Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The amazing disappearing snow

I went back up to Lincoln for the Easter weekend (yes, the Lent carbon-fast has been a disaster - 1100 miles driven, although I have turned down the radiator in my room, which obviously cancels out the driving...). And I'm going to Bristol on the train next weekend. So that's OK then.

Saturday morning in Lincoln was grey and dingy:

although I did go to Knit Lincs to meet up with Nic & some of the others which brightened the day up.

Then on Sunday we woke up to this:

4" of it. Which had reduced to this by Monday morning!

But at least these two had a chance to build a snowman with some parental help (Auntie was still in her pyjamas)!

I hadn't seen Noah and Dylan since Christmas and it was amazing how much they had changed. Not so much growing, but Noah was talking so much more and has also entered the "why" phase. One conversation ran like this:
Me: I'm just going to nip to the loo before we go out, Noah.
Noah: Why?
M: Because I need a wee.
N: Why?
M: Because I drank a really big cup of tea a while ago.
N: Why?
M: Because I was thirsty.
N: Why?
M: Because I hadn't had a drink for a while.
N: Why?
Large series of crashes heard in the distance as Auntie goes to bang her head against the wall.

He also still didn't believe it was possible for grown ups to want to stay in bed for the morning and came to find me on the Saturday when I'd gone back to bed with a cup of tea:
Noah: Why you in bed?
Me: I'm asleep.
N: Why? (his expression saying "my auntie is a great big liar, she's not at all asleep")
M: Because it's the middle of the night (otherwise known as 8am) and when you get to my age you need lots of sleep.
N: Why?
At this point I realised that sleep wasn't going to happen and gave in and read him a story.

The previous weekend I had a very enjoyable few days in Bristol with Esme and Persephone and their humans:

I went to the City Museum & Art Gallery with one of their humans, which was fun, especially as it was free so you don't have that need to look at every single picture like you feel you have to when you've paid to get in. Or is that just me?

One of the humans also knits so we had a very peaceful evening of knitting, which was great fun. I finally got the little socks finished for my colleague's daughter's 1st birthday:

These are with some leftover Regia Canadian Color yarn.

In Lincoln this weekend I had a bit of a heart-stopping moment when I thought I might not have enough yarn left for this sock:

I just made it, although bear in mind the recipient hasn't tried it on yet. So I hope it doesn't need to be any longer. This is the Garter Rib sock pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, using the unbranded 4ply I bought last year at the Skep during Skip North. I don't think the yardage is as good as some other sock yarns as normally I'd have plenty of yarn for one sock in a 50g ball.

And I think that's all for now. I'm off to Bristol again this weekend for a crochet workshop at Get Knitted. YAY!! (and 10% off on the day...) And I'm going on the train this time so, not only less global warming, but more knitting time...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And now, the pictures work again

The view as I trotted across the bridge over the Thames on my way back from the gourmet ready meal shop one evening. That was last week. This week was just howling gales and downpours so I didn't see any skies like that one.

Up in Lincoln last weekend, Mum was dogsitting for a friend who's gone on holiday for a fortnight. This is the daft thing she was dogsitting:

It kept demanding to be cuddled (I didn't oblige. I told it I preferred cats) and I had to take it for a couple of walks (all the time telling it I prefer cats). It also unravelled a ball of wool. I was not impressed (even though a cat would probably have done the same thing). Anyway, I've decided dogs are far too much like hard work, and much prefer cats. It did have moments of looking quite cute though.

I took it for a walk through the Arboretum:

and on up to the Cathedral.
The dog didn't really seem to appreciate all these places. Maybe it was fed up with being told how cats are altogether better?

I made it to a Knit Lincs meeting for the first time since moving south. It was good to catch up with everyone, including Nic and Kathleen (who is new to the group & has some fab pics on her blog so go & have a look.)

Meanwhile, back over in Newark the daffodils I planted in the Autumn were putting in an appearance. I planted them the day before I went down south for my job interview, so there's probably something delightfully symbolic about them springing into life now. Or something. It's also quite fun only seeing the garden once a month because the differences each time are so dramatic.

It will also be interesting to keep up with the weeding soon when I'm only there once a month! Hopefully Mum will move into the house before too much longer so I won't have to go there quite so often. But she has to sell her house first... Anyone want to buy a four bed house in Lincoln with a granny flat on the side?!

I'm just back from a weekend visiting cats (and humans) in Bristol, but more of that in a future post, otherwise this one will be enormous. No knitting photos this time, mainly due to my being out every evening last week so no knitting happened (quite apart from the knitting being in Lincoln for most of the week too. Thankfully Les (who'd come down from Lincoln for a meeting) dropped it in to work for me on Wednesday). I'm loving the new Knitty (and especially having time to look at it properly). There were several patterns which will be perfect for me for work, as I'm meant to look smart these days. Anyone who's met me will know that I generally wander around in Doc Martens, jeans and jumpers, and my previous job meant wearing them in abundance as it was so cold. But we have heating at The Job That is 3.5 Months Old, and an expectation that we will look smart so I need to do something about that! Fortunately I started looking at the Knitty patterns a couple of days after they were published, by which point they'd appeared on Ravelry, so I could add some to my queue straight away!

