A not very productive blog year

As it’s a year since I began the preparations for this blog  feel I should acknowledge it but not celebrate it as it has been so hit and miss.

A year ago I sold my house in France and the past year has been one hold-up after another.  Moving back to England, re-establishing myself into the systems, finding somewhere to live and settling in, catching up with everyone, and then the dreaded unpacking.

Although moving house is supposed to be the third most stressful event after death and divorce, I actually enjoy it.  This time however the unpacking has been much more difficult.  In part, a big part, that I have so little storage here and so much ‘stuff’. The charity shops have already benefitted from 99% of my wardrobe but I still have much left to put on eBay.  One of the things causing problems are the huge amounts of ‘this might come in useful one day’ and ‘this is too good to just throw away but I’m willing to part with it’.  Much of this consists of perhaps small items not suitable to sell.

When I arrived back from France the person driving me needed to stay overnight and I had asked a friend to make up a bed for her.  Unfortunately the bed is in the room where I had made my piles of ‘charity shop’, ‘throw out’, ‘sell’, ‘alter’, ‘find a home for’ and ‘undecided’.  I had to tell my friend just to put it all in the third bedroom so, of course, it was all mixed up again.  It still is as I haven’t been able to lift anything of any weight or move my arm in a normal fashion.  I am finally getting to the stage where I can do more but it’s been three months out of the year.  I feel I’ve missed out on the summer.

Last week I decided to have a go at driving.  I felt that I would be able to cope with the simple act of driving but wasn’t sure about manoeuvring the vehicle.  I asked Isabelle to come with me just in case but I was fine, and for that I’m thankful.  I had been going stir crazy and Isabelle had to take me to all the hospital appointments, dentist, shopping etc. I feel that I’ve got my independence back.

Typing was painful and so I got very behind on emails and suchlike.  Then a few weeks ago I fell asleep with a cup of tea in my hand and when it spilled on me I leapt up and threw the rest onto the keyboard of my laptop causing most of the right-hand keys not to work.  For example the right hand shift key doesn’t work and as that is the one I habitually use I forget to use the left hand one for capital letters.  As it’s a pretty old Sony Viao and Sony aren’t making laptops any more I’ve been waiting weeks for the shop to source a replacement keyboard.  It’s been awkward using a USB keyboard so I’ll be glad when it’s been repaired.

So that’s it.  The year in a nutshell.

Nevertheless, I find I can now knit quite comfortably so that has been keeping me going.  Small mercies.

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A little activity

I have been seething away in deep frustration so, having tried a little while ago to knit and not succeeding, I decided that now I should try again, and what do you know?  I can knit!!

I don’t have any wips and hadn’t decided what I was going to do next so I started a small project I’ve had lying around for quite a while because I’m going crazy and have to do something.  It had to be small because I knew I can’t support or manipulate any bulk yet and the only woolly things I have planned are jumpers and cardigans.

The project is a toy kit free gift  from a magazine and finally I’m managing to knit, for a few minutes at a time and very slowly, and would be able to crochet if I could decide what to do.

It’s not proving entirely satisfactory because the yarn provided is rather nasty cheap acrylic with some violent colours I wouldn’t normally choose. They are actually more vibrant than the photo shows.  Lime green is one of my least favourite colours ever, along with magenta.

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However, I’m knitting – hooray!  I’ve decided that next I will use a single skein of Aran weight yarn in a lovely soft grey and make a cushion cover.  I’m gradually re-covering all of my cushions but usually sewing them so a knitted one will be a change.  I’m being strong-minded though, (unusually!), and am going to finish these little toys first although I have no idea what I’m going to do with them.  Nearly done.

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Also I’ve just realised that as the wool for the cushion cover is in a hank I will have to wind it.  I could possibly find the swift and ball winder but will I be able to lift boxes and rummage, even if I can reach the shelves? No problem – if needs be I will lay the hank on the floor and wind carefully and patiently.  I have oodles of patience.

Had enough now

So what can we do when tearing hair out and at screaming point with frustration?  It’s now coming up to eight weeks since I broke my shoulder.  The consultant tells me that the breaks are healing well.  I am going to physio and doing the exercises but the consultant also told me that I will never be able to lift that arm above my head and it will take eighteen months to get back the optimum use.  How am I going to put jumpers on?  I don’t want to knit all of my jumpers with buttons down the front.

