Broken bones, real and imagined. And a ninja cat.

If anyone has noticed a lack of posts and comments from me for a while, the reason is that I have been away from home and a bit busy. My poor mum has broken a limb, again. An ankle. Last time she was in plaster (one arm, one leg) it was about 18 months ago, and because some total idiot (IMO) hit her from behind as she was walking in a supermarket car park. It was life changing. The mere thought of broken bones kind of freaks me out. Apparently I told my sister she was one up from a zombie when she had a leg in plaster, although I honestly cannot remember saying it. Years ago when my partner was found to have been walking around on a broken leg for three days I threw up as they showed us the x-ray. Breaking bones easily, as happened this time, without any impact, trauma or fall is truly scary. All I can say is keep up your calcium intake and hope it doesn’t happen to you. Cheese sandwich, anyone?

But a broken bone needs help and company, so Riley (the cat) and I headed south. Like birds. Or the cavalry. Not that the Cavalry went south, particularly, just wherever the action was. Of course my sister and her partner are doing a grand job of looking after mum, but extra hands are always welcome.

Anyhow, once the exciting train trip with a cat was done, Riley and I took up residence in my mum’s living room, the room Riley had only briefly entered at Christmas before his tiny little melt down.

Hopes were high that this trip might ‘build on’ the last. Or at least that is what they say in those self-help manuals. In reality it just means pray for less of a disaster. Prayer was to be of no help here.

As soon as I brought Riley into the building, two of the three house cats (all girls) Poppy and Sandi came to inspect the sorry male specimen in his travel prison. The pheromones must have given him away. I think I registered distain, ennui and resignation on their furry faces. I let the cat out of the bag. Literally. I have a soft-sided cat carrier (like a sports bag) which I purchased with trepidation and is actually rather good. Riley shot under the sideboard. I say ‘shot’. It was fast, but not dignified as it required a fair bit of belly crawling and some shunting with the back paws. He stayed there for most of the evening, although a couple of times he scooted to the other side of the room and hid behind a chair. Nothing like a change of scene.

Eventually everybody went to bed, and with me being alone Riley emerged from the self-imposed exile. Sleep was had, and I was slept on, sporadically. Hopes were still buoyant.

The following morning I could not initially see Riley, but given his previous behaviour, I was not worried, and figured him to be under a cupboard or behind a chair again. But then I couldn‘t see him anywhere. After a bit of calling (he always comes when I call him) I was slightly less confident. The room had an inside lock, which I had used, in case one of the house cats had summoned up the strength of Hercules and launched themselves at the door. Stupid, I know, but sometimes we do these things just in case! So I KNEW he had to be in the room somewhere. After about 30 minutes I was feeling twitchy. Nobody else was up, so I kept it to myself. Another 30 minutes passed, and I had searched under every cupboard, behind every chair, opened every drawer, and called him about a hundred times. Nothing. No squeak, mew or meow.

A tiny amount of panic now. Controlled panic. “It’ll be fine. He can’t have gone anywhere”. But then where IS he? I searched the rest of the house as best I could, trying to be quiet, not scream, as it had now been a couple of hours at least. Then the rest of the household got up, and got involved. Now it is worth saying here that we are all experienced cat owners, so that room was searched like a forensic science team employed on a results only commission basis. Sofa and chairs were upturned (in case he had worked his way into the base, somehow). Cupboard doors and chest-of-drawers were opened, repeatedly. Tiny spaces were invaded. “Riley” was called a bajillion times, by four different people. Nothing. Zip.

By now I was freaking out inside, but trying to stay calm and not scream at well-meant suggestions. It seemed we had some sort of Sherlock Holmes thing going on. A locked room, a missing cat. But we also had a really old building to take into account. Riley can get into pretty small spaces and, as he could not be found by four people searching a room, the only other option would seem that he had got out. But surely that was impossible. As the panic took a further grip I was envisioning some horrible incident with plaster and lath walls and a freaked out cat pushing a hole and ending up falling through into a wall cavity and down two storeys. Nuts, I know, but explanations were scarce. Or, had he somehow got out of the building completely and was running around the town, with no idea where he was?

