More Yarn Will Do The Trick

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Accidents will happen!*!*!

Can't believe I can be so stupid. Here I am typing with my left hand, with my right arm in a cast from elbow to fingers. When I arrived at A&E a couple of days ago, the receptionist took my details, then asked how I'd acquired the injury. I told her I was entertaining my grand-daughters with a Stage 2 circus toy, meant to train you up for riding a unicycle, which was duly met with fits of laughter and 'That'll teach you'.
Stage 1 trainer
I've always been fairly confident on the Stage 1 version of the toy, which has four wheels, but I'd never been any good on the next one, which has two wheels and is higher off the ground. I'll never know why on this particular day I thought I'd be any better. Isabella was holding my hand and I did manage to do about one and a half rotations before coming a complete cropper when the blasted thing shot forward shooting my legs up in the air with my derriere ignominiously crashing down with a thump on the stone flags.
The dreaded Stage 2 - not to be recommended !
I was too shocked at first to know what hurt most, but the realisation quickly hit me that it was my hips and my wrist. I hadn't heard any cracks and wanted to assume nothing was broken, as I was incredibly annoyed with myself for letting it happen. I limped indoors and sat down with a cup of Earl Grey that Philip put in front of me, then after further checks established that my hips were just bruised but my wrist was swollen, out of shape and very painful.

Isabella and Ava were very kind and thoughtful as we waited for Nicky to come and collect them. I was trying to reassure them and not to alarm them, but it was impossible for them not to see the pain I was in and I suspect it was almost as big a trauma for them as it was for me.

So half an hour later I was sitting in A&E with Philip. Thankfully, we only had to wait for 90 mins, then I was called in by a friendly doctor, who took one look at the wrist and told me things were not looking good. I was duly sent off for x-rays and after he'd looked at these he pronounced me lucky, that with a little aggressive pulling and a cast I should eventually be restored to full working order.

Now I'm a little naive in these matters, got confused about the order of things and didn't actually take on board that he was going to manipulate my wrist there and then. It was only when he started getting the gas and air out that I realised I was not about to be fitted with the cast. After telling me I could always have an injection into the wrist if it was too painful, I was instructed to take deep breaths on the gas and air every time he yanked and twisted my arm. I have to admit, not all, but some of the realignments were excruciating, but I decided I'd better grin and bear it and get it over with as quickly as possible, rather than holding things up with an injection.
The torture only lasted about three minutes, then the nurse slapped on the cast immediately before it could move again and the friendly doctor told me it looked perfectly straight but I'd better have more x-rays just to make sure.

I was dreading seeing this set of x-rays in case I had to go through it all again, but luckily I was told it was fine and after making another appointment, I could leave.  PHEW! I couldn't get out of there fast enough, although I thought the NHS did me proud. The doctor knew exactly what was wrong, how to treat it and did it efficiently and with as little discomfort as was possible with such an injury. He certainly seemed quite pleased with himself too.

So I have ten days in the full cast, then another month in a half cast. There are parts of me that ache that I didn't know existed before, but on a grand scale I got off fairly lightly. It would have been far worse if I'd damaged my back or my head, so it's a relief it's just a few weeks of inconvenience with only one hand.

Bit by bit it's dawning on me that there's not a lot you can do with only one hand. Can't knit, play guitar, write (as it's my right hand), take pictures, cook, garden, floss your teeth, fasten your bra or wash your hair. I'm having to embrace latter-day-bra-burning grunge - I can definitely feel an imminent visit to the hairdresser coming on. One good thing is that my left-handed typing is improving by the minute, although it's completely stymied my plans to make some instructional videos before Great Little Gifts to Knit is published in September.
View project gallery
Still exasperated with myself for being so stupid - in future I'll have to try and act my age and abandon any plans of being a circus star!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Serpent in my Sun

I've been playing lots of music recently and revisiting some of my old songs. This one has always been a favourite as it's the only song I wrote about my father. Previously I've written lots on my blog about my difficult relationship with my mother, but never mentioned my father, who left when I was fourteen.

