Sunday, July 31, 2005

Antidotes (2)

The great pleasure of exquisite food.

We have been treating ourselves to some rather delectable lunch items at weekends recently. Last weekend, it was globe artichokes. The one before slow-roasted garlic, with the Delice de France rustic sourdough to spread it on and to mop up the olive oil-rich juice, well laced with fresh herbs.

Today's treat was sublime. A little dish of real potted shrimps. They taste as you think the sea should taste, very slightly briny, with a tiny tickle in the nose. I should explain that when I say shrimp, I really do mean shrimp, the brown ones that are a separate species from the pink ones we in the UK call prawns. They come in a spiced butter, are best with melba toast, but also superb with the same sourdough as above. We also indulged in grilled green olives. These have to be my favourite - which used to be the smoked black ones, but I haven't seen those for a while.

Bonnes bouches. Can't be bad.

The sea - which I miss like crazy. So, I am considering the possibility of another birthday-year event, somewhat akin to what a friend did a couple of years ago. Renting a very large house for a weekend house party. I like the notion of the North Yorkshire coast, really beautiful but not too far to go, somewhere in the vicinity of Robin Hoods Bay, perhaps. I searched briefly on the internet, and have found a few possibilities without even trying so very hard. Would a weekend be long enough? Maybe not. Time of year would take some deciding on as well. I have plenty of time to work it all out....

Now, to fibre and beads. The blue herringbone spiral for mama is coming on reasonably well. No point in posting pictures until it is finished. The tension has gone very slightly awry (at least I think that is what has happened) once or twice, but on the whole is pretty good, and I think it will be ok. Very little spinning, to preserve my back, although that is again improving. Knitting - I found another lace pattern that is much more sensible. In the Sarah Don book, called "Bead". A four row pattern, with a six stitch repeat, so I have a chance of learning it, at least within the row! Maybe in a few months time, there will be enough of it done to photograph!

Finally, I find myself compelled to post this link. I found it whilst blog-surfing, and can hardly bring myself to believe that it was taken in Leeds, but it was.

No wonder I need antidotes.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Winter draw(er)s on is cold and wet and windy outside. Loverly high summer day. (Yes, ok, it is only a week or two since I was moaning about the extreme heat. And that is the trouble, we never, or rarely, have a chance to get used to anything. I remember (ugh - extreme nostalgia warning) the long hot summers of '75 and '76, when we had day after day of dry, warm weather, and we all slowed down to a sensible pace, and kicked back and enjoyed ourselves. We, living in Cumbria at the time, even used to go swimming in the lakes after work....ah, those were the days.

To add to my joie de vivre, The Backache is back. Having cleared up completely for a few days. I spent a couple of hours at my Tuesday morning Book Group, where we spend half an hour catching up on doings, half to one hour talking about the book and then a variable amount of time talking about anything and everything. This time it was the shoot to kill policy, which of course, set us off. Sadly, the chair I was using was deeply uncomfortable, and now I suffer for it. Damn.

It will get better. It will get better &etc.

In an attempt to distract myself yesterday, I picked up the scarf. Bad move. Just why the f... do people knit lace? OK, so I have twenty five stitches on the needle, which can grow to thirty one according to the pattern. Six of these are the garter edge. Its a ten row pattern, but every WS is purl. So every RS row, I make mistakes. What a complete waste of time and energy. The pattern is such that I will never in a million years learn even one row at a time. So, I am going to grow up and abandon it. I will still use the yarn for a lace scarf, but find a four row pattern that I have some hope of remembering. Otherwise, there will be no enjoyment in it at all for me, and what is the point of that.

That is one reason why I get so annoyed by the knitting snobs. Yes, nothing but garter stitch is boring in the long run (less so if using one's own very nice handspun). Yes, I do believe in learning new stuff, stretching oneself a bit, developing skills and so on. But we are not all the same, and can't necessarily do the same things, and all this superiority - oh I am so clever, look at the complicated patterns I can do! - gets Right Up My Nose.

Bah, humbug.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Gruntled/disgruntled/somewhere in between

Definitely less disgruntled than I was, which is a HUGE relief. Various physical niggles have disappeared, great, but I also feel more positive about life, the universe and everything. Well, slightly, anyway. Some of the credit for this must go to Michael Mansfield, who was a joy to listen to - not just for the content of his talk, but for his style, which was fluent, intelligent, well-structured, and both serious and funny. He is a very lucky man, in that he is in a position to make a difference, from time to time. Lives have been turned around by him (he was involved in the Cannings, Patel and Clark appeals, for instance).

