Thursday, 27 November 2008

MeMe time...

1. Started my own blog - obviously!
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain - Ben Nevis might not be huge in mountain terms but it's still a mountain!
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning - twice...eugh!
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb - fed them and then sent them off to that place where they don't come back...
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon - working up to it - on the 10k's as we speak!
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person - and when at the top heard someone say "is there another way down from here?"!
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter - frequently, it's how I get to work!
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar - way over-rated
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job - and then had them offer it back to me after they'd been made to eat their words as it wasn't me who'd done the misdemeanour = told them to stuff it!
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life - may have done inadvertently since I used to work for a smoking cessation service and now I do health education
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

Monday, 24 November 2008


We had snow so we had to go and play in it...

And one small boy is getting much better at knitting...
Apparently he even copies the facial expressions I make when I knit! As long as he doesn't copy the swearing then we're safe enough...for now ;-)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

They have absolutely no idea!!!

When I was offshore this week I started working my way through all the remnants of the Sunday supplements, as one does while one is sitting around waiting patiently for what is known as the Paraffin Budgie

to transfer one from one installation to another. Anyway I came across this little piece of advice in the Observer Woman supplement from Sunday the 2nd.

" The thrift guide: How to stop shopping, Eva Wiseman

1. Knit

There's only one way to stay warm in these tough times, and it involves yarn. Learn to knit on (there are hundreds of how-to videos), then join a knitting circle. It'll get you out of the house, at least. Go to to find your nearest."

Now, Eva obviously doesn't know much about knitting or she would realise that learning to knit does not equate with thrift...well not in my house anyway. It's cheaper than foreign holidays (just) but I know I spend more on my knitting than I do on my car each year though, then again, probably not as much as I spend on my food shopping. Doesn't she know there are tools and gadgets to buy, books and magazines that are compulsory purchases, patterns to download (not all free) and all sorts of pretty wool with which to supplement the habit. No frigging idea whatsoever!!!

See exhibit A below...does this look like a cheap hobby to you?!

A cat would be a much cheaper hobby...;-)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

School reunion...scary stuff!

You go back home for the school reunion...

You look around at where you came from...

You look at where you are now...

You know you wouldn't want to relive it...

But it's nice to check it out...

Plus it helps when you know you've aged better than sooooooooo many others...but that's called "being bigsy" back home :-)

Monday, 20 October 2008

Findlay Farm, my house, is for sale...

It's taken a wee while, to say the least, but I have finally got round to putting my house on the market. The "For Sale" signs from Stronachs went up at the top of the road and outside the house this morning and I already had one woman turn up who had been just driving past and decided to come down the road on the offchance! I do know she's unlikely to be my buyer as she hasn't even got her own house on the market yet but at least it gave me a chance to show someone round.

So who wants a tour of my humble we go! In case you hadn't we have the front of the house. Cracking spot on a sunny day, south-facing, and the bit you can barely see at the end of the garden (to the left in left hand photo) is the sunken patio - complete with firepit for the boys to play with!

Come into the hallway and then settle yourself down in the sitting-room. The wood-burning stove is awfully cosy on a winter's night and throws out a fair heat. I have a tendency on leaving the door open and letting it throw the heat out into the rest of the house. It is a lovely spot to sit and knit on the sofa.

What else is downstairs...well my carefully designed kitchen for a start. 12 years in the hospitality trade mean I'm pretty damn fussy when it comes to what I want out of a domestic kitchen. I needed a good layout, loads of work surfaces to enable the use of all my kitchen toys (and I have Kitchen Aid food mixer is my favourite...especially as I got for a 1/3 of the price and brand new - the guy selling it didn't know the true value!) and lots of storage. I also didn't want wall units cos they hem you in and I'm too short to get stuff out of most of them without using a step-ladder!

Then we have my rather good-sized bathroom...followed with a nice and cosy dining room...and the room that is classified as bedroom 4, though I use it as my home office at the minute...

And then we go upstairs to the bedrooms...1, 2 & of them I use as my craft room...well more of a craft storage room really but they don't use that picture as an advert for this. They obviously don't know about the power of knitting as a selling tool!

And what else do you think people would want to know...well, Aberdeen is the oil capital of Europe and my house gives you an excellent location to make a bit of revenue out of said oil monies as it is next door to the AECC - the location for Offshore Europe, an exhibition which takes place biannually in Aberdeen. The next one is due here in 2009.

I'm in a real golfing spot as the field to the east of the house borders the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club for most of it and then blends into Murcar Golf Club at the other end. Both of these courses are only a few miles away from the proposed super-development of everyone's favourite bad hair tycoon of Mr Donald Trump...anyday now that planning permission will be coming through for his new place! (Ed. And now his permission is through...who knows what this will mean!)

