Project Spectrum Photo Essay – Greens

Well, I’ve only just a few hours left of May so I’d better squeeze this one in!

I didn’t have to stroll very far until I saw these green trees on the city wall at the beginning of the month.

I then saw these very pretty leaves in the Dane John:

When I walked past the same shop where I’d taken such great pink and orange photos the two months previous, I was bemused to find that green was in the window. Does Lolly have a hotline to their head office?

I particularly liked the way that the green scarf is displayed. Very clever.

Now I’ve not been out as much during May so I only just snapped these last Sunday after church. I think pao and I have a new ritual involving walking into town to collect brunch which is nice because we can walk through the Dane John on the way home.

On the way into town, we passed this tree growing in the middle of the roundabout. I wonder which came first, the tree or the roundabout?

We also saw these lovely trees which border the Dane John.

On our way to church we saw this cat.. I’m stretching the green thing a bit as he has green eyes but you can’t see them here. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

pao and I stopped and gave him a little cuddle because he is the spitting image of Merlin at that age. We were reminded of the young and less careworn days of Merlin’s kittenhood… aaaah!

Finally, here is my partially knit PS sock in the greenery of the Dane John:

So many thank yous

Firstly, thank you so much to everyone who has been so supportive and left such lovely comments about Lucy over what has been some very difficult days for us. You are all wonderfull. Thank you and big hugs right back at you.

MrsSJT came in this morning with the most wonderful presents. First of all, was a really beautiful page commemorating Lucy – I’ve pinned it on my noticeboard and it has been quite a comfort to look up at it when I felt that I was missing her. I did feel pockets of sadness during the day but the pictures reminded me of all the lovely times we had had with her. I was in a bit of daze today so I will have to take a photo of it tomorrow as it such a great gift.

She also brought me the maddest knitting book I’ve ever seen :

Don’t worry, there will always be afternoon tea

with a big slice of cake.

If you get caught short, you could always knit yourself a bra

And some panties, too!

Thank you so much MrsSJT – you really made me smile today when I needed to the most. You are loverly.

The family heirloom

I’ve been thinking about my mother a lot especially since Lucy was put to sleep on Saturday. The last couple of days has been quite emotional and I woke during the night missing Lucy so much. I think deep down I was missing Mum so much too. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to lose a pet but as pao reminded me, we have lost a member of our little family.

I know it isn’t a conventional family but it is our family. When you’ve lost almost everyone else who you can call family by a blood link, a loud and larger than life cat becomes dearer than you can imagine especially when you have to take very special care of her since she had the same illness which my mum had. Don’t get me wrong: I’m lucky that I’ve got an extended family of friends but they don’t live with you all day and night. I’ve got pao so I’m very lucky. But that doesn’t stop me loving my little tribe of cats so very much.

This blanket was made by my mum when I was little and it is really precious to me. I often curl up on the sofa wrapped up in it especially late at night. The cats love it but I won’t let them plod it. I love looking at it and remembering the different things which she had knitted with the wool that it is made of. I love the randomness of the different wool – some squares have only a short bit crocheted in one type of wool and the rest in something different. Even the edging is different all the way round but I love that. Every time I look at it, I see something else.

I will probably do the same sort of thing with the leftover sock wool (not that I’ve got a lot of that yet). I love to look at it and be reminded of all the clothes that my mum knitted or crocheted; some even before I was born. The blanket is a piece of my history.

Good night, Lucy.

At 10am this morning, pao and I took Lucy and had her put to sleep. She was pretty ill when I came home last night and as we watched her obvious distress, we knew she would be going to the vets today. She was very old and the vet said that she would have had to have had an operation which she might not have survived anyway. Rather than put her through a whole load of procedures which would have prolonged her suffering we made the very sad decision to put her to sleep.

So today’s post is a celebration of Lucy. We only had her a few years but she has made an impact on her lives. She came to live with us in February 2003 when I saw her miaowing her head off in the vets. She had just been brought in with Phoebe because their owners had moved to France and left them both and their other cat in the back garden.

