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Staycation

This morning BFF flew home to Bonny Scotland after staying here to take care of me for a smidge over two weeks. After the stress and worries this year has thrown at me, the postponement of our April pj-party due to CoVid19, it was so unbelievably uplifting to have BFF walk through my door.

Our time together has three main heading, films, food and yarning. Now that might be silly chatter yarning or the more creative productive yarning. This time as well as some cat protection blankets we also tackled some rather cute cat toy mice and fish.

Previous visits have been invaded by the black and white bundle of adorability, affectionately known as Mickey #NotMyCat, this time he brought his brother Ginger #NotMyCat2. He’s a lot more timid but did like to snooze comfortably and alone either on my bedroom windowsill or the woollen blanket on my bed, he’s also very vocal and announces his arrival. Both offered their approval of the crocheted toys, plus the rubs and snooze spots, and especially the edible treats.

My BFF is multi talented, not only did I get a much needed hair cut but a pedi soak too. Mickey gave the humming, vibrating bowl of water a glare, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d decided to dip a paw in but instead he gave it the usual cat statesmanship glare of indifference crossed with that ‘stupid humans’ expression they are so adept at.

After 187 consecutive days I escaped the confines of my dusty hovel and we ventured along the High Street, suitably covered in my new denim jacket (Christmas and birthday present from BFF) and wearing a natty face mask. A few errands were ticked off the list, social distancing guidelines and hand sanitising adhered to, the find trousers task one sadly was not successful.

This visits films included

  • Spitfire
  • The ugly dachshund
  • Armstrong
  • The absentminded professor
  • Kinky boots
  • Summer in February
  • Hidden Figures
  • Broken Flowers
  • The Great Gatsby
  • First Man
  • The Parent Trap
  • Flight
  • Born On The Fourth Of July
  • A summer place
  • A single man
  • First Wives Club
  • Calamity Jane
  • The Iron Maiden
  • A map of the world
  • Capote
  • Pollyanna
  • There’s No a Business Like Show business
  • American Pastoral
  • Walk The Line
  • The Crown Seasons 1 & 2

Back to our respective routines, counting down and conjuring up, until we can get together again.

Oh the tasty treat pictured, it’s enchilasagne …. enchiladas but layered in a lasagne fashion, it is so delicious and no layer out weighs another. BFF made a second batch so there are more for me to enjoy. Did I say my wonderful BFF was multi talented???

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in Films, General, Life, people

 

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Mask Mates

It all began when I was sat on the toilet, as things do. I had asked my carer how she was getting on with the masks and she was saying how sometimes they chaff the cheeks but soon the tie masks might be running out and they’d be using the elastic loop ones.

I remarked that I had seen how some people use paper clips or plastic holders to take the elastic from the ear and stop it cutting into the skin and that there had even been a crochet pattern for them.

The penny took a while to join the dots and add two and two together for joined up thinking. I crochet! I have a suitcase crammed with yarn! I could have a go at making them!!

Carer positively beamed at the idea and the offer of helpfulness.

I googled, I read up, I pondered, I prepped, I twiddled, I tucked ends, I attached buttons and ……. tada!

My button stash has let me down, I’ve run out of 3/4inch and 1-inch buttons. But I’ll wait and see how things go before getting any posted to me.

It’s at times like this I believe I’d be positively dangerous if my neurones were properly connected.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2020 in General, Projects

 

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Another day/month/year/decade Another

List? Resolution? Promise? Beginning? Intention?

I’m in that eternal internal struggle, Brain versus Body. Brain gets all over excited with ideas of new interests and thoughts of changing this, sorting that, tidying the other, bouncing about like Tigger after a double espresso, Body quietly sits, sighs and waits for a break in the babbling to go “you do remember we cannot move independently anymore” and Brain’s exuberance deflates like a balloon across a room.

My list of lists is expanding, I have a couple of big projects to work on, mainly the website Photo Album complete recreation, but before I can attempt that, I need to familiarise myself with the new html editor. It is something that is going to need dedicated hours of concentration, I will have to figure out the best between pee visits to do that. I’ve been trying to get an article published on Wikipedia, they have their own brand of coding and a complete nightmare are arbitrary opinion as to whether the subject (an independent record producer) is suitably notable and the sources cited credible!

