30 Days Wild – 2nd June

Today I watched the bees in a large shrub in the next door garden, which I’ve now found out is a Cotoneaster. Every summer it teems with bees and we’re always fascinated by the activities.

Today I felt very down in the dumps. I had a busy workday so fast-forward to the evening and I just sat in the warm sunshine and watched the bees busying about. It completely lifted my mood and made me feel happier. The power of nature!

30 Days Wild – 1st June

Although I think it is aimed at children really, I’ve signed up for the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild project. You can read more about it here but basically it aims to get you doing something nature related everyday in June. From a simple walk on the grass in bare feet to seeking out and identifying things in the natural world. I’m really busy working from home, struggling to switch off and so I thought this would make me take a little time out each day. I am a member of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

So today I went for a walk along the Beverley and Barmston drain before work. This is a fairly normal walk for me but today I made an extra effort to look at the plants and listen to the birdsong. On the way back home I spotted some beautiful aquilegia in a garden, such a pretty flower, I couldn’t resist including them in my photos.

Trapped Nerve and Other News

I’ve had a trapped nerve in my shoulder for the past three weeks causing great discomfort and grumpiness. Worst of all, I have been unable to knit or crochet as it’s been too uncomfortable, as well as needing to rest.  I’m four sessions into osteopathy treatment though and feeling the improvement slowly but surely.  I have so many craft projects on the go at the moment and plans for many more so it is really frustrating for me not to be able to get on.  I also find it difficult to sit still for long with nothing in my hands. I am a real fidget, always been a nail-biter, hair-twiddler etc., so if I don’t have my crafts to keep my hands busy, I start to feel agitated.

That is what prompted the blog posting last weekend, I couldn’t get on with my crochet projects so decided to update the blog, which was seriously overdue.  I do love blogging but I love doing lots of things and there simply isn’t enough time to do everything and the blog is usually the one that has to give.  However, I am going to make an effort to update a bit more often….again!!  Yes, I know, you’ve heard it all before.

Yesterday, I managed to do a bit of crochet but suffered for it later with a bit of pain in my forearm and fingers.  I have tonnes of stashed yarns and some of it has been in there for many years just waiting for some project to call out to it.  One such yarn is Stylecraft Ethical Twist which is long since discontinued. A lovely mix of wool and alpaca that I bought quite a bit of when it was on sale at Kemps, once upon a time the source of most of my yarn as they had such a great clearance section.  I have started many a project with this yarn only to abandon it as ‘it doesn’t look right’, ‘doesn’t suit it’ or even ‘it’s too nice a yarn to knit something like this with’.  Well, I finally made up my mind that as nice as it is, it will look even nicer made into something rather than stuck in a plastic bin under the bed! 

Cosy Wrap crochet

Enter the cosy wrap.  I found this pattern on Ravelry for a sampler blanket, that being a striped blanket made up of sections of different crochet stitch patterns.  It is essentially a stash busting multi-coloured blanket but a few crocheters have made single colour versions which is what caught my eye.  I thought it would make a lovely wrap/shawl/blanket whatever for chilly evenings or to enable me to sit out in the garden on summer evenings when the warmth of the sun has disappeared.  It’s coming along nicely and is what I was working

I also have big plans for a couple of multi-coloured striped blankets or perhaps granny squares. One based on the colours of the spices Patrick used for a curry a few weeks ago and one based on the beautiful colours of Havana, Cuba – a place firmly on my bucket list.

Havana, Cuba
Spice colour palette
Havana colour palette

More on those ideas if/when I am able to make a start but a taster of the potential colour palettes in these pictures, I’d include something paler in the spice palette as well though.

In the garden this week, the weather has been so hot and dry that the birds have been making great use of the water.  Junior blackbird had a bath that lasted about 3 minutes one evening. I videod him for 90 seconds and he had already been splashing about before I started and continued after I’d finished.  We also had Bob, the robin and Dennis, the dunnock politely taking turns to have a drink from the cascade.  On another occasion Tufty the daddy blackbird also enjoyed a good splash about and then a drink.  Drinking your bathwater eh?  Bleurgh!!

