Branching Out

Lockdown continues. We have gone down to level 4, but it feels much the same as level 5 to me. But people seem to be bothering less and less. I try to go to the supermarket no more than twice a week, and as early as I can to avoid the crowds. There always seems to be a group of friends who haven’t seen each other for years and stand around in a group, blocking the doorway and – as often as not – pulling their masks down so they can have a good chat. And people stand too close. I’ve got to the stage where I just stick out an arm and say ‘social distancing, please.’ But I’m over 60 and have two vulnerable people to take care of so I have reason to be antsy. I could make a sign saying ‘$%#@ off’…

I love lace, pretty much in any shape or form. Eventually took the leap and knitted myself a lace scarf!

Swearing abounded, but it’s not too bad, even if I says it as shouldn’t. 😉 I might have had lifelines every second row in the beginning, but I learned a lot!

There are a lot of articles around saying that handwork is a great destresser. I generally do knitting or tatting for for an hour or so in the evenings, and it really helps me wind down.

The pattern is ‘Branching Out‘ by Susan Lawrence. It is available free on Ravelry. You do have to join, but there is no charge. The premium membership is not compulsory. They have the most amazing forums and a searchable pattern database that will have knitters and crocheters planning a bank robbery to fund their yarn purchases.

Posted in Challenges, Handwork, Knitting, knitting, Lace Knitting, Learning, Life | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Two Hundred Steps

Last night the cat brought in a mouse. I mean, she’s 16 years old, apparently the equivalent of around 80 in human years and she brings in a mouse. We managed to dispossess her of said mouse, which left us with a problem i.e. the mouse.

Titch

Our lockdown rules are quite strict. We are only allowed out for buying groceries, visiting the doctor (if they want to see you. I have an eye infection and only got to talk to the doctor over the phone.) or if you are essential services. Mouse disposal isn’t covered. The nearest piece of open ground where I normally release whatever Titch brings home is about a five minute walk away. Did I mention that people aren’t allowed to go for a walk or jog?

These stirring events took place at around 9 pm. So my husband – who was worried about me going out alone – and I go sneaking out of the gate, carrying a brightly decorated, Christmas themed tin. (What can I say. It’s long and narrow. Mice think it’s a place to hide. Makes catching them MUCH easier.)

Mouse Catching Equipment

There’s not supposed to be anyone walking around anytime, never mind 9 at night. Of course, what we’re hoping is that no dogs start barking. If someone looks out and sees two shadowy figures, we have a good chance they could call the police and then it would be ‘please explain’.

Of course, a dog did start barking. And then another joined the chorus, and another… How do burglars get away with it? Here’s the two of us, trying to walk quickly and quietly while the barking gets louder and louder.

We released the mouse and got home safely, without being hauled off to the cop shop. I don’t think I will become a criminal. I haven’t the nerves for it.

The ‘no walking’ thing is getting to me. I normally walk for about an hour most days and it’s a ‘calm down and think thoughts’ time for me. Three days into lockdown and I was going stir crazy. Then I started walking. Around the garden. Now, we don’t have a big garden, and you can’t walk around the house. There is the garage and a couple of walls in the way. So I walk around the back yard, through the side gate and around the front yard. Kind of like a wonky figure 8. And repeat. Around 200 steps. It’s killing the grass (quite literally – there is a path forming) but keeping me sane.

Now all I need to do is figure out how to discourage the cat from bringing in any more mice…

Posted in Animals, Cats, Challenges, Health, Life | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Results?

My results are clear, and I am so thankful. However, it seems almost irrelevant against what is going on in the world.

I thought we were in lockdown before. Apparently not. Just restrictions. Now South Africa will be in lockdown for 21 days from Thursday.

I’m still teaching! Sending and receiving videos from my pupils on WhatsApp. It’s different, but seems to be working. Keeping them and myself busy.

If anyone has an old guitar stuck in the back of a cupboard, I’m going to start another blog with lessons for beginners. We have some spare time, we may as well do something useful. 😉

Stay safe. Be careful.

Posted in Challenges, Guitar, Learning, Life, Motivation, music, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Here We Go

South Africa is on lockdown.

Our president made a speech tonight declaring a national emergency. Travel restrictions, schools closing from Wednesday until after Easter and gatherings larger than 100 people banned. There is more than that, but I won’t go into all the details.

Here is a quote.

“We must accept the anxiety this virus causes, but we must fight panic and fake news.

