Friday, June 23, 2006

Close encounter with some bullocks

On the way into work on Monday morning I had to wait for a van to go across the cattle grid. The bullocks in the field thought my car was very interesting, and started licking it! They seemed very friendly (normally they just ignore me, but I suppose normally I don't stop!)

Despite it being what should have been a mad week, it was actually rather fun and relaxing. I can highly recommend working away from home for the chilling out factor! Instead of running round in circles pretending to pack, I spent my evenings wandering around the village where I'm working, knitting in front of the TV and eating fish and chips on the beach. The weather was gorgeous, look at this beautiful sunset:

In fact, life is very busy for the next fortnight. I decided to go for the job I was dithering about in my last post. I think I would always have wondered what would have happened if I hadn't applied, so I did, right at the very last minute in the middle of last night! And today I got a phone call saying I've been shortlisted. The interview is indeed on the day after I move house, but I'm really not bothered about that. I seem to have much more of a sense of perspective these days (am I getting old or something?!). Anyway, it's only an interview, if I get the job I get it, if I don't then I'm happy with the work I'm doing at the moment anyway. It would just be nice to have a bit more responsibility and something with a bit more zing to it.

This will almost definitely be my last post for 2 or 3 weeks. I won't have internet access for the next few weeks due to work commitments and the house move so I'm not being rude if I don't reply to messages, I just haven't picked them up yet! Similarly with blog reading, I think Bloglines is currently telling me I've got 146 unread blog posts to catch up on. Which will no doubt be above 500 by the time I get back to it! So bye bye for the next few weeks and see you all soon!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

This week I...

  • Knitted the test square for my throw (pattern originally from Rowan Mag 33 and reprinted in Simply Knitting no. 15, May 2006). This is using James C. Brett Kool Kotton, sent to me by Anne
    to test out. I am now going to be generally abusive with this square to see how it holds up. I was very impressed with it knitting up, nice and soft, came out well on 4.5mm needles, now I'm going to see how it wears. The idea then is to make the throw for my new house (which might be quite an old house by the time I get 48 squares made!) using 25 balls of Kool Kotton (it comes in really nice colours too, but I'm not choosing that until I've moved in and seen how the light and furniture etc work). 48 squares sounds a bit intimidating but I made this one in one evening at the B and B . It's worked across the diagonal which I think helped it to grow faster.

  • Took my tonsils off on a visit to ENT. I am now on the waiting list for a tonsillectomy, which will probably happen around September/October time. It might be sooner as I've said I'm prepared to go in at short notice if they have a cancellation. It also turns out my tonsils can go and join something called the NHS Tonsil Archive, which I thought was just too funny! At least they'll be doing something useful then...

  • Took Hedera walkies (see my previous post). Hedera is also going well. The pattern is simple but fun and looks great (it looks better on my foot when it's stretched out a bit!). The yarn is Trekking XXL on 2.25mm Surina needles.

  • Joined the Stashalong blog (where I must remember to post next!). I've signed up for a month, so I'm not meant to buy any yarn for 30 days, from 8th June to 8th July. I'd also like to keep going for longer than that, but I'll see how the first month goes! My stash isn't as large as a lot of people's, but I am well aware that there are numerous projects I've been meaning to make and haven't got round to yet, and that I don't want to acquire more yarn whilst I've got a house move in progress. This is a third of my stash below:

  • Knitted 1.5 bits of the front of Eloise (I made the back on holiday). Again, this is going well, I love the yarn (it's very soft and cuddly) and the colours are so fab!

  • Oh yes, and I became the proud owner of a house!

    Above is the back of it, from the bottom of the garden (I mean, boring bit of gravel and patio).Monkey got settled into the kitchen, I think he thought someone might bring him some bananas if he hung around there for long enough:

    And my car, Oxo, discovered that she will be able to watch TV through the living room window at the front!

At the moment, I'm pondering moving my blog onto somewhere else (possibly Typepad?) as Blogger is driving me dotty. I won't be doing anything for a while though as there is too much else going on at the moment!

I'm not quite going to take a blog holiday, but I may not be around much for the next few weeks. I am working away in Norfolk, Kent and London a lot of the time so won't have internet access and my house move is scheduled for 3rd July. I have also just discovered a job I'm thinking of applying for - my line manager is looking for a job share partner and I'm thinking about applying. It would mean being responsible for the whole of the North of England (put like that, it does sound a bit scary!) but it would only be 2 days a week, and I could carry on freelancing for the other 3 days every week. I think it would be interesting, a bit more challenging than what I do now and there would be the other nice things like job security, paid holiday, sick leave, pension which I don't have at the moment! So I shall see, I'm not sure if I've got enough experience to apply but I might give it a shot to see what happens (I could do with some interview practice too as I haven't had one for 4 years!).

