Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I'm still not blogging as much as I would like. Thinking about it, I realise that there are a few reasons, not just one.

Firstly, the state of our back room/workroom is a total disgrace, and using it is not a pleasure. I have found that there is an app for Blogger for the iPad, but I am still not completely au fait with it - must try harder. (Do so wish there was an app for room-fettling.)

Then, the computer in aforementioned room is elderly, and flaky. Ok, ok, so am I but it still makes a difference! There is an on-going conversation between the DSM and me about getting a new machine, but he still needs working on a bit.......

And more - I am still working mainly with commercial yarns for the forthcoming sproglet. Second blanket nearly finished, cute felted toy needs another machine wash and then stuffing and finishing off. Next up, a pair of delightful crocheted bootees and The Teddy. After that, we shall see. I still have yarn to use.

The only spinning going on - and it is - has been written about here already, so nothing new until finished and off the wheels. I do have a lust for a red shawlette, so am looking through the stash (also not a delightful task on account of the dratted room...)for some suitable fibre. I shall be seduced into a third spinning project if I find anything.

I have some new spindles that I should be giving a work out to, and reporting on, but for whatever reason, I can't find the enthusiasm for that, at the moment. I shall probably take them to Cornwall with me when we go for Christmas. Yes! Christmas with DMIL this year, for a change, and my sister is coming with us, so should be fun. Mind you, I have just read a rather alarmist weather report on t'internet reckoning that we are in for a really hard winter with lots of snow and ice. Now, I normally don't mind that in the slightest, but I do when faced with a few hundred miles of motorway to drive!

So, what has been going on otherwise? A certain amount of gadding to gigs, unusually. The Sunday after we got back from California, Fairport Convention were playing at the Trades Club in town, and we fancied going. They were excellent; and we learned that there was a folk weekend the next one on, so we booked for the Saturday night, and again, really excellent. And I had seen that Bellowhead were at the St George's Hall in Bradford, so we hied ourselves off to that as well. Now, I do know that they are not to everyones taste, but I love them - I find their, shall we say, raucous style exilerating. Plus we got introduced to their supporting act, a young (and rather cute, ahem) would you believe, punk cajun trio from Switzerland, called Mama Rosin. All excellent fun. And, do you get the theme, here.....??

One more - back at the Trades last night, one of the founder members of Fairport with Matthews' Southern Comfort. This was in fact, probably the best gig of the lot. I liked the entire foursome, but two of them - electric guitar and keyboard - were outstanding instrumentalists.

So, having been moaning to the DSM that we never went to music events other than opera - and I was really meaning classical, but definitely not complaining - we have had a sudden rush. We intend to continue, helps keep us young - hah!

OK, I will finish off the trip posts soon, but I just wanted to bring myself up to scratch and up to date.

Just time to stash-dive again before supper.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Death Valley

Just the name.....Death Valley.......has an iconic ring to it. It is deep in our mythology, even if we are not American. Blame it on all those grainy black and white Westerns on the television weekend aftenoons when we were children. Or when I was anyway. And certainly, the walls of the restaurant at Stove Pipe Wells are hung with posters of mostly long forgotten movies called somethingorotherdeathvalley, or that were filmed there.

As I am sure I have said before, I do try very hard not to use the word "awesome" unless I truly mean it. And in this case, I do. Death Valley is awesome. And we didn't even visit at the hottest time of year. Temps between 90 and 100F were quite enough for me, and I was fascinated by the way that any moisture in your skin is just sucked right out as you stand there!

It is huge and beautiful and we barely scratched the surface. Definitely now on my list of places to which I must return.

So a few photos to try to give some flavour of it.






This next was taken at Panamint Springs. (I loved the names - Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Badwater, Panamint Springs.)


These are Joshua trees. All these years, I had heard of the things and not realised what they were like.



I am going to leave it there, gazing at the looming wall of the Sierra Nevada. I had intended to do a larger post, but the internet is doing its Sunday in Hebden Bridge thing, and I can't bear the snails pace!

I'll try not to leave it too long!

(More photos on Flickr, as usual.)

Friday, November 09, 2012

Las Vegas

Strictly speaking, Manchester first - a 25 hour travelling day to Las Vegas that we survived surprisingly well.

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And that is why we went there in the first place! Taken from the pool - on our first day, we had never intended to do very much but potter around, rest, get our bearings. Las Vegas is - weird. It is like being in a giant bubble of artificiality. We didn't step out of the resort apart from going out to the pool area that first day. Everything we needed - and even more that we didn't - was right there, up to and including a tattoo place.

Right outside the resort entrance was a volcano. So, ok, not a real one. A fake one, that erupted every hour from dusk until (I think) midnight. Unmissable (?)

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However they do it, there was a considerable amount of heat involved. Actually, it was pretty impressive. If you have to have that sort of thing.

Then there was the Atrium. With a mini tropical rain forest.

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And crysanthemums. See what I mean by weird?

Something we saw very little of, though, was gamblers. There may have been serious heavy duty stuff going on behind the doors of the high stakes rooms, but at the tables and slots in the main areas, there were very, very few people. Those that there were looked bored out of their skulls, and many of them were smoking. Amazing how quickly that has become such an unusual sight.

Day two, back to the pool in the morning, and then a trip out to Red Rock Canyon in the afternoon. In a pink Hummer. Bizarre, no?

But stunningly beautiful and really interesting. The contrast between the natural raw beauty of the canyon and the rather down at heel artificiality of the city was marked.

A few photos - there are more on Flickr, just click on through if interested.

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An agave plant. Look closely and you should be able to see the fibres.

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Then as a complete contrast, that evening we went to see "Love". It was amazing. It was, actually, well worth going to Vegas for.

I didn't dislike Vagas as much as I had thought that I would. At one and the same time, my brain was telling me that this was awful, this place should not exist in the middle of the desert and that it represented the worst kind of excesses; and that in fact, it was not so bad to suspend ones' disbelief and principles for a couple of days to enjoy relaxing by the pool with the biggest mojito conceivable (I never did finish it) and to watch a show stuffed full of extremely talented people that was beautiful and exciting and reminded one of one's youth! So, yeah, glad we went.

And glad to leave, to get on the road. And more fabulousness.