Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Scarfy goodness

 Yesterday I finally remembered at the appropriate time of day to take some pictures of my Hitchhiker and as luck would have it it was a cold sunny day so the light was excellent. I did take some pictures of myself wearing it (knitting selfies are less frivolous than normal ones, eh?) but they were abysmal. I looked pale, cold and rather forbidding, and not in a cool Ice Queen kind of way, more of the sarcastic maths teacher with a headache genre.

I'm so chuffed with how well the Hitchhiker turned out. I was a little haphazard with my row counting so some of the points ended up a bit longer than others but I think it looks pretty good. I debated with myself for a while as to whether I should cast off at the 42nd point or whether the last point doesn't actually count as a point - and I couldn't find the pattern so I don't know if that's mentioned. In the end I decided the last point doesn't count as a proper point so depending on your point of view it may have 43 points. It's very long and very warm too which is good as this morning we woke up to a hard frost and the first light sprinkling of snow this winter.

Very sunny and beautiful clear blue skies though which makes up for an awful lot.  That photo was taken about midday actually. I like the contrast with the golden leaves just hanging on by the skin of their sap and the snow/frost. The amazing yellow maybe-maple leaves that have fallen off a tree near the school looked amazing with frost on them but I didn't have time to take pictures this morning.  Also I'd have felt a bit of an idiot, to be honest. Sometimes I'm uninhibited about taking photos of random things, but sometimes I'm not.

I've taken to comparing the various weather forecast websites, just for fun. It's Parents' Night at the school tonight so that may coincide with torrential rain, a light rain shower or hail, depending on which site you look at.  I'll just wait and see.  I imagine a plague of locusts is probably not likely. Freeze-dried locusts maybe. Or soaking-wet or merely-slightly-damp locusts possibly. Weather's such an adventure!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Boing boing boing

Boing boing boing!

That's me jumping up and down in excitement because I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here will be on in 32 minutes!

I make no apologies. Yes, it's full non-entity celebrities - and this year there are even fewer that I've even heard of* - but somehow that doesn't matter. It's the silliness of the bushtucker trials that count. I hope none of the celebs are (is?) as pathetic as whatserfacefrom last year.

I am sitting with a mug of coffee and some small and pretty chocolate treats. It has been a lovely day. 

The Boy and I went into Glasgow and braved the Subway (the Boy is not keen on it) up to the West End. We were heading for the Yarn Cake of course, but naturally I forgot to take any pictures there, either of the wall of wool or of my slice of apple crumble cake. I bought some Jamieson and Smith jumper weight for the making of fingerless mitts though (can never have too many, right?)

On the way there we wandered through the Botanic Gardens and stopped in the gorgeous greenhouse, the Kibble Palace, to eat our sandwiches. It's truly lovely and I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before how it looks like how I'd imagine a Victorian spaceship would look.

Then we looked at the map at the edge of the park..

.. evidence I think of a proto-Enterprise, the Kibble class starship. *nods sagely*

On the way back out later on we saw this gentleman painting gold details onto the gate. It was, not to put to fine a point on it, pissing down with rain by this time but he seemed perfectly happy in his t-shirt and hi-vis waistcoat, focused on the details.

We also stopped in at the second-hand book fair this was being held in one of the buildings in the Botanic gardens and I bought an old map. I love old maps. This one is from 1947 I think and is of the area where my parents live.

A lot of it is mountain and is fairly sparsely populated, so not a huge amount has changed really. One of the most obvious changes is that in those days there was no A9, or not as we know it.

By which I mean there was no modern A9, which is the main road connecting the Highlands with the uncivilised south (longest road in Scotland says Wikipedia - it's not a big country though).  More details on the history of the A9, should you be that way inclined, on this site.  Amazing what you find when you google.

I'm going to go now because it took me ages to resize my pictures so the minor Celebs are on and jumping out of 'planes! Oh and still no knitting pics. Daylight how I miss thee.

Steve Davis - snooker bloke, always on telly in the '80s; David Emanual - made horrible wedding dress as I recall; and I was very peripherally aware of Rebecca Adlington. She won an Olympic medal apparently.  I loathe the Olympics so purposely avoided as much of the jingoistic claptrap media coverage last year.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Swift in action

I bought myself a swift recently.  Up until now I've been wrapping skeins round my ankles to prevent tangling when winding into them a ball.  This doesn't always work well and is quite slow. I'd held off on buying a swift because a) it seemed a bit self-indulgent, they're not cheap after all, and b) I don't like the look of umbrella swifts.  I don't even like umbrellas, or umbrella-fold buggies, so an umbrella swift had no chance.  But then My Beloved had a bonus and it didn't seem that indulgent after all, and actually given the amount people will spend on mobile 'phones it seemed positively frugal - so I bought a Sunflower swift.

