Friday, December 31, 2010

The end of 2010

Its the last day of the year. How did that happen? Before it's gone and another year begins, I want to capture some good thoughts from this year and some things I'd like to leave behind.

Good things

We got married! Probably the most exciting thing that happened this year. I will finish the story of the day soon, promise.

I got my reading back. That was pretty huge. It means I feel a little more like myself and I have some hope that my MA will get done.

I came off my anti-depressants. That was huge too!

I picked up my MA again, with the determination to finish it this time. I still have bumps and panics. The last few months haven't been as productive as I wanted them to be, due to colds knocking me back and shaking my confidence. I want to get back on it and finish it, properly and well.

Things I'd like to leave behind

I've been quite ill several times - pre-wedding concussion, a post-wedding crash (apparently un-blogged), the blood clot I had in August, the excruciating sciatic back pain I've had over Christmas, my ongoing CFS. I'd like to be healthier in 2011. I know I'm unlikely to return to my pre-post-viral fatigue state. CFS is for most people a lifelong condition, but I'm learning to live with it. I'd like the lows to be less low, even though that may mean the highs being less high. I'd like to learn to manage my health, rather than be subject to it.

I've put on a fair amount of weight since we got married, mostly as a consequence of the above. I've not been able to do much exercise and I've been stuck inside feeling sorry for myself a lot. This led to lots of comfort eating and the feeling that I didn't care about myself and didn't deserve to be healthy. I want to change that, take back control, get a healthier attitude to food and lose some weight. This should also help me to be healthier in other ways too.

Things I'd like to do

Learn more about loving my Rob. These first 9 months or so have been good ones and hard ones. I like being married. I love that Rob looks after me and I couldn't have got through some of the things that happened without him. I know there's so much more I can do to learn about him as a person and to love him more. I think that'll be a goal for the rest of my life.

Learn more about loving God. We couldn't have got this far without God and without the support of our church family. I'd like to know God better, to spend more time in prayer and reading the Bible and to let God change me more. Sometimes it's easy to look good and be able to give 'right answers' in difficult circumstances but underneath, I'm lost and drowning. I want to know God better and have a closer relationship with him.

Blog more. I now have three blogs - this one, Pigwotknits and a LiveJournal blog which so far is a copy of this one plus some silly memes. I'd like to blog more on all of them, and work out whether to use this and my LJ blog differently. I can make the LJ one more private, so I may end up using it for the things I don't want to broadcast to the world, but write only for myself, or myself and Rob. We'll see. Pigwotknits definitely needs some love. I still knit, but less stuff seems to make it to the blog. Possibly because I'm more likely to use Ravelry.

Return to paid work. I need to get the MA out of the way first. I may or may not be able to handle full time work, we'll see. But it would help our collective finances if I were earning too. I'm trying not to put myself under too much pressure, but I do need a little pressure to get on with and finish my dissertation and work out what the next thing to do is. (Not a PhD, that's for sure. Maybe children, but earning some money before that happens sounds like a good idea to me).

I think that's enough planning to be going on with. Enjoy the last day of 2010. May 2011 bring you wonderful things!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

It's early Christmas morning. Rob's not awake yet, but he will be soon, as we're off to spend the day with his family. Just time for me to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and to post the verse that keeps coming back to me this year.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 (ESV)

May you know Jesus, the Word become flesh, and see his glory this Christmas.

Monday, December 06, 2010

off my meds

I've been on anti-depressants (fluoxetine) since May 2008. They helped a lot. When I was initially ill with post-viral fatigue, they took the edge off. That summer when I was properly depressed, they helped me feel a bit more alive. I stayed on them because I needed them. Of course, not everything about being on fluoxetine is great. I wanted to come off it before I got married because my main side effect was super-vivid dreams and being very restless in my sleep. I wanted to avoid subjecting Rob to that, if possible. But about a year ago, it was clear I was depressed again, I think due to all the changes that were happening in my life, and rather than decreasing my dosage in the run-up to our wedding, I increased it.

In the months since we got married, I initially crashed in mood and energy levels, leading to a referral to an ME clinic and the realisation that I most probably do have ME/CFS. But in the last few months, I've been feeling much better, in mood if not always in energy, and so I decided it was time to come off fluoxetine for good.

