Saturday, 28 May 2005

Finished Lucky Clover - at last!

It's happened - taken a wee while but it's happened. I finished my Lucky Clover cardi at last. As we can see George decided to inspect my handiwork before I put it together - just checking there were no mistakes like?! No show without Punch.

George inspecting my handiwork

Like quite a few others I had a bit of fun and games trying to avert the boat neck, aka "sexy" falling-off-the-shoulders look, but I managed it on my second attempt. Because mine is knitted from pure wool it does have a certain "bounce" in the finish whick means that bits don't quite lie where they should without a bit of help. In my case this has meant the addition of two poppers along the bottom of the cardi to keep things in place. But overall I'm certainly pretty pleased with the effect and the colours are awfully pretty. I've still got about 350g of the wool left so I'm thinking either a 50's inspired tight fit jumper (shame I can't do the full on Lana Turner effect but it won't happen unless a jelly bra is involved!) or a small short-sleeve jumper which can give a twinset look to Lucky Clover. We shall think about it some more.

The finished object - hurrah!

Not forgetting the reverse view...

So knitting wise I now have to crack on with the baby shawl, especially as Elisha arrived on Thursday, and inbetween times - to maintain sanity - I'll carry on with version number 2 of the leafy camisole. Hopefully this time it'll actually fit me and not someone with a 38 inch chest. That would have been just a tad draughty round the old nipples!

Almost recovered from last weekend's offshore trip. It does mean I've landed on 5 Shell platforms in just one trip as we went "round-the-houses" on Saturday and Monday but it was pretty tiring. A stress presentation and 23 mini-health checks - most of them on the Sunday. Up at 5.45am on the Sunday and I didn't finish until 11pm that night. Still I'd far rather do that than be siting about on my butt all day waiting for things to do. Once you're offshore you're just as well to work because it's pretty damned boring doing anything else. You can't go anywhere, can't go outside, and can't go to the kitchen and make yourself something to eat and even with all that I still enjoyed myself on this trip even if it was really knackering.

Feeling quite sore now as I've been "helping" Robert, in my own little pathetic way, with digging out the sunken patio he's planned. Thank heaven's Mike's coming over to go onto barrow duty tomorrow as I'm crap. I can only fill it halfway with earth before I have to humpf it over to the other side of the garden to dump it on our humungous pile of topsoil that is accumulating without a potential home to go to. I've got them some nice ribs for the barbie (it's supposed to be a reasonable day tomorrow) and I've taken chicken wings out of the freezer. I'm sure they'll eat whatever gets put in front of them. Plenty beer on tap to help ease the muscles into it. I'll just have to crack on with a mega weeding sesh as it's all going a bit mental out there in flowery weedy land. That's what happens when you get nice warm rain followed by sunshine - things grow! Great ain't it.

Think I'll go watch Garden State now before I have to go and pick Robert up from his card's night.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005

A bit of a Scarlett moment

As God is my witness (not that I'm a God-believing person but I can only paraphrase so far) I will finish the sleeves of Lucky Clover tonight. Once I've made the tea and done a huge pile of ironing that is. But otherwise I will finish this damned jumper. Why is it that it went so quickly doing the body but it has been so slow doing the arms - painfully so! So many other things I want to make but I'm determined they won't started until Lucky Clover and the Shetland shawl are finished. Grrrrrrrrr!

Just joined my first Secret Pal thingie. Wonder what fantastical things I can think of that are particularly Scottish in a woolly, crafty line - mmm, pondering. Never done one of these before so should be fun. It means presents and I LOVE presents. I actually like looking for presents almost as much as getting them. Chocolate - good, pretty things - good, pink/purple - good, sensible stuff - bad (unless it's cooking toys like ice-cream makers or Nigella Lawson mixing bowls - then it's good)!

Right - what shall we have for tea that's reasonably healthy and will help get my man's cholesterol down a bit, since exercise isn't top of his agenda at the moment. I despair, I really do - oh woe is me, my man ignores any health advice I try to give him. Why do I worry about this - does that make him any different from any other Scottish man? I think not. And I've got a whole weekend of unhealthy, overweight blokes to look forward to. The glamour of offshore!

Friday, 13 May 2005

My fame has spread?!

Listening to Radio 2 today and they mentioned knitting Clangers and this guy's website as the site of the day on Steve Wright's show. He has a gallery that he's setting up with pictures of Clangers that have been made so since I already made one last year for baby Isla next door I thought I'd send him a picture of mine to add to it - and he's put it on already. Cool! Dead chuffed.

It's a Clanger!

Because I'm still plugging away on the same few things knitting-wise you're just going to have gaze at my babies instead. Robert managed to take a picture of them actually sharing the radiator bed for a change. They can do it without fighting if they try.

Sharing...for a change

Wally was a little tired on Friday as he'd done his "Dirty Stop-Out" routine for 2 days. It's a hard life when your priority is to pass out for a few hours in a suitably comfy location.

Done in after his night on the tiles

Hanging out the washing the other day I came across a hairy caterpillar - something I haven't seen in years. Sensibly I picked it up by the hairs on its back so it didn't poo on my hand. They are really cute though I did move him from my flower bed as I didn't want him scoffing all my flowers!

Hairy caterpillar - so cute!