I went to throw some clothes on, intending to look further afield. And then a shout from my sister. Riley had been found. He had, quite amazingly, hidden himself behind the bureau. Amazingly because it is almost the exact same width as the alcove it fits into, so no room to get around the side: he had to go over the top. Amazingly because the cat-savvy people who knew he was coming filled (almost) all the space behind the bureau with boxes and plastic crates. Amazingly because the whole top of the bureau was covered with several large photos in frames, a piece of framed needlework, a lamp and pc monitor, and a random organza ribbon bow, leaving barely an inch or two between each object. And not one thing had been disturbed. It had not seemed credible that a large cat would have been able to negotiate these obstacles cleanly and find the tiny space behind. Never underestimate the ninja….

Relief was huge. But now we had to get him out. He was behind about 50 inches of solid furniture which had been nudged into an alcove barely wider than the object itself. And Riley was making himself flatter, and flatter with every grasp or grab. My sister gamely tried perching on one leg, on a chair, whilst her beloved held her bum so she didn’t fall backwards. Or forwards, to join the cat. No luck, as we are simply too darn short. My BIL volunteered for round 2. Positions were reversed. Contact was made and Riley was dragged, unwillingly, from his hiding place, making like a rag doll. To stop him bolting straight back there I bundled him into the cat bag again and sat him on my knee, relieved, only for him to return the sentiment and relieve himself on me. A dousing of cat pee on my pyjamas. Nice. Thanks mate.

To think we (ok, I) had delusions of providing help and support, some quiet time and company for my mum who is not supposed to weight bear on her leg, and who within a few hours of our arrival was trying to upturn her sofa until we stopped her….

So, I have no card or paper craft to share today. But I have to do something with my hands, so made a trip to a local haberdashery store, bought a couple of balls of this yummy King Cole Riot yarn and have started knitting a scarf.






The slide show and tiled or mosaic picture options do not seem to be working for me today. Again. Grrrrr! I will just offer up this shot of a half-finished scarf looking a bit like a T-Rex.

Apologies for missing posts and comments. Hopefully now you know I have had my hands full!!





It’s Christmas! Welcome to Disaster Central!

Anyone feeling a bit stressed? Under pressure? Fretting that you have forgotten something vital? Or that with the holiday season upon us, something is surely bound to go wrong?

Well, here’s a thought. Despite the most meticulous planning, or maybe only haphazard planning, or no planning at all, disasters may well happen. The trick is, how to deal with them. Sink or swim. Rise above or drown in an eggnoggy mess. No matter how much we all run around, planning, making list after list, crossing things off, adding more to the bottom; no matter how many genuine and ‘emergency’ presents we buy; no matter how many cakes, cookies or pies we make; or extra rolls of gift wrap we buy and don’t even use; Something. Might. Go. Wrong. And guess what? It’ll still be FINE!!!

So, in the bloggy spirit, it occurred to me that if we share some Christmas disaster stories ahead of the big day, and if you are unfortunate enough to meet with a planning/gifting/cooking/family/whatever trauma, well maybe you will find a bit of solace by remembering that it is not only you, it does happen to everyone and it is not a big deal. I think I may have kinda stolen that last sentence from ‘Friends’, but changed it up a bit.

Anyway. I get to go first. These are some of my seasonal potential dramas, that in the end just become anecdotes. Some happened to me, some have been recounted by friends and family.

