The end of an era

As of yesterday, pao and I stopped working for the same institution. He has a shiny new job starting on Monday at a rival organisation. I’m going to miss him as I’d gotten used to seeing him round the place, arriving together, going home together, meeting for lunch, prayers etc. I’m sad but very happy and proud that he’s found a great new job.

Many people have asked me if I’m going with him but I won’t be for the time being. We’ve not always worked in the same place – it only happened 3 and a half years ago so we’ve always worked in different places. I used to get a lot less holiday than he did so he was often at a loose end when I had to be at work but now our roles are reversed and I’ll have more than he does.

It’ll be weird on Monday for both of us but we’ll get used to it.

Leeds Castle : Summer and Autumn

It was only a short couple of months ago when this garden was teeming with beautiful flowers and shrubbery.

The garden has died back and most of the shrubbery has been cut back ready for winter. The last few blooms are on the rose bushes as they shed their petals. It is a little sad to think that winter is almost here.

There isn’t a sharper contrast than this agapanthus in full bloom in August.

This is what it looked like on Saturday.

It was lovely to see all these beautiful flowers.

Now the obelisks are empty, ready for winter.

It is still so beautiful outside with all these glimpses of colour around.

Ariel is back home again all bright-eyed and we’re waiting for the results of the blood tests. The vet said she is incredibly nosy – getting her nose into everything so who knows what she’s been up to. I missed her shouting at me in the morning for her breakfast.

A bookish end to the weekend

Chris emailed me and mentioned the 24 hour readathon at the weekend which I couldn’t resist after my day of leisure on Saturday.

As I spent most of my reading time on Saturday at Leeds Castle then in a horizontal relaxed position in the evening, I only managed to read 2 books.

Book 1: Winter’s Child by Margaret Maron

This is another of Maron’s Judge Knott series. Deborah Knott has only been married to lovely sheriff’s deputy Dwight Bryant for a month when he gets a call from his young son Cal asking him to come and see him. When Dwight arrives the following morning, he discovers that his son’s mother Jonna has gone missing. What follows is an engaging mystery involving nostalgia and family intrigue when Cal is abducted by a mysterious female who everyone at first believes to be his mother.

Book 2: Hard Row by Margaret Maron

Following on from Winter’s Child, Deborah is now back at her job at the courthouse when body parts started appearing all over the county. Not one to ignore clues when they present themselves, Judge Knott helps them catch the killer whilst adjusting to life with Cal.

Ariel is very poorly at the moment despite the copious amounts of home cooking. Her fur has been falling out in clumps and she has tiny lesions from where she’s been scratching. The poor thing has a big chunk missing above her left eye and has lost even more fur since the weekend. The vet doesn’t think it is related to the thyroid condition so he’s going to do some blood tests as he thinks she also has an allergy and has something wrong with her ear. The poor thing is falling apart as her heart rate is too fast to count so she needs some TLC when she comes home again tonight.

Taking a day off

I don’t think I’ve had a non-sick, non-British Gas, non-working day since the beginning of September so pao and I took the time out on Saturday to go back to Leeds Castle and just have time to wander round and switch off. They do a year-long entry ticket which is great as it means we can go back as much as we like for a year. We went back in August and I completely forgot to blog my photos. It is the loveliest place so I will revisit it later this week with some before and afters – we were struck how the change of season has changed drastically how some of it looks.

Three different views of the castle. We did try and do a circuit round it but came to a bit of a dead-end and had to turn back but it was a lovely walk. The weather was quite mild for October and the clouds which threatened rain floated away.

The grounds of the castle are always stunning but I really like this picture because it is so gorgeous.

It was wonderful to watch this swan bathing. There was a lot of preening and dipping in the water and splashing about. He/she inspired me to run about and kick leaves in the air to the horror of some small children who were tamely throw a few in the air. Well, someone has got to show them how to do it properly….

It was a day for walking and sitting and walking and sitting. We missed the falconry display but we didn’t mind because we’d just been sitting in the garden enjoying the autumn sunshine. As we’d been given a 20% voucher for afternoon tea when we had lunch, it would have been rude not to have partaken and I can confirm they do super toasted teacakes.

Knitting? Of course! A good car journey’s worth of sock knitting meant I could finish up the first of what I’ve dubbed the highlighter socks and get started on the second. This yarn was gifted to me by Jeanne for my birthday and I seriously think that it could light the way in the dark as it is incredibly bright. Just the thing now the nights are drawing in. I actually met another knitter and she said that she could never knit something as complicated as a sock. Her friends had to drag her away but I told her it was easier than it looks. Chris will undoubtedly remember saying the same to me a couple of years ago 🙂

Quirkly unspectacular

At least it isn’t Hideous Kinky

I was tagged by The Singing Librarian a little while ago and by Sarah a couple of days ago. Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules.
3. Tell six unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag six bloggers by linking.
5. Leave a comment for each blogger.
6. There is no sixth rule, but I feel there really should be.

