I want your blood (well, not me so much)

In the run-up to Hallowe’en it seems appropriate to delve again into the world of free-flowing blood that is stem cell donation.

Just over 3 years ago I was lucky enough to be selected as a stem cell donor for an anonymous recipient on the continent, presumably (because if not, then it was quite cheeky) because they are/were suffering some form of blood cancer. Going along with the process seemed like a no-brainer to me, indeed at most stages I was really concerned that some reason would be found why I wasn’t a suitable donor, or couldn’t donate at that time. I still feel quite bitter about the time I was turned away from donating blood because I had a cold, even though I understand the reasons.

No reasons were found why I shouldn’t/couldn’t donate, so I had a lovely trip to London where the stem cells were sucked out of me. The hardest part about it was guiding the community nurse who had to visit me to the holiday cottage I was staying in, in Ludlow (which I didn’t know *at all*, and neither did she. Her: “I’ve just gone over a bridge into town.” Me: “I need more clues. All I know is I can see a castle from here.”) closely followed by remembering not to bend my arm when it had the big metal needle in it for 4 hours. Oh, and having a cannula stuck in my hand overnight in warm weather made me feel slightly like I could do with one of those cones the vets use to stop me gnawing my arm off.

But other than that, it was a breeze.

I go more into the pro’s and cons in my summary, written at the time.

So, why revisit it now? Other than to perpetuate the smug feeling a bit longer (I donated stem cells, did I mention that?), and join in with the general bloodthirstiness of Hallowe’en, my whole point in writing anything about any of this online is to encourage other people to put their hands up.

Sign up to be a bone marrow donor.

They hardly ever stick wide bore needles into your thigh bones these days. While it’s not a procedure for the needle-averse, it’s not properly painful and your worst enemy is boredom. I got through day 1 with Richard Herring interviewing Tim Minchin and laughed so much I nearly bent my arm (see above).

If you’re over 49, work on the young people you have in your life to get them to do it – you’re close to being over the hill as the cut-off, depending on which organisation wants your blood, is either 30 or 49 – but under that age you have no excuse.

Another reason why this is on my mind is that I’m lined up to give blood again for the first time since then, in a couple of weeks. You should (all) do that, too and if you already do then signing up for the bone marrow registry is super easy – just ask them about it while you’re there.  I’ve left it shamefully long, which is going to make it harder for me to hit my next milestone of 25 donations. My competitive self is giving me a good kicking about that, worry not.

So, I’ll say it again. Sign up to be a bone marrow donor. You may never get called, but if you do, you get to save a life. And you may get a free t-shirt.

It’s really no big deal, it turns out.

There are two good things I would like to come out of the apparently increased traffic to my blog during my stem cell donation.

(para)olympic mascot in Regent's Park

1. That “Pedro” the enormo-recipient achieves the health improvement that’s hoped for from the actual donation. (Note to Pedro – I appreciate you’re not *that* big, and you’re name might not be Pedro, but it helps me to think of you in a comedic manner. I’d like to think that as well as my blood group, you’ll also get some of my sense of humour. If not, then you’re probably very upset at the moment… sorry.)

2. That more people I am able to reach this way consider becoming potential bone marrow donors themselves.

Here are some encouragements…

  • it’s not very likely you’ll be plucked from the register. I only know one other person who has donated stem cells. He did it the hard way a long time ago (onya, Phil, by the way).
  • if you’re a working parent, you shouldn’t sniff at a free trip to London by yourself and the chance to lie down without being pestered for at least 4 hours (I got lucky – I got 8 hours).
    put your feet up
  • you’re unlikely to be out of pocket. So far the BBMR have treated me right & either paid for stuff up-front or are going to reimburse me.
  • being injected in your tummy doesn’t hurt. The first of two injections per day doesn’t hurt. The second one only stings a little bit and, like childbirth, you soon forget what it was like.
  • I won’t lie to you, it’s not a process for the needle averse. I had 8 injections, 2 “out” pipes, one “in” cannula which stayed in overnight. Having said that, after the initial stab, it didn’t hurt.
    cannula
  • the only people so far who haven’t been very impressed at what I’m doing are my children. And they’re under 10 and not ill, so really don’t get it. Steve has now got so sick of me being modest that he’s adopting a Ford Prefect approach of “oh, OK then – you’re right. It’s nothing.” (if you don’t get the reference, (re-)read The Hitch-hikers Guide To The Galaxy. I’ll be over here, getting jealous while I wait)
  • You might get to discover a fab new way of doing your hair
    new hair
  • the nurses were lovely. The clinic was swanky. They didn’t do that just because it was me – they do that for all the donors. If you’re found through the Anthony Nolan thing you get a t-shirt and bag. I got flowers (they’re lovely, thank you)
  • you can put your name down, and if the letter comes through and you’ve changed your mind, you can say no even then. But would you? If you knew there was someone out there who needed your stem cells, and it just meant a week of inconvenience and some injections, would you turn them down?
    donated stem cells

