Monday, February 26, 2007


Is a pair of wristwarmers in pure cashmere. Purple cashmere, to boot.

Yum, yum, yum.

These are the not-Beetons. They are very similar to the real Mrs Beetons that Brenda Dayne designed for Knitty, but the yarn I had didn't work out stitch-wise, numbers of rows/decreases or whatever, so I improvised. One day I will do the vrai choses, but these are great for now.


The colour is a little bit off in the first pic - I don't really have a brown kitchen floor or orange hands. But I found it difficult to avoid camera-shake doing the one-handed photo thing, and this one is best for that.

And off-piste, we have....


These are very warm and cosy. Well, they would be, dumbo. Maybe I will dive into my stash and see if I have any more cashmere......

Couldn't sleep again last night, so I started spinning a kilo of "Rovings" that I had earmarked for myself - I actually haven't spun any for ages. That and a podcast on the iPod soothed me some, and I eventually crawled back into bed and got off to sleep around 1.30. This is getting a little tedious. I am loathe to just give in and revert to night-owl, but it is tempting. Grrr.

Otherwise, all well. I'm about to go and listen to the Archers (soooo bad for the blood pressure!) and knock up a pasta dish with the leftover veggies in the fridge, but as these are aubergine, tomato and red pepper, I foresee no problems.

Nanny Ogg is coming over for lunch tomorrow, that will be nice.

Now, what to knit next.......

Sunday, February 25, 2007

You can make it if you try

When we were on holiday in California, about 100 years ago, we ate a couple of times in a local restaurant of which the name escapes me at the moment, sorry. One time, the DSM had as a starter this really delicious dish of "soft" polenta with.....? We remember some kind of mushrooms.

Being me, I never thought to ask for the recipe, and did eventually want to have a go at reproducing it. Well, I don't know if I succeeded in that, but what I made last night for supper was pretty dam' good, whatever.

And this considering I had fallen asleep and had to get up at the run to come up with an edible meal at all - impressive, or what!

I used to use quick cooking polenta, but come to the conclusion - prompted by its disappearance from the local shops - that regular was just as easy and tasted better. So I made it in the normal way, then added a bit more water, and melted a chunk of Dolcelatte into it. (Note to self - use more next time, it barely tasted.) Then, just prior to serving, I stirred in a couple of dessertspoonfuls of single cream. I do realise that this sounds a bit heavy on the fat, but it really wasn't too bad, and we are extremely low fat most of the time so we feel that we can indulge occasionally.

Then, in a saute pan, I thoroughly cooked in a little olive oil some thinly sliced onion (half moons) and a lot of thickly sliced regular mushrooms. I think chestnut would be better, actually. Threw in some finely chopped sun dried tomato, fresh ground black pepper and some (dried) sage. On mature reflection, I think that basil would taste better and continue the vaguely Italian theme.

And that, my ducks, was that. The polenta went into one of our newish large bowls and the mushrooms were plonked on top. A glass of red wine, and we were set. A new staple dish for the repertoire.

In further news - I can play DVDs on the laptop, and I didn't finish the not-Beetons, but am close. One foot in front of the other.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Not so much now, but I certainly was when we got back from AH last night. But curling up under the duvet with my iPod for a bit, and then getting up close and personal with a couple of glasses of red wine helped, as did a very good night's sleep.

So, why? Well, a fairly stressful week one way or another, but mostly an exceptionally busy class at AH. plus the DSM came with me. I had thought this would be a good idea, and I guess it was, he had a really good time and even managed to help me out without pissing me off (g) a couple of times. But he overdid it a little bit, mainly by taking an overlong constitutional in the afternoon - and I felt very vindicated when I learned that several people had noticed that a) he was gone a long time; and b) looked pretty tired when he got back. So it is not just me being an over-anxious spouse!

On top of that, I had eighteen participants in my class, of whom three were complete beginners and one had only spun a little bit, and then I have some by now fast becoming regulars who I would classify as needing a bit more help yet. In fact, one of the things that the DSM helped out with was finding out that someone who has been coming intermittantly for a few months couldn't ply - I was absolutely mortified when I found out, but in my own defence, I have sat with her working on other problems regularly and have always asked her if there was anything that she particularly wanted to cover. But still.....

