Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Post-Xmas

I hope you all had a good Christmas and Santa was charming and the family was good to you and so on and so forth. Christmas came in a big whoosh this year and none of us were quite ready for it. Hence, no one was very excited. Plus, lots of people seemed to be ill with colds and flus and headaches this year. Too much partying through December I expect. (Yes Grandma, that includes you!)

Clare and I are now in the new flat and the boxes are slowly depleting. Andy and Fenella came over last night and cooed over the high ceilings and period features, which was nice, because I've sort of forgotten about them already and am just looking at all the things we need to do to the place, and thinking how much it will all cost! Plus the phone Does Not Work (it won't get fixed by doing line tests BT, I know your computer says it looks fine), and we need broadband! Urgently!!

I'm back at work and so far it's very quiet (I don't like to tempt fate) and the place seems to have become overrun with Little People. Our postie has just come out of the lift with a small flock behind him. Aw. Looks like all the mummies have had quite enough and despatched the kids to work so they can have a well-earned rest! That or they've gone to the sales....

So what did you get for Xmas? Amongst other things I got:

A book on how to shoot straight
A nightie from mum (in the same style that I got for her - we match!)
A pink alarm clock that says 'so many men, so little time' on it
A black and white spotty cake tin

Oh oh oh - did you see the Vicar of Dibley on Xmas day? With the gorgeous Richard Armitage in it? Mum and I were so jealous of all those snogs Dawn French scripted in we were spitting feathers. Brilliantly funny though, so perhaps we will let her off. Just a little. *:)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Spooky coincidences

I've read things referring to the Gashleycrumb Tinies twice in the past couple of weeks. I'd gone through almost 30 years on this earth and never heard of them before. Clare referred to them on her blog, and the Knitting Carmudgeon says on hers today that it's their family general term for anyone under 16. How delightful.

However, this sort of thing happens quite regularly, don't you find? Like you discover a new word or shop or kitchen implement and then see it referred three or four times in quick succession by different sources. Is there a term for this phenomenon? Like in German they have a term for that annoying tune you get stuck on the brain all day - they call it an earworm. Or if there isn't a term, can anyone suggest something we can use?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Quote du jour

Just been checking out the possibilities of clubbing in T Wells (I knew it was bad, but blimey, some wince-worthy reviews), and this one made me chuckle:

'Bar zia is full of sixth formers and squaddie types in pastel coloured ben sherman shirts looking like a packet of opal fruits.'

Opal fruits. Hee hee.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Oh my god there's more

Following from previous post, here is another entertaining pattern, this time for a felted baby's yoda hat.

Thank you internet for cheering me up!

Glad to be grumpy

I love Clare's blog, but I know that some days it is actually a strain to find good things to blog about. So today I am going to take advantage of the fact that in this blog I can be as grumpy as I like, should I so desire.

First thing to moan about - Christmas shopping hoardes in Marks and Spencers. Argh. It's cold, so I dive into the jumper section to see if there is anything cheap and suitable for work. There is. However, because they have rammed as many racks as possible into the available space, it means that each aisle is one man wide, and you cannot stop to look at anything - you have to move to let people past. I was totally unable to stop in one place, instead got chased around and around by a steady stream of impatient shoppers until I thought 'sod this' and walked out.

Second thing - do people really have to vomit in trains over Xmas? I got on the train this morning, and it's the carriage with the first class section, and there was a definite odeur... Why can't drunk people just keep with tradition and sleep it off in the gutter?

However, all is not lost today, because I found this knitting pattern for a 'French tickler cozy'. Too funny! Other similar free patterns at Knitting Pattern Central.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

We have lift off!

Aragon Yarns is live! Finally, the website is up and we are open for business.

There are still a few bits and bobs to complete, and we are frantically knitting up and testing patterns that will become the knitting kits, but all the wool is here, and all the lovely needles. Check out the site and let me know what you think!

Friday, December 01, 2006


A commuter on the train the other morning answered his phone with a 'Really? Goodness!'

I am not used to listening to commuters' conversations on the train, and try hard to tune them out, but this one caught my curiousity. What did the other person say to this man to prompt him to reply like that?

'Darling, little Johnny had been climbing the apple tree, fell out but was caught by his ankles. He was swinging there for ten minutes but I've got him down now.'

