Holidays !

We have just had a lovely two week break on the island of Fuerteventura. It was wonderful to spend a couple of weeks without alarm clocks, school, work and to do as we pleased.

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The weather was warm, around 23 degrees most days, down to 14 in the evenings. The locals walked round in jumpers and coats, whilst we wore swimwear, t-shirts and shorts.

The hotel was in a quieter resort and was a sport hotel, which was fantastic for Oscar as the pool was cold so he still had plenty to keep him entertained. We had tennis, badminton, squash and basketball courts, a football pitch, and table tennis. So plenty to keep him busy and active, whilst I could lie on my lounger reading plenty of books. Perfect.

A five minute walk down a small hill took us onto a prom and a twenty minute walk to the local town (the hotel provided a free shuttle bus), we loved this walk as it was very open stony land, full of chipmunks and tiny lizards. We started taking an apple from breakfast and feeding it to them.

We booked a couple of trips to break up the holiday and see more of our island and took a day trip over to the neighbouring island, Lanzarote. This island was very different, even though it was only a half hour boat trip away. The boat was glass-bottomed and Oscar loved watching the fish swimming around it, until we started sailing when the waves started making him feel a little sea sick so we moved to the upper deck and he was fine. Lanzarote is also a volcanic land, but this one is still active and we had a tour of it and the national park created after the last eruption. It was amazing to feel how hot the floor was, and they have created a cafe and use the heat from it to cook the food, like a giant barbecue. The beaches here where very different, black sand from the volcanic rock and popcorn stones from coral.

We also had a jeep tour of Fuerteventura, it was very bumpy and lots of fun. The guide was hilarious and very knowledgeable.

In the evenings after dinner, Oscar played football until sunset, then he joined me on the bar and we played cards and pool.

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It was lovely to get away, catch up on some reading and sleep, have lots of quality time.

 

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An insignificant thing

Do you ever have one of those moments when something little happens but it’s the tipping point. That happened to me a few days ago, everything seemed fine, life was busy but that was nothing new and I opened the drawer in my bedside table and the front came off. The tears fell and my first thought was ‘why this one, it’s my favourite’ and that’s when I started laughing at the stupidity.

Let me explain, a few years ago I needed a new, to me, bedside cabinet. I wanted something high enough to see the time on my alarm clock, with drawers to hold my essential junk and my usual glass of water/cup of coffee. I found one in a charity shop, the right size, colour and with three drawers, cheap and cheerful. Just what I needed.

The top drawer holds the important ‘things’, the bottom has toiletries and the middle has my stationary, pens and notebooks I use for recording allotment and blog notes. It’s just a cabinet, nothing special. So why did the middle drawer front coming off mean so much. Thinking about it later, as I was repairing the drawer, made me realise it was the feeling that this drawer gives me. I enjoy opening this drawer, it symbolises happiness. Recording notes in my books, planning for the future with allotment plans, the joy of growing, these are all happy things and the drawer breaking was a sad thing to happen to my ‘happy place’

Stupid I know, but sometimes you need the sad times to remember or see the happiness around you. Everywhere in life we are surrounded by sadness and fear, but look just beyond it and you will always find a ray of hope and sunshine. The media is full of crime, shootings, knife crime, unemployment, dysfunctional youth, terrorism. The world is terrifying, if you believe the media. So then why do we still travel, explore, leave our safe homes. Because the world isn’t just this and by being ‘in the big, bad world’ we see the good things. People being shot/stabbed, whilst strangers run towards them to help, give first aid, tackle the ‘bad guy’. Buildings destroyed but communities coming together to rebuild. The media don’t always tell both sides of the story, so remember this when reading or watching something.

I’ve started doing this with Oscar, when something bad is reported, or an event didn’t go to plan, find the good things that occurred from it. People supporting each other and how to find the positive when things don’t go well. I think it’s something we all need to do once in a while.

And all this from a broken drawer.

Creativity

I’ve not been very creative over the last few months, other than a cross stitch kit I’m currently working on.

However I was looking through some old photo’s for a particular one and found a few of the things I have made over the years, so I thought I’d share a few with you all.

One of the first thingsĀ I made, after the basic scarf and squares, was a baby cardigan for my friends new son. It was a simple pattern to follow, although the sleeves seemed quite long and the neckline wasn’t as neat as it could have been, but for a first attempt it was acceptable, and they were happy with it.

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Then Oscar wanted a hoodie making for him, so we went and found some wool he was happy with and I found a pattern that wasn’t to complex but would push my limits and this was the end result.

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He was happy with it, after this I took a little break.

Next time I started knitting again it was for charity, the local hospital neo-natal unit put a message out across social media, they needed baby hats. I had small amounts of double knit wool and a simple pattern to follow, it was easy to knit a few of these each night and the stack soon grew. Most neo-natal units are always after hats, blankets and small squares, if you have spare double-knit wool and a little time.

To try and use up some of my wool, and I had quite a bit, I saw a pom-pom rug on Etsy and thought that looks like a simple idea, and gave it a go. It took over a month of making pom-poms every night and then a few hours to attach them to hessian backing and it looked and felt lovely on the bedroom floor next to the bed.

However these rugs aren’t good for high traffic areas, and are more decorative and after a few weeks the pom-pom’s started to flatten and come apart.

Most recently I made a few baby blankets and hats for friends new arrivals.

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Here’s a few of the other many varied items I have made along the way.

The needles may be away for the time being but these photo’s encourage me not to give up and with time, effort and patience I can make beautiful things that make people smile.

Another new job

Last summer after 14 months of working in the same place, on a temporary contract, work dried up and I was finished up. And so started the application process again, weeks of filling in forms and hearing nothing, then out of the blue a phone call and interview.

I started a couple of weeks later but the work and hours were not as described in either the application or the interview and I had no choice but to leave after a couple of months and back to the applying again. It was very disheartening.

Then out of the blue another phone call and another interview, after all the disappointments I didn’t hold much hope. I went along for an informal chat, which went well but again I wasn’t feeling very optimistic so when I got an email asking me to go for another ‘formal’ interview and tests I was surprised. It was a bit of a long shot applying for it, but sometimes you need to take the shot in the dark.

The second interview went well and the tests were simple enough, everybody seemed really friendly and chatty, busy but a good vibe about the place. I left with the words ‘we’ll be in touch’ I’d heard this before, so off I went shopping. I was just buying two new rose bushes for the allotment when my phone rang, I was offered the job ! I didn’t even need to think about it and accepted right there at the checkout.

I started at the end of November and it’s been a whirlwind few months, so much to learn, names, computer systems, and routines but everyone is really helpful and friendly. One thing that has come across since starting is the team-work is most important, they never recruit based solely on experience or knowledge but prefer to find someone who will fit with the team and a willingness to learn.

Just after starting my uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and they were so supportive and helpful during this very stressful time. In fact having a permanent, part-time job has given us stability. Being part-time means having time to work on the allotment, especially come summer and I can be around for Oscar.

One benefit of working is having a regular income and being able to have a holiday, but I’ll tell you more about that another time.