Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Madhouse - Hidden Talents.

But if I tell they won't be hidden!

1) I can play the Clarinet and the penny whistle.
2) I can do the splits.
3) I can suck my big toe.
4) I am brilliant at untangling knots and jewellery.
5) I snore better than M. I think that's a talent in itself.
6) I do the loudest sneezes they can damage your ear drums.
7) I do a great Welsh accent.
8) I am ace at building with stuff like Lego and Meccano.
9) I can sing.
10) I can still tap dance.
11) I can do a cart wheel.
12) I can float like I am lying on a lilo (without a lilo) and go to sleep doing so.

I am just so dang talented.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Madhouse - Perfect moment.

I know I should post about something like my wedding or the birth of J etc but OK they are pretty amazing moments but not perfect. I think it all depends on your definition of perfect.

Even on the shittiest day imaginable I can have a perfect moment because to me a perfect moment is a moment out of time that just fills you to the brim with a sense of ease, contentment and bliss. Some days I have lots of perfect moments.

I like to think that moments that feel that good shouldn't be confined to monumental events or even only to days where you are happy - they should crop up, here and there even on the grumpiest or most mundane day.

Here are some examples of moments that I think are perfect;

A little chunk of pure peace and quiet with just the birdies in the background - when you can take a couple of minutes just to listen to them sing.

A well made, perfect temperature cuppa after a couple of hours of madness - the sink into a comfy chair, put your trotters up and just be still and relish your brew.

Finding a poem that moves you or relates to something you think or feel - the same can be said of music. Sometimes 10 minutes just doing nothing but being carried off by a piece of music can be sublime.

Hugs! I love to be hugged. M does the best hugs ever.

I love it when M and I have the chance to go out alone - no kids or dogs - just us. To go somewhere with no time limits and be together - pure bliss. Hand holding adds bonus bliss.

But my favourite moments are moments when you suddenly realise, no matter what you are doing or where you are, that right in that second, you are totally 100% content and life could, right then and there, not get any better. Doesn't matter if that lasts seconds, minutes or hours - it is recognising it and feeling it that counts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

52 Books - 21 and 22

The Host by Stephanie Meyer.

Format - Kindle.

OMG how much do I love this book? It is a little slow going at first but once it gathers pace it is brilliant. I prefer it to her 'Twilight' books by far (and I love the Twilight books). I loved this twist on an old sci-fi favourite 'body snatchers'. The development of the symbiotic relationship of the two main characters is really good and although you start disliking the alien by the end you are willing for her survival in some way. I really could not put this down - not for anything.

I'm sure Hollywood will put it in a film and bollix it up - but I wish they wouldn't it is far too good for that - but then that didn't stop them ruining Jane Austen's stuff did it?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Format - Audio book.

This is an old download from when I got my first ever iPod -I have no idea who narrates it -  it sounds a bit like Gerladine McEwan but whoever it is they do a first class job.

I love this book. I hated it when I read it for my English Literature O'level but when I revisited it as an adult I found a story that I never grow tired off. I'm not usually a big fan of first person narration but it works so well here - is seamless - that I forget it as I get lost in the story. The narrator puts hope,  youth, loss and lethargy across within her characterisation so well, you can visualise it in your mind perfectly. It really is a wonderful place to get lost in for a few hours.

Aside from the audio presentation it is a story I can read over and over again in book form. My copy is seriously battered. From the opening pages with the Reed children and Aunt Reed, all through her school years and the death of Helen Burns, the growing romance, the Gothic madness to being lost on the moors, I am entranced.

I've made myself want to read it again now.....perhaps I should try the version called Jane Slayer which I've recently downloaded on to my Kindle instead?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Alfie and the Bonsai.

 Plantastic mate.

I love this multiple Larch planting of M's - it is one of favourites.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday Madhouse - Eye Contact.

I used to work with someone who thought it was important to stare you straight in the eyes when he spoke to you. I am no shrinking violet but I found this most uncomfortable and awkward because, firstly, I couldn't stand the bloke and secondly I was aware of my eyes not being able to hold his and this made me feel like he would think I had something to hide or was dishonest or something. I hated getting cornered by him but as he was the bosses son and my direct superior it happened most days. To this day I still dislike someone staring directly into my eyes. I don't find it an act of honesty - I think it is fuckin rude and can feel intimidating.

But as with everything there is one exception to the rule;- kitties. Everything is better with kitties.

I love the trust of a kitty when it looks directly at you and then does one slow, long blink. From what I've read this is cat body language for reassurance. All my cats of have done it and one of the best things is if you blink at them first and then they blink back at you. It feels kind of good.

