Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Walking through the woods in the dark

There was an open evening up at the Mill last night, to show the locals what had been done prior to it all going public. The invitation said that we could arrange to be picked up, but we decided to walk, set off just after six, when it was of course still full daylight. Walked up the river path, first time I had done that, and it was gorgeous, warm and still. Not a soul around.

In fact, there were not that many at the gathering. Which meant there was more wine for all those who did attend. There were crisps, nuts, biscuits and chocolates, too, and soft drinks and tea and coffee. They rather did us proud in that respect.

I like what has been done, it all looks great. All the timber comes from the estate, and will continue to do so, including the wood for heating - there is this fabulous, huge wood stove in the middle of the cafe area. There isn't exactly a lot to see, but the power generating bit was far and away the most fascinating. There are two turbines run on water-power from the river, and photo-voltaic panels on the roof. Huge batteries to store the electricity generated, and all sorts of clever dials and displays so you can see what is coming in and going out. I wanted to photograph the beautiful copper wiring, which looked like some very modernistic tapestry, but couldn't on this occasion - will have to go back.

It is hard to work out what is going on - on the one hand, they say that they don't want to encourage more visitors, on the other, they are setting things up that will do so. They have all sorts of schemes to encourage people to use public transport or to walk, but seemingly ignore the fact that existing members will be unaffected by their discounts. I really dunno. But I do think that this new team is a big improvement on the previous shower, not that that would be difficult to accomplish.

The thing was late starting and went on quite a long time - by the time we set off home, it was pretty well dark, and the torch that the DSM had so thoughtfully brought decided to pack up working the instant he switched it on. So we two, and the only other three on foot! Walked back down the track in the dark. It was lovely. Not something that we often do - my night vision is atrocious, and in fact I was literally walking blind as I mostly couldn't see where each foot was landing - but because there were a few of us, it was ok and really quite fun. By the time we got back, the tawny owls were tuning up, quite magical - I always love to hear them, anyway.

The bad news is - snatched a quick word with the Boss Guy, and he has backed right off from doing anything about the Troll. Warned off by those above him. I'm not really surprised - I did always fear that this would be the case. So, if we want something done, we have to make the official complaint ourselves - funny, I thought we had already done that, but seemingly not. So, we wait now until the next big bust-up, and then screw up our courage and go for it.....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Just an ordinary Bank Holiday Monday

(Pause for much-needed swallow of coffee - it seems to be one of those mornings....)

So, what does that mean? Well, it rained, for a while. That's pretty typical. Oh, it was an ok day - quite nice, really. I managed to fit in beading, spinning (the multi stuff, I want that out of the way) and knitting (the green sock, ditto).

I have finished the fondant icing Opal socks - visited the mater on Sunday, and completed them then plus casting on the second green one. I think she considers me (us) a bit odd because we do this, but it helps a lot. After all, much as I sympathise with her (and it has taken me quite a lot of therapy to be able to say and feel that!) there are only so many times that I can sit through the recitation of her prime interest - her health - without losing the will to live myself, so I reckon my knitting benefits both her and me! It also means that there is little or no risk of Pete spending lots of years in clink for at best manslaughter, so all round, better to put up with a few pained looks.

Speaking of the DSM - and returning to the subject of August Bank Holiday Monday - the DSM was in to DIY yesterday. After several hours of him being stuffed in to the shower cubicle - remember "how many students can you fit in to a mini? - we now have a regrouted and resealed shower. I certainly hope it is resealed, anyway, as we have already lost a couple of chunks of kitchen ceiling to slow seepage....still, done now, and we can relax for another few years!!

More coffee - I wonder why....

So, socks.

Opal socks

Yes, I have funny shaped feet.

I am not a fan of commercial yarn. I realised this morning that I didn't knit, really, before becoming a spinner. I only started because of all that yarn to use up somehow, as a stopgap before working out how to crochet with handspun (still working on it), weave (ditto) and embroider (stopped planning on that one long since). Interesting - the notion of knitting has definitely become more appealing over the years, but my focus is still on simple shapes, stitches, whatever. And Why Not?? I might yet there one day, I might not....thought.....I could end up like and not like the mater, stuck in a home, but still able to happily knit my way through endless shawls and things based on squares. The stash will come in useful after all! (And, what is more, she has only a tiny touch of arthritis in her hands and my father had none, so that bodes well.