However, I can do much more with it albeit punctuated by cries of “ow!” as I forget the limit of movement.  Typing with one hand is tiring and I still have a solid black bruise from shoulder to elbow.  I realise that I obviously tore muscles, ligaments and whatever else is lurking under the skin but I fully expected the bruise to be technicolour green and yellow by now.  Sigh.

In the midst of all this I had a birthday.  My birthdays in France were somewhat non-events as my trips to the UK were always spring or autumn but this last one was very enjoyable apart from a dental appointment in the morning.

Zoë, my goddaughter and Eva her daughter, Daniel my godson and my friend Isabelle, their mother,  came to visit and Zoë brought a meal she’d prepared plus a cake with strawberries and cream she baked.  She’s a brilliant cook.  The kitchen was immaculate when she’d finished too – no sign of a meal for five having been prepared and eaten.  I loved every minute.  (Not the dentist, obviously!)

Flowers brought by Zoë.

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They did a wonderful job of cheering me up over quite a few days.

 

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The best laid plans of mice and men, and me….

The plan was for me to take my trip to France then return to my nearly organised house, have a huge last push blitz and then settle into Making Things to sell.

Well the good news is that I’m back home after my French jaunt.  The bad news is that I broke my arm just before I was due to leave and I can’t drive.  It’s jolly painful as it’s right at the top of the humerus just below the shoulder joint so it can’t be plastered and is just in a sling. No, I wasn’t drunk, I tripped in my friends’ kitchen.

Up until then I was having such an enjoyable time seeing friends, ex-neighbours and the new owners of my house.  However, I am now home after a horribly uncomfortable two-day journey.  I found someone to drive me and my car back to the UK  and I was never so pleased to be in my own surroundings – even though I can’t even sleep properly as I can’t lie down.

It’s surprising how much one can achieve using one hand and teeth but of course the most frustrating thing is that I can’t knit, crochet or sew.  I’m a reader, but I can’t manipulate a book, I can’t do much else as it’s so painful and I’m so slow so I’m reduced to catching up with recorded tv programmes, cleaning up my Documents folder on my laptop, (very definitely needed), – and thank goodness for the French Open tennis.

I’m hoping for a rapid recovery but we shall see.  So much for The Plan.

This is the hot, heavy, badly fitting, uncomfortable medieval instrument of torture that my arm was put into in the French hospital. I was told I had to wear it without taking it off for four weeks.  I have since discovered that it is meant for a man, it was too big and it was put on wrong in the hospital!

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It gave me a huge blister on my back but I had ordered a lighter one whilst still in France and it was delivered as I got home so that, at least, is more comfortable.

Later today I go for my first shower and hairwash for two weeks.  I don’t understand why I don’t smell but everyone assures me I don’t. They aren’t the kind to be polite either!

My very lovely doctor arranged for me to be taken to a retirement home where there is a walk-in shower as all of the showers I have access to are over the bath and there’s no way I’I’d be able to manage that.

Yes, I know that there are many worse off than I am and I shouldn’t be whinging, but this is MY misfortune and if it impacts directly it has an effect, the main one being extreme frustration, even though I know I can’t do a thing about it except wait.  I have masses of patience for things like jigsaws, untangling yarn, undoing knots, people and suchlike but this is just maddening.  At least I know that every day it should get a little better and I’m not miserable.  Some aren’t that lucky.

I suppose I’m getting there….

Less than a month, (but only just), since the last post!  A small improvement but hey – it’s progress.

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The shelves are now much better placed than they were and the chests and fold-up bed fit nicely into the alcove which gives a little more lengthwise space for when the bed is down.

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Although the room is looking chaotic everything is actually much more organised into piles for charity, to sell, to alter, to upcycle and thereby use fabric which is too good to part with.  It’s amazing how much fabric there is in an unpicked denim skirt.

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However, I’m heading off to France in a few days so I will leave the blitz till I get back. I need to sort out  travel insurance, breakdown cover and car documents.  I never bothered when I lived there as breakdown was included with car insurance and I’d be covered by the NHS for anything else.  I toyed with not bothering but it would be Sod’s Law that I’d regret it so I must check details.

