Sunday, 1 April 2018

spawn, spring, other words beginning with sp* (*probably not really)

The frogs have spawned again! My Beloved's response to this was 'That's brave of them - the forecast isn't good' (apparently there is to be more snow, depending on which forecast you look at). I'm not sure if he thinks the frogs consult the weather forecast before embarking on following their reproductive instincts. In any case, frog spawn is pretty robust stuff.

However, delighted as I am to see evidence of new life in our garden, I'm back to the annual worry about tadpole welfare. Our pond is tiny and is currently pretty much filled with frogspawn and not much water, as despite various batches of snow we haven't had much actual rain recently, and I suspect the pond 'liner', a plastic tub, may be leaking. So I find myself hoping for plentiful April showers so that they eventual taddies have somewhere to actually swim, and considering installing another tiny pond. Maybe eventually I'll have a chain of tiny ponds across the garden. Actually this wouldn't take long. I bought a magazine the other day that had a supplement called something like 'tips for small gardens' and on opening it could only conclude that their idea of small gardens and mine do not even feature on the same Venn diagram, let alone overlap.

In knitting news, I finished the green hat I started in January, and also the camera pouch.

And now I'm knitting a shawl (the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief) from some Malabrigo Rios which I got a while back. I have reached the stage of eternally long rows but I want it to be a proper shawl rather than a kerchief (not that I'm clear what a kerchief is, but it sounds small) so I'm adding at least one extra repeat, so there is some way to go. Good telly knitting though!

Talking of which, in the interest of doing things as a family, even if it's only watching telly together, we are currently working our way through all the episodes of Scrapheap Challenge available on All4. Miss M is mechanically minded and the Boy is keen on science in general, and we'd watched all the Mythbusters and White Rabbit Project episodes available on Netflix so we were really pleased to find Scrapheap as well. Inspired by all this we finally got round to trying the Diet Coke/Mentos thing last week - we completely forgot to take pictures, but they would have been rubbish anyway as we were falling about laughing!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Hairy legs and hairy string

I'll start with hairy string:

It's jute gardening twine actually. I bought a large roll yesterday because I always need string in the garden, and anyway a ball of string is so aesthetically pleasing...

And then, naturally, I wondered what it would be like to knit with. Not that great, if I'm honest, as there's no give to it at all, but I like a challenge. Obviously it's not suitable for, y'know, a garment or anything, but I'm making a coaster kind of thing to put under a plant pot that's on my windowsill. I'm hoping it'll be a bit absorbent if there's any leaking from the pot. After that maybe I'll knit little jute hats for the outside plants. (Or not).

Anyway, hairy legs:

Miss M's school had their Scottish afternoon on Friday (the day after Burns Night). As you can see the younger kids had decorated the school hall rather fabulously.  In January they all learn Scots poetry and songs, and if they feel like it and are good enough three or four from each class are chosen to stand up in front of the whole school and a whole lot of parents at Scottish afternoon and recite a poem (the Boychild avoided this like the plague when he was at primary school). This year Miss M was one of the ones chosen. Her class had a large chunk of Tam o'Shanter to recite. This chunk in fact:

But to our tale:- Ae market-night,
Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely
And at his elbow, Souter Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither--
They had been fou for weeks thegither!
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter
And ay the ale was growing better:
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
wi' favours secret, sweet and precious
The Souter tauld his queerest stories;
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle. 

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E'en drown'd himsel' amang the nappy!
As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure,
The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure:
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious.
O'er a' the ills o' life victorious! 

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white--then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.--
Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he taks the road in
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in. 

The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd:
That night, a child might understand,
The Deil had business on his hand. 

(Spell-check isn't really keen on Burns! Translation here)

I don't know how she memorised that lot. But she did and she performed it really well, without going blank or throwing up or anything (I may be projecting slightly). It is a competition, but she knew she had no chance of winning because two of the boys in her class are excellent at this sort of thing and have represented their class in it almost every year (and in fact one of them was over-all winner for the school this year). But she was just so pleased that she did it at all. And I was so proud. I also wondered how she did it as neither her father nor I would ever have done such a thing! 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Bright and woolly

The thing that I am knitting, photographed in a moment of sunlight this afternoon. I have five colours of leftover Drops Nepal and had originally intended to do random stripes in all the colours, but then I thought it might be too much, so with Miss M's help I chose these - warm woodland colours with a splash of pink. I am not a pink person at all but I think this looks okay. And it's squishy. It's been a bit of a hectic week one way or another, so it's nice to have some comfort knitting.

