time to talk

The drugs I was prescribed to take away my (misdiagnosed) physical agony took away my words instead, and left me wanting to hurt myself.  Sometimes the mental pain is every bit as real and debilitating.  I am immensely lucky to have friends who will drop everything and just be there, to keep me safe, from myself.  I am also fortunate to work in an environment where I can admit this openly, without fear.

It’s time to talk about mental health.



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let it go

Today I finished off the last few bits of paperwork to close down the business end of our lovely co-operative preschool. (Yeah, I may have been procrastinating from this, but do you know how hard it is to close down a bank account when faced with the monumental incompetence that is our local branch of RBS?) Even though it’s been gone in reality for half a year, the final signing and handing over of forms hit me hard. I still find it horrifying how quickly we dismantled that vibrant little world of ours.  After eight years, and hundreds of children and families, there was nothing left behind. (Not even the kitchen sink, mwahaha, running gag…)

On the bright side, all the things I really hated (spreadsheets, paperwork and difficult decisions dictated by hard economic reality) about running my own business are also gone from my life finally and forever, and this afternoon’s shredding has cleared a whole shelf.

I think I may be a bit postviral. And very very tired of how here in Derbyshire it’s always winter, but never Christmas. My plan is for the rest of halfterm to consist of singing, fresh air and the pub, then I might be ready to go back to my lovely new job and take over the world through the media of junk modelling and fire.

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This is my new impulse knit project- thrummed slippers. Don’t you love that word? Thrum, thrum, thrumthrumthrmmittythrum…


See how cosy…


Seriously woolly tufty orifice.


All the pretty colours (I used a bag of rather beautifully dyed, but virtually unspinnable Shetland fleece, bought in Orkney).


My only problem is that I now have one slipper… and two feet. Poor sad injured left foot has first slipper privileges. Now I just need a snow day so I have time to knit the other one.



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This is a story that begins way back last February, when I first saw the floor tiles in St Magnus cathedral, Kirkwall.


They are beautiful and compelling- far more so than my rather gloomy photos suggest.


Most importantly, they made me think of fairisle patterns, with their diamonds and interlocking lines.


I mulled over this idea for several months, and in the summer I dug out some colours… (full marks to K who spotted the yellow is obviously meant for lichen, but that’s my next project!)


I played around with my felt tips and squared paper and produced a chart. Charting fairisle requires a conceptual shift (for me, anyhow.) Because the thing you don’t need is a pixellated reproduction of your subject, it’s more of a riff on a theme.


The (many times amended) chart turned quickly into a glove.


After several more months, there was even a second glove. (Yeah, one of those “Life got in the way” projects. Small fairisle projects where you need to read the chart every line definitely need a good long block of concentrated knitting time- not one to pick up and put down.)


Finished gloves, ready to be posted to a friend who would have loved to be in Orkney last summer, but didn’t get there in the end. Hopefully they can accompany her when she gets to make the trip.



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we make our own fun here, we do

I thought it was time for a competition. It’s very simple. All you have to do is guess the inspiration for these fairisle gloves (which I began an inordinately long time ago, but then got distracted…) The correct answer wins a prize. The precise nature of which I haven’t decided upon yet, but everyone loves a prize, no?


Answers on a postcard/ in a comment/ by carrier pigeon please.

In other news, I’ve been having the traditional New Year’s tidy up and stocktake, and have come up with a couple of jolly plans. This is the shelf of knitting books. Knitting books are very pretty. I love their inky new smell, crisp shiny pages, and general air of woolly porn. But I rarely make anything from the books I own. So I decided I would work my way along the shelf, knitting a pattern from each of the books. Until I get bored at least. That should deal with January.


I have another plan, involving Going To Places, And Doing Things, which I am fine tuning as we speak. More of that soon…


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that was the year that was

After a year where nothing really went according to plan, I present to you my summary of new experiences I had in 2014.  (It’s a bit like that drinking game… feel free to down a swift G&T for every one of these you’ve shared…)

1)  turned 40 (vg, think I did it in style by celebrating for a good three months, and am continuing to use age as an excuse for absolutely all unreasonable behaviour)

2)  went to Orkney to celebrate (excellent)

3) travelled from Edinburgh to the end of the world John O’Groats in a taxi with L**** (less good, I devoutly hope never to do this again)

4) received enough compensation for the airline’s fail to go back to Orkney (vg indeed, only marred by item 9)

5)  missed the most spectacular display of northern lights Orkney has seen in years by a week (bah, must try harder)

6)  closed down a much valued preschool (vv bad, but I’m starting to get over it)

7)  ebayed, carbooted or otherwise flogged the entire contents of the aforementioned preschool to pay our own redundancy (surreally awful at the time, but luckily this makes me laugh a lot in hindsight; especially the bit where we took the kitchen sink with us)

8) organised The Best Guide Camp Ever (yes, this is official)

9) spent ten weeks on crutches due to unfortunate foot injury occurring whilst on 8) and double hospital fail in diagnosing and treating (too awful to dwell on, especially longterm recovery prospects, let’s get back to pretty yarn pictures, eh?)

10) acquired excellent new job which I love (despite saying I’d never work in a school again)

I am hoping for 2015 to be slightly less hard work…

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another day in the bank

Today, we woke early, and drove fast and far into the west.


Today, we walked for hours by the sea of silverblue reflected light.


Today, we felt the sand between our toes, and heard the oystercatcher’s cry.


Today, we filled our pockets with shells, and our minds with pictures.


The tragic saga of the foot has reminded me how vital it is to get out and make the most of every today.

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