Wednesday 22 September 2010

the eagle has landed


Thursday 16 September 2010

Packing for the holiday

First of all don't read this if you work for Ryanair, it's of absolutely no interest to you, truly.
I wish this could be a light-hearted little post about my minimal wardrobe and holiday knitting, it isn't. You remember last time we were at our house in Italy, a couple of months ago, we had problems connecting the newly installed wood burning stove to the newly installed flue liner. We left the house with lots of metal pipe fitted in the chimney, the hearth and stove in position and nothing working. Back home Mr FF did some investigation and decided we needed a flexible flue, a product that is manufactured in Italy but not readily available there, we did make enquiries during our last visit. The cost of having a flue delivered back to Italy from the UK was enormous so Mr FF spoke to Ryanair about the possibility of taking one on a flight and they said that provided the item complied with their dimensions for hold luggage we could pay up and check in what liked. He ordered the product and explained to the suppliers his intention asking them if they could pack it to the approved dimensions. The said they would but they didn't and this arrived, large yes but also wide.
I'm starting to feel a bit ill just writing about this.
Mr FF then suggested he repack the flue and put it in the bag he uses to take his bicycle on flights, he also suggested that he book it in as a bike but I thought we needed to be honest and not risk rejection. So he decided to source a suitable box and in Edinburgh we found a bike box that we intended to cut down to the required dimensions. At the weekend we attempted to recoil the flue, though it is flexible there is a limit to how must stress it will take and it was just too wide to fit into the box. It's now bubble wrapped again and in the bike bag, its huge and quite heavy because also in the bag are four new legs for the stove. It didn't sit level on the completely level marble hearth and the manufacturers sent us a new set of legs that we need to fit though I'd much prefer to bung a bit of something under the wobbly leg and get on with my life. We are parking our car at the airport so that if we are not allowed to check in the monster bag we can leave it in the car for two weeks. Our flight is at 6.30 on Sunday morning, I am worried, very worried, about getting the bag on the plane, getting it into the hire car at the other end and stuffing the bloomin flue down the chimney if we get it to the house. I can't even think about what knitting I want to take.

Saturday 11 September 2010

Knitting now

A month has passed during which the additions to the yarn stash have exceeded the deductions once again. I've made a few pairs of socks and I a hat for my market stall next Saturday plus these for Mr FF's birthday which was towards the end of August but I've just got round to telling you.
The pattern is Jules by Kate and I admit I stole the idea of knitting them from Snoopydog. I used a Regia yarn, the pattern and colours gave the effect of knitting tartan which was very pleasing and look how well they match his new birthday slippers.
Meantime quite a lot of girly shades of yarn have arrived and I suddenly find I need to get knitting for my great niece Amelia's first birthday at the end of October and also for the new daughter of a friend, that's three little garments I plan to produce. Quite feasible for a retired woman you might think but we are off to Italy next Sunday for two weeks and I prefer to take sock knitting in my carry on luggage rather than risk having anything too precious ripped off my needles at the airport. Luckily the weather forecast for the coming week is dire so I won't be in the garden, I may be in front of the stove watching daytime television with my needles smouldering.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Inside, outside, no contest

Mr FF went down to Manchester yesterday for meetings and after some deliberation, 3 hours each way car journey v day in the garden, I decided to do the decent thing and go with him, especially as I knew he had an early start and would be finished in the afternoon so we could call in at The Lake District on our way back.
We were up before 6 am, quick showers and away, we stopped off at one of his favourite truck stops for coffee and bacon rolls en route and made good time. I hadn't been sure what to do with myself while Mr FF was busy and eventually asked him to drop me off at the Trafford Centre which wasn't too far from his first appointment. Big mistake, I'm not a fan of shopping malls at the best of times, I much prefer to be outdoors, and this one was an ornate shrine to consumerism. All the usual high street shops, nothing whatsoever individual, lots of fast food outlets with the one redeeming place, Carluccio's an Italian deli and restaurant where I had an excellent coffee and bought this tea towel. The lovely sales girl also gave me a couple of postcards and a carrier bag with the same design.
I was soon bored and spent quite a while sitting waiting inside as there was nothing but car parking outside, though I did pick up the makings of a picnic so that we could get straight to the Lakes. Mr FF collected me up around 2 and we were in the National Park in less than 1.5 hours, where we found the perfect spot. A National Trust property with parkland right down to Lake Windermere that was full of people enjoying the sunshine in a very British way. Picnics, folding chairs, blankets were in abundance and every possible game was taking place, cricket, football, frisbee, canoes and kayaks were on the water finding their way round the swimmers and splashers, it was a delight to see so many people making their own entertainment in such a gentile way. I had my book Mr FF had the paper and we soaked in the sun, took a stroll along the lakeside and watched the fun. I did overhear a mother tell her little girl not to venture into the bushes as a very large squirrel lived there, I looked but I couldn't see it.
Late afternoon we went to one of our favourite Lakeland tea shops for a good brew and cakes sitting outside by the river. We know how to enjoy ourselves and it doesn't involve multi million pound buildings full of statues, fountains and run of the mill shops, just beautiful scenery, good fresh air and massive slices of carrot cake.