Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Can we do the weekend over again??

To begin with, the GOOD NEWS.... 

Bless us all but the past few days have been sensationally uninteresting in the main part, I shall tell one part of it here but boy am I glad that brighter and cheerier (fingers crossed) days are ahead....

Toby sniffing my new Millican 'Smith, the roll pack'  adventure photo day rack sack - so beautiful
Saturday saw us get all hopped up and ready to go on an adventure into Co. Down with our cameras and Toby too of course. But lo, the weatherman had got it wrong again and instead of the promised, yes promised, blue skies and cold brisk air we had dampness - rain, drizzle, mizzle, hailstones! at one point, a cold that cut you to the bone and a sky that never cheered up all day long.

We also made the heinous mistake of going to Ardglass - a place that once boomed with fishing industry and beautiful boats and now, especially in this weather was dull and gloomy with a low tide and nothing worth looking at. I took a photo of an open door for crying out loud! Plus sometime after this, my camera lens malfunctioned, not that I was to know about it yet....
This, this is the last thing I took a photo of and why? why I ask you? It's not even a good photo!
Onto Strangford which I do love but again the weather and the already gathering darkness had turned into a place of equal sadness and despair in my eyes. But here there was a lovely cafe/bistro with warm cosy feels. After ordering a mocha - for medicinal reasons. I went to take a photo of the loveliness and our drinks and lo - the malfunctioning lens showed itself.

Zoom past the next 45mins and my sudden and complete descent into Hades itself and you find me in a high rise car park, in the dark, waiting for Andrew who had taken my camera into the specialists in Belfast. The lens has to be sent away - I disintegrate. Depression does a really good job of making annoying problems turn into massive natural disasters; my life isn't worth living without my camera and the lens will take up to 6 weeks to be assessed and reported on.

Andrew decided I needed a lens and there was one that I would have eventually saved up for right there at half price. There were many people running in and out of the shop whilst he was there buying them and he picked up the last one and rang me. "YES I NEED THAT!" I cry down the phone, waking Toby who was oblivious to all of this drama.

And thus, here I am with a new lens on my camera and my 'old' lens (still under warranty) being sent off goodness know where.

Truly, a bump like that to a person in my mental condition can be so dangerous and still at the heart of it, ridiculous. That's what these illnesses do a person and Sunday was a write off as I slept all day due to Saturday's panic and the much need sedatives to stop me from doing harm to myself.

Andrew and Toby collected some delicious kale and chard from the allotment on Sunday and made a wonderful dinner. Photos taken with new 50mm prime lens....
Here's hoping your weekend was nothing like mine at all! May it have been all happy and lightness xx
Love and hugs

P.S. Let's just circle back to the news I gave at the start, especially as I have had the daylight simulation bulb on since I got up today - the winter solstice is coming, hip hip hooray! 😃

Friday, 23 November 2018

[Hobbies] Keeping me going right now

I find these past months that it is almost impossible to sit and watch TV to take my mind off things, and boy does my mind wander. I feel that I NEED to be doing things all the time, until I get so tired I need a nap. The darkness does it. I hate the dark days in particular; these darker nights are bad too but when you need the 'big light 'on in the middle of the afternoon, gosh, it feels like the world is ending.

So I have taken to hobbies in a much more serious way. Sadly my good intentions to write more here are not yet (I stress, yet) coming to fruition but I am at least coming up with more ideas.

books - C. Gault 2018
I have always LOVED books. Oh, the joy in escaping life and reading a story about about some other people and getting lost in their adventures.
At the moment I am reading 'A Man Called Ove' and have 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' lined up as well as Dante's Inferno.. I love a good mix. Recently I also received a lovely book called 'The Wellness Garden' - which is the book I was supposed to write! haha It's all about ecotherapy, in the garden, allotment and out on walks....

cross stitch - C. Gault 2018
This is an old past time that I have just come back to and I am a little addicted. I've done 2 samplers already, one with my own twist, one of two secret pieces, plus I'm in the middle of a crazy Van Gogh piece too. I love it, it's hard work with the old double vision but I'm one for taking on a challenge and internally yelling "take that double vision" usually with a naughty cuss word added *blush*

decorating - C. Gault 2018
I seem to be mentioning this every winter now like a broken record but 'hygge' is a huge help to me. I love the ritual of getting my candles and the various holders out of storage and placing them around the living room and getting new batteries for my fairy lights - bliss.