Ok, here goes:
1. I’m a big kid at heart. Running into wooded areas and kicking big leaf piles are a great source of amusement to me. Also running into sand dunes.
2. Kind of related to 1! I love children’s books – when a work colleague was describing the Eve Sutton book My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes it took immense effort not to tell her that I’d read it already. I did point at a photo of Jasper and said he was like Slinky Malinki and then to Merlin and said he was Slinky’s arch-nemesis Scarface Claw.
3. I’m not afraid of spiders. Well, not afraid of the normal house spiders anyway. The hairy deadly ones I shy away from.
4. I have considered it and am wondering if I wrote in now whether they’d think I’d be too old for a Blue Peter badge. Maybe I could knit something for cute Ragdoll cats (Cookie and Socks). I wasn’t allowed to write to Blue Peter when I was a kid but I was allowed to write to Jim’ll Fix It.
5. I’m slightly less afraid of birds than I used to be. I’ve had chicken therapy and have thought longingly about an Eglu. Our friends Fiona and Dennis have a chicken and two ducks and I’m seriously in love with Tandoori the chicken. As it would be grossly unfair to the chicken, I’ll just have to admire them from afar at Badgers’ Hill Farm where they make amazingly nice tea and cakes.
6. This space is intentionally left blank.

Feel free to play along or not if you want to!!

Just in case you thought that British Gas sucked away all desire to knit. I knocked this Cap’n Crunch neckwarmer up last weekend when I was multi-tasking. I couldn’t resist when I saw the one Deb was knitting – it looked so warm and snuggly and perfect for waiting for a train on a winter’s morning. I’ve blocked it but it is smaller than anticipated so will give it another soak and see what I can do. I had thought about a foray to Seaside Sadie’s in Whitstable for some buttons but I noticed she has closed down after a flood destroyed all her stock. I’m hoping her Etsy shop will have some of the wonderful resin brooches and lovely buttons she used to stock. Now I’m kicking myself for not getting one of those brooches when I saw them on my last visit.

Better by multitasking

pao came in at the weekend and said, “Let me get this straight: you’re knitting, reading a document for the chapter and listening to the radio, all at the same time.” Multi-tasking – it helps particularly when you are cold and thinking about how nice the neckwarmer will be when standing at a cold station in the morning.

I’ve been ill since Monday and just went back to work again today. I was in a bad mood so whatever was in my head came out of my mouth. I’m multi-tasking at the moment, blogging and sitting on hold listening to the cheesy hold message for a British Gas manager. The guy who first picked up asked me why I wanted to speak to a manager. Guess what, the first thing that came into my head came directly out my mouth. It’s only about 40 odd minutes since I got home from work, I refused to be called back and stated that I would stay on hold until someone spoke to me.

Freaky Friday

It’s been one of *those* days.

Thank goodness it is the weekend because :

  • I still have to finish the chapter – yes, I know I gave myself a deadline for today but things have happened.
  • British Gas still haven’t sorted out my bill
  • A whole heap of software failures have resulted in corrupt files etc which drive me mad
  • I think they are going to ruin the car park outside by concreting it. It used to be green plastic squares so the grass could grow through it. It used to be pretty.
  • I’ve listened to a lot of moaning today.
  • My patience quota is at an end.

As I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our extremely fun-filled trip to the US last year, I thought I’d cheer myself and you up with a photo of one of the many beautiful sights we saw on the road to Wisconsin. Breathe in- breathe out. Isn’t it lovely?

Firsts in Socktober

First pair all knitted. Yay! It was a first as I’d used the groovy new Noro Kureyon Sock yarn for these. I love the colours and the nubbliness of the yarn. I’m looking forward to when Silk Garden sock hits these shores. A perfect distraction from what I was meant to be doing though.

Although it took me a while to cook up some cat food on Sunday whilst I was making some vegetable soup for dinner. Yes, I was cooking Ariel some cat food. She’s been on a chicken and tuna diet but recently she seems to be a lot hungrier so I figured it was time to introduce some carbs. I tried mixing chopped chicken into some rice but she’d snuffled out the chicken and left a pile of rice on the kitchen floor. Not one to be defeated by a small ginger creature, I blended the rice and chicken with a bit of chicken stock and she is happily wolfing down the lot. She definitely seems a lot cheerier and is definitely enjoying her new diet.

I did write a little – not much but I was feeling a bit crappy when I left work on Friday and knew the only way I’d beat the bug was a bit of rest. I worked a little on Saturday and then took the whole of Sunday off to make soup and cat food and have a very long lie in. I missed church because I didn’t wake up until 10 but I think I must have needed it particularly since I’m going to have to fight with the gas company again. Sigh.

I started on the TTL Socktober mystery sock yesterday – again another first as I’ve never participated in a mystery knit along AND I’m knitting with my first ever skein of Brooklyn Handspun Signature yarn. Yummmmm…

Right – I’m off to stroke my happy full up ginger kitty.

San Fran Sheepy

Carrie K and I have been doing a coffee swap for the last couple of years and it is one of my favourite swaps during the year. Carrie K, you’ve excelled yourself this year. The box which it all came in was massive! There were lovely soaps, a cake candle, yummy snacks, cute tissues and a very funky “S”. I love the mug : “Today is a gift. That is why they call it the present.” Wonderful!

The fleece is amazing so soft. Carrie K kept it in her freezer until she mailed it – I would have had a hard time not getting it out and stroking it lots. There is even information about the sheep who wore it first, her name was April 🙂 Thank you so much, Carrie K – it is absolutely wonderful!!