Taking the piss…

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Yes, I know, a little vulgar, but the only title I could think of was from Morrissey, which I was tempted to use, but thought, who of my visitors would guess this. Oh, the alternative was The Edges Are No Longer Parallel.

I consider myself a good neighbour, and as well as chatting to my neighbours, taking in parcels etc., I put the bins out for my immediate neighbour as she is getting on. We will ignore the fact that her son lives with her but is too screwed up to do that in case someone looks at him, she also says he is lazy and quite useless at doing anything asked of him. But this is another story for another time.

So, my story. There is a company in the village that deals with wealth management to the far right of our house (a large gap of land separates us). The owner has now rented the land at the back of my house for car parking space for his office people, leaving their spaces for their filthy rich clients. Fair enough, but, it is dark at home time, and none of the females there wants to park there due to the dark, the only lights that shine by it are our garden light. The condition of them renting it was that they locked the gates every night and little or no disturbance to us. They had spruced it up and it looks quite presentable now. But, the two days they have used it over the last 2 months, I have had to lock up as they drove out and left it wide open.

So, the other week they asked if I would be willing to help with a security light from my house so they can see. I was happy to go along with it thinking, it will just be one LED light that runs off my garden electrics. Being this north in the UK, we have about 6 hours of very dim sunlight, so solar lighting isn’t all that good. They were going to get it installed and would pay me for the use of power. All good so far, however, not content with a light, they decided that they wanted full security floodlighting throughout and electric sliding gates with high tech passive infrared scanners that they vehicles would use to auto access the area, and computerised fobs for visitors, of course, I had no idea of these new plans, and unbeknownst to me, they had arranged an electrician to survey my home with a view to installing massive armoured cabling from my house to the land. So from a single wire from my garden to the rear with a light to a full-on project. WTF!

I had spoken to the owner of the company and told him he cannot under any circumstances disturb M, or expect him to do anything when I was not at home. He agreed as he knows M’s conditions, but then blatantly ignored it and arranged for the installers to call when he knew I was not there! M ignored the workers calling as he knew that it was a condition of mine.

Now, my home is on three floors. The ground is a small area that contains an anti-space and one of my staircases (my neighbour lives under our first floor (2-bed place, so you can get the size of our home). The first floor is the main living area with my lounge, kitchen, bathroom, main bedroom, two square hallways, one with my spiral staircase to the next floor which contains another two large bedrooms and another large hall. The logistics of this is that my electrical fuse box is in the furthest point in the house, and to install all this crap, my electric system would probably have to be upgraded which they have not considered as this costs money, all my floors and carpeting pulled up through the whole house to get the armoured cable from said box to where the main staircase is and then either take it through one of the closets and then through the wall and down to the downstairs hall and eventually out the building. The last part would be visible which would be a big no for me. The other way would be to put it through the wall to the outside and all the way around the house to the said place. Apart from being unsightly, the amount of cable would be enormous.

I only found out about their plans when T, the gate maker who I have known for many years called me to say about the electrician needed access to do the survey for the electrics for the gates! I asked what he meant and what was going on and quickly put a stop to it all.

I have told him that if he wants to do all this, he will have to get contractors in and run the electrics from his office as his plans were just not feasible.

The whole episode really proved to me how much people will take advantage of a goodwill gesture and run with it until they have ripped the balls clean off. In conclusion, lesson learned!

KAL, A Beginning

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So I started by KAL – Paris Toujours, but managed to read the pattern wrongly as part of the repeating was classed as Garter Pattern and Lace Pattern, but the first of the repeats was Garter Pattern x 6. As the pattern is two lines I wrongly presumed that this meant line 1 & 2 repeated 6 times, therefore giving 12 lines, then the next part of Lace Pattern being repeated 10 times, thus making 40 lines, but it should have been as they stated 6 lines of Garter, therefore just to repeat it 3 times, then the lace one repeat of the 4 line pattern 2.5 times.

With this error I frogged the lot and started again. The picture above is the mistake knit but only so far as the garter pattern.

I am enjoying it, but as there is no one else that I know who is doing it, it is not like a full knit along. I could be the only one doing it after all, I know that this is very unlikely, but one never knows.

More to come as it grows larger.

2019 – My Video

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I decided to make a video last year and am continuing to build on it each day. My start point was 31st October as this was when I got the software. Each day consists of anything from 1 to 3 seconds of video to mark what I was doing, even if it was a dull day and I did nothing, I had to take a video. I am looking forward to seeing 2020 when I finish it on 31st December.

Enjoy 86 seconds of my life over 62 days (1.387 seconds each day)

Book 2 – Troublemaker

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A few years ago I watched a BBC documentary about Scientology and found the whole thing fascinating and a little jarring at the same time. So last year we discovered on Sky that Leah Remini had done a documentary series on Scientology after her leaving the church. I had only ever known her from “The King of Queens”, so thought it would be interesting from a comedy actresses point of view. We watched the first series and are nearly finished with the second. Whilst watching I found that the story she was telling was quite familiar with what I had heard from not only the BBC documentary, but other people who had also left.

