Sunday, August 17, 2008

An update from the Beijing Ravelympics (aka the sofa)

(NB originally composed on Day 8 - Saturday 16th August. Blogger wasn't playing...)

Well, we are now half way through the Olympics and Ravelympics and although Team GB is having one fantastic day, I have to 'fess up and admit to something most of you already knew - I've bitten off more than I can chew!

I can't provide photos of the knitting, or indeed the few days we spent in the Lakes, since the camera battery needs recharging and I'm too busy knitting to do it. Or cook. Or clean the house.

No change there then.

Anyway.... as of Day 8, the halfway point, the Mint Choc Chip scarf clocks in at about 50 inches (that's over four foot, people - it's getting bit cumbersome for my lap!) and the Swallowtail Shawl only has 23 more rows to go, so the end is definitely in sight. I am confident that I can get those two items completed. I am motoring towards the end of the second square for Best of Both Whirls, but also had the sickening realisation that I need to make eight if I'm going to make a cushion out of them, not four as I have been reckoning on (It's only been five and a half years that I've been labouting under that misapprehension...)

And Pondemonium... well, the less said, the better, I think. Sorry.

I will post some photos in the next couple of days, and also put some photos up from our trip to the Lakes... I went down Memory Lane on the West Cumbrian Coast and got a bit misty eyed...

Friday, August 08, 2008


So it's been nearly six months since I've shown any knitting content on here. Today was the start of the Beijing Olympics and simultaneously, the start of the Ravelympics. (Non-Ravelers, don't worry, this is just another sign of my madness. Go with the flow and humour me...)

I have signed up for WIP Wrestling, where I am determined to finish Best of Both Whirls (top left - started over five years ago), Pondemonium (top right) before the child in question grows out of it and my Swallowtail shawl (bottom left) to keep Elleyon quiet.

Foolishly though, because I am part of Team Posh, I felt the need for some Posh Yarn on my needles, so signed up for the Scarf event, and yesterday, whilst listening to the Opening Ceremony on the radio whilst sat in the car park of Walton Hall Gardens waiting for a friend, I cast on a chevron scarf (bottom right) using some stashed Posh Yarn Emily in Polynesia and Mocha. Elizabeth at Fibre and Clay looked at the colours last night and waxed lyrical about how they reminded her of the rich brown earth and springtime leaves. Me? Well, you might well recognise my inspiration if I tell you I've called it my Mint Choc Chip scarf...
So guess what I'll be doing over the next 16 days. Only time will tell if I will complete any of my goals, or die of humiliation at the end (or at a bare minimum develop RSI)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Food for Thought?

A sent me a link to this video.

Maybe that's why my brain doesn't work very well anymore...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rose's Comfort and Donna's Tragedy


It's over.

And I'm washed out by the whole experience.


This happens every year. I get so involved in the development of the companions' characters that the end of a series of Doctor Who usually involves a box of tissues along the line somewhere. Maybe for the silent tears that roll down my face, like last year. Maybe for the heaving sobs that heralded the end of Series 2. Maybe even for tears of joy, like last night's episode, when I really though it might be alright and that Donna had fulfilled her destiny without a sacrifice.

That misconception lasted for a full minute until I realised there was still 10 minutes to go and the whole team had already saved the Universe and this is Russell T Davies, after all.

So, Rose has a comfort for her old age, who does actually seem capable of loving her back, but who isn't actually the Doctor while the amazing Donna is cruelly left in the state we first found her in 18 months ago - shallow, shouty and with absolutley no idea of the feisty, brainy, compassionate woman she could be, with a mother who doesn't seem to mind and a Grandad* who actually noticed the difference and will mourn it for the rest of his days.

Oh bloody hell, even as I type, I'm welling up.

Let's hope the departure of RTD doesn't mark the end of an era.

*Bernard Cribbins deserves a BAFTA

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What an episode...

The Stolen Earth.


Surely they can't be about to exterminate Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures?

Surely he can't be regenerating?

