Wednesday, January 19, 2011


This will be the last post on League Against Boring Lunches. It’s been going since 2004 (!!!) and started with no real idea of a direction. I’ll continue to blog at KnitCookSew. Please come over and check it out, and thanks for reading!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday funny

Woman at work asks the team what they think might be wrong with her heating as there’s a tapping noise. We suggest bleeding the radiators.
Woman: ‘Blee-? Bleed? As in blood?’
Us: Yes, you need a radiator key, you turn it to let the air out and then close the valve again when water starts coming out.
Us: Look on youtube
Woman: But it’s in the boiler!
Us: Oh!
Us: Well it could be air flapping a vent. It’s been windy. Or a bit of solder come off and ticking against something.
Woman: Sol-? Solder? What is that?
Me: Perhaps a very small person has got trapped in there and is trying to get out?
Woman: Ahahah! Hah.

Later, Woman calls the boiler man.

Woman: Hallooo? Halloooo? Yes. My boiler has a problem. I think it might blow up. Or perhaps there’s a little person in there trying to get out.

I’m serious. This happened.

HMOG people. HMOG.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Post Chrimble Corral (like a round up but different)

Have not blogged for a while and now we’re back to work. Nooooo! I was really enjoying being at home and having some free time. Things got done! I could sleep in and relax occasionally! Spend some time with my darling husband! (Who is totally not neglected at all, whatever he might say.)

Before Christmas we had more snow. My parents went away abroad to a wedding and their 12hr return flight ended up taking two days with a stopover in Marseilles. How delightful. Our road was inpassable to anything other than 4x4s for about three days (unless you were going downhill) and the rest of town’s roads were a mess, and the pavements sheet ice. I don’t know if it’s because of inner wranglings in the Council but I saw nary a gritting lorry the whole time. The best we got were a few poor chaps with a flat-bed van hand-gritting the steepest slopes.

We hosted Christmas at ours this year, for ten of the family. Mum got the turkey for me, and stuffed it, and it was delicious but HUGE. Ten of us, including two second helpings, did not manage to make it into the second side. Therefore the freezer is well stocked with leftover turkey ready to throw into stir fries and whatnot. We had a great lunch with enough trimmings to please people from all sorts of family traditions. That seems to be a sticking point when you have to start going to other family’s Christmasses – will they do it right? Will there be bread sauce and cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon? When will presents be opened? Will they make us play Charades? (shudder)

All was well. I even got the Man and his cousins to come to midnight mass on xmas eve, which was an achievement and only done I think thanks to a timely mojito in the local trendy winebar. The Man did take a bottle of beer in with him but to be honest I was just pleased they were all there. Christmas isn’t Christmas without singing some carols.

And now, decs are down, snow is gone, back to work and January Healthy Eating Plans (snore). My friend Clare has had her baby, welcome to the world Alexander! My brother and the Man’s brother are both moving house. We have workmen booked in to come and sort our house out – electrician and plasterer so far. Things are popping up in one of the bulb pots – I can’t wait to see how many of the 200 bulbs we planted actually grow.

I am still knitting the tea leaves cardigan because I had to do some frogging and go up a needle size in an effort to make the yarn last. It seems I only bought four skeins, unless I’ve lost one, which is totally possible. The body is now done, so I need to do sleeves and button band with just over two skeins. Will it happen? May have to do some juducious juggling and perhaps have ¾ sleeves or something. I also started a cowl in some really yummy silk / alpaca yarn which I am beading (remember last time I beaded anything I said never again until hell freezes over?) but I just hope it will (a) fit over my head and (b) not be itchy. The yarn is like butter in your hand but you know how things get when they’re next to your skin and you start getting a little warm. Eeeeech.

I also visited Loop while slightly drunk after our team Xmas meal (which some genius booked in a restaurant in Islington) and bought way too much Madelinetosh sock, and then the Man and I went to the first day of the sales after Xmas and I hit the John Lewis yarn sale. Got yarn for a couple of jumpers / cardigans and also a heap to design something with. That’s a goal for 2011. I started doing the maths yesterday and my brain started to melt; probably full of mince pies or something.

In other news, with some wedding vouchers we bought a handheld vacuum thingy. Can you tell which is which?

And the Man and I went for a fish pedicure.

