Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Scarf! Shawl! Kindle! Busy!

November 27, 2010

As I predicted a week ago, it has been another busy week.  Something has been going on every day, mostly involving going out. 

Saturday – took Madi shopping for her 8th birthday present.  It wasn’t as fun as it should have been as she has learned the value of money since her 7th birthday!  So we did the rounds of the same 4 shops…several times…while Mads weighed up how to get the most for her budget.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s an important life skill and one she’ll potentially get a lot of use from, but 8 year olds have a lot more energy than I do at the moment.  And even more than A, who had just finished a 7 hour shift that started at 6am!  Anyway, at the end of the afternoon, Madi had several bags of fashionable clothes and a couple of books, all of which she was really happy with.  Mads enjoyed the outing, which was the point of it. 

Sunday – nothing much happened.  We had a lazy day and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monday – took Mum for a blood test. 

Tuesday – Caron came to visit, with baby Isla.  It was lovely to catch up, but I made the mistake of tidying up and vacuuming before they arrived.  It turns out that vacuuming is not one of the things I can do at this stage, without 2 days of pain afterwards.

Wednesday – Knitting at the Library.  It was good to get out and see people, and this outing wasn’t hard work at all 🙂

Thursday – my car went in for its MOT and a service.  It went fairly well, passing the MOT easily.  BUT both rear tyres were perished, and new ones were strongly recommended.  I thought for a few seconds and realised that I would not be comfortable driving it with dodgy tyres, especially in winter, so I got them changed…doubling the cost of the whole adventure! 

Friday – my 6 week follow-up appointment with the consultant doctor-man.  It wasn’t great, as he had some not-so-good test results to tell me, but I won’t have to see him again for 6 months so it wasn’t too bad.  He did sign me off for another two weeks and recommended a phased return to work for several weeks after that. 

Today/tomorrow – we’re looking after Gethin overnight so that poor Sam can get a few hours off.  She has been running around looking after my broken-legged brother for over a week now, and has to take care of the baby alone as well.  David can’t even lift or carry Gethin without hurting his leg so Sam has to do everything.  Tonight she should get an unbroken night’s sleep, and even a lay-in tomorrow morning.  And we get to play with the baby 🙂

In other news, I bought myself a Kindle!  It’s really slim and lightweight and I’m impressed at how comfortable it is to read.  Ironically, for the first time in a year, I have 6 new books to read, all sitting on the shelf, but I’m desperately trying to rationalise spending money on e-books. 

This week’s knitting news is exciting…two big finishes! 

Firstly, I finished the Sagrantina scarf, blocked it and love it:


I’m not sure whether I’m giving it away or keeping it myself…we’ll see.

Second…drum roll please…Gethin’s Christening Shawl is done!  Blocked!  Beautiful! 


It’s really hard to do it justice with a point-and-click camera and absolutely no photography skills.  But it looks good and I’m proud of it.  I know there are at least 3 small mistakes in it, but even I can’t find them now it is done. 

In other knitting news, I’m plodding away at the Dawlish Warren socks, and have made some progress on the two-colour hat I cast on before my op.  Plus I found a pattern for a Kindle cover, which I think I’m going to need! 

This coming week…another busy one, at least until Thursday.  We’ve got a check-up at the dentist, a doctor’s appointment for A and a visit to Bristol to discuss my phased return and find out about the latest developments.  I’ll almost be glad to get back to work, just so I’ll have a more stable routine!


Photo Saturday – mostly not knitting!

June 13, 2009

This week’s photo Saturday, as the title suggests is not all about the knitting for once.  There are of course a couple of knitting pictures…but only of the little dog I made for my friend.  I’ve re-done the spots as patches, complete with new ears and tail:


I have been knitting other things, of course.  They just don’t make for very interesting pictures.  I’ve been working away on my stripey cardigan, which now has a complete back and a nearly done left front.  Still lots to do though. 

I’ve also restarted my entrelac scarf…again.  I realised that I would run out of yarn before it was anywhere near long enough, so I’ve started again with just 3 squares across instead of the 5 or 6 I had before. 

I’m beginning to think I need some socks on the go?!