Segueing on - I wouldn't mind having a go at painting my own self patterning yarn, but I fear it may be just a tad mathematical for my brain which Does Not Function Like That. But I might get the book that is out there somewhere, and give it at least a go. Or I could just carry on trying to create some nice, unmuddy painted/dyed top. To that end, the fish kettles have finally arrived. That was a relief, I thought that I was going to have to get tough, and attempt to go through the ebay dispute process, but thankfully not.

Cue for shameless cat photo.

Max & fissssh kettles

He thinks they are extra large dinner bowls, dear little soul. What they are are two fish kettles stuck together, waiting for me to figure out how to separate them. This is the revenge of the vendor, I suppose. Boiling hot water poured on them should do the trick. The fish kettles, not the cat, dear god, perish the thought.

The idea is from the famous Freyalynn, use them for dyeing tops - could work well, even in my hands. When I get around to it.

I have gone back to using flickr, tried the new Blogger button but am not really too impressed. I'll give it another go sometime, but I need to practice the positioning of both photo and words. Easier at the moment just to paste it in.

OK, I'm going to spin some more and indulge myself in Radio 7 I caught up on "The Navy Lark" yesterday, and episode five of "Vanity Fair" but still have last week's "Journey In To Space" and one or two other goodies to listen to.

Because although it is still August, it surely ain't warm outside.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Busy bees

Better than midges, anyway.

We have been bustling about doing good. Yesterday afternoon was the photoshoot (ahem) (and ahem to Neelix, too, who is typing alonqyuwg withnm dvmex. Dear little soul, excuse me while I give him the push....) As far as it goes, it went ok. Remains to be seen, of course, what the resulting happy snaps are actually like, but I did like the photographer and his style. What is more, I stood up to him, literally. The fashion these days is to have the party crawling around all over the floor, but fortunately he instructed D&P to do so first, and that gave me time to gather myself together and tell him that I was not doing that, no way. Not that I am incapable of doing that, just didn't want to. I knew for certain that it was not the right way to go, and I was right, he then used a step stool thingy which was comfortable and gave us lots of interesting positions without losing our dignity. But quite he insisted on having me at the front of the group in every single shot I really don't know, unless it was revenge? We shall see. Urk.

Today we ran errands, including a trip to a town we rarely visit because my mobile phone died and as it was pretty well brand spanking new, I wanted to deal with it mano a mano rather than by phone. Apart from the fact that they wouldn't just swap it for a new one there and then, and apart from having to freeze the DSM with one of my looks when he started coming the aggressive heavy macho type (yes, this does, very rarely thank goodness, happen, believe it) sorting it was fairly painless and they are going to post it to me rather than me having to go back and collect it - see what sweet reason will achieve!

Anyway, I had been wittering on about needing some retail therapy, which turned out somewhat differently from my intention - either the brass singing bowl or the copper saute pan - and ended up being a snappy linen cargo skirt and a very cool forest green suede jacket. What is it with all this forest green, eh? That plus lunch at Mooch, which is my favourite place to eat in HB goes a long way to restoring my good humour.

By the time I got back, it had not rained for many hours and the yarn is nearly dry. Looking at it, I realise that the reason for some of the splotchiness at least is that not all the sericin has been washed out. I just didn't pick up on it when washed it before dyeing, but this time the tell-tale smell was very strong.

Now, photos.
This is the multicoloured yarn that I have on the go, to be used as singles in yet another shawl. I am definitely switching to the browns, although keeping a lot of bright in there, so that is ok.

And this is the latest necklace, Not my usual style, again, but I really like it and it looks good on. Mostly stringing, but a little bit of coral stitching to salve my conscience. I am nearly at the end of the spiral for my mother - not sure where to go after that. So much choice - and with fibre stuff, too, ideas are starting to brew, which I am extremely relieved about.

So, to the ironing board. In a desperate attempt to beat the ever-growing mountain, I have done a deal with the DSM, whereby he does a little whilst he watches the last of the day's play at Trent Bridge, and then I will take over while he cooks supper. I tend to watch CSI whilst I iron, works a treat.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Musings on midges

Just briefly, don't panic, I'm not madder than usual.

Sixteen or so years ago, when we were househunting, I did of course know all about the dreaded Scottish midge. Bane of tourists lives &etc.

I did not know about the equally dreaded Yorkshire midge. You would have thought that some of the placenames might have given us a clue - like Midgley, Midgehole and whatever. But no.......

