Wednesday, June 28, 2006

wotthehell, archie, wotthehell

No, I am not supposed to be here, doing this. But in point of fact, pretty much everything is done. The car is packed, the iPod is sorted. (Why do they sometimes not load properly, tell me that? Most irritating.)

First - a tasty supper. My challenge, and I had no option but to accept it, was to make supper from the most perishable items in the organic veggie box. On my way back from a trip to Staples (I had to buy a new box for packing spindles in, 'kay?) I stopped off at Tesco and bought some of their roasted salmon bits for my lunch tomorrow. They ended up in my latest pasta creation, which ran as follows: two left-over red scallions from last week, some chestnut mushrooms, some broad beans, the salmon, mixed herbs and a dash of sherry. Plus cheese on top, with wholewheat shells. O Yum.

A strange day. Tree work being done outside - we have overhead power lines to the houses in this little enclave, and the trees grow up and through them. From time to time, trimming goes on, and we are without power for an entire day. Kinda limits what I can do, which mostly is a nice thing, but could have been awkward today. Still, I managed.

And found time to stare for long ages out of the window. At the young man swinging from his harness through the trees, entwining his long legs around the next branch he needed to be on. A veritable Tarzan de nos jours. Unbelievably - let us be honest - interesting.

O Yum.

There's life in the old dame yet......

Monday, June 26, 2006

Stepping off the cliff time

I have no photographs and precious little advancement on WIPs. I have, of course, being doing some stuff - it is a seriously bad sign if I don't pick up a spindle, or knitting needles, or touch a wheel on a day. Squalls, murrain and the ninety ninth horseman time, if you get my drift. Personally speaking, of course.

Saturday we visited my mother, and I took my spindle. Got a fair bit done. I feel totally inspired by this simple project, and want the yarn done so I can dye it. I am thinking natural, and decidedly funky. The reds give a wild magenta if whisked through an ammonia afterbath, and if I could combine that with indigo, it could look very cool. May be biting off more than I can chew? Worth a shot, though. I ought to do a sample before the summer ends. Although it is now tempting to say what summer, as it has disappeared, and we are back to damp grey, grey, grey.

The jacket is on the final few steps, and I have nearly settled on how to do the finishing touches. Knitted hems to turn under for the sleeves, and indeed, maybe for the bottom as well, it would be a simple matter to go back and add on. This would give a nice, clean line to the orange/brown 2/2 faux rib. (Doesn't that sound posh, eh?) Plain orange for the front bands after all, in the interest of simplicity and cleanness of line. Soon, soon.

Once Woolfest is over, anyway. I'm in the final stages - printing off price lists &etc, rounding up those little things that may or may not be needed, like sellotape and blu-tac, drawing pins and gin (oops!) I so wish I were a saner person - I am really looking forward to it, I mean quite apart from anything else, it is a huge social blast, you get to see all your mates, pretty much, plus one or two who aren't....I can't help wondering if someone will actually manage to creak out a greeting this year, but am not holding my breath (cheesey grin). I am going to try out, but not buy, a travelling wheel, and have a serious look, and maybe buy, a Yarnshifter. Other than that, I have no plans for purchases, although you never do know what will follow you home. I am expecting to be working my socks off, I think it could be busier this year than last. But I feel anxious about it as well, and for no good reason at all. (Kick.)

So, expect silence from me for the next week. Unless I think of something totally witty and irresistible to say, of course. Full report when we get back.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Two cops of spindle spun yarn

Can I say cops? All of a sudden, it doesn't sound quite right - a bit too PC?

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist that awful pun. Those who know me also know that the dreadful expression "pc" would never pass my lips for real, silly invention of the reactionary right that it is, so it had to be a joke, yeah?

And this was meant to be a serious post.

From last Thursday's coven to this - last night - I have spun these two cops, cones, whatever you want to call them. I've just weighed them. 43 grammes each. That's right, they weigh almost exactly the same (some slight wobbling on the digital scale). Medium thickness yarn. This is the shawl project, due for completion in just over one year's time. Something tells me that I shall make the deadline!

spindle spun yarn

The spindle I have chosen to use for this project is one of my Forresters. It is extremely beautiful. When I buy a spindle, it is the look of the thing that draws me first; but if it doesn't spin well, I won't buy it, ever. I see no point whatsoever in having a spindle that is purely decorative, it has got to be functional to a high degree as well. I will shade that a little in some circumstances, accept slightly less than top performance if the looks are exceptional, but that is very unusual.

