Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday's Five. . .

1. It's sunny today, with that brisk wind that often comes along to sweep the gloom out of the way. Very welcome as yesterday the skies poured and poured and poured out buckets, and I was walking with a Five to pick up her Nine-Year-Old Cousin from after-school care, and she was a trooper and so was the Nine, but my, we were all glad to get back inside at the end of those four or five kilometres (roundtrip for the Five and me; the Nine only did half of that, thank goodness, as she hadn't worn her rubber boots).  I must admit that I'm the Nana that tries to encourage walking whenever it's a possible choice. Especially when we've got the Littles overnight (as we do for the Five and her Almost-Three brother right now) -- everyone sleeps much better after a good walk, don't you find?

2. Besides that walk yesterday, I shared a Personal Training session with Pater to get us both energised again in our fitness programs. Jenna's so encouraging, and she keeps our workouts fun and just tough enough. Yesterday gave her the chance to see how much she can push us in the next programs she develops for each of us -- we'll book our next sessions individually, and she'll use those to take us through the new circuits. Then, as she's done with past programs, she'll give us a week or two to work through the exercises on our own in the gym here, after which we'll book one more session (individually, again) to see what needs to be fine-tuned. And then we'll work independently on these Circuits (she usually gives us three days' worth, for variety) until we're bored with them, which usually takes a month or so.

It's not clear I'll ever be able to get back to running the distances I loved running for so many years. After all, I'm 65 this May, and while many women are able to keep running into their 80s, even 90s, it's probably reasonable to think that many of us won't. I'm not giving it up completely, for now at least, but I'm so glad I committed to working with a trainer to develop other ways of maintaining fitness. Adaptation and variety and keeping it fun . . . .Biking season is almost upon us, and that will give me back some of the distance, at least. . .

3. Those Mason Bees -- I mentioned these earlier this week, and I posted a photo of the little box they arrived in -- it's currently in the fridge where the bees are hibernating until we get a consistent 13 or 14 degrees Celsius, at which point they can go outside to forage for blossoms. I've long wanted to keep bees, and while these won't make honey for me, they will pollinate the blossoms on our apple tree, and they will do it with minimal risk of stinging (and should they sting, it's more mosquito-like, apparently; the males don't even have stingers).
and yes, the sharp-eyed among you will notice that I went out in my housecoat to take this photo for you. You're welcome ;-)

The ten-bees-in-a-box complete the gift Paul gave me for my birthday last year -- a sweet little house for the bees to nest in, to provision its little cylinders with food for each egg, sealing the units with the mud that gives them their reputation for masonry. . . .


4. My second Birkin sweater proceeds apace -- I'm very pleased with the colour combination for the Fair-Isle yoke. I'd thought to keep the sweater neutral this time and chose the oatmeal and the cream colours for a simple, two-tone iteration. But when I got to the leaves, I couldn't resist knitting them again in the green leftover from the first version. And then that sweet blue just kept insisting it would look good in the mix as well. I surrendered. . . .


5. I could go on, with 6, 7, probably 8 and 9, for that matter, but Five is enough on a Friday. . . So if I have to make a choice, I will take you that I've finished booking trains and flights and the accommodation for four of our stopping places this upcoming trip.  We still have ten or so unscheduled days which we'll spend in Croatia, but we're going to leave those a bit loose for now.  I might write a bit more in a future post about how I research a route, explore the different ways of getting from Point A to Point B by train, how I decide where we want to stop along the way, and what are some sites I've found useful in making those decisions and in booking train tickets. Would you find that useful at all? For now, though, I'll just tell you that I've managed to work a Night Train into our journey. It's been a few years since we've been rocked to sleep in our little bunk beds, woken periodically by other travellers getting on or off at stops along the way, or by passport checks at borders. It's not a particularly good night's sleep, I'll admit, but I do think it's such a romantic one (and when I told the Nine, she was instantly envious and has suggested we plan such a train journey together, a "someday" plan. . . ).

That's it for the Friday Five. Now I welcome any comments you have about the post or about your weekend plans. We will be in the care of a Lively Pair, a Five and an Almost-Three, so I expect we'll be rather busy, but I'll pop in when I can and read what you've written. Or just grab your waves out of the air, if that's all you have time for. Ta-ra for now, as my Yorkshire rellies would say. 

24 comments:

  1. That's so cool that you'll be keeping some bees! We're going to be replanting most of our yard this Spring (with any luck) with a high priority on bee and Monarch butterfly attractors.

