Friday, 22 March 2019

Displacement Activities

I've been thinking a lot about my Aunt H recently. Both my parents came from large families, so there were plenty of aunts and uncles about in my childhood; Auntie H was my favourite though. She and my mother were very close, so she was a frequent visitor. I can remember being shocked when she announced that she no longer watched/listened to/read the news. 'Didn't she want to keep abreast of World events?' my 16 year old self asked. 'It's never good news' was her reply. As I get older, I'm beginning to see what she meant.
Yesterday evening for instance: we had the usual Brexit shenanigans; the devastation caused by the cyclone in Mozambique; an update on the shootings in Christchurch (is everyone else incredibly impressed by Jacinda Ardern? I think she's doing an amazing job); the identification of Libby Squire's body; and the sentencing of a 16 year old for the abduction, rape and murder of a 6 year old girl. By the end of it I was heartbroken. I don't think last night was particularly unusual either, it seems to have been horror after horror recently. I thought of Auntie H going through life, happily doing her knitting and listening to opera. Maybe she had a point after all.

Here then are a few of my recent attempts to distract myself from 'real life':

A belated Valentine's Day present from R. It's a swift box. I didn't like to point out that, as they are colony birds, we may need more than one, so it's now up at the back of the house and I'm being hopeful. Maybe we can add to it gradually, but I think it was quite pricey so it may take a while.
 Re-knitting my Hipster Shawl after R felted my previous one:

An evening of comedy and magic at our local theatre. When I booked the tickets, the lady asked if we would like to be on the front row. Thinking (quite rightly!) that front row audience members would probably be picked on, I asked to sit further back and in the middle so that we were hemmed in. Come the night, there were 2 empty seats next to R and, after I helpfully pointed out that the spaces drew the eye nicely, he spent the show terrified of being chosen!.He wasn't, but I can understand his concern - he was once dragged up on stage to dance at a pantomime and has never fully recovered! I really enjoyed it though and it made a nice change from watching a play.

Attending a 'Make Your Own Green Man' workshop at our local museum. I LOVED this! Here are a few that were provided as inspiration:

 ........ and here is mine:

 It still needs to be glazed and fired, so I'll show the finished article when I collect it in a few weeks.
Enjoying my Mother's Day Narcissi from a few years ago:
 Glad to see my Camellia in bloom again. In fact, it's nice to be able to get outside generally. I've just cut the grass for the first time this year and it looks so much better.
 Finishing my Christmas Eve cast on socks - finally! They have been my travel knitting, so have taken a while.
A few months ago, I bought a footstool at a car boot sale. I had signed up for a 1 day upcycling course and needed a small object to work on. Naturally, as soon as I found said object, the course was cancelled! I thought I'd give it a coat of paint anyway:
Here it is after 2 coats of Annie Sloan, a coat of wax and a bit of distressing. I'm in 2 minds about the fabric - I nearly bought some upholstery fabric at the Knitting and Stitching show, but thought I'd see what it looked like painted first. I don't know about the apples (or are they cherries?), what does everyone else think?
When L graduated, I made her a 'Graduation Quilt'. With E in her final year at uni, I asked if she would like one too. She wasn't entirely sure, but I could imagine the accusations of favouritism if I didn't! So, I thought I would compromise and make a 'throw'. It's quite a large throw - she can 'throw' it on the foot of her bed, 'throw' it on the chair in her student room (she's hoping to stay on for a Master's Degree), or even 'throw' it on the wall as a hanging. E is my 'hippy girl', so I thought she'd quite like these Indian block prints. I've finished the top and bought the wadding, so now I just need to sandwich it all together and quilt it. She can always 'throw' it away if she hates it!

 R and I took a trip into London to see L. We decided to visit Brick Lane as R and I had never been:
This is where we stopped for lunch:
 We had a combination of Ethiopian and Turkish food which we shared. It was delicious and very filling. We were planning to have an Indian meal later at one of the many restaurants claiming to serve 'the best Indian food in Brick Lane', but none of us were hungry. Next time!

  Finally, I had half a ball of yarn left over from making my Hipster Shawl, so made a quick pair of fingerless mitts - you can never have too many. The mitten blockers are the ones I bought at Yarnporium last year.
Well, that's all for this week. I'm off to channel Auntie H by listening to some opera whilst I start preparing dinner. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and may all your news be good news.

