Can you see me?

When did I shrink? When did I shrink

I found these Toyboys last Friday at Garden Show Ireland in the grounds of Antrim Castle, on a bright sun filled day. When I came home my cheeks were glowing.

Glowing from the sunshine… what else were you thinking? At my age even thinking about ‘it’ would wear me out!

I did have some fun with this guy I found in the Flower arranging tent.

My outdoor man

My outdoor man

Art with my needle ~ Update

Long gone are the Wednesdays when my regular posts on needlework – either in progress or completed were shared here (I suppose you could say that about all the usual areas of posting).

Well the needles have been active in the background so look forward to a few items turning up here in the weeks to come.

To begin with, I got round to re framing & re-instating The Lady*’!

Before doing so I decided to spring clean the Bathroom. Now you have all seen my bathroom in the past so there is no need to blush.

I replaced the radiator, removed the old faded curtains, made some new ones, but before hanging them, my attention turned to some emulsion for the ceiling, cleaning the wall tiles and tackling the bath…

cleaning my shoes

cleaning my shoes

Yes. I had to clean my shoes** before I cleaned the bath

Bath buns

Bath buns

I find Bath buns*** always help! 😉 After that the bath sparkled like new. I picked some new towels to tone with ‘my lady’.

All fresh and clean

All fresh and clean

All I needed were little ties to keep my curtains in place. Little things often cause me problems, so there was plenty of  ferniggling to achieve the look I wanted.

flowers and butterflies

flowers and butterflies

I began with crochet flowers and then tried butterflies

Curtain ties in place

Curtain ties in place

With the light behind the window, it was difficult to see the new ties. The curtains are a double layer threaded over a pole and the top layer gathered into the ties. For the moment I have it solved.

Butterfly Tie

Butterfly tie

Butterfly tie on a crochet band with a toggle closure at the back.

So finally finished you can see the lady back in place.

Lady reinstated

Lady reinstated

Each of the links marked with red stars lead to the original posts where the photos appeared with explanations. 

You can find my recipe for Bath Buns here



I’ll say it again

6th May is Elly’s Day 

Happy Birthday to my Baby.


love award

This is a repeat of a post I first wrote back in 2008.

The 6th of May is for me a time of reflection. With each passing year there are more memories to ponder over. I think about all the things that Elly has accomplished over the years. From an early age she showed great promise and talent.

She became a sculptor


Dancing Queen Elly

She learned to dance to the Birdie Song

She learned to cook

She became a bookworm

Became expert at Car maintenance

Carried out surveys


Became accomplished as a needle woman

With this wealth of talent George must have a very easy life ❗

(pity we forgot to teach her to wash dishes;) )

Doing my duty

I fulfilled my civic duty today and My first preference vote went to the ONLY candidate who took the time to call at my door and have a decent conversation with me.

As I was walking along to the school a very large heavyweight DUP Poster board was tied to a very low pole outside the local Church of Ireland. It was an obstruction and danger to pedestrians. In fact a much younger person who thought their needs were much more important than this here little old lady, almost pushed me into it. Had the board and I made contact, my poor face would be sporting a shiner (black eye) if not worse.

When I reached the school gate the DUP candidate threw a hand sideways at me to give me a flyer, all the while continuing his conversation with a buddy on his way to vote.

Since he did not have the manners to treat me with normal respect, I interrupted his conversation and asked him to step forward to show him the offending poster.

All smiles, he agreed with me that it was far too low and he would have it removed immediately.

My Senior Bus Pass was accepted ( still no sign of my now paid for driving licence) and I was given the voting paper with more names on it than beads on a rosary! I played my 1,2,3 etc., up and down the page and added my sheet to the polling box for what it is worth.

Needless to say, when I re-emerged into the sunshine (13°C this morning) the offending poster was still swinging there on the pole.

I wonder if it will still be there tomorrow?

An answer for Celi

Celi at The Kitchens Garden, has issued a challenge to her huge following who read, comment or become part of the Farmy Fellowship: The deal is to post an image of where we write their posts, our comments and responses.

In my case it varies like Irish weather, I no longer have a fixed desk. In winter it is normally in my living room where I can see and warm my tootsies by the open fire.

At the other end of the L shaped room is my dining table and if I need to use my printer, that is where I work.

In the preparation for hip replacement back in 2009, I purchased a bed table on castors. It has become the most used piece of furniture in my house. I can move it from room to room as I wish, the castors on the base frame slide in under my bed and allows me to type away to my hearts content without the weight on my legs.

