolis with work this past fortnight. I am terrified that come two years, I’ll be being encouraged to relocate (multinational company) But, then again, I can do my particular job anywhere. And the company still will want to sell in the UK as well as Europe. So perhaps panic is overrated. Certainly a 24/7 database needs admins in multiple times ones. 

Sitting alone in my hotel room, watching the results come in, was horrible. Much of family has

 voted to leave and seem unconcerned by stock and currency volatility (and how long will it last?). So many friends have a knee jerk reaction of wanting to leave, to seek other passports. I don’t have that option. Elderly parents and all that goes with them. Mind you, since getting back this afternoon, even my Mum has conceded that it was going to be unpleasant for a while.

There will be photos when I’m home. Because this was an awesome trip, and I’m looking forward to coming back. Indianapolis is great, and I can see why Dad has such fond memories of visits in the 1980s. And I’m not just saying that because I was 5th female home in the Color Run (29:39. It wasn’t a fast race, despite the flatness!). It’s really been awesome. We use that word a lot at work. 

I learned lots. I learned how much more there is to learn. It is like starting out all over again…. It’s exciting and scary. 

The world is exciting and scary. Orlando. Brexit. It was a tough fortnight to be away from N. But it’s ok with the good people round you. 

Here. Have some photos. In no particular order. 



The Liebster Award


Lovely Anna has nominated me for a Liebster – she thinks I’m someone to read! So, since both running and knitting have taken something of a back seat this week (I’ve run a whole 11 miles…which doesn’t feel like much at all, and most of it was a struggle. We’re at that time of year where humidity and heat combine to make it hard for this asthmatic. Add in recovery and, yeah. Slowly but surely is the motto), I’m taking the easy way out and Liebstering at you. Because it’s more interesting than contemplating the wear patterns on my shoes…

Or sharing my current James Herriot obsession. I’m in the midst of a re-read, and have bought a copy of his biography. The lovely story books he wrote are just those – stories. Very loosely autobiographical. But so nicely told. I went to The World of James Herriot with Dad when I left uni in York. I got so emotional, I actually started crying when we went  into Skeldale House and the theme music from the TV Series started playing. I am wet.  Fountains Abbey didn’t have quite the same effect, despite being vastly more beautiful.

I’m to answer 11 questions, then pose 11 more questions for some friends…


1. If you could have only one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Mmm. Food. I’d start with an avocado and egg salad, with lots of greens, and balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. Main would be spaghetti bolognese, made to Jamie’s recipe, because it’s glorious. And pudding? Phish food ice cream with raspberries.  I think that would suit both my sweet tooth, and be reasonably healthy. And allow me cheese and avocado as I go through.

2. On a similar note, what would be your last meal on Earth?

Starter: one of those all you can eat salads from the Harvester, with bacon bits. My Mum’s pasta carbonara recipe, which involves a lot of butter, bacon, and cheddar cheese. It is very un-Italian. We allow ourselves one dinner a year of this particular dish, as it involves about three days worth of fat, and two days worth of calories. It really is awesomely yummy. And a superbly rich chocolate ice cream sundae. Accompanied by a very good red wine, and then a dessert wine to go with the pudding. No. Dessert champagne. Utterly sweet that stuff, and perfect with pudding.

3. If you could have a superpower what would it be?

To do the Brownies and Guides accounts simply by thinking about doing them.

4. What annoys you the most in life that other people do/don’t do?

Oooooh. Not answering my texts, and emails, and phone calls, to my timetable….and then needing reminding/chasing up.

5. What’s your favourite movie?

Withnail & I. I walked up the aisle to Withnail’s Theme. The organist arranged it especially, based on a recording on the CD which came with the 25th Anniversary Special Edition. We also have the 30th Anniversary Special Edition. And I have a bog standard copy should anyone wish to borrow it.

6. If you had to dress up in fancy dress, who/what would you be?

Oh. Let me show you….


7. What’s your biggest weakness?

Chocolate ice cream. Or gin. I have a lot of gin – people seem to think I drink it more speedily than one a week (tops), and give me gin as a present. I do love me a small batch distillery.

8. Favourite exercise and why?

Trail running. I’m inherently lazy, so I feel like I’m really stretching myself while going slowly, and, because it’s hilly, I can go slowly on occasion, and still push myself. I’m weird.

9. If you could go back in time and tell yourself something when you were at school, what would it be?

Play in the lacrosse match you were offered a spot in. It’s the last one of the year, and you will never get the opportunity to represent your school on a sports team again.

10. If you could only RACE one distance ever again, what distance would it be?

Half Marathon. It’s my favourite (note, I still get to run more than 13.1 miles if I want to. Clever question). I think I’ve done 22 half marathons now. And my next will be High Wycombe.