I must admit that my only use of the golf courses is as a way to access what I classify as my own private beach. You launch yourself off the high sand dunes and run at full pelt down onto the actual beach. I tend to "surf" down the dunes. That didn't work so well one Christmas Day when the sand was frozen solid. A bit of a shock as I tumbled down to the bottom!

I'm going to be sad to leave the house as I've known the place for a long time (owned it for 6 years, knew it for 5 years before that as friends used to own it) but life moves on. Once it's been sold I'll trip off down the road to wee Laurencekirk to move in with my honey and his assorted menagerie (4 kids, dog and a cat - only 2 of the kids live there!) and I get to start the house thing all over again as his house is an homage to 1984...avocado ensuite anyone?!

I've been in Aberdeen for 17 years come the 1st of November this year - purely by accident! I arrived here with long-term partner number 1 and stayed on here with long-term partner number 2. I went back to University here. Had 10 different jobs while I've been here. Been ill and got better. Found someone who means absolutely everything to me and off to join him in defining and putting our dreams into action. Even more amazingly they involve the same dreams.

It may take a wee while (credit crunch and all that shenanigans...but then Aberdeen is very different from the rest of the UK when it comes to financial ups and downs) but I'm prepared to wait for a decent return on my investment. Need to fund a future after all...especially if it involves an awful lot of wool, a cracking house and my own alpaca herd!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

London...part 2!

And here's what happens when you go to Alexandra Palace! I set myself a budget of £250...carefully credit cards were hurt during this only...once it was gone it was gone!

I was left with £3 at the end of it all. It was bliss! I made sure that I had plenty of space in my suitcase for my flight back up the road to get all my new stash back home.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

London...part 1!

Last weekend meant a jaunt to London to visit Ally Pally. I still have to photograph all my goodies from that but that wasn't the only thing I did while I was there.

There was lots of emphasis on just wandering about...

Then there seemed to be an obsession with photographing food - especially in cakes!
And then there was the most amazing Japanese meal at Abeno near Covent Garden. It was fantastic!!! I am now totally in love with Japanese pancakes. Learning desperately how to make my own now because I'm a greedy wee sod!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

And my baby did well too!

And my honey got over the finish line in 1:02:44. It may not be a championship time but I was really proud of him. He still humped loads of other folk..he he!

Just wondering when the legs get back to normal. Thank hivvens its raining loads here today so we have a fantastic excuse not to run anywhere.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

My first one...

...5k that is!

This Sunday, for pleasure (!), I ran my first 5k race. It was part of the Loch Ness Marathon weekend but I do know my limitations. Next year might be a different matter!

Now we can't say it was the best time in the world but since I did no training whatsoever in the last month due to various reasons (loads of work, house going on market, just stuff!) then the fact that I got round the course and ran the whole way is doing alright I reckon.

Made it in 33 mins 44 secs so just over 6.5 minutes per km. Does make me wonder what I'd do if I actually trained for it!

Saturday, 23 August 2008


For all those who have ever suffered the impact of this terrible condition...

Friday, 15 August 2008

My peedie brother...the philosopher!

My peedie brother can be quite a little philosopher!

When up in Orkney myself and DB took him out for the morning out of the middle of the wedding preparation action. While waiting for DB to come out of the public conveniences at the Pierhead in Stromness (they're very pretty - just down by the harbour...and we all have to use them at some point!) he stood there with a pondering look on his face and we had the following conversation.

David (with a very serious exprression on his face): You really love Derek don't you?
Me: Yes
David: If he had to go away for a long time you'd really miss him wouldn't you?
Me: I would. I loved somebody before who didn't love me back in the same way and that wasn't nice. It's important to find someone who will love you back.
David: Yes it is because if you love someone and they don't love you back then you go to cuddle them and they don't cuddle back and that is a very big problem. Yes, that is a very big problem indeed (followed up with much nodding of his head as he considered just how big a problem this was...)

To say I was a little bit stunned at the deep thinking was an understatement. Having been in the situation (as has my DB) of being in long-term relationships with folk who did just that, pushing you away when you went for a hug, I would have to say he got it spot on. When you're the sort of individual who needs physical contact and affection in order to flourish and feel loved then it's amazing how it can deplete you and hurt you to be pushed away. It's why I don't take for granted what I've got now.

This last year I've found out what it's like to be with someone that places the same importance on physical touch and affection as I do. I can fall asleep on his shoulder and waken up still hugging and being hugged back. It makes me sappy as hell but I don't care. After 10 years with one, and 5 years with another one, that seemed to think it was a weakness to show any affection whatsoever then I want as much as I can get now. If I'm lucky enough to have found someone who loves me back and wants me to just be me (and that amazes and interests them) then I'm not going to tell them "go away, this is good!" I'm keeping them as close as they want to be and enjoy them being whoever it is that they want to be now and in the future. I'm going to make the most of being with my DB.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

I have a new photographer...

