Goodbye 06 … Hello 07

Happy New Year! We had a great evening with Ben and Claire

.. lots of friends

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.. and their wonderful cat Oscar!

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To round off Debbie Bliss December, I can report that I finished another pair of Fetchings before midnight.

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Wishing you peace, joy, blessings and cats in 2007!

Lots of love,
mrspao

A Flying Visit to Faversham

Before lunch on Thursday, we took a brief walk around Faversham which is a very pretty market town.

(click on small pictures for bigger ones)

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Faversham is probably most well-known for the Shepherd Neame Brewery which was founded in 1698 and is a great favourite of pao’s. He loves real ale so enjoys a pint of Masterbrew, Spitfire or Bishop’s Finger. My personal favourite, not being a beer drinker really, is Late Red which is really rather nice.

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The Brewery headquarters stretches along most of that street. Behind those buildings is another street next to Faversham Creek where the brewing takes place. pao and I took a brewery tour for his birthday a few years ago so we got to see how it all happens.

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This is close-up of some of the plasterwork on the front of the building.

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In the centre of Faversham stands the Guildhall. Under this the market takes place several times a week.

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Here is a closer look at the water fountain.

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Faversham has many traditional buildings.

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There is also the interesting mixture of old and new which is found in this building.

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The plasterwork is really beautiful.

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This is the location of what was the Ship Inn. The inscription above the door says it was once an inn called The Shippe which eventually became an important stagecoach stop on the route from London to Dover. I think it is a shopping arcade now but this is the first time I’ve ever seen the gates to it shut.

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Faversham is the only place I’ve ever been to that has a Baldy Butcher!

I did manage even with Auntie H in tow to take a couple of quick snaps of Reads.

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Not much seemed to be growing in the kitchen garden at the moment. I did see that some beds were cordoned off at the back though…

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The consequence of waiting until after we’d finished lunch before taking a photo of the magnificent house was that someone went and parked their Jag in front of it!!

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Carrie K said she’d race me for a Debbie Bliss December finale. So Carrie K, will you finish your scarf or will I have finished another pair of Fetchings (Note to self: Better get those started..!) by midnight tomorrow night?

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It’s alright for those two going off for fancy meals in Faversham, we have to fight over the one bowl of cat food!

Mememories

I borrowed this meme from Chris. All you have to do is list the first sentence you wrote on your blog each month of 2006.

January
I woke up this morning with a bit of a headache but feeling much improved.
I had flu which started on Christmas Day and lasted two whole weeks – bleh.

February
pao’s foot missed the brake pedal last night and you can imagine what that meant.
February wasn’t much better! We did go on a great trip to London though and I knitted my first sock.

March
Wow! I have had the most wonderful surprise today!
I got the most amazing package from Chris that day! pao had his cornea transplant and it was nerve-wracking but great. Everyone was great about helping me out when I needed it – thank you!

April
It’s “Flash Your Stash” day so here is what lurks behind that Victorian facade in sunny Canterbury this Saturday:First up we have sock wool. From the top (L-R): St Ives, Fyberspates, HipKnits, Cherry Tree Hill, more HipKnits, Curious Yarns colour Heathertop, Opal self-patterning, Schjeepjes, pink sock yarn which I’m itching to knit with but I am forcing myself to be displined and finish pao’s first, Patons Kroy, Lang Jawoll, lovely soft heather brown yarn which will be socks for pao one day (if he is good and doesn’t poke his eye out), and two hanks of Anne.
And some more 🙂

May
I’ve spent most of today rearranging the living room.
May was also the month we had to have Lucy put to sleep. I miss that great big greedy cat.

June
There is a side of me which is well-hidden but…
well, it’s embarrassing,
very embarrassing….

Yep, Night Fever Night Fe-ver…

July
I am sitting upstairs at the moment as I am told that I have the “Jonah Effect” when it comes to England winning football matches.
World Cup – need I say more? But what a month: 5th Anniversary, Birthday, Wimbledon – where to start!

August
Yes, you’d better believe it – Stephanie Plum again.
I participated in the Summer Reading Program.

September
Peeve’s Depression Monster has claimed another victim today.
I did cheer up though. We had a great holiday in September just hanging out in Kent.

October
It’s already Socktober!
Knitting up a sock storm – not!

November
I can now announce the winner
.. of the James Bond Crisp Flavour contest!

Yes – you did it – you made pao No 1 on google.

December
Goodbye Norovember, hello…
Debbie Bliss December?

I couldn’t resist after Norovember!!

We spent the evening playing with Stuart’s Scalectric so pao has agreed that I can have Tosti (second kitten on the page) if he gets to buy a Scalectric. I know I’ll be down at Argos in the morning!

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Ophelia would like it to be nice and Tosti.

Christmas Redux

Our Christmas celebrations have gone on and on – we rounded it all off with a fantastic lunch at Reads with Auntie H which was spectacular but photos of Faversham will have to wait for another day because I promised to post about Christmas! It feels like ages ago because we’ve been out for dinner or lunch for the last five days.

