Spotted at the Sailing Club

There are, perhaps, five Tuesday evening sails left this year.  I personally suspect only four but five is most likely and the most it could be is six.  Although the person who runs sailability always says when asked “we try to keep sailing until the clocks change” I think I’ve only ever sailed in October once.  In a way I look forward to the off season and what that will bring – I have a couple of very exciting things planned for October and later in the year.  But most of me isn’t ready for the hot day, sunshine and sailing to come to an end.  How can it be practically September already?!

It’s been a good year for sailing – very few have been cancelled due to the weather, although there have been one or two where sailing has run but I’ve chosen not to go on the water once I’ve seen the conditions.  But as much as it has been a good year I did go through a real spell of feeling like I lost my confidence in sailing and had to fight to get it back.  That was more of a trust/anxiety thing than because of any particular bad experience and as much as I could go into the exact in and outs they aren’t really relevant any longer and don’t matter.  In the last weeks conditions have been gentler and the sun has been shining and slowly – very slowly – it’s been coming back and I’ve been finding my enjoyment of the water once again.

A big part of it was a general loss of confidence (and higher levels of anxiety) that I seemed to experience when my powerchair broke and everything shifted in my life unexpectedly as a result of that.  Sailing confidence is back but I’m still working on my confidence in the new powerchair.  It will come, it’s just taking longer than I’d like.  I do think that I’ll always struggle somewhat with anxiety and confidence though and especially with sailing because by it’s very nature it forces me to do something that can be a huge trigger for me (I tend to find it very difficult to feel safe if I’m not in my wheelchair).

And tonight I got to watch another gorgeous Farmoor sunset.  In the past couple of months I’ve mostly been getting lifts from my Dad so I’ve not seen many as we don’t stay for a drink after meaning we’ve been away before the sunsets.  But tonight we did – and Dad fished my phone out of the car for me to take some photos.

Sunset over Farmoor Reservoir

Boats in silhoutte as the sunsets

Auntie Emma

Last week I became an Aunt for the first time! Several of my cousins have children as do one or two friends and lot of those kids know me as Auntie Emma (something which surprised me).  But last week I became a proper Auntie.  My brother and sister in law welcomed their first child which was really exciting.

Henry David Nicholas was born Tuesday 13th October 2015 weighing 8lb 1oz.

The level of excitement in the Crees family really had to be seen to be believed. I think in the past week most of us have fallen in love with the baby but calmed down somewhat. I haven’t seen my Mum with him since the weekend but I’m not sure the same could be said for the new Granny!

We didn’t know he was a boy but I’d been saying since the day I found out Geri was pregnant that I thought it would be a boy.  Until the day he was born when I was waiting for news and the word niece kept coming to mind and making me wonder if I was wrong.

Here are some photos (clicking on any photo brings it up bigger)

HENRY 008(photo shows me holding Henry when I met him in the hospital the day after he was born. It’s taken over my shoulder and my face isn’t visible. My shoulder and arm are, I’m wearing a bright pink fleece.  Henry is asleep with his eyes closed and has lots of dark hair)

20151014_154239Ben and Geri holding Henry in the hospital. Geri is in bed and they are looking at Henry, not at the camera.

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Me holding Henry in the hospital. He’s tucked against my shoulder and I’m smiling. The blanket I made for him is over him and I have one of my hands on top of it helping to support him/hold it in place.

cropped blanketThis is the blanket I made for Henry.  Photo was taken in my messy lounge and the light isn’t great for the colours (cream, beige like and a midbrown) but it shows the detail. It’s being held up in front of someone but their head is cropped out.  The blanket is crocheted and is made up of 25 granny squares joined together with a thick cream boarder round the whole blanket.  For some reason I always thought granny squares were too complicated for me but when I set to learning to make them for this blanket I quickly got the hang of them and after several trial runs to get colour combos and hook sizes right I now love making them.