...and it makes life so much simpler now when I try to get nice pics of me in my FO's. I think he has potential as he has an interesting eye for a picture. Some of the finer techniques may need a bit of tightening up but he likes finding ways to make me look good so I am definitely not going to complain about that now am I?!

Here are a couple of examples.

This is Currer, a Norah Gaughan cardi from one of her Berroco booklets.

And then we have a little minicardi from the Noro book "Designer Mini Knits" by Jenny Watson. I'm not really a Noro fan (terrible I know - find the stuff too scratchy, don't really like the colours, the whole thing just passes me by!) so I made this in Lang Yarns Mille Colori which I do have a bit of an addiction for.

And then these are a couple of photos I took the other day that I just liked...

Who would've thought that clothes pegs could actually be quite interesting?

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

What my honey thinks...

What is your least favorite thing about my knitting? Haven't got one - I love your knitting.

What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good? Castellated kilt hose (nothing to do with them being for you obviously!)

Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby? Oh no, I think it's very good value for money!

What are your hobbies? Fishing and you.

So, if we compared money/time spent on hobbies, who would win? You would always win any competition

Do you have a stash of any kind? Flyfishing and fly tying stuff.

Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you? No.

Can you name another knitting blog? Probably

Do you mind that I want to check out wool shops everywhere we go? No, it's very nice.

Do you know what my favourite type of yarn is?
North Ronaldsay? (It's one of them - Handmaiden Sea Silk is one of the others and Malabrigo if I can get hold of it...and maybe some Lang Mille Colori...the list goes on)

Do you understand the importance of a swatch? If you say you want one, you have to have one?

Do you read my blog? Don't know how to. (I'll show you)

Have you ever left a comment? Don't know how to. (I'll show you)

Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
No, you'd have something wrong with you if you weren't knitting so you wouldn't tidy either. (Woo hoo - no housework required over and above what is necessary to keep a reasonable level of hygiene...I love you ;-x)

Is there anything else you want to say? When are you going to knit those long stockings with the lacey tops? (Patience is a virtue my sweet)

Monday, 11 August 2008

Would I make it as a 1930's housewife?


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Offshore Lung Test...cough cough splutter splutter!

Turn the volume up as the sound isn't brilliant. An excellent set-up!

Friday, 18 July 2008

UK Swap: Week 6 Questions

The topic is music this week:

Of all the bands/artists in your cd/record collection, which one do you own the most albums by?
That's a tie between Johnny Cash, the Chemical Brothers and Abba - how's that for an ecletic mix. If it hadn't been for my ex being a pain in the butt then the Pogues would've been in there too. He lifted the whole collection when he moved out but I figured they were cheap enough to replace so didn't panic. Still a pain though!

What was the last song you listened to?
The last album I consciously played was the Sound of Music soundtrack. I was having a tacky musicals day. That was preceeded by Evita and Cabaret :-)

What’s your favorite local band?
Don't really have one as such as not that involved in the local music scene. There used to be a band doing the rounds in Aberdeen when I first got here 17 years ago that were an institution - Bunion. Same banter every single time they played. Ah - the Malt Mill!

What’s the worst CD/record/etc. you’ve ever bought?
My Dad bought Joe Dolce "Shaddapa you face" - does that count!? I have taste and style therefore have nothing dodgy in my collection...

What was the first single/album you ever bought?
First single was Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin singing a cover version of "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to". Really can't remember the first album but I'm old enough for it to have been vinyl if that's any help!

UK Swap: Week 5 Questions

Choose one - don't think just choose...
1. Stop or go? Go
2. Going out or Staying in? Staying in
3. Small town or big city? Small town
4. Happy or sad? Happy
5. Straights or Circulars? Circulars
6. Red or Blue? Red
7. Seaside or countryside? Seaside
8. Fish or chips? Fish
9. Surprises or plans? Surprises
10. Wine or beer? Wine
11. Sweaters or cardigans? Cardis
12. Pizza or Pasta? Pizza
13. Chopsticks or fork? Fork
14. Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl
15. Knitting or crochet? Knitting
16. Hot or cold? Hot

I survived my survival!

Today I had to do something I really, really hate just so I can keep on working! Here's the video for it...

This time round it was only the one day refresher I had to do since I did the full 3 day course 4 years ago. It's amazing how quickly those 4 years come round again. Today was go number 2 at the refresher since I took a panic attack a couple of weeks ago while I was doing the rebreather (Emeergency Rebreather System to give it its full title) and didn't even make it as far as the simulator! That really wasn't helped by having a stinking cold so my lung capacity wasn't at it's best.

The divers were very patient with me today and got me through it (plus some pulse is way down at 60 at the moment - it usually sits about 78...way hey!). It wasn't pleasant
but at least that's it done now so I'm safe for another 4 years. Just gives a better range of choices until I get on with the next stage of my life.

