Just when you think you have life sorted…

it tends to give you a little kick up the bum.

Its no one’s fault, although as we have found, cardigans may have to suffer.

Note the beautifully blocked cardigan, has had to be moved to various dog free zones through out the home.

I’m seriously worried about my boy and thankfully hubby has booked and paid for new adventures tomorrow for both of them. And these plans have bucked up my son and given him something to look forward to and it does sound (his bed is above the study) like he is sleeping well.

My hat jag.

My addictive personality has once again found its mark and is happily ensconced in a knitting of hats jag. As much as I try to budge the dreams of hats in wonderful colours and various stitches I am only partly successful and then only to knit a matching scarf.

So when I finished the purple scarf to match its hat on Saturday I gave myself permission to breathe a little sigh of relief and although I knew I should be fishing out an unfinished project most notably the ‘I must finish my cardigan-yeah right!’ which would after all be worn and keep me warm, so would be a sensible choice. I side tracked myself to the site that is known as Ravelry. Hawthorne had just been published and sang so very loudly to the part of my brain that is currently addicted to hats, before I knew where I was I had searched out some Manos Silk, found suitable needles and cast on. Which when you really think about things, I never thought I would ever live in a world where a pattern was published in New Jersey in America and a girl living in rural Warwickshire in the UK would be casting on moments later.

Edited to add.

I forgot to mention that I am knitting this hat using the chart which is a completely new experience for me.

London Bridge is falling down, falling down, fal…

On Friday afternoon, whilst still recovering from our trip on Wednesday, hubby asked me if I would like to go back to London tomorrow. A very quick assessment of our aching muscles and before you could say ‘whats the weather like tomorrow?’ we were booking tickets for our next adventure. Later whilst checking the met office we commented that we might need our umbrella but fortunately for us the weather system blew in over night and we had a clear day, we arrived home 10 minutes before the second front came in and fell asleep listening to a gale beginning to blow.

We arrived in London very early and were able to travel down to see the acclaimed Borough Market, I was so glad we were able to fit this in. Firstly because from London Bridge you get a wonderful view of Tower Bridge with HMS Belfast moored in the foreground.

And secondly the produce is absolutely wonderful. Such variety, so fresh.
Lovely lettuces.

Several brace of game birds.

A nice display of vegetables including Brussel Tops. These are very unusual to find for two reasons, firstly because pigeons are rather partial to brussel tops so they are damaged and therefore not saleable, (although would still be delicious) secondly because most people don’t realise that brussel tops can make a lovely vegetable in its own right and they are simply thrown away.

Mushrooms, what can I say, apart from Wow.

There were so many stalls, the fish stalls were amazing! We saw and tasted so many cheeses that we had never seen or heard of. We hope to go back soon.

Then we went to Harrods, its been over twenty years since we last saw this wonderful store and I have to say that we were very disappointed. I know a store never looks its best at sale time but this store has deteriorated so much in that time. It was scruffy and dirty, the hand basins in the ladies cloakroom were chipped and dirty, not just one, several of them. What was once a beautiful store where there were many wonderful things to see and had a similar feel inside as Fortnum & Mason has allowed itself to become something that panders to the mass market; Krispy Kreme anyone?!

I would go on about selling pets in store, but I see that this has been covered in various locations on the net. I will say that we were horrified and wondered what checks were in place to see if the buyer would make a suitable owner.

Onwards to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

We spent about four hours here we would have spent longer but they were closing. We saw the Magnificence of the Tsars and then tried to fit in all of the rooms on the floors. I’m sure there are areas that we missed, its just huge!

We had tea in the lavishly decorated Morris, Gamble and Poynter rooms of which I found a table in the Poynter room which was incredible. I could easily spend many more hours looking around this museum and hope to do so some time in the future. Its eclectic mix reminds me of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow but whilst the Burrell is housed in a new build this collection is worth visiting just for the awe inspiring beauty of the building alone.

I saw these buttons and just had to have them.

Heading back to Piccadilly we hit rush hour which I presume was busier than normal as 5 or 6 lines were down for maintenance, there is a part of me that really doesn’t like crowds. When you see that the escalator to the tube you wish to go on is full and there is a queue of a hundred yards just to get on the escalator you know that have a problem. I stopped and refused to budge. I was not going to go any further and we walked back to the surface and found the nearest bus stop, so panic averted.

We wandered through the Chinese quarter and stopped for dinner there and then all too soon it was time to go home.

Our Twentieth Wedding Anniversary

For our Twentieth wedding anniversary we decided to have a day out in London. We planned the day to pack in as much as we possibly could and both of us at one stage or another voiced our concerns that we may have packed a little too much in and would not be able to keep to schedule. But together we decided that we would try.

We arrived at Euston at 8.50 a.m. We then found the ticket office and bought our day tickets for the tube. Mandy made a very careful mental note as to where she put this ticket about her person along with another that she must not lose it! We then caught the tube to Leicester Square and walked to Covent Garden.

A quick tour around there and we were off again to catch the tube to Piccadilly. My breath was taken away when I spotted Eros as I came out of the tube. At that point I felt that I was truly in London. It was quite an emotional moment.

We walked to Fortnum & Mason

and decided that a coffee break was called for. (and very nice coffee it was too)

Hubby has been looking for a badger shaving brush for a while so when I spotted one in F & M I knew it would be the perfect anniversary present. His last has nearly worn away having been bought as a 21st birthday present, so he feels that this one will last him out!

