Saturday 29 July 2023

Vintage Knitting Patterns

 Hi everyone, 

When knitting vintage patterns, I think of the ladies who knitted them before me. And how the flippety heck they managed in poorer light of an evening! The writing is SMALL, the picture doesn’t help much when trying to figure out the pattern! 192 stitches took me 10 minutes. My brain was also frazzled because I couldn’t understand how it would get to 184 because I was reasoning it was an INCREASE not a DECREASE in stitches. This is when I need to step away from the knitting!! Hopefully will have a show n tell soon! 

But whilst I have a few books by more modern knitters like Debbie Bliss - I find her patterns quite tricky to follow. My go to favourites are the fancy patterns that belonged to my Aunties, Nanna, Mum etc that are lacy and have a timeless charm. 

So it’s Saturday, the washer is on. But despite the weather saying no rain, it’s bloody raining. 

Everyone is up. Me and my sister have completed all the different word games we do online, messaging each other with how we’ve done. On the whole she is better than me! A new favourite is the connections game- much like the wall on Only Connect. But it’s American so sometimes it’s very tricky to solve. 

I’ve just fed the sourdough. Thinking I might do pizza for tea later so once it’s got going I’ll make a dough to rise for most of the day. A dog walk is on the cards but blimey I am moany today. Me and the HG are outdoing each other for aches n pains but I win today - we go top to bottom hahaha

Me.     Tongue - ulcer.               

Him.  Ok chest up!! 

Me.       Shoulders - arthritis  

 Him.     Upper back - from where he fell at work off a ladder 

Me      Boobs - bloody menopause - got to 105 days hmmmmph

Him      Elbows - wear n tear 

Me      Hips - new to me ache this week - think I’m too heavy for them and as Shakira sang, the hips don’t lie !! 

Him    Lower back - last 20 years moaning about it 

Me     Knees - see hips

Him   Hands - wear n tear due to manual labour and holding his ipad I say 

Me    Winning at moaning old lady yet refuse to get on and help myself!! 

The reason for this is something we use at work called the change cycle. Thanks to Mr G Oogle for the image - I am stuck at pre contemplation. If I’m being brutally honest and as this cycle is fluid I am generally bouncing between contemplation and planning. 

I’ve been successful with it in the past and know how the upward spiral works and makes you feel! It’s self discipline and will power I’m lacking! 
Today I am aiming to aid my parasympathetic system with a walk out in some nature with Bluebell and the HG. I’m currently in Autophage ( Dr M Mosely ) because I am still fasting from last night and am quite hydrated! 
The first week of the holidays is over. I did actually spend the day at work on Tuesday sorting out resources and the room I work in to give me a head start come September when I return. Staff have inset on the 1st September which is a Friday and then the children come in on the Monday. This coming year I’ve a new challenge as I am working one to one with a non verbal child with Autism. I started last September with them as a temporary thing whilst a member of staff was still on maternity. 
I’ve quite the strong views on inclusion and specialist provision. This little one is at the highest end of the spectrum I’d say and should NOT be in mainstream school because quite simply it is doing them a disservice. Mainstream have to work much harder and with no budget to try and meet the needs of the pupils like this. But simply ‘meeting the needs’ in my
 is not enough. That’s the bare minimum. This child deserves to thrive and meet their potential. I was specialist trained over 30 years ago now in ASC but that was set in a specially set up school with specialist equipment and space and highly trained teachers and specialist support with differing timetables suited to each individual. In mainstream, as with so many,the first  Reception year is much more accommodating and ‘easier’ for staff to support and try and enable. Y1 has proved much more challenging for staff to plan and provide challenge whilst assessing for them.  This was not best for them in my ( unwanted  )opinion and  is not sustainable and as this one I’m working with moves into Y2, I have had to adapt my working hours and compromise my other pastoral role in order to have them withdrawn from the classroom all morning ( where’s the inclusion now??? ) - it’s timetabled properly and I’ve worked closely with the school SENCO to provide learning opportunities and to try and help with communication using PECS cards - it stands for Picture  Exchange - I will be free to use outdoors, I have a sensory programme to follow and will be trying to help them with independent learning and focus. But I’m not gonna lie - it’s a right chuffing challenge. I worry - what if I’m getting it wrong? It might sound like I’m protesting at having to do this and honestly a part of me is furious because it’s not really my job. I am human and it’s just my knee jerk reaction. But I also am professional and already have been doing extra research and been planning activities and hopefully learning experiences where they show real progress. Do you know what though, I’m only paid at Grade 6. That’s shit money for doing what I’m going to do. Legally I’m probably too high on a grade for this and mainstream could actually and have done in the past,  put in a Level 1 support - barely above minimum wage. Morally it is WRONG. This child deserves more. But with all the will in the world, it’s nowhere near enough good enough. But hey, I’m not in charge thank the lord, so I will do as I am told. 
Parents absolutely have the right to place their child in the education setting they choose. Like my sister and Harry. He went to mainstream. He’s lucky to be academically bright but that school had to find the funds from somewhere for a specialist Visual Impairment teacher, with the highly specific specialised equipment he needed like a braille machine. And honestly it probably compromised the group of children with some learning needs by pulling support from them. But  then in the same breath why  can this little one at my school not  be afforded the same? Just because you cannot see their needs doesn’t mean they are not as worthy. I have been providing them with special toys and equipment from a local lending library specifically for children with additional needs all last year to enhance their daily experience . This is a free service but they only have so many resources so will be using it again this coming year with the hope I’m getting suit able stuff that will be doing the child good! 
The issue in my mind is that there is no suitable specialist provision locally because the councils shut them down. If my sister had decided to send Harry to a school for blind children - it would have meant a 40 minute drive there in a morning and back again at night. The parents of this child at my school have come to realise that mainstream may not be the best but a look round at two close enough schools have proved that they are not suitable. For one of them, the child is too able physically - on the outside they look  and are physically perfect. For the other school however,  their  needs are too great and they cannot meet them. But also - like Harry, this one COULD be academically bright, I have no way of releasing this potential realistically speaking. 

