Wednesday 31 August 2011

Visit Bury St.Edmunds !

So the weekend weather forecast wasn't the best: cloudy, cool with some very heavy showers, but I dragged DH out regardless, and on Saturday we headed to Bury St.Edmunds.

There's a large market that isn't just tons of bad-taste cheap clothing, lots of indie shops, at least three - THREE ! - yarn shops, plus a fabulous lady with a yarn stall on the market, plenty of coffee shops, nice pubs, and generous, cheap parking close to the town centre.

It is totally obvious why the Abbey Gardens make such a huge contribution to 'Bury in Bloom', and why the town has won so many floral awards; the planting is amazing, and immaculately maintained - a brilliant example of old-fashioned beautiful parks bedding:

Also tucked away near the ruins is a small herb garden, complete with Green Man, and a tranquil memorial rose garden:

There is also History. Stuff that looks like Proper History:

the Abbey Gate

Stuff that used to be History before it fell down:

the Abbey after Henry VIII

And People that made History:

Much as I am fond of Ipswich, we went home wondering why Bury St.Edmunds isn't the county town of Suffolk. No, this post is not sponsored by some subversive Group for Change ....

We had a lovely day of wandering around, taking our time, stopping whenever we felt like it, not having to consider the wants or needs of anyone other than ourselves. There were no sulks, no inconvenient bathroom visits, no boredom, no moans or whinges, no panicky moments where you can't see one or other child amongst the crowd, and no random muck and stickiness.

It felt odd.

Friday 26 August 2011

FO Friday 49: Dust Bunny Massacre

Just like the St.Valentine's Day Massacre, except armed with trash bags, a duster and a vacuum cleaner, my own personal armageddon of cleanliness is destined for the annals of history, no doubt.

One, if not the only, goal I had this week while the children are away, was to muck out Mini Diva's sty; it isn't something I can do when she's home because DH really dislikes for the whole street to hear me being a harridan: when I'm in a temper, volume is not a concern for me.

And when I'm deep cleaning her room, I'm in a foul temper: all those CDs, DS games, DVDs out of their cases and on the floor getting scratched; all the clean clothes washed and ironed with such care scrunched up and crumpled at the bottom of the wardrobe; old sweeties with 'stuff' stuck to them; books stashed willy-nilly in every nook and cranny. And millions of pieces of paper, of all sizes and shapes, leftover from projects, drawings, story-writing and I don't know what else.

But at the end of the day, I had achieved this:

The chest of drawers has lasted about 4 years, not too bad for chipboard. And amongst the debris, I found this which I can't resist sharing with you - it made me laugh out loud:

Head on over to Tami's Amis for some crafting goodness .....

Wednesday 24 August 2011

WIP Wednesday 55: Weekly Ramble

So this week is feeling very odd - the kids are at their Nanny's (my MIL), DH is (of course) at work, and the house is terribly quiet, as it's in the nature of all three cats to be generally noiseless, and Sebastian is unusually subdued - there's no itching and scratching, and a huge improvement in his skin, as he is back on antibiotics and steroids. I think he may be missing the children. I almost wrote 'as well' at the end of that sentence, but caught myself just in time.

I have indulged myself with grown-up food; I have stayed up very late to see the end of a film: 'Something's Gotta Give' - I kept waiting for Jack Nicholson to break into his old, tired mad/crazy persona, but he didn't. This film was refreshing just for that. And my goodness, does Diane Keaton ever play a woman who is not nice, and does not scream and wail ? I have watched trash TV: 'Teen Mom' and 'Teen Mom 2', which make me wonder exactly how Americans bring up their children so that they end up without boundaries, discipline or respect: Jenelle and Amber, I'm looking at you.

But this is not an essay on what is wrong with modern youth, but rather a show-and-tell: first, the usual suspects:

We have just shaped the bottom of the armholes of the front.

And Uber-Cool Brother's German Herringbone Rib Scarf:

which is probably about 1/3 of the way through.