This spindle is top-notch on both counts. In fact, for this project, it works almost too well, in that it will go on spinning for longer than my hands can draft, when I am spinning seated at any rate. This means that I am tending to get a yarn that is twisted rather more than I would like for the shawl I want to make, try as I might to stop before I reach that point, or to draft a little more after the spin stops/is stopped. This is a useful lesson for me!

The consignment of Bosworth spindles is at the Post Office awaiting the ransom - I'm sorry, I mean the Customs charge - being paid. Can't win 'em all. I'm looking forward to seeing what we have - although I am not going to be tempted by them this year. (Am I?) I'm saving myself for later in the year, when I shall use the excuse of Summer School to buy lots of lovely spindles of types that I don't have, as class examples. See how clever I am?

Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy spinning this yarn, and pondering what sort of dye job to do on it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Or not. Where has it gone? My carefully preserved stash of instant indigo grains, unobtainable in this country.

OK, so I do know that all my dyeing stuff, pans, dyestuffs, the entire freaking lot, is in one dreadful mess. But I knew what I was looking for, and I did sift through paying attention, and no little plastic pot.

Damn, damn, damn. Not so much because I had wanted to include blues and greens in this latest bout of soy/silk dyeing, but because I can't easily get the stuff here. I have emailed a vendor in the States....fingers crossed I can get some without having to wait until SOAR.

I am also aware that I am perfectly capable, technically speaking, of doing a more traditional indigo vat - not real, honest to goodness, natural indigo with madder and bran and several gallons of human urine (I will do that one day, I swear, but But emotionally speaking, I just ain't going there. As should be perfectly clear from all the emphases going on around here, the anxiety levels are on the rise, and putting me, them and lye in close proximity would be, I m absolutely certain, an complete disaster. I'm just not going to risk it. No blue, no way.

So, I contented myself with attempting another logwood dye pot. And this time, it looks as if it going to be all right, and maybe, just maybe, gorgeous. Crosses fingers again. This batch of dyeing has been fraught with all sorts of problems - it would be nice to finish with a flourish, or even two - I am going to use up the last of the fibre in another mix, I think. I fancy a flaming orange.

Other stuff is going well. I am on the second sleeve of The Jacket. I didn't like the look of the cast off on the first one, and may do that over, but the rest is fine. I have decided what I am going to do for front bands, it is now just a question of do I do them separately, or attach as I go. I lean to the former, as I doubt my ability to do the latter neatly enough, but I might give it a go. Depends.

Spindle spinning for a shawl is moving on, too. Only problem comes if Neelix wants to sit on my lap, and then the spindle gets attacked. Sometimes delicately, sometimes - as happened a night or two ago to the DSM - with the spindle being given an almighty thwack, knocking it half-way across the room. Siamese are extremely good at getting their point across.

Speaking of which, I was catching up on taped CSI episodes. And Faye Dunaway was in one. Crumbs. She chose her surgeon badly. Her face has been tightened up so much, and the outer corners of her eyes lifted so extremely that she looks like a rather cross siamese herself.

And, finally. (Stop now if of a rightward political leaning.) I have seen the future and it is terrifying. Terrifying. You don't even need to play the video. (In fact, only do so if well-caffeinated and feeling very, very strong.)

Monday, June 19, 2006


As India so rightly points out, it is not less than a week to Woolfest. It is on 30 June & 1 July just like it always said it was.

(Creeps away, looking sheepish. Very appropriate....)


I said that I would post some photographs of some of my bags, and lo, I am a woman of my word. And that after going to the hairdresser's, too.

I can't now remember just why I started doing these, or where I got the notion from. They are a double construction, with a thicker wool inner bag, covered by a co-ordinating much finer silk outer bag, with beads. The two layers are joined at the top and finished off together. I think that maybe the idea sprang from collecting beautiful co-ordinating fibres at SOAR markets, from sources like Chasing Rainbows or Royale Hare. Plus my first tentative steps handling beads.

This was the first ever.

green-blue bag

I still really like this one, I like the way the silk turned out fine and crisp (my silk spinning is not always as much under my control as I would like). The main fault with it is that the beads are a bit too heavy for the silk and have pulled the yarn out into loops. I suppose I could think of them as raindrops - but the inspiration was actually sea again, sea and seaweed.

