She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
“Winter is dead.”
A. A. Milne, Daffodowndilly, When We Were Very Young
My husband and I have been laid low by one of those especially horrible winter colds that happens about once every 15 years. A particularly nasty variant that kicked the stuffing out of both of us for around 6 weeks. Whilst we both experience long-term chronic health issues, we’re not ‘poorly’ very often and neither of us take much time off work for illness. But this episode has caused us to merely exist for all of February, having started at the end of January and extending now well into March too.
So we’ve done a lot of treading water and not made much progress beyond concentrating on getting from one day to the next. And we largely shut ourselves away in an enforced quarantine, as we certainly didn’t want anyone we cared about to suffer with it.
But I think we both are at the tail end now (I think I’ve progressed a little faster, my husband had surgery just before it took hold and certainly had two separate colds in the same time) and can start looking forwards again and think about a bit more than just going through the motions.
Thankfully, after we’d met our commitments this weekend, the weather forecast was supposed to be decent and we decided to take advantage and just get out for some fresh air – we’ve long wanted to, but this weekend was the first time that we had the energy to make that desire to do so, into reality.
I know that we both seriously enjoyed it and I’m sure it did us both good too. There’s been talk in the media lately of the value to health and well being of green spaces and spending time in nature, but this is something I’ve known since childhood. Fresh air, sunshine, good food and quality sleep – Mother Nature’s healers.
We didn’t do anything particularly energetic, but the spring sunshine felt wonderful after what has felt like a bit of an enforced curfew – just hearing the sounds of the countryside and breeze through your hair on a particularly nice spring day was most rejuvenating.
It makes me long for the long days of May and June when we try and get out as much as we can after work to enjoy those extended evenings – I think that’s perhaps my favourite time of year.
The area we travelled through had a lot of livestock in the fields, including some fabulous long horn cattle, which I wasn’t able to photograph due to the narrow nature of the lane and an impatient 4×4 driver behind us, but there were a lot of heavily pregnant ewes. I finally saw my first lambs of this spring, two youngsters just tucked inside the perimeter wall of their field, so I got out of the car quietly, hoping to snag some photos, but Mum really wasn’t keen and promptly took them away, so all I got was retreating bottoms this time.
I’ve popped the photos from above, plus a couple more into the gallery below, including a couple of new ones from this week. They each have captions to describe them. You can click on any of them and it opens a pop up window and you can scroll through the full set.
My work this week:
I have a number of designs that feature either twisted wire or coils of wire and it has been my practice to use a small cordless screwdriver to give me the twisting/coiling action. It needs a power tool that’s capable of a gentle start and slow speed. I’d been using an inexpensive and very small hand unit that worked a treat for this, but it has been in its death throes for some time and I knew it wouldn’t be long for this world, despite giving me long and valued service.
But my father came to the rescue with a more substantial cordless screwdriver that had a failed battery and he adapted to run from the mains instead. It works an absolute treat and the additional size and weigh allows me to use it standing on its big heavy battery base, freeing me from the need to hold it up as well as co-ordinating the trigger finger and guiding the wire etc.
It has an accurate, well aligned chuck, which is especially valuable when coiling wire and it starts up lovely and gently, making for much easier coiling, less wire wastage and reduces the amount of swear words uttered. I’ve enjoyed using it so much, that I replenished my stock of coiled wire lengths for regular designs and was able to make longer pieces than I have previously, so I put together some new teardrop loop earrings, as shown.
I see some wire twisting in my near future too.