When cooking or baking, I can access my recipe folder on the laptop by wheeling the laptop through to join me. It sits neatly under the counter top until I need to check something.

My corner for several weeks now has been in a comfortable armchair near the window for the light and surrounded by my latest crochet project – More on that another day.

Food Monday ~I am partial to a Swede.


This time I am not talking about you Anders, I am in the mood for food.

Deep in concentration on my crochet the other week at Parlour Yarns… I realised the conversation had turned, as it often does, to food. Suggestions for dinner were asked for or shared. I cocked my ear to listen more intently.

They were talking Turnips of the Swedish variety. It is often known as yellow turnip, Russian turnip, or in America, rutabaga. In Scotland it is known as ‘neeps’.

I never knew it was a member of the cabbage family.

My only problem is cutting off the root, then peeling, and cutting the tough flesh into chunks.

It appeared on our table regularly while growing up, always boiled in chunks.

Jack liked it boiled with the potatoes and mashed – I now use it this way for the roof of my Shepherd’s pie with a little sprinkling of crushed crisps to finish it off.

Back to the Parlour…

Ray had the floor and was describing a simple way to produce wonderful golden yellow flesh without any peeling or chopping!

“No need to wash or peel it”. She intoned. “Bung it in the microwave and cook it for 20-25 minutes and there you have it!” 

When the laughter stopped someone asked how you knew if it was cooked?

Never stuck for an answer Ray said:

 “Stick a knitting needle in it!”

Jennifer, agreed that it worked well and I don’t think she had the sale of more needles in mind. 😉

Well, you know what is coming… I had to give it a try. I pulled out the swede/turnip from my Vegetable box.

Raw Turnip

Raw Turnip

I weighed it 900 grs. Placed it on a plate with a layer of kitchen paper over the top, set it in the Microwave ( mine is an E 1000W) on High power for ten minutes… I did not want any explosions. I tested it with a metal skewer at that stage and decide it did need more time. Two sessions of five minutes later (Ray was right!) I lifted it out onto the counter and let it sit a minute. There was a bread knife on the counter and I lifted it and cut the turnip in two as easily as a loaf of bread.

Microwaved turnip halved

Microwaved turnip halved

The flesh was soft but not soggy. I spooned it out onto the plate and it mashed easily with a fork.

scooped out turnip flesh

scooped out turnip flesh

There was more than one helping for me so I bagged the remainder and froze it. I had it yesterday with dinner and it was perfect.

I’ll do it this way in future, No struggling to peel or chop the raw turnip and the cooked shell of skin is as soft as a coarse baked potato skin.

Who pulled the plug?

Well that is what it felt like. Invisible plugs in the soles of my feet were pulled and all my energy drained faster than a full bath scented with my favourite bath oils.

No need to worry it is just a blip… CFS/ME is something that has been part of my health package for about fourteen years. It happens suddenly. Unexpectedly. Elly is one of the few people that can read the signs. She has seen the colour drain from my face and my body suddenly droop to a wobbly jelly. This time she was nowhere near me and busy with work and her own life – that is as it should be – I gave her life and not a life sentence to be tied to my apron strings for life.

Over the years I learned to read the signs, slow down and rest.

This time I had other things on my mind and blamed the ‘tiredness’ on what I was trying to do, so kept going.

  • My friend recovering from a fractured hip, returned home on 10th February. She needed some help with shopping etc., and my daily visits did mean that I actually sat for at least an hour to chat.
  • I was expecting visitors (Post for another day.)
  • I cut my finger badly. It has healed well on the surface, but internally it will never be the same. So now I have two index fingers that refuse to work on a touch screen – First World Problems
  • Regular weekly appointments to attend.

This is NOT a ‘pity me’ post, it is an explanation for my absence from blogging. So no sympathy comments or I will unfriend and block you. SERIOUSLY!! I do not need sympathy, it is energy I need.

In these circumstances the longer I push against the grain… the harder the recovery time. It took me all my time to getup, wash, dress and make my meals. Thankfully my freezer was well stocked with home prepared meals allowing me to thaw, heat and eat them.

There were aches and pains in all my limbs and back. Even reading made my eyes heavy and concentration evaporated.

Thinking. Thinking of a few words to put on a page became impossible. I actually closed down the laptop and put it away. I almost returned to pre technology days with only the odd visit to Facebook so family would know I was alive.

