Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I've finally got organised with the camera so here goes with some pics.

Firstly, our alternative to a Christmas tree (because we don't have time or the space this year), which cost me all of £6.49 at Argos, because I had all the bits to put on it (lights, ribbon, some bits and pieces) - across the mantlepiece:

Then some sock pics of the first completed sock:

I think the shaping worked quite well from a fitting point of view, but not sure it is very beautiful to look at (not helped by being modelled by my pallid calf). The cable at the top is called 'trellis'. I think there are too long, but can be boot socks. They fit which is the main thing!

And lastly the latest pair of bootees.

Don't you just love the way the sole curves? So cute!! These ones are going to Shanghai for a work colleague who is relocating. His wife is due in Feb, and they go at xmas. Brave girl! Pattern is from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies, but I added six yos in row 9 to make eyelets, and then an i-cord lace. Apparently this means they are rare bootees that actually stay on.

Hope the Christmas jollities are going well for you all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why do I make things so difficult for myself??

Saturday was glorious. The weather was cold and crisp, the sunlight pale gold, and I was standing in a field with nearly all my family. We were shooting, and looking down the line of guns I could see my brother, my dad and my uncle, with mum behind waiting to pick up. The late afternoon sun sparkled on people's breath and the dogs' coats. That is the sort of day that is good for the soul.

Last night the knitting girlies met up for a Chrimble meal at our usual haunt. Poor Claire had to stay home to babysit the 'feral child' (which conjures a great Quentin Blake image), so four of us did a bit of knitting and a lot of chatting. It's so nice to make new friends who don't care how much you talk about knitting, because they share the passion. I usually have to make do with just saying to people, 'look at this!' and people grunt and agree that it's something woolly, and then I have to change the subject before they either glaze over or think I'm a mad spinster before my time. It turns out that Rowan is also making great strides into self-sufficiency and has a homemade wine collection to rival that of The Good Life, so we discussed blackberry and elderberry wine and spiced mead. We all quietly envy her. One day I'll stop working full time and learn how to make cider and good bread and be able to sew and knit and grow my own veggies.

I didn't take any knitting needles last night, just a sewing needle to finish and sort the ends out on a pair of baby bootees, the first Next Generation sock, and a little heart I knitted on the train while bored, which might become a christmas dec if I add some backing and a loop to hang it by.

The Christmas social whirl is in full swing and I don't have time to get organised. I need to wrap some presents to distribute to people before xmas but don't have time. I need to do some laundry but don't have time. I need to get an outfit sorted out for the office xmas do, but don't have time. I need to do some back exercises (which take 10mins!!) but you get the idea. Next year I must make a note not to put more than three engagements in the diary per week. In fact I shall write a reminder in the diary now. Why do people save up for xmas to have loads of drinks anyway? What's wrong with the rest of the year?

Here are some more whys:

Why do other people write emails soooo slowly?
Why do I keep getting granny whiskers on my chin (and why to they have to start out as spots)? Why do people have to have birthdays during the festive season? Someone should ban sex during March.
Why can't I have a crystal ball to tell me if a better house will come onto the market in three months time?
Why did The Man decide to put my white bra in with the darks wash?

I think I need to sit down in a quiet room with a cup of tea.

Anyway, found this on Needles on the Move , and was shocked by the comment:

'Emma says, 'this one is originally from the Big Read. Apparently they reckon most people will have only read 6 of the 100, which I think is astonishing.' I do too.'

Here are my answers:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read.
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7.Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare - Some, at school.
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (audio books count right?)
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres Mans
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan - but saw the movie
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73.The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt - well, most of it.
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (don't waste your time with this one though)
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

52 out of 100. Interesting. The ones I've underlined are ones that I would like to read but I'm not going to lose sleep over. I wonder who makes these lists, and why it's these books particularly they rate? There are several I've not even heard of.

And just for good measure, one more quiz:

Your rainbow is shaded green.

What is says about you: You are an intelligent person. You feel strong ties to nature and your mood changes with its cycles. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Spot on for me, and green is indeed my favourite colour.

Update: The friend who I was due to see tonight has emailed and is just recovering from the lurgy and so has asked to postpone drinkies. While I was very much looking forward to seeing her and I'm sorry she's been poorly, yay, I have some time to wrap presents tonight to give to mum tomorrow to distribute to the rest of the family as I won't see them all before xmas! Phew.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Mange tout, Rodney

I am feeling very smug because I've just translated a knitting pattern from the French. Yay for the internet and people who make the effort to create knitting glossaries for knitters!

I'd seen Ysolda's great little neckwarmer here, and thought that a clever trick, but she's not bringing the pattern out anytime soon, so having trawled through Ravelry came up with this, which turned out to be in French, and so with a combination of this, this and my trusty English-French online dictionary, we have the solution!

Donc, pour une écharpe française:

3mm or 3.5mm needles (no notes on yarn, they use something red and fluffy)

Cast on 2 st on 3mm needles, and in garter stitch increase one stitch at each end of the row 17 times (36st), then knit straight for 8 rows

To prepare the vent, separate alternate stitches onto a spare needle.

On one of the needles, knit in 1/1 rib for 20 rows. Then do the same for the waiting stitches [on the spare needle].

Put all the stitches back onto the 3.5mm needle (alternately).

Knit garter stitch for 50cm, on the last row do 18 [equally spaced] decreases (18st) and then do 1/1 rib for 20 rows.

Replace 3mm needle then increase 18 stitches evenly and do 8 rows of garter stitch.

To make the other point, knit 2st together at the start of each row; when 2 remain, bind off.

The increases and decreases don't seem to match up to me, but I'm sure you can figure it out. Clearly my knitting translation skills still need some working on!

This is just the basic technique, Ysolda's scarf has some lovely intricate details, but I'm going to give this a try and see what I can come up with myself.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Why am I not still in bed? Why? Why? I got to sleep at 1am last night, and this morning it's pouring with rain, the trains were late, and so far there's not much happening here as half the team are away. Dullity dullesville.

