Friday, 2 December 2011

childminding, childminding, potty training, Manchester, NaNoWriMo, The Band, letters, dilemma solved, surgery, hair

So this time, there is a wonderful reason for my absence - the family computer wasn't behaving. It worked, except for blogger, which wouldn't run at all.

So - my life at the moment. Well, there's childminding, which is going awesomely as per usual. BB is pushing her boundaries at the moment, trying to find a way to get away with naughty stuff. Not like, really naughty, more like defying me when I tell her not to jump up and down on that chair because she will fall off and then scream for five minutes. So we have a naughty step, which is weirdly... I don't even know. She goes on it for two minutes, cries unendingly for the first one and is just sat there when I go to speak to her. She says sorry, hugs me and tells me she loves me which makes my heart melt because I just punished her, then she laughs and says she won't do that naughty thing again. And ten minutes later, she's forgotten all about it being a naughty thing and is doing it all over again. nor surprising for her age, I guess. Distracting her from the naughty action tends to work best. We've also learnt how to not cry for too long by taking deep breaths. So she falls over, bangs her head and immediately starts scream-crying. So I tell her to take a deep breath, and demonstrate. She laughs at this, copies it, and all is well. Ten minutes later she falls over again, and we do it all over again. Sometimes when I say no to her, she does a really funny sulk. She doesn't tantrum at the word no. Instead she lies down on the floor, face down and pushes her bottom lip out. I ignore this. It's no fun to her when she can't see me looking at her. She only tantrums when she's trying to do something herself and it isn't working. Then she sits on the floor and pedals her legs a bit, before bringing it to me with a 'make work pwease!' It's adorable. And another negative behaviour to manage.

So yeah, yesterday she made her own lunch. It was really fun. I gave her the option of baked beans or sandwiches, and she chose sandwiches. So she got her plastic knife, and a plate with a slice of bread on it, and the carton of spread. The knife went into it vertically, twisted round and dug a tiny amount out which she then proceeded to bury somewhere inside the slice of bread whilst I spread a little more onto the slice. Same with cream cheese. Awesome. Ah well, it's the thought that counts!

We're in the middle of potty-training at the moment too, which is difficult because it's so cold that we can't take a simple route. If it were summer, we could just leave her bottom half reasonably uncovered and the potties out, and things would... I dunno. Happen. But it's too cold for that. So instead we're playing games with the dolls using the potties, and suggesting trying to use it every so often. She's drinking a lot, so she can usually wee in there. Poos? Not so much. She gets really stressed about doing them in her nappy too, because she hates having a pooey bottom. But, even though she knows when she's pooing, she won't sit down on the potty to do it. We got a poo in the potty once. I never thought I'd be so happy to be handed a bucket of poo. Yesterday she had a green poo. No kidding, green as grass. And it stank. I don't know what she ate, but it was so wrong! Sorry. This is not what I was going to talk about!

On Wednesday  the school striked, O I had B with me all day as well as BB. So we decided to go to Manchester and visit the Christmas Market - I mentioned I went with a friend the other week, and it was seriously magical. So I thought it would be fun for the girls to see it. And since I had both of them, it felt like a good time, even though it was a little early for Christmas. It took us a while to get there - the train station is right behind their house, so we were at the train station in under five minutes; but the first train that arrived was so packed it wouldn't let anybody get on. So I had to wait at the train station for half an hour with B and BB to occupy. Thankfully we had a packed lunch with us, as they're lactose intolerant. So they had their morning snack and that got them through to the next train, which was also packed to be fair but not as much. Having two young children on a train is insanely stressful. They're not even mine. How do I explain losing/killing their children by accident on a train to their mum? But we survived, they loved the market, and we went home and watched Madagascar after BB finished her nap. Success!

So other than childminding, I completed NaNoWriMo - yay! It was a relief to complete it and feel like a winner. Or rather, not to feel like a loser or failure as I would have done if I had either not done it or cheated to get the winner page. No. Doing it the honest way and knowing you did it is fiercely awesome and motivating. I finished two days before the deadline, and wrote 16000 words on that final completion day. Yeah. Most of them are probably rubbish. But - I did it anyway. So it's okay.

I also did a post for the Band, which was really good for me. I'm glad I did it. No, I'm not gonna say which is my post. there are many posts, and many topics I could post on. One of the posts is mine. But the whole website is really good. It's a website for people with all different kinds of crazy and brokenness to feel that they are not alone. The love that comes from it is amazing.

I've written a few letters also. Mainly responding to letters I received, but I also wrote a letter to IB. I realise I referred to her as I in a past post, which I only now realise is confusing, stupid child that I am. So now she's IB, which will mean no more confusing it with myself doing stuff. Sorry - yeah, I wrote a letter to her. and she responded. I need to write back to her. I know my brother wrote a letter to me at some point, but it hasn't turned up. Thanks a lot for that, Royal Mail. It really sucks that they just cannot get letters to arrive. I've even lost packages before that I've sent to people. Look, I know this is the age of computers, but snail mail has been happening for centuries. Get it together now, come on.

I wrote before about a friend who had a dilemma about a guy. Well, she said no. She felt it was best, and agreed that she needed to set boundaries in her friendship with him so that they wouldn't keep having encounters. And she has since seen him, and told him, and touched on there being boundaries but not really set any. Ah well. I felt lighter in knowing her decision, although I think I would have been relieved to know the decision even if it wasn't what I'd hoped for. As it is, I'm pleased as well. Yes, partly in a selfish way probably. I wanted things to work out int he best possible way for me. But I'm also glad because I feel this is the less painful way for her, too. They're still friends, and that I'm unsure of. But I'm glad that she won't get hurt by dating him a third time. I don't know. Life is so difficult!!

Surgery is all healed - the stitches came out really quickly, and no more bleeding now. I'm looking forward very much to having it all finished. I might have to have a few more injections which will be horrible (because of the amount of injections and surgeries I've had, my mouth is hyper-sensitive, as my dentist says, which explains why the injections hurt so much), but with a little luck all will be over in a couple of months' time.

Not much else to add now. I know I've talked a lot. Oh! I dyed my hair again.It's really dark, with a hint of red. The roots look slightly purple, too. It's not what I planned. It's not what I expected. I love it!

Love love xx

PS. It amuses me that the word 'blogger' is not in the spell check dictionary on this thing!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

childminding, swimming, Thailand, manchester, writing, teeth, dilemmas

Again, I have to apologise for such absence. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to write and update. Sorry.

So what have I been doing since I last posted? Well, I've started my childminding job with B and BB. They're so lovely to look after and bring me huge amounts of joy. I made cupcakes this Thursday with BB for a bake sale at B's school for Children In Need. They were non-dairy cupcakes, using whisked eggs and chestnut puree. Strange but incredibly delicious. We also had a poo explosion, which distressed BB so much with it all down the backs of her legs that we ended up having a mini shower to clean it off as quickly as possible! All in a day's work, it seems. I find myself growing in confidence the more I work with them. Working out how to speak to them can be difficult, but I'm learning how to address negative issues with B, slowly.

I've also been swimming with another B recently. I realised just how unfit I was - I couldn't even do one length without being out of breath!! Note to self: must start doing regular exercise.

My parents went away to Thailand on Wednesday, leaving me at home alone for the ten days which is so far really fun. I love being able to cook for myself and feel responsible for the house! Today I changed beds and put laundry on. Thursday morning I put the bin out and put the dishwasher on. Tomorrow I'm planning to hoover a bit and get more laundry through. Exciting, I know!

I went to Manchester yesterday with a friend. We visited Manchester's Christmas Market, somewhere I've never been before. It was magical - the whole atmosphere was just incredible. I'm hoping for snow this year round Christmas, it's one way to get that same immense feeling that I felt at the market. It truly is a kind of magic, with all the stalls like mini grottoes.

I've slowed down on my NaNoWriMo, but it's still going okay for me. I've been a little busy and a lot tired really - early mornings and late nights do not provide me with enough sleep.

