Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Well, well, well

So, maybe, you've been wondering what's happened to me. No, probably not. The important thing to report is that I'm well. No more ME/CFS. All gone, done and dusted.

It's been a long haul and while I only had a pretty moderate case it's still been six years plus of pain, confusion, occasional practical paralysis, distress and generally a complete wash out. I feel like I have come out the other end a different person, more aware of my own failings, and strengths I suppose, and I hope more compassionate, aware that what you see ain't necessarily what you get.

I've not written about this before because weirdly within the ME/CFS community writing about getting better, in fact actually getting better, is seen by some as some kind of betrayal. Some people simply deny that it's possible and will claim that anyone who says that they got better never had it to begin with. Even before I found a path to regaining my health I rejected this way of thinking. I find it hard to comprehend how people who do frequently complain about others rejecting their diagnosis as made up can turn around and do the same thing to total strangers whose life they know nothing about apart from one or two things.

Also it's a dead end street - if you define ME/CFS as an illness that no one ever recovers from it becomes self-fulfilling. There have been many illnesses which over history started out as unrecoverable which with improvements in our understanding of our bodies and the development of new treatments have become increasingly successful in treating. Moreover I have met a few people, entirely by chance, that had it and improved to the point where they consider themselves better. Believing that it's unrecoverable from makes it so and doesn't allow for change.

So how do I know that I'm better?

- I lost entire days just staring out the window because I had neither the mental or physical energy to do anything else.
- I was having to walk with a stick more and more often.
- I woke up feeling like I'd only slept a few minutes, even when I'd slept 10 hours or more.
- Driving more than about fifteen minutes drained me, even on a pretty good day, and as a result it was difficult for me to go out without Nick to drive me.
- Every thought took effort, every activity of the day had to be calculated for cost/benefit.

- Driving to work and back 45 minutes each way is effortless.
- I've been jogging with Kiwi (although her foots sore now so we've stopped for a while), have been riding (a little), and am seriously considering resuming SCA fighting.
- I can just go through my day start to finish without having to consider what to use my limited energy on and what to skip.
- I can go out on my own, even in the evenings, and even on a week night, without wondering if I'll be able to get home.
- I have completely weaned myself off the medication I was taking.
- I get a normal night's sleep and only need a normal amount of it.

So that's good enough for me. No, I was never bed bound, so I certainly wasn't as sick as some people are and I'm very grateful and aware of that. From my reading there are many people with ME/CFS who aren't - about 75% - that doesn't mean they are not sick, or that they have something else. It just means that they're not severe cases, lucky them. There's some work starting to be done to try and sort sufferers into sub groups and if that helps with diagnosis and treatment and getting more sick people well again that's a good thing. I hope that it doesn't result in people being allocated to the "too hard basket" OR the "can't be bothered because they're not the most severe cases" basket. Even those who are only somewhat sick deserve to be well again.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

First blossom of the season

Autumn's well and truly here, we've been picking chestnut-lets of the chestnut, been having magnificent raspberries and now Nick has just picked the first saffron crocus of the year.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Everyone gets a scarf for Christmas

OK, so I've been using a wee app on my iPod to keep a list of things to do this year and "weave something" had been on the list for a while before it slowly climbed to the top. Nick had bought a couple of old Ashford table top looms a few years ago and I'd use one to support some card weaving but still hadn't done any standard weaving.

The Ashford Book of Weaving
Coincidentally on checking out the new Smiths Bookshop at the Woolston Tannery mall I bought a copy of the Ashford Book of Weaving, not contemporary with my looms but also not for the very modern looms. It assumes that you are just beginning and starts with a sampler and small project so that was just perfect. Doing the sampler / project as written would have meant buying materials so i adapted it a bit so that the finished item would be a woolen scarf, not place mats - also because we don't use placemats.

