Month: June 2017

New Family Members….

I love tech, and I have been mulling over getting an Amazon Echo for quite some time, and this week I took the plunge.  Not one, but two Echo Dot’s, but it didn’t stop there, I decided to go further and get Hue smart lighting too.  I can now control my lighting through voice, mobile and via the web.

I love the voice system on Echo, so far Alexa understands 99% of what I say, although getting used to how to ask for something from the “skills” is a bit of getting used to.

Over the past 4 months, we have been renovating the house, mainly the bathroom, and part of the ripping out and rebuilding I decided to get LED lighting from Germany.  This is quite a nice bit of tech too, full remote control, modes of lighting, different tones, dimmable, nightlight features, auto switch off, and much more.  So after that, I realised I needed/wanted voice operated lighting.

As the system is not exactly cheap, I will be adding to it over time with more Dot’s, a full-size Echo, voice operated sockets, voice lamps and maybe Amazons latest gadget when it comes to the UK “The Show”.  Being an Apple fan I would love to have their personal assistant when it comes out, but the price tag is ridiculous, so that will not be happening anytime soon.

My partner was a little sceptical about the Echo system as he is not a tech freak like me, but he does get used to it all in the end.  At Christmas we got a Ring video doorbell, again, he thought it was an okay idea, but once he started using it he loved it.  I think after some time using Alexa and the voice lighting he will get so used to it he will wonder how he managed without it.

So, there it is, two new residents, Alexa one and Alexa two.  I am sure we will all get along well unless that is that Alexa becomes self-aware.  I did ask her about this and she assures me that she is not part of Skynet, but on other questions, she has called me Dave, mimicked HAL 9000 from 2001 and referred to The Matrix. In the end, she promised that she was not in collusion with the coffee machine, and told me “you have nothing to worry about!”

I fear for the future…

Books galore..

I have quite literally thousands of books, and this is no exaggeration.  I have been collecting books all my adult life.  I have bought books that I have never read, and may never get to read, but I am determined to try.

Inspired by another blogger Chronical Of Ellen, I have decided to list some books that I have to read in the next month, and no crafting (well, I may do a bit).

The photo you see showing my Churchill Diaries will not be a collection that I will be challenging myself to as yet, as they are quite intense reads.  I have set a date of the end of July, so that gives me about 5 weeks to complete the following in this order:

 

My List

  1. After Auschwitz; Eva Schloss
  2. Open the Cage, Murphy; Paul O’Grady
  3. The Dynamite Room; Jason Hewitt
  4. The Road Ahead; Christabel Bielenberg

So, here goes, let’s see how I do.  I have only managed to read 10 books this year, which is a far cry from my wanting to read 52 by the end of the year.

I will, of course, keep you all posted.

To Hot to Drop Stitches

Because of the unprecedented fabulous weather we are having at the moment, I am writing this in the garden in direct scorching sunlight with Stone Sour on my headphones, and so I have not been doing any knitting, not a jot in the last 10 days.

Rather than sit in the lounge, or on the patios and knit, I have been sitting in the sun, slowly developing my tan, I say slowly as after 30 minutes in direct sun I move to the shade as I don’t want to burn and look like an old Peruvian Sherpa.

With sunbathing comes great responsibility; barbeques are aplenty, music is essential, especially to drown out the sound of a neighbour’s twins screeching because they cannot get their own way, and a load of books that need to be read, both in physical and e-book form.  On the barbeque front, we have managed to have 12 so far and summer has just started. Musically, I love my heavy metal, but rather than have my favourite bands tear down the walls, I tend to have Radio 6 Music on the go, that is if I do not have my cans on.

I keep looking at all my yarn stash and think I really need to get moving on all the stuff I need to make, finish making, and really want to make, but unless it starts raining and the temperature drops, that really isn’t an option.  At night in the winter my needles are going all the time, but at night I am ploughing through books, which is another passion of mine, as I love literature, especially the classics, it is why I decided to my degree in English Language and Literature.