I think you need to be eligible to donate blood in order to do it, but other than that, there just has to be an ill person who matches enough of their chromosomes with yours. And if you have a bad back they don’t let you. The likelihood of anonymous donors being found if you’re ill is small if you’re northern European. If you’re from an ethnic minority, it’s ridiculously small. The more people there are on the register, the better those odds get.

So please, if you can, firstly donate blood (you can consider that a gateway procedure), and secondly, get your name on the bone marrow register.

It’s really no big deal.

(p.s. @robinince just told me (let’s just appreciate that moment – I got to have a 2-tweet exchange with Comedy God Robin Ince) that he was refused by Anthony Nolan Trust on the grounds of being too old. I looked up how old he is and he is only very slightly older than me. Either I’m bang on the threshold, or the BBMR have a higher threshold, or he was refused for another reason and they were casting about for plausible Other Reasons. In any case (and seriously, Robin, I’m IN NO WAY casting aspersions or speculating about what those other reasons could have been because so far you’re the only remotely famous person (apart from the lovely @Caroline_S) to retweet me, so will be ETERNALLY GRATEFUL until the Ricky Gervais or Tim Minchin effect kicks in and the server crashes)), even if you’re about as terribly old as I am, it’s probably worth at least asking the question…)

in summary…

Apologies for failing to wrap up on the whole stem cell donation thing – I was so excited to be heading home that I haven’t got around to it yet. Instead I’ve done 3 loads of laundry, 2 days at work, a week’s worth of shopping & menu planning and almost completed the armhole shaping on a very complicated-patterned cardigan.

So, Day 2. I was trying to work out ways to make it better in light of the not-going-home disappointment, so had a play with my hair. I decided that this style was best for no lumps on the back of the head, and also hopefully not looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards after 4 hours of head-on-pillow.

new 'do

It seemed to work quite well. It apparently still looked quite good by the time I got home as the children asked why I don’t do it more often.

Day 2 was much quieter as there was only me in the 5-chair/bed bay rather than the 3 of us from the day before. Also, the nurse in charge Mariamma was a bit quieter and more serious than Grant. He was about, but had other stuff on the go too. I listened mainly to Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. First off was Tim Minchin as guest – he was very good. Then Jonathon Ross, Francesca Martinez and part of Charlie Higson. The first episode had me laughing out loud – indeed they were all fairly entertaining – but after a while I started getting a bit fed up of Herring’s style. I can’t really put my finger on why, but his manner seems a bit… self important while at the same time seeming embittered about the lack of success Fist of Fun was allowed to have by the BBC. I’m still listening to them, I’m just sayin’. Maybe not all in one sitting is better! (update: ps. If by some bizarre change Richard actually reads this, please rest assured I’ve finished the series now & have got over that. You’re fab. especially if you re-tweeted me…)

This was my view as I was listening…

feet

see all the other empty beds…

About half an hour in we had major pressure problems – apparently the blood was all flowing fine, but the flashing lights & beeping kept going off, so a heat pack was applied (that was really nice, actually) and there was quite a lot of needle jiggling and adjustment of lines out. I had to squeeze a thing periodically, and eventually we got it sorted. All that meant I was afraid to move my arm *at all* for the next 3 hours and when the needle was removed and I was told to bend my elbow over completely, it was one of the sorest things I’ve had to do. Apart from giving birth. It wasn’t *that* sore.

needle in arm

So, once the needle was out and all the blood had made its way back in from The Machine, I had some lunch and scooted.

The next day I found out the scores on the doors – Wednesday a lot less was collected, meaning that we just scraped up to 4 overall. However, the numbers (it turns out) are [the-number] x 10/6 stem cells per kg of recipient weight – which means that it’s a proportionate number relating to the recipient weight. So they were apparently asking for a high dose as well as a high dose for a larger recipient (I think). So although I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t hit target, hopefully it should still be enough to help the intended recipient.

