nutz

There is no getting away from the fact that I’ve had a rough few days. Please try not to have a stroke, people: the long term health implications of it are really bloody annoying. Sometimes the process of recovery itself can add further problems to the myriad medical issues that follow a brain injury, and this has certainly been the case for me. This particular issue concerns the instability of my pelvis, and my general (in)ability to get about, and as well as being in quite a bit of pain this week I’ve been feeling rather angry and frustrated. Will this shit never leave me alone? Unfortunately, it probably won’t. The only thing for me to do is to properly face up to the fact that a stroke is, in effect, a chronic condition with which I am now living: however determined I am, my mobility is now going to be seriously compromised for the rest of my life, and I have to deal with that. Easier said than done, sometimes. I often find myself thinking of Patricia Neal and her hip replacements.

I’m not keen on myself when I’m maudlin, and I’m quite sure no one else is either, so I find myself with not too much to say today. Here are a couple of cheering things.

I love this so much I can’t stop knitting it. The yarn is the stuff I showed you recently and it is just. so. bloody. tasty. I am making some things from it which will be out in pattern form next month, so I will be able to show you the right side reasonably soon.

Tom baked hazelnut shortbread. When baking anything containing nutz, it is, of course, obligatory to sing several verses of the old Louis Jordan song, Nuts to You. At least it is round here:

“We’ve got walnuts, chestnuts – all the best nuts -
Every kind but donuts
Brazil nuts, peanuts, we will see nuts
Till we really go nuts.”

Where was I? Oh yes, Tom’s hazelnut shortbread. It is very good.

You will find the recipe on p. 948 of Nigel Slater’s Tender, vol 2, or below in an abbreviated variation, rendered without Nigel’s linguistic excesses (“large, unruly balls” being a notable feature of his original).

Butter 170g
golden caster sugar 100g
skinned hazelnuts 60g
ground almonds 40g
plain flour 200g
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 160c.

Cream butter and sugar together till fluffy.
Toast hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until golden, then pound with mixer or pestle & mortar until coarse.
Add the nuts & flour to the butter & sugar and stir until the mixture comes together.
Take a teaspoon, and divide mixture into twelve blobs.
Place on non-stick baking sheet and bake for about 25 mins, or until the biscuits have risen and begun to colour.
Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes, before lifting from the baking sheet and dusting with icing sugar.

Enjoy while still slightly warm, with a nice cup of tea.

88 responses

  1. Those “large unruly balls” look yummy—I LOVE shortbread. I can only speak for myself (but I better others feel it to) I know when you haven’t posted for a few days that you are not feeling well (emotionally or physically, most likely both), so thanks for checking in with us (all your readers), and I hope you feel as best as you can soon. The stranding looks wonderful, love the colors.

  2. Beautiful looking shortbread which I will surely try – doesn’t look at all like the stuff my granny used to make (a mercy in itself). Hope you have a great week coming up.

  3. I know you just through your blog but I am sure you are a nice person and I send you all my love and good thougts !!
    I am not sure it will be very usefull for you but I do hope so
    fanfan
    my english is poor , i am french !!:)

  4. My grandmother had a stroke several years ago and it can take out even the best of us. She was previously a dressmaker, tailor, knitter, and seamstress. Now only occasionally she is able to sew.

    Your colorwork piece looks lovely from the back and I’m anxiously awaiting viewing of the front.

    Now I’m off to make some of that hazelnut shortbread!

  5. Best wishes for a good and speedy recovery!

    The hazelnut shortbread recipe looks delicious and we’re looking forward to seeing the front of your latest piece – hang in there, we’re rooting for you!!!

    Liz

  6. Damned ! I just can’t send you a piece of the sun through the Web !!!……
    No matter anyway … it’s raining today here (south of France), so I’ll try again later on ;-)
    thanks for the recipe ;-) but i’ve just made an apple pie … damned again !

  7. Hang in there Kate. If it means anything, I so look forward to your posts – your photos of nature, knitting, your beautiful way with words. Blessings to you.