It's beautiful. It's like something my dad would make, which may sound like the kind of catty negative thing people say sometimes, but as my dad is particularly good at making beautiful wooden things it's actually high praise.  Anyway.  The swift is brilliant.  I think I wound that ball in about an eighth of the time it would usually take me. I don't have a ballwinder. I use a nostepinne when I can find it, a spurtle when I can't, but I might get a ballwinder too now just to speed it up a bit more for those impatient-to-knit days.  The day I took the pictures was an impatient-to-knit day.  My wool ran out on the last point of my Hitchhiker. I was amazed I'd got so far on one skein actually and had bought two skeins knowing I'd need them, but in fact I used only a tiny amount of that second skein.  I wound that wool with the end of the Hitchhiker gloriously in sight, mentally belting down the home straight towards the cast-off. And now it is finished and is lovely but I've got the lack-of-natural-daylight-in-winter problem and keep forgetting to take pictures of it in the middle of the day. And actually today was so dreich the pictures would have been rubbish even if I had remembered at midday.  And also actually, I was dyeing my hair at midday. I've been looking ever more like Lily Munster the last few weeks...  which is cool in its own way but I got fed up with it and hit the chestnut brown 'colour masque'.  Aye, right. Just call it gloop, all our senses tell us it's foul-smelling but functional, don't turn it into a lifestyle thing.

So anyway, back to the point - the Hitchhiker is finished but no pics. I have been wearing it though and it's warm and has a lovely shape and is a pretty colour. The wool (Sparkleduck Pulsar) is lovely but I've rather wasted it on the Hitchhiker, not because it's not a nice pattern (it is - the shape is soooo drapey) but because it's garter stitch. The Pulsar has a substantial proportion of silk in it and thus has a lovely sheen to it but you don't really get to see that in garter stitch. A stocking stitch project would have shown it off better.  I have the best part of a skein left though so I want to make a hat in stocking stitch, maybe with a bit of lace. And then I'll be like co-ordinated. Well, there's a first time for everything.

I shall finish with my cat having no dignity. He does this of an evening while we're watching tv. I don't know why. He also likes playing with my shoes. I suspect he may in fact but be a hitherto unknown species of dog-cat. But we love him anyway.

My cat has no dignity, doodah, doodah; My cat has no dignity, Doo-de-doodah-day!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Warm feet and fireworks

A row of coziness.  I do like a hot water bottle.  I know some people prefer electric blankets but I'm not keen - and there's something so seventies about electric blankets. Besides which, one of the joys of hot-water bottles is you get to make covers for them!

The red one on the left is one my mum made for me, I think when I was a student or possibly even when I was still at school. The stripey one is one I made for the Boy out of an old fleece dressing-gown he'd long outgrown.  I'm not great at sewing so I'm quite proud of how well it turned out. The pinky-orangey one is Miss M's and could really do with a button to fasten it now. It was fine when I first knitted it but of course being garter stitch it has stretched and sagged somewhat. Still gorgeously squishy though!  The two small ones are half-size hot-water bottles that the kids used to use. They're not often used now but I still like the covers.  I feel like knitting another cover.  It's not as if I need another one, but it's no odder than all the people who've knitted loads of lace shawls is it?

It's definitely a hot-water bottle night tonight. There have been frosts the last couple of nights and although it was cloudy and very wet this afternoon (and at its worst just as the kids came out of school of course), the skies cleared again this evening. Which meant dry and clear for the fireworks! We didn't go to a display but the kids and I went for a walk round the block to see what we could see.

 Boom! Oooh! Aaah! etc. 

Actually there were so many going in off in one place just at this point that I wondered if somebody had just lobbed a lit match into a box of fireworks. Miss M was completely horrified at the very thought - clearly they've covered firework safety at some length at school. Which is good!

Miss M claims she didn't like the loud noises and didn't enjoy herself at all. Here's a picture of her not enjoying herself at all:

'Aye, right' as we say round here.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Bigfoot sighting

Do you like my new slippers? Look comfy and cosy don't they? They are. Lovely. You wouldn't believe how many shops I had to go to to get them though, and how many times I went through the Ugly Sister routine trying them on.  Apparently I have freakishly big feet! Or not :-).   I take somewhere between a 7-and-a-half and an 8, depending on shoe style and the shop. (For Americans that would be 10 to 10.5 I think). I'm very slightly above average height for a woman. I don't think my feet look out of proportion. My husband is 2.5cm taller than me and has bigger feet. He doesn't look out of proportion either. So why am I now wearing size 9 slippers, i.e. 'extra large', and they just barely fit? I mean, thank you Next for producing bigger slippers than all the other shops I tried but I'm not actually a size 9 for anything else, so why slippers? And are actually tall people with correspondingly bigger but proportionate feet just going without? Shivering? Knitting extra thick socks?

It's quite difficult to take a picture of your own foot side-on.

Rant over. This evening we watched Much Ado About Nothing, a la Whedon. I enjoyed it very much though as we're both very familiar with the Ken and Em Much Ado we were mentally comparing it scene by scene, line by line, shot by shot. Very difficult not to!