Maybe that inspired me to take action. Went to visit the mater yesterday and found her distinctly poorly. Several years ago, she was diagnosed with Meniere's (my sister and I actually have some doubts about the accuracy of that, but that's another story)and she had started an episode on Friday but had not realised until Saturday how bad it was going to be. The residential home where she is had seemingly rung for a doctor, but of course it was a weekend and that means the Emergency Service. The duty doctor refused to come, on the grounds that it was not an emergency. I have massive issues with this. The problem was self diagnosed, for a start, and the symptoms could have been caused by a great many things, some of which could have led to very serious consequences. But in any case, is it really reasonable to leave an eighty seven year old woman for over forty eight hours wracked with vertigo and nausea, when a simple medication would have alleviated the symptoms? I know what I think!

So, this morning, I rang the Complaints Manager (I find it deeply significant that the uber-practice concerned has one such!)to ask politely for an explanation. At first, she said that it was nothing to do with them, they offered no service at the weekends. My response to that was not pretty. She back-pedalled at great speed. She is supposed to be getting back to me late this afternoon. I await with bated breath.....

(This part of today's entry would contain all my usual rantings and whinings about housework, but rather than repeat myself, boring myself and everyone else stupid in the process, I leave this section blank to be filled in mentally with appropriate comments.)

Now. Remember this?


After several weeks of denial, I am finally admitting that it has gone missing. More than that, at least in any detail, I am not going to say. The last time I remember having it, seeing it, was when I took it to show the class at AH, which must have been in April or May. I have kind of known for ages that I, shall we say, couldn't lay my hand upon it, but we finally sorted through the last remaining place it could be - the dining room - and there was no trace. I feel it could be a Lobby Ludd thing - anyone else remember? - see anything resembling my Colinette shawl, approach the person wearing it..."Your name is LL and I claim..." But maybe that is not such a good idea. However, I would appreciate being told of any sighting.

Bummer, innit?

So that is a kind of negative fibre entry. Small progress otherwise - I have rounded up all the grey Falklands to be spun, so I will have plenty for The Sweater. And I spent hours winding the skein of Optim into a ball. It had all very slighty felted to itself. But it is, despite my misgivings, a rather nice, fairly fine yarn, and it will make a pretty scarf. I am aiming at having at least sampled by the end of this evening.

If the ****** housework doesn't kill me, metaphoriclly speaking....


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Antidotes (1)

I was standing outside the house waiting for the DSM to join me so we could go in to town to buy a few essentials (like blueberries and strawberries ahem)when I fell to regarding the hanging baskets. They are at eye-level there.

'imself chose these from the garden centre, well done him. They are exquisite.


My mission now is to find more such little gems.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Real life

Make of that subject line what you will.

I love Nanny Ogg. She comes to coven meetings on a regular basis bearing rich, dark chocolate cake (I think it is a Nigella recipe, but that can't be helped). And last night, it was accompanied by fresh strawberries and single cream. We don't go for the knitting or spinning. Or even the company. We go for the cake. (And I don't even have that sweet a tooth!)

Nanny Ogg and I sat adjacent to one another all evening nursing our backs. She has one too. Hers sounds worse than mine, which following the one day on, one day off principle, is doing quite nicely today, huzza.

I fiddled about with a little beaded crochet bag, and did a round or two of slowly moving sock. I still have no serious project. I think there are reasons for this, that I need to deal with. I am spinning a couple of things, and I do now have ideas for one of these. This is what passes for design around here:


I consider it very courageous of me to put that apology for a drawing in a semi-public forum, but it is intended to act as a spur. The body will be the natural grey Falkland. The squared bits down the side will either be dark natural Falkland, or more likely, the grey overdyed in colours yet to be decided. The greater part of the body will be knitted in stocking stitch; xxx represents the moss stitch borders. There is a way to go before this gets anywhere near the needles, let alone completed. But, a start.

The other spinning is of merino and tencel, multi-coloured, shades of dull red, blue and yellow, coming out quite fine. I have some slightly variegated red that I intend plying with it. I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with it. As yet.

