Of parrots, houses and brazil nuts

DSCF1855The benefits of selenium are inconclusive.  It’s a mineral, a trace element in fact and it can be purchased as a supplement if you so wish – we don’t.  It can also be found in brazil nuts and fish amongst other things but brazil nuts are best.  We spend a lot of time looking at the various price of brazil nuts.  Why?  Well, it appears – and of course there are arguments on both sides of the equation- to have some benefit in terms of fatigue and brain fog.  These are both symptoms of cfs and quite frankly if a handful of brazil nuts will ensure HWIOO isn’t quite so Rip Van Winklish then it has to be a sound investment.

My favourite German supermarket usually has the cheapest brazils in nice resealable foil packets but they ran out.  This left me searching the rest of the supermarkets.  I was not impressed with the price tag until I came across The Grape Tree where low and behold there were veritable mountains of brazil nuts – sadly none enrobed in caramel and milk chocolate – oh no, we’re not talking hedonistic brazil nuts here – we’re talking the healthy variety – though I did find some yoghurt coated ones which would do very nicely as an energy boosting snack.  I have added them to my handbag along with the assorted painkillers for the strange aches and pains that come with cfs.

Nuts sorted, it’s been a fortnight of searching for the dream location to live and having a break from diy.  As a consequence I have been rained on in every western English county from Cumbria to the Bristol Channel – and a few Welsh ones as well.  I did rather fall in love with the Cumbrian house with a tower attached but quite frankly the Little Madams would not be amused and I haven’t yet developed webbed feet – though I feel it might be the next evolutionary development if Augusts continue to be so wet.  Realistically the further north and west you travel the more brick for your pound you can get.  This is fine if you don’t like shopping. There was one town, which quite frankly, would have been enhanced by a large bulldozer running wild  through it but I’m sure I felt like that only because it was cold and wet.  Equally there’s only so many estate agents, charity shops and pound shops that one high street should have.  There are I should add some notable exceptions to this rule – Ludlow and Much Wenlock spring to mind (yes I know west and southish). Unfortunately for me they don’t seem to be a very well kept secret so the cost of buying houses in either of those locations is slightly frightening.

The search has helped us to create a list of what our ideal dwelling should have – and I would really like a garden with fruit trees so that homemade jam would take on a whole new meaning – damsons, greengages, crab apples, apples, quince, figs…and lets not forget a sheltered courtyard and a summerhouse where I can write that best selling novel.  HWIOO quite likes the idea of a polytunnel and also a ride on lawnmower.  The Little Madam has already told us we need a flat garden which is to be kitted out with a swing and a trampoline.  The Right Little Madam would like a Wendy House and if she ever finds out that some houses come with paddocks she’ll put a bid in for a pony – no doubt to sleep in the Wendy House.  While we’re at it we don’t want to be overlooked, plenty of garden birds would be welcome as would a hedgehog or two.  Given that l seem to have spent a week or so in cloud cuckoo land we are all agreed that a family kitchen with a huge stove and lots of storage is high on the list, an open fire in the sitting-room for those winter nights spent gazing into the embers having stuffed oneself on freshly made bread toasted over the aforementioned fire.  Clearly a study is required for the fourteen banana boxes of books, the desk I dream of having and for the studio that HWIOO sometimes mentions. Of course, we will need plenty of space upstairs not only for us but also for the Little Madams.  The oldest of whom now rates people’s homes based on the number of toilets that they own.  Oh yes I’d like a bay window and a pantry.  HWIOO would like a walk in power shower and the Little Madam wants a bathroom with a huge mirror.   We’ve not conferred with the Number One Son yet but no doubt he’d like a games room and a home cinema.  Nor for that matter have we conferred with the Number One Daughter – I suspect not living several hours away might be on her list of requirements as well as space for all of us at Christmas – so that’ll include the Mater, Bernie and Kaitlin as well as Venus and Jupiter; the Number One Son; three dogs and assorted guests. When Hattie reads this she’ll remind me that one of the upstairs rooms will need to double as a craft room because a girl can never have too much yarn, sewing materials or paper related crafting.

Realistically – we don’t play the lottery so perhaps our list of requirements needs some gentle pruning – along with my stash of wool and hoard of books. Hattie also pointed out to me that we live a little too far away these days.  When we get home we will make a list of our requirements and our dreams then try to be sensible!

The plan was also to do plenty of walking – pacing exercises etc.  Now I don’t know about you but walking in horizontal rain isn’t high on my list of favourite occupations so I finished off the parrot that I should have completed in time for the Right Little Madam’s birthday in July.  Flint is in the image on the top of this post and at the bottom because it isn’t every day I knit an Alan Dart creation.  I’ve bent yet another pair of knitting needles to complete him which suggests I may not be as relaxed as I should be when knitting and purling but I’m rather pleased with him nonetheless- so much so that he’s staying put, my excuse being that the straw former that stiffens his tail and helps him to balance probably wouldn’t last too long in the hands of an enthusiastic buccaneer.  I’ve started another one.  In fact if I get the hang of parrot knitting anyone with so much as a whiff of interest in the sea, pirates, boats or birds may be on the receiving end of one of Flint’s friends.  I have sufficient yarn for a whole flock of the little dears and my mattress stitching needs to improve dramatically.

And now our second week is at an end.  The Cotswolds proved to be warm and fructfully mellow as Keats would say.  Sadly the further south we travel the less brick can be purchased per pound and once again we doubt if the Little Madams would be very pleased if we were more than two hours from them – I’m not too sure that I could teach my day schools if I lived that far from Yorkshire either nor make occasional visits to Teddie, Tatiana and Stan.  Having said that I really loved Cirencester.  Of course, I would.  It was once the second largest Roman settlement in the country after London and is knee deep in interesting history as well as an award winning local museum.  It also has higgledy-piggledy streets filled with a variety of interesting shops.  It’s surrounded by rolling hills and ancient woods as well as villages with wild and wonderful names – like Upper Swell and Lower Swell.

Oh and did I mention I’d like to live a bit closer to the sea…

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