I'm still pondering and plotting what else I can do with my various green wools. And I've just remembered that I have a half-completed (see how glass-half-full I'm being there!) Kirkja shawl tucked away somewhere - as I recall I stalled on it because one of the cats got into the wool and it's a tangled mass, but I quite like untangling wool if I'm in the right mood so that might be a project for the weekend! I have a cold and stuffed up sinuses at the moment so my plan for the weekend is to do pretty much bugger all, now with a little yarn untangling on the side. Perhaps I can find an interesting podcast to listen to while I untangle. It'll be very zen.             
Until the cats discover what I'm up to.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Supposed to be knitting

Today I took a whole load of pictures of the thing I am knitting, and they were all blurry! Guess the light wasn't as bright as it seemed.

So here's a picture from this morning.

Anyway, the thing I am knitting is a pouch for my compact camera. I do have a case for it but it's quite bulky with space for spare memory cards and stuff, and all I really need for day-to-day use is something to protect it from bumps, pointy things and leaking ballpoints in my handbag. And I wanted a small piece of fairly mindless knitting. So I'm using leftover bits of Drops Nepal in various colours - stripes, bit of Fair Isle, whatever I feel like really. It's looking quite nice so far, I think! But you'll have to take my word for it until I can take a decent picture.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Well, the snow did fall. And kept falling - showers, but heavy ones, so that when it was snowing it felt as if we were in the middle of a blizzard that had been raging for hours and would continue to rage for hours. And then it would just stop and there'd be a patch of blue sky for a bit before the next shower rolled in. It's been fun to watch.

I like this one, there's a Brueghelesque Hunters In The Snow kind of colour scheme about it. It's even more marked on the similar picture I put on Instagram - that was taken with my phone and came out a bit darker.

Still snowing and I'm wondering what tomorrow will be like. It's been dark for hours but with reflected light on snow and clouds it's undark too. Sort of peachy!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Green Monday - a lunchtime post

Ah, that's a bit better! I just took advantage of a moment of bright(er)ness to get a picture of some of my green yarn. So much verdant possibility, though I've no idea yet what I'm going to knit. I'm in a hat mood at the moment but realistically there's only so many hats I can wear, although saying that a Dr Seuss-type image popped into my head. Perhaps I should wear them all. At once.

Also taking advantage of the moment of sunshine I took a picture of the tulips on my windowsill, not realising until I uploaded it to the computer and resized it that it shows exactly how manky the kitchen window is!

So I've just cleaned it. But now the sun has gone! Well, take my word for it, it's loads better. In my defence the window is behind the sink and is an awkward stretch to clean so I tend not to do it very often, or until low winter sunlight shows it up horribly!
We're expecting snow later. Netweather is enthusiastically promising us 'torrential' snow from midnight. The Met Office slightly more cautiously warns of 'frequent and heavy hail and snow showers'. We tend to take somewhere in between the two as the Met Office weather station covering this area is lower down than we are, and in any case this town has its own meteorological quirks.  So really any sunshine at all before the cloud rolls in is to be enjoyed.

What I should be doing just now is putting a load of laundry on, and planting the last of my bulbs. But I'm going to spend five minutes finishing my coffee and peacefully browsing knitting patterns - sounds nice, doesn't it?

Saturday, 13 January 2018

January! The perfect time to go to a museum!

The perfect day for a museum visit being, of course, when it's cold, grey and wet, and spending a few hours indoors looking at interesting things seems like the best bet.  The museum in question is the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow's West End. The West End is north of the Clyde and we live south of Glasgow, so we used the satnav, hoping it would help us on the bits of the route we were a little vague about. It turns out that the satnav has a fear of rivers, refused to cross the Clyde, and had us driving in circles in the Southside for some time, at which point we gave up on it. Eventually we arrived at Kelvingrove, and headed inside for a happy wander. I really like the photo above - there was something about the floor tiles and the contrast with the rather striking colours of the painting at the end. Close to I wasn't so keen on the painting ('The Last of the Crew' by Briton Riviere) - it wasn't terrible, just not my cup of tea - but it works very well in that spot.

This is the view across the East Court (I think - the museum is big and old and symmetrical in layout which you'd think would make it not confusing - not so). The pink blobs are the 'floating heads', an installation by Sophie Cave. The heads show various expressions and emotions, and the light underneath them changes colour now and then. I don't know what they're made of (and googling hasn't helped) but I'm guessing they must be plastic as their strings aren't very thick!

They're sort of creepy and fascinating at the same time, but there's so much to see that you stop noticing them pretty quickly to be honest. Or maybe that's just because I've seen them before.

The museum is full of interesting things. Miss M and I managed to lose the rest of the family when we got distracted by textiles and the like. I was particularly taken with the pleasing pattern of weaving on the basket from Papua New Guinea above. I love woven things. I'm glad that picture came out reasonably well because a lot of them didn't - too many reflections!

And the building from outside, looking warmer than it should because of the lights on the facade!