Can't wait until next week.....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Game

I spotted this over at Stomper Girl 's blog and I was rather taken with the idea. At some points, I wasn't overly taken with some of the photos when I first looked at the selection, but on the whole, I really like the effect of the overall image. You do need to look closely at some details, which always appeals to me.

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favourite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favourite colour?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favourite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favourite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name

You can play too.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Music Meme

Maniac Mum tagged me to take part in this meme.

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.

Hmmm. Well, the thing is, my tastes in music are somewhat... eclectic? A would just say weird, but every one is entitled to their own opinion. I've been thinking about this for a long time, and I've decided that you're jut going to get it as it is.

Which may actually go a long way towards providing a highlight to the fevered state my brain is in most of the time.

One of the tunes currently ringing around my head is The Fratellis' Chelsea Dagger, a reminder of the Year 5 residential last month. Imagine a conga line of 10 year olds: "Da da-da da da dad-da da da da..."

As a complete contrast, I have been writing reports (now finished, and handed in on time, hurrah!) to a lot of Ralph Vaughan-Williams. I first heard his work as a child in primary school, and I'd forgotten until recently how much I liked it. Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tullis is lovely, as is The Lark Ascending, but I thought I'd treat you to this, the first movement of the English Folk Song Suite. One of the things I love about RVW is that, although not religious, he loved uplifting Church music and created some lovely arrangements for a popular hymnal from some of the music from the bawdiest folk songs that he had discovered!

One of the albums I am repeatedly playing at the moment is Freedom Fields by Seth Lakeman. I still haven't got to see him live yet, so here is a live performance of Lady of the Sea.

I love live music, and I never get to see enough of it. The last band I went to see as the Proclaimers, and I'm still giddy from it, even though it was nearly a year ago. There are many Proclaimers songs I could list, but this one is possibly my favourite (well, today, anyway).

A few years back, I dabbled in the music industry myself. No, seriously. A and I invested in a company that had been set up to make and promote a CD made by a London based band, Clear, that my friend played in. The band got some airplay on local radio stations, and even onto the soundtrack for the Channel 4 series Teachers, but unfortunately, the chance to give up the day jobs never came. Shame really, because I really liked their music. This was their first release, "Johnny Marr Was A Mistake", apparently a quote from some guy who thought that guitar music was dead, and that Marr, unmistakeably a genius, was in fact a bizarre anomaly. Eejit. I have a couple of copies of the album this appeared on, Coming Around, and one lives permanently in the car for those times when I end up driving in a bad mood. It invariably cheers me up. N, I hope you don't mind me sharing this, but finding it on YouTube was a gift, especially since I'd only ever seen stills from the shoot.

But Clear was not my first venture into the music business. Oh no. I have actually notched up a Top 10 single. Well, a B side anyway. Long time readers may remember me mentioning John Otway in the past, and in the early part of 2002, around a thousand people made their way to Abbey Road studios (A and I included) to see a small gig and take part in a recording of one of his live set highlights - The House of The Rising Sun, which has evolved over the years into a set piece of audience heckling. This became the B-side to his second hit, Bunsen Burner, which we managed to hype up to Number 9 for his 50th brthday in the October of that year. This video was recorded downstairs at the London Astoria on the night of the Abbey Road recordings and I am actually somewhere at the back of that crowd. This is another song that never fails to raise a smile and I have fallen back on it a lot during the assessment period this year.

And finally, because Boggy Marsh has recently been on Wake Up to Wogan, the theme to this top show is now firmly embedded in my mind - scroll to the fourth parchment to hear it in all its glory!

Of course, being a meme, I have to tag people, so I tag Scarletti, Stomper Girl, Hanna, HansuN and my friend Lou. And I know that's not 7, but I don't care!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hello... anyone there?

It's been a bit quiet around here, hasn't it?

Sorry about that. If here is anyone out there still reading, be reassured that I'm not actually dead, just terminally boring. (Or at least this blog is, according to Jo. Thanks, mate!)

