Three Things Thursday: 16 November 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, secret stitching gifts. I mentioned before that, despite my usual rejection of all things Christmas, I decided to participate in Sewchet’s festive gift exchange. It’s nice to have an excuse to put together some yarny things that I know will be appreciated… and also to pass on some of my surplus. I made a start this week with my making, creating this little work basket; after all, you can never have too many receptacles for all those “works in progress”:


work basket from Berber carpet wool


Making it was tough on the fingers because the thick carpet wool is quite rough, but it holds its shape well and it should be very robust. In fact this probably counts as a double smile, because I’ve had that particular wool sitting in my collection for several years, so it’s been good to find an appropriate use for it.

Second, food with friends. Some friends came round for dinner on Tuesday evening – I cooked roast pork and heaps of vegetables, followed by apple pie and cream. The food wasn’t fancy, but it was delicious… all the more for sharing it with dear friends. We probably don’t do this often enough.

Third, sleepy dogs. I’m always amused how tired the dogs are after we’ve had people visiting. I smiled a lot at Sam being so crashed out yesterday; she was even too tired for a walk. Oh and for those of you who have asked – Max is still hanging in there . He’s rather frail, but he’s enjoying his low fat, high carb food and a tiny walk on dry days… not a bad life for an old dog.


Sam in recovery yesterday


So, that’s some of what’s making me happy this week. How about you?


Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

Gramophone records and fizz

Regular readers will know that one of my aims in 2017 is to go on seven visits to meet up with friends that I normally only interact with via social media. This has been going well so far, with trips to Manchester and Birmingham as well as a couple of more local visits achieved by the end of March. Our holiday to Cornwall, however, provided an opportunity to go and see a dear friend in Devon on our way back home.


time to talk

I met Karen a few years ago through her blog and we quickly became friends, although we didn’t meet in person until last year when we managed to call in for afternoon tea with her as we were on our way down to Cornwall. This year, however, we wanted to spend a bit more time together, so I arranged for us to stay a night at a bed and breakfast in her village on our return journey and she offered to cook for us. What with one thing and another, Karen hasn’t been blogging for over a year now and although we have emailed and spoken on the phone, there was lots of catching up to do.



May blobs and marshland

We arrived I time for lunch then had coffee in front of a roaring fire (there was a rather chilly wind blowing outside), before a lovely walk, which involved going to see the ‘May Blobs’ (marsh marigolds). We walked and we talked and we sat awhile on a bench looking at a glorious view, and we got to know a bit more about each other in a way that just doesn’t happen until you have some uninterrupted hours face-to-face. In cyberspace we all tend only to share limited information and so it’s lovely to have time to ask questions and share more personal stories and insights. Mr Snail and I went straight from our walk to check into the b&b, get cleaned up and give Karen some time to get organised, returning about an hour and a half later.


We had taken fizz to celebrate our get together, and Karen insisted that we gathered around what looked, initially, like a rather uninspiring cabinet for it to be served:


it didn’t look promising

Upon opening it up, however, we were presented with a magical interior…



But this wasn’t the end of the wonders. Next came the gramophone and records:


time to get winding

and some pre-dinner entertainment (excuse my slight wobbles – I blame the fizz):

I didn’t record it, but my favourite record was of Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra playing The Mahogany Hall Stomp, which got us all dancing.

And then we ate and talked some more.


delicious dinner


During the day we laughed and shed a few tears and we became closer friends.

The general consensus in traditional media seems to be that social media is driving isolation and presenting unrealistic images of our lives. This can be the case, but it can also provide a route to new friends and real shared experiences. In the past few years I have made some wonderful friends via this blog and Twitter and Facebook and I have met up with lots of them. My life is richer for all these interactions and my determination to meet up with people has really paid off. Indeed, having managed five meet-ups so far this year and having already arranged three more, I’m happy to say that I’m set to annihilate my target of seven!

Do you have any  experiences of meeting up with friends made through blogging?

People time

I love sharing food… and yesterday we had a marvellous get-together that resulted in this lovely ‘pot luck’ spread:

A fine spread

A fine spread

We had an abundance of cheese (including my homemade ricotta and curds), lots of fresh bread and wonderful cooked dishes… quiche, vegetable bake, tortilla…. all delicious and shared with lovely people. Three years ago I co-taught a full permaculture design course here in west Wales, and yesterday about 2/3 of the original participants met up for lunch. Some people I haven’t seen for three years and some I bump into occasionally, but what a great time we had, all lubricated with masses or tea and coffee and accompanied by two dogs.

And despite having not been together as a group since 2012, everyone found lots to chat about. The Masterpiece also made an appearance (by special request) and was much admired (it wasn’t even an idea three years ago, and I was only just registering to do my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, which inspired it).

Even the dogs admired the Masterpiece

Even the dogs admired the Masterpiece

You don’t need to meet up with true friends often, but it is really important to take the opportunity to see them when you get the chance. Here’s to many more shared meals and social gatherings… and outings for the Masterpiece!


Sharing the Love

The Contented Crafter and myself have been plotting (isn’t it fantastic that two people on opposite sides of the world can plot?) something lovely for Fran, a fellow blogger. She’s written about it in this post, but actually the post is much more than that. I wholeheartedly agree with her thoughts on the value of our online community – thank you Pauline for expressing them so well!

The Contented Crafter

In my last post I shared the story of this, the ‘Dangler of International Happiness’


Many comments focused on the extraordinary gifts that we receive from each other within our blogging communities.  Yes we receive all kinds of happy mail from fellow bloggers, gifts expected and unexpected.  Random Acts of Kindness that make a smile appear or maybe even a tear drop or two.  But even more precious is the friendship, understanding and positive support shared when times are hard, hearts are opened and just the smallest thoughtful word can make a big difference.

I have read posts that have questioned the reality of relationships made within the world of bloggers, claiming that we can invent ourselves to be quite other than we are, claiming that we can’t quite trust who or what is on the end of any comment, that we only present ourselves in our best possible light.

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For the greater good

I’m feeling  a bit giddy this afternoon. No, I haven’t been on the booze… I went to the vampires this morning. Not the ones with pointy teeth that only come out at night, the ones from the Welsh Blood Service, who give you biscuits and tea in exchange for the red stuff.

Welsh Blood Service LogoHaving failed to manage to bleed fast enough the last time I went, I was determined to improve my chances of success this time. So, when I got up this morning, I started drinking water and got through a couple of litres over and above my usual tea and coffee consumption by the time I went along. I was, therefore, quite surprised to be given another pint of water to drink on my arrival (it’s a new approach, apparently).

It all did the trick and I was able to manage a full donation today, although I have been left with quite a headache… I think my electrolytes are a bit out of balance!

It has got me thinking, however, about how important it is for me to give blood successfully. I was really upset when I failed last time, despite the fact that it had no negative consequences for me There was quite a wait to donate, but even so, when I checked, I found that blood stock levels for my blood type are low.

Anyway, I came away feeling quite hopeful – clearly there are lots of people out there who are altruistic and want to do something good without receiving a direct benefit. Perhaps there is hope for us human beings after all.

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