Also, I had some surgery on Wednesday - fingers crossed, my last actual surgery on my mouth! It's a little painful, but I'll survive. I now have these two posts sticking through my gums. Pretty.

I'm also struggling with a dilemma which doesn't help me feel like writing. I would usually talk these things over with a friend, but since she came to me with the dilemma, I can't really talk to her about it. See, she has this friend - and they dated twice in the past, but it didn't work out. And they've stayed friends between and after both times. But she's had feelings for him all along, even after breaking up with him. And yet she knows what he's like with girls, and after he did something a little unforgettably cruel to her back in February this year, she swore she was done and would never go back there at all. She visited him last weekend though, and they ended up kissing. And he told her he loved her. And now she's not sure whether to go back to him or not. She told me that she feels the right thing to do is not to go back to him, but since they keep having these kind of encounters and she thinks she still has feelings for him, she wants to say yes. And she wanted me to tell her what to do, and to remind her of why she had sworn she was never going to go back to him. I have to confess I didn't do that, because it's not for me to make that decision. Instead we discussed things she maybe needed to consider when making the decision. And though I gave her as honest an impression of the boy as I could, I tried to avoid putting my own bias in there.

Thing is, my own gut tells me she shouldn't go back there. I just instinctively feel it's wrong. And it scares me to think she might say yes. I don't want her to know how I feel, as it shouldn't have a bearing on her choice. But I feel like the idea of her saying yes is killing me inside a little bit. I feel as though she must surely end up saying no, but part of me feels she's going to say yes because it's what she actually wants. And I don't know how to deal with that. I love her dearly and know I'll support her whatever her decision. But when the decision might hurt me so much inside, I don't know how to handle it. I just feel that it's a bad idea for her to go back to him, and that if she does she'll get hurt. And I don't want that for her. See why I can't talk to her about it? It wouldn't be fair to tell her all this. It would be like making her choose in a way, and I'm determined not to do that to her. But there isn't really anyone else I can tell this, as I'm pretty sure she hasn't told anyone else about this dilemma and she wouldn't want anyone else to know. And it's not for me to tell anyone, it's not my thing. But it's so hard for me to feel like this and not be able to do anything about it. Which is why I'm releasing it to the Internet anonymously. Because I don't know where else to talk about it. Sorry. And I know, Internet isn't always completely secret and all. But in this case, I need to get it out somewhere. And this is the safest place I can find.

That's all I can write for now. Sorry for boring you with my problems. But hopefully next time I write it'll be more interesting by far.

Love love xx

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Books, Peak District, knobs, necklace, patchwork, wife, Trafford, childminding, NaNoWriMo, plans

Goodness, how time passes by. Before you know it, you've missed posting for ages again! Life has been quite busy, though. So! Last time I posted it was just after my birthday, wasn't it? And I'd just got back from visiting the wife.

Well, all the books I received for my birthday I have now read and enjoyed very much. I found it curious that I hated Animal farm when I read it, yet 1984 I felt was far more interesting. Both by George Orwell, but both very different qualities of story to me. I felt like nothing ever really happened in Animal Farm, whereas 1984 was busy and constantly fascinating to me. Fire was a good, easy read, as was Graceling which I read a long time ago by the same author. I also read Stephen Fry's chronicles, which I enjoyed immensely. His reading is difficult to read without concentrating, but really amusing and quirky. I've also reread The Shack recently, which is always a fresh read. I always come away with it feeling strong and positive and understanding myself better for having read it.

So - the weekend after I was away with the wife I went up to the Peak District with my mum and a couple of her friends from school. One of these friends has a daughter who's just a few years younger than me, and she is an awesome person! She's really clever and funny and good, and I love her company! So we stayed in the Peak district and visited Chatsworth House, where I found some amusing little novelty gifts for H, such as a campervan recipe book (!) and a book based on the telly programme Meerkat manor. I also found a coaster which made me laugh so much I just had to give it to her; and she knew why as soon as she saw it. It was a picture of some hills and there were a few sheep across the front - three pairs of sheep, in fact. And it said underneath 'double ewe double ewe double ewe'. I get that on its own that's just a bit of a corny joke and not that clever. But, having watched Gavin and Stacey about six months ago which the wife lent to me, all i could think when I heard that was of Uncle Bryn saying, 'And the best thing to do is to think of something to help remind you, like with me now, I think of "whiskey with water" which was my brother, God rest his soul, my brother's favourite drink.' And of course, since the wife has seen this too - and with it being a regular quote between the group - she got it straight away!

So I got her those little bits and I got for myself  a slightly ridiculous something:

Door knobs. Or knobs for something like that, anyway. Yes, go on, laugh like a little child, I still do in my head everything I hear the word 'knob'. Aren't they adorable, though, with their tiny buttons all over? They are really buttons, too, they're not painted on. I know I don't have a use for them just now, but I got a pair of each and I'm sure that at some point in the future I will find myself wanting super awesome handles, either for a door or a drawer or a something. And then I will be glad to have them. For now I'm keeping them in a drawer, waiting for their useful time to come But I knew I'd regret it if I didn't buy them. So I bought them!

I also bought a swirly necklace which is very pretty:

And we bought a bakewell pudding, which was very underwhelming.

It was a lovely weekend - the cottage we stayed in was delightful, but freezing and a little small. There was nowhere I could go and get some privacy really, and I value my time to myself a lot. But I did enjoy it despite that, and we arranged to have the other girl, I, come up to us and spend a week, which she did last week.

So yeah, I was up last week, and she made lots of patchwork squares for a quilt for her bed. They were really pretty! She did applique squares rather than piecing, and she did some with just a big flower in the middle in white on a pattern background, and she did some which were four hearts coming out from the middle in patterned fabric on a white background. We also baked Viennese fingers, which were nice, and pecan cookies which are to die for and do not last at all. I've made them twice since she left and eaten them all in a few days! We were going to go to Manchester for a day when we needed to get her brother's cricket stuff to him at the station anyway, but then he was so late that there was no time for us to go to Manchester. But otherwise it was lovely.

And the same time that I left, the wife came down for a brief visit. At some point over the week I had managed to get it into my head that I'd bummed her off somehow and she was in a mood with me. I don't know why I thought that, but I was absolutely convinced. And so when she invited everyone round on the Sunday, I didn't know whether to go or not because I didn't want to annoy her any more than I thought I already had. But it was all alright in the end, because at some point I managed to realise that she wasn't in a mood with me and that i was just a little bit crazy is all. And so I rang her and told her all about it and she just said that she wasn't in a mood with me and that her only problem was that she didn't know how to make things better so that I wouldn't convince myself of things like that randomly and without warning. But we went to the Trafford centre on the Monday, so it was okay really.

yeah, so we went to the Trafford centre on that Monday as part of a plot to cross a couple of things off the list - if you look at the list you will see that things have been crossed off! So we went to the Arcade in the Trafford Centre (who knew they had one of those!!) and we played on the Dance Mat and she beat me. In my defence, it was my first time, and there was a tiny baby that I could see a little way from my screen that was totally distracting! And then we went and played air hockey, and she won, but only just. it was on a drawer and she got the deciding point, is all. don't let her tell you differently. Another round and I would have beaten her! And then we did bowling, which I already knew I was atrocious at because, well, I am. And I kept insisting to her that I was really bad and that it wasn't the best idea, and then on my first round I got a strike! I think she was convinced after the next two rounds when I missed all of them! She was actually alright, she got quite a few spares and a couple of strikes too. In the end, my score was 69, at which she said I had clearly been aiming for that score because it was the rudest number I knew and typical of me! And then we did lots of window shopping and had a cuppa and came home. We did get a lot of funny looks because we were holding hands as we walked round, and she said that she'd seen a couple of people who looked like they were trying to work if we were lesbians. Meh. It didn't really bother me. As far as I'm concerned it's just like holding my mum's hand. But H is my wife I guess, so...!