'Mike, this is your mother. I've just run over a squirrel with my mobility scooter.'

'Sweetheart, I'm lying here in a black lacy basque and suspenders and thinking of you while doing unspeakable things to myself...'

You see how one's mind runs riot when bored on the train in the morning.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Is it in code???

OK, for the wool we are working with some lovely Italian people, but one of them is using an online translation engine to communicate with us. The latest (and potentially most exciting) mail runs thus:

Subject: Yarn Shipment
Message: HI!!!!
Expeditious like from fax to half your messenger already Thursday 23/ 11
she you doesn't have importance if then the payment was not still fact: we have sent equally and with big like.
Thank you.
To soon.


I *think* (only think, mind) that this means that they are shipping the yarn even though they have not received confirmation of payment. Which, if so, is great news! If it doesn't mean that, then I am stumped. Any offers / alternative translations from you guys?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

British Boot Fairs

I am working today (honest, not just putting entries on blogspot) so I had to get the train in this morning. On Sundays at the station they have a market / boot fair. I got there in enough time to have a quick scoot around. They always make me giggle. How many Catherine Cookson books do you think there are, on average, at a British boot fair? I think this one had more than the usual. Over a hundred, at least, and they were still only just setting up!

There was also the brilliant character with a sort of singing Tourette's problem. 'Oh what a beautiful morning!' he sings, sounding drunk, in the rain. Someone at another stall says, 'I thought I saw..mumble mumble..' 'I thought I saw a puddy cat a-creeping up on me!' he replies. Then, surveying his lack of customers, 'Things... can only get better....!'

I concur. As usual, weekend work has started off with problems. As it means to go on, I expect. Hey ho. At least we get paid overtime...

Happy Sunday, readers.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Back from Travels 2

This is only in two parts because Blogger has decided to limit the amount of pics in one entry. Grr. Anyway, back to - where were we? - ah yes, Nepal...

Flying Buddha Air over Mt Everest. Yes, another 5am start! Magical though.

Stupa at Bodnath, Kathmandu. I loved this. Hundreds of people and monks walking around it clockwise, humming the mantra Om mane padme hum, clicking their prayer beads. Buddha's eyes are on all four sides of the stupa so he can look out over the whole world. And I love the prayer flags. I walked one circuit at dusk, and the mantra certainly gets into your head.

After Nepal, on to visit Ted and Emily in Hong Kong. I got some time to chill out (finally some mornings I didn't have to get up at ungodly hours to see mountains!) and explore.

Big Buddha on Lantau Island. The new Ngong Ping 360 cable car is now open, with a great view of the buddha on the way in. If you could see people in this pic, they would not even come up to half way up his knee. This is a seriously big buddha.

Man Mo temple, Hong Kong. These incense spirals can burn for a week.

Won Tai Sin temple, Kowloon. People shake cans of sticks with symbols on them until one falls out. The chosen stick can tell their fortune.

And finally, the view from Ted's balcony. Yes, that is Hong Kong City. Not bad eh? It's a little unnerving though. You are chilling out in the evening, walk into the living room and catch a glimpse out of the window. 'Fcuk!', you think, 'who put those skyscrapers in the garden?'

So there we go. Sorry there are not many words, but the pics speak for themselves. There are many, many more, but these will do for now.

Wool update - it has been done and is being shipped back the Blighty this week! The website is nearly done, we have a house full of needles and accessories, so we are nearly ready to go! I'll tell you the URL in my next entry. Hope you liked the travel pics!

Back from Travels 1

It's nice to be back. England smells of Christmas and holiday expectation. But I did have a fabulous time away!

This is the group I travelled with in India and Nepal, posing at Fatepur Sikri near Jaipur.

£12,500 necklace I tried on in Jaipur. I also tried on another at at least £50,000 - a Maharani style collar of pebble sized uncut diamonds and rubies. Why didn't I get a picture of that? Why???

Me at the Taj Mahal.

Arty farty shot at Agra Fort.

Tiger in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.

Spotting Indian rhino from the back of elephants. All we needed were rifles, pith helmets and a gin and tonic and we'd have been right back in the Raj.

Bathing elephants - or so we were told. Don't fall for that one people!