This is a detail showing how I start the outer bag with knitted i-cord. Shows the droopy beads somewhat, as well.

green-blue bag (detail)

The next one shown - although I can't remember if it was the next completed - is rather better, as I used smaller beads.

blue-green bag

This next is my first attempt doing my own - plain - dyeing, a madder exhaust, which came out looking a little like the directoire knickers I remember elderly ladies wearing when I was a kid. Having said that, one of them wasn't I suppose all that elderly - she was the head of the grammar school I went to, and as she didn't retire - which would have been at age sixty - until some few years after I left school, at the time she was displaying her pink art silk knickers to us she must have been quite a bit younger than I am now. I should clarify - she would sit at the special raised teachers desk and was not careful about keeping her knees together. Sitting below her in the classroom, we had an unrestricted view. Although she was an odd one indeed, I don;t think it was that sort of odd. Bloody hell, I hadn't thought about that for years, and here it is just pouring out. Must have scarred me for life. Although the age thing is a bit scary, in both directions!

madder bag

This one again uses small beads - I must remember to always do that, if I make more. I like this one, despite all the blather.

I did an all-wool one fairly recently, which I think I did blog, but can't remember when. If I can find it, I'll add the link.

I am planning moving on to a different style of double layer bag - watch this space. In fact, I have a number of ideas rattling around in there at the moment - a few gears shifted recently. I need to push on and complete a couple of things, and then get busy experimenting.

Less than a week to Woolfest - stuff to sort out for that still. We'll get there, though!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dear Sir Tom......

Stoppard, I mean. So very, very kind of the love to have his new play put on during my birthday summer. With, apparently, the sort of music attached that you would expect with the title "Rock and Roll". Along with his own inimitable pyrotechnical prose, and a spiffy cast including, be still my heart, Rufus Sewell.

And the DSM, living up to his name with a vengeance, has tickets for us to see it in September! It means a day trip to the Big city, of course, but worth it, oh so worth it. Wow.

I went to a marvellous party last night. A DSM work-related thing. I wore an amazing black dress, somehow constructed to be, as well as fetchingly low-cut, flattering to the curves without clinging. There were a bazillion people there, some few of whom I did know, but far more that I did not. I lost sight of the DSM the moment we arrived, and would normally have felt very precarious indeed, but somehow, no doubt gin-inspired, managed to stay afloat. Throughout the course of the evening, I was fortunate to have no less than three encounters with extremely interesting men, satisfyingly lengthy discussions on real issues, during which they seemed to enjoy the debate and my views as much as I theirs. There was the merest touch of a sexual frisson, but mostly just an intriguing intellectual respect. Such nice men - one of them bore a distinct resemblance to Rufus Sewell.......

The astute amongst you will have realised long since that this could only be a dream. I woke up from it this morning, still extraordinarily vivid in my mind, it is so strange how some dreams do that. I was quite regretful about this one ending, I was having such a good time, and the best thing about it was that somehow I was being able to be exactly myself, no moderation or restraint, just me....and Rufus, of course. Ah, well.

I have some progress, but no photographs. Soon, I promise. I have done more dyeing, there is improvement, but I remain slightly dissatisfied. Is it me, the weather (now more or less normal for the time of year), the fibre or the dyes? I have used natural dye extracts before, but I am somehow, it is true, less than happy with them - the colours you get are not what you would expect with the actual plant dyestuff, and strangely flat. But I will persevere. Haven't yet got to the indigo, that may well come on Sunday now.

I stitched up the shoulder seams of the grey Falkland jacket, intending to pick up and knit the sleeves flat, the way I would put in sleeves if dressmaking. Draping the thing over my shoulders, it seemed, odd, so I decided to stitch the side seams, too. Well, what a difference! It is beginning to look like a real garment, mirabile dictu. I still haven't solved the problem of what to do with the front band, but this is progress, and I will get there in the end. One day I will learn not to design on the fly....maybe.

I realised last night that I really should produce something especially for the tutors' display at Summer School next year, and that it should be spindle spun. So I took a favourite spindle (a Forrester, if anyone is interested) and some white Falkland top to coven last night and started. Even I ought to be able to spindle spin, dye and knit enough yarn for a simple shawl in just over a year. Definitely. The rest of the coven came up with some very useful suggestions for what else I could use, though, including suggesting that I did an entire themed bag thing. That's not a bad idea - I might photograph all or some of them and post them here, see what others think.

