Thursday, August 31, 2006

Alpaca on radio

Thank you for all the messages about Sooty. I'll try and reply to the ones with an email address later (am meant to be heading for station to get the train to London!)

But, I've just heard this on today's Woman's Hour. It's about a woman with breast cancer who decided she needed a diversion and ended up breeding alpacas... There's "listen again" in the right hand sidebar and it's the Thursday programme, about 20/25 minutes into it?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Requies-cat in pace

Sooty died this morning. He had become poorly again over the weekend (he was ill the weekend before and the vet got him back from imminent renal failure with some steroids and antibiotics) and it became clear that his kidneys weren't going to manage a lot more. A blood test yesterday confirmed that they weren't functioning, and there was nothing else left to do for him.

He had a very good day on Monday, eating some roast chicken Mum cooked for him (and her) and sunning himself in the garden, but from Tuesday onwards he refused to eat, drink, go to the loo and wash himself. It was obvious that the end was going to be very soon and it seemed kindest to take him to the vets to end it. Mum and I were with him when he died.

Sooty was a very sweet cat. A half-Burmese (the result of an accident when his Mum encountered a farmyard tom), he would let anyone do anything to him. When we first got him and his sister, Smokey, when I was 8, I used to push him around in my doll's pushchair. Smokey would never have stood for anything like that! Smokey predeceased him by 3 years.

Sooty was involved in a car accident at nine months old and had to have a leg amputated but that didn't stop him shinning up trees, caterwauling on flat roofs and killing mice and birds (including my pet budgie). By the time he turned 18, a year ago, his one back leg was very arthritic and he could no longer jump onto anything. But anti-inflammatories meant he could still get around. He was very good at sucking up to guests ("Look at me, I'm a poor pussy cat, with only 3 legs!") and would follow people around demanding to be picked up and cuddled. He also regularly chatted to me on the phone whilst I was away at university.

He will be very much missed. It is a great consolation though that he had such a long life (and active one!). I don't see any reason why animals can't go to heaven as well as humans, and I imagine he's up there already, probably already with my Dad who would be saying something like, "Oh God, the bloody cat's up here too now!". In a weird sort of way (God working in mysterious ways?) I'm glad I couldn't get to Greenbelt last weekend as it meant I could spend the whole weekend with Sooty and go to the vets with him yesterday and today.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I should be at

Greenbelt. But instead I'm sitting around in Lincoln with tonsillitis. Again. I'm sure I must be in for a world record by now?

I'd made loads of careful preparations. I'd selected which yarn to take (plain chunky socks to make knitting in dark tents easier, using 2 circular needles as there's less chance of dropped stitches and lost needles):

and wound it into balls:

I'd aired my sleeping bag (not used since last year!) and put clothes in a big pile to go in my big rucksack. I'd even bought a little bottle of shampoo from Lush.

I'd arranged to meet up with some other knitters, including Anne and Nickerjac. And also with Farli and Mr Farli.

Grrrrr. According to my calculations, I've now been on the tonsillectomy waiting list for 10 weeks. According to govt targets (I think) I have to have it done within 18 weeks or the hospital gets a big black mark. BUT the hospital is in a total mess at the moment. I did make it to
Knit Lincs yesterday (a good thing too as there were only two of us there!) and the other girl there had had her tonsils out fairly recently. She'd got as far as the day of the op and then been sent home from the surgery unit as they'd run out of operating space and time. It seems that sitting in A & E and refusing to budge until something happens could be the way to get things moving. It could be worse though. The waiting list for hearing aids is over 2 years...

Thank you for all the messages about my car. The bloke who did it eventually returned and left his phone no. in my postbox. He tried to get me to do a cash only deal without involving the
insurance company, which I refused to do (suspecting he didn't have insurance). It turned out that he did, but probably didn't want his premium to go higher with another claim. Anyway, he
was a little bit intimidating, which I hate, so I stuck to my guns and told him I just wanted his insurance details which he finally let me have. The damage is going to cost £860.02 (2p?!?!)
to repair (the bloke offered me £200 in cash to put it right!) but I do at least get a courtesy car so I can get to work whilst that's going on.

I retired to Lincoln for some TLC from Mum and Sooty. Although Sooty is now very ill himself. He was quite poorly last weekend and was very close to renal failure but various injections
brought him back to normal again. But it looks like it's happening again and he's a very old cat (nearly 19) so I'm not sure how fair it is on him to keep pumping him full of drugs. At the moment he's still speaking to us and is still interested in things but if that goes then...