There don’t seem to have been any lasting effects, other than on Thursday I noticed that the back of my hand looked like this…

bruised hand

Which is quite the bruise, from Tuesday’s blood test.

Steve and the children came to meet me at Liverpool Lime Street which made the journey home quite a bit easier. We then went on to go to Pizza Express at the docks for dinner which meant that Joel was complaining about being taken away from the Wii for the whole evening, and Lily was bellyaching about going on the big wheel that’s right next to the restaurant.

Welcome home!

Rationale

Several people have asked why am I doing this?

We can understand if it’s for little billy-bob or for cousin Reg, but why would you go through the stress and trauma of donating bone marrow for a complete stranger? I could refer to the saccharine assertion that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet, but that’s not really my style. But in some ways, that is why I’m doing this. Every patient who needs bone marrow is *somebody’s* billy bob. If one of my kids needed an organ or something like this, and no relation could be found who was a close enough match, then we would be relying on someone like me who was willing to go through this process for someone they don’t know, and potentially for an unknown outcome.

As I was settling down the other night I also thought about what my mum would do. She donated blood, but I have no idea whether she would have gone to these lengths of altruism. And in some ways it doesn’t matter ~ I’m pretty sure that she would have approved. Certainly, everyone I’ve mentioned this to so far has firstly said how lovely that I get to do this, and only a few have expressed concern at its impact on me. Not because they don’t care, but because the outcome potentially far outweighs the inconvenience.

The process so far has been minimally traumatic and not at all bothersome. I had to travel to London for a medical which seemed excessive, but having learned that the alternative is Sheffield, I think London is actually easier for me to get to. I had to get someone at work to do blood draws for me, but they do that kind of thing all the time, and that was only because there was a bit of a delay. The nurse who injected me the past 3 days took a bit of guiding to find us the first day, but from then on just pitched up and did her stuff and was gone within the hour. Side effects have been minimal, to the point where I’m not sure if I’m just experiencing them because I’ve been told about them. Such as I had a bit of an achey back yesterday, but other than the slight throbbing that went with it, it could have been attributed to the slightly ropey sofas we were sitting on at our holiday cottage. So far so bearable. If the preferred method was the operation under general anaesthetic and big needle, I would have thought twice and be quite a bit more daunted, but assuming that doesn’t have to happen, the effort on my part will have been laughably small. I wouldn’t recommend this process for anyone who is needle- averse, unless they were looking for a kill-or-cure style fix for said phobia. They generally don’t hurt, but there have been several a day during collection.

So, in return for a week or so of inconvenience and Steve having to solo parent for a bit (which he would have had to do the past 4 days anyway), we get to save or prolong someone’s life.

Why would you not?

Harvest Festival, Day 1

It was with a small amount of trepidation that I swung up to The London Clinic at 08:50 this morning. First order of the day was a white blood cell count, which took 20 minutes or so to come back. In the meantime Grant The Nurse explained to me that as the recipient is a large person (110kg, apparently), the donation that has been asked for is large. I’m not sure what the numbers are, but generally a donation is 2 to 3, maybe a little more. A large donation would be 4. My recipient’s health professionals are asking for 5. There has been much sucking of teeth over this.

Grant’s proposed solution was basically to turn everything up to 11. It may mean more side effects, but there’s a chance I get to go home tonight if we get to within 10% of the requested amount.

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And so, I get hooked up. A metal “out” needle in my left arm which means I have to remember not to bend or I’ll do myself an injury, and an “in” cannula in the other arm. An anticoagulant is added to my blood stream to make things flow faster, which might cause tingling in the face, hands & feet and possibly nausea.

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A load more vials of blood were taken off for testing as well. Grant, entering into the spirit of the blogging thing, very kindly took this picture…

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…and that was basically it for 4 hours. I listened to podcasts, read blogs and generally chilled. I didn’t get any tingling, but I did feel a bit nauseous, which, when I remembered I was supposed to flag side effects and get them dealt with, was dealt with swiftly & effectively.

So, at roughly 1:45pm the “out” was unhooked, and this picture, much to the amusement of my fellow harvest-ees, was Grant’s idea:

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Lunch was served pretty much straight away – it was a cut above the usual hospital food, but they could have been a *little* more generous with the tuna&sweetcorn on my baked potato. And I don’t really count a chewy pain au chocolat as a “Danish”, but then we know I’m picky. Also, I was pretty much press ganged into having these scones, which would have been better with a brew…

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So, having been unhooked, my crop was sent for analysis to see whether I need to come back tomorrow. In the meantime I went over to the park to cloud spot.

