Monday, 30 September 2013

Birthday Dog

Juno is 1 tomorrow. The girls want to make it a special day. Special to Juno is a lot of ball throwing, a WALK, a few cheesy sausages cut up into treats, a cuddle with mum or Big J on the sofa at night. We do most of these things most days.

I am sure she will get extra cuddles though. Love that dawg.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Bendy Carrots

There was a bag of bendy carrots in the bottom of the fridge and it worried me that they had not been used up.  It is a battle, but I have been trying to use all the things in the fridge and reduce the amount we throw away. So, the bendy carrots have been converted into Carrot and Coriander Soup for Sunday lunch. Thanks to BBC Good Food.
It does not really classify as frugal food, but at least it is not a waste.

On a knitty note, I have now finished the 5th cardi for charity and am on to the second hat. We want to get them sent off this week. Em has been crocheting 6 inch granny squares, and it all helps.
I am going to put a pic up when I have sewn the last one together.

Good way to get rid of those bits of wool after a project.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Cake pops

Em is 17 tomorrow. My youngest, the baby, taller than me and beautiful.

Today her sister and a friend made her some CAKE POPS.

They are really yummy and in fact a cool way to eat cake as they are small.....(fewer calories???).

Today we did some birthday shopping and have had the lovely Cliona and Cillian over to play.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


In the sun this morning trying to get in on the photo I was taking of the cardigans......she has her little bit of crochet at her feet, she sleeps with this and behind her is her humpy koala. Just like the name says.....


Less cross now the NHS rant  is all over the 'net! 
On a happy note:
I have been working on little cardigans using the 5 hour baby boy sweater pattern from Ravelry to give to charity. Too many babes will be cold somewhere this winter. The pattern is identical, I have just used different ply yarns and needle sizes to get these three. I think they will go without buttons as they are really for wrapping the baby and the pattern has no button holes. I added them for Thomas's cardi but that was because it worried me not to have them. Having seen loads of other photos of it buttonless now, I am happy with the way it is. They all need to be blocked and the ends sewn in, but they are at least done!

The lumpy thing at the top is a 7' scarf for Big J using the Eton's scarf pattern, also from Ravelry. It is great to knit and has a beautiful texture. I used a super giant ball of Aran wool bought in Hobbycraft and there is a lot left over, for more cardis and some beanies, which I also want to add to the donation pile. 


I have been ironing and going through the motions of domestic calm this morning but am BOILING inside.

As you know I work for the NHS and love it, but, it is annoying and frustrating to read and hear constant stories about death rates, poor performance, safety issues, bad management and all manner of gross failure and negligence in the press. Yes there are issues, no denying it, but only bad stuff makes the news.

What about the public and their role? It is OUR NHS, we pay for it, but we expect so bloody much.
It is a privelege that we have health care in this country and it would please me no end to see people stop treating it like a RIGHT.

Like the person who turns up for surgery, two and a half hours of allotted time, a full team of aneasthetists, a surgeon, nurses, technicians, and the ward and its staff on standby to care for them in recovery.....not to mention the numerous appointments, letters and phone calls, to agree the date, then the changes, cancellations, and all that. To have that person say that they refuse to have it done because it is not the surgeon they expected is beyond belief. We have waiting lists MONTHS long for elective surgery. We have people who would give anything for their turn. They then went on to demand a new date, with the person they want AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

There are no guarantees in life. That surgeon was called away, it was his team, his registrar in charge that day, with the surgeon's blessing. A phone call was made to the surgeon off site who again reiterated he was more than confident his team could do it. But no. How many thousands of pounds went down the plug hole because of one person? The really sad thing is that we are duty bound at the point of booking surgery to tell them all that we cannot guarantee the surgeon, we do our best, but if there are cancer cases, or joint ops, or even if the poor creature is off sick, someone else EQUALLY QUALIFIED will take care of them. It makes me sad and cross.

Then there is the patient who DEMANDS transport. This is such a tricky one. There are strict criteria for getting transport now, out of the hospital's hands. However, it was agreed that a taxi would be sent to collect the patient for an appointment. Maybe 60 miles all told. The patient said a cab would be fine. However, it turned out that the patient could not get into the vehicle without a two man crew, so a new appointment had to be made and an ambulance arranged. All lost money. The patient then phoned again and again to accuse the team of their maltreatment, the stress they had suffered, their inconvenience......what does one say to someone so selfishly convinced of their RIGHTS? The irony is, the patient has family and refused to ask them to help.

So do me a favour, turn up for your appointments, or call and cancel them. Be flexible if you can, you can bet your bottom dollar we will do our best to accommodate you, and I mean that for my team, but if on the day things are not exactly as you would have hoped, remember being told that it might be so and have a little faith that the people there to do your op are people trained, experienced, willing and happy to help.

Pass it on to others too please. The NHS would work a lot better if we ALL made an effort.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

It fits

 This is young Thomas in the cardi that I made for him. It arrived in Australia in the nick of time, he looks like he is about to out grow it. But, I am very happy and proud that he is wearing it. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Big changes

Every day I check a certain web site to see if the information I am waiting for is posted on it. Not yet. To be fair it says mid September and we are a still a few days off. In the meantime the Open University course starts next week, although there will be reading and things to do from TOMORROW. I am so ready for this course and so nervous about the next step.

