Tag: knitting

Breakfast In The Regency Period…

It is just after midnight Tuesday, so, technically, its now Wednesday.  Yesterday (Monday) was a busy one.  Up early as the girls insisted I began my list of “Things to do whilst M is away”.  Apart from several walks for the dogs I never stopped.  First was a deep clean of the kitchen.  I knew it needed doing but as our kitchen is so busy as can be seen in the photo (I like busy, but please note, the walls are a light green, not yellow, the photo was taken whilst the sun was out) you tend to miss things.  But with all deep cleaning in a kitchen, all the appliances need to be done, the dishwasher and washing machine are easy, add the product and they do it themselves.  Apart from the detergent draw in the washing machine, which never gets used as the liquid goes in the drum, so I had to do that by hand, and it was disgusting I am ashamed to say.  The cooker I removed all the parts and cleaned each one, and stripped the ovens (two) of everything and cleaned them thoroughly, and having a “Stoves” cooker all the doors have removable glass, so easier to clean.  Every object on shelves and units were removed and cleaned and put back, then the rest of the room was dusted within an inch of its life.

Next, was to shampoo all the carpets.  Luckily I had bought a new carpet cleaner, which is excellent, and one by one each room was done.  The living room carpet, the newest of them had that new carpet smell again, which is quite the sensory drug.

Bathroom next, which was not all that hard as we tend to clean the shower after each use, and always swill the basin out, and the toilet is always clean, so it is an easy room to do.  The biggest thing was polishing the giant mirror, but even that wasn’t hard as again I tend to keep polishing it, as I hate mucky mirrors.

Next job was to tackle the ivy growing around the house, mainly cutting it back from the windows, and trimming around the security lights so no shadows were cast.  As I was in the garden I planted new flowers for the baskets, the summer ones looked worse for wear and being summer plants and flowers do not do well in autumn, now we have cyclamen in them, and I will be doing some troughs to go outside the front gate when more come into season.

Final job of the day was to install a new electrical socket in the hall by the front door so the repeater can connect to the garden gate camera.  I have fitted so many sockets and changed so many from two to three ports over the years I thought I would have finished with this, but no, there is always somewhere else we need another.

Today, Tuesday, Mazikeen had a vet appointment, she goes every month to get weighed and get her worming tablets and a check over.  She is just over a year old and has never had a season, but the nurse said today that she was a little swelled up in various areas, so it looks like she will finally have her first, that is if this is not a phantom season, which can happen.  After that and a long walk with the dogs, I painted the master bedroom, only the first coat, but it was a start.  I was doing the edging and discovered the brushes I had were shit, that’s really the only way I can put it.  Off to the DIY centre to get a good sharp one, and whilst I was there, some magnetic catches for the cupboards and a new electrical socket with USB ports.  Apart from putting up some frames and making myself a curry from scratch, I decided I had had enough, and my lower back, right-hand side, was spasming, which told me to stop.

Tomorrow, Wednesday (which is now today as it is 00:38) I will be finishing off the painting, then starting my knitting again, which is The Great American Aran Afghan.  I had started it the other day, but it is in American English, which is an oxymoron in itself, translating it into correct English is a bit of a bind, to say the least.  For example, it states three ridges, which means knit six rows, so, why not just say knit six rows.  If you were next to me when I sussed out what this meant, you would have heard my eyes rolling never mind seen them with the added slow shake of my head.  I do hate that in English there is so bastardised, and do not get me started on spelling.  Anyway, I digress slightly.  I had started it, but due to this quirk in language the pattern reads wrong, and with wrong the WS rows are not mentioned, so you have to work that one out yourself, which my test showed that you have to to the WS as a reverse of the RS.

That’s the plan anyway, but as with the best-laid plans of mice and men, one can never be sure if it will change.

If you were wondering, yes, it is raining again, battering against the windows in fact.

Penpals Update…

And we are off.  A lady in Hamburg contacted me and wants to write, so YAY!, here we go.  She is sending the first letter which I am looking forward to receiving and starting this journey again.

