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Happy New Year

Here is wishing you all a very happy new year!

Its always fasinating to think of what the year ahead might hold.  This time last year we did not know that our bonny adorable baby girl would join us.  So the beginning of this year is full of beautiful liquid smiles and occasional protests which state clearly that the available staff are simply not fulfilling their duties fast enough!  We try…………

Christmas was spent house sitting.  It was peaceful and a lovely change.  New walks for the dogs and us.  Evenings spent knitting in a different setting.  Refreshing.

We had a family meal when my son and his wife came down from the Isle of Skye, it was so good to see them.  Island life has fully infiltrated them, running through their blood in every sense.  Their remote croft on the north of the island sits next to the sea and re-defines the term ‘windy’.  They describe the boulders which have to be placed on absolutely everything to keep within walking distance!  The pictures of their life and views are the stuff that dreams are made of, it is simply stunning.

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To start the new year I decided to follow a tradition which I started when the children were young.  We went to one of my favorite places in Somerset, Kilve.  The rocks and contours of this landscape never fail to inspire.

I thought perhaps that this year I should try to revisit places which resonate with me deep down.  Places to revisit which touch me deeply for one reason or another.  All of these are not too far from where I live.  I have never yearned for far off places, I have never been on a plane, I just live and love the areas around me.

 

I have been using up my stock of wool in creative ways.  Finishing another batch of cardigans and dyeing them for a shop in London where they sell well.  Each individually handmade, dyed and finished.

I have plans afoot for smaller projects and very individual ‘art’ pouches and bags.  Landscapes, lines made by walking and a tribute to local, in every sense.

I do wish creative dreams being realised for everyone for 2019.  Let the journey continue!

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Christmas Magic and Madness

Is it me or does something happen in Setpember which causes the rest of the year to slip by as if on greased wheels?  Why do the last 4 months of the year zoom by?  Comparatively the first 4 months of the a new year sort of bump along as if travelling over a rutted farm track.  Oh well, I am not going to change it, so I must accept it, even as a bystander just standing almost clear of the escalator.

Lets start with carnival.  I took Mollie to Glastonbury Carnivalway way back in November.  It was a huge effort and freezing cold, but just magical!  I can’t think which I enjoyed more – her face or the huge effort and time put in to the floats.  Always a spectacle but especially seen through the eyes of a child (sorry, young adult)!

Most importantly the vest BEST event of the year.

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Then there was the show.  The slow show.  Unfortunately it was the weekend between black friday and cyber monday!  Enough said.  However I met some lovely people and traders (also people – incidentally).  Overall a bit disappointing but I would do it again as its a local show.

So it looks like loads, and maybe thats where the time went?  But it has taken me so long to recover!  I am still battling with nausea and exhaustion on a daily basis.  I have new tablets to take which have helped a bit.  Pacing myself is something I dont excel at.  In fact I hardly know how to do it!  But I am going to have to make a pact, if not friends with this new state of being if I am going to get anywhere.  Mind over matter does not apply when my body is working against my mind all the time.  My body is not making a terrible fuss, I admit, currently we are getting along, mostly, but this debilatating exhaustion and now nausea are the check point in every day.  When energy is a limited resource I need to learn to spend it wisely.  This I find upsetting.  I mean cancer would be ok if one didnt feel so dreadful some of the time.  Like childhood, wellness is becoming a dim and distant memory.

But I do count my blessings so to speak.  I am still active and I do still achieve.  Mostly this activity keeps me positive and forward looking.  An altered state of being is a strange concept to live with.  Like watching yourself and how you react without being fully present.

Odd.

 

 

New Stuff

October 28th is now a very important date to add to our family diaries.  On this day little Verity entered our lives in person.

 

What can I say?  Everything and absolutely nothing.  No words can sum up this occasion.

It was not an easy ride and for a while a very scary one for baby and mum.  However, we are on the mend and we are all getting used to new stuff.

On my needles?  Possibly a few baby knits(??!!!) and just maybe a few more in the pipeline??  Knitting for a small person is such a wonderful activity.  Anticipation in every stitch.  Choosing colours now we have met her, choosing patterns, yarns and needles.  everything done in small!

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I have also been knitting like mad for my upcoming Christmas craft show.  I want to take my knitted pouches and cardigans alongside the yarn.  Where energy is a limited resource these days I have to learn discipline,(often lost in translation to life), to be realistic about what can actually be achieved in a day, rather than what I desire to be achieved in a day.  Between the 2 is a rather large gap.

I look forward to handknitting in the evenings.  Peaceful, repetitive, soothing.  It is my comfort habit.

Autumn this year has been spectacular.  All the fire colours lining the fields.  Glorious.  Exciting.  Inspiring.

 

 

Mellow Autumn

What an incredibly varied year we have had.  Autumn is proving no exception.  Mellow and glorious.

My consultant was reassuring.  Apparently I am not waiting to get worse, but making the most of not getting worse.  Mixed feelings.  I certainly am focused on living and staying as fit and healthy as I possibly can.  I am young enough and fit enough to be put forward for a bone marrow transplant when the time comes.  This can extend time for quite a while once you have got over the treatment.  Encouraging.

In the mean time I felt I just had to get away to breathe.  So down to Dorset for a day.  Wonderful.

I came back with renewed energy and positivity.  Healing.

I have been busy making these notion pouches.  Using up lots of bits and giving me a purpose and focus.  I have a Christmas Fair booked at the end of November, so I am hoping that these will make good gifts.

 

 

Hanging The Washing out

Today is beautiful.  The best of autumn, crisp and clear with stunning displays of glorious colour everywhere you look.