There are been an issue with the County Council - the parents have been massively let down with the person in charge who basically failed to provide the correct and timely advice and gave them false promise of a place at a newly installed provision - like a Pupil Referral Unit for children with severe behavioural issues - this gives short term respite and insight for SEND - and can allow reintegration back into mainstream with the correct support. The person in charge has now retired. Hmmm. Fishy that. Our school SENCO is great and has done everything in their power including an official complaint to no avail. Sadly, it is really up to the parents now to kick up a fuss with no guarantees they will get what they need for their little one. And the funding that comes with the banding is just not enough to cover any real and meaningful support work in all honesty. 

Anyway, I will strive to do my best by this little one but as I’m having to do this, my other families will have to go without my help or have a longer wait for it as I also have my Behaviour Mentor Role running this year too! Also, the children who have had one to one support for extreme behaviour will now be back full time in class for the class teacher to mange best they can alongside teaching the other 28 children to a high standard.  My school have had to do a lot of juggling about. Two permanent members of expensive to the school budget full time  long term support staff have left this time ( lucky swines - retired ) but they are not being replaced due to the school budget not being able to cover it. Had they not been leaving I think hours being cut for all support was on the cards. But if anything the families are getting needier and certainly since COVID the pupils on the whole have needed more support than ever. I’ve got a bit rambly now so I’ll  not go on but yes, I’ll be providing  SEN support as best as I can in order for this one to stay at Mainstream school where it would seem highly likely they will never ever be able to  access the academic curriculum of their peers. So my controversial view is more special schools please because sometimes, mainstream just is not right. 

Sometimes, I wish I worked at M&S or Waitrose. Mostly for the staff discount and the lack of bringing it home stress. I would t need long or regular holidays like I do now!! 

Right, cup of tea and a wander in the garden looking at the sky now - rainy and cloudy despite the weather forecast and maybe a bit of sewing later. Painkillers on board so will be less moany in about 20 minutes!! 

Have a good day all

Bye everyone 

R x

Thursday 27 July 2023

Day 1 Summer hols 2023

Hi everyone! 

Monday I started this …. By 9.30am I’d broken one side of my make up mirror. Fortunately it wasn’t the magnified side which I now need all the time. With no sellotape to have I’ve patched the three points of the break with a plaster! I’ve cleared and tidied and hoovered all down the side and behind my bed, bedside table and mantlepiece. I’ve sorted some washing away. Put my make up away and set off the washer. Bleached the bathroom and generally pottered! 11 jobs on the go, none quite finished! 

Pause for a break!! 

Picking it back up, it’s now Thursday. I’m blogging whilst zapping my legs. I can withstand level 70 now. It’s really really made a difference. It also comes with sticky pads that deliver the same electro therapy but also works as a TENs machine. Both have been used and appreciated on my shoulders! 

So each day I’ve tackled a real grot spot meaning I’ve a little bit of cleaner space each day!! Yesterday I did all my lanterns n the like off the sideboard! Talk about a before and after!! I’ll share the filth on my duster! 

I’ve switched things about and now grouped all my house plants onto my coffee table in the lounge. They seem to be clinging onto life in my house against all odds!! Today, just now, I’ve just done my cutlery drawer and tray - how it gets so disgusting when all I put in the drawer is clean items is a mystery! 

Anyway my inner sense of achievement is satisfied today! 

Yesterday I did half an hour of chopping in the garden. My hibiscus plants have gone absolutely beserk this year. So many buds and so many beautiful flowers. 

