Monday 31 December 2007
Having said that, I now offer a review of my own fiction reading this year.
I used to think I didn't read enough so I started recording each book as I finished it and was surprised and pleased to find that I read at least 24 books a year. I won't bore you with the full list but some of my favourite and regular authors are Anne Tyler, Helen Dunmore, Rose Tremain and Margaret Atwood. I keep the list in my diary and rate the books with a system of ticks. The voting this year had my top three as follows
1 We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver. A beautifully written, harrowing and haunting story that I read in January and is still with me
2 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
3 The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
Some books are so good I cannot part with them (usually paperbacks go to friends or charity shops), these three are still in the bookcase with some favourites from previous years that I may or may not read again but I need to own.
I'm already into my first 2008 book which is Mother, Missing by Joyce Carol Oates. She is an American author I have read and enjoyed several times and this book is no exception. I'm also delving in and out of The Gentle Art of Domesticity by my blogging/crafting heroine Jane Brocket, who never fails to inspire me to craft and tidy up.
We are all taking it easy today, reading, knitting and dozing in front of the stove, its heaven and good preparation for 2008, my retirement year.
Saturday 29 December 2007
She managed to capture both ends at once, one in her paw one in her mouth. Her original family who used to live next door to us were home briefly from Kuwait and came round for dinner last night. Cleo was a bit nonchalant about seeing them again but they were delighted to see how well she is looking and confirmed that she is 17 years old. Still catching rabbits, mice and wool, what a good girl.
Mr FF did well with his shopping and found me some lovely Patons angora/wool mix beautifully packed in tissue paper in cardboard boxes, 9 balls of pale lemon and 10 of lavender.
Monday 24 December 2007
Friday 21 December 2007
Fortunately I drew Joanne, my faithful reader, as my recipient and since the clues she had given were green and size 5 feet, I got my needles in action and made her these
Just one more Christmas gift to knit, Mr FF is out this evening so I shall get down to some serious work. Meantime I'm doing my domestic duties and adding bit of festivity to the house. No need to do much as the scene outside is so beautiful, bright sunshine and everything covered in white frost, I can almost hear those sleighbells.
Sunday 16 December 2007
We are not great ones for decking the halls, but we have put white lights outside on the Korean pine at the front of the house, the tree is well covered by blue/black cones again this year and looks really welcoming. I've also put the wreath up beside the front door so to the outside world at least we look festive. On the inside all you can hear is bah humbug!And now even after that brilliant Argentine tango the lovely Gethin is out of Strictly, I am devastated, I'm not voting any more.
Friday 14 December 2007
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - behold my new site.
Sunday 9 December 2007
I love Strictly and I love those who love it too. I email people I work with, clients and suppliers, about the results, chat to my colleagues and even had a discussion in the hairdressers the other week. I fantasise about being one the the professional dancers, though I can't decide if I'd be Flavia or Lilia. As Falvia I'd be able to brush up my (lapsed intermediate level) Italian with the gorgeous Vincent and he'd lead and lift me through smouldering tangos. Admittedly I'd need to lose a bit of weight but obviously I would. If I were Lilia I'd be married to the adorable Darren and I'd have partnered my favourite ever Strictly competitor Darren Gough, and again got thrown around a bit during the fabulous Night to Remember routine (are you noticing a theme here?). The year Darren won we had been invited out to dinner on final nights and our friends Roger and Christine kindly arranged the meal to suit the programme timings even though they weren't fans. This was in the days when the result were announced later the same evening, we took puddings and coffee in front to the telly and all cheered when Darren won. I'm not so fond of waiting a day to know the results, but it does mean we see more of the wonderful professional dancers.
And who do I want to win this year? GETHIN. Alesha is the obvious favourite but I feel she had such an advantage coming from a musical background and some of those celebrity boys have made such progress. Kenny Logan admitted he couldn't even clap to the beat when he started and look at the improvement he made. I had to watch the lift from Dirty Dancing several times (OK I'll stop this now). Whoever wins it will have been a fabulous series as ever and made a retiring woman very happy. Come January I shall be bereft.