Getting up at 4.30am to see the sun rise over the Annapurnas...

More in part 2...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I will be away...

I think we ate that comedy carrot with supper last night. I'm sure I had a leg-shaped piece on my plate. Either way, it was very tasty!

Anyway, I am going away for three weeks tomorrow, travelling to India, Nepal and Hong Kong. A bit of a whistle-stop tour, but it should be good! I shall be seeing the Taj Mahal and the Annapurnas, and doing far too much shopping I imagine.

I will leave you with a pic of some of the wool samples colours we received back the other day. Aren't they lovely and glossy? That's the natural lustre of Romney wool. Avail for purchase in December, all you knitters out there!

Have a good few weeks all, I'll type and post some pics in around three weeks.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Comedy Root Vegetables

Just pulled this fantastic carrot from the garden:

Can't get better than that! Apart from a slug has started to have a go at him already. Interesting that it went for the leg first and not his diddly dander. Must have been a postman-biting canine in a former life.

I must credit mum though - also from the garden I got: courgettes, butternut squash, beefsteak tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, chilis, beetroot, ruby chard and red onion. And some eggs from the hens. Anyone want to have a Ready Steady Cook go at a recipe suggestion from that lot?!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Successful knitting project

I have a problem with sizings in knitting projects - usually jumpers come out vast. So vast I can fit two people in them at once. I don't get it, I knit the test swatch, all the measurements match the pattern, and by the time I've finished the thing has grown like one of mum's courgettes (aka marrows). But it's only jumpers - cushion covers, toys, anything else comes out fine.

So, it was lovely to do a project where you are actually *supposed* to knit the thing huge to start with. And then, in this case, bung it in the washing machine on a hot cycle (another woolly disaster area we know all too well) and shrink the thing down to something manageable.

Here is a pic of the complete bag:

Here is a pic post-wash. Count the bricks!

And here is a gratuitous picture of Mir, requested following previous mention. I told you she poses shamelessly for the camera.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Teen Romance

I must be getting old. There is a teen romance blossoming in our office and it is quite gruesome to watch. For a start they get lunch together and it's a bag of Haribo and two cans of Red Bull. Huh? Nutritional value? Oh, and a box of chocolate zoo animal biscuits. This is the guy that passed out following a week in Ibiza a while ago and I had to tend in a first aid capacity until the ambulance arrived. (They biffed him about until he came around and said he was dehydrated. They should have biffed him more in my current opinion.)

Second, the bird is the reception airhead who gets my hackles up - yes me, and it takes a lot to get a rise out of me. She sneaks up here to get a cup of tea and pick a fight with him. 'I'm upset', she pouts. 'Oh, d'ya wan' me ta buy you s'more cloves then?' he asks without taking his eyes from his screen. Good grief.


Saw this last night - very funny. Tim Curry was great as Arthur - not ingenuous like Graham Chapman was in the role, rather slightly sexually subversive in his Rocky Horror Show way. Lots of laughs, lots of silly jokes, lots of risque jokes, and lots of dialogue from the original film too, which of course the audience loved. ('I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!')

I particularly admired 'Ye Olde Rippe Offe Shoppe' in the foyers, selling Spam sandwiches, special tins of Spamalot spam, 'Fetchez la vache' Tshirts, coconut shells for horse hooves and fiersome Rabbit of Caerbannog hand puppets complete with Big Pointy Teeth.

We also tried out Gaby's on Charing Cross Road (just south of Leicester Sq tube station), which I have walked passed a hundred times but it looks like a dubious salmonella emporium from the road. In fact it's a very popular Turkish/Greek diner and the food was pretty good. Starters great (vine leaves and falafels), lamb kebabs perhaps a little dry though. But very busy, which always bodes well. And they gave us free dessert and another half bottle of wine on the house. *:)

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Well, I finally did it and bought an mp3 player. Not an iPod, praise be. It's an iRiver, so we shall see how that goes. However I think I have been too long in a tech department staffed (apart from me) wholly by blokes, as I no longer bother with reading the instructions, but just start pressing buttons until the damn thing does what I want it to. Bloke mentality seems to be contagious. I will have to be careful. *:)

The trouble is, I am dancing along with the music! I'm working a bit late as I'm going to see Spamalot later, sitting here with one headphone in, and can't sit still! Will I be boogying all the way home on the train? Steve says that sometimes he finds himself singing along on the train. I think dancing may be slightly less embarrassing!

