Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where did they all go?

Getting back to my trip "down south", on the Friday I went over to the Isle of Wight to see my friend Sarah. My mum came with me and we headed down to the ferry terminal with no guarantee that we would actually get on a boat. The Isle of Wight music festival was starting that day with 50,000 people expected, so we thought that if we got down there and the queues were huge, we would think again and maybe have a day in Southampton instead.

Expecting crowds of backpackers we got a 9.30 bus which went all over the world to get there. The routes have changed a lot in the 20 years I have been away! Anyway we got there about 10 and there was hardly anyone around. Where the other 49,998 people were is anyone's guess. We decided to catch the fast Red Jet which takes 23 minutes rather than the hour on the car ferry and arrived at 10.45. Sarah's husband Alex picked us up and in less than ten minutes we were at the house.

Wow, what a house. Five bedrooms (she has 4 children), 3 bathrooms, two huge fields, a triple garage converted into a games room containing a pool table and ten pinball machines, stables and a ride on lawn mower. She also has a huge static caravan on a site a few miles away which we went to see. Oh, and 10 chickens. When we were leaving, Sarah gave us half a dozen eggs fresh out of the chickens that day. They were delicious. We had a great day, with lunch out, and we got to meet the boys when they came home from school (Meg, Sarah's daughter went off to the festival earlier), before heading back to the boat shortly after.

Talking of lunches out, this Sunday we arranged to have lunch with Becca and her boyfriend Mark. I hadn't met Mark before and Colin hadn't met Becca. We decided to go to The Glasfryn near Mold. It was a lovely lunch, we arrived at 1 o'clock and we were still there till gone 3. The food was great, I had a couple of huge salmon fishcakes, Colin and Becca had burgers and Mark had steak. No complaints from any of us. The chat came very easily and it was a great success all round. (Edit: Nnnnnooooooooooooooooooooooo, I've just had a text to say that Becca can't come to Woolfest, sob!)

I never got round to reviewing a couple of books I have recently finished. The first one was A Metropolitan Murder by Lee Jackson. This was set in the late 1800s when the first line of the London Underground had been built. A young woman is found dead in one of the train carriages and a man flees the scene. Did he do it? You'll have to read it to find out! There are twists and turns and it gives an interesting insight into the seedier side of London in those days. I enjoyed it.

I then read My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick. I was looking at the Hay on Wye Festival website when I noticed this author and this book. When it mentioned vampires I had to have it. It is actually categorized as a book for teenagers but that's never stopped me, I'll read anything if its good. Although it is quite short, it could be an adult book. It is again an historical novel, set in Eastern Europe in a tiny snowy village. There are a couple of gruesome murders but then the victims are seen supposedly back from the dead, and it is down to Peter, a woodcutter's son, to try to stop them. Along with a band of wandering gypsies and a secret his father has kept from him his whole life, he tries to track them down and save the village. Again, I enjoyed this. There was an epilogue at the end which felt disjointed from the main story, as if it was tacked on to bump up the word count but overall a good story.

After that I decided to try Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre. A friend of ours had mentioned this author a while ago and I only just got round to getting one of his books from bookmooch.com. Well, I abandoned it after about 20 pages. It shouldn't be right to say that a book is for either men or women only but I'm afraid that this is definitely a "bloke's book". The graphic descriptions of the results of alcohol overindulgence were far too much information for me, and the description of the murder victim was very gruesome. Ulgh! No, there are many more books I would much rather read than waste any more time on this one. I have gladly left it and moved on to Sepulchre by Kate Mosse (not that one, the one with an e). I really enjoyed Labyrinth and this one appears to be along a similar vein, though I am only 100 pages of 732 along so far.

I suppose I should mention a bit of knitting before this post gets too much longer. OTN I have the Vegas Sands neckwarmer which is coming along very nicely. I think there may be a few of these for presents this Christmas!! The yarn is lovely and the colours are completely random so there is no striping. I think it will be quite fitted to my neck, (I was slightly worried at first whether it would go over my head) so I am going to knit until the yarn runs out so that it folds when I wear it.

I ripped out the Nutkin sock, so the only other WIPs are the Clapotis and the jumper to be sewn up. I have done the shoulder seams so I have made a start.

I was listening to the Sticks & String podcast on the way to work this morning. David was interviewing Franklin from The Panopticon and he was telling a story about how he was knitting a baby hat on a coach, and at the end of the journey another passenger asked him about it. After the usual exchanges, she then asked him "so did you learn to knit in prison?" He didn't know what to say, and as they were getting off the coach at the time. he never did get round to asking her why she would have thought that. What goes through people's heads? Obviously the only men who knit are those that are forced to because they are (quite literally) a captive audience! Sheesh!

Just on a final note (and in small writing so as not to upset anyone), please leave me a comment, I really like reading them and I haven't had many for a while.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Isn't it funny how life works? You go for 39 years of your life not knowing of the existence of someone else who you end up meeting and really liking. And all from a quirk of fate.

That's what happened when I started the knitting group. It was a quirk of fate which got me in touch with J through ravelry and we both said wouldn't it be great to have a knitting group at Borders in Cheshire Oaks. And it was a quirk of fate that brought the various knitters there on the first night. And that there was someone there who wanted to learn how to knit socks, and asked if I could show them.

