Friday, 29 March 2013

10 good things on a Good Friday

  • All alarm clocks switched off.  I still woke up at 6:20 though - force of habit.
  • A peaceful couple of hours in the kitchen, first thing.  Strong coffee, freshly baked soda bread, omelettes and spicy tomato sauce for breakfast.
  • A solid three hours studying, while I listened to my iPod.  I need to make some more study playlists - I know the current ones too well.
  • Graham and Cam watching Battlestar Gallactica on LoveFilm.
  • A couple of new eye pencils - making my life that little bit more glamorous.
  • Cam and Olivia gazing at Easter Eggs - embargoed until Sunday.
  • Slobbery baby kisses with my niece.
  • Playing trains with my nephew.  I am impressed I still know my Percy from my Toby, and can even tell Annie and Clarabel apart.
  • Forgetting about cardiovascular disease for a little while, and heading to the pub for a quick drink with my friend.
  • We had whitebait as a bar snack - I LOVE whitebait!
Good Friday

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Study time

Studying is hard; all of us at University have competing claims on our time, it's freezing, and I find the mechanism of the kidneys just really difficult to understand.

Thermal tights and a hot water bottle
Thermal tights and a hot water bottle for my feet - reading textbooks makes me COLD!

But then, at the same time, it is also one of the most satisfying things I've ever done.  Sometimes I sit with my cup of coffee and a textbook and wonder at my luck.  I am allowed to be here, learning these strange things and talking about my experiences with other student nurses.  When I was 20 I never thought I'd be doing this at 40.

You need a healthy snack if you're reading about cardiovascular disease

I'm finding the juggling hard right now - there is so much reading I need to do, and I urgently need to prepare for exams that are looming fast.  Domestic life massively reduces what time is available to me and so juggling could easily become an exercise in resentment.  However, I refuse to let it.  Everything that matters to me will get done.  We all end up prioritising what's important to us - it's just that for everyone that list of priorities is different. 

For me, at the moment, what's important is making good home-baked bread, understanding pharmacology and how to look after someone with acute kidney failure, making sure the children have a relaxing and interesting Easter holidays, getting some perspective on my exams, knitting a couple more rows of sock every night and putting dates in the diary to spend with family and friends.

It will all get done.  It always does, somehow.  Even blogging.

Flask of coffee
Fuelled by coffee

Friday, 15 March 2013


Lounging around in Somerset House 

Sometimes when I go to an art gallery, I just get too weary from all the wandering around.

  Lounging around in Somerset House 

 It's tiring being this cultured.

  Lounging around in Somerset House 

So you might as well sit down.

  Lounging around in Somerset House 

Take the load off your feet, as it were.

  Lounging around in Somerset House 

 Ah, that's better.

Lounging around in Somerset House

Miss Moss Stitch and I went to see Wool House at Somerset House - it's on only until 24 March, and I would highly recommend it.  That shaggy chair in the last photo was very comfortable.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Shoreditch street art

Shoreditch street art 

This morning Moss Stitch and I reprised our London walks of early 2011, and went to Shoreditch in search of street art.  Street art is flourishing in this part of East London, and we filled our cameras with examples of every imaginable size and colour.

Shoreditch street art

Shoreditch street art

  Shoreditch street art

The wit is what I like most.

Shoreditch street art

Shoreditch street art

Shoreditch street art

Oh, and the colour and bold design too.  

Shoreditch street art

Shoreditch street art

  Shoreditch street art 

If you go walking long enough you start to become familiar with the different artists - there were a few collections of phone boxes which I liked, and some detailed line drawings by the same artist.

Shoreditch street art

Shoreditch street art

Shoreditch is a small area, full of coffee shops and cafes - when I first lived in East London it was a very grimy, derelict part of town, and is now incredibly and self-consciously trendy in a polished grime sort of way.  Film makers now live and work in Shoreditch.  We zigzaged around and covered the whole area in barely a couple of hours (and this time included a record THREE cafe breaks because the weather was so arctic we needed warming up with frequent cups of coffee).

As Shoreditch gets trendier and wealthier, I really hope the street art stays.  It's a reminder of the happy soul of the place, and also its working class past.  Plus, I just really love it. It makes me smile on a bitterly cold early spring day in London.

Shoreditch street art


If you are interested in finding out more about street art you might enjoy:

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The engine of the house

The engine of the house
Home again

Our washing machine had to be mended, and was away for two whole weeks.  It felt like the whole house was broken, and we somehow had to limp on as best we could without it.

I love the sounds of a washing machine - the quiet purr of the spin cycle, the rhythmic chug of the drain and rinse and the happy beeps that tell me when it has finished.  On a day off, when I am alone in the house, I love to hear the washing machine humming away in the background.  Everything seems calm and organised when the washing machine is on.

When the children were very small pre-schoolers, doing a load of washing became an all-morning activity as they helped to bring the washing downstairs, sort it, load it, tip in too much fabric softener, wait impatiently for the cycle to finish, pull all the wet washing out of the drum, and then hang it all up.  They loved the whole process.  I was reminded of this when I took two emergency loads of school uniform round to my sister-in-law's to wash last weekend. As I sat on her sofa drinking tea, my three year old nephew dashed in and out of the kitchen telling me how many minutes were left, letting out a whoop of excitement when it was finished, and then pulling it all out of the machine and into my waiting bag.

Now with a teenager and a nearly-teen at home, it's all about getting them to be responsible for their own laundry, and I say things like "well if you wanted that particular t-shirt clean for this evening, you should have put a load of washing on rather than waiting for me to do it".

It's a good thing I rather enjoy the process of laundry.  After two weeks without it, the machine has a vast mountain of clothes to get through now, and I am sorting, loading, hanging out and folding like a pro.  Maybe I could borrow my little nephew to come and give me a hand?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Friendship circles

On Friday afternoon I sat in the pub with my new nursing friends, drinking wine, swapping stories and laughing.  Every single one of the female nurses had painted her nails to celebrate the end of our first placement.  There were almost all the colours of the rainbow around that table.

On Saturday I met up with some blogging friends, who have become real-life friends over the past few years.  These ladies make me laugh and nod my head in agreement at almost everything they say.  Blogging ladies aren't shy about taking photographs, so I came away with a camera full of pictures and a tummy full of cake and coffee.  I also had a wonderful present of some little spring knits from Julie.  The nest and eggs matched my dress, which made me ridiculously happy.

The nest and eggs Julie made for me
A circular handknitted nest and eggs, from Julie

On Saturday evening I went to Hackney to catch up with old friends in the pub. We chatted, and people-watched, and felt like we'd lived in East London a long time (we have).  Beards and poets in a pub by the Pembury Estate - goodness me, how times are changing.

Today I napped in the sunshine, chatted to Graham and the children and walked round to my sister-in-law's house with two loads of clothes to wash, because our washing machine is broken.  She made me a cup of tea, and I sat on her sofa, cuddled my baby niece and chatted to my little nephew while the school uniform was cleaned.

One of the very nicest things about being middle aged are these multiple circles of friends you acquire.  They evolve out of jobs, children, family, University, and an unusual obsession with handknitted socks.  But however you find them, friends really are the best thing.

All of us in Kristina's socks
A circle of socks - the blogging ladies show off their new socks (made for us by Kristina, who is amazing)

Alice's birthday cake
The ultimate circular birthday cake, made - and styled - by Mrs M