I've spent the past few weeks mostly recovering from the benefits appeal, which mercifully I won. But it was a huge trauma and stress, I'm only just sleeping properly after it. It is deeply invidious that the system should be so skewed against the sick.
On a brighter note I've continued pursuing the domestic arts. It makes sense really, I'm home so much, at most I'm out two hours a day; homely things like baking bread and knitting make sense as occupations. Baking bread is tiring, but rewarding and interesting, I've been reading Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery, a work I highly recommend if you are at all interested in baking your own bread. In it she explores the history of bread making and all the technical details, before going on to provide comprehensive recipes that work well. Although I have only really dipped in and out of it (it is an immense work) it is an entertaining read, Elizabeth David was not just passionate about food but crucially was a superb writer. She leaves one in no doubt as to her opinions. Illustrated here is my first attempt at a Coburg loaf, which is apparently just like a cob loaf, but for the cross cut on top.
With the onset of spring my annual enthusiasm for gardening has returned and this week Dad did all the hard work and I put some spinach, baby cos lettuce and tomato seeds in some pots. The cos lettuce leaves have already sprouted and together with the baby spinach leaves should provide some interesting lunchtime salads. Our pond goes from strength to strength, being currently full of tadpoles; it resembles a bustling city, the surface of the water constantly aquiver. The fish seem remarkably unconcerned by their little companions nor by the newt who we spotted in there this week.
Knitting takes up most of my time and energy, but I would like to have a go at some sewing, hopefully this coming week I'll manage to prise myself away from the knitting needles. Overall things are very quiet, lonely at times. I've managed to get to church group a few times lately, they're a lovely group of people, all my friends are lovely people, just far too busy. I suppose it's no fault of theirs, but it does leave me on my own the vast majority of the time and I can't remember when I last met up with a friend except at church group or knitting group, which is just a bit depressing.
Still got to keep my pecker up I suppose, could be worse? Or something like that! While we're on the subject of good attitude I'd recommend reading Kate Davies' blog Needled - a lecturer in 18th century fashion and social history she recently had a stroke and her account of recovery has been amazing. Every doctor ought to read it as an account of what it feels like to have a stroke (or indeed any other sudden change of circumstance and health). She writes with humour and grace and although the word 'inspiring' can be somewhat overused in this case it is in way hyperbolic. She also makes gorgeous knits such as the famous (in the knitting world!) Owls jumper and the photography is brilliant. Over and out for now, hopefully I'll update this more frequently, who knows.