And then there will be more photographs than you can shake a stick at.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's all coming together

This little lot - and lots more besides - arrived in the post this lunchtime.


Our consignment of spindles and nostepinnes from Greensleeves for Woolfest. It is a super batch, I am going to be hard put to it not to keep any for myself.......

I was talking to someone earlier today, and apparently there are going to be even more vendors at Woolfest this year. Which can't be bad. I'm not sure if I want to have time to go shopping myself, or if I want to be so busy on our own stall that I don't have time or energy! Everything is here now except the last batch of Bossies, which are hurtling through the air as we speak (or more likely lurking in a dark corner of some Sorting Office) and I am quite sure they will be with me any day now.

Spindles are the most important thing, of course, but we have some good fibres again as well. Still, this isn't meant to be a commercial, just me gloating over goodies and making a note to self not to get stressed out about anything. It will be fun whatever.

On the creative front, I have taken a deep breath and had another go at silk dyeing, this time with the right amount of mordant after my unaccountable lapse. I'm not doing enough dyeing of any sort, that's the trouble. You need to keep on practising, like any other skill. So I will.

Monday, June 12, 2006

From the bottom of the treacle well....


Some rain moved in overnight, and now we have warm treacle, or maybe hot soup. Disgusting, whatever. The back room with the fan on is the only really comfortable place to be, so maybe I will get some stuff done today. We shall see.

So, I survived my weekend. Saturday in the city was.....well, let's say I had all my prejudices confirmed. The ones about football and its supporters, anyway. Because I am so supremely disinterested in football, the England team, David thing and his two-word vocabulary, and (OK, so I have heard it is on) the World Cup, I had not realised that there was an England game on Saturday.

Now, this had the advantage that driving in to Manchester was a pleasure, with about three other cars on the road. But to get to the theatre, we had to pass the big screen next to M&S. I don't do heat, I don't do crowds, I don't do football.....the DSM was a star and came in to his own. Mind you, some of this was self interest, as he was a bit scared that my mouth would run off into a rant and we would be lynched, so every few seconds he squoze my hand reassuringly whilst pushing me in the small of the back to get me past the next obstruction....but I was good.

So, it was a friendly crowd. That was good. The beer aroma had not yet reached tangible level. The songs were - well, I was going to say interesting, but no, they weren't, and not songs either. Drones. With fascinating lyrics, like "Liverpool are shit" and - well, nothing else. Just that, over and over and over and over and ov....yawn.

But what got me, really, really got me, and here comes the boring, middle-age, middle class rant, yes, ok, I know that and I don't care. Was the litter, the rubbish, the filth. Plastic bottles, cans, burger boxes, sandwich packs, every sort of food and drink related detritus you can possibly imagine. Totally disgusting. So much for the beautiful game. I was ranting to my friend who joined us at the theatre, and when we came out and walked back that same way, she looked at the litter lying around and thought it not to bad, not much worse than a usual Saturday. I had to point out to her that a clean-up crew had been through, and this was the next accretion........

The play was great, though.

We went plant shopping yesterday, took ages, partly because of the dead slow or stop speed necessitated by the temperature, so it was late afternoon when we got back. I was positively forced to take a "nap" which was meant just to be a fifteen minute lie down listening to my iPod. Unfortunately, I fell completely asleep, which meant that I missed a great chunk of my current book. Which is "lady Susan" by Jane Austen, and if you haven't read it, do, for a truly great treat. One of literature's most towering monsters limned by the subtly ironic pen of Our Greatest Authoress.

So, no fibre stuff. Too damn hot. Let us see what the week brings, eh?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The heatwave continues

It is still hot. By supreme effort of will, I survived the dyeing day at AH. Well, and with a lot of help from my stalwart regular class attenders, bless them. I had an unannounced beginner to deal with as well as my continuing "problem" student.

Another younger woman, again very pleasant and extremely well motivated. She had been looking around for something new to challenge her, and spinning had been in the back of her mind for ages. She works fulltime, of course, and won't be able to come to Friday classes often, but is oh so keen! She did pretty well - had spun a length of yarn on the wheel by the end of the day. Not brilliant yarn, but there it was. And more importantly, she was understanding what she should be doing. I may or may not see her again - she took my card, might come to me as a private student. We shall see. Nice to see someone having so much fun, anyway.