Actually, I was even boring myself, which is one of the reasons that I've taken a little bit of an unplanned break from this blogging lark. When I started I still had the time and energy to do things like go out in public and watch what was going on around me, but since I have committed myself to the foolish mission of trying to be do absolutely everything within my job spec and a bit more (and falling short on many counts) I do feel like I've got nothing interesting to say. I don't even bother showing you my knitting now, because I've got Ravelry - by the time I've uploaded pictures to Flickr and then into Ravelry I really can't be bothered to fight with Blogger - so I've just shut up.

Some would say that was a good thing.

But a couple of events this week have made me reflect a bit and I thought maybe it was time to put my toe in the water again. That and the fact that Maniac Mum tagged me for a meme and I so seldom get tagged I got very excited. How sad is that? The meme will wait for a couple more day as I am reflecting on it.

But I will leave you with this.

As I was driving to work, I think I heard that Boris Johnson wants children to learn Latin and Greek as it will reduce street crime. I nearly crashed the car, because all I could see in my head was this...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Blood and Gore

Apologies for the poor quality of the video photos. I went to make a cup of coffee earlier this afternoon and saw a pile of feathers under the apple tree. My first thought was that Stella had tackled a dove on the ground, but immediately saw movement and realised that a female sparrowhawk had taken a collared dove, probably from within the elder tree, since there were feathers stuck to the branches from about 6 feet high down to ground level. A was a little too squeamish to stay once he realised that the dove wasn't killed immediately, but I stayed and watched her pretty constantly for the best part of an hour and a half (well, it beats the Grand Prix)

I have a grainy video too, but YouTube's not playing ball at the moment so you are spared that joy...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In or Out?

Today was the first nationwide strike by teachers since the 1980s. During those strikes, I was on the receiving end as a student. This time, I was at the sharp end, but although people who know me well know I have socialist leanings (much to A's horror - how Social Girl ended up marrying Tory Boy baffles both of us at times) I wasn't on strike. Much as I am an admirer of the Trade Union system, I decided a long time ago that I didn't agree with teaching strikes and this influenced my choice of union when I joined the profession.

Part of me feels uncomfortable about this now though. After all, if the action is successful, I will benefit. But (whisper it quietly) I don't think the wage is that bad. I do agree there does need to be some consistancy on which index the profession uses to decide on inflation and it's obvious that pay rises should be in line with inflation. I also think if we want quality in the profession, we do need to be able to compete with other industry sectors to attract good candidates. But on balance, I made my choice on this issue over 12 years ago and I will stick to it. I support my colleagues in their action and made use of today, when the school was closed to pupils, to review whole school assessment data and try to pull together identification criteria for Gifted and Talented pupils. At least one good thing has come of this strike, after all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Justice Bell

by Dave Kirby (2007)

A schoolboy holds a leather ball
in a photograph on a bedroom wall
the bed is made, the curtains drawn
as silence greets the break of dawn.

The dusk gives way to morning light
revealing shades of red and white
which hang from posters locked in time
of the Liverpool team of 89.

Upon a pale white quilted sheet
a football kit is folded neat
with a yellow scarf, trimmed with red
and some football boots beside the bed.

In hope, the room awakes each day
to see the boy who used to play
but once again it wakes alone
for this young boy’s not coming home.

Outside, the springtime fills the air
the smell of life is everywhere
violas bloom and tulips grow
while daffodils dance heel to toe.

These should have been such special times
for a boy who’d now be in his prime
but spring forever turned to grey
in the Yorkshire sun, one April day.

The clock was locked on 3.06
as sun shone down upon the pitch
lighting up faces etched in pain
as death descended on Leppings Lane.

Between the bars an arm is raised
amidst a human tidal wave
a young hand yearning to be saved
grows weak inside this deathly cage.

A boy not barely in his teens
is lost amongst the dying screams
a body too frail to fight for breath
is drowned below a sea of death.

His outstretched arm then disappears
to signal eighteen years of tears
as 96 souls of those who fell
await the toll of the justice bell.

Ever since that disastrous day
a vision often comes my way
I reach and grab his outstretched arm
then pull him up away from harm.