The reason for the lateness last night was seeing Simply Red at the 02. It was good, but I felt a little young to be in the audience. Well, free tix are free tix! And whatever you think about Mick Hucknell, he can sing. On the way home in the taxi (I'm glad someone negotiated a fee before the day with the cabbie, it's very scarey seeing the meter click into triple figures) one of the other concert-goers tried to sell a job at her company to me - Client Services (ie account management) for an American bank who lends to technology companies. Yeah. How many alarm bells can you have attached to one sentence??

The social whirl had kicked in again and this week and next week are pretty solid. What will I do without my CSI and NCIS fixes?? And why do we all insist on waiting until xmas to catch up with friends for drinks? All it means is that on xmas day, you just fall asleep exhausted on the sofa. Hey ho.

So anyway. On Monday, I took The Man to see Tinselworm, Bill Bailey's current standup tour. Apart from having the Second Worst Restaurant Meal I've Ever Had* beforehand (do not go to the Scotch Steak House on Shaftesbury Ave under any cirumstances), the evening was redeemed as the show was fantastic, hilarious, erudite, and various other superlatives. Bill, apart from anything else, is a great musician, and played two guitars, three keyboards, an oud and his theremin. I love the way his hair is part of his act. And how just making some noises along the lines off 'ooooh...hmmmmm....haaahhhh!..... eerrrrrhmmm...' can have the audience in stitches, before he's even said a word. We did laugh solidly for the entire show, crying with laughter for some of it. If you can get tickets, go see it.

(*The worse meal was at the now closed down Paul 'Elvis' Chan's Gracelands chinese restaurant in Tunbridge Wells. As well as cheese flavoured sesame prawn toast and some sort of greyish congealed beansprout dish, Paul was clearly so bored and jaded by his 'Elvis' show that at one point he walked off the stage, still singing, and sprayed his armpits with deodorant.)

Tuesday night I was out in T Wells with Clare and PaulV. We were all at school together and therefore have limitless capacity to be silly together. I expect the wine helped... By the way, the new specials on the Pizza Express menu are *delicious*. And I don't even really like pizza all that much. We discussed Clare's most unsecret secret at length (can I disclose yet Clare?), coming up with various outrageous suggestions, and were updated on Paul's love-life (join a running club).

By some fluke and chance I managed to avoid a hangover yesterday, although the brain was a little sluggish because I managed to decide to wear a red dress, failing to realise we were going to see Simply Red in the evening, and therefore people would think I was either a mad fan or trying to be post-ironic.... And I had two Chris de Burgh comments as it was.

The next few days / couple of weeks run thus:
Dinner with The Man and his mum tonight
Drinks with The Man's boss at his house (Dress code: party. What does that mean exactly for a do at the boss' house???) on Friday
Shooting on Saturday (xmas shoot, which is have a long morning session then come inside for proper hot food and port, rather than cold sandwiches and port in the barn followed by another afternoon session)
Viewing a house
Knitting group xmas gathering
Drinks with a friend
Mum's birthday dinner
Team xmas lunch / karaoke (messy)
Something with the pole girls
Drinks with another friend
Company black tie xmas do

In between I have to fit in xmas shopping, sorting out the flat, coping with a petulant car, sending xmas cards, and knitting. I have finished one sock, using a lot of new ideas (for me), and now am slightly dreading the second one, but I am trying to convince myself the first one took so long because I was working it out as I went. I just have to copy it on the second. How hard can it be??

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's soooo cold at the moment! It snowed on Sunday! And the icy biting wind has not gone away. It howls down the London streets with malicious abandon, making my nose run and showing how rubbish smart city clothes are at anything other than being presentable in meetings (viz, comfort, warmth, lack of ironing requirements).

There are also soooo many things that I want to knit! Just seen these amazing mittens on the blogsphere, which are also here on Ravelry. And I rattled off some more baby bootees for the newest small person generated by a work colleague. They are so quick and easy and cute - I think it was 2.5hrs all in, including knitting the icord laces. In fact, so quick there are no pics, but they are the same as these:

Anyway, I braved the cold on Sunday and went for a shooting lesson. I've not picked up my gun since last season, which hardly seems a minute ago, so I was clearly rubbish out of practice and couldn't shoot a barn door at the start of the session. But, it improved, and practice makes consistency, so by the end I was starting to feel that I was hitting clays by technique and intention rather than pure luck, which has been my style to date. It's all to do with mounting the gun correctly (quit sniggering in the back), ie fitting it into your shoulder in such a way that you can look straight along the barrels at the thing you are trying to shoot. Sounds easy, non? Well, for rifle shooting yes, when you have all the time in the world and a pretty static target, but for game shooting you actually start the mount as the target comes into view, so you only get a few seconds to arrange your gun, aim and shoot. Today, having had the gun in the right place, I have the beginnings of a bruise forming on my cheek, and of course my arms are going to be killing me tomorrow - not used to holding something so heavy up for so long!

The Man, bless him, came with me to this lesson as it was one of his buddies giving it, and having frozen himself in the morning playing football in the snow, defrosted in the bath afterwards, then had to stand for another hour looking like a schoolboy whose mummy had forgotten to pick him up, hopping from leg to leg with his nose getting redder and redder. Aw. I shall have to persuade him to purchase a Proper Country Jacket and (worse) wear it!

Finally, try the Noodle Soup Oracle for some supper ideas.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


There are things on my ipod I swear I never put on there. Samantha Fox's Touch Me (I want to touch your body)?? Good grief! Where did that come from?

The Man and I seem to have arrived at new levels of sharing. Last night, walking back from the gym, he said he'd had a tuna melt for lunch. Tuna, he thinks, seems to gives him wind. 'Oh dear', I said, 'you'd better not eat it any more.' 'Oh no', he replied, 'it entertained me all afternoon.'

