Irises, cardies and love.

Never go into the kitchen before the garden when rain looms. Starvation takes a while to set in.

That's how I overcame the hurdle of the noisy tummies and sowed carrot, beetroot, pea and alyssum seeds outside and tomato and basil seeds inside today. I would normally have sown the tomato seed earlier but now has to be good enough. I am hopeful of a good growing season this summer. I came back from Auckland to huge and lovely-tasting broccoli. The heads were lots bigger than the supermarket ones (brag braggidy brag brag). Last years' broccoli was shameful and almost inedible. This year I grew it where a compost heap had been not long beforehand and also in a more sheltered spot. I also cut the irises which were prone in the garden due (I presume) to recent winds and put them in a vase in the dining room. Thanks to their prolific division over the last 2-3 years, I now have lots of iris bulbs, but they are still too spread out in the garden. Next year I want them in clumps instead.

We are getting lots of bees in the garden. They really like the flowering kale and also the borage. The other bee attraction is the purple sprouting broccoli which started to flower while we were away. I've left two of those in the garden for sheer beauty and for attracting bees.

While Wall Street burns and a substandard boat off the coast of Tauranga ruins our sealife, I've been thinking about clothes. I don't think I have political apathy (though I could be wrong), but my cynicism levels have increased steadily in recent months. It doesn't help that we have an election just weeks away and no credible, powerful alternative to John Key.

So I took in two bags of clothes for the Sallies and bought three belts. The belts use up a lot less room. It's been decades since I've worn a belt but apparently they are just the thing for my body shape, so belts it is.

Then, just because I have squillions of unfinished projects in the study and don't feel like doing any of them, I decided to revamp my long black wrap cardigan. My long black cardigan started out from this pattern, made in an alpaca/merino yarn:

I made a size too big plus I made it bigger again because I went up a size of needle without checking the tension with the new size. It's a great cardigan, beautiful charcoal colour and very soft and cosy to wear, but really really enormous and all the folds sit to the front creating a late pregnancy side profile. Last night I unpicked the sleeves (the rest is knitted in the round) so I had three flat pieces of knitting. Tonight I put it in the machine at 60 degrees celsius then for ten minutes in the tumble dryer and now I have three significantly diminished pieces of felted wool drying by the fire and awaiting the next step of the transformation.

Only I haven't decided on the next step. Which means that maybe I go back to considering politics instead. Except except except - I get no further in my journey from thinking about politics. Hell in a handbasket or something.

I gave up on Hannah Tunnicliffe's The Colour of Tea. Soon I'm off to bed with Andrea Levy's The Long Song.

I haven't forgotten about last week. I think about my Mother in Law all the time, something I never did before. I'm trying to appreciate my own Mum more, acutely aware of how lost I would be if the phone call had been my Dad to say it was my Mum who I would never hear or see again. I think about lots of things to do with extended family and the fabric of who I am, who we are. Fionn has been writing to his Grandad via email since we got back and tonight Brighid dictated an email for him. I was 28 when I got married, already long used to living in a different city to my parents and indeed to all of my immediate and often all of my extended family. Adopting a family when I already had my own wasn't a process which came easily to me, but this last ten days has shown me that I am one of their family and they are mine and there is room for me to connect with my in law family without sacrificing my own identity and links with my blood relatives.


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