A former colleague, not a big fan of Christmas, or cooking, and with a family that were not big on tradition, told me how one year she was so ‘anti Christmas’ that she rebelled and just served food from whatever was left at the bottom of the freezer. I think I remember her mentioning curry, sausage rolls, savoury pancakes, garlic bread and smoked fish. Oh, and sandwiches. Maybe they were dessert. The following year she felt bad, so decided to be a bit more conventional. She ordered a turkey from the local butcher and collected it late on Christmas Eve. Imagine her surprise, on unwrapping it, to find the turkey only had one leg. Apparently it was really hard to balance it in the roasting tin and her family never believed she hadn‘t done it on purpose! Still, this is the woman who thought her budgie had died overnight because he was hanging upside down from the perch in his cage. Turned out the sandpaper they wrapped around the perch to give him a grip and keep his claws trim had just come loose…

My sister, about to spend a first Christmas with her boyfriend’s family, arrived on the day to find her prospective mother-in-law defrosting the turkey with boiling water, in the bath. Side dish of salmonella, anyone? I think they ate out.

Years ago my sister and I shared a flat for a while. We were keen to have Christmas dinner there, hoping to give our parents a treat as neither of them enjoyed cooking much. So we spent loads of money in a posh London butcher shop getting turkey and a ridiculously oversized ham (neither of us were good at working out how much was needed and the butcher clearly had the £ signs in his eyes). We had instructions to soak the ham in a bucket of some solution (I can’t remember what. Brine, maybe?). So we took out a second mortgage to buy a large enough bucket and followed instructions. On the day, our parents warily eyed the ham swimming in its watery world and looking like a half finished biology lab specimen. They asked us, carefully and kindly, what we had done. We happily assured them it was all under control, and the ham had been soaking in the required liquid, for the required time. Then one of our parents mentioned that it just might also need to be cooked….

I can’t remember exactly how old I was for this next one. I think mid-late teens. Dad got locked in the bathroom on Christmas Day. Now, for non-Brits reading this, you need to know that, certainly back then, most UK houses had only one toilet, and it was often in the same room as the bath and/or shower. Not many ‘en suite’, guest bathroom or downstairs cloakroom facilities were around. So, aside from our obvious concern about the dilemma Dad was in, we all had our own comfort break situations to consider. And of course teenage girls need mirror time too! Anyway, the lock was not budging, and could not be taken apart from the outside. A huge call-out fee was looking on the cards, but there was no guarantee you could even get anyone to turn up. Dad was pretty cross. But then, all those Enid Blyton books came to the rescue! We fed yards of string under the door and told Dad to hold the string out of the bathroom window. We tied a screwdriver onto the string, to be hauled back up through the window and escape achieved! Christmas, and comfort breaks, all saved!

And then, of course the surprise Christmas guests. My sister and I, and our other halves are at my parents and close to serving up lunch on Christmas Day. The kitchen is a hive of activity. The doorbell rings and a young couple appear, laden with port, stilton and champagne. Hmmmn, odd. Five of us have never seen them before in our lives. My dad, though, does seem to know them, brings them in and offers them a drink. Well, it is Christmas, right? Dad stays chatting to them for a few minutes, whilst there is an increasing amount of confused faces and stage whispering going on in the kitchen between us womenfolk. The other menfolk retired to the garden with beer and cigarettes to enjoy the unravelling pantomime through the windows. Dad eventually made it into the kitchen. The word ‘sheepish’ has never been more appropriate. It turned out, that as the couple didn’t have family in the UK, my dad had invited them to Christmas dinner weeks ago. A lovely thought. Except he had forgotten to mention it to mum, or anyone else, and had forgotten it himself too until they showed up!

So, quite a lot more stage whispering, extra vegetables deployed, frantic table laying adjustments and a rehash of a smoked salmon starter into a smaller ‘amuse bouche’ and we were fine. And hey, we have Irish heritage so had done enough roast potatoes to feed 20 people anyway. Actually the couple were great company, very entertaining and an absolute pleasure to meet. And afterwards they even named a racehorse they trained after my dad.

So, sometimes the disasters are really not that bad. They give you a story to tell at least!

Anyone else got a Christmas disaster or two they would like to share? C’mon! The stage is yours….