Such insights into the male psyche I seem to be getting lately. I'm not sure if this is good (being open with each other) or ruining the mystique. Or whether blokes have any mystique to ruin...*;)

So anyway, The Sock is progressing quite well. I am trying a new technique of some increases around the end of the short rowing, where the foot is widest but the basic shape does not really increase apart from for the short rowing for the heel. This might be better demonstrated by a picture:

I had to rip the heel out once because I'd clearly forgotten how to short row, and there were huge lace-like holes everywhere. So, the best way I've found so far is to:

1. Double wrap and pick up both wraps
2. When you've picked up the wraps, unravel them so that you have three loops lying next to each other around the left hand needle
3. On knit stitches (ie when you've picked up the wraps and are about to knit them all together with the main stitch), knit through the back loop
4. Pull the wraps really tight as you go!

As you can see I am still mastering the picking up of the correct stitch when the short rows are finished to get rid of that joining together hole. I always seem to have to go back and fix it at the end with a needle and thread. Hey ho.
I'm also experimenting with doing some ribbing up the back of the ankle for a bit of shaping. We shall see what happens with that.
Ooo, just done some googling and it seems there's another short row method which uses backwards yarnovers, so I think I will give that a whirl and see what happens. (Another load of links here, but some don't work any more.) Yay for the internet!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Grass is always greener

Here is a cute little hermit crab from an island just off Hurghada. An 'uninhabited' island, apart from 300 tourists boated in every day for the amazing snorkelling!

This was the patch of beach at the hotel, which was brilliant.

Karnak temple at Luxor. The ancient Egyptians were amazing. They built all this stuff about 2000 years BC. There are heiroglyphs on just about every surface.

The Man at Karnak.

In the Valley of the Kings.

A camel by the Nile.

Us on the Nile.

We've been away on hols for a week, relaxing, doing nothing but sunbathing and reading, and yet this morning, having parked the car after going to Sainsbury's, as I walked back through The Grove with all its cool, damp autumn smells and fallen leaves, I had a very content smile on my face. I love being on holiday, and The Man and I had a wonderful time and were probably very bucket-worthy and loved up, but it's still the best thing in the world coming home and having to make the bed, do the shopping, clean the loo. Because it's my bed, my shopping, my loo, and it's all just the way I like them.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Ohmigod. I have just discovered there is a TV channel called The Style Network with a program called Hot Guys Who Cook. And there were hot twins. [drool] And cheese ratings for the Guys. Most of whom would be a whole lot better if they didn't actually speak. Or cook.

Anyway, here is a WIP update:

This is the Branching Out scarf from Knitty Spring 05, which I am taking to Egypt with me. I'm doing it in Fyberspates Scrumptious. It's quite thin width-wise at the moment but looks like it will block out nicely.

It's my first lace project and so I'm knitting veeeerrry sloooowly....

Here's the Baby Cables jumper with the sleeves split off, and a start made on the body. I think this is going to be a great weekend jumper, it's so soft and snuggly!

We're off on Tuesday for a week so apols, there won't be no bloggin' for a while, ya'll. Have fun with this arctic cold snap while we're away!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I had a weird dream last night about trying to rescue a baby from an evil Capt Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek Voyager, who had hidden it in a labyrinth consisting of empty art gallery halls and a municipal swimming pool. To rescue the baby I had to collect crystals (like in the Crystal Maze) and avoid being shot by Capt Janeway with a very old and inefficient-looking bow and arrow.

I assume the crystals must have come from looking at the light fitting (like this but square) in Haz yesterday lunch time, but the rest of it? Lawdy knows.

So tomorrow it's the company presentation which this year they are having again in Ipswich. I will have to get up at 5.30am tomorrow, get the 6.30 train to be able to get the 8.15 from Liverpool Street. This is seriously ungood. Oh, and then I get to stay there overnight for a team recognition event with my old team, in the out-of-town Travelodge, and then get the 11am train on Saturday (*in my own time*) and not get home until after lunch! Hurrah! Oh, we we're going to dinner at Mr Wings (or Mr Wing Wangs and a new colleague has christened it) which will be whoop whoop delicious I'm sure. Good grief.

It's OK, next week I'm on holiday, so, in the words of Catherine Tate, bovvered.

Loo watch: Two bottles of mouthwash, a propelling pencil, a dirty mug, a pad of large post-it notes and a feint smell of saddle soap.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Can't it still be the weekend?

It was one of those weekends that seemed to last for ages but at the same time I still felt like it was Saturday on Sunday.

On Friday night The Man and I met up with Clare and Nick for dinner, where we ate proper pizza and drank far too much red wine, and I narrowly escaped having a hangover the next day. We went to Firebelly's on Mt Ephraim which I would recommend, the food was delicious. Clare and Nick have just been for a weekend in Dover, which seems a strange holiday destination but it seems if you're in the right part of town it has its own charms, like the castle and being able to watch warships coming into the harbour.

It was a good job I wasn't hungover on Saturday because I had to do the mother and father of all Sainsbury's shops. I really need to sort out the parking situation - carrying £150 worth of groceries (including bags of potatoes and rice) all along the High Street in one go was not the best idea, but I didn't want to have to go back to the car twice. My shoulders are still hurting!

Grandma and I had planned a shopping and lunch day, but on the day she wasn't up to the idea of town, so I suggested we go back to the farm instead, which was apparently much more agreeable. Autumn is lovely at the moment, and it was a beautiful bright crisp day. Dad and I took the dogs for a walk, and mum gave me some cast off pale grey suede peep-toe shoes which she says she will never wear but which go perfectly with my new(ish) dress.

I also popped into Bell House in Cranbrook, Mecca of fabric in the Weald, and got some oil cloth from their pretty impressive collection. I'm planning on making some Xmas presents out of them.

On Sunday, The Man and I, his brother and sister-in-law went to see Warhorse at the National Theatre. This was booked for us by The Man's mum, as she'd seen it. I read a review online on Friday and it did sound strange - 'Black Beauty in the trenches with puppets' was how they described it. OK, kinda. There were puppets, or more like animated life-size models, but it was the puppeteering which was the best thing - amazing, and so beautifully life-like. The Man's sister-in-law is pregnant so she has an excuse, but we were both sitting there in tears at the end.