I have also been chatting to an 82-year-old chap who wants to write, but can only use email as he has tremours so writing is a no-no, which is fine with me, so email it is, not exactly snail mail, but I can live with it.  I used to correspond to my 85-year-old Great Uncle via email, although we had never managed to meet. My Mum was adopted and when I finally found her family my Great Uncle found me via Ancestry.com as I had him in my tree, we emailed quite a lot, but unfortunately, he died last year after a short illness.  It was a great shame, as he had said that he would like to meet me and my Mum and due to his eyesight, I said I would drive over to visit him, saving him travelling, he agreed, but, as he was not feeling too good said that he would arrange some time soon, alas that never happened.  Although we never met we wrote to each other each week.  He was a fascinating man that I wish I had got to meet.

One of the downsides of the sites I have joined is one has to be paid for and so far, no one wants to talk to anyone.  The free one everyone wants to talk, some want husbands, romance, money and other things that are yet to be revealed.  My profiles states I am looking for snail mail pen pals but so far I feel that it is being ignored.  Oh well, I can always ignore and delete.

I have also returned to Postcrossing.  I have been a member since October 2007, but in 2011 I stopped sending as the cost to send a postcard as I had quit my job due to professional disagreements, that is to say, my boss wanted to do illegal things and I disagreed, so I walked.  I kept thinking over the years I would pick it up again and sent 2 in 2015 and did not receive a single one back which was not what the rules of Postcrossing dictate.  I have received 214 postcards in the past, so let’s see what cards I get and where they come from, and of course, I will share them here with you all.

I have checked out also some swap sites to and joined, so it looks like it may start to be a busy hobby for me.  Of course I will leave time to knit, and in all honesty, I think I need to pick up my needles again as the hat project I was doing has sat there since April, begging me to finish.

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Summer Knitting…

So, here we are in the middle of summer, and soaring temperatures that are a little too much for us British.  Not complaining, as I would rather have hot than cold.  Anyway, I digress, “yet again” I hear you all say rolling your eyes.

Because of the heat and not being able to take the dogs out all the time I have become a little bored with day to day life and feel I need to do something to keep myself entertained whilst the pooches snooze in front of the fans.  I thought about doing some educational courses, but then I am not sure if that is what I really want to do, and if so, which of the thousands of courses do I go for.  I then thought I would concentrate on my reading and read more, but I get so comfortable I start to fall asleep, and it is not conducive to read with blaring lights and other stimuli so I don’t sleep, again!

Yesterday I printed out the Great American Afghan and thought to hell with it and I would start that, but then I thought I need to think about the yarn I want to use and what colourways I fancy.  But with all that comes the cost, which seems to mount up each time I find a yarn I love.  Also doing a large project like a blanket in this heat could be a a bit much, but it is a passion I have with large projects.  I think I want and need to do some knitting, but really do not know what the hell to do.  Over the last few years, well, three to be exact I had collected a knitting magazine (120 issues) which gave away yarn each issue and a pattern and I thought should I do them, but again, I cannot decide.  The yarn is acrylic, which is okay, but I prefer to use wool, alpaca etc as it is nice to work with, so back to square one.

I need inspiration from somewhere, or someone…

WIP Hat…

Well, what can I tell you about my latest knitting item, you know, the hat for breast cancer, I ripped it off the needles.  Why? you may ask, well I was doing it on DPN’s then moved to circular needles, but when I got so far I could see that it really would not be big enough for an adult, and I was doing the medium size, so it had to go.  I take a large size in hats and it would not go anywhere near me, M is Medium and he struggled, and it was quite a loose knit, so really it should have been okay, but nope.  I also noticed that I had cocked up a few of the twist stitches.

Since we have the so-called Beast from the East 2 hitting us again this weekend I will start it all again, and cross my fingers that it works this time.  I was enjoying doing it as the rib is a twisted stitch and the main pattern was lots of YO, SSK, K2Tog and P2SSO, so it was quite rhythmical, even hypnotic.

I have a few weeks to do both and get one off to the charity, so fingers crossed we are snowed in and progress will be made.