We both embrace with tear-filled eyes
I then awake to realise
it’s the same old dream I have each week
as I quietly cry myself to sleep.

On April the 15th every year
when all is calm and skies are clear
beneath a glowing Yorkshire moon
a lone Scots piper plays a tune.

The tune rings out the justice cause
then blows due west across the moors
it passes by the eternal flame
then engulfs a young boy’s picture frame.

His room is as it was that day
for eighteen years it’s stayed that way
untouched and frozen forever in time
since that tragic day in 89.

And as it plays its haunting sound
tears are heard from miles around
they’re tears from families of those who fell

...awaiting the toll of the justice bell.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I've been tagged by Scarletti, so here is a little insight to the Tales From The Plain psyche.

4 jobs I've had
You all know what I do now, so I though I'd tell you about life before teaching:
1. My first ever job was my Saturday job. I was a late starter and didn't begin until 16, after my O-levels. I worked in the local bakery for appalling pay, but the upside was the hours - 7am until 1pm - the early start offset by having all of Saturday afternoon free to spend with my boyfriend of the time. I loved it though, and worked all the way through Sixth form, ending up running the sandwich bar part on Saturdays. It was good for holiday work, too!
2. Also during my time in Sixth Form, I did piece work for the chap my Mum worked for. He did electrical assembly, so I occasionally went into the premises to cut lengths of wire for them, but mainly worked at home, sorting and wiping the memory from computer chips... at 2p per chip I was hardly likely to make a fortune, but it was the best money I've ever earned whilst watching Neighbours, let me tell you!
3. After my A-levels and then during the holidays of the first couple of years at Uni, I worked shifts in a local pizza factory. Money was great, shift hours suited me (6am-2pm or 2pm to 10pm) and we had a real laugh. Not many of my friends worked there, most of the rest of the students fell into the Benetton Beauty category (which I SO was not), but the full-timers were great. A lot of my family worked at different parts around the factory and I felt a real sense of belonging, being a good solid working class girl unlike most of the other students. Maybe it was because I could see that without working my a**e off at school that would be where I would have ended up? I loved the work, but the most I ever had to do was three months at a time, it might have felt different if I couldn't see an end to it. I ended up running a student line there in my last summer - yet another employer who recognised my amazing organisational skills? Or realised I was a bossy boots...
4. My first real job, after Uni, was at Sellafield, first as a Commissioning Officer, then as a Training Officer. Very interesting and I often wonder what might have happened if A had got a job that way instead of in Manchester. I suspect we'd now be facing an uncertain future...

4 favourite movies
God, I am so lightweight...
1. Highlander. There can be only one....
2. 10 Things I Hate About You. Shakespeare and Heath Ledger - what's not to like?
3. The Shawshank Redemption. Still love the sense of surprise when they take the poster off the wall.
4. Monty Python's Life of Brian. Close run thing here, could easily have been Holy Grail, but that film's lack of ending knocks it off the list.

4 places I've been
I've catalogued trips since 2006 when I started blogging, I'll travel back in time...
1. Italy - I love it and I've visited more times than any other country. My love affair started on a school trip in the 1980s and continues.
2. Philadelphia. This was my first trip to the States and we landed about three hours before they shut the airport in the snow storms of February 2003. A and I didn't get to take the train trips to NYC and DC that we had planned. In fact we didn't get to do a lot of what we'd planned, since a number of museums and sites closed for the duration, but we did get to wade around in knee height dry snow a lot (we've never been skiing so we've never done that), watch with fascination as the authorities cleared the snow and spend the whole day in one of the best Science museums I've ever visited. We also laughed a lot at the Brits who were stranded in Philly who had originally been bound for Florida and a Caribbean cruise who had nothing but shorts and sandals and couldn't even play out in the snow...
3. New Forest. We went on holiday every year when I was a child, I loved it! Nine years ago I went back and it's still great.
4. Lefkas. The least anglicised of the Ionians (which include Corfu, Kephalonia and Zakynthos) and a gem, particularly if you stay north, away from the one hideous Brits Abroad resort.