Oh, and the last thing is that The Man did actually go for that new registration in the end, and he fitted number plates on Saturday:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Something new

You know the Gershwin song Summertime? Ever heard a swing version of it played on bagpipes? It was a night of firsts at the Brickhouse last night - aerial burlesque acts acting out hanging themselves and vomiting up blood (let's hope it's in preparation for Hallowe'en) and some interesting canapes... But the best bit by far was the band Ta Mère, also here, who Lisa and I both (independently) concluded we wanted to play at our respective weddings. Just need to get our respective men to give us small sparkly items first though!!

What's more frustrating is that it seems they played at some Bohemia Festival just outside T Wells in August - I didn't even hear about it! Our local press is rubbish. Or rather, I never read any of it so perhaps it's good but you have to wade through too much local schools news, moans about shops closing and biddies on the warpath stuff so I lose interest. Hey ho. Sorry Clare!

Anyway, this band are also playing Volupté so that's a perfect extra excuse to go. I shall have to somehow convince the Man to dress up to the nines and come along with us - not always the easiest thing. We've been discussing going to a black tie dinner and dance for NYEve, but he is really unenthused. Why?? Don't all women love a man in black tie, and don't all men secretly pretend to be James Bond?

Anyway, the knitting is speeding up, I'm nearly at row 40. How painfully slow. I have a feeling there may be several hundred rows in the whole thing. Might be finished for next Xmas then!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stash Enhancement

The leaves are wonderful in the Grove. I call the Man and with minimal complaining he puts some shoes on to come and kick through them with me.

Is it really only Monday? It feels like Thursday after a week of getting over some sort of virus. I'm shattered. Mum and I have been up at Ally Pally since Wednesday and got back late last night, following traffic jams on the M25. The hotel we were staying in was Fawlty Towers-esque, so sleep was low on the likely list. On the first night we were in the overspill room, which was thick with dust even on the bedside tables, and had very thin curtains with a floodlight outside. On the other nights we were in a room at the front of the house, and mum's bed was in the bay window about 5 yards away from the all-night bus route. Nice. We are quiet country folk and not used to all this noise and electric bulb-age!

Also four nights of eating out and four mornings of trying to find an alternative to full English breakfast makes for a rather bloated and unhealthy couple of people.

What was quite nice though was that the other people staying at the hotel all seemed to be at the show too, so we could swap notes over the breakfast table. It's nicer to network over a cup of tea than over a trade stand while you are steeling yourself before the public to come in and swamp you.

Here is a pic of our stand:

Here is a pic of the shopping I managed to do over four days:

Silk and fluff from Knitwitches, Scrumptious and something glitzy from Fyberspates (Noblin introduced me to Jenny who was very polite even though she was thoroughly harrassed), laceweight from Touchyarns, nothing from Socktopus (where I valiantly resisted and bought nothing because I've signed up to the Sock Club for next year, but I did meet Alice), Lorna's Laces and Koigu from Get Knitted, as well as a set of Options circs, two balls of black lurex to knit some hotpants for pole dancing (yes Puss, it might actually happen!) from Wear Downey, and a couple of books which have been raved about (rightly) online lately - Closely Knit and Inspired To Knit. I have to thank The Man for wading through my extensive Amazon wishlists over the phone to find these titles for me. He did ask at one point, 'God, are you 65??', based on some items on there. I have yet to discover which item prompted that comment but he will be made to explain himself!!

Mum even was convinced to start her own stash, with some Touchyarn, some Scrumptious from Fyberspates, and some gorgeous handspun mulberry silk from Di Gilpin. She always has to go one better!!

I am still thrashing my way through the Baby Cables jumper. I've got to row 16. This is ridiculously slow, but I think I'm gathering pace as I get back into doing cables. I hope I get past the cables soon and into some mindless circling, and that the DK knits up a bit quicker in st st rather than garter st! I'm also finding the little rubber hairbands I'm using as stitch markers from Claire's Accessories (who have the rudest surliest staff in the T Wells branch I have ever come across and I'm never going back in there again if I can help it) stop the knitting moving around the needle without some good encouragement, which is a bit of a pain. I'm looking forward to getting rid of them as I finish the cable and increasing section.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Funniest thing...

It was The Man's mum's birthday yesterday, so we all piled down to Brighton to spend the day down there with his brother and sister-in-law. In the howling typhoon down the M23. Mmm mmm.

They do this really mean thing to her whereby they put a load of options on days out into a hat and make her pick. These ranged from an afternoon watching the football in the pub to a tour of Brighton Pavilion. And then they show her what she could have won. This year she picked An Afternoon at Hove Dogs - greyhound racing. Cripes alive, they really know how to put some stinkers in the hat!

The Man's family are inveterate gamblers, having been well trained by their grandparents, so any excuse (and I mean any) is taken up to have a flutter on something. The Man and his brother were trying for trio forecasts, while us girls just stuck with the 'to win' or each way winners. And we won, while the boys got glummer and glummer. You can picture my delight then (apart from having my second winner) when I catch The Man quietly doing eeny-meeny-miny-mo under the table to pic his trio....

The Man's sister-in-law is pregnant, and while we were sitting there she was feeling her belly and looking thoughtful. She grabbed The Man's hand and laid it on her belly and so the other beautiful thing of the day was the look (and shout) of surprise and genuine delight when he felt the baby kicking. Broody? Him? I had better watch out!

Friday, October 03, 2008

New job

Changes with new job:

From having 498 items in my inbox I now have 19.
I have time to read long and involved documents.
I have not read my normal list of blogs because the boss can see over my shoulder.

Loo watch (different floor, different loo):

Day 1
Dirty mug, light bulb gone, two bottles of mouthwash, distinct smell of saddle soap

Day 2
Dirty mug, light bulb gone, two bottles of mouthwash, biro, distinct smell of saddle soap

Day 3
Dirty mug, light bulb gone, two bottles of mouthwash, three biros and propelling pencil, blocked sink, distinct smell of saddle soap

Day 4

Interesting commentary on the standards of the girls on this floor, methinks... *;)

On knitting news, I have cast on for the Baby Cables and Big Ones Too jumper, using Sublime extra fine merino DK, which is sooooooo nice to work with - so soft! Hope the jumper stays that way after I wash it. It also requires working from two parts of the pattern at once and a dozen different coloured stitch markers, so a really sensible choice for the train... Ahem. Pics will follow.

