Archive for November, 2010

Last night…

…was, without doubt, the worst of my life. My normally quiet ward – which closes two bays overnight and can cope with only three staff on the 13 hour shift – was full to bursting and loaded with crazies. At one point, the on-call doctor asked, in all seriousness, if our specialty had been changed to dementia. Between the pervert who tried to buy me flowers and attempted escape when I said I was married, and the woman who screamed, “AH, she’s hurting me,” as soon as I walked past her bed, I had a very rough night indeed. I’m hoping tonight will be slightly more… well, more as I’m accustomed to. Luckily, this is my last one for a while.

Unluckily, all my kitchen fuses have blown, and despite messing around with the fuse box in a random ‘turn-it-off-and-on-again’ sort of way, I have been unable to stir any life out of my appliances. This leaves me no choice but to go to work early and purchase food in the staff canteen. Don’t get me wrong, not having to cook will be something of a pleasant change, but last time I ate from there, I ended up tasting the same bland-yet-repetitive pasta for about a week, every time I breathed. I don’t know if it’s because I inhaled some in my rush to be done with it, but the experience was very unpleasant, regardless.

Aand, I realise that my writing this is just me stalling. Time to de-ice the car, remove the cat from where she’s gone to sleep in the arm of my abandoned floor coat and face my inevitable dinner. Wish me luck. I’ll surely need it.



And so begins the arduous task of resetting my body clock to function overnight for the grand total of two shifts. Hopefully these are the last I’ll have to do for a while, but my shift pattern from the coming month is looking somewhat arduous regardless. In one week I have three 13 hour shifts in a row, a single day off, and then another early morning. Yet another reason I can’t wait for my long Christmas weekend in Denmark. I’m going to sleep like there’s no tomorrow!

Anyways, what I was going to say was – the worst thing about night shifts isn’t the actual working over night. It’s having to figure out whether it’s better to stay up late the night before and sleep straight through, or whether it’s better to go to bed early, get up early, and sleep late through the afternoon. Today, I am trying the early, early, late option, though all I really want to do is stay up and watch the snow fall in case it gets bad enough for me to stay home. I doubt it will be – the Micra is incredible in the snow and hasn’t ever failed to start regardless of weather conditions. Still, an evening in bed, instead of traipsing the ward with the tea trolley is incredibly appealing so I feel it’s fine to hope.


A lot to answer for…

You know who – aside from the person that made it so easy to spend money on a debit card – has a lot to answer for? Kirstie Allsopp. Since channel 4 started showing Kirstie’s Homemade Home, I’ve felt validated in my obsessive, compulsive need to shun the quick-fix Ikea lifestyle.

Suddenly, it’s alright for me to spend £66 on an antique patchwork quilt – Kirstie spent more on hers. And of course it’s ok for me to buy my bodyweight in wool without the slightest idea what to do with it because it’ll become something unique. And all those scraps of fabric I hoard? Well, Kirstie says they’ll come in handy one day, so they can continue to eat up what little space there is left in the once-man-nook.


My stunning new quilt on the 'for sale' spare bed... If you want a double bed frame, or a mattress, then please feel free to make an offer...


Today, after coming home from work, I made a chocolate banana cake and some soap. I’ve been saying I’ll make soap for the longest time, but I finally got myself in gear this afternoon and dutifully splashed a mixture of caustic soda and olive oil around the kitchen. I don’t know how successful this latest crafty attempt of mine has been, but hopefully by tomorrow I should have something which I might be able to cut into bar form, wrap in cellophane and raffia, and pack up in the Christmas hampers I’m doing.

Anyways, best be off for now. I need to make pie and then continue to call Mum until she answers – I want to know just how bad their snow is…


After having to leave work yesterday due to the most epic pain I’ve had in a long while, and discovering that there’s no real reason for it, I thought today could only improve.

Except that I’m in more pain now than I was yesterday and the doctor still doesn’t know what’s wrong. Other than telling me to drink more water, they were pretty useless. And on my way over there, I ended up witnessing a fairly bad car crash. Now I have to do a police witness report and all sorts.

A friends said, “At least you’ve got the day off work,” but I hate that. I feel like such a fraud for staying home sick, even when I do feel terrible. And to stop the ward being short-staffed, I had to take tomorrow off too so that they can get someone else in to cover me. To cheer myself up though, I’ve been ploughing on with my knitting and have finally managed to finish the gift bags which I intend to give to my nieces.