Thank fuck it's over!!!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

I've been home...and watched my Pa get married!

Saturday July 12, 2008 St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney

My Dad, Ian, and my new step-Mum, Caroline (though I'm not allowed to call her that for reasons that are ours - mainly the lack of age difference!). My brother, Derek, was Best Man. My peedie brother, David, was Page Boy. I got to be Chief Bridesmaid (free frock...yay :-)) and the 2 little bridesmaids were Erin and Charley.

And then we have an integral part of any Orkney wedding...the Bride's Cog

And then I got to spend some time with my honey. He looked absolutely gorgeous and made a rather lovely speech. What a star! It was noted that he is well integrated into the family...

And here we have a couple of the speeches:

My DB and the toast to the bridesmaids

Ladies and gentlemen, Rev Max Fargus, Mr Heddle, and Wife.

I stand here today as one of the more surprised guests at the party.

My girlfriend, Maureen, is the chief bridesmaid and stepdaughter of the bride.

When I was invited to come along I thought I was coming for free dinner and a damn good ceilidh. Orkney weddings celebrations enjoy mythical status for those of us “from Sooth”.

That was until Ian phoned me with the interesting opening “Hello Derek, I hear you’re a great public speaker….” He’s a great judge of character obviously… and knew to start with flattery straight away!

And so here I stand to propose a toast to the bridesmaids! All princesses for the day!

They were, I think you’ll agree, particularly pretty and carried out their duties in an exemplary manner.

There are three of them:

Charley, the youngest, is 9 years old. She is artistic, loves the violin, dancing and horse riding. She looked stunning today, and I think she’s sure to break some hearts in the future.

In fact I’m sure I saw young David Heddle standing there earlier with both eyes and his mouth wide open!

Where are you young man? I think you’ll have to watch yourself there!

Erin is next, and she’s 11, and comes from Forres.

She hates worms, her brother, and being on boats, she picks her nose, can’t be quiet, and bites her nails.


She's very artistic, very funny and a quite tomboy. This wedding will be one of the few time she’s been seen her in a dress!

Well what can I say?

I hear she’s going off to star in her own TV series later in the year. She’s always had a theatrical streak and was once an Italian flea in a school play, and a French Camel.

She’s very helpful too, Maureen says that she just couldn’t have got into her outfit today without Erin to lace her up – I’m left speculating now about how she’ll get out of it later on!

Any way, If this is the first time Erin’s worn a dress, I hope it won’t be the last, she looked very pretty today - Another heartbreaker in the making I think you’ll agree.

Maureen Anne Heddle; Chief Bridesmaid, Head Princess for the day and Senior Heartbreaker.

I first met Maureen about five years ago when we worked together.

I thought she was very funny, and I clearly remember noticing what nice eyes she had, especially when she wore green eye shadow.

And then she left, and we didn’t see much that much of each other for a few years.

After a while I found myself unexpectedly single. Then after another while I started looking around again.

I decided that I’d made some bad choices, and this time I was going to find somebody from a country background like myself.

A quiet, country girl that could cook and sew and liked gardening and stuff like that.

And my friends said, “Well, that Maureen Heddle is back on the market, she’s from the country”

I said, “Can she cook?”.

They said, “Oh she’s a trained cook. In fact, there’s not much you can do in hotel she hasn’t tried.

She likes gardening, and although she doesn’t sew much, some of the things she can knit are very, very inventive indeed.

She’s very quiet (in a talkative sort of way), and you are always saying how much you haven’t noticed how nice her nice eyes look, especially with green eye shadow”

So here I am, she’s the bridesmaid and I’m proposing the toast. (Well, you hope you’ll get something with your eggs and ham don’t you?)

Maureen talks a lot about her family! Many of you will not have heard much of me, but believe me, I will have heard about you! The Orkney ones, the Sutherland ones, the Aberdeen ones, the Canadian ones…and both wee brothers!

She talks a lot about her dad, I know that she’s very fond of him and very proud of his success in the construction industry. I know he’s very proud of her successful business in the offshore oil industry too.

She’s fond of Caroline too, I can’t count the number times she said to me “I’m so happy, Caroline is just the most fabulous step-mother I could’ve ever hoped for”

Maureen has really looked forward to this day, she’s taken her duties very seriously and systematically - a wee hint here, a wee prompt there…actually quite a big hint or two here and there as well. I know that Ian and Caroline have appreciated all her efforts.

I think she looks fabulous today, If you look you’ll see what I mean about the eye shadow and the eyes

And so to the toast - Ladies and Gentlemen, They have been so glamorous and so helpful today - Please fill your glasses and drink a toast with me to the Bridesmaids. ”The Bridesmaids!”