So before Knit Lincs I ended up at the LYS that's closing down in Lincoln. I needed 1.5m of ribbon to finish off Lavender & Lace. The ribbon came to 16p, but then I spotted the yarn with
75% off. Eight balls of Cotton Braid made their way into my bag. Well, it was only £2 a ball, although it does mean a strike on Stashalong. But I think in the circumstances a yarn
purchase was necessary?

I've been knitting away on the shrug part of Lavender & Lace, using some more of the Patons 4ply 100% cotton in purple and some black Kidsilk Haze (one strand of each held together).
I'm quite pleased with how it's going, although some frogging was necessary due to be inability to count in various places.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My car has a dent...

Some idiot reversed into my car this afternoon. It was parked outside my house and a neighbour saw the idiot and rang my doorbell to give me his registration number.

The damage isn't that much, a dent in the bumper and the side and the boot, plus the light is damaged, but what I find REALLY infuriating is that the bloke didn't stop to leave his details. He obviously thought no one had seen him and just drove off. Thankfully one of my other neighbours is more honest (and was equally outraged about him driving off) and took the time to ring my bell. Also, although the damage isn't much, he must still have been flinging his car around fairly carelessly, which is worrying as children play in the road sometimes.

Obviously my poor car is very upset. I did manage to give the details at the police station without referring to the car as "her". I didn't want them thinking I'm totally ditsy...

This was going to be a knitting update post, but I'm do grrrrr to talk about knitting. So you can admire a pic of my latest veg box, delivered this morning:

Anyone any idea what these are?! To me they look like runner beans that somebody forgot to paint dark green...


I can't be, I'm a Daisy!

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Knitting party

The best housewarming party I could think of was to invite various people from Knit Lincs over to my house to knit:

and eat plenty of food! Everyone brought something and we had a great time stuffing ourselves silly. I've still got quite a lot left in my fridge for this week's packed lunches!

Miraculously, the weather held (I'm sure the only reason us Brits talk about the weather ALL the time is because it never does what it's meant to. I've heard that some places in the world have the same weather for whole seasons of the year. Is that true? Can you imagine it? I can't! What do people talk about if not the weather?) and we could sit outside to stuff ourselves silly and knit. It was even sunny enough for most of us to retire into the shade!

Washing up and tea making services were provided by Mum and Auntie Jan. Well, they can't knit so what else were they going to do?

Oh, and I finished Lavender and Lace. She still needs blocking and a ribbon to thread through the holes, but I'm really pleased with her! She even fits...

Thank you for all the comments about attitudes towards librarians etc etc. I had a long think about whether I was just having whinge or whether I was going to do something about it. And I've had a chat with the Administrator at work (who is actually just as patronising as some of the visitors, but still...). I'm going to have a new notice up explaining what I'm doing in more detail for visitors to read, and also asking them not to disturb me. Which should put a stop to most of the idiotic comments, although only if people read the notice(!). And I've written an article for the quarterly staff newsletter about the project I'm working on, so people know what I'm doing and that I am actually WORKING and not doing a college project/sitting reading books all day long/ replicating work that's already been done by a long-since-dead member of staff about 40 years ago (humph!).
A couple of weeks ago a school librarian was one of the visitors and we stopped and had a long chat (I don't mind answering sensible questions from the genuinely interested, and ended up referring her onto my boss!). She described many of the problems she'd had with recognition in her job, how she'd campaigned to go on the same salary scale as teachers, and how she now dressed smartly in the same way as the teachers (she also teaches info skills type things now), all of which have helped her improve her status. All things to think about, although I wish our professional body, CILIP, would refuse to advertise jobs in its vacancies supplement that don't meet its suggested salary scales (ie a good proportion of the jobs!). It's not just about the salary scales though (hey, I'm self-employed, I don't HAVE a salary!) but about perceptions and attitudes. No wonder there's a shortage of librarians...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Thank you to everyone who posted last week to help me identify the squash in my veg box delivery! This is the remains of the spinach:

I knew I'd be away for the weekend, and the spinach was the thing most likely to go off so I turned it into soup (with potato and leek too). This went in the freezer (well, a portion of it went in my tummy first). I've found both the BBC recipe finder, and the Waitrose one, to be very helpful, allowing you to search for only veggie recipes and by cooking/preparation time too.

