School holiday brain mush

Silhouette outline of Winwick Church against a sunset sky

I realised last night as I was out walking with my husband and the dog and stopped to take this photo that I hadn’t posted my usual weekend blog post.  I’m blaming school (or rather, college) holiday brain mush.  Not so small daughter is in her second week of the Easter holidays but it feels like she’s been off for about three months and I have completely lost the plot with pretty much everything I’m supposed to be doing!

You know, back in January I said to myself that my only intention for this year was to spend it catching up with all of the things that I felt that I’d fallen behind on (in particular with the blog – like updating the pattern pages with links and that sort of thing) and here we are in April, four months later, and I haven’t even started.  I’m not quite sure what’s going on!  Flipping heck, how are we a quarter of the way through the year already?!  Are you finding the same thing or is it just me?  I’m a bit worried it’s going to be the end of December tomorrow and I’m going to wonder where the year’s gone!

To be fair, I have had things come up that I didn’t plan on in January … I’ve had the bright idea of recording Super Socks as an audiobook (please do tell me what you think about that!) so I’ve been spending some time researching how that’s going to work.  I got caught up in learning about Feng Shui around the time of the Chinese New Year (it’s always fascinated me) and not so small daughter has a busy social life that’s required a chauffeur (she may have passed her driving test but is without wheels so it’s down to Winwick Mum Taxis to provide the transport).  She’s also got mock exams coming up and we’re on countdown to her actual A Level exams which start in about six weeks’ time so it’s not like I’ve been sitting on my backside doing absolutely nothing.

What also hasn’t helped is that Google has done yet another update, Facebook and Instagram have changed something or other again and my inbox has been filling up with emails about how I should be using AI, promoting to my ideal audience, making sure that I stand out from the crowd, setting up social media schedules and researching key trends and keywords at every possible opportunity.  I’ve found it quite exhausting – I never started the blog to do any of that, I just wanted to write about the stuff that interested me and help people to knit socks, and sometimes it feels like that isn’t how it is any more.  This has definitely been the time when I want my email inbox to zero!

Anyway, enough of me whinging on about progress, let me show you something lovely instead …

A sheep walking across a field with her lamb A sheep in a field with her lamb

I went to meet some friends for a brew at a farm shop called The Lambing Shed in Knutsford last week.  It was super-busy because it’s the Easter holidays and there were lots of small people driving toy tractors around the play area and waiting to meet the new-born lambs in the big barn.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time meeting lambs on farms with my girls and watching them on the toy tractors during the school holidays myself, and it was quite a shock to realise that I hadn’t even thought about the place being busy because not so small daughter had taken herself off to Liverpool on the train to do some revision at the library there and meet her boyfriend.  Sometimes, we move on without even realising it.

There weren’t too many lambs out in the field (maybe the rest of them were living the celebrity lamb lifestyle doing the meet and greet), but it was also quite cold and wet so hopefully the really tiny lambs have somewhere warm and dry to be until they get a bit bigger.  It always makes me happy to see them, though, and now that the clocks have gone forward and it does feel slightly warmer (I’ve turned our heating off, nobody has noticed yet!), it definitely feels like spring.  Not so much for my cousin in Canada, though, who sent me this photo of her weekend weather …

A snowy landscape through a window

She’s had strict instructions to keep me supplied with photos of snow over the winter, but she really didn’t expect to be sending this to me in April!  She had intended to be out in the garden this weekend, but it didn’t happen … if you had an unexpected return to winter this weekend, I hope you were able to keep warm and dry!

I got out into our garden for a bit (I even managed to cut some of our overgrown hedge – no, no nesting birds, I did check) which felt like a result!  There are tiny new leaves of the Alchemilla mollis showing …

Tiny green new leaves of an alchemilla mollis plant

A single flower on my Daphne … this tiny plant will hopefully grow over the years to be considerably bigger but I am delighted to see a flower in its first year in the new border!

A solitary deep pink flower on a plant with variegated leaves

Papaver somniferum (opium poppy) seedlings … I’m very happy to see these as I loved them in the border when this was my veg patch, but I do need to try to move them from here as these plants will grow up to about 4ft tall and they should not be right at the front of the border!

Poppy seedlings growing in a garden border

Here’s something else that shouldn’t be in the border at all – do you know what they are?

Potato seedlings growing in a garden border

Potatoes!  I thought I had found every last potato when I created this border but apparently not!  There are potato shoots popping up all over the place and every time I pull them out, there are more!  I never thought I’d ever come to think of potatoes as weeds, but I really don’t want them growing in amongst the flowers this year.

