Thursday, November 05, 2009

All Change


After 6 years of living in the countryside we have moved back to town.

Although we made the final decision and moved very quickly (10 days) we have been talking about it for a while. A couple of months ago we went for a drive around Harrogate just to have a look.

I had some criteria:

1. Dalesboy had to be able to walk to school
2. We had to be walking distance of town and Meeting House.
3. Dishwasher in the kitchen
4. Shower in the bathroom
5. Suitable for Fizz Dog
6. Dalesman needed a garage/workshop
7. Not too small and not too big
8. Cheaper than where we were

It seemed impossible to get all 8 things and we didn’t want to compromise. So we put it out to the universe and sat back.

Something strange happened.

Dalesman chose the wrong number to dial from his mobile and so as not to appear rude had a chat. They were about to relocate to Scotland and their house was available to rent and did we know of anyone looking for a house in town. Ten days later we had moved in.

In the six days since we moved. I have saved about 6 hours driving time going backwards and forwards to music lessons, rugby matches, social events, supermarket shopping etc. Before it took 25 minutes to the supermarket and 25 minutes back. Last night I was there in less than 5 minutes.

We didn’t always to live in the countryside. My Mother found us a house when we moved 6 years ago but until then we had always lived in towns and cities and always been happy.

Despite living amidst the chaos that is moving house already my life is calmer and I have more time for knitting and stitching about an hour a day on a weekday and more like 3 hours a day on weekends.
Now where is my knitting…………………

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Going Offline

Since Dalesman bought me a laptop computer a couple of years ago I've spent more and more time on the internet.

I check my emails, read and post on various the forums, catch up with blogs, play Facebook games, search for books on Green Metropolis, keep up to date with bookings on courses and generally surf my away around any random thought that enters my head. Then when I've done all that I start again in a never ending circle of internet activity.

I spend my day job on the computer and I'm studying so spending time researching and writing essays takes up more of my time.

So in line with some wonderful people I know I have decided to have one computer free day each week. Choosing the day hasn't been too difficult. I work Mon, Weds-Fri and am on a computer all day. Although I don't 'work' Tuesdays it's my official study day so need my computer for essays, literature searches etc. Which leaves Saturdays and Sundays. Sunday is the day I generally have the most spare time to spend on the computer so that's the day.

Beginning next Sunday 13th September I shall be going offline each and every Sunday.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tremendous Inspiration

Recently a dear friend of mine received some gift vouchers and she spent them on stitching stash that she’d had her eye on for a while. Excitedly she couldn’t wait to start stitching but soon realised that the hand drawn pattern was bad, very bad. There were mistakes galore and it was one big frustrating mess.

Well she could have moaned and groaned, whinged and complained ~ and she was certainly fed up.

But she turned a negative into a huge positive and has just designed the most beautiful Hardanger Santa I think I’ve ever seen.

Her inspiration was the absolute rubbish she was being asked to deal with.
So when life serves you a plate full of rubbish please remember my dear friend Colly ~ have a moan and a whinge, get fed up and then turn that energy around and do something tremendous.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009



I have spent the past 5 days on The Mother Retreat.

Camping, compost loos, no hot water, communal cooking/eating, blessingway, naming ceremony, mens circle, singing under the spreading chestnut tree, birth circle, tea, rain, mud, wind and sun, children, music around the campfire, new friendships.

I experienced my perfect day ~ you know the one that sometimes you dare to dream when life is just a bit mundane. I got up and helped prepare breakfast for camp, made carrott cake for 100+, attended a blessingway, shared birth stories in a replica iron age round house and sat around the campfire listening to my son and one of the fathers play guitar whilst we sang.

I love being the parent of a teenage boy and having one of the oldest children at camp I sometimes wondered why we were there.

It was about the sharing ~ men sharing their experiences of being fathers, children sharing mud pies and games of tig, women sharing birth stories and tears, we shared the rain, wind and sun, we shared life experiences and it was wonderful.

