Well it's been a good few days since I last posted - various nice reasons and annoying frustrations that I will do my best to catalogue:
1. A few days off work, the last two of which turned out to be lovely spring days that really raised my spirits. I have a box of lovely purple crocuses (croci?) on the balcony which were almost translucent in the spring sunshine.
Also I managed to get my washing out on the line - always nice when you climb between those wind-dried sheets of an evening. I love the stiffness and fresh smell you get from them.
Too bad that the Curse and I spent the last two days stripping in the bedroom. It was nowhere near as much fun as it sounds! We are working towards redecorating our bedroom, which badly needs it. For the last two years since we moved here, it has been like living in a student bedsit.
2. More mittens; the colour is much deeper than shown here - it's Rooster Almerino and is a lovely deep turquoise.
3. My friend has kindly just offered to give me his car, as he is upgrading to a newer version. I have been agonising over it for the last couple of days - having lived without a car for about 15 years, I have become rather proud of my ability to do without one, and the fact that I can get almost anywhere in the UK without one. But I'd love to be able to just take off on Sunday mornings, and drive out into the countryside for a walk, without having to plan around the rather slow Sunday train services, the myriad of engineering works and bus replacement services, and the fact that many rural train stations have no services on Sundays. After an evening of looking for insurance quotes (and finally finding one that suits my budget) I am ready to take the plunge. Either I will become a total car fiend, or the poor vehicle will sit unused and unloved in the car park outside our house. I hope it will be somewhere in between.
4. Frustrations with our broadband service revealed that our 'wireless' router has suddenly decided it doesn't like being wireless, and requires a connection in order to offer us any kind of reasonable service level. Having sat here for what seems like hours on end waiting for pages to load for the last 24 hours, we have given in to its whims. For now.
5. And finally... a trip back to my roots last weekend, with a couple of days in the Peak District village of Youlgreave, Derbyshire (not far from Bakewell, home of the puddings - NOT tarts, thank you very much). Em and I had a lovely stay in a small cottage in the village, enjoyed its open fire and cosy situation, and got out walking both days with varied success. The first day we teamed up with Lisa to step out on a 10 mile yomp which ended with us knee-deep in cow crap, injuries from the barbed wire fence (grabbed at blindly to try to stop us sinking deeper into the cow crap) and dodgy knees and hips. Anyone would think we were pensioners! This picture shows the view about halfway round that walk, and one which embodies many of the visual aspects I love about Derbyshire. The dry stone walls are a particular favourite; the undulating hills and the varied scenery make it rather special. Forget the cow crap, it was totally overshadowed by with snowdrops, skylarks and sunshine in ready supply.
The second day we managed a few miles before the rain set in, but had craftily planned a route that allowed us to cut back to our cottage halfway, avoiding prolonged exposure to the rain.
And just to add: Em became the proud new owner of the hat. She has, however, requested a pom pom to sew on the top, which will be sent to her in due course!
Stoke Newington, London
21 hours ago