Lunch…

pexels-photo-70497.jpegM and I went for lunch on Thursday with two of my cousins, and all our dogs.  We have a pub that is totally dog-friendly, even to the point of bringing a bowl of water for them to the table.  I had scampi, M lasagne, and the girls had nachos and chicken and bacon salad.  I was driving so had zero alcohol beer which was delicious and seemed no different than normal beer in taste.

Our topics of conversation ran the gamut from them being related to John Lennon (I much prefer Yoko Ono), my Nan’s crochet and embroidery, more of that in a later post, and my asshole father, again, more of that in a later post.

My dogs were very excited needless to say, but in the end, I had to put them back in the car (sunroof open and all windows cracked open too) so they could calm down.  Harper was overexcited, but she tends to be like that when she comes into some of the shops too, yes, we live in quite a dog-friendly place.  Where I grew up all the pubs were dog-friendly, but being int he middle of a farming community it was expected, sometimes people had their horses with them.  I digress.  Rosie the other dog was very well behaved, apart from having a growling moment at my dogs for no reason.  The had all been on walks together with no problem and happy to play together.

It was nice to catch up with them again, and more so that M got to meet them.  He has met one other cousin of mine, but as that side of the family is estranged most of my dad’s side are still standoffish, that is down to him, again, more of that in a later post.

One of my cousins has been undergoing breast cancer treatment, and now finished, she attends the hospital for follow-ups and treatment of side effects, pains in extremities etc., so it was a little surprising to get home and in my email box was one from LoveKnitting.com about knitting for Breast Cancer Haven.  100% of the sale of the patterns got to the charity, so I decided I would make two hats, one for my cousin and the other I would donate to Breast Cancer Haven for another patient going through treatment.  I decided to go for the Plum Tart Hat by Rosee WoodlandScreen Shot 2018-02-24 at 09.39.11I messaged my cousin asking what her favourite colour is and that all would be explained in time, she said mostly reds and a little lilac.  I have bought two shades of Willow and Lark Ramble yarn which is 100% merino wool, which I love to work with.  I have ordered two shades of red, one called Ox Blood and the other Cranberry.  When I have finished them I will give her the choice and the other I will donate.  I picked this hat out of all the patterns because it had more of a cable design to it, and I thought it quite stunning.  When I have the yarn I will take a pic of it to show you all, and of course, when I have finished each of the hats, do a show and tell too.  Oh, and if you were wondering, my cousin loves hats and wears all kinds, this being due to losing her hair.

Bloody Sewing…

pexels-photo-340012.jpegI decided I would sew up my sweater.  I finished it over a month ago, and left it there in my Booths bag, waiting in anticipation at being finished and worn.  But, for some reason I did not feel compelled to finish it, no real reason, well, maybe a bit of laziness was to blame, okay, a lot of laziness was to blame.  I am sure dear friends you have had the same feeling in the past of “Oh, I just can’t be arsed”, I had done the hard work and just hoped that a miracle would happen in the bag, and it would be all done for me by the faeries, alas the only faery that will be sewing is me.  So, I sat at my lovely Indian Rosewood dining table and started with the sleeves.  I did one up to the armhole, then pulled out the iron and ironing board and ironed the front and back in order to have a straight line to sew.  Sitting down I started sewing the armholes together, after getting halfway round I realised that being distracted by nothing of importance I had sewn the blooding thing the wrong way, in that it looked like a deconstructed garment and rather than being a lovely seam it was inside out.  Bollocks was my exclamation and quickly cutting the yarn I then undid it and decided to fold it up and put it on my office desk and do it tomorrow.  At least I have one sleeve done.

One of the things I was not sure about was which stitch I should use as there are so many of them.  I have edge/selvedge stitches at each end, so there are many possibilities, so far I think mattress stitch seems to the stitch of choice, so tomorrow, I will be going at it like a loon so I can finally wear it.