So rudely interrupted…

Bit of a late post today! I had something different planned, but we have just had a lengthy power cut. I know for some, maybe those living in more remote areas, this is perhaps hardly worth a mention. But in South London it seldom happens. We are plugged in to just about every bit of kit and technology going. The ground under our pavements is more connectivity and cable than it is soil and rock.

When everything when ‘phut’ (technical term, find it in any electrician’s dictionary) early this evening I was happily wandering through blog land, checking in with everyone. I was just commenting on something lovely I had seen and ‘click’, the world went dark.

I did all the usual checks and it became clear it was an area outage. Because these things happen so rarely we don’t have one of those emergency kits ready and waiting. You know, wind-up torch, battery torch, batteries, rations (chocolate and wine water), space blanket, emergency generator…. So, with dusk rapidly approaching I am scavenging for and lighting scented candles like it is the final hope for civilisation. I didn’t even consider if the scents would go together. Desperate, I know!!

And then what? What do you do when you have no power? Well, within about 20 minutes you turn into a grounded teenager. ‘I can’t watch TV? I can’t use the internet?’ So. Un. Fair. Seriously.

Now last time such an outage happened, several years ago, I remember the power was off for about ten hours. I didn’t plan on being awake that long today, which meant candles were not a good, safe or sensible option past bedtime. I had two torches but that was not going to be enough.

So, on a cold mid-November early evening, I am digging out the battery operated strings of Christmas fairy lights and distributing them: not in the places where they look prettiest, but just where, without the benefit of dimmed lighting, I might otherwise fall and break my neck. How did it come to this?!

The irony of having made a few lumieres this year was not lost on me.

One hour into the power cut. Safety (twinkly) lighting installed. The heating won’t work except for the fire in the living room, so sensibly emergency fuel (a croissant) is ingested. Just to be safe, you understand, as there will probably be no dinner. Now. What. To. Do? Housework is not an option without electricity and you can’t do any paper crafting without at least half-decent lighting.

I could clear my craft desk a bit though! Hurrah! Doesn’t need much lighting for that, surely. Hmmn. Two paper cuts and a puncture wound from my previously mislaid pokey tool later I am heading to the pitch black bathroom for a plaster. I step in something moist. Turns out the cat has chosen the cover of darkness to barf up a fur ball. Peachy. I retire grumpy and bloodied to the sofa. A book, by torchlight, seems the best option.

Then the land line phone handset started bleeping. ‘Do we have juice again?’ I think. No. The phone is just telling me that the battery is low. No matter what buttons I pressed, it continued to do this every few seconds. You can hear it from under several cushions. Or from a room away. Trust me. Power restoration could not come quickly enough.

Now obviously it is the fact that I couldn’t use electricity-reliant technology that just frazzled me a bit here, but also it was a daylight issue. If it had happened hours earlier, or in the summer, it would have been only a mild inconvenience. Light, power and warmth are still pretty basic needs, even now, with all we have at our fingertips. Maybe it is good to be reminded of this.

Oh, and if it was your site I was commenting on, so sorry if you got half a comment, or a ‘like‘ but no comment. I am so traumatised I am not sure what happened or where I was! I think I might be a bit giddy from the scented candle clash too…


Who says cats have expressionless faces?


Guilty? Sheepish? Penitent? Or smug? This week my Tree Landscape die was stolen overnight. I cannot find it anywhere, but then again it could be literally anywhere. I have found the other items that went missing at the same time: silver ink pad (under a sofa), eraser (under a chair) and marker pen (bottom of the stairs).  I know who did it. The guilty party is currently draped over my left arm, elbow and knee, so I am typing with one hand, have my leg propped up to support his undercarriage and an aching shoulder from holding it in an uncomfortable (for me, super comfy for him) position. Every now and again his head is turned towards me and up, which means ‘scratch between the ears, please’ and of course I oblige.

But, without the die, there is no Christmas. Bah humbug.