  8. I hate liking things when there’s pain and suffering involved. But I do love that you are trying to understand the process of your healing. It stinks when your body has other ideas than you do. I could get all theological on you but I won’t. I will say that I’m thankful that for whatever reason you have the time to bless us with your absolutely amazing knitting knowledge and life and landscape. My husband and I waited with baited breath for your posts. As soon as we see a notice of a post we touch base with each other and oooh and aaaahhhhh.

    How sweet of Tom to make the shortbread from the looks of it…..I’m sure that cheered you up!!! My only disappointment is that I just came back from the store or I’d be making it this afternoon!!!! I hope your strength continues and you’re patient with yourself. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  9. Yummy Hazelnut.
    I hope they were good!!!
    So teasing us with a new design. Oh goody. I am so greatful the stroke has not taken away your talent and beauty of knitting.
    I can’t even imagine what you are going through. My thoughts are with you and your family. Stay strong and be well.

  10. I have been enjoying your posts for quite some time now. I appreciate your ability to savor the small details in life. It is these things that enriches the big picture, and makes the hard days easier to get through. Your yarn tease looks very exciting! Although I am in the US I will convert the measurements or your recipe. Thanks! Hugs

  11. Your body went through some stress while worrying about Tom. Stress has a huge impact on us physically and is sometimes delayed in its reaction. Glad that you vent a bit on here and share so many wonderful thoughts not only about knitting but about life. Feel better soon. I always look forward to your posts. In Georgia USA with a breezy 55 degrees today after horrific tornadoes night before last. Happy to have not ended up in the Land of Oz with yarn strewn everywhere. :-)

  12. Did you mean Patricia Neal’s cerebral aneurysims ? Roald Dahl had a hip replacement, I think. Her life definitely changed very dramatically.
    I’m sorry that you are feeling so low about the changes in your life. It is sad to think of the things we can no longer do, or do easily.
    There are so many things that you can do, and do really well. I greatly admire you for them.

    The hazelnut shortbread does look very, very good!

  13. Can’t wait to see the right side it looks most intriguing. Tom’s shortbread looks fantastic too. I notice a there are a few icing sugar outlined circles on the plate indicating that you couldn’t edit until after the photoshoot to dig in.

  14. chin up!!! Tomorrow is a better day… Love your colors on the back.. Still working on using my left hand well so I can do fair-isle well. Going to give your head band a try soon… Thank you for the up-date..

  15. Sending good energy your way!!! Hope tomorrow is a better day!

    Looking forward to your new pattern. Enjoy your yummy yarn. ;)

  16. Take care and keep a positive attitude! These are the things you can control! Your crafts and hobbies are certainly a good way in that direction. I send you positive thoughts!

  17. I know it is hard to have a positive outlook everyday. You are aloud to have a bad day now and then. Your designs are awesome! I look forward to your posts, keep positive, you are not alone.

  18. Sorry to hear you are having such a rough time. The shortbread looks lovely though! Can’t wait to see the front of the knitting.

  19. Sorry to hear you’re out of sorts this week Kate.

    I know you must get sick of everyone suggesting positive thinking etc, etc, but you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have those low points. I think you show great determination, and whenever I read your postings I admire your courage and strength but also value your humanity that always permeates through at your lowest points.

    I hope you enjoy all the very simple moments this week, your time with your wool, eating Tom’s leftover biscuits (if there are any left!) and reading all the special comments from the blogosphere!

    Happy Knitting
    Fleur xx (looking forward to seeing your next reveal……x)

  20. Sorry you are having a down day, but down days are always followed by better ones, and lucky you to have a hubby show can make such wonderful hazelnut shortbread to complement yummy yarn for tea. We just had a major yarn show here in western CA called Stitches – there are 4 of them a year, north, south, east and west, with more yummy yarn and stuff than you can shake a stick at. I hope you’ll fly to the states one day and come to one of these shows with your patterns and yarn to say hello, perhaps teach a class, but just hang around with some lovely shetland wool and have a cup of teal with us all. We would love it! A yummy thought from the states when you are feeling low. Enjoy your tea and thanks for the recipe! Cheers to Tom and Bruce of course.

  21. Sorry to hear that you’re struggling, but I think you’re right to look at it as a chronic condition…thanks so much for the shortbread recipe, I was shamelessly going to ask for it!