I continue to play with beads. I am about to put in some serious time on the herringbone spiral, but I was moved to do more delicate. I know I thought no more green for a while, but I really did need a little necklace for daytime wear......

green necklace

Only I would photograph green on green. The little daggers barely show. But I really can't be arsed to do it again.

Look we have yarn, too!

I finished spinning this yarn from Optim back in January, and it has been sitting there glowering at me ever since. I decided today that I needed an interim thing to work on, so it has been voted in. I found a supposedly simple lace scarf on knitty. Hah! We shall see. But I need to bestir myself somewhat.

I apologise for the scratchy and bitty nature of my post today. I find myself deeply disturbed by what is going on in London. I hate to think of us at the mercy of crazed and disturbed kids, I hate to think of us being led by the nose by the powers that be, I am horrified at the thought of the aforementioned young men killing tens, hundreds of people in bombings, likewise at hearing of armed security people bursting on to a tube train in London and shooting someone dead.

I am dreaming of remote islands again.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A la recherche...part the nth

Because now I really have lost count. And this one slipped in as a late entry.

A (very) long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away (yes, I am very aware that the phrase is a total cliche, but it works, dammit!) I travelled to the North Country to learn how to be ....a librarian. No, not a CIA agent. Or a brain surgeon. I will have you know, librarians rock. That old Smirnoff ad spoke de troof.

Well. Kind of. I spent yesterday at a reunion lunch for a small group of my former class mates, one of whom I have kept up a close friendship with all these years despite some fairly major differences of opinion (it can be done), and another who I have come back in to contact with more recently through the former. We added three more in to the mix that I haven't met since 1966. (Skim you eyes over that and you hardly notice.)

It was very strange. I can only suppose that it was the mix. Conversation ranged widely over ailments, ageing and the proximity of death. At which point I remonstrated, don't deny it, I screamed, nod to the fact and party on. I was the only one wearing A Colour, everyone else was arrayed in tasteful shades of greige. I wished I had worn more. The orange shawl that I rambled on about, for one thing - everyone else swore by the cardi.

Whilst in no way wanting to be the centre of attention, I was slightly staggered that no-one asked anyone about what they were doing now, at least if they did, I lost it in the welter of flying symptoms. I clanked my beads a few times, said a few outrageous things and probably fulfilled all their expectations of me. That Caroline (for such was the nom-de-guerre that I operated under all those years ago) still as daft as ever. Remember those awful earrings she used to wear? And what we said was true, no sense of responsibility, just look at what she spends her time doing now! And remember. M....said she had been arrested a couple of times...

If it is arranged again, I Shall Attend, and proudly, be even more outrageous. I owe it to myself, the me then and the me now.

Now. What else? Finishing HP and the HBP, plus the twingeing back (improving) has not lead to much fibre-work. But - I have finished, apart from the fastener, the pearl bracelet.

pearl bracelet

Never again. And how much I shall wear it, I don't know, I am far from convinced that it is very strong. I used nymo doubled, and put in lots of extra seed beads, stitching through as many of these more than once as often as possible. But you couldn't stitch through the pearls again often without risking total entanglement. Not a nice design. I have seen other bracelets that use a peyote or similar band as a base, and then coral over it somehow. I shall think about one of those. But. I have finally done it, and that is a nice feeling, I did not let myself be beaten! Yeay moi. (oh, shut it!)

I have also finished and worn several times, this:


All of a sudden, I felt the need for neat, discreet, even delicate necklaces. Dear heavens, it will be cardis next! Aaargh.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

PO'd...or maybe not.

I'm supposed to be on my way to a Guild meeting as I speak - but my back has decided to go a little iffy on me, as it does from time to time, and at the last minute I felt that I couldn't cope with an entire day on one of those awful orange plastic chairs, known the whole world over as the last thing suitable for any back no matter how healthy! In fact, it was spinning on one of those, albeit in the grey incarnation, but same diff, that started this latest bout. I Should Know Better. I had intended not to do today's workshop, something about weaving with laminated images, but to spend the day chatting with a number of well-known reprobates. Which would have been nice, but hey, 'tis life. What shall I do instead......