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I spotted an excellent piranha attacking a fluffy bunny but by the time I got my phone out, they were gone. I pottered back for my results, which were unfortunately somewhat disappointing. We collected just over half of what’s been asked for, so I’m back for another 4 hour session tomorrow.
I feel a little bit down about this because I’m ready to go home now. Plus, I feel a bit bad about the time I’m taking off work. On the plus side, I’m now at large in London with a tube stuck in my arm…

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Photos from yesterday…

I’ve reinstalled the wordpress app – steve reminded me this was possible over 3G (durr) so now I can show you the pics from yesterday.

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This is the very shiny & new-looking crockery & tea pot I was served a brew in at The (swanky) London Clinic.

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So as not to compromise my veins for today, they took blood from the back of my hand instead of the usual inside the elbow…

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I went for a stroll after my appointment and before tea, and it turns out that having more white cells in your blood stream
doesn’t make this any less stressful…

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So far so good…

My last injection took place at The (swanky) London clinic this afternoon. First they did a blood test to do a white blood cell count, after which they would either halve or double or no change my injection dose, depending on how well I’m doing at making them.

It turns out, I’m doing pretty well, slightly above target, so the dose remained the same. At which point the nurse brings out a really big syringe and said “I’ll just do the one injection for you.”

Dare I say, eep?

They checked my veins again for big needle & cannula-tasticness – apparently its all good. I’ve to report back tomorrow at 5 to 9 and make sure I get both a white and yellow piece of paper from reception (!)

I’ll leave it there as WordPress isn’t playing ball with me nicely at the moment – my iPad app keeps crashing & accessing through the Internet on an iPad is less than satisfactory, it seems…

Knitting Conference Day 3: now with cake o’clock

The day kicked off with another trip to put a new ticket on the car. I felt less “peppy”, possibly because it was a bit less glorious weather-wise. A couple of clouds can make all the difference, it seems.

The day followed a similar pattern to the one before. Rosie the nurse arrived shortly before 10 to inject me. She had suggested alternating between arm injections and tummy injections, so today was tummy day. I asked whereabouts (having had 2 children “on the tummy” isn’t a very precise location for me) and she said “next to your tummy button”. She was lurching towards me, needle poised when I suddenly felt like this was very much not something I wanted. So I bugged out. “actually-I’ve-changed-my-mind-can-you-do-it-on-my-arm-please?!” I blurted. And so she did.

Oddly, both days, the first injection has been fine – hardly felt a thing, and the second one quite hurty & a bit stingy. I wonder if there’s a physical reason for that – if it’s because I’m right handed or something – or if it’s because my body has realised it’s having pins stuck in it by the second one. Either way, it’s consistently been less comfortable for the second injection.

So, once Rosie was dealt with, we pottered out for market browsing and knick-knack shopping. The market by the castle had some *very* lovely things in it, including a lovely cake stall. Having learnt our lesson the day before, cakes were procured.

cup cakes

I very much like the proportion of icing to cake on these. We headed out again, and Lorna found a very lovely cushion with watercolours of pigs, and I found these.

lovely cushions

Which Steve will no doubt be relieved to know I left in the shop.

picturesque Ludlow

Lunch followed, with more knitting, and actual cake o’clock:

mmm cake

And later on we pottered out again to explore the shops of the Bull Ring – somewhat different to the Bull Ring we’re used to…

Bull Ring, Ludlow

… all very genteel – antiques, knick knack and yummy food shops. All very lovely, apart from one where we aborted near the door due to 1. the promise of Faerie merchandise and 2. it was FAR too full of stuff. So, we pottered back and waited for tea time to come around. In our pottering the night before we had identified the eaterie of choice – a lovely-looking pub in the shadow of the town walls. Every town needs a Wheatsheaf and this is Ludlow’s. The menu looked reasonably priced and reasonably tasty.

NB I didn’t take any photos, so have included knitting update images instead)

So, along we went. The atmosphere was lovely – locals greeting the bar staff like old friends – we were greeted warmly, directed to a table and given menus. We ordered a vodka & tonic and a gin & tonic, and they were duly served – so far so much better than The Olive Branch. We ordered, and waited  a perfectly reasonable amount of time for our food to arrive, soaking up the lovely atmosphere.

lacy noro scarf (not prawn cocktail)

lacy noro scarf (not prawn cocktail)

Lorna had gone for the mussels and I had gone with (my family can all start guffawing loudly now – this was my starter of choice as a child) the prawn cocktail. The mussels were apparently tasty, although 4 unopened ones wasn’t great, meaning that Lorna was now on food-poison alert. The prawn cocktail was OK – they hadn’t messed with the winning Marie Rose sauce formula, but the lettuce was on the side and had red onion with it, and the bread was unbuttered. I spent most of the time thinking “this bread could really do with some butter on it” only to find the wrapped portion of butter I was craving hiding under the rim of the prawns dish… when I had one mouthful of bread left.