I am also very behind with reading other people's blogs. I'm sorry, I will catch up sometime! Although I will have quite a bit of "thinking space" over the next few weeks, as I've got a lot of train travel and nights in B & Bs for work, I won't be able to blog, or read other blogs due to the lack of internet access. And I don't know how long it will take to sort out my phone line at the new house!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

More trekking

Joining Trek Along With Me has made me think about some of the walks I do in the course of a normal week. And the knitalong doesn't seem to mind that they're quite short, so I thought I'd take Sock along on some of my outings this week and share them with you. These are two quite contrasting treks. One is from the beginning of the week when I spent a few days working in Norfolk, the second was today when I had to travel down to London for a meeting.

On the Norfolk coast the rhododendrons were still out in the park, as we had such a late spring. Sock and I trotted up to a viewtower through the rhododendrons on Tuesday lunchtime, so only about a 20 minute walk.

This park was designed by Humphrey Repton in 1812, and is of the park-that-surrounds-an-aristocratic-country-house variety, rather than a municipal type park.

This is the view from my bedroom window in the B & B (is a B & B a British thing or do you have them in other countries?) I was staying at in Sheringham, looking past the rooftops to the North Sea. Sock liked the view as I knitted by the open window.

On Wednesday lunchtime we went a couple of miles around the park as the sun was out. Sock went all bashful and made the pictures of him/her blurry even though I did take some!

And was quite relieved to get back to work and collapse in a sock-heap by the next pile of books for cataloguing.

And now for a complete contrast.

Sock and I, the epic adventurers, went off to London today. We found platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross station, from which the Hogwarts Express departs.

King's Cross was busy as usual. Sock didn't want to come out in all the traffic fumes.

But had a bask in the sun a little further along the road at the British Library.

We carried on trotting along Euston Road, admiring the statues on St Pancras' church.

Passing Euston Station...

Stopping to look in the window of the Wellcome Trust (who usually have something interesting going on).

I introduced Sock to UCL, where I did my postgrad stuff. (I can't remember there ever being a blue sky when I was a student here. It always seemed to rain).

And the enormous University College Hospital, next door, which was being built throughout my MA time (with lots of noise).

Then we wandered a bit into Regent's Park before I finally arrived at my meeting.

Afterwards the intrepid trekkers did it all again in reverse (who needs London buses when you've got two feet and a rucksack for Sock?!)
A nice big GNER Mallard mainline train was waiting for us back at King's Cross.

On board Sock and I indulged in a chocolate brownie and some coke. Taking this photo caused some consternation from the man sitting next to me, but we got talking and it turned out he used to run a recycled yarn mill in Bradford, which I thought was rather cool. We ended up having quite a chat about knitting, yarn, books, libraries etc etc...

But S and I had to change trains at Newark (where we will soon be living!)

and a small bright green Central train was waiting for us with vast hordes of people waiting to get on it.

And so we made it back home to Lincoln in time for tea.

I wonder where our next trek will take us?
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Elinor Dashwood


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Marianne Dashwood


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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Trekking along on holiday

Thanks for coming over if you've come from the Trek Along With Me knitalong. I'm having trouble with Blogger, so I'm putting all of my holiday pics into one post, including all the Trekking ones, so bear with me on the non-trekking pics!

I spent a week in the Lake District in a cottage with my Mum, plus my brother, SIL and two nephews. And Monkey.

Monkey had a great holiday. He spent a lot of time catching up on some sleep (he obviously doesn't get enough at home) and even agreed to share his fruit with Noah, who is also a bit of a fruit fiend.

Noah and Dylan (my nephews) and their parents were able to join us for the holiday as Dylan was born so late my brother's two weeks of paternity leave were still running! Dylan also spent much of the holiday sleeping. And drinking milk. And pooing. But I suppose that's what you do when you're 8 days old.

On the Monday I found a knitting group to go along to in Penrith. I met Cynthia and Amanda in the Bluebell bookshop (scroll down the link a bit. It's an excellent bookshop, with comfy things to sit on, lots of nooks and crannies to explore and a good range of books) and spent a couple of very pleasant hours knitting, chatting, drinking tea and scoffing raspberry scones.
The trekking socks didn't get an outing here though, as I also brought Eloise with me to work on on holiday.

Then I found a furniture shop with a sale on. I bought this dining table and four chairs at half price and they are slight seconds. Amazingly the man said he would deliver them to my new house next month for only £25 (it'll take him the whole day to do the journey in his van, and the petrol alone must cost more than that!)

Then, finally, the socks got an outing! Mum and I went to Whinlatter Forest Park (England's only mountain forest. Is that true? It's what it says on the Forestry Commission website!) to check up on the ospreys. They were reintroduced to Bassenthwaite Lake a few years ago and have hatched a few chicks before, but this year they managed three! You can watch them live on the webcam. The socks went for a walk around the park and through the forest. But not very far as it was hilly and Mum has old bones which don't like hills.

Then we drove on through the Honister Pass to the Honister Slate Mine (which claims to be the only working slate mine left in Europe. Not sure if that's true either!).

Over the other side the sock was hungry so we stopped off in Rosthwaite at the Flock-In for a cup of tea and some tea bread. Greedy sock needed two cups of tea...

whilst admiring the view over Borrowdale.