This winter we have gone a good bit further and are redecorating the dinning room - making it what we always hoped but haven't got around to. It's funny how you end up settling for second best...
I recommend freshening up some paint, decluttering, getting flowers (even fake ones) for a vase and adding to your bookcase - second hand book shops rock!. Little things make big impacts at this time of year.

Moving about and not getting stuck on the sofa the whole day (like I do somedays) is very important. Doing housework can count as exercise but what I am talking about here is time, private time for you and your body to have a little dialogue and share a little love.

Easy yoga videos are available online for free and you don't need to be bendy to do them - the point is that you work with yoga to get more flexible and not just do the stuff because you already are!

Then there's the walking, be it anywhere, in the hills, round the street you live in - nosy about you, get that heart pumping harder, feel the cold air and then, ohh, a cosy house upon return.

snail mail - C. Gault 2018

This is old school these days, I wonder in fact if many young people know how to handwrite a letter or send a proper paper postcard. Plus, it breaks my heart, but a few years ago my favourite Post Office closed down and now there is a piddling wee thing tucked into a local Spar shop instead AND our stamps are totally wick compared to other parts of the world.
I love to write letters to my penpals and Postcrossing is so much fun, I urge you to check it out. Send a postcard to someone random out of the whole world and get one back from another totally random person. They are usually lovely postcards of where they live and they tell you a little about their life - interesting!

jigsaws - C. Gault 2018
Yes I know this may sound a little lame, but if all else fails ( and I am truly sick) - I do love a jigsaw. I'm extremely particular about what type I like and how big they are allowed to be though, none of those with loads of sky or heaven fore-fend - I once saw a plate of baked beans as a puzzle! - nightmare.

Whatever you have that keeps your brain and body active - keep at it and keep those gloomy thoughts and days in check!

Thursday, 22 November 2018

And we have a WINNER!

First of all THANK YOU to those few of you who took part in my first 'A Stubborn Optimist' giveaway! I really appreciate it, honestly, I do, plus I didn't know any of the entrants before this so......Hurrah for the 'Allotment Life' Group on Facebook!

OK......My winter gardening flat cap was used as was an eyemask as promised, however Andrew was away to work and I got impatient so I did the blind picking myself and we have a WINNER!

Drum roll, please........

Please email me at carriegault@hotmail.com and tell me your address so I can post Joe Swift's book of to you at the weekend!

* PLUS!!
Daisy and George - if you would also do the same, and send me your addresses I would love to send you one of my new 'A Stubborn Optimist' postcards! (it's a postcard of a collage of recent photos, not a promo one). Just to say thank you x

Hugs and a new post is just being written for your pleasure so see you soon
Your Carrie

Friday, 16 November 2018

Daily photo challenge round up (week 24)

lomo - daily photo challenge round up header - C Gault 2018

It's been a week of two halves, starting poorly and ending (yesterday and today) with Andrew being off and us having fun with the redecoration task of the dining room. We've been enjoying the ripping out of old stuff and the getting in of stuff we really love and making our house more of a home :)

But for now, let's take a break and share in the weekly photo round up...

Day 10 - big

The many big fabulous bridges as you enter into Newcastle

C, Gault 2018
Day 11 - small

Remembering a lovely May day with little lambs, watched by their mothers, wandering the hills as we hiked by

C, Gault 2018
Day 12 - imperfect pic/ an intentionally bad photo.

Oh this hurt my soul.
Shoved my finger in front of the lens. Let's never do that again!

C,.Gault 2018
Day 13 - view for the day

No matter what I've been up to, this view of my new eternity ring is constantly grabbing my attention. Materialistic, ostentatious - I don't care, my Love bought it out of the blue last week and presented me with it! Eek!

