Thursday, 27 February 2014


My daughter's class are doing their class assembly next week - the theme is the water-cycle. Thrilling stuff!  They will be singing The Sun Has Got His Hat On and Singing In The Rain, so there has been much practising at home and in the car. Miss M has got all the words no bother, and has developed an addiction to Gene Kelly clips on YouTube, but she's not entirely in tune yet. The Boy is being driven steadily mad by off-key renditions of Singing In the Rain, mostly by Miss M but also by me (though naturally I'm completely in tune, oh yes). In the car on the way to Miss M's dance class this evening I distracted them with talk of the weather which was happening, in spades, all around us.  

Today has been nothing if not weatherful. There have been sunny spells and blue skies, but there have also been wind, rain, sleet and hail. During our in-car weather conversation (mostly monologue to be honest), we covered the topic of the weather in songs. Sunshine is well represented - The Sun Has Got His Hat On, My Girl ('I got sunshine on a cloudy day'), Walking on Sunshine, Sunshine After The Rain (early 90s dance track), Blame It On The Boogie ('Don't blame it on the sunshine'), ooh and loads of others that occurred to me while driving but that I can't recall now. Rain is fairly well represented too, though all I can think of now are November Rain (Guns'n'Roses) and Here Comes the Rain Again (Eurythmics - not sure I've spelled that right). Sleet and hail, which are what predominated during our short drive, do not figure much in popular music. Where's the breadth of meteorological music, eh?

Apologies for typos and inane ranting - this is, I think, my first blog post from my tablet, hence no piccies, which I haven't figured out yet.

Have a nice day!

Monday, 24 February 2014

A squillion little bricks

We went to the Brick City exhibition in Paisley yesterday. This is an exhibition of famous places and buildings, some on a big scale, some on a very small scale, built from Lego by Warren Elsmore. It's not a huge exhibition in terms of the space it takes up, just one room really, but it was packed, both with the exhibits and with visitors. The lady on the door said they've had masses and masses of visitors - in fact the exhibition was due to end last week but was extended (finishes this coming Sunday) as it's turned out to be so popular. We arrived just as it opened and people had clearly been waiting to get in, which is probably unusual for Paisley Museum on a wet Sunday in February! We spent ages looking around, going back to out favourite things, finding interesting details, waiting for the crowds to thin a bit to admire something from a different angle.

 This is Lego Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial:

For fans of Scandinavian drama, three little bits of Denmark:

And at the other end of the scale, St.Pancras station.

I really like the clever small-scale models, but there's no denying the thought and work and observation that's gone into building something as big as this. The clock towers had actual clocks in them, telling the right time! And as for the crowds inside and outside the station..

 H. Potter running for his train. Presumably not the Hogwarts Express.

 A cow on the platform, waiting patiently. 

I couldn't get a decent picture but there was also Buzz Lightyear working in a bar, and Darth Vader, R2D2, Zurg-from-Toy-Story, and all sorts of others at the entrance to the station.

In the next room to the main exhibition there were tables with tubs of Lego Pieces for kids (presumably) to get creative.  The Boy made a little spaceship:

and Miss M felt literary:

It was a great thing to do on a dreich Sunday, and we had a mooch around the rest of the museum too while we were there - well, it'd be rude not to! They had some interesting Egyptian stuff and a display about the history of the textile industry in Paisley. Paisley's not somewhere we go to often - I think I've only actually been there once before, other than  occasionally passing through on the way to somewhere else - so I don't suppose we'd really ever have gone to the museum if it weren't for the Lego exhibition.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A pretty thing

I took a wander around our local TK Maxx the other day and came out with this jug, which I'll use as a vase. I bought it for no other reason than that I thought it was really pretty - an entirely frivolous purchase! But as it makes me smile every time I look at it, I think it was worth it. Also, My Beloved went shopping for what we refer to as breadmilk in our dull domestic 'shall I shop on the way home?' texts - i.e. boring staples of the kitchen - and came back with daffodils for me. As well as the boring stuff of course.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Tooth fairying

Oooh, two posts in one evening - how's that for dedication?

I am on Tooth Fairy duty tonight (that's Nanny Plum by the way - she moonlights (hoho) as a Tooth Fairy when not annoying everyone in the Little Kingdom) for Miss M has lost a tooth. While eating pizza, as tonight was pizza night.

'Where's the tooth?' I asked.
'I think I ate it. There was a bit of a pizza that was a bit crunchy..'

Bleurgh. I know baby teeth are teeny tiny, but still.  I'm not sure what the Tooth Fairy's going rate is for teeth that are missing in action.  I'm glad my children are eminently rational though, so I don't have to do any convoluted Charlie-and-Lola-ish 'how shall we let the Tooth Fairy know you've lost a tooth when it's not under the pillow' stuff involving fairy x-ray machines and the contents of Miss M's stomach.

Oh, and of course it wasn't the disgustingly wobbly tooth that's been hanging by a thread for days. No, that one's still got a tenuous but surprisingly firm grip on her gum.

