Monday 24 October 2011

ships & seaside

Ah, Frinton beach on a bright October day.
Looks idyllic eh?
Certainly did from the windscreen of the camper van as I parked and then I couldn't open the door to get out as the wind was an Easterly and was a flippin' strong one!
I pushed with my shoulder and it slammed right back in my face.
But, I am British, we love a romp on the beach in such weather; the sky was blue, the waves were, um, choppy and we were anyway meeting with my friend Emily and her two boys Halim and Zakir.
We all braved the wind and walked from Frinton to Walton pier and back before picnicking in a shelter.
The running around did me good.
The wind in my face was such a tonic.
And I was able to wear, for the first time and for its inaugural visit to Frinton, my just-completed and much swooned over (only by me to be honest; it can be lonely being the only yarn botherer in the house!) ships & seaside cowl.
I have but recently discovered Stephanie Dosen's knitting patterns and just love the charm of them. She does admittedly look a bit more serene and dainty in her cowl than I do at 5'10" and windswept but the great thing about this cowl is it felt beautiful and was absolutely ideal in the strong East of England (the wind blew Emily's youngest Zakir, at barely three and quite petite anyway, clean off his feet and onto the sand!).
And here I am sooooo happily wearing it, along with many other layers and a real frozen smile!
And lastly, a picture of my boy, the one my heart beats for.
Every day.

Back soon, with tales of ratio alterations : up, down, no up again, no too much down again. Sound familiar?!
And with a stonking soup recipe.
Lovely love to all and yes, I did get A LOT of oxygen at that beach and am a little high on it methinks ...

Saturday 22 October 2011

Colchester 24

~ be here now ~

I have been really pleased to be able to take part in a lovely local project called Colchester24, a town-wide photography project that was open to anyone living in Colchester.
The idea is to record twenty-four hours in the life of the town by snapping pictures of your life and what you are doing from noon on Friday 21st October to noon on Saturday 22nd October 2011.
I submitted the following photos and will be very interested in seeing the collection once it is completed.
It makes for fascinating viewing looking back at the accepted submissions from 25 years ago, which, if you're interested, can be found here.

~ waiting for his porridge to cool ~
~ never not knitting ~
~ patching the door snake ~
~ the little chef ~

A happy weekend to you all.

Monday 17 October 2011

Corners of my home - Reality Bites!

I love it when people post about the pretty little corners of their homes.
I find it inspiring and uplifting and really, honestly not at all guilt-inducing about my own home.
And on this note I couldn't resist the other day taking photos of my home in all its post-holiday glory.
I guarantee it won't induce any guilt in anyone!The kitchen counter with
  • one rubber glove; can't find its partner
  • diabetes kit open and mid-use
  • piles of books. leaflets and recharging cords
  • basket of quinces from the garden
  • tea towel flung and left

A corner near the fridge:
  • there are cars, always, all over the house, and I love these little reminders of my boy. They are painful reminders when you tread barefoot on them too!
The hob:
  • River Cottage Preserves book open to the left as I was making quince & apple sauce
  • Spuds and soup on the hob.
  • Dinosaurs on the counter; like cars there are dinos everywhere.
  • And a globe pencil sharpener. What home is complete without a globe pencil sharpener?

In choosing to photograph my home in its real state I managed to find it funny that we were living so chaotically for a while.
Things are tidier today but that might change tomorrow.
That this is just how it is, suits me just fine.

Sunday 16 October 2011

At Daymen's Hill Orchard

A few days ago Frank and I drove out towards Tiptree for a new adventure.
My friend Sue had told me of a family run fruit farm where you can pick your own apples and pears.
Moved to action by the evocative postings of some blogging friends in the US I wanted a little apple picking action of my own and in this Frank was a very willing partner.
It was just so very lovely.
The trees were groaning with the fruit and I filled a basket with pears and one with apples.
Notice Frank's stance here? He quickly adopted a defensive head-kind-of-down stance after being hit on the bonce one too many times as he pulled the fruit free.
This fruit was so very ready to fall it needed little encouragement!