I just don't know if I'm going to be able to find my everyday 'reality' and do I really want to?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The babies are arriving

A few of the many babies coming Earthside this year have arrived to join my friends on their adventure of a lifetime.

There's gorgeous Gwen with the most spectacular hair I have every seen.

Amazing Amelia ~ who has chosen perhaps the most laid back, happy and chilled first time parents I have ever met.

Imogen ~ what can I say? I was blessed to be there to greet her fast and unpredictable arrival and although it's only been 9 weeks I know we are going to be great friends.

Isla ~ who I have yet to meet as she is enjoying a time of 'laying' in with her Mummy.

Notice anything? Girls, Girls Girls ~ of the babies biding their time I know there are at least another three girls

As for the number of pregnancies amongst my friends (17) ~ the universe ran out of my friends who were actively trying for babies and decided to bless a few for whom babies were really not part of the plan ~ all is well now they've got over the shock. There is however one friend who has not yet been chosen by her baby ~ so if you don't mind in your thoughts and prayers could you just ask quietly and gently if a baby would consider choosing her (no name needed because the universe is clever like that).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Parenting Adventure

For the past 8 weeks I've been spending my Saturday mornings with a group who are just starting out on their journeys as parents. What an adventure is ahead of them.

Dalesboy turns 14 today and what an adventure it's been............

Thirteen and we let him catch the train to London by himself - are we completely mad?

Twelve favourite cakes that I love to bake and he loves to eat - there's chocolate birthday cake today.

Eleven years of playing football, training every Saturday Morning and matches most Sundays.

Ten years of school.

Nine Pets - The three fish, Katie the hamster, Herbert and ToeToe the Guinea Pigs, Thumper and Mini the house rabbits and Fizz the Dog.

Eight camping holidays ~ from the bottom of Cornwall to the tip of Scotland, in rain and shine.

Seven operations and numerous investigations.

Six years of swimming lessons and yet he can only really do backstroke!!!

Five housemoves from Yorkshire, to Woking, to Birmingham before coming back home to Yorkshire (if you're counting there were two homes in Woking and three in Yorkshire).

Four years to go from not being able to play a musical instrument or read music to taking his Grade 8 on the Tenor Saxophone.

Three schools which have all been very different and mostly harmless.

Two parents who haven't a clue what they are doing but it seems to be going OK.

And a fall of 12 (or 15 foot depending who you ask) out of a tree.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sweet Peas

When I was a little girl I spent the summer with my grandparents. My Kepa was a wonderful gardener. Half the garden was veg, a quarter flowers and a quarter lawn where he would lie in the summers sun after a hard morning tending his blooms. Do you remember how long and hot the summers were in the 70s?

In particular he grew sweetpeas - a lot of sweetpeas. Every day handfuls of sweetpeas would come into the house filling it with their gentle smell.

On the kitchen windowsill Granny had a lovely little green glass vase that Kepa would keep topped up with fresh sweetpeas for her - so she could see them whilst she did laundry the old way, cooked beautiful meals and watched the neighbours go about their business.

I don't have neighbours to watch and my laundry whizzes round and round by itself but the sweetpeas are just the same.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Something to think about......

It makes me cry every time...............

Want to find out more ~ after all you might not agree:

Vestas Occupation Blog

Sign the petition

I don't think it's about 'winning' I think it's about raising awareness of what's going on then we can all make up our own minds.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Sometimes I care too much

Sometimes I don’t care enough

Sometimes I love too much

Sometimes I can’t find love anywhere

Sometimes a hug is all it takes

Sometimes a hug is empty and cold

Sometimes are the times between the moments when everything is good

Saturday, May 23, 2009


As a child I loved getting new shoes. Twice a year we would travel to the city (Bradford) to get new shoes - brown lace ups for winter and pretty strappy sandals for the summer.