Monday, September 29, 2008

2008 - Year of Random Events

OK, so, what do you usually do on a Friday night? Dinner? Pub? Stay in and watch Corrie? Or, wait until it's dark and head down to the golf club for a spot of Night Golf?

I am ceremonially making 2008 the Year of Random Events. What with Naked Shearing, Driving Sheep Across London Bridge, and now this... well.

So, Night Golf involves a lot of glow-sticks, glow-in-the-dark golf balls, and much hilarity. What you can see as you look down the fairway is:

Taking pictures is quite entertaining too. You point the camera into the murk and once the flash has gone you get this:

Golfers tee-ing off cannot see much beyond a feint green reflection in their clubface, which they pronounced 'bleeping weird' and took a while to get the hang of. But again, the flash reveals this:

As the mist descended, I caught this rather spooky looking face:

And at the end, walking back to the bar for a well-deserved pint or three....

Events were started by a large firework which startled some people into nearly falling into the lake, some teams failed to remember to bring torches while others (ours) brought the mother and father of all floodlights. Lost balls incurred a penalty but luckily plastic floats and it's possible to fish them out of water (with the right telescopic scoop). Also, if you are going to cheat and take extra glowing spare balls with you, it's best not to wear thin trousers and put them in your pockets....

On knitting news!

Here are some pics of FOs, finally!

Felted bag, in Aragon Yarns, pattern available soon on the website and also at Ally Pally next week. I love what Rowan did with that embroidery - she check-knitted the cherry coloured one for me.

Cabled bolero, finally finished, complete with Buddha belly. Nice. I feel extremely fat, having not been to the gym since March due to poorly bad back, and I don't think I will be looking very svelte in the size 10 Aragon Yarns t-shirts next week... But, I have a month before going to Egypt to lose some flab and get my bikini belly back! I think the back can just about take doing some exercise now, it's just a question of whether the mind can summon the willpower....
And on other whoop-whoop-worthy news, today is the last day I am working in IT. As from tomorrow I am underwriting. I cannot wait. Numpty users and project deadlines making whooshy noises due to other people's ineptitude you can keep, quite frankly. Roll on the business lunches!!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Another quiz. Not sure I agree, but perhaps a few years ago this would have been true!

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility. You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have deep, emotional side that few people ever see.

Would rather have been Elizabeth Bennett. Suspect I should have ticked 'Sparkling and witty'. Ah, Mr Darcy...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday Random Sheepiness

OK, so what would you normally do on a Friday lunchtime in the City? Lunch and drinks in a trendy wine bar? Work through and leave early? Or pop down to London Bridge and watch 400 Freemen of the City exercising their ancient rights to drive sheep across the Bridge?

Here are Hadlow College students making sure no sheep escaped down Cannon Street. Note they are Romney Sheep, an ancient Kentish breed, so kinda local. Not provided by us, but by a farming friend, and Dad was the vet on duty.

The sheep had their own guard! I presume that as this was organised by the Lord Mayor of the City of London he sent some heavies down. They were aiming to raise £40,000 for charity.

The Worshipful Company of - erm - Frameweavers? Or something. And Chairman of the Romney Sheep Breeders' Association.

Monks with digital cameras.

Armour on a sunny day - looked rather warm attire to me. Nice frilly lace collars and burlesque-style feathers though - rather incongruous with the long pointy stick.

Had to have a bloke in a bowler, with the Natwest Tower (sorry, Tower 42) in the background.

So, I have nothing further to add to that, other than is was very strange to see my father, loads of farmers normally hailed at the County Show, and sheep, on London Bridge where I am normally just one of thousands of worker ants migrating north in the morning and south in the evening, from and to the station. Here's to random amusements and ancient rights of the City of London.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All very charming

I love the comment about this Morph set sold by Hawkins at the moment:

Indeed! Most unlike something that happened this morning, which was decidedly not charming. I've had a blocked up ear lately, so went to the doctor's to try to stop a blocked ear turning into an ear infection, and they told me that it was a most unladylike condition - wax! So, I had to tip olive oil or Otex in, and if that didn't fix it, come in to get them syringed. Well, it didn't, so in I went on Tuesday, and since the last time I'd had them done (when I was about 10) they've invented some new machine which basically pumps a pressurised jet of water in little squirts into your ear. Well, ouch. Unforts the nurse, despite her best efforts, could not clear the bunged up ear (although she cleared the other ear OK, just to prove the point I reckon), so sent me away again with instructions to keep using the oil / Otex and come back if necessary. So, that night I squirted in some more Otex and went to bed, listening to it bubbling its way inside my head. Nice.

Next morning, in the shower, I stick my finger in my ear to clear some soap suds, and pull out, impaled on my nail, a huge wad of wax! Euw! Bleugh! It was bigger than a very large pea. I didn't look too hard, and was also glad that I don't wear my glasses in the shower, because there were some darker spots that looked like dead flies or some such which I really don't want to think about.

Points to note about this saga:
1. You can fit an awful lot into a human ear canal
2. The ear that became blocked was my phone ear, which has had to listen to Frenchmen rant and be evasive for the past six months, and no wonder it decided it had had enough and tried to stop itself hearing anything else. Poor thing.

On less don't-read-this-while-you're-eating topics:


I have finished knitting the cuffs to the cabled bolero cardigan, but have yet to sew them on. It's a summer garment and it's now quite clearly autumn. Rats.

I've designed and knitted a felted bag pattern which lovely Robot at KniTWells is check knitting for me.

I've started check knitting a toddler's jumper which equally lovely Noblinknits at KniTWells has designed for us. Yes, people on the train, I am young and I am knitting. No need to stare.

Actually, I was knitting the bag on the train, and was packing up and getting off at London Bridge when this women beckons me over. She'd obviously been watching me, because she demanded to know why I'd gone round (picked up stitches around) all the corners. Gack, an audience! I had to explain that it was the base to a bag and I was now knitting the sides in the round. Very quickly before the train doors shut. I think I left her none the wiser.