Then he sloped off to eat blackberries direct from the bush whilst I paid and dreamt of all the yummy things I was going to make with all that fruit.
I so love autumn and it's days of plenty and those first signs of people lighting fires and wearing socks and scarves.

And in the D-news we were at Addenbrooke's hospital for our quarterly pump clinic and check up and came away with some new ratios and some big smiles : 7.3.
Holding steady.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

The blanket I knitted to relieve D-stress!

May I introduce you to this lovely little number?
It is a small blanket, perfect for having over your knees on a cold winter's evening or at the open air theatre in summer.
Or even for carrying around with you, Linus style, when your D-kid is ill!
The pattern is Hap Blanket by Ysolde Teague and is my first real attempt at lace knitting - Ravelry notes here.
I knitted the whole blanket on our holiday in Holland (and even made a baby hat for Frieda too!) which gives you some indication of how relaxing a holiday it was and how much I needed to keep myself quietly occupied.
Basically the centre block is garter stitch and then you pick up around the edges and knit the lace.
This is my sister's Christmas present (along with a tea cosy, which I will show you once it's finished) and these colours are very much her thing. Heather doesn't read my blog so I think I am safe in showing it off here (if you are popping by Heather, um, Happy Christmas!).


This knitting was just what I needed after the week before the holiday when Frank was ill.
I am aware that I am not writing about the D much at present.
Believe me it's always there and has been challenging recently.
I was completely wrung out before the trip to Holland as Frank had had a fever for three days and then diahorrea for four days and continued to be low on energy and not really eating when we packed the van and headed off to the ferry port.
I had been in two minds about whether to go or not but we had discussed it and felt that he was on the mend and they have hospitals and doctors and medicine in Holland after all!
So, we went and after a couple of days he perked up, started eating like mad and was fine.
Again, it comes back to the idea of getting out and just going for it and yet this is such uneven ground.
We were not taking a regular healthy child away, we were taking a child WITH DIABETES away and it was scary.
We are three years in to this bloody game (anniversary if diagnosis next Monday, in fact) and it does not get easier to make decisions like this one.
In all honesty though, I did make this decision knowing, absolutely knowing, that I would be able to make better calls regarding Frank's health than pretty much any other health professional and that I wasn't afraid to tell people what to do, should it come to it!
I am D-Mum, hear me roar!

Saturday 1 October 2011

Holland and a nod to Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee, Holland?
Let me count the ways:

I love that you gave Frank a really great hot chocolate experience after a long cycle one day.I love that you let Sarah and James rest and enjoy a mellow week with me and my boys.
I love that you have a mad, mad clock in the centre of Alkmaar that rings , elaborately, every quarter of an hour ( and was just across the square from our flat).
Some nights I found this so amusing, others really not so much!

I love your cycle paths that are bigger than Cornish roads and make cycling such an unadulterated pleasure.
I love your canals and the lovely homes right next to them.
Yes! Real people live in places like this.

I love the soft September sand in my toes and, indeed, everywhere after Frank decided we needed to "romp" on the beach and we both got covered in the stuff rolling around and wrestling for ages (whilst Andrew stood near by and pretended he didn't know the giggling maniacs on the sand in front of him!).

I love how happy you make my family with cycles to the beach through pretty villages and pine forests.
I love the flat you provided for us in Alkmaar, right on the canal and across the road from the cheese market and the beer museum; above a toy shop and next to a chip shop.
You were showing off in this instance, dear Holland.
I love that you gave us space to hang out, in harmony, all five of us.
I love, oh how I love, your bicycles.
So cool, so stylish and so practical.

And I love your cheese. Mature Gouda was the best. Gouda with cumin seeds was fab too. Goats' Gouda was , um, interesting.

This land is often unsung. Just not mentioned but I love its gentle way of life, its adherence to quality in life and not quantity.
The Netherlands are only a few hours from my home. Half an hour drive to the port, an overnight ferry and lo! The Promised Land.

I am already checking out return trips and ferry prices.
This was the best holiday we've had in ages (much better than that soggy week in Devon with all the dead crows and stuff).
And the cheese museum? Mmmmmmmmmmmmm ...