Monday, July 27, 2009

Does anyone know the way to the garden party?

So, all the life coaching training courses are now over, and bar another 20 hours practise coaching I am qualified! (And what’s 20 hours between friends?) We also got a freebie course to learn how to become a trainer, which I think is going to be very useful at work; and I am picking up loads of practise at negotiation with this wedding planning. Argh. Input and suggestions I love, but then please, let me make the decisions? So, I am officially People Skilled up. Ask me anything, and see if I can give you something powerful and incisive in reply. (Well, anything bar nuclear physics or about the finer workings of an internal combustion engine.)

Learning to train was entertaining. We all had to do 20mins of training each other on something, so now I can make a cocktail, frost a cupcake, and have an inkling about photo compositions and swimming butterfly. Can you guess what I got them to do? Can ya? Yes, I got them all knitting. I’d forgotten how difficult it is to make sense of a tangle on a stick when you’ve never looked at stitches before. I had people trying to knit from the blunt ends of the needles, with the knitting sticking up rather than hanging down from the needle, knitting over and into the next stitch instead of slipping the just worked one off the needle…. Phew. And all in 20mins, less preamble! I was shattered! But good to realise for next time the things that knitters take as read that you actually have to point out to a newbie.

This was the view from the training room.

Right into the Queen's back yard, where they were setting up for a garden party from the looks of things.

We managed to coincide some breaks with the changing of the guard.

You can just see the brass band bits there. Good job the horses don't mind all the racket.

I’ve started the summer jumper. I know we’ve had our annual week of sunshine, but this is for Florida in October. I have a horrible feeling that although I measured my bust size properly (Liz can vouch for this because I did it during knit group in the middle of the restaurant), it’s going to be rather capacious. Possibly there’s not as much shaping as the baby cables jumper, which is my main comparison. Hmm. Anyway, it’s being done in a Twilley’s yarn called Gorgeous which is 75% bamboo (how terribly modern of Twilley’s!) which looks like being quite nice and drapey. Not as silky and floppy as the Soya yarn I used for Daisy’s hoodie, but not bad.

Uh-oh. Just found the jumper on Ravelry and everyone says the sizes come out big. I have a feeling that I should have succumbed to my inner vanities and gone for the smaller size – it was borderline between the smallest given and the next one up, but I went for the next one. But having spent three days worth of train journeys on it already, I’m not sure I have the heart to rip it. What to do what to do? Ah come on woman, where’s your knitterly bravery, people have ripped a lot more than 5 inches of st st. Just because you had that trauma of starting out and realising your lovely knitting-in-the-round was twisted into a mobius strip… you can do it again. Deep breaths.

This weekend The Man is competing in the London Triathlon at the Excel Centre in the Docklands. He came up a few weekends ago to practise the swimming section, which was just as well, as he now has tactics on how to avoid being drowned by other competitors. Watching him wriggle into his wetsuit is the funniest thing in the world, but hopefully he will be in The Zone at that point and not thinking about me unable to breathe from laughing!

Update: It's ripped. That'll teach it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goodness, where does the time go?

I knew June and July were going to be rather manic, but they’ve been fun too. The prospect of having a quiet weekend at home is beckoning though and I am soooo looking forward to it.
I’ve been on life coaching training courses, a hen weekend in Bath, helping at the shearing competition, to a wedding fair and a birthday party. But this weekend The Man is celebrating his birthday and I am not going anywhere. Bliss! A lie in! Time to tidy up!!

Knitting seems to have been on a go-slow lately, but the interlocking leaves socks are looking great, and such a cunning heel design! I’d not come across it before, but then again I’ve only knitted three pairs of socks in my life, but this is so cool – a sort of short row heel flap but the slipped stitches make it double thickness. I can see me using this technique again. I managed to finish one on the train back from the hen weekend, and am just about to turn the heel on the other. It’s all about being disciplined and not snoozing on the way home but making use of the time!

(I must ‘fess up to making a positive choice to take the train to Bath, rather than drive, so I could knit. I am turning into a true yarnie.)