The universe, coincidence, and walnut whips

I have had a couple of run-ins with coincidence recently. This is just one of them: for about three weeks I had been planning to start another ‘series’ of occasional blogs, titled with what I thought was a pretty old-fashioned couple of words. Then one of my favourite bloggers used those very same words in one of her posts this week, on the same day I was planning to do mine, so I postponed. Now, I am sure she won’t mind when I go ahead with the series, and you know, none of us have a monopoly on the English language, but it just made me go ’hmmmn, what are the odds of that phrase coming up right now…?

Here’s the next coincidence. A fellow blogger Flo, commenting on my post on Thursday asked if walnut whips were still available. A random thought that had popped into her head and she didn’t know why. Funnily enough I had seen some just last Saturday (in italics to show it is important), so I could say ‘yes‘. It was odd that I had noticed them because I can’t remember the last time I did. It would have been years upon years ago. I don’t like them AT ALL, never have: they always made me pull the ‘bleah’ face, so I probably actually avoid them. But my sister does like them, and, equally, always has, so I thought of her immediately that day. Another blogger Samantha, reading the comment from Flo, mentioned that she had 3 walnut whips in her fridge… Hmmmn, I don’t know if walnut whips are rare or not, but bear with me here because I was beginning to spot a theme. Never say I am slow to catch on.

My sister (lifetime walnut whip lover) and her partner Painter live at the coast, 60+ miles away from London, and from me. Whilst out shopping last Saturday in their seaside town Painter and my sister bumped into an old neighbour of Painter’s from his North London days, someone he hasn’t seen for over 20 years. Sarah (I am not using real names because I can’t ask these people if it is ok) was just visiting the coast for the weekend with her boyfriend Pete. Amazing, huh? Over 60 miles, over 20 years, randomly meeting a great distance from where they previously knew each other.

Anyway, Painter and my sister arranged for Sarah and Pete to come around that evening. Sarah and Pete duly turned up with another old neighbour, Robert, that Painter and Sarah had both known from the same time in London, who was also just in town for the weekend and who Sarah had also just bumped into in the street. Double amazing. But I am not finished yet.

That evening, in conversation with Sarah’s partner Pete, it turned out he has a house in the road next to mine in South London! I have no idea what the odds of this strange convoluted chain are, but I believe the chances of a jackpot winning lottery ticket might be better. And they are not good odds, in case you didn’t know!

Now we need a little context, for those who may come from small communities or not know much about the UK population density. I know some people visit their nearest town miles away and see many acquaintances, family or friends. But London has a population of over 8.7 million people. The odds of bumping into someone you know a few miles away from your usual haunts is pretty high, never mind it happening over 60 miles away. For those people to then meet someone else the same day from the same old neighbourhood, and for their partner to live in a whole different area of London, but in a road adjacent to another family member is, well, astronomical basically.

I’m sure there must be a reason for this. We have random people, in a random town, historically connected to each other, and brought together on the same day. We have family geographically elsewhere (me), also linked by coincidence, also on the same day. And then I am reminded of the event later in the week by another two random connections.

It has to be important. The stars are aligned. There must be a message, a meaning to this. I have given it much careful thought and have come to a conclusion.

Maybe the universe is telling me to try a walnut whip again, just in case?

Has anyone else been experiencing odd or amazing coincidences recently?


Are you feeling Emoji-nal?

This is a tongue in cheek, bit of Friday fun post.

Emojis. Those little icons that say so much. At first my reaction to them was a bit older-generation ‘oh for goodness sake, why can’t people just use the words?’ But now, I understand their usefulness, and actually rather like the idea. Let me be clear first up that the only one I know how to do is the smiley face. And that is only because the lovely blogger Karen at libleycraftsblog (go see her site, she is jawdroppingly awesome) talked me through it, keystroke by keystroke, because I needed it. I love her for that. And yes I know it is only three keys, but if you don’t know, you don’t know, right? I’d like to use more emojis, but I actually really have no clue what they all mean and should probably read up a bit. Otherwise I could unwittingly insult someone, or flirt with them, or threaten to kidnap their pet ferret or something.