Something else green …

A partly-knitted bright green sock lying on a wooden coffee table next to an orange mug

This is the sock that I’ve been designing to help with the fundraising for not so small daughter’s trip to Nepal in July.  I do need to get on with it or she’ll have gone and come back before I’ve even got the pattern out, but this is the second sock and I’m up to the toes so there has been progress.  The pattern is pretty much written, I just need to go back and make sure that the charts match the written instructions and then ask my lovely tech editor to check that it actually makes sense, and then I think I’m good to go!

Changing the subject … the dog is off to the vet’s for a sedated scan this week.  He’s been out of sorts for a few weeks now, off his food and being really sick at first but we’ve got that under control now and he’s eating again, thank goodness.  He’s got old-boy teeth issues but not enough to cause this; he’s had blood tests to determine what isn’t the problem, but the vet wants him scanned to see if there’s anything going on in his tummy that she hasn’t been able to discover up until now.  I don’t think it matters whether your family member is human or furry, going for a scan is always a worry.  You don’t want to find anything awful, but at the same time if you don’t find a reason for the problem then how can you fix it?  The dog is fine in himself, someone who didn’t know him wouldn’t necessarily pick up that there was anything wrong but when you know someone very well, you just know when they’re not right, don’t you?  I’m trying not to head down the disaster-scenario rabbit hole as there’s absolutely no point in worrying about something until you know what you have to worry about, and I do know that the vets who are looking after the dog are going to do their best to get to the bottom of whatever’s going on, so I am just going to try to take it one step at a time, and the next step is the scan.

Oh dear, I didn’t mean to end this post on a downer and as far as we know, there’s nothing seriously wrong with the dog; I just mentioned it as it’s on my mind and you get to read what’s on my mind in my posts!

I’d love to know what you’ve been up to this week that’s happy! xx



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36 Responses

  1. Wenfy says:

    would love audio book I have me/cfs fybromyalgia arthritis and sometimes I can’t cope reading. I wish my children were young again and at home
    Not had very exciting weekend been in bed alot in pain. Sorry don’t mean to down it. I would just love to be able to get in garden and work, I had an operation on spine didn’t work so I am going for injection in it in May so hoping I can then go in garden. lovr reading your posts. Thanks Wendy

    • Isabel says:

      Wenfy, mucho ánimo. Yo tengo 2 vértebras rotas por una caída y esta semana ha sido horrible por culpa del dolor. Hace semanas que me encontraba mejor, había dejado los calmantes. Pero el dolor ha vuelto. Estaba atendiendo a mi madre, que va a cumplir 90 años el día 20 y estaba deseando dejarla acostada para tumbarme. Demasiado tiempo de pie por el primer cumpleaños de mi nieta. Las relaciones sociales son muy duras para mi. Y también siento a veces la sensación de no hacer nada de lo que tengo previsto, pero estoy mudándome de casa y por fin he encontrado alguno de los muebles que buscaba para mi dormitorio. Por cierto, me encanta el verde de los calcetines “pro viaje a Nepal” y el corderito con su mamá. Os mando un abrazo enorme.

      Wenfy, good luck. I have 2 broken vertebrae from a fall and this week has been horrible because of the pain. I felt better weeks ago, I had stopped taking painkillers. But the pain has returned. I was taking care of my mother, who is going to turn 90 on the 20th, and I couldn’t wait to leave her lying down so I could lie down. Too much time on my feet for my granddaughter’s first birthday. Social relationships are very hard for me. And I also sometimes feel the sensation of not doing anything I have planned, but I am moving house and I have finally found some of the furniture I was looking for for my bedroom. By the way, I love the green “pro trip to Nepal” socks and the little lamb with his mother. I send you a huge hug.

      • winwickmum says:

        I do hope you are feeling better, Isabel, that sounds like an awful accident! I hope that you are recovering well and will feel much more comfortable soon xx

        Espero que te sientas mejor, Isabel, ¡parece un accidente terrible! Espero que te estés recuperando bien y te sientas mucho más cómodo pronto xx

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m really sorry you’ve been feeling poorly, Wendy, and I hope that the injection in May brings you some relief. Thanks for your thoughts on my audiobook idea! xx

  2. Nicola says:

    I took myself off for a birthday weekend with friends to Lincoln and visited the cathedral. No knitting happened, but I managed to survive high winds in a tent with minimal damage!

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh happy birthday! (I’m assuming it was your birthday 🙂 ) Surviving high winds in a tent sounds like a fabulous birthday adventure and I hope you enjoyed Lincoln! 🙂 xx

  3. Fiona Kennedy nnedy says:

    hope your doggo is ok Christine.
    we have a cat and we worried last year vet couldn’t find anything except fleas which he had caught from another cat which was stressing him. other cat now gone and he is back to normal.