So yeah! This week I started my childminding job, which is serious fun! I can't believe I'm being paid to do it! It's a lovely job to have, it really is. I've had a few issues getting there in the morning, but that seems to be working itself out now, so no worries! And aside from that, I have no more news - I'm done!

Oh wait, no I'm not. I'm also doing NaNoWriMo this year, and so far it's going awesomely. It's very easy to write, I think because I'm using a lot of what I know already and my own experience to write it, and I usually find that easier.

So today I'm going to write a letter in response to my sister, post that and the letter to my brother, and get my word count for today. i try to do 2000 words a day, to help ensure that I'll hit my target and to tide me over if I don't manage to do any on the days when I child mind. They are long days, after all, and I'm usually in bed very early on them! I've just received a package from Joe Browns, so I'm going to go for now and open that parcel!

Love love xx

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

weekend, birthday presents, writing, dentist, rant

So! Last time we spoke I was up in Newcastle visiting the wife! In fact, it was my birthday! Well, it was a lovely day! So to recap on the rest of the time I spent with H... we broke into the new season of Tribe pretty quick and got through some of it, which was awesome. I have a picture of it:

How ace! She gave me a really lovely card, too:

And I loved that. She was like, 'I felt really weird buying a card that said "wife" on it in the shop, I think they all thought I was a bit strange. I could have pretended  I was buying it for my dad...' And she gave me a new nickname of Bow-chicka-wow-wow Beth! So I had a really lovely birthday with her and it was all I could have hoped for. And then on Monday she had a lecture in the morning, so I stayed in and did some writing and finished Anne Frank's diary. I really enjoyed reading it, but it was hard to feel an emotional connection to the horrific events described because it read like a work of fiction. then we went and had lunch at costa in town and went for a good old walk all round Newcastle city centre. The only thing it seemed we could cross off our list of things to do was watching a film, so we took a leisurely stroll back to the uni. We stopped in a park on the way and messed around on the playground and swung on the swings and chatted while it was sunny. Then we went back and watched Shawshank Redemption, which is an amazing film and I love it! And then we ate and had to head to the train station for me to go. I hate leaving, it makes me so miserable. I know it's not forever, I know she's still there and still a friend and coming down in a coupla weeks. But I still feel wretched having to walk away from her!

Dad picked me up from Piccadilly station and we got home at about 11.30 Monday evening, and I opened my presents with mum on the parents' bed. I got lots of lovely things! I got:

Delicious days by Nicole Stitch, Fire by Kristin cashore and 1984 by George Orwell
 These wonderful books from the grandparents! All books that I wanted, so I was very happy and I now have lots of new reading material which I'm itching to get into!

And I got:

 This wonderful sew-it-yourself doll from my parents! It comes with a pattern for a dress, too! And they bought me some stuffing for it so I should have 'most everything I need for it! So I'm itching to get started on that, too, but it's having to wait whilst i do my sister's belated birthday present. And:

These beautiful letter writing papers were from my sister! I love them very much, and I know they'll come in handy! I've already used quite a bit in writing letters to lots of different people today. I truly enjoy writing letters, it's a most enjoyable experience. I also enjoy receiving letters! I spent a little time today rearranging my desk so that it could be used properly for writing letters.

Aside from writing letters I've started a diary for myself. It's all very well writing on here, and I enjoy it. But I don't always want to write about everything happening in my life, or every emotion I've felt during the day, so the diary sort of allows me to do that part in private. It's very important to me, as important as this blog in fact!

I also had the dentist first thing this morning. Nothing major, just a checkup with regards to my next surgery which he reckons will be about halfway through November. He has reassured me that I shouldn't react tot his one like I did to the others since it's less invasive and less intense. But it's sort of near to the end now, so I'm quite excited about it in some ways! A year after all the problems started I think I'll have the problems solved again. It was last Christmas - Boxing Day, in fact - that everything really became troublesome. And with a bit of luck, come this Boxing Day, I'll have some new permanent teeth!

One last thing for tonight. It really frustrates me every time a sweetcorn advert pops up, because they claim tat it's one of your five a day. Sweetcorn is not a vegetable!! It's a cereal crop, and therefore it cannot be one of your five fruit and veg per day. And now baked beans have started saying the same thing!! Now I get that beans are a pulse and therefore a form of fruit/vegetable. But really? Baked beans? One of your five a day? I think I would be unwilling to count them considering their sugar content.

That's all for now!

Love love xx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Newcastle, birthdays, Tribe, tomorrow

So here I am, in delightfully sunny grey Newcastle! Sorry, did I write sunny? It hasn't really stopped raining all the time I've been here! But that's okay, it's given me a chance to use my new brolly a lot, and I've been enjoying that! It's fun because I can see the raindrop and ducky pattern from the inside, which makes walking far more entertaining! I've also been enjoying my new coat and gloves; my hand are wonderfully toasty and I feel a thrill every time I wear the coat.

It's also my birthday today. I'm not really big on birthdays, because I feel that when I get excited I then end up being disappointed because not many people remember my birthday. If I just don't make a fuss then they don't feel bad when they realise they forgot it, and I don't have to listen to, 'why didn't you tell me it was your birthday!' three weeks later which naturally makes me feel guilty that they forgot, and that's kinda screwy. So yeah, birthdays: not really my thing, just a day with lots of false expectations and some misery because I know that if I feel that expectation and excitement then I'll be miserable when it doesn't happen!

It's lovely to be up in Newcastle with H for my birthday, though. She cheers me up and understands my feelings towards my birthday and yet at the same time she can be excited for me which is amusing. She gave me an awesome card, which I promise I will put up a picture of when I get home. She also gave me season four of Tribe!!! Oh my goodness, I'm so excited about that! It is ridiculous, it really is, but we love it, and I love that she knows me well enough to get me something with such personal meaning. So we're going to start watching a bit of that tonight, which should be fun.

And tomorrow we're going to try and cross something off the list of things to do. We're not sure what yet, but something will be crossed off by the time I go home, I'm determined!

That's all for now, a shorter post than my usual essays; we have to go out and pick up some snacks!

Love love xx

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Packing, Manchester, Curious

I'm about to go and pack ready to head up and visit H on Saturday. I know, I never shut up about it! I'm just so excited to go and see her, I've missed her majorly. So far on my list of things to pack, aside from the obvious, are a pair of her shoes, some vege mince, and Tribe. I know, she actually managed to find someone else who likes The Tribe without getting lots of weird looks! So yeah, packing needs doing.

I went to Manchester today to pick up the tickets for Saturday from Piccadilly Station. It was quite an adventure on the whole! I also did some shopping whilst there: I bought a brolly:

The ducky handle!

Isn't it cute! I just couldn't resist! I needed a new brolly anyway, but I was just going to get a plain black one when I saw this treasure! I also bought some gloves:

Purple knitted ones

dark blue suede ones

I feel a great need for gloves at the moment, they are my thing just now that I want lots of. I bought a coupla books - Anne Frank's Diary, which seems to be on offer just now with some kind of 60th anniversary to do with it...? And Stephen fry's autobiography, which I thought would be really interesting to read. I figured it would give me some really interesting books to read on the train. I like new books for train journeys! And I bought some earrings, because it's been years since I bought any and my everyday ones are rather worn now.

There were a few curious moments today which made me wonder.  One of these was on the train heading into Manchester. There was a guy sat across from me, and he wanted to purchase his ticket from the ticket man. But his card wasn't reading in the machine. I offered to pay for it for him, but he said he would sort it out at the station. Then he said, 'Thanks. I really appreciate you offering to pay, it's incredibly thoughtful.' I didn't really think it was! It was a cheap ticket, so it wasn't costing me much, and if I were in his position I wouldn't know what to do, and I'd hope that somebody would be kind enough to offer to pay for me! When did it become something that just 'wasn't done'? It's the sort of thing to pass along. Strangers aren't all evil, and you're m,ore likely to find strangers than people you know when you're most in need of some help. So lets stop being so distant and isolated from the other strangers out there, and offer to lend a hand sometimes! It's what you would want if you were in need.

