Sunday, May 30, 2010

The weather in this country...

....does my head in. As may have been noticed. We go from heatwave to practically frost in a matter of hours. Ah, well, at least today the sun is shining, unlike yesterday when it rained a lot and was foggy.

Which was something of a pity as it was the Mater's birthday, and we went over to York with a picnic for her. She won't go out any more, although she could and we do offer. But she very much enjoys a dainty luncheon of prawn cocktail, smoked salmon, a few deli salads and a nice bottle of something. Prosecco, in this instance, bubbles for the celebration.

The DSM had returned safely from Cornwall after a few very nice outings with his mama, who does like to see something of the outside world when there is someone to take her. In fact, much to his delight, she asked to join him on his obligatory trip to our favourite beach as well as having a pub lunch.

I did survive my experience with the tinies (and yes, it was a typo, and there were indeed only 30 of them!) Praise be....the noise. But they were terribly sweet, and somewhat to my amazement because of their age and total inability to listen, they did actually manage to make some little pieces of felt, and they did very much enjoy themselves.

What I had forgotten was that little people need little furniture, so I spent half the morning on my knees so I could use a table to demonstrate, the other half bending low, low, low over them and their tables to help the felting along. I came home, took two ibuprofen and went to bed for an hour! (Fine after that.)

I have nearly finished "Citron". I'm in the process of adding two rows of double crochet to the bottom, frilled (allegedly) edge, as it seemed a little tight, and it was rolling. I'm hoping that will fix it sufficiently - I really can't face frogging a row of the length I have, in a pretty fine yarn, so I think it will have to do. Until I have it completed, washed and blocked, I am reserving judgment, but I think my choice of yarn was not the best. We shall see.

Last week, when we had summer, some of the household decided that they definitely approved of hot sunshine....

Others took the opportunity to get an early bite in at this year's catmint....

Senior citizens reckoned that sitting quietly in the cool was a much better idea.....

I photographed the latest socks off the needles.

I'm off to bake scones now - we bought strawberries on Friday, had to get clotted cream to go with them, and, oh dear, have some left. The rare treat of a cream tea looms!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Keep being thwarted....

That has to be imagined as being pronounced with an "ah" sound, not an "or". Heard it once or twice like that in Cumbria years ago and it kind of stuck.

And by it, I mean that I have tried on several occasions to get to writing a blog post, and have been stopped by lack of time, events, or the internet doing dam' stupid things - or not. Sometimes it has just packed up altogether. Grrrrr.

Flickr, too, has been misbehaving. I've tried twice to upload photographs today, and twice have failed, despite actually having quite a good signal on at least the second time. Again, grrrr.

So, a briefish, photoless post (again) just to prove that I am still alive.

Today, I have waved the DSM off to Cornwall for a couple of days to visit his mum. They will both enjoy that, I am sure. I had been hoping for a couple of days r&r, peace and quiet, whatever, for myself, but events conspire again.

This morning doesn't count - book group, and an excellent one, despite there only being five of us, and talking about a book that none of us liked. Which was a real shame, as it was packed, packed I tell you, full of textile history from this very part of the world, from the period when ccottage industry gave way to the manufactories just prior to the Industrial Revolution. Some of it was, I think, pretty accurate, some of it - the parts dealing with dyeing - were not, at least I don't think so. But I now am lusting after doing a bit of research to try to check it out. The book? "The Hawthorn Goddess" by Glyn Hughes. Who is a Local Author (and I use, on good authority, the caps advisedly......

Anyway, tomorrow's day of rest involves a couple of hours felt making with 330 (sic) five year olds (sic encore). I may be barking mad. I obviously can't do anything major with them, a brief run through with a marge tub and a potato masher is going to be about as far as it goes. It could - could - be a lot of fun, or it could be a disaster. My aim is merely to survive.