The continuing student - well, I moved things on a bit, took my spare wheel in for her to try, let her use the Lendrum and the class Ashford. At least she was managing something that way. But I simply can't put my finger on what the problem is, and there is one, even getting her away from the faulty wheel. I watched like a hawk, made what seemed like the appropriate suggestions. But I don't like riding students too hard, makes them feel threatened and insecure, which only makes matters worse.

Lack of confidence may be an issue here. I've lent her the Majacraft to play at home, see if that helps. It occurs to me, writing this that yesterday's beginner was able to talk almost immediately about feeling what was going on (something I do emphasise when teaching) and the other person doesn't. If she hasn't made that vital connection between brain, hand and sensation yet, that could be the problem. This is interesting - stream of consciousness, here - I identify the need for understanding of the spinning process, but also feeling. (By which I mean the nature of the fibre, but also and more importantly, the live yarn forming in that fibre.) Whilst a person can make yarn with an extreme of one or the other, a mixture of both makes the spinner.

Does that make any sense at all, or has the weather fried my brain??

It certainly did with my own dyeing - total failure. I realised driving home yesterday that I had used the wrong amount of mordant, something I am prone to do when using it in solution. I have resolved to return to mixing the alum crystals afresh each time, thereby removing one mathematical step from the process. We may only be dealing in 10%s here, but that can still fox my poor challenged brain. The solution has a tendency to rapidly recrystallise, anyway, so this makes sense to me.

Can't stand lurking in front of the computer any longer. We are going in to Manchester to the theatre this afternoon (are we quite mad??) I need some coolth, caffeine and calm before then. The DSM is being stalwart too today, as I have been struggling a bit, and he is running the Saturday morning errands. A couple of times this week he has let me run off at the mouth about stuff, If I can manage not to moan too freely about how I don't do cities in the heat usually, that will repay the kindness somewhat!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Back on the horse again

I have been trying, both pre and post our "holiday" to spin something as many days as possible. Whilst not wanting to sound like a refugee from the Spinlist, I do actually find it shall we say centring. As grist to my mill came a length of roving that I had dyed some time ago, I had thought not terribly successfully. I did it with a kind of hot pour method just after I got the fish kettle (it's probably in the archives somewhere, but I can't be bothered to look). I hadn't tossed it out so thought I might as well spin it one night. It has in fact turned out quite well, unfelted and soft from the gentle dye method, and the deficiencies in the colouring well-disguised in the spinning. Enough for a hat, methinks.

blue yarn

Whilst away, I actually completed two very quick simple spiral bracelets, to go into the gift stash. I've photographed them against the yarn to give an idea of scale to both, hopefully. Note to self: must carry around a coin for that purpose. Not hugely exciting, but always fun to do.

red & green spiral bracelets

But I have also finally finished....the seaside amulet bag. And I do really rather like it.

seaside amulet bag

I didn't do any sort of chart, just winged it. It really didn't seem necessary, as it was only meant to be impressionistic anyway. I was rather conservative with my use of charms (for which many grateful thanks, Sara) - the bag came out somewhat smaller than I had intended (it knew the right thing to do) and I didn't want to overwhelm it. But this does mean that I have lots of goodies left to do more marine-inspired pieces. I particularly love the crab - so very appropriate for a Cromer girl! I had thought to put a mermaid on, too, but it just didn't work. I think she may just get centre-billing in a piece of her own.

Anyway, moving on - the sun is shining and it is hot. On reflection, I could have given everyone fair warning of that, as I am doing a dyeing class on Friday. Sigh. But I have also been inspired to start playing around with silk, soy &etc again, as we have a few fine days forecast to get everything dry in. Today, logwood. I am also going to do cochineal, osage, maybe instant indigo assuming I can find it and it hasn't gone off, madder and some mixes - I am using extracts, of course. Having gone through the dyestuff stash, though, for Friday, I have a lot of different things, and need to give some serious thought to using most of it up. I have got some fleece.....maybe I should use that, and go for a sweater? I need inspiration!

Photos of all that later.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Crawling out from under..... what me and my inner P began to do by the end of last week.