The rest of this week’s photos are all about the garden.  Yes, I’ve been at it again.  I’ve been watering stuff all week, when it hasn’t rained anyway.  I’ve planted some more:

There are two of these, one planted with dill and the other with mint. 

This big beastie has lavendar seeds in it.  I held back a few seeds for one of the pots in the front garden, but ran out of compost before I could plant them. 

Now, an update on last week’s plantings…some impressive results…

That is the window-herb-box…the many seedlings to the left are basil, and on the right (too small to see in my photo) are the first 3 chives!  No sign of parsley yet, but we’ve never had much luck with parsley for some reason. 

Next up, a sample of the pots I planted with wildflowers:

See that?  Seedlings!  All of the pots I added these seeds to last week now have at least a few seedlings, and of different flowers by the look of them. 

The next few pictures are of established pretty things in the garden, which I can’t take much credit for at all.

Those are our two roses.  The big red one in the foreground is called Royal William.  Apart from helping to select him, he’s all A’s work.  In the background (and turning up all over the garden) is our wedding rose.  It was a gift from my Dad when we got married, and it’s actually named ‘Wedding’ or ‘Marriage’ or something like that.  It has been moved once or twice, ruthlessly cut back on various occasions and always comes back stronger than ever.  It’s much more like a wild rose and is more to my taste than big flashy flowers like William.  That said, William makes a lovely contrast and truly stands out.  Plus, his scent is beautiful. 

On to my red hot pokers…

I call them mine, because I chose the seeds (or bulbs?  or whatever), I planted them, I watered them maybe twice, then I left them to get on with it.  I am a bad gardener. 

It turns out that red hot pokers don’t mind being ignored though.  There was just one flower the first year, one the second and then nothing for a couple of years.  But this year, well see for yourself, there are no less than 6 flowers there (one is hidden at the back, and smaller than the others)!  It’s so pretty.  The pot probably isn’t really big enough for it, but it seems to be thriving anyway. 

Finally, for photos anyway, we’ve added a couple of feeders to our bird-feeder pole. 

In addition to the original fat-ball cage, we’ve got a seed-feeder and a wire-mesh tray. 

Now, here’s the big news…we have birds visiting our garden!  I’m so happy 🙂 .  We put out peanuts on the wire tray, and they started to disappear after a day or so.  So we started paying more attention, looking out of our bedroom window.  Unfortunately, the cherry tree completely obscures our view of the feeders, but we can see birds coming in and leaving again.  So far this week, Ive seen big fat pigeons (twice) and a sparrow.  Nothing really exciting or rare or anything, I know that, but still – it’s a start. 

Okay, I’ve rattled on about the garden for long enough, what else do I want to say? 

Oh yes, I finally spoke to a real person at the hospital.  I was so surprised when she answered the phone that I forgot what to say!  I haven’t yet been booked in for surgery, but I should be on July’s list.  I’ve also got my record amended to state that I’m available for cancellations.  It’s worth a try. 

I’ve been a bit bad this week – I ordered 3 new books.  Two of them should be arriving any day now, the other is released later this week.  They are by Terry Brooks, and as I understand it are the connection between his Shannara series and his Word/Void books.  I’m so excited – not only do I get to read new Brooks books, but they might answer a lot of questions and link some of my favourite stories up.  I’ve started re-reading the Word/Void books in preparation for a massive Brooks-a-thon.  I’m going to read them all through one after another, all 20 of them!  I’m looking forward to reading the original Shannara books in a new context – it’s more than 20 years since I first started reading them!  That’s scary, am I old or something?  Don’t answer that! 

Finally, tomorrow I’m going on an outing with my Mum.  Oxford Crematorium has an annual open air service, to which we always took my Nan after my Gramp died (that’s where they were both cremated and their ashes are buried).  When Nan died, we went to one more service, but it just wasn’t right.  We’ve been to the crematorium since, with flowers, for birthdays, after I got married, that sort of stuff, just never for the service.  This year, it is 10 years since Nan died.  It’s hard to believe, I still miss her so much.  Anyway, Mum and I both got the idea to go to the service this year, so we’ll be there tomorrow afternoon.  It’s a kind of happy/sad thing.