And the especial treat for Thursday is a visit to the quack. The first appointment I could get, phoning last week. At (wait for it) 7.25 abloodym. At least, I suppose, it gets it out of the way. I finally have the letter of referral about the capsule in my left eye, it has got sufficiently bad that it is significantly affecting my vision. I've left it as long as I could, having been warned that the likely treatment and possible outcomes were probably not going to be as straightforward as this very common condition would be in other peoples' cases - but I do now need to see what the options and risks are. I have reached the stage of feeling vulnerable again when outdoors, and am getting quite a bit of eye strain as the good right eye "carries" the bad left. Spinning and knitting are ok, but my eyes tire quite quickly when reading, and when I am outside, everything seems somehow out of kilter. Fortunately, I can still drive ok. Don't want to go there again, thankyewverymuch.

OK, that'll do for now. Hopefully, the photos will upload at some point and I can do the post properly, plus reporting on felting with the babies. I'll do photos there if they will let me.

Camomile tea, and bed, I think, now.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Interesting times?

Oh, yeah. Working around a stupid internet connection, for one. I'm learning....

Politics. Wow. The overwhelming desire for power demonstrated. Having said that - way too soon to tell what it is going to be like, and I can hope for some moderation of the wilder excesses of the Right to be reined in somewhat. There are some signs....maybe. Definitely interesting.

I've been busy, and therefore neglecting the blog again. Here's some catch up.

Theatre! For the first time in ages! And yes, this is an indication that the DSM is getting much, much better. Saturday, we went in to Manchester to see "Comedy of Errors", a brilliant choice in the circumstances as it is short, and funny. The women were less than stellar, but the four main men were excellent, and the play doesn't work without that, so thank goodness. Plus, we have now booked for "Pygmalion" - are we getting back on track? I think so.

Sunday, Bear Knitters, and a lovely three hours knitting, chat and good food. My sister came over again, which was great.

Tuesday, off to York to have a brief visit with my mother - it is her birthday at the end of the month, when we shall all go, but it seemed a bit mean not to go before then. She wasn't expecting us, so was surprised and pleased. We stopped in town to pick up something the DSM had ordered,and to have lunch at Bettys, and then went on to Leeds to deliver DBIL's birthday present.

Magrat came over to lunch on Wednesday, as we have more AH weekend details to go through, letters to send out &etc. All going well, one workshop is full, the other very nearly so. Should be fun.

And speaking of AH, there are interesting developments there, too. After the last enormous class, I came to a decision that I should have reached ages ago, which is to reduce the number of participants that I am prepared to take on the present basis. It hasn't been fair to anyone, up to and including me! This decision is going to cause short term problems - already is - but I am hoping that new arrangements can be made. Can't say what, more thought and discussion is needed. Watch this space.

But, also on the subject of AH - a chance remark by Sara about Spindle Camp got me pondering. Rather than a camp - how about a Country House I asked, and it was agreed. Next March (assuming we get the numbers) the DSM and I are leading an entire weekend all about spindles. Pretty cool!

It will be a good rehearsal for Summer School in Edinburgh, although we have done spindle spinning at that before, so know it works. All very exciting, anyway.

There's more - I have been enormously brave and booked myself in to two classes at Knit Nation, and accommodation at Imperial College. I'm such a country mouse these days, that London will seem very odd - and all on my own (apart from several hundred other knitters, of course) too. Plus - end of July???? Heat and humidity? But I really wanted to do this, and I Will Survive......

Which is more than the local rodents are at the moment (neat segue, eh?). Young Rubes is in full-on hunting mode, and there is a constant stream of, at the moment, field mice. She had one in her tunnel this lunch time for a jolly play, and then later, aftr the DSM had gone out, I heard her chatting with another in her litter tray (fave stashing place). The sweetest tiny baby, with big - comparatively - eyes. I put it outside, and kept Madam in - don't know if it will survive. (eta: it did.)

