Monday, July 28, 2008

Surprise Surprise!!

I love it when a plan comes together. *:) I really was nervous about it - on the train up to town to lay the treasure hunt trail I was getting serious butterflies, mainly revolving around whether I'd be able to charm someone to hold the first clue for me or whether I'd get a point blank No (which has been known). But, all went to schedule, and I have a very happy man as a result.

So, as you may have heard, for his birthday last weekend I gave The Man a locked money box with 'Surprise!' written on it, but no key. He spent several days doing his nut and threatening to withhold priviledges until I let him open the box, but hey, he's rubbish at resisting me. *:) I think he'd then got busy at work and sort of forgotten about it. Meantime, I'd called one of his work colleagues and got them to agree to be an accomplice, sent them the key and got them to book in some fake work for The Man on Saturday afternoon (he works weekends) to make sure that the time required was mine.

The Man (luckily) dropped a horrible clanger on Wednesday night when he said he had to be in work early on the Sunday as well - argh! Impossible! So another call was made to the Accomplice, and all was sorted. I owe a couple of people some bottles of wine....

So, anyway, back to the treasure hunt. I'll do it from The Man's point of view, so as not to spoil the surprise. At about 2.30 on the Saturday afternoon he was told by my Accomplice that his last client had cancelled. 'How do you know about my diary?' queries The Man. 'Oh, and I have this key for you', adds the Accomplice. It takes a couple of minutes for this to compute, during which time the Accomplice notes dryly that The Man can be bloody hard work sometimes. Finally the penny drops, and there is an excited opening of the box.

Inside they find a London streetmap, train tickets, a note to bring an overnight bag and half a postcard of The Ritz. The Accomplice tells The Man to s*d off home and get sorted out. I get a call at this point from The Man saying, 'Sooo, I have a key, and I'm at home.' 'Really?' I say innocently. 'How nice!', wandering towards the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. 'Hmm', says The Man (who hates being kept in the dark). 'Right, I'm getting the train'.

An hour and a bit later and I've seen the Exhibition (the only thing that grabbed me was The Entymology of Love by Sue Whale, a box frame of different types of cut-out hearts pinned to look like butterflies, with labels underneath each group reading 'Margate, March 2005' or 'Mim's birthday, 1998') and had tea and a 'delicate' at Laduree (how tiny is that shop??? Argh! But the pastries are divine, so it was just about worth it.) when I get another phone call.
'I'm at the Ritz. Where are you?'
'In Boots getting some water.'
'Aren't I meeting you here?'
'Nope. You just need to get to the concierge desk and ask for your message.'
'Oh, right.'

Later still (as I was in M&S buying some cheap fizz):
'I've got the next clue.'
'Well done.'
'They chucked me out of the Ritz once because I've got jeans on.'
'It's against the dress code.'
'Oh dear! But you got the clue OK?'
'Yes, cloakroom ticket for the Royal Academy. The concierge made me give him the other half of the postcard.'
'Good for him! Well, I'll let you get on then.'

Which led him to a Fortnum's bag containing my shopping (tea) and the next clue...

And then a text:
'Which hotel?'
'It's written on the back of the room key!'
Honestly, sometimes men are not very bright.

And a knock at the door...

After a few excited whoops and The Man saying I was very naughty and very clever, we sat around for a bit swapping stories of the chase and drinking fizz, then went out to see Jersey Boys, which I can recommend for a great night out and source of several more forgotten singing-in-the-shower ditties, and then on to Chinatown for some late night crispy duck and shredded beef. Mmm.

So, a big thank you to everyone who helped me with this, and for keeping it a secret, and to The Accomplice for being a star and also one of The Man's team for covering the Sunday work, Fenella for 'inviting us for dinner' on Saturday to make sure he kept the evening free and the concierge at the Ritz for being a diamond and fully deserving the golden keys on his lapel. Good grief, you'd think it wouldn't need a whole cast to make something like this happen! Anyway, I think I am forgiven for making him wait for his birthday present. And of course I've upped the ante for my next birthday present too... *:)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Somebody get me out of here...

