Holiday!

Finished work at 7 tonight and now happiness is : Ten days on holiday, ten days at work then ten days off for Christmas! Woohoo!!!! Oh, happy happy day! And we’ve just finished our Christmas shopping! We’ve sold our house. All we have to do is drink mulled wine and write Christmas cards and wrap aforementioned presents. 🙂 We might even deck the halls.

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Perdita looks almost affronted that we’re going to be around to annoy her for so much of December.

We spent a lot of last weekend at Canterbury’s annual Eurofair which was a lot of fun. I didn’t have time to upload many photos so far this week but I do have some now!

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I did like the look of these shopping baskets but I know that I would never use one.

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There were lots of colours like these candied fruits

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Spices

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French onions looked much more exotic than their English cousins

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There were some very delicious looking pates and terrines.

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There were huge pans of hot paella for sale.

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We were pleased to see the Hungarian ghoulash was on sale again this year 🙂 Canterbury is twinned with the town of Esztergom in Hungary and they come over.

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It was nice to finish off with a crepe!

But wait, there’s knitting (ish) content too! I saw that Colinette have started doing a Jitterbug sock yarn. So I had to try it. Get your sunglasses out – those colours are lurid 🙂

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Just the colours for cheering up cold winter’s days!

Oh and I want to help Acephalous with his test of how fast memes travel over the Internet – go over to his post and link it to your blog to participate. Make blog history! Oh – and when you’re done, ping Technorati. Help a grad student!

Scout’s meme

Scout’s Meme:
1. How and when did you learn how to knit/crochet? Who taught you?
My grandmother first taught me how to knit when I was 4 or 5. My favourite memory of her was sitting on her lap and she manipulated my stubborn hands around the yarn. I remember how much I just loved sitting there with her.


2. How has this craft impacted your life? (besides financially!)

I’ve made some amazing new friends I don’t think I would have met if I hadn’t started knitting again last year. It has also given me a connection with my mum and grandmother who have both passed away that it really special.

3. Pick at least one person to talk about who you have met through the knit-world and why you are thankful to have met them. Feel free to get all mushy.
I’d have to choose Chris because she is someone who is a great encourager and is the first person I met through blogging. I really value her friendship and her sense of humour. She also has the most gorgeous black cats and understands my crazycatladyiness. Chris has been so kind, lovely, supportive and generous through some very difficult times this year. It is fantastic to have met you – I’m so glad that we connected! Thank you, Chris!!

FOs, a tale of woe and the Winter Reading Challenge Book 2

What first? FOs, tale of woe or book review?

Book it is, then.

Winter Reading Challenge Book 2

Portrait in Death by J.D.Robb

I found this on a hotel bookshelf and knew it had to come home with me because Chris had done such a good sales job on the Eve Dallas series I’d really wanted to read some. Well, where do I start?

After a fresh-faced college girl’s body is found stuffed into the garbage, it is up to Eve to track down the murderer. He has sent posed photos of the dead girl to a local TV station having been very careful not to mark her when he was killing her saying that he wanted to preserve her “light”.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has his own problems to worry about after someone reveals the truth about his mother and this puts a great strain on their relationship at a very difficult time for both of them. Their majordomo, Summerset, who Eve has a hate-hate relationship has also broken his leg and hasn’t departed on his planned holiday which makes things even more difficult.

I really enjoyed this and I think I’m going to have to now track down the first of the series!

So, want to see some FOs?

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Ok, you got them. They are just 3×1 rib socks made from Nickerjac yarn in the ‘Thorn in my side’ colourway. They are really lovely and toasty 🙂

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I have half a FO to show you before I tell you my tale of woe. You’re all pretty astute – they don’t match. I usually don’t start on another pair until I’ve made two but pao didn’t have time to help me wind wool and I wanted to something to do so I got out the Rowan 4 ply soft and started on the Anna knee high socks as I didn’t need to wind that.

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So I asked my friend Mrs B to help me.

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pao is now trying to fix that tangled mess.

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That’ll teach him for moaning about wool winding!

You made it this far! Yay! Now I need some advice.

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As you can see, my leg is fatter round the calves than it is around the ankles. I am a little worried that I’ll suffer from the Nora Batty effect e.g. very baggy round the ankles. So do I change down a needle size? Will it look, ok?

Beer, Chocolate and Bruges

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(click on tiny picture for bigger version)
Last Saturday being lulled into a false sense of wellness from the nasty lurgy I’ve had all week, I got up at an unearthly hour to go on a day trip to Bruges in Belgium with a group from the Anglican and Catholic societies.

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As I had gotten chatting to a nice chap called Juan Carlos on the coach and ferry, he and his friends invited me to spend the day with them walking round Bruges so I’m sad to report I didn’t make it to the yarn shop Stikkestek (great name!) but I did have a really great time as those Mexicans are such fun!

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Bruges has many beautiful buildings but I couldn’t tell you what they all are. My guide is a badly photocopied map so you’ll just have to enjoy the pictures.

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There are lots of canals in Bruges.

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I do know that this is the Minnewater.

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Horse and carriages are always riding up and down the cobbled streets.

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We visited this pretty church – the Chapel of the Holy Blood.

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It was incredible inside! My photo isn’t very good but you really have to go there to appreciate it properly.

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Bicycles feature heavily in Bruges.

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So does beer.

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Chocolate.

