battling the red queen

Winston had his black dog.  I have my red queen.  Melodramatic I know.  But Kim, you hit the nail on the head yesterday when you commented on hormones.  Part of me truly hates to say this … I feel as if I am playing into every patronising, patriarchal notion of the hysteria of women … but, before the tangible arrival of the red queen each month, she sneaks up on me with poisoned sceptre and my spirits plunge from really cheerful and energetic to horribly glum and slothful.  And, as I age, I’ve noticed the pitch becoming ever more obvious.

When I feel the sadness descend, at first, it feels as if life is grinding to a halt.  Everything around me seems difficult, I become so focussed on what’s inside my head rather than the everyday loveliness and normality of what’s around me.  Then I remember to remind myself, no.  This is just my period about to arrive.  This feeling will last a day or two (hopefully not three), and then I will bounce back and everything will be perfectly doable again.  And it is.

I’ve even come to the realisation that I have to share with Julian and Abby.  They are so sweet – they smile sympathetically, nod knowingly.  It’s a secure feeling, knowing that they know.  And I don’t just fall down into a heap.  Instead, I plough on with everyday things.  Waiting for it to pass.  So that’s what I’ve been doing the last few days.  I’ve MADE myself cook dinner.  MADE myself make the bed.  MADE myself vacuum.  These things don’t banish the red queen, but they give me a small feeling of competence and control.

Yesterday morning, I started at Ceres – and it was sooooo good.  I spent a lovely morning in the autumn sun, harvesting the last of the little tomatoes, making up plumply fragrant bunches of basil for the market, pulling out the spent cucumber plants and chopping up the remaining, battered cucumbers for the chickens.  It was very therapeutic with so much to learn, the people lovely, and I’m looking forward to next week.

dutch cream potsbasil

When I could feel myself becoming VERY frazzled, yesterday afternoon, I slipped out into our back garden with some handquilting.  Letting the needle slide in and out, and in and out.  Feeling the lovely cool breeze of the much longed for change wash over me.

yarn and scissors

made some linesedges


Listening to the increasingly crunchy leaves rustle.  Noticing our little feathered girls regaining some of their confidence and feathers, as they chatter and bustle about, delighted with their succulent, seedy cucumbers.

bits of brown

cucumberswahts this

nogs funny feathers

Last night, I finished one book – Sally Vicker’s new novel “The Cleaner of Chartres” which I loved – Agnes is such an endearing character and the setting is beautiful.  And had a long, warm, sweetly scented bath with a new book – Beth Gutcheon’s “More Than You Know” – utterly different time and place and story, but certainly intriguing thus far.

Do you find your hormones wreaking havoc on your emotional state?  What does it feel like for you? What helps you move through these times?  Do you hate admitting it!?


wobbly thursday

… sorry the blog hasn’t been working properly the last few days … wordpress had changed things … & I hadn’t upgraded … Abby worked it out … Julian fixed it … & hopefully all is fine now :-) …

I know … it is supposed to be my quiet, much anticipated day.  And nothing awful happened. Nothing awful has happened all week.  I just feel a bit wobbly.  Bit prone to self pity.  A few tears.  That terrible introspection where I sit and dissect everything I’ve done for a week and found myself wanting.  Thankfully, the weather was tremendously cooler today , so I curled up on the sofa.  I watched several episodes of Great Ormond Street Hospital (so inspiring) and Midsomer Murders ( I want to live in one of those villages).  And knitted … knitted …. knitted … and just about finished Abby’s owls.  Only have to graft the armholes (that’s what that wee bit of thread is you can see hanging under Abby’s arm!), weave in the few ends and then give it a little wash and blocking.

she doesn't want the yes

This is quite awesome.  Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I bought the yarn and cast on.  That’s a record for me.  Started and finished in two weeks.  And I cabled.  Now, I have cabled before – many years ago, on a pair of arm warmers for Abby – but I was a bit nervous about it.  No probs.  Does cabling make you nervous?  It’s not at all bad – I didn’t even have a cable needle – I just used one of the circular needle ends – you know, the needly bit that screws on to the cable – and it worked just fine. Getting the sleeves lined up with the body of the jumper – now that had me fumbling for almost an hour.  Nothing wrong with any of the knitted pieces or the instructions – I was just fumbly and awkward.  Must be the wobbliness.

with macine

And the girlie loves it.  Julian is in awe (and wondering why his cardigan hasn’t been finished with the same enthusiasm).  But Abby won’t let me put the buttons/beads on for the eyes.  Hmph!  Now folks won’t know that’s what those pretty cables are – owls.  But I guess what other folks think about Abby’s new jumper is neither here nor there, is it.  What other folks SHOULD know is that Kate Davies is an awesome knitwear designer – she’s my favouritest of favourites ever.  This is my fourth Kate knit – her patterns are brilliant, they are wonderful to follow, and her knitted goodies are a complete pleasure to knit and wear.  If you haven’t yet tried one of her patterns out, rush over to here and choose one.  Abby’s already chosen her next – the Warriston sweater – and I’m mad keen to get started.  All I need Kate to do now is knit her Tom a sweater and then all three of us Boots can go out in our “Kate Davies”!!  Oh I am such a geek!

abbys owls

Oh, and the sideboard’s in.  Looking spiffy and very useful.  Here’s a wee glimpse of what it’s up to.  When the handles are on (j-u-l-i-a-n!) I’ll take some more photos.  We’re now thinking that when we have our own home, we shall have a free standing kitchen full of gently restored old sideboards instead of newly bought pieces.  Just one modern piece for the sink.  Mmmmmm … there are more sideboards out there for me yet :-)

sideboard is in

Now, I shall finish my water and hop along to bed.  Tomorrow begins a new adventure for me … volunteering/learning to garden at Ceres, the wonderful community market garden in north Melbourne.  I’m so looking forward to it.  Another step towards our little place in the country.