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We had to share a stocking this year because we couldn’t find our normal stockings which were made for us by some good friends. pao had bought that stocking for me years ago and discovered too late that it was very stretchy and ended up having to buy lots of extra presents to fill it the year he gave it to me! We were relieved when we were both given normal sized stockings 🙂

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I got some great stocking presents! There was a beautiful wooden candle holder from the German market (I forgot to post these photos.. better do that in a minute whilst I’m still thinking of it…); a tiny pot from Canterbury Pottery – pao said that he got me that because he wanted to get me something from there to make up for the disappointment of not getting the cheese mouse (I told you he was sneaky); a grow your own boss kit; a write your own mystery kit (watch out world); and lots of other exciting and fun gifts 🙂 Thank you so much, pao!!!

There was much amusement when I finally got to open that tantalising box that pao left under the tree.

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Yes, that’s right. That really is newspaper. pao enjoys finding novel ways of wrapping my Christmas presents each year. One year, he wrapped everything in brown paper and string.

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I received a major stash enhancement from mostly from pao with a slight bit of assistance from Auntie H. I feel a bit sorry for him as he had to pay a huge customs fee in order to receive it as he’d ordered loads and it was marked as commercial goods. I won’t show you every skein as that would take ages and I have photos of the German market to show you as well but there were lots of yarns I’d not heard of before: Apple Laine, Yarn Pirate, Sea Coast Handpainted Yarn, and Mama E Cyber Fiber. What isn’t pictured is the Rowan Kidsilk Haze which pao gave me just before Christmas to cheer me up about Jasper.

I also got some great knitting books: One Skein by Leigh Radford from pao; Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush and Not Tonight Darling, I’m Knitting from Mr and Mrs B, and Knitting Without Tears from the oh-so-sneaky Chris! Thank you so much to each of you!

We had a great time with lots of food
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Mrs B is pictured here with Stuart’s boozy birthday cake on Christmas Eve

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Mr and Mrs B had us round for lunch on Christmas Day and we ate a huge meal finished off with Stuart’s amazing Christmas puddings. He made a chocolate version which was delicious. I can’t fathom how he is still single.

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Boxing Day was meal at pao’s dad’s. He is pictured with the gift pao’s brother, sil and nephew bought for the cats 🙂 They were very impressed 🙂

Yesterday, we went for pao’s brother, sil, nephew and grandmother for a meal at The Chapter Arms. So with today’s large meal out, we’ll be going on quite a diet when the season is over!!!

The German Christmas market in Canterbury was fantastic. I took these photos the night we nipped in to do some last minute Secret Santa shopping.
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The Gluhwein looked welcoming.

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The sausages were delicious.

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I was sorry I didn’t get to try the poffertjes

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pao must have gotten the candle holder from this stall 🙂

I went to a lot of parties in December and made gingerbread houses for two of them.

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This house had some structural issues
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so I’m not sure how it managed to stay standing!
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I got the idea from Sunshine. Go have a look at hers. pao needs a big pat on the back and an ice pack too as he burnt his hand whilst he was putting together the main structure.

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The cats love Christmas – they really enjoyed all the unwrapping and paper 🙂

DBD Update, End of Year Knitting Reflections, and a contest entry

… how much else can I pack into this post….

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Carrie K has been busy knitting away on her scarf – unfortunately she has had a bit of a problem with a yarn shortage!

End of Year Knitting Reflections and Contest Entry

What is your absolute favorite project you’ve ever knit (one that fulfilled both process and product)?
I knitted some green lacey socks from a pattern in my pattern a day calendar. They are green Hipknits cashmere.

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With the answer to this question, I am now entering Strangelittlemama’s contest.

Which of your handknits do you wear the most often?

Haven’t you noticed all the SOCKS!?

What was your favorite gift to knit?
I loved knitting .

Which of your handknits are gathering dust your closet?
Sadly, it would have to be my
Rowan Major Cardigan I knit last Christmas because it hasn’t been cold enough to wear it yet.

Which of your handknits have you gotten rid of?

Clutches items close – are you kidding?


If you’ve knit socks, what is your favorite pattern?

I’ve mainly stuck to simple patterns throughout but I did enjoy the lace one. Nancy Bush’s book of Vintage Knitted Sock is great!


What would you like to make in 2007?

Apart from socks? Hmm, let’s see…. I would love to make a Viveka sweater with the green Malabrigo pao get me for my birthday. I have never knit with alpaca so I’d like to try and simple scarf with it.

What have you learned about your craft in 2006?

I can’t believe how many knitters there are out there!


What events/sites have you particularly enjoyed in the blogosphere in 2006?

I loved Project Spectrum, Socktober and Norovember and it is such fun seeing what people are doing in Debbie Bliss December…

Whew! Now I’m throwing in gratuitous cat pictures for good measure!!
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Ariel and Phoebe have been found at different times sitting next to the cheese mouse that pao got me for Christmas. I saw it when I was out Christmas shopping with Mrs B only to find that it had been sold within an hour of me showing it to pao who was with me all the rest of the day. So I was very surprised to find it at the bottom of that big box! I had a great Christmas and once I’ve recovered from my fifth meal out this week tomorrow evening, I’ll share with you the Christmassy stash enhancement and pao’s special wrapping…

XXmas Christmas Entry

pao and I have been driving around for the last week or so getting pictures for Kat’s XXmas contest. I hope I’m not too late – the deadline is today!