So. Whom to tag? Well, there’s several people who’ve been very quiet on their blogs…. some for several years, so I’m not sure it’s fair to tag them.  Anyhow, the idea being to get to know more bloggers…

Lovely Mrs Spit.  Knitlet,  Frogspawn21 (whose newer blog I’ve misplaced…so I’m sure she’ll comment), TrexesAndTiaras, HotChocolateJuju.

And The Questions

  1. What is your favourite book?
  2. How long is your commute?
  3. Tea or coffee? Why?
  4. Who is the first person from the internet that you met in real life?
  5. How long have you been blogging?
  6. What is your favourite thing in the world to do?
  7. Where is your favourite travel destination?
  8. What is your favourite Disney film?
  9. If you can knit, what are you most proud of finishing? If you can’t, what would you like to knit?
  10. When was the last time you changed your email password?
  11. Fruit cake or sponge cake? Why?



Getting Things Done

Today, I failed on the parkrun front. It felt more important to just sleep. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night for the past couple of weeks. Combined with the clock change, and getting up in time to leave at 7:10 am Monday-Thursday, I’ve been knackered all week. Most Fridays, working from home, I start at 8am. Yesterday: I was still asleep at 8:30am. With a marathon in just over a week’s time, it’s more important that I sleep than run. And, oh! The luxury. I must go to bed reasonably early tonight. I intend to be on the 8:10 train to Reading, so I can complete the Reading Half. Note: complete. 9 miles at marathon pace and then I am walking the rest of it. I’m supposed to be tapering. I’ve got the Sheila Hancock Just A Minute Episodes downloaded to the phone to keep me steady and occupied for the last bit. I always go slower with Just a Minute going. And much faster with N in tow. That’s inaccurate. Much faster when N is towing me.

We’ve been running together quite a bit – the only good thing about him not doing Manchester Marathon is that he’s not training intensely, so I get to run with him. This is doing grand things. I get more competitive when he’s about, and want to keep up, so I’ve sped up just a little. I’m putting more in where I might be sauntering. Superb.

So. This morning, I ate breakfast on the back door step. Watched the birdies.Contemplated a table. Contemplated clearing some more leaves.

Made a couple of phone calls – the important one was to The Quilt Room, as I’ve finally finished the quilt I bought material for in, oh, 2010, on a trip to Florida. There’s 625 2″ squares in the centre of it. Next time I quilt (I have material bought in 2012, when we went to Illinois), I’m doing something vastly less fiddly. The Quilt Room ladies have a long arm quilting machine, and will do a vastly better job than I will. I just want it done.

Found Em’s sewing scissors. I’m on an embroidery jag, partly in an effort to encourage my left arm to just calm the heck down, and stop tensing up. Partly because – wow, it’s fun, and much easier than I thought it was. I’ve got embroidery in progress to travel with, and I’m finishing off Em’s sampler (I’ve only been working on that since 2009). I rather want to finish it before I change jobs in May.

Failed to get to the bank before it shut. Well. I managed N’s bank, but not mine. Paid in one cheque, discovered that N will have to get another reissued. However, at least cheque #1 is paid in. Went to the post office, meandered round Asda, bought some shampoo for the foodbank, and some FGS for us (they were on special). Amongst other things. OK. I have Bailey’s for alcoholic hot chocolate again.

Had coffee. And lunch out. Gluten-free falafel wraps are vastly more palatable when heated up a little.

Washed the front door step and the PVC of the front windows. I think a second attempt will be required, but they look vastly more sanitary now.

Hung some pictures up. Pulled myself together, and found 8 photographs to go in the family picture frame I want to put above the fireplace in the dining room. Ordered them. I’m not happy with one – but it’ll do as a placeholder (rather than just putting things off until I track down something suitable). The frame has only been sitting in the dining room since early December. In other exciting house news: there will be carpet by Mid-May. Which means we can have a housewarming without worrying about people injuring themselves on the stairs (currently a lovely combination of carpet grippers, underlay, and bare wood). I’ve put up my school photos, three pictures in the downstairs loo (I think one is too high up, and I think I might want to replace it with something larger), one in the hallway, one on the landing, and two in our bedroom.

Uploaded pictures of completed efforts to Ravelry. Caught up on guidemin, caught up on blogs. Still need to track down some curtains on eBay (N put the rail up in the spare room, so we can now have people to stay. If we can clear floorspace..)

And then some chickeny-pasta for supper. With a spot of red wine. And hoping for an unbroken night’s sleep.