For our main courses, we had chosen the Roasted duck in plum sauce (Lorna) and I had chosen the Stack of pork & black pudding. Here, they really let themselves down. Often, a chef will present roasted duck breast in a fan, or tastefully arranged on a plate. Not this chef. No, this chef had the confidence in the food speaking for itself and just lobbed the bits randomly on the plate. These bits were apparently not at all crispy and we were confident this was down to under-roasting rather than the sauce they were very nearly floating in. There was so much sauce that I’m amazed the peas had kept to their own zone of the plate.

Poplar & Elm (not pork)

Poplar & Elm (not pork)

The stack of pork & black pud was literally that. Roughly 3 inches diameter slices of black pudding, stacked on a roughly 5 inches sized pork steak. It looked a little unbalanced, to say the least – I’d have been happy with much less pork, trimmed to match the black pudding. Also, it as all soaked in either a white sauce which had separated or half white sauce and a bit of gravy.

Whereas I couldn’t finish my main course, Lorna speculated whether her serving included a *whole* duck breast. Somewhat uneven, to say the least.

Also, and I have no idea how this is even possible, most of one of my black pudding slices appeared to be gristle. Given that it’s made from pig’s blood, how poor a process do you need to have to miss a massive lump of… something?

Anyway, we finished up, paid, politely said yes thank you, everything’s fine, and rushed home to blot out the memories with Cobra, white wine, and cake o’clock part deux. By bedtime I was able to raise this smile…

proof of life

proof of life

So, if you were going to try one of the restaurants we frequented this week in Ludlow, I’d say go for The Olive Branch every time. Just don’t be ordering any exotic tonic-based drinks…

now can we make it more awkward, please?

So, it turns out I’m fine from a bone marrow donation point of view. The blood tests all came back OK.

However. I’d cleared out the week in question of meetings, warned work I was going to be away (they’re being very accommodating, by the way, in the way that you would hope from a clinical research facility run by a big research establishment associated with a big hospital where they do this kind of stuff as well), arranged child care and was generally ALL FINE for the week they wanted to harvest the BM.

And then, when the nice BBMR lady called back, she said they wanted to postpone the harvesting until… the least convenient week of my summer altogether. This is the week when I’m due to be in Abersoch the weekend before (without being in Northern Scotland, about as far away as you can get by land transport), looking after the children during the week, and then away with a friend the weekend after (which, if they had to go for plan B: big needle in hip, would be toast).

After stressing about it for an hour I called back and asked for the week to be a different week – pretty much any other week rather than that one.

I’d agonised over this as I don’t want to be unhelpful, but at the end of that day this is my summer break we’re talking about and it’s not like I’m planning last minute things, or stuff which could be rearranged. My friend works in academia and so this was the last weekend she could have taken as a long one before term time kicks in again. Plus, we’d paid for accommodation in what I assume is a non-refundable manner.

And yes, I’m aware that it’s a week out of my life, but possible life-saving-ness for the other person. In my defence, I’d like to point out that they wanted to change the date first.

Anyway, they raised their offer to the following week. So that’s good. All we have to do is wait, and in the meantime, someone at work gets to take nearly a pint of blood  out of my arm as the blood tests have to be done within 30 days of harvesting, so have to be repeated.

Knitting Conference Day 2 – now with added needles

Day 2 started with an early rise to go and pay for parking. I didn’t mind, though – I was already awake and it was GLORIOUS out. I did the five minute walk to the car park doing deep breaths and wishing I was a runner. It was the first outing for my new pretend converse, and I’m LOVING them. I had forgotten how much I like wearing them.

new shoes!

new shoes!

And Ludlow was looking lovely.

Bull Ring, Ludlow

Bull Ring, Ludlow

I headed back for breakfast and the first conference session – reading Lorna’s latest copy of The Knitter. the BBMR nurse (Rosie) was due to come at 10am. At 9:30 she called with the update “I’ve just gone over the bridge – how do I find you?”.

