Friday, 27 February 2015

I've never seen Star Wars

As well as being a statement of fact, I haven't seen the film probably never will, my post title is also the name of a BBC Radio 4 comedy programme where celebrities list experiences they've never had, go off to try them and report back with a rating out of 10.  Experiences tend to be those that many people will have had but to the celebrity they are completely new.  The list might include books not read, War and Peace often features, foods never tasted, snails for example, perhaps karaoke or leaning to swim, anything really including once colonic irrigation.
Thinking about the programme reminded me of the many mundane experiences I have missed out on but have no desire to try.
I've never knitted a toe up sock, or a top down jumper, though I have knitted many complicated patterns including a sideways produced cable jumper not unlike the Vogue one below and an extremely complex Celtic knot patterned one, in both cases for other people. 

These days I'm so comfortable with the small challenge of a bit of pattern on a sock and actually enjoy churning out pair after pair of plain ordinary ones.
I've never tried skiing although with a group of friends I did sign up for lessons on an indoor dry ski slope.  One look at the gradient and the planks I was expected to use to get down convinced me that it wasn't a sport I would enjoy. I've never played bridge either and though I tried it once I don't play golf, all three activities are almost compulsory in this building.
I've never changed a plug, I did gen up on how to do it in case of emergency but it seemed such a dangerous activity with the possibility of the wires being not quite right that I've never tackled it.  
I've never reverse parked my car.  Mr FF tried to teach me but I didn't really get it.
When I use a car park I tend to find what I call a drive through spot, one with two rows of spaces where you can drive across the first into the second and are ready for an exit without even having to reverse.    I'd happily walk half a mile across the car park in exchange for a drive through while Mr FF prefers to drive round for half an hour and then negotiate the most impossible space just to be near the entrance.
I don't beat myself up about these non-experiences, I've had plenty of others I've loved and I don't think I'd ever want to go on the radio programme, unless of course they offered to fly me in a private jet with Johnny Depp to visit the Clooneys at their villa on Lake Como, which counts as 4.



Sunday, 22 February 2015

Knit me a rainbow

Amelia, my 5 year old great niece and her family were here a week or so ago and very impressed with our new home and our new town. Amelia immediately noticed my green scarf knitting, though luckily not the shape of the yarn, asked if she could have a go and if I could knit her a scarf too.  Of course I could, though her list of the preferred colours, about 8 including silver, was a bit daunting for someone who hates stitching in ends.  She had a good root in my stash and selected some yarns but they were so mismatched in ply and content I couldn't really put them together.
I solved that problem when I found in my LYS a 150 g ball of Regia sock yarn, I already had in mind this simple one row ZickZack pattern.
At the end of the week we were down at my brother's and Amelia and family arrived, she immediately spotted my knitting and exclaimed 'my beautiful scarf'. When I asked her how she knew it was for her she said because it contained all the colours she wanted, she held it to her neck and declared it amazing.  She then encouraged me to get knitting and enjoyed unwinding the changing coloured yarn for me.
It's finished now and I shall post it to her tomorrow, just in time for the forecast cold weather.  
Amelia has also asked me to kit a hat, gloves, a cardigan and a dress, meantime she is very keen to learn to knit herself and has asked for a knitting set instead of a chocolate egg this Easter.    Impressed, I am delighted and hope that having a missed a generation, her mother and her aunt, the love of knitting may continue in our family.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Mr FF told me not to post this

Continuing to knit up the stash, I started using a sizeable quantity of an unknown but very soft fine yarn to make Tender, a pretty scarf pattern by Maanel that is a free Ravelry download.  The wool was sort of cone shaped but without the usual central cardboard core.
It's always interesting how yarn unwinds, I am delighted when a simple cake of fibre reveals intricate winding patterns, and always cross when the middle of a cake unravels and gets mixed up with the leading thread.
However, I have never seen yarn unwind like this before, someone has a sense of humour or is it just me.
Any comments may need to be moderated.

Friday, 6 February 2015

February reductions

I really have been eating up the stash, socks, scarves, wash clothes, I've posted off gifts of finished items and put some yarn into the charity shop.  I have gone from a large wicker hamper and a wooden chest plus the bottom of the airing cupboard's worth of wool to just the first two containers that are now less than crammed full.  The fact we don't have an airing cupboard here might have been the incentive to move so much yarn.
However, I had a slight back when I sorted out some balls of New Lanark dk that I'd bought previously in packs of 10 x 50g balls direct from the mill which wasn't so far from where we lived.  I'd made Mr FF a couple of jumpers and had enough balls left over to knit another one. The yarn came in plastic bags, one of which had disappeared, with no ball bands or indication of dye lots and in my innocence I assumed they were all the same. 
I happily knitted away in front of the telly in the evenings and it wasn't until I was blocking the pieces in daylight that I realised there is a slight variation in colour. If I'd realised I could have made the sleeves in one shade the body in the other but in fact I have produced an interesting patchwork effect.   It's not that noticeable, I'm sure we will get away with it and Mr FF isn't in the slightest bit concerned he's just pleased to have another warm jumper.
I then had a downsizing set back this week when two of my local charity shops were selling books for 50p. I had been making good progress reading and returning my paperbacks but this price cut represents about 20 cm of shelf space and a couple of months of reading.  Great bargains in a good cause how could I not bring them home.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Chance not choice

This apartment is the second pre-owned property we have bought, all our other homes have been rented or new builds.  So we inherited lots of choices here that we wouldn't have made but I am pleased to say that mostly we like them 
Our bedroom fitted wardrobes
and when finishes are fairly bland and neutral there is nothing to fall out with.