There are a few lighter ones, some of my photo frames could do with updated photos. My female spider senses tell me I’d better order some fresh printer cartridges because Mr MuckItUp Murphy is going to meddle with my best intentions.

I’m restless, swinging between short attention spam and procrastination, probably the after effects of holiday season inactivity and that sense of ‘should be doing something’.

So, here’s a few goals.

  • Finish cat blanket
  • Start another cat blanket
  • Familiarise html creator
  • Time to do another round of back ups
  • Attempt a new book

Might just keep things short.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2020 in Life, Projects

 

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2019

To say that 2019 has been an absolute horrid catastrophic year would be a cavernous understatement. Never at the beginning could I have foreseen the end, nor the hell in between.

I usually feel odd at the end of any given year. Many see it as a fresh page, the new beginning, the marker to strive forward. I just see it as another day, no different to the 31st, 17th or 4th. However, I’m not ready to let go of 2019, I don’t want to let go of what’s been lost. 2020 will be the first year without my Big Sis, and I am way far being ready for that. 2020 will be a year of more forced change and adapt as I try and find somewhere new to live and all the fraught difficulties that brings.

BFF and I are already planning some fun, hopefully when she visits we will over night in the city and revisit some old haunts and enjoy some reminiscent foods. I’ll still be crocheting blankets when the strive strikes. There are online projects to get stuck in to and ongoing business to fit in. I should get back to nightly reading.

Still, it will be what it will be and hopefully we are all still here by the end of it.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2019 in General, Life

 

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We’re gonna need a bigger box

I’m not responsible for all of these blankets, seven were stitched by my BFF when she was here in September, I have done the other fourteen. 🙀 I know! I’ve never managed to get so much done, ever! In the ten weeks since BFF was here, I thought I might get four done, possibly five by the end of the year, but never would have considered fourteen.

Now, a brief explanation. Historically I could only manage a row or three a day before it would have a consequence when it came to me being able to stand up and move, it’s the physics of holding myself in the stitching position, no longer being able to stand the restriction has become redundant. When I start a new blanket after a break from regular stitching, I can only do two rows before the aches begin across my shoulders, down my upper arms and up my neck, but each day I tried adding a row, pushing myself a bit further until I was able to stitch and rest in intervals across the whole afternoon and evenings. Before long I was digging in the wool stash again for three more balls of double knit, and I needed a carrier bag for the completed ones.

When BFF visited she sent down two boxes (think large gents trainers shoe box size) rammed with her yarn, since when they’ve been hidden behind the sofa. When Nephew was here Friday I got him to grab one and empty it into the stash suitcase, thinking I could put the blankets in the box but it’s not big enough.

My current blanket will take longer, the yarn is a lighter weight so there are far more stitches to the eighteen inch row, and there are about three rows to the inch and there are twelve inches to do. I might break my rule of only working on one at a time and start a second with thicker dk so it grows quicker.

Still, some lovely pussy cats and kittens are getting an early visit from this Santa’s helper, hopefully they’ll get new homes quickly too.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2019 in General, Pets, Projects

 

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Tick-Tick-Boom

Right, let’s get comfy in the head’s office for a progress report ….. hmmmm

  • Complete three cat blankets ✅
  • Complete photo organising project ✅
  • Mac back up ✅
  • Add sailing blog to my website ❌
  • Add photo album to website ❗️
  • Send letter and photos to Aunt ✅
  • Finish current book and review ✅
  • Sort, weed, tidy desk and draws ✅

❗️Due to the delights of the latest Mac update, the website photo gallery is going to have to be a complete do over. Starting from scratch with eighteen years worth of accumulated archive that needs cataloguing again. That’s a three to four month job.

❌ I coulda, maybe shoulda, but just didn’t.