Hey ho. Only two weeks to go until holiday.....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Congrats to Clare!

Clare's Three Beautiful Things blog has been a Blog of Note for the past few days, and her hit counter has now exceeded 50,000! Well done Clare, and well deserved. I agree with lots of the comments, that there aren't enough positive blogs about - things that make you realise that actually, life is pretty good. Clare's is a great example of being positive without being schmaltzy.

So, this morning I managed to brave the Indian High Commission and get a visa. The form says: state date of arrival, date of departure, number of days you want the visa for, and number of entries to India. The visa comes back: start date today, for six months, multiple entry. Huh??

However, it was a good morning. Despite not getting there until after 8am (Steve warned me that dire things would happen if I got there late) I only had to queue down the street in the rain for about 40mins. And I made it through the scrum successfully with visa in hand by 10.40am, which is not bad at all. I have to say I have never seen a more tin pot system in a government building. I have a premonition that is the flavour of things to come on our travels....

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I did it! I've bought myself a new gun. Here it is:

It's a Lincoln Premier 20 bore over and under. And because it's brandy new it's an absolute pig to open and close. I literally have to break it over my knee at the moment.

It's a bit flash harry - the trigger is gold! A little bling for me I feel. Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to bag some pheasants this winter with it.

Nothing like spending money just before I go on holiday / buy a house / buy a car... Let's just hope the wool starts pulling in come ca$h soon.

Speaking of which, they have done a test spin but they are going to wind a ball for us before sending it over to inspect. So we should have something next week sometime. The website is growing - the web man has put a few more pages on.

Right, I have to walk the dog and fill up the pheasant feeders. Here is the dog:

She's a little camera shy, but still smiling. And has been following me around like a shadow all day, demanding entertainment. She's sleeping with her head on my feet as I type. Such a soppy dog.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

To grump or not to grump

Trawling across the blogsphere, checking out how Other People do their blogs, it seems that either blogs are (a) vents for vitriolic spleen, or (b) places to be positive and happy, to work towards being in a Better Place in a shrink's office sort of way, or share luck and contentment and joy joy thoughts.

While type A can be quite amusing, they can also verge on the offensive (viz, The Finger and The Thumb). Type B on the other hand can become saccharine to the point of requiring a bucket, and/or desperate and/or dull. It's hard to strike a type B balance. Type B bloggers also seem to own an inordinate amount of cats.

I suppose there are also type C blogs which are sort of observatory diaries. While a teenager in Tokyo, potentially a window on a different culture, completely fails to deliver ('I went to the cinema with my friends heehee'), sometimes these sorts of blogs are the most interesting. A mom living in the country in the southern states of the USA, telling you about her neighbourhood, can be fascinating in the detail.

So in this fledgling blog, what direction should I take? I think I have dabbled in a few type A entries, but that started edging into the rest of my thinking, and I am not a ranting type person. At the moment, in fact, I am more of a happy positive 3BT person. So I consciously and subconsciously edge away from rants. I don't believe I am teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown and require therapy and moral support from other bloggers, so type B is out. So should this be a type C diary and observation blog? To make that work I need, I think, to add some more *details*. Argh. Do people really care to read about my life?

What do you think makes or breaks a blog?

Friday, September 29, 2006

PR Dahlink

I've just done my first interview! The lady from the British Wool Marketing Board called as they want to do a story about Aragon Yarns in the farming press. Yay! We have to wait until the wool is back though as they want some pictures with it. So not for another month or so. Which is fine, because by then the website will be up and hopefully we will have some stock.

Isn't this exciting? Mum has been talking to people at meetings and ram sales and things and it seems that word is spreading unbidden. People are asking her how it's going. It wasn't all supposed to get this big!

I am going away for my three week holiday just at the wrong time... It was never going to be a good time really. Never mind. When else would I get to see India and Nepal?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

New Business

Aragon Yarns is really happening! After months of planning it all seems to be coming together. In a Hannibal stylee. It's exciting and scarey at the same time. The wool is about to go to the spinners, having been washed and cleaned; the website man is making good progress and should have something to show me by the end of the week; I'm about to ask a printer to print some business cards and things, and we are also about to put in the orders for knitting needles and accessories too. And we need to do all the boring things like get merchant bank accounts open too. How dull.