The new Socktopus club parcel arrived last week, and I’m not sure what to think about it. OK, I still haven’t finished using the previous yarn, which is making me feel guilty for a start. But this one came without the extra goodies (for which there were apologies, granted) and seems to be a rather plain pattern with block colour yarn. It is an Ysolda pattern so no doubt with be full of hidden complicatude, so we will see. I hope the goodies are exciting when they arrive with the next parcel. I was disappointed with the last one I have to say – a few peas to plant? (I don’t even have a garden!) I’d heard great things about this sock club! So there, I’ve said it – I shall have to subscribe to that Knitting Blasphemies thread on Ravelry.

So you know of my quest to find the perfect Pride and Prejudice spin off? The other week I came across this:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
‘Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class conscious landed gentry?’ It’s had mixed reviews, not surprisingly. There are brilliant illustrations including Lady Catherine du Bourgh sending her ninjas against Elizabeth, and Elizabeth kick boxing with Mr Darcy. Barking. It was suitably ridiculous, but I have to sympathise with one reviewer on Amazon who said the good bits were the bits taken from P&P and all the badly written bits were the new additions about zombies. So you may as well save yourself £6 and reread P&P from the bookshelf. Although I will never look at Charlotte Lucas in quite the same way again.

So, while sort of on a Jane Austen theme, I have to tell you Bath is a lovely place to spend a weekend. Especially when the sales are on. But if you’re over that way, you must try out the new thermal spa, where you can actually bathe in the spring waters. It’s a great facility, four floors, two pools (one on the roof with great views) and one massive steam room with four pods, all with different essential oils, and a yummy restaurant. We also got around the Jane Austen museum, the Roman baths and popped into the Pump Rooms to try the water (which is much nicer than T Wells water), took a boat on the river up to Bathampton, and ate out in some great restaurants (Fishworks was amazing). The girls (bride and her sisters) discovered this bizarre shop called Hansel and Gretel which sold anything Bavarian and German, and had a strudel bar downstairs. They loved it. (On the other hand I discovered a bead shop downstairs in this little jewellery/gift shop which was amazing, but they were completely uninterested in. Each to their own!)

On Saturday night we were joined by John who apparently entertained the traffic stuck in a jam on the M4 on the way back on Sunday. He is so thoughtful.

The Man and I went to see Thriller. I’d spookily booked tickets on the morning before the news broke that MJ had died. I suspect tickets are like hen’s teeth now – it was booked out when we were there. Including some fanatical fan who kept shouting, ‘Michael! I miss you!’ until someone told him in no uncertain terms to shut up. It redeemed itself in the second half with an amazing dancer from LA doing the routines from Smooth Criminal and Billy Jean, but on the whole I preferred Jersey Boys. Jersey Boys had a plot, whereas Thriller didn't, and could have really done with one.

Mum and I went to a wedding fair near Maidstone on Sunday, and I think it was a bit of a revelation for her. I was quite surprised – she’s been involved in organising weddings recently, but there were things there she was pulling my sleeve and pointing at. We both tried on some tiaras and veils - I don’t see why she can’t have some fun too! And we found a really nice dress in the sample sale, which I didn’t buy because I’d probably be bored of it in a year’s time, but for 400 notes you can afford to run that risk and just bung it on ebay or if I changed my mind! Hey ho, it’s gone now. I must stop thinking about dresses and sparkles and concentrate on the bigger white thing ie booking a marquee! We are still in negotiations about that. I found this amazing company that does marquees with indian block-printed liners, but the quote was the GDP of a small country. There are other marquee companies which also do the marquees at the county show and other such events and are not very weddingy, but apparently they’re happy to put the bill down to hardcore (tarmac rubble) or cherry tree covers so you can put it through the farm books and claim the tax back. (Was I supposed to write that here?) So, we are still working on marquees. Will need to be inventive I think. And also check out our requirements in the way of generators, toilet trailers, chiller trailers, lighting and flooring. Then we can get on to the tables, chairs and catering stuff. Argh!

Just had a mail back from a photographer though so we will have a chat with him and see what he has to say.

Sigh. I am really looking forward to that Hannibal moment when I can suck on a cigar, smile, and say, 'I love it when a plan comes together...'