Saturday, November 25, 2006

"How are Nativity rehearsals coming along?"

I asked the organiser, yesterday.
"Oh, I haven't started writing it yet." she said. Wish I could be that laid back.
I love the production. Hate the rehearsals. "No, no, no! Angels stop picking your noses! Camels, stand still!" Last year's organiser is on maternity leave this year so it's a whole new ballgame. I'm sure it will be lovely.

It's the Junior diso I really hate. Some of the clothes the girls wear are terrifying. There's a fine line between trendy and tarty and when you are 9 years old it moves onto very dodgy ground very easily. When I were a lass...

We're well into the run up to Christmas at school at the moment, which means planning the infant Nativity productions, the advent assemblies, the parties, the fundraisers, the discos (oh, the horror!), the services, the lunches, the staff 'do' and other things I have, no doubt, forgotten. On top of the day to day business of running a school. We can't put learning on hold because of Christmas because Every lesson Counts - ask the government.

The postman brought me a lovely package from my SP9 Secret Pal. Lovely! Each item was beautifully wrapped, so it was a bit like Christmas. There was chocolate too, and lollies but they seem to have mysteriously disappeared...

Let me tell you about the yarn.

Silk Garden which, I feel, is destined to be a pair of fingerless mittens. I love Emma's take on Knitty's Fetching.

Gorgeous Collinette Point Five in a berry jammy colourway. I love it!

I finished some Christmas knitting:

Scarf for niece in Kidsilk Haze.

And started some more:

Scarf in the softest, thickest baby alpaca I have ever seen, for my sister in law.

One of the questions for SP9 was 'where do you keep your needles?' This is where I keep my wooden straights and dpns:

A friend made it and gave it to me as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. He turns wood and this vase was turned out of a grasstree root.

I'll finish with another Autumn image from the garden.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A quiet weekend

to recover from a manic week.

We had Bingo Night at school on Wednesday. I've never played Bingo in my life, you understand, but someone has to be there to lock up at the end. Our parents take their bingo very seriously. A table full of my colleagues were hissed and shushed and given the evil eye for chatting as they played.
Then we had Dress Down Day for Children in Need on Friday.

I've spent most of the week looking at data and watching figures swim together on spreadsheets. I really like data and numbers, but I think I need to face up to the fact that I'm moving towards varifocal specs or something. My eyesight is changing. I'm still short-sighted but now can't see properly to read or knit close up. Bugger this getting old lark!

As an antidote to getting old I have got down wid da kids and have become addicted to Linerider. Try it. Then look it up on You Tube to see how seriously some people take it.

Finished the Curly Wurly scarf. Not sure it's the right choice for my niece, but I like it. I'll probably end up keeping it :) and making her something else. I have some legwarmers and a matching fluffy scarf in mind. Actually, I wore it to TGI Fridays this evening and will have to keep it as it may have fajita particles on it.

Perfect scarf-wearing weather - cool and crispy this morning. I've had to scrape ice from the car twice this week and the heater coil comes on before I start the engine now.
My bargain acer (99p in Woolworths, slightly bent, 4 years ago) is obliging me with the Autumn colour I saw in Yorkshire last weekend.

J has put the plastic sheets up that turn our deck into an emergency shelter for our tender plants over the winter - no room for people any more.

One group of agave babies huddled together for warmth and company.

A knitting disaster this week: used some handspun I got at Danby Show to knit a bowl for felting. Problem - it will not felt! I've had it in the machine at 90 degrees with extra boiling water... twice. Admittedly, it's slightly smaller than when I started, but nothing like I anticipated. You can guarantee that, had I made a garment from this yarn and it had accidentally been put in the wash (like my Jaywalker socks, just by way of example) it would have felted like nobody's business. I'll try it again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower

Albert Camus - nothing to do with South Yorkshire, where we've been this weekend to see my brother and his family. We were all absolutely shattered after a long and arduous week and it hasn't been the relaxing weekend we probably needed. Still, getting a fix of Little Red, my niece, has recharged my batteries. She's talking now, mostly "No!", admittedly, but the gaps between the times I see her make each milestone look like a big leap.

It's not fair, they have Autumn in South Yorkshire. We moved swiftly from Summer to Winter last week.

J and P dwarfed by an acer in the most amazing shades in Autumn

Blurry action shot of squirrel who has just chased another squirrel around the tree.

Leaves just waiting to be kicked up into the air.

A rather beautiful reminder of the hideous purpose of the bearpit.

We drove over to Sheffield, to the Botanical Gardens and I made up for it by kicking leaves up in a way that embarrassed most of the rest of the party.

They have finished restoring the glasshouses and have divided them up into different world zones. We were taken by this Hymalayan Cypress.

I'm dismayed to find that even the moderate amount of walking and sitting in the car for a couple of hours has made me seize up so badly this evening. Bloody fibro....sassenfrassendickdastardly fibro!


I finished my Road to Socialism socks.

And cast on a Curly Wurly scarf in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the Irvine Park colourway.

There are 700 stitches on the needles!!!!! Bring on the decrease rows.

Friday, November 10, 2006

It may be cold outside...

but here inside there's still colour.

The Christmas cacti on our kitchen windowsill are flowering well and the African Violets never stop. This one was a birthday present from one of my 10 year old students 6 years ago. I think it came from a local fruit shop on his way to work and it lived really happily in our classroom until he'd left school and I got promoted. Since then it's been almost constantly in flower in the kitchen.

Still haven't finished my latest socks. Got distracted by starting a felted bowl in some homespun I got from the Danby show in the Summer. Thinking (belatedly ) about my Christmas lists!

I was so cold last night - it's not our house temperature, everyone else was in T shirts - that I put these on to go to bed.

These are my first pair of socks, I think, so they're getting on a bit. The tension was a bit loose and they stretched a bit so they're too baggy to wear with shoes but make great bedsocks. They're in Lorna's Laces, Shepherd Sock and the colourway was Miata. I'm not that keen on the way this yarn washes, to be honest. The colours are great, but I much prefer Socks that Rock or Cherry Tree Hill for texture and durability.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Under seige

Today is day two of what has turned into a three day Guy Fawkes Night in our town. It feels a bit like being under seige and the garden is full of things like this that have dropped from the sky.

The fireworks started weeks ago as they started to go on sale. Last night there were quite a number of displays around, but tonight, despite being only the 4th is likely to be the big night. I actually quite like them, but last year was very unpleasant as there is a guy who lives out the back of us who buys what can only be commercial display fireworks, which are far too big to be let off in the middle of a residential area. Red hot debris rained down on our houses, garden and cars for hours. One of our cars ended up with small burns in the lacquer on the roof so J was really, really angry. We have a new car this year so he's off to park it somewhere else tonight.

Knitting progress: not much - I'm into the second Road to Socialism sock. Pictures when I'm finished.

Stash accumulation:

Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Worsted for a Curly Wurly scarf for my neice L.

Wendy Bamboo (because I'm too mean to buy enough Big Wool for an experiment) for a jacket for me.

Couple of balls of mystery mohair for scarves.