We walked around the lovely displays of the meats, fish, cheese, cold meats and cake counters, stopping to chat with the fishmonger and butcher. I was seriously tempted to buy several items, we did however buy a couple of fairy cakes and some honey. The honey appeals to us as even though the Bees have not started to produce honey for F & M, they are now fully installed on the roof of Fortnum & Mason and come this spring we shall see how they will perform.

Although there is no movement at the moment, the bees quite sensibly stay in when its cold, F & M have installed web cams, which will greatly amuse us come the spring.

Bee’s Webcam

Then trying to stick to the schedule we walked away from the lovey displays and trotted back to Piccadilly Circus and finding that we were slightly ahead of schedule so we decided to walk along Regent Street (at I have to say quite a quick pace)

Passing the National Geographic I just had to stop and photograph the Balinese Driftwood Horses.

and get an overall flavour of Regent Street.

We nipped down Carnaby street and then onwards to Liberty’s. I tried to find a button for my (soon to be finished – yeah right!) cardigan, but had no luck. The building was magnificent and I was so glad we had decided to take the detour from the schedule.

Hubby and I were tickled by Liberty’s weathervane and on further investigation I find that not only is all the timber in the building from two of HMS (the Impregnable and the Hindustan) that the weather vane is said to represent Pilgrim Father’s Mayflower.

Walking on to Oxford Circus to catch the tube to Kings Cross and then onto Angel and walked to Loop.

Loop was lurverly. I looked at all of Nora Gaughan pattern books, including the newly arrived 4th edition and was very pleasantly surprised to see just how many of her patterns went up to my bust size. The temptation was far to strong and I bought the lot and have been drooling over them ever since. I also bought a little sock yarn. I met a fellow alopecian in Loop who I have since been in touch with on Ravelry. She was having a day out too and was doing most of the wool shops in London. As we parted we said how we hoped to bump into her at Socktopus.

Back to the Angel having cheated and hoped on a bus for two stops and onto Westminister via Moorgate.

The London Eye, which was closed for maintenance.
Houses of Parliament.

Big Ben

The happy couple.

Westminister Abbey which was just a step to far to see properly.


Then it was time to make our way to Socktopus using the tube to Fulham Broadway. We walked along the Kings Road admiring the furniture shops, the wealth of that area is something to be seen, I very much doubt they would have let us country mice through the front door. And sooner than we thought we were at Socktopus and it was shut!!

But Alice was only a hairs breadth behind us and was opening up within seconds. We said Hi and introduced ourselves explaining our journey up to that point and Alice very kindly made us a cup of tea, which was very welcome. There was much stroking and ooohing and aaahing and that was just over Deuce, Alice’s delightful Pug. Onto the very serious business of choosing which yarn was coming home with me, I could have had them all, fortunately for me I had a hubby with me who whilst being reasonably willing (financially) to satisfy my fibre urges does just enough to keep my feet on the ground so that I dont spend the mortgage money!

We hung around as long as we could to see if my fellow Alopecian would arrive but sadly that was not to be. (She has since told me that Alice greeted her with a “Hi, Mandy told me you were coming!”, which was rather funny). Alice directed us to a short cut so that we could catch the bus back to the tube and we then made our way to St Pauls for Evensong.

The beauty of this building is truly amazing, just the internal size of it takes your breath away, let alone the architecture and the beauty of the works inside. I met my second Alopecian of the day (my third if I count the chap I spotted on the tube) he sat directly infront of me during Evensong. We had a lovely chat after the service, I’m not sure if this a sign, and if it is, I’ve no idea what it means. I haven’t actually met in real life a fellow alopecian before this day and then I meet and chat to two in quick succession. Anyway back to the trip.

It was dark by the time we left St Pauls and if we were to see everything we had planned to, we needed to keep moving. We both wanted to stop and perhaps eat or drink but knew if we did that, that would be it, so we carried on, foot sore and quite weary but still full of expectation and a little giddy at what would come next.

We took the tube to Holborn and then onto Leicester Square and walked to the National Gallery. I could barely pick out Nelson in Trafalger Square, but the atmosphere of the place was still there.

and we then climbed the steps to the National Gallery. We both wished we had more time, but far too soon it was time to catch the tube to Euston to go home.

The train arrived on time and once settled into our seats I remembered we had cake!

and lovely it was too!

When we arrived home we exchanged cards, as we hadn’t had the time to do this first thing in the morning and hubby also presented me with an exquisite pair of diamond earings!

My stash.

Its taken us two days to recover. Yesterday was spent sleeping and moaning about the pain in various locations of hips and legs..

When the north Wind doth blow…

and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

This cold weather has certainly turned my attention to my own need for warm hats. Firstly I turned out this. Which is the The Republic Hat made in LLama Classic Brown (64) on 6mm needles.

Then for hubby I made him a little beanie hat. He doesn’t like a hat that creeps into his eyes so I thought this might fit the bill.
Lavender in Winter Beanie It was made with Classica Llama Grey (74) with 7mm needles and a little of the brown for the colour work. This is my first attempt at any colour work and I am very pleased with it.

And then as the weather has continued to get very cold my attention turned to a thicker hat for myself or should I say a hat with a nice big brim. This is the Seaman’s Cap made from Collinette Iona, Summer Berries in 4.00 and 4.5 mm needles. Its lovely, fits a treat and due to the lovely large brim keeps me and my frosty ears very, very warm.