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Dear Dad

Us and our cousins in 2013, celebrating what would have been Dad's 100th birthday

Us and our cousins in 2013, celebrating what would have been Dad’s 100th birthday

Back when I was at boarding school, we wrote letters on Sundays. Mine always started in the same manner, “Dear Mum, Dad and Youngest Aunt, How are you? I hope you are well. I am very well.” What came after that was likely to be influenced by what I’d been doing – attending basketball matches or other sporting events, going for a walk, trying to keep warm or cool depending on the season – and questions around what might be happening at home. I liked writing letters. I still do. Later on, in the early 1990s, when Mum was long dead, Dad and I tried to resurrect the art of letter-writing. We had something of a two-person crusade going for a while. We weren’t able to keep it up, but it was fun while it lasted. And, as today would have been his 102nd birthday, I thought I might write him a letter anyway.

Dear Dad, Happy birthday. I hope you’re managing to keep warm (I think I’d have to say that; he wasn’t much of a one for the cold and it’s pretty chilly). YoungB will be home next week. It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed but his long absence has been made easier by modern technology. I wish we’d had that when I was overseas and you weren’t because, at that time, letters took a long time and phone calls were hideously expensive and remarkably difficult. We’ll have a family lunch to celebrate his return, though not everyone will be there. There’ll be lots to talk about as well as his being home again. After all, there’s to be a wedding in the family in October and that’s a happy prospect. We’re all excited about it and I’m pleased to be involved in making some of the decorations for it. No, I can’t tell you about them because the details are secret; actually, so secret I don’t know them myself yet :)

There’ll be the Bloody Long Walk to accomplish prior to that, of course, because we’re all training up for it. Your youngest granddaughter, whom you never met, is completing her physiotherapy training and will be able to give us some good advice. She’s been keeping an eye on us from afar, because netball has claimed her when work and study haven’t, and wondering who would be the first to succumb to injury. You know how dodgy my knees are, so I dare say you won’t be surprised to hear that I gave her cause for amusement after last weekend’s walk by requesting advice for some strengthening exercises. Oh, well, somebody had to be first and it doesn’t matter that it was me.

(In pensive vein I might go on to thank him for many things, in no particular order.) Thank you for teaching me to tie a reef knot, to milk a cow, to skirt a fleece, to whistle; for instilling in me the importance of shining my shoes (I used to get compliments for them when I was a student nurse; the credit, I think, is entirely yours), for teaching me how to change a tyre and persisting with teaching me to drive. Thank you for travelling with Youngest Aunt and me through Europe and, on the whole, not being too much of a PITA about it. I hope you were able to say the same. It was a tough gig, but we survived and didn’t we have some tales to tell!

Thank you for coming to our rescue when we lost our little 4WD over the gully, and for enduring the camp bed in the shed when you visited us on our bush block. Thank you for your sense of humour and your knack for storytelling, both of which I see in my son, the younger grandson whom you never met. You would have liked him. He shares your love of word games and he rides a motorbike. He’d have loved your old Norton. You would have had lots of things to talk about. You could have shared your impressions of Italy with him when he returns next week, and laughed, no doubt, about the crazy drivers and the terror of life as a pedestrian in their busy cities. You won’t have that opportunity and neither will he. That’s a pity but it’s life. One generation makes way for the next. And though I don’t see your looks in his apart from his colouring (which is too dark for Dr B to claim credit), his easygoing nature is so like yours that I’m convinced there’s a bit of DNA that can be attributed directly to you. Thank you for that, too.

Thank you for more things than I can think of right now, really. Although you’re no longer here, you’re always part of us. We miss you. Lots of love.

