Indoor pursuits (or, I am struggling)…

Nowhere is there a manual for Just Do Whatever It Is You’re Avoiding… I know I just need a kick up the rear but it’s not that simple. I see pictures of things people do or make and I go, yes I used to do that. It’s cold outside and I have things to plant, mostly bulbs, but I went outside earlier and it took me longer than expected to put sticky numbers on the wheely bins. My fingers weren’t behaving.

I’ve pulled out recipes, both online and my granny’s handwritten fat-stained journal of handwritten go-to favourites with minimal instructions, and nothing appeals. There is a sewing machine set up on the pull-out cabinet in the bedroom. It took me, butter fingers, ages to thread it this morning and then I was easily distracted by other things.

Searching out the Covid detritus!

What does this make me feel about chasing some proper work? Rubbish! I do want to work again but the current climate is, well rubbish, too. I want motivation and faith to tap me on the shoulders and say, Oi, Do This, It’s Guaranteed Income and Job Satisfaction!

And I haven’t found a recipe for the blocks of chocolate, that doesn’t involve ingredients we don’t have. The cupboard is full of the lockdown 1 tins and the Lockdown 2 bulk purchases of pasta, bread flour and tomatoes. So my search for a recipe is limited by the same challenges I’ve set the kids in recent weeks: use only what we have in the house, Korean Kimchi being a lucky find by the oldest!

Granny’s secret clootie dumpling recipe! Shh 🤫

And it’s turned three o’clock just like that. Maybe too late to start baking, or is it classic procrastination? Too late to start sewing and cutting up bit of fabric, or am I scared I am not up to it any more. Unemployable, therefore not a creative bone left in my body? Did I say it was cold outside? Maybe I’ll take the dog out…

Christmas is starting early!

Normally we wait till December for decorations…

But we have a tree decorated and some sparkly bits and it’s only 21st November…

And I also have been pondering whether my gardening is helping despite it being November. My hubby has lots of holiday left as he worked through lockdown in the shed. Day off today has seen us staining wood for shelves. We have no storage in the house so have had to resort to the cheapest option staining pine boards on metal supports and brackets. I see these going up in every room soon as we can’t afford anything more substantial or costly. But we also need to get rid and Covid has put paid to pretty much any car boots or online selling to be honest. So the shelves are the only option for now. I know my oldest also has been nagging for this in her room to fill with books. That might be the pre Christmas job.

The greenhouse is full of poppy seedlings. If I can keep them cared for, maybe I will have lots in the ground by next spring. There will be blue and copper ones as well as purple. Not traditional red ones but I am trying to keep on a colour scheme. But I will try as hard as I can not to lose everything the minute the spring sun comes out!

There are four trays and I’ve confused them. Remember my Amazon mystery seeds? They haven’t grown but poppies have!

I’ve also found some more verbena boniariensis seeds I am tempted to bring on in the greenhouse. Probably doing this all wrong but I don’t care. Cardboard toilet roll inners are proving to be good little pots and I have thousands of plastic ones for later stages. I don’t throw much away, ever!

Not long before I can fill these!

Oh dear I can’t go to work like this!

I’ve ripped my sleeve!

I just went out to spread some blue slate in the front garden and I am filthy and ragged! I was told Hubby thinks it’s too sharp for the back as the slate was too sharp for the dogs paws so the buy3 get one free offer has gone down the sides of the front path. The rainbow gravel was already slipping about so the blue slate will perhaps do the job of holding the white in place.

Four bags have not gone far! And it looks ok but I might need to buy some more. I was thinking I might use the extra to fill my circle but I’ve run out. At some point we will order a bulk bag of some kind of gravel (and sand) for the back but it’s slipping down that list again. Even the shed is in jeopardy!

I shouldn’t have spent so much on birthday boy but I always spend before I get paid… I better get changed for work! It’s zero hours and some months it has been zero so I will take it if it’s offered!

Ooh the weeds! Normally under the car…
I wasn’t going to cover this bed as the tree trunk needs removal!

Thinking out loud…

This blog has been very cathartic for me this year. I can have random garden-related decisions and in writing them down enable conclusions to be made or persuade myself I’ve had the awkward conversations. I had set out to find work just as we entered into the pandemic as it was the thing that I always felt I lost when I was diagnosed with MS almost fourteen years ago when my daughter was only a few months old. But I’m not sure I’ve been successfully applying for jobs I have the ability for?

Have employers also recognised the same characteristics which my now teenage daughter has inherited from me when she was diagnosed on the autistic spectrum? Perhaps I’ve been running from understanding my own place on that diaspora. Perhaps this is what makes me difficult to employ (or is it my age?) in the 2020s when subtle misunderstandings make me think it should be easy to fit me into a complex working environment and actually make me wholly unsure where I fit into a hugely nuanced contemporary workplace?

Maybe I need work to be set out in black and white and the shades of grey complicate it for me? I’ve failed online applications in the past (although I can play online scrabble till the letters start to blur) because they are set up to find people who have certain round personalities and who fit into certain similarly circular holes. That the questions can categorise my online abilities so precisely is somewhat bewildering to my almost fifty-year-old self.