These things are springing up all over the place at the moment, I believe there are two in our town now. How it’s supposed to work is that the water makes the hard dead skin on your feet soft and then the little fish (about 2 inches long) suck all the skank off and eat it. Mmm, yum. I’ve heard the sensation described as ‘relaxing’, ‘like bubbles’ and ‘a bit tickly’. Riiight. It’s frikking weird. I felt like I needed a wooden spoon to bite down on. Do you remember when you were small and before you were trusted with scissors your parents had to cut your toenails for you? I remember my mum sitting on the edge of the bed with my ankle firmly pinned under her armpit while I thrashed in hysterics behind her, trying to keep my foot still so she didn’t cut off a toe. It tickled! And not in a good way. Well fish pedicures are like that, crossed with the prickly sensation from the little electrical zappy machine the physio uses. So I was laughing and crying and trying to keep my feet still do I didn’t either crush a fish between my toes or kick one out the tank. And then sometimes one fish really scrapes its teeth into your skin. They tell me the fish don’t have teeth, well that is LIES. I felt them. Little sharp pointy teeth. Seriously.

I’ll stick to the Body Shop foot file, thankyousomuch.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bird flu

Ill. Very ill. Poorly sick. Only knitted 4 rows since Thursday so it must be bad.

The Man has also decided to do some DIY and wants help which unforts won’t be forthcoming. Helping the Man with DIY requires more strength and tact than I can currently summon. Sorry darling. Sorry front door. Sorry cat (if we had one).

He’s currently singing though so perhaps the preliminary stages are going OK.

I made some chocolate chip cookies earlier. Note for future baking sessions: too much cookie dough in one dollop does not spread evenly into a monster cookie but just wrinkles up into something which resembles a cowpat.

Tastes OK though.

Chrimbo tree is up. Presents all bought and waiting to be wrapped. There are ominous sounds of sawing coming from the garage and kung fu ‘Yaahhhh!!’ noises.

Wish me luck, gentle reader, wish me luck.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Snowed In, or How to Get Lots Done

Lots of pictures in this post.

It started snowing on Tuesday, so I've been working from home since then. Not much choice with the amazing train network we have in south east England. We had just the same last year, but I suspect it would cost far too much to install overhead power rails which are more snow-proof. Although for the rest of the year the rail-side power lines seem to have fewer problems. Hmm. Maybe I should just save up for a helicopter. Although they are quite sick making. :)

So here are some pics of the snow, starting on Wednesday. You need to keep an eye on the big plant pot in the garden. It was like a souflee rising over several days.

Thursday morning. It's risen!

The town sold out of sledges (again!) and the kids made the most of the big slope in Calverley Rec.

Someone made a cool snowman in the precinct. He's waiting for the phone box.

Good use of available materials. Carrots from M&S? (Not just any carrots.) Check out the eyes. Maltesers!

My little car turned jeep sized. Bless. I suspect if we try to start it the battery will be flat, poor thing.

Our gutters need replacing but the leaking makes some cool icicles!

Then last night it rained and look! Deflated souflee! You can see steps and plants!

The birds had little else left so went to town on the red berry bush.

Make this pic bigger to see the shredded stalks.

Remember those icicles? They grew some more after I took that picture. Good job the Man didn't park on the drive because this would have gone through his bonnet.

The gutter wasn't so lucky.

Just hoping it's not gone through the top of the bay window though. Because if it did that would be directly below the new hole in the gutter...

So anyway, those are our snow dramaz.

The great thing about having snow days is that I can catch up on some of those craft projects that I've been itching to do for weeks.

There are numbers on this pic but you might have to click on it to see them.

1. Mini Maiden from Handmaiden - two skeins for a Percy shawl that I'm not allowed to start until my knit group decide if it's going to become a knitalong next year.

2. Debbie Bliss Andes (65% baby alpaca 35% mulberry silk) with some clear beads to be a cowl or mini shawl / scarf when I finish the current project.

3. First proper dressmaking project I think - an Amy Butler Domestic Goddess apron. Was good, the instructions are clear even for a newbie like me. Had to dredge up some of the dressmaking hints mum told me aons ago, combined with some hints from the interwebs. Yay mums and interwebs!

4. Christmas cards. Card from Hobbycraft (hiss), stamp from Nooliebird via, inkstamp from Papertole in the Pantiles. Which is now the only shop in T Wells proper which sells cardmaking stuff. Now you understand the hiss for Hobbycraft.

5. Jumper which I knitted twice and it was still too small so is destined by my cousin I think. Just waiting for some poppers which are stuck in the snow somewhere to finish it off. Got the buttons there all ready, see?

So here is the Amy Butler project done. It came to an abrupt halt when I ran out of thread two yards from the end. Unforts that was to topstitch the waistband which goes right across the front, so it had to be matching. Even more unforts, I was using Sylko thread. They don't make Sylko any more. Since when?? Apparently Coats took them over. They are taking over the world, I swear. So I ventured into C&H to try to match the colour. So, it's minus two outside and everyone has elevently hundred layers on and C&H have their aircon on 9000000 degrees. I walked in and said out loud, 'Wow! It's hot in here!' and the man said, 'It's nice, isn't it?' At that point the sweat was already running down my back, under my lotsoflayers and feather-filled snow coat. Um. No?