    That sweater is just gorgeous. I love the soft neutrals with little bits of color.

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    1. I was going to say pretty much exactly what Sue says here, so I'll chime in. Pollinators forever! And the sweater is amazing.

      I'll add, I hope you're having a wonderful time with all those cute littles.

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    2. Thanks, you two! It's not really a very ambitious bee-keeping. We'll just be offering them the option of a home, but the rest will be up to them, although there may later be some housekeeping required on our part.

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  2. It's sunny here too...just got home after a nice 10k-ish walk with a stop for breakfast. So cheering.

    The bees, the bees! The little house! The thought that they will accept what we offer and move in. They are on my 'must do more research' list.

    Love trains but have never been on a night train. When the bedroom windows are open in summer I can hear trains on the track, early, early in the morning...so I imagine I'm sleeping on the train...no requests for passport...

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    1. I hope it's still sunny and you're able to get out again. A 10K walk interrupted by a breakfast stop sounds just right to me.
      I love this notion of turning those train noises into a dream journey!

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  3. No bees for us but my grandson, just turned nine, who is on the Green Team at his school, gave me a packet of seeds this week for milkweed so we can attract butterflies. Certainly not as ambitious as your bee project but hopefully will bring us some lovely butterflies this summer. I enjoy your Friday Five posts.

    slf

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    1. Again, I should stress there's not too much ambition needed to house mason bees -- Won't it be exciting to have butterflies come to feed in your garden?
      (thanks for letting me know you enjoy the Friday Fives -- I do wonder, sometimes)

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  4. I'm planning the parking lot gardens to attract pollinators. I really like the colours of your new sweater. I'm off to Oaxaca for spring break and I was planning Europe for the fall (by train) but daughter has a new job. I'm looking at a few personal training sessions while I'm working. I was 66 in January so it's important to adapt our fitness as we age. Enjoy the little Littles!

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    1. So great that you're thinking of pollinators -- all those blueberry farmers will thank you!
      Hope you're not too disappointed about the fall trip -- it's so good for your daughter to be able to move away from shift work.

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  5. Your sweater is gorgeous. What a lovely combination of colours. I have always thought the idea of an overnight train so romantic, being lulled to sleep.
    Have you read Paul Theroux’s book - The Great Railway Bazaar? He leaves England and travels to the Far East. A lot of his books featured train travel and his observations.
    Ali

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    1. I haven't read that, Ali. I think I've only read his The Mosquito Coast, and then was decades ago. I'll make a note. . . Thanks!

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  6. Well that is a busy Five! Gardening thoughts are stirring everywhere, it seems. Last night, blissfully, was the seasonal milestone here of the return on BBC of Gardeners' World with Monty Don. Gently pottering in his Herefordshire garden, accompanied by his 2 dogs and with spring snow falling softly all the while. Inspired by Monty I'm off out to prune roses today - no snow, but a hard frost and chill east wind.
    Aahhh, night trains! Incorrectly named 'sleepers', but such romance in that mode of travel. Although I have to say the best night's sleep I have ever had was in the 3rd story bunk (yes, bunks 3 high!) of a train from Copenhagen to Paris. Really looking forward to reading about your travels. Not a sleeper train, but I imagine you know the poem 'Night Mail'? https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/night-mail-2/ I love it for being of its time, and also for the journey up through Britain by train to Scotland.
    Good for you adapting your fitness regime. The important thing is to keep moving.
    PS - I'm off on a trip soon - more to come on Instagram.

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    1. The Croatian "sleeper" we'll be in has a three-bunk couchette on offer, but I don't know if it stacks them vertically -- hope there was a rail on that 3rd-storey bunk!.
      And no, I didn't know that poem, and after researching a bit, I can see why. Fascinating history to its composition, the testament to a tradition that binds so many on your big island. . .

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  7. Inspired by all 5 - And the sweater , oh my . Gorgeous .
    Laughing to myself about missing the bathrobe detail. But now that you mention it :) ..
    I do love your Mason Bee family ( you see the story teller in me is already dreaming up a plot line ) . Am I the only one that sees them chilly in the freezer with toques and scarves not knowing all the work that lies ahead for them ? I mean seriously .

    So timely about your train trip ( says the granddaughter of a career Train Engineer for CP Rail ) . I of course love trains . Also of note is that Peter and I just watched 'Murder on the Orient Express ' last night and the cabins and the dining car on the train were such a delight to see. I look forward to pics of your trip. Actually counting on you to share.
    Your trainer sounds wonderful. And yes , my running ( those distances I used to ) days have changed for these 65 year old knees. Alas. I'm working on doing what we can as the best attitude, right ?
    Happy Sunny Saturday .