We soon found out. Now, if the DSM gets bitten by one of the little buggers, there is a great deal of leaping about and squeaking, slapping, unseemly behaviour in general, followed by a pink bump for a couple of hours somewhere about his person, and then, bye bye midge bite.

If I get bit, I don't notice, usually, at the time, then twenty four hours later up come these enormous hot weals that itch and irritate like hell for the next several days. Fun it ain't.

Is there a point to this? Who knows. The musings were really an analogy about how we all have stuff to deal with in life, and that maybe it is like midges, we all react differently and why shouldn't we? Is her problem any worse than my problem, and does this matter? As long as I know that in the grand scheme of things, what the answer to that one is, I want to feel free to leap about and make a fuss for a few minutes if it seems like a good idea at the time. And then shut up about it.

Now. Work in progress. The hanks of merino/silk are all hanging outside in the pouring rain where I hung them to dry yesterday. No, of course it wasn't raining at the time, but it began to do so without my noticing, and has kept on doing so off and on since. We have nowhere suitable to hang dripping wet skeins other than totally exposed to the elements, and as I can't spin them in the washer (long story, has I think been told somewhere earlier...) we have to wait for the weather deities to relent. The yarn is forest rather than teal, and, I have to confess, splotchy. Whether or not this will make a huge difference remains to be seen - I think I am going to knit my shrug and if the splotchiness looks awful, do an after-the-event painted dye job.

The necklace is finally finished, and I really like it. I would at this point insert a photo, and one of the multi-coloured yarn, but Blogger appears to be partially on strike, with no tools/icons/whatever available, so I will save this as a draft and return later., WTF?? On my return, still no tools, can't even spell check this. So, I shall publish and be damned. Is it some stupidity of mine? Is the world going to hell in a handcart?

Answers, please, on a postcard.......


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Well, fiddle dee dee!

Woke up (early!)to autumnal, lowering grey skies and heavy rain, and it just seemed too much trouble to even get out of bed. But severe need for TEA disabused me of that idea quick smart, and I spent a very happy hour eating toast, drinking tea, doing yesterday's Guardian Quick crossword (well, it's better than nothing) before leaping into my usual routine of hitting the computer.

So sad, isn't it?

That essential task performed, got through a few others, and all of a sudden I was moved to dive into the large basket that lives by where I used to spin in the sitting room. This started out as the basket I kept the ongoing fleece in, gradually morphed into the thing where all the odds and sods of fibre that I was most likely to get around to spinning next plus a few essential tools and now is just storage as the wheel has moved over to the other side of the room and a (smaller) new basket has appeared. Anyhow, out came all the grey falklands, which got eyeballed and no, there isn't going to be sufficient to dye, so I will have to spin something else for colour. This will probably be the rather nice batch that came from Lambspun recently. I also looked at the merino and silk I finished a few weeks back, and inspiration struck. It is going to be a simple shrug, and as we speak, it is cooling in a dyebath, colour somewhere near what I call teal. I actually did a little mixing and testing for this, shock horror. I took a couple of Gaywool dyes, mixed a small, loosely measured amount and started mixing in equally loosely measured ratio. First pairing didn't work - I wanted a subtle purplish grey, couldn't get it. So I kept the same violet/blue and added a bright yellow. First mix was sludgy, but the second seemed a lot better, so I went with that. And, no, I didn't keep a record of it, although it was simple enough so I probably could do so retrospectively. You would have to allow for the last minute addition of the test pots, and the gram or two of dye crystals remaining in the tub, though.....(yes, I am a lost cause!)

I also found some bobbins with some singles that I spun ages ago from some batts I brought back from SOAR, on the Schacht which is now the upstairs wheel. That is now scheduled to get finished, and hopefully will be enough for another shawl (I'm anticipating a cold winter, obviously!)

Furthermore, whilst slogging away on the treadmill, I was thinking about socks, and how much I like knitting them, although I don't do them well. But well enough to do an Alston class...and I could find some thickish yarn and do the winter felted slipper/boot thing at last...

Bloody hell, there has been some positive cog-slippage today. And the sun has come out as well.


Monday, August 22, 2005

A wet Monday morning.......

....after a glorious weekend.

Most of Saturday was spent in what felt like a catacomb, but is actually an above-ground room that holds a guild meeting very nicely. (I think the catacomb-thing came from my brain.) Freyalynn was showing a whole mob of people how to paint tops and skeins, some nice stuff was produced, but not by me. I just sat spinning, I'm afraid.

