Monday, 26 October 2009

tree-mendously busy.....





Who knew trees could be such a tourist attraction? It was trunk to trunk pushchairs and wellies at Westonbirt yesterday afternoon. The acers were divine, the colours magnificent.

Granny's first trip there and we are now all fully-fledged members so we can observe the seasons on what is one of the greatest collections of trees in the world.

A small collection of photos (taken by E, mostly). I love the colour wheel made from leaves.

I am already planning a return visit, after half-term and during the week to soak up the autumnal mistiness and impending winter.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

watching the clock


This week has been a little tricky. I celebrated my birthday on Monday and I mourned my Dad on Friday. I'm not very good at all this emotional stuff. I'm a bottler, covering my true feelings with a thick layer of dark humour and grudging acceptance. This results in a general glass-half-full view of life and others and random explosive episodes of trauma and tears which only one other person ever gets to see.
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As I have turned 42 this year (the meaning of life, you know), I have decided that I am going to stop this unhealthy behaviour and find ways to deal with these emotions in a calmer and more positive way.
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It's been a year since Dad died and I have spent much of the year waiting for various anniversaries and timely reminders of him to come and go. We ate fish and chips and played cards last night. Tonight I am going to have a very large vodka and tonic in his honour whilst watching 'Strictly'. Tomorrow, Granny is going to rustle up a Sunday dinner in her new house up the road whilst we help build cupboards, do a bit of upholstery and take a stroll in the fields.
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It's time to look forward.

Monday, 19 October 2009

reasons to be cheerful....

I have a critic. This critic (he? she? I don't know) is concerned about all aspects of my blogging life:

- my writing (I need lessons, apparently)
- the time I spend blogging (too much)
- the time I could spend doing something else (much more)
- a tendency to knit means I am a lazy housewife (is there such thing as a lazy housewife?)
- other peoples' support of my blogging (seemingly misguided)

I can say several positive things in return:
- he/she has taken the time to read my posts
- I am fascinating enough to incite thought processes and comments in whoever he/she is
- helpful advice has been shared
- there is someone out there on the interweb who cares enough to express their opinion so directly and forthrightly

Food for thought - other peoples' opinions about critics
- "Those who can - do. Those who can't - criticise" Anon
- "You know who critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art." Benjamin Disraeli
- "The great critic...must be a philosopher, for from philosphy he will learn serenity, impartiality and the transitoriness of human things." Somerset Maugham

My overwhelming reaction over the last couple of days has been appreciation of people who have rallied to my defence and expressed their enjoyment of this small space. Thank you. Please don't get too offended on my behalf. I don't mind constructive criticism. I'm sure there will be some more coming my way.

Onwards to some reasons to be cheerful:
- half term starts on Thursday
- I've been given Jenny Hart's new embroidery book for my birthday
- I have apples and pumpkins to pick from the allotment/garden
- my mum has moved back to England and is feathering her nest in a village nearby
- I went with her to a beautiful concert on Saturday night featuring Christ Church Cathedral Choir, a first-time experience for me, amazing and uplifting
- my recent bouts of insomnia are receding (two 8 hour nights in a row and I feel like a new woman/wife/mother)

Saturday, 17 October 2009

a different perspective

I have been thinking about how in my small blogging world, everyone is so nice and kind and encouraging. I then received a comment from the 'crap blog detective' informing me that my blog was, indeed, crap. I clicked through to a very non-exciting blog with just one post, informing me again that my blog is, indeed crap. Is this some kind of spam thing? Or is it real?

I have no problem with someone thinking my blog is useless, neither that they share that opinion. I do though have a slight problem with someone who doesn't even blog/post expressing that opinion.

It has made me think, though why I bother and if I'm really honest I would say that I blog because it pleases me and I enjoy it. Perhaps that's not reason enough to write these posts. Perhaps I should really get on and make some of the changes I've been thinking of for a while.

PS: mr detective, I am not a lazy housewife....

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

ministry of knitting

Jamie O has got his sights on knitting.....look here for two special edition knitting kits. Vogue, now Jamie - more evidence of knitting's increasing hold on the nation.....

Monday, 12 October 2009

Happy Mondays

After several weeks of frantic to-ing and fro-ing, semi-sleepless nights and general overload, I have made a conscious decision to take each moment as it comes instead of constantly playing out layers of future possible events in my waking (and sometime non-waking) hours.

I have let worktime encroach upon my freetime to an unacceptable extent. It is my own doing. I am caught in the part-time workers' dilemma - overcompensating for a shorter working week by fitting in calls and emails in to my spare time but feeling resentful when my extra work efforts spill into time that is my own.

I have lots of eggs in my baskets and plates in the air. Now is not the time to start making changes. There have been enough of those in the last year.

Now is the time to take things a step at a time, work through some of those lists and make sure I'm doing enough to keep ahead of the demands made by my colleagues and employers. I just need to get on with it and stop worrying.

Now is also the time to enjoy other parts of my life, so here is my list for my first Happy Monday:
- E & I had a great autumnal river walk, played pooh sticks and discussed the education system
- J has been asked to join our county football team
- G has put the heating on
- Granny is finally moving nearer to us and arrives the day after tomorrow
- I have a cup of tea by my side and a pile of retrospective knitting magazines to read through
- I finally have a new ironing board cover
- Tesco's are delivering tonight (I know, supermarkets are evil but at the moment, I'm quite fond of evil when it delivers)

Saturday, 10 October 2009

meet Fred

Fred's best friends.


