Back to the sewing machine

 After way too long, I feel like sewing. I sorted and cleared out much of my fabric hoard a couple of months ago and vowed to sort out my remaining stock before buying another piece of fabric. A sudden and very welcome spell of warm weather made me realise how bare my wardrobe is of suitable summer garments. I feel the cold even on sunny days so my collection of Norgaard long sleeved t-shirts are still very useful. If it gets hotter I will need some short sleeved tops and I need a couple of skirts and dresses. I particularly like this Vogue dress and have some black linen just waiting to be used. My first project though is going to be a denim skirt. I have a pattern, I have some denim and somewhere I’m sure I have a zip and a jeans button so next week should see me sewing a nice new skirt!






All I want for Christmas…

well actually I’d like it much sooner but I’m going to have to save up!

Many years ago when I worked as an au-pair I used an Ankarsrum Assistent food mixer and loved it. It was cream and stainless steel and looked somewhat industrial but very attractive and made wonderful bread and cakes and meringues.

Recently I have been looking at food mixers and was hunting for prices on the Internet for Kenwood Chefs and K-Mix mixers when I found a reference to the Assistent. I followed it up and discovered that they are now sold in UK and also that they come in an array of lovely colours including Pearl Blue (as shown above) which would look lovely in my blue kitchen! Having cast aspersions on the price of KitchenAid mixers I am now having to eat my words as the Assistant is even more expensive and I will have to start saving all my pennies (and pounds) in the Assistent fund.


A new challenge

A visit to the renal department this morning has provided me with a new challenge, my phosphorus and PTH levels have risen somewhat alarmingly recently so I need to alter my diet and change, or rather add some new, pills. For many years I have not eaten meat as a vegetarian diet slows down the degenerative renal disease I have. I obtain most of my protein from dairy products- milk, cheese, yoghurt etc. Today’s news was that I need to cut down on dairy products quite drastically which doesn’t leave a lot of choice. I do have a diet book but the idea of eating tofu and seitan does not appeal so I’m going to have to be creative with fruit, vegetables and pulses. My son treated me to a very tasty vegetarian curry yesterday for Mother’s Day and there was enough left for tonight’s meal too. An evening spent looking at recipe books and researching on the internet has given me a few ideas and I will get an appointment with a renal dietician to help me plan ….the good news is that I can eat cake providing it is low in dairy products and it is almost berry season so I have a good excuse to eat bowls of strawberries!

Another anniversary

March 4th also marks another 1 year anniversary, I have been active on the Kidney Transplant list for one year. (I was on the list for almost a year before that but in a “suspended” category while I had investigations into a heart problem , which was eventually found to be due to one of the medications I was taking for my kidney failure)

For those interested in statistics :

On average, patients who are listed for a deceased donor transplant wait approximately three years.

At present, in the first 2 years after going on the waiting list, there is, on average, a 50% (one in two) chance of being offered a kidney.

The median (average) waiting time for an adult kidney transplant is 1,110 days.

On the first of March 2012 there were 6428 people waiting for a kidney transplant, this figure changes almost daily as some people are accepted onto the list and others are transplanted, are removed from the list for a variety of reasons or die waiting.

Three people die every day in the UK while waiting for transplants.

In the twelve month prior to that date there were 1448 transplants from deceased donors and 826 transplants from living donors.

I am pre-dialysis, I have a fistula in my left arm ready for when I need dialysis. This fistula was made two years ago and has clotted once necessitating an operation called a fistulaplasty to clear the clot but at the moment I have some kidney function left so have not yet begun dialysis. I take a small collection of medication each day, tablets to control my blood pressure, tablets to prevent and treat gout (a very painful condition caused by the build up of uric acid -not just suffered by those who indulge in a lot of alcohol) asprin to minimise the risks of suffering a stroke (I have already had a number of minor strokes), tablets to stop the continual feeling of nausea due to the build up of toxins in my blood which my kidneys no longer remove, statin tablets to control my cholesterol levels, and I have to inject myself with  Aranesp to treat the anaemia caused by chronic kidney disease.

