Friday, December 31, 2010

Last one of the year

Farewell 2010, you have had more than your fair share of suckage and I am happy to see you go on your merry way to memoryville.

It has been a mixed bag  this year - lots of plodding, a few ups and a few downs - but mainly ploddage. I don't mind that, better that than loads of bad. But it seems so long since it's been a higher % of ups over plod or downs.

Here's hoping that 2011 will let us scale new peaks with very limited plummets and not too much plodding.

I have a good feeling about it and am in a positive frame of mind which I think helps.

Don't really make resolutions - cos I can't keep them - cos I am weak, feeble and unable to resist temptation. But, I have a few changes that I want to 'try' and include on a regular basis.....

1) Write more.
2) Practice my music more.
3) Try hard to use my yarn stash and stick to the 2010 principle of minimal yarn buying.
4) Attempt the sock a month thing again.....I did do it but didn't stick to the patterns and yarn I chose.
5) Read 52 books in a year.
6) Continue fighting my agoraphobia - it almost beat me a couple of months back and we thought I might need more help again but I am fighting back again (it is very hard to admit this) and I do feel more able to cope better right now.
7) Talk less - listen more - well you've got have one impossible one.
8) Recognise the happiness in my life when it's staring me in the face.
9) Get less stressed about other peoples stupidity.
10) Be kinder to others.


Happy New Year to anyone who reads this - thanks for sticking with it. I hope 2011 brings you peace, hope and joy. xxxxx

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday Madhouse - First Memory.

I've been thinking about this title all week - wracking my brains for what would be a first memory, there are so many options to choose from. First memory of sex, first memory of fear, first memory of eating a specific type of food - the list is endless. So many first memories.

I decided to try and go for the the obvious - first ever memory.

I don't have one.

I asked M - "Do you have a specific first memory?" He doesn't. What he has is a timeline of early memories. He has this because they moved 3 times during this early period of his life so he can relate a memory to what place he lived in. I don't have this. The house I was born in, I then lived in for the first 16 years of my life.

What I have is a collage of early memories.

I remember Tiffany,our dog,who was 6 months older than me. I remember loving her, curling up in her bed with her, eating her dog biscuits and I remember thinking her ear looked like a slice of roast beef and biting it. She being a sweet dog, yelped and then turned round and licked me to make sure I was all right.

I remember it snowed at Christmas - I must have been 3 coming up for 4. I remember walking on the golf course and my older sister running to jump on virgin snow....it was a filled in bunker -she disappeared with a yell, the dog leaped in after her and held her down and washed her. I remember my parents laughing like mad and the fact she did not find it at all funny. She moaned all the way home.

I remember that same year getting a Space Hopper...my 'hopping fing' as it became known. I'm pretty sure that was my Poppa's last Christmas and he and Nana bought it for me. It's the only gift I recall that relates to him.

I remember Mum giving me rides across the kitchen on washing day. I used to like to be wheeled about sitting on our twin tub machine and I remember the lecture regarding the dangers of the spin dryer, to this day the thought of it makes my blood run cold.

I remember the 3 day week and Mum making loads of candles out of scrap bits of wax and Pond's Cold Cream Jars.

I remember sitting on my Dad's lap and steering his race car back down the hill at the Valance Hill climb event. Lots of my early memories are linked to my Dad's love for motor sports. Car shows at Olympia ( I remember the lovely fish and chips we had there for lunch). I remember Mum covering my ears with her hands in the paddock at Silverstone when Dad was warming up the engine of his car before going out to compete. I remember the long journeys, endless packed lunches and the car sickness too. I remember making friends with other kids in the same boat -bored by motor sport and talk of cars. I remember at Gurston they had donkeys and horses and Mum, Sis and I used to go and fuss them. I remember the noise and smell of Cooper Japs being revved in the pits/paddock.

I remember getting my Twinkle comic every week and Drooper (my Gt Grandmother) letting me sit on her knee and she'd read me the stories from it (she died when I was 5).

I remember Sis and I getting gastric flu and Uncle Derek (the family Dr) making a house call to come and see us.

I remember Cuthbert my white bear with red paws,who looked over my shoulder every night, and kept the bad dreams away.

I remember my Dad seemed huge and my Mum little and very pretty.

I remember, even at that early age, fighting with my Sister. I also remember calling her Fleagle from the Banana Splits.

I remember feeling loved, safe and happy.

I cannot remember anything bad.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My kind of Christmas....so far.......

 Finishing M's 'variation of clown barf' socks.
 Lovely stuff on the needles - I managed a few rows on both of these yesterday.
 Fun, food and festive giggles with the Percy's. I think these are the best cracker gifts ever and love them to bits.
Mulled wine,candle light and carols.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Madhouse - Elements of grace.

1) Living by the sea we get a lot of gulls. I know loads of people dislike them, see them as a menace or whatever. But I see their grace. My sitting room is on the upper floor of our home and the window looks out onto a flat roof (the roof above my head is a flat one too), I see the gulls flight at eye level and at just above my head level everyday. I watch them come into land and take off again. Their wingspan is an amazing breadth of pearly white.