Home via Tesco, and I then just crashed for a while. Since Thursday, it has definitely been a case of the wading-through treacle syndrome - I pretty much can see why, and won't bore anyone least of all myself, with all the reasons, just deal with them.

Which I did yesterday, which was an even nicer day. More or less clear blue sky, warm, but not excessively so, gently breeze. We colonised the upper sitting place, me doing my favourite basket of goodies thing. I collect book, papers, personal stereo, knitting and in this case beading in to a large basket, add lots of mineral water (in a bottle, idiot!) and a couple of cushions, and head out for the long haul. Anyone would think that this was a trek of a mile or three, not a handful of feet (sic). But there is nothing more annoying than getting perfectly comfortable, cushions in just the right place, occupation of choice perfectly positioned, freshly fizzing glass of mineral water precisely to hand, and two tons of cat balanced somewhere about the person - only to realise that you have forgotten something essential and having to undo the entire well-constructed edifice to go get it....

The DSM had a fit of violent activity wrenching overgrown leafage from somewhere or other and then came to join me. Lunch was thrown in to the mix at some point, this including a couple of beers which always helps, and there we stayed until about three thirty when I realised that I was slowly broiling, so retreated to the shade with my knitting. Somewhere round about then, I also realised that we actually had the wherewithal for a barbecue, I had bought two lovely ears of corn and some veggie sausages yesterday. So we did that.

Now, the DSM and I have a history with barbecues. Mostly because he used to assume that three briquettes with a match to them two minutes before needing to start cooking was the way to go. A few fairly violent altercations and choice phrases from moi, and we simply stopped trying. But a couple of years ago, for whatever reason, it was all of a sudden a good idea to give it another go. We had a long and serious talk, and thus far, all is ok. Last evening, though, he had to resort to some twigs and half a bottle of methylated spirit to get the thing going as the starter fluid had disappeared somewhere. But it worked, and was fun. What is more, we didn't even get totally chewed to death by the famous midges.

I was going to decree all this an "antidote" but it would only be partly true. I'm halfway there. It was just one of those weeks. But I have been working slowly on - the second fondant icing sock has reached the heel flap, which is truly speedy for me. The grey falklands top is very nearly finished - then I have to assess just how much I have, how much of it is usable in the same garment (for whatever reason, probably because of having been spun under so many different conditions and on two different wheels, consistent it ain't) and whether or not I dye some of it or spin some coloured stuff to do the contrast squares/whatever. Then, I have added a few more inches to the herringbone spiral, also not consistent to my extreme annoyance. You would think that practice would make perfect, but seemingly not in my case. Mind you, the beads are very irregular. Also, I succumbed to another quick beading project (which is turning out to be not so quick) involving a shell (pau?) disc and some strung seed beads plus a few extras. I kept on seeing things like that around peoples necks and really liking them, so decided to have a go - photo soon.

I have decided that I am not going to worry about any new major projects until after the trip to Cornwall, I have plenty of small stuff to keep me going. And speaking of Cornwall, we have the gruesome photo session to get through on Friday evening...I simply would not do this for anybody else but my ma-in-law!


Friday, August 19, 2005


I make no bones about sitting here crying a little. Mo Mowlam died this morning. She was without a doubt my one great heroine, everything that I personally admire . She was clever, intelligent, funny, brave, determined, resourceful and always herself. All the while she and people like her appear for a while, there remains some small hope for this benighted world.

If it seems strange to mourn the death of someone you have never known, well, what can I say? That's me. In fact, I did at one time know someone who did know her, and they thought she was a great lady, too.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Deep thought

This post contains lengthy burblings of a purely personal nature and I'm not taking complaints. Read on, by all means, but don't blame me.

I woke up this morning (no, I'm not going to sing) and realised that I have been keeping a blog for over a year now. On a fairly decent regular basis. So I started musing upon the why. Most of the reasons that I came up with in that first post still hold good. One of the most significant for me is to help me keep a focus on what I am actually or am about to be working on, fibre and bead wise. I am finding this particularly important at the moment as I am definitely in a drifting-on-the-current mode, doing stuff, the ongoing stuff, but nothing.......well, nothing that hums. Set something down here and it assumes a strange and different kind of reality, and I will deal with it at some point, either to say, nah, not what I want, not right, not going to do it, (or, this point may come after actually starting the whatever) or I work slowly away on the object in question until completion. At which point I go through the whole assessment process and...but, however laborious and silly it may seem to some, for me it is working.