PS (there was almost always a PS): I got some new walking boots the other week because my joggers weren’t up to the rough terrain around the southern part of the BLW; although they’re not Rossis, they’re all right and provide good ankle support. And, wouldn’t you know it, I had to buy some new boots for work, too, because that cheap pair I bought a couple of months ago fell apart! But of course I still haven’t knitted any socks :) XX

 
 

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you’ll have to believe me on this one

Nonna is frail at the moment and feeling the cold. I’ve put aside my other crafty endeavours to crochet a neck-warmer for her. She already has a hot-pink one that I made her several years ago, but it has seen lots of use and is not as fresh and cosy as it once was. Enter the Moda Vera Ambruni white yarn, leftovers from Youngest Niece’s birthday present, and the demonstration moebius cowl I worked on with Colleague DS the other week. She’s making progress with hers, but has decided that, much as she loves to wear black, it’s too hard to work with. She’s changed to a grey instead. I know that Nonna would prefer something other than white (the hot-pink was a winner), but white is what I have so it will have to do for now. It works up nicely and the end results will be soft and warm.

I took a photo – not exciting, of course, but a photo – only we are having major technical problems (again!) so at this stage, I can’t share it. But, honest, I’ve done about six inches already. And isn’t it keeping my fingers warn on this very chilly day?

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2015 in Crochet

 

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giving my feet a treat

Very soothing fizzy footbath

Very soothing fizzy footbath

And did the new boots work out on today’s 12 Km walk? Yes, they did. Youngest Aunt and I managed 419 metres of climbing, some of it on steps worn so deeply that I was lifting my weight through almost half my height. I have to admit, my knees don’t like it very much, going up or coming down. Every time I was asking myself why I was there, I thought about the people with mito who’d love to have even a small amount of the energy I take for granted and kept putting one foot in front of the other, however slowly.

All the same, I sat very still for quite a long time with my feet in the footbath when I came home. I don’t have any blisters and the tennis ball therapy is helping my old fracture so that my toe isn’t painful today; but, you know, little treats help us keep going.

I hope you’ve been treating yourself, too :)

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2015 in Health

 

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what’s slower than glacial?

The sad victim of second mitt syndrome :)

The sad victim of second mitt syndrome :)

Progress on this mitt! In fact, progress on the pair of them. I began the second mitt, but it’s become clear I should have ribbed the whole of the first mitt. Therefore, tinking ahead :(

Dr B and I were to have done another training walk today, but I came home from work early yesterday because I was sneezing and carrying on so much that the Admin Team bullied me into it! I said I had an allergic reaction (thought I couldn’t have said to what). They weren’t convinced. I’m fine today. Plainly, that’s not the speed with which your common cold resolves. I stand by my original assertion. However, a much-needed long sleep meant today’s morning chores turned into afternoon ones and Dr B has headed off to do things with amps, so our walk isn’t going to happen. Tomorrow, Youngest Aunt and I will walk a 16 Km beachside loop.

The training program that’s outlined on the Bloody Long Walk’s website doesn’t start for a couple of weeks – and that’s the Beginner Level – so we’re ahead of ourselves in that respect. That’s no bad thing, since it means we’re able to sort out our equipment now and have it working to our complete satisfaction by September. Dr B is worried about me – I think it’s in his job brief :) – so I gave in gracefully and, at his urging, bought some new boots the other night. My joggers would need replacing before September and, to be fair to them, they’ve already done lots of kilometres and are showing signs of wear. They were never intended to provide the sort of ankle support I’ll need on the roughs and ups-and-downs of the first part of the walk, so boots it is.

I have longstanding allegiance to an old name in Aussie boots, but couldn’t get what I wanted. After discussion with a very helpful young man at a nearby outdoor/sports store, I ended up with something lighter, waterproof and more modern. I hope they’re as good as I was led to believe and that they serve me as well as my last pair of Mulgas.

So it’s on with the knitting and on with the walking and the whizzing-past of the year. As for YoungB? He’s seeing Naples at the moment, in the company of a local. He’s posting photos of food porn (special Neapolitan fish cakes), cultural porn (Pompeii) and a degree of beach porn (views of Capri and the Amalfi coastline, not hot babes in bikinis). After getting sunburnt during all that northern activity, I imagine he’s going to find our southern winter temperatures akin to my knitting: glacial.

Whatever your temperatures are doing, may you be progressing well on all of your projects.