Apart from visiting friends I’m looking forward to seeing what the new owners have done to my house.  They were planning to make some interesting changes as well as putting a conservatory on the front.  At the same time as they bought mine they bought a strip of land adjoining mine making the garden twice the size and a much better shape.

I did a complete renovation when I bought the house as it was in very bad shape and I promised them a set of before and after photos so that is something I must do right now.

It really will be a month before the next post.

Oh, come on. Get on with it!

I can’t believe that these posts are spacing at a month+.  How time rushes by!

I’m not letting myself do all the things I want to until the organisation of this house is properly achieved.  I am far too weak-willed to trust that I would ever get back to it. In addition I am a champion procrastinator.  Sigh.

I am an inveterate hoarder, and daughter of an even worse hoarder, and am trying desperately to change my ways, but old dogs, new tricks….

I have so many things from my mother and grandmother that aren’t really worth keeping save for sentimental reasons and those are the hardest to dispose of.  Whereas I am happy to give some things away, sell, donate to charities, what I cannot do, or only with the greatest of difficulty, is lift the lid of the dustbin.  I’m even thinking I might sell some of my fabric.  What???  Wool – no.

My mother ingrained in me the ‘don’t waste anything – it might come in useful’ ethos.  Consequently I find myself hanging on to all sorts of rubbish, some of it hers.  I have started a pile of, ‘Now listen!  You won’t ever use that, and what do you think you are going to do with a rusty nail, such a small scrap of paper, three square inches of fabric, few inches of yarn,’ and so on.  It’s hard my friends, it’s hard.

I have to say though, that once I start it is quite a liberating feeling. STUFF is a burden and after years of having to buy a house big enough to take my worldly goods I do realise that it needs to be tackled so that it isn’t left to someone else if, (when), I shuffle off this mortal coil.

I’m still unpacking and sorting out and now the charity shops have 98% of my wardrobe.  And kitchen come to that.  It is so difficult fitting into a much smaller house.

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Change of heart.  Ready to change these shelves around to being side by side.

 I’ve decided that releasing clothes that no longer fit, thus massively depleting my choice of things I can wear, is a creative way to whittle down my very large fabric stash, (and wool!).  Clever, eh?  What I have to do now is make the time to sew, knit and crochet!

It’s even more necessary than it was before my efforts as I inadvertently took a large bag of clothes I’d intended to keep to wear, to sell or were unworn, still with the labels on, to the charity shop, along with the bags I actually intended for them.  A classic example of overdosing on decluttering.

I have actually read the two blog books I ordered so will be gradually – slowly I expect – be hastening the learning curve for improving what I produce. I haven’t yet told anyone what I’m doing so I hope I can soon magic up something with some shape and structure.  Then I can try it out on friends.  Good fun really.

On a learning curve

I have just realised that today would have been our wedding anniversary if I’d stayed married to my long-divorced ex.  Although I’ve been perfectly happy ever since it does raise a question or two of how different life could have been if we’d stayed married.

I’ve been feeling sad about Helen Bayley who was murdered by the man she thought was her second chance of happiness, only to have been so horribly  deceived.  Thank heavens for all the happy and contented marriages out there which we so often don’t hear about.

My time haas been so taken up with unpacking and sorting out – and I’m still not finished.  The house I’m in now is much smaller than the one I left and has zero storage space.

I have bought industrial shelving, as the cheapest option, to store crates of wool, bags of fabric and various art supplies. These are filling the two spare bedrooms and with them and the as yet unpacked boxes I can hardly get in there.

I brought six dismantled bookcases with me for the downstairs rooms but still have to find some space for more books even though I gave away hundreds, (literally), before I left France.  I keep buying books too, so it’s a problem.

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My French house. Not quite derelict when I bought it and subsequently much renovated.

The two I have ordered today are ‘how to’ books on building a blog because, believe me it isn’t as easy as everyone makes out. True, the basics are simple and straightforward but it’s the refinements that are trickier if you want to add a bit of individuality and play around with the appearance.

I’m quite comfortable working  with computers but so much advice relies on one having specialist technical knowledge which is often assumed.  It’s as if they are saying, “Oh right. You are daring to attempt something here so you must be practically an expert.”  Someone will say, “Do this”,  without explaining what “this” is, what it does, how to do it, or pointing the direction to a clear step by step explanation in words of one syllable.  Hence the two new book orders.

I’ll be back when I’ve learned a bit more.