The other impetus is putting words on paper (well, you know what I mean, and I shall in some wise return to this in a moment). From a relatively early age, I made various attempts at diary-keeping, and to the relief of all not least me, none of those survive or we would all be washed away on a sickly tide of juvenile/teenage angst and lust. (Not sure which is worse.) Given that I am prone, as I have confessed here before, to occasionally googling the odd teenage crush....but I digress. Anyway, that is working, too. Not great, ground-breaking/cutting-edge-innovative Literature (stop sniggering), but I am enjoying and having fun with it, and it stops me being a nuisance whining on about how I always wanted to write the great novel. What I do not totally understand is why I chose to go public with it all. I do solemnly swear, it isn't really in character.

In part, it is a lemming thing, I guess. The fashion. Look at all those people, golly, it would be so cool to do that. And there really are some very fascinating, readable and informative blogs out there. But also a fair amount of dross. Or worse. Dare I hope that I come somewhere in between? And does it matter? Whatever, it is a strange business. It is, in part, a connection thing, I truly love the way we can now all keep up with and in a very little way share the lives of friends - and strangers. This is excellent. You only have to think of things like Baghdad Burning or my personal favourite, 360 Degrees of Sky
to see the gently subversive possibilities. (And yes, I do see how this could work in exactly the opposite way, but am not going to argue that case just now.)

I do not fall in to that category. So, am I in the main, blowing my own trumpet? That isn't quite the right cliche, it has more to do with liking the sound of my own voice. Well - in a burst of honesty - yes. But I do in fact think that not such a bad thing. From my own point of view, I mean, anyone else can quite well choose to switch off my twitterings and ignore me. I have a voice, and dammit, I am going to use it.....get used to it.

The old thought processes then wandered off in a different direction, into the nature of blogging in the technical sense. Please don't panic. I have little or no understanding of the phenomenon, simply love to marvel at it. That I can sit and peck away at the little plastic squares set in the bigger plastic oblong in front of me, for once unencumbered by a siamese bottom, a few more dit sit whir whirs and thousands of miles away someone can, should they be mad enough, choose to read it. I find it totally weird that I can direct my mouse to a little icon just above this box where my words are appearing as I dit dit, and this

will appear (or not, I can't at this point actually see anything!)


Returning to this, I find at the top of the page, and move to here what appears to be the html/instruction/thingy that should place the aforementioned image of moi before your very eyes with a few key-strokes. If so, it's a real wow moment, that I can do it, that Blogger, based in the US can somehow reach in to my pc and yank out one of my photos. Some no doubt find this scary - I actually don't in these particular circumstances, as it is me choosing to do it and it is seemingly under my control. That I would not want anyone doing it nefariously goes without saying, but that is what McAfee is for (crossing fingers).

I love magic in its many manifestations. This is Pratchettian magic at its finest!

Hey hey, what a lot of burbling, and barely a jot or tittle of fibre. Tough titty. I can burble if I want to, and everyone else can choose to ignore me.

Gotta love it.

(and yes, that is me)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Nine bottles of Prosecco

So, if I can manage the maths, that's three consumed, only it was four, because Nanny Ogg brought one along. That's between five of us and Magrat was driving. Maybe that is what the health professionals mean by binge drinking!

Actually, it was lovely to simply let it all go hang for once. We spend way to much time these days agonising over the latest pronouncements on what is and what is not good for us. Sometimes, it might just be more sensible to throw it all to the four winds, let the old locks down and have a giggle.

It was a good birthday, and grateful thanks to the coven for enabling it.

I did, though, exhibit caution in one sense. I decided that after a day of indulgence, it would actually be a bit of a waste to go out to dinner, so instead of cooking up the proverbial tomorrow, we are going to the Thai restaurant mob-handed. L&M, plus I rang my sister to see if she fancied joining us and she does.

It was nice, too, that the DSM understood that I would greatly prefer a quiet and gentle evening in with him, and that, no, I had absolutely no intention of cooking for him, what did he think leftovers were for? He got to finish off the excellent lunch, including Freyalyn's buns. Lavender, rose and lime fairy cakes. Yum.