  4. Chris Hailebaxter says:

    Thanks for your update. Now I know why I’m having problems when I load your update. Every time it asks me for my settings. I don’t want all these cookies so I have to go through and delete everything except those that are necessary. A lot of sites are giving one the option of rejecting all – just a thought. The socks and the garden look wow. Wish mine looked as good. Take care.

    • winwickmum says:

      I don’t have any control over the cookies notice that comes up, I’m afraid; it needs to be there for GDPR and I can’t change it for a different one. I do know that some allow you to “reject all” but this one doesn’t do that currently. Once you’ve set your preferences, though, it should save those until you clear your cache so I’m not sure why it’s not doing that for you xx

  5. Audrey says:

    We’ve had everything in the North East apart from the snow .Love seeing the lambs frolicking in the fields. Hopefully it means good weather on the way .Farmers are the best ones to ask what the weather is going to be like. if they say Sunny .it will be

  6. Lin says:

    Don’t stress over all the AI crap! We love you just as you are! Hope the pups results tell you how to proceed and make him well again.😘

  7. Liz says:

    hi Christine, I love this time of year when everything starts reappearing, days are longer and we feel more like doing things outside. I went to help a friend with her garden this morning – it was so warm! Sock knitting making steady progress, nearly finished the 1st starburst from last year – my 1st go at a patterned sock, went a bit wrong but don’t think it’ll show 🤞hopefully your dog will be fine, animals can be a trial sometimes. love hearing what you’re up to x

    • winwickmum says:

      That sounds like a lovely morning with your friend! I think that as long as you can live with the mistakes in a sock then nobody else will ever notice – we’re always harder on our own work than anyone else would be! 🙂 xx

  8. Janice says:

    I laughed out loud when you said you just started your blog to write things that were of interest to you and to help people knit socks! I know exactly what you mean. Just when we think we understand technology, it changes 😜

    • winwickmum says:

      I think we forget how long we’ve been doing this as well – my blog is nearly 14 years old so you would expect things to have changed in that time, I guess I just hadn’t thought about it! 🙂 xx

  9. Corinne says:

    Our daughter took us to Warkworth Castle today for a ride out! It was one of the homes of the Percy family who played such a part in British history. We had a lovely time and managed to miss the little showers. There were lots of lambs in the fields as we came home. and I did think Northumberland lambs must be very hardy as it wasn’t particularly warm for them!

    • winwickmum says:

      I’ve never heard of Warkworth Castle, and the only “Percy” I can think of is the character in the Blackadder series who I am sure is not the same! 🙂 I’m glad you had a lovely day out 🙂 xx

  10. Susan Rayner says:

    I hope that the dog will be fine – he is much like one of my sister’s Labradors (she has two) and I love his walks, his wallows and water adventures. They are family and we care about them as much as any human family members.
    Time seems to be getting away with me too – but it is not because of any ferrying around of teenagers etc – just too much going on.
    My dear friend in Utah still has tons of snow too. We have had none this year – apart from one sprinkle – but we did have lots of frosts. Everything in the garden has been very advanced despite them and it is now so sodden that the lawn almost bounces when you walk on it. Any people in authority who dare to mention a hosepipe ban this summer will be in line for a lynching – verbal if nothing else.
    The sock is a gorgeous colour and I am looking forward to the pattern.
    FB is getting worse and worse for changing things and then not letting you find what you want – might be my age but it makes me want to tear my hair out. Dread to think what AI might do – or is it AI already?????
    Would love to hear more about Feng Shui – what does it think of knitting and knitting supplies being hoarded?
    Have a very good week.

    • winwickmum says:

      You are absolutely right, our family extends to all the furry members and I remember you telling me about your sister’s Labradors 🙂 It sounds like your weather is much the same as ours. My washing pole fell over this week because the ground is too soft to hold it up now – this doesn’t bode well for outdoor drying! Feng Shui doesn’t advocate any kind of hoarding, it’s all about the decluttering to let the energy flow, although I think that if everything is away and tidy and you know what and where it all is, that’s different. That’s my take on it all, anyway! 🙂 xx

  11. Caz says:

    We’ve just got home from a wonderful trip to Salisbury. The intention was to see the Easter garden at the Cathedral and visit Arundells – the former home of Ted Heath (Prime Minister before Mrs Thatcher). The garden was small but moving. Arundells was lovely, packed full of art, souvenirs from foreign trips and his days of racing Morning Cloud. Arundell’s garden is huge and rather lovely with spring bulbs, forget me not and Primroses. We lunched at Mompesson House, a NT house just a few doors away in the Cathedral Close and then concluded our visit with a trip to Lakeland, Marks and Spencer’s and Bradbeers – a fabulous new family owned department store which opened when Debenhams closed. The last port of call was Fisherton Mill for local crafts and devine hot chocolate (home made marshmallows!). A really lovely day out. And for once the rain held off until we were in the car on the way home.

