2007, certainly an interesting year.

During the summer of 2006 I thought it would be a nice idea to get an allotment. (a small patch of land that is generally used to grow your own vegetables) so I put my name down at an allotment that is very near to me. There was a waiting list, which to be honest is quite normal. I believe the waiting lists in London can be as long as ten years. Okay… so whilst waiting, I became a member of a group on the net who grew veg and generally looked on life in a non consumer way.

Shortly after joining they began talking about hand knitted socks. Oh, how the love can develop so quickly. A very kind lady knitted me a pair on her flat bed knitting machine, mostly powered by a wind turbine and posted them to me, (I did pay her) Ooh, when I put them on my cold little tootsies I immediately realised that I would have to learn how to knit these wonderful creations.

I had learnt to knit as a child, I will get back to that later, but it was a very long time ago and all I could remember is as my grandmother would say it plain and pearl. I just about remembered how to cast on, I had to check on the net how to cast off.

I knitted a scarf, I still have it, it was my pride and joy last winter, I didn’t know how to join wool, so I just knotted it. I can feel your pain from here ๐Ÿ™‚

I discovered there were sock knitting kits on the net, but to be very honest, they seemed very scary. During a ramble around the net I discovered Web of Wool, who were in spitting distance. Shortly after this discovery, I cajoled hubby to take me to this mysterious place. I chose wool and needles, I was very nervous, yet determined and went off on my merry way.

It took me two months to knit my very first pair. With the help of a knitting forum on which there was a very kind lady who befriended me whom I’m ashamed to say I badgered to the enth degree. She was very kind and really did have the patience of a saint. I also used “socks 101” a very useful link indeed.

After an eight month wait, in February we became the proud owners of our own allotment. Boy did we work, firstly a greenhouse had to go up, three weekends of tough weather to dig out, get concrete footings in and erect a greenhouse.. which was second hand so had no instructions.. I do realise, but never more than then just how clever my hubby is.

Quickly followed by my potting shed, mine all mine.. ๐Ÿ™‚ Again, dreadful weather, footings were dug out and concrete hand mixed by hubby were laid. And then as if by magic, a shed that had already been painted twice in a weather proof paint was in place.. I will never see that shed so spider free again.. Infact, I have a very large spider that uses the window as his lair that I call Henry, I’m hoping he’s made it through the winter.. ๐Ÿ™‚

April came and you’ll never guess, I actually got sun burnt. I’m fair, with a few freckles, blue eyes and a touch of red in my hair and we had a roasting weekend, the like of which I have never seen in April before. I was actually burnt on my shoulders and had a rather pink nose. Along with lines of a tan.. Oh,, how we thought that this was going to be a wonderful summer… how wrong could we be,,, there was an awful lot of rain for months after this, even now in this country there are people still suffering from the results of the floods.

Then we dug and dug and dug to the point that I could barely walk down the stairs in the morning without my muscles screaming at me. But it was all good. Plants began to grow, it was terribly exciting.

I was never so happier.

And then at the end of May.. I began to lose my hair very rapidly. I don’t normally talk very much about this, but it was the year of 2007 and so should be recorded.

I launched into despair, whilst at the same time trying to be strong so as to minimise the effect that this was having on the people that I love in all the world.

I needed a wooly hat, I really did.. I was cold, shivery most of the time.

During my wanderings around the net, to find me a wooly hat and my new found love of knitted socks, I found some lovely blogs that mentioned the word Ravelry………..

I didn’t take much notice the first time Ravelry was mentioned, but then after a couple of mentions, well, I thought I would register. I’d lost hope of being able to buy a hat (it was high summer) and had tried to knit a couple of hats by this time, of course my knitting skills were not very good at this time and not only did they take a long time, but they did not fit my huge bonce.

I became a member in August and to my shame, one of my first postings was to request if anyone could knit me a wooly hat… Two lovely American ladies replied, took my measurements and within less than two weeks, the first hat landed on my doorstep. Oh bliss, it was the first time I had been warm in ages. I will never, ever forget their kindness, it really saved me.

Oh Ravelry, its wonderful, I love it. Hours, no days can pass whilst looking at the wonderful FO’s. Visions of colour and patterns bounce around my brain whilst looking through all the wonderful knitting. It really is lovely.

