dear diary :: a glimpse of Spring

But only for some. Whilst London and Saddleworth (over the hill from us) had snow we basked in glorious sunshine yesterday.


It was the kind of day when it felt so good to be alive. I like a positive start to the day – it seems to make everything else go right. Even when I came across a temporary blockage across the road trying to get to the physiotherapist on time, I still manage to remain unflustered and kept smiling.

The world I fear is in a very sorry state at the moment. There has been a case of Coronavirus reported in the next little village to us and of course there is a lady in Tenerife waiting to be allowed back to Huddersfield. When I popped in to my old workplace one of the employees was in self isolation at home and had been asked not to go into work as they had just returned from a holiday in Italy. We also have a very high Chinese population here studying at the University and many are walking about wearing masks now – it all feels a bit eerie. I keep washing my hands in hope it will help!

I finished the tablemats – for anyone wanting to make some I have given more details below. I am loving them already but will put them away to use nearer to Easter – why I thought Easter fell in March I don’t know; I checked the calendar to find it begins on the 10th April. In a way this is good news as I have longer to prepare, not that we do a lot but I have started making things for the grandchildren now like I used to make for our own daughters.

I didn’t think I would manage another post but here I am. We are going to see mum for the weekend. My sister is away on holiday for a much needed rest as mum has had her almost in tears a few times recently, her general demise and lack of mobility has made her……for the want of a better word….plain old grouchy. I can understand her frustration, her life has become very boring now she cannot get out by herself, yet my sister cannot be there to entertain her every day. We need a solution or we will all go stir crazy with her.

The occupational therapist will see her on Monday to assess her for a walking frame (or a ‘pusher’ as she calls it) in the hope that she will be able to walk further using one and get about a bit more. Strangely enough until mum had the x-ray on her hip and was told it was not in very good shape she had not complained about it very much – usually when it rained – it had always been about her knees or vertigo. Now she never mentions either only her hip that seems so bad she cannot do very much at all. She has seriously gone down hill since knowing there is a problem and is merrily dosing herself up with codeine as well as co-codamol even though she has been told she can take either but not both. What does one do??

DH had his dentistry – it wasn’t quite 2.30 but close. He was very brave and didn’t even get a sticker and declined to have the tooth to keep. Afterwards I was on cooking duty whilst he cosied up by the fire and watched a film. We had a sheherds pie made with lentils of course and the remains will go with us tomorrow. I also made some quiche bases and I will fill and bake them before we set off for North Yorkshire. I will make a little one for mum to hang on to as she likes homemade quiche.

So that was my day how was yours?

To make the tablemats –

I bought a pack of Sainsbury’s teatowels in a thick linen type fabric. They usually measure about 19″ by 28″ and come in two or three varying designs in a pack.

I wash them first, then unpick the hems and cut each one in half so I have either four or six pieces. I usually mix and match so I have a different pattern on the reverse so I can flip them over.

Using a pattern 14″ x 19″ which includes a 1/2″ seam allowance – I pin this on the fabric and cut around to straighten up the tea towel fabric and make sure it is a perfect rectangle. Also cut out a piece of thick vilene to sandwich between the layers. With right sides together and a piece of vilene to the underside of one piece sew around the edges with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving a gap of about 5″ for turning through.

Trim seam allowance to 1/4″ and cut across the corners. Turn through and press. Neatly hand sew the gap to close. Top stitch about 3/4″ in from edge all way round.

29 thoughts on “dear diary :: a glimpse of Spring

  1. I love your table mats! There are some great tea towels around. I bet you have a nice collection of table mats now. Just wish I was handy with a needle! I do feel for you and your sister, it’s very difficult , isn’t it. Hope the occupational therapist can organise something for your mum (that she is prepared to use) Have a safe journey up 🙂


  2. How lovely to see spring flowers. Nothing at all springlike doing here – yesterday we had heavy snow but thankfully it didn’t lie. Sorry to hear about your latest travails with your mum. I do sympathise – my dad was housebound and increasingly frail for the last 6 years of his life, and with my mum having died over 20 years before and as an only child it all fell to me and my husband. A distance of nearly 200 miles didn’t help. From experience with my dad I would say that any mobility is a bonus, and keeping mobile staves off so many other problems. Hopefully once the OT is involved your mum will perk up a little, and greater mobility with a ‘pusher’ will make life a bit more interesting and so the codeine will taper off!
    Your finished mats are lovely! A very harmonious table setting with the white china.
    Yesterday here was all about finalising internal doors – the builders contacted us to ask if we’d chosen the styles because they needed to order them to keep the work on schedule. Cue sudden decision-making, and as we’re having folding, pocket and ordinary doors there was a lot to get right. I’m decisioned-out by this stage.