I was thinking about it during the drive home. It is one of the frustrations of teaching this class, that because of its structure, I can't teach spinning in a coherent fashion. New people bob in and out all the time, many only come a very few times, others do stick. But we have the whole gamut of range of experience from twenty years to twenty minutes at any one moment. Even when I did plan a six month series on fleece and fibre preparation, people came and went through that. Mind you, writing this, it does occur to me that I could do a similar exercise on spinning basics. There are distinct lacunae in the experience of the long time members that could usefully be addressed. H'mm....another example of the benefits of blog-writing!

Anyway, today I get some time off - the DSM has no less than three rugby internationals to watch, and whilst I do actually like the game myself, that is a bit much and some time spent with a book, or my knitting or whatever seems much more inviting. This evening, during the third, I think I will try to find out if I really can play DVDs on my laptop as I think I can.

Then tomorrow I - we - have a real treat, friends from Cambridge who have been in Yorkshire for the weekend are coming over for lunch. We always very much enjoy their company - well, I have known L since we were eight (do the maths!)

And then, next week should be a little less without incident. No, no, that was a really stupid thing to say, wasn't it - what have I done!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This could be the last time........

Some time ago, in a weak moment, I agreed to give another talk on natural dyeing to a local group. With all that has been happening around here, I really could have done without it at the moment, but I hate to give back word, and it was only ten minutes drive along the road, or thereabouts..........

So off I sets after the Archers, nice time to get there and settle in while they do their business, lay our my stuff, do a bit of surreptitious deep breathing. But at the present moment in time, the Universe really, really has it in for me.

Really, really.

I get to the main road, and am faced with a large police vehicle blocking the valley road in the direction I wish to go. I try hopefully to explain. No dice. I am sent back to go the long, rural, winding, narrow way round. Which takes ages. And frequently grinds to a halt because of the unexpected volume of traffic. It's dark, and I hate driving in the dark, particularly along narrow, congested roads bordered with stone walls.

I'm whining, aren't I?

I finally get there, over half and hour late, abandon the car in the middle of the car park, pelt up two flights of stairs hoping like crazy that I am in fact in the right building. I am.

I fling garments, samples, books madly out on to a table, glug a swallow or two of water and launch right in - oh, no, the did get me to draw the raffle first!

It went ok, I guess. I was actually past caring. I totally winged it, random order, managed not to swear of say good god too often (church group). Even got a few questions and a cup of tea and a Jaffa cake!!!

Dyed stuff

But it may be the last time that this little lot gets an airing........

Monday, February 19, 2007

What we did with our Sunday.......

Went for a really nice walk in the sunshine, here:



And the DSM saw no ships........

Seeing no ships.....

(And only a pair of mallard and several Canada geese to boot.)

Then we went visiting. Sigh.

(no subject)

kittens love ribbons!

I am too late. Three are spoken for and the fourth is show quality - my friend either will keep her, or sell her to someone who will show, and I don't want to go there again.

But it was lovely to see them, (and my friends!) and have a little cuddle. Nothing to beat a cuddly baby kitten. Except a cat that has grown up with you, of course....

I did even manage a little knitting after the excitements of the day. My not-Beeton progresses - I just can't get the yarn I have to look like the picture or work according to the recipe, so it is a based-on-an-idea thing now. But seemingly, working. I will try to finish the first one tonight, then I will have to struggle to repeat the process for number two, because of course as usual I did not write anything down.

Will I ever learn?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Winds of change

By which I mean that I think I am going to be brave and hit the button to update the blog so that I can play around with the layout. Can it be so hard? Who knows, with me. So, if things look strange around here for a while, that will be why.

We have been out and about. Yesterday was a session at the hospital run by the Cardiac Rehab Unit, who are very good. I have to say, not a lot that we didn't know, but a bit, and very reassuring and well-presented. The DSM finds all that sort of thing very good, I think it helps him to realise that something rather major has happened to him - he is feeling so well (which is a good thing....) that he sometimes forgets!