I would get home and open the box - peering inside and smelling the new leather I would imagine the adventures and journeys we would have together. The promise of shiny newness. I would carry them around the house and pop them down next to me. At bedtime I would place them on the floor where I could go to sleep looking at them.

Nothing much has changed - this morning the postie bought me a parcel:

I opened it slowly, savoring the moment:

I stared at its beauty and imagined what adventures we will have together - what tales will be knit into the shawl it is to become. I just realised I've been sat with my coffee and knitting and the box is on my lap where I can look at the beautiful yarn every now and then.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pure Obsession

I am by nature an obsessive person. When I get interested in something I can't just pass by I tend to immerse myself in it:

As a teenager it was obsessive love affairs.
In my early twenties it was my career.
In my late twenties it was being mother.
Then it was career again.
Now it's antenatal education.

Yet throughout there is a constant. For 30 years I've had my knitting to ground me, to bring me out of obsession...........................

However, for the past year or so this has been an equal obsession. My knitting has been with me at all times. I've thought about it most of the time. I've met some wonderful new friends and improved my knitting skills wonderfully.

For the past month I've been cooling off, I didn't pick my knitting up for a whole week, I stopped dreaming about it and wasn't drooling over new yarns.

Then suddenly it's back. Inspired by Kim at Pure Purl I've started to dream of yarn again. Malagrigo Lace for the Goddess Knits Annviersary Shaw - a mystery shawl that will look stunning I'm sure.

I was so smitten by the yarns that I broke my yarn diet - I've heard a rumour that Kim sends beautiful parcels - I'm so exicited it's over six months since I bought yarn for myself!!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Living Life

So where has two months gone?

Walking the dog - I have done more walking in the past couple of months than in my whole life. We've been discovering some wonderful things as well. Look at his bluebell wood - it was 5 minutes further along a walk we did regularly. The dog was running ahead and this is what we saw....................

Studying - I am more than slightly distracted as I have an exam at the weekend. Well technically I have to answer 30 questions on the childbearing year (that's pre conception, conception, assisted conception, pregnancy, labour, birth, the postnatal period and medical abbreviations). Not only do I have to leave the Dale but I have to travel down south..............

Course Planning - I have a course starting at the end of June. So I've been pulling together all the things I've learnt over the past couple of years and making some kind of sense of it.

Knitting - there's been a Woodland Shawl, baby sweaters, socks, boobs and a uterus. I have managed to see the Nutty Knitters regularly - thank goodness.

Then there's the day job - it's still going well. I'm beginning to get into the rhythm now and get a handle on what is going on. I'm learning so much as well about conservation, biodiversity, heritage and all sorts of farmy countryside stuff.

Babies - the baby count for my friends is now up to 14 - and yes Verity is having twins!!!!!!

Sometimes I'm so busy living life there is not enough time to write about it...............

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


With another announcement today I now have 10 friends who have babies coming Earthside between now (literally now) and November.

I didn’t think I had a large circle of friends and why all these babies now?

Some are first babies, some second, some third – I don’t think there’s a fourth.

Most are in the UK with one in the States.

Mothers range in ages from mid twenties to late thirties

They don’t know each other - well Tina, Jessica and Nicola know each other. The rest are from different parts of my life.

Some are long wished for challenging pregnancies at least one is a surprise gift.

I’m not aware of any twins but Verity watch out with that many twins in your family it might be your turn now.

Usually there is one of my friends who is pregnant but ten at the same time – unless someone has arrived and I don’t know yet.

When it was five I thought that was interesting
Six – wow this is good
Eight (two announcements on the same day) flippin eck
Nine – Hey Ho there you go
Ten – this is getting weird

I’m trying not to think about it too much.

Nature at its most wonderful welcoming babies Earthside should be left to do it’s own thing whilst women reclaim their ancient birthing wisdom.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Because of a decision by the American and British Governments over 50 years ago I have a lot of American friends.