OK, so what now, given that I am one year older, and rather more sober than I was yesterday? I managed a little gentle knitting, and have finished all bar the last few stitches in the toe the first green sock. I did the round toe, which is quite nice - I usually do the star toe, this may be better. I never, ever do Kitchener stitch, I hate doing it and it looks really stupid on my weird shaped foot. I'm going to try to gallop along with the first Opal sock this weekend, see if I can't have a mismatched pair. Nothing else new - I just continue to work on the herringbone spiral and the Falkland top. But next week, I will organise more dyes, and get stuck in to that as it makes sense to do it while there is still some summer left. So I am not being idle, there just isn't much to show for the minute.

I need to try to avoid being distracted by another beady thing though, as someone on the British Beaders list just posted the instructions for the peyote spiral that I have been looking for, and I am dying to try it......

I should subtitle this bit "The Curious Incident at the Petrol Station" or something - or not. Stopped to fill up this morning on the way to Tesco's, not paying too much attention to anything at all, noticed that the car in front of me was pulling away from the pump. Next thing, there were anguished cries of "Mum! Mum!" (Although as it turned out, it was actually "Mom".) And there was this teenage boy chasing after the car, which slowly continued moving until it simply crashed in to one waiting to leave the forecourt. Which was possibly a blessing in disguise, as if that car hadn't been there, I think the runaway would have continued on into the traffic.

Both mother and son, Americans as it transpired, were very upset, particularly the kid who had tried hard to stop the car but of course had not been able to. All the women (interesting!) at the garage were very sympathetic and offering kind words, advice etc. But I did wonder afterwards if the problem had been that used to an automatic which can just be put into park, she had forgotten to put the handbrake on? All too easy to do, I should imagine.

I had intended to record/witter on about all sorts of things including my visit to York and the mater on Wednesday, but you know, it's over and gone and I simply can't be bothered. Ay de mi, what alcohol will do to the brain!


Thursday, August 11, 2005

One dozen bottles of Prosecco

Now that's what I call a birthday present! No wonder he got christened the DSM.

Yes, in case I forget later, today is my birthday. I have stuff I want to write up in the blog, but the coven is gathering here for lunch and the plan is for me to collect them from the station and Pete to take them back this afternoon. Now, place your bets on just how many of those bottles will be left by then?? You see, we are usually so good when we are driving to get together, and it was decided that we needed to let the grizzled locks down a teensy bit....and then Pete is supposed to be taking me out to dinner, assuming I can see straight/stand up/stop hiccupping.

OK, I've pushed around the vac. Waved the duster (have to do this when expecting any visitors, regardless of the day) So now I can start indulging. I'm treating myself to reading the Maggie Sefton crime novel set at Lambspun - haven't been there, but have to Colorado and I do know Shirley, so its fun if not great literature.

And that, in a sense, is what it is all about.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

This and that

I can't get properly started today. I had an early (routine) doctor's appointment, all well, came home, felt cheerful, pottered about. Then had a lunchtime hairdresser's appointment. (Ok-ish, the new cutter takes it too short. May have to talk to her about it.) Did a bit of shopping, came home, late lunch, knitted a bit. Just pottering, can't get purposeful

This is the knitting - the Opal sock. Jolly looking but undemanding, too much of this stuff would be like eating too much cake with fondant icing.

Opal sock

Cake? What does that remind me of? Ah, yes, the delicious one I made last week for the coven. Doesn't this look yummy....


I'm not saying that cake should be "healthy", perish the thought, but as things go this could be a lot harder on the system. No fat, just eggs, relatively small amount of sugar, no white flour, just semolina and ground almonds. And small amounts of those too. It is a little like a kind of meringue, goes in to the tin all whipped up and frothy, and amazingly more or less stays like it. Of course, the lashings of lemon curd and whipped cream are a tad on the self-indulgent side, but I was wondering what fresh raspberries and organic creme fraiche (Rachel's and sooo much nicer than the supermarket stuff)would be like. Especially if one macerated the rasps in some sort of alcohol...

Oh, drool.

Talking of drooling. These are not mine, but I wish they were. Little sweethearts, no?

Freyalynn's kittens

These are Freyalynn's new babies. If she was doing her own blog, I wouldn't post this, but....I have tried every blandishment to persuade her that I really, really should be their mother, but not surprisingly she is not having it. I wouldn't give them up, either. Luke and Leia. Great names, too.

Ah well. The afternoon is advancing. I think I shall abandon any pretence at doing anything like vacuuming or whatever, and just bead for a while.