 
 

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plainly, I don’t knit that fast

Ya wanna know how the mitts went? I made quite good progress with them through the week but there was no way I was going to finish them by Thursday. Work is too busy, meaning I’m working longer hours to try to stop that overwhelming me (failing) and, yeah, just not enough leftover hours. I’m almost finished one mitt – only the  thumb left – and have cast on for the second. My boss is unperturbed. He’s the sort of person who’ll be pleased to get them any time, so if I can maintain a steady pace with the knitting this week, they might be ready for him to wear to next weekend’s footy match.

Appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, this really is in the middle of dense suburbia

Appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, this really is in the middle of dense suburbia

Not being footy people ourselves, I suppose we’ll be out walking again. Today we managed a shade over 15 Km in a loop and 251 m of climbing (last week it was only 209 m). We have a wonderful parkland reserve within walking distance of home – closer than last week’s wetlands – so that’s where we ended up doing a lot of rough walking and most of the climbing. We are both still mercifully free of blisters but my feet were aching by the time we came home and the toe that I’ve broken several times – which, consequently, has next to no ability to bend in any direction – was actively painful. I climbed straight into my compression tights and I’ve been massaging my feet on a couple of tennis balls while I sit at the computer (a suggestion from my podiatrist). I’m improving. I could probably, and very likely will, do another walk tomorrow thought it won’t be such a long one.

So that’s the story of the mitts. They’re not forgotten but, alas, nowhere near finished. I’ll keep knitting. I hope you’re managing to keep knitting, too; or walking, if that’s your thing :)

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Health, Knitting

 

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it’s not exactly knitting those mitts but it’s doing something

Local wetlands park, one of the delightful nearby lots of paths for off-road walking

Local wetlands park, one of the delightful nearby lots of paths for off-road walking

This reserve is sort of down the bottom of our road, and it’s where Dr B and I did some of our training walk yesterday. I say “bottom” advisedly, since coming home is an uphill business and sufficiently wearing that, once home, I climbed into my compression gear and went straight to bed. For three hours.

Is my knitting progressing? Well, of course it’s not. My boss’s birthday is this week and I sort of half-promised him some fingerless mitts in his footy team’s colours. I found suitable yarn at my LYS and have cast on for the first mitt. But that’s truly as far as I’ve gone because the main colour is black and I cannot see to knit black at night, no matter how strong a lamp I use. Could I have done some today before the light faded? Perhaps; but realistically, no.

However, if I do a few hours a day and bits here and there, they’ll probably be ready by Thursday. Whaddaya reckon my chances are? Fnigres corsesd!

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Health, Knitting

 

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but there weren’t any blisters

Where we weren't walking yesterday but where we w ill be walking in September: blue skies and seas to cheer us on

Where we weren’t walking yesterday but where we w ill be walking in September: blue skies and seas to cheer us on

Yesterday, in relatively mild conditions, Dr B came with me on a 15-Km training walk, a loop along our nearby riverside park. I appreciated his company and was most impressed by his efforts, particularly as he’s one who’s normally far more comfortable on a bicycle. He was silly enough to point out at one stage that, had we been on bikes, we could have been to the city and back again in the time it took us to walk about halfway. He might have been, I had to remind him, but I’d be a tattered and bloody mess and still at the beginning, having already fallen too many times to feel confident of continuing. So we walked and, as a concession to his weary legs, caught a bus home for the last uphill bit.

Today the weather is distinctly wintry, so he’s been clearing the last of the grapevine prunings and is presently off listening to pub bands. I’m achieving nothing I would like to – any sort of crafting work – and not much that I’m meant to – though dinner didn’t magic itself into the oven any more than the laundry hung itself on the indoor line – but tomorrow is a working day and I’ve reached the point of believing that it’s more important to get a good night’s sleep than to finish knitting anything, no matter its urgency.

Is that heresy? I fear so. Better hang me, then :) I hope your prospects are cheerier, whatever your weather or crafting tendency.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2015 in Cycling, Knitting

 

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