On Sunday 28 November, I took my last dose. It's been over a week now and I'm ok. I'm not depressed or blank or weepy as I was this time last year. I'm still easily tired and a little frustrated with getting so tired, but I'm not depressed. As for the side effects, well, you'll have to ask Rob if I'm any less restless. I still dream, sometimes they're vivid, but I seem to be losing my least favourite dreams - the ones that come just before I wake up, where I'm endlessly trying to break out of dreams into reality.

Fluoxetine was a useful drug when I needed it. I don't think it in itself solved anything, but it lifted me enough to take the edge off depression, to make the lows less dark and help me cope. I hope I won't need it again in the future, but I won't be a failure if I need its help again.

Monday, November 15, 2010


In the absence of anything sensible to blog, here's a silly video.

Made on Channel 4's Twist Our Words site.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The reason I didn't blog on Monday was mostly that we spent all evening at Addenbrooke's A&E. :S

Don't worry, I'm actually fine. I've had a cold since Friday and was feeling pretty grotty. By Monday night I had chest pains and was breathing fairly heavily. The last straw was coughing up mucus with blood in it (TMI? Sorry!) at which point I got a bit panicked, as it was all a bit too much like what happened back in August when I went into hospital and they found blood clots. So I decided it was probably wise to get checked over and Rob took me in.

The doctors I saw agreed I done the right thing, given my history, did some blood tests and gave me a chest X-ray. Fortunately, all was as it should be, no evidence of blood clots, nothing wrong except an upper respiratory viral infection (i.e. a cold). They sent me home again with instructions to rest, take paracetamol and see my GP if things got any worse. All of which took around 5 hours, from leaving home at 5.30 to getting back again about 10.30pm.

So, that was Monday evening gone. I'm grateful to Rob who took it all in his stride and didn't moan at me for wanting to go to hospital, yet again or panic. I don't feel too silly for getting things checked out as the staff did take me seriously. But I do hope that, apart from a couple of scheduled clinic appointments in the next few weeks, I won't be seeing too much of Addenbrooke's in the near future.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

let me read it to you!

let me read it to you!, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Trying to make up for a few days of bloglessness by showing you a cute photo of my niece. :)

This was just over a week ago when I went to visit Debs and Sophia in London. Sophia's just walking so we had fun with her showing off her new skillz and enjoying some books. She likes lift-the-flap books and she's good at finding the things hidden underneath.This is a board book about babies.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


carpet, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Cheating slightly by back-dating this to Sunday, but I did promise pictures from Saturday. Here's one and there are more on flickr if you click through.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Saturday productivity

Once again, I get to the end of the day and realise I've not blogged. I should keep a list of blog prompts so I can write more interesting posts.

Happy Saturday!

ETA: I was going to tell you what I did today, before I got (pleasantly) interrupted.

I came home from Grandma's house with a bag full of apples from her tree, so I made caramel apple jam and Autumn Apple and Cider Cake (with perry instead of cider) from Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache.

I went for a walk in the woods and took photographs (will share some at some point). I don't think I'd ever been to Beechwoods at the end of an autumn day before. The light was amazing, making long shadows across the leafy floor.

I cooked sausages with onion and apple and we ate them with mashed potatoes, sweetcorn and gravy. Yum!

Friday, November 05, 2010


Yesterday's tiredness has turned into today's achiness and general grogginess. Yuck.

It's Bonfire Night, but I suspect I shall not be going out to see fireworks. Instead, I'll be curled up in bed and going to sleep early.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Today I... quite tired. A few days of travelling about and seeing family does that to me. enjoying the warmth of the sun, when it shines.

...experienced the chaos that is the Cambridge bus system when disturbed by sewage works in the town centre. Not pretty. No-one seems to know what's going on.

...cooked pasta with beef sausages and tomato sauce. It was yummy.

...couldn't think of anything very enlightening to blog about.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

on becoming domesticated

Once upon a time, I found kitchen shops boring, though occasionally necessary. Once upon a time I had very little interest in gardening and had never managed to keep a plant alive for longer than a few days.

Then, I got married and and we moved into our first home together. Now I find a new kitchen shop recently opened in Cambridge is somewhere in which I can browse and covet shiny things for hours. I have a window box in which I'm growing herbs and look forward to one day having a proper patch of earth to cultivate. Admittedly, I'm not much better at house plants (Rob has bought me 3 so far and I've killed 2) but my orchid is surviving and looks as if it's growing a new flower spike. What happened?

