Posted by: christinelaennec | May 4, 2016

April into May

It’s been nearly a month since my wonderful break on Harris, and it feels like far longer!  As I mentioned, things immediately became difficult, and my escape seemed like a dream.  But life back home – looking after the Dafter, and being at church and in the choirs – has kept me grounded.

I was delighted to see the first daisies come up:

Daisies, mid-April 2016.

Daisies in the back garden, mid-April 2016.

I remember crawling around in the freezing rain planting these and other wildflowers, for the pleasure of one of the Dafter’s favourite flowers, the daisy.

We have had very cold temperatures, but nevertheless the first of the blossoming trees carried on undeterred:

Blossom, Glasgow, April 2016

Blossom, Glasgow, April 2016

The Dafter was felled by a most horrendous cold.  She had three massive and disfiguring cold sores on her face, and looked rather like some kind of illustration in a medical book, the poor darling.  However, to our amazement, these awful cold sores were healed within just over a week!  A sign of progress.

She has been battling on to complete her coursework, with only a few hours of energy and concentration available to her every day.  Regular classes have now finished, and she has study leave and exams for the next month.  She has a fair amount of schoolwork yet to do to complete her two Highers.  She has never before had the experience of study leave and exams, having been too ill for the past five years.  So the pressure and stress is enormous.  Very fortunately she is blessed with a wonderful, supportive teacher for both her subjects.  “By coincidence” (?!) her teacher has experience of suffering from ME/CFS.

Added to the stress of schoolwork is the emotion of the end of her school days, the end of regular lunchtimes and classes with her friends, and farewells to those who will be leaving Glasgow to go to uni in other cities. But she said to me, “All I ever wanted was to make friends that I could see at high school – and I’ve got my wish.”  It was a very long time coming, but I am so grateful that she got her wish.  Many healthy people don’t have that experience!

One really good piece of news is that she now has an unconditional offer to do another Higher at college next year, which is a great relief.  (To my American readers:  the Dafter still has a ways to go in terms of achieving the equivalent of a high school diploma, but she will be doing that in Further Education – college as opposed to university, which is Higher Education.  Perhaps the best US comparison is community college.)

In April there were many sunny and cold days.  Good Tilly-watching weather:

Tilly, bathing.

Tilly, bathing.

Tilly, transitioning from bath to nap.

Tilly, transitioning from bath to nap.

Tilly has enjoyed going back out into the garden, although as you can see she really is a housecat at heart – in this case, a summerhouse cat:

Tilly outside in the garden, end of April 2016.

Tilly outside in the garden, end of April 2016.

The end of April and beginning of May brought really cold weather with hail and even snow at times:

Hailstones, end of April 2016.

Hailstones, end of April 2016.

Hailing on the back garden, end of April 2016.

Hailing on the back garden, end of April 2016.  If you look closely you can see the hail on the grass.

Very fortunately we haven’t had any badly killing frosts.  My sweet peas, cosmos and ranunculus planted in trays are all coming up (brought back inside at night).  And the spring bulbs have brought me great happiness, particularly these lovely tulips:

'Jenny' tulips on a warmer day, May 4th 2016.

‘Jenny’ tulips on a warmer day, May 4th 2016.

For fellow knitting enthusiasts, the Oregon cardigan is growing, slowly.  Here is a photo of the start of the armhole steeks.  Once I have knit to the top of the cardigan, I will slice down the middle of the steeks, graft the shoulder stitches together, and then pick up stitches along the sides of the armhole and start knitting the sleeves from the top down, on circular needles.

Steeks for the armholes of the Oregon cardigan, April 2016.

Steeks for the armholes of the Oregon cardigan, April 2016.

Below you see the front steek.  The top few rows in the below photo I had begun to decrease on either side of the centre steek, to shape the V-neck.  The steek stitches continue the same, while the patterned stitches in between grow fewer in number.  In the photo above, you can see the decreases at the bottom of the armholes.  (In fact, I could no doubt have done them a bit more neatly – the yellowish stitches really stick out.  Next time I will plan ahead the row before.)

The Oregon cardigan, just beginning to decrease for the V neck, and having started the steeks for the armholes. April 2016.

The Oregon cardigan, just beginning to decrease for the V-neck, and having started the steeks for the armholes. April 2016.

I hope you have all had a good start to the bonny month of May.  The old adage “Ne’er cast a clout til May be oot” is certainly valid here at the moment, but we are due to have some warmer weather in a few days.  19 degrees C (66 F) is predicted for Glasgow at the weekend – a scorcher!!  We shall see!



  1. I’m so pleased the Dafter has an offer for college next year.
    And your cardigan is growing beautifully.
    Lovely to see gorgeous Tilly again.

  2. What gorgeous flowers! Glad the Dafter has a place at college, I did my post-16 stuff at college and loved it, much better than school!

  3. Glad the dafter is getting better and an offer of College is something to look forward to. Love your cardigan pattern will look beautiful, also have enjoyed your break away postings of trip to Harris,

  4. I hadn’t thought of that saying so far this year, I think because casting a clout hadn’t occurred to me – it’s been too cold! But I have always taken “til May be out” to mean when the May blossom is out on the (hawthorn) trees rather than the end of the month of May?
    Thank you for your “journal” from Harris, I have very much enjoyed it.

  5. Thoughts of casting a clout this year had not occurred this very weird weather continues to be quite cold here although predicted to warm up by the weekend. I am thrilled the Dafter can continue her studies and hope she does well with her exams and studies now, She certainly is doing remarkably well, long may this continue. Take care.

  6. Your weather reflects the storms you are surviving in your household, with Dafter’s illness. I’m sorry for your suffering and so glad that you are seeing some progress as Dafter is accepted into the college program and is healing from her miserable cold. Tilly and your flowers are so lovely, Christine 🙂 Sending you lots of hugs xxxxxxxxx

  7. Excellent news about the Dafter’s studies, I hope she finds the energy she needs to get through those two Highers. That blossom is beautiful. I’ve been missing the cherry blossom up here, it’s been rather wabbit this year, but the daffodils are still out and the tulips are coming. Your tulips are glorious. Roll on this weekend/next week’s weather – whoopee!

  8. Tout d’abord , bon courage à votre fille (et à vous !) pour cette difficile période de préparation des examens, dont je garde, pour ma part de bien mauvais souvenirs ! J’espère qu’après cette période de grand stress elle pourra se reposer et profiter de l’été !
    Bravo à vous pour votre tricot. Il est splendide, comme vos tulipes. Ici elles sont presque toutes fanées mais ce sont les iris, qui sont en pleine floraison!
    Bonne semaine à vous.

  9. Well done on the Dafter getting her place at college, and best wishes to her for the end of a significant chapter and the start of another! The cardigan is looking really good, and I’m already feeling excited and nervous for you just looking at the steeks!

  10. What lovely spring photos! And your cardigan is just gorgeous!!! So happy for the Dafter that she has been blessed to have friends at high school. Sounds like such a busy and stressful time with being ill with a cold and finishing up these studies. Hope that things continue to move forward.

  11. Lovely glimpses of your garden. The tulips have been particularly good this cold spring. I’m reading Anna Pavord’s massive tome, “The Tulip” at the moment – it’s fascinating. All good wishes to the Dafter and to you keeping things on an even keel in the run up to Highers. And well done to the Dafter on her college place.

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