    1. Mum has this nasty habit of manipulation and will have already been working out a strategy to stop her going into a care home eventually. She has designs on moving in with my sister and is working towards that by playing on sister’s emotions. I wouldn’t mind but she never helped her own mother or mother in law at all, hardly visited then – it was me and my brother back them doing all the things she might have even helped with but she was always too busy with her own life going out and couldn’t wait to get them into a care home.
      We do all we can but it is all going to end in tears I can feel it – both ours and hers. If only she would help herself a little and accept she is old now and can’t do all the things she did when younger.
      I know how you feel about all the decision making – I feel on overload and our deadline is 22nd March. Yikes.


  3. Lovely post, as always. Thinking of you as you head north to deal with your Mum.

    I wonder why they keep doing medical tests on the extreme elderly…telling them things that will only twist them up, especially if they have already shown signs (mentally or physically) that they are not equipped to handle the news (e.g. like Mum, overdosing themselves when they hadn’t even complained about the issue beforehand). It isn’t like they are going to do hip replacement surgery at her age. Can only hope you and your sister are able to make the best decision for all concerned–especially your sister. She needs to realistically consider the risk to her own mental and physical health in this situation. Easy to say from afar, I know, x


    1. It is so easy for families to get trapped – my sister has always been very close to mum, they enjoyed the same things in life and sis is the baby of the family too, but now mum is heaping loads of guilt on her and I am worried for her health because of the stress. My sister has somehow manoeuvred herself into a tight corner that she cannot get out of and through helping my mum with everything my mum dismisses any kind of help from other people. My mums way of getting her own way has always been to become ill with something and although I am not saying her problems are not bad I wonder if she is playing on them a bit!
      Sometimes when you feel that you cannot go on something happens – I am hoping still for a miracle! x


  4. So lovely of you to give your Sister the break she needs.

    The table mats look stunning. I need to see if I can find some of those tea towels to put in my fabric stash. I really love them.


    1. I think I may have made enough now for the time being and am going to turn my attentions to makng a patchwork quilt.
      Weather not looking good for taking my mum out – she hates wind and rain but not enough to stay in though! hugs too x


  5. Love the tone of the placemats.

    We had to put my mother-in-law in a nursing home just over a year ago. She had never accepted help. Then her hip went. Then her cognition. The social workers would contact my husband and basically tell him off. But there was little he could do. She wouldn’t accept help. It changed after she went into hospital for her hip replacement. The medical team said she could return home. She wanted to “recover” at our place. The team said no. She needs round the clock care as she has dementia. She was assessed and put in care. She is so much better now. Her memory is shot. But they make her do activities, take the medication correctly, eat healthy food. She always says she is bored but that is just because she doesn’t remember doing things and can’t think of what she’d like to do. Like your mother, my mother in law never looked after her own mum. Didn’t even visit her more than once every few years. (She lived in NZ.)

    Your poor sister. Love can make us guiltily feel we have to do something that is not in anyone’s best interest.


    1. Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law – everyone seems to have these difficulties with ageing relatives. At the moment my mum is in a lovely new retirement apartment serviced with a lift, call aids, a house manager on hand and there are things going on downstairs in the communal living area but she will not join in very much and prefers to be out and about with my sister. If only she would seek out other company for 50% of the time it would give my sister a break. I spent 10 years looking after my grandparents, then another ten helping to care for my dad and mother in law and we put our lives on hold at the time. I feel our own health now is at the point where we need to do something and get out walking but we are always quite restricted looking after daughters, grandchildren and my mum and I feel guilty when I am doing things for one that I am not with the other!