Wobbliness be gone! Oh – and I’ll take much nicer photos of the Owls Jumper tomorrow – outdoors with light – ’cause it really is a MUCH nicer colour in real life than it looks here :-)


threading a beach hat

Way back in spring 2012, Mum rang me one day to see if I’d like a new hat for summer.  She was at a little boutique in downtown Merimbula and had found some very sweet, inexpensive crocheted paper hats.  I was keen so she picked out a sky blue one for me and one for herself – I can’t remember what colour yours is Mum!?  Brown – olive?

Anyways … I wore it everyday during our lovely lovely summer holiday at the beach.  And then, on the dreadfully hot day when the bushfire struck, we were cutting out four inch squares of lovely soft Japanese lawn.  Because of the length of fabric we had bought, there was a very narrow strip left over from most pieces.  Hmmm …. what to do …

here I simply must insert these gorgeous photos of Mum’s cosmos
she is a wonderful gardener (I don’t take after her at all)
I took these on our last day in Merimbula & completely forgot about them
until tonight, when looking for photos of the hat …

ooooh!  and see this stump?  I can’t remember whether I’ve shared this, but where Mum’s house is, was once the family owned dairy farm that provided Merimbula with all its milk – very appropriate given just how much we Boots love our milk – at first we thought this fence was a gardener’s folly, but now wonder if it is, in fact, a remnant of the farm. Such a lovely thought.  Back to the hat …

After a few more days thought – and a lot of hat wearing – I decided to thread some through the hat – mayhaps a couple of rows around the brim?  So there, on our last day at Bar Beach, with seagulls a-watching, I began.  I used my crochet hook to pull the lengths of fabric through – up, down, up, down.  To start and finish, I simply tied a knot at the end of each length of fabric nice and close to the hat.

By the end of that night – most of the hat was covered!  Oh it’s the old lily story.  Once started, couldn’t stop.  I even unpicked the hem of the brim and wove a piece of fabric around that – like a very simple whipping.

I love it … such a cheerful and colourful hat … and a little bit wonky.  Perhaps a bit like its owner? :-)  And it’s had SUCH a good workout over the last couple of weeks.  Here’s the finished product whilst on duty at Birdrock Beach …

And at Mt. Martha’s Gelati Bar.  Three marvellous features – it’s instantly identifiably as mine, has a lovely low brim so offers wonderful protection from our aggressive sun, and is wonderfully crumpleable – I just squish it up and shove it in my handbag or basket – and when it comes out, it looks just like it did the day it arrived!

Thank you so much Mummy darling for thinking of me – it’s grown into my favourite hat ever :-)  And if you should want your hat to match, just send it my way ;-)

p.s. hope you love your cosmos photos xxx

hanging out with the locals

We went to the zoo!  On the hottest day of our heatwave so far ….. (that sound is me hissing through my teeth)  … it was lovely.  But excruciatingly hot.  The best part was when I stood under the canopy sprinkler with the kookaburra.  I just wish they’d turned the tap on a bit harder.

We started with a quick airconditioned stop to plot the route followed by three hours of walking.  I think the only critters we didn’t see were the echidnas – I don’t know how we missed them, we just did – and the wombats, they had sensibly taken to their underground burrows and weren’t coming out for anyone.

There were wonderful pelicans – my favourite …

– this fellow had one very skinny leg and one normal chubby one,
don’t know why, but the poor thing looked a bit lopsided –

– these two were so funny, they did everything in unison,
perhaps they were escaped circus pelicans –

Abby wanted to take this wee fellow home – a Tasmanian Devil – they are so cute.  Look at his amazing feet – they almost look like ours, don’t you think.  Poor little dears – they are at risk of extinction due to a horrible facial tumour disease that has spread like wildfire through their wild populations.

We met an incredibly charismatic emu, who after winking to get our attention, gave us a wee curtsey and wandered on over.

She then got quite frisky – practically charging Rina who responded in typical teenage girl fashion – squealing – which amused the emu no end!

But then she changed her mind and did a big poo instead … much to the raucous amusement of every child in the vicinity.

Very satisfying … and off she went …

There were snoozing bats …

chortling peach faces …

not laughing kookaburras – this one was too busy having a good soak under the
sprinklers …

lots and lots of kangaroos and wallabies, conserving their energy in the shade …

and of course – koalas – what every Japanese school girl dreams of …

they are such funny things … this one was maintaining his balance with his forehead – smooshed up against the tree, his arms and legs sticking out skew-if.  Much of the eucalypt foliage you can see is actually this …

Very clever – and apparently, very expensive.

Julian loved the reptile house – such a boy – he had an alarming or funny story to match every inhabitant.

Look!  It’s a long necked turtle – relative of the two Julian rescued on the back road between Bairnsdale and Sale last year.  He was a marvellous little swimmer and hasn’t he smiled nicely for the photo.

There was also a lovely Platypus House – Abby’s favourite, and a Nocturnal House – it was like a circus!  But both were so dark, photos weren’t possible so you’ll just have to take our word for it – they were marvellous, and their little inhabitants utterly enchanting.

Yep, it was a lovely afternoon at the Healesville Sanctuary.  Heaps of interesting information and a wonderful focus on living sustainably and gently with our smaller, native neighbours.  And I would love to go back … in winter.