I mentioned a while ago about going back to universtiy. I want to study adult nursing. For a long time this has been a dream but now, with the blessing and encouragement of the family, I am going to give it my best shot. There is an intake in February which I would LOVE to be on. Like my lovely Hannah who is researching courses now,  I will be going through UCAS, writing a personal statement, collating old results -----very old, ancient results----- and one of the lovely consultants at work has offered to write a reference for me. 

It is all here on the blog for the world to see, but I have not talked about it openly at work yet. Better not rock the boat until it is sure. I love my work, but want to do more. I have constant interaction with patients but want to be involved in hands on care. I also want a skill that is portable and that one day can be taken to places where people do not have much in the way of medical care. My dream has always been to volunteer in a developing country and maybe, if I work very, very hard this dream will come true. 

In the meantime, I need to keep focused, to study and to keep my eye on the UCAS web site so that I can get my application in as soon as possible....

Monday, 9 September 2013

Christmas is booked

Against my natural instinct to stay at home, again, Big J has rallied us all into thinking beyond the box and we are going to The Gambia. I spent my early childhood in Nigeria, which is also in West Africa, and even though they are different countries, I am ridiculously excited to be 'going back'.
I plan to take something with me that is useful, well we plan to take THINGS with us. I am now looking into what we can carry that can be donated. Pens, books, clothes? There are lots of folk who need things that we just take for granted. Tis the season and all that, but I am starting now.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Bird in hand - berries too

Big J and I took Juno for a long walk this morning. Along the farm tracks. There were blackberries and some early sloes so we used one of Miss Juno's poo bags to collect the harvest, how handy! I also found by the track a lovely but wounded female blackbird. She was a warm brown colour and very soft and surprisingly calm in my hands. I so wanted to bring her home and try and nurse her back to health. But with a cat, dog, and a noisy house what could we do? In the end, I put her in a small hidden hollow on the bank and hoped that she would find the energy to get herself home.

There is also a field of these flowers which the bees adore. Phacelia tanacetifolia, it is a green manure and is grown to boost the soil (it is dug back into the ground at the end of the season) and to attract bees.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Gin and knitting

The lovely Cliona was beside herself in the wool shop but, after some Q&A we decided to have a coffee and just practice a few stitches on the yarn and needles I had in my you do...just to make sure she was ready for the sweater....

Not really, not yet! So, next best thing, a scarf for her son. Using plain and purl to get really good at the two stiches she needs.  Off to a very enthusiatic start, but a day later we had to regroup to check out a hiccup or two. This we did on the patio, in the very cool air, with a gin/tonic/bitter lemon to take the edge off. And now, she's got it. Her other half has it too. Apparently they were both up til midnight knitting!

This week was tough so a bit of gin and yarn was nice. Nicer still was a run at the gym on Friday night and some knitting of my own. Secret, but will post it soon.

The girls flew off to Amsterdam this morning just after 7:00 to see their Dad who was in Germany this week on business. Great that they could catch up with him.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Japanese giveaway winner is

GILL. Thank you for commenting and I would like you to have both items. Please can you send me your address and I will pop them in the post for you. You can email me at


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Island Wool

Tomorrow my lovely Irish friend and I are off to buy yarn for her to make this. It is her first jumper, in fact as I discovered today, her first knitting project....Could be a challenge, but between Celia B and me (I know it is not right!), we should get her there. Her aim is to get it done before Christmas for her little boy.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Zen and knitting

Knitting is really zen. It is the now. Every stitch on every row has to be worked. I love it. I love the rythmn and the slow growth and the tiny click of needles. It relaxes me as much as crochet does.

It has a stimulating side too. Instructions can be complex, confusing and often it is like working out a puzzle.

This is what happend at first with the CHILDRY SCARF.  A friend gave me a copy of this pattern months ago and I loved it, but really struggled with the first few rows. (The pattern is on Ravelry too).  Placing markers was hard. After about 5 or 6 attempts, I looked at some finished works on Ravelry and saw how it was done and from there, I was able to work the pattern, without place markers.

It looks like this:

The yarn is one from the Knitting and Stitching Show last year in Harrowgate, sock yarn and possibly not drapey enough but it is worth perservering for now. The ball of yarn here is small, the rest is in a terrible tangle behind the sofa because Juno got to it about 6 months ago.....Part of the challenge of this piece is to get the mess unravelled.

Also, there are only five more squares to do on baby Tom's blanket before blocking....feeling good.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Sarah Lund, The Killing, THAT jumper and my Faroese yarn

Did you love 'The Killing'? We did, although I did worry about Sarah Lund wearting that jumper all the time, until my good friend took off to the Faroe Islands for a short break. Then it all became clear. That jumper is made of Faroese wool, hand made, and the islands are dotted with sheep and knitters! My friend wants to knit for her son, so we found a pattern and we are going to work on it together - she looked for yarn on her trip and only came away with a lovely skein of this:

for me! I am thinking something with a fair isle pattern. This week we are going to put our heads together and chose yarn for her son. And I am going to ask her to help me with my Open Uni course and UCAS. What a nightmare. I feel so out of date.

I now have an android phone, gone is my little Nokia that does nothing. I can FaceBook and use google and have something called LINE which Hannah uses to text me. It is a constant source of amusement to my family that I am so archaic in my ways......

Reminding you all about the giveaway which will close on Tuesday.

And finally, so excited to show you the lastest knit,  it has not even been blocked cardi #2. All I need now is a girl baby, or someone wanting a cardi for this is a lovely heathery tweedy soft natural wool.