  22. Just wanted to comment that the woman who wrote ‘My stroke of Insight’ took 8 years to recover. That might seem a bit miserable but the point is that she DID recover completely after that time so hopefully it will just be a matter of sticking it out some more and things will inch along for some years but in the right direction. Think how far you’ve come in just over a year – amazing when you think back. In ‘Out of Africa’, in her suffering she asks herself if she can bear things for just one more minute. When the minute is up, she knows she can bear anything’.
    Onwards…. xxxx

  23. Great recipe – will definitely be making this one. Thankyou.

    I can only speak for myself but I almost never blog about chronic health issues – possibly because I can’t do it with the same self deprecating grace that you do. Anyway hope this coming weel is better for you.

  24. Chronic conditions are exhausting, even when exhaustion isn’t one of their symptoms. I just watched this youtube video, a TED talk, that Margie Oomen of the blog Resurrection Fern directed readers to today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXDMoiEkyuQ. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it too (once you get past the man’s introduction of himself to see the short film he made for the talk). One thing I remind myself – through gritted teeth – is that my illness has forced me to slow down and sometimes that means I see things I would never have seen otherwise. Still the gritted teeth, though. Thinking of you & looking forward to your patterns, whenever they come.

  25. I don’t know you but since finding your blog and reading about your experiences I find myself thinking about you often.
    I am amazed at your creative genius in your designs…….
    Acceptance is a hard piece of the puzzle…… take a sacred pause and remind yourself that you CAN stand it.
    sending love……….

  26. Intriguing knitting you’ve got there!
    And hazelnut shortbread? The man spoils you! ;)
    One foot in front of the other, tiny steps, don’t rush it. But what do I know?
    Hugs
    x

  27. Isn’t Perservance your middle name? Just Keep on Keeping on, dear lady. You seem to be a very strong-minded person and I know you will conquer this beast.
    Hugs from Chicago.

  28. send you a big Huge dear Kate, I know you from your pattern and love them so much. hope you will recovery soon. Being hungry and upset with the hillness is normal and it’s good, so you can find the way to beat it.
    cakes look yummy!

  29. I hope you feel better and can’t wait to see what that mouthwatering yummy thing that tasty yarn will end up as…

  30. I had to have a hip replacement 4 months ago. My hip sockets are, apparently very shallow and therefore wear out quickly. I am 52.
    Im now on the wait list for the second hip op.
    The frustration I feel daily, and the pain, is so wearing. I feel like 152 most days. It gets me down.
    So I can go some way to understanding how you must feel. But my problem is due to be finally fixed. I certainly wouldn’t want to be facing a lifetime of living this way.
    I try to focus on the things I so enjoy, which for me is knitting, and reading knitting blogs. It takes me into my own special place.
    I so enjoy reading your blog and seeing what you have on your needles. I take a peek every day to see if you have a new post.
    I have learn’t to take each day as it comes. To take good care of myself and relax. To enjoy the things that make me happy and to allow myself to feel down and depressed when I need to. Its very understandable.

  31. I’m sorry you’re having so many additional health problems because of the stroke. Accepting that illness will be with us for the rest of our lives is very difficult, and something I don’t think I’ll ever completely come to terms with. There are times my jaw muscles hurt so much that I wish I could rip them out, so hearing your hip replacement thoughts makes perfect sense. I do envy your loving and supportive husband.

  32. Kate, thank you for the shortbread recipe ~ it really looks lovely. I’m in the US so not sure if I will try to convert the measures and make it or not but I appreciate it just the same. Thanks, once again, for sharing honestly your experiences and frustrations in dealing with your stroke and its aftermath. I have just begun dealing with what looks to be a life altering chronic condition and could very well relate to your frustration and anger. I’ve just been trying to pull myself out of a minor melt-down this afternoon, and reading your blog has helped me tremendously today. For that, I am very grateful. Please continue to share the truth of your experiences as I’m sure I’m not the only one being helped by them.
    Thank you, also, for the back side of your knitting. :) My knitting is keeping me going these days, and seeing your bright, Spring-like colors made me smile and want to pick up my own work again.