I am struggling finding information about importing goods from the US - anyone know anything about that? What import tarriffs do we end up paying? UK HM Revenue and Customs say we need to pay them VAT at the going rate but there is no import duty, but I think we may need to pay something to the US Govt for exporting. Blimmin Bush.


It's been a bad few days at work, starting with working on Sunday and having a failed recovery on a domain controller. Screaming bunch of ar5e.

What I *really* want to do at the moment is just to stay and work at the farm. It's so lovely to be there, even though it's all flat out busy it's restful at the same time. It's pleasant to be working hard, rather than here it's just painful and/or dull.

I've been so stressed that I knitted through two balls of wool yesterday to try to chill out. I'm doing a felted bag from a free pattern I found at Drops designs at, in Scandanavia. Thousands of free patterns! Fantastic. I will try to take a pic of the work in progress so you can see how huge it knits up before you felt it back to something sensible in the washing machine. Magic.

Monday, September 25, 2006

You have got to be kidding me

So I was on the train this morning (at some ridiculous hour, but that's another story) and this girl got on and sat down beside me, started rummaging in her bag. Oh-oh, I thought, here we go with the makeup. It is a pet peeve of mine, women putting their makeup on on the train. Can they not just get up five minutes earlier and do it at home?? Anyway, this girl didn't just do the makeup. The first thing she did? Undid one top button and dived in there with the roll-on deodorant. Wha--???

I have to put in a heartfelt Victor Meldrew 'I just don't believe it!' at this point. And a Peanuts 'Good Grief.'

Saturday, September 23, 2006

School fete and dog show

We've been looking after my young cousins this week while their parents take a well deserved break. (I think we need a well deserved break now too...) Anyway, it was their school's summer fete and dog show today. And golf tournament. Yes, this is a country school and they have a nine hole 3par golf course in the grounds. A perfect opportunity for the suppressed competitive streak of many fathers to shine through.

Conversely, I've never seen such a lack of talent in a dog show. Training? It seems that is old hat. I don't think I saw a dog that wasn't towing its owner along. About half a dozen scuffles broke out amongst bolshy mutts. Fitness? Nope. These dogs were more rolling in fat than their owners. (Will someone bring out an Atkins diet for dogs? The Woodhouse diet?? Can dogs get diabetes? Will we be seeing 'if your dog's waist is bigger than this you should get it tested' posters at train stations?)

To show willing (honest, that was all it was!) Mum and I took a couple of our dogs along. Bee was entered into the Luscious Labrador class and the Obedient Gundog class. Millie and I went in for the agility class for a laugh, imagining a half dozen or so hard core mothers who take their uber-trained dogs along every week to do the seesaw and running through the sacking tunnel. Not a bit of it! Bee carried off third place in both her classes, and Millie and I came joint first in a dead heat at 23 seconds to complete the course! I think it helped that we weren't encumbered by a 5yr old child tipping over the jumps with the lead and going with the dog through the tunnel. Plus Dad showed his inner child this morning by doing a bit of pre-training. He came into the kitchen and said, 'I made a tunnel in the barn and Millie goes straight through it!' Aw. And I may have put some electric fence poles out on the lawn and done a bit of weaving practise too... Competitive? Us?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dr Who Scarf

A popular request for newbies starting to knit is to do a scarf. Nothing fancy, no shaping, straight through until you finish the ball. A popular request from male partners of women starting to knit seems to be for their lady to knit them a Doctor Who scarf. So I did a little checking today and guess what? There is a site called:

I love the internet. *:)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mr B

People who say the countryside is boring really can't have been there.

This morning, just as we were leaving for the station, a blue estate car comes into the yard.
'Who's that?', I say to mum.
'That's Mr B---', she replies, 'he used to be a minder for the Cray twins.'

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

F'nah F'nah & Salesmen

I've had to get the late train for the past couple of nights, and I must say the clientele are very different. I seem to always end up sitting opposite two late middle-aged Suits who delight in dropping hints about how Important they are, and how Rich they are in their Important Jobs. Yes you are so Important that you are 50 something and still have to work late to impress the boss.