At about the same time, I decided that I needed to knit yet more hats and went back to Web of Wool, I had a pattern in mind, which I had printed out but had no idea what it actually meant. (my knowledge of wools, needles, tensions etc was non existent at this time). I think I may have been bald by this point, I was wearing something I have no idea what, when Rachel came over to me to give assistance. I do believe that during the conversation about hats, which was lovely and that the feeling that she knew and would cope,,, I whipped off my hat to try one of theirs on, therefore showing my bald bonce, which was the first time I had shown my head to anyone.. She was sooo as my sons would say it. cool.. it was brave of me and it was very brave of her.

During the next month or so, rather irregularly I used to pitter-patter around the shop, During one of these visits, Anna suggested I should come to their knitting group. I wasn’t quite ready, but bless her, once I got my wig in place she repeated it again and yet again. I thank her and Rachel very much for that, they both got me through the first couple of tough weeks. Anna taught me how to cable, which opened up another world of possibilities.

Time ticks on, I’ve learnt so much, I love every new adventure, my latest adventure is learning how to knit short row wraps. That took me quite a while to get my head around, but now I have managed it, I love it.

I’d like to mention this, I know its bizarre, there probably aren’t many people reading this at this stage, so no matter.

I said at the beginning, that I learnt to knit as a child, but only could remember plain and pearl, but I would get back to it later on. My fathers mother was an avid knitter and I can remember her knitting throughout my single years. It must have come to a point that I was interested, but time was limited for my grandma. I didn’t know, but she sensed it. Firstly I now know its not pearl but purl, and I know its knit not plain… she also taught me kitchener stitch, I still have to look at what the pattern says, but I have an abiding memory of standing behind her whilst she was teaching me this. A memory I wouldn’t have remembered without picking up knitting again.

She also taught me how to join wool by splicing it and spitting onto it and also how to work through where exactly you wanted the wool to change and unravelling to get exactly the right space to change.. and most memorably for me anyways…… she always used her front right hand finger to flick the wool, which is what I have learnt to do.

There was also an attempt at socks, but I was hopeless, I twisted the wool, it was getting near her time and we lost sight of each other. It really has been amazing to remember those times with her, which I had forgotten.

I wish I could show her what I am doing, I know she would be very proud.

Oooh dear, what a state to get into,

2007 wasn’t a “bad” year, interesting yes and in many ways a very good year.

I hope that 2008 keeps us all together, that would be my wish.

and may I wish everyone A happy and healthy New Year.

I’d just like to talk about pens…

To clarify I have teenagers in the house.

Pens, I have bought about fifty cheap biro’s in the last 6 months to enable me to write on paper in the study. Its a simple thing really isn’t it, the phone rings, you answer it and may need to take a message. Aaaah, where is a pen…. nowhere to be seen. Okay there is normally a pile of clutter on the desk so I may need to wade through that just to check, but nope even after a quick shufty, nuffink.

I even bought myself from my local supermarket a pack of three roller ball pens, which is going up in the world really, when you know that they are going to disappear at the speed of light. I managed to keep a firm grip of them before Christmas, mainly because I hide them. I was then able to write Christmas cards with something other than a charity biro thats so graciously posted to me at regular intervals even though I have never made a contribution. I sometimes feel quite guilty about that, because those charity biro’s have often got me out of a tight spot.

On opening the coveted pack of three roller balls, I made a fatal error, the teenagers saw them. There was three, then it went down to two, then hubby tried to take the last one yesterday and I managed to claw it back out of his grubby mitts just before he walked out of the room. Then there was an argument with son no.2 (who wanted to walk off with the last one as well) who exclaimed that I had bought them for him, which I flippin’ hadn’t. So I had to outline to my darling son that I had bought them for ME so that I could write Christmas cards, etc, etc, along with just how many pens had been purchased over the last few months. I could still see the greed in his eyes, I knew that the pens days in my company were numbered.

Alas, they have all gone now, but the teenagers have had the good grace to leave me the empty packet on the desk, just to remind me that it wasn’t my imagination.