One of my knitting buddies described it as menopausally hot, which I think sums it up quite well.

They were also playing Cliff's Christmas Hits on loop.

The things I do for craft projects.

This is a good project, if you're over 6ft tall. This apron comes to my ankles. I may be taking it up. This is the pleat front apron, with pockets. Not that you can see either in that pic!

During some recent sorting out I rediscovered these cool little tags I'd bought in Bath. One of those is now secreted around the apron.

And now it's time to clear up my desk...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Don’t hate me, but I’ve nearly finished my Christmas shopping. I think I’ve learnt the skill of organising complicated events well in advance while still at work. Only problem person left to buy for is, as usual, the Man, so any suggestions gratefully received! Tempted with this:

Are you guys well stuck in yet? Are you knitting (or making) stuff for people?

It’s just as well these things are getting done early because we’ve got the family coming to ours this year so it will be all hands to the pumps to cater for the feeding frenzy. I’m looking forward to it really, it’s lovely to have a house full of people and I can pretend to be Nigella (or more likely Gordon Ramsay).

The Man is doing even more of a Victor Meldrew impression at the moment because not one but two (ie both / all) of our TVs are broken. One just shrivelled up and died three weeks ago, refusing to turn on from standby, and on Friday night I got home to find the Man sitting with a face like thunder in front of the big TV (his pride and joy) which was shooting lines of snow across the bottom of the screen. Apparently I broke it. Even though when I left in the morning it was showing the repeat of Loose Women fine. (I turn over anything that talks about the Royal Wedding and breakfast tv can’t get enough of it at the moment.) The big TV has now gone back to the shop (luckily still in warranty – broken before a year is up!) but not before we spent an evening playing petulant canasta. Not even winning could cheer him up. How sadly reliant we get on tv. I was quite enjoying it, suddenly you get out of the zombie state and think about all the things you could be doing – putting up pictures, sorting out the bookcases, starting that new knitting project I’m itching to get going on. But no, it was like having a toddler in the house who needed entertaining before he threw a strop. Sigh. And I was sure he said he’s over 30…

These things have been happening since the new people next door moved in and started gutting their place. We’ve had not one but two bluetits in the house. The first one was in the kitchen and we could not fathom how it had got there, because that was the week the Man had decided it was cold and went around plugging all gaps under doors and other draught-making holes with all the stuff that was in the charity clothing pile. (The house now looks a little like the laundry basket exploded.) Nonetheless there was a bluetit in the kitchen, hanging out on the windowsill. Then on Sunday morning I was in the bathroom and there was a massive scuffling under the bath. I thought it was a mouse going crazy, but next thing I’m getting divebombed. Since when did bluetits live under baths?

This weekend I also made a batch of christmas cake cupcakes and stollen cupcakes. These are experiments. The mini xmas cakes are getting fed with sherry for a bit and will be iced nearer xmas. Stollens freeze OK apparently. They are so cute! Lovely little bits of soft bread dough rising around balls of marzipan and lots of yummy dried fruit, peel and nuts. Mmmm. Great with a frothy coffee during a fraught moment.

However I am a newbie food blogger and took 0 pics. Apols. I will try harder next time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brrr - hat gloves and scarf weather

It's cold dark and dreary and when the alarm goes off it's like the middle of the night. Sounds like we're in that long on stretch of winter. Hey ho. No choice but to just keep plodding on, and think about planning a holiday.

Lots of friends are having babies, so I am knitting. Clare is due any minute, and for her, an Undercover in sagey greens and greys.

And because they are fans, this Star Wars inspired babygrow:


My old flat mate Ali has just had a little boy which they've called Alfred, so I decided on a Mrs Weasley style sweater. The sweater itself is pretty good, but the letter is wonky - too high. It's OK, Mrs Weasley's aren't perfect either. :)

Now I can get back to my own knitting for a while!

In between times we've been to see Bill Bailey on his Dandelion Mind tour. Go if you want to hear Ace of Spades played on an oud, or Abba played on a car horn xylophone (the act has Gary Numan’s Cars scripted so Abba was an impromptu bonus). I love Bill Bailey’s comedy, he’s funny and ridiculous but hugely intelligent and cultured. I’d love to have several pints in the pub and listen to him pontificate on the state of society. He’d be a great mad uncle to have.

Also Clare and I went to see Harry Potter. Fab. But you know that already. :)

Right, I'm going to go and wind some yarn for the Tea Leaves cardi. These small things make me happy.