Tomorrow is another day (when I might go to York, but that is another story!)


Monday, August 08, 2005

Catching up, drawing breath

Oof! It has been a busy few days. Last week, with a visitor, everything else seemed to happen, too, so we had the day out at Riddlesden, the coven (and I actually have a picture of the cake it took me much nervous energy to make, but no battery in the camera so can't post it yet). And then on Saturday we went to the Association Summer School Trade Fair.

I was very pleased with how well it went. It didn't take us long to get there, starting out pretty early on a Saturday morning. About an hour and a half. It was maybe unfortunate that when we arrived, there didn't seem to be a space for us to inhabit....and I gradually gathered during the day that this was not at all surprising, had happened to many people and in short, Great Fun Had Been Had By All. However, we ended up right by the entrance, so we were the first and last stall that everyone saw. This meant we were highly visible, the point of the exercise as far as we were concerned. It was an inexpensive advertisement and a networking opportunity in my view. We achieved both those, but actually sold a reasonable amount as well. And, by and large, enjoyed ourselves - sueb encountered her first brush ever with anti-American feeling but you can't have everything!

I was also quite restrained in what I bought - could I be learning sense in my middle age?? I bought a not too expensive bead spinner, a lovely dichroic pendant, some knitting/crochet wire and a small reel of silk all from the same vendor, who I will definitely watch out for in the future. But I did get two pairs worth of self-patterning sock yarn, I who never buy commercial yarn, only ever use handspun really. But it is too cute - one ball of Opal, two of Socka. And despite the green sock languishing unfinished in my bag, I couldn't resist casting on yesterday to see what the Opal looks like. (Too soon to tell yet.)

So today I indulge myself with lounging around outside knitting - it is a glorious, perfect summer's day. Blue sky, puffy white clouds, gentle breeze, low humidity and temperature no more than 70.

Oh, except that I had a panic phone call from my mother. Whose doctor was sending her to the hospital for a check, presumably an ECG as she was seemingly reporting an angina attack. She rang off in a tearing hurry (sounding, I have to say, perfectly all right) giving me little information. So I phoned the residential home she lives at, and asked a duty someone, who seemed completely unconcerned. I know I sound like a total uncaring bitch, but it is so hard to know what is going on - it is always thus far a false alarm (Hilaire Belloc used her as inspiration) but she is eighty seven. Still, I could go over on Wednesday.....aach, I dunno. Let's kick back and enjoy today first.


And - as a postscript: the mater rang me about three hours later, home from the hospital where she had checked out just fine. And had indeed been told that she had had an anxiety attack, but I don't know if she has totally taken that in. Partly, I think. It is a relief, of course, but it is also very difficult to deal with, or to know how to help. I am now making noises about chamomile tea, and I think I can see Bach Rescue Remedy in her future. Certainly in mine!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Road Trip

For the second time in a week, drove over to one of our "local" fibre suppliers. sueb is staying at the moment, and she needed did I, it seems.

Shameless, I was. I had bought essential supplies of silk and soysilk on the previous trip on Friday, when I went with the coven. Today I indulged. I was only going to get some glorious alpaca and silk, for me and for the DSM, and maybe some merino and silk, a different blend from the one they had before which I had found a little tetchy to spin. However, there was this Iranian cashmere - only a little left, and they won't be able to get any more. I thought about the cashmere that I already have in the stash, and no, I really didn't need any. Then I started thinking about the shawl that I could make with all the different shades that I have (not so very many, two or three.....) It did seem very appealing.

I have to plan on a winter of serious spinning. I also need to go through the stash when the DSM is away from home, and get rid of some of the crud that has accumulated over the years, you know, stuff that just might come in handy...

I got my punishment for the sheer greed driving home, stuck in roadworks for nearly an hour with the sun blazing in on me. (Actually, a very pretty day, and a nice temperature, just not when in a metal box with no air conditioning.) never mind, we had a good time.

Tomorrow we are gadding again, oiff to East Riddlesden Hall to have lunch with one or two of my chums. Stitchers rather than spinners, but that's ok. As long as they do something!

Cooked us such a simple supper, but bloody good. Portobello mushrooms stuffed with onion, nuts, a little wholewheat breadcrumb, shoyu and tomato puree to moisten, slice of tomato on top, baked in a hot oven. Totally plain steamed cauli, courgette from the garden, organic carrots and potatoes - but what a difference a well- flavoured cheese sauce makes.