Saturday, 30 July 2016

Been a while

Yes I know, we've been at the house two weeks now and not a word from me.  Even Mr FF who likes to keep me off the iPad has complained about the lack of blogging.
After the trauma in France when we found it hard to find words to express our sadness, we had the most wonderful welcome into Italy.  We stayed at an amazing little three star family run hotel in the hills above Portofino, somehow we always get attracted up above the main drag.  Swimming pool, lovely room, gorgeous modern bathroom, tea and coffee, slippers, pre dinner drinks with enough snacks to make a meal, generous to a fault the owners oil don't do enough.   We dined amongst noisy tables of large families and tourists, four courses and after each one we were offered second helpings, wine was red or white nine euros.  After diner kids went off to play table tennis and football, adults chatted on a terrace bright with candles, we felt so content and delighted to be back in Italy.
Of course our house was very dusty, full of cobwebs and dead insects as usual, the garden full of weeds but over two weeks that has been sorted and we are enjoying our usual dolce vita.
And I know you are wondering, yes Theo Lisa and Marzio are all here ...... wait for it ........ with three kittens about four months old so now we have a family of six.  The kittens Grigio Rosso and Crema are becoming tame and delightful, all in good condition and loved by our neighbours who along with Mario have kept them fed for us.
It's hot, into the 30s and we are not fully acclimatised yet so we haven't ventured far.  The August holidays begin this weekend and we have three days of festa in our village concluding on Sunday evening with a beauty contest and male strippers in the piazza, this in a place with seven priests, many nuns and on a Sunday.   Welcome to Italy.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Nice

We spent last night in a beautiful restaurant with rooms in the hills above Nice, a happy busy place with charming staff and an international mix of customers enjoying delicious food in a fabulous setting.  We heard before we went to bed something had happened in Nice and today the dreadful news that many many people enjoying their national holiday have been slaughtered by cowardly terrorists.  It seems so much worse because we are near, this sunny morning is full of sadness and shock.  My heart goes out to the people of France.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A post of many colours

So it begins, the packing in anticipation of months away, the travel itinerary, the freezer to empty. Yes all happening but for now I've got my toe nails painted for our journey which starts apparently at 3 am on Wednesday morning.  These are my new sparkly sandals, a bit smarter than the usual flipflops though many pairs of the latter will be worn believe me. 
I've packed a few pots of nail polish for the duration though I'm pretty certain I have a good stock already in the house.  I'm particularly liking the blue that I've been wearing for the past few weeks.
Lots of colours in my knitting bag too with various odds of yarn that I have every intention of using, plus my grammar book for reference en route.  I'm knitting some plain socks in these girly colours, hopefully there will be more consumption during the journey.
I'm making the pattern up as I go along, I'll probably finish the toe with the contrast and maybe have a different stripe in the second sock.
The new curtains for the lounge are sorted too, the main body will be beige, I think it's called twine, with a bottom edge of dark brown and the tiniest line of red between the two.  
Mr FF has installed the track, the curtains won't be made until we know when we are coming home but nice that we won't have bare windows over the winter. Winter, lets not talk about that, though this time I must take some sensible shoes for the journey home, not that we want to mention the journey home either. We should be in our house by the weekend and may catch a stage of the Tour de France on the way.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Waiting to leave

Quite days here in the penthouse as we contemplate the move out to Italy.   A few snagging problems with the doors are fixed so nothing to keep us now. We are enjoying sitting out in the sunshine and moving inside to admire the rain sheeting down the glass when showers appear. It's Tour de France time so there's much afternoon telly and knitting until things get exciting when I drop everything as on the first day when Mark Cavendish won the sprint  to take the yellow jersey. 
I've knitted up my 25p ball of cotton, a large dish cloth above and a small wash cloth below.
I don't normally use a flannel or cloth but I do like to see a couple of these sitting prettily in the bathroom, the pink is one I made earlier.
Then of course there are socks, another pair of Earl Gray by Yarn Harlot.  I've knitted these before but checking Mr FF's sock drawer I think he may have worn them out or they are living in Italy.  Anyway I enjoy the pattern though as usually I'm having problems knitting such a dark yarn in the evenings.  And obviously couldn't take a decent photo of them to save my life.  

