After half term

Thank you again for all your kind words and enthusiasm about my last post about the Seasons patterns, it’s been such an amazing few weeks and I am loving starting to see social media photos of the yarns being used now!

School has finished, been on holiday and re-started again since the yarn launched and it’s very strange writing a blog post about being back at school after the half term holidays when “school” is just along the landing on a computer!

Small daughter is not impressed that she has to get out of bed before lunchtime (she’s wholeheartedly embraced the teenage time shift and would happily sleep most of her day away given the opportunity) but is even less impressed at the news that the schools are re-opening in March as she has also wholeheartedly embraced the new “uniform” of hoody and pyjama bottoms that are almost certainly not going to acceptable when school re-opens!

We’ve still managed to do a fair bit over the half term holiday, though.  I got out into the garden at the weekend and started my seed sowing.  It probably is still a little bit early but I was feeling the need to get my hands in the compost and the seeds will grow as fast as they grow despite me!

A potting tray with brightly coloured packets of seeds, a seed tray filled with compost and a plant pot full of compost

I’ve planted climbing French beans, sunflowers (big daughter’s favourite flowers), sweet peas and Rudbeckia.  I did take more out to the greenhouse with me but resisted the urge to Plant All The Seeds which is my usual trick – and then I end up with thousands of leggy seedlings that I don’t know what to do with.

I also had a rootle about in my worm bin to see if it looked like the worms had survived the Winter and it did!  I think this is the best worm compost I’ve ever made (ha! as I did any of the hard work!) so I emptied the compost out and left the worms in with a new layer of worm bedding (cardboard, some half-made compost) and lots of fresh new vegetable waste for them to chomp away on.  Worm compost is too rich to use as potting compost so I’ve got it safely in a bucket in the greenhouse for now and I’ll probably put it into the bed where my tomatoes go as it could do with the extra nourishment this year.

A bucket of compost. There are worms on the top of the compost

It felt so good to be back in the greenhouse!  I must confess that I was also hiding as we’ve been painting small daughter’s bedroom and decorating is not my favourite thing to do.  I can tell you now that I have not missed my vocation as a decorator – I like the finished result very much, but I don’t enjoy the paint in my hair (every time!) or having to wash the brushes and rollers.

Small daughter decided that this shade of purple …

A purple wall - the adjoining wall has been painted white

was no longer in keeping with her image.  I’m a bit sad, really – both of my girls have outgrown their brightly painted bedrooms and have gone for something much more adult.  I’d paint the whole house purple if I thought I could get away with it, but perhaps it’s just as well that I can’t!

Small daughter chose the bottom of the two colour samples; it’s actually quite a nice off-white colour and she has lots of brightly coloured photos and pictures on her wall – and it makes the room look bigger so I think she’s made a good choice.  The man at the local Crown paint shop was a huge help as well and recommended a paint that would pretty much cover up the purple in one go – and it did!  Yes, there was still plenty of it in my hair by the time we’d finished, but at least we didn’t need to do more than one coat of the white before we started on the main colour.

Two samples of off-white paint against a white background

What else?  Oh yes, half term has been some kind of comedy show as far as our pets are concerned – I’m on first name terms with everyone at the vet’s now, and I’ve got appointments at our regular vets and the animal hospital with our daft cats and dog.  If I don’t get an invitation to the Christmas party I’ll be most upset – and I have been very thankful that we have pet insurance!

One of our cats is currently sporting a “cone of shame” after bringing something back to the house last weekend which bit him.  I say “something” as we don’t actually know what it was – the dog ate it before we could see – and yes, this is the dog that’s currently on an exclusion diet under vet supervision, allowed nothing but a special kibble made of chicken feathers, and treats made of cooked kangaroo steak.  I’m pretty certain that whatever the cat brought back was neither chicken feathers nor a kangaroo, but anyway, it’s inside our dog now, and the cat is recovering from an infected paw and is constantly bumping into things because his sense of spatial awareness has gone to pot thanks to the cone.  My girls think it’s hilarious: the poor cat has now been variously renamed “Pixar” (as in the jumping lamp from the Pixar logo) or “Space Boy” as he looks like a walking satellite dish.  Let’s hope his paw heals quickly!

In between painting and hiding in the greenhouse, I’ve managed to sneak in more than a little bit of knitting.  Hooray!  Nothing like those soothing rounds to keep you calm!

I’ve been catching up with two socks that have been on the needles for a while – a Wildflower pair for me made out of all the leftovers I have from when I knitted up the first Winwick Mum collection socks and this violet pair that I seem to have been knitting for my husband for about 150 years.  I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to finish these socks off other than I find plain socks quite boring to knit so I’ve probably been procrastinating about doing them more than I thought.  I’ve done the heel now and onto the foot so hopefully it won’t be too much longer before he can wear them – thank goodness it’s the second sock!