I think I grew up a little more. Most importantly I had my own space for the first time. Our space, though Rob doesn't have much of an opinion on kitchen things, beyond the colour of the plates and the quality of the food that comes out of it. My domestic housewifely side has space to flourish and express itself and I'm enjoying it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

positive data

One of the things that's happened in the last few months is that I've been having some sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I've found it really helpful for thinking about how I think and changing things, little by little.

The biggest thing it's helped me with is reading. I virtually lost my ability to read when I was depressed in 2008 and though the depression has gone and my concentration had come back a bit, I still found it hard to read anything longer or more involved than a magazine article or blog post. I wanted to return to my MA, but for an English student, not being able to read properly makes studying impossible. I was pretty sure the main blockage was psychological rather than physical. I got my eyes tested in March, just to make sure and all was fine (though I discovered I needed glasses for distance). That left the non-physical barriers - partly I didn't have the stamina for reading that I used to, but more than that reading, especially reading related to studying, made me panic. I avoided books and then was sad because they used to make me happy.

It didn't actually take many sessions of CBT to make that change. My therapist encouraged me to start by sitting down with a book, to look at it, feel it, explore the feeling of holding a book, maybe read it if I felt like it. Somehow, it didn't take long before I was reading again. Small bites at first, then longer chunks, until now I can read at something approaching my old pace and appetite again. It feels good!

The reading problem is cracked and we've moved onto to a few other things now, like tackling how I think about myself as a failure and jump to panic and disaster too quickly. We're coming to the end of our sessions together and we've been working on a toolkit for the future. One of things I've been exploring is a positive data log. I seem to have no trouble remembering the bad things that happen to me, but the good things can get lost. I've been trying to remember them better. I have a book to record good things in, though mostly I forget, but it helps me just to get to the end of the day and go through all the good things in my head, just before I go to sleep. Even if I don't remember them too well the next day (which makes me think I should use the book and write things down more), it relaxes me at the end of the day and helps make a positive feeling when I remember that day. Try it!

Monday, November 01, 2010

normal service will be resumed shortly

Hello there! Sorry, I didn't mean to leave such a dramatic post at the top of my blog for so long.

I am feeling much better. I have to be on Warfarin for 6 months, which means blood tests to check my blood clotting levels every couple of weeks. I still have occasional pain in my right lung when breathing deeply, but it's getting less and less. I have a heart scan scheduled for later November, but I'm not anticipating any problems. I think it's just to check that everything's fine with my heart and the clots didn't make their way there.

CFS/ME is continuing. Well, I don't actually have an official diagnosis, but as far as I can tell, I fit the symptoms for moderate CFS. Basically that means I get tired easily and need lots of sleep (should have been in bed about 1.5 hours ago. Oops). With not enough sleep or not enough rest from doing active things, I get very very tired and physically drained. But most of the time I can manage it by keeping to a schedule and not trying to fit too many things in. Well, in theory. In practice I am prone to do too much and get bored by always having to be in bed early, but I'm getting better at it.

Should go to sleep, but I'm posting this as a reminder to myself that I plan to do NaBloPoMo this year. That means blogging every day in November. I'm hoping it gets me back into the blogging habit. No promises on what I'll write about. Inevitably my health will get a mention, I might blog about books (I'm reading again, yay!) or MA progress, or I might juts post pictures, if I take any good ones. If you've got any suggestions or things you'd like to hear about, leave me a suggestion in the comments.

Right, I'm going to set this to post in the morning, so that's my first post of the month. Happy November!

Monday, August 23, 2010

hospital drama

The last few days have been more dramatic than I expected.

I had some pain in my rib cage last week, which although pretty excruciating, I assumed was just a muscle strain. (I'd had similar pains a couple of weeks before that I'd put down to an awkward bike skid). However, on Thursday morning, I was coughing up blood and thought maybe we'd better get it checked out. Rob drove me to Addenbrooke's A&E and by lunchtime I'd been admitted with what was either a chest infection or a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in my lungs). An initial x-ray didn't show up any clots, but a CT scan later that night showed definite clots. Thursday night was pretty painful and I didn't get much sleep, in between the pain and the worry.

Friday morning I was put on a heart monitor, just in case. I wasn't allowed to walk anywhere and had to be wheeled to the bathroom, which made me feel pretty helpless. Although the first day's events had been pretty scary, things quickly improved. I was put on anti-clotting drugs as soon as the possibility of a clot was raised and continued to have injections over the weekend. I had plenty of pain killers to help me be more comfortable. The last couple of days have mostly been about starting me on Warfarin and getting the dose right. I've got to go back for more blood tests over the next few days and weeks, but these will get less frequent as things settle down.