And then there's the one my brother Derek did as the response to my Dad. It was a cracker (putting on an Orcadian accent, if you can do one, adds to the speech!)!


Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen

Bride and Groom

Firstly I'd like to thank Derek for his kind words about the bridesmaids.

I take it you all know I'm Ian's son, so I was told anyway, but I don't understand how he still has a full head of hair when my hair has left me at such a young age. Maybe he's wearing a wig, but then again it can't be that because why would he pick a grey wig!

Me and fither have worked together in our business since I left school. Well, work is maybe a bit strong. Actually we sit at our desk looking oot the window speaking about whoever is driving past, or dicussing important issues like "why the North Isles ferries stay tied up to the pier all day". But we do work well together and he's lucky to have me there to keep him right.

You will probably no ken that fither and Caroline had a lot of trouble deciding the seating plan. But fither gave the room layout some serious thought and did what any normal person would do. Make an autocad drawing of it! You see everyone of you has been meticulously dimensioned to the millimetre just like one of his steelwork drawings! So don't start moving around or fither will be away back to the office to change the drawing.

Oh and Caroline watch oot, because when I peering over his shoulder the other day I'm sure I saw another drawing of the honeymoon suite. It did look very impressive but then he was drawing in millimetres!

But seriously I am delighted to best man for me fither. He's always been there for me and I know he will always be there for Caroline. Congratulations to you both.

Just while I've been sitting here the night looking around all the family, friends and work colleagues, all eating and drinking, it's made me a bit emotional. I wondered why and then it dawned on's because I see my inheritance dwindling away.

I hope you have a good night. Thank you.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

TV heaven and hell...

Is there a TV programme you watch religiously?

That would have to be Grand Designs. I love Kevin McCloud with a vengence and would have his babies if I could!!! My favourites are always the designs which are done on a very limited budget and fantastic imagination. Got a real thing for Project Runway (US) and Project Catwalk (UK) as well. I love the campness, creativity and watching the design process in full flow. It's reality TV but something with an end product as the result of a lot of jhard work and talent.

What TV programme(s) do you avoid like the plague?

Big Brother I avoid. I hate the shallow end of the gene pool element and gratuitous fame-seeking for the sake of fame. There is no reward from watching it apart from thinking that you aren't as bad as the folk on it. I'm a great believer in using the off switch/channel change buttons on the remote. If I don't like it then I can always switch it off!

Is there a TV programme that you find works particularly well for knitting along to?

Music shows (Jools, Glasto/TITP coverage, live gigs) are good. Because I do a lot of lace knitting then I tend to listen to stuff rather than watch it.

What was/is your favourite kids TV programme?

So many to pick from. Dangermouse was a classic as was Grange Hill. Crackerjack. Tom and Jerry. Spongebob Squarepants. Ant and Dec on a Saturday morning. Chronicles of Narnia (BBC version was excellent on a Sunday). Any of the 5 minute cartoons you used to get at the end of children's TV before the news each day (on at 5.40pm) were good - Wombles, Barbapapa, Ivor the Engine, Ludwig, Paddington (he should not be advertising Marmite - that's just plain wrong!), the Clangers...I was a child of the 70's!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Play the Flickr game...

How it's played:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name? Maureen

2. What is your favorite food? Raspberries - the perfect Scottish raspberry (no other will do) with a sprinkling of sugar and a dollop of cream is just perfection

3. What high school did you go to? Stromness Academy, Orkney - we were made to do Navigation as a subject in 1st year which involved going out in rowing boats and trying to keep hold of oars (in my case!). I was only about 4'6" at the time so the oars were generally longer than me. Never come across anyone else who had to do the same subject!

4. What is your favorite color? Red in its various hues

5. Who is your celebrity crush? Kevin McCloud - the presenter of Grand Designs on Channel 4. He's enthusiastic and comes across as intelligent, funny and self-deprecating. Plus he gets to be involved in lots of cool building projects.

6. Favorite drink? Earl Grey tea - though I am a heathen and have it with milk...shock horror!

7. Dream vacation? Iceland - if Bjork was playing at the time then I'd be in heaven!

8. Favorite dessert? Tiramisu - the perfect pudding when done well - abysmal when done badly. I'd rather make my own where possible but most recipes are for at least 6-8 portions so that's a lot of time eating tiramisu for a few days.

9. What you want to be when you grow up? Loved - and I'm feeling the love loads now. It's taken 40 years to get there but it's much easier to love yourself when you're loved for who you are.