Another thing that made me think was when I was buying the books from a well-known book and stationary store. As I got to the tills, there was just one cashier on, and she looked tired and weary and glum. There wasn't a spark about her. I placed the books down, and asked her how long she had left. She looked at the clock on her screen and looked up and said, 'oh only about half an hour now'. Already she seemed brighter, and when I said, 'that's not too bad then, is it!' with a smile on my face, she smiled back. I just wondered, when did we stop treating cashiers and people working in shops like people? When did they become brainless automatons? A smile and a friendly word, a small show of kindness that takes no effort can make a big difference to somebody's day! I think it's important to remember that we're all human, and we all have ups and downs, and try to treat people thus, regardless of how they're crossing your life.

Just a thought, you know. I don't know why these little gestures should be unusual, it's not as though either costs you much, and if you were in the receiver's place you would gain so much from it! that's all for now.

Love love xx

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Quilt, childminding, rant

So I promised I would go into a few more details on making that awesome mammoth quilt for H, and I will, right now!

So it was born from my determination to create something for the wife to take to uni that involved lots of photos of some of the loveliest times we'd spent together. This felt particularly important to me, because she often creates beautiful memory books or collages of photos for people which have huge sentimental value, and I felt it was about time she had one. Also, I wanted to give her a present that really meant something. I already had the few little bits for her - clear nail polish; a book containing the word 'akimbo'; a tin full of carrot cupcakes (the recipe for which will be posted on here at some point); and some new socks. But all these bits, whilst having meaning, weren't really a big deal. And I wanted something lasting that she could keep with photos of us from some of the happiest moments. I'm such a sentimental flannel, aren't I? I wanted it to be different to the things she always did for people, though, because it wasn't about just copying her thoughtfulness, it was about showing her how much I cared. And, since I had such a big pile of sewing to do yet, it made sense to plonk a huge project at the top of the pile and give myself just four weeks in which to do it!

At first I thought I would have to order fabric printed with the pictures on it, since I had tried printing onto fabric and found that whilst it worked fine, it washed straight out. But when I looked at the cost of ordering the fabric to be done for me, it was ridiculous. To get different photos it looked like it was going to cost me 40p per cm, and I wanted pictures of different sizes, some as big as 6 inches square.

One of the 6 inch squares

Then I found this product that lot of blogs seemed to refer to when printing pictures onto fabric at home, Bubble Jet Set. So I order some and gave it a go, following the instructions on the bottle and advice from various blogs and websites that had experimented with it. It basically involved soaking your fabric in the Bubble Jet Set, allowing it to dry and then ironing it onto freezer paper and feeding it through a inkjet printer. Once you'd done that it needed hand washing to set the inks completely, and you had your pictures. I was actually really impressed with how it came out; it was just like fabric to the touch, soft, pliable, and the pictures looked really good, especially for something done at home.

I experimented with colours in the pictures to make sure they looked their best once they went onto fabric. This involved doing sheets with tiny versions of the pictures on to ensure they would look their best when I printed them in full size. I'd already done all of my setting squares and made the rest of the squares as far as I could without the pictures, which was just as well, because the process of getting the pictures onto fabric took quite a while. I did a few at a time to get it done faster, but it was the most time consuming part of it. I was very aware that I had a deadline, although i finished it about 10 days in advance of the deadline, which was brilliant.

I tried to vary the sizes of the photos and the way they looked to keep it interesting!
 I made the back from 3 colours: the brown of the setting squares, the cream for the background, and one of the teal shades. I then used teal thread and created a label for the back at my mum's suggestion. It simply said whom it was for and the date that it was made.I think it worked out pretty well, even if it was a little wonky in places!
  I then quilted it all together, and created a binding for the edge from some of the fabrics I'd used in the main part of the quilt, randomly mixed up. I did a decorative wave to sew the binding into place, because it's a safer option than trying to do invisible stitching with a machine. I chose the wave because I'd already used it in quilting on the border of the quilt, as well as some little hearts down the sides. And with that, it was done!

It meant a lot to me to do it myself for her, and put the work in. my mum kindly offered to help out, because it was a lot to do in four weeks, and we were both aware that I hadn't made any quilts before at all (!) but I told her that I wanted to do as much of it myself as possible. It was my work that had to go into, my love. And I achieved what I wanted to: I made a quilt that I felt was incredibly meaningful, at least to me, and every stitch that went into it was done by me, every part of it was done by me, right down to sandwiching the layers together and the ironing of every seam, even all the hand washing of the photo fabric! It truly was a labour of love.

The colour of the water after every hand wash
So that is the epic saga secret of my first quilt!

Other news I have is of the childminding I did. I enjoyed it immensely, and I managed fine the second week on my own, although i missed H a bit during nap time, when in the first week we had joked around and read aloud from books and just generally frolicked in our usual way. But the lovely couple I was childminding for really surprised me. I was aware that I was childminding for them because they had recently got a new childminder but she was on holiday almost straight away, which was when I was filling in. but the lovely couple said that the children had been so happy with me looking after them, and that the couple had been so pleased with the arrangement that they would like me to continue childminding for them for the rest of the academic year!! How about that! I naturally said 'YES!!!' and so they have just given the new childminder four week's notice, which means that in four weeks I start a new wonderful job looking after two beautiful children!! I can't wait, although it probably means that I'll have to leave my current job at Currys. But I don't mind, because the childminding will be more enjoyable, more fulfilling, and more valuable to me come next September! So yeah! Though I never expected it, I'm absolutely overjoyed at how that's panning out so far!

My last point today is a bit of a rant. I was out shopping with my dad this evening, just for groceries, you know, and he loaded the shopping into the car and I took the trolley back. The trolley bank was a bit messy, with trolleys not slotted into each other and taking up a lot of space, so I naturally sorted them and tidied them and slotted our trolley in and left it looking neat. About ten seconds after I'd done so, we were pulling out of our spot and a lady nearby took her trolley to the bank, seemed to be pushing it neatly into place, then left it unpushed in. What on earth!! She made it messy again all for the sake of saving two steps forward!! I do not understand! I had literally just tidied it up, it would have been no extra effort to put her trolley in neatly, but no, she was too lazy to take the two steps it would have taken to put her trolley in neatly! How rude! If there's one thing I cannot stand it's people who do not put their trolleys back where they belong neatly. It is unbelievably rude to just abandon your trolley, be that right where you parked int he middle of the car park, or at an angle in the trolley bank. It just shows laziness and ignorance and a lack of courtesy for anyone else. It's actually selfish in my mind. I had just made the effort, right in front of her, to sort the trolleys out and line them up again, and she had just made my work completely pointless. An adult woman, mark you, because adults are generally the ones doing the shopping that requires a trolley. How can they expect children to have good behaviour when they don't themselves? And how dare they complain about young people's behaviour when their own is so bad! It actually makes me really angry, because it is plain and simple rude. And because it's a rudeness and a laziness over something tiny! It takes almost no extra effort to do the right thing in this, and yet people still don't. It just really irks me is all!

That's all for tonight!

Love love xx

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Oh my goodness, followup, summer, bike, baking, childminding, sore eye, leaving, BIG SECRET

Oh my goodness! It truly has been a while, hasn't it?! I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry. I've neglected this space all summer, and now I have so much to write! I'm not sure how I'll get through it all...!

So last time I posted it was very shortly after my last surgery, which went pretty well. I did get very swollen indeed, right up to my eyeballs which unfortunately left me not really eating and struggling to read a little. But since the pain only tends to last a few days after surgery, I wasn't actually hurting, just uncomfortable, and I was back in work about a week after the surgery, albeit with no teeth in and green patches all over my face from the bruising which suddenly popped back up as the swelling went down! I have a few pictures...
Me shortly after surgery on the same day...

...A coupla days later...