A quick search and there it was, “Leah Remini – Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology”, a press of a button and I had bought it.

I knew of L. Ron Hubbards writings of science fiction novels, and when I was in my late teens (late 80’s) I attended a “fair” in Liverpool that had many things from occult societies to religious nuts, D&G, and a whole host of things, but, little did I know that one of the things there was the Church of Scientology. The girl I was with persuaded me to do a “dianetics test” with her to see what kind of personality we had. We did it and that was that, and I never thought about it again. But people were really into the “findings” and wanted to take things further. I was a student who had no money so I was out. Lucky me!

I’m also a very sceptical person and find the whole cult/religion thing outlandish. I am agnostic, and cannot commit to the belief that there is or isn’t a god or higher being. I mean, if he/she were introduced to me and could prove it, then I would change my mind, so until then…

Anyway, Leah tells of her being brought into Scientology at the age of 13 and how her life went through her 30 years in the “church”. She talks of neglect of children as the “church” believes that all people are responsible for their own lives including children, which I find outrageous. The physical and mental abuse that goes on is quite startling, but I suppose this is true of near all religions and is not something that is unique to Scientology. One of the eyeopeners is the cost to all of this and that people get themselves in so much debt in order to cross “The Bridge To Total Freedom” by completing courses, auditing, and being forced/managed into donating massive amounts of money, Leah donating millions. Signing a billion-year contract to join the Sea Org was something that made me laugh as if something like that could be upheld. Leaving the “church” Leah lost most of her Scientology friends as they were forced under the rules of LRH to disconnect from her as she would be labelled a suppressive person. One positive thing that came from here “church” activities was her husband who was not a Scientologist when she met him, and was, as she put it “more fucked up” than she was. She does name drop quite a lot, so keep a dustpan a brush at the ready to sweep up the names.

Her book is quite raw and revealing and if you don’t mind lots of bad language/cursing then give it a go. My view of Scientology has never changed, but my eyes have been opened up a little more to her candid writings.

One final thought, LRH was a science fiction writer, which should tell us all we need to know about his billion-dollar religion.

Book 1 – Frankenstein

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First book of the year read.

I decided to go for another classic as my first book of the year. I love classic literature and have read many, but I had never bothered with “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Day Prometheus”, to give it the full title. I think it was due to the constant stream of films that were based, however loosely on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel, don’t you just love her name?

As it was written in 1817 the language is quite different to ours 203 years later, with words changing meaning over the centuries, but the darkness in the tale is very apparent. Not that that was a problem, as mentioned, I have read many classics and gothic novels. One thing that did strike me was how different the novel is to the films. I felt like I was reading a different book to that of the depictions of cinema. Frankenstein was horrified by his creation but lacked the ability to kill it, so ran from it. The monster fled and learned to speak whilst hiding and spying on a family, helping them out without them ever knowing, When he came face to face with Frankenstein later, he told him of his journey after rejection and promised to destroy everything Frankenstein ever loved. As a result, Frankenstein lost his family and loved ones at the hand of his monster, who followed him about the world including the UK. But the most surprising thing was this was all told to someone on a ship whilst they looked for the monster and relayed via letter. Again, never depicted.

I have always ran by the fact, to me at least, that a book is much better than the film or TV show of it, and this book proved again to me that it was.

Renewed…

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So, I renewed my service with WordPress for another year. So, I am sure you are all relieved that my mentally ill ramblings will continue.

I was thinking of scaling the cost back down as £84 is a bit much, but forgot to click the switch to stop the auto renewal, so here we are. I could have paid, if I had flicked the switch just £36 as I have not got to the level of used space that that caters for. I was also toying with setting up my own server space and installing WordPress, which probably would have been cheaper and transfer my domain to that, but, this is all mute as I didn’t, so I can’t. Maybe in 2021 I will do that, and in turn have more control of the pack end of WordPress.

Oh well!

Short-lived…

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I have mentioned in the past that I have several aquariums, and with that, lots of fish. On Saturday I bought two Tiger Hillstream Loaches. However, on Sunday, both were dead, no reason for this as my water was perfect, all filters were working, the water was fully oxygenated, and there are no diseases present, so I was at a loss. I have fish in the same tank that needs perfect conditions. These fish, however, are quite tough and only need a flowing tank, mine is medium flowing, so that should not be a problem. I took them back to the aquatics shop and they were at a loss as they tested my water and said that it was fine too. They gave me a credit to use for the cost of the fish as I did not want to get another two and the same happen. I may get some at a later date, but for now, I will give it a miss. If I do get some later, I could always set up another small tank for just them to thrive.