  12. Hilary Arguile says:

    I know I’m retired and out of the IT game now but if I can help in any way feel free to message. AI can be great and it can be a nightmare.
    I love the idea of an audio book. I do a lot of listening and knitting but just think of the joy of being able to tell my phone to open super socks at the right page for the maths and read it to me!! Marvellous! And before you ask I’m deaf so I use voice commands a lot and my phone talks through my hearing aids!! Lol😁
    Currently I am knitting a pattern I love and will knit again but in a yarn I am beginning to hate with a passion. It’s so disappointing because it’s WYS and I thought I couldn’t go wrong but it’s tencel and the most unforgiving, slippery, yarn in Christendom. The colours are fabulous and the sweater looks lovely but the process is driving me nuts!!
    You have potatoes in your borders we have discovered rhubarb in ours!! We’ve been here 20 years and thought the rhubarb long gone and how in the world is it growing now!!
    Now I do hope the vets get to some answers for you! There’s nothing worse than knowing something is off with our furry friends. Jazz got a cough last summer and frightened us to death – turned out to be allergies of all things. I swear we never had this with all our male dogs, she’s the first girl dog we’ve had in 30 years and I think we worry too much. Give your old boy a hug from us please. xx

    • winwickmum says:

      It sounds like you’re knitting with the new Elements yarn. I used it for my Sofa Snuggle Socks and they did turn out nicely, but you’re right, it is slippery to knit with when it’s on your needles. I hope you manage to get your sweater finished and it’s worth the effort! Thanks for your offer to help with the IT. I’m back on track with it all now (I have unsubscribed from yet more emails 🙂 ) and I’m busy ignoring AI for the time being (maybe at my peril), although I do appreciate your thoughts on the audiobook idea! I’m glad your girl Jazz was OK xx

  13. Elaine Gardner says:

    Hello Christine. The photographs are lovely. The lambs are such a joy to see in the fields. Here in France it has been cold wet and dreary until today, which was bright and sunny. Hooray!
    We went out into the garden to cut grass and pull up weeds etc.
    We are in farming country so lambs have been in the fields for some time. We are probably about 3 weeks ahead of the U.K. We are also very fortunate to see lots of spring flowers on the verges and in hedgerow’s. At the moment primroses, cowslips, orchids, wood anemones and the blue bells are just coming into bloom. Glorious!
    Take good care. Elaine x

    • winwickmum says:

      It sounds like you live in a beautiful place, and yes, you’re right, you’ll be quite a bit ahead of us being so much further south. I hope you get more sunny days to enjoy the countryside! xx

  14. Nancy Damico says:

    Hi,, Wendy,
    I can completely relate to your losing time. We have the same problem in our house. I signed up for a book club which I missed completely. Didn’t even get the book read. Also signed up for a KAL which I also missed completely. Health problems interfered. Thankfully now, I seem to be on-track. Just hope it lasts. Am halfway through a new KAL and enjoying it immensely. Also in a new book club group They met yesterday for the first time. Everyone participated and enjoyed being together.

    I am really impressed with your prowess gardening. That has never been my strength. I’m the “black thumb” of the family. I do enjoy other people’s gardens so keep those photos coming.

    Hope you have a blessed weekend and a productive week ahead.
    Blessings! Nancy

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m glad everything seems to be going better for you, Nancy. I didn’t always read the books when I was in a book club either … I got very good at skimming and reading the last chapter if it wasn’t a book that I really liked! 🤣 xx

  15. Mary Platt says:

    Great blog. Do you make your own compost and do you put your potato peelings in? ‘Cos that might be why you have potatoes growing like weeds! Love the perfume of Daphne.

    • winwickmum says:

      No, I don’t do that – and I was told once that you should never put potato peelings in compost as the rats love them so mine was always grass, plant cuttings and cardboard! Some of these potatoes are attached to tiny seed potatoes so I’ve obviously missed a few! 🙂 xx

  16. Jennifer Goodman says:

    I know just how your puppy feels. I had a heart attack Mar 3 & triple bypass surgery. those tests are no fun at all 😔. was planting potatoes & was getting ready to plant onions. guess everything is on hold for a bit. love your pics & chats makes the time go faster in the hospital. also working on socks helps to. thanks for keeping me company

  17. Peg B. says:

    Hi Christine ,
    What part of Canada does your sister live in? I’m in Ontario on the shores of Lake Ontario, No snow where I am but an hour north of here had a snow storm a week ago. Love reading your posts and hope your dog is going to be ok.🤗❤️🇨🇦

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