Lucy was immediately the most affectionate and demanding of the dynamic duo as we fondly named them. She was the one who would rush up to you and miaow.

Lucy and Phoebe were shut in a room upstairs when they first came and when we started letting them out to explore the rest of the house, they would look at the stairs and rush back into the room. We brought them downstairs and they would rush up the stairs in to the room too. We figured out that they had been living in a bungalow and had never seen stairs before. We had to try feeding them on the stairs to eventually get them to come downstairs.

Lucy soon claimed the laundry hamper in the kitchen as her own and spent a lot of time on it. It was very hard to take a clear photo of her as she was always moving her head. If you had a camera, she wanted you to stroke her with that hand instead and would miaow at you.

She was such a friendly cat. She would rush up to visitors and start a conversation with them which could go on for minutes. She is pictured here helping me knit my first ever sock.

Foo took some really great photos of Lucy.

Even Jasper liked her. When he was at the vets, he threw up a ginger hairball so he must have liked her a lot.

This is the last photo that I took of her a couple of days ago. I thought they both looked so sweet lying there together.

She’ll be missed. And I won’t be able to look at the laundry hamper in the same way again.

Missing my mummy

There is a lady who I know who really reminds me of my mum. She is about the right height, extremely similar racial profile, similar manner. I saw her today for the second time in two days and all I could think about was how like my mum she was. So I’m just feeling a little sad this afternoon.

It’s strange because when I was with my mum I found all those behaviours slightly embarassing but with that lady it just seemed really normal for me. I don’t know anyone else who is like her in this country. I was really amused that someone who had been a midwife no less said that I was clever just because I did a Masters degree in Computing. I think it is the sort of thing which my mum would have liked me to do because she so wanted me to have a good education and get a good job at the end of it. It took me a long time to do it but I’m here now.

I miss my mum so much today, I physically ache. I can’t describe it any better than that. I think I’m just a bit tired from working silly hours etc but I really do feel like going home and having a big weep.

I’m just going to have to bite my lip, fixate a smile and have a cup of tea instead. I’ll also have to hope that no one hugs me again or I will start bawling my eyes out.

The best laid plans

It is already 8.46pm in the evening and I don’t know where the time between getting home shattered and now has gone. It certainly has been one of those weeks. Yesterday things blew up and went spectacularly wrong – don’t you just love IT? Today any plans I had have all been scuppered including a couple of knitting ones.

I realised very quickly after starting to look at the Railroad sock pattern which I’d bought that I most definitely had the wrong sized needles. Canterbury has many charms but yarn shops with nice needles etc – hmm, let’s just say London and leave it there. So I had to get onto the Internet. After spending two evenings untangling the green cashmere loveliness, I am itching to get going so figure a simple lace pattern which was on my calendar might do.

But I am doomed. I can’t even master a simple lace involve P3, K1 on one row then P1 YO P2tog K on the next with two rows of knit. There are holes but they aren’t even the same size! Gah!

I also said that I would knit my colleague’s birthday present and duly we both looked at a pattern which I saw in my knitting calendar which looked fun. When I went to order the wool tonight, I realised that it was almost $100 US a ball for the wool! I think the pattern needed two balls plus a ball of something else. I almost keeled over in fright. The wool in question is called Prism Cool Stuff. I wasn’t at all comforted by the fact that you could buy half a skein for $50 US. So I think we’ll probably be going back to the drawing board on that one… I will have to see if I can find a cheaper alternative as she really did like the colours and the style.

Anyway, I thought you’d enjoy seeing the loot, ahem, yarn and all, which arrived yesterday. I have finally found somewhere in the UK which stocks some of that gorgeous wool which I’ve been hearing about. So L-R: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Periwinkle and Cherry Tree Hill in Northern Lights and Blueberry Hill. One of the CTH skeins was on sale – bonus! I am totally in love with Cherry Tree Hill since Chris sent me a skein so I’m glad to have found somewhere over here.

I was very amused that pao seems to know lots of knitting terminology as he asked me if I was ordering new DPNs.