I'm home again, as of this afternoon. I'm very tired and looking forward to getting some good sleep in my own bed. Rob's done a very good job of looking after me, keeping everyone informed and making sure I have everything I need in hospital. We've had lots of support from friends and particularly from Eden (our church) and feel very loved and looked after.

It all felt pretty scary for a bit, but it was very reassuring to know I was in the right place, being looked after by people who know what they're doing. I suspect it'll take me a while to get back to full strength, but I'm going to take it easy and not rush anything. I'm still achey, though it's not the terrible pain I had last week. I'm very thankful to God for all the support we've had from friends and for modern medicine and the easy access I have to it.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


chrysalis, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

A few days ago I noticed one of the caterpillars had climbed up into the eaves and wasn't moving. Today I looked up there and saw (s)he'd transformed into a chrysalis. I'm very excited. I shall keep checking on his /her progress.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

very hungry caterpillars

flower munch, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I've been growing nasturtiums between the herbs in my window box for colour. I discovered a few days ago that they've been infested with caterpillars. The gardening websites I looked at told me they were pests and I should get rid of them, but I decided I actually preferred growing butterflies (Large White in this case) to growing nasturtiums (too fluorescent), so I would leave them alone and hope to see them pupate and hatch. This morning I've taken a few pictures so you can appreciate them too. I'll keep watching and snapping and see if I can document their development into adults.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The pig wot got married - off we go

I was soo ready to get married! My mum, the bridesmaids and their various hangers on left in their cars. (I was too cheap/disorganised to ever sort them a car - sorry guys!) My Dad and I waited for our transport to arrive.

Now, if you know me IRL or have read this blog for a while, you'll know I'm a big fan of VW Beetles. I've owned 2 and while I don't think I'm likely to do so again unless I somehow become rich and leisured (hah!), I still like to think of myself as a bug person. So, when it came to hiring a wedding car, it pretty much had to be a bug.

the bug waits

This is Billy, seen here waiting outside the church later in the day. He belongs to Hayley of V Dub Rides who was our awesome chauffeur for the day (and took these pictures). (She's lovely and also made the whole process of hiring a wedding car really easy and efficient. If you're looking for a wedding bug in the Essex/Hertfordshire/Cambridgeshire area, I'd definitely recommend her).

See how smiley we are, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

My dad had sent his camera on with my mum, so we were left to Hayley's devices for photos at this point, but she did a lovely job. I love how happy we both are in this picture and it's also one of the few in which I'm wearing my veil down. We settled ourselves in Billy, put the roof up to protect us for the journey and set off for the church.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The pig wot got married - nearly there

The thing about weddings is they can turn into an endless series of photo opportunities. I'm not a huge fan of posed pictures and I wanted people to be having fun, not standing around waiting all the time. Even so, I wanted a record of who was there, what happened, who wore what. So, some posed portraits were inevitable.

The first set was my and my bridesmaids.

We had fun, squished onto my bed, with just about enough room for Dave to take pictures. The original plan was to go outside for pictures, but with not much time and not much sunshine, it was easier to cram us into the bedroom. These are my lovely bridesmaids: Liz, in red, who being local, did most of the running around and organising things; Debs, in purple, my middle sister, mother of Sophia; Hannah, in pink, my little sister, now the furthest away, living in Exeter. Both my sisters were married last year and I was a bridesmaid for both of them. Now it was time to repay the favour.

Of course, with four girls bouncing around on a bed, it was bound to get silly.

I can't remember who said what, but it must have been funny. I made this face a lot over the course of the day. It's my roaring with laughter, don't care how unattractive I look, I'm happy face. :)

I'd hired a car to take my Daddy and me to the church, but the bridesmaids, my Mummy and brothers-in-law had to make their own way. That meant they set off around 12, leaving the two of us alone to wait for the car which would take me on my less journey as an unmarried woman.

Photos by Dave Routledge.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The pig wot got married - getting ready

Our wedding day dawned. Finally! After years of wondering whether it would ever happen, months of anticipation, weeks of stress, it was here.

Having gone to bed a little stressed and tired, I woke up calm, refreshed and excited. I remained that way, even as our flat began to look like this.

My parents were there already, my mum fetched Liz soon after she woke up, Hannah and Steve arrived next, then Debs, Menard and Sophia and finally our photographer, Dave and his wife Nicky. It was a pretty full and chaotic place to be. People spread themselves and their belongings around our living room and began to get ready. Steve had marking to do and set himself with a pile of books in the corner. The girls fussed around with dresses, hair and makeup and the men entertained the baby.