I am fortunate to have been able to continue working part time but the combined effects of the poor renal function and anaemia mean that I am exhausted much of the time. James Hipwell writing in the Guardian last year described it thus “Imagine the worst hangover you’ve have ever had. Well, that’s the best way I can describe the feeling waking up every day when you have kidney failure. But without the fun part of getting drunk first – and sadly, nor does a fry-up make it any better.” It is a very long time since I had any alcohol much less enough for a hangover but it is an accurate description of the wretchedness felt on most days by most people with kidney failure.

Waiting for a kidney is a very strange state to be in, I do not have any family members able to be living donors so I am waiting for a deceased donor kidney to be available or an altruistic donation ( While there is no official cut off point, patients over 60 are slightly less likely to be offered an available kidney if there is a younger person in need. So the next two or three years are critical. Because you can be called at any time on any day, each time the phone rings …especially if it comes from a Manchester number (Manchester Royal Infirmary being my nearest transplant centre) … it is possible that this will be the call. That puts you in an almost permanent state of expectancy. I have rehearsed in my head what I’ll need to do if I get the call, there are arrangements to make for the dogs, for work, to get to the hospital at whatever time of day or night the call comes.Meanwhile the wait goes on….



Happy Birthday

Skye was one year old yesterday and chose to celebrate with the dregs of the lime juice bottle. She loves citrus tastes and regularly tries to steal lemons so it seemed quite appropriate that this was the bottle she chose to carry around on her birthday.  She loves plastic bottles, we sometimes put a handfull of biscuits in them for her to rattle around and eat as they fall out but she is just as happy with an empty one to carry around. Her first year seems to have flown past, I can hardly believe that we brought home this little bundle

last April . She has grown into a beautiful dog with a huge appetite for life, she gets up every morning full of the joys of spring and ready to play. She loves everyone, sometimes rather enthusiastically, and wants to explore everything. She is exhausting and exasperating but we wouldn’t be without her!

The princess and the pea.

When we moved to this house fifteen and a bit years ago I didn’t have a bed, I slept on the floor and then on an air mattress for a while. Eventually I bought a bed from IKEA and because funds were fairly tight at the time I got the cheapest possible mattress to go with it. The mattress has been ok, no more than that, but over the last 12 months has been getting more and more uncomfortable. As I was buying a new mattress for the single bed for the spare room I decided it was time to replace my mattress too and on Friday morning the two new mattresses were delivered. Yesterday we hauled them up the stairs and put the new mattress on my bed. What a difference, for a start the new mattress is twice as deep as the old one so the bed looks quite different, and it felt so firm and supportive that I could hardly wait for bedtime to arrive. I felt just like the princess in the story but never mind a pea, you could  put a vegetable marrow under that mattress and hardly notice it! I haven’t slept so well in years. The embroidery design is by Follow the White Bunny, isn’t it wonderful!

The log store.

When we got the log burning stove we bought a large quantity of logs, they were delivered onto the drive and lacking a proper wood store we put them into the garage until a store could be built. It wasn’t ideal as the garage is slightly damp and lacks a good air flow so the logs were too damp to burn well. After a bit of discussion about building a logstore from old pallets we decided to make life simpler and order a kit. On Sunday as the weather was mild I decided it was definitely log-store day so my son and I had a very enjoyable afternoon building it. His woodworking skills have improved a great deal since the time he decided to practice using a drill on the dining room table and drilled through the piece of wood he was drilling, the wooden board protecting the table top and the table top itself!  By the time we finished, it wasn’t difficult just very heavy, and the dogs had inspected it and accepted the news that it wasn’t a “wee hoose” for them we came indoors for a much needed cup of tea and after that it was a bit dark to start transferring all the logs. So before work each day this week I have dutifully moved a few armfulls and I completed the job this afternoon. It is now full to the roof and there are still two shelving units full of logs in the garage…I may have over ordered slightly!