Sunday 31 July 2011

One week

This time next week we will be driving down to the south coast to take the Eurotunnel to Calais. Hopefully the 16.30 that will allow us time to drive beyond Lille for our first overnight stop on our way to Italy. We haven't booked our channel crossing back, we can in theory stay out there for 7 weeks, whether we will is a different matter.
Things are tense in the pre holiday build up, Mr FF is trying to get the boiler back into position and fully working herewhile I fret about my garden and greenhouse. Our house will be occupied by our cleaning cousins while we are away but their watering skills are not the best. The weather this last week has been so glorious that there has been much muttering on my part along the lines of 'I don't see why we have to drive for 3 days when its so lovely here', 'this garden is so much nicer that the one in Italy', 'all my orchids might be dead when we come back'. Call me ungrateful I probably am but I really would like a few things to happen in the next 7 days.I want my miniature sunflowers to open I want my marmande tomatoes to ripenI want to eat some of my beautiful borlotti beans, grown from Italian seed in the greenhouse and I'd like someone to tell me what exactly I need for 7 weeks and pack everything neatly for me. We've already unearthed far too many household items to take out to our holiday house, plus Amelia and her parents are coming to Lazio for a week and we are taking a car seat and various other items to save them weight on the flight. It's going to be an interesting week but in 7 days time we shall be past caring and possibly even in the queue for the tunnel.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Knitting now

I have been knitting but had to wait until these socks, in Regia cotton/wool arrived on the Isle of Wight, the island where time stands still, a birthday present for Rose. The very effective pattern is Waving Lace by Evelyn A Clark from Favourite Socks, which is turning out to be my favourite sock book.I've also made these Retro Rib socks again by Evelyn A Clark from the same book and I've already used several other patterns, it is a great book. This is some cheap yarn I bought in Lidl, not good enough to knit socks for sale I'll keep these myself for everyday wear.I also made this blanket which is a pale lemon shade intending to enter it into the village show next month. The pattern is from the website of the Linus project and all entries will be passed on to the charity after the show. Unfortunately there was a fault with the yarn that I didn't notice until I was blocking the blanket, it goes thin in the middle and whilst it is a perfectly acceptable item that will get passed onto the charity I don't want it to be my show entry, I have a reputation to maintain. So I wrote to the manufacturers, Coates Crafts in Holmfirth, and they kindly sent me two replacement balls plus a £10 gift voucher, can't get better service than that and the charity will benefit as I have already made another blanket which will be put into the show. Bit of a hurried post today, I haven't had time to block this second blanket, the battle for control of the only computer in the house continues and I have the upper hand only briefly.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Spammers - get a life

I was extremely put out the other morning when I checked the comments on my blog and found that one of them linked to a filthy site. I naively imagined that the name ***porn was a reference to a yearning for yarn and very angry that it related to my writing about and photographs of Amelia my great niece. It seemed fairly genuine, the author had taken the trouble to compliment me on my knitting but obviously not to read the post as he/she said I had a cute kid, I don't have any kids. In my innocence I clicked on the link as I always like to reciprocate comments. I was disgusted and I admit confused as to how it is possible to get into certain positions and at the same time display so much of the human anatomy. My first impulse was to tell them that they were not welcome on my site but I decided not to respond. I was able to delete the comment (forever) and while I was at it I deleted the Boycott American Women one that appeared some time ago and had prompted Gigibird to post that she likes Geoff Boycott, that's the spirit. Mr FF read the comment about all American women being fat, lazy, unable to cook, cheats etc and muttered 'same here mate' which made me smile because I know he doesn't mean it. This Boycott guy is apparently posting on blog after blog regardless of it's content and if other commenters make fun of him he can become quite abusive, that's scary and a dreadful waste of his little life.
I then went onto to Blogger and had a look in my comments section where it is possible to view the spam that has been intercepted. Firstly may I say I had no idea that the proprietors of escort agencies from Mexico to the Ukraine are so interested in a pensioner's knitting/gardening blog. The absolute bollocks that people are trying to post onto my blog is amazing, questions about acne, do I know a good dentist, the usual male part amplification and unlock your phone offers. What an absolute waste of time, the whole world is aware that these are spam and I say hats off to the people at Blogger who have them sorted. There are nearly 200 in my spam section, if you have the time you should check yours, contemplate the mad world we live in and wonder what all the freaks used to do before we had the internet. Can I also say to those of you who do post lovely comments thank you, you are sane, intelligent, responsible people not out to mess with my computer or shock me and I appreciate every word.