Warp on the loom
Warp on the loom
I did the whole thing over four weekends - did the warping on the first weekend. Had a three day weekend following that and made loads of process, getting right through the bits of the sampler that I chose to do (didn't do the fancy weaves, just the plain and twills) and then into the actual scarf. Then I finished the weaving the following weekend and did the finishing the one after that.


I really got into that focused zone where time disappeared which I love in projects. I only made a couple of mistakes and all but one I fixed (in the sampler). My ganglion cyst on my right hand all but vanished (its since come back but is still smaller). The finished scarf looks really good, I was beating a bit hard, a hang over from my tapestry weaving I think, but that's pretty minor - its pretty even width and not too loopy at the selvedges.

 I gave the scarf to my sister Lu for her birthday. There's a tradition about giving away your first finished item that someone told me long ago. I don't always do so, but sometimes it seems right.

Vital Statistics

The full length of weaving before cutting it off the loom.
The full length of weaving
before cutting it off the loom.
Warp: 110 ends 330mm long of charcoal grey 2/20 wool sett at 10 per 2.5cm
Weft of scarf: grey marl 2/20 wool. Goal width was 25cm.
All the images are over on my flickr.

Sampler section

  1. plain weave using scarf weft.
  2. 2/2 twill using scarft weft.
  3. 1/3 twill using a pink single 'carpet' wool.
  4. 3/1 twill.
  5. "Swiss" twill.
  6. Zig-zag twill in brick red single 'carpet' wool.
  7. 2/2 twill in grey 2 ply 'carpet' wool with binder weft in same as warp.
Finished scarf
Finished Scarf


Finished length 152.5 cm not including fringe, width between 25.5 - 26 cm.
After washing - 147cm long, width 23-24 cm wide, 114gm.

So now of course I am busy planning my next project which isn't actually going to be another scarf so you're safe. I'm thinking that I will make two cushion covers, using twills probably and carpet wool as I have quite a lot of that. They should be robust enough to be used outside and at events etc.

Although actually next on my todo list is new shoes so they will have to come first. Its my way of making sure that I do the things that I need as well as the projects that I want to do, by alternating between something I need, something I want, and fixing things I already have.

Interesting sites:

Monday, August 05, 2013

Orchard update

Nick and I have had a couple of busy weekends planting things in the new orchard. A few months ago we decided that there wasn't enough space in the 'house block' the area that we had fenced off around the house, for all the fruit trees that we wanted. Also the row nearest the house was right in the way of where I want my covered walk at the north of my medieval pleasure garden (more on that later). However the next 'block' over was just perfect. Directly north of the house its also a little up-slope, with the highest 'ridge' of the property just on the other side of the fence. Its a good size, about 50m down the north boundary and about 40 on the other edge.

It will work out well as my research into what constituted a 'medieval' garden indicated that an orchard should be part of the plan. The new orchard will connect with the medieval pleasure garden with the covered walk separating the two, and perhaps providing a backdrop for some espaliered trees. I've insisted that the orchard be hedged to offer the trees some protection and to make it clearly separate from the paddocks. The northern boundary will be hedged in hawthorns which we put in, bare-rooted, the weekend before last. The east boundary will probably have hazelnuts and we haven't discussed the west yet.

This weekend past we, well mostly Nick of course, planted a dozen new fruit trees including apples, pears, plums, apricots. Nick's got a couple of busy weekends ahead but when he is free we plan to move the surviving three trees from down by the pump shed - a cherry, pear and peachacot, none of which have provided any fruit yet. The other trees planted by the house we will leave for another year so that we will get fruit from them this season.

We're also planning a gazebo in the centre of the orchard - it will be on a flat area directly inline with the theatre room windows so that when you are sitting in there you will see it in the distance. But that is probably a few years away yet. I had initially though just a couple of 'stone' curved benches as somewhere to sit but if Nick wants to do something a bit more elaborate I won't stand in his way.

Hmm, these links are unrelated but I wanted somewhere to put them.

Plaid cotes hardie

Amazing embroiderers