Posted by: christinelaennec | March 30, 2016

Spring is here

Thank you to everyone who’s left encouraging comments on my last two posts.  I’m glad the grey-haired brigade is gathering in number!  Just after I posted about the Dafter’s health improvements she entered a “two-steps back” phase, and the last couple of weeks have been an uphill battle.  However, she seems to have gotten back to about where she was when I wrote on the 17th.  Recovery is an up-and-down process.

Springtime comes to the back garden. Glasgow, end of March 2016.

Springtime comes to the back garden. Glasgow, end of March 2016.

Spring is definitely here, and it is gladdening all our hearts.  As you can see we have had some sunshine!  Also hailstones, and everything in between.  Our clocks Sprang Forwards this past Sunday, so now it is light until after 7 pm, which is very uplifting.

A volunteer candlestick primrose in the front garden. March, 2016.

A volunteer candlestick primrose in the front garden. March, 2016.

Easter has come and gone, very early this year.  I was privileged to take part in two services during Holy Week, including singing in an ecumenical Maundy Thursday service.  I also had the chance to walk a prayer labyrinth, which was a very special and moving experience.

Stained glass angel.

Stained glass angel.

The innocence of the Dafter’s two rats continues to delight all of us.  As the Dafter has recently been too poorly to play with them as much as she would like, Michael and I have had a bit more grandparental time with them:

Caspian, one of the two young rats. March 2016.

Caspian, one of the two young rats, having a treat during playtime. March 2016.

Caspian likes to climb inside the Dafter’s sleeve, which she enjoys.  His brother Artemis isn’t so keen on tunnels as his brother, but has discovered that there is often a tissue tucked up inside my left sleeve, and he will come to me to look for it.  We can have fun by repeating his discovery a few times using the same tissue!

The wild animal kingdom has also been very busy lately, with lots of bees in the garden.  I’m not knowledgeable enough to know if this is a queen bumblebee or not, but it was absolutely covered with pollen:

A bee in the crocuses. My back garden, end of March, 2016.

A bee in the crocuses. My back garden, end of March, 2016.

Most of my time and energy has been spent helping the Dafter contend with feeling worse than normal, with school and schoolwork – 6th year of high school is uncharted territory for us – and generally supporting her physically and emotionally through life’s challenges.  It is a very stressful time, with her friends leaving school and going off in different directions.  And of course she wants to do as well as she can in her two Highers.  There seems to be a great deal of mystery about deadlines and even school schedules.  Part of this is that both the Highers the Dafter is doing are recently revised, so the teachers themselves aren’t quite sure what the demands of the new curriculum are.  And we don’t even know when her last day of classes is, and when her study leave begins.  The school apparently keeps it a secret so that the kids can’t plan pranks.  “What, like putting a sheep in the 6th year common room like at my daughter’s school?” a friend said.  Yeah, things like that!

I do regularly rest, and sometimes even nap.  Recently Tilly did something very uncharacteristic:  she curled up next to me and had a bit of a snooze herself.

A special cuddle from Tilly. March 2016.

A special cuddle from Tilly. March 2016.

I had a special day two weekends ago:  I was able to go to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival where I met up with Roobeedoo.  That was a great treat and it was really good to see her doing so well.  She blogged about it here.  I came home on one of the very last trains to go through the Queen Street Tunnel before they closed it for repairs until August.

I had finished the shawl I made from the beautiful gradient yarn that she gave me for Christmas, and I was pleased to be able to show her:

Raspberry and Apple shawl, finished. March 2016.

Raspberry and Apple shawl, finished. March 2016.

The yarn is the Wool Kitchen’s Urban Hints silk/wool blend; the pattern is Charlotte Walford’s Wild Poppies shawl.  Full details are here on Ravelry.

And my Oregon cardigan is coming along.  I took a photo of it this morning.  The darker wool is a beautiful greeny/brown mix called “Selkie” and the gold wool is called “Golden Plover”.  All the names of the colours have a connection to the Outer Hebrides, where the wool is made.

The Oregon cardigan, 30 March 2016.

The Oregon cardigan, by Alice Starmore, kit from Virtual Yarns. 30 March 2016.

And speaking of which, I am soon going to be heading to the Isle of Harris on my third solo trip for some respite. (You can read about last year’s trip beginning here.) As of this coming weekend, the Dafter’s school is on Spring Break, however, she will need to keep working on her portfolios and indeed will be attending sessions of the Easter School they provide.  But I hope she will also have a chance to relax and have some fun with her friends.  I’m sure she and her Dad will do some special father-daughter things together in my absence, as well.