As if these weren't enough to be getting on with, last night I cast on for a beret for Mini Diva, using the ball of Robin Piccasso Chunky left over from her lacy vintage sweater . (Yes, Calophi, I had totally forgotten to post the pattern as I promised: it'll be in the mail today). It's the Beret in Fisherman's Rib with Picot Brim, and I wish I'd read the project notes of the other people who have knitted it before I started: it is not written very clearly, especially considering the version of Fisherman's Rib used is rather unusual - Google is my friend, and it turns out that this version is German in origins. We will persevere, and see how it goes:

And I suffered a couple of 'moments' because I simply could. not. remember where I had put the skein of Madeline Tosh laceweight in 'Briar' .... so spent some time running around the house like a complete nutter searching for it obsessively ....

I advise you to head over to Tami's Amis where there are sane people ....

Sunday 21 August 2011

You Pays Your Money .....

.... and you takes your choice. Hobson's choice, in this case. I've been keeping an eye out for quite some time now for either a Cissus rhombifolia 'Ellen Danica' (Grape ivy) or a Cissus antarctica (Kangaroo vine).

Having used the fantastic resource that is the RHS plantfinder, I found two people that supplied these vines, one of whom is only 30 miles or so away from me: in May I sent an email asking if there were any in stock, and waited over 2 weeks for the reply which said 'no'.

The other supplier is in Margate, Kent. I stashed this little nugget of information away until yesterday, when we were in Kent to dump drop off the children with my MIL for a week; and DH, because he loves me, took me to this nursery (more about which another time, most likely).

This nursery had both plants in stock, perhaps 4 pots of each: 'rooted' cuttings only, not established plants, mark you, in 1 litre pots:

This was the best of the bunch.

This was with it:

Yep, that says £6.95 ($12 approx). It also says 'rhombifolia' when I'm fairly sure it's 'antarctica'; their 'rhombifolia's were labelled as 'antartica's. Although I really wanted a 'rhombifolia' I didn't buy one as they looked pretty ropey: as rooted cuttings, they didn't look established, rather, that they were at that point when you're hoping against hope (or experience) that they will make it, teetering on the point of no return. And I am the Queen of Failed Cuttings, so I'm pretty ie. extremely familiar with the signs.

My point is, £6.95 is extortion for an uncertain, mis-labelled, unestablished cutting, however hard it appears to get hold of. But I (or rather, DH) paid it, because it seems to be the only opportunity I had to obtain it. The law of supply and demand in up-close, personal, expensive, action.

It better live.

Friday 19 August 2011

FO Friday 48: Twofer

No songs today, but actual real life FOs, two of them: go me.

First is Tracy's Shawl that we last saw being soaked and blocked; it was sent as a gift over a week ago, but I haven't heard anything from the recipient. Here it is modelled by Mini Diva:

A lovely pattern in a lovely yarn: Artesano 100% alpaca 4ply in 'Anemone'.

And again, here is Mini Diva in her new vintage sweater, made from only 4 balls of Robin Picasso Chunky in the blue colorway; having succeeded with this, I am very likely to make a purple one for her cousin D. Mini Diva had requested the blue; apparently purple and pink are so yesterday ....

Engorged with my successes, I am off over to Tami's Amis to peruse those of others ....

Wednesday 17 August 2011

WIP Wednesday 54: He Haz Sadz

So all my timing has fallen apart: no FOs for last Friday, but have completed one since, and I almost had only two old faces to show for WIPs today. With this whip cracking almost audibly behind me, last night I cast on for Uber-Cool Brother's second birthday scarf.

I spent some time yesterday evening trying stuff out - otherwise known as swatching. Yes, I have trouble believing that myself, and I was actually there ! I tried out the Dragon Skin stitch, but it didn't 'pop' enough; then I tried out the Ribbed Leaf stitch pattern - twice, with a different amount of cast on stitches - but that also didn't come out as well as I thought it would. So I let my fingers do the walking through Barbara Walker's 2nd Treasury, and ended up with German Herringbone Rib, which I am quite liking after 3 or 4 pattern repeats:

This is the 'Squash' 4ply superwash merino from the Skein Queen in the colorway 'Aunt Betty's Pond', as selected by Uber-Cool Brother himself.

In addition, we have made some progress with the vintage cabled sweater for my youngest niece; each 8 row pattern repeat seems to take ages, I think because it's in DK ...

The furry head is Sebastian getting in on the act, feeling sorry for himself because he lost the battle royal on this occasion and so ended up being showered/bathed in his special shampoo. He lost, but I am the one sitting here in wet clothing ....