In the middle of the chaos, I sat on my chair by the window and calmly went through the process of doing my hair and make-up.

I remember other people's last minute panics, but I was calm. The caterer couldn't work out how to open the gate to the venue. I think Liz talked her through it. One bridesmaid's dress, which had been altered at the last minute, needed emergency repairs, which I did, in my dressing gown. Other people had my phones, my keys. All I needed to do was put on my dress and show up at the church. Eventually, it was time.

Liz laced me in. I was ready!

Photos by Dave Routledge.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The pig wot got married - the lead up

It's all beginning to feel like a dream, but I want to record my memories of our wedding day and the lead up to it while I still remember it. We'll start with the few days beforehand.

The weeks leading up to our wedding were made even more stressful by my having a fight with a green bin and giving myself concussion with about a month to go. I spent a week with horrible headaches doing very little and a further week with less pain, but feeling very tired. I couldn't ride my bike, as when I did, I made myself sea sick. This is not ideal when you're preparing a wedding. Fortunately, I had help. The big things were done. My hen night turned into a mellow afternoon and evening of silly games and a take away and friends pitched in to help make decorations. Rob ended up having lots of time off, in theory to work on his dissertation, but in practice, to look after me. I don't remember much of the last week, apart from lots of naps and early nights and a few last minute panics.

My mum arrived on Thursday and starting baking the top three chocolate tiers of our wedding cake. This was pretty last minute! I think it was still being iced on the morning of our wedding and the final decorations didn't get added until the reception. The knitted elements of our decorations weren't quite finished either - the knitting was done, but running things through the washing machine only happened on Thursday morning and I spent Thursday afternoon smoothing out little scrunched up felted hearts. In the evening, we picked up glasses from Sainsbury's and I had a last minute rehearsal of the songs I planned to sing at the reception.

Friday, was mostly spent decorating the hall for our reception. Liz and I spent most of the day draping pillars with purple and white fabric and making table decorations. Our fabulous caterers turned up in the afternoon to lay tables, as did Rob. That afternoon is a blur of vases, sticks, fish tank gravel and little knitted hearts. I was really pleased with the results. The hall sparkled with glasses and colour and looked smarter than I've ever seen Brickfields (which is essentially a large shed) looking. Various essentials were delegated at the last minute: Alex made maps and directions from the church to the reception; HB prepared the cards for printing by my dad; Liz's fiance Andrew helped my dad get the orders of service into a printable state.

Friday night was our rehearsal. I was feeling pretty tired and unreal by this point. It was good to get everyone (bar my sisters and the best man) together to practice what we were going to do for real the next day. My dad arrived, together with orders or service and name cards. We delivered bubbles and noisemakers to the church and hung up our aisle decorations. We practiced walking and down the aisle and saying our vows. The rain was pouring down outside and I feared the worst for the next day's weather.

The night ended with lots of people back at our flat for fish and chips and champagne. That felt sane and special and informal and relaxed all at once. I was a bit dazed though, with things still to do. I spent most of the evening fiddling with name cards to produce a table plan. Wonderful Liz took my piles of cards, wrote all the names on a large piece of card, decorated it and made table numbers and suddenly we had a table plan. I think I got sent to bed about 1am. I was still feeling stressed at that point and wondered if I would sleep, but I think I dropped off pretty quickly.

Friday, April 30, 2010


I want to blog all about our wedding, because I want to remember as much as I can about it and having spent large portions of my pre-wedding time reading wedding re-caps on Wedding Bee and the like, I want to join in too! This might get a little tedious, so I'll try to break it up with pretty pictures (of which there are many). Here's a little taster.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

will blog soon

Hi there! Well, I've emerged from wedding-land and honeymooning and New Word Alive (an evangelical Christian conference held in Pwllheli, North Wales). Rob and I are trying to work out what our new normal is as we settle into married life. I'm job-hunting (again) and gradually getting on with post-wedding tasks like incorporating new stuff into our flat and writing thank you notes. Our wedding photos have now arrived, so soon I shall start blogging about the wedding day.

In the mean time, Rob and I went to a bloggers meet up at New Word Alive, organised by Adrian Warnock. Adrian collected a list of the blogs and twitter feeds of the people who came, so if you want to read some New Word Alive bloggers go and have a look at the list. I'm going to go and read some myself.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I'm on honeymoon with my Rob! We're tired and happy and having fun.