Timing. It’s everything

I started a cold on Wednesday night. I haven’t had one since February. This has rendered me prone for the past two days (I managed a shower yesterday as I felt so grimy). Today I managed to get up and drop off an overdue parcel. I am now having a recuperative sit down and looking at the lovely flowers N bought me to help me feel better.

I have a new Wes Anderson film to watch, Bottle Rocket, and the documentary Iris, which is about Iris Apfel, a 93 year old Style Maven, whom I read about in Stylist mag. I popped into the CEX on the way back from dropping off the parcel. Yes, I should have asked N to drop it off but I wanted to get some air in my tubes. I am now wobbly as anything and slightly regretting the excursion. Why is the common cold so debilitating?

N is at the new house. He’s met the decorator, is fitting the router, measuring for the fridge, and has moved his car to the garage (priorities!). I am trying to muster interest for lunch other than a Pumpkin Spice Latte. After that, I intend to

  • Wrap L’s birthday present
  • Sort out tax return documents Started. Three are in the mail…also, it transpires I’ve not done any filing for about a year. I am surrounded with bank statements now so, a late entry to The List arrives below.
  • File bank statements and the like.
  • Collect up gift aid documentation
  • Take the laundry off the racks It’s still a bit damp. I’ve put the heating on
  • Maybe put it away
  • Follow up New Leaders. Follow up New Leaders’ references that are outstanding by actually direct emailing the referees.
  • Collapse and knit

This may be ambitious of me. Here. Have a photo of my Color Affection in progress. And the most recently completed socks.


Where did time go?

Answer: running. I’ve started the 17-weeks-until-Berlin marathon training. This involves getting up inordinately early for a run three times a week, and two runs at the weekend. I shall be shattered, but buff. And I’m hoping my 10K pace does actually go back down to sub-50 minutes (last seen in Feb 2014, while training for a marathon…)

I’m fighting moths – they are coming out of the woodwork with the warm weather. There appears to be a sub set in the acrylic yarn in the shed, and that’s going to be binned when I pull myself together somewhat. The three shades of acrylic which I need for crochet bunting are in the freezer. They can come out for a bit, then go back in again to be sure. I’m crocheting bunting this time round. We made knitted bunting last year and I ended up knitting an awful lot of triangles to deadline and never want to knit one again (I do not like knitting to deadline!). Crochet will make a nice change. 

I need to be out running at 6:45 tomorrow. 1 mile jog. 12 x 200 m in 50-55 seconds interspersed with 200m  in 90 seconds to recover. This means learning my running watch, as I’m not sure of the correct setting to verify I’m going at the right speed for this. Hmm.

It all comes back to time, really. 


Of course, one feels that a retrospective is required

2014 was a bit of a year. Here. Have a brain dump.

My temper is better when I’m not stressed. My mother’s temper is better when she’s not ill. When I am stressed, my left eyelid twitches, and I sprout a recurring chin hair at an alarming rate. The twitch I can understand. The chin hair is entirely inexplicable.

Sometimes, it is better to walk away from sources of stress. This has involved the loss of a friend, and no longer running weekly Brownie meetings. I miss aspects of both. But I do not miss the stresses. Oh, I do not miss the stresses. I do not miss the time spent worrying, the time spent trying to help, the time spent doing accounts which refused to add up, the time spent failing to make someone feel better about themselves. I do not miss feeling like a failure because I can’t make things better.

I need to knit regularly. Heat pads and acupuncture work wonders on the knots in my shoulders. Deep tissue massage merely causes pain. I have bought a yuyu hot water bottle. My zombie onesie is one of the best surprise presents I’ve ever received.

I can run a marathon. I can support my husband when he’s ill, and when he’s worried, and when he’s bereaved.

I got married. It was the Best Day Ever. I love being married. N is in my corner, and I’m in his. And it’s just so totally reassuring.

I ran almost 800 miles (I’ve got three days. I’ll get those 3.5 miles done before New Year). I got a PB on a half marathon. I stopped cycling to work. It’s too scary.

My best friend got engaged. Her wedding will be her Best Day Ever, and my Second Best Day Ever. I have been dancing about in excitement, and singing, inaccurately, “She’s getting married in the morning!”. There’s a few mornings to go….and it’s an afternoon wedding.

I knitted several pairs of socks, a wedding shawl that I never used, and started a jumper for myself.

I nearly finished A Suitable Boy. I did finish Proust. And then Tristram Shandy. And War and Peace. The Kindle is a fabulous invention.  Heavy books are rendered easy to transport. I held a book that Charlotte Bronte held. And another held by Henry James. And I got so excited, I whispered. I even started reading some GirlsOwn fiction after a long hiatus, and got part way through an Angela Brazil before I got distracted by Christmas.