4 places I've lived
1. I grew up in a rural market town on the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border. Many family are still in the area and it is truly beautiful. However I couldn't afford anything bigger than a maisonette, so I can't see myself ever returning. I have in the last two years found myself increasingly watching Midsomer Murders to catch glimpses of familiar scenes...
2. Liverpool. I lived in Wavertree, L15, which by the time I left was far too close to L8 for the insurance company...
3. Whitehaven in Cumbria. My flat was about 1 minute's walk from the quayside, I often took a walk along the pier to the lighthouse before breakfast. Interesting smell of fish if the wind blew the wrong way, though... From pictures I've seen, it's been really smartened up, so I'm guessing no one fishes from it anymore.
4. Stretford, Manchester. When A and I first managed to get a place together when I was training to be a teacher, we lived in a lovely flat right on a motorway junction. Sleeping with the windows open just wasn't an option.

4 favourite TV shows
1. QI
3. CSI (all varieties)
4. Most BBC adaptations of Austin Gaskell, Thackery, etc. Although ITV did some cracking Austins last year.

4 favourite radio shows
1. Wake Up to Wogan
2. Chris Evan's Drivetime
3. Folk and Acoustic with Mike Harding
4. Simon Mayo's Music Club.
Hmm... as you can tell, I only ever tune in to Radio 2...

4 favourite foods
1. steak, medium rare
2. lasagne
3. dauphinoise potatoes
4. puddings - all of them, but particularly sponge, with custard

4 places I'd rather be
1. The Lake District
2. Bologna
3. Cornwall
4. Milan

I'm going to be a rebel - I'm not blogging from home so no rules apply - if you want to, consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Maybe there's something in this...

What Nicola Means

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

You are very open. You communicate well, and you connect with other people easily.

You are a naturally creative person. Ideas just flow from your mind.

A true chameleon, you are many things at different points in your life. You are very adaptable.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life.

You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you.

At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

1978, 2005...

.. and now 2008!

I've shrieked myself hoarse, and can't believe we've done it again. We wait 27 years and then win the Grand Slam again only 3 years later.* What a brilliant match!


*Mind you, if I was Pope Benedict XIV, I might be feeling a little worried now...

Friday, March 07, 2008


Today, I met one of my childhood heroes, Johnny Ball.

I've never actually met a hero of mine before and it wasn't quite as I expected. Although on reflection, I don't know quite what I had expected.

The presentation had been arranged by the Local Authority for junior and Secondary teachers, but I convinced my Head that I needed to go ("The man's a genius", I breathed headily. She'd been throwing the fliers away as she didn't think that I'd want to go to a talk by the man who used to do the animal programmes on the telly... Between howls of laughter, The secretary and I broke the news that Johnny Morris had been dead for some time...)

Anyway, I think Johnny aimed his talk at an audience of mathsphobes, perhaps, as he talked a lot about looking for the joy in the every day place of maths in the world. It was refreshing, however, to be reminded that the Government has made the maths curriculum very narrow and that we need to widen it out somewhat to find the magic. Besides, anyone who managed to use the word "bollocks" in relation to government education and assessment policy in the first sentence is always going to get my attention.

I also got to stand on stage and be a glamorous assistant, too!

It's an easy mistake to make, I guess...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

February FOs

The good thing about not casting anything on is... I'm finally finishing some things! Do you realise for all the knitting in January, I didn't actually finish anything?

My Red cable hat was the first finished object this year, on February 12th.

Pattern: Simple Hat and Scarf set from Cables Untangled
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK
Needles: 4mm (I think)

Then a few days later, I finished Eleanor's Pinwheel. The sharp eyed amongst you will have noticed there is NO loopy border (even though it was in the photo at the end of January...) About a week before her birthday, I realised I would never finish the border in time so I ripped it and just did a plain cast off. Although I tried hard with the sleeves, I still didn't make it in time for her birthday. In fact, although I finished it 8 days late, I'm ashamed to say I still haven't sent it*, since I wanted to show it to a couple of people first. Slacker.