C. Gault 2018
Day 14 - gorgeous 

Gorgeous carving on a wooden door

C. Gault 2018
Day 14b - gorgeous....
boy. he got his hair cut recently and has needed the blankie to keep him warmer. Looking fine though 🤗

C. Gault 2018
Day 15 - walk...
No way, not in this rain thank you very much 🌧

C. Gault 2018
Day 16 - clouds
Nothing better than seeing them from above!

I hope you enjoyed that.
Don't forget about the current giveaway (see last post) a just like new book by Joe Swift on the joys of the Allotment that we got as a present but thought we'd pass it on to you xx

Carrie xx

Thursday, 15 November 2018

A bookish giveaway!!

Yes dear reader, I am giving away a book from my very own home, with Andrew's consent (as we don't think it belongs to either one of us, but instead, both). So if you want to feel and indeed be a WINNER this is the place you need to be right now....

Love your Lottie? Passionate about your parsnips? Overwhelmed by how to grow Onions?  Mad for marrows? This is the book giveaway for you... Joe Swift's 'Joe's Allotment '

Full of expert advise and inspiration you do not need to be a newbie on the grow your own scene to find this book of use. In super condition this hardback copy worth £17.99 will wing it's way to you (if you live in the UK - sorry, it's quite heavy to post) if you simply enter your name into the gardening hat.
There will be more than one chance to do this as well...
1 chance to win = comment here
2 chances to win = comment here + comment on the Facebook page
3 chances to win = comment here + comment on the Facebook page + retweet this blog post
4 wonderful chances to win = all of the above + regram on Instragam

The winner's name will be chosen completely at random by a blindfolded Andrew. I shall announce who that person is next Thursday, the 22nd.


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

More therapy from the allotment

Sunday was a BAD day but somehow I was able to pick up a pen and notepad and write what was happening as it was happening an in so, kept the screaming voice and the self harm thoughts inside my head. I wrote...
my note - Carrie Gault 2018

"Staring into the middle distance, barley able to speak; I was slightly rocking still, even after the medication. The only things that I could think of that might help were sleep or the allotment. It was difficult to get my body to move never mind climb the stairs but I bloody did it and in 15 mins we were off. 
Toby got terribly excited and was squeaking and squealing like a pig to get going - he is so enthusiastic.
The day was bright with bits of blue sky, though the ground was still very saturated from recent downpours = wellies."

There was joy in abundance as we drove up to the parking space - new horse manure and of course, Toby has to pee on this tuft of grass every time he arrives at the plots :)
catological or what! - Carrie Gault 2018

It was the paths just as one walks onto the plot that made me itchy to get to it right away. I took my 'before' photograph of course and by then the shed was unlocked and I got my gloves and bucket - to work! (gosh it looks so cold but it didn't feel it)
the allotment when we arrived - Carrie Gault 2018

For Andrew the sight of a new load of horse manure was what got his heart racing and he worked on clearing and mulching the back beds and basking in the glory of the wee damson tree's new little buds.

Andrew's mulching marathon - Carrie Gault 2018

Back with me and Toby at the over end of the plot I was straying from the paths and getting into the last bed to be cleared. I ripped out the blotted chard plants - only 2 of 4 and weeded like crazy, especially round the wee leeks.

weeds be gone! - Carrie Gault 2018
We said we would only be there an hour but when the time came up I begged Andrew to stay a little longer and he couldn't say no. We got last bits done and I took some photos and I felt OK (that's good/happy for a 'normal' person). I couldn't believe it; standing there with mud all over me and in my hair (I am so messy!), my nose dripping and not able to feel my face, haha - it had gotten cold quick BUT  there was also a complete absence of tension or screaming in my head. - Hurrah

Looking at the sun setting over the field, I had turned the day around (with help from Andrew) and my Sunday had been worth living...

the last rose - Carrie Gault 2018

Hugs for all - I love you dear reader

Sunday, 11 November 2018

90 mins at the allotment

Triumphantly I returned to the allotment last Saturday and it was wonderful. We are now getting into lock down mode with only kale, beetroot and leeks growing at the moment and everything else getting ripped out and composted or pruned back.