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    1. Wondering if those chilly bees will show up on your IG feed! (but not, not, NOT, in the freezer! just the fridge ;-) otherwise, we'll have little Bee-sicles)
      We just watched MotOE as well -- gorgeous, right? We ate in a dining car -- white linens, proper china, a server taking our order -- from Paris to Lisbon on the Sud Express_- years ago, but there won't be that possibility on this trip.

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  8. I've written, and lost three long comments in the last hour or so!! The problems at my end not yours! I've been... not so silently!! tearing my hair out!! So I'm off to pour a glass of wine and hopefully I'll be back later ...
    So I'll just say hi Frances, loved the post , :)
    Rosie

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    1. Oh Rosie, so frustrating! Thanks for persevering to say "Hi" -- Hi back, and hope that was a good glass of wine ;-)

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  9. Oh yes, night trains! When I was a student and my then sweetheart was living in the north of Italy (somewhere near Turin) I would take the night train regularly to visit him. The train was called "Italia Express" and would leave my little university town at about 7pm., at 10pm, after having passed Frankfurt, the bunk beds would be pulled down, and I would wake up again when the train was hurrying along the shores of lake Como. As you say, sleep would be interrupted several times, but the happy feeling of being carried along to my destination while lying in my bed... Of course, the way back home was a completely different matter.
    When my son was about two years old, I went to Puglia on a night train together with a relative and her little daughter, the children sleeping together on one of the "gound floor" bunks, while I took the one opposite, and my SIL (she is my BIL's SIL, to be exact) the bunk above mine. In the middle of the night the door was opened suddenly and the next thing I felt was that German sheperd's muzzle in my face. The dog was accompanied by two young men from the Italian border police who pretended they had to see if our papers werde in order, when in fact we had left our tickets and passports with the conductor where they could have been easily inspected. What they did not expect was that my SIL speaks Italian fluently, so she gave them a good talking to in colloquial Pugliese, culminating in the question what their mothers would say if they knew that their sons were molesting women travelling alone with their young children. Dog and masters retreated with their tails between their legs, but I found it a bit hard to go back to sleep...

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    1. Two great images of night train voyages here -- thank you! I can see how very romantic that night train would have been when you're on the way to visit a sweetheart, but also imagine some tears, perhaps, as you were heading away home.
      While I chuckled at the idea of your SIL giving those young men a dressing-down, I know that night train travel -- often chosen by young travellers to save on accommodation costs while shrinking distances -- can be more dangerous than romantic for a solo traveller, especially for young women, unfortunately.

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  10. The bees! The night train! The new sweater! Wow!
    I did have some night train travels,it was quite nice (better than the whole day sitting in a train or bus)but nothing like Orient Express experience !!!
    I've had a wonderful evening yesterday-Andrea Bocelli concert! It was magical (although his concert years ago ,under the stars in Medjugorje, was something unspeakable beautiful)!
    Enjoy with your little ones
    Dottoressa

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    1. Andrea Bocelli! Marvellous! In the same concert hall where we heard/saw Beethoven's 9th with you? (I can see that wouldn't compare to hearing him under the stars-- that must have been amazing).

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    2. No,in a five time bigger Arena,for big sport and cultural events. It was full,despite the high prices of tickets (I prefer the concert hall where we were last summer and its
      accusting and everything else :-))
      D.

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  11. Hi Frances. I've been pretty absent from the blogosphere these past few weeks. Not managing to squeeze in much reading of other blogs at all. Love that sweater. Also love the one you finished and showed on an earlier post... one which I read but didn't comment on. I must be way behind on my news. Is this a trip that is coming soon? The process of how others plan travel is always interesting to me, so I'd love it if you could talk about how you plan the train travel. Sorry for not visiting or commenting much lately. Organizing Mum has taken most of my time... then trying to keep up my end of the research for Stu's and my Italy trip... then... well... life, I guess.

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    1. Never a need to apologise, especially since I've found myself far too sporadic in my comments recently on blogs I read. There's only so much writing one can do, and trying to write our posts, then respond to comments made on them, and then to comment on other blogs -- it becomes very challenging to do that when life gets busy, as it can. Glad you seem to be making progress with "organising" your Mum. . . and I'm very curious to see where your research will take you in/on your Italy trip.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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