I sit in bed and watch the stark white of their feathers flash across a leaden grey sky as they wheel and circle looking for bread that has been put out.

In their element their grace of flight and movement can take your breath away. They stretch out their wings with such ease, they bank and turn and glide away with the same grace of a solitary swan floating across still water.

I love to live by the sea, I have all my life, I am happy to share my space with the gulls and it makes me sad to hear them lambasted for being what they are in a territory that we have encroached. Perhaps we all need to take the time to watch them and marvel at their effortless grace.


2) To give way with good grace. The ability to to back down or lose without getting narky. This is an element of grace that needs to be learnt and practiced and it is not always easy to do. It is easy to do if it is done in an apathetic way - as in can't be asked to push the point. It is harder to do out of generosity of spirit, but that is what it truly means. To give up a point or game because you care enough for the other person that you don't want to push it and have it end badly or look diminished in their sight. As a parent I have tried my best to teach the principle of this to J but I know that only life will allow him to practice it, understand its importance and hopefully perfect it. If he does then he will be a far better person than me. I'm still at the practicing stage.

3) The saying of grace. To give thanks to God for what you have or are about to receive. We have never said grace in my family ever, even as a child I have no recollection of saying grace at home, we did occasionally at some social things we attended but I don't remember being asked to say it anywhere else either at friends houses or visiting more distant family. Now I am an Atheist and have no believe in God so I have no reason to say grace but that does not mean that I am not thankful for what I have or what I may receive.

4) There but for the grace of God go I. Another tricky one for a non-believer. I may not believe but I do understand the meaning of this. The relief and thankfulness you feel that in different circumstances the suffering of others could be yours. It can, some days, almost feel like a litany with the amount of horror and bad news that is reported. The growth of TV shows that are the modern equivalent of the Victorian freak shows add to this, they magnify the suffering of others so we can sit at home and count our blessings and give thanks it isn't us, it makes us feel better about our lives.
I think this saying should be more about reminding us to think of others less fortunate and to find a way to help and improve their lives. Sadly, I think we are progressing backwards and this is now thought of and said in the same way people cross themselves without realising they are doing it or touching wood. It has become just a saying and no longer an act of grace or the prefix to prayer.

I'm sure there are other elements of grace but these are the ones that came to mind this morning. The other Wednesday Madhouse bloggers I'm sure will make interesting reading.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The art of hibernation

The babies had the right idea this morning, they went out, did what they had to do, jumped on our bed and stayed there all snuggled up together. I had to use the 'b' word (biscuits) to get them off so I could make it.

It is weird living where I do. People say (kind of  jokingly) that we have our own micro-climate and when it snows this, actually, is true.

M is on the road today and once you are out of where we live it's fine and he's able to get about but I look out of the window and all I can see is snow. Out over the Downs and down to the sea. The Close is snowed in and even the busier roads are still slippy and slushy. Yet the other side of the Race Hill is like a different world.

It isn't just snow though - we get thick fog and the rest of Brighton is sunny and then next time Brighton has thick coastal fog and we have sunshine - it is very bizarre.

I have decided though, that as my damaged knee is very swollen and sore at the moment, that until the pavements are clear I am staying put. I have nowhere I have to be or have to go today, so I will follow the dogs example and spend today perfecting 'the art of hibernation'.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Recovering from playing in the snow.....

 Fergus - who has not been brushed yet today because his coat has been damp (and smelly). This boy loves snow! I can see that a proper grooming session is in order tomorrow.
Lottie warming her bits on the remains of the hall flokati (Fergus ate some of it as a pup) with two of her knotted socks...she has about 6 on the go because she is a tea leaf and nicks all of the ones that belong to Fergus.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday Madhouse - Manual Dexterity.

A day late...whoops. So unused to posting to a time that I  totally forgot about this yesterday.

A few years back, whilst blog surfing, I read a post by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and it really hit a cord with me. She wrote about watching her hands whilst knitting and all the tiny movements and corrections knitters make that 99.9% they are not even aware of. Have you ever done that? Sat and actually watched your hands whilst you knit. It needs the kind of knitting that you do automatically, in my case a plain sock. It doesn't even matter whether it's circs or dpns, my hands make loads of little extra movements and adjustments I never knew about before reading the blog post.

I've done this with other things from sewing and drawing to peeling the spuds. I also now watch others hands when they knit, write, sew or build with Lego. We are so unaware of just how wonderful the connection  between our hands and brain is.

Hands that do. The little caresses and rubs that are included in a comfort hug. The nudge of the stitches closer to the needle point you don't know you are doing. The manipulation of your knife and fork. The hundreds of little extra movements from hundreds of un-felt and un-thought about signals through our nerves.

Go on. Watch your hands. Amazing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I fell off the wagon.....a little

 Bump, bump, bump.....Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Apple Hill.
 Bumpiddy, bumpiddy, bump....Rico Superba Poems.
Thud, bump, thud bump, splat.....Reggia World Circus.