  33. In a way I have a new ‘normal’ to adjust to as well – and I do NOT like it!! – and some days it is easier to choose to accept and some days it is bloody hard…….. and even tho’ you might have been feeling morbid, it is a great post!!! btw, got gifted Manu for my birthday and am excited to start :) :)

  34. Oooh, the biscuits look great and I like the idea of stripping back of Nigel slater to get rid of his linguistic excess. Unruly balls – hilarious! On a more serious note, am sad that you are having a rubbish time with your pelvis. It must be very frustrating and upsetting. Big love to you xx

  35. Now come on, with a nice cup of tea and some large unruly balls, how can you not be cheered up?! You certainly cheered me up anyway! Stheriously though, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having a crappy time. As a wise reader comments above, your stress about Tom’s illness must undoubtedly come out in some reaction or other afterwards, and this bad patch may just be a symptom of that. Having said that, I very much relate to your facing up to the realisation that what at first appeared to be an accident (stroke, in your case) – a moment in time, from which you fight to recover and to put behind you – turns out in fact to be an ongoing condition. I did a lot of psychological work last autumn coming to terms with the same thing. (As always I add that in regards to my own brain injury, I got off lightly compared to you: though my pelvis seems to be buggered too thanks to my accident, so the daily discomfort/ pain/ frustration is not just in the brain department.) Coming to terms with the fact that my normality is probably changed for good took me a fair chunk of last year, but has given me an unexpected sense of release and optimism. This from a pretty up-tight person. So – and not meaning to be facile – I wish the same for you, despite the daily frustrations and difficulties. Optimism and nutty shortbread!

  36. Oh good lord, those cookies look wonderful. Why have I never thought to mix nuts with shortbread? I’ve had poppy seed and toasted oats in shortbread, which is amazing, but hazlenuts, mmmmm.

    I hope the cookies and comments help perk up your spirits – I’m continually amazed by how much you take on and accomplish, stroke notwithstanding.

  37. Sorry to hear about the latest onset of doldrums Kate, never easy to deal with, but the shortbread could help! I do have another suggestion which may sound odd and perhaps not doable for you. It came to mind when you mentioned your pelvis area having been damaged as well and being in a nasty mood. I’m not an expert but have taken some Yoga lessons and one teacher mentioned the exercises for that day were to open up the pelvic area and to watch out for the possibility of feeling angry. She said these pelvic opening exercises could elicit either anger or joy. I don’t remember what the exercises were exactly but they were sitting exercises and not ones which require a balancing act.
    Best regards :)

  38. If my partner had recently been rushed to hospital with appendicitis I’m sure I’d have been more than a little stressed. Stress manifests in mean and unpleasant ways for many of us. I hope you can be gentle with yourself despite all the evil symptoms that flare up, and I continue to wish you well. Your strength and determination are constantly inspiring, and your recovery so far in two years seems astounding. Your creativity also seems to have blossomed beautifully and your designs and research are a constant source of delight. Keep going, Kate. You’re amazing!

  39. however you are,your posts are always very looked forward to ,so thankyou………………be nice to you you poor possum,keep up the fabness !

  40. I’m sure it must be a long adjustment to make – the one involving your new state of being, not one of your choosing. I’m sure it must be testing, frustrating, infuriating and heartbreaking, having to embark on this path of long, slow acceptance ….. and I’m sure you will always have times when you just need to batten down the hatches… But I’m so pleased you have Tom and Nigel to bring you a little good cheer. I am currently drooling over Vol 1 of Tender, having procured it from the library, and am just about placing my order for both volumes as I write. I adore Nigel – never has a fellow written so salaciously about food…. and I adore a man who can bake. Know too that you bring so many of us, your readers, good cheer. Thanks to you I am now the proud owner of a beautiful red Shetland Warriston smock, an exquisite red Shetland lace triangle, a gorgeous Cabbages and Roses Bond St suit (not that I knitted this one of course), and I’m currently knitting up Deco in a delicious Blacker yarn. I have learnt how to graft, read lace charts, do special bind off techniques and now, Japanese short rows (I tried and tried but couldn’t make head nor tail of the Sunday row instructions…. I tend to be somewhat dyslexic with instructions occasionally). So thank you. So much. I hope you feel better soon xx