I have no idea what happens to them, they never come to light, teenagers deny all knowledge, as does husband, personally it wouldn’t surprise me if son no.2 is making a thrifty profit out of them at school.

thats it really, pens…..

the milk, cereal and bread stories are very similar…

Its Christmas..

These are part of mum’s christmas presents, a pair of Fetchings knitted with Louisa Harding Grace wool and silk. It really is lovely to knit with.

This is the pair of socks I was working on whilst hubby was in hospital, they are made from Fortissima Socka Mexiko Color 6 ply in colour 0027.

I do like the thickness of these socks and when I get a chance would very much like a pair for myself. At the moment I’m knitting a pair for my Dad’s birthday which is in a few days. Its going to be tight. I was knitting him a cable scarf but I realised that it was going far too slowly for me to stand a chance of meeting the deadline. Also Dad has now got a date for his knee replacement operation, which will be in January, I thought a nice warm pair of socks would be more useful in hospital.

Hubby’s is improving. At last the infection is starting to go down, I can’t actually look at it, its quite gruesome, but at least its going the right way.

Hubby likes to potter in the kitchen and did a fabulous job of cooking Christmas lunch. I realise in this photo what a motley crew we are, I was the only one that dressed for lunch and you can’t see me!!

Lastly, a picture of our Christmas tree with treasures from years gone bye.

Sequoia Cable Scarf, finished.

I’m really pleased with this scarf, I think it suits son no.1 very well. This is the best piccie I’m going to get as he’s already earmarked wearing it tomorrow morning, so I don’t think I am going to get a piccie in daylight.

I knitted this in Rowan Yarn, soft tweed in Sprig, it took four balls. I changed the pattern slightly so as to make it slightly wider by adding 6 stitches, three on each side.

Knitting Resolutions 2008.

I noticed this idea on another blog, links in the title and thought it was a good idea.

My Knitting resolutions for 2008 are,

1. Learn to knit the Fiber Trends Felt Clog pattern.

2. Knit two jumpers for hubby. (one is already started)

3. Knit chemo caps for Warwick Hospital. (or whoever would like them locally) I have bought some extremely soft yarn for this already. I found it impossible in high summer to find anything to keep warm my bald bonce and a couple of American ladies very kindly knitted me something to keep warm. I’d like to return the favour to someone.

4. Learn to read charts.

5. Try to learn to knit a bayerische sock. I am totally in love with this design.

6. Knit 6 pairs of socks for me, just me.

7. Organise my printed out patterns into a folder.

8. Start Christmas knitting very much earlier… I don’t think starting in February would be too early.

9. Learn how to knit toe up socks, so that I don’t have the same disaster as I had earlier when I ran out of yarn on a pair for my mum.

10. Learn short row wraps.

I think thats enough for me.

He’s home..

Hubby is home ๐Ÿ™‚

He’s doing very nicely. It is slightly painful especially so just after the wound has been packed, but he’s okay. They gave him a nice dose of morphine to take the edge of the first packing. He is looking so much better though, I’m very pleased.

We managed to make a sideways sweep towards home via Web of Wool to pick up my Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed in colour 14. It is everything I wanted it to be. So I must finish the cobblestone jumper to start another jumper with this beautiful wool for hubby.

Might even get the Christmas decorations up tomorrow.. famous last words..:)

The ironing has been decanted from the sofa into bin bags and then tucked away. Ssssshhh, don’t tell my mum, she would have the horrors!!!

Hubby and his abscess.

Hubby went to the docs at eight thirty this morning as promised to get his swap results. They weren’t there, but when the doc had a look at his abscess which had continued to grow, she sent him straight to hospital. Fortunately, I had already mostly packed his case. I knew that this was on the cards. To cut a very long story short, he’s fine, he’s had an operation to remove it and come out the general anesthetic remarkably well, I’m very pleased with him.

The slightly lengthier version is just about to follow..

We got to the hospital at nine, got invited to wait in a “interview room” at ten, then saw a junior doc at one thirty, placed on a ward at about three and then saw surgeons and had ECG tests etc and then hubby went down to surgery about seven thirty.

Which to me is flippin’ marvelous. Okay its a whole day, but I didn’t have to walk for four days to the next village, or worry about the cost, thank doG for the national health thats what I say.

