Sunday, December 31, 2006

With firm(ish) resolve

Like many people's, our Christmas celebrations spread beyond the day itself. My brother and his family visited us for a couple of days this week.
This is them at Saltburn, yesterday. My elder niece declined to be included in the family photo - "I'd have my picture taken with McFly..." she offered.

My SIL is wearing, although you can't really see it here, possibly my greatest knitting triumph - the knitted gift she loves. I made a natural coloured baby alpaca chunky weight lace scarf and hoped she might like it as she can't stand anything scratchy near her skin. This is anything but scratchy.

Boy was it cold, but there were still brave souls trying to surf. There's a new surfshop opened, called Charlie Don't Surf. We walked along the pier and watched them on, the admittedly small, waves. "They're not making much of an effort," I said. "You know," said my brother, "that's one of the things that is fundamentally wrong with us. There's those hardy bastards out there, making an effort and having a go and all we can do is criticise from the safety of the pier!" "Oh, yes, sorry..." I mumbled, feeling suitably chastened. "Mind you," said he, "they are shite..."

We played musical beds again. That sounds kinky, but it's disappointingly mundane - the moving around of people to accommodate guests in our little house, where what should be guest room is given over to yarn and paint storage and at least one computer per person.

Two nights in j's bed leaves J and I crippled and bent out of shape. No matter how much planning and cutting out of unnecessary work I do, I am always left feeling on the verge of a flare by 'residential' visits of friends and family. Little Red tried to overcome this by giving me one of her special HELLO AUNTIE GILL hugs.

Awful picture of me, but great hug.

Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true
I always thought that was George Harrison, turns out it was Tennyson. Shows what I know.

Anyway, here we are again on New Year's Eve...

As a teacher, I have two starts to my year, September and January, and although September always has the biggest real impact, January is the one with the biggest emotional and psychological effect. The people who brought us Grumpy Old Men & Women, which I love more as I get older, were reflecting on the pressures to have a good time on New Year's Eve. I've had some good times (including one of the wildest parties our town ever saw, back in the day) and some terrible times on New Year's Eve. I found out I was pregnant with j on New Year's Eve 16 years ago, which was both the best ever and the worst - I was terribly sad that my Dad, who had died during the year, would never see my child.

Tonight we have been invited to two parties by two lovely families, but will be staying home to rest and catch up with ourselves. J and I don't seem to have had a moment to ourselves for weeks and I am so tired (and insert here all the other crappy problems that the fibro fairy brings). So, it's the sofa, the TV and hot chocolate for us.

Tomorrow I shall think about my resolutions...maybe...

I wish you all

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Under construction

Kitchen cabinets arrived today, flat-packed but still seem to take up an inordinate amount of space. I've stacked them in what used to be the dining room with the cabinet doors, a freezer, wooden flooring and bags of plaster that will be become the dining part of our new open plan kitchen and dining room. J plans to make a start next week, if he gets his current job finished by the weekend. Unfortunately, he needs to skim the walls and then paper and paint them first, so everything will have to come out once again. I've been looking at paint charts for days. I know that I want a creamy colour on the walls, but we have a chimney breast wall I would like doing in an accent colour that will best display a new painting we bought of Robin Hood's Bay.

I keep being drawn to a deep aubergine colour in a velvet matte, but I think that will be too dark for the painting and we'll probably do it a rich terracotta shade.


Clapotis? I must be the only person in the knitting world who hasn't made one.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Catching a few quiet moments.

There's something about the middle of the night that blows everything out of proportion. Things that seemed terrifying and unsurpassable at 4am this morning have now passed into their true perspective. There's nothing really bothering me, but I woke in tears with a real sense of persecution and fear. Yet again, I give thanks for a comfy sofa, a warm, soft throw and a book. It's the fibro, I think, and, if I'm really honest, too many chocolates while watching Johnny Depp on DVD. It's not that Johnny Depp usually gives me nightmares, so I guess it must be the chocolate and the fibro. Go figure.

