My day in photos

I’ve had quite a productive day today, unlike this gorgeous twosome who have spent most of the day snoozing!

I know I’m biased, but I’m convinced we have the two cutest puddy tats in the world. They’re so beautiful, they make my heart flutter a little bit.

I decided to use my extra hour today to make a start on this lovely craft project that one of my favourite people bought me for my birthday.

It’s make your own sequin Christmas baubles. This was all in a kit, but I’m quite sure you could get the equipment separately from somewhere like Hobbycraft.

You need a polystyrene ball, a bauble hanging cap (this is the metal ring that you get in the top of old fashioned style baubles – you could recycle from an old/broken one), sequins, pins and ribbon. That’s it!

After you’ve pushed your hanging cap into the ball you get going with the sequins. You literally just work round in circles, slightly overlapping the sequins as you go. It was actually really therapeutic and I really enjoyed the slow circular rhythm. I found after a while that it helped to balance the ball on a little candle that I have, and, happy bonus, every time I moved it round I got the gentle scent of fresh linen from my candle.

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Heres the finished bauble. I LOVE it. So pretty and sparkly. Can’t wait for December to get the tree out and let it fulfil its festive destiny.

After my dressing room clearout yesterday we decided to go to the tip. I know it’s a bit sad, but I love going to the tip. Although I don’t like clear surfaces and have to have bits and bobs around, much to the chagrin of my lovely hubby who tends to be in charge of the family duster, I find it so cathartic getting rid of junk and clutter. We had three Gousto boxes which are too bulky to go in the regular recycling bin, and various other bits of cardboard as well as a load of rubbish that wasn’t good enough for the charity shop and a mahoosive bag of garden rubbish. All gone now!

I needed to pick up our click and collect shopping, and while I was there I spotted M&S and, inspired by the lovely Butterflies and Boundaries blog post that I read this morning I decided to nip in to get some lunch. Can’t beat M&S ready meals, and this is one of their best.

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Spaghetti Carbonara. Yum!

Whilst I was out I decided to go and get a birthday present for my special friend whose birthday was actually last week, but I’m not seeing her until Tuesday. Obviously I can’t show you what I bought her in case she reads this before Tuesday, but as with any great shopping trip, I also came home with a couple of little treats for myself.

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I’ve been trying to work out all afternoon if this is irony. It’s a Crassula which is toxic to cats, in a cat pot. Is that ironic or just misleading? Isn’t it just typically British to create a concept, that no one is ever actually quite sure how to define. We all know that Alanis Morrisette got it all wrong with her ten thousands spoons when all you need is a knife and all that. The only way that would’ve been ironic is if it turned out at a later date that actually a spoon would’ve done! Is my Crassula/cat pot ironic? Really not sure! Anyway, it had to stay in the car to avoid cat ingestion and is coming to work with me tomorrow.

I also got some new socks. Somehow mine all seem to have holes in the heel. Socks are so expensive! £20 for these nine pairs. Nice though, eh?

Back at Chez Green Girl I decided to construct the second raised bed, despite the absence of my lovely hubby. Not as easy with one, but stubborn to a fault I am, and determined, so I succeeded. I did have to admit defeat when it comes to moving them to their final resting point – that is definitely going to take two (if not three) pairs of arms.

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Ta daaaaa! We will have our own fruit and veg next year!

I had a quick look round the garden, just to reassure myself that everything is ok. It pretty much is, although it’s very sad to see everything starting to shut down for the winter.

My Acer is still tiny, and it is supposed to go red in the Autumn, which is hasn’t really, but you can just about see that it’s trying.

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And my Euphorbia has got some beautiful white flowers. It’s so so pretty waving around in the breeze.

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By now I was getting peckish, so I came in and cooked the first of this week’s Gousto meals – Goat’s Cheese and Red Pepper Pizza with Rocket Salad.

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Delicious! I love goat’s cheese.

Right, time to ease my aching back after the weekend’s exertions in a nice hot bubble bath with the last episode of the Cry on my iPad. I’ve watched the first three today and I’m hooked – I’ve got to find out what the conclusion is!

Toodles!