The End is Nigh…

Christmas was nice, but, as we all know, there was something missing, that being our beloved dog Lilu.  Christmas morning was always full of fun and excitement with her and Harper opening their presents.  Indeed Mazikeen did join in, but it was not the same, and I know over time Maz will replace the fun on Christmas day.  M and I had bought each other far too many presents, about 40 each.  Now don’t get me wrong, we went for volume rather than cost, so most things were cheap trinkets, for example, I had got M 4 different packs of Top Trump cards, tapestry needles and other little things, and he did the same for me.  We decided not to bother with a “big” present as neither of us needed or wanted anything, although I will confide in you my dear reader, I did break the rules and bought M a GoPro action camera with all the bits and bobs that go with it.  It was on offer, so I thought why not.  As it was my birthday a few days before Christmas I know that he had spent a lot of money on me, so I decided, what the hell, rules are to be broken.  We had three sessions of sitting down opening presents as to do it in one go would have been vulgar (I say this with tongue in cheek).

Most Christmas’s we start the day with a glass of champagne and orange juice, but this year we decided that we wanted to have clear heads.  Needless to say, we ate far too much but did not really drink, we had a bottle of wine with dinner, then sat in the lounge far too stuffed to even think about consuming more, but towards the end of the day, we did manage to have the obligatory turkey sandwich.

Boxing day we took the dogs out for walks and pottered about, watched a film and read books.  Wednesday we decided since the weather was dreadful we would have a movie day.  It was torrential rain outside and the temperature was 1c, so why it was coming down as rain was beyond me as a lot of the country was getting snow again.  I know I go on about the lack of snow, but it really does annoy me, it’s down to the microclimate we live in and that we live on the coast.

I decided to make my yearly glazed ham.  This year I boiled the 2kg join in water for 10 minutes, poured the water off and filled the pan with orange juice an onion cut in half with a clove in each, four bay leaves and a touch of pepper and simmered it for three hours.  When the time was up I then removed the skin/rind and made diamond patterns in the fats, put a clove on each diamond and then drizzled it with my glaze that consisted of honey, wholegrain mustard, juice of an orange and the zest, pepper and orange marmalade, then baked it for 40 minutes.  It was delicious, and I served it with pickled red cabbage and apple sauce.

Today I have made another trifle and am currently roasting a huge joint of beef, the smell is divine and I cannot wait to eat with some roast potatoes and veg.

I finally managed to finish one of the many books I am reading, Captain Scott by Ranulph Fiennes, it was quite an interesting history of Scott’s last expedition to the South Pole, and I found it quite sad to read the extent of suffering and the conditions of his and his colleague’s deaths.  Although I knew of the story, and who doesn’t, but Ranulph Fiennes wrote in detail of all the backstabbing and character assassinations other authors had done in the past, one particular author Roland Huntford, had made lots of rubbish up and was taken to court by Scott’s son, needless to say Scott’s son won, but the damage it had done to Scotts reputation was quite alarming, and this so called text by Huntford was taken as gospel, only in later years has it been acknowleged that the man knew nothing and his life, like his book, was lies, even his name was not his real name.  It says a lot about a person who assassinates someone’s reputation in order to give themselves a so-called good name.

Christmas is now over and the New Year heading towards us at speed, tomorrow, the last day of 2017.  We have taken down all the Christmas decorations, apart from the tree that is, which may go tomorrow.  I will be glad to get the house back to normal if I am being totally honest.  I love all the decor we have during the period, but once boxing day is over, I am ready to box it all up again until the next December.

I have decided to make a few New Years Resolutions, and one of them is not to buy any more books.  Our house is like a library and we have quite literally thousands of books, and hundreds that I have not got round to reading, so it seems silly buying more when there are so many queued up waiting for me.  I have made a few other decisions along with a diet as I need to lose weight, I have just weighed myself and am 14 Stone 8 Pounds, so have quite a bit of weight to get rid of.  I am going to publish it on my site, and hopefully, this will spur me on to shed it.  I am not built for speed, so will never be skinny, but I do not intend to be that way.  I have Scandinavian ancestry, basically, I am from Viking stock, which explains why I am not tall, being 171cm which is the typical height of a Viking man, I have the same build as the average Viking too, not built for speed, but for hard work, I have blond hair and red in my beard, oh yes, I have a beard and have had since I was 21, I am 48 now, which is a typical trait of a Viking.  Also in common with Vikings, I have Osteoarthritis, am a bit of a fighter, very argumentative and have a temper that goes from zero to explosion in an instant.  Yes, I do sound like a delight!  Anyway, weight loss is on the cards for the new year.