  41. It’s easy to guess that the recent last couple of weeks, you must have been feeling on the brink of the worst… but maybe it offers comfort to know that at leats ‘we’ (that is, who? those who have come to observe your cycles) can lay bets as to how high you’ll climb on the next beinn, and how fabulous you’ll feel *then*. I am totally going to make that shortbread, and hazelnut *anything* is my favorite. Thank Tom for me ! xJen

  42. Yummy, yummy….. well done Tom. Like lots of others I just love to read all your posts – whatever life is throwing at you and it seems to have thrown you a tougher than tough week in the past few days. My partner, Rob, likes to hear how you are too I am often calling out to him to let him know your latest news….

    So……. here’s to a new week full of colour and love from the bush Down South in Western Australia…. and Woody too of course!

  43. I briefly pondered whether I should leave a note – everyone already seems to have said my thoughts. However, I also thought about the 1,000+ comments you got for a giveaway post, and I thought, an extra one to the 50+ wishing you well is really not enough. You’ve come so far, in reality, in such a short time. I’m so inspired by your determination and progress when so many others just literally curl up and die. You are stronger than you know. Having had the privilege of getting to ‘know’ you from very far away for a little while now, I can see why you are frustrated, and feel for you. Our bodies take an amazingly long time to heal, but with the right care, I am sure you will be able to look back in another year’s time and see how much further you’ve come. Hang in there!

  44. WELL KATE —go ahead yell , scream , swear every word you know , and yes then get on with it [ don't forget the first part LOL ]—-its horrible not to be able to make your body do what you want — in truth , like others have said you have come so far – look at what you write , you inspire us all with your knitting and designs – you know , we all have our issues , its a pain , but look at what you have, and thats a lot , someone who loves you , a passion for what you do , so many people never will have either – best thoughts and wishes and hugs—pat j

  45. God bless a man that bakes! And you Kate… you’re awfully young to be faced with chronic health issues.

  46. I can have no words of advice as I have never been through what you are going through. I can admire you for who you are..so brave and human. I can be forever inspired by what you create. ..and I can hold you in my thoughts and good wishes and prayers. It is with such admiration and sincere love that I send my best and thank you for being who you are right now, right here. And I can fervently send true, true wishes and good thoughts that you will continue to heal and be soon in that place where you want to be.
    I think that you are a wonder. Take care.

  47. Wow! there must be something happening somewhere. After watching the news i had this overwhelming desire for shortbread – normally i don’t eat after nine but, the feeling was so strong i made shortbread. This morning i see your recipe and photos. I’m overwhelmed! It’s sooooo good to share a biscuit and a cup of tea with you. Warmest hugs, XXX

  48. A big hug from me, Kate. Looking forward to seeing the new pattern. Those spring colours are just gorgeous and cheerful. Oh, I have saved the recipe of the shortbread and will definitely give it a try some day. Thanks for sharing ~

  49. How I love that although you are going through sadness you still have the energy to write about it, and what’s more, share your irrepressible love of knitting… and shortbread to boot!!
    Sending you loving thoughts.

  50. So sorry you have been feeling rough.
    I am in a similar position although not through stroke.
    I have found this book very helpful in maintaining a positive and healthy attitude.
    The Healing Code – by Dermot O’Connor.
    You knitting is fabulous as is your photography. An inspiration to us all. :)

  51. Don’t worry about thinking you are maudlin, lol…you needed to say what you said, and you said it. I understand where you are coming from in this battle to regain your health. Many of us are battling with health issues we didn’t want expect and it is a hard road to travel.
    You are helping so many here by your blog and knitting and and all the lovely things you share with us. We all want you to gain as much improvement as you possibly can. I get like you feel from my accident injuries, and I also cannot breathe when I encounter artificial fragrances, so I know what a constant battle it can be, and how one thing impacts on another and so on.
    The Hazelnut shortbreads look so yummy, I have written the recipe, thank you, and Tom, and Nigel.
    I hope you are feeling much better, and will be ready to cope with all the difficult things that are being thrown up at you as you journey towards a physically stronger old self.