Then today was Guild, and it was a lovely meeting. We had a talk from Sue Woodcock, who is an incredibly entertaining speaker, and then just hung out with people for an hour or three, spindle spinning in our case. Himself was greeted with hugs, exclamations, very nearly cheers, which was touching.

And now we are waiting for B/SIL to bring us meals-on-wheels! Such a kind thought - they wanted to visit, and said that they couldn't expect us to feed them, so it is all prepared and travelling to us in their car as we speak. In fact, I think we are capable of producing sustenance for our nearest and dearest, actually, but it will be very nice not to have to, the DSM's bro is a pretty nifty cook, and he was on kitchen detail as SIL was at Guild with us.

So - if things go skew-whiffy with the blog, don't panic. I'm not-a goin' nowhere, just feel like a face-lift.

Now, there's a thought to conjure with........

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another day older.......

I do, I admit, feel that I am ageing rapidly at the moment.

Aaargh! Particularly as I am in grumpy old woman mode as Blogger has forced me to change to the new style and Everything Is Different. Oh, no doubt I will get used to it and grow to like it - either (oops, another difference, you have to switch italics off now, what the fuck the button is telling me I am IN italic mode when demonstrably I ain't) that or move on over to Typepad where I have set up an account ready and waiting but although I can take my Blogger text archives with me I can't move photos, so I am reluctant to do that and just how long can I make this sentence last anyway - eh??

That is not how I had intended to write this post. Let's start again.

I have finished a pair of socks, the "knitting by the bedside" pair. I am so pleased to have an FO, even a small and routine one (I never ever did think that I would call knitting socks "routine", but there you go, we are all capable of change!) Ta da.

The bedside socks

However....the knitted boa is still a tangled mess, but less so than it was, as the DSM has been putting in sterling service in the untangling department. I am slightly anxious about the amount of stress it may be causing him, but he tells me not to concern myself........

Also, I started the Knitty "Mrs Beeton" wristwarmers yesterday, but even after doing a swatch, when I had completed a few actual rounds I found it too dense a fabric coming up, so that got ripped as well. I'll have another go tonight at Coven.

For which I have made a lemonish sort of cake. Possibly marginally overcooked, but I am hoping that the generous quantities of lemon curd and lemon buttercream will compensate for that.

We still have a hole in the kitchen ceiling. Someone came and stared up into it this lunchtime, then went on up into the bathroom and started doing some very meaningful sounding tapping. I am hopeful that we may get this sorted out fairly soon. I am being very sanguine about it.

Really, I am.

Just ageing rapidly.........

(Oh, PS: the DSM continueth to maketh decent progress. We both get to go to the hospital tomorrow for a sort of open session run as an introduction to various services provided by the Coronary Rehab Unit. Sounds like jolly fun. But it has to be done.)

Sunday, February 11, 2007


am finally.......
well and truly......THUD......
pissed off........

And that is the sound of me banging my head against the proverbial brick wall, well, it would be brick if there were any around here, but as not it is Millstone Grit which is perhaps even harder......
and I don't care!

OK, you can come out from behind the sofa now, I'm calming down. A large glass of sherry helped. Part of the problem is that what I really want to be doing is banging the DSM's head against the proverbial, and of course I can't because - we all know because what, and I wouldn't do it anyway being an essentially non-violent sort of a chap, only prone to beating myself up.......

What? Oh. Didn't I say?

A dirty great chunk of the kitchen ceiling just fell down.

I had realised that there was something amiss with the shower ages ago and had mentioned it. A time or two. Then He saw water appearing where water didn't oughter be, and thought, h'mm should really. Of course everything went rather pearshaped around here for a while, and we had recently attempted to find someone to look at the tiles in the shower, the probable cause of the problem.

But it was all Too Late.

Oh, well, it is only quite a small bit of the kitchen ceiling, and over the cupboards, so isn't too glaring obvious and revolting, but it is all getting a bit last strawish around these parts.