...And another coupla days after that, with the swelling going down and the bruising coming up...

But all in all I was pretty okay. I went back after a fortnight to have the stitches removed, but as it turned out a few untied themselves and came out before the appointment, and when I was there the dentist simply said that they were designed to untie and dissolve and he wasn't going to remove any of them right now. So that all fixed itself and my stitches steadily undid themselves, with a little help in some cases, because they'd become uncomfortable and were hurting me.

So that's all fine, and aside from that I've had a delightful final summer with the friends. I've spent lots of time with the wife mainly, partly because she's so close, but also partly because I care about her more than the rest really in some ways. I have been for coffee with C, however, which was nice, and we discussed lots of lotsness, and so I think neither of us is sure yet if we'll stay in touch anymore, but it's a bit more hopeful than it was before when both he and I sort of said that right now we didn't even know each other anymore. And I've been for Chinese with the group, and a couple of pub trips, which have all been nice. My mood hasn't been great really, and I'm not sure why, but I can't manage a whole night somehow without sort of feeling like I'd quite like to go home and be left alone about halfway through. However, H has dealt with me, making me feel better again and putting up with it a lot! So it has still been pretty nice.

I've had my bike fixed this morning by my wonderful dad - the back brake seemed to permanently be on, and it made cycling very hard work indeed. And so we sorted that out yesterday only to find that on the front wheel the inner tube had a tear along the edge of the pump bit so we had to buy a new inner this morning. But now it's all fixed and ridable and the tyres are both pumped up and it's good to go, so I'll be cycling to work later!

I've also been baking, as per usual. I made some carrot cupcakes for the wife to take up to uni with her, since she hates carrots but likes carrot cake. I thought cupcakes would be easy to share and use to make friends. I'm planning to make some more for home this afternoon, and some banana bread too because we have about 3 black bananas and I've been meaning to make it for about a week!

I've had a few days of childminding last week, and 3 more this week coming with 2 gorgeous little girls of 2 and 5. It's very fun and not taxing at all, although the 2 year old has had a cold, so that's been showing in the nappies...! But I don't mind really, it's all part of it! I'm quite looking forward to it next week, although part of me feels it won't be as fun, because last week I was doing it with the wife, and now of course she's gone to uni so I'll be doing it alone. It's okay, it'll still be fun, but I don't know what I'll do in the hour-and-a-half nap the 2 year old takes, since H and I read together last week.

I have an owiee, by the way. I've been quite clumsy recently, having walked into a shelf in work and given myself a 3 inch bruise round my thigh, and having acquired a blister on one knuckle and cuts on another finger from sewing! Now I have a sore eye. I think it's just an eyelash infection thingy really but it's very sore at the moment. I've boiled it a couple of times, sort of. By that I mean that I've paid special attention to it with a hot flannel whilst washing my face. I blame the amount of crying I've been doing recently as the cause of it. The 2 events must be connected!! I cried at my boos yesterday, which unnerved him I think. It was ,mostly bad timing on his part because I was emotional anyway, but he tried to tell me off for doing something when actually it was his fault that I'd had to do it, a fact I clearly explained to him before bursting into tears. It was just a bad choice of day really, choosing to tell me off the same day H was leaving for uni!

It's hard right now, everyone's leaving for uni. H left yesterday, which was perhaps the most emotional for me, D's leaving today, most people left last week or the week before even. I've cried everyday for about 4 days over the wife leaving. I know it's silly and ridiculous, but I'm just gonna miss that girl so damn much, and it's the knowledge that she isn't just 10 minutes away up the road that really gets me. There hasn't been a week gone by for about a year when we haven't seen each other. I love her dearly, as dearly as one can love a friend, and part of me's busy feeling sorry for me because I don't have access to her in ym life just like anymore, and another part of me's really worried about her up in Newcastle on her own and feels really sorry that I'm not up there with her to look after her. I got her lots of little bits and bobs to help her up there, and to try to help me deal with the fact of her leaving. But I'm not sure how much it actually helped me. We did have a cheerful goodbye, no tears the night before while she was in the house. I'm jsut a big ball of emotion really, soppy and wet to the last little flannel corner. I bought her some clear diamond nail varnish to help her with growing her nails, somehing she's been doing for a coupla months maybe. I also gave her a book I've had for years and years, since I was in primary school. It's The Snow Spider Trilogy by Jenny Nimmo. I gave her that book with a page folded under which had the word 'akimbo' on it. This may not make sense to most people, but she didn't think it was a real word, so I thought that constant reminder that it was a real word might remind of who's always right in her life! ;) And I bought her some new socks because most of hers are worn through. I even took the pairs apart and mixed them up because I don't know anyone who has so many odd socks as her!! When I gave them to her, she lifted one of her feet for me to inspect and tell her if the sock on it was worn or not, and it was. Quick as a flash I yanked it off her foot and ran away with it and a pair of scissors, her in hot pursuit... and, well, that sock won't keep anyone's toes warm anymore!!

I also gave her one other present. A big present. A great big, huge, secret present which she never knew was happening. It's partly why a couple of times recently I've been about to post on here, then I haven't because there's been this big secret which I wanted to talk about but didn't dare. Almost nobody knew about it, I was so desperate that nobody would find out and lead to her knowing about it. Both our mums knew, but that's about it aside from a few members of my family. I made her a great huge giant patchwork quilt - but wait! that's not the best thing about it! I found a way of printing photos onto fabric using an inkjet printer, and so I made some of the patches pictures of her, and pictures of the both of us, and that sort of thing! It was amazing:

The finished quilt...

... And the centre square...
I wrapped it up and left it for her in the spare room. When she unwrapped it first I left it with the label up so she could read it. Then she suddenly went, 'Is this... a... quilt?' And we pulled it out completely and the screaming started! It was a complete surprise to her and as far as I could tell she loved it! It was amazing to see her face as she looked at it, and knowing that it really was a complete surprise and that nobody had been able to let it slip to her was incredible, because that moment of discovery was utterly worth it. Her face and reaction made all the time and the cost totally worth it. I'll go into the making of it in more detail in another post, maybe tomorrow, or the day after. I'm not sure, but soon!

That's all for now, you can tell I left the best news for last! I'm gonna miss that girl like crazy, but hopefully I've given her a leaving gift to look after for years and to make things easier at her end when she's feeling lonely. That's what I'd like to think, anyhow! Her gift to me was pretty incredible too: she gave me a ring she'd had since she was little, on a chain to wear as a necklace with the undertsanding that I would look after for her while she was at uni, and that she'd be collecting it in 3 years or so. This may not seem like much, but it comes as the proof that she won't forget me while she's at uni, because she'll have to remember me to come back for this at some point! And that promise, and the understanding of what the ring means to her means a lot to me.

Love love xx

ps. I did very well in my exams indeed, and I'm incredibly happy with my results :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Owiee, onesie

So I had my next surgery this morning at the dentist. It hurts rather a lot. Basically he's screwed the titanium rods of the implants into my jaw, and done a bone augmentation, which means he put in some new bone in a granulated form to replace the bone I've lost as much as possible. My face is very swollen, from my upper lip up to my eyes, and from my nose outwards across my cheeks. I saw some black bruising there earlier, but I've swelled more since then, and so that seems to have vanished into my face somewhere. I can't eat properly, or rather, at all. I've had some yoghurt since the op. I'm quite hungry. I'm on a soft-food diet for 3 weeks or something, and I have another appointment next week to remove my sutures. This sucks. The best thing I can say is the painkillers really work. And of course that a 3-week soft-food diet means that H and I will have more to celebrate in London when we go to see Wicked, as it'll be the first time I'm allowed real food again!

The most positive thing I can mention is that I finished my onesie yesterday, and it's very cute! I have pictures!

In production

The finished garment in all its tiny glory!