But unlike MS, it is believed the autistic spectrum placement runs through generations whereas MS is not conclusively felt to be inherited but certainly occupies a similar slot in the human genome, as yet undetermined. Do I need to chase this up and put myself on the already stretched NHS waiting lists? Or can I make a self-diagnosis? MS was devastating to my ‘new mum’ world and an ASD confirmation could well be a step too far. Although it’s just a sign that I work well on my own so blogging is fine! It’s a conundrum waiting to be discovered, or is it?

Plastic everywhere in the front garden. Need to get out in my PPE to tidy it up!

Damp but sunny!

Ok I said I’d go out and it was fab out in the sun. A bit soggy underfoot but that’s what wellies are for! I’ve filled the brown bin and pulled down some overgrown Ivy. We’ve been here five years, even if the last (and third, see my earlier blogs) one is a difficult blur, and the Ivy is taking over the pillars on our wall. We were told on our survey that the pillars needed recapping (and I even got prices from the slab guy in February) but again it slipped down the priority list.

Ivy cuttings

Rather worryingly the Ivy (auto capitalising!) has pushed its way through the brickwork. And annoyingly I am a bit too short to reach it without steps… I’ve pulled off a lot if I’ve filled a wheelie bin? But some of that was stuff that’s been sitting around and should have gone in the collection I missed! I know very shoddy on my part, just hoping that wasn’t the last of the year. Then I will be very cross. We pay extra for the brown bin collection but it may not be the full year?

I also have less work now so I am hoping to get either a few more sunny or warm days or get myself up a ladder and finish the kitchen ceiling painting. The only thing stopping that is in my head, and the sudden dizzy spells that make me very much slower on the ladder. Less pleasant than it was in my twenties I can tell you. I could also take the garden rubbish to the tip if I get inclined to go round the garden picking up rubbish, fill the car, separate the types of waste and work out the times the tip is open (if it is under lockdown) and drive over there. That is not so easy either…

Little spiky bundle I left on the grass when I cut back the rose hips…
I can’t reach the top of the ivy 😂😒
Pandemic thoughts

Second Lockdown!

I have read a lot about the pros and cons of lockdowns. I just want life to be free of the worry caused by the keyboard warriors who all think their opinion is the only correct one. 2020 has been absolutely rubbish but let’s all just calm down and stop bickering?

The rain came on after I had a short peaceful drive in the car so I am not venturing into the garden today either. And I really needed to throw things into the brown bin after the last minutes of my drive when someone driving too close to me (seriously up my bottom) beeped at me for slowing down to turn. And I had indicated! That little mini was too close so probably didn’t see the indicator and there’s not a lot I can do if you drive so close, so fast that you feel the need to toot at me because you are too close to brake… I don’t need the pressure. I don’t like driving but I’d be marooned if I didn’t drive. I don’t react quick enough to toot my horn back most of the time.

Silver birch is about to shed…

I’ve bought the rings to make Christmas wreaths but it’s still a bit early. If we use Ivy or Holly from the garden they will be limp and poorly by the middle of December. I’d quite like to get some spray glitter to make them festive too but that involves shopping I’m not sure is allowed in this latest lockdown. More shops are arguing for their businesses to remain functioning so I’ll support the ones I can but many have just disappeared.

I also need to rethink my employment status. Back to the drawing board after failing to impress with recent interviews, I find myself in the same boat as before: only working odd mornings and often at the last minute. College is open but exams are very sporadic. I worked a lot last week but have only one shift next week. I got myself lost as well which isn’t good. My sat nav isn’t reliable enough. Ooh the sun is out! I’m off…

I shall search for lucky charms…

November chills…

And drips…

It’s not been a week for gardening much but I spent this morning repotting some of the seedlings in the greenhouse. The poppies are growing wildly inside. I have high hopes for their transferrance into the garden next year.

I don’t know what this pretty flower is?

I’ve planted blue ones and purple ones and maybe, some copper ones! The seeds went into the little half toilet rolls and some shot up more wildly than others.

It’s cold in the greenhouse and some of the panes we replaced have slipped down after being battered by apples, so there is a small gap at the apex which needs to be blocked or if it snows this year I will lose them all.

Japanese anenome planted last year!

If it hadn’t been raining I would have been filling the brown bin with some of the choppings which we haven’t recycled yet. I was too busy this week at exams to get out when it was sunny. Oh well, I want to be working, but it seems like 2020 was not my year to find alternative employment. I shall have to rethink, as methinks my MS is a block to finding work in the general way. I have been trying for a while now and the length of time I have been trying to get something different is now going against me. Heyho…

Some replanted poppies,

Not really focused…

November isn’t really a month for gardening. I’ve watered plants in the green house as the seeds I planted have sprouted. I need to go out and thin out some of them but I haven’t had much time. I’ve been invigilating most days and sorting out a birthday present before lockdown… I won’t bore you with the details but it’s been a rubbish week for banks for me. Security checks and authorisations went, well, awry. It hasn’t encouraged me in any direction that puts me in the garden. Yet that would probably help.

I was going to do some this afternoon but a dog walk went, well, awry, too. The dog managed to trip me up and I lost my balance and fell over. I managed to complete the walk but one side of me is severely aching. I managed to avoid any cow pats but I was still a mess. Ouch!

That is MS for you too! I don’t have the best balance so was unable to compensate for the imbalance when the dog went past me. It was a beautiful afternoon as well. Now I’m sitting listening to fireworks and contemplating lockdown. I was told this week that exam invigilators are essential workers so I will be getting work this month which makes me feel positive.