This is the reason I was away for the weekend:

David's cat Jenny needed catsitting, whilst he was in Toronto (nice yarn shops there!). Jennie and I had a very nice weekend. She is the perfect cat for a knitting companion as she is blind. So she sits on my knee purring away, but can't see the yarn, so doesn't try and chase/eat/attack/kill it! Being in London with Jennie, meant that it was very easy to visit Maidstone on Saturday to join the Maidstone knitters for their meeting:

It was fab to meet some more knitters, including Hazel and Mary-Lou (whose blogs I've been reading for ages but this was the first time we'd met!) Hazel and I had lunch beforehand (thank you Hazel!!). Mary Lou had brought along various of the new season yarns to feel and squeeze. They all look very very very nice (and sensibly priced too!)

Then it was back to work on Monday (I didn't even get home on Sunday in time to do any washing! Oops) and members of the public from hell. Maybe I have too high expectations, but people always seem surprised when they see me working and they ask what my job is. Or they think I'm doing a college project (I usually shut them up by telling them it took me 6 years to qualify as a librarian!). No, I don't dress in a smart suit etc etc because my job is grubby and strenuous and requires ladder climbing and book carrying with bits of 300 year old books dying on my t shirt. And no, not all librarians work in public libraries (which is the other false perception). If I'm not careful I start to go off on a rant about it. I'm sure other professionals (teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants etc) don't get so many bonkers assumptions as librarians get. But I'm sure someone will prove me wrong in the comments!

So, anyway, instead of tearing members of the public into small shreds, I took myself of on a 2 mile wander round the lake. Or "pond" as it is called:

Shame I didn't have my Hedera socks with me, as it could have counted for Trek Along With Me! But I did say hello to some sheep.
Doing this made me much more cheerful as it always reminds me that I used to work in London and couldn't go for a walk like this in my lunch hour!

There will be more knitting content in my next post (I need help deciding what to knit at Greenbelt!). And there is also my Knit-In housewarming party to look forward to on Saturday!!
To provide a little bit of knitting content - these are the Fetching gloves which I made for my One Skein Secret Pal. I hope she likes them. The yarn is Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK. The pattern is great, fun to knit and very quick so virtually instant gratification!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Image upload problems

Anyone having trouble getting Blogger to post images? I've read about loads of people having problems, and I've just found this link on something called the Google Blogger Help Group.

I'm not sure how good the advice is. If Blogger it optimized for use with Firefox, which is the browser I use, it still doesn't work very well for me!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Name that veg!

I got in from work today (early, ha, cos I'd had to go to Wakefield for a meeting and it finished early!!) to find my first veggie box delivery from Woodlands Farm had arrived:

This is a basic veg box (if this is basic what on earth is a bigger one like?!), a fruit bag and half dozen free range eggs. Now all I need to do is decide what to cook. I think I've managed to identify most things, but I'm a bit stumped by the yellow thing in the bottom right corner (below the bananas). What on earth is it? If anyone knows please leave a comment. Recipe suggestions also welcome!

The cauliflower confused me at first, as I'd never seen a purple one before, but according to my Delia book it's Cape Broccoli. It also matches Lavender & Lace perfectly!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


I got more knitting than normal done this week because, yes, once again, I had tonsillitis. This time I didn't muck about with antibiotics (have not yet registered with a GP here anyway, as I'm due to have the tonsillectomy back in Lincoln and I didn't want my medical notes going walkabout before I'd had the op. Speaking from experience, it generally takes 6 months for medical notes to get between one GP and another when you transfer as they always get lost en route.) Instead I spent the week with my feet up, knitting and reading, eating ice cream, taking echinacea and drinking honey and lemon. Much more fun and also got rid of the tonsillitis much quicker than taking antibiotics ever has! I thought it might get lonely being ill at home on my own, but I actually rather enjoyed myself (weird or what?!). I had plenty of food in the new (ha!) freezer so didn't worry about cooking anything elaborate.

So, I started off the Lavender and Lace pattern from Simply Knitting (May, I think? issue). Maybe I should have started knitting summer clothes a little earlier than the first week of August? It never really crossed my mind until the new Rowan (autumn/winter!) stuff came out last week! The yarn I subbed with Patons 100% cotton 4ply which I bought in the Designs sale last year (see, I am using up stash!)