My favourite dress got mothed. I have sprayed everything. Again. And will be visiting the Invisible Menders to get the holes that I cannot disguise with a brooch invisibly mended (at potentially £40 per hole, and with several holes, I am balking at getting the whole lot done. However, this is what savings are for). I did not burst into tears: it’s a dress, not a person. But I was miffed with myself.

I gained a neice. I lost a father in law.

I have more gin than I know what to do with. Ditto hot chocolate. This is direct contrast to the evening a few months ago when I had no gin that wasn’t sloe gin. And no milk to make hot chocolate. Mum suggested I got sloshed on all the gin. I pointed out that I’d induce alcohol poisoning. There’s two partial bottles in the fridge, and four more in the drinks cabinet! I do not possess enough tonic water. But, then again, it goes well with San Pellegrino fizzy juices, and also with pink rose lemonade.

I’ve only eaten three mince pies across Christmas, but put away an astounding thirteen sprouts on Christmas Day. Home grown, and frosted – so they’d lost the sour taste that often blights sprouts.

I have accepted that I shall never be entirely on top of the laundry in my life ever again.

And, next year, I should like to blog more frequently.



Is it nearly the end of term?

Saturday, I was all but ready to wave the flag of ‘not coping’. Myriad small problems of my own, a lack of decent sleep, and, to be honest, a fairly poor diet for the previous week rendered me entirely incapable of seeing a tease, and entirely capable of bursting into tears in the middle of Hampstead Heath and picking a fight with poor N for all of 3 minutes.

Not like me at all.

And I still felt like it for much of the rest of the day. Emotional, belligerent, tired, fed up and really just Not In The Mood for anyone else, let alone their desires (and let’s not even get onto other people’s problems. Hadn’t the wherewithal for those at all).

A decent night’s sleep, and an awful lot of food on Saturday night have mostly done the trick. A day with just N yesterday also helped. Hell. Staying in bed until noon helped! And an iron tablet. Mustn’t forget that.

The rest will be fine. Christmas will be bittersweet – they’re letting N’s Dad out of the hospice for at least a few days, but it will be his last Christmas. N is being confused by How To Wrap for someone with limited grip (there will be a visit to youtube for instructions on tying parcels with just ribbon). He’s also yet to finish the Christmas shopping. We were doing very well, then suddenly his sister asked us what we wanted for Christmas, which is lovely, but we’d rather assumed that we weren’t doing adult presents again this year, and so hadn’t bought her anything. Sigh.

I’m not exactly thrilled about going to my parents for six days either, but I’ll manage. And the bed is comfy and cosy, and there’s as much gin as I fancy, and I can go for lots of muddy runs, so it could be Much Much worse. And there’ll be dress shopping….


Oh, well, that’s better news

Of those almost one in two people who will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime…. 4/10 will die of other causes.

And it doesn’t mean that half of us will have (have had) cancer by 2020 either. So that’s OK.

(I really want some lunch, the numbers are making my stomach rumble. Also, we’re almost entirely sure Dad’s got a virus, as he says he’s now feeling somewhat better)



Brownies take over the meeting

And, mostly, learned that being in charge is really, really hard. Because people don’t listen and they tend to do exactly the opposite of what you expected and it’s maddening. We have a lovely picture of B, hands to face, possibly aghast as the complicated treasure hunt turned into a bit of a free for all. Next week we’ll have a bijou post mortem. Then we’ll try again next term. The whole thing was unutterabley stressful and brilliant. It took me hours to calm down and I failed to go for a run this morning. More time in bed was required. So I stayed there. I am now heading to Southampton to see N’s dad, via the bank and Paperchase. I am restraining myself from killing the guy who is chewing gum extremely noisily behind me. My death glare is not up to the job. The tinny panga pang from the overamped ipod  opposite is less annoying than the sound of sporadic sloppy mastication in my right ear. I swear he’s doing it on purpose.

Why do people do this? What has happened to society that we are incapable of chewing with our mouths shut?

Anyhow. The Christmas cards are mostly posted (just people I’m hoping to see, or who need a present wrapped to go) so I don’t need to remember them. I have paper for presents. I have card to make gift tags for the Christmas fair where the Brownies and Guides have a stall. I have card for 73 place settings for the wedding, and I’m sure I can get another batch. It really doesn’t matter if they don’t match perfectly. However, 10 cards for 50p  was far too cheap to pass up. I have a cuddly dalek called Colin for N’s dad and a knitted blanket and a photo of us to help make his room at the hospice homely. Must get reprint of photo. It’s the first one of us together. Naw.