J's gone into work today - one of the downsides of working for yourself, really. I, however, as an employee of a Local Authority, am sitting in the study with a Whittards' Christmas Coffee latte and I'm listening to the chatter of birds in the garden and the gentle rhythmical breathing of my still sleeping son. (He's not at school either and is therefore nocturnal again) It's very relaxing and the only thought disturbing me now is that if I can hear the birds j must have his bedroom window wide open and we must be sending pounds worth of fuel energy straight out into the cold.

I am not venturing to the sales this week. There is actually very little that I want, which is lovely. So it isn't worth all the aggravation for gratuitous spending.
I would like to buy some quilting fabric from a local craft shop, but it won't be on sale and I'm not planning on starting the quilt just yet. It will be my first. I fell in love with the range and diversity of fabrics when I saw them in the store, but put them out of my head remembering the misery of helping my nana piece triangles for one of the quilts she made in the 70s. Her technique was great, but she had a great fondness for crimpelene and lurex... she also liked rikrak braid, but that's another traumatic story from my childhood...

Anyway, having overcome the flashbacks, this is the pattern I have bought. It's called I love my cat. Maybe J will take the hint. (We've been at loggerheads over the concept of a new cat for some time now...) Not sure what colours to choose yet, but it's quite exciting. It will have to wait its turn though. I plan to use up some stash on throws and a waistcoat for me, among other things.

Am I the last person in the web to catch onto Weffriddles? It's addictive.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"Are you still awake?"

Do you remember that feeling? You just sink into sleep on Christmas Eve and then a little voice wakes you up.."He's been, he's been!"
We had a flashback of that on Christmas Eve. "Mum, Dad..." Stage whisper from landing..."You remember when you got cross with me for not waking you up when there was that explosion...?" We were instantly awake. No explosion this time, but glowing orange skies from the direction of Seal Sands petrochemical complex. No sirens, no explosions but it stayed there for hours. J speculates it was from the flare stacks , but we're all very suspicious these days.


I finished my Christmas knitting - socks for my brother in Opal's Hundertwasser.

We had a quiet, chilled Christmas Day - just the three of us in the morning, but lots of phone calls and an afternoon visitor - one of J's oldest friends from Malvern. It's funny to listen to the conversation and realise how reactionary and middle aged we've all become at times.

Some wooly goodies:

Cherry Tree sock yarn from j - chosen by me :).

Yarn for felting from my SP9 Secret Pal

and a close up of some linen yarn she dyed herself.

Most unusual gift received this year - a wooden candle holder, although that description doesn't really seem adequate, from our friends B & M. B made it from a slab of oak with its bark left on. He makes some lovely wooden objects - mostly turned, so this is a bit different. of the things I like best about Boxing Day is cold turkey with pickles and salad or bubble and squeak.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

All is calm, all is bright

Good grief. Where did December go?
Actually, don't answer that, I know where it went.

It started with a bang - literally. J and his firends took the wall down between the kitchen and the dining room so our days were filled with brick dust, moving things around and then wet plaster.

At work we've had three Nativity performances, two discos, three parties, a Carol Service for our pupils and theiir families and an evening guest service at the Salvation Army Citadel in Hartlepool.

J has been working in Durham City so he's had long days and no weekends off so he hasn't been able to do any more work on the kitchen or anything else really. j and I didn't finish school until the 22nd and yesterday saw me at Marks and Spencers at 8am buying last minute food.

My Christmas knitting is done - scarves and socks and all wrapped before I thought about photographing them! Doh! Hopefully I might catch some of the recipients wearing them over the holidays.

We're keeping things simple for the next couple of days as we all need some down time. All the cards and pressies have gone off to J's grandchildren and our friends, the tree is up, cake is iced and I'm in my pjs heading for a latte, some knitting and the Brothers Grimm on dvd.

Enjoy the holidays!