I have loads more photos – I swear between all the people he’s met thousands must have been taken – but a lot of them are still on my phone so I’ll leave this here.  But I reserve the right to do the excited Aunt thing and post more soon (I went to something new yesterday and was asked in advance to prepare a presentation introducing me. My slides were all photos and I put one of Henry with the blanket I made him in – snuck it in on the excuse I could talk about my crafts. But really I put another photo in for crafts and used that photo of Henry to boast about being a new aunt)>

The Wedding of Sophie and James

I’ve been telling people I’m going to post this “tomorrow” since last Wednesday. And now I finally have.

On Saturday 19th September 2015 my sister Sophie married her partner James at Lains Barn in Oxfordshire.  I was a bridesmaid along with my sister in law and two of Sophie’s friends.  It was a lovely occasion and after a terrible week of weather the day of the wedding was hot, bright and sunny.  As was the next day when we had a brunch to continue celebrating at my parents house.  It’s not been as nice since.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to see friends and family – some of whom I hadn’t seen since my brother’s wedding nearly two and a half years ago.  As we went out separate ways at the end of the day we said we’d make plans to meet again soon.  So often that’s one of those things we say but don’t follow through on but I hope we do in this case.  It was also nice to meet James’ family who I hadn’t met before.

I’ll put captions under each of the photos but in terms of visual description I’ll post some basics here first.  The bridesmaid dresses were fuschia which was a much darker purpley pink than I had been anticipating when I was told they were fuschia – I’d imagined a much hotter pink.  Some of these photos don’t do them justice colourwise. The dresses were floor length but I had mine taken up substantially to stop it catching in my wheels. James, his dad, the ushers/best man and my dad all wore three piece suits with a white waistcoast and a fuschia cravat.  My brother was an usher.  My mum wore gray/lilac with a purple fascinator.

I don’t have any photos of the ceremony or immediately after as I didn’t have my phone with me at that point.  A lot of the photos didn’t come out very well but here are the best of them.  One or two of these were shamelessly stolen from Facebook.  The photos aren’t really in order and if you click on them you can view larger (although for some reason some of the larger ones aren’t the right way up)

20150918_170841Bridesmaid prep from the day before the wedding – my hand holding a glass of prosecco and showing off my nails.  They were gel nails with gems along the bottom of each and they lasted chip free until yesterday (so about 10 days) when they just started peeling off. Most of them came off in one piece.

20150919_16163620150919_162244wedding favour – sunflower seeds in a little brown envelope/packet. The top one has the front – a picture of a tree and says Sophie and James and the date and Let Love Blossom. A small piece of paper with my name on is attached with a mini wooden clothes peg. The second picture shows the back and reads: Sow these seeds and watch them bloom to remember us the bride and groom. On the bottom seam of the packet it says “Sow with love”

20150919_183225Bridesmaid bouquet (with my wedding favour tucked in the top so when we came back at the end of the day we’d know which was which). Lots of pinks, mostly roses in this. It’s resting in a large jar on a table.

20150919_183315Flowered centrepiece for the table

20150919_182100Me and my brother after the meal. I think this is one of the best pictures of me I’ve seen from the wedding and have made this my twitter and facebook avatar.

20150919_191942Sophie and James just as a bunch of people were about to through confetti over them. You can see a friend of the family, Pat, in the background getting ready to throw.

20150919_192740Cutting the cake (which was made by James’s sister)

ushersandbridesmaidsBridesmaids and ushers with the bride and groom

creesfamMy immediate family – Geri (and bump!) Ben, James, Sophie, Dad, Mum, Me.

IMG_20150919_152623Me with my cousin’s son Charlie who is 9 months old. Someone told me this photo looks like we’re communicating telepathically.

20150919_210934Hog roast. Perfect evening eats. (The wedding breakfast was a barbecue). I’m a Crees, I had to take a picture of it.

20150919_213444I wheeled through the bar and one point and spotted my mum’s shoes, handbag and another of her bags hanging off a row of coat pegs. It’s fair to say she made herself at home.