Pattern: Pinwheel Sweater
Yarn: Alpaca Select DK in various colours
Needles: 5mm
Mods: I added an extra two rows to nearly every colour (couldn't quite squeeze enough out of the penultimate colour though!) then knitted 13 inch sleeves. I think it's going to last her for some time...

Finally, at 8 minutes to midnight on Friday 29th, I finished Dad's Christmas socks, just in time to count for my February socks for the Sock a Month Knitalong.

Pattern: my own, based on 5x2 rib
Yarn: Fabel by Garnstudio, bought in Gothenburg in the summer
Needles: 2.5mm

(*Edited 3-3-08: have now put it in the post, thankfully!)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Just a quickie...

For those sceptical readers out there, I would like to say that it is now over three weeks since I started my Lenten casting on "fast". I have not cast on any new projects at all. I did cast on some knitting for the finishing techniques course I attended last weekend, but since it is a mini set of shoulders (shaped by short rows) with a three needle cast off and stitches picked up round a mini neck, it can't count as no-one could use it for anything. Since I started I have finished two garments (pics to follow) and the third should be finishe by the end of Friday.

My strongest test, however, will start Saturday, since the is the start of the Sock Knitters Pentathlon 2008. Luckily I am not really a speedy kniter, so the fact I can't start immediately probably won't make a great deal of difference in the grand scheme of things - I know I'm not quick enough to be in with a chance for the medals, anyway.

School is hectic again, I don't know what it is about the Spring term this year - maybe it's because we keep trying to cram 8 weeks work into 5 week blocks...

Anyway, I will drop by soon,


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Enough Already!

It is a week since Super Tuesday and still the British media are ruminating on the long-drawn-out process of selecting American Presidential candidates.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I am interested in the fact that there could be some groundbreaking choices made in the final scheme of things, but it's a long way off and I'd probably feel more positive about the whole new gender/race thing if the potential Republican candidate was Condaleezza Rice as opposed to some old white bloke (no offence to old white blokes or members of the Grand Old Party intended).

Last time I spoke with C she was giving careful thought to her vote. She has probably already made up her mind, but just in case she hasn't, I thought she might like to consuider this option, courtesy of The Panopticon:

Go Dolores!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Of cats and (work)men

Last week we had some electrics done, ensuring we are no longer running five appliances and a dustbuster from one double socket in the utility room (Why build a utility room and add plumbing for a washing machine and dishwasher and space for a tumble dryer and then only put one double socket it? No, I don't understand it either. Gets even worse when you get creative with space as I have). Anyway, the electrician also fitted more sockets in the bedroom so I am no longer running 6 gang socket under the bed - the only way to run two bedside lamps, two alarm radios (we're so short-sighted we need one each within squinting distance) and the dual control electric blanket from a single socket, and a new control board so that we are now in line with the latest elecctric regulations. This means we can have the electric shower fitted in the bathroom next week, but will necessitate having to find the fusebox key and trudge outside to reset the fuse everytime a lightbulb pops.

I love Elfen Safety.

However, the cats found it a stressful experience and spent nearly all day in the garden. Luckily it wasn't too cold.

This morning the plumbers who are fitting the new bathroom next week popped round "just to have a look". After declaring themselves pleased with the room itself ("Nice and straightforward, Des" "Indeed, Dave, indeed") they asked to look at the control board. As I headed for the front door with the fusebox key, they said "No love, not the meter box, the fusebox", to which I pointed out that when the garage was converted to an office , the fusebox was put outside.

There was much sucking of teeth as they looked at the position of the box and the flat roof above the office. They then hummed and hawed as they worked out how far away it was from the downstairs toilet and where that was in relation to the upstairs bathroom (not underneath unfortunately). "How are we doing, mon ami?" asked Dave. "Sacre blu!" replied Des.

I feel that I am about to get a bathroom fitted by Del Boy Trotter...

And baring in mind they were here for 20 minutes at the most, over 2 hours ago, Lil is still trembling, jumping with fright everytime I move a foot.