We should be completing on the sale of the flat tomorrow, but if the rest of the sale process is anything to go by, it will be delayed. The Man met up with our buyers a couple of days ago, to let them into the flat because they wanted to measure up for furniture, and they were complaining about their solicitor too, saying that he was rubbish and kept asking questions that they'd already answered. The estate agents have foolishly sent me feedback forms about our solicitors, because they were their 'house' ones if you like. Oooo, shall I just go ahead and rip them to shreds??? Methinks I might. Effing useless, if you'll excuse the language. And to be fair, the agents themselves have not been much better (bar one person), losing paperwork and not knowing what was going on. I had to resend a scan of my passport because they've lost the bank certified copy, and I sent it in reasonably hi-res (say, 600kb), only to get it sent back because they couldn't print it because it went off the edge of the paper. What??? OK, so users can be numpties, but their tech support people couldn't even sort it out for them! Mon dieu. It really makes you want to scream.

Just so you know.

Friday, September 12, 2008


New word for the day: confloption (n) a random mishmash of parts that may or may not work out. Such as, for example, a flight booked under one company name (XL), arrives as a rust bucket of quite different branding (Viking Airlines) with Finnish food, Spanish crew and Welsh pilot.

I feel for the poor people stranded abroad at the moment. Not only does XL fold, but the Channel Tunnel has a fire and closes for two days, sparking Operation Stack up with M20 and whatever the equivalent is in Calais. And also apparently bun fights in business lounges when economy is booked out and they check in too many people for the business seats. (Fenella will vouch for that.) What a lot of travelling we do these days, without realising until there's suddenly a problem.

The Man and I will hopefully be adding to the stats soon, with a week or so in Egypt in October to try to find some sun (shock!) and heat (will we cope, it will be over 20 degrees?!). We've never had a holiday together before so it should be interesting! His job means that getting away in the summer is difficult, but does mean that any holidays will therefore involve winter sun, which has got to be a plus.

The flat is coming together. The huge mirror is up, and looks elegant and homey. We had our first proper visitors the other day - Clare and Nick came over to see our friend Sarah who currently lives in Paris, and was back visiting her family. Sarah even cooked dinner for us poor working unfortunates! She's got herself a boyfriend and she brought some pictures to show us. 'Don't you think he's handsome?' she demanded, while Nick and The Man looked on. Is one allowed to appreciate other men when one's own is in the room? I decided yes, and Clare did also, pronouncing him 'very Gallic'. And also, it seems from the two pictures of him holding babies, good with children, and from the last of him holding a scribbled 'Sarah is so lovely' note to the camera, not scared to show how he feels. Which I guess is also a French attribute. Aw.

I have 12 more working days of being in the IT department, and suddenly, with booking underwriting training courses and taking holiday sheets to someone else, it's actually dawned on me that I'm getting a new job! I can't wait - not just to get out of this crapola, but to start something fresh and have opportunities and learn stuff. There is more weekend work this weekend, and it seems that won't be the end of it, but the hands on stuff in the UK is done, and what the French teams want to do to mess it up from now on is up to them. This may be the last overtime I get from this company so I'd better make the most of it - IT is the only dept that gets money rather than time in lieu. (BTW we were working until 4am the other night.)

While work is crazy I am seriously behind on knitting. The big stitch show at Ally Pally is coming up at the beginning of October and I have to check-knit a baby jumper and design, knit, check-knit and write the pattern for a felted bag. Argh! Knitting on the train and during lunch hours is the only option. Once AP is out of the way, I have seen several beautiful jumpers on the net lately that just have to be knitted: this one, but with something different done to the sleeves, this one, with brilliantly quirky cables, maybe this one, this bag and this scarf. Yikes! Looks like some serious stash enhancement will be happening at AP!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Brave New World

Well, a new chapter has well and truly started - not only have I now moved house, but I've just accepted a new job! Same company, but completely different department. I've been doing some key account management for about 18 months, which means I've been working directly with clients, who are big multinational companies, and coordinating the teams (underwriters and claims) dealing with them. About a month ago, I had a phonecall from my dept manager to say that one of the underwriting teams wanted to invite me to apply for a vacancy with them. Which was a bit of an, 'Oh, right!' suprised moment, but made sense when I'd thought about it for a while. It was by no means a dead cert as paperwork must be followed and I had to interview, but everyone who knew had great confidence in me (even if I didn't), and thank the gods, I got the job.

If life wasn't so manic and crazy at the moment I might actually have time to sit down and think, 'wow!' about all this. I was so excited before moving about living with The Man, but since we have moved I've been so shattered I've hardly been able to keep my eyes open when I'm at home. Added to that is the pressure of this big IT project (for which we are working until midnight tonight) and all sorts of other things at work. I am hoping that after tonight's work, and a good sleep tomorrow night, I'll get that amazing lightness of heart feeling like at the end of exams, and feel happy happy happy like I should do. At the moment I just feel drained, and I think more likely I will suddenly get ill. I've been too busy to have time to be sick lately!

The new flat is coming along. It turns out The Man is a real tidy bug and all the boxes really stressed him, so the bedroom and sitting room are now almost done, even if everything else is crammed into the other bedroom. We have cooked our first meal there, and even before the curtains were up The Man ran around the house, first to be nekkid in every room. Something tells me he is somewhat excited to have his own place at long last!

Friday, August 29, 2008


I went to have breakfast this morning, and there was no milk for cereal, so I pulled a slice of bread from the bag, turned around and discovered.... Clare has freecycled the toaster!! All that is left of the funky toaster with leaves and ladybirds on it was a sad little pile of crumbs. So, it was a croissant on the way to work for me...