So, why not have a mood or an emotion expressed in a few keystrokes? It suits our 21st century lifestyle for sure. But then again, what about taking it a bit further? Move on from a smile, or a laugh, or whatever else they convey. Like kids learning to talk, we start with single words, then build up to more complex phrases and thoughts. Maybe emojis can do this too?

So, what feeling would you like an emoji for? No adult themes please, this is an all-ages-friendly blog. What would you like to just be able to send to your loved ones or friends to indicate your mood, or your circumstances, with just a couple of keystrokes? Here are some suggestions…

How about ‘I have had a really bad day. Be nice to me.’

Or ‘just don’t speak to me, I am in the worst mood EVER’

I have nothing to wear. Can we go shopping?

I will be there in 5 minutes. Get the tea/coffee/wine ready.

I need pizza.

I need chocolate.

Do we have any cake? I need cake. Can you get some cake?

Don’t mention the haircut. It is a disaster and I look like a 1970s convict. Pretend like it hasn’t happened.

I have broken my favourite pair of shoes. Please look suitably sombre. Also, can we organise a state funeral as a fitting send-off?

I need 15 portions of fruit and veg today because I am 3 days behind on my recommended daily intake. So are you. Please go to the shop on the way home and buy all you can carry. Nobody sleeps ‘til we are caught up.

Or ‘the dog has pooped in the hallway and I didn’t have time to clean up. Be careful where you tread’. So much easier in little happy symbols. Especially if the other half is not keen on the pet, or at least the poop, anyway.

How about double emoji action? So ‘you know that emoji I sent saying I had a bad day? Well the pet rescue place was open when I went past just now…’ Closely followed by ‘who knew you could fit a kitten comfortably into each coat pocket?’ And then we would be back to the smiley faceJ

So, over to you. What would you like to have a bespoke emoji for?


A proper scientific experiment, with unexpected results

Another Caturday post…

Whilst reading one of my favourite blogs samanthamurdochblog last weekend, apart from adding to my ongoing crystal education, and making me laugh as she always does, Samantha mentioned a self awareness test for animals. It rang a tiny, tiny bell. Somewhere in my brain, behind the Doris Day archive, next to the ‘what is my favourite cake’ index (pretty large), I had tucked away a little snippet of similar information, but, once retrieved, dust blown away and cobwebs removed it just read ‘see if they recognise themselves in a mirror’ without the added and interesting ‘stick something on the cat’ element from Samantha‘s post. And I knew I had previously tried this first version of the test with every single cat I have cared for. With mixed results. No ‘amazing, awesome, this cat is a genius’ results, to be clear. Just mixed from zero reaction to a reflection, to attacking the reflection, to checking around the side of the mirror to find the ‘other’ cat, to running away. So I had fairly low expectations with the current incumbent of the pussycat-in-residence role, Riley. But, you never know, right? Why not try the newer version of the test and see what happens!

So here is the (very) scientific experiment.


One cat

One bit of not-too-sticky sticky stuff. I am a crafter, so plenty of low tack masking tape on hand. I felted it a few times just to be sure it was barely sticky at all.

One mirror



The googled version of the experiment I found said the animal should be sedated first. Obviously this is not going to happen. I opted for a a catnip treat as a suitable safe alternative. For the cat, of course. I had a glass of wine, to be sociable. Human catnip.

Affix the barely-sticky sticky thing to a part of the body the subject (Riley) cannot see. This took longer than expected. Cats can swivel their head A LOT. I stuck it on his back – saw it. On his shoulder – saw it. Back of his ear – fell off. My care to make sure the sticky stuff was not too sticky was backfiring somewhat. Top of the head – he saw it coming and just threw his head back so again it fell off. About five times. This calls for a bit of sleight of hand: make an interesting diversion with one hand (pretending to be a spider) whilst positioning with the other. Houston, we have contact!