Friday 7 December 2007
Sunday 2 December 2007
Dolly isn't really my aunt, she is a friend of the family who has had this honourary title for two generations. She was when her eyesight was better a great crafter, knitting. crochet and embroidery, and has been an inspiration to me. There are several beautiful tapestry kneelers in the Church that Dolly made for the Queen's silver jubilee, I used one at my niece's wedding this year. When I first tried to crochet about 30 years ago I showed Dolly my efforts and she presented me with a full set of hooks in a case that she said she had been keeping for that moment. I am embarrassed to say that I never really progressed beyond the basics, though I did make a rather ugly blanket that I still have There is still time to improve and one day I really would like to learn more. I hope she likes these gloves, based on a pattern in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts (how appropriate) by Joelle Hoverson and I hope she has a wonderful Christmas which I know she will be spending with either family, genuine or self appointed.
Wednesday 28 November 2007
All fixed now. Its quite relaxing sticking and grouting, do you think I'm ready to tackle a garden table next?
Friday 23 November 2007
Friday 16 November 2007
Saturday 10 November 2007
Wednesday 7 November 2007
I'm unpacked but otherwise too exhausted to do anything, I'll update in a few days assuming I'm back to normal then.
It was a fabulous holiday, I'm told I look well and relaxed and apart from the jet lag and a few extra pounds that made my trousers rather uncomfortable on the flight home, I feel great.
Thursday 1 November 2007
Our epic 4 day 4 state journey (California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona) ended at 10 pm last night when we got back from Grand Canyon to our condo. We visited Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, Zion National Park and Grand Canyon north and south rims and in between saw some amazing scenery and crazy sights. Our hotel in Vegas, The Bellagio, was mind blowing, our room had a floor to ceiling window looking out onto the strip and the 8 acre water park with dancing fountains, luckily the curtains operated from the bedside so we could block out all the neon when we tired of looking. We are glad we visited Vegas but its not something we would want to do again - ever. If you are not gambling it seems you are walking round watching other people do so, there seems to be no way of getting away from the machines and the tables, even the bar tops and the dining tables offer gaming opportunities.
It was nice to get away into the quiet little towns and talk to local people one of whom directed us to Zion National Park, it was fantastic and great to be able to see the autumn colours and get up close to the rock formations. Grand Canyon was beyond words and though we couldn't stay at the north rim as planned as it was closed for winter (winter with 60 degrees), we did stay in the park at the south rim and took our morning coffee out to the rim to watch the sun coming up. So much to see but now we are going to take it easy, though maybe go to the Joshua Tree which we have visited before but not for very long. I'm having a wonderful birthday.
Saturday 27 October 2007
The knitting isn't making much progress and what I do is generally in the air conditioned car, its far too hot otherwise. I shall be off line for a while now I expect and hopefully not pushing all my money into the Vegas slot machines. Now I need to search out some bling so they'll let me into that hotel.
Tuesday 23 October 2007
Yesterday we took a walk round the local area and noticed a House Open so we went for a look. We were shown round a wonderful home with pool and resident cat and having got the property bug proceeded to view a condo and then some new desert homes costing around $2 million, I was surprised they let us in. I promise we shall not be purchasing property here, but a little fantasising is good, we are on holiday after all, and loving it.
Friday 19 October 2007
Tuesday 16 October 2007
and the other stuff is laid out on the spare bed, though I do keep adding another t shirt or six. We fly to Heathrow Wednesday morning and on to LA that afternoon. I'll try to get on line while we are away, 3 week is a long time without news, but if not I promise I will be knitting, reading, chilling, searching out yarn shops and seriously thinking about my life. I'm calling this trip a fact finding mission, I shall be 59 when I come back, I feel I need to wear more purple.
Friday 12 October 2007
If I'm not out in the garden tomorrow I shall be starting to put together a capsule wardrobe for my holiday (I wish) and Sunday we are off walking in Perthshire. Enjoy your weekend.