This is the 'I am clean, feel way better, but am compelled to guilt trip you in spite of all cuddles and treats' pose. I can tell you it's pretty effective. We are back to the vet tomorrow morning.

Over at Tami's Amis, as usual you'll find many interesting and beautiful projects, but I doubt any will be quite so sorrowful-looking ....

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Speed Demon

Yesterday dawned bright and sunny - an excellent omen. Having taken an amazingly long while to realize and then get over the panic engendered when DH said he'd left his driving licence at work (which shows severe lack on my part of being awake and/or thinking coherently as he is anal OCD very attentive about this kind of detail), we dropped Sebastian with Wendy, the lovely lady who does doggy daycare, and then the kids with my friend Karen.

After a peaceful and uneventful smooth drive, we found ourselves just outside our destination by noon; being a bit early, we stopped to stretch our legs, and for a restorative gin (mine), at one of the prettiest pubs I've seen:

The Greyhound at Burton-on-the-Wolds had lovely decor, individual planting that shows that management has a personal interest in gardening, was clean, and the welcoming, smiling service reminded me about the friendly temperament of Leicestershire; no wonder it's award-winning, me duck.

Then on to Prestwold Hall for DH's driving day (his 40th birthday present). Very well-organized, professional and smooth, the day ran without a hitch. Here's a photo I took of DH in the Audi R8, which he forgot to look what speed he achieved:

And here is one of him in the Aston Martin, in which he noticed at some point that he was doing 158mph:

Yep, that's how fast he was at driving, and how slow I am to take a photo. Here are the brilliant photos taken by the venue:

Today he is back at work in his 440bhp new, latest model Mercedes .... slightly more bhp than the Audi, but not as much as the Aston Martin ...

Friday 12 August 2011

FO Friday 47: Not-FO Friday

So today's not-FO Friday post is in tunes ....

Just replace ''Bananas'' with ''FOs''

We have no FOs because:

But at least I can promise you

Mainly because

However, there are plenty of FOs (if not bananas) over at Tami's Amis ....

Tuesday 9 August 2011

A Fish

I have a sense of surreality that I can't shake. I had Radio 4 on last night (rare, as I bore easily of the mainly trivial concerns of chattering Guardian readers) but I wanted decent news updates of the so-called 'riots' in London.

I came downstairs this morning to find Destructo Boy watching Spongebob. After breakfast, we popped into town to the market for fruit, and to the butcher for bones (stops the dog from eating people) and all we could see was ordinary people going about their ordinary business in the sunshine.

Hence the surreal feeling, having heard the news, and seen the footage of people's livelihoods going up in smoke.

I'm a member of several forums (fora?) covering several different interests, and of course there are people from a multitude of backgrounds, nationalities, experiences and political hues. It's been interesting to read the views of the bleeding-heart pinkos, the Col. Blimp brigade, and the truly damned: the fence-sitters.

It all merely confirmed me in my depression and hopelessness. These robbing, destroying 'yoofs' (some directed by older teens and parents, would you believe) are the future of my country. Ineducable, unemployable, with no respect for anything or anyone.

picture from The Guardian. This is not a political protester/rioter. This is a criminal.

It doesn't matter what the cause is, what kind of 'social injustice' has encouraged them to believe that they have the right to pillage and burn - I don't believe that this can be changed. It's too late, for them. How would these thugs feel if it were their Grandma whose home was burning ? Their brother, or their sister, who was getting mugged ? When there are 8 year olds out looting, I'm wondering about the parents.

How did this happen ? I don't care. I don't care what excuses people come up with to try to explain. Because that's what it is, excuses. Even animals are smart enough not to defecate in or destroy their own den. These criminals have destroyed their communities for a new pair of Nikes and a flat screen TV.

Friday 5 August 2011

Friday in Colors

Random topic for a post, I know. But I haven't a FO to show, really. I don't count totally decluttering and organizing the living rooms, a job I hate almost as much as I hate bankers and stockbrokers.

So, F is for fuchsia.

Red (begonia)

Indigo (lobelia)

Dark orange (helenium)

Apple green

Yellow (rose)

Yeah, you're right - some of these were a stretch. But they are all in my garden or patio.