 

We had a grim weekend with non stop rain for nearly 48 hours.  We also had an upsetting (and expensive) incident involving squirrels and rusty barbed wire.  Two surgeries later with a hefty bill we are now feeling better.  Mostly we are on crate rest, but under supervision while its sunny, soaking up the last of the summer warmth seems like a beneficial healing strategy.

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With the next lot of blood results due this week I find I am restless.  The uncertainty is unsettling at best.  Time is now chopped into short fat blocks of weeks.  Learning to live with a deteriorating future is tricky at best.  I have found huge therapy in concentrating on various projects.  Making stuff by hand concentrates my mind and requires my full attention.  This especially so when my bones are loosing strength so that jobs which I have never engaged any thought in, now require methodical step by step concentration.

Here are some of my knitted panels ready to be made into my new zipped, lined pouches.  I have had so much encouragement for these I am making more.

 

I have a shaming amount of ‘stuff’.  I am doing what craft fairs I think I can manage.  This has actually been an amazing experience.  From the least expected places have come such wonderful support and kindness.  I have been humbed by a few people these last few weeks.  You know who you are, but I have to record my heartfelt thanks to Maggie, Rebecca and Sharon in particular.  Guys you are true lights.

Meanwhile I can hang my washing out – literally!

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Wordpress Sept 24 005

Next week I will know what the following few weeks will hold.  Strange, this way of thinking.  All decisions out of my control and yet somehow I keep planning my life.  Our new baby (my 4th granddaughter) is due in October (towards the end) and this event has been my ‘carrot’ since January.  This wonderful event certainly puts everything else into perspective.  What a wonderful event to focus on.

 

In the meantime, I keep making….. (going to have to use a horsebox to transport all the baby gear if shes late!!).

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Wordpress Sept 24 010

A Challenging Day

Goodbye Stitch 024Today is a huge challenge for me.  I have to behave myself with incredible self control.  Today my adorable special pup who is now 16 months old is going to live with her auntie as her new forever home.

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I love this pup beyond reason.  It is because I love her so much that I am doing the best thing for her.  This is a raw post.

My dreams now fix on my new granddaughter and making is such a salve.

My other granddaughters have on going projects with me making stuff together.  Here is the quilt of the eldest so far,  9 months in the making together.  We have chosen and stitched new (chosen by her fabrics), together with fabrics used in her mum’s quilt, new baby quilt and cousins quilt.  Some I have done (sashing) the rest she has done.  This is indeed a MEMORY CLOTH.

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These small makings give me focus and occupation.  The planning and joy of making.  It keeps lead weight weariness at the door instead of allowing it to consume me.  The biggest battle is in my head.  This is more challenging when my physical expectations of myself can not be coerced into cooperating.  But just one small project at a time.  One or two fat quaters a month, a few rows of a shawl, a couple of pages of reading at one sitting.  This and music.  I listen to music while I make and it lifts me.

Setting new goals, learning new skills, polishing skills, these things all help to bring focus and a sense of achievement to any week.  I simply refuse to open the door to ‘whats the point’ syndrome.  If it comes to it, what is the point in anything?  Because we care and learn to love and this is what is important.

The Very Big C Word

There has been way too long a gap!  No excuses and no apologies.

Life in Somerset continues alongside pretty much any other rural setting.  Seasons come and go each with its own beauty.  Our late winter saw spectacular snow drifts which towered above the lanes in beautiful arcs and waves.  An awesome introduction to proper snow for Stitch!  Spring rushed by in a flash followed by an incredible summer.  What a wonderful spell of warm, dry, long days.  I have seldom seen such a parched landscape with cracks in the clay soil which you could hide in.  And now, a mellow, soft warm autumn.

What a year its been!  My eldest grandaughter turned 13!  Despite various health issues, she is still in remission (a year now), which is wonderful.  She developed Diabetes type 1 which has seriously impeded her life, but we manage and are grateful for everyday as it comes.

My third daughter expects her first child (a girl – well, we do those so well!), in October.  When her husband was asked how heavy he thought the baby would be, he scratched his head and replied 9 stone. (???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  So we shall see!!  This is so exciting as we have not had a baby in the family for 6 years!  So much anticipated.

Unfortunately. here is the place that I will own my diagnosis of Myeloma.  This is a rare blood cancer which is incurable.  So there we go, I said it.  I think I have been ashamed to own it and in denial, trying not to say it so that it will not be true.  But it is.  The worst thing is the uncertainty, life hangs in limbo.  There are no set plans or timelines as this is a difficult and complicated cancer which affects everyone in a variety of ways.  Prognosis is one way, but there are different treatments which can stave off the inevitable.

Life.  So short, so precious, so uncertain, so fragile.

I adore my dogs.  I was training up for competition in Agility and we had put lots of work and time into this.  This is not possible.  I pulled out of competition as I can not run the dogs now.  So I am re-homing Stitch who is just over a year now.  It breaks my heart.  But I love her way too much not to give her the best life I can.  A lovely family who had her mum’s only sister in the same litter, is fostering her.  Stitch has been on a few holidays with the family and she looks so happy when she is there, and they adore her.  So I know this is the right thing to do for her.  It still breaks my heart.

These are the hard things.  Also selling stock and ‘stuff’.  Feels like selling my hopes and dreams.  But I dont want my kids to have to sort it all out.  So I have got focus now.  What I can reasonably expect to do and what is beyond me.  Making is my healing space.  Making focuses my mind and helps me have purpose.  Achievable aims.

So I think I will document as much as I feel able my walk with cancer.  My life with cancer.