Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Angel of Ruin

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

I like eating while standing up. Sometimes. 

On a recent visit home to Fairy Lawn, I spent a lovely few moments, eating a freshly made toastie while nonchantly staring out the back window. Outside, The Hens stood, looking back at me, looking at them. They could only imagine how good that hot, cheesy sandwich tasted and I bet they were. Not only do I consider myself to be a dab hand at making a decent scone, I also have a knack at fashioning a rather tasty toasted sandwich.

A girl I knew, when growing up, rather rudely asked, if I were a horse in a previous life. She misunderstood the comfort you can get from eating while standing up. I find it’s a time when one can reflect. The food only takes second place to the ramblings in your head, but strangely manages to put perspective on those thoughts.

When you start on anything new, a business, a relationship, a project, you inevitably always reach crossroads. A place where questions need to be asked and decisions need to be made. It can be difficult. A few quiet moments spent taking stock of your options is necessary and will, ultimately, lead you to make a decision, which, you can only hope, will have a beneficial outcome. For all of its excellence, the Internet has made patience an endangered virtue. Outcomes, may not appear to be in your favour initially, but the world has a very strange way of righting wrongs…. eventually.

So, my humble sandwich, in all its simplicity, has in a way, cleared my vision. All the while, The Hens have moved onto greener pastures, namely the lawn.

As an alternative to eating your way through anxiety, I suggest poring over this prime article, written by Stitchlinks founder, Betsan Corkhill, who is a trained physiotherapist. She gives an account of the first world’s conference on ‘Therapeutic Knitting, which attracted international clinicians, academics and patient representatives from specialties including pain, mental health, dementia and post-traumatic stress, exploring the positive changes knitting can make.’ StitchLinks

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The One???

“The eyes are one of the most powerful tools a woman can have. With one look, she can relay the most intimate message. After the connection is made, words cease to exist. ”

“When you look into her eyes, you can see into her soul”, so I was told, indirectly, by Drew Barrymore when praising the merits of her good friend Cameron Diaz. Oh dear, Hollywood! However, while on a recent visit to my local knit group (we meet weekly, in a local pub!), I had an impromptu intervention with a guy who decided to join in with the knitting flock. Using his connection with one of the girls and his solar plexus, he seated himself, neatly, at our table. My well-meaning friend whispered in my ear, “He’s booky. He’s intelligent!’ 

Two hours later, with the help of a creamy Guinness, I agreed to stay for one drink. Unplanned dating can be fun. However, as the drink flowed, so did the talk. A cup of tea may help loosen your tongue but nothing gets the ‘cupla focal’ out as good a couple of pints of the black stuff

“Your eyes….your eyes…they are”
“But they change. You look happy, then sad, then angry…you can’t hide your feelings with those eyes”, he jeered.

My eyes aren’t so much windows to my soul but more patio doors letting all and sundry open them and walk inside. I feel like an open book. I’m not. I’m an Aquarian!

It turned out he wasn’t booky but comic-booky although he did admit to owning an unread copy of 50 Shades….eeekk!
The thoughts in my head are telling me its time to leave.
“There…you look happy again!”

I recede into my mind, obsessing about procedures on dealing with my handicap. I could wear sunglasses, all the time, like Anna Wintour. Or a very long, thick fringe. Mmmm …. what about some light netting, worn over my face. I’m sure that was on last years Autumn/Winter Sibling collection. On returning home, I felt a bit giddy. Feeling like a student again, in true post pub style, I browsed the net and found these. Ta Dah!
They will at least create a distraction!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

I love you, Bilbo Baggins!

“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone.' 
I should think so — in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!” 

This week, I finally got to see The Hobbit. I’m a bit of a Middle Earth fan, not hardcore, but I enjoyed the books a few years back and was very excited at the announcement of the first of the Rings Trilogy.

During and after watching the The Hobbit, I felt I was falling in love with Bilbo as played impeccably by Martin Freeman. Truth be told, I have always had a thing for Mr. Freeman, ever since we were introduced to him in The Office. I wanted to date the hapless Tim and now I want to marry Bilbo. He is perfect at this stage of my life:
·      He likes food, cooking & eating. He has a full pantry.
·      He has a nice home in the country.
·      He is adventurous.
·      He is single.
·      He likes books.

The Shire is so familiar to me coming from farming background myself. I see a field of Alpacas keeping company close by while I wile away the sunny days, knitting, reading and engaging in a bit of cleaning, I suppose. Such a great place to start a family of our own. So what to make for our little baby Baggins?.....

.... Perfect!
Okay, so Bilbo is a little shorter and little hairier than I would have hoped but I’m open-minded. He has taken a liking to walking around barefoot but then again, so do I, while at home at least.  There is that problem with that blasted Ring though, giving my Bilbo the ability to disappear, at will, as he places the Ring on his finger.

“I think it’s your turn to do the washing-up.”