I went out on a soup run for the homeless in Slough on Monday night. It was a bit of a discomfiting experience. We were right opposite one of the biggest Tesco stores in the country (so I've been informed, I can believe it, it took me ages to find a pint of milk in there a few weeks ago) which felt downright weird - on one side of the road were loads of people pushing laden trolleys around filled with food, on the other side were people with no food or shelter. As with the soup run I did years ago in London, there was an intriguing mixture of people - some with health problems (mental and/or physical), drug and alcohol problems, several ex-service personnel and some who you just couldn't work out how they'd ended up there. I've decided to keep on going to it, even though I found it difficult. There was a good atmosphere underneath the slight weirdness.

Think that's all for now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I've done something really stupid.

Not only is my stash 150 miles away, but now my knitting is too! I went up to Newark and Lincoln for the weekend, to check my house was still standing after the earthquake, and managed to forget to bring the knitting I'd taken with me back down again! Which is a problem as the little socks I was knitting for my colleague's daughter's birthday need to be finished by Friday. My Options set was with it, so, although I have some yarn down here, there are no needles!

Fortunately my super hero spiritual director is travelling between Lincoln and Windsor this week and had been planning to visit me anyway on Wednesday, so he picked the knitting up today from Mum's and will hopefully be bringing it with him on Wednesday!

I have got some pics for the blog, but Blogger won't let me upload them. Grrr.

Personally, I'm going to blame Monkey for all of this.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Leamington Spa

I've just got back from a weekend in Leamington Spa (see, fab new job, means I have the time and energy at weekends to go and visit friends!) visiting a couple of friends who live in the area. It was surprisingly quick to get there, only about an hour and a half up the M40. It's weird how the country seems to have smallified itself since I started zooming all over the place in the car (yes, I know, carbon footprint...). I went to stay with Edward on Friday night, and on Saturday accompanied him to horse-riding. I could have joined in, but with a really snotty cold (Anne, writing-with-a-cold-effects please) decided I'd be better off sitting in his Land Rover. But that did mean my sock knitting got a ring-side view...

This is another pair of Garter Rib socks (from Sensational Knitted Socks). The yarn is the unbranded green mixture I got from the Skep on last year's Skip North, and I'm magic looping on 2.5mm/100cm Addis. These will be for Fiona, who gave me her old ipod last month when she upgraded. She didn't want anything for it so I thought I'd make her a pair of socks as a thank you.

This morning I visited Baddesley Clinton with Helen, and we walked around the grounds, admiring the daffodils just beginning to put in an appearance. This is part of the moat:

and from t'other side. It was a bit weird being there as a punter, rather than coming to catalogue books...

And, one of the other projects I have on the go at the moment is a tank top from the Twilleys Freedom Spirit pattern book. This is in the Freedom Spirit (colour = Fire) which I also bought on Skip North last year!

I have started the Wrapover cardigan from the same book, but that's on hold at the moment as I have several other things to knit for other people.

I think I mentioned last time that I'd found a reading group in Windsor to join too. Last month we read "Kafka on the Shore", which was kind of bizarre but very readable and enjoyable. It easily filled an hour's discussion at the group! I loved the way the two parallel plot-lines intertwined round each other. This month's book is "On Chesil beach", which I've already read, and really really enjoyed. It's one of those unputdownable ones, where every single word counts. At the moment I'm part way through "Affluenza", which is interesting, a bit disturbing. Does money buy happiness? Probably not, but people seem to be sucked into a cycle of wanting more and more things, so that, no matter how much they earn, it's never enough to have everything. James travels around comparing attitudes towards possessions and money in various countries. He doesn't seem to touch on how this applies to yarn (and books) though.

I also read "Helpless" a few weeks ago - a bit disturbing, again. This one is about a child abduction and portrays the story from several points of view, including the child, the mother and the abductor (and his girlfriend). I didn't quite get as far as empathising with the abductor, but it was chilling how close I came. The book was released around the time Madelaine McCann disappeared last year, so wasn't really promoted at the time.

For Christmas I received "The gentle art of domesticity", which I loved. I am still reading it, as it's definitely a book to be dipping into. The photographs are as good as on her blog. I'm also still reading "The Christmas stories", which was meant to be my Advent book, but Advent got a bit taken up with starting the job and moving (three times!), which is why I'm still reading it in Lent. I decided against starting a Lent book...

I'm going to be away for the next six weekends (Newark, Lincoln, Bristol, Exeter, Keswick, Penrith amongst other places. Anyone want to meet up? Let me know!). Unfortunately I'm also attempting the Tearfund Carbon Fast for Lent, and failing miserably as I'm zooming round the country. But I have still reduced my mileage from the previous job, and I have done some of the other things (turned down the heating, only filled the kettle with the right amount of water, re-used envelopes). And I do walk to work, it's just at the weekends it goes a bit wrong. Well, that's my excuse anyway.