I might have got slightly over eager with the cat blankets but that’s another blog for another day. It felt good to get things finished and sorted but as always there are other things sneaking in to disrupt a goal. I’m trying to complete some new articles on behalf of a friend on Wikipedia, it is tedious in the extreme, the coding, citation and external references are complicated to complete, copyright free images keep getting deleted by a bot for no given reason. The articles in draft form have to be checked and approved which could take up to five months.

As for the next to-do list. Hmmm, well, let me think about that.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2019 in General, Life, Projects

 

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Been doing the do

It’s been a while, so much has happened since I last listed jobs and progress, I had been dreading reappraising my jobs and projects lists. So let’s see if I’m nearer a B- Good Effort than the C- could do better…..

  • Update Management Company spreadsheets ✅
  • Email Agents for update on works pending ✅
  • Liaise with Director over estate business ✅
  • Order Great-Niece’s birthday present (4 already!) ✅
  • Collate care professionals names, addresses, phone numbers ❌
  • Begin DLA to PIP migration (scary) ✅ and blogged
  • Amass medical evidence ✅
  • Do own financial evaluation ✅
  • Source home demo powerchairs – ⚠️ shelved temporarily
  • Update website (1st Aug) – ❌
  • Cogitate Mac ‘big projects’ list ✅
  • Go through and weed 300+ saved read emails ✅
  • Finish cat blanket crochet ✅ and a couple more ✅✅

Blimey it looks like I’ve been super busy, and I am really surprised considering all the extra stress and business I’ve had cross my world these last three months. Now then, what shall we aim for over the next couple of months ……

  • Complete three cat blankets
  • Complete photo organising project
  • Mac back up
  • Add sailing blog to my website
  • Add photo album to website
  • Send letter and photos to Aunt
  • Finish current book and review
  • Sort, weed, tidy desk and draws

That should do for now.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in General, Life, Projects, Website

 

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Fair Winds Following Seas – Farewell Friend

I’m saying good bye to another old friend, a tangible piece of my life’s adventure.

The Jubilee Sailing Trust operates two tall ships that are designed to accommodate many forms of disability, not only things like deafness and sight impaired, but also stroke victims, amputees, wheelchair users and mental health sufferers. We are all involved within the watch rota to sail the ships and keep them shipshape. Across her thirty year history STS Lord Nelson known as “Nellie”, has circumnavigated the globe, chased icebergs, clipped the Bermuda Triangle, tamed the China Seas, she has raced as part of the tall ship fleets and been the floating ambassador and has touched hundreds of thousands of mixed ability lives for the better.

A family friend passed a brochure to me in the eighties and I had toyed with the idea of running away to sea, so when Nellie visited my home port I secretly took myself off, explored her and spoke to a volunteer crew member, over a mug of hot tea and freshly baked cake we chatted, mused, discussed and laughed. After that I made up my mind to throw myself fully into this once-in-a-lifetime-never-to-repeat adventure and booked a four-week passage from Southampton to Gran Canaria via Lisbon.

The experience was nerve wracking, exhilarating, daunting, engaging, challenging, educational, but filled with hilarity, congeniality, and above all else, equality. We were just a bunch of people sailing together. I enjoyed myself so much that I repeated the experience another two times on Nellie before my last voyage on the sister ship Tenacious. The atmosphere and camaraderie onboard is indescribable and so special. It’s where I learnt to tie a bona fide hangman’s noose, take down the shipping forecast, complete obs for the Met Office. I’ve hauled ropes, peeled potatoes, polished brass, coiled ropes, swabbed decks, scrubbed toilets, pulled ropes, brewed tea, repaired flags, and messed about with ropes. I’ve been man handled, hauled, shoved, shifted, and tied down, I’ve laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed; I’ve helmed, watched, hauled, radioed, taught navigation rhymes, learnt a bewildering language of terms and created a few specific to Nellie and many other such useful/less life skills. I even have a qualification, the Department of Transport Steering Competency (sailing) Certificate from time at the helm before the mast. I’ve made friends I still keep in touch with. I’ve had conversations and shared experiences (like being at the helm when we were struck by lightning, playing with dolphins, counting shooting stars). There are anecdotes galore, not all repeatable in polite company.