I remind Bil, it’s his turn to give Baby a night feed, only to be faced by a warm empty space in the bed. And what with his friends? A very tall man in a pointy hat shows up at the door asking if Bilbo is in and that’s it…..I won’t see him until poor Baby is celebrating his 18th birthday!

It brings me back to a few years ago when I had a massive crush on Strider from The Rings Trilogy. My darling Strider, you would go off and marry that Elven  harlot. Okay, she had unnatural beauty, spoke poetically and was a dab hand at horseriding, but still!

Oh January, I think it’s time to return to the dating sites.
“Desperately seeking a short, hairy man who likes adventures and doesn’t wear Rings!”

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Them Indoors

Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.
-Author Unknown

When I embarked on the fuzzy road of knitting, way back when, it wasn’t nature that took over, but my mum. She, just being short of an unknown Sonia Rykiel in her day, successfully created a gorgeous ¾ length, intarsia hand knitted coat, a two piece, hoodie and matching mini, (which was well worn throughout our teens), and an array of sweaters that any fashion blogger would have given both their arms for. My mum was and still is a talented knitter. I was one of the lucky ones. The best way to learn and further enhance your knitting experiences is to pass them on.

Bag knitted from fabric
Nothing gets the nectar flowing like talking about what you love to someone who will listen. Enthusiasm is contagious. When you feel a failure because your needles haven’t yet made up with your wool, don’t worry. Get yourself the must have knitting accessory: a protégée. I would recommend children for this role. They are plentiful and can usually be beguiled with the promise of treats. Knitted treats of course. Create fun in your knitting by introducing non-wool textiles, trying out new ideas and designs. Shredded plastic bags, cloth, suede, newspaper, soft wire, cord; ribbon can all be knit with and can be incorporated with beads, buttons and oddments. 

Half the fun is searching for goodies to incorporate into your knitting stash. Start by de-cluttering your house, your neighbour’s house (ask first!), the local charity shop and the newsagents. Old newspapers can be spun into yarn as shown here Spinning Paper

What did the Childcraft Books ever do for us? Our parents knew what they were doing when they saw Volume 6 displaying images of smiling children using brown paper bags and toilet tubes to wile away a wet weekend. Recycling was old hat in our home. We wanted to clean out the house! It was just short of taking a ladder and removing the roof tiles for one of our Coby-Holes.

Fan the flames of your creativity. Expect laughter, jibes and mocking for your efforts, if your family, are anything like mine. Take note: knitters develop tough skins and not just on their fingers. With regards to who is the nutty one in my family…? I like to think we all are. It’s more diplomatic that way and ensures I might get invited home for another Christmas.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013



“That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met.”

It was a Sunday afternoon, Anna, one of the Middles, had spent the day at the Cousins. She came home ranting about some game they were playing where ‘you buy and sell property, there is a Banker, you charge rent…. it was amazing!’ The excitement was all too much, so much in fact, she forgot the rules. So, they were made up, along with the playing board, totems, money, chance cards etc. The dice were the only real part of the game, and in true Anna style, she was always Banker. We had been introduced to Monopoly.

Our Monopoly prototype was made out of a Weetabix box, the biscuits tossed to one side, as we couldn’t wait until they were finished. The board’s artwork was underdeveloped and the heavy creases running down the centre of the box/board often caused the dice to ricochet sending them to the other end of the room. The first game went on for over 3 weeks, until we finally decided we couldn’t take anymore. As we had no rules, we had no winners. By the end of the month, we had morphed into cut-throat swindlers, liars, thieves and power hungry property tycoons, with no morals and no money. The following Christmas, Mum and Dad, dreading what their children were growing into, gave Santa the nudge towards the board-game department and we got a shiny new Monopoly game, with rules.

The games began again but the rules were left in the box. We continued to conspire against each other, frequently stole from the bank and miscounted our moves to avoid paying rent.

 If only life could be a little bit more like this….

Life is like this….

Playing Monopoly, freefall style is how I approach lots of areas of my life. My cooking skills could be described as, changeable. My hormone induced, emotional eating and sleeping patterns are dependably undependable. Often, this is how I approach my knitting: buying up as much wool as I can afford (or not), I dive straight in, full of enthusiasm, attempting to tackle difficult patterns often with inconsolable consequences. Some knitting projects never get finished, like some games. Some should never have been finished. Here is one well on the way to being finished: my ‘smash, crack, snap, sabbatical throw’, concocted from a jumble of past knits unraveled, rewound and reworked, which took almost two years to nearly complete. Ta Dah!
Almost there...
I’m not promoting all out anarchy, but now and again, its okay to forgot the rules, if it feels right. If you do apply this ideology to your knitting, start by using cheaper yarns first. It can be far more fulfilling to achieve something you had no benchmarking for in the first place than trying to recreate a mock-up from an idealized image. Please share your mishaps, misadventures and final mistakes! Even the good ones!