Two half-knitted socks on a wooden table. The top sock is multicoloured and the bottom sock is purple

I’ve also been getting on with the jumper that I started knitting over Christmas.  I’ve done all the yoke shaping now and I’m past the armholes and down to the waist so I’m pretty pleased with myself.  The rounds seem to take so long though – big yarn and big needles feel very odd after my usual 4ply on tiny needles, but at least every time I’ve finished a round it feels like it’s grown enormously.  You never know, it might even be finished before next Winter!

A hand holding wooden knitting needles with purple knitting attached. Under the hand there is a partly-visible pattern

I’ve managed to keep up with my reading since the Winter Haven KAL finished a few weeks ago, and it has been lovely!  I’ve been making a point of reading before I go to sleep and although I might only manage a page or two some nights, it’s been such a pleasurable habit to rediscover.

A pile of three books sits on a wooden chest of drawers

I finished “Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce, which was the last book I was reading for the Winter Haven KAL, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  That seems quite a while ago now as I’ve also read “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” by Milly Johnson and thoroughly enjoyed that one too.  They’re very different styles of writing but I couldn’t put either of them down once I’d started!

The book on the top of the pile is “Tiny Habits” by BJ Fogg, recommended to me by Sharon (who also happens to be the only WYS supplier in New Zealand 🙂 ) and this has been fascinating reading.  Not a fiction book this time, but it’s all about creating new habits in your life by starting off in a tiny way and as well as being useful, it’s an easy read – always helpful for this kind of book!

In a few weeks, we’re going to be transitioning back to some kind of “normal” (I’d like to think that it’s going to be better than we had before) and I’m hoping that it won’t take too long to get into routine again once we can add going outside and meeting people to our list of things that we can do.  I thought it wouldn’t hurt to get some new habits started before that happens!

I’ll miss seeing the roads this quiet (although the road outside our house has been really busy the last few days, I don’t know what’s going on!) but we can’t live as we are doing forever.

Looking up a deserted street towards a church

I hope you’re keeping well and safe, I’ll catch up with you again soon! xx


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11 Responses

  1. Unknown says:

    I also used to get paint in my hair every time I paint. I now use an old baseball cap backwards to keep my hair clean. You may not have baseball caps in UK. You could also use a toque, but I don't know if you have them either. Any old hat without a big brim would work. You could also use a kerchief to cover your hair.

    I am jealous that you are planting.I live in the south of Canada and we still have 40cm of snow on the ground. My planting will start at the end of May.

    Thanks for your socki patterns — invaluable.

  2. luluknitts says:

    Hi Christine – our dog Chloe had to wear the cone of shame last year and I found the inflatable ones so much better. They're pretty cheap and she was much happier with that and could actually navigate the house quite well. What sweater are you knitting?? Much love. xx

  3. Rusty'sMum says:

    Another lovely read, Christine. I look forward to your blog posts. Especially as it is a window into your world which reminds us that knitting is just part of a busy mum life. I have loved learning to knit socks over the past year 'with' you and your supportive encouragement. Company during lockdown. Gradually challenging myself as I go along. However I think I have started on a slippery slope – this week I took delivery of several 2.5mm circular needles so I can have more than one sock on the go at a time. See what you've done?!

  4. Susan Rayner says:

    What a lovely blog – love the photos of the decorating and the seed planting. Every sympathy for the plight of the cat and the dog! It is bright sunshine this morning but back down to 1C and a heavy frost – but spring is on it's way and it feels so positive now that the rollout of the vaccines is doing well!

  5. Deb Knight says:

    Well my dear I have been knitting your plain vanilla dk socks for everyone including myself and am pushing 30 pair. DH has gotten his first covid shot so we are on our way! It is too early to start anything outdoors so that is still all dreams. We've got over a foot of snow on the ground yet. SIGH

  6. Maggieann says:

    You do make me laugh 😂 thank you for your descriptions of life and family very enjoyable. I have just been to Cityknits In Bourneville, Birmingham and got my Seasons book looking forward to knitting these socks, haven’t got the yarn yet that’s next months treat.

  7. Helen says:

    Love those pets. You cracked me up with your description of the animal antics. 🙂 Glad they seem to not be the worse for it.

  8. Sally Kelly says:

    I love your blogs Christine and have become an avid sock knitter. I can't wait to get onto the seasons yarn, which I buy through Sharon. I live in Rotorua New Zealand

  9. Unknown says:

    Thank you so much for your blog! And your book recommendations!
    I am a big fan of Rachel Joyce. Have you read 'The Music Shop'?
    Carol xx

  10. selina says:

    another great post!
    had a good chuckle about the poor pets, silly buggas, hope they heal quickly too
    it will be autumn for us Monday, so looking forward to some cooler weather
    a lovely read
    thanx for sharing

  11. Corinne says:

    Our daughter had purple walls too in her teens!
    Have you tried a shower cap over your hair? You get sweaty, but it's easier to wash out than paint. I also have painting clothes and sandals, and I spray dry oil on any bare areas of skin before I start so it's easier to wash any splashes off.
    I'm sure the rooms will look lovely when they're finished.
    I can't wait to get going with seeds but probably still a bit early up here.

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