This evening I am going to attempt to finish this bloody sweater.  It feels like it has taken me forever to make, but there has been a lot of changes at home as posted, but I really really want and need to finish it, after all, there are so many projects I have my eyes on.

In the new year, I aim to read 24 books.  One year I managed to read over 50, but lately, I seem to purchase huge tomes that have thousands of pages, so watch this space.  This year I have only managed to read 19 books which is poor.  When I was in my late teen’s early twenties I could read a novel in a day.  I would get my book, lie on the end of my bed, with the book on the floor and me hanging over the edge, and I would not move until I finished it.  These days life is too busy to get the chance to do such things, but I am not complaining.

My final decision is to spend less, save more!  I know a lot of people have this as a resolution, but I have everything, and I really mean everything I want and need, so there is no excuse for spend spend spend!  Unlike the usually broken resolution of joining the gym and then giving up within a month, these are things I really want to do.  I have them on my iPhone, so no escaping it.

In case you were wondering the photo is one I took a few years ago whilst visiting the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth.  I have visited it many times, and spend many many hours on the moors.  A beautiful part of the world.

All that is left to do is say farewell to 2017.

Twas the night before Christmas…

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

Well, that’s not all that true, the dogs are running about playing with cardboard tubes.

I have been cooking and preparing all day for tomorrow.  My turkey is so big (too big) that it has taken close to 6 hours to cook.  I have made my traditional sage and onion stuffing, not the rubbish you get in packets.  I started making my trifle yesterday with the jelly and amaretto biscuits, this morning I made the custard, tomorrow I will do the cream and add the chocolate to the top.  I decided not to prep my veg today as I did a few years ago and ended up with veg that had split.

The table is decorated and laid out too, so all I have to do is relax and wait for Santa to arrive.  I now have a spatchcock chicken in for our dinner this evening.

When I first met M he always insisted on putting out a carrot for the reindeer and a glass of milk and mince pie/cake/cookie for Santa, this happened every year, and year on year the milk was drunk, the carrot and other offerings were eaten.  When M got up he always headed to the lounge gasped and smiled as Santa had been and eaten the fair that was left for him.  He knew it was me, we were the only people in the house, but he never said anything and neither did I.  One year he left a note and Santa replied to him.  This must have gone on for 10 years or more, but stopped as we had just got Harper and leaving food and milk on the hearth for Santa was not going to happen as she would sneak out and consume it all, and that was my job.  It was a magical time, although we both knew it was me and M was in his 30’s that did not make a difference, it was something fun.  I am hoping that he starts it again, I will just have to make sure I get up in the middle of the night to do my part.

This will be our first Christmas in this house without Lilu, but our first with Mazikeen.

Tonight whilst watching rubbish TV and drinking good cheer I will be finishing off my sweater.  I have been doing the neck and want it to be quite long so it can be folded back and make it even warmer.  With a bit of luck I will have it finished, then I can sew it up and wear it finally.  I have attached the front and back at the shoulders and picked up all the stitches I needed to make the neck, but it weighs a tonne so finishing it off is taking quite a bit of manoeuvring about, but it will be worth it in the end.

Well, with that, all is left for me to wish you, one and all, to have a very Merry Christmas.

Scarlet, and other stories…

Ok, well, if I am honest, Scarlet will not be featuring in this post, I don’t know her.

Tuesday’s Child… Busy week again this week.  On Tuesday I had to go to the hospital again for my heart scan.  So for all those who think I do not have a heart, it turns out I do have one.  The lady who did the scan said that recorded the extra and missed beats, and that the speed of it is at the upper level of fast and she would add all that to her report for my cardiologist.  I am there again on Monday to get another 24-hour monitor fitted, then again on Tuesday to have it removed and downloaded.  One thing I like about this hospital is it is efficient and all the appointments are on time every time and the fact that it is a specialist hospital dealing with hearts and chest only.  Unless there is a major problem, I do not think I will know much this year.