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And lace. There lots of shops selling all of these in Bruges 🙂

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I came back with a lot of swag for us. Coffee, tea, honey bread, beer – some of pao’s favourite Kwak and a bottle of the local Bruges brew Straffe Hendrik (which is yummy – I tried some on a brewery tour when I was in Bruges before), and chocolate (lots for gifts), of course!

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I was just so bemused by these chocolate bars!!

As you know, I was completely whacked after that. I’ve got some FOs to show you but that’ll have to be tomorrow’s job. I did manage to finish one of sock but forgot to photograph it before I left Bruges.

A word from Ariel

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mrspao is much better now but she still hasn’t understood the true essence of being a cat – rather than going to bed early with a nice bowl of milk, she stays up and tires herself out. Now give her a nudge and tell her to get me a nice piece of that French ham she’s been parading about with from the Eurofair or I’ll shed ginger hair all over the black knee-high socks she’s knitting Ariel x

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wishing you all health, happiness and fun this Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful for all of you. (And here’s hoping for lots of turkey-induced sleep, see above)…

LATE BREAKING NEWS TO BE THANKFUL FOR: pao had his eye appointment today and he has had two of his stitches removed. He is so brave as it was done under local anaesthetic and I know he wasn’t completely expecting it. He has told me that his eyesight in that eye is incredible. 2 down, 14 stitches to go!!!

Forsa-d Frogging

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I thought I was on the home straight with the Forsa scarf but as I was on the last 10 rows of the pattern I realised that there was something wrong. I was about two stitches adrift of the pattern. I was awfully tired but I could still see that the ribbing was wrong. I found an odd stitch which seemed out of place at th bottom of the start and thought I could easily weave that in with the aid of a crochet needle. Pah. It just looks wrong – like not right wrong.

I’ve tried to pull out the extra stitches but they are pretty tightly knit so I think my next option is to frog quite a lot. If I have to do that then I might just choose a different pattern to knit. It’s quite frustrating having knit up 2 balls of Noro plus a couple of halves leftover from the mittens. I don’t know if it was knitting on the circs which caused me knitting dyslexia or its being so tired at the moment. Maybe I’ll frog back and try it again on some straight needles as I found the circs were making my hands tired.

Well, the tiredness is getting worse and worse. I had to leave work early (before lunchtime early) on Friday and skip out on helping at graduation on Friday night because I was feeling extremely dizzy and my ability to concentrate was at zero but what really frightened me into going home was the feeling like I was going to pass out as I was wavering a bit. My memory, concentration and energy levels have taken a huge nosedive in the last couple of weeks.

It’s awful because I felt ever so much better by the evening in Friday that I decided to go to Bruges yesterday but today I’m like a great big pale zombie again. Bruges was nice though and I made some new friends from Mexico whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I actually felt fine yesterday – I just don’t understand it!

I think I’m going to have to stick to simple stuff at the moment because counting seems to be hard to focus on. I wanted to try to make some Fetching but I’m just not with it enough for those at the moment 🙁

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I think I’m turning into a cat – they are tired a lot.

Winter Reading Challenge Book 1

Go and wish Chris a very Happy Birthday! She’s also having a contest to find out the most useful piece of advice you’ve ever received.

Winter Reading Challenge Book 1

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I loved this book ever so much when I was little. I would read it and read it over and over again because I loved the Magic of it. Mary Lennox is a sickly pale orphan, sent to a Yoarkshire manor house from India after her parents died. Mary is sallow and contrary and finds herself in a severe culture shock when she arrives in England. She is no longer waited on hand and foot and even has to entertain herself.

Not allowed to roam freely in the house, Mary soon starts to explore the vast gardens of Misselthwaite Manor. There is one garden which is locked up and Mary learns that the key has been buried as her uncle’s wife died after an accident in that garden. A friendly robin shows Mary the whereabouts of the key to the garden and she soon becomes friends with her maid’s brother Dickon who helps her keep her secret.

She soon discovers that there are more secrets in the manor and that she has a cousin, Colin, who is shut up in his room in another part of the house because he is afraid that he will be a cripple. With Dickon’s help, Mary persuades Colin to change his ways and the garden’s magic starts to give them all a sense of new hope.

It was lovely to revisit this magical world again and smile at the lovely robin.

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This is the cheeky robin that I often see at work 🙂 Isn’t he a handsome chap? He hangs around near my building and I managed to snap this photo of him one afternoon before he flew off. He reminded me of friendly robin in the Secret Garden.

Mrs Magoo’s Favourite Coffee Stop

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I had to go and collect some new lenses for my glasses today which meant I was without glasses for about an hour which was quite entertaining. I decided the safest place was to head for one of my favourite coffee shops and sit there with my knitting rather than risking ridicule by wandering round town squinting at people. Even though Mr Magoo was one of my favourite cartoons when I was a kid, I didn’t fancy emulating him… I very sadly could only see about a foot in front of me and the rest is a bit of a blur!! So I bemused the staff in Starbucks by getting close and personal with the muffin case. Well, I had to have something with my very large peppermint mocha that I had a free voucher for! And I get to photograph my entry for the competition 🙂

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I know Starbucks is a big mega chain but it is the first place I’d ever been that had comfy chairs and nice music (although today they were playing reggae which I didn’t really enjoy that much). We have two Starbucks in Canterbury: one in the entrance of Sainsburys and the other right next to the Cathedral.

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I like both quite a lot but I think the Cathedral one has a slight edge on location. Coffee is a bit better in the Sainsburys one though 😉

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The Cafe Boho is very nice but I don’t go there much because I don’t like the smoky atmosphere. Next summer there will be a smoking ban in place so I might go there a bit more often.