So here is what some of us English people do at Christmas to our houses (click on teeny picture for larger version):

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There is a whole street in Broad Oak (just outside of Canterbury) where most of the residents decorate their houses. We visited earlier last week to find most of the street in darkness and thought they weren’t doing it this year – it was only when we saw that the two pubs were in darkness we realised that there must have been a localised power cut!

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Here is one of the houses on that street.

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I tried to take a photo of the street but didn’t manage it. This is the best I could do!

I really liked these deer in Broad Oak:
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This house is decorated for the Dave Lee Happy Holidays charity.

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The best house is Stan the Man’s in South Street. This is a Christmas institution in Canterbury. Stan has been decorating these two houses for years. He lives in one and rents out the second and decorates them to collect money for Kent Air Ambulance – he and his daughter stand outside the houses each night from 6-10pm to collect money. This story is particularly poignant this year for him as his wife and daughter were in a car accident earlier in the year. Unfortunately, his wife died in the accident and if it hadn’t been for the Air Ambulance, his daughter would have lost her legs. I felt really sad for him as he is a lovely chap and he insisted we get out of our car and have a proper look round and he turned on the snow machine for me so I’ve had the closest to a white Christmas. He uses white camoflage net to simulate snow and there are deer and a train behind the front wall.

Canterbury City Council have updated their Christmas Maypole this year. No expense spared – they’ve added some green lights!
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Merry Christmas!

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A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
John 16:20-22

Wishing you a blessed Christmas! The nativity above is at St Mildred’s Church.

Christmas Trees on Christmas Eve

Last year we visited Maidstone and stumbled upon a Christmas Tree Festival in a church there so I was excited to see that St Mildred’s Church close by to us was doing one this year.

Unlike Maidstone who had different organisations decorating trees, their theme was Christmas Carols. Here are a few of my favourites:

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Angels From The Realm of Glory.

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In The Bleak Midwinter

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Angels We Have Heard on High.

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I Saw Three Ships

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My photo of the altar isn’t as good – pao might have a better one.

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But I like this one!

Wishing you all a very Happy and Blessed Christmas! Hope you are all safe, happy and well!

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas

How did that happen? Two days away?! Today would have marked our sixth anniversary with Jasper and I have missed him more than I could have possibly imagined. To try and take my mind off this, I have been trying to focus on Christmas but it is hard not to hear him yowling at Merlin in the garden or looking at me all doe eyed when he is after a Felix pouch – I have been comfort eating a bit so I need to nip that in the bud. Thank you so much everyone for your comments and emails – they mean such a lot.

So here are a few Christmassy things round the house to get us all in the mood.
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Some mistletoe..
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and gluhwein..
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This is a small tree we bought one year when we didn’t have space for a big one for one reason or another. I really like it.
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Talking of trees, we have collected some interesting ornaments over the years..

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This ornament came from the Christmas Cottage in Ye Olde Mistick Village in Mystic, CT which we visited on our honeymoon.

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This ornament came from a previous French stall at a Eurofair several years ago.

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pao bought me this ornament last year. I love the fact that Santa’s gifts are being dropped out of his sleigh.

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There is also an intriguing box from pao…

But I did get Carrie K’s fabulous box yesterday which I did get to open and wow she has been amazingly generous!
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Click for larger pictures!

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She sent the most amazing peppermint candies and coffee encrusted chocolates. Do you see the big bag of Peppermint Patties? WOW! The peppermint bark has been devoured by us both and the bag of peppermint candies is going down rapidly. I’m intrigued by both types of coffee which I’m going to try on Christmas morning. Do you see that fantastic black sheep Lantern Moon tape measure? Not to mention that gorgeous Schaefer Anne sock yarn in the most perfect colour!

Thank you so much, Carrie K!!!! You made a very difficult day a bit more bearable.

A Minnesota Goodbye

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Jasper seems to think that we need to say a Minnesota goodbye as our chai latte and mince pie goodbye wasn’t good enough. About an hour after we departed from Mrs H-B’s yesterday, Jasper hefted a sofa out of the way of the cat flap, proceeded to pick the lock on the cat flap, let himself out and found his way home again. Bearing in mind that he and I had walked to church about half a mile away (which is just a few hundred yards down the road from his new home) back in April and he’d walked back by himself, I had thought that he would have forgotten by December. I think we all learnt a valuable lesson – don’t underestimate how clever Jasper is!

We’re going to take him round to Mrs H-B’s again tonight when we are babysitting the boys. In a way, it has been nice to watch him destroying our house overnight …. I think it is Jasper’s way of forcing us to have a second dessert…..

Carrie K really made my day yesterday as her coffee swap package arrived, it couldn’t have come at a more perfect moment! Thank you so much, Carrie K – it is wonderful! When I get my camera dock, camera and cable all in the same room, I’ll post some photos! She sent the best yarn!!!