You can follow what we get up to (well, some of it) here:

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Today I am marrying my Rob! I'm so happy and excited. It's been a hectic couple of weeks and I'm pretty tired. But today I shall float on a cloud of happiness and adrenalin!

Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

good things

I've been feeling a little sorry for myself for the last week or two, thanks to concussion and backache and general tiredness. I thought I'd remind myself of the good things in my life right now.

The state of being a bride-to-be. It won't last much longer and it's rather lovely. :)

Sleeping alone in a king-size bed with a super-king-sized goose down duvet. I'm looking forward to when Rob will join me, obviously ;), but I'm enjoying the luxury of space right now.

Winter turning into spring. The cold and snow is going away and being replaced by sunshine. There are snow drops and crocuses and even daffodils popping up.

My lovely fiance, who's doing a very good job of looking after me, making sure I get enough sleep and don't wear myself out.

Lovely family and friends who are doing and making things for the wedding.

Babies! All over the place my friends and family are producing babies, who are all adorable and a pleasure to knit for and cuddle.

After years of being single and wondering if I would ever get married, there are now 16 days to go until I marry my Rob. :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Lots of things happened this week. The first of which was that last Sunday morning, I managed to bang my forehead with the lid of a wheelie bin. It was very painful. I didn't pass out, but several hours later I was still in pain and feeling wobbly, so I got Rob to take me to Addenbrookes to get checked out, where they diagnosed mild concussion. Ever since then, I've had a constant headache with feelings of nausea that come and go and a general feeling of tiredness and wobbliness. I'm even more tired than usual and I can feel that my brain doesn't work quite the way I want it to - my short term memory's a bit dodgy and I can't concentrate for long. :(

Rob's been doing a good job of looking after me and, headache aside, it's been a good week.

OK, I can't remember Monday much, apart from somehow getting into work, typing up minutes and then coming home and collapsing in a heap.

Tuesday was better. I rested at home and didn't try to do much. Rob's church small group came round in the evening for pancakes (yes, a week after Shrove Tuesday. Lots of people weren't there last week and missed pancakes, so they decided to have a repeat performance) and Bible study. Many pancakes were consumed. :)

Wednesday I wasn't feeling great and was a little worried that I was still feeling the effects of concussion. I rang NHS direct and was advised to see a doctor. In the afternoon, one terrifying cycle ride later, I got checked over and told all my reflexes and responses were normal, I just needed to rest and give it time. Reassuring on one level, but a little frustrating that was nothing much I could do. I felt far too wobbly to cycle home, so abandoned the bike and called a taxi. We retrieved the bike later and went out for burgers at GBK.

Thursday Rob had the day off work, so we hung out for the day, went out for lunch with some friends and distracted each other. In the evening we had an amazing meal out at Alimentum which was probably one of the most wonderful meals I've ever eaten. I had a starter of pork belly, fillet and black pudding terrine, served with slivers of apple, apple sauce and a small ball of apple sorbet. The main course was slow-cooked sirloin of beef, served with snails and mushrooms and some delicious mash. For dessert I had chocolate and carrot gateaux with carrot sorbet. The starter and main course were both utterly delectable. The dessert was good, though a bit disconcerting: you expect an orange-coloured sorbet to taste of orange, but to taste carrot instead subverts your expectations. The thin slice of dried carrot garnishing the sorbet was gorgeous though: it had a gorgeous carroty sweetness. I'd love to eat there again, though I suspect that's only going to happen if, as this time, someone else is paying. :)

Friday we had a house warming party in our new flat. I was amused that the party started off with mostly my friends and finished with mostly Rob's friends. It was a fun time, sitting on our new sofa, chatting with friends and eating cupcakes and pigs-in-blankets. It felt good to have the flat full of people, as it had been on Tuesday.

Yesterday was my hen party. Originally this was going to end up with karaoke at a local Japanese restaurant, but since I was still feeling the effects of concussion, we decided to cancel that and have a chilled out afternoon and evening with silly games, cake and Chinese take away. Bridesmaid Liz did most of the organising, with help with Debs and Hannah. The main game involved me guessing what Rob's answers had been to a series of questions about the two of us and then putting on knitted items to create a woolly wedding dress. If I guessed right, I could chose what to put on; if I guessed wrong, the questioner decided. I ended up swathed in blankets and scarves, with a long train of blankets behind me. I was stylish, but very warm! It was a lovely day. Debs brought Sophia, who was very well-behaved and charmed everyone with her smiles.