Bidens Taka Tuka

The flowers in our baskets are looking nice now and it won’t be long before they are all trailing prettily over the edges.

Vdrbena Deep Red Star

Until next time….

Lockdown Life

I have been working from home since 24th March. As I write this post, that is 8 weeks and 4 days.  I honestly thought we would be back at work within a month when the lockdown was first enforced.  Mostly, I’m enjoying working at home but as my colleague Debbie is furloughed, it is a bit of a struggle to keep up with the workload.  The worst part really is that we obviously can’t go out, away for a weekend or anything that we would normally do to switch off from work so I feel like it is very ‘work/eat/sleep/repeat’.  The best part though, is being able to sit in the garden for my lunch when the weather is nice. Listening to and watching the birds is my mediation for the day.

As we are not going to be going on holiday this year, we have invested a bit of time, effort and money into our garden, it is a very small space but we have done our best to make it a wildlife haven.  We get such pleasure out of watching the birds at the feeders and sitting out when it is warm enough that we decided to extend our little pond with a cascade feature, see video below.  Since then we’ve got a couple of pond plants in there too.   

We also bought a small hawthorn tree for blossom and berries for the birds and a dwarf cherry for a large pot outside the back door.  Already, the birds have claimed the water cascade and not a day goes by that someone isn’t bathing or drinking from it.  We’ve been privileged to witness our resident daddy blackbird feeding his two offspring and pairs of robins and bluetits with the males feeding their mates which is what they do just before egg laying apparently.  We’ve had a pair of goldfinches on the feeder that we bought specifically to attract them and of course, many chattering sparrows and squabbling starlings. We have named our blackbird Tufty because of a tuft of feathers sticking up on the back of his head and I can’t resist calling his two demanding juniors Ronnie and Reggie!  We were sure that our robins (called Bob and Bobette) also would be nesting nearby but we haven’t seen them for a while and no sign of any youngsters so I fear the worst.  We had a juvenile robin visiting us last year, very cute and were hoping our Bob and Bobette were going to be parents  raising a brood for us to watch this year.   See below video of Tufty feeding one of the twins, notice the other one coming from under the bush at the back to make sure he/she isn’t missing anything! 

I’ll leave you with a slideshow of photos all taken in our garden this year, mostly during lockdown.

 

10,000 Steps for 10,000 Men – The finish.

Following on from my last post, I successfully completed my 10,000 steps for 10,000 men challenge in aid of Prostate Cancer UK.  Throughout the month of March, I walked or ran (mostly walked truth be told!) at least 10,000 steps per day, which was around four and a half miles.

In total I did 355,401 steps which equated to 258.65 km or 160.71 miles and raised £740.00 for Prostate Cancer UK.  It wasn’t always easy.  Physically it wasn’t difficult but finding the time to fit in the walks was, especially after the lockdown started and working from home, I no longer had my 3 miles walk to and from work. I was incredibly lucky with the glorious weather we had in March and I confess to doing more than one exercise session per day, sometimes going out three times on short walks, just trying to get the steps in.  It was for a good cause though and neither I or anyone else was put at risk during the walks.

I was pleased to get to the end but I did have some enjoyable walks.  One Friday evening in particular comes to mind. 

Sunset over the drain

 I still needed to do quite a lot of steps as I had been busy with work during the day and hadn’t managed to get out. I was set to give up on the day but my best cheerleader Patrick talked me into going out whilst he cooked our meal and so with the promise of a beer waiting for me afterwards, off I went.  Up Endike Lane towards Beverley Road, back through the little park next to Cross Keys and along the field behind Endike School towards the drain.  It was just starting to get dark and the light was beautiful, I was so pleased that I’d gone out. Leaving the drain and on my way back down Endike towards Cranbrook it looked so beautiful with the car and street lights just coming on and the sun setting behind it all. Not the best quality of photos with my phone but evokes a nice memory for me anyway.

The best thing about posting this update as long after the event as this is that I can impart the best news we could have got, that Patrick’s operation was successful in removing all of the cancer as it was located in the prostate only and hadn’t spread anywhere else. 

Endike Lane