That person was Becca. And we hit it off straight away. Enough that we met up independently of the group a couple of weeks later, and have done so a few times since. I think we have become quite good friends and to think we didn't know that the other existed 4 months ago!

Anyway, what I'm getting on to is this.....

Lovely yummy squishy hand dyed BFL DK that Becca got for me in Hay on Wye. There is about 200yds there, which hopefully will make one of these. Isn't she sweet?

I finished Colin's jumper yesterday. Well sort of. It is now lying on the arm of the couch in four pieces, taunting me with it's need to be sewn together. Any volunteers out there?

I'm probably going to rip out the Nutkin sock, eek. I knitted a round twice 10 rounds back which has caused a hole and if I rip back I don't think I'll be able to pick up the stitches. I could do it one stitch at a time but that is a total of 640 stitches one by one! I'm not totally happy with the yarn anyway so I may just go for it and then start over with the Socks That Rock. Now that I have wound it into a ball it looks an even more yummy colour.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weekend visit

At the weekend, Colin went on a course in London so we drove to my parents' in Southampton and he got the train up from there, leaving me behind with these two!

On the Friday I went to the Isle of Wight to see my friend Sarah, and on Saturday I popped down to see my step-sister Sue.....

and Mollie (6)

and Alex (9).

It was Alex's birthday a couple of weeks ago and he got a Wii so I got him the sport accessories (tennis rackets, golf club, and baseball bat). Of course he beat the pants off me!! But I was definitely the best at making an a**e of myself on the trampoline!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In a lull

I am in a lull - is that the right word for it? Nothing much is happening, the knitting is fairly dull and uninspiring and all that there is on telly is football!!

But tonight is knitting group, yay! Although, despite sending emails to all 20-plus members asking for any feedback they may have on how the group is going, I received a total of 0 replies. Unless you count the two people who were just letting me know that they couldn't make it to the group this month. Never mind, they are all obviously enjoying the group so much and don't think any changes are necessary. That can't be a bad thing can it?

I get to see an old friend on Friday. Sarah and I met at primary school in Southampton and despite her moving to the Isle of Wight when we were about 6 we have stayed in touch all these years. The last time I saw her was 9 years ago at her wedding but on Friday I am going over to see her. She now has 4 children!! My mum has stayed in touch with her mum too so we are having a girls' day out together! I am hoping to do a bit of famous person spotting on the ferry/hydrofoil as it is also the Isle of Wight Festival this weekend, and all those "stars" have to get there somehow don't they? Maybe I'll spot Sting doing a bit of yoga on the open deck!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Going a bit posh

Thanks for the comments about Ellie, it was a quick fun knit - 2 days - and I may make another at some point, possibly a smaller one. Ellie is about 5 inches tall and is knit from this pattern, using two strands of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn held together, and 3.75mm DPNs. The DPNs were the purple ones which were free with an issue of Let's Knit magazine and I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were for a freebie.

Still OTN - Joma, Clapotis and Nutkin.

My Sock Wars assassin sent me some more gifts this week. The leftover Tofutsies from my socks, some jams, and some Socks That Rock sock yarn!!!!!!!!!!! It's fab, and a great colour. And the colourway is called Backstabber, hahahaha!!!

I got through quite a few episodes of another podcast last week. Sticks & String is from "an Australian bloke who knits". It's only half an hour long and easy to listen to, and gives a male perspective of knitting. I also found Stash & Burn a couple of days ago. A bit similar to Lime & Violet but not quite so manic!!

Yesterday we were wondering what to do with ourselves so we went into town to see what was going on. There was a home & garden show on at the racecourse but we didn't fancy that so we walked along the river for a bit and up through Grosvenor Park. Had lunch in The Gallery cafe and after Colin had bought some new sandals, headed back towards the car. There just happened to be some Polo going on at the Racecourse too so we wandered in and ended up finding some chairs right beside the pitch. The match turned out to be the final of the Coutts International Polo Tournament. There were quite a few posh people there whereas we were in shorts and t-shirts!! We watched 2 "chukkas" and took part in the treading in, where the crowd goes onto the pitch and treads in all the divots that have been thrown up by the hooves. I think traditionally it is supposed to be the ladies who do this while carrying a drink in a posh glass but there were men and kids and dogs doing it yesterday. The weather was fabulous dahling!! I came home with a bit of sun. When we looked it up later we should have paid £10 each for the priviledge but there was nowhere that we could see that said we had to pay. We just wandered in off the street!

This morning we went for a walk along the river but this time at The Meadows. Very pleasant. And this afternoon I finally finished reading Grave Doubts. It has taken me quite a while to get through this, it is about 600 pages long and I kept having long gaps between readings, but when i did get down to it I read a chunk at a time and the pages turned very quickly. It was pretty good for an English murder story, I've never been able to get into Ruth Rendell etc, but there were rather a lot of very annoying typos throughout the book. (she says, quickly checking this post for errors!!). I have now decided to have a go at A Metropolitan Murder by Lee Jackson. It is a much thinner book so I should get through it quicker.

On Tuesday night we went to see Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I thought Harrison Ford was really good in it and completely forgot the age issue. It was a good old romp but the ending was a bit daft, reminding me of the X-flies movie. Talking of which......the new one is out soon. Woohoo.