Apart from slightly buggering my back spinning - still the grey Falklands, still intending to do a sweater, design as yet still undrawn - little fibre work. I have been beading. The weather cooled and greyed, so I felt able to hunch under my good light indoors and start a blue herringbone spiral, probably aimed at being a necklace for my mother. The "probably" being because she has requested that she be able to take it on and off over her head without undoing a clasp, a reasonable request given her age and small amount of arthritis, clasps are very fiddly. And I am not as yet experienced enough to know how many beads I need for a project unless it is a "recipe". Silly picture - one session's progress marked:


slightly fuzzy, but a record made.

Speaking of beads, and fuzzy....I did recently what I rarely do, and bought a bead kit, over the internet, from the US. A SOAR friend is marketing her designs through a company that makes up the kits, and I fell in love with this (and, oh buggrit, in checking the link, I saw this
which may just take care of my birthday (up-coming) money.) Mind you, if I do, I must remember to tell the person mailing it out just how inexpensive it is, as I got whacked dam' near a quarter of the value in duty and charges, the swine. So that is me happily occupied with beads for the foreseeable future, not to mention that I also yesterday re-started the pearl bracelet that has so far defeated me, which I Do Not Like. But this is the last attempt, I do know when to stop - although so far, with an extra seed bead or three to act as a "stop" bead from time to time, so.....ok.

Right, so not quite ten ack emma, and I need coffee. And occupation for the rest of the day whilst the DSM is out. What to do, what to do.......

Ah, wait!

Was there not a parcel this morning, I do seem to recall ( and the postman making rude comments about me getting two until I a) explained and b) threatened to turn him into a toad) So there was.

And I do most faithfully promise that I did not skive off guild just so that I could read the new Harry Potter in peace..

Really and truly.

Cross my heart....



who has just done a spell check....heh heh heh.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The heatwave continues

Yes, it is if anything hotter than ever. The only place I am really comfortable is in the shower, turned to as low a number as I have ever used it on. Or, in front of the pc where we have a fan adjacent. Excuse me while I whimper gently.....

I struggle to do fibre stuff (Well, I struggle to do any bloody thing in this soup, but I mean stuff for pleasure.) I may have finished the grey crochet waistcoat, but until I can bear to try it on in front of an independent witness I am not certain. The armholes may or may not be too deep. Meanwhile, I am using some of the left-over yarn to crochet a bag which will then be felted in the washing machine.

I am spinning, too. Multi-coloured merino and tencel on the Timbertops, grey Falklands top from Rosemary on the Lendrum, when away from home or sitting outside in the shade by the door. That stuff spins up fast, and I have an idea for a sweater, which I do actually need to sketch out. I'll scan it in and maybe put it up here. I also spin on a spindle at four in the morning when I am wide awake, when it is pearly grey outside, the dawn chorus (such as there is at this time of year) is playing softly outside the window, and the temperature is comfortable. I would tell you that I sit and spin naked, but that might cause a panic, so I won't.

And, it occurs to me that I ought to be washing fleeces. I have some - a few - ahem, several - from last year, that I never got around to washing because of the lack of summer. No excuse this year. Maybe not tomorrow, it is the DSM's birthday and I do not want to be hot and dishevelled and reeking of sheep when he gets home.

There is, seemingly, much excitement in Leeds. Streets evacuated, controlled explosions and the like. The speculation is that information about the London bombers is behind it all. I would like to think so, but am as yet unconvinced, so many times this has happened, that a cell of terrorists is unearthed. But turns out not to be such, just the powers that be wanting us to think that we can all sleep safer in our beds. But maybe this time - fingers crossed.

Whoa, the power is fluctuating like crazy, must be a storm around. Time to go.


Monday, July 11, 2005


It's hot. And humid. By hot I mean low 80s, which to one who thinks that 73 constitutes a heatwave is superhot. Not to mention high humidity, did I mention that? (We don't get given figures on UK weather reports, but the local Beeb lunchtime one did actually say that it was, so it must be very. If that makes any sense at all.

I am actually not really complaining, we need a summer.

Spent yesterday back at AH at the Open Day, with the DSM and a couple of the class regulars, and had a lovely day. Despite the fact that the Garden Room was like a sauna. Had this splendid conversation about what were the true essentials in life, which centred around spinning, knitting and weaving (&etc) and producing as much of ones own food as possible. One of them is a Master Beekeeper, which lead us in to medical stuff that could be supplied, candles and soap, which she also makes. Deeply satisfying!