Well, I think I’m going to head off to bed now but not before I leave you with a photo of some very Project Spectrumesque Addi needle huggers – aren’t they sweet?

All tangled up

The last couple of days have been a bit of a blur. Literally. On Monday, I had to go home at 4pm as I was just feeling so dizzy the world was spinning. I’ve been doing some very long hours recently and I admit that I probably hadn’t had a lot to eat last week. I felt a bit dizzy yesterday morning again but the wonderful MrsSJT took me and Mrs HB and I all went to ginger panda land yesterday and I felt a lot better.

I’ve spent most of the last two nights untangling this wool because I wasn’t careful enough in undoing the skein. It serves me right for rushing into doing it before the roofer arrived on Monday morning. My helper was very happy at this new thing to play with.

Thankfully it is finally ball shaped. Time to knit! Yay!

I’m totally flattered as one of my colleagues said that she would like me to knit her a top for her birthday with the money we have in our birthday kitty at work. I’m going to be knitting her a funky vest top which was in my knitting calendar.

pao also bought me some great goodies from Get Knitted – tune in tomorrow for photos! I’ve got to bath and bed now zzzzzz!

Gypsy Rose Socks and Ginger Pandas

Well the last couple of days have been a frenzy of tidying, shopping, tidying, cleaning, chatting, tidying, cleaning, chatting, laughing, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, cooking and trying not to fall asleep whilst talking to pao’s grandmother. Zzzz.

This frenzy is entirely self-made. I invited pao’s grandmother over to have lunch with us today and Matt to have lunch yesterday and the Boffs to come and watch Eurovision last night. At last it is Sunday evening and I’m shortly going to collapse into bed.

In the midst of all the busyness, I managed to finish the second Gypsy Rose sock. Oh, it was quite hard to keep up momentum since lots of other lovely wool was milling about. I had to be very hard with myself and carry on even though I couldn’t really remember the pattern I’d created and spent an hour carefully frogging this afternoon where I had done too many decreases (I blame Eurovision – it was the Hard Rock Hallelujah song which had me laughing and has me laughing every time I think about it). Only Europe could vote for heavy metal Klingons! I still think Lithuania were robbed!

It was so hard to decide which wool to knit with next so I went for the Project Spectrum option : something green. This is the first HipKnits cashmere sock wool I bought and I haven’t managed to knit anything with it yet so here goes! I haven’t cast on yet as I’m not sure which pattern I’m going to try next. I’m still not confident about trying the Jaywalkers yet so I think I might try something with a stripe again. I’ve ordered a sock pattern but I’m too impatient for that to arrive.

Translation time: CHIP BUTTY. Chips are also known as French fries. French fries have nothing on British chips. Chips are supposed to be fat in shape and deep fried in lard which is extremely artery clogging but very very tasty.
Butty is a colloquialism for sandwich. The combination of hot chips and bread and butter is heavenly. Especially if you get chips from the place where ginger pandas walk past the window – e.g “hem, hem, MrsSJT there is a ginger panda walking past the window”, MrsSJT looks away giving mrspao the perfect opportunity to swipe a chip from her plate.

Keep on Trekkin

I blame Chris as I not only went and signed up for the Trek Along with Me and then *had* to go searching for some Trekking XXL which could arrive in time for the June 1st start date.

Luckily I found a German website which looked promising but had to order three balls as the postage would have been the same as one ball…. So I ordered 77, 78 and 109….. Actually Peeve also is partly to blame for this as she supplied me with my first ever ball of Trekking XXL!

Oh, the woolly goodness!

49 things

Those cats get everywhere – even into a shepherd’s pie!

I wasn’t tagged by pao but he kind of hinted on his blog that he’d like to see my answers so here they are!

1) what time did you get up this morning?
The alarm went at 5.45, I got out of bed at 6.15.

2) Diamonds or Pearls?

3) What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

4) What are your favourite TV shows?
Dr Who.
Since pao had his op, I’m actually enjoying the radio and audio books lots more.

5) What did you have for breakfast today?
Lyme Regis Apple Bar

6) What is your middle name?
Jade Tracy – I have two. No ‘E’ in Tracy and it is not Jane!

