Sunday 28 February 2016

Spatial awareness

When I worked for a psychologist I was trained to administer and score psychometric measures of personality and ability, all of which did nothing for my popularity believe me.  I was the last person who should have been doing this, everything was so serious and sombre.  I'm sure I came over as very bossy 'please don't open your booklets until I ask you to do so' and I always wanted to say 'I'm quite normal really, I'm a fun person' but of course I never did. Another thing I always wanted to do when giving a test on spatial awareness, which I couldn't have completed myself to save my life, I wanted to pronounce the word spat ee ell, I never did that either.
Anyway the point of this post is to tell you that we have gradual made some space in the penthouse.  When we first moved here on one of our regular trips to the recycling centre with more useless items we'd brought from Scotland, we spoke to a resident who had gone through the same process, big house to small apartment.   She said it would take us at least 2 years to get sorted and rid ourselves of all our unnecessary items.  On the basis that we moved in 18 months ago and spent almost 6 months in Italy we aren't doing so bad.

Look at this for shelf space in the office, clear shelf space.

And I am delighted to have such a grown up arrangement of crockery in the kitchen.
Mr FF has spent much of the weekend working in the loft, you know how he likes to wire everything so that the telly gets foreign stations and the whole place is networked, I don't know what that means but I know he'll be happier when its done.
One good reason for this extra activity is that the Vikings are coming, our friends from Copenhagen arrive on Friday to stay with us for almost a week.  I am tempted to get out to sweep the moor and polish the streets of Ilkley having told them how wonderful it all is but maybe they'll be so impressed with the state of my cupboards and the wiring that will be enough.  I've got the glasses ready too.

Sunday 21 February 2016

Pensioners at the Pictures

We are fortunate to have our own 56 seater cinema here in Ilkley but the last five days have seen films at various other venues throughout the town as we enjoyed the third Ilkley Film Festival.   For some reason the two films I selected for us to see were both rather ageist.
Firstly we saw Youth, beautifully filmed mostly at a Swiss spa hotel it stars Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel as they contemplate their past, the lives of their children and lost memories.  It features a fair amount of nudity, both mature well used and young firm bodies, guests taking treatments at the spa or in the various pools.  I enjoyed the scene where a young Miss Universe staying at the hotel enters the pool while Michael and Harvey are chatting, no words, their faces say it all

The second film we saw was 45 Years with Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtney as a couple about to celebrate their wedding anniversary when they receive news that changes their lives. Again much retrospection. 
We went to see both films in the afternoon during the school half term week which meant the audience was mainly people beyond work or child raising age. The themes of both films, old age, long marriages and people with a lot more past than future seemed particularly relevant and poignant, on both occasions when the film ended and the lights came back on the audience seemed to look around with some sadness and total silence.  I can't say either film was uplifting but certainly thought provoking, beautifully acted and thoroughly enjoyable. So nice too to be able to walk out for 15 minutes and be at the pictures, no travel or parking problems involved.

Does anyone nowadays call the cinema the pictures or is that another age thing.

Saturday 13 February 2016

The consumption continues

Taking some time out from socks, I sourced in my stash a cone of interesting if very fine flecked yarn of unknown content.  After much juggling of tension and several false starts I'm knitting this jumper from Blacker Designs. 
It is a basic raglan v neck with some interesting detail at the hem that gradually deceases the stitches giving an A line shape.  I'm still undecided about having slightly flared sleeve cuffs that might fall into my soup but then how often do I eat soup.   
I shall decide once the body is complete, the front is already finished.  I ended up using size 13 needles, 2.25 in new money, I  don't mind fine work at all and with mostly plain stocking stitch it isn't taking long.
A lovely colour especially with Valentines Day tomorrow, probably the nearest we shall get to the look of love in the penthouse though I have bought Mr FF a plastic egg box as a gift.  On a recent walk he spotted a farm on the hill opposite us that sells the most delicious free range eggs. I had to explain to him it wouldn't be sustainable to keep driving up for half a dozen as required, the farm is at the end of a track and en route to nowhere.  Mr FF moaned that if he walked the four mile round trip he might crack the eggs in his rucksack, problem solved by this box and romantic gesture made.  

Happy Valentines Day

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Tour colours

I mentioned I'd been devouring books this year, I am on my 9th since 01 January.   Several of these have indulged my cycling obsession, a couple of biographies and one a more general non fiction.  When not boring Mr FF with my newly increased insider knowledge, I've been getting fired up about this years tours so I checked out the routes for my favourite races. Disappointment doesn't describe my feelings, firstly the Tour de Yorkshire, now upgraded to a three day event, is not coming to Ilkley at all, in any way.  Plenty of places where we can see the race but the delight last year of a ten minute walk to be on the route was immense. Secondly the Giro d'Italia isn't coming anywhere near our village in Lazio, the nearest point of contact is a two hour drive away with no guarantee that we'd get more than a whizz of lycra as the boys sped past.  I know that these races have to be shared round, we've twice had the Giro in our village in recent years but I can't help feeling a little bereft. Particularly as I've just finished these pink socks I could have worn to support the Giro, Go with the Flow by Evelyn A Clark from Favourite Socks by Interweave.  
As the Tour de France is based on the yellow jersey of the leader, often with appropriate accessories like yellow tape on the handle bars, yellow sunglasses for the leader and sometimes his team, so for the Giro the leader wears pink. And at the risk of driving you away, this tradition is based on the coloured pages of the sporting sections of different newspapers that originally sponsored the two tours.   I turned up for my last Giro sighting in pink t shirt but matching socks would have been perfect this year.  
The Tour de Yorkshire colours are blue with a little yellow, blue the colour of the Yorkshire flag and yellow a salute to the Tour de France that visited us in 2014 and inspired our own event.
Photograph Alamy
I couldn't resist downloading this photograph as our apartment building can be seen under the left hand bottom edge of the county flag.  

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Year of the Monkey

We are approaching a Chinese new year and this one will be the year of the monkey.  In Edinburgh I worked for several years in an office beside a collection of Chinese greengrocer shops, quite famous for their wonderful selection of exotic fruit and veg at rock bottom prices.  At Chinese new year there was always some celebration involving a dragon dance, which is supposed to scare away evil spirits, and a beating drum.  We used we leave our work and go out into the street to watch the festivities.  
Apparently 2016 is the year of the fire monkey and heralds a decisive and confident year, one of adventure, resolve and innovation, a year to expand and nurture relationships.  So an adventurous path and clear goals are this year's mantra.
Call it serendipity, it certainly wasn't planned.  I have just finished these socks that I can wear on 8 February the first day of the Chinese new year, they are Monkey by Cookie A.  I downloaded the pattern in 2007 and have finally got round to tackling it.  I enjoyed the knit, an interesting but not too complicated design that I'd certainly use again.  Perhaps I should be making plans to come out of semi hibernation and grasp the new year opportunities, but not just yet I'm far too lazy and comfortable in the penthouse unless mass producing socks qualifies as a clear goal.