Aaaanyway... Salesmen. Fall into two groups. The amusing ones who remember that it is actually still just a job, and are quite happy to take you out to lunch and put it on company plastic in the full knowledge that you probably won't be making it worth their while, but hey, it's a free lunch. And the ones that take themselves faaarr too seriously.

Luckily I mostly have to deal with the first sort. But a couple of Serious Salesmen have crept in lately. Earnest Salesman, and Angry-Incredulous Salesman. Earnest will raise his eyebrows to his hairline in an effort to look honest and approachable, which just makes me want to giggle and rub a Photoshop blending finger over the creases on his poor overworked forehead, and then will stun you with a torrent of try-hard salespeak until you walk away, reeling. Angry-Incredulous just wants to make you feel small and ignorant for not coming to him before. What? Were you really going to pay that much, you stupid peasant? Have you now idea??

Does anyone ever point out to these people that the best thing to do is just give a simple explantion and good price, leave it at that, and take me for a beer?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Chancel Checks

So one of the checks when buying a house seems to be for 'Chancel Repair Obligation'. Huh? If your house is built on land previously owned by the Church, even way back in the pre-reformation days, they can potentially nab you for Chancel Repair fees. Sounds like a new idea for the Monopoly board to me. Community Chest - 'Local Church falls down - Pay £500,000.'

I expect next they'll want some money in case the Chalybeate spring dries up and they have to dig under the house for a new source.

Chancel Repair. I ask you.

Monday, September 18, 2006


...are soon going to cop it if they don't *butt out* and let us get on with our jobs. I said I'd send a network diagram to our head office to explain a problem. Get an email back saying I will need to send an explanation as well. No sh1t! Also, have we checked this? Have we been given permission to do that? Have we been to the toilet? For christ's sake!! If you want to be a Primary school teacher go work in a Primary School!

OK, calm, calm, it's only a job, I can go home shortly and forget all about it...

The Witch theme continues

I had another singing lesson at the weekend. To try to 'place my voice' in my head, I had to sing like the Wicked Witch of the West speaks in the film. I refrained from adding a cackle at the end. Singing with the sound in your head means you get Volume and can Project like an Opera Singer (dahlink).

I think it sounded ghastly personally. Definitely louder though.

The wool has arrived in Italy and will be washed this week, and so the process starts. Quite exciting and quite scary! I also have to tell the web man to get on with it too. Everyone keeps asking about the web site. It's on its way! Patience!

PS Lunch today was pasta chicken bake thingy from Sainsburys in the microwave. Not bad.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Magoo got me some free tickets to see Wicked last night (it's still in review) and it was brilliant. Apparently Stephen Schwartz was in the audience too, who wrote the score. The couple behind us whispered, 'See that bloke in the black tank top? That's Stephen Schwartz.' (When I saw a review of The Producers, Mel Brooks was watching too.) The audience were there all fully intending to enjoy the show, knowing it was going to be worth it. There's nothing worse than a dodgy show when the actors struggle to convince the audience, despite their best efforts - doomed to failure by gaping plotlines, cheesy songs and dull choreography.

Another Wicked thing is that a friend of mine offered his cousin to look after me for the first day I am in Delhi on my upcoming trip, and I asked in passing whether she (the cousin) might know anyone who could perhaps help with getting the waste silk from sari weaving and spinning it into knitting yarn for the wool business, and guess what? She and her husband work in the textiles business! You couldn't script this stuff.

We finally got the power restored at the farm last night - at five to midnight. Apparently the join from the old break in the cable was so blown apart and melted that they couldn't make out the colours of the wires and had to guess. Great!! So there remains a large hole in the orchard which they won't fill in until they are sure it's all OK.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Power out

We had a *massive* thunder and lightening storm last night, right over the house. I love a good storm. However this one knocked the power out and it was still out this morning. We had some people over from the Czech Republic who are buying some sheep from us, so we all sat around in the kitchen chatting by candlelight. Then I did some knitting by candlelight. I felt very Olde Worlde. Anyway, I've finished the neck trim of the tank top I'm doing, so there are just two arm trims to go, and a little bit of seam sewing.