Four snaps across the bottom

And four decorative buttons at the top

This is, of course, a prototype, and I'm looking to use the feedback from this to develop a full pattern and sizing type thingy. I am rather looking forward to it, and I've already learnt loads from doing it, like to make sure the binding for the openings is cut the right way in the fabric so it stretches properly. I'm just waiting for the neighbours to come back from holiday so I can ask them to take a look at it and give me feedback. They will be particularly helpful, since they've not long had a new baby.

I'm going to stop now and go lie down again. Sitting up or standing for too long makes my face hurt and my gums bleed.

Love love xx

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Quilt fabric, onesies, butternut squash soup, bread making, grandma oat-cake, cycling, pact, success board, dentist, cat

So! Have I been busy or what recently folks! So much to tell! Okay, so not so much to tell, but some lovely photos of what I've been up to.

So I have some lovely photos of fabric for you, like this:

and this:

These are the fabrics I've been choosing for the quilt I'm going to make. I know, there are a lot of dark fabrics in there, but I have a plan, or an idea, at least, in my head of what i want. I'm intending to pair all the blues and greens with the pale cream in the top picture - it's very difficult to get a photo of it, so no justice has been done in that one - and then use the cream as a base for setting squares, and possibly for the back as well, although I'm still working my head round kinks of what I want to do with the back of it. But yeah. By using cream and then bright blues and greens, I'm hoping to get a really lovely quilt that goes with my room and looks bright and fresh at the same time.

I also have this fabric, which I'm planning to try to turn into baby onesies. I believe i mentioned in my last post that I was considering doing this, and setting up an online shop. Well, I'm taking a tentative step further forward, and I'm going to try making a couple of onesies. I've looked at various patterns online, and in magazines, and I'm going to try some mish-mashes of them and see what I prefer, and what parents of babies think, like next door. I think getting feedback from them will be really helpful, since they have a new baby girl who's a few months old and so perfect for what I'm looking at right now.

These are the fabrics I have for playing with right now, as well as the remnants of the jungle animals I made sleep bags out of before. They are both white, and you can see, one of them is brighter, with pink and purple bows on, and the other is more subtle, with pale flowers on. I know they're both a bit girly, but for now that's okay, since these will be experiments. Plus, the animals I have is gender neutral, so that's okay!

I think another thing I mentioned in my last post was an interest in making butternut squash soup. Well, I did! I even took the liberty of photographing my efforts at different stages of cooking:

Coating the vegetables in oil and cooking them through a bit...

... Stock added, and left to simmer for a while...

... Finished soup!

For the record, it was yummy. And the parents enjoyed it, too. There wasn't as much flavour as I'd hoped for, but it was still delicious. And, when I had another bowl the next day, I added a sprinkle of mild chili powder to it before heating it up, and there was all the flavour I'd been missing! Definitely a recipe to keep hold of, I think. Plus, the knowledge that I can make soup is very reassuring. It's not something I've done before, but I would definitely do it again!

I made bread the other day. Nothing special, just standard bread, white loaf. I kind of wanted to make wholemeal, but we didn't have the flour for it. Something to put on the shopping list (as well as more sun dried tomatoes!) Our bread maker is not the best. I think it as a relatively cheap one that my parents bought, and that was a long time ago, at least eight years. We recently replaced the pan in it, because the old one was warped... but the new one was as much of a problem, because it left huge deposits of flour in the corners of the tin. To combat this, we'd been scraping the corners out ten minutes into mixing. I, however, forget to do this on this particular occasion... I was quietly hopeful, however, when I saw how beautiful the dough looked in the tin, all smooth, not too wet, not too dry...

See? I almost didn't want to tip it, out, it looked so perfect! But needs must, and I tipped it out to reveal a clean tin inside! So the frustration of forgetting to tend to the corners, for nothing! Of course, I was in love with this gorgeous dough - maybe it was just the right day for bread making? - and when I kneaded it in a bit, it looked pretty in a whole new way. SO I took another photo of it:

All twisted and pretty, you know? And then of course I sectioned it off and turned it into a loaf and some rolls. Still pretty. Just not as pretty as pre-cooking:

The other bit of baking I did was with my dad. Or rather, he did the baking with me. I was merely there to supervise, offer advice and so on. We made grandma oat-cake, which is a family thing. When we used to go and visit grandma, my dad's mum, she always had a huge store of these heavenly, delicious cakey slices of gooey sweetness that we called grandma oat-cakes. They're basically just shortcrust pastry with a layer of jam and then a layer of flapjack on top, nothing special. But they're ever so slightly oily, and sticky, and moist and sweet and the brown sugar adds a darkness that mixes perfectly with homemade raspberry jam...

This stuff is like the manna of heaven, it really is. And okay, so we haven't quite got the recipe down yet, it was a little too sticky and I think there weren't enough oats in the flapjack. But each bite is like a tasty memory of fishing those slices out of the drawer at grandma's. The flavour is absolutely huge, the flapjack and jam crashing against each other in an awesome balance of sweet, heavy, sticky versus sharp, tangy. And the pastry adds a crunch to the gooey inside. Plus some structure, of course. You wouldn't wanna try to eat it without the pastry to hold the rest. But yeah. Not something you want too much of all at once, because it is very strong in flavour, and rather sticky in the throat. But it's soo good with it!

So that was Tuesday, all baking and yumminess. Yesterday H cycled round to mine. It's not a really long way, about twenty minutes cycling. But she burst through the door when she arrived, 'I... am... never... cycling... again!!' Panting for breath, grabbing a glass and filling it with water, she showed me the bike. This is not your bog standard push bike, easy to ride, fun to cycle. This is a bike built for the road. Skinny little tyres, upwardly curved handlebars, a speedometer!! I tried to ride it: I couldn't. It tips your body downward so all your weight is on your hands, and the brakes are really awkward to try and find when cycling. But H explained, 'it was the only bike we had that was whole. Most of the others are missing a wheel.' Well of course, that explains it. After all, who doesn't keep bikes once they have only one wheel and are less useful than unicycles?

The point of this story though, is that H dropped by, where we watched some more Tribe (yay!) and did lots of chatting, and caught each other up in the brief space of time before she's off on holiday again. And we made a pact. Backstory needed here: H and I are going o London in August to watch Wicked. This was originally meant to be a group trip for about five of us, but since the others never provided me with money to book the trip, H and I got to the stage where we just went, sack it off let's go just the two of us. Other bit of backstory is that I have a horrible stress habit to do with my OCD tendencies, where I scratch my arms and dig my nail into my skin. I do this because I see lots of little flaws on my skin, you know, the little tiny dots where the hairs come out of your arms. And in scratching and digging my nails in, I do a lot of damage to my arms and make the problem worse. Vicious cycle, people. Not something where just stopping is easy, because the holes for the hairs will always be there, and I'll always be aware of them. But having this awful habit stresses me out too, because aside from it making the problem worse, it makes my arms look disgusting and makes me uncomfortable about baring them. So I made a pact with H. I do my best to stop scratching my arms, and if I can keep it to a minimum until we go to London, she will let me wax her legs. She doesn't like having her legs waxed, because she had it done once before and it hurt. I have mine waxed because it's less hassle than shaving, and by the third time it doesn't really hurt anymore. So that's the deal. If my arms get a chance to heal, her legs get a break from the razor. And, to help motivate myself, like a geek I've made myself a 'success' chart where I can count down to London, and check off each day of no scratching at the same time. And it gave me a chance to experiment and make little samples of lots of techniques for card-making:

See? I have favourite squares, I do. But I love it all. It was really fun to make. It also counts me down to next Wednesday when I'm having my next bit of surgery with the dentist. It's one of the big ones, he's placing the rods in my jaw and giving me a granulated bone graft. So yeah! It's craft central here, for the rest of today I'm going to clean the kitchen floor and get making a onesie. And I'm gonna leave you with a cute picture of my cat, because I think I don't take enough photos of her, and she'll be dead before I realise how much she means to me.

Isn't she just beautiful? Posing for the camera there, too!