  52. I can’t wait to know where this yarn comes from. Unless I’ve missed the post with the info…
    A nice cup of tea, especially with those yummy shortbreads, is always a good solution.

  53. Ok. I’ll do my best not to have a stroke ;) I hope you are feeling better soon! I know… it is a funny thing to say… but I mean it! The knitting looks tasty as does that hazelnut shortbread!. I think you are mighty lucky to have such a talented baker around.

  54. sorry to hear of your continuing troubles, Kate. I think I may need to try your Tom’s recipe-I love shortbread, but will need to translate measurements for the US equiv.
    Be of good cheer.

  55. Be as maudlin as you want – better to have a good bitch about things than let it build up inside! In our house, we sing the Cadbury’s advert – nuts, whole hazelnuts, Cadbury’s take them … etc.

  56. Dear Kate, I know when I don’t see a post for a few days that you may be feeling low. May I offer what gives me some relief ? From Eckhart Tolle: I focus on my hand and feel the aliveness of it, then that spreads until I feel the aliveness of my entire body. This is quite fun, the little cells sort of jump around in there and it tickles a little. This process doesn’t solve any world problems but I feel better afterward. Feeling some better is the goal, eh? Please give it a go. Best wishes.
    post script: lovely shortbread, intriguing kniitting, looking forward to hearing more from you!

  57. Aw nuts, I am sorry you are feeling rough, and hope you can adjust to the chronic conditioness of it all smoothly and feel better for a bit soon. Not bottling up the maudliness may help, so splurge if you need to.
    Squinting at the wrong side of your fairisle, it reminds me of the little dancing ladies embroidery you showed us from Madeira….?

  58. I am glad that “going professional” with your knitting has not taken away its theraputic value for you. I spent a half-day in the ER with my spouse this week, and my knitting saved my sanity. I am currently knitting your Peerie Floers Hat – now *that* is addicting! The perfect hat for viewing spring bulbs in March’s bright but windy weather.

  59. Oh my goodness, now I’m in serious trouble, as I adore shortbread AND hazelnuts and have never had the two combined…
    I wish you an easier adjustment – I wish ALL of us easier adjustments to any chronic condition. It’s hard to, with your “I’m okay” mind, adjust to what doesn’t compute!
    (((hugs)))

  60. I know that my problems are not anywhere close to being as serious as yours, but a couple of years ago I was having problems with sciatica and pelvis alignment and herniated discs. After a lot of different attempts at physical therapy, conventional medicine, and acupuncture, several people sent me to find an Egoscue postural therapist. It is a series of exercises and positions that help the body to reduce pain by realigning things. I went from near constant pain to almost no pain and the ability to do most of things I used to do. There is someone in Glasgow that studied Egoscue. Could not find anyone near Edinburgh, but here is address for them: http://www.intouchadvancedtherapies.co.uk

    You should look into it, it really helped me tremendously.

    susan

  61. When I was 15, my dad had a severe stroke. It has taken him years to recover, and he will never be the cheerful, boisterous man that he was. He will never have a job again and instead volunteers his time wherever he can manage. He is disabled on the right side of his body and even after years of physical therapy is still limited in his mobility. He also suffers from aphasia which limits his speech quite a bit – he used to be a professional oral storyteller, and this disability has taken its toll on his self-confidence. When he is stressed or fatigued, his symptoms are the worst. When his grandchild was born, he found a renewed hope, and his recovery soared for several years because the baby forced him to move around a lot more and he loved reading her stories. She was the only one that had unlimited patience with his shortened temper, slow speech, and uneasy movements.

    Recovery is hard – for the victim and the family. My heart goes out to you and yours that you will find the strength to take each day as it comes and find the blessings that lie within them. I am happy to see that you have carried on and are using your experiences to create beautiful works of art. I have shown my dad what you are doing and urged him to write about his experiences as well, since he cannot speak without growing tired and confused.