Another day Mum and I went part of the way round Derwentwater on the launch (I did try knitting on the launch but it made me feel seasick so the sock had to go back in my rucksack!)

Then we got off and walked back to Keswick (only about three miles. Not sure if that counts as a trek or not!)

Saying hello to some Herdwick sheep en route.

And on yet another day, we took the car ferry across Windermere to Hawkshead. The sock put in an appearance on the ferry.

And on the final day Mum and I took Noah to the Alpaca Centre (the sock stayed at home). He wasn't too sure about the miniature donkeys.

Or the alpacas (even though the babies were really sweet)

and the adults were due to be shorn the next day.

Instead he found a much more interesting old tyre.

And sat in it.

Back at the cottage, Dylan was having another snooze.

So, yes, a good holiday, and we managed a little bit of trekking too! Mum and I also went to see the Da Vinci Code one night at the Keswick Alhambra. The film wasn't as crap as I thought it might be (well the book was, wasn't it?!). Tom Hanks was wrongly cast, but it didn't get boring, even though the storyline is a load of codswallop. There were only about 10 of us in the cinema! We were surprised how much of Lincoln Cathedral we could see (it stood in for Westminster Abbey in the film) and didn't think it was particularly violent (some friends who'd been to see it thought it was, but I suspect they hadn't been to the cinema for about 20 years).

We also found a wonderful ethical/fair trade clothing shop in Keswick called the Stripey Sheep. I could have spent a fortune but restrained myself to a couple of tops.

You will have to wait for pics of progress on the sock and Eloise. It's far too hot now to get them out for a pic!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

And they're off...

Last night I intended to do a big post with plenty of pics of the yarn I dyed in the week, updates on all the WIPs etc etc. Blogger would not play nicely and I haven't got time now as we're about to depart on holiday.

It is normal to sort out WIPs to take with me, and pack books and wind skeins into balls before even thinking about packing clothes, toothbrush etc isn't it? I have also discovered a knitting group that meets in Penrith, so hopefully I'll be paying them a visit tomorrow!

Monkey spent all of yesterday packing his one woolly banana to take on holiday with him. I am definitely not employing him to do all of my house removal packing.

I'll leave you with one pic, of the yarn I dyed in the week:

This was 2 x 50g of bright turquoise Regia 4ply sockyarn. I overdyed it with two sachets of black grape Koolaid. The colour isn't even between the two skeins but I like the effects, and the blue is much more muted now!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Well, a bit of a catch-up is in order I think as I don't seem to have blogged about knitting and vital things like that for ages.

But first, Debbie sent me this link, and I think it's a cool idea so put it on here in case anybody else wanted to join in. Basically, the idea is for one million people to donate 2p each (or more) to help kids in developing countries to have an education.

I've been receiving quotes from removal companies, and have decided to go for the "removal company doing the packing" option. At first I thought this was a bit of an extravagance, then I worked out that in the three weeks before the move I'd be working in London, Kent, Derbyshire and Norfolk, but not in Lincolnshire so I wouldn't actually BE around to pack anyway. And it doesn't cost much extra cos I've already got to pay extra for an extra man to come and help move my piano.
And then they mentioned the 22 boxes I'd need for books, plus craft stuff, plus all the breakable stuff in the kitchen and that decided it...
Good grief, it's only 5 years since I graduated first time round and all my stuff came home in the back of one car. Now I need a (small) lorry and people to pack for me!

Here at Procrastination Central (was meant to be writing Committee Minutes and cleaning the bathroom), I have been cataloguing my stash, using the spreadsheet from KatyDidKnits (in the sidebar, scroll down). And also sorted out some future projects I'd like to do and WROTE THE DETAILS down (otherwise I end up wandering vaguely in and staring in a vague manner at my pile of knitting magazines and never finding the pattern I liked the look of ever again).

Then I found these two balls of Regia 4ply sock yarn in my stash:

I am extremely unlikely ever to knit using sock yarn in this colour. (The yarn was in a multibuy from Black Rock Creek last year, which included some Regia Cotton Surf and 6ply Crazy Colours and some Lorna's Laces. It was fantastic value, even with scary coloured yarn as part of it).
So I used some more of the Koolaid and dyed it. It's drying at the moment, but pics will be up soon.

Then the library emailed to say that ALL of my book reservations had come in at once (aaarrrggghh, this generally also means that someone else has reserved them all, so I now have to get through all of them in about three weeks). I'm off on holiday on Sunday so my holiday reading is going to be:
"A long way down" by Nick Hornby
"The sea" by John Banville
"Poppy Shakespeare" by Clare Allan
"1599 a year in the life of William Shakespeare" by James Shapiro
plus the summer 2006 issue of Interweave Knits which I've just ordered from P and M Woolcraft.
I have also been considering which knitting to take with me. I have to take my Trekking XXL, plus the Hedera pattern to get started, as the Trek Along With Me knitalong starts today, and a holiday in the Lake District seems to be the perfect opportunity to take some knitting on a hike.
Oh, but I've cast on for Eloise too. And I still haven't finished at least three other WIPs. Oops.