10. What do you love most in life? Being cuddled up with my honey - he's the best thing in the world ever.

11. One Word to describe you. Playful

12. Your flickr name. Made by Mojo

1. Project 365 Day 9: Happy Birthday Maureen, 2. Blue Raspberry, 3. - red -, 4. again let’s do a panning…♫ black crowned night heron from bali♫, 5. We are not worthy!, 6. Sniff, Sip and Settle in all..., 7. A Golden Moment, 8. pick-me-up, 9. hugs are always needed, 10. i love my husband., 11. Bubbles, 12. Rhonda's wedding - Me

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

I've been tagged...!

That's never happened to me before! I didn't think that many folk actually paid that much attention to me. Better not be rude so I'll play the game.

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?:
In 1998 I was leaving further education for the second time (an HND in hotel management the first time round, a BSc in Health Sciences the second time). I was with long-term partner number 2 and about to embark on a fabulous career in research. Didn't quite pan out that way in real life but hey ho!

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?:

What did I do today...?

  • put my car to an auto-electrician to get the windows fixed. I wish my windows were an old-fashioned window winder. Instead it's cost me over £200 to get the wiring fixed just so I can open my window and get car park tickets without having to open the door!

  • fed the cat (important when one is only at the house half the time - there are loads of mice but it's nice to top him up)

  • finished off some work for a portfolio for one of the oil platforms - and handed it in

  • cast on for the Hexacomb Cardi out of the Spring 2008 Interweave Knits

  • booked the ferry home to Orkney for my Dad's wedding next week and booked flights for me and my bloke to go back up to Orkney for the school reunion in Sept (we're all 40 this year!)

3) Snacks I enjoy:

  • chocolate/sweeties

  • tortilla chips and the really synthetic cheesy dip you get in jars out of Lidl's

  • Salad Cream sandwiches

  • summer fruits/dried fruit

  • toast with loads of butter
4)Things I would do if I was a billionaire
  • Give up work (somebody else would need my job much more than me) and buy a wee farm for my honey (not long-term BF no 2 - he's gone - we're onto sweetness no 3...I'm fickle!) so he can grow his heritage strain raspberries (is there any other fruit!) and have an orchard and then I can have my sheep, pigs, ducks and chickens. No goats though - that shows you up as an "incomer" around these parts!

  • buy a peedie traditional cottage in Orkney to use as a holiday home - preferably overlooking the Bay of Skaill

  • travel to the places I haven't made it to yet

  • give enough to my friends and family who need it so that they can be comfy

  • make sure that Women's Aid/Rape Crisis got the real financial help they deserve

5)Places I have lived

  • Orkney
  • Edinburgh
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Reading
  • London
  • Aberdeen
  • About to be Laurencekirk (I'm going to be a Sunset Song girl!)
6) Jobs I have had
  • Hospitality trade (waitress/chef)

  • Civil Servant

  • Library Assistant

  • Researcher

  • Health & Well-being Consultant

Friday, 23 May 2008

UK swap

Here's my UK Swap questionnaire. I'm excited as I haven't done one of these for a while. It's like birthdays and Christmas all rolled into one...he he! My DB thinks I'm daft - but he loves me anyway :-)

Part One: Crafting
Do you knit, crochet, or both? Been knitting for 36 (!) years and now teaching myself to crochet. My Granny squares are improving all the time!
What do you like to make? All sorts of things. Lots of things for myself - generally the more girlie in form the better. Big fan of lacework and intricate stitch patterns. Finally succumbing to the sock obsession that most others have but like doing gloves/mittens/hats as well for little projects. Got a new bloke who wants me to knit for him as well so that will be fun - he is so much bigger than me!
Do you have a favourite project? Loved the Swallowtail Shawl I made using Handmaiden Sea Silk. It gets loads of compliments. Same with a Louisa Harding jumper and the Tree Jacket from Zephyr Style.
Do you have a favourite type of fiber or brand of yarn? Love Handmaiden Seasilk (not cheap though!), Malabrigo (impossible to get easily), Lang Yarns Mille Colori (have about 4 things made out of that stuff in the last year)'s got to be soft and pretty. Not really into "sturdy" wool - apart from North Ronaldsay wool from back home. I'm well-stocked on that stuff!
Do you have a least favourite type of yarn? Good old eyelash, crinkly acrylic or anything that would squeak - or melt against your skin and cause really horrible burns if it was set on fire!
Do you do any other crafts? Learning to crochet, dabble in jewellery making (more for stitchmarkers nowadays), keep meaning to learn to sew (have a sewing machine - just neve gets used).
Do you knit in public? If so where do you like knitting and what is your "portable" project? KiP quite happily. Will do anything and everything though more likely to keep it to something that's done on circ's or DPN's.
What do you carry your "portable" knitting in? A Tesco hemp bag if there's loads of stuff being carted about (bought by my DB as a Valentine's pressie - so much nicer than the chocolates, champagne and flowers that were in it...though they were nice too...cos I can use it over and over). If it's a small amount then it gets heaved in a Ziploc baggie and shoved in my handbag!
Are there any knitting gifts (book, toy, yarn, item, tool) that you have been lusting over? Think I'm ok for most of those as I have a bad habit of buying the mags/books I want when I see them. Have a huge amount of gadgets - though the sheeps head has just fallen off my Lantern Moon tape measure, must sew it back on! Considering starting spinning as I have some spare cash left over from my 40th - spotted a wheel on Ebay.