Photos because it’s Saturday

March 7, 2009

This week I have a lot to report, and I’m feeling happy.  Let’s see, starting with…

Knitting news:  I finished my lovely Malabrigo gloves, and they truly are a joy to wear.  Even though the weather has turned a lot warmer, what with it being spring and no longer winter, so I probably won’t wear them until autumn now, but hey, at least I have them. 


So pretty, so warm, so going in a drawer for a few months. 

I’ve also finished the second Think Pink sock for my Mum.  I’ll see her on Tuesday, and give her the pair and hopefully even get a photo of her wearing them. 


I’m really pleased with them.  These were for the sock knit along on Ravelry, for February.  I finished them a few days late, but posted them anyway.  I think I’ll be giving the March KAL a miss, as the theme is lace and I have too many other things to do to start more lace socks at the moment.  I might join in late if I get time later in the month. 

I know I really shouldn’t have started anything new knitting-wise, but I couldn’t resist casting on for my Malabrigo hat, to match the scarf and gloves. 

I’m using the magic loop technique for the first time, and finding it quite straight forward so far.  This was why I chose the longest length of circular needles I could get, when I ordered all those Knitpicks needles, because I had read that for magic loop it was easier using long cables, and I figured that for 2 circs it wouldn’t be a problem having the extra length.  Now I can say I can knit in the round with DPNs, 2 circs and magic loop! 

Finally, and most excitingly (seriously, I’m still dancing in circles in my head), I won the monthly Violet Green yarn raffle in the VG group on Ravelry.  £10 to spend on anything at all from the Violet Green online shop.  I spent most of Wednesday browsing, ordered Weds evening, and received my lovely freebies on Friday morning.  I chose 2 yarns, one of which was Stellar sock yarn:

This is called Minchinhampton and I love the colours – the blue is actually more purple in real life. 

My other choice was a cobweb lace yarn, which is so fine and soft…I think I’ll make a stole from it.

Again, it’s more purple-y than blue, so pretty. 

And, even though I spent a bit over the £10 voucher I won, the lovely Violet Green lady refunded the extra and sent it all as my prize!  Lovely, lovely, lovely. 

On top of the knitting happiness, I took Friday off work, to use up my last day of annual leave.  I’ve also got Thursday and Friday of the coming week off.  I had a lovely lazy morning yesterday, while A was at work, posting on Ravelry, messing on the ‘puter, reading.  Then we went for a really long walk all afternoon, followed by a nap before dinner. 

Today I have to make a start on the cross-stitch I promised to make my friend for her daughter’s wedding.  I sorted out my cross-stitch supplies last night, organising my threads, updating my project book, looking for colours.  Weirdly, even though I have 6 boxes of threads of various makes and types, I don’t have a single on in the right shade of pink!  I’ll have to ponder down to the craft shop at some point, see if I can get something shiny or sparkly, or even just plain cotton in the right colour.  For now, I should get on with the design work anyway.  It has to include something representing Epsom Downs race course, as that is where the wedding is.  Hmmm. 

In reading news, I’ve just finished the 2nd of 3 books by Louis de Bernieres, in the ‘War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts’ series.  I love these books, even more than the first time I read them.  They are so clever and subtle.  Simply written while still being complex stories. 

Now, what else?  Oh yes, I have a variety of hospital appointments.  There’s the gynaecology consultant on Tuesday, which my Mum is taking me to as A has to work.  Then there’s A’s annual kidney checkup on Weds, and I have to see another consultant next week.  The another pain clinic appointment the week after that.  I’m just hoping someone will come up with some answers soon.  In the meantime, the pain clinic methods are working well.  I forget to do the exercises every day, but I am following instructions about stopping before it hurts.  For example when we go out walking, I stop and rest from time to time.  We usually stop for a coffee somewhere before the long walk home from Tesco/Sainsbury’s/wherever.  I’m able to get through without causing too much extra pain, which is progress. 

So, all in all, positives all round.  🙂

No-photo Saturday

February 28, 2009

This week I have no photosto show.  I haven’t finished any knitting, haven’t bought anything new, haven’t even really done anything. 

So why am I writing?  Ah, you know, habit. 