Saturday night, we trotted off down to the Blue Pig for, of all things, a poetry reading, which was excellent. Small confession - I used to write bad poetry a very long time ago, and still feel the urge from time to time. The following was inspired by a juxtaposition of events, the poetry reading, driving through Longridge and seeing signs for a Roman Military display, and passing a lone cyclist in tight red lycra. I am not going to apologise, its the silly season.

Gluteus Maximus, firm of purpose, bold of eye
Should have been, by rights
At the very least a centurion, marching proud,
Striding out in burnished greaves behind
The Eagle.
At least, that was the opinion of his mum.
But things don't always work out, all
Is not equal.
And the poor chap ended up, simply
A bum.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Earth, air, fire and water

None of which have anything to do with what I am writing about, but they are the elements, the constants, the things we need to see and feel and smell to keep us rooted in reality.

I spent yesterday morning in front of the television, having switched it on quite early, something I never do normally. Once you know that something like yesterday's bombings have happened, the urge to keep on watching and finding out what is going on is impossible to resist. I despise the perpetrators for their actions, lacking in compassion, fixated with violence, ruthless and blinkered. They have learned well from past masters.

Yesterday evening, we went to an Arts Festival event. Twice before we have seen Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden, storytellers who specialise in the tales of ancient Greece, so I was well aware of the treat to come. This time, they were retelling the Metamorphoses of Ovid, the tales framed, oh joy! with the story of Arachne. As they speak, the words begin to form mind pictures, until as well as hearing, you see. I really mean that - I don't know how it happens, but it does, for me at least. I can only surmise that the words that they use and the tone of their voices somehow primes the mind, but however it happens, it is pure magic, and very much what I needed. They reminded us of the clear-eyed way in which the Greeks regarded death as well as life, and the tales, not all of which I knew, reminded us of again, the essential truths of our existence.

And then, today, I had my regular class. Again, a reminder of what is good, although as usual, very hard work. I let them loose on dyepots, and they had a grand time.



Meanwhile, I was teaching a couple of beginners, which went quite well, and all around plenty of spinning was done.


Much honour was done to Arachne, and I suppose I should also say to avoid trouble, to owl-eyed Athene, too.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I take it all back

Publicly, i'faith! There are times when having the male of the species drooping around the house with a cold can be other than a pain in the rear end. (Plus, I have to also admit that it wos me wot gave 'im the thing in the first place.)

A problem developed with my lovely new wheel last week. The tension knob seemingly jammed fast, wouldn't move one way or the other. In trying to solve the problem I more or less dismantled the entire flyer assembly, but still couldn't see what was going on. Eventually this afternoon, I phoned the maker, and it was only then that I realised that it wasn't the whole knob and screw arrangement turning to alter the tension, but just one cunningly contrived part of it. I simply hadn't seen that, what with my eyes and the rather dim corner of the room the wheel lives in.

Anyhow, I asked the DSM for some assistance, swallowing my pride, as I really should be able to deal with these things myself, but still sometimes being hampered by memories of catching my then very long hair in the electric drill motor aged twenty something - and no, of course I didn't need to use an electric drill for this job, but it was slightly more DIYish than wheel maintenance which I am usually confident with. I think it was a combination of the usual humidity problem around these parts, and maybe some of the construction being just a tad off. So he took a hacksaw to it, and I did gentle things with emery paper and then would you believe, Thread Heaven and dental floss! I have a very inventive approach to problem solving....

All seems to be fine now, I am glad to say. I have finished the merino and silk, and am now plotting the dyeing of it. I picked up some merino and tencel to start spinning, more or less as a default, having no major project in mind as yet. I am still feeling very foggy after the cold and all the gadding around. Which is why, no doubt, I have just committed us to going to Chester for the Association Summer School trade fair, or at least, part of it. Am I barking, or what?

But as I wasn't feeling overwhelmed by creativity, I used some time to cut through a little of the grime around here. Good opportunity to show off.....


Monday, July 04, 2005

A la recherche Part lll

At least, I think it is part the third, it may be more. I'm losing count.