Part Two: Your Favourites
What is your favourite colour? Varies. Sometimes it's shades of red, other times I like oranges (more rusty than lurid), teal/turquoise is good. Deep greens and purples. Chocolate browns. Mostly autumnal shades really.
What is your least favourite colour? Yellow - it just doesn't look good on my skin. Have moved away from pastels as well as they wipe me out.
What scents/smells do you like? What don’t you like? Citrus, chocolate, fruity, sea/fresh cut grass. Not fussed for anything too strongly floral (violet especially) and while I love vanilla to eat I really dislike that vanilla perfume that loads of girls used to wear when I was a student. Don't like anything too strong or musky either.
How do you like to pamper yourself? (bubble bath, hand creams, massage, manicure) Manicure! That'll be right - I only do nail varnish about once a year! I don't really pamper in that sort of way. For being a girlie it's my least girlie trait the whole pampering thing.
What goodies to you like to eat? (chocolate, biscuits, sweets,crisps etc) Now we're talking!!! Chocolate (but nothing liquer flavoured - especially rum...icky), shortbread (make fine stuff myself), luxury dried fruit - strawberries and rasps are fine, most sweeties apart from Turkish Delight, liquorice, aniseed or nougat. Like childish sweeties from the 70's.
Do you prefer tea or coffee while you knit? Any particular kind? I'm a bit of an Earl Grey or Lady Grey fiend though Red Bush is fine for those non-caffienated moments. Coffee is freshly ground and through my espresso machine (or the stovetop baby). Something with a nice chocolately aftertaste.
Do you listen to/watch anything while you knit? (TVshow-Along, movies, music, podcasts, audiobooks) I tend to listen to music or just yap away to my man. Have moved away from watching too much telly but do love Projects Runway and Catwalk. Bit of Hollyoaks from time to time. Otherwise it might be on in the background but not paying the most attention.

Part Three: About you, Living & Past-times
If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be (and why)? I'd love to say that I should be Handmaiden Seasilk but if I'm honest I'm probably more like the North Ronaldsay wool from back home in Orkney - a wee bit different, happy to be on the outside as an independent little sod but I'm warm and cosy when I'm happily surrounded by those I love.
Where do you live in the UK? (General idea not address) Aberdeenshire
Have you always lived here, or did you grow up somewhere else? Born in Orkney, lived there until I was 19, then Edinburgh, Midlands and London before landing up in Aberdeen for the last 17(!) years. That was an accident!
What is your favourite place in the UK? Would have to be back home in Orkney - though Edinburgh runs a close second, and Scottish West Coast beaches are pretty close after that.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Iceland, New York and Argentina.
What other hobbies do you have? Photography, baking, cooking, gardening, indie films, music, going to gigs.

Part Four: The Theme
Born and bred 4 miles along the road from the Bay of Skaill. I think this is the most beautiful spot in the world and I've been a few places. A visit here calms me when I'm upset, makes me smile when I'm happy, inspires me when the creativity is missing and fills me with awe when I watch the power of the waves on a stormy day. It changes constantly - the sand disappears and comes back again, rocks are uncovered, the colours can be muted or vibrant. It's my centre.

Final Part:
Any allergies/preferences (fiber-wise or treat-wise)? None that I've discovered so far.
Anything we missed that you’d like your partner to know? Don't think so.

Friday, 2 May 2008

It's been a while...but I have been busy, honest!

Seems like I've never hardly been in my own bed these last 6 months - and that's not just because I'm belting up and down the road between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk! Been offshore a helluva lot since last November (over 50 days in the Northern Assets alone - never mind the other trips out of Aberdeen or Norwich). So much so that I think George is starting to forget what I look like though as long as he continues to get food that supplements his diet of carrion then he doesn't really care I don't think. He continues to be a one-cat-killing-machine that enjoys decimating the local mouse/shrew/rat/pigeon/pheasant/deer population (delete as appropriate) on a daily basis...and I love him nonetheless. I am a sucker for a cute furry thing that still likes to snuggle on my lap when he gets a chance to do so.

Speaking of cute furry things...well big furry things that I find somewhat cute...! I'm in the middle of a pair of kilt socks for my man. Because I'm going to have bugger all to do on this offshore trip it looks like I might get them finished before I go home on Monday. Then I'll have to figure out how to do the flashes for the socks when I get home. He's mentioning something about a long ribbon that ties round the top of the sock and then finished off in a bow...I'm thinking more of a doubleknit tube with elastic in the middle to keep it up and then a two-coloured knitted flash hanging down off it. We shall see. Can't wait to see him in the whole outfit to be honest. Shame that we're going to clash at the wedding as my bridesmaid's dress is a darkish purple and his kilt is Ancient McGregor and therefore consists of an ancient red and black check. We are not going to match!