Our summer last year was mostly rain and the odd hot day, so lots of knitting was done especially socks. I wonder how many of you out there find that knitting seems to be a seasonal thing too? Those that live in hot climates probably do not have that problem, but we are about 880 miles away from the arctic circle, so a hot summer is quite rare, however, because of the jet stream we rarely get really bad winters, and the coldest I have ever recorded was -18, which came with two foot of snow and a complete standstill of transport.

Maybe I should take up knitting lace work, that is light weight, and looks quite complex.

Itchy feet, the world is calling…

Over the Alps

Flying over the Alps heading to Rome & Vatican City

I have itchy feet. I feel the need to travel again.  I think it is the summer that is starting to get me in the mood, not that it takes much.  I was in Rome in November, then in Amsterdam in February, and am going to be in Ireland in September.  So between my last holiday and my next, I feel I need to go away again.  It’s not going to happen, I know that, so maybe get a weekend away if I can, but restlessness is really taking hold.

I booked this evening my trip to Ireland, and first booked flights, car hire etc., then after reading all the BS with the car hire and having to pay an extra £60 for insurance to cover the excess.  After reading the very small print, the hire company would take a deposit from my card of £1,000.00, and would not pay it back for some time till they were happy that the car was in perfect condition.  This did make we wonder why I paid for excess insurance in the first place, so, I read their terms and any part of the £1,000 to £3,000 excess that the hire company took they would pay back to me within 28 days. The chance of me being charged would be near zero, but I did not like the idea of this chance of being taken for a ride and losing money by something going wrong, or a small print that excludes something. You know that little voice in the back of your head that starts talking to you, telling you that this sounds wrong. I tried to ignore it, and it persisted and went on and on, eventually, the alarm bells rang in my head.

With this, I hit the cancellation buttons on the flights, car hire, and insurance.  Needless to say, I lost money, only £40, which I can live with, and booked the ferry.  It is a bloody long journey of 8 hours sailing time, but in the end, it worked out close to £150 cheaper, taking into account airport parking £60, flights £110, baggage £25, seat costs £8, car hire £160, excess insurance £60.  I get to use my own car, which is a big-ass SUV.  If I wanted to hire the same car as mine for the week I was there it would cost me in the region of £600, so that was never going to happen.

I only have to wait 95 days now (and counting).  I will miss my dogs like mad, but the kennels we use are great, the people are lovely, and my girls seem to enjoy being there, almost like home from home.

I will have to start looking at a weekend or two away, for now, although we do have house guests in August, so that shortens the time frame, but I am sure I will manage something.

From the keyboard of Tony

Personal views from a Yorkshire village...

The Snowless Knitter

Adventures in life and knitting in a warm weather climate

Cosmicknitter

A little about knitting and a lot about nothing...

Backstage Knits

Random knitting thoughts from a theater lover. Hartford, CT

Endless Roaming

Australian Traveller that loves to "Roam" our globe, creator of ENDLESSROAMING.COM sharing the experience through word and photography. Currently residing in my home of Newtown Sydney

WOOLLY WEDNESDAY

Crafting and wellbeing

bookerworm

So many books, so little time

rachelmankowitz

The Cricket Pages

knitsbywhit

Exploring the world one fiber at a time

(CALIATH)

An Empyrean Cycle

The Go To Girls Blog

Life, Love, Family and Travel as we experience it

Daily Ramblings...

Thoughts on Productivity, Health, Writing, Job Hunting, and many other topics...

Idiosyncratic Unicorn

An eclectic collection of schtuffs that is me.

SindrElf

The Geeky Blogger

Pointless Overthinking

Understanding ourselves and the world we live in.

Double Pie

Fashion_Life_Style

Festival for HORROR

Showcasing the BEST OF HORROR FILMS, SCREENPLAYS, AND STORIES