It’s raining that fine mist just now that soaks you through right now but so got all my washing done yesterday and the HG cut the grass. It’s looking much better now. A couple months ago he scarified it all, levelled it, seeded it and re seeded and feeded haha fed it. We will always be fighting a losing battle because of Bluebell and Freddie is coming next week so double attack!! 

I’m going out for lunch today with my friends from work. It’s an annual event and we usually meet for lunch at 12 and I get home by midnight! 

I don’t think it will be as epic today because we are meeting slightly later and the wet weather will keep us inside and so probably drinking less! 

The HG and Mr 26 will have to fend for themselves for tea! Poor them! I’m

Not sure what I will have. Oo last night I tried a new fish cake from Mr Marks n Sparks and one was enough with some peas for a tasty and filling meal! 100% recommend. Baked in the oven and a good 3inch deep! Very tasty. Probably could make but faffy! My sourdough starter is still alive! 

The news is on at the minute reporting on the energy form profits. Well, I had two new smart meters fitted last December just before Christmas. We’ve one of those scary look at how much it’s costing you to boil the kettle smart devices in the kitchen. Only the gas meter failed to connect and it’s taken me until now with only real action after threat of official complaint to finally secure an engineer AT THE END OF AUGUST to come and connect my gas meter. I’ve been told it’s been operating in legacy mode. Now I do not know what that is but I do know we made a MASSIVE effort to really only put the heating on when it was super cold. It’s a new boiler so efficient and I am proper narked that I’ve no idea what the gas bill truly is. I’ve all the meter readings from the last meter and the day the meter was installed. 
It had better be good news has bill wise I tell thee. I am fully prepared for the bill to be high as even though I am sure I reduced units used, the price hike will have negated any savings. The electric is showing as £1.50 ish every morning before I even get up. So that’s things charging overnight, two fridge freezers, the clock radio, the dehumidifier in the cellar and the three TVs in the house on stand by. 
I’m thinking of emptying the cellar fridge freezer and only turning it on at Xmas. But I worry incase it won’t switch on and I do use the freezer! 
Anyway in other news I’ve joined the local food for all. My reasons are mainly 1. I hate food waste.
2. Need to help out the bank accounts where ever possible. ( know I know, buying M&S fish cakes is not frugal I hear folks saying ) but the HG is self employed and as his firm who he subcontracts to has recently been taken over, work has not been steady and reliable. The money is slightly better but has been nullified by the days where there’s been no work. Sigh. Never better off. But we are lucky to be better off that a lot of folks. 
Right so the dog walker just came to collect Bluebell ( another £££ I could save BUT I am going out for lunch - we have been saving £5 each payday to cover this - with the girls from work and I can now go get ready at leisure without stressing that Bluebell will be on her own!! The dog walker collects her at 9.30 and brings her back filthy and tired about 2.30 for £10 ! Cannot complain! She has her own field and has a group of dogs at once. And she is like a second Mum to Bluebell ! Although Bluebell will need a bath when I get in because I’ve washed her beds ! 
Am rambling on now. 

Bye everyone
R x

Tuesday 4 July 2023


 Hi everyone, 

The weekend is almost over. I feel rested and relaxed but have not done all that I wanted. But that’s ok! 

I did get my hands on a giant blue spiky thistle

that’s swarming with bees you can see one incoming!!! and it looks lovely in my border.

The lovely Marlene left a comment on my last post saying my garden was posh! 

I carefully crop out the ‘steptoes yard’ bits of the garden because they displease me! My garden is a basic oblong shape with one beautiful original stone wall and along most of this is my one border. At the house end there’s a bit which used to be a rickety but it’s now been one of the area’s the HG stores his ‘treasure’ - you know, bits of timber for jobs etc and we’ve two spare recycling boxes on there that has kindling in. There’s a knackered charming concrete path that runs parallel to the border and I have a lawn which the HG is currently regenerating ( but losing the battle thanks to Bluebell ).

Along the back wall is the bike shed built but not finished yet by the HG. Most of my garden is fully double glazed haha. He made the gate. The bins used to be on the other wall behind the goat’s beard but now for ease of access they are attached to the bike shed by the nifty little bin holders that my Dad invented! Behind the rockery is the outside toilet - fully double glazed but half way through getting the roof repaired. Across is what used to be my herb garden. I’ve grown my bay tree from a twiglet and it’s as old as Miss29. The HG will shape it next week hopefully when the neighbours are away. Along the lawn and the other boundary is my fence - once in blue concrete and painted blue. I’ve got the paint to redo it all. Just not enough time at the moment.  You can see the fence here! 