It's been a busy week. I've also been plugging away at my wedding to-do list and knitting a couple of things. I'm still not feeling very well though. I wish this concussion would hurry up and go away as I've plenty to do in the next few weeks. Still, I know that firstly, most of the important things for the wedding are sorted and secondly I had lots of lovely friends and family who are happy to help me. I suspect I'm going to need them!

Friday, January 29, 2010

a year ago

A year ago, a comment on my blog changed my life. I didn't know it at the time, but the man who left that comment is the man I'm going to marry in 50 days time.

Thank you Rob for a year of wonderful things. You have changed my life utterly and forever in ways I never thought possible. I'm so happy to be your Bekki, to be the woman you're going to marry, to love and serve you for the rest of my life. I'm looking forward to our bright future together and I thank God for bringing us together.

I love you, my Rob. :-*

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

looking back

Last year was a crazy year. Let's see what I can remember of it.


I moved house on New Year's Eve and saw the New Year in at a party with friends from church. I can't remember much of the month, apart from a fun Gaudy at Corpus, until that momentous week when my life got turned upside down. On Sunday 25th January I wrote this post, bemoaning my lack of a man and wanting to know what I should do about it. A few days later I found a comment from this character, RobHu. Hmm, I thought, he sounds friendly. After a few days of enchanging thousands of words by email, we met at the City Church Ceilidh and the rest is history! The other thing that happened that week was that I found out Debs was pregnant. She wasn't married, or even engaged to M then, so this came as something of a shock. Those first few days of realising there was going to be a baby, of Debs trying to work out what to do, were somewhat surreal.


On 1st February Rob and I officially started going out. The rest of that month is a blur of happiness and sleepness nights - I often couldn't sleep because I was so excited about seeing Rob the next day. We first kissed on the 13th, managed to upset each other horribly on the 14th and sorted it out over the next few days. At the end of the month, I met Rob's family for the first time. I was nervous, but it went well. So well, that Rob's mother (while I was out of the room) offered to find Rob her mother's rings so he could propose. :) Which was probably a little premature, but not much.


Also a blur of happy things. Rob met my family en masse for the first time when he came down to Exeter to see Hannah in 'The Yeoman of the Guard'. I think he survived :). He certainly enjoyed the songs and spent the next few weeks playing them repeatedly on spotify. At the end of the month, we went to New Word Alive. I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. We both loved the teaching and the worship. We went with a group from Eden, which was the first time I'd actually spent time with Eden folks. They were a friendly bunch, which made me better disposed to the place than I had been.


The weddings began. Debs and M on the 5th and Ben and Jude on the 25th. Debs's wedding was organised in rather a hurry! We had about 2.5 weeks notice, but everything came together in time. Ben and Jude's wedding was rather more organised, but no less fun.


May started and ended with not very successful weekends away. On the first bank holiday, Rob and I went camping with a bunch of his friends near Hay-on-Wye. It was one of those weekends where we were both tired and grumpy and fell out over silly things. Hay itself is beautiful and ordinarily one of my favourite places, but with my brain still not functioning properly, I wasn't reading much, making visiting a town full of books either a pointless exercise or a cruel joke.
On the second bank holiday, we went walking with some of my friends in Wales. Rob, it transpires, really doesn't like walking, even with the accompaniment of sermons on his iPod. The combination of wild weather, rocky paths, borrowed boots and steep slopes made him miserable and the fact that I knew people and he didn't probably didn't help. I love walking, but I suspect I may be better off walking without Rob, especially if I'm going up anything steep.
These weekends may have been a factor in my sudden attack of getting married panic. Rob had been saying 'Marry me!' for ages. I had just come round to the idea that a) he was serious and b) I might actually want to. Then, all of a sudden, I wasn't ready. I'm not really sure what happened. Perhaps realising the seriousness of the decision I was making made me draw up short. Poor Rob. I went from maybe, to yes definitely, to argh, not not yet, in a very short space of time. Thankfully, he had patience (well, some) to wait until I was ready. It was only a few weeks between that panic and my being so sure that I was asking him 'When are you going to propose then?'.


We got engaged! First we went ring shopping in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham (this was on 6th June, according to the progamme for the final event of that day, Rob's first opera: The Magic Flute (in English), a fun student production at St John's). Then, in a memorable weekend spent mostly cleaning Rob's flat, he asked and I said yes! I wrote about that here, so I won't repeat it.