This time, to Cambridge, for L&M's wedding. We travelled down on Friday night so that we could have dinner at the Mussel and Crab which we found entirely by accident a few years ago and can't resist when the rare opportunity arises. It's a strange place - OTT "nautical/fishy" decor, including a real fish tank purporting to be the cistern of the loo in the gents (it isn't really, before you get too excited) and a wine order of "a lifeboat" - five small glasses of different wines, accompanied by the ringing of a bell and cries of "Man Overboard!" plus another part of the ritual later that I didn't catch. It sounds tacky but somehow isn't - the food is excellent and the service friendly but impeccable. Nice to have another visit.

Saturday, we wandered in to town where we both bought new mobile phones. He needed one, I didn't. Got seduced by the cheapness of camera phones and....succumbed. Watch this space. Then we stopped for coffee at a pavement cafe (they didn't exist in our day) opposite the Senate House....and it was Graduation Day. O, wow, time warp. Yes, you can warp back that far. And it was weird - everything just the same but different. More women, more overseas students. And the strange feeling all the time that, nearly forty years ago - that was us. Well, him doing the processing and all dressed up in gown and bands bit, me doing the gawping, but you know what I mean.

There was a lovely party in the evening, actually I think for me the best and most real bit of the wedding. A chance to chat to a few people, great food and wonderful music. Kind of country/blue grass/unique stuff, with musicians wandering in and out, playing or not as they seemingly chose. The unifying factor kind of head honcho, greasy stetson, ragged jeans, grizzled long hair and beard, definitely the kind one's mother wouldn't have approved of, turned out to be the Chaplain of Girton. I somehow think that the evangelicals of the north country wouldn't approve all that much, either......

We nearly managed to be late for the actual wedding on Sunday, I still don't know how, but we made it and it didn't matter anyway as everything seemed to run slightly behind time all day. Lovely setting, very pretty gardens running down to the river and a stately black swan
sailing up and down all afternoon. Not sure how that got there, or how long it will stay, one of the colleges (John's, I think) can still serve up swan on their menu on state occasions. The DSM was itching to get in a punt but I persuaded him that he might get blisters (remembering the last time) and that he was wearing his posh linen suit. He sulked a bit.....

That's the last of the gadding around for quite a while. Not sorry, really. The astute reader will have noticed a distinct lack of fibre in recent posts. Time to remedy that. The grey crocheted waistcoat is nearly finished, although I think there may be a tiny problem with it. I hope that can be remedied without resorting to massive deconstruction. I am not sure what will come after. I have a few purple beads coming together to form a tiny project, but need something more purposeful there, too. And it is, I suppose, dyeing season. First, I have an Alston class, then, to work.

Might catch a snooze, first though...


Friday, July 01, 2005

I'm scared

I'm very, very scared.

Housework does not figure large in my life in any practical sense. I do suffer considerable angst about it (I'm working hard on that) at least from time to time. I would always rather be pursuing some activity of a glassy or fibrous nature. Or reading a good book. Or socialising with good friends.

But then from time to time I look around my domaine and can't help but shudder at the fluff and grime, not to mention cobwebs. (Aside - just why are the spiders coming in at this time of year? Taking up residence on my windows to boot.)

And then again from time to time on email list, blogs, whatever, I stumble over mention of an American phenomenon called Flylady. This WunderDame, seemingly, painlessly eases you in to being Organised. And Cleanly. It's all so simple, you don't notice it's happening. Ping! An email - apparently - drops in to your mailbox telling you how in just three seconds, you can remove three hundred years worth of filth from the oven - or something.

I was seduced, seduced I tell you, this morning to go and have another look. Maybe this would be the answer to all my problems, after all. I know I say that I don't need religion, but maybe this could be different, I have been right all along and all I need is just a leetle, leetle bit of Organisation.

A few scrolls down the page, and I knew this could never be for me. The jolly exhortations, the up and at'em lets be positive, it's easy really, all you need is......All you need is Lots and Lots of Time, and No Other Life, that's what. I turned away from it. Who needs it, or a clean house, eh?

Oh, it's insidious. It's brainwashing that's what it is. An hour later, I found myself looking at the sink, which according to February's exhortation should be !SHINY! ....and found myself following the plan.

See why I'm scared?

Actually, I am scared about something else as well. Two Herdwick sheep have taken up residence above my eyes. Or else I have had a Dennis Healey face transplant. Aaargh.

I find myself plucking (as well as sink cleaning, all in one day? Who am I, Doris Day??) But I'm doing it without benefit of mirror, so that's ok.