7) What is your favourite cuisine?
Arabian. I lived in the Middle East for a big chunk of my childhood and remember eating highly flavoured flat breads and sliced lamb. We used to get a meal in a clear plastic bag of grilled fish and spiced rice with whol cardamom pods when we went to Jeddah.

8) What foods do you dislike?
Raw tomatoes and raw onions although I’ll eat them at a push. Depends on how they are prepared and what’s with them. I quite easygoing about food but I draw the line at stinky cheese. If anything smells that bad, why on earth why would I want to put it in my mouth?

9) What is your favourite crisp flavour?
Prawn cocktail.

10) What is your favourite CD at the moment?
The Best Worship Songs Ever and Chris’ mix CD.

11) What kind of car do you drive?
Whatever car the driving instructor will have when I see him next

12) Favourite Sandwich?
Prawn Cocktail Crisp or simply a chip butty.

13) What characteristics do you despise?

14) What are your favourite clothes?
Swishy silk skirts because I like the way they feel on my skin and handknitted sweaters.

15) A place you would like to holiday?
Anywhere in the USA or Canada – if there is wool even better! Otherwise, the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

16) What colour is your bathroom?
White and blue

17) Favourite brand of clothing?
At the moment, Gap.

18) Where would you want to retire to?

19) Favourite time of day?
Early in the morning before everyone else gets up.

20) Where were you born?
The Princess Alexandra RAF Hospital in Wroughton, Wiltshire. I believe it is a private hospital now.

21) Favourite sport to watch?
Has to be tennis.

22) Who do you least expect to send this back?
I’m not sending it anywhere 🙂

23) Person you expect to send it back?
I’m hoping Chris or Peevish.

24) Coke or Pepsi?
Neither – eeew.

25) Are you a morning person or a night owl?

26) Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with everyone?
I got a new kitten! (Just kidding, put the spade down, pao)

27) What did you want to be when you were little?
Journalist or teacher.

28) What is your best childhood memory?
Pretending I was asleep on Thursday mornings when my parents would go to the market and as soon as they left, I’d get out of bed and play by myself. I used to pretend that my little toy koala was Miss Bianca and used to make up lots of stories about her. I also used to spend hours playing with a card my mum chose for one of my birthdays – it had an oven and you could move it round so that it would have a different cake in it. I’ve never seen a card like it since then.

29) What are the different Jobs you have had in your life?
Gosh there have been so many! A few are: Voluntary sector coordinator’s assistant in lots of prisons, temp secretary at the construction company that built the No1 court at Wimbledon, temp secretary at the London Fire Brigade Headquarters…

30) Nicknames?
Samantha the Panther

31) Piercings?

32) Eye Colour?

33) What colour underwear are you wearing?
What colour underwear are you wearing? (Can you tell that I’ve been on an assertiveness course?)

34) Been in a car accident?
Yes. Ex boyfriend decided that I wasn’t driving where he thought I should be and grabbed the steering wheel. The car ran over and eventually killed a cat 🙁

35) Favourite day of the week?

36) Favourite restaurant?
Claremont Cafe, Boston, Mass, USA

37) Favourite flower?
Roses or peonies.

38) Favourite ice cream?
Ben and Jerry’s

39) Favourite fast food restaurant?
Urgh – my body is refusing junk food but I’d say KFC if pushed. I really like Spud U Like.

40) How many times did you fail your driving test?

41) Before this one, from whom did you get your last email?
Phil Bywater

42) Which store would you choose to max out your credit card in?
John Lewis or Loop.

43) Bedtime?
As soon as possible without seeming rude to any guests.

44) Who are you most curious about their responses to this questionnaire?
Anyone. I’m just curious.

45) Last person you went to dinner with?
pao. We went out to Wagamama.

46) What are you listening to right now?
Radio 4 – Any Questions? and a cat clawing the stair carpet.

47) What is your favourite colour?

48) How many tattoos do you have?
Why do you need to know?

49) How many people are you sending this email to?
I’m not!