Apart from that, Clare and I have had an offer accepted on a flat, so we will be flatmates soon - will she cope with having to be sociable?? *;) And Mum and I have recently returned from a business trip to Italy about the wool business. Which was extremely hard work but essential to do. We visited four factories, then spent two hours (not long enough) discussing colours, sitting around a table with four Italians while they poked and prodded and blended wools together to get the right shade with a hint of something else in, talking loudly over each other in Italian all the while. Excellent fun. I felt a bit like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman in the dress shop - they would pull some other example from the cupboard and say, 'This?' and I would shake my head, or waggle it 'maybe', or give a definite 'Si', yes. Then the finished example would be clipped to the sample board to be sent to the dyer.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Property Developers

Rant du jour: property developers. I know these people don't actually intend to live in the houses they 'improve', but someone will. Why do they do such ridiculous things to them??

Clare and I are househunting, and some of the places out there are quite remarkable. There are some beautiful pads in Tunbridge Wells, summarily ruined because someone has wedged a shower in a broom cupboard, or created massive living rooms at the expense of the bedrooms, which a small child would struggle to move around in. I even saw a place with a 'mezzanine' floor for the bed, which was actually a large shelf with a bunk bed ladder. OK for a US Marine, possible not for young professionals.

New Food Site

You will find a blog dedicated to fine scoff at Comments on sandwiches can still be posted here. Preoccupied with eating? Moi??

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Men and Jamjars

I've recently been developing a theory questioning what useful purpose men serve. Opening doors? They're automatic. Reaching things off the top shelf? Someone invented a stepladder. Evicting spiders? Get on of those grabby things on a stick.

It finally came down to opening jamjars, but even then the application of the back of a stout knife does the trick (as long as the contents of said jar are to be consumed in a day or two, as by then the seal of the lid is well and truly bu99ered; therefore not recommended for things such as eye-watering pickled onions).

I'm kidding. We need someone to leave the seat up so we can put it down again.

My friend Clare, at school, used to muse about replacing men with spermbanks, but then that unfortunately would, she noted, leave us with Lawnmower Spermbank and The Spermbank from U.N.C.L.E..

Last night I had a flash of inspiration. We need men to write Top Gear. Which self-respecting practical common-sensical woman could ever think up so many ways to destroy a car? Viz - watch three monkeys attempt a challenge to doctor three clapped-out motors into amphibious vehicles, drive 20 miles (the sailing car broke its mast on a tree, the VW camper van / narrow boat overheated because all the air intakes were welded shut), attempt to traverse 3 miles of lake without just sinking at the end of the slipway, or capsizing from over-revving the outboard in a typical macho manner, and drive out again. One car managed to get its front wheels there. All the monkeys got wet. Brilliant.

Therefore, what we need men for: ENTERTAINMENT VALUE

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Last night I was just pootling around in my study (feeling quite smug because I had managed to receive my first call on Skype), when I came across my diary. That is, a notebook that I had written some diary entries in in 2003 and the beginning of 2004. I have always been a wannabe diarist, but I never quite manage it.

Anyway, I was anticipating these entries to be quite excruciating reading, as I tended to write at times when I was cross or upset. In fact they were quite upbeat. How strange! I thought they would be all moany and angst-ridden. Instead there lots of ideas about things to do to change situations. What was interesting is how long ago I was getting annoyed with J, which means I sat it out for a long time. I will learn... I hope! Don't just sit on it people, do something about it. But, I think the things that made the entries readable was the fact that they weren't just a string of 'today I did x y z', but I did write down my thoughts and what I felt about things. It brought them to life.

So, I am going to try keeping a diary again. Or a journal. Clare lent me a book about journalling, and one of the first things it tells you is to disregard your inner Censor, that voice that tells you what you are writing is rubbish, boring, trite, immature, dull. It's not. Thoughts and opinions are interesting. What you do in your life is interesting. (Or if it's not, the author advises you get out more and do stuff - I agree!) In years to come perhaps your children or grandchildren will read your journal, and discover not only all sorts of facts about the life you lead and the times you lived in, but perhaps also a person completely different from the one they know. How intriguing is that?