I played at being educated and sophisticated this weekend by going to the Word Literary Festival at Aberdeen Uni. Thouroughly enjoyed Tom Leonard and Bill Duncan. Both funny and touching in different ways. The Orange Book List discussion was a wee bit of a damp squib but we did get a free copy of the printed list which is handy as a reference. I have already voted for my favourite Scottish book - Sunset Song by Lewis Grassis Gibbon, no competition really. Isabel Losada's stories of personal enlightenment and the practice (note 'practice' not 'pursuit')of happiness were highly entertaining. She was someone who just exuded energy and inspiration. My final session was John Aberdein and Sheena Blackhall. This was probably the most personal as John was my old English teacher - he dragged me through O Grade, Higher and CSYS English. Until I heard him read from his book (his first) I'd kind of forgotten what a good teacher he was. It was in his classes that I actually started to read stuff that I enjoyed. There were still a few cases of books I hated but overall he is one of those that was a positive influence. And his new book sounds pretty damn good as well. When the pennies improve it's going on the list of potential purchases. Don't know if all this literature has expanded my mind or if it's just kicked some of the more useless nonsense out of it to make room for the new stuff. We shall wait and see...

Friday, 6 May 2005

Why there hasn't been so much knitting...

There really hasn't been much happening on the knitting front. Combination of factors really. Nothing good to sit down and veg in front of the telly for, much more daylight so out in the garden in between rain showers/dumps, busy with work stuff so not as much spare time, general tailing off from knitting over summer (much more of a winter thing with me - definitely a nesting/hibernation habit). I was just a wee bit sore the other day after finishing off my last veggie plot - mainly because I'd left it so long that it needed serious weeding and not just digging over. Thank heavens we've got sandy soil (would be amazed if it was anything otherwise considering how close we are to the beach - like quarter a mile!) so it is actually easy to dig over. I still hurt like hell the day after though. Robert very cleverly suggested to split up the plot with boards and old roof tiles - should cut down on some of the weeds. I've got veg seeds in half the plot and then there's flowers for NEXT YEAR going in the other 8 mini-plots. How organised is that?! It's only because Robert is about to start rebuilding the wall round the garden and would only trample all over the prettiness I'm attempting to create in the borders round the edge of the garden. It's much safer to wait until his big clodhoppers have finished wreaking havoc - his favourite past-time!

Next year's food supply!

Did you spot all the strawberry plants and raspberry canes in with my herbs? Loads of leeks, onions, shallots and brussel sprouts (I like them cooked with garlic and crispy bacon) in the other one and not forgetting the start attraction of any Scottish veggie garden - a whole plot turned over to tatties- WOO HOO! We have got a lovely bit of companion gardening going on at the end of the tattie plot as the more eagle-eyed will have spotted the nettle patch left specifically for the Red Admiral butterflies. Okay it started off as an accident because the garden was such a state but we have deliberately kept the one patch. The herb garden is brilliant for all sorts of beasties too, especially different types of bees, and the more beasties we have then the more birdies that are starting to appear. Thank heavens there's plenty of 4 legged beasties to keep the cats occupied so they don't go after the birds. In fact the swallows (10 of them this year - they just got back last week) dive bomb the cats as they try to cross from the byre to the house. Go birdies I say!

As we can say from the next little collage - not all of Maureen's gardening experiments go well. We are talking about our little "pals" the greenfly which have appeared in their thousands on my lovely Aquilegia. Swines. And where are my ladybirds to come to my rescue by scoffing them all - swanning round the rest of the garden. I'm finding them ANYWHERE but near my aquilegia. They'd better start eating soon or there will be trouble ahead. Considering how many I saw on Monday when I was digging - there should definitely be new ones soon too as there were about 3 ladybird couples getting it on in various locations. Wonder how long before the babies arrive.

Mostly good stuff!

And while all this is going on what are my boys doing? Doing what they do best of course - finding a comfy spot and surveying their kingdom, interspersed with sleeping of course! What a hard life. Don't know what George is going to do when the farmer finally takes away those two haybales as that is his throne. He might fight him for them!

The boys' favourite spots

And what do you find at the end of every rainbow...?

Pot of gold!

Wednesday, 4 May 2005

Suspicions confirmed...

I knew it, I just bloody well knew it! We have a standing order with a certain oil company to provide out kerosene (that would be C***** Oils) which means we pay them pennies and they're supposed to come along and fill our tank up every month during the winter with top-ups every couple of months during the summer. And have they done as they promised (contract, there was a contract) - have they fuck! Twice we've had to ask them to turn up when we've run out and now we've run out for third sodding time. We're just bloody lucky that it's a lot warmer than the last two times we ran out (Jan and Feb - you can imagine). So guess who's getting sacked as our supplier tomorrow. I'm letting Robert do that bit. Usually I would do it as I'm a bit more polite than he is but considering what a pigs ear they've made of the whole thing I'm quite happy for Robert to wade in and give them lalldy this time. Twats!

Went to the University for a "networking" event but it was pretty shite too. Aberdeen Uni told us how brilliant they were and what they can do with all their expertise but they forgot to tell us how this matches up with private enterprise and what sort of benefit they would be. It always amazed me when I was still in academia how many of them could only think with a public sector head on and were totally incapable of applying any sort of business sense or practice to their daily working routine. Long live bureaucratic procedure in the ivory towers. I love doing research but I really need to see a practical end point to it all. Unfortunately there are too many out there who believe themselves to be much more important than they actually are and that the world will fall down without them. Realistically it will carry on quite happily without any of us. It would be nice to think that we affect those around us in positive way but I know I've said and done some horrible things in my time and so has everybody else here. I'll just keep on trying. This is all getting a bit profound and introspective...can't even blame PMT - not unless it's PostMT!

On a much happier note some of my seeds in my propagators are coming through (easily pleased nowadays) so that's some bunny tails (type of grass - not the puffy stuff) and more cerinthes (fave flower of last year) coming through. I counted 10 swallows the other night too as they were dive bombing me. Take a wee bit of a time out and the nice things in life are out there to gawp at in open-mouthed amazement.