20150919_192853This is a silly one. It’s the photographer, from the back. Because everytime I saw him with his camera straps across his back like that it made me think of some sort of “going into battle” harness.

20150919_232717Atmospheric lights, glitter ball, beams of the barn shot.

20150920_000308Me holding my flowers, taken at the end of the night when I suddenly realised I’d not got anyone to take a shot of me as bridesmaid for me.

20150920_112434One from the next day, because it made me laugh. We had a brunch for family, bridesmaids, ushers etc the next day at my parents house. The various flowers from the wedding were dotted around and some people took some home after the brunch. I spotted this wreath of flowers hanging from the outside tap. Because where else are you going to hang the flowers the day after the wedding but from the outside tap?!

Spotted At The Sailing Club

The weather was so bad on Monday that I was sure I wouldn’t be going sailing  And then on Tuesday it was better but I still thought it likely we wouldn’t go.  As the day went on I began to suspect a yes was possible.  Then I got an email saying it wasn’t great weather and the access dinghies wouldn’t go out but confident challenger sailors were welcome but likely to get wet. I’m never quite sure when they say that whether I’m what they mean by confident challenger sailors. I’m quite a fair weather sailor and I get scared easily. But the friend I was getting a lift with needed to go and pick something up so I figured I should go and see. And pretty much the decision got taken out of my hands.

It was wet, rained right when I got out of the car (although I didn’t need to change clothes) and a bit choppy with some squalls. I didn’t enjoy the squalls but I was really glad I got on the water.  Unsurprisingly as soon as I told the safety boat guys that I’d had enough and went in the rain stopped and the wind dropped.

We stayed for a drink afterwards and got to watch another spectacular Farmoor sunset.

Dramatic looking clouds over the reservior
Dramatic looking clouds over the reservior
The last few minutes of the sunset, clouds and pink streaks over the reservoir
The last few minutes of the sunset, clouds and pink streaks over the reservoir (this is to the right of the first picture)
Close up on the pinky red sunset with purpley grey clouds in the foreground - sort of bruise colour
Close up on the pinky red sunset with purpley grey clouds in the foreground – sort of bruise colour

Spotted At The Sailing Club

Farmoor reservoir where I sail is a beautiful place. Particularly in the evening when the sun is setting. I have many photos of those moments and even after all these years of sailing it can still take my breath away.  This year there haven’t been many evenings at the sailing club because of the weather and even when we’ve been there it’s been dreary and meh so I’ve not added many photos to my collection.  And even fewer have been worth sharing here on my blog.  But this week I ended up with one that ticked both categories.

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Photo shows a very still reservoir with a setting sun,  a few boats and some people on the pontoon – all in silhouette.

Spotted at the Sailing Club

I can’t believe tonight was the last sail in June and this is the first one of these posts I’ve done this year. Although I think between the couple of times I couldn’t go and it being called off due to weather several times and one or two other blips this was only the fourth or fifth Tuesday evening I’ve been on the water this year (not counting the regatta.) I think fourth but it’s niggling at my that it’s fifth although I can’t think when that was.

Lots of photos today – I think these might be the most I’ve posted in any one of these entries. We stayed late because there was a barbecue and it was a lovely social evening with yummy food and beautiful surroundings in which to watch the sunset.

Sunny evening at the sailing club

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Setting sun

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Apparently this is phenomenon called a sun dog

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Firey sunset reflecting on the water

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

One last sunset pic at the end of a lovely evening

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Moon

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Random Bullet Points of Life

♥ I got my powerchair back yesterday and I took it out for a very long wander around this afternoon. I came back cold but with the cobwebs well and truly blown away and feeling happier.