Please note I was aided by Mr M in this breakout of naughty. I am punishing myself severely by beating myself twice daily with that skein of LL. As for Mr M he has been abject in his apologies for weakening my resolve.

I feel so dirty and ashamed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Frosted berries

 You can see the route of our normal walkies on the first picture. I feel so lucky to have this right on my door step.
I love this photo. M took it. I love the blurred berries with their frosty icing in the foreground and aren't they the most glorious colour?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Frosted sky ripples.

Wintery up on the Downs the other day. Taken in the afternoon -no sign of the frost melting.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wednesday Madhouse - holiday bonus.

I've joined Kate of One More Thing in her Wednesday Madhouse posts. Sounds like fun, I thought but this first topic is killing my brain cells :o). "Why?" I hear you ask. Well define holiday - here in the UK I automatically think of going 'on' holiday but I think due to the time of year that Kate might mean holiday as in a Christmassy type thing.....I don't do Christmas these days, but I used to..................

Lets go back (think Mighty Boosh titles) about gulp 28 years shall we. I was 15, in my last year of school. At this time of year I was taking my mock O'levels, thinking about going out and having fun, planning to go and see the last ever Wembley concert of 'The Jam'. I had my whole life ahead of me and I had no idea of what I was going to do or become. In fact 28 years ago, approaching Christmas, I had my first (and as it turned out only) experience of that emotional roller coaster of first (proper) love. I had met M earlier that year, decided he was a nice enough bloke but not my type at all. My friend was dating his friend and we got thrown together a lot, he was funny and he was really popular, the girls seemed to love him and I couldn't see why. But he was good company to pass the time with whilst E and S where wrapped around each other and chatting to M was better than playing gooseberry. I was single (split up with previous loser boy friend about a month earlier), M had a girlfriend - we became mates. I began to look forward to Friday nights, to have a laugh with him, he began catching the same bus home with me, coming in for coffee and we'd  talk and laugh for hours. We'd meet up other than Friday and Saturday nights, we'd go shopping, listen to music and talk and talk and talk. We became really good friends.

I remember writing in my diary about him. I remember getting butterflies wondering if he'd call. I didn't realise I wanted more than to be his friend. When the lightening bolt hit me, I was shocked. He had a girlfriend and I had strict rules about that. I rode that up and down emotional roller coaster for the whole month of December 28 years ago. Forget the presents, forget the celebrations, forget concerts and exams (how I passed any of them is still a mystery) all I thought about was M. I was falling, though I didn't know it at the time, deeply and irreversibly in love.

So, here I am 28 years on from my fifteen year old self. Still amazed by that time and my holiday bonus - that added extra of a deep and abiding love - well I'm still enjoying it. It is a bonus that has lasted 28 years and counting and every year I remember, M remembers, we laugh and joke about it and feel blessed.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Boy ,sled and terriers

video
The other half of the previous video starring boy, sled and mad terriers.

Frost, sleds and ploofy tails

video
Out on our walk today....having fun and a cameo by Lottie's exploding carrot.

A nice bit of post

A little while ago a friend in Canada asked me to knit her some socks....one of the many pairs of clown barf coloured ones. As we weren't sure how to deal with cost etc, I suggested and she happily agreed, that she send me some yarn instead. This really appealed as I have been trying (really hard) not to buy yarn this year, I have done all sorts of swaps for new yarn for my stash but buying has been kept to a minimum. Yesterday, my yarn arrived. It's gorgeous....Manos Del Uruguay Maxima in the colour way 'Fire'. It is a single ply aran weight pure merino. It has a wonderful softness with no prickle at all. The picture does not do it justice but the light is so weird at the moment it is hard to get a good shot, with or without flash.

I think it is destined, with the love bright colours and the softness, to become a cabled winter scarf.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

It is so easy.

It is so easy to feel superior and disparaging of others. It is so easy to sit on an intellectual pedestal and look down upon those you feel are inferior - it's even easier to do this if you have friends who think they are as superior as you. It is so easy to mouth politically correct nonsense about equality but then to realise that you are more equal than others. It is so easy to think that your opinion is more valid because you hold a piece of paper that proves you can answer questions and are therefore considered intelligent. It is easy to take the piss out of someone because they read a particular news paper, like a certain thing, follow a certain political party etc - if it differs from what your superior minds considers proper then it is so easy to flame it. It is so easy to have an opinion on something you have no experience of. It is so easy judge.

I am judging you. You who think you are so fucking clever....you aren't. You are just so far up your own arses you can't see the wood for the trees.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Cranford rides again.

Finished these this afternoon, started them Sunday evening. I made this pair for Mum, she has been having some pain in her hands and I thought these would give a little support (or hide a support bandage), keep her hands warm and look pretty too.

I used some pure British alpaca that I bought ages ago from Pavi Yarns and some scraps of sock yarn. Knit on 2.5mm dpns.

The pattern details are on previous posts and is available via Ravelry - all you need is a small donation to
P-hop.

This is my 3rd pair of Cranfords - I've yet to make a pair for me.