I didn't realise how angry I felt with him until I wrote this song twenty years later. When I've played it in the past some people have asked me if it's about abuse, but this was never on my mind. Rather it's about being abandoned by the person you love most of all in the world, the person you think will always be there for you, and coping with the subsequent feelings of betrayal.

So here's the song with the lyrics, see what you think:


My father he was a friend of mine
He said daughter I love you a lot
You’ve got a lot to see and a lot to learn
I’m gonna give you everything that I’ve got
I’m gonna give you the moon and I’ll tell you soon
I’m gonna bring all the mountains to you
But the mist came down on the mountain
And it broke the circle in two

I don’t want your serpent in my sun

So I went over to Alaska
Just to try and find something new
And the seeds were sown and the horn was blown
And the climate of the land was fresh as dew
The seasons flew and the seedlings grew
And the steps in the snow were all gone
But a woman needs a friend indeed
Not a serpent in her sun

They tell me life is a jewel
That we swim in a sapphire sea
And it’s not that hard to believe them
For I always was a child of fantasy
And the gypsy says there’ll be a day
When along will come something or someone
Who won’t stand between you and the morning
Won’t be a serpent in your sun

My father he was a friend of mine
He said daughter I like you a lot
© Jean Moss 2013

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Come On Back

So excited, I've written a new song. Doesn't happen very often, but this one just started to write itself in the car coming back from Wales - must have been all the musical inspiration at Philip's party! I quickly got my phone and wrote down the words and when we got back to York the tune just seemed to fall into place too - maybe some songs are just meant to be.

This morning I recorded it on my ipad, and although it may need polishing up a bit, I'm interested to hear your thoughts so please have a listen and leave some feedback.

Here are the lyrics:


Who’ll blow out the candles
Keep the wood stove burning bright
Be the first to say I’m sorry
After fighting half the night?

Come on back, come on back
Let me love you if you can
Come on back, come on back
You’re my best friend, you’re my man
So come on back.

Who’ll pick up the pieces when
Strong words cut to the bone
Who’ll be there to hold me tight
When I’m feeling all alone?


Who will bring me flowers
To cheer me when I’m low
Who will say I love you,
You’re beautiful, you know?
Sometimes it’s so hard to see
What you value most
Until it’s gone and all that’s left
Is a memory, a ghost.


Some say there’s none so blind
As those who will not see
Who walk through life’s forest
Without seeing a single tree.
I didn’t hear the ticking clock
I let the grain of sand
Slip through my fingers when it was
Right there in my own hand.
 © Jean Moss 2013

The last song I wrote was nearly two years ago, so I'm overjoyed to be in the groove again.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Philip's birthday party in Wales

Just spent the past ten days in Wales, celebrating the solstice and Philip's birthday. We had a few glorious days of warm, dry weather, when it was great to get out into the garden, strimming, weeding and cutting back the jungle which tends to take over if you take your eyes off it for a second, let alone a couple of weeks. 
After knocking the garden into shape - broad brush style
It feels so good at this time of year to be able to sit outside watching the sun go down late into the evening. Of course, there are the dreaded midges, the no-see-ums that can make life hell. A constant war has to be waged to keep them at bay at this time of year, and no less than a combination of smokey fires, citronella candles and midge repellant slathered across every piece of uncovered skin will deter them.  We've even resorted to taking vitamin B1 as I've heard that thiamine is a good natural repellant... but even then I have to accept that a few of them will always get me in the end.