Um… you might need to narrow it down. In my world The Bridge is Runcorn Bridge over the Mersey. I’m guessing you mean a bridge closer to Ludlow. I directed her to the car park by the castle, and we found each other there. It turns out, Rosie is coming from Sutton Coldfield each day. That doesn’t seem *very* handy, but who am I to question. They’re sending me to London, after all…

I had to do a pregnancy test first, just to check that I’m not pregnant. Steve, you can relax, I’m not pregnant. Technology has totally moved on since last time I did a test, though – none of this relying on liquid soaking up the stick past the picture – DIGITAL display no less, with flashing egg timer symbol followed by a CLEAR “Not Pregnant” message on the screen. I can’t help thinking it’s over engineered and a bit wasteful… Rosie also took my blood pressure, pulse & temperature which were all normal.

This is my drugs before being mixed together.

drugs!

drugs!

There are three vials which were mixed into two injections – one in each arm. The nurse went over possible side effects which apart from feeling very achey as though you’ve done a day’s gardening include headaches, stiffness, general flu-like symptoms, hot flushes, hot flushes in the night and sleeplessness.

I never signed up for sleeplessness. I’m very much hoping I don’t have that one.

Lorna, clearly in a spirit of participation, has been developing flu-like symptoms all day. I asked if the nurse minded me taking a photo for the blog of the medical stuff, and she asked if Lorna wanted to take a picture of me being injected for same.  Lorna very quickly said No as if she was made to watch, there was every chance she would hit the carpet. So we don’t have a picture of that.

Then we waited while Rosie filled in paperwork, and I failed to develop allergic symptoms. When Rosie was satisfied we weren’t going to need the oxygen she’d brought in from the car “just in case” and double-checked by BP, pulse & temperature (I was colder & more relaxed than before being injected) she headed off with the promise of coming back tomorrow. Apparently she does one of these per week, and she has colleagues who also do this. I’m wondering where the people all go for the harvesting – I only saw one machine and do they send *everyone* to London?

So, after Rosie had pottered off, we decided that some light sightseeing and lunch-buying was in order.

Lorna buying cheese

Lorna buying cheese

The market was in full flow outside, so we acquired a smorgasbord of loveliness. I have to take full responsibility for saving the buying of yummy cakes until cake-o’clock, rather than getting them there & then. It’s a decision which didn’t work out well.

However, look at Lunch!

lunch

lunch

We wondered how anyone who lives here isn’t the size of a house. We ate, and knitted more. I finished Steve’s first sock of a pair with kitchener bind off. We both tried the sock on to check that it will go over someone’s heel. It will. It remains to be seen whether it will go over Steve’s heel.

Before long again it was cake o’clock so we pottered out again. We went to the local yarn store and each made a bit of a purchase. Lorna got sock yarn. I got some Noro Silk Garden which I’m planning to turn into a small decorative scarf.

noro

noro

We went back to the market and here is where my earlier decision came crashing down on me. We returned to the market, and THE CAKE STALL WAS GONE.

why is the rum gone?

Oh dear.

We had to fall back on the resources of the fudge stall and a local cake shop. There was another classic moment where, junior shop assistant was half way through processing our transaction when older shop assistant barged through and took over the till. Junior was standing RIGHT THERE – it’s not even as if she had stepped away to get more cakes or hand Lorna her change. This led to another grumpy old lady conversation about how nobody has any manners any more.

For knitting variety, I cast on yet another project after cake, a lanesplitter using yarn very kindly donated by Deb. My colours are darker, but the concept remains the same.

Dinner tonight was provided by the Golden Moments curry house on Broad Street, as recommended by a random passer by who said it was better than the one 8 doors up the hill. It was indeed very tasty, and not un-bargainous.

So, we’re back knitting again with the delights of Ice Road Truckers Deadliest Roads and celebrity big brother. Here’s my progress…

Lanesplitter

Lanesplitter

…and here Lorna is approaching her second set of decreases, starting her second skein and hurtling towards being able to do exciting cabling.

Lorna with her knitting

Lorna, featuring Debbie Bliss

NB it’s a Debbie Bliss pattern, not Debbie Bliss yarn.After all, Lorna’s not made of money.

Symptoms so far: a little bit achey and a little bit headachey. I’ve had 1 paracetamol before tea, but I might take another couple before bedtime to try to avoid the alarming sleeplessness that’s been touted as a possibility.

Small amount more knitting for me, then some zees.