The abscess had grown to a six to seven inch ball of poison, with a good three, to four inches in parts of infected skin surrounding it. They Pumped hubby full of antibiotics, I can’t remember the names I’m sorry, but he had a bag full of antibiotic dripping in slowly, plus three huge vials pumped into the, what do they call them, the plastic tap they leave in your wrist. (technical terms!)

The boy did good. He looks really well after the op. It may need packing for several weeks and I’m really not sure when he is coming home as the days have ranged from tomorrow to next Monday, so I’m just going to play that by ear.

The other plus points are, I took my knitting and managed to knit a WHOLE sock………… I think I went into some sort of robotic person whilst he was in surgery, he was in surgery for an hour and I managed to knit 53 rows in forty five minutes. I’ve never knitted that fast in my life and when hubby came back and noticed my knitting he was flabbergasted at just how much I had achieved.

and off course, cause there always is one… Mandy plays the fool. When the junior doc was taking blood tests I got out of her way, as you do and just casually leant on the wall. I noticed an alarm sounding and through the glass in the door I could see the accident and emergency staff RUNNING into rooms and the general feel of a panic situation. I thought, “Oooh, whats happening here then”. When another doctor comes charging through the door, Yep, its Me, leaning on the panic button..

What a lowlife, how do they sleep at night?

Firstly, hubby is still not feeling very well. We are now waiting for swap results on Thursday. Its starting to get to be a bit of a worry. Enough said. He is working though, which is where hubby is most definitely happiest. (I know my place in life!!) He had his tonsils out a few years ago, which is quite a painful op for an adult. As soon as he came out of the general anesthetic and was able to utter a word, it was, “laptop, laptop, bring me my laptop”. I refused for a few hours on the basis that he really should rest, but he was so miserable I had to give in ๐Ÿ™‚

Onto other things.

My parents are back from their winter jaunt to Tenerife, so I can talk about this now. Dad rang me last week and I asked how things were, he said, “Well, we are okay now”. Which sent a shiver down my spine and he went on to tell me that he had been pick pocketed. When he told me what had happened, red hot angry tears spurted from my eyes. My folks are 70 odd, Dad is registered disabled, uses a walking stick and is awaiting a replacement knee operation. He and mum were boarding a bus and Dad was distracted as he was trying to get onto the bus when a big man barged Dad, you know the rest, his wallet containing 200 euros had been removed from his person. They were very upset about it, fortunately they have good friends who helped them to get over the shock of it. I knew exactly how they felt as a few years ago, I was barged in Yates’s wine bar in Leamington and my purse was stolen. But to pick on old age pensioners…. I can only hope that this gentleman lives an extremely long life which will give him plenty of time to reflect on his actions when he too is vulnerable.

Ladies watch your handbags. I was targeted in Benjamin Satchwells in Leamington yesterday. After a quick trip to see my friend Anna at Web of Wool, she who supplies my fixes of beautiful yarns. I only needed needles, I came out with a bag full… you know how it is.. friends rang and it was decided to meet at Benjamin Satchwells for a quick drink before going home. They would be there in twenty mins, so I got a drink, settled myself on a sofa, picked up a newspaper and started to read. When an Indian gentleman came in, I could tell that he had clocked me… call it instinct. I might look like I’m reading but I do know that I am on my own and am therefore more vulnerable. He wandered around, did not buy a drink and then plonked himself on the sofa opposite me. He actually sprawled… I realised my handbag was within reach of him and was not firmly attached to my knee. Before then it was safe as no one could get to it. He was watching me like a hawk, then said to me…. “Oooh look at that, whats happening on the parade”. To look would have required that I turn my back to him…

I said.. “Mmmm” raised one eyebrow, gave him a bit of a paddington bear stare and casually carried on reading in such a way that it was obvious that I could see him and what was happening, then I put my newspaper down, and reattached my handbag to my knee and hand. (ladies will understand the knee attachment of handbags whilst sitting) He harrumphed, got up and walked out the front door.

So watch your handbags my loves..

latest news on the Warwickshire Police website.

warning to shoppers

It must be Christmas…