It was a mild afternoon and I was no longer there than the coat had to come off and the work began in earnest. Well, I did have to take my 'before' photo, before I got started. How does Toby always manage to get his bum in my photos? haha.
the allotment before photo - Carrie Gault 2018

We took down the bean poles and the netting for the sugar snap peas and then I happily started in on the constructive deconstruction (and you know how I love that) pulling out all the climbing borlotti, sugar snap peas and broad bean plants and putting them on the compost heap. Then gathering all the weeds and chucking them in a heap elsewhere (a lot still in flower and I DO NOT want even more weed seeds in my freshly cleared bed). We had a wheelbarrow with some compost in it from, well, some other time we were there and it was added into the bed once I had everything cleared and what weeds I could get to were removed. Looks good no?
clearing the bean bed - Carrie Gault 2018

Andrew pruned the apple trees (yep, I know we are a little behind, but better late than never). He also ripped out the old and exploded, hahaha, courgettes and started turning over the soil in a different bed. We will be adding a horse manure mulch to it next and the old bean bed too.
pruning the apple trees and the exploded courgette - Carrie Gault 2018
Although most things were looking rough and tired I did of course find some beauty in the mess including some of the borlotti beans we recovered in very good dried out state - perfect for soups and stews or maybe even planting next year :) Did you know they are also known as the cranberry bean?
nice collage of things about the plot (nov) - Carrie Gault 2018

I look forward to returning and will keep you posted.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Daily photo challenge round up (23)

This is becoming a terrible habit - I simply don't know what day I am living in so much of the time. I could have sworn that yesterday was Wednesday and today was thus Thursday but no, I was wrong again. My post of returning to the allotment last weekend must wait now for a few days (I hope to go back tomorrow again) and for today I am straight back into a weekly photo round up. I am miffed, confused, vexed and irked that today is Friday...again!

As I mentioned these prompts are thanks to Fat Mum Slim 😊

 Day 4 - I need...more allotment time. Allotmentherapy is good for the soul and we almost have it all cleared for winter, almost.

 Day 5 Fave fruit...is an apple, crisp and crunchy and preferably a 'red lady' 🍎

 Day 6 Strong 
The scars have healed, each day is a battle but I am stronger now with the right medication, support and love.

Day 7 In the kitchen...you'll find our friendly household vegetable brush 😃🥕

Day 8 - this rules...I just received snail mail and it contained this awesome book from my good friend
Food friends rule! Snail mail rules! Books rule! Ecotherapy rules!

Day 9 - pale
Pretty pale scene at the dentists. White cups, white wall, white radiator...

Many of the bestest wishes to you all,
I shall write again soon,
Carrie xx

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Looking back, catching up

Hike triumph - Newry Canal pt 2
I forgot to tell/show you that we completed the second half of the Newry Canal hike - hurrah to us! It happened way back on the 20th October and it was a much cooler and crisp day indeed, definitely more leaves on the ground and though this part of the walk wasn't quite as pretty, there were special surprises to be found. I'll simply put up two wee collages of what we found joy in.
old signs, many apples just out of reach, a donkey, more swans and cygnets
a beautiful bridge over  Moneypenny's lock, another mile marker and the lock keeper' s cottage, the lock and the neighbouring blacksmiths (still working away)
The walk started in Scarva, then we walked the 8 miles to Portadown train station (which meant my big red and sleepy mug had to face the Portadown public - eek!). The journey was grand and Toby was a very good boy indeed sitting under Andrew's legs and not barking once. Back at Scarva then, we disembarked and went to the local eatery for a lovely, well deserved dinner :)

And now because I simply forgot on Friday past....

Daily photo challenge round up (22)
 Day 27 - pop

A pop of pink in an otherwise dreary flower bed

Day 28 - contrast

In contrast to my usual view of a gingerbread man as jolly and plump this one is but a skeleton! 😄

Day 29 - black and white

Outside my fave bar in Belfast.

 Day 31 - rainbow

Beautifully arranged coloured bottles on the window sill of a sweet b&b in Northumberland.

And into NOVEMBER! With the same thanks to Fat Mum Slim for the prompts as before :)....

Day 1 - morning sky

This morning's glorious bright sky with the moon still up. Beautiful autumn light and colours.

 Day 2 - I want...
better vision please. I've been wearing glasses for 30 years now and also have incurable permanent double vision.

 Day 3 - I have...
the sleepiest little dog today. 


I have also been to the allotment! "What?" you cry, "Really?" and I proudly answer "yes 😊".  AND I have delved into a new (old) hobby.....So there is another wee blog post to come, soon, about that too. Hurrah.
Hugs and love