I always feel that the summer is over once the Tour finishes, this year may be different because really our proper summer will just be starting when we get to Italy.  We heard that the veggies we planted are doing well, the cats are still around and our Danish friends want us there by August when they have a lull in their usually busy social calendar.  Meantime I'm wearing my flipflops here in Ilkley, there's a lot to be said for this place.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The storming stage

When I worked in occupational psychology one of the training models used was the Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing .  This team development tool was introduced by Bruce Tuckman in 1965 and demonstrates the phases necessary and inevitable in order for a team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results.  As you know I'm no great promoter of management jargon but I do think at present our country is very much in a storming stage although our government and opposition parties still need a bit of forming, or reforming too.   I'm finding it very disappointing that the fighting,  scaremongering and nonsense continue. Let's hope we can quickly move onto the norming stage when things settle down and people begin to work together.  I had fully expected on Friday that Extra Energy would tell us they couldn't pay our refund as promised since the UK had opted to come out of the EU, so far they've found some pretty far fetched excuses.   Surprise surprise, the money went  back into our bank account though we didn't receive the promised telephone call to discuss compensation.  
And a stash enhancement as you never know, we might not be able to get yarn any more when the exit negotiations are complete, I've already seen people bemoaning the fact there will be no more French wine.  A local charity shop had a wonderful basket of single balls of yarn at 25p each, worth spending £1 however low it's value against the euro.  I got 2 x 50g balls of Adriafil, made in Italy,  pure wool in a lovely lavender that will make a nice cowl, a ball of beige cotton, feels like pure cotton, that will make a wash cloth or two and a ball of something soft and silky that feels like Noro which I hope might be enough for a pair of fingerless gloves though it does seem very delicate so perhaps not.
Just as well we've got the steps finished, some might say there will be no more Italian travertine now.  And yes it was a stormy day when I took the photo, still wonderful though.


Thursday, 23 June 2016

Progress

Yesterday the travertine for the steps out onto the balcony was delivered.  It is gorgeous, an elegant and natural material that perfectly matches our fireplace. I am all smiles again and today it is being fitted as I type.
Work should be finished this evening but for now we are back to dust sheets, noise and apart from making coffee I have little to do and nowhere to sit.  
Bit of knitting progress though.  This is Cancun boxy top by Erin Kate Archer. It's a simple but clever pattern that you can adapt to suit yourself.  It's simply a case of knitting two rectangles, how easy is that.  I made a longer top than the pattern suggests by adding more bands of texture and knitting 8 rows of garter stitch rather than 4 between each band.  I used 7 x 50 g of a linen cotton mix dk I found in a charity shop for £4, basically I knit one side until I'd consumed half my yarn.  
It's such an adaptable pattern that would look good with a plan yarn but looks great with this knobbly one.  The pattern bands were interesting to knit and I'm sure more intelligent knitters could add their own, we all know how lazy I am.
Let's not dampen my parade, we are told by Extra Energy that we should receive our long promised refund tomorrow.  Watch this space, meantime concentrate on the positive if rather beige progress above.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Not a lot to show

I was speaking to a neighbour in our building the other day and she said when she had work done to her lounge it really took it out of her and it was a while before she recovered.  I think I am more or less back on track, as much as I am ever on track, but I know what she means, life has been so unrelaxing for several weeks.  Which probably explains the total lack of knitting.  It's hard to knit sitting at the kitchen table or on the bed or on the floor in the bedroom.  In the last six or seven weeks, two of which were spent in Italy,  I have managed to produce three socks

a pair for me 
and the first of a pair for Mr FF.  Both are in West Yorkshire Spinners yarn that was on offer with 30% off at my LYS
It's a poor show really but maybe just as well I didn't make great progress as my stash was inaccessibly packed away under plastic sheeting.  I had to use the recently purchased yarn and might have been tempted to buy even more.
As part of his recovery Mr FF has taken himself off for a few days walking, he's finishing off the Dales Way, most stages of which he has completed from home, but the more distant stretches involve a couple of overnights and then a train back from the Lake District.  So I am having a bit of me time, sitting out a lot on the balcony in glorious sunshine and yes back to knitting in front of the telly. There should be a complete pair of socks waiting for him when he gets home.