Hello, hello, how are you doing?
It’s Thursday today and we’re rushing towards Christmas … small daughter breaks up from school this week and my husband is taking some well-deserved time off work.
I don’t know about your working situation, but he’s worked harder than ever since lockdown and needing to be based at home. My theory is that because many people aren’t commuting at the moment, they are filling their commuting time with work instead of having an extra hour to themselves to have another five minutes under the duvet, or a more leisurely breakfast, or perhaps even do something restful like read a book – I think it probably all started at the beginning of the first lockdown when people felt guilty about taking time for themselves when they felt they should be working and the commute is, after all, part of the working day – and now there’s an extra two hours or more of work generated in the day and nobody can take any time off because it all needs to be done. Everybody is exhausted from working too hard, from coronavirus restrictions that seem to change daily, and because it’s that’s time of year. We all need a rest – and it’s OK to have one!
And now I’m going to show you a photo of a cauliflower.
If you’re thinking it looks a bit orange in the photo, that’s because it is orange! I’ve never seen an orange cauliflower before and said so to the lady at the farm shop, who calmly informed me that last week their cauliflowers were purple. Purple cauliflowers!! They’re just different varieties, there’s nothing wrong with them apart from the fact that this particular cauliflower didn’t taste of orange. What? You wouldn’t expect it to?! Well, neither would I really, but I thought it would fun if it did!
There was orange on today’s dog walk too, in the form of the last leaves clinging to the trees, highlighted by the low Winter (or nearly Winter, depending on whether you work on astrological or meterological seasons) sunshine. We’ve had a lot of rain recently so the brook was pretty high when we crossed the bridge.
This route is the new circular walk that we’ve found around the Sankey Valley, and it starts off up a hill that’s quite steep …
before levelling out and heading out across the fields.
I can’t tell you how lovely it was to see the sunshine after what has felt like weeks of cloudy skies and drizzly rain! I’m sure it’s not been as long as I think it has, but rain gets you feeling like that, doesn’t it?
Yes, the dog was in the bushes again. Unbeknown to him, he’s on his last few weeks of freedom for rootling for tasty treats in the bushes as he’s got quite a severe skin allergy and we’ve been to see a vet dermatologist who needs him to go on an exclusion diet so that we can try to get to the bottom of it. Oh dear! This poor dog, who loves all the food, is going to be devastated that he can’t have anything except his special diet food!
Eva the vet, who’s looking after him, said he has to have a protein source that he’s never had before. I laughed at this, a lot. This dog doesn’t turn much down so how on earth were we going to find something that he’s never eaten?! Well fortunately for us, our dog is not the first to be in this situation so it turns out that there is indeed a dog food that contains a form of protein that he’s never eaten – and I can honestly tell you that he’s definitely never found this in the bushes around Winwick … it’s kangaroo!
We don’t have to start it until January (Eva said she felt he should be able to have his turkey dinner at Christmas!) so I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes. I’m going to have to buy him a muzzle as well, I think, to stop him minesweeping for nibbles whilst we’re out and I’m a bit worried about that as people might think he’s an aggressive dog when he isn’t at all – if you’ve had to deal with this with your dog, then any advice is very welcome!
Our Christmas decorations are all up now, and I really wish it would stop raining because that doesn’t feel Christmassy at all. (Apart from the song “I Believe in Father Christmas” by Greg Lake where the line goes “They said there’d be snow at Christmas … but instead, it just kept on raining” 🙄 ) However, I live in hope that the temperature will drop enough to give us even just a few flakes of the white stuff … I should be old enough to know better by now but I’m not giving up!
We’ve got more than enough decorations but I bought a new one this year – I couldn’t resist it when I spotted it in Aldi …
It’s a Matryoshka or Russian doll where dolls of increasingly smaller size nest inside each other. My Mum used to have one with what seemed like an incredible number of dolls inside it, right down to one about the size of my thumb nail; I used to love playing with it when I was little, so when I saw this one painted to represent the Nativity, I couldn’t possibly leave it on the shelf!
