Friday, 29 June 2012

Summer Colours Week: Blue

Today is the first full day of the school holidays and it's chucked it down most of the day. Grey has been the couleur du jour.  So it's nice to look at these pictures from the last few weeks!

 1. Miss Mouse's feet in the paddling-pool at my parents' house a few weeks ago.

 2. Forget-me-nots in my parents' garden.

3. A bumble-bee on a blue flower in my garden. No idea what the flower is, but there are more this year than last year and very pretty they are too. Nobody tell me that it's a terrifying triffid-like invasive weed, I have my fingers in my ears, lalala can't hear you..

4. Blue sky. Blue blue blue.

5. Knitted flower brooch made for Miss M's other teacher. I also did a dark purple one for the Boy's teacher but being dark purple it did not photograph well .

Actually the weather today hasn't been a problem - we haven't the thunder or torrential rain that other places have had, and the kids are pretty worn out after a hectic few weeks so a day just pottering around without having to rush anywhere has been, well, nice! The other day they signed up for Story Lab, this year's Summer Reading Challenge, so there have been noses in books, as well as dvds, computer games and other signs of poor parenting :-D. The biggest excitement was going to the café at the supermarket for lunch, and the kids loved that as it's been so long since we've done it.  

Next week I'll teach them to make pompoms, oh yes I will.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Summer Colours Week: Red

 Our first poppy. Miss Mouse and I planted these last year but nothing came up (I thought poppies were annuals?) but this looks like it'll be the first of quite a few.

Cat2 approves - there was a bee buzzing inside the flower. She couldn't figure it out so she had to have a look. As My Beloved points out this pictures makes the cat appear enormous - actually she's a small cat and the poppy stem isn't all that tall.

 Here's one from a few weeks back- the school building at the Highland Folk Museum -love the red roof and red 'phone box.

 And another from the same time - Miss Mouse heading for the paddling pool.

And finally salad with red peppers for my dinner. Mmmmmmmmmmm...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Summer Colours Week: Pink

And you want to know the best bit? I took all these photographs today. It has been a Pink Day.

First, the flower I knitted yesterday.

My paint-spattered mock crocs

Er, jasmine possibly?

Lupin the first. With raindrops naturally - it was a damp and misty day.

Lupin the second - love the colours on this one.

 And finally,  dianthus - I love this one because the missing petal makes it look like a butterfly, and the raindrops make the colours so intense.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Summer Colours Week: Yellow

Do excuse me going overboard for yellow but it is a favourite of mine. Who can resist a yellow watering-can? Not me anyway.

Thank goodness for gift bags. Today I was sorting out 'teachers' presents' - Miss Mouse has two teachers, just to complicate things.  Love the spots!

And now, dum dum DUM, flowers from my garden!


 Calendula again

 And another. With raindrops.

And another. These may actually all be the same flower in fact but I'm so in love with the intense colour and notched petals that I don't care - I have sunshine in my garden and I'm loving it!

And finally, ranunculus of some kind in my teeny tiny pond.

Also today I have also knitted a flower - not yellow - as one of the teachers' presents (not sure of the apostrophe there).  Tomorrow I shall knit two more. It's a surprisingly soothing occupation. Oooh, I'm sleepy.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Summer Colours Week: Green

Leaping merrily onto the bandwagon, I'm joining in with Poppytalk's Summer Colours Week.

And say what you like about rainy weather, doesn't it make the greens lush?


We've had sunshine and warmth too though - this particular little tiger doesn't care for a waterlogged jungle (*cough* that's our lawn..).

Winging it

My happy socks - sock one nearly finished. But as it's 6-ply and I've been following my normal knitting pattern it's a bit baggy about the toes. I don't mind it being a little looser and slouchy on the ankle but wide toes don't work. So I've been very brave and ventured off-piste. My last few socks have been a bit pointy of toe really so I decided to try more anatomical toes, just winging it to see what works. It hasn't really worked but I've learned from the process so it's no loss. I'm going to frog back to the instep decreases and decrease a bit further so it's snugger on the foot, then start the toe decreases for the outside of the foot earlier.

That's the theory. I'm not sure when I'm going to get the chance to put it into practice though. We're into end-of-term bedlam at the moment. We had the PTA fun day a couple of weeks ago:

 I was on duty on the cake stall. Mmm, scones..