Over the past two weeks I've had a horrible nasty glimpse at the stress levels a lot of my friends work under all the time and I really don't like it. But at least now I can empathise a little more. There's a Europe-wide network infrastructure project underway, commissioned by head office in France, and we've been trying to do the UK branch of it. Trying being the operative word there. I don't know what school of project management they've been to but now it all becomes clear why France always ended up waving the white flag in the wars. Organisation? Pheh.

It's just been postponed again for another month or so, so at least I get some breathing space for a while.

Meantime, Clare tagged me on a meme a while ago, so until my brain puts itself back together here goes:

1. What were you doing ten years' ago?
In 1998 I was at university, although it would have been the holidays by now, so I'd be at home in the two week recovery period that apparently I always took after the two-month jolly / bender / stress fest that was a university term.

2. What 5 things are on your to-do list today?
Fix DHCP scope on a DC
Conf call with France
Various other phone calls to sort out problems following conf call with France
Confirm all OK for The Man's b'day surprise
Get something for supper

3. What would you do with a billion dollars?
Be very pleased with myself. Invest some, give some to charity, put some into trust funds or other things for deserving relations. Buy a largish house in the country, where there should be: a large garden, a few acres for some horses, a large living room with a baby grand piano, a craft room (with lots of windows), a beautiful kitchen, and a kitchen garden. After I'd got bored of pottering around that I'd do something entrepreneurial, set up some businesses, invest in property. And qualify as a life coach. And get married and have babies. *:)

4. List the places you have lived:
A bungalow near Maidstone, with a few acres which contained sheep, chickens, dogs, puppies and a few racehorses.
A large white Victorian villa house thingy on a hill near Maidstone with ditto accoutrements.
A succession of rented houses while my parents looked to buy a farm, several of which I swear were haunted.
A mobile home, while we built a house.
A farmhouse lovingly built with help from all the family.
In the family house of a now-good friend's family in New Zealand.
A grotty student halls.
A grotty rented student house.
A castle, with a million steps and untold drafts, and water which came out of the taps orange from rusted pipes, but still, my address was 'The Castle, Durham'. It was a great place to live!
A flat in a converted Victorian townhouse in London (top floor - I hate carrying supermarket shopping up stairs).
A maisonette in a 1960s terrace in London.
A beautiful flat in an Edwardian house in T Wells.

5. List the jobs you have held:
IT Architect
Founder of a wool business (Co-Director, but I could call myself anything I like really!)
IT Service Technician
HR Assistant
Care worker in a brain injury unit
Bar maid
Grain sampler for farmers' cooperative
Check-out chick
Cherry seller
Veterinary nurse / assistant
Farm worker
Strawberry seller in Fortnum and Mason's (for a day)

6. List the people you'd like to know more about:
The Man (he can be very elusive)
My parents and brother (life is often too busy to just sit and chat)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


There's something rather delicious about walking around London all demure and office-professional knowing that in your bag is a vibrating cock-ring.

It's The Man's birthday this weekend, and because his real surprise will only happen next weekend I needed something to tide him over. Not sure that it's very family-present-opening-safe, but hey, perhaps the Jelly Boobs and the other package marked 'Surprise!' will suffice.

I'm planning on laying a sort of treasure hunt on the day to find the prize, but as I'm also working next weekend it's proving hard to lay the trail. Somehow I've got to get The Man up to Town and then... well, I'll tell you in a couple of weeks!


I keep seeing this meme pop up so I thought I'd give it a go. Rules are, you respond to the questions below and put a search in flickr, then use fd's mosaic maker to create the image. You can only take an image from the first page of flickr images!