And is there spinning and knitting going on? Not so much of the former, but quite a lot of the latter. I have a serious bout of startitis, and have a pair of socks, the spiral throw and a "Citron" from Knitty on the needles, and am about to start a wrap from the Norah Gaughan something Nature book. Photographs of these will follow in due course, but to put something pretty here as a tide-over, here are a couple to be going on with:

Although the sock in the foreground, and the yarn in the background belong to the DSM (and very nice, too), the blue cowl to the left is mine, finished when on holiday. I'm now trying to design a pair of mittens in a similar style to go with it, as there is plenty of yarn left.

And this is my completed waistcoat - a very difficult garment to photograph as it is huuuge...and droopy - and I am not totally convinced that I like it, but will wait awhile before passing final judgement as I tend not to like things when first completed and then kind of grow in to them. Its funny shape might become more appealing as others have done.

If anyone is still awake - there is more going on, but I've run out of steam, and some of it is still slightly under wraps. I have a - for want of a better word - cold, although it isn't quite like a normal one. It comes and goes, and at the moment is coming.

Time for a cup of tea!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Poor neglected blog!

OK, so I have been away, but that's no real excuse. I did in fact (mirabile dictu!!) have a perfectly good internet connection through my dongle, but couldn't get inspired to upload photographs to the lap top (horrible software, I need to install Photoshop on it and Have Not Got Around To It...) So, I was going to wait until we got home, got all wirelessified on the desk top, and go from there.

Well, first of all, the DSM had, not at all unusually for him, a back-from-hols wobbly. But given that he is still Not OK, this was a bit more distracting than the usual. So, although we got the pc back, it didn't get set up. Plus I had a wobble of my own (are we surprised? No, we are not.)

Today, teeth have been gritted and work is being done. I have a number of deadlines piling up, so I needed to tackle them. Got a wireless connection all right, but then it fell in a heap. Grrr. In the end, I put the photos on the laptop, even though I will do them on the pc as well - or can I fish for them wirelessly? Maybe I can, if I can be so clever........

Oh, phooey, stop moaning, woman....

We had a great time in Northumberland. Pottered about up and down the coast. Beautiful. Saw lots of birds. Nothing unusual per se, but nice stuff for us, like eiders and mergansers, and such joy, a Greylag goose with the sweetest little fluffy yellow goslings.

That was at Dunstanburgh Castle. Here follow some photos of around and about.

The coast is spectacular. We stayed on the edge of Boulmer village, cheek by jowl with the RAF base, but they were obligingly quiet. Very nice bungalow, which would be a delight to retire to. We were a short walk from the shore. We went up as far as Bamburgh, and down to Tynemouth - I had very dim memories of visiting there one dark night when I was a student, and meeting a penguin on the beach. No, I wasn't drunk, just very uneducated birdwise - it was, I realised many years later, a guillemot.

What in my memory was Bamburgh castle, wasn't; that may have been Dunstanburgh, I'm not sure now.

Bamburgh is ever so slightly a cheat. Although the foundations go back hundreds of years - and obviously so, if you look closely - it was completely rebuilt in the 19th century. Bit like out 17th century cottage rebuilt in the 20th - kind of.....I suppose.

Nice village, anyway, and we might go back for a long weekend. We will certainly go back to Northumbria as quick as may be somewhere.

And on the way home I finally got to stop at the Angel of the North. Even more powerful up close than seeing it from a distance. I just love it.

I mainly knitted whilst away. The tv was primitive - still analogue, no Freeview box. But this meant that we could catch up on all those West Wings I have been dying to see, so that was ok. I finished a pair of socks, and a cowl, and restarted the spiral throw so that it doesn't pucker. Looks much better now.

I will do a proper fibery blog post soon, and play catch up there. I need to go back to other stuff now - I'm busy organising something new at AH, and attempting to renegotiate the way the existing class works in the light of all the people who want to learn to spin (and isn't that great, or what?)

It is such an irony that just at the age when I am supposed to be retired (and I have the bus pass to prove it) there seems to be more going on than ever. And that is not a complaint!

And - can someone explain just why the Blogger spell check seems to have stopped functioning? (Off to check the site....)