Fred's other friends...

Fred, having a lie down.


Fred and his pet peacock.

It took six hours at Little Somerford village hall, in the company of our tutor, Corinne Rennow-Clarke, to create our collection of neolithic dolls.

The workshop was inspired by Corinne's HNC studies a few years ago where she'd decided to explore figures and faces as her theme and became intrigued by neolithic carvings, shapes and markings.

I am pleased with Fred, although his eyes are a little too irregular for my liking. He seems quite dapper and I like to think of him as a dandier neolithic man than most with his sparkling stripes and his lime green french knots. On the french knot note, I am grateful to Corinne for curing my inability to make them. I enjoyed the process of making him and would like another six hours to come along so that I can make him a partner, a companion, a neolithic friend.

knitting is cool.....


I've known that for years!

Have a look here for the newest evidence of knitting's stealthy creep back into the nation's consciousness.

This month's Vogue rates knitting as a pinnacle of make do and mend chic. I knew I was on to something!

Am off to make Neolithic Dolls today with the Embroiderers' Guild. No, I don't know what I'm going to be doing either apart from taking photos of my efforts. I also need to remember to take my own mug and something to share at lunch.

Have a good Saturday.

Monday, 5 October 2009

seasons greetings...

I'm having an autumnal shift. Can you see what I'm doing here? I've embraced the conker, the rusting leaf, the waning of the herbaceous border with my browns and oranges. I've taken my header off until I do some proper blog-learning and work out how to make this thing look like more my thing than dear blogger's idea of what a blog should look like.

However....

The birthday party went swimmingly, or rather, kickingly. 11 ten-thirteen year old boys pitched up at a massive footie venue in Swindon and gave the impression that they had a great time. Some even said thank you. I was impressed. There was a horrible moment when I thought one of them might have an allergic reaction to the helium balloons they were trying to repurpose but all was well. The birthday boy enjoyed it, having played football twice already that day. He went to bed happy, that's the main thing on your birthday I think.

I spent Sunday collecting walnuts. We have a walnut tree in our back garden. It's very old. We've had walnuts twice since we moved in. This year and the year before last. Our neighbours have also had walnuts twice since we moved in. Their sheds run parallel to the bottom of the garden and underneath one half of the tree. I have noticed a stepladder, moving it's way from right to left, accompanied by a brush and a plastic bag. I wish I had a roof from which to harvest our side of the tree. Scooping handfuls of walnuts into a plastic bag looks a lot easier and less back-breaking than scrubbing around in the nettles for them.

I've got a busy week at real-work this week - 3 days of meetings and interviews. I think I'm organised but, from experience, I know this can change. For example, the postal strike is causing me strife. How difficult can it be to deliver letters? What is there to argue about?

I won't rant now, as I'm hoping to have an early night, all tucked up alone. I love G dearly but there is something quite lovely about having our bed to myself just once in a while. I think this must be quite common amongst we married ladies. G & I have been married for 14 years on 19th. That's a long time to share a duvet.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

correspondence....

Sometimes my life develops a wee theme....

I mentioned a week or so ago that I've joined a letter-writing challenge over at A bun can dance and I can't wait to send and receive some intriguing correspondence. My partner in correspondence and I have opted for a theme of 'getting to know you'. It sounded easy when I agreed to it - not so easy when I'm trying to think what to say.

I've been on a web-wander and come across Today I Saw where Jill Wignall sends a drawing of well, something she saw to someone who could be anyone. I love blogs that have a singular purpose and theme. I fear projectforty has become something of a rambling rose and one that is never pruned as it flits about from subject to subject, never really 'sticking'. At least I know I'm writing as I am.

I also came across Letters of Note, photographs and transcripts of letters written to all sorts of people. I've been reading a biography of Frida Kahlo this week (one of my latest obsessions) and there is a letter she sent to her husband from her hospital bed, telling how much she loves him. The letter brings that moment to life.

Like everyone else, I spend hours of my day hunched over a laptop, tip-tapping away, and the results of my efforts sit inside shiny boxes or etched into shiny disks and memory sticks. I don't know if it's the knitting or the stitching but I long for something physical in my writing, something permanent, something with a surface and some marks.

On the knitting front, I ran my usual group yesterday and marvelled how much its members have progressed since we started about a year ago. H is now producing cardigans and lace boottees for her soon-to-be born baby and M has a talent for producing well-made, stitch perfect items for her daughter. I love Friday mornings and the focus it provides, just knitting and showing others. Simple but effective.

Anyway...on a slightly different matter, it's J's 12th birthday today so I have 2 recycled shopping bags stuffed with e-numbers and sugar. He will have played football in four different locations by tomorrow lunchtime. He's having a footie 'do' as well. There was a bit of sibling kerfuffle last night resulting in early bed and much wailing from both parties. I dreaded a silent, sulky breakfast but it all seems to have been forgetten. Phew.

And...on another...very depressing matter - we now only have three chickens. Mrs Broody went peculiar on Thursday, looking quite poorly but out in the run. By Friday morning she had ceased to be. Very peculiar and most distressing. She's gone to the chicken run in the sky, poor thing. Am on cluck-watch now with the others. I hope whatever it was wasn't catching.

So as not to end on a morbid note....any suggestions for what to do with some pretty but insignifcant vintage children's books? They look very lovely on the shelf but they're not very useful. I would quite loke to make some kind of collage or something but haven't got enough brain power to consider it for long. Have a think. I know you'll have ideas.