Sunday, 19 April 2015

It's Summer! No, wait, it's Spring. Nope, it's definitely summer...hang on, no, it's spring again, wait...

We love to talk about the weather in the UK and with some justification this past week as the temperature has gone up and down like a yo-yo. My Wednesday morning walk to the station at 7am was still chilly enough to require woolly hat, gloves, scarf etc. but it went up to 24 degrees C in London that afternoon. That's warmer than some summers I've had here. Thursday I happily donned a summer dress for work, anticipating similar temperatures, only for it to sink down to about 16 degrees and I was cold all day, huddling in my cardigan and wishing I had trousers on. And so it has gone on, up and down, warm in the sunshine and cold and windy in the shade.

Today we drove DS back to Oxford for his third term, and afterwards we went on to Blenheim Palace for a walk in the parkland - cold! Spectacular views but once again I was huddling in my woolies from the cold wind.

Then when we were back home and out digging in the garden, the sun came out and soon it was t-shirt weather and I had to strip off all my outer layers and go in to get a sun hat.

Garden update

This week we spent the evenings prying up the foundations of the old retaining wall around the Victorian patio. I built a loose new retaining wall re-using some of the bricks and cap-stones and we backfilled with dirt (more digging...). Then yesterday we did two marathon digging sessions and dug up a multitude of 'lawn bricks' from the centre circle and I re-laid them to fill out the curve of the lawn. It's amazing how much bigger the garden looks now that the snowman lawn shape is complete and not cut into thirds by the old patio. One day when we have some money we will replace the temporary retaining wall with one that's actually mortared.

Today we excavated the hard core from the old pathway where there will be new flower beds (near the house, and around the outside of the centre circle where there will be a low hedge). Then we backfilled with dirt. This coming week we will tackle moving the lawn from the new path (between the string lines) onto the old path, and start levelling out the new path/centre circle in preparation for laying gravel. We've also bought an octagonal planter which will go in the centre of the finished circle (although I would love to replace it with a stone font if we win the lottery...).

I'm relieved to see signs of growth on several of the plants we moved, even the apple tree is showing a bit of pink on its buds. So hopefully they are busy putting out new roots and getting used to their new home.

I'm losing hope that our builder is going to give me a quote any time soon on repairing our boundary walls, so I've got three other builders coming round tomorrow to have a look. So it's going to be a busy day, but will be good to get a number established for the cost so that we can work out how we are going to pay for the work.  It's got to be done, the tall brick wall in particular is looking very precarious so I want to get it made safe this summer.

Craft update

On my days off, I finished setting in the background squares and triangles of the Lone Star Quilt and then joined the star points together to make the quilt centre. To my relief, it is all lying really flat. It is pretty easy with this kind of quilt to end up with something shaped like a volcano, which is why I've been really trying to be accurate and precise.  It just needs borders now.  I've measured for them and measured the piece of border fabric provided in the kit.  I can cut the two side borders in one piece, but the top and bottom borders will have to be invisibly joined from three pieces each in order to get the directional fabric all pointing upwards like the original sample in the picture. The background fabric was directional as well, but there was enough provided that I was able to cut all the squares and triangles so that all the flower buds face upwards.

I blocked my Mixalot Socks and have been wearing them to bed. They fit well and I'm pleased with how they turned out (apart from the messy job I did on the short row heels).

I finished the bobbin lace bookmark for DH and he has been using it this week and likes it.  I've started another one in different colours for m-i-l and am about halfway through that. So I should finish it tomorrow during the lace group meeting. I might make a third one because I'm going to a Lace Day soon and will need something to work on that isn't too taxing or I'll make a mess of it while I'm chatting. I'm a bit nervous about the Lace Day because our teacher complained about how cliquey lace people are, particularly the majority who belong to one of the guilds, but hopefully people will be friendly.

I finished and blocked my Reversible Cowl in Fyberspates Vivacious DK.  I joined it as a Mobius but I'm thinking that I made it a bit too long. I'll wear it a while to see, but I may unpick the join and shorten it a bit.

Other craft activity this week included finishing the plain background square for the next GAA Afghan block, unpicking some vintage crochet lace from the remains of a couple of tablecloths (I bought it that way) so I can re-use it to edge a bed valance, making a pattern for a new sleep eye visor and choosing fabrics, working on Clue 9 of the Battle of the Five Armies MKAL Shawl, and finishing the first of my Basketweave Socks and starting the second one, and I did a tension sample on the knitting machine in preparation for knitting a summer t-shirt.

Work update

The redundancy exercise has finally crawled on to the point of individual consultation and I had my first meeting on Friday. They explained the whole exercise again and how we will be scored to determine who gets made redundant, and said everyone should know their outcome by the end of the month. But it's actually looking a lot more optimistic in my pool.  Several people have resigned for better jobs, and a few have asked for voluntary severance, so the number of people left is only a little higher than the number of available jobs - although it's not that simple as the jobs are located around the country so not necessarily going to match up with where people are based. But I feel much more optimistic that I might actually make it through and end up with a job, although being part-time complicates matters. They said my working pattern will not affect my scoring against others, but realistically I don't know what they will do with the other half of these new busier jobs if they keep me on.  We'll see, but I'm hopeful that I may get to stay now. The survivors will have a difficult time though: with over 20 people leaving the company and several separate teams being shoved into one team, it's going to be almost like starting somewhere new. But not as bad since my manager is staying, I know the commute, I'm familiar with the company etc.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

Your digging is still making me feel exhausted!

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