Love love xx

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

headache, shop, ballet show, fabric shopping, soup, sleep bag

So after my last post where I aired my grievances with shameless abandon, I was intending to write a nice, light post. But I cracked my head on a door about five minutes ago and a headache is just starting to take hold, so I'm going to keep it short instead and hope that makes it light enough.

I'm considering setting up some kind of online shop, like etsy shops, but for the UK. Whaddya think? I'm seeing lots of baby sleep bags like the one I made before, and onesies, and that sort of thing.

H holding up the sleep bag for measurement

So I went to see a ballet show today at lunchtime with my mum. It wasn't anything special, just a local dance school my mum's made costumes for before, the head being a friend. And it was good, it was enjoyable. but it was also... not. It's difficult, because I have an appreciation of it as an audience member. But then I have an understanding of it as both a dancer, and as someone who was once in that community. So as an audience member, I really enjoyed the music and the dances and so on. As a dancer I was able to really see the kids who were working hard, and the ones who were really good and enjoyable to watch. But I was also able to see when there were kids just not making the effort which was annoying to watch. I was distracted at times by the way the costumes were not all identical when they were supposed to be, and the way sometimes the movements were not as sharp as they were supposed to be. And as someone who was once an insider of the whole way it works, I was able to use experience and understanding to point out the lucky kids who were naturally good dancers or performers, or both even. I could see which kids thought a lot of themselves, admittedly with good reason. I could see who were favourites, and who were not. I could see which ones put all their effort into it for very little return, either because they got little return in terms of talent or little return as in they were always at the back. And part of me still enjoyed watching the gifted or favourites at the front (the audience part) but the other part found it awful to watch, knowing how so many of those kids at the back would work their butts off, as I had, and almost never see the front line, almost never get the special twiddly bits reserved for favourites, and almost never feel like they were actually good at what they were doing. So a wonderful show, great choreography, music, dancing, etc. But strange to watch when personal experience was applied.

We also went straight to Abakhan in Liverpool after the show, and picked up some nice fabrics for a quilt I'm going to make. As yet, I don't know how much I want my mum to participate. I don't want to hog it, but I think I want to do most of it myself. Probably. I'm not really sure.

I have an interest in making soup tonight to go with the bread I made... yesterday? The night before? Sometime a bit ago. I'm thinking butternut squash soup would go really well with tomato bread, what do you think? And this'll serve as supper for me. I know dad wouldn't consider it to be a whole meal, because, well, he just wouldn't. But I would, and I think it'll be really nice. So yeah! I'm feeling soup a lot just now. I haven't made any yet. But I'm feeling it.

So I'm gonna go and make some, and I'll leave you with some more photos of the sleep bag since it was so cute!

Love love xx

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Bread, camping, camping, camping, camping, camping, camping, camping...

Okay, so just before I go into the tale of camping and why right now I think I would never go again if you paid me, I want to show a pretty picture of the bread I made last night!

The loaf and the rolls still in their tin

See how pretty the rolls turned out? And completely by chance they formed a gorgeous sort of pattern in the tin; I was loathe to lever them out of it, they looked so awesome. But that'll be lunch today, and hopefully tomorrow too.

So! Camping... this will basically be a huge long rant I suspect, so don't feel a need to read any of it...

I feel some backstory is needed. Now I don't know if I told you about a certain person's irritating nature, but, well, a certain person had an irritating nature. Let’s call her E. So a while ago we were on one of our pub get-togethers, and on the way there H gave me a warning. I think the conversation went like this...
H: So - about camping, when E was on the phone to me for three hours the other day she asked me to go in her car in the front seat, saying that her nan insisted she 'had someone who could drive with her'.
Me: *rolling eyes*
H: Yeah. So I said, 'No, I'm going in B's car, I'm sorting out directions for her.'
Me: Nice one, well done!
H: Ahah! Yeah well she then said she had to have someone who'd passed their driving test in the car with her, and we realised the only other person who had a driving license was you...
Me: Oh. Great. Okay.
H: Yeah so I'm just warning you because she'll probably ask you at some point about it...

The conversation continued in this slightly boring, pissed off vein for a while, but I won't bore you with any more of it. So we're in the pub, having just collected first drinks, and E turns to me and asks me oh so politely if I would mind going in her car because her nan says she must have someone who can drive and knows about cars with her. Now, let's get a few things straight. First point: I don't know about cars. I don't, I recognise companies and I know basic maintenance form my test and that's it. Second point: other people going know more about cars than I do, they just haven't taken their test yet. Third point: I really don't particularly like this person anymore because she's always doing this sort of thing, and it's dumb and childish. However, i agreed with H that if needs be I would go in E's car because when you're part of a group you have to think of others. Fourth point: E made it clear that she was only thinking about herself in this matter and not about what I want; she just wanted to be able to handpick who went in her car. Quite obviously she hadn't thought about what I might want, or what anyone else in the group wanted. And she carefully asked me, a) whilst the group was together, although everyone was chatting, and b) before I was drunk enough to flat out refuse without feeling horrifically guilty and before I was drunk enough to have a rant at her for her selfishness. So she pissed me off royally I'm afraid because she didn't think about anyone but herself, and she made me feel obliged to go with her. I felt trapped in a corner about it, like there was no choice. I settled with saying, 'I'll think about it,' rather than committing myself to the obligation or the argument. But H knew how pissed off I was that E had the balls to do that to me. So yeah. That's the backstory.

Now to the camping. We all arrive at H's, pack bags into E and B's cars, it's agreed that everyone goes with E except for H who will go with B, enabling B to put her backseats down for more packing room. The drive up was not terrible, but not very reassuring of E's driving ability, especially the point when she said she 'need someone who knew about driving in the car so they could look at the road signs.' If you can't drive and keep an eye out for road signs then just. Don't. Drive. It's clear you don't have the ability to drive safely. And when I mentioned to her that she should be able to look out for them as well as drive, she justified it because it was only her third time on the motorway. No excuse! I get that the motorway is faster, and a little daunting at first. But it's really just a bigger road. And a driver should be able to multitask, it's part of driving! You can't rely on other people being in the car with you!

Anyway! We arrive at the campsite without masses of fuss, and set about pitching a tent. Most of the group had never been camping before. But we get stuck in. It's hard work, it's roasting weather, and it's difficult because the campsite is not the best terrain, being very stony. About halfway through, E decides she can't be bothered to do any more work, and gets up saying to me, and I quote: 'I'll leave this in your capable hands.' Yeah. The urge to punch was strong. I am not naturally muscular, I am not heavy enough to put my weight behind my strength, I was hot and tired and have shit joints from doing ballet for so long. I do not complain. I carry on because now it's expected, and someone has to get the tent up, it has to be put up which means getting on with it. And by the time we've finished putting it up, I get to listen to E exclaiming about how hard the job was and well done everyone, we really worked hard, and how sore my shoulders and knees are.

We start bringing stuff into the tent, and we're stood in the centre of an eight-man tent which has two sleeping compartments at each end, discussing who sleeps where. We have it agreed: H, B and I will sleep in one end, and E, K and F will sleep in the other. But E doesn't like this, she wants to sleep in the other end. So she switches her place and mine. Without consultation, without letting me know until it's done and there's no point in changing it back. Now I don't mind sharing with K and F, I don't. But suddenly I've had no control over anything to do with me, no real say in the matter and I'm feeling a bit like shit, especially as I know that K and F go to sleep straight away but that there will be nattering in the other side where I was originally - and I'm gonna miss out on everything. So I spend a portion of the evening in my compartment 'sleeping' when in actual fact I'm alternating between silent crying because I feel so out of control of myself, and meditating because when I feel this down it has physical effects on me, like difficulty breathing.