Some thoughts:

I loved that Master Gentleman Conrade was recast as a woman but I'd have loved it even better if they'd left the 'Master Gentleman Conrade' line in.
Alexis Denisof was very distracting in what is presumably his own accent - I've only really seen him as Wesley in Buffy and Angel. Now if he'd played Benedick as Wesley in his more heroic Rogue-Demon-Hunter Angel-period guise that would have been fun. I swear he slipped into it a couple of times.
Nathan Fillion saying 'Are you good men and true?' was just right for me.
Bloke from Agents of Shield (sorry, Agents of SHIELD) as Leonato was good but when you compare him with Richard Briers who sounded as if he was born to be Leonato, well, it's an unfair comparison.
I really like Joss Whedon's house.
I loved the various pratfalls and physical humour 'cos I'm shallow that way. A groundling at heart.

I'll undoubtedly watch it again.  

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Strange architecture

Today was Miss Mouse's gymnastics club's annual display.  This year it was held at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility. That's a bit of a mouthful isn't it? It reminds me of when the local dump was called the Civic Amenity Site. It's now called the Recycling Centre. The dump that is, not Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility.

Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility is a bit odd. I mean, look at it:

Are your eyes doing funny things? Mine are. It's a recent building, opened in 2011, built on land that used to be Ravenscraig Steelworks which seemed to always be on the Scottish news in the 1980s (I can't remember why now, and Wikipedia doesn't tell me) and finally closed in 1992.

I'm pretty sure that picture is squint but with optical-illusion-building on the horizon it's quite hard to tell.

We never really have any reason to go to that neck of the woods, so it occurred to me on the way there that the last time we went along that particular road heading in that direction we were on the way to the hospital and I was about to give birth to Miss M, quite imminently. Like 40 minutes later.

The display was excellent - the gymnastics club is quite big, with a wide range of abilities, from beginners up to the Really Quite Good and they were all very enthusiastic.  I'm glad someone had mentioned that the seats are really uncomfortable though. We took cushions. Four hours without cushions would have been, well, uncomfortable. Sports Facilities seem to believe in torturing the audience.  Well, we're the weak ones I suppose, we should be out there doing, not merely spectating. Shame on us. 

Miss M had a blast, though it overran by half an hour (inevitable really). Blue skies when we went in, pitch black and pouring with rain when we got out again at about half past six.

I keep looking back at those pictures and it is a really odd building isn't?

Friday, 1 November 2013

See it, blog it

I fairly recently started reading the my life in knitwear blog. It's an interesting read but I was particularly taken with the See It, Blog It challenge, which Rachel, the blogger, created in the "hope that it will inspire seasoned, new and occasional bloggers (myself included) to get out and See It, Blog It".  It's exactly the kind of kick up the blogging bum (and photography bum for that matter) that I like.

So October was my first attempt at a See It, Blog It challenge - and I completely failed to do the actual 'blog it' bit. *sigh* Such a numpty.  Anyway, here's what the October challenge was -  to go somewhere you frequently go or pass but don't pay usually attention to, and look at it from a different angle.  Mine was unintentional. There was a break-in at the usual venue for my daughter's dance classes (a Masonic lodge of all things, as I think I've mentioned before), and it was still a crime scene so her dance teacher had to find a new venue for that day's classes sharpish. She managed to hire the church hall down the road. I drive past that church at least six times a week and although I'd admired a tree in its garden (grounds?), that was it.

What I didn't get a decent picture of was the view back out onto the road I drive up and down so often. I frequently think that a new view of a familiar scene can be fascinating in a Through the Looking Glass sort of way. It gets my imagination going anyway.  The tree I've admired, in spring especially, is behind a fairly high stone wall so I had no idea what else was in the garden. In fact it's a tranquil sort of place, more grass than I expected with mature trees. It's quiet.  The road outside is hardly a busy road so you'd expect that but there's a nice sense of quiet you get in places with high walls and trees. Some places. Perhaps not prisons.
I looked up. It's not an old church but it's got solidity, and nice windows I thought. I was taken with the different sized panes and wondered if there was more recent Mackintosh-ish influence there. They do like their rectangles in Glasgow :-D.

Then I looked over my shoulder and there was this plaque on the wall. I just found it very endearing - 'to the Glory of God.. a rhododendron'.  Nothing too over the top, just a rhododendron. And the Moderator leaning on a spade. And the fact that there's a plaque commemorating it.

It reminded me of this little sign that I found last year.

It's by the side of a busy road. Although there is pavement there, hardly anybody ever walks along it because it's not a residential area, it's near an edge-of-town retail park, so probably hardly anybody ever notices it. You certainly wouldn't spot it from a car. It's not old and despite its resemblance to a tombstone it's (again) a commemorative thing, this time commemorating when that road was opened.  It says:

Glasgow 8 miles 
Brussels 641 miles
Opened by
Ken Collins, MEP
Member of 
the European Parliament
for Strathclyde East
Friday 23rd August 1991

I think it says Friday. Can't see for the grass. 
What fascinates me about this is that somebody commissioned this monument, somebody took some trouble over the wording, somebody carved it.  Presumably on the day there was an appreciative crowd for the grand opening (I didn't live here then). I wonder how many people know it's there?

Back to the church and I'll end with a gatepost, just because it looks so cheery. I'm not sure this was the church gatepost actually. It might have been further up the road. I'll have to check next time I go past.