A bitty day

Today started with a very VERY long snooze! Nine hours and fifty one minutes to be precise.

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You can see from my Fitbit why I needed to catch up. For some people, I know, this is perfectly enough sleep, but I think I must’ve been a cat or a sloth in a former life, and anything less than eight hours isn’t enough for me. Couple that with the dark mornings, and it doesn’t make for a very happy Green Girl Gardener! I think I must be the only person in the world who actually likes the clock change at the end of October. Of course I don’t like the fact that it’s dark before I leave work, however, first of all, we get an extra hour in bed, and most importantly, it’s lighter in the mornings for a couple of weeks and that makes me feel sooooo much better.

Along with lots of people, I suffer from the effects of SAD when the days get darker. I’ve had my SAD light on every morning for the last week, which just about keeps the edge off it. Before I bought the light, I spent most of the time from late October to the beginning of March like the proverbial bear with a sore head, and a tired one at that. I mostly just wanted someone to put me out of my misery! That might sound melodramatic, but that’s really what SAD makes you feel like. The SAD light I have is this one.

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I’d highly recommend it for anyone needing a boost in the winter.

After my epic sleep I started the day in typical autumnal fashion.

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Snuggly dressing gown and teddy bear blanket, crumpets (Warburtons, the king of crumpets!) with lashings of butter and the teeniest scrape of marmite (I’m convinced that marmite haters are just those who have put too much marmite on their preferred choice of carbohydrate) and some mindless Candy Crushing.

I had a hair appointment booked today. This is exciting for two reasons. Firstly, because I love getting my hair done. It always feels like such a luxury to be coiffured by a professional, and I hate drying my hair so I love getting my hair washed and dried by my hairdresser. Secondly, because when I booked this appointment for today, it was with our holiday in mind, so this means it’s finally nearly here!

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Holiday hair in process! Never an attractive look, but worth it for the end result.

Never one to miss up an opportunity to crochet, I made full use of the time while my hair was ‘cooking’.

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Ive cracked the waistcoat stitch now so I’m zooming on with my September Little Box of Crochet. I’m determined to finish it before our holiday (thirteen days and counting!) so that I can take the October box with me.

We left one member of the family at the hairdresser’s.

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This is Bella. I can’t remember if I’ve talked to you about Bella before. I won her a few months ago in a ‘guess the name’ competition run by the Animal House, a wonderful charity based in South Birmingham who do amazing work for animals. Do check out their web page. When I won Bella, I didn’t realise quite how big she was! It’s hard to see the scale in the photo, but that sofa is designed for three people! My hairdresser is Blowers which is owned and run by my brother in law, and when I mentioned Bella to him and how we really couldn’t keep her because of her size, but that I wanted her to go to a good home, he said he knew someone who worked for a charity and suggested that we donate her. So that’s what we’ve done. I feel quite sad that she’s gone, and the dining room looks bare, but I’m pleased that she’ll make even more money for good causes.

Last weekend we bought eight sleepers with which to make our raised beds so that we can grow our own fruit and veg next year.

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The sleepers are 1.2 metres long, so they’re only going to be small raised beds, but I figure for my first foray into fruit and veg growing, they’ll be fine. There’s plenty of space in our garden if we decide we need more beds.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t behave and, as well as being freezing cold, it decided to rain on us, so we only managed to get one put together before we admitted defeat and retreated inside to the radiator!

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I’m a little bit in love with it! I’m so excited for the spring when I can plant it. First things first though. I need to clear and level the area that it will live in, and decide if I want slabs around it. Some fun garden designing to get on with. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out and put the second one together tomorrow.

On the subject of the garden: a couple of our fence panels had been on their last legs for some time, and Storm Callum proved to be the final straw and they gave in, so we had them replaced yesterday. Oh my goodness it looks good now!

After our garden exploits were foiled, I decided to have a clear out of my dressing room. I realise that sounds really posh! I’m not the Queen honestly, I just commandeered our little third bedroom when we moved in and stuck my wardrobe in it!

Does anyone else have a bit of an obsession with boxes?