I think this month mostly passed in a whirl of newly-engaged happiness. I moved house, we started to plan timescales and maybe even book wedding-related things. We went to Keswick, which was a tough week. It rained, I didn't sleep well, we argued a few times, I cried a lot. The teaching sessions were good, but I didn't really enjoy camping, or the rain. There were good times though, meeting up with Hannah P, the sun when it decided to shine, a trip in a Viking long boat. We're going again next year (please God, can we have better weather?) so it can't have been too terrible. I think we learnt a lot about each other and how differently we function. I also spent lots of my time sewing bridesmaids' dresses for Hannah's wedding.


More weddings - Pete and Stacey (although we managed to miss their wedding and only make the reception) and, a week later, Hannah and Steve. I stayed in London for the week in between, helping with last minute wedding prep, making garlands, attaching pom poms to name cards and icing the cake. The wedding was wonderful! A gorgeous hot day, Hannah was beautiful, Steve was suitably love-struck, the dresses fitted and a good time was had by all.


September was full of unbloggable drama which is probably why I've forgotten it. I had a wisdom tooth extracted, which also dramatic - I nearly swallowed the tooth when it finally came out! Wedding planning began in earnest and I went to my first wedding fair. I didn't get much sleep, according to my blog, probably due to said drama and tooth. I officially went back to my MA course, planning to have my dissertation done in time to hand in by the end of April 2010. Rob resumed his degree course, also working on a dissertation to be handed in around the same time. Rob's dissertation is progressing and is likely to be done on time. Mine is not. :(


Debs' and M's baby, Tiny aka Squeaky aka Sophia was born. I remember intermittant updates from Debs during the day before she gave birth as contractions started and got more regular and more painful. By the time I went to bed, she was in hospital and labouring away on the birthing ball. At 3.33am, Sophia was born, announced to me by text message a few minutes later. I went to see Debs and her, then-unnamed, new baby in Chase Farm Hospital and took lots of lots of pictures of the new arrival and her tired but happy parents.
This was also the month I turned 30. I had a lovely birthday, traipsing round St Ives with Rob, eating at what seems to be our favourite pub (The Bridge in Waterbeach) and hanging out, just being us. A few days later, I had a birthday party, with lots of people and lots and lots and lots of food - chocolates and cheese, mostly. Happy times!


A mixed month. I went to a CLSG conference in Oxford, which also meant I caught up with Chris and Caroline and as Rob came too, he got to meet them. At that time I was still feeling like my MA might be do-able and left the conference with some useful leads. This was also the month of the Saturday School of Theology session which left me in tears and very confused. I was just totally lost and befuddled by the idea of truth. I felt stuck in post-modernity, unable to find a rock to stand on. I still feel like that in regard to my MA work - I have things to say, but it feels like there's no solid place from which to start. I don't know enough literary theory to be of use and I'm lost when it comes to finding a Christian approach to literature. Add to that post-viral fatigue and depression and you have a recipe for a sad Bekki and a dissertation that feels impossible. One good thing was that we made some contacts with interesting people connected to Christian Heritage, and started going to a group on Friday nights which was watching a series of documentaries by Francis Schaeffer. I'm still not sure how I feel about Schaeffer. I think he was right in that the church has neglected tackling the big ideas of philosophy and the arts, however I also find his analysis too glib and too tidy. However, I suspect that's a topic for another post.


This wasn't a great month for me. I was feeling pretty depressed, partly the time of year, I suspect, partly needing a break, partly just being overwhelmed by life. Rob looked after me, in between working hard on his dissertation. I decided to increase my medication and put my MA on hold again. Not quite what I wanted, but probably a good idea in the long run. Rob, as ever, is loving and supportive. We didn't see each other over Christmas much, but he did join my family for our family Christmas: my parents, their daughters and their respective partners, the attention-stealing baby. We ended the year together, eating steak, talking about mortgages and seeing the New Year in with cake and champagne at the ToothyCats.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

9 weeks to go

Goodness, I haven't posted on here in ages! I am well, happy and busy. I have several posts I plan to write, just haven't got round to it yet.

The short version is I'm feeling much better than I did before Christmas, I'm excited about getting married, and a little bit daunted by all the things we need to do in the next 63 days, but mostly happy and looking forward to all the wonderful things 2010 will hold for me and my Rob.