Road to Your Soul…  Wednesday I went out with my friend E.  I first met her when I started working for her when I was in my mid 20’s, now in my late 40’s we are still friends and have a great laugh with each other.  We went to one of our favourite restaurants which is situated about 6 miles away.  We started with large Tanqueray gins.  Starters ordered, and we moved on to a rather fine Italian Rioja, which was delicious, especially with the queen scallops and black pudding stuffed pigs cheeks. Main courses, E had a Christmas Turkey roast dinner as she will be in Mexico for Christmas, so will not have a traditional dinner.  I had tender liver in a red wine sauce with creamed potato and carrot and turnip.  Another gin at this point arrived as we had finished the wine.  Desert for me was cinder toffee Eton mess which needless to say was amazing, E had coconut rum and raisin, not my idea of a desert but she enjoyed it.  Next was a couple of amarettos and a cheese board, followed by more amaretto.  We paid the bill and moved to the bar, and E started messing about with the reindeers on display, madness ensued and we had a laugh.  More gin, this time Hendricks then I went onto the Jack Daniels.  After several, we decided to call it a night and got our taxi cabs home.

Only One Reason…  Amazon finally sorted themselves out, apologies quite a lot and added a few free months to my account.  They spoke to the transport team and started an investigation as to why so many of my deliveries are lost or majorly delayed.  I received all the refunds that I should have had and an assurance that it would never happen again.  The latter promise I have taken with a pinch of salt as I know they will screw up again, but I really hope that they don’t as I could not deal with all the problems again.  Tomorrow will tell as I have three things coming to the house.

Dream Now…  Finally got my 7mm circular I can now finish making my sweater.  I have sewn the shoulders together and picked up a load of stitches so I can now do the large ribbed turtleneck.  I was going to do some tonight but decided to do it tomorrow as I want the light and to get it right from the start.  I had to pick up a collection of stitches that were divisible by 6 + 2, for example, 62 stitches.  If I get an early start I should finish it by the end of the day, and a big YAY to me if I do.  After sewing the shoulders together I opped it over my head and M said that it looked really nice and expensive too, which is great news.  Once I have finished it I will post some photos of it.

Pieces of Our Hearts…  All the presents are wrapped and under the tree, all the essential none perishable items have been bought and are in the larder awaiting the big day.  Mazikeen is a little too interested in the presents under the tree, so much so that she stole one and ripped it open, one of mine to be exact, however, M got to it fast enough that I did not see what it was, but it was a lovely box it was in, whatever it is.  Harper keeps looking at the stuff under the tree, and since there are about 60 items there is a lot to look at.  I know what she is doing, she is looking and sniffing to see if she can see something for her.  Her and Maz have a lot of things to open, but we have them upstairs out of the way, or they will end up stealing them.  Lilu loved Christmas and on the big day she knew it was her time to open lots of presents (we spoiled her), she taught Harper how to open them over the years, both of them experts.  This will be the first Christmas in this house without her, so will be a little odd, but she will be with us in spirit.

Blind Lemon Sam…  The pup has started growing at an alarming rate.  I was a little worried as she just seemed to be the same size for over a month, but this week she has had a growth spurt, and when I came home yesterday evening she seems to have increased by 50% since last seeing her just 10 hours earlier.  I bought her an elf sweater for a small dog, that would have done a week ago, and it is quite tight on her, she looks adorable, but a little snug in it.  I wanted to get Harper one, but they did not have one big enough, shame really.  Mazikeen has only had a few accidents lately and seems to be getting better with her toileting. I have taught her more tricks which is funny to watch, and she now can get onto the sofa with no problem, although still cannot get on to our bed, it is really high.

The Pearl Fisherman…  Well that it so far for my update, fingers crossed I can get back to posting more and reading everyone’s blogs, which seems to have been put on hold, but I will catch up and read everyone’s posts over the past few months.  Just have to get next week out of the way, and I think normality will be resumed.

The Empty Dancehall…  In case anyone was wondering about the titles and the name of my post, it is from a group called All About Eve, the album is Scarlet, and other Stories and the bold are titles of songs.  I went to see All About Eve back in 1989 in Liverpool and totally loved them, and have spoken to Julianne Regan many times, she even recommended that I read ‘On Ther Periphery’ about David Sylvian, which I loved reading.

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