Toasty warm

Toasty warm being what I am currently not

However last weekend was the schools' February long weekend so we headed up north to see my parents and I spent as much time as possible basking in front of their stove. Aaaaah, bliss, bliss, bliss. It warms their living-room so efficiently that it was actually too hot by the standards of others*, though just right by mine. I was only sitting, knitting, reading or talking after all.

Lichen princess.

Lichen shapes.   Looks a bit like seaweed, doesn't it?

We went to the Highland Wildlife Park one day and saw the red pandas. I can't tell them apart in my photos but there were three - mum, dad and the cub who is about seven months old. I thought this picture was of the cub but now I'm not sure.  Back around the time the cub was born my dad was supplying bamboo shoots to the wildlife park - they'd asked if anyone in the area could provide any and as Dad has a lot of bamboo in the garden (he loves the stuff) he took some along every few days.

When we were there in the summer, Miss M went along on a bamboo trip - ah, it looks so warm!

But in February it was distinctly chilly. We headed back south on Tuesday morning. We'd had a wonderful time (not just basking in front of the fire - spending time with Mum and Dad is also excellent) and it was too short as always.

I think we timed it quite well though - according to Traffic Scotland, who I follow on twitter, there were various road closures due to accidents and weather conditions the day before and later that day and probably into the next day.

Back here it's been occasionally snowy, occasionally wet, occasionally windy. Today it was grey and dreich until ten to three when it started raining (just in time for standing in a cold windswept playground waiting for the kids to get out of school - you'd be amazed at how often the weather turns unpleasant at ten to three), rapidly followed by sleet and then snow.

Rather wet snow so I imagine it'll be gone by morning, but it's distinctly chilly and I'm dreaming of my parents' stove.  It's been a really mild winter, mostly wind and rain, and Scotland is for the most part far too hilly for flooding, so it's been an easy winter really. But it's okay to be dreaming of some warmth now, isn't it?

*i.e. the rest of the family, who do not feel the cold ever. Weirdos.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Y'know what February needs?

A bit of colour! Or quite a lot of colour. Why do things by halves?

My natural inclination in knitting is for fairly muted colours - natural colours quite often, but now and then a bit of zing is a good thing. I finally got round to blocking the mad stripey thing - the pattern is Lone Arnsted's Lifelines, though when I started it she hadn't written the pattern out fully, just included notes on what she'd done on her Ravelry project page.

It's essentially an elongated stripey Baktus-type scarf. I finished it ages ago and although it's stocking stitch and didn't need much in the way of blocking, I'd managed to create a few uneven bits when I was knitting it (gripping the needles to tightly when watching Scandinavian dramas perhaps?) so it was worth blocking a bit. It's meant to curl in on itself  quite a bit (more insulating!) so I wasn't trying to flatten it, just even it out.

I can't get a decent picture of me wearing it though. Modelling's not my forte.. Neither is taking selfies!  However I have been wearing it a lot - it's warm and the very essence of cheerfulness.

I've got to show you a picture of my kitchen windowsill too - hyacinths, carnations and daffodils and a bit of sunshine make it a happy scene.

I finally got round to trying something new - I'd admired Andamento's Christmas window stars and fancied some window suns to cheer up the dining-room window. I got hold of some kite paper and found that I'm not completely clueless when it comes to following paper-folding diagrams, which is nice. Though I'll admit to a little head-scratching at times, it was very straightforward really.

Note how well this one matches my cheery new tablecloth! The kids weren't keen when I replaced the old red spotty tablecloth (which was ripped and sad-looking) with the yellow spotty one but they seem to have to come round. It's undeniably and relentlessly cheery. It's probably worth mentioning that I haven't had a hangover this millennium (after Mikey Chung's party, Dundee, 1996, was the last one in fact). Possibly if I were to suffer a hangover this tablecloth might be just a Bit Much.

And there's my star/sun hanging up:

I thought the paler yellow looked a bit like a daffodil so I tried a yellow and white star too, which I think looks distinctly daffodilish.

Compare and contrast? We had a bit of snow yesterday and today so I'm pleased I've got bright things hanging in the window.

To finish the yellow theme, I tried a new lemony recipe tonight. Bizarrely enough it was reading an Ann Cleeves (crime novelist) book that got me looking for recipes. One of her characters was making a Mediterranean lemon chicken dish and I was so distracted by the thought that I lost track of the mystery for a bit. I had a look on the BBC Good Food website which is always a fun place to browse recipes and found a Lemon and Oregano Chicken traybake which looked lovely, so I had a go this evening (no pictures because food photography is not one of my strengths). I used chicken breasts rather than thighs and omitted the bacon, but added a bit of garlic, mostly because My Beloved likes it. It was really delicious - winter one-pot comfort food combined with summery citrus. I'll probably use chicken thighs next time as it was very slightly too dry. Oh, and I got back to the mystery!