“We cannot allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by fear and panic. We must stop spreading unverified and fake news. While we are facing a medical emergency far graver than we have experienced in recent times, we are not helpless. We have the expertise, means and knowledge to fight this disease. We also have partners, various countries and institutions, working with us. If we act swiftly we can limit the effects of the disease.”

He said the virus had the potential “to bring us closer together … even though we are limiting contact … we must work together and collaborate … it requires solidarity and compassion. Those who have resources must assist those who are vulnerable and in need.”

A pretty good speech, but there are tough times ahead, and at 68 and 65 my husband and I are way too close to the age groups which have the most serious problems. And I have my son to think of as well. He has a physical handicap and has had pneumonia very badly on more than one occasion.

Well, there is no way around this, only through. And stock up on the toilet paper – if you can find any… (Still damned if I know why this is such a favoured item for hording)

Strength and blessings to everyone out there battling this. Keep well and stay safe.

Posted in Challenges, Health, Life | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Mad Rush

Well, I’ve been to the specialist, been to the hospital and had the lesion removed. I saw the specialist on Monday and was in hospital on Wednesday. Hardly enough time to get into a panic, although I did my best. Now it’s waiting for the final results.

What’s that old Chinese curse? May you live in interesting times. I would love to be bored! There is always something, and the somethings just keep coming.

Thank you to everyone who comes around. All good wishes much appreciated.

One of these days I will write a proper blog post…

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A Quick Word

I wanted to do a proper post, but my brain is mush.

I will be seeing the specialist later today. We will see where we go from there.

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The Result of Results

Medical information below. Please skip if you would prefer.

First off, my son’s results are clear. Thank heaven for that. He had a mole we have been keeping an eye on, but… I wasn’t as careful about the monthly checkups as I should have been. It was on his back, so he couldn’t check it himself. I would never have forgiven myself if it had been something serious. His father was diagnosed with a melanoma, and there is an increased risk if a direct family member has had one, so I was stupid to be careless.

My result is – basically, they’re not sure. The language is more technical, but that is the essence. I thought that’s what biopsies were for! They are going to remove the lesion, which is something else I’m not looking forward to. When my husband went in for his melanoma to be removed, we had to be at the hospital at 6:30 am. AAArgh.

And I worry.

But I’m still glad we went. Rather early than late.

If anyone out there has a skin lesion they are worried about, PLEASE have it checked out. There is no benefit in waiting. Even though my husband had a melanoma, it was early enough that it hadn’t spread and could be safely removed.

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An Update

Many thanks to everyone for positive thoughts and comments. Nothing definite from the specialist. I have to wait for biopsy results. For myself and my son. Who just went for a checkup.

Waiting is the worst.

What I planned for this year was reviews of books and movies I love. Completely personal. I still hope to get there.

I have actually been writing more regularly. I printed out one of my more complete books and have been editing the hard copy. It’s working much better for me. The book I did have published was in the 1990’s and my first draft was longhand and then typed out twice on a manual typewriter. What can I say? Those were the days. Sending hard copy submissions to publishers – which cost a packet – and multiple submissions were frowned upon. So send and wait. Send and wait. Checking the information in a ten year old copy of ‘The Writers and Artists Yearbook’. One of the members of our writers’ group brought in a new copy and was nearly mobbed. No online buying and massively unhelpful local shops. It didn’t help living in the back of beyond either.

Thanks again.

Posted in Books, Challenges, Health, Life, Memories, Writing | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Just Quickly.

I have medical tests tomorrow.

Thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.

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My Recent Kintsugi Work

Just because you are a little damaged doesn’t mean life is over.

My porcelain painting blog

Happy 2020 to everyone from Japan! We are in our New Year’s holidays now.  I came back to update my blog constantly again!

Today I want to show you my recent kintsugi work.

Kinstugi Yumi

This one is a bottom of my Dresden teacher, Alfredo’s hand-painted piece which was broken by the earthquake in 2018.

Kinstugi Yumi

Kinstugi Yumi

I bought these pieces at Gojyozaka porcelain festival last summer to fix them. When I bought them, they were broken pieces, and I got them very cheap.

The porcelain is called Kiyomizuyaki in Japanese, and the perfect ones are expensive.

Kinstugi Yumi

Kinstugi Yumi

Kinstugi Yumi

The last one is an antique. I got this at an antique shop in Kyoto.

I think I am luck to live close to Kyoto because the city is a porcelain city, and I can get lots of broken pieces for my kintsugi work.

A couple of weeks ago, I finished my first gintsugi work. Gintsugi is…

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