At the moment they are scattered all over the world with a handful in the UK. These intrepid travellers come and make their home here for 2, 3, 5 years and become part of our life through work, school, knitting.

They teach me so much. I mean the food, the language, the socio-cultural references. The phrase ‘two countries separated by a common language’ sums it up perfectly.

So last evening I was sat in Kelly’s lounge on the rocker knitting a baby blanket. There was companiable chatter as people compared projects, shared tales of their life and their knitting.

There were new knitters, visiting knitters, pregnant knitters and soon to be leaving us knitters. For that brief moment as I looked around the room at my friends I felt happy and sad, it was a bittersweet moment.

Dearest Kelly I’m not sure what Knit Nite will be like without you, I’m not sure what our lives will be like with you thousands of miles away. You are a witty, intelligent, beautiful woman. You are a born storyteller and I will miss hearing tales of your life as a mother and a wife. My knitting is better for having met you (Malabrigo) and my memories richer (singing in London on the way to see the Yarn Harlot). May your stitches never twist and your Malabrigo never pil and remember you will always be a Nutty Knitter.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It was a joke

When my husband and I decided to get married he phoned his mum to let her know. We'd been together a few years and Dalesboy was two and we felt it was time.

The first thing she asked was "when?"

As a joke I said if Valentines day is on a Saturday next year we'll get married then.

It was and we did.

So today is my 11th Wedding Anniversary - Dalesman is cooking supper and there's a bottle of bubbles in the fridge.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The boy did well

He stood at the front of the small, heaving, packed bar with the house band and improvised like an old pro.

When the mic broke the lead singer asked him what he was going to do - "play louder" he said to a round of applause and cheers.

The regulars were coming up to him and shaking him by the hand sharing tales of sax players they love.

He's still buzzing this morning and I don't think I need to tell you how proud I am!!!!!!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Full Circle

About 16 years ago when Dalesman and I first met we hung out a lot at a bar in Harrogate......

The Blues Bar was a great place to hang out - we'd roll out of bed at about 11am go there for brunch and hang out for most of the day. In the summer we'd sit on the Stray late into the evening. The Blues Bar played a big part in the early days of our relationship.

Tonight is Jam Night at the Blues Bar and Dalesboy is taking his Saxophone and we're looking forward to a couple of beers (Coke for the boy) and good music.

It looks like the Blues Bar is returning to our lives............

Sunday, February 08, 2009

My perfect Sunday

Three large, scruffy teenagers lounging about eating all the food.

Finishing knitting a pinwheel blankie for one of the large, scruffy teenagers.

Walk with Dalesman and Fizz through a winter wonderland of Narnia at Brimham Rocks.

Johnny Walker on Radio 2 with a glass of sloe gin making hob nobs, bread and dinner.

Chicken Chasseur for dinner followed by Rhubarb Crumble.

Casting on for a baby blanket and realising that six babies have chosen your friends as parents during 2009.

Oh and it's started to snow again.....................

Moving On

How do we move from one place to another?

I know where I's great......................but I have plans, I have dreams.

They are about less, about simplicity, about hard work. They incorporate intuition, instinct, wisdom and love.

In 2009 I'm packing for the journey. I'm focusing and being mindful. At the moment I'm fascinated on how we make big changes in our lives. I can look back 5, 10, 15 years and see the differences but they were all haphazard and more luck than judgment. I have never saved money, I have never worked to a goal, I have never even set a goal. Right now I have an idea, a wisp of an idea, it's in my dreams and my heart beats to the rhythm of its song.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Old Job - New Job

Appointments with the herbalist

Old job:
the regular appointment with my herbalist resulted in a 2 hr
lunch break which I had to 'ask' for and ‘pay back’.

New job: my herbalist works from the herbal dispensary over the road
and I can pop to see her in my lunch break. She moved at the same time
as I started my new job.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Everyone meet Fizz

There are some jobs where you get a company car.