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(An Instagram I took as proof I went out and because I thought it looked nice. Road, trees, sky, cars going past and the power station in the distance)

♥ I can’t remember if I posted here that I was going to take the creative writing class again. It was going to be a five week class with the same tutor I had before. The first one was last week but the rest have been cancelled due to low numbers. Which didn’t surprise me. It’s a shame but I’m not as bothered as I was because I wanted to take it to help me find my writing mojo again and I’d already located it.

♥ my GP just called me (at 7:20 PM). My iron levels were back to normal when tested but my stores were still low. I may need to keep taking iron on a very low dose long term however. I feel this is a perfect time to declare “sometimes it’s hard to be a woman…” (Who sang that?) retest in December.

♥ it’s probably over a week and a half since I finished a book.

♥ I actually finished a craft project! Well a couple of weeks ago but the recipient has it now so…

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(Pink crocheted baby blanket, crocheted in the round. Large bright pink stripes interspaced with a few narrower light pink ones)

♥ I have 26,437 words written for NaNo. They are mostly crap.

A book that blew my mind #fridayreads #amreading

I have a copy of a book called 1001 books you must read before you die. There have been several editions of this book so at various times different books have been put on the list and taken off again (and in the case of Memoirs of a Geisha I believe returned to the most recent edition of the list).

I have the 2010 edition but I also have an app on my iPad and a spreadsheet both of which list every single book that have ever appeared on an edition of the 1001 books you must read before you die list. I believe the total number of books is 1300 some odd. I’ve read about 133 of those.

I have no intention of reading every single book on the list (although the app tells me I could with time to spare based on my age and the average UK lifespan for a female). I do use it for inspiration for reading material and a way of finding new things to read. Because of the list I’ve discovered some authors I love – Haruki Murakami is one of those and I think Muriel Spark is shaping up to be another but I probably need to read another of hers (I’ve read two) to be definite.

Earlier this week I requested a bunch of titles from the library. All ones that are on the list. One of the ones I requested was The Wonderful O by James Thurber. I knew very little about the book. Mostly just it was one of the shortest books on the list (it’s 80 pages). I’d looked it up in the library catalogue before but every time I did it said it was in the store. But on Monday I figured it was worth requesting.

Thursday it was at my local library for me to collect along with some of my other requests. I’d assumed it was in the store because it wasn’t popular or because it’d been released so long ago (1958).

I enjoyed the story. It’s the perfect length for sitting and reading in one go on a lazy Friday afternoon after a busy week. It’s a really sweet kids one with gorgeous illustrations. The basic premise is an evil man takes over a town and bans the letter O because he doesn’t like it.

What really blew me away was the book itself. Oxfordshire library service doesn’t stamp the date books are due back in books anymore. That’s a no-no in this age of Internet and self service. And I think in a way that’s a shame.

But this still had its ticket of date stamps in it. I could tell looking at it, it was an old book.

But I didn’t expect was to see the first time it was issued was in 1958. It’s not a first edition but it is from the year of publication.

It’s got the old book feel. It’s got the old book smell that’s so nice. New books smell good but not like this. And it’s got pages so thick and sturdy I kept stopping to check page numbers because turning them I thought I must have turned more than one by accident. They don’t make books like that any more.

Being that the reservations are kept right by the desk, I got them to check them out for me. I thought they would say there was a problem and I couldn’t take it. When I was all checked out and she was handing them to me I expected her to tell me to be careful with it. She didn’t.

Part of me wanted to go “this is so old and so nice. It’s practically a piece of history and a work of art. I’m clearly not to be trusted with something like that. It’s too precious, what are you doing letting me take it?!”

Because never mind the fact that books been part of the library service since before I was born. It was actually first issued the year before my Mum was born.

That really blows me mind.

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The cover and spine of the book. It’s an old fashioned, faded red hardback with a plain cover and no dust jacket
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The inside title page of the book
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The very first page inside with the ticket showing the stamped return by dates ranging between 1958, 1990 which appears to be the last time it was out and 1996 when it went to the store.
20131025-212203.jpgtwo inside pages with text and illustration (not every page has illustrations)