Just Bluebell jumping over some makeshift garden agility! This view out of my back bedroom window shows you the full plot! It’s not changed probably in all the years it’s been here except that big Goat’s Beard was twice the size and in the middle of the lawn when the HG bought the house from his Nanna and Uncles. 

It’s now Tuesday evening, the tennis is on and I’m zapping my legs! It’s really improving my leg health I think! Although, last night I think I went too high at 65 and my legs were tired today!! See how I get on by the end of the week. 

Bye everyone 
R x

Saturday 1 July 2023

A week on

 Hi everyone, 

My lovely friend gifted me some of these beautiful poppy plants. They are flowering but currently getting battered by the winds. 
It’s a week on from my Birthday. I didn’t have a cake as I didn’t want to make one. Instead I went to the posh garden centre on a good old fashioned middle aged lady day out and bought my favourite favourite lemon crunch cheesecake as a treat. Only one slice too! I was thoroughly spoilt as always. Lots of beautiful cards and I am lucky and thankful of the gorgeous people who sent them. 

The HG asked me what would I like and for once I’d decided! I asked for some money to put towards something. 

I’ve been saving for a bit, there’s my Christmas money, some birthday money from last year and then this year’s. Anyway I decided I wanted one of those Revitive leg massagers that Ian Botham, Gloria Hunniford and Eamonn Holmes advertise. My reasons being I’ve a few veins on one leg and in the  recent heat my ankles turned into cankles and I thought the health benefits would help the HG too who always has cold feet - think his circulation needs a bit of help. Anyway I researched and found the best deal, did it through Quidco and Boots in the end, made £10 cash back on Quidco and it was triple points or something on boots and got £27 ish in advantage card points. 

I decided to go top of the range and it comes with an app so I can control it from my phone! 

A week in and wow what a difference it’s made. 

Confessions of a food addict - never mind falling off the wagon, that wagon is in the distance, on fire. So the old enemy of sugar and carbs has affected me in my joints etc etc and I know all this and I willingly put the toxic stuff in my mouth. In fact. It’s not my brain or mouth at fault! It’s my bloody HANDS!!! Shovelling it in. Anywayyyyyyyyyy boring never ending quest for health moan over 

So I charged it up, sat comfortably with my feet on it. It told me I was well hydrated. Smug. Then I thought hmm is it doing anything? I was getting pins and needles but I thought that was because I was sat just so. 

No you turn up the dial!! It is the weirdest thing I’ve ever felt!!! Like rhythmic thuds and squeezes up your legs and when your muscles contract it rocks!!! My toes are curling here with the electric therapy!!! 

But after a couple of uses the HG noticed that I wasn’t moaning about standing up - you know - getting up with sound effects and walking like a 99 year old lady- I was up and down stairs with less knee pain and my daily steps have increased too. Not sure if it’s because this is new and I’m tracking, if I’m remembering to charge up my watch to count steps or my legs are lighter and therefore I’m standing more and doing more. Anyway a week on and I have a pleasing graph to look at! 

Miss 29 sent me flowers and a lovely spaniel mug. Mr 26 is gifting me a specialist pillow for shoulder pain when it comes - hahaha crikey I am sounding so old but I do have stage 4 and prob a bit more now arthritic shoulders - I need a replacement but in all honesty, I’m scared, so I will wait and put it off. I received lovely pamper hampers from friends, plus a purple flowered filled hanging basket and new solar lights and a spinny thing for the garden. Jewellery, smellies and chocs too!

Here you can see last year’s gift of bee lights from my boss, my new spinny thing infront of my magnificent goat’s beard plant ( that I always thought was an astilebe) which is a legacy from the HG’s Grandmother, who’s house we live in. It’s over 100 years old and is FULL of bees. Plus it used to hide my bins brilliantly! 

I love my garden at night. 

This beautiful globe light hangs by my back door and casts the most gorgeous shadow pattern on the walls and floor. It looks like I’ve a very fancy patio! It’s just plain concrete - the photos do not do it justice. It was almost a scene of an unsolvable crime - last week when we were all in a tropical heatwave, and my age added to the fun with super duper hot flashes, I went outside at 3am to cool off. But it was windy and the floor was MOVING and made me dizzy and almost fell. I was laughing to myself imagining the scene the next day where I’d fallen and knocked myself out and no one could work out it was the swirly pattern from the solar light!!! 

I’m just waiting for my shopping to arrive and then I’ll do another risky peg out of my bedding. Am home today so can operate sky watch and do the rain fetch. I may retire to my sewing room too. I love the weekends. I want to watch that new Puzzles show on Ch5 so when the HG has his afternoon nap, it might be cup of tea and TV time for me! I think I want to knit something too. Not sure what but I’ve plenty of wool and patterns so will have a look. Best get moving a bit. On me new revitalised legs! Will do 10 mins weeding with an ear out for the shopping! 

Bye everyone 
R x