It’s cleverly done. The biggest doll is the three kings, each one painted so that they all face out depending on which way you turn it. Next is Mary and Joseph, with the donkey tucked in behind Joseph. Then a shepherd with a lamb, an angel and baby Jesus, who looks enormous in this photo because I cropped it so that you could see but forgot that it would get bigger – he’s the tiniest one if you look at the whole set below.
There won’t be anything on at our church for us to go to this year. My girls are both probably a bit old to be going to the crib service anyway, but we have such a good time watching the little ones, joining in with the story (there are always lots of sound effects for the congregation to make!) and singing along to Little Donkey and a fun song called Come and Join the Celebration which we didn’t know until our Rector came to Winwick (and now, sadly, she’s left), that it’s part of our Christmas Eve tradition and we’ll miss it this year. There are lots of things that we’re all going to miss, aren’t there, but hopefully that will mean that we’ll all be safe to enjoy them next year instead.
What am I knitting? My current socks are the ones for the Winter Haven KAL – I mentioned it on Instagram yesterday and someone told me that it’s only 3 weeks away (3 weeks?!) so I’d better get knitting! I’ve had the pattern tested out (thanks to a lovely lady called Jenny) and it’s currently with my fab tech editor Helen, but I only have one and a half socks finished so I really do need to sit down and knit some more!
I probably shouldn’t have been distracted by this …
It’s my rather sparse-looking stair garland. My original plan a few years ago was to fill it out with knitted leaves and ornaments but I only got as far as knitting some green tinsel and buying some more fairy lights – and then I spotted something in a magazine that I just knew I needed to make.
Father Christmas’s underpants!! (Under crackers, you might say! 😀 ) They’re a little bit small compared to the size of the rest of the clothes but I don’t care. This has amused me no end and I am very pleased with my addition to the garland. One year, I’ll make something else too! In case you’re looking for the pattern, it came from Simply Knitting magazine issue 204.
Finally, I’d like to show you this photo that I shared on Instagram yesterday …
“57 channels (and nothin’ on)” …
It’s the title of a Bruce Springsteen song and I regularly sing it to my husband as he flicks from channel to channel on the TV in search of something that we can both watch (ie, nothing involving death and destruction which seems to be all that appears on his “watch next” list! 🙂 ) and it always makes us laugh.
But what’s that got to do with socks, you might ask? And indeed, it’s a very good question … and the answer is that next year, on Wednesday 6 January 2021 at 12pm to be precise, I am going to be on one of those TV channels on an episode of Yarn Lane TV!
Woohoo! No, I haven’t been on TV before and yes, I am rather apprehensive! But I’ll be taking my socks and talking to lovely host Rebecca about socks and I’ll be surrounded by yarn and socks and more yarn and as nervous as I might be, it’s going to be super-exciting as well! I love seeing how things work behind the scenes so I’m sure I’m going to find it all fascinating, and Rebecca has promised me that I’ll soon forget that the cameras are there …
I’ll be taking three out of the four pairs of socks that you can see in the photo which Yarn Lane TV have put together as a selection of kits so there’ll be patterns and the yarn available if you are looking for something new to knit (and I believe there’s a Winter Haven KAL coming up at the end of that week …😉 ), and I’ll be talking about those and sock knitting in general, and if you’ve ever wondered whether I can turn any conversation into one about socks (I REALLY can!) then this is your chance to find out!
Got any top tips for being on TV? Do let me know!
Ha! I bet you weren’t expecting that on a Thursday! 😀 I’m still quite stunned by it all myself, given that I like to be on the unseen side of the camera, but I’m sure it’ll all be good fun when I get there – and I’m hoping there’ll be plenty for me to talk to you about afterwards too!
A week and a day to go before Christmas Day … stay safe, warm and well, and I’ll speak to you again soon! xx