Some people…

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M and I are nice and generous people, sometimes to a fault. At Christmas and Easter, we go grocery shopping and spend hundreds of pounds and give it all to the homeless charities to help those less fortunate, and give to the Dogs Trust, Shelter, Centre Point and many more.

Today was no different. There is a girl from the middle east who sells the Big Issue outside our little Co-op in the village. We have always bought an issue from her, chatted and never paid the cover price of £2.50, but given her £5 each time as this helps them get out of poverty etc. At Christmas, we did the same and gave her a Christmas card with £10 in it. Today she asked if we had a good Christmas and New Year and we chatted until she pointed at M, and said “Your Brother?”. I said, “No, my husband” at which point she stopped chatting, turned slightly and lifted her scarf up over her lower part of her face. M after a second or two said “well then” and we went into the shop.

We laughed at her reaction, but being a Muslim, we were not surprised by her closing down. We have come across lots of intolerant people in the past, some of which I have ended up fist fighting with, but, have learned to roll our eyes and ignore the uneducated and intolerant. After getting some groceries we left the Co-op and as we pass, she smiled and told us to have a good day. A complete contrast to her first reaction.

We can only surmise that she realised that we are generous people and she has made quite a bit of money from us. A lot of people who shop there tend to ignore her and as such, she can be there all day trying to flog her allotted number of magazines.

I hope that she is back to being chatty and that she can see past the gay thing, or she will miss out.

First KAL…

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My Instagram account is ram-packed with dogs and knitting, and yesterday in the feed there was a post by Fiber Hustle advertising their latest podcast/videocast. Now YouTube is not a place I frequent that much and as for video podcasts, they are a hidden world really. However, for some reason, I felt I needed to watch. Luckily enough we can “throw” videos from youtube to any or our TV’s, which is a little more viewer-friendly than using a phone or tablet. This was the first time I have watched their “show”, and although it is not slick or like some of the ones I have seen in the past I felt I needed to watch it all the way, 1 hour 3 minute. The hosts Aaron & Chip are quite entertaining and you can see they have a passion for their crafts. Aaron announced that he would be doing a KAL, and I thought to myself ‘I’m joining in’.

The pattern is Paris Toujours by Isabell Kraemer which is a really nice Shawl/wrap. I had looked for yarn and found some beautiful ones in merino, but at £15 a skein and it requires 3, I thought better of it and decided to go for a more economical yarn. I doubt it will be an item that I wear, so the cheaper yarn is more favourable. If after I have made it I think I would wear it as a scarf then I will order the expensive yarn and make another one. The project doesn’t start until 18th January, and it finishes on 15th February, M’s Birthday. We are away in Prague from 9th to early hours 12th Feb, and I thought it would be fun to have it finished for the trip and take it with us and do a photoshoot with it which could be fun.

I have bought two different yarns, the first one is Hayfield “Spirit” at £5 a ball, which is a new one for me. I have used Hayfield in the past and it is a nice yarn to work with. This one is 80% Acrylic with 20% wool. Very soft and 345m per 100g ball. The second yarn is 100% Acrylic and is the Woman’s Institute Premium yarn at £1.15 a ball with 250m per 100g ball.

Hayfield Spirit Double Knit Yarn (80% Acrylic 20% Wool)
Woman’s Institue Premium Acrylic Yarn Double Knit
© mariakos – This is a photo of the finished item C/O Ravelry

As can be seen in the last photo (credit Mariakos on Ravelry). It is quite a masculine piece and I am looking forward to wearing mine in Prague.

Challenges…

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A new year means the usual crap resolutions, and I totally agree with Bianca Del Rio.

I am not good with resolutions, never have been as I tend to break them quite fast, however, I find that if I challenge myself then there is a goal to work to, like my Goodreads challenge of x amount of books read in a year.

So, my challenges are as follows, and yes a little general, but hell, it’s not like it really matters.

  • Read 30 books
  • Reduce refined sugar consumption
  • Walk a few kilometres each day with the dog and work up to something like climbing Mount Snowdon
  • Knit more, and finish all the projects that I have put on hold.
  • Do a few KAL’s (for those who don’t know KAL=Knit along)
  • Blog at least once a week, otherwise why am I paying for this site?
  • Lose two and a half stone (35lb)
  • Not eat fast food for 2020 (that may be hard)
  • Get back into writing to my penpals
  • Take M out more on days out
  • Get back into meditating

Things I need to do are more personal, being more patient with M, doing more about the house to save him from doing it, and make a bit more healthier meals. Not that my food is unhealthy, however, we do like bad food as it tastes so good.

I am sure that there are more thing that I should have on my list, but I will wing it for now and add things on as I go along. Again, these are challenges that I am more likely to do rather than an irrational list of impossible changes.