Tuesday 19 September 2023

A More Positive Day


Sloe Gin started.  I used to have a taller plastic container but think that was charity-shopped when we moved.  There is something very comforting at the moment, about making Sloe Gin again.  First time since we've been here I think as the local Sloe harvest had been non-existent in 2021 and 2022.  It's something I've made most years we've lived in Wales and will be bottled as presents at Christmas.

Keith started the day much better and walked a few steps without holding on to anything (but with the rail either side along the top hall in case he needed to grab them).  He doesn't move much during the day though, which doesn't help matters at all.  I'm trying to get him to eat more - I should think he barely hits 1000 calories most days. He's never been a great one for eating, but now he is losing weight but won't try and eat extra.  

I went up into the attic and bought down my late friend Annie's Inkle Loom which I think (husband) Mick made for her.  I need to start from scratch with it as the wools on it are probably 10 years old now and will be brittle.  I watched a couple of You Tube videos this morning, but had to abandon one as the American lady's voice was so annoying!

I also ordered a box with four different British fleece tops.  It's called "Best of British" from Fibrehut and includes Shetland (natural grey); Wensleydale (natural white); BFL (natural dark brown) and Southdown (natural white).  Something to look forward to.  I've bought my bag of old tops down and my drop spindle and will have a little practice after tea. It's been years so I will have to be diligent.

    I had arranged for a local charity to come and collect the leather recliner chair we drove to Shrewsbury to buy for Keith.  But he found it too low for him so it's been taking up a lot of space in the already overcrowded Library.  Also there was the armchair which matches our big sofa, but there is no room for and it was never used.  That went too - I was expecting the collection in the morning, but he came today instead.  I've had a sort out in there now and moved things around, and taken some books Keith will never read (neck too painful) to the charity shop, along with a couple of things from pre-Covid stock which-one has ever shown any interest in at Fairs. At least the Red Cross will benefit.  I will harden my heart and sort out another big pile of novels to go down to them and sort through a box of Lesser Old Stock too, and pass it on.

    Anyone who has known me for any length of time will know that I stay true to the things which have always interested me.  I never made the progress I hoped with spinning - life got in the way - but perhaps now I can try and get back to it.  

Isn't this beautiful?  It's Soapwort and was planted at Tretower Court (in the beds around the fountain area).  It would have been used for washing fabrics in the past and can still be used especially for those vintage pieces which need delicate washing and no harsh detergents.

    Time for tea now.


  1. I didn't mean to worry you about the price of care. The price I quoted is for a week in a care home. Home care should be much more reasonable.

  2. Pleased Keith has picked up a bit, have you tried the protein drinks for him, the Dr. should prescribe, but beware some flavours are definitely better than others. Gents seemed to prefer the chocolate and strawberry ones. I'm very impressed that you are going to start weaving, I loved to craft but my hands get so painful I prefer to save for doing my gardening. Take care. Hugs. Gill Xx

  3. Spinning and weaving look so interesting. And having a hand craft to focus on can be very calming and mindful.
    My dad made a cordial w plums and vodka, but my attempt to eproduce i was a FAIL.

    The soapwort is interesting. Pretty. What we call soapwort here [prob erroneously] is a tall weed like foamy white flowered goldenrod.

    I am happy you had a better day.


  4. Your sloe gin has already got the most marvellous colour. It has been a while now since I have been able to get out to pick any sloes. I used to make many bottles. some for gifting some. for drinking that year and some for putting away for future years. . My goodness. Some of the older ones had a delicious maturity about them. Have you ever tried sloe gin and bitter lemon? Don't knock it till you've tried it.

  5. I have never heard of soapworts before. I just wandered off to have a read about them. That would be a fun plant to grow.

  6. I grew soapwort in the Bath garden, very pretty and was rewarded one summer with the humming bird hawkmoth drinking at the flowers. They were rare than but are now more common. Good luck with your spinning, have you still got your wheel? Never tried inkle weaving, couldn't think what to do with the straps made.

  7. Good news that you both had a better day and well done for getting craft things out - you have more patience than I would have!

  8. We have saponaria (soapwort) in the meadow. I didn’t plant or sow it, like everything growing in the meadow, apart from yellow rattle, it arrived all by itself. It is a very pretty pink flower and one day I will look into harvesting it for soap. It has become very autumnal here so yesterday as it was cold chicken collation for supper I made a greengage crumble for pud. Nigel Slater added ground almonds to his greengage crumble so I did the same and it was delicious. We had the hedge cutters here yesterday afternoon and they arrived at 7.30am this morning to finish the job. We have a lot of beech hedging that divides garden from meadow, the driveway from garden and encloses the kitchen garden and a long length of native hedge as well as hazel, elm and hawthorn on the front boundary but they do a superb job and I pleased to say having just been out with a tray of tea that it is bright and dry this morning. We also have the electrician here later today to replace the switch/junction box that controls the beam lights in the kitchen. They had begun to flicker on first switching on and as the beam lights are the ones that make the kitchen cosy on dark evenings it is important these work properly. Now I have finished knitting my handspun Romney Marsh hats for Saturday’s wedding (I took the second hat to the wire as it was too hot to knit for about a week) I should start to think about my autumn crafting. I still have about 300g of the Romney Marsh merino fleece top I bought in April but I would rather have an end project in mind before starting to spin so until the muse strikes I think I will give my hands a rest - they have worked so hard in the garden this year. Your sloe gin looks amazing already! I’m going to say BB that before you start playing with your precious loom and wool that you make sure you are sitting comfortably and that you clear your mind by doing some long slow deep breathing. Spinning is wonderful therapy but if you haven’t done it for a white take your time, there is no rush and enjoy every part of the process. Let’s hope these better days continue. I know S feels better when I am calm and relaxed and not worrying about him and I am sure K is the same. Que sera sera. Sarah x

  9. I remember my mum making Sloe gin though it was not something I liked

  10. I so want a loom to add to my craft room!!! You are a very lucky lady to have one. I saw a lovely spinning wheel once, but the price was way too high. I am glad Keith got a bit of walking in and I hope his appetite improves.

    God bless.

  11. I've heard of sloe gin, but never knew what it was. You better hope that Pippi and Lulu don't take up tippling. You'll really have your hands full then!