Now as I wanted to capture the moment my dear pet proved he was indeed self aware, I needed to take pictures, whilst holding the mirror. Really this was a two-person job, but there was only one person around at the time. So I tried holding both bits of kit and took quite a lot of pictures of my knee, the carpet, the corner of the sofa and the ceiling before giving up on the photo shoot and just showing him the bleeping mirror. An instant reaction! Ears pricked and forward, whiskers perked and….and…and nothing. He was reacting to the spot of bright light created by the mirror. Or ‘Tinkerbells’ as we call it, courtesy of my brother-in-law. Once the Tinkerbell disappeared he settled back down, sticky stuff still in place.

But, here’s where it becomes truly great science. Does everyone know the story about Viagra? How it was developed as a drug for cardiac problems but in the clinical trials, where each tester records in great detail all the side effects they have noticed…well, that’s when the target market was changed. It’s the testing you see, where you make great discoveries. And this is what we found out…

Felting (sticking on your clothes a few times to make it even less tacky) a small, normally super-light strip of low tack masking tape, changes the density, or atomic weight, or something science-y anyway, as my pictures clearly and irrefutably demonstrate…


After the last photo the sticky paper fell off and he jumped up, right as rain. Clearly it is kryptonite for cats. No doubt the Nobel Prize will be in the post.





Nominations Mash-up

Recently, over a period of about ten days, I was named by five different bloggers for four blogger ‘awards’ or tags.

Obviously I didn’t know that was going to happen. I was just thinking of my answers to the first nomination, when nominations two and three came in within a day or so of each other, for a different award, but the same as each other. Did I explain that OK? I suspect not. Maybe I should do a flow chart…. I figured I’d still join in, but stagger the replies by a few days or more. Then, reading other blogs, I saw nomination four and a tag for number five.

It’s lovely that other bloggers did this, but seriously, there are simply not enough interesting things about me to reply to five nominations. Not even my nearest and dearest would be able to maintain any semblance of interest. Actually they would probably flag after one post, seeing as they know (pretty much) all of it already.

So, to serve the greater good, I have decided on a nominations mash-up. I will join in with the spirit, but answer one question for each of the single nominations and two for the double one. Still with me? Would the flow chart help?

OK, here we go.

First received was the Sunshine Blogger from Madgeface at Little Golden Notebook. Thanks! I am pretty certain there is nothing this lady does not know about knitting, and she has helped me out quite a few times with answers or resources when I have had questions. Also she is surprising – she managed to remind me that sometimes Glenn Miller is just what I need to listen to!

The question I am answering here is: what sound or noise do you hate?

The alarm clock (well phone alarm). I am not a natural really early riser and having to stir at 6-something in the morning is a task I would happily forgo. What happened to those visions of 21st century life we were promised, where technology and robots would combine to allow us to rise, go through all the necessary ablutions and preparations and make it to our desk refreshed and ready to go within 15 minutes of rolling out of bed? Cmon boffins, forget sending probes to mars and deal with the stuff that would make you really popular and maybe get a high school named after you.

Secondly for a nomination for the Versatile Blogger I need to thank Mrs Craft from Craftandothercrazyplans. I can’t think of a better nom-de-blog (does that exist?) for this lady. She is indeed craft personified. She is multi-talented, very supportive, witty, a good writer of a story and highly entertaining.

Thirdly Samantha from samanthamurdochblog nominated me for the same award – thanks! Amazing and interesting cat and crystal knowledge to be found here. I am being educated in a subject I never considered before now, not being a ‘rock chick’ myself. Also, funny, funny, funny, make me laugh out loud kind of funny.

For this you had to share 7 things about yourself. So I will answer once for each nomination, two in total (really should have done that flow chart).

I once trod on Boy Georges foot. Accidentally, because I stepped backwards and he was behind me. He was very nice about it. Im pretty sure I did no lasting damage. I have never seen him limping

I can make a 360 degree circle holding a glass of liquid at arms length without spilling it. A vertical circle, like a ferris wheel, not just standing and turning around! Actually it is really easy. Try it. Outdoors.

