Michiel had the call a couple of days ago. We didn’t get it (the new flat). Now i have to go and ask some very pointed questions of our housing association: it was on the application form to be transferred that we have a dog, and apparently it is not on the database that all the housing associations share that we have one, so someone, somewhere, screwed up. badly.

To make matters worse, there is the possibility that even our own housing association have adopted the new rule, they won’t make existing tenants get rid of their pets, but whether this rule applies to those transferring within the organisation, i don’t know. We’re particularly angry about this possibility because we asked, before taking on Jess, if it would be a problem, us having a dog, and we were told “absolutely not, go for it”. Admitted that was 3 and a half years ago and things do change, which we can accept, but not when it unfairly penalises us as dog owners.

[and no. we are not getting rid of Jess. anyone who even asks has clearly never been a dog owner.]

So we’ve lost the flat, and both of us are pretty down about that. i’m trying not to let it get me too down; thinking of the near future, even with all the uncertainty around at the moment (which i hate), just being able to make a few decisions does help, even little ones. Things like which outfit i’m going to sew next. I’ve decided on building a capsule wardrobe, i bought a nice grey v-necked jumper from a local store for just £4 last week, and two sort of gypsy-ish tops, both white with the same pattern, one in blue, one in red – this has full sleeves. The jumper would look good not only with vests, but ontop of a shirt of some kind, and the gypsyish tops would look good with a waistcoat ontop, and both would be good as part of a capsule wardrobe. So i’ve decided on Butterick B4659 and McCalls M5186. I especially like the Butterick pattern because of the collar, between the different variations, i’ll be able to make a number of very different style shirts from this pattern, i think, from plain white, to patterned, to ones with lace in the collar maybe… lots of fun with that one. Its a princess line shirt which will involve me doing a Full Bust Adjustment but, frankly, i have to learn how to do one of those at some point, so i may as well learn how to do it properly (and yes, i will do a dummy run with some cheap material first – its called a Muslin, by those in the know). The waistcoats i also like – i always have liked waistcoats, and this pattern offers the opportunity not just for plain ones, but for ones with a collar, and it would be very easy to adapt the pattern to make a longer line waistcoat as well, perhaps one sitting on the hip. Again, this is a princess line waistcoat so will involve a FBA, but again, this is something i can see myself making again and again, with variations in each, so its worth the learning curve. In addition, if i’m going to do this, its something i should really get on with fairly soon, because as time ticks on, Christmas is going to take up more and more of my time, and of course, there’s the possibility that everything could be thrown into chaos at any point by a move, which makes planning anything long term rather difficult. But still, i will try.

Either way, i’m thinking in terms of layers, which is always useful for winter, and for dressing nicely – I’ve started, once i get up, wearing trackies and a vest/t-shirt, just to have coffee and then walk Jess, and once i get back from walking her, i change into something nicer. This does affect my mood for the rest of the day – i feel better about myself, like i’ve properly dressed, and i find myself getting on with stuff instead of just slobbing around.

At the same time, although i’m doing stuff during the day, i can feel myself starting to slip back into depression, because i’m not achieving anything concrete. nothing i can photograph and think.. “I did that!”. no projects. And i can’t get the patterns/material just yet, so i’m thinking tomorrow i may well start work on something else, maybe a skirt or a handbag or something. my old handbag isn’t far off giving up the ghost, and i need an everyday bag, that i can sling across my body to leave my hands free, that is also big enough to hold all i need for daily use. i did buy one at the market in Ashton under Lyne but when i was transferring all my stuff to it the zip broke, so i may just make one. at least that way i get one i know suits me.

I’m also engrossed myself in a series of books. I started reading Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” series years ago, collecting the first seven in paperback, before i got fed up and resolved to only buy the rest when he’d finished writing the things (this was about 10 years ago). i never went back to reading them, and of course, in the intervening period, he died. However, he left enough notes with his wife that another writer has been employed to finish the final book, and the series, and i don’t mind waiting a little while to read that final book. I’d also lent the first book to someone and never got it back (i hate that) but i’d been lucky enough to discover the first book amongst my father-in-law’s collection while in the Netherlands, and he let me borrow it, so i read it and am now working my way through my collection – am on book 4 at the moment. I’m enjoying it more this time around – then, i didn’t know if there was another book or not, so i would get to the end of each book being increasingly frustrated that the story still hadn’t ended, but now i can relax, knowing there’s 12 books in the series in total. Once i finish all my books i’ll have to see if i can borrow them from the library (i’ve just had a horrible thought, what if they don’t stock them, and ran to the library website, and thankfully, they do. I won’t order them  just yet though, i know from experience that they can come in very quickly, and i’ve still books 5, 6 and 7 to read yet).

I spent time yesterday working on a new dish. I saw a recipe on someone’s blog for chicken meatballs, which i’ve adapted, some, and i made meatballs out of chicken, beef and lamb. These are small meatballs, bite sized, and i flavoured them – did a few italian ones (garlic and mixed herb), some greek ones (cinnamon and oregano), indian (curry), chinese (chinese five spice, oyster sauce and honey), thai (sweet chilli sauce) and mexican (chilli powder). I call it around the world in 80 meatballs. LOL. It needs some improvement, i think (like chopping the onions more finely), but there’s enough meatballs there to do at least 2 meals. We’re having the first lot tomorrow, with wraps, salad, salsa, yoghurt, cheese and mayo. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m also thinking of a new cake, sort of like a cinnamon version of lemon drizzle cake. i may chop some apple into it, but that would be just like an apple cake, so i’m not sure yet. I’m definetly making apple pie – the Dutch make gorgeous apple pie, all deep appleygooeyness, and i found out the secret from Michiel’s Mom while i was in the Netherlands, although not the oven times/temps! so as soon as i get those i shall be cutting up lots of apples and rolling pastry to make that.

speaking of cake.. the new eating style is going well. Michiel has expressed doubts that eating crisps etc. for “nibbles” is probably not the healthiest way to be eating (and he has a point) so once the things in the cupboard have been eaten up, we’ll be switching to something else in terms of nibbles. no idea what, yet, probably a selection of raw veggies/fruits that we can eat via cocktail sticks. Even home made apple pie (at the same time, instead of nibbles) would be better than the crisps and stuff, as the Dutch style uses eating apples, rather than bramley, so there’s less sugar per bite than the English version, and there’s less pastry, as the Dutch style is a very deep filled one, and also doesn’t put pastry across all of the top (just puts it across in a light lattice style), so there’s less pastry per slice. But, more probably, it’ll be fruit and raw veggies more than anything, as they’re considerably healthier, even if we move towards them slowly by combining them with, say, crackers or somesuch, so its less of a shock to the system.

And finally… my parents return home today from their two week holiday to Scotland. Since they left the day we returned, i haven’t really spoken to them in a month, and i’m looking forward to a good sitdown/catch up. Not to mention that i have lots of questions for Mum (does she want a christmas cake and pudding baked this year? does she want christmas cards made?) and we have plotting to do to surprise a mutual relative…. its also my Dad’s birthday next weekend. its a big one. i won’t say which one, cos he hates a fuss, but its a big one. And i have no idea what to get him. Only that, whatever it is, i mustn’t spend a lot. (see, Daddy dearest, you are predictable in some ways!) so i have to ask Mum about that too. oooh plotting plotting..

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