Some jobs where you get a final salary pension (there are still some around I believe)

There are some jobs where you negotiate a higher salary or a good expense account or even get to live abroad for a few years.

Turns out my new job has an added extra as well..........................

This is Fizz.

She is a 9 year old gun dog who has been retired because she developed a taste for the birds. She's house trained and obviously well trained generally. She loves people and is a real character. She came to stay on Friday and we've already been for some great walks - she seems happy and I'm exhausted.........

Monday, February 02, 2009

Traffic Delay

Saturday afternoon driving along the lanes to take Dalesboy to his music lesson we were slightly delayed......................

There were two which bounded down the lane weaving about in front of us before jumping over the wall and off into the field.

Picture courtesy of Dalesboy's mobile.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

They call this work

I’m sorry to go on but I need to share something else about my new job.

One of the things we like to do as a family is go Geocaching. It’s a cross between orienteering, letterboxing and hiking with some added surprises. It’s great fun especially if you have a teenogre at home who doesn’t want to go out hiking any more. Put a GPS in their hand and they are off.

Anyhow it came up in conversation at work this morning that we do this. Turns out that they’ve wanted to do some Geocache events in the school holidays for a couple of years but knew nothing about it.

So at Easter and in the Summer I’m running some introduction to Geocaching events at my all time favourite walk in the Dale – and they call this work!!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Old Job - New Job

Team Meetings

Old job:
20+ people crammed in a small room. Lots of talk about organisational restructure, new ways of working and performance indicators.

New job: 6 people in a large room, chocolate brown Labrador snoozing on my feet. Lots of talk about dry stone walling, heritage conservation and volunteer surveying groups.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Catch Up

Is it really only a couple of weeks since New Year?

I've started my new job and so far so good - the people are nice, the work is interesting and I'm looking forward to when it feels like 'home' rather than feeling like a fish out of water.

I've had a stinking cold but I got over it really quickly. Since my five week cold/cough in Sept/Oct I've been seeing a clinical herbalist. One of the aims was to improve my immune system - and I got over the cold in four days which is a big improvement on five weeks!!!!!! I also wanted to look at my allergies and it would appear that I am no longer allergic to dogs. The lady who teaches me bobbin lace on a Thursday evening has two dogs and for the past four years I have had to take allergy tablets otherwise I would sneeze, cough and wheeze my way through the evening. sometimes the tablets didn't work and I felt really awful. For the past six weeks I haven't taken any tablets and I've been just fine. I love my clinical herbalist.

I was away last weekend at a tutorial. We tried a new venue and it was amazing. Greenwell Farm - perfect in every way. I was a little late arriving and imagine my delight at walking into the room to see four people (including the tutor) knitting. I had taken my knitting last time for breaks and the evening. This time I was able to knit during the tutorial. I felt much more grounded and was able to focus so much better. I am so thankful for a tutor who understands that it is possible to knit and listen.

My new job is 4 days a week so Tuesdays are for studying and catching up on paperwork. I was ill the first week and catching up from being away for the weekend last Tuesday. I am really looking forward to getting into the rhythm of Tuesdays. This Tuesday is for studying, maybe a walk and some laundry.

Dalesboy is playing in a concert this afternoon - I wonder if I can sit at the back and knit.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Last Days

Today is my last day at my current job. I turned up as a temp for 3 weeks and stayed 2 1/2 years. It's a great job, 15 minutes from home, there are plentiful harvests of sloes and elderberries just outside the office window, the people are lovely and the systems and procedures just complicated enough to stop complete boredom - and it's time to leave (I feel like Mary Poppins!!!)

My angel card for this week is integrity and until today I wasn't sure why. I'm leaving because of changes that mean I was being asked to work in a way that meant I wasn't able to do my best. I'm leaving because I don't like to play 'playground politics'. I'm leaving because..................the time is right.

I've enjoyed my time there. I've met some great people and made some wonderful friends. Now I must go there for the last time, do my thing and log off for the final time. Last days - a time for reflection.