Saturday, June 28, 2008

Invited to A Party!

Well, I was going to give it a miss, reluctantly, because of my very sore throat and poorliness, but I can't miss out on all the fun. So I'll huddle up in the Magic Armchair with my mug of tea and quietly enjoy the celebrations for a little while.

I think the occasion warrants my wedding hat - almost a vintage Laura Ashley straw and lace, now!

Forgive the inelegance of a mug rather than cup and saucer, but I need copious quantities of warm liquid to soothe my sore throat: it's medicinal.

I think the party could last until Monday, so there's still plenty of time, even if I can't stay very long on this occasion. Check out here for details, and follow the links from there...

That Mad Hatter is one cool dude! Thanks for the invitation and for going to so much trouble, Vanessa. Happy Bloggiversary!

And Then the Sun Came Out


I went to the hospital and it was quite a curious experience to hunt the clinic (for reception and even the WRVS shop were closed and boarded). The consultant was very pleasant and told me that there is nothing nasty going on with my throat. However, I've got into bad habits with my voice box and need speech to learn the good ones again to get my proper voice back rather than that produced by the false vocal cords. I also have an inflamed throat and it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation between that and the voice problems. So back to patient(ly) waiting, this time for speech therapy.

Meanwhile, the sun had come out. I decided to call at the venue I'll be exhibiting at next year for North Somerset Arts Week on the way home, to try to get a photograph for the Header of the Blog I'm setting up for us. It was a successful mission, as can be seen here. I met a lovely man called David who was planting out the Community Centre's garden for this year's Britain in Bloom Competition, hence the beautiful flora featured above, and the equally lovely Carol, Centre Manager, so was able to apprise them of my mission.

Then home again, for a rest and and a late lunch including some ice cream for my sore throat. There have to be some compensations in life!

Life in the Now

Still here, still with little voice and sore throat. On Monday I had a letter inviting me to contact the local health services to arrange an appointment at an Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic. I was delighted to see an on-line option (because of the aforementioned voice problem) for the more convenient clinic location, only to discover that there were no appointments available. So that was very helpful, and I had to resort to the telephone and the other location. After five calls resulting in the engaged tone, I got through. Silent cheer! Held on for ages, trying not to mind the muzak regularly interrupted by the electronic lady telling me that their operatives were all busy and I could either hold on or call back later. After all the engaged tones earlier calls had resulted in, I decided to keep with it and eventually the phone gave me the voice of a real person who told me that I needed to call another number and ask for Clare! So I call the other number, get through first time, speak to not-Clare lady and then - oh joy! - Clare herself. Who tells me that there are no appointments available for the next five weeks, so they cannot give me an appointment until the consultants arrange more clinics.


In my innocence I assume this means I will not see a specialist for the next five weeks and that means perhaps another five-plus weeks of voicelessness. I wonder what to do, research local private provision and resolve to discuss this with my beloved.

I happened to need to visit my GP surgery, and decided to (whisperingly) tell them my tale of woe, as I understand the strangely random-seeming magic five weeks is associated with the contract requirements that currently govern our health services.
The lovely administration ladies tell me that, in fact, I should now be contacted within two weeks with an appointment, or their contract will have been broken and I should then let them know so that they can complain/sort it out. I also discuss (hoarsely) the possibility of writing to complain to the powers-that-be.

The very next day, I received a phone call from a lady from appointments to offer me an appointment on Saturday morning (today) as an extra clinic has been set up. What time would I like to attend?!

Yesterday was a miserable day as Anna and her Dad went off to Nottingham University for an open day and Ben had an in-service day off school, and wanted to be out doing which his Mum didn't feel up to. We got through all that, then I had a meeting in a pub in Worle about next year's North Somerset Arts Week, which was very good but very hard on my voice(lessness) and I returned home with an outrageously sore throat and a pain in the neck, too.

Last night I had lots of those strange, rambling dreams, involving strange but familiar-in-my-dreams houses and difficult situations, and my beloved says I was crying in my sleep. I presume, therefore, that I am in fact feeling anxious in respect of the appointment at 12.30.

One valuable displacement activity is consulting Google Reader to visit my favourite, updated Blogs. On one, Patty's Autumn's Meadow, I found a quiz to do, another useful distraction. The result was:


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Although I must admit I cheated, in the sense that I was best-guessing what would be expected of a wife in the Thirties. It's an amazing commentary on society then vs now.