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I found this one in my wardrobe that was given to me as a gift with a mug in it. The mug is in regular use, but I hadn’t found a use for the lovely box. I put it in the pile of rubbish to go to the tip and took it out twice because I couldn’t bear to let it go. I couldn’t find a use for it in my dressing room, so I’ve put it to work in the kitchen.

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It’s definitely been a bitty kind of a day today! I feel like this post has jumped around all over the place – sorry if you get a headache from the bouncing!

WarHorse

I’m a big fan of Michael Morpurgo, as it would seem are a huge number of people. His Facebook page has forty one thousand likes and the film version of WarHorse grossed almost one hundred and eighty million dollars at the box office.

Like lots of people, I think, it wasn’t until WarHorse came to prominence that Michael Morpurgo came to the forefront of my mind. You may have noticed the slightly strange turn of phrase there ‘came to the forefront of my mind’. This is because he had been in my mind for a long time, but I had completely forgotten until I did some browsing of Amazon that I did actually read a Michael Morpurgo book when I was twelve. This one.

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I know I was definitely twelve because the book was a gift from my Dad and C when I broke my leg. I always remembered the book but didn’t remember who wrote it. I read it in one day while I was stranded on the sofa, up to my hip in plaster.

I read WarHorse on my Kindle a few years ago and loved it so when I saw that the stage show was touring and coming to the Hippodrome in Birmingham I headed straight on line to book tickets, and last Saturday we headed into town for the matinee showing.

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It was a packed house, not an empty seat anywhere as we waited for the show to start.

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The puppetry was amazing. The two main horses, Joey and Topthorn had three people operating them, two inside the body representing the hind and the heart and one alongside representing the head. Somehow the knowledge that the horses hearts were being represented made the depiction all the more poignant. I obviously couldn’t take photos during the performance but I’ve found a good pic online.

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On the left is Joey and Topthorn is on the right. You can see the three puppeteers. This is when they were first introduced to each other behind the lines of the battlefield in France. There were also supporting horses, but these were differentiated by being less formed, their bodies ended at their tail with no hind legs, and they were operated by just one person.

As well as the horses, there was a puppet goose. It was operated by one person using a handle attached to it, and it waddled around the stage on a wheel. The goose provided a very necessary touch of light relief.

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The title of the show is fairly self explanatory, but until I read the book, it had never occurred to me that animals were involved in the First World War. We all know of the enormous human suffering and loss of life, but less is known of the plight of the million horses that were sent to France. Only sixty two thousand returned. That’s approximately ninety five percent that perished.

The book is written from Joey’s point of view but I guess it would be hard to portray this on the stage so in this case you watch the events unfold in front of you. You see Joey bought at auction by Ted Narracott and then see his relationship grow with Albert, Ted’s son. He has to learn to become a farm horse, ploughing the land, and it is this which ultimately saves his life out on the battlefields of France.

I don’t want to ruin the story, just in case anyone hasn’t read it/watched it, so I won’t delve any more into the plot. The portrayal of the fighting, the torture of uncertainty and no news back home and the agonising choices having to be made at the front line is incredibly moving. In fact, at times I found myself squirming in my seat because I actually found it quite uncomfortable viewing. The thought that this is real, people and horses actually went through this. Millions of lives were lost, millions more changed forever. So much bravery and valour, but oh so much pain and suffering.

For me, as an animal lover, and someone who’s had to go through the pain of losing a beloved pet, seeing the First World War portrayed in this way, using animals, drove home to me how absolutely devastating the war was, to the world, to our country, to families, to individuals. It made me incredibly grateful to the men, women and animals who bravely suffered the atrocities of war, whether it be on the front line or away from the action keeping the country ticking over, and so so relieved that this isn’t our reality today.

The show has a happy ending, but put against the backdrop of such horrors, this just serves to heighten the emotion. I never normally get upset at shows or films, but I just couldn’t help it and the tears were rolling down my cheeks at the end. It was harrowing. I felt utterly emotionally exhausted, but then guilty for not being able to hold it together when real people endured the reality of the war with stoicism and resolve. The actors got a standing ovation as they came on to take their bows, which was absolutely deserved. I’m glad we went to see the show, but I don’t think I would put myself through it again.