So I'm tired and in pain, and miserable and guilty because all these things are making me antisocial particularly as I have to face E's company for the next three days. I hear her saying things and making jokes which are private jokes just between various workings of H, B and me. I feel awkward, I feel displaced and unable to control anything. I don't know where I stand or what to do or how to manage. We go on a walk in the evening, and I trail a little, taking some time for myself. And then, I divert to go to the loos before going back to the tent where everyone else already is. I'm almost back at the tent and I hear E talking about me. Insulting me. Have you ever stood there, hearing someone being rude about you in general - your appearance, the way you talk, whatever, not stuff that you can help and not stuff where you've affected them - and tried to figure out the best thing to do? It's bloody difficult, because you're trying to not hear and hear at the same time, you don't know whether to walk away again and give them a chance to change topic, or whether to walk in there and pretend that you haven't heard what they said, so many choices, and you can't work out what the best action to take is. But it make you feel like crap, because whilst you're trying to work it out, they're still talking about you and hurting you because you can't help but hear.

So that was kind of awful. Anyhoo, camping continues. Miserable weather the next day following a miserable night's sleep where I was rolled over twice by F and then walloped in the face sufficiently hard that today is the first day it hasn't hurt since. I went to sleep last, I woke up first, I'm feeling low after the previous day. But I try, I do. I laugh, I joke, I pretend not to hear E when she makes digs or says something which is nothing to do with her... yeah. We go for a walk in the evening following a pub meal, and that gives me time alone. Upon heading back, we're given the choice of going to the pub or going back to the tent. I choose the tent, not just because I don't fancy drinking, but because it's the opposite option of what E's doing. Which is a stupid reason to choose the tent, but why spend more time with someone when they make you miserable? Having got ready for bed, I ask H if she's free for chatting, since she came back to the tent too and was already for bed; and she is. I end up crying all over her (sorry!) and we work through everything, as we do, and we figure out some action plans which would help.

We're still talking when the others come back, drunk as can be. We end up getting them ready for bed, and I end up sleeping in the compartment with H, B and E since I was already wrapped up in there with H when the others came back. You would think that since the pods are designed to take four people, they would. Not when one of them doesn't move up. So I'm sleeping with my face against the pod wall, and H is sleeping like a sardine next to me because E didn't move other. And B has a whole half of a compartment to snore the alcohol away. I wake up time after time in the night to see E effectively breathing down H's neck. And at one point when I'm lying awake, H rolls over to try to find some room away from E, and opens her eyes, looks at my face mere inches from hers (there's that little room) and mumbles a 'hi' then goes back to sleep.

So the following day we had planned to go to Grizedale forest. But B is sleeping off her hangover and the weather's a bit miserable. So we do nothing all morning. The afternoon brightens up, and we have a barbecue, which is quite nice and good fun. But by now it feels like my moods are infected with crappiness because I just can't keep a smile on my face, I can't keep being cheerful and social. H, bless her, notices and texts me 'walk?' to which I agree. So, having been the ones cooking along with B, H and I go off for a walk leaving E, K and F to wash up. And H and I enjoy the walk; we follow a public footpath by a stream which is gorgeous, and we end up at a park where we play on the slide like children, and H tries out a child's swing, and we end up on the normal swings watching swallows flying right up by us so we can see them in detail. That, I think was the highlight of the trip.

Of course, it being the last night, B gets drunk again, and the weather is crap, with torrential rain all night. It's not as cramped, because B goes off and sleeps in the other side with the other drunk people, so it's just E, H and me. But does E move right the way up so there's room? Does she balls. So H and I sleep right next to each other again, with E moved up a little way. It's freezing cold, and I again get four hours sleep or so before I'm awake and listening to it raining. H is burrowed right down in her sleeping bag. At one point she turns over, and waking up a bit pulls her sleeping bag down until her face appears. She looks round blurrily for a moment, then burrows back down because it's freezing. I'm almost lucky, being up so early, because at about half five it stops raining and I take the opportunity to walk up to the toilet block and shower and do my teeth and so on. All in all I spend around forty-five minutes in there, and about five minutes after I'm back in the tent the rain starts coming down in buckets again.

Once everyone's up (except a drunken sleeping B) we pack the cars up again, and once I've dragged a hungover B out of bed, we pack down the tent. In the rain. That's almost hail. And as heavy as Noah's flood. B of course, not organising her packing early enough, has no coat, no jumper, no nothing to keep her warm and dry. So she is soaked through. Of course, so are the rest of us really, despite all waterproofs, but we at least have other stuff with us to get dry again. We end up driving home with me in my pyjama bottoms, B in her pyjamas, and H in a bin bag dress she made herself. I'm in E's car again, and she dictates the music that's on and sings to it all the way home. I really dislike her voice anyway, because it's really nasal and she sings in head-voice all the time even though it's not necessary. I don't think she's a good singer; I think she masks being a bad singer with these two techniques, and I think anyone could sound as good as she does by doing the same. But she thinks she's ah-may-zing. Feeling miserable because I know I have hours stuck in a car with someone I don't like singing songs I like badly and driving dangerously, I choose to feign sleep all the way home, briefly wondering if I can smother myself with the pillow in my lap. Let me just explain the additional driving problem that makes her dangerous. I don't know who taught her hill starts, but they should be shot. Or she should for not paying attention. When stopping facing uphill, she slows down, down, down - then SLAMS THE BRAKE just suddenly, jerking everyone onto the floor if they're not held down with camping equipment. Then she yanks her handbrake on. When she's setting off again, it's like it's a race to her as to how fast she can accelerate after taking the handbrake off. So handbrake comes off, then she does clutch, accelerator, bite, go. That's wrong. There's no argument; that is just wrong, bad, dangerous driving. And it's scary to be sat in the car helplessly watching her do this dangerous act to you again and again. Particularly when you have a hatred of hill driving. Particularly when since your road traffic accident years ago even tiny minor collisions, prangs etc send you into shock. Yeah.
But we get back to H’s, we unload the cars, there’s discussion over what to do next. H and I both know without discussion that I’ll stay over until late, so she just sends me upstairs to bed. This would really be her brother’s bed but it’s the one she uses while he’s away at uni, and it’s the one we share when I stay over. It’s confusing, I know. Everyone else chooses to go home straight away, much to H’s relief I suspect. So I slept for a few hours, leaving H to do her own thing, which would be laundry and packing because she would be going away again the next day (which incidentally was today). Then I get up, we chat about the experience of camping, both agreeing that at that moment we felt we never ever wanted to go again in a million years.
And that is the story of camping. It’s basically a long rant. Don’t get me wrong, there were some lovely bits: the scenery was gorgeous; the village nearby was beautiful and interesting; the walk H and I went on was really nice; and it was relieving somewhat to be able to talk everything through with H. But the company (besides H) was hard work and sometimes incredibly hurtful; the weather sucked; it ended up costing double what it was meant to; too much food was bought unnecessarily; and I think we didn’t all have the same expectation of what the holiday was about. H and I were thinking it would be walks and trips and that sort of thing, and for others it was about drinking. Which is fine, but if I’d known about that and the cost beforehand, I wouldn’t have gone. Time was wasted when we could have gone to Grizedale forest and played games and done Go Ape, etc. And if it had been good weather on the last morning, H and I were going to get up early, walk into the village and buy breakfast and gifts there. This would have been an exercise in seeing f the others could manage to get up on time and work on packing up without H having to sort it out and organise and do. But because of the rain, we didn’t get to do any of that. Which is a shame. Maybe sometime in the next year I’ll persuade H to go back there with me, and we’ll stay in something with solid walls and a roof and we’ll go to Grizedale forest and do Go Ape and buy souvenirs. Maybe. B asked everyone on the last night if we would do it again, same people same place same everything but the weather. I didn’t want to lie but I said yes. Would I do it again, same everything but the weather? No chance.
So now that I've bored you with my whining and complaining, I feel I need to apologise. I'm sorry. It really wasn't so terrible, but I did feel like crap for most of the trip, and you certainly learn whom you can live with. ut I'm sorry that the whole story was one big pile of crappy complaints. I'll try harder next time.

And that is all for now, I'll leave you to digest all that, and speak soon.

Love love xx
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...