Next week could be a long one. What a shame I am back at work by then...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I'm not much good at giving things up. The moment I think I can't have something, I want it. The image of it fills my mind and consumes my being.

Or something.

Anyway, I'm already trying to eat more healthily, so there is little point and indeed no feeling of sacrifice to be gained from giving up something I'm not eating much anyway. The same goes for alcohol - not exactly a sacrifce when my monthly alcohol intake is about one unit.

So to actually mean something, anything I give up for Lent has to actually pinch slightly. Which is when I came up with my own interpretation of a Lenten Penance.

I am going to give up casting on. No more new projects until Easter. This is a wonderful chance to clear the decks after my bout of startitis last month.

And believe me it will be painful since I did want to knit pair of gloves to keep my hands warm...

But I'm committed.

Wish me luck.*

*Of course in the way of many dieters, I had a binge last night and cast on for a jacket for me... but Shrove Tuesday doesn't count as part of Lent, right? Just think of it as my Pancake Jacket...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Glitter and Sparkles!

Yesterday afternoon, A and I and my Mum and Dad fought our way through the result of the North West's severe weather warning (*cough* - a sprinkling of snow less than a quarter of an inch deep!) to go to the Manchester Evening News Arena to see the Strictly Come Dancing Live! tour. It was so cheesy - and I loved every single minute of it! Kate Thornton's sparkly shoes, Len Goodman's risque comments, Craig's deadpan delivery, even Christopher Parker's dreadful Paso Doble! A coped manfully with it, we were on the back row right at the very top, so looking at the dance floor was a little like looking at a Subbuteo table, which provided A and I with much laughter, pretending to flick the dancers around the floor. However, it wasn't really his thing, since as he said, watchign it on the screen was no different from watching it on the telly at home, apart from the fact that he couldn't lie on the couch and drink beer.

However, as he pointed out, it was probably no different from two week ago when I was less than thrilled by Newcastle's performance against Bolton at St James'. The last time I had seen Newcastle play was not long after Keegen took over the post last time around, in the Spring of 1992. They played a blinder of a game against Swindon Town, beating them 3-1. This time, the football was dire.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I went, since the pre-match atmosphere was ecstatic, but 15 minutes into the game, the Toon Army just stopped singing, as they realised that King Kev may have arrived, but his magic wand had obviously got lost in transit. Never in all my time of watching football live (and remember, most live footballl I've seen has been either Macc Town languishing in lower divisions or small club football like Whitley Bay Town) have I seen such an appallingly lacklustre performance. I have never sat at a live sports event before and wished I'd bought my knitting.

Nuff said.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I am such a slacker...

About a month ago, Hansu awarded me this:

How nice is that?

The blurb that accompanies it states:

"Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration, and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times."

Of course, being me, I decided I needed to think hard about who I would award it to... and then didn't do anything about it!

So, here are the people I will be awarding it to:

Right back to Hansu, because I love seeing what she knits living in a climate that removes the option of wearing a hat and mittens;

Puikottelua, another Finnish knitter, who has the most inquisitive cat I've seen in a long time;

Krafty1, who always has somthing interesting on the needles;

AJ at iKnit.iPurl, who knits in a completely different climate;

The Lazyblog at Lazy Kate, who posts gorgeous pictures of fibre;

My friend L who blogs about her gorgeous daughter;

Snuffy at To Miss With Love, who is always thought-provoking;

Stomper Girl, who blogs about life (one day I might have one...);

ManiacMum, who always has a story to tell;

and the stalwart Mrs T, because crabby old bitches are indeed the bedrock of the nation and should be duly recognised.

After thinking I'd have problems finding 10, the problem is actually stopping... there are others I could have mentioned too...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weekend WIPs

Well, I have some photos and I have some breathing space, so would you like to see what I have on the needles at the moment?

Firstly - Dad's socks. You know, the ones I was giving him for Christmas...

Well, I started the second one with a flurry of action early in the New Year, but then got sidetracked by... urgent need to cast on Embossed Leaves from Favorite Socks. This is a nice soothing pattern, but has been temporarily put aside for...