1. Katherine, Standing Still, 2. London Pasta Week: Day 1, 3. Cranbrook Academy of Art: Europa and the Bull (B&W Version), 4. mare blu by piotta sea blue, 5. John & Margaret , 6. Bewitched Tea, 7. Cowboy at Sunset, 8. IMG_3898_1_1e, 9. don't worry be happy new year, 10. Lakes 2007_S07497, 11. Mountain Lion Safety, 12. Katie ... sleeping on aunt Marlene's hand ...

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

1. Katherine 2. Pasta 3. Cranbrook 4. sea blue 5. Richard Armitage 6. cup of tea 7. cowboy holiday 8. queen of puddings 9. happy 10. countryside 11. capable 12. Katie

Monday, July 14, 2008


I left my latest project at the farm by mistake. I'm getting all jittery without it - it's like not getting my drugs hit. I need my needles!!

So, here is a bit about what happened at the farm at the weekend:

Romney Shears International Sheep Shearing competition!

The Man's housemate Chris modelling the 'pig sandwich and beer' pose.

The Ashford spinning guild were there, cheery souls all and very patient. I had a go and could not coordinate foot and hands - it was just like trying to learn to drive again. Very frustrating, but I am going to persevere and try to use the Ashford wheel I've been loaned.

At the flat, work has started destroying the roof. Tiles are cascading off the scaffolding, apparently. I have this horrible feeling that one is going to go through one of the windows, and it's bound to be one of the Edwardian leaded lights (coloured glass) ones... Scary to think that in less than two months we will have moved out of there (fingers crossed please god let it all go through OK) and into living in sin with respective boyfriends!

I am really looking forward to it, and I've amazed myself with my patience. Mum and Dad were surprised that I wasn't seeing The Man more over the weekend, because I was helping out at the shearing event, and that I wouldn't get to see him much during the week. I said that it will happen, and that I'm trying not to be such a part of the Now! generation. A couple of years ago I was a terrible impulse person, buying clothes and tat I didn't need, and flitting around to drinks and lunches with friends and colleagues when I really didn't have time or money, and getting anything or any information I wanted instantly on the internet. (My record was going from a snippet of ear-worm to full song lyrics in under 20 seconds.)

This new Wait-For-It mindset seems to be spreading to other areas of my life, aided by the patience required to get a finished object from your knitting, and now I'm happy to wait, in fact I quite enjoy looking forward to things again. I also employ the tactics which Crazy Aunt Purl and various others online have been trying to adopt recently of curbing impulse spending by either having months of not buying anything but essentials (food, loo roll, yarn food), or writing everything you want to buy down and then looking at it again a few days later. Anything that you actually really still want, you can have. Such a good idea. Anyone else tried it?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This made me laugh out loud today in Lombard St:

Slight close up of the funny bit:

Knitting news - second pair of socks done! Yay! I'm more pleased with the toes on these, and the short row heels are better. I did Wendy's easy toes from here, and picked up a tip from somewhere to tease out the wraps and stitch so they're separate, then knit through the back of the knit stitches (but not the purls), and this seems to give a less gappy result. But I'm still not overwhelmed with short row heels, although the technique is very smug-making. *:)

Next work in progress started, which is the Minnie cable edged bolero by Louisa Harding, from June's Knitting magazine. I had a cunning plan to knit the pieces all together to save on sewing up, then realised the whole cable trim is knitted separately and sewn on at the end. Including trim around the cuffs...

Monday, July 07, 2008



OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Why would someone even write this sort of quiz? But hey, I could obviously cope as a teacher in a private primary school. *:)


How ultra super cute are these?

Mir had nine little puppies on Friday. They look like little squirmy moles.

Little Rory (who is 1 tomorrow) can just pull himself up on the side of the whelping box to see what's going on, but is really more interested in getting to the water bowl to play and make a mess.

They make squeaky noises like guinea pigs and slurp when they eat.