With some shiny chocolates, the homemade scarves really fill the bag and look a lot more expensive than they were.



After I'd knitted the scarves (well, two of them anyway. A- did the purple one), I rolled them up and tied them with contrasting ribbons. For the washing instructions, I just copied those from the wool label onto mini luggage tags and threaded this through the ribbon. I think it looks pretty smart.

With two girls in one family, and one girl in another – there are yet another two girls but they’re slightly older and younger than these three – I thought I’d give one of the pink scarves and the purple one to the sisters, and the other pink scarf to the girl in the other family. That way, no one has an item the same as their sibling. I think I might get a little wooden toy/make a little bear or something to go in as well, but we’ll see how time goes. I need to have enough minutes to make three – to make fewer would be showing favouritism.

I’ve had to stock up on other wool for dad related gifts. Who knew fathers could have such large heads?

The week of knitting by the stove – with hot running tea and biscuits on tap – has really inspired me to keep going. Normally when I bother with this craft, I complete the project I started on and then wait until S- loses his scarf before I begin a new one*. This time, I am actively seeking people to knit for, trying to come up with interesting Christmas present ideas and experimenting with new types of stitch. Moss stitch, for example, has turned out to be very scrummy-looking when combined with fat wool and chunky needles**.

But I digress…

By the way – anyone have any ideas what to buy for boys? I have 4 gents to purchase things for and no ideas.


*Inevitably, I make husband a lot of scarves. They tend to be deposited in places and then forgotten about.
** Thanks, Mum!




So we’re back to the early morning babble, rather than coherent ‘blog posts. Hooray.

I can’t decide whether I actually feel as crap as I think I do right now, or whether it’s just a random by-product of getting up this disgustingly early which I had forgotten about. Either way, all my muscles are stiff, my stomach is doing terrible things to itself and if I need to go to the bathroom one more time in the next 24 hours, I will begin to swear that someone is teleporting water into my bladder. I forget what made me think I could work at 37.5 hour job which involved hideous shift ‘patterns’ – if you can call six non-consecutive nights amongst four weeks of early starts a pattern – but I am seriously reconsidering my body’s ability to function in this way. If I stick this out until February, it will be a bloody miracle.

In other news, Artemis still hasn’t shut up. She was even kind enough to serenade me last night whilst I improvised dinner. You see, even though I did make it to the shops yesterday, and even though I had planned the next week of food, I didn’t actually count on us needing to eat on Monday… I haven’t even set foot in my work-place yet and already my brain has melted. In any case, whilst converting my impulse haggis into lasagna – which takes about twenty-five minutes – kitten did not shut up once. I am seriously considering ear plugs.

Also, reading back on what I’ve written so far – because I should have left five minutes ago to beat the rush to the car park – I couldn’t help but notice that it sounds as if I hate my job. I’d like to point out that I don’t, I’m just really, really tired and I know that working is only going to make it worse.

Euch. Best set off.

In the inbetween

No, I haven’t written in a while, but I have been enjoying a very well-needed rest up at Mum and Dad’s. Having seen all of my closest friends last week, I feel rather spiritually fulfilled and heartened against the inevitable difficulties of the coming months. That, and my cat has missed me to the point of following me everywhere – including to the bathroom – now that I’m home.

The Christmas-present-making continued in Scotland, uninterrupted by the trip and I am happy to report that I have two scarves to put in my little gift bags, with another on the needles. If all goes well, I’ll even be able to ‘blog my soap making tomorrow when I get in from work. I don’t think it’ll be safe enough in time to give any to the children I had planned to make it for, but I’m confident that my friends will understand my ‘do not use before’ dates… ahem.

In any case, I am returned. Now it’s off to the supermarket for rations, then home again, heating on and under the blankets in the living room. Next mission… the non-square patchwork quilt.

Excitement, she wrote

I am actually so excited now that I can’t sleep after a night shift. In just 24 hours, I will be sat in a car, moaning about the state of modern music, blasting up the A1 (correct me if I’m wrong, J-) in pursuit of The North.

Oh yes, that’s right! I’m going home… and I’m dragging everyone I love with me!*

This will be the first time that my uni friends and the lovely M-, are all in one place together for longer than 24 hours.  Also, Mum very kindly insured me to drive her 4×4 so I get to add the Subaru Forester to my list of ‘have-drivens’.