I have been knitting of course.  I’ve got just 1.5 fingers to do to finish my pretty purple gloves.  I would have got there last night if I hadn’t had to stop and wind the 3rd skein of laceweight…which…took…forever!  Perhaps at some point I should invest in a ball winder. 

I haven’t started on my Mum’s second pink sock yet, as I want to finish the gloves first. 

Then I thought I’d make a hat. 

Only I should make a wedding sampler for my friend’s daughter first.  But I want to make a hat.  And some more socks. 

Actually it might be a good idea to take a break from the knitting anyway.  The wedding sampler shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks, even with designing it myself, as Ali is looking for something small, probably about A5 size.  Then I can return to knitting full of new enthusiasm and fresh ideas.  Cos that’s what I need, right?  New ideas?  More enthusiasm?  Cos there are enough hours in the day to knit everything I want as it is. 

Anyway, I promised to make the wedding sampler, and if I just get on with it, it will be done the quicker.  I might even re-discover my cross-stitch mojo. 

In other news, our friends from New Zealand turned up out of the blue last weekend.  Jenny is bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding today, and was planning to come over on her own.  Tim managed to tag along in the end, bringing with them the good news that they are having a baby! 

In book news, I finished the James Bond book by Sebastian Faulks, which I started a few days ago.  I can’t say I really enjoyed it, and there were definitely times where I was looking forward to the end.  I think I need to read one of the original Bond books to see how different it really is.  It might be that Faulks has captured the style exactly, and I just wouldn’t have enjoyed the originals either.  I’ll reserve judgement for now. 

This morning I have re-read Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres.  It’s a little, short book, but so lovely.  It made me cry, as it did when I first read it 6 years ago (almost to the day).  I think I might re-read some other de Bernieres books now, starting with The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts. 

That’s enough for today, I want to get back to those gloves.

…insert title here…

February 25, 2009

I cant think of a title right now, so I may come back to it if something occurs to me, otherwise…whatever.

I finished re-reading Wuthering Heights the other day, and I’m pleased to say I followed the story and kind of ‘got it’ for the first time.  I still found it hard work, and I had to concentrate on it, but the lightbulb click moment when I got through it was worth it.  I think the problem lies in all the similar names,  Heathcliff and Hareton and Hindley and Linton and two Catherines.  I just find it hard work. 

Now I’m reading the James Bond book Devil May Care, by Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming.  It seems quite stilted and uncomfortable to start with, with lots of irritating not-quite-explanations and history snippets, but his style is relaxing a bit now I’m further into it.  I have several other books by Faulks, and really enjoy his style and stories.  Once I’ve read this one it might be good to track down one of the original Bond books, by Fleming himself, and see how it compares. 

Then what?  Maybe The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Maybe some Thomas Hardy.  Maybe something completely different.  I don’t plan too far ahead with my reading, often just reading whatever catches my eye.  I do keep a list of what I’ve read though, by date and by author.  I can easily see how recently I’ve read something, or what I was reading as far back as 2003.  It’s fascinating.  Although, reading that back it actually sounds really dull 😉 .  Really though, I consider that I read Pride and Prejudice regularly, frequently even.  But I realised the other day that I haven’t read it since before 2003!  That’s not frequent at all! 

Moving on to knitting…I made it to knitting group today, for the second week running.  It’s always good to relax for that hour or so. 

I have completed the first of my Mum’s ‘think pink’ socks (thank heavens) and it finally looks the right size.  It is a little grubby from having been wound, knit, frogged and re-wound several times, but once sock 2 is done, I’ll wash them and pass them on to their owner. 

I put off starting my second malabrigo glove, so I’d concentrate on the pink socks, but now one sock is done, I’ve cast on the second glove.  I haven’t decided whether to work on both at once or finish glove then sock. 

Once I’ve got these two projects done, I’ve promised to make a wedding sampler for my friend to give to her daughter, as a wedding present.  I haven’t done any cross-stitch since all the wedding presents I made last year, so it’ll be nice to do something different.  I just have to drag myself away from the knitting for long enough! 

Anyway, on that note I must go and start cooking dinner.  Steak and chips, mmmmm.