Better go get breakfasted and washed and dressed, in readiness for finding out if I can get my voice back soon!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

English Garden - June

The sun is shining at the moment, so let's see what we can see in the garden before the next shower starts.













The wind is getting up, blowing the flowers and leaves about and rolling in the clouds above. Time to put the kettle on and relax with a mug of tea and the Sunday papers.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dyed in the rust


More about how I did it on my Stitcher blog, but this is what I produced yesterday: some lengths of calico dyed using ferrous sulphate.


What will I do with them? Time will tell!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Melting Moments with Maggie

I promised to say something about my Hot Fix workshop with Maggie Grey. It was a wonderful two days, full of ideas and "excitements", as Maggie would say. The pictures above were taken during the first day, the top row being before, the bottom row after I'd subjected the pieces to the heat gun. We did lots of painting, printing, layering, stitching and melting with various combinations of fabric and media, and naturally had extreme fun while doing so.

In my stitching blog I've shown more pieces, or starting points, commenced during the weekend to continue at home, with some ideas of how I might do so.

Many of the techniques we used are included in Maggie's excellent and brand new book, Image to Stitch, another good addition to my art library. I've had fun ordering some supplies so I can experiment further.

We played hard during the two days and I cannot deny that I was exhausted when I arrived home. I've since had a couple of semi-vegetative duvet days and can only say that it was well worth it. The throat is still sore, the voice is still husky, but I'm feeling very good that I got there and enjoyed the company and the stimulation. Thanks, Maggie!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sojourn on the Stour


Back from my break, here are some photos taken where I was staying. My bedroom overlooked the River Stour, a wonderfully tranquil scene.


This tree acted as a modesty screen between my bedroom window and the opposite river bank. The leaves shimmied and twirled in the breeze in contrast to the massive solidity of the massive trunk, embellished by a network of ivy vines.


After breakfast, I took the air on the riverside terrace. There was a family of ducks swimming up and down, and gigantic fish lurking under the surface (just visible in the photo more or less low centre, if you click to enlarge). They were waiting for the leftover toast to be thrown over the fence by our waitress after the restaurant closed for breakfast.


There is an island in the river, reached by a rustic bridge from the terrace, where one could potentially take one's afternoon tea or something stronger whilst enjoying the sweet air and birdsong.


The ducks had a log available to leave the water for dry land when they chose.


Leaving the hotel was this wonderfully distressed wall, which naturally caught my eye and occasioned a photograph. I guess the suckers were probably left by Virginia Creeper, or maybe ivy.


The drive home this afternoon was through lovely countryside and picturesque villages, but as I was driving I could take no photographs: sadly few viewpoints are accompanied by convenient lay-bys or car parks and, anyway, I was keen to getback to my loved ones.

The workshop was, incidentally, wonderful. But, more of that on another occasion.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Got the Blues


Things are still pretty quiet round here, my life interrupted by the wretched throat bug which has deprived me of voice and energy. My doctor decided to refer me to an ENT specialist when I saw him yesterday, and also offered acupuncture against muscle spasm in my throat. It was very relaxing but sadly so far has made little difference to the voice or soreness.

Anyway, cabin fever needs treatment, too. I'm off to partake in two days of art play under the direction of this lady, staying here for tonight and tomorrow, which means I also get a holiday from mummy duties. If the sun shines on me I will be in heaven! Please send me lots of energy so I can make the most of this opportunity. I'm so grateful to my beloved for making this all possible: I really thought I was going to have to miss this long-awaited fun.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Who lives in a nest like this?


I didn't notice this nest until the birds had flown, built into the pipes from the boiler to the kitchen under the eaves of our chalet bungalow home. I'd love to know what kind of bird raised its family there this spring.
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Friday, June 06, 2008

A Test Drive

Recently, Kerrie of Hipknits requested a volunteer to test knit something using a new line of yarn made from yak fibre. This seemed a good use of my meagre energy and time, given that I've been laid up for weeks now with a throat virus and laryngitis.

The hank of yarn duly arrived and I wound it into a ball and thought about what to make with it. This is the result:-


One might imagine yak hair to be rather coarse and - well - hairy, but this yarn is so soft, light and cosy, and an absolute delight to knit up.


More pictures can be seen on my stitchy blog, here and on Kerrie's blog,
here. The yarn is available at Hipknits.

It's very frustrating to be poorly again for week after week, and no voice to speak of(!) Cooking supper on Wednesday put me straight to bed afterwards and all day yesterday and I've had a quiet day again today. I'm devouring library books and planning more projects but I'm beginning to go just a little bit stir crazy...