By Saturday I felt more alive and trundled off down the road to Sleaford for Knit Lincs at the Hub. The Hub people had moved the cafe around and made it a lot bigger, with armchair/settee things to sit on as well as the usual tables and chairs. So we made the most of the facilities. And the ample quantities of homemade cake.

On Sunday my entire family appeared for lunch (which fortunately Mum brought over from Lincoln as I'd emptied the freezer by this stage).

Noah decided to try out the bird bath.

This week I also finished reading "The Constant Princess" by Philippa Gregory. A fun and interesting read. It follows the life of Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, and looks at her earlier marriage to his older brother Arthur, and her subsequent marriage to him. The powerlessness of Tudor women really came across, she was just a pawn between her parents in Spain and the Tudor throne in England. Plus the lack of medical knowledge I found amazing, especially when it was compared to the vast knowledge from the East in the Muslim world. I suppose it was often the small details that made me really enjoy the book, as well as Katherine's efforts to get what she had felt she'd been born for - to be Queen of England.

I have changed my Librarything sub in the sidebar - it now lists all the books I've read since sometime in the Spring (that I could remember!), this includes books I own and books I got from the library. I'm going to attempt to remember to upload book reviews to their website as I finish books too.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Ice cream

NOOOOOOOOOOO I can't be! I'm allergic to strawberries!

You Are Strawberry Ice Cream

A bit shy and sensitive, you are sweet to the core.
You often find yourself on the outside looking in.
Insightful and pensive, you really understand how the world works.

You are most compatible with chocolate chip ice cream.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Stop press

Look what Alice has just sent me:

Now how do I cope with waiting until October 1st? Suddenly time stretches out in a never-ending fashion instead of running by very quickly...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


What I want to know is: how does everyone else manage to fit everything into their time? Bit like Anne's post about the two extra days each week solely for parents! Except I'm not a parent. I never seem to have time to do everything. I have now purchased a freezer, so I can cook in large quantities and then just reheat a meal some nights. I have also arranged an organic veggie box delivery from Woodlands farm to cut down on time spent fresh food shopping. I have decided to stay over at work one night a week (which saves 3 hours of travel), but I can't think of any other ways to acquire more time. It's not like I even regularly clean the house (hah) or do any ironing! Good grief, imagine what it'll be like when I am a parent (a very very very long time in the future).

Monkey has been constructing flat pack furniture. His woolly banana (back from a month's holiday in London) helped:

I like the bit when you get lots of strangely shaped pieces of wood out, plus hundreds of screws/strange looking bits of metal, plus one page of A4 of incomprehensible diagrams

and somehow turn it into something!

I've decided that one way of saving time is to get someone in from "Hire a hubby" (what a fab concept) to do all the drilling things that I'm proving to be hopeless at. I'll get all the mirrors, big pictures, blinds, curtain tie backs, bathroom shelf, smoke alarms put up in one go and that's that sorted!

There is also an electrician coming tomorrow to sort out my insane kitchen electrics:

Although a fridge space was provided underneath the worktop no one thought to put a socket at the back of it. Hence the extension lead.
On the other wall this socket is in an incredibly daft position. I have to use it as there are only 3 sockets for the whole kitchen, and a fridge, toaster, microwave and kettle to be plugged into them. But imagine what will happen if a small nephew-shaped person comes running through and sees that cable dangling enticingly there...

I have spent some time doing knitting things too (mainly in the evening just before bed!)
Have you seen the new Rowan Magazine (no. 40)? I've been looking at the pics online, but really want to see a copy in the flesh. It looks like there could be some nice stuff this time though. The RYC Classic stuff also looks nice - Classic Landscape, Classic Spirit, Classic Alpaca (yum) and Classic Style. I'm going up to Edinburgh in a month's time so will probably wait 'til then to look out for all of these for real. I'm planning to drag Mum to the Handknit shop. Anybody got any other Edinburgh recommendations? We're only there for three days...

I've finished the first sleeve of Eloise so only one sleeve to go now. It might be quite a close run thing with the yarn...This is 26 balls of Kool Kotton from CPU enterprises (Dianne's knitting yarns). Most impressive service, the yarn was only 99p a ball, they have flat-rate postage of £1.95 and it arrived the next day after ordering! This is for the leafy throw from Simply Knitting a few issues back.

And, finally, an umbilical cord baby hat (pattern from Stitch n' Bitch) for a friend's baby due this month. The yarn is oddments of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran left from making Tubey.