I’m actually starting to lose track of how that list goes. I think the following are correct:

Original Ford Fiesta
Original Ford Ka
Renault Clio Mk 3
Ford Focus Mk 2
That queer Volvo which doesn’t look like one… the S40 I think…
Saab 93 with the steering wheel on the wrong side
VW Polo Mk II Facelift
VW Polo Mk III
VW Polo Mk IV
Dead Ford Transit van
Brand new Ford Transit van with the steering wheel on the wrong side
Landrover D3 with the steering wheel on the wrong side
Nissan Primera from 2003
Nissan Micra K12

Cars I have technically driven, but not fast enough to get a feel for include:
Peugeot 206
Original Mini Mayfair
Landrover Defender
Hyundai Coupe**

And then I really do forget. It’s not as extensive as I hoped it would be, but it proves a point… somehow. I am yet to be led wrong by a VW Polo. Those guys are he best (as are contact lenses).

Anyways, I’ve babbled incoherently for long enough. I’ve now been up for 19 hours straight. Bed time!


*Except (F)Artemis, who hates cars and people and others cats. This isn’t really a trip for anti-social mini-kitty killers.

**This car is the only vehicle which has ever made me wish for power steering. That when I took it back to the garage I was  told it had fully functional power-steering is irrelevant. Husband skidded it on a roundabout, and I strained my arms trying to take us back to the forecourt. To be honest, I really liked that – it felt real – but I’m not sure my ligaments could take it for any longer than a five minute test drive.


I should be in bed right about now, seeing as how I have to work a night shift in nine hours. My problem, at present, is the fact that the wind is threatening to blow the hazelnut tree at the back of the house onto the roof, thus crushing me and my miraculously cured cat. As a result, I am sat here, tapping away on the keyboard with a mug of hot milk in the desperate hope that I will somehow drop off.

Another problem I have is that my soap-making goodies have arrived. Since I rediscovered the magical effects of a hot bath with lovely smellies, I have been determined to try my hand at making some. Whilst the plan is to have them ready by Christmas to give as gifts, the violent nature of the caustic soda means that even if I were to start right this second – and I can’t because I don’t have enough olive oil – it wouldn’t be safe for skin in time.

I might make some anyway when I get back from Scotland, and put a “do not use before” date on…

Well, I’m off to eat some cheese and then sleep. I suddenly realised that I’ve never tested if it gives you wierd dreams before, so am going to give it a go! I will let  you know any results!


You wouldn’t think that it could be so hard to keep in touch with about seven people from throughout the course of your life, but time and time again, I’ve been proved spectacularly wrong. Afterall, t’s difficult enough to organise a gathering of my university friends and we live within easy driving distance of one another. When you factor the people I know from back home into the equation it suddenly all becomes very complicated and I end up not seeing childhood friends for years at a time. Yet somehow, on this coming trip to Scotland, I think I’m going to get to see just about everyone.

Makes me wonder if the universe is just giving me one last ‘goodbye tour’. I will be sure to be even more suspicious of Newmarket’s killer horse boxes than usual…

In other news, I have another meeting to keep this evening. I need to take (F)Artemis to the vet. Not because of her pungent odors, but because of the spectacular mess she made of her eye yesterday. Naturally, kitten is nowhere to be seen at present so I can’t check to see whether the problem has righted itself overnight. I’m hoping the red ickyness will be gone so that I can come home from work to a nap, rather than a high-speed chase around the dining room with a cat basket.

After this morning’s hideously early start, I’m on a night shift from Thursday to Friday. Then I’ll get about 5 hours to sleep, then I’ll have to pack up the car, pick up my friends and get ready for the drive north. If you don’t hear from me, in the next few days, it’ll be because I’m unconscious in the Polo’s foot well somewhere. There’s only so much tea can do, after all.

Well, I’ve muttered darkly long enough for one morning. Time to join the tractors filing into Newmarket, and dream about unbreakable cats.

Bag tutorial

I know that most of the people who read my ‘blog are fairly crafty anyways, but I thought I would post a link to the tutorial I’ve done for the Christmas gift bags on Burdastyle.

I use the member tutorials on this site so much, and even though my contribution is rather obvious in comparison to some of the others, I hope that other novices will be able to learn something from it.

Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!