We took my Ma-in-law out for the afternoon to Trelissick Gardens to see the spring flowers and have a cream tea. I was quite amazed when these two photos came out ok, as I was very close up and there was a breeze.



Gorgeous, eh? Then, I was amazed all over again when, fossicking about on the internet for something else, of which more later, I found this link The video is not of the best quality, at least on my pc, but you do get some more views of what is a stunningly beautiful garden.

To get there, we went over on the King Harry Ferry, a thing that I just love to do. Oh, what the heck, whilst I'm giving the silly links, here's the webcam. I'm never sure just how convinced I am by webcams, but for what it's worth....KHF

Anyways, we arrived there just as it set off back to the other side, but no hardship, a lovely day and it is always good to watch the river. They load up - well, halfload - and return, but as they are getting to our side, there is suddenly a lot of noise and bustle, men called to the cockpit, whatever. Three cars are let off, and the ferry does the fastest turnaround I've ever seen back over. Meanwhile, sound of sirens....

King Harry Ferry

A fire engine and two Fire Service cars are taken aboard no less, and again given a very fast trip. Turns out that there is a thatched cottage on fire somewhere - that being the operative word, as they are not actually all that sure where they are going. This is not to disparage the Fire Service - this part of Cornwall - well, most of Cornwall - is full of twisting, narrow maze-like lanes and isolated farms and cottages. But sadly, they were too late, it seems, and the cottage was destroyed.

Another pleasure of this trip was that we were on higher ground, slightly, and more open than we are at home, so we could enjoy the lovely light evenings - and the sunsets. Another photo that I hadn't particularly expected to work, although I have done sunsets and sunrises before. I always love them.


And in amongst all these excitements, was there craft work? Well, some. I'll get to that soon. Soon.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Whatever you want to call it

Somewhere around 2pm last Monday, my inner Pollyanna stamped her foot, gave a piercing scream, rushed upstairs, threw herself onto the bed and pulled the duvet over her head.

It was not pretty.

It all began on day. For the first time ever, they defeated me. I will never understand how my little darlings get to be so cunning, but despite a very nifty "hello, birds, hello sky" performance from me, the instant I went in to the bedroom to grab the first one, they shot off in different directions. These involved the deepest reaches of under the bed, on top of the kitchen cupboards, you name it, they found it. I never managed it for the whole length of the day until the DSM got home (fortunately in time to bear them away to durance vile), when a combination of their greed and there being two of us managed to get them. I have now worked out that another time, I will have to catch one, should be do-able, and take him on his own if I can't get the other, making a second trip with the second cat.

However. However.

Time was tight for the DSM to get them to the cattery before they closed. We hustled out of the house with all the bits and pieces, and I turned back in to be getting on with stuff.

When I turned the door knob, the door remained.....closed. It was one of those moments when your brain knows what has happened, but simply refuses to believe it. I turned the knob again, and again.

The door was locked. He had locked it. I didn't have a key. And it was bloody freezing, blowing a gale and very nearly raining. (Fortunately, it didn't.)

Despite trying the door several times more over the next hour, it never did open until the DSM returned with a key (I did consider various possibilities to effect an entrance, but dismissed them all as unworkable, given that he would be home before I turned to a block of ice provided I got up and jumped around every few minutes.) There was only one nasty, wriggling little worm of concern in my mind....

I was sitting by the door when he returned, having just done the latest bounce around. I didn't really say very much, well, not to start with. But I was right to be was, strange to relate, all my fault.

Funny, that.

We left for Cornwall at a not too late hour the next morning. Any hopes that luck might be changing or whatever, gradually sank to the floor. For we broke our world record. This was not a good thing, you understand. The total journey time was just over twelve hours, by which time, little Polly was, shall we say, muttering even louder than she had the night before.

It did seem for a while as if things might look up. The weather improved a bit, for a start, and we had a very nice lunch out with DMIL. We - I - got a bit rested. But then came Monday, when I realised that, no, I did not have hayfever from all the grass pollen blowing in the strong wind around the house.

I had a cold. That was when the wholly reprehensible scene with my inner Pollyanna occurred, and she is only just beginning to act like a civilised human being again.

So, as you can tell, not one of our most successful visits to the Duchy. Although not all bad, and I will give details anon.

'spect you're sick of me now, I know I am.