... a Pinwheel Sweater for my cousin's little girl's first birthday in two weeks time, which has now reached the mind-numbingly slow loopy border...

... which necessitated casting on for a cable hat last night having attended a cable and aran workshop at Fibre + Clay yesterday.


Bad case of startitis, I feel.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fish Socks?

Work has been very busy for the last two weeks. There hasn't been much time for knitting, although when I do knit, I'm knitting like a fiend, to crack a couple of deadlines. Pictures of FOs will follow, honest.

I haven't even made it to the Knit Gatherings since term started, so apologies in advance to C, because I haven't made any WIP Wednesday posts. When the battery is recharged, we'll aim for the weekend.

Anyway, this post is by way of a query. Some of you are regulars, so maybe you'll be able to help me out. Someone called Yvonne has posted a comment here but hasn't left anyway to contact. She mentions ocean sock yarn to make fish socks and I wondered if any of you could help me - because her comment certainly sounds like I should know what she's talking about. Have I ever mentioned fish socks? I don't think I have, but...

Yvonne, if you read this, I have left a comment in reply, but I can't contact you directly. If you could clarify for me, I may be able to help more.

Or maybe not.

My current ramblings make Lime and Violet sound sane...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

A and I don't really do New Year's Resolutions. They always get broken and make you feel downhearted and a failure. However, we have both been seized by an impulse since Christmas to "sort out" the house. It's been like Life Laundry at Plain Tale Towers in the last week and a half. Lots of things have been taken to charity shops or the tip, furniture has been moved, electricians and bathroom fitters have been consulted. The sitting room looks great - very clean lines and loads of space - most stash and all knitting books are now upstairs in bookcases. The office still looks a heap, the contents of the wardrobe are halfway through a cull and therefore on the spare bed and we still have far too many books and other clutter in the back bedroom, but things are moving. I just need to go and tidy the dining table where I've just been working - I am determined to tidy up after myself this year (ooh, that sounded like a resolution, didn't it?)

Whatever you are hoping to achieve this year, I wish you all the best.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Festive Knitting

Happy New Year!

Well, I should be working, but I thought I'd rather update you on a few knitterly things instead.

I knit a few things for the festive season, for a variety of people.

First up, a pair of fingerless mitts for my sister-in-law to stop her freezing on the way to work (and indeed when she nips out for a fag...)

Pattern: Fetching from
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (bliss to work with)
Needles: 4mm DPNs
Mods: The contrast cast on and cast off (thanks Elizabeth, would never have thought of it!), plus I added an extra cable before casting off to make them a little longer. After trying the second with the extra cable, I frogged the first back a bit and avoided the picot cast off.

Then I completed a bobble hat for my 10 year old niece (her request, I hasten to add!) and a beret for her step-sister.

Bobble Pattern: Ski hat with pom-pom from Teach Yourself Knitting
Yarn: 100g Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky
Needles: 6mm bamboo DPNs

Beret Pattern: Renee from Let's Knit magazine (Issue 2)
Yarn: Rowan Little Big Wool
Needles: 7mm and 20mm straights

Then a little something for my Mum:

This is the first time I have completed a lace project. If you've never tried it, this is a lovely to pattern to start with. Here are some before and during blocking shots:

Pattern: Forest Canopy Shawl by Susan Lawrence
Yarn: Posh Yarn Emily 4ply in Coronet - unfortunately I couldn't quite squeeze it out of one 100g skein, so I needed to use 8g of the second. If I'd known I wasn't going to make it, I'd probably have added a couple of extra repeats...
Needles: 5mm Addi circular.

Finally, Dad got a sock.

Yep, just the one... But I have checked it and the modifications I made from last time have made a perfect fit, so I'll now go on and start the second one! Photos will follow on completion.

I haven't actually picked up the needles since I finished Dad's sock on Saturday (eek!) but I have had a wonderful time playing with my presents from A - a ball winder and a swift!

Pictured is the first yarn I wound into a centre pull ball. I got so excited that I forgot to actually take a photo whilst it was all in process, but there you go... I am easily pleased.