Get to try on my dress when I get back home next week. Hoping it fits ok (though it will need some alterations) as she ordered a frock under the impression that I had a 24" waist!!! The woman in the shop measured it - not me. I'm sure the last time I had a 24" waist was about 20 years ago. Ach - who knows. No point worrying about it until I try it on and if it's wrong then she's to blame since she measured me. Kind of looking forward to seeing what it looks like as it was a lovely dress when I tried it on beforehand. Need to order some shoes next - going for gold ballroom shoes as they'll actually be much comfier than normal heels. DB bought me some underwear out of Harvey Nicks (knicks from Harvey Nicks was his wisecrack) so that will be a suitable garment for keeping the undercarriage all neat and tidy. Just need some cracking stockings then and we're set. Earrings were bought with birthday money from Sheila Fleet back home - I've always loved her River Ripple design. Just got the plain silver with no enamel. Turns out Caroline has the same pair to wear but her's are going to be in gold. I just don't really suit gold jewellry for some reason. Already told Derek that when it comes to jewellry that I'm more than happy with silver and he doesn't need to splash the extra cash on gold - nae point!

Och - 3 and a half hours until tea-time...think I'll fade away from hunger before then...:-(

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Made it to the front cover at last!


Actually finished the Twinkle dress last night...well, nearly. Still got to weave in theTwinkle Dress ends but it was finished enough that I could put it on. It's actually much cuter than I thought it was going to be. It's been so long since I knit anything on such big needles that I'd forgotten just how quick you can whack through something. Instant gratification. It also was a fascinating process for my 2 new wee pals who declared that they wanted to learn to knit. Not bad coming from a pair of 7 year old boys. We shall see if they still want to do it in a few weeks time though last night they were declaring to my DB that they wanted to knit jumpers from themselves. Ambitious...perhaps...but who are we to thwart ambition!

Other stuff on the needles at the moment include the Tree JacketTree Jacket from Zephyr Style (I so love their stuff - think there's only 2 of their patterns I haven't bought...Rusted Root I've already made twice!), a cabled cardi from the Sirdar Eco Wool book (though I'm doing mine in some Jaeger Baby Merino that's bright orange :-)), Eco cardiand a 1940's jumper in some Kaalund that has been hanging about as a UFO for over a year now. About to cast on for a Clanger for my baby twin's birthday in March (he'll be 1...I get to be 4!) and for a pair of gloves out of my new mittens book that arrived from Amazon yesterday. Ravelry is forcing me to get my shit together so that I know what knitterly stuff I have and what else I want to do. Me likey loads :-)

I did have the experience this weekend of spending time with DB and his boys in a whole process of "this is Daddy's GF...time to get used to her and see what you think...and I really hope you like her because it will make life so much easier for everybody". That's right - absolutely no pressure there then was there! As you can imagine this is a fairly recent situation for me but then I did know that when I split from my ex and took up with anyone else then the likelihood of them having " a past" (brooding music and evil cackles abound) was pretty much going to be part of the deal. Especially when I have a soft spot for blokes in their mid-40's anyway - first crush was Harrison Ford and stayed with that age group ever since. Really didn't want to go down the toyboy route - early 20's or even 30's just doesn't do it for me. Like my men to be big, manly, hairy dudes...not those who still don't have enough facial hair to begin shaving and will be using "beer" as their means of filling out rather than having a good batch of muscle that just needs topping up :-( If you come across a bloke in his mid-late 40's who hasn't got at least one marriage under his belt and some kids then you do start to wonder what's wrong with them...especially if they still live with their mother...and she tucks him in at night...and bathes him...!

Getting acquainted with the older two hasn't been an issue, especially as myself and DD seem to frequent an awful lot of the same gigs and have an overlapping taste in music. Haven't had so much to do with DS as yet but that'll come with time. As far as those two are concerned they're happy as long as their Dad is happy which makes life a lot easier for me. It doesn't seem to be too hard to make their Dad happy - I have skills...he he he! Getting aquainted with the other two is harder as 7 year old boys are harder to crack. You can't be fake with them at that age as they can spot it a mile off. Luckily I have a secret weapon - it's called a David aka my peedie brother. The thought of me having a little brother just a few months younger than them has gone down really well so that gave me a head start. Being able to spin a baton, kickbox and knit also appears to have helped. It's the little things that amuse little boys...pretty much the same as what amuses bigger boys really...except bigger boys toys tend to cost more...and make more noise!