Tuesday, 28 February 2006

It's a peedie bit nippy ootside!

Looks like we're finally getting a Scottish winter - even if it's unlikely to last for any length of time. The wind's howling down from the north and for a change the harsh wind doesn't affect the temperature in the office too badly since it's on the south-west corner of the house. Makes a nice change. Quite like watching the snow howling about outside the window though.

Glad I'm not having to fly offshore this week or I would have been spending a lot of time sitting in either Broomfield House or up at Scatsta, neither of which are the most exciting places in the world. Of course George is proving, once more, that he is not the brightest animal on the planet as he went tearing out this morning and then when I went to get wood he was having fun chasing the snowballs I was throwing for him. Isn't that a dog thing to do?!

Felt a bit sad the other night as I realised that this February would have seen the Ruby wedding anniversary of my folks if they'd stayed married. Robert's folks have their Ruby wedding at the end of March and so we'll be doing something for them. Just seems a shame that things couldn't have gone the same way for mine. Can't have everything I suppose and it has been 10 years now since they split. Most of the time I'm fine but just occasionally I wish things hadn't changed but then who doesn't. Nobody really wants their folks to split up (even if it's all gone to shite) even if they're grown-up when it happens. You just know things are never the same again. You always have to think before you say stuff just in case the other one gets offended, you know family get-togethers would be impossible and you have to learn not to feel guilty about it all either. Sometimes it's one of those cases where you really wish you could turn the clock back and that the last few years had never happened so you could change the outcome. But then I suppose if you did that there's a whole lot of other things you would have missed out on - such as the person you actually end up with that you're happy you've ended up, etc.

Time to stop thinking...for one night anyway.

Thursday, 23 February 2006

Nearly there...!

It's been a long few days but I couldn't miss out the opportunity to blog from far-off shores. Today I'm reporting not too far from the top of the world, well in North Sea up off Shetland anyway. Life on Brent Charlie has been pretty cool -hectic but fun! I've been out here since Tuesday doing one-to-one lifestyle health checks and some presentations on Men's Health. They are a really nice bunch of guys and I always think it's a shame that there is this image that guys aren't interested in their health because it never seems to be that way when we come offshore to do stuff. Of course you get the guys who sit there and stuff their faces (free food and boredom), the ones who drink way more than is good for them and the ones who couldn't give a stuff about how long they live for once they finish work. You also get the guys who want a good quality of life, who want to learn how to eat well and exercise better, who want to look after themselves. As long as you come out and speak matter of factly to them - plus you don't let them off with taking the piss, it's called giving as good as you get - then they really want the information you can give them. Usually you're just backing up something that their wives or girlfriends have already told them but if it means they make a change then that's great. I actually feel a wee bit guilty for the way I used to slag off offshore blokes before as it shows I was obviously bumping into the nob-ends rather than all the really nice blokes who are out here just to make the best living they can in what can a really horrible environment, especially when they don't get home when they're supposed to. It makes me laugh when they moan about 2-3 weeks in the Big Brother House when there are thousand's of guys doing that length of time in the North Sea all the time. They just get on with it rather than moaning about it - okay, sometimes they moan about it! I think the other thing that's really nice is that you get respect for the knowledge you've gained and how you impart that knowledge to them. If it means one person makes a change for the better or one person is able to catch an illness at an early stage and save themselves a lot of hassle then that's what we aim for. Gotten all philosophical there - definitely time for bed.

Home tomorrow (hopefully) for some R&R and some proper knitting time. I've only done about 3 rows in 3 days - not good enough. Shall we say that my entry into the Knitting Olympics has gone totally pear-shaped and I've achieved a whole 5 inches on the back of Dennis' Aran jumper thus far - sorry Dennis! I will catch-up, I promise...

Saturday, 18 February 2006

SP7 - Look what I got in the post yesterday...

...I got a pressie in the post yesterday. Thank you Secret Pal. I think I scored pretty well. The sweetie kebab has been decimated by about 30% since the photo was taken yesterday and the little sweetheart candies are half-eaten. The crochet hook is very cute and I'm really chuffed with the RYC Cashsoft DK. It's gorgeous stuff (I've knitted a hat with it for someone else). It could be made into either a hat, long skinny scarf or maybe yet another OSW. Who knows?! It's a lovely dusky pink.

Time to get my arse in gear. Need to go into town to pick up our tickets for the Zutons (May 11th - woo hoo!), another ball of RYC Cashsoft DK for a hat for Robert's Mum's birthday (March 3rd) and some row counters. I have lost 2 over the last 3 days - one down the side of my seat on the plane to Manchester on Thursday and the other one between my living room and bedroom. How can you lose something in such a short space? Probably George has nicked it. Need to get back in time for my beloved's birthday tea. We're off out to the Manchurian for a dim sum banquet - it should be so fine.

Happy birthday honeypie, love you loads.

Monday, 13 February 2006

Catch-up time

It's been ages since I was last on here but I have been scuttering around like a mad thing over the last ten days doing heaps of stuff. I was really good the other weekend and finally did a bit of a tidy up of at least some of the garden. Mainly the borders at the back door, the two borders at the front door and my pots which are in the patio. Only (hah - only!) got the veggie plots and the side border to go. At least it is getting much easier to tidy-up the garden each year and to actually make some progress in making it prettier. I suppose I have got 3 years worth of it under my belt and Robert's folks did say that it takes at least 5 years to make a garden. Almost there.