Then it was the school show last week - two performances and I went to both because there were tickets spare for the second one and Miss Mouse had begged me to go again. There were quite a few Primary One mums in the audience for the same reason! No pictures because every last one turned out blurry.  My hand must have been shaking with emotion.. or laughter. There were moments of pure dead-pan genius I can tell you!

Miss Mouse was in a dance display for the fun day of another school yesterday:

It looked at one point as if the whole thing might be called off as the weather forecast looked iffy, but in the end it was quite sunny and there was only one rain shower just after the kids had finished dancing.

She's going to a friend's birthday party after school tomorrow, it's the end-of-term disco on Wednesday, and the holidays start at lunchtime on Thursday. There'll be knitting time in there somewhere won't there? I could do some now but I need to go and buy cat litter. Oh the exciting and glamorous life I lead!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Charity shop gold

It is a wet wet day today, but I don't mind. The kids had their optician appointments this morning but this afternoon we've had nothing in particular to do so have just been pottering around in the house. The kids are making up some incomprehensible game at the moment, and I have been doing some soothing sock-knitting upstairs while listening to the rain. I can't be the only one who likes the sound of the rain can I? It's not just because I'm safely inside either - when I worked at the museum I was up at the farm in all weathers and provided I had the right clothes for the weather I was always quite happy.  The only weather I find it really hard to be positive about is hail. Hail doesn't have many redeeming features, though I'm sure it's meteorologically interesting.

Anyway, the other day I had to go down to the town centre for a few bits and pieces and dropped into one of the charity shops for a look around. I was about to wander back out  again when I spotted some mixed bags of wool, and when I investigated them I found not the usual charity shop acrylic or (horrors!) eyelash yarn but this:

H&O Shetland Fleece by Templetons of Ayr.

And this:

'Falcon Llama 4-ply' which turns out to be neither falcon (ho ho) nor llama, but a rather nice 60% alpaca 40% wool.  It's not a brand I've heard of or remember, and from Googling I can only find references to vintage knitting patterns, so I suspect this has been languishing in somebody's stash for years, as has the Templetons of Ayr wool - from a Google search on them I discovered that their mill in Mill St in Ayr was demolished in the 1980s.

I don't know what I'll do with them yet but they're absolutely lovely - just my kind of colours. Maybe another scarf from the 'Llama' - you can never have too many scarves can you?

Friday, 15 June 2012


 My dreich socks are finished! 

Actually I finished them last week but I didn't get the ends sewn in 'til Tuesday night and a half-decent picture taken until yesterday. I know, I know, they're just another pair of vanilla socks *yawn* but a) turning a heel still seems like magic to me and b) I don't really like fancy socks, particularly lacy ones. They just don't look comfortable. And a vanilla sock is just about the definition of 'comfortable'. Though I might tweak the toe for the next pair - my toes aren't quite that pointy!  And talking of toes, the website I've previously used for grafting instructions seems to have vanished, so as much for myself as anything, here's a link to another good explanation of how to graft those pesky toes!

The second sock went really quickly, I think because I was desperate to finish them so I could cast on these:

That was also Tuesday night - I finished the dreich socks on the train on the way to our knitting meet-up, and cast-on the new while I was there.  Similar colours to the dreich socks but for some reason not dreich - also 6-ply (it's the Regia 6-ply World College yarn that Kemps are selling off nice and cheaply! Yes, I'm a national stereotype, I do love a bargain) so soft and squishy and warm. And knits up quickly, which is always good!

I'll end with a random wildflower that I've managed to identify. I don't know how uncommon this is but I've only noticed it once near Loch Lomond and now again in Busby - it's such an intense colour, really striking. A Google suggests that it's Pilosella aurantiaca or Orange Hawkweed, also known as Fox-and-Cubs, a great name!  Orange is my least favourite colour in the unnatural world - paint, textiles, plastic, that kind of thing. But orange as produced in nature can be the most glorious colour. Love it!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Unexpected colour

 While the rest of our little trip north was nowhere near as warm as it was the day we travelled, it was pleasant enough and we had a lot of fun outdoors.  My dad works part-time at the Highland Folk Museum, a beautiful open air museum where I could happily spend hours just mooching around, so we made a couple of visits there while he was on duty. Actually it was so busy that he always seemed to have loads of visitors round him (which is good!) so we barely saw him there, but it's always a good place for passing the time happily.