However, the majority of the time we were there, it was just too wet and windy to be outside, which made us very twitchy about the party, as we wondered how everyone would fit into the house, without being able to spill out into the garden.
Gazebo before the party
We did try to hire a beautiful striped big top just like a circus tent, but we hadn't realised that the following weekend was Glastonbury and every available piece of canvas in the area had been packed up and dispatched to the festival. So we ended up getting quite a large gazebo, adding lots of ancient oriental carpets, a few chairs and Ben's sound system et voilĂ  we had a dance lounge, as it was dubbed by the jeunesse.
By the next morning the roof had collapsed in several places
It looked quite pretty when we put it up, but the morning after we realised why the instructions said it shouldn't be left up overnight. I have to admit there was a gale blowing, but didn't expect the whole frame to buckle and snap in places! So first job after the party was to round up a team to get the frame down so it wasn't blown around the garden.  We managed to salvage the canvas, and hopefully we'll be able to recycle it.
Think you need a fleece to line the bottom of the tent,
or  at the very least, a very heavy-duty sleeping bag
Quite a few people camped, and I was introduced to a hammock tent, which is strung between two trees.  Sounds like a heavenly idea, but I can only say that its inhabitant looked decidedly frozen and in need of some hot sustenance when he walked into our kitchen next morning - it must have been like spending a night on board a boat in very stormy waters! In milder climes I'm sure it would be wonderful but believe me, hammock tents and gales do not mix well.

Despite everything though, we all had a great time, in fact it was probably one of the best parties we've ever had. Great to catch up with people we hadn't seen for years, and we were so touched that so many people travelled to wild Wales to share the occasion.
Sent to me by Norwegian friend Hilde, this painting is by the Danish artist,
Kroeyer, who was also born in Norway.  It's how Hilde imagined the party
and no doubt, the spirit it spot on, pity the sun didn't play ball. 
Quite a few people arrived on the Friday night, with the last guests leaving on Monday, so it was like a mini-festival. Kate and I did the food, which started off on Friday night with the simplest of meals - pasta with pesto, chopped tomatoes, garlic, black olives, torn basil and grated parmesan, followed by a mixed berry salad with creme fraiche - easy peasy, a moveable feast which can be tweeked to feed as many as turn up. Need I add there was no shortage of vino! The next morning I made a massive chilli with oodles of wild rice to prepare for the morning after crowd, then Kate and I had to get down to the nitty gritty of making the actual party food.
Love the little owls birthday card
Luckily, several friends had offered to bring cakes and puddings, and baker extraordinaire, Sandra, baked a chocolate birthday cake to die for. Another friend kindly amassed industrial quantities of strawberries, so all we had to do in that department was to make sure we had plenty of dairy for the topping. Also Ron, who owns Clear Spot, generously brought masses of delicious deep-fried tofu.
Sandra's chocolate birthday cake

So... Kate and I definitely had a head start, but were still up bright and early making the hummous, several spanakopita, many quiches, tabbouleh, plus green and tomato salads. Nibbles came out of bags and Kate, who spends much time in the Peloponnese, brought kilos of olives, feta and dolmades back from her village there. The vegetarian feast was eventually laid out on the table and there was just enough time left for us to get our party frocks on.
I took photos later of Annalou's sketches - this is one of Paul...
...and Anthony
Unfortunately very few photos were taken, as everyone was too busy having enjoying themselves. Felix took an atmospheric picture of the birthday cake, resplendent with candles, served charmingly with a glass of bubbles by Felix and his lovely friends. I'll insert this as soon as he sends it over. However, we did have Annalou, our resident artist, who sketched lightning portraits of the musicians as they played and also one of the birthday boy the next day.
Philip on the morning after
I think the dance lounge finally fizzled out at about 6.30am, maybe due to the, by then, unstable nature of the gazebo. Unabashed though, the younger element were out and about on the beach the next day with kite in tow, but frustratingly it was too windy to fly it!
Lyra also joined in the music playing my earrings
Last thing before lreaving we planted Mik and Sarah's birthday gift, a beautiful Meeches Quince.  So looking forward to the wonderful scent of the fruit in the autumn in a couple of years.
Meeches Quince, planted so it s beautiful autumn foliage
can be seen from the back terrace
I don't know how many of those who came to the party read my blog, but I'd like to say a big thank-you to each and every one of you for playing your own part in making Philip's party such a stupendously wonderful occasion. Cheers!