Saturday 6 October 2007
The yarn is incredibly soft but quite easy to split and knits a little uneven. Are you getting the impression I'm not 100% about it, well maybe I am a bit disappointed considering the cost. I do have other yarn that is 30% alpaca 70% merino so this could be a better option for me and some small footed person will get these for Christmas, which will mean that at least I have made a start on knitting Christmas presents.
Monday 1 October 2007
I only finished the ones on the right last night and discovered when grafting the toe that I'd made a mistake in the final shaping. I need to pull the last bit out tonight and reknit, only perfection will do. We went down to the Lakes on Saturday and I was knitting in the car but forgot to take my stitch markers. I improvised with a piece of plastic I found in my bag, which didn't work so gave up on knitting, but one of the home made markers came out and I lost the plot.
On the way down we called in at The Alpaca Centre near Penrith and I bought myself 2 balls of pale blue pure alpaca to knit socks for ME - I really deserve them just now.
Friday 28 September 2007
We had Pam and Andrew round for dinner and I made Limoncello syllabub with crushed Amaretti biscuits. Lovely Limoncello from Sorrento, which I'm told is the very best. Lemon puddings are my favourite, I know that makes me not a proper woman because I don't crave chocolate, but I much prefer a sharp lemon tart, lemon anything really. I have a beautiful reamer that was a gift from my friend Sarah in Australia many years ago. I laughed when I opened the parcel and first saw it and I still laugh every time I take it out to use it, which speaks volumes about my sense of humour, but at least I'm managing to maintain one.
Sunday 23 September 2007
Thursday 20 September 2007
Monday 17 September 2007
A few things have happened recently that reminded me life is short and friends and family are important, so Friday, after big hints from Amy, I decided that we 3 needed to get together out of the office and have some fun. Amy and Joanne were up for a meal and overnight at my house on Saturday, nothing fancy, not too much effort from me, just time together, some comfort food, wine, music and chat. Mr FF was the perfect host (he may have been showing off but we all appreciated his thoughtfulness and attention) slipping off to tidy the kitchen whilst we were chatting after dinner, cooking bacon and eggs for everyone when we finally got out of bed on Sunday morning. We went off to a local gallery Sunday afternoon and came home for tea and cake followed by afternoon television and knitting. Amy resurrected a project that had been on her conscience for a while, and started enjoying it again, I finished another sock and Joanne who doesn't knit (but has many other crafting skills) gave it a go and has started an attractive stripped teddy's scarf/tie for her bank manager boyfriend. Apparently she was still knitting on the bus back into town until she started to feel queasy.
I can't say our weekend has made work any better but hopefully we all feel a bit more positive about ourselves and each other - group hug anyone?
Wednesday 12 September 2007
And she can be confused easily, sometimes she doesn’t know which way is up.
Saturday 8 September 2007
Weekdays the breakfast beverage is tea in a bone china mug and anytime we need an espresso we have these little sweeties.
Tuesday 4 September 2007
Friday 31 August 2007
Tuesday 28 August 2007
We walked along the coastal path from Aberlady to Gullane Point, it was a gloriously sunny day with many of the little bays completely deserted. We are big fans of the wild Northumberland beaches and sometimes forget that we have a great coastline not too far from home. We were having such a good time we decided to walk on to North Berwick and arrived just in time to catch the bus back to Aberlady.
Two fish suppers, mushy peas (we are northerners) and a bottle of pop each, eaten sitting on a bench looking out to the bay. As I've said before we do like to make an effort.
Mr F F said it was a most relaxing day and next year he can do it all again with the benefit of a bus pass. He's going to have to come up with something good for my birthday in November, which apparently will take place in the USA.
Saturday 25 August 2007
Even mopping and sweeping are a pleasure and offer the chance to admire my toes. I think its important that my nail varnish matches my cleaning equipment.
Wednesday 22 August 2007
However, we have taken up the lunch culture and despite working really hard we did take a proper Italian lunch break with good food and a snooze. Some days Mr Flip Flops even took a shower and changed into clean working clothes, we do like to make an effort. All our food was locally sourced, salami and prosciutto produced by the village butcher, regional cheeses, figs and olive oil from our garden. No wine though, not with all that work to do, just lemon tea and lashings of tap water.