It is therefore no great surprise that I am following the scattershot approach to fibre work at the moment, can't seem to concentrate on anything. But I am spinning and I am knitting (allegedly) which is several steps forward. The (allegedly) refers to my having been grabbed by the notion that I wanted to knit another boa scarf using a lovely collection of odd balls of yarn collected over a year or three, which I started yesterday. Then looked at and decided that it didn't look quite right, so pulled out and instead of doing what would have been sensible and rewinding all the balls individually, did a sort of conglomeration. And now have a lovely tangle and have had to riiiip again and enlist the aid of the DSM to get me untangled....

Still, I reckon he owes me a little bit (ahem).

I need to get a grip.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Some steps forward, one step back, forward again (and a do se do?)

Just how do you spell that, anyway? I know what it means. It means pass back to back, dos a dos. That's something, I suppose.

And what does my title mean? Well, we are getting on ok, definitely making progress in many ways. But himself, and thus me had a bit of a hiccup on the anxiety front. Nothing happened, but things were getting to him a bit, so he is going back to the doctor any time now when I can drag myself away from the computer to chauffeur him. I keep telling him, it is only to be expected. I guess that helps.....

The walk in the woods today was lovely again. This may be our last sunny morning, so we made the most of it, and I did remember to take my camera. Which was a Good Thing as I found a lot that interested me. I'll put a few here, there are more on flickr, just click on an image and be whisked away to fairyland......(sorry.)


Sun filtering through the trees, magical.

Lots of lovely fungi on the felled trees.



Frost over the houses in the little hollow we call home.

Frost hollow

We both of us love being out on mornings like this. So nice to feel the crisp cold air (he's wrapped up warm!) Now they are forecasting snow, and I wouldn't mind, really I wouldn't. Lots of lovely photo-ops....

But, now, the further few steps onward, for me, anyway. I spent a couple of hours spinning some more of the yak for fingerless gloves for himself, which was most enjoyable. But while I was doing so, I was actually pondering about beading projects - haven't quite got as far as getting stuff out, but, wow, what a hopeful sign. Then, last night, I finished plying the blue fluff I have been spindle spinning. I used my new Lizzy Kate, and I have to say, I really love it. Makes plying very efficient and easy. I now know that maybe I need to pay more attention to how I wind the cop on to the spindle as I spin, but other than that, no problems at all.

The other yarn in the photo is the camel and silk I finished a while since. Pete is going to make more wrist warmers, and I have another hat in mind. It is nice and cushy, and should be warm and cosy. Cosy is good at the moment!


There is no getting away from the fact that this is being a rather weird time for us. It felt really good getting back to doing the normal things I love.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Onward and upward

Although actually at the moment I am fighting none to successfully the urge to get horizontal and snoring.

Yesterday was a lovely day, both weatherwise (again!) and socially, with siblings descending en masse (all two of them plus one spouse) to do odd jobs and enjoy a convivial lunch; one of the DSM's female fan club arriving with a nice little pot plant for him; and a friend/neighbour from up the river coming down for tea, chat and to bring grapes and puzzles. Wore me out, but he seems ok......

So, I now have a lovely clean and tidy cupboard under the stairs and a massive pile of junk to take to the tip; and my niece is to be the recipient of upwards of a dozen demi-johns that are now surplus to requirements. And - today's exceitement - I have a brand new fully installed washing machine, hurrah! So now I can start on the laundry mountain and we will have clean underwear just in time... (is that TMI??)

Precious little knitting or spinning, although a tiny bit of each. I will do better this evening. But we have been out walking in the sunshine _ note the request for a particular photograph, but I haven't been up there yet. Soon, soon. Meanwhile, enjoy some of these....

Himself, glad to be out in the sun:


An arty shot of branches:


Various, around and about:

Mossy wall


This next is the tree that came down in the gale and did all the damage:

Tree in river

And up the steps and around the corner takes me home:


Last, but very much not least, a surprise parcel arrived yesterday. Custom dyed sock yarn from Sara. (Colour slightly more vivid in the photo than actuality, the natural light is bright today.)

sock kit

What can one say? (Wow might be a good place to start?) Oh, thank you works, too.....

The kindness of friends....well, I've said it all before, but it is still true.