Recently the Trust has been forced to look hard at its future running. A promised significant donation from a business source failed to materialise resulting in the Trust nearly folding (we raised £1 million in a week to save it). Subsequently the decision has been sadly made to decommission Nellie.

I kept a detailed diary, my (dis)abled seapersons twig (as opposed to captains log) for two of my voyages are on my website www.amgroves.com It’s on my list to add the others.

It is unknown what her next adventure will be, but I wish her fair winds and following seas, as we salty dog types say; and another piece of my heart is broken and another tear will fall.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2019 in In The News, Life, people, Projects, Website

 

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Waiting for others

Update ….. ‘still‘ waiting for the Social Worker assessment report. I called to chase up and was called back with someone relaying they message ‘by Thursday’, I’m wondering whether to hold by breath or not.

Today the PIP peeps wrote saying they have all they need to make a decision and there’s no need to contact them (I’m still intending to send the Social Worker report when I get it because I think it’s necessary).

So, I’m waiting on people who are necessarily bothered about time tables and deadlines.

*sigh*

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2019 in Life, Projects

 

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Pic App-titude

Way back I blogged a list of project jobs, one was the ‘ list Mac jobs’ which involved going through the iMac, my iPads, the external hard drive and flash drives, resorting, relabelling, reorganising all the various files, folders, media (music, movie snips, videos) and documents, the biggest job being the reconfigurations of photos.

When I first started keeping photographs on a computer a mere nineteen years ago, I applied my usual office organisation skills and had folders titled with the event, within was a folder containing the originals and a second folder for any that had been edited for whatever reason, made into collages etc. Slowly the collection grew and I began keeping a back-up on a flash drive and when the collection got considerably larger on an external hard drive.

Then I switched over to iMac with its useful (to some degree) iPhoto app. Initially this piece of kit automatically synced all photos anywhere and lumped them in, to then be divided into ‘events’, later also ‘albums’ and finally the annoying adage of ‘faces’ (it scanned your photos and tagged familiar faces). But the downside was that the photo was held in its library and not as an accessible file somewhere, some events had multiples of the same photo but different size or quality but the info was not instantly there for comparison.

Apple, in their questionable wisdom, revamped and released a new image handling app called “Photos” (dropped the i and added the s, bet that was an intense creative meeting). This new app added in the iPhoto library but as a separate folder and again the individual images had all their info hidden. Also I keep an archive of photos relevant to another project and use the file name as info and sometimes keep a second copy with the relevant ©️ info added for uploading to the web. I didn’t get on with this Mac method of handling images and preferred to keep some photos in organised files and some I uploaded to add to similar albums in either iPhoto or photos. It sounds messy doesn’t it? It is!

So, I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in, I ‘exported’ each album to a folder on the desktop from both iPhoto and Photo, renamed them with the relevant info (exporting creates a whole new image and doesn’t carry over the originals metadata info, nor useful file name). Copied those kept as standard files in my documents into their relevant folders. Upload photos from my old iPad and my iPad Air, named them and sorted them.

The question now was duplicates. I needed a bit of kit to sort through each folder individually and across several folders to highlight any duplicates and show me the details (where it is, what size it is, what file type) so I can decide whether to delete or keep it. After asking Google and checking the App Store reading the reviews I settled on one. Prepped and ready I went through each separate album and then the complete library and was rather impressed that there had not been hundreds to check and check again. Hmm, a seed of niggling doubt crept it. I opened an album “MIAMI 2003” and skimmed through the individual folders, and found a significant number of duplicates! What!! A duplicate finder that didn’t find duplicates, I tweaked the preferences but still it did not find all the obvious duplicates. Back to Google, read more reviews, but I have not run the folders through it yet. I’ve already spent four desk sessions on the job, I’ll leave that for tomorrow. And I’m yet to start on the archive catalogue!

Still, it’s been pleasant flipping through all these photos, being reminded of things I’ve been to, realising what a bad choice that hair or clothes were, coming across that hidden gem.

We have this technology to quickly, easily snap away but do we ever take the time to flip through an album and revisit a memory.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2019 in Life, Projects, Tech

 

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