Tuesday 26 November 2013

Home for hibernation

So its all change here, I'm going to have to stop -
reading in bed till I fall asleep, waking up in the early hours and reading some more
flicking through the tv channels and spending far too much time watching rubbish
rinsing my mug every time I have a drink and just using the same one again
making coffee in the small pot and setting the toaster to once slice
I enjoyed being on my own in many ways, its been so very calm and relaxing but after a few weeks it all got a bit samey and tedious.  I never ventured far as my car was rattling in a worrying way but then I'm always happy to be home pottering outside or in and while I missed Mr FF I do enjoy my own company.
I am pleased -
I was able to fix the central heating when the pump wouldn't start (I had to be told which bit was the pump so I could bleed the valves) 
I got the computer started by taking the cover off and unplugging and re-connecting some fancy wires (I had to be told which bit was the mother board)
I eventually got the non functioning electrically operated garage door open when I was late for my dental appointment.  I had to disconnect the mechanics and lift it manually
I've lost about 9 lbs and for the first time in many years am under 10 stone, that's really put a spring in my step
I joined a local knit and natter group that I combine on a Monday morning with a local food shop, I shall probably keep going to that weather permitting
I'm sorry the iron blew up and I had to borrow one from a friend, no way was I going to try and fix mine, and that I didn't do all the Christmas shopping or write the Christmas cards or wrap any parcels. 
So Mr FF is home.  He has bravely driven back from Italy on his own, the car loaded with wine, oil, more wine,
fruit from the garden, cheese, did I mention wine, some interesting pasta  
and the remains of some cooking ingredients
We heard when he got back that there was snow on the mountain behind our house and then that the snow was at the level of our house, he got away just in time though he has constantly tells me how cold it is here. It took me a while to acclimatise too, he'll get used to it, his tan will fade and we'll settle into our usual winter routine until next year.  Another glorious flip flop season is over but being back together is compensation enough.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Village market

There was a market in our village on Saturday morning organised by some of the local mums to raise funds for the children's Christmas party.  It was well publicised, every house had a flyer through the door and there were posters around.  I was delighted to take a walk down to the hall on a sunny morning, admission was £2 which included as much tea or coffee and home baked cakes as you could manage, it all just kept coming and everything was delicious.
There was a good variety of stalls, from table top second hand items, including beautiful tiny baby clothes at 50p an item, children's toys at £1 and books for 50p each, which did nothing to help my shelf decluttering as I couldn't resist a hand full.
Home baking, the rest of my sparkly cupcakes have already been eaten

Local veggies fresh from the ground,
I won this pretty cotton shopper on the tombola, together with a miniature bottle of creme de menthe.  
Its great to be able to get together with friends and neighbours, to shop local or sit and chat in the cafe area especially in a small but spread out village like ours that has no amenities, no shop, pub or tea room, nothing but a church, a village hall and few bus stops. So it was disappointing that the turn out wasn't great, a lot of people went to a lot of effort to organise this fun morning and it was the same few regular supporters who attended. These functions are what make a village, I just hope the fundraisers don't lose heart as it would be a great loss if our infrequent but important community events stopped completely.  

Saturday 16 November 2013

When knitting turns pointless

Brenda, who now shares my passion for sock knitting,  asked me recently to let her know what I thought about one of my birthday books, Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders edited by Judith Durant, so I thought I'd let you all have the benefit of my opinions.  I put this book on my wish list as while the patterns are for sock yarn they mostly use not much more than 100g so I thought there would good ideas for using up any yarn from the stash.
There are 101 patterns and most of them I like, plenty of socks of course and gloves, some nice scarves and interesting shawls,
baby items including pretty tights,
sweet little cardies, there are dolls clothes, cowls and bags,  all perfectly knitable and useful stuff.  I like the book, I think its inspirational and good value though I really don't like some of the odd items towards the back that personally I would never ever knit.
I don't want to deck out my lotions and potions with a cosy or even knit a decoration, definitely not a Christmas decoration.  

I started thinking that you'd be desperate to reduce your stash if you went down this route.   I put all my odd bits of yarn in a bag and hand them in at the charity shop or give them to someone who I know knits for charity, hoping they won't end up as some chicken shaped cover for a small Easter egg.  I may be a knitting snob but I have definite ideas about what you can and can't produce from yarn and needles. I knew someone who knit dish clothes which is fine in principle but she used the cheapest acrylic yarns that were hopeless and went straight in the bin, what a wasted effort.    Knitting must have a purpose that's my motto so I'd rather knit blanket squares than this lampshade.

Monday 11 November 2013

I thought I was a knitter, now I'm not so sure

While I was in Italy I was happily knitting socks when it wasn't too hot and I decided that when I got home without Mr FF I would tackle something a bit more challenging, like lacework, while I had the time and solitude for concentration.  I regularly read other people's blog posts about tackling complicated patterns, having several projects on the go at once, whipping up a garment in a weekend and I imagine I might be the same.
All those lonely nights in front of the telly, so what have I been knitting, mostly socks.   I did make a little pink wrap top to send off for a newborn in Italy, a pattern I've used lots of times and I made another cowl from a pattern I've used before plus several pairs of plain socks from a Regia yarn I like very much, but nothing new at all.

Still, using up the stash you might think, not even that.  I ordered 6 balls of sock wool to be delivered to me in Italy but after 3 weeks they hadn't arrived and though Get Knitted kindly offered to send them again I was running out of time, whilst eeking out the yarn I had, and we agreed it would be best to send them to the UK when I got home.  Then I spotted the above Regia and ordered half a dozen 100g balls.  
I received a couple of inspirational books for my birthday so I have had a rootle through my stash and identified a lot of yarn to use up for gloves, cowls etc but progress is slow.   
However,  I have had a good look through the various patterns I've downloaded over the years, realised I'm never going to knit that heirloom bed cover and passed a lot of these onto the charity shop.  And I have been taking good care of my birthday flowers, here they are a week later opening up beautifully and brightening these frosty days that are no good for gardening and great for knitting.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Now I'm 65

It was my birthday last Friday I was 65.  No please don't make a fuss, it was quite an important milestone and ideally I wouldn't have chosen to spend it without Mr FF but there you go.  
It didn't start too well when Google acknowledged the event before my husband .

Pam had kindly offered to take me out to lunch at Dawyck botanic garden not too far away.  Beautiful policies, as we call the grounds in Scotland. There must be some micro climate that has kept so many leaves on the trees, the colours were spectacular.  We had a good walk round in the sunshine before lunch in the visitors centre and a scenic drive home, all very enjoyable.
There were several birthday emails waiting from Mr FF with impressive photographs of the completed work, I love the new steps and I'm glad he didn't go for the marble surface he first considered.   I was a bit concerned as he seemed to have taken my terracotta sun from the chimney and embedded it into the stucco on the wall behind my plant shelf.  Some questioning and a close up photo confirmed that it is actually a new sun he purchased for my birthday, relax.
Then I received a flower delivery, an extravagant bunch of roses and lilies from the man.  
Not a bad birthday at all.