      1. It’s hard but I think your sister has to learn to say no. And if you’re sister is away and you don’t visit, then your mother will just have to go downstairs or sulk. Or both. Saying “no, not coming, sorry mum”, is hard but both you and your sister’s physical and emotional well-being may need an occasional no.


        1. I am happy enough to take mum out but it would be impossible for us to be with her all the time. Even if she lived with us we couldn’t spend all our days just sitting listening to her old stories – we would need to go out shopping for food and cooking and cleaning – she really has no idea how busy life is these days and my sister has a job too. My mum never worked after she married and does not appreciate how hard it is to run a home and go out to work. I think she needs to make a few more friends where she is but she has never been a sociable person – she finds it hard to join in and never had a best friend or met anyone for coffee or lunch and never had people round to the house ever.


  6. Hope your weekend goes well and the weather cooperates. Your sister is lucky to have you. Shepherd’s Pie looks delicious. I use lentils in soup but have never thought of it this way. Must definitely try it.


  7. It is so difficult to know what to do with relatives who want us to be on call all the time isn’t it. I have an great aunt who is 102 and still living in her own home. She has reluctantly allowed for carers to come and visit on a daily basis, that has only been in the past year. She never had children of her own so is reliant on her large extended family, it is mostly her nieces who have been providing most of the care and they are all in their 70s now so not young themselves. I do what I can but I am a very long way away so my visits are not that often, I call her and talk on the phone which I know she enjoys as she is housebound now.

    It is hard but sometimes we have to listen to but not absorb other peoples problems otherwise we make them our own and then they become our burden too. Most people have enough to deal with in their own lives without taking on other peoples problems.


    1. What a great age – I can see my mum living to well over a 100 and I hope she does but it how this period of her life is managed because we have to live at the same time and she is not the only dependent relative so it is hard to get around everyone. We have 3 other relatives with mild dementia now getting worse and I try my best to get to see/speak with them to lighten the load a bit for their carers. One of my relatives committed suicide a while ago because they could not go on caring any longer – we were all shocked of course and didn’t know they were at the end of their tether to that extent so I feel even more pressure now to step in and help people.


  8. Just love your chicken table mats! Thanks so much for the instructions. I’m going to try my hand soon. The Coronavirus has not reached us here yet but the fear and worry surely has. We have read the best defense is proper and frequent hand washing. But if it is passed through the air, via coughing and sneezing as they say, I can’t see that that is going to help much.
    I hope you have a sweet time with your mom and your sister enjoys her break. Sometimes a new caregiver is just the thing to cheer them up. My mom loves to see new faces and it will soon be our turn to relieve MY sister.


    1. Hi Cynthia – somehow I had guessed it was you. I am avoiding anyone who sneezes and it is funny how you notice so many people sneezing in the supermarkets! We had a lovely time with my mum and she enjoyed her days out with us – limited though they were in what we could do.


  9. Thank you, ever so much, for sharing how to make those lovely table mats. The fabric is lovely! It’s given me an idea of what I can make to give to my lovely Mum, who adores all things chickens, for an Easter gift. And daffodils… they’ve reminded me to make sure I plant some bulbs for this Winter. I always forget … and then it’s to late to chill them in the freezer like we have to in my semi-tropical part of the world. Meg:)


  10. I think we must share similar tastes, as your food photographs always leave me feeling hungry 🙂
    I hope your sister feels better for her holiday and that together you can find a way to care for mum which makes things easier on everyone. X


    1. Mum was in quite a good mood and thankful we had gone up to see her and take her out. The ‘social’ as she calls them have now been and given her a ‘pusher’ (walker) and hopefully it will keep her going now until the appointment at the end of March. x


  11. Your mats are quite lovely, and well done for having finished them (mine are not completed!)

    You have enough to worry about with COVID-19 on your doorstep without parent problems – it is a very difficult situation. Having had experience of a manipulative older person who behaved similarly, I can only say, sadly “it will end in tears”. The only thing not certain is whose tears . . . Either your sister (with your support) puts her foot down and refuses to be at your Mum’s beck and call, or the current situation is allowed to continue until your sister’s health collapses.

    I wish you all the very best in working out a way to move forward. XX


    1. Thankfully she was in good spirits when we went if not a little down through the frustration of not being able to look around anywhere. I hope that the clinic she attends at the end of March can do something for her. xx


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