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??