 This is beside the excellent play area at the museum - the kids were happy climbing things and I was happy photographing flowers!

 Outside the 1930s school the Boy spent ages playing hopscotch while Mum, Miss Mouse and I had a look round the garden next to the school.

 Inside one of the newer exhibits, the tweed workshop. I think the last time we were there it was just about to open, so it was great to see inside. I love all the bits and pieces of textile production, spools and shade cards and shuttles and the like. There was a loom in there too, with a Work In Progress on it,  but for some reason I didn't take a picture of it.

 Back in my parents' garden, Thorfinn's rose - the rose-bush under which their cat is buried!

 Miss Mouse and her daddy cycling to Kingussie - the cycle path is brilliant and Miss Mouse did really well. I think we might try taking the stabilisers off her bike this summer. She seems quite keen anyway.

 Back at the museum again - one of the hens at the croft, looking idyllic!

 Broom at Loch Insh. The broom was glorious everywhere - you can see a whole lot in the background of the cycling picture too.

 Just warm enough for the paddling pool.  Two minutes later she ran off inside to get her 'kini' - she fondly imagines it's a bikini but actually it's a tankini.  To my mind it wasn't quite warm enough for that but Indestructochild thought otherwise!

Still, never one to be able to resist paddling, I had to join her. 

So there, holiday pictures inflicted upon you :-). I love our mini-holidays - the beginning is always a bit frantic, getting the cats to the cattery, loading the car up and so on, but once we're on our way it's brilliant. I probably shouldn't speak for My Beloved who does all the driving on these trips! Though he did say that he quite enjoyed the Scenic Detour, even though it took longer.  But a few days just pottering around does us all some good.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A detour

 A longer explanation of my very brief previous post! All pictures were taken through the car windows so there are odd reflections in places.

For the long weekend at the start of the month we took a trip north to see my parents. Our normal route is up the A9 but in the early hours of the day we were going there was a horrific accident on the A9 and it was closed for 16 hours.  A fairly lengthy diversion was the only option. So we headed up as far as Stirling, and peeled off to the west to Crianlarich (picture above is near there I think). Around that area* a military 'plane (Hercules maybe? I'm not very clued up on military things) flew over us down the glen and up again - they use the glens for practise on lower-level flying, which is pretty weird when you see a 'plane flying between the hills.

Then we headed up the A82.

Above is just past Loch Tulla where the road climbs up to Rannoch Moor. The picture on my last blog-post was taken just a bit higher up from there, looking west.

As a substantial amount of the usual northbound traffic was taking this route we were more or less in convoy pretty much all the way. This road is a favourite with bikers (we saw quite a few) and my-Beloved-the-biker commented that they must have been gutted that 'their' road clogged up with normal mum-dad-and-the-kids traffic. The scenery round there is spectacular.

Mountains - the pointy one is Buachaille Etive Mòr I think. Aren't I knowledgeable? :-). My mate DaveInTheHills would know and could explain the geology too. In fact if he reads this he'll probably wince at 'pointy one'..

And the top of Glencoe (scene of the infamous massacre).

As you'll have noticed it was the most beautiful weather. That's twice we've driven that route in glorious weather - it really is the most incredibly beautiful area on a good day.  It is known for its rainfall though, so we've been really lucky.  I remember visiting relatives in Kinlochleven once when it was bucketing down - there were mountains all around but you'd never have known because the cloud cover was somewhere just above your eyebrows.

This last picture was taken somewhere between Ballachulish and Fort William so is either Loch Leven or Loch Linnhe (sea-lochs both).   I took no more photos as I spent the rest of the journey distracting the kids. They'd been pretty good for most of the journey I must say. We have portable dvd players for the car which are helpful on long boring journeys but not on narrow twisty roads as the Boy gets sick (he's fine on the A9 because it curves gently I suppose). So they just had to appreciate the scenery instead! I found myself saying things like 'People travel thousands of miles to see this scenery you know!'. Bet they were rolling their eyes behind my back. Which is fine up to a point but with fifty miles to go they were beginning to get a bit restless.
I spy with my little eye something beginning with M.


* And I'm not entirely sure where because Miss Mouse was going through a thankfully brief phase of saying 'Are we nearly there yet?'
No, not even half way.. *sigh*