I was offshore last week for most of the week doing heaps of health checks (30 minute one-to-one appointments where you tell folk how unfit they are basically) and some presentations. Since it was on "Men's Health" there were a few wiseguys trying to be clever and wind me up - funny how they all start to shut up the more you speak about their prostate and testicles. Embarrassment kicks in for quite a few and I'm not shy about it either. As I was trying to get across to them it's embarrassment and stubbornness that is more likely to kill them. I was dead chuffed afterwards though as quite a few of the guys came along to health checks and said they were either going to their GP when they got back onshore to check out symptoms I'd mentioned or else there were other things I'd gone over which had hit a chord - in a positive way. One guy was a bit upset though when I told him that he was medically, grossly obese. He did have a gut on him and actually had a 49inch waist on him. The fact that his trousers were a 38 inch didn't mean anything - I tried to get this through to him but he didn't want to take onboard that he might just be a fat bastard heading for a heart attack! The Medic was the worst - a huge belly, diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and eating the most horrendous diet. If anyone was going to have a heart attack then he was the prime candidate. It's the sleep deprivation that gets me in the end - I'm not good with 6am starts, I like about an hour more in bed before I'm human.

I did come back to a bit of a state and decided that it really wasn't on. By the side of the sofa is about 7 different projects which is just getting daft so I put 4 of them upstairs (along with my drop spindle spinning for now) and I've left 3 downstairs. One is very nearly finished and I would like it to be done for the weekend. Another is one that is going to be my offshore knitting for the next few trips as it can be done on my Denise needles and is a reasonably transportable easy pattern for a sleeveless cable tank top in Soy Silk Oasis (Chocolate).

The last one I only got the wool for on Saturday from Dragon Yarns so couldn't start before then. It's my contribution to the Knitting Olympics but I did it to make sure I got a kick up the backside to get going rather than let all the wool sit in a bag for a while. It would be nice if I got the jumper to Dennis while it's still cold weather - actually not too difficult in an Aberdonian climate. I have of course stuck my oar in with Team Scotland as I thought it was only fair as we Scots do provide the bigger bulk of the athletes when it comes to the Winter Olympics - crap at the summer ones or a football team but we do make a reaasonable affort when it comes to the other stuff. As folk tend to say - if you can learn to ski in Scotland you can ski anywhere as nowhere else will you get such shit conditions. Went to Glenshee once and the wind was so strong it was blowing me backwards up the ski slope on my blades. There's been bugger all snow this year for the ski centres so far which is a real pain as I can't afford a ski holiday in with all the other expenses this year.

I have digressed somewhat from the knitting talk, where was I? Dennis' jumper. He asked for an Aran jumper a long time ago and having seen the previous effor he wore to the pub which he loved but that everybody else took the piss out of I said that I would give it a go. The original jumper he has is this horrible acrylic which would melt rather than burn if you set fire to it. He sent Robert up with a stack of patterns and luckily he chose one that doesn't have bobbles in it (I hate knitting bobbles). It's going okay so far - well since I got past the set up row anyway, it was an absolute bastard. A few of the panels are only a 4 row repeat so are starting to become second nature already. There are 2 other panels which haven't quite sunk into my brain yet but they are getting there. This shows my progress so far.

Suppose I'd better go and put in a few hours or else it's not going to get done anytime soon!

Thursday, 2 February 2006

I've decided...

I've decided to start recording the wildlife round about us to help in our objections to various bits of local planning that the Council and Scottish Enterprise want to do. We really don't want to lose our green space when there are so many brownfield sites that should be used first. It always appears as though there's building going on for building's sake and we don't want the fantastic eco-system that's around us to disappear. So when I got up this morning I spotted the deer in the field and sneaked out of the house so they wouldn't get startled. They feed most mornings and are absolutely gorgeous. They have gone through the veggie plots a few times but that really doesn't bother me. Share and share alike.

Then as I was wandering about I spotted my first crocus of the year...

...followed by our first snowdrop!

So what did I follow up that early morning excitement with (also known as procrastinating)?

...a bit of breakfast knitting. Nothing like a bowl of porridge with some dried fruit in it to get you going. I usually put a few spoons of oats to soak the night before in some cold water with the dried fruit and then it only needs about 2 mins in the microwave the next morning. At least it's likely to kickstart me in a vaguely healthy way for the rest of the day. Inbetween mouthfuls I did a few rows of the hat I'm making for my Secret Pal. It's from a Magknits pattern that was only published on Wednesday and takes one whole ball of RYC Cashsoft DK. Quite fancy making one for myself when I finish it. I can see a few being churned out as pressies, especially if it only takes an evening or two to knit.

Then I got a nice surprise today. I was walking up the road to pick up the post when I spotted a delivery van indicating to turn off the main road down to ours. I started to get excited (as one does) and as he approached I got him to stop so I could see where he was going - us or Keith and Lynn. Luckily it was for me so I signed for the parcel there and then and just got him to drop it off at the house since I was only going to be a few minutes. What was it?

It was my dressmaker's dummy that I got for my Christmas from my Dad. Now my Dad is lovely in that when it comes to presents he now asks what I'd like and if he thinks I deserve it (or even if I don't probably) and it's a reasonable request then he will sort it out for me. On this occasion however he didn't read the email properly (I did links, bold, underlined, descriptions and a'thing!) so the first dummy I got was a size Medium which is for girlies who are a tad bigger than me. I needed the Petite so had to send the first one back and then wait until they got a one back in stock so about 6 weeks later I've finally got the right one. Instructions will be even more precise next time - okay Dad?! (I know you'll read this - thanks for the pressie, eventually!) I'm still a very happy bunny though as it all gets added into my list of things to learn this year - spinning, sewing, better photography, fancy techniques in my knitting, all crafty stuff anyway.

And just to finish for today an example of why it is very difficult, at times, to get a photo of our evil little beastie. He likes to wrap himself round legs when you are outside and will not stay still so you'll have to make do with the "moving" image.