Happy springtime, everyone!



  1. Sorry to hear about Dafter’s relapse, hope she is back on the road to recovery. Hope you have a wonderful time on Harris, I am sure it will restore you. Take care.

  2. I love the picture of you and Tilly snoozing together. Cats are wonderful sleeping companions.
    I hope the Dafter is feeling stronger. Very best wishes to her for her Highers work.

  3. I love your Oregon cardigan! It is really gorgeous. Lovely to see your flowers blooming and all the wonderful colors. I’m sorry to hear that your daughter has had a relapse; I hope she will feel better soon. So happy to hear that you are off to Harris for a break. I wish you safe travels and a refreshing rest.

  4. So glad you are enjoying Spring, too, Christine. We are having some sunshine that is even been reported as good news on TV and the front page of the Oregonian. We do need good news, don’t we…so much to talk to God about. I am interested in your prayer walk never having done that. [I will Google the topic and see what info turns up.] I am very glad that Roobeedoo is doing well, and that you had a happy visit. Your knitting is so amazingly beautiful!!! I loved seeing your sweet pets and your impressive bee. Blessings on you and yours as you head off to your island and Michael and Dafter hold down the fort at home. xxxxxxxx

  5. Greetings dear Christine. Sorry I haven’t commented lately; please add me to the grey haired brigade. I thought about you and your choir on Easter Sunday. We attended services with my daughter at the Presbyterian church. It was a lovely service with old traditional hymns. I hope the dear Dafter is doing better. She is such a lovely young woman. Your knitting never ceases to amaze me. How I wish I could knit like you! Sending hugs to Dafter, Tilly and you! Pat xx

  6. Really enjoy your posts. There’s always something inspirational for me in them. Your Easter sounded really special, filled with true Easter blessings. Are you finding Glasgow has a lot more spiritual events to get involved with than Aberdeen?
    I absolutely love your shawl! Gorgeous pattern and blend of colour. I’m searching out patterns for a shawl at the moment so think this will be going top of my list.
    I hadn’t heard of Virtual Yarns – so thank you for the mention. I looked at the link and their shop is full of temptation!!! – so maybe I shouldn’t thank you!
    I’m really sorry to hear the Dafter has had a relapse. That is heartbreaking after the long slog to recovery seemed to be getting somewhere. With exams on the horizon I hope she doesn’t get too worried about that and put her energy into getting well.
    Finally, have a well deserved retreat to Harris. One of my very favourite places in the whole world!! I’m looking forward to hearing about it, with envy, as our next trip won’t be until next year.
    Take care, Safe travels X

  7. I’m very sorry to hear that things have gone downhill a bit for her lately, but hopefully the spring break will provide a little relaxation, as you say. How lovely to hear about the rats and to see that picture of Caspian. Nice shot of you and Tilly, too, she must have known you needed a little cuddle. It’s great that you’re getting another jaunt to Harris, I really enjoyed reading about your previous trip. “Travelling mercies”, and have a lovely time.

  8. I wish you a happy, carefree trip to Harris and hope to see your normal beautiful photographs of the islands. x

  9. Cute photo of you and Tilly napping. I hope the Dafter is feeling better soon.
    I just love that shawl! 🙂 ♥

  10. Wishing the Dafter an upward trajectory, and more than one step forward. Very many steps. How strange that the last day of school isn’t known. These end of year ‘events’ must really be getting out of hand. They clamped down on them at my children’s school when M. was in S6 by requiring that any ‘incidents’ were confined to outside the school building, and that nothing involved teachers’ cars could happen (the previous year a car had been entirely wrapped in clingfilm). End result seemed to be a lot of water fights with super-soakers (which tailed off as they got cold – the advantage of spring in Scotland), and various people tied to trees and then being rescued. The Curriculum for Excellence seems a mystery all round. I do pity the teachers. All I can say about your knitting is that it looks beautiful but very complicated (I’m about to do a blog post about knitting, can you believe?). Hoping that your Harris retreat will be everything you need. Perhaps you’re already there, in which case I’ll send hugs north west across mountains and sea, instead of my usual west along the M8.

  11. You might be interested in this April 2016 Guardian article about CFS research:

    • Thank you, Lorenza, we did see that article. Help for the suffering caused by ME/CFS cannot come quickly enough.

  12. Your raspberry and apple shawl is just beautiful!! So glad you got across to the yarn festival!

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