That might explain my lack of posting in the last few months:-

  • January: 6 posts
  • February: 12 posts

Tuesdays are when I go to Parlour Yarns for my weekly injection of fun people happily knitting or crocheting, nattering & laughing. I normally come home full of ideas, stories, high energy and good spirits.

Two weeks ago I had to push myself to attend. During my morning I managed three rounds of a crochet granny square… it was all I could do. Before I came home, Jennifer our leader encouraged and gave me an idea. A simple idea. It was just what I needed to get back on track.

Once home, fed and rested, I gathered all the odd remnants of yarn, the half used balls and all the odds and sods lurking at the bottom of a large see through storage crate. They were every colour of the rainbow and more.

I began a corner to corner (C2C) crochet throw in random colours, a first for me. Each line was a different colour and the early rows used up the little scraps of colour. The different textures and colours worked well together.

C2C Shrug

C2C Shrug

It became like a drug. I sat in my corner at every opportunity… my plan was to work to fifty rows before beginning the decreasing, with a finishing border all round the edge to complete it.  It was so relaxing and distracted me from my aches and frustrations.

I have worked the fifty increase rows and now am ten rows down on the decreases with all this yarn still to play with:

Oddments of yarn

Oddments of yarn

I feel the energy slowly returning. No way am I ready to climb Cave hill, but by the time the rain stops and the throw is finished… I might be ready to take my camera for a dander.

 Life has been busy

In Never neglect a Fall, I wrote about my friend breaking the neck of her right femur on 20th January. Since she lives alone, I have been shopping, doing little tasks and spending time with her to break up the long days indoors.

It means my own routine has had to change about a little for the moment. I have been busy in the background.

I played with…

  • Emulsion brushes and a roller.
  • Washing wall tiles.
  • Reinstated a piece of needle art.
  • My sewing machine and some fabric.
  • Began a project in crochet.
  • Did some hand sewing repairs.
  • Made some bows.
  • Baked Guinness wheaten bread. Yummy.
  • Guinness Pizza bases. Double Yummy.
  • Made a batch of pancakes/crêpes for the freezer.
  • Bought more paint.
  • Bought more heat logs for my fire. The evenings still get cold and with the fire lighting, I am more inclined to sit and knit or crochet. I have a feeling in my gut that with Easter being early, it might be a cold one.
  • Planned the menus for meals when Elly brings some of her friends to visit next month. It will mean, I can sit and talk to my visitors and not spend the time in the kitchen while they are here.
  • Planned for future social events.
  • Bought an evening dress.
  • Sorted items to go to a charity shop.
  • Cleared two cupboards


The list is more to prove to myself that I have actually been productive and that life is just not slipping by.

Now where do I start next?

 I made a phone call



I like talking to real people. In person. If that is not possible, then a real person on the other end of a phone will do. In this case I mean when doing business.

An ATM does not smile or say “Good Morning!”

An automated phone call with fifty two options followed by a Concerto does noting for me. If I have to continue to press buttons to complete my business, I HANG UP!

I like to speak to a real person, who can answer all my questions, with an interesting voice or accent while interacting with me. Hopefully we both come away from the call feeling better about the day.

This morning I did feel better.

Sorting through a bundle of paperwork, I discovered my renewal notice for motor insurance was due tomorrow. The reason it had not been sorted, is I was still waiting for an answer to whether I am allowed to renew my driving licence. Yes, the medical forms are still doing a tour of Northern Ireland before the final decision is made and I am informed. 🙁 If the licence is declined, there would be no reason for motor insurance.

Living in hope, I phone the insurance company to renew coverage for another year.

I spoke to a delightful young man (DYM). I gave him my policy number and said I wanted to give him money. He laughed and asked the required questions to make sure we were on the same page.

I then enquired if he could do better for me than the figure I had in front of me.

DYM – “Now let me see… I can reduce it to £xxx.xx” he said.

Me – “ I am always surprised that if I ask, the renewal cost is always reduced, yet if I say nothing the full amount would be taken, without comment.”

DYM – “It is a discretionary reduction. There is no obligation to give it. A customer who has been with us just a year or two would get a small reduction. Since you have been with us for a good number of years then the reduction is worth more for you.”

So I happily gave him the long number on my card and answered his other questions.

Today I have £51.53 to play with all because I made a phone call and asked for a reduction. It would not have happened if I paid by direct debit.