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I am an occasional visitor to, and man, has she got it right this time! Project managers, middle management and morons deserve everything earmarked for them by said Child Prodigy. My Esteemed Colleague Tony and I are about at the end of our tethers with our management, have been for some time, and if they ask me to rewrite the project plan / monthly report / budget one more time, there might be something worse than a pencil stabbed into their neck / eye / heart. Argh!!!

Worse, stress at management's sanctimonious blindness to any sense of reason or understanding drove us to go out last night and drink too much, so I am not feeling on tippy-top form today, and still had to go to my gym session and lift heavy weights, deal with more management-created sh1t on another subject, as well as office moves (much noise and upheaval). One small saving grace was that some of the moving men were actually quite easy on the eye. (There is a severe shortage of totty in this office. Viz, none.)

Roll on the long weekend, I say.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

How are your seams?

'They're glorious, thanks for asking!'

Not too Queer Eye a response there for you? This is a genuine poll which you can respond to now on (Statistics section, Knitting Review link). And what on earth is a love sweater??

The yarn plans are moving forward. In fact, they are currently in a big rush as mum told me that we are shearing in a week. Argh! I called the spinner yesterday and he said he would check with the guys in the mill, but he thinks he can do what I want. I have chased up the Uni *again* to ask their knitwear design students if they will do some designs and patterns for us. Honestly.

So, you guys reading, do you knit? If so, what kind of things do you like to knit? Hats? Bags? Scarves? Jumpers? I would be interested to find out, because we are planning on doing a small book of patterns. Or if you don't knit, do you want to learn?

My brother and I went to a Business Startup expo at the Excel centre last weekend, and came back with lots of enthusiasm and ideas for our business plans. Do any of you guys have wacky ideas? (Can't be much worse than my wool idea!) Want to share and get some feedback? One of the recurring messages was to do just that - get some feedback, find out if your great idea is actually great in the eyes of other people, adapt it, develop it. Learn about people who can help you.

Perhaps we could all eventually get out of our boring 9-5s and do Something Less Boring Instead.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I really need a DAB radio. I've gone from Xfm, with geezer DJs and new indie music, to listening to some frightfully well spoken middle-aged woman talking about cats, and playing 'show tunes'. Gah. Come back Terry Wogan, all is forgiven.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New things to do

Now I can do Anything At All, what are the options? There are so many, and I am researching a couple, so time will tell which ones look like serious options:

1. Start a wedding planning business.
This would require some research and also a lot of legwork researching and visiting businesses in T Wells to get them on the team. Also, it would be a gradual start to get going.

2. Start a business doing something with the wool produced by the farm.
The sheep farm produces aroung 2 tonnes of wool a year, of which just over 1T would be suitable for spinning into yarn for hand knitting. Which is a craze taking off in a big way. Currently we get paid about 70p per kilo for this wool (which is good compared to some, but still a pittance, considering it costs £1 to shear the sheep!). Knitting wool retails at £4-£12 per 100g. There are a lot more Romney sheep farmers with a lot more wool in the area. This is definitely worth looking into!

3. Become a teacher.
Apparently Psychology teachers are in big demand at the moment, and with a Psych degree that is an option. Or, I could look at teaching IT. How many weeks holiday to teachers get a year?? Got to be worth considering!

4. Help do something with the farm freezer lamb business / shoot / cherry business.
Value could be added to these by someone with the time...

Note that none of these require the dreaded COMMUTING...!!

Pulling the rug out from under you

Jonathan and I parted ways last week, after four years. It was all very amicable and hopefully will remain so, but needed to be done. I have moved back to my parents' and it is weird, very weird. The whole of my life is different now. I am commuting into London again, like I was doing six years ago before I moved into the city to live. The period when I was living in London now seems rather dream-like. I feel like I have gone back to the beginning again. In some ways that is very frustrating - instead of feeling like I have got my freedom again, it feels more like being stifled. But on the other hand, now I can do anything, make any choices, and go anywhere. And everyone is being totally supportive and helpful. Isn't it strange to be in a situation like that but feel the exact opposite?

Thursday, January 12, 2006


There really should be a word for that unsettling feeling you get when you think you've forgotten to pick something up from the dry cleaners. Perhaps I should check again in the Meaning of Liff.