Toodle pip for now. x

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

February Happies

Greetings from the Land of the Virus! It's been a while since my last catch up. In the intervening period we have had snow, gales and a mini heatwave. There have been a couple of theatre trips, 2 knitting shows, a spot of decorating and 2 bouts of illness. L&J have been to Amsterdam, Hamburg and Berlin (thereby missing said heatwave), Lily failed her MOT :0( (new parts are on order, so I'm hopeful, if a little housebound). I finally got around to clearing out the greenhouse and sowing some seeds, and I've been inundated with bunches of flowers (I'm really not complaining!). 

Here then are some photos of my February/early March:  

Trying my hand at Cashew 'Cheese'. It's actually very nice, but only if you think of it as more of a nut spread - calling it cheese raises certain expectations which it fails to live up to! 
It goes very nicely with oat crackers and Quick Pickled Red Onion:
Getting to know my new Christmas present. 
I made a 'quilt as you go' mat to protect the chest from  the scratchy plant pot:
One of my goals for this year was to learn how to do colourwork knitting. I attended a workshop at the Oxford Yarn Store and came away with these:
 Snowy pictures: 
I actually had a few things planned for the period of snowy weather, however I've rather lost my nerve when it comes to driving in the snow after getting caught in a snowstorm many years ago. I therefore cancelled everything and spent a few days at home, only venturing out to fill the bird feeders - very hygge!

 Fergus and Carlos:
Enjoying supermarket spring bulbs. I like the smell of hyacinths just as they are opening. Once they're fully open, I find they can be a bit cloying.
 Finishing my 'Easy Bulky One' by Joji Locatelli. It really came into its own in the snow!

One of 3 bunches of flowers from my lovely neighbours. I cat sat for J and B when they had a few days in Rome. Sadly, they learned nothing from our experience in Seville, and B had his wallet stolen whilst they were on the metro. :0(
Lilies from my other neighbour, D - she received these as a gift but, sadly for her, they always give her a headache. She also has cats and I think the pollen is nephrotoxic if they eat it, so her loss was definitely my gain!
My Valentine's Day roses from R (along with some Booja Booja champagne truffles!):
As I was rather awash with flowers at the time, I placed the vase on the floor next to the fireplace. Someone decided that they were for him and polished off first the leaves and then gradually the petals!
A trip to the Corn Exchange to see this - very good.
One of my re-knits. R decided to do a wool wash and scooped up several knitted items of mine that usually get the gentlest of treatments. He managed to felt my bandana cowl (replacement shown), my Hipster Shawl and my Soiree Sweater. The same day, however, there was a tragic story on the news of a 13 year old boy being killed in a hit and run accident. It put my felted knitwear firmly in perspective. 
 I've spent the last couple of weeks decorating the front bedroom. It's the same colour (Duck egg), it just seriously needed a freshen up.
Unravel - the knitting show at The Maltings in Farnham. I bought some yarn to try and put my new colourwork skills to use (I plan to try Skeindeer's Selbu Mittens). I also bought yarn to make another Soiree Sweater!
The Knitting and Stitching Show at London's Olympia. I'd never been to this venue before and really liked it. It was easier to get to than the Ally Pally and didn't involve a bus which I always find rather stressful as I never know which stop I need! Having just recovered from a stinking cold, I was horrified by the number of people both at the show and on the underground who coughed in my face; when did people stop covering their mouths?! It was only a matter of time before virus number 2 caught up with me. I spent all of Sunday night and Monday morning vomiting. As R and I both eat the same thing and he is fine, I'm assuming it was something I picked up in London.

 Finally, a trip to see this at The Watermill (excuse folded flyer!). I was convinced in the first minute that I was going to hate it. It was a modern interpretation that had the 3 witches scene replaced by loud, electric guitar music and chanting. I eat my words, however, as it was flipping fantastic. Go and see it if you're nearby.
Well, that's it for this week. I'm just off to drink some more of my Lucozade. I know it's E number laden and looks like virulent, radioactive, toxic waste but it's the only thing that ever makes me feel better when I'm ghostly white after a few days chundering! And on that lovely note .......
Toodle pip for now. x