This is all about moving, and getting rid of stuff in order to fit two people's belongings into the same flat. Clare and Nick both have a full complement of Stuff, so they're having to shed a lot. The Man and I have the opposite problem - we've both lived so far mainly using other people's stuff. I believe as far as kitchenalia goes he owns a steamer and a George Foreman grill. But it's kinda fun to set up a house together, rather than have it all there already, and choose things you both like. And get unnecessarily excited about a box of plates and a new hoover. *:)

I am shattered, but tonight I will pick up the keys to the new flat and start the task of moving boxes. Living with Clare has had its ups and downs, but on the whole it's been great fun and I've loved being in that flat. It's been a two year transition period, and now that part of life closes and the next chapter begins. It's exciting, and I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tired out but loving it

Apparently I look tired but I keep jumping up and down and clapping my hands. I'm moving in with The Man this weekend! As well as trying to juggle work, I have to move on the Saturday, go to a wedding on the Sunday, and another wedding next Saturday, and do another all-night work stint next Thursday night, and possibly work the following weekend too.... Hey ho. By the middle of September I will have time to sit down and have a cup of tea.

The puppies are going soon, I think there are only a couple still looking for homes. Very sad, they are extremely cute, but they'll have lots of fun where they're going. Hopefully by the time Mir has another litter we'll be in a position to keep one ourselves. We being me and The Man. How domesticated! Some even sadder news is grandma dog Millie, Mir's mum, had a nasty medium-grade tumour removed from her leg last week. It's just a case of wait and see now in case it metastased, or however you spell it. No jumping over fences for her for a bit.

The cable cardi is nearly finished, I just have to make myself sit down for a couple of hours to complete the cuffs. The rest is all blocked and sewn together and looks very smart. I love seeing construction detail in the knitting on finer knits - slanting decreases three stitches in from the edge around the arm hole, that sort of thing. I think my finishing is getting better, I am trying to take a hint from The Knitting Curmudgeon who was talking about seeing it as a whole other skillset rather than just an annoyance you have to tack on the end of knitting. I'm sure thousands would disagree but I use backstitch which creates a lumpier seam but also gives a really crisp finish. I'll play around with other ways of doing it I'm sure.

I've also finished the knitting on a Dumpling Bag from the Fall edition of Interweave Knits. Perhaps it was a good issue but there was loads in there I loved! I just need to felt the sucker now, will do that tonight, once I've sorted the rings of the strap handle out. Pattern is complicated in its explanations, but the proper way of doing it came to me in a flash as I was waking up this morning. Will post some pics when it's done.

Right, off home shortly to cook dinner for poor Fenella and Andy who have been working like stink on their new house, rewiring, reflooring, sanding floorboards, sorting out deliveries, massacring the hedge... They're moving the last of their boxes out of the flat tomorrow, and then on Friday night, after the cleaner has been (isn't Fenella sweet to book a cleaner?) I can start moving stuff into our new flat!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yes or No?

Fenella can be priceless sometimes. We were sitting around on the carpet, drinking champagne in their new house (which had been theirs for all of fours hours) and she somehow turned the conversation to jewellers, and a specific jewellers in town, and commented to The Man that they do beautiful rings there. Poor Man collapsed on the floor, defeated by her lead brick approach, while we all creased up.

The Man has said before that he really is not fussed about marriage, he would rather just save the money and go to the kids stage. For me, that's not an option, I need the security of marriage before considering kids. I can see what he means about all the hoopla that goes with a big white wedding. In fact, I've heard from a few people recently that weddings fill them with dread and they find them really stressful. But I love weddings! It's a huge romantic party with everyone determined to enjoy themselves, what's not to like?

So, you can hopefully realise why I am pleasantly surprised and also slightly confused how to react by a sort of show of committment of looking into getting a personalised number plate for the new motor with both our initials on it. (For info, I'm told the most expensive plate at the moment, coming in at £100,000, is PEN15.) (Also for info, on the DVLA site, you can mock up an image of the plate on your model of car, which is kinda nifty.)

This is committment indeed, from a bloke's point of view. Branding your man-mobile with your missus' initials?? Good grief, must be loved up.

But, personalised number plates? Yes or no? Please, I need advice on this one!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mice and Men

Cities are funny old places. If a mouse ran under the table if you were at the farm, you would have stern words with the cat about responsibilities and layaboutish tendencies, and spend some time evicting the mouse while mentally scripting a good story to tell everyone later. In a London restaurant, everyone goes, 'Oh look, a mouse!', pushes their handbags around with their foot a bit (I suppose to scare it away from jumping in) and gets on with their meal. Any thoughts about Health Inspectors are not (loudly) voiced.

Anyway, I was having dinner with an old uni friend, let's call her The Lawyer for the time being, otherwise I'd just have to call her CRAZY!!! because she was telling me, again, about her working hours which make my last week look like a walk in the park. I mean, I know lots of my friends work long hours, but she never eats at home, all her colleagues get takeaway dinner in the office every night, they usually work until 10 or 11pm with no lunch breaks, and several regularly work until 2am. To me, this kinda screams sweat shop and employment law and so on. One presumes there's something in the contract to say that they will work until they drop. You can keep it, frankly.

So, a deal has recently fallen through which is bad but it does also mean that work is quite quiet for her at the moment and she can escape at a reasonably time (read 7 or 8 ish) each night. After two weeks of this, she's finally realising that there is actually a Real Life out there, and you should indeed have a couple of hours in which to do things you want to do in the evenings. Like, meet up with friends for dinner, or go to tango classes (which we didn't quite manage, but hey, the intention was there). And you can see in her face that this is an amazing realisation for her! Huh?

I do get concerned about the slightly crazed and hunted look behind the eyes that some of my friends get in times of greater stress at work. I really don't think it's right that work should impact that much on your psyche. After all, the company doesn't really give a shit about you, you're just a grunt (at whatever level) who can be replaced if necessary. The company might shrug and go, 'it's a shame that Vladimir/Horatio/Bob has gone', turn around and get on with the next thing, while poor Vlad is instantly forgotten (until they can't find a file or spreadsheet that Vlad made about something, then his memory is cursed and secretaries are sworn at).

Perhaps I don't get it. I suppose the friends with the hunted look also are the friends with bloody-great and gorgeous houses, and the ones who can afford the sharp suits and gadgets and posh holidays (but, I'm guessing, struggle to get the time off agreed and then never turn their blackberries off). To be honest though, I'd rather live a little more humbly and have time to enjoy myself between the posh holidays.....