As they were born on 4th July, any suggestions for names? 6 boys and 3 girls!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Le Shopping and sandwich weirdness

There were some errands that had to be run this lunchtime. Firstly, Puss has kindly lent me the keys to the Pole Boudoir so I can do some practise while she's in gai Paris for a few days. As a thank you, I popped down to Paul A Young's at the Royal Exchange. I thought our local chocolatier had some interesting flavours, but wow. This guy must be on some weird shit when he plans the recipes! Port and stilton anyone? Marmite? There were lots of intriguing and yummy looking ones too, like Bison grass or something, and blood peach, and strawberry with pink peppercorn, as well as the more usual champagne truffles. (Hope Puss isn't reading this before she gets back!) The lovely lady serving let me try a Guinness ganache - chocolatey and creamy while you eat it with the Guinness flavours coming through at the end. The shop also smells divine, and it's cool and dark, and they obviously take their chocolate veeery seriously.

Then, in a multi-tasking sort of way, I popped two doors down to Jo Malone. I've been wanting to smell their basil and mandarin perfume for a while, because it keeps getting written up in magazines, but the sweetly-smiling assistant in there offered me a free arm and hand massage so I could try out a couple, so here I am typing smelling of (on my right) nectarine blossom and honey and (on my left) French lime blossom. I smell like a summer garden, or the orchard when all the trees are in full bloom. I need to be wearing more flounces and lace. It's delicious.

(That was a very sensually-themed outing, wasn't it? As in smell and touch and taste. What were you thinking, you reprobates?)

And then, on to the sandwich weirdness. Fuzzy's Grub has been recommended by a couple of people, but I didn't know much about it other than it does roast meats. You can even get a full roast meal in there. But a full roast meal in a sandwich?? The bloke serving me, armed with a bap* smothered in horseradish sauce, looks at me and asks, 'Peas and carrots?' 'What?' I say. 'Peas and carrots?' 'Um, no, just some salad please.' 'Yorkshire pudding?' In a sandwich?? 'Uh, yeah, OK.' 'Roast potato?' What the hell, in for a penny... 'Yeah, OK, thanks.' (Bloke crams in as much as possible, then wedges on half a pound of roast beef.) 'I guess gravy might be a bit much', he admits, but blatently the possibility is there, should I so desire.

Good grief.

*bread roll. Also an English term for lady's frontage (ie 'Cor, look at the baps on her').

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Yarn Orgy

John Lewis Sale!! Buckets and buckets of Rowan and Debbie Bliss! And check out the big red signs - yes people, that is 50% off!!!

Unbelievably, I only spent £12 on yarn (7 balls!), which should be used to make Ysolda's Elijah. Hopefully. One day. While the intended recipients are still in short trousers at least. *:) All I went in for was some more sheets and bedlinen!

Anyway, here is a pic taken from the boat on which we had the summer party with work. I will not put any of the drunken dancing, it's just too shameful. You can enjoy sunset over the 02 and Canary Wharf Tower instead.

Roof works

I am sooo pleased that I have recently learnt how to achieve a state of zen / oblivion to various home-based problems. Most pertinent at the moment is the Roof Works... After prolonged haggling and discussion with our management company, during which time they completely ignored all of our requests as regards contractors, the work has started to basically replace the roof with absolutely no warning whatsoever. I got home from work one day to find scaffolding up outside my window. So that was the first minor grrr.

It also turns out that the scaffolders thought it would be OK to put a foot of the structure into next door's garden. Without asking them. Apparently the guy that lives there is known for being a psycho rather, um, lively, so it was lucky that he is away on holiday at the moment. As it was there was a small mushroom cloud when the rest of the house found out.

Then last night I got back, slightly pissed it must be said after our company summer do, and nearly walked into a new scaffolding pole on the front path. And this morning I turned on the TV and guess what? All those metal pipes in front of our satellite dish mean that we can get Absolutely No Reception Whatsoever! And neither can next door! Blinding.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

1930s Wife

I must be bored...


As a 1930s wife, I am

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