Next I would like to thank the Chicken Grandma for the Black Cat Blue Sea Award nomination. You know when you come across someone whose life is radically different from yours, but you just get on and feel like you have known them for ages? That is how I feel about this super person. The Chicken Grandma writes beautifully, from the heart. But she makes me laugh too.

The question I am answering is: what is your favourite thing to do, and with whom?

Now I was going to put something about sharing a meal (preferably outdoors, on a lovely day, but no wasps in sight) with family and friends that I don’t see very often, but in writing this I have changed my mind. I realise that my most favourite thing to do, at any time of the day, and with absolutely anyone, is share a laugh. It makes the day better. It’s as simple as that.

Finally my thanks go to Cobs, from the Cobweborium Emporium for the Happiness Tag. This lady is kind, encouraging, knowledgeable and hugely talented. And guess what? Yes, she makes me laugh! Like a naughty kid, hoping not to be found out. We have some totally daft conversations and I enjoy every single one.

I am supposed to say something that makes me happy. All the obvious stuff, of course, but I figure a different kind of answer is called for here. So I am going with small acts of kindness from one stranger to another. It’s a great thing, and should happen rather more often.

I feel like I have made too long a speech at the Oscars and the ‘get her off’ music has started.

Now, because I didn’t really ‘obey the rules’ I am not using any of the logos or icons or whatever they are called, and for the same reasons I am not going to nominate anyone else. But it was fun to join in. Apologies to the above five that it took me so long to work out how I was going to do it!


The great gift wrap search


Today, walking into the living room, I found this, thoughtfully positioned in the middle of the floor. Have the gift-wrap elves paid an early visit? Perhaps we have unwittingly been signed up as a training site for Santa’s little helpers? If so, I think they need to polish up their skills a bit. One stick-on bow does not a present make. Especially as it now is a rather hairy bow, with a bit of carpet fluff attached.

The bow was not a welcome sight. It means the addict has fallen off the wagon. Not that he chose to get on the wagon, so to speak, it was imposed on him, for his own good. I thought that every bit of temptation had been either disposed of permanently or was safely hidden inside a bag, inside a box, in a cupboard. I went to check, and yes, still all untouched and accounted for. Like any good addict, he must have a secret stash somewhere so I had to investigate. After a thorough search I am none the wiser. Hopefully this was his last fix.

My name is Riley and I like to chew curling ribbon. And bows. And tinsel.

tinsel riley



A different kind of Olympics

Are you watching, and enjoying the Olympic Games? I have always loved them – all that endeavour and grit, toil and skill. I have huge admiration for every single individual that makes it to the Games, as well as those that miss out, or those that just get motivated enough to go for a run or swim. You are all marvellous.

However, we are not all Olympic material, but nowadays it would seem that any kind of exclusion is not allowed. At school team sports are in, individual success is out. All can join in, and pretty much everybody wins something. So, if those are the new rules of competition, why not apply them to all of us? This means (stretching it a little) that you, me, and everyone else should be allowed to enter the Olympics, if we want, right? Brilliant. Can’t wait. Except I don’t want to have to train….and I am no spring chicken…and a ‘no mascara’ day will never happen…also I am (probably) allergic to lycra…the list goes on.

But I have RIGHTS! There has to be an Olympics for me. So, quick ponder, what are my skills? What would my event be? I should probably give such a major decision a tiny bit more consideration (I had this idea about 15 minutes ago), but I am thinking my events (yep, going for a Michael Phelps multi-medalling feat) would be:

Random word association


Most pairs of shoes worn in a day

I am nodding my head, pretty confident here that I can do rather well in my chosen disciplines.

So, what would your Olympics event(s) be? You can choose anything. Dog-walking, shoe-polishing, speed ironing or apron-folding, it doesn’t matter. Pick those you can win and live the dream!