Smug-making incident of the week: seeing a fat-cat executive Audi being towed, and as the truck moved off the car alarm starts shrieking.

Ew! incident of the week: Woman on train, having spent the entire hour-long journey talking about her baby (how cute / how strong / teething / nappies / botty burps etc) to her poor un-fecund friend who is now bored to stone, then starts breastfeeding in a carriage full of commuters.

Happy of the week: Getting a text from Fenella saying she'd been up since 3am, then another that she was cross she'd not heard anything, then finally one saying she'd just had a call and that they have completed on the purchase of their new house. Hurrah!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Quite appropriately titled, that film. I have not seen quite such a concoction of cheese and tenuous story lines (or lack thereof) in quite some time. And Pierce Brosnan singing? Please, someone, anyone, make it stop!! But the absolute best bit, worth the price of the seat alone, was after the end credits when the whole cast are up there, spangly lycra jump-suited to the nines, singing Waterloo. Including Brosnan and Colin Firth. Seriously, I will never be able to watch Pride and Prejudice the same way again.

Terrible film, great tunes, Meryl Streep valiant in face of all - go see it, it's hilarious.

In other news, The Man has bought himself a new car. It's the same, but newer, and the sports version, and blue. As far as I can tell the only differences are the colour, there are two fewer doors, and the suspension is 'sports' which means I need to bring a cushion. Oh, and it's got that new car smell which makes me want to heave. You can get that stuff in a spray-can now. Why, for the love of god??

We have commenced battle with the buyers to our flat. I should have known it was all going rather too smoothly. They want some ridiculous amount retained from the sale price in case they get a big stinking bill from the management company at the end of the year. Having done some homework which took about 20mins, this appears to be about three times too much. Why doesn't our solicitor investigate this? Surely that's what we pay them for? Sheesh. I should do my own conveyancing in future. A friend who did her own tells me it's not that difficult. Anyway, the upshot is that we still have not agreed an exchange. Pah. I want to move house in two weeks people!!

Knitting news - all pieces of cardigan blocked, ends are being woven in, and then I can start sewing up! Yay!

Monday, August 11, 2008

It was a long week...

...and unfortunately it got the better of me on Sunday night. I'm just not used to working a full day and then on until 1am under a lot of pressure (breaking and restoring our whole network), and then back in for a long day to do the same thing all over again. So by Friday night I was somewhat emotionally exhausted tense, but managed to get over to the The Man at his mum's while he watched the golf. Now, The Man is usually wonderfully considerate, but he has never worked in an office environment, much less under pressure. I expect the nearest he has come to feeling how I did would be after a 24hr flight with delays and transfers. Kinda like you've been through the wringer. Perhaps I should point this out to him, so he can empathise a little more next time, instead of teasing me and not being helpful. He did however quickly take the hint when I stopped playing along and has been an absolute sweetie since.

The rest of the weekend was wonderful but not restful. My brother was having his 30th birthday party, complete with hog roast (yes, a whole pig) and 50 people or so, so on arrival at the farm at 11am I just walked into organised pandemonium of sorting out catering and beer and balloons and lighting and music and more beer and wine and babies and people arriving and beds and feeding puppies and so on. My brother invited some of my good friends too which was lovely because we don't get to catch up often, and serendipidously another friend from Hong Kong was over to go to a wedding the previous day just down the road! It's kinda weird but kinda nice that my parents get on well enough (ie very well) with my friends that they all get drunk together and laugh at each other. Dad, at midnight, came into the house to find his ancient Russian phrase book because he wanted to show some Russian bird who had come to the party around the farm in his Land Rover. We all told him not to because he would probably drive off the bridge into the river. Mum just laughed, rolled her eyes, and asked for more wine from the bottle she relocated from the bar table for her own purposes. (Later on it turned out the bird was German anyway.)

(This kind of makes it sound like my parents are alcoholics...)

So anyway, after a lovely lunch and mooch around in T Wells on Sunday, I retired to the settee with a cup and tea and a DVD of Becoming Jane, and half way through, from a combination of relief at work stress being over, happiness at spending time with lots of the people I really care for in the world, general tiredness, time to sit down, and PMT, I just burst into tears and cried for about half an hour. And I still easily could if I started thinking about it all again. I am so lucky to have the option of immersing myself in such a charmed life. Some people would say that coming away from all that back to work in London is coming back to the real world, but more and more I think it's the other way round.

(Sigh.) Life is good.

(Apart from crappy work, but we won't talk about that.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


OK, so this is not a new thing, but what is it about men and communication?

Communication + testosterone = Talking About Sport

I know this is always true:

Men + Beer = Talking About Sport

It also appears that just two blokes sitting together on the train = an hour long chat about baseball. But this morning I also had a guy call me for something and proceeded to try to make some chitchat, which is fine, I'm not a machine and I like chitchat, but this chitchat was about football! And worse, Celtic / Rangers!! Do I look like to care about football, least of all Scottish?

Good grief. Someone issue all staff with a social skills handbook, please.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Puppies update!

Gratuitous puppy pr0n but here they are with eyes open, rough-and-tumbling and starting to look like proper Andrex puppies.

I love those little tails sticking up like aerials! And their ears are so silky and the pads on their paws are still soft as anything. You could just snuggle them for hours - apart from the atrocious puppy breath. They just don't tell you these things in the text books. *:)

We now have a moving date so in under a month The Man and I will be living in sin together. Today I've ordered a box of plates and a hoover from Amazon, about which I got unduly over-excited. I'm nesting, and it's the PMT time of the month, which makes it worse. I can't help it!

Here is The Man, in the snows in March.

Special big golfing mittens apparently. Not a big soft southerner at all! We are having Discussions about settees. There are two black leather sofas kicking around, and we're short of a sensible size sofa for the new place. As it will only be temporary, I say we take one of my huge ones and split it in half (they are designed to do this, it won't be me getting trigger-happy with a chainsaw) to have two chaise longues. Please, no, not black leather. Massive flatscreen telly with playstation plus and sky 360 and setanta I can deal with, but don't make me have black leather!