Our bedroom Roman blinds
All the walls are white the carpets cream and generally everything is easy to live with although some of the finishes are completely beyond anything I would ever have considered.
Take the kitchen floor as an example, large shiny black ceramic tiles with lots of sparkly bits in them that glitter in the sunlight or when the lights are on.
My last kitchen floor of choice was white Amtico vinyl tiles that wore really well but in addition to regular washing had to be stripped of finish with a special cleaner every 6 months or so and re-varnished twice, once in one direction again at right angles to the first, it was half a days work and the products were expensive. 
These black tiles are simple to wash with just water or a weak detergent mix and a quick run round with the vacuum keeps them smart in between.
The stone kitchen worktops are almost as sparkly, some type of composite quartz I believe, pale grey with darker grey flecks and twinkles of silver. Though I find them a bit noisy when I put things down they look lovely and are simple to keep clean, unlike the matt black Corian worktops I had previously that always looked smeary and soon showed signs of wear.
I certainly wouldn't have chosen orange for my kitchen wall tiles but these are acceptable, are extremely well fitted and like everything else in the kitchen shiny shiny.
However, the second bathroom continues to freak me out.  I dislike the black counter top wash basin and the black free standing bath with its ornate silver feet is definitely going.  I've only used it once, it took a huge amount of water and I found having the position of the tap, halfway down one side, annoying when I needed to top up with hot water.

Having other people's choices forced on you can be a good opportunity opening your eyes to different possibilities and actually making your life better but this bathroom is just too much for me.



Sunday, 25 January 2015

January days

I've lived long enough to know that January is a month that lasts far too long but it still seems to drag and we've had quiet days here in the penthouse.  We are still considering how to revamp our second bathroom, it doesn't have to be all singing all dancing as we'd rather put the bigger effort into the en suite when we eventually upgrade that but we would like it to be stylish with clean lines and quality fittings.  We should make more effort to visit displays in showrooms but it's January, we are sluggish.
I've been knitting of course but since I haven't had a craft fair stall for ages and no longer sell items via a local shop I am stock piling finished items. Still, it doesn't stop me knitting scarves.  A cable in some thick cream wool
 and a pretty candle flame pattern in a finer yarn.
Unfortunately there has been slight stash enhancement as I found 5 balls of this lovely Isle of Harris pure wool 4 ply in a charity shop.   In colours of the sea I am thinking of a pretty cowl, obviously I am desperate for even more neck wear.
Meantime Mr FF has blown his budget on an expensive new leather chair and footstool that perfectly match our big leather settee.  Just the spot to snooze away January, he's doing his best.


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Time for a rant

We were never going to get very far into the new year before I needed to rant and it's poor customer service again.
Mid November last year I ordered some Origins toiletries to be delivered to Pam in Scotland for her birthday, I completed a gift tag on line, ticked for the free gift wrap and completed all the details.  I thought it was a bit odd when the billing address came up as Pam's because I thought that had to agree with the information on my credit card but when I phoned to clarify that Pam wouldn't be getting a bill they said everything was fine.
I didn't hear from Pam for about a week after her birthday when she phoned and mentioned she'd received a nice box of Origins products with no idea who it was from, I told her it was me and that I'd get in touch with them about the mistake, the box wasn't gift wrapped either.
I emailed and Origins replied offered to send me a gift tag and some wrapping paper, I felt they hadn't fully understood the problem or my disappointment and got back to them.  Then they said I had paid less than the normal price for the product, not paid any extra for the tag or wrapping (which were offered free) and so it was fair enough that they hadn't fulfilled my order properly. This made me even crosser so I asked for my complaint to be dealt with at a higher level and suggested I should receive some compensation.  There was a string of emails, at least a dozen in total, mostly saying we can only apologise, not their usual standard etc, each response from a different person.  I got so cross that eventually I phoned and spoke to a lady who insisted on calling me 'my love', agreed it was annoying, confirmed I had ordered a tag and gift wrap.  She would look into it and phone me back, which she did saying that having checked the emails no one had been rude to me (I never suggested they had) so they wouldn't be offering any compensation.  I said they only had to stick a bar of soap in the post with a letter of apology and I'd have been happy, as it is I won't be shopping with them again.   I really don't like this attitude and I won't support companies who explain away their mistakes as 'human error', say that the mistake happened in the warehouse and they are not responsible for that. Now that I live within walking distance of shops I shall not be ordering online so much as I've experienced several problems recently and because I want to do what I can to shop locally and maintain our high street.   I won't buy Origins in store either which is a shame as I do like their products, it's their attitude to customers that stinks.