Picture from Google Images

Post blog note - following the sensible comment from Debs I have taken out certain words that could attract the nutters, hence the rather coy references. Hope it works and thanks Debs

Friday 15 July 2011

No longer tied

Mr FF seems to be adapting well to a life without work though he still spends a large amount of time in front of the computer. As we are currently sharing one machine he is restricting my time on line and it's often a contest in the mornings to see who can get logged on first. I did have a little pang of regret about it all myself when I was hanging up his shirts and I remembered what a lovely collection of silk ties he has. Mr FF was always well turned out for business and partial to a colourful and interesting tie. I enjoyed buying them for him at Christmas and birthdays or just as a memento of a trip abroad. This one by Moschino I bought him for Valentine's day
The bottom one is Tommy Hilfiger the other his Braveheart tie for when he was representing Scotland over the borderThese two we bought in Madrid at the museum shop The green one from the TinTin shop in Brussels and I don't remember where I bought the grey Snoopy one.
Now he's dressing in jeans and t shirts, all those business suits pushed to the back of the wardrobe and talk of a lengthy visit to Italy. I don't know what will happen to the ties, and please don't suggest that I cut them up to make a patchwork, I still haven't finished the one I started three years ago.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Free time

So the first week of unemployment has gone very well. Mr FF is gradually sorting out his home office, though I see little increase in space yet. I have my eye on some of his filing cabinets for my knitting patterns. He had to return some of his executive toys on Tuesday, fancy phone, lap top etc plus lots of files so after a brief visit to his ex-office in Co Durham we travelled on to Yorkshire and spent a couple of days with friends and family, a chance to catch up without the need to rush back for work. We had a delicious meal with Roger and Christine though our real intention was of course to visit their gorgeous black cat Panther, you can read about him here, now 16 he is still very sprightly.
Then onto my brother's for a couple of nights. We were fortunate that Amelia came for the day and we had plenty of time with her. I had just finished this little swing cardy, knitted in Sublime organic cotton the pattern is from Easy Kids Knits by Claire Montgomerie. Both Amelia and I were delighted with the result, it was easy to knit as the yoke is in one piece, less stitching up, and the front band is knitted with the body. Maybe the colour, borage, wasn't the best for a day on the farm but Amelia insisted on wearing it and it is machine washable. I plan to knit her another in a more serviceable colour and as this is only the second size I can use the same pattern for years to come. I'm not the only one making for Amelia, how do you like her motor. This was made for her by another of her great aunt's father, just from waste materials, old pram wheels and the like. It really is wonderful, beautifully constructed with a loud horn, old lamps and can be connected to a battery so the motor really works, Amelia is a bit young at present for driving and is helped round by Grandad. The number plate WAS 1M comes from the maker's respect for the Pakistani Wasim Akram regarded as one of the best fast bowlers in the history of cricket.
Mr FF commented on Tuesday that it felt like Saturday, I did explain that when you don't work every day is a Saturday maybe I should perhaps have suggested he needed to finish clearing his office and then he'd feel more settled but I think quite rightly he's already got the idea that he now has all the time in the world.

Monday 4 July 2011

No longer required

Something quite major has been in the air of a week or so and I can now reveal that Mr FF has officially finished work. That's about all I can reveal, there has been so much negotiation and secrecy around this event, all contained in an 8 page legal agreement, that I began to wonder if he didn't work undercover for M15 rather than a small construction business. His last day was 30 June, Friday was his first day out of work and today he embarks on his first full week of freedom. As you can see he seems to be keeping himself occupied, I think he was sleeping with the cushion over his head to keep the sun off his face, there again maybe he was a spy. So far with the tennis finals, the start of the Tour de France and the onset of some really hot weather he has been struggling with the life/life balance. There is talk of a lengthy trip to Italy, we are off down to Yorkshire this week to spend time with family and there are plenty of things on my list of jobs an out of work engineer can do around the home.