    Your “maudlin” as you say is comfort to other stroke victims. Knowing that someone else is going through the same pains they are, feeling the same frustration for the same reason, knowing that you are getting through it and maybe they can too – that’s everything.

  62. I love cookies and knitting, so I am looking forward to the knitted item you are making, and to making cookies to nibble on!! Also wish you the very best of wishes, for feeling better and getting what you want out of life. Hang in there!

  63. I hope your bright knitting and yummy shortbread have brightened your day (I am certainly looking forward to seeing what that lovely fair isle is!). Thank you for sharing the shortbread recipe with us!

  64. I’m sorry that you had a bad few days and hope you are feeling better now. A big problem with a chronic condition is that it is, well, chronic. A hug from Texas.

  65. Kate thanks so much for the shortbread recipe, i am going to try it out tomorrow…. wednesday my choir rehersals start again after the summer hols so i think everyone would really love to start the rehersal off with some nutty shortbread!!!!! (except the choir director mabe:)
    Wish there was something we could do to cheer you up…… today i have been chatting with a lady in Perth, Australia—- she works down a gld mine as a geology tech or something like that…… i must say that i find it so interesting chatting with people all over the world (especially with people from my neck of the woods as i guess i feel a bit closer to home) so thank you!!!!!!!!

  66. Coming to grips with the reality that your life will never be as it was, or as you hoped it to be is a journey that, at it’s center, cannot be made easier by anyone. It is as thorny and difficult a path as any you have followed up a mountain.
    Having good people at your side helps you gain the balance and grit to re-engage your battle, though. And hazelnut shortbread and lovely miraculous wool doesn’t hurt.
    As a former hiker/white water rafter etc. who is about 10 years further on a similar journey I can only tell you to keep hope alive. Although life is very different, it is also very good.

  67. I am so sorry that things are horrid for you, at the moment. Chin up. It will pass…
    How I love Nigel Slater and his wonderful chatty, empowering books. They are not very well known here in Australia so I give them to people as presents, at every chance.
    I read them for comfort, as well as cooking from them.

  68. Yumm!
    You know, everyone is different, but I do know someone who had a stroke in her mid-twenties, and could barely walk afterwards (she describes using the baby’s pram as a walker..). And in her 50s when I met her she was a damn good rock climber. So it takes time, it’s horrible while it lasts, but recovery is possible.. I think what may be happening could be that often recovery gets slower as you get closer to normal, an asymptotic curve sort of thing. Hang in there!
    Treating your moody times with cookies seems like a fine approach to me in any case :-). I’d do chocolate, personally, but it’s good to have more variety too.

  69. Actually, listening to Louis Jordan has eased me through a couple of bad patches in my life, so I think you’ve chosen a good therapy there. I haven’t any hazelnut shortbread to hand, but I will eat some dulce de leche Girl Scout cookies and raise a cup of tea to you. More power to you, Kate.

  70. Mmmmm, that yarn does look tasty. But I have to say that Tom’s/Nigel’s shortbread wins hands down in the scrumptious stakes :o) If you lived in Birmingham, you could come to my Pilates Studio to help sort out your pelvis and pay me with tasty treats!
    Can’t wait to see the knitting in it’s full glory.
    P.S Recommend Nigel’s Chocolate Beetroot Cake – made it for my fella for valentines. Best cake EVER!!

  71. I am sorry to hear you have been going through a rough patch again. I wish you felt better and that I could send you some of my health. I have started knitting my sheep heid a little while ago and am enjoying my first foray into fair isle immensely (I have a lot of other things going on, that’s why it isn’t done yet). Thank you so much for enabling me to have so much fun with your pattern.

  72. I’ve also had a rough past few days (hence being late to read your posts), and while I’d rather both of us be up and around skipping in circles, it’s very helpful for me to hear that I’m not the only one out there struggling with health problems. Thanks for making me feel less alone :)

  73. May you recover well and stay in good health! My mother recently had a stroke and spent 2 weeks in the Patricia Neal rehab center in Knoxville, Tennessee. Patricia Neal endowed it years ago and the center is doing wonderful work…lots of varied therapy which discovered all her new limitations and were all successful in putting her back on the road to close to full recovery. I hope you had wonderful care too.

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