Because I've always done this with my kitties I must have also done it with puppies (I was never aware that I did) until the day I realised that I had slow blinked at Lottie and she responded in kind! It probably doesn't mean the same to her, but it is a taught behaviour and she quite often blinks back at us and at Conkers too. Fergus hasn't picked up on it....yet....and I don't know if he will. But I think cos Lottie was such a hyper mad puppy I must have done it as a calming reassurance thing with her - Fergus being a good calm pup didn't need it.

The only creatures allowed to look me straight in the eyes for a sustained period are kitties and Lottie - everyone else.....look away or I'll change my name to Medusa.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

52 Books - 17, 18, 19 and 20 - bumper crop!

Morning peeps - gosh that wind is little brisk. I got quite chilly pegging out the washing - back to brrrrrr.

Thought I'd better catch up with this as it has been a little neglected.

Book 17 - Sense Sensibility and Sea Monsters - by JA and Ben. H. Winters.

Format - Kindle.

OK so I loved and I mean really loved 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' - so I was looking forward to this like you would not believe, but oh boy did I struggle with it. If I'm honest  'S & S' is not my favourite Austen but I don't dislike it, I've just read it less than the others. The addition of sea monsters didn't freshen it up or make it more exciting, if anything, I thought it made a slow book, well, slower. The humour didn't come through the way it did in  'P & P & Zombies' at all in that you could still hear the original text with its original humour under the addition of the zombies, but Eleanor et al were lost within this ridiculous setting. There were some things that worked but I honestly think they tried too hard. Tedious, very, very tedious.

Book 18 - Far from the Madding Crowd  - by Thomas Hardy.

Format - Audio book - read by Martin Shaw.

Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

Have always loved this book - not a massive fan of Hardy but this is my exception to the rule book. It works for me on every level. Martin Shaw really, really gets it. Good even reading and a little addition of dramatisation and vocalisation just adds to the whole thing. I could listen to this over and over again.

100% Excellent.

Book 19 - Perfect Proposal - by Katie Fforde

Format - Kindle.

I have a secret passion for feel good, humorous chick lit. There are times when ones of these genre of book are just the perfect pick me up and comfort food in literary form. Katie Fforde is a favourite provider. I have read all but one of her books - my late MIL started me off on reading this author and it was one of the few things we agreed on. I haven't read one of her books for a while but really felt in the mood for her brand of sensible but funny-ish heroines and this did not fail me.

There is a formula to her story telling but it doesn't get stale as she adds enough flavouring and humour to keep it all fresh. I really engage with her characters because she often makes them seem quite normal and not as dipsy, randy or stupid as a lot authors tend to make their characters in this genre of story telling. There have been times with other authors when I have thrown books down in disgust because they make their characters so dumb - (can't do that with a Kindle though  - bit expensive) Katie Fforde has never done that to me. I have another of hers downloaded ready to go and am waiting for the perfect moment of need to indulge myself again.

Book 20 - Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone - by J.K Rowling.

Format Audio Book - read by Stephen Fry.

Everyone (who likes them) has a favourite HP book and mine is the first one. It has wonderful associated memories of sharing it with a very young J at bedtime, it was such fun and so special as we both couldn't wait for the next chapter it led to a few late nights.
I have listened to this on audio books many times before and, for me, it never gets old. It is like a pair of old slippers and is perfect for some chill out knitting time when I want to escape the noise (especially of next doors toddling screamers). I love Stephen Fry's telling of the story he does it so well I actually forget it is him and just settle down and wallow in the fantasy.

I do know HP isn't every ones cup of tea - but I still enjoy all sorts of children's literature and the HP books were a great motivator for J to want to be able to read them for himself which then led him on to other authors. I bought them for him but they live in my book cupboard. I can't knock the books at all and think they a wonderful.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend round up.

 Friday afternoon  was hot and sunny. A Chinnok flew overhead - I love them. They have such a distinctive sound that you can hear them long before they come into view. I don't know why they fascinate me so, I am not a fan of travel by flight, but I'd love a ride in one of these.
A friend who I've not seen for a couple of months popped in Friday to pick up some stuff and have a cuppa and it was lovely sitting and catching up. She's a fibre freak too - so there was plenty of chat, plus the babies adore her -lucky for us she loves them right back.
 Mr Black has returned to his usual favourite nest site (they come back every year) and he's getting a bit territorial at the moment. He was singing his heart out whilst keeping a beady eye on us.
 On Saturday morning 3 Magpies decided to use to top lawn as a wrestling ring. Chasing each other about then lying on their back and locking feet and claws - whilst the lady Magpie looked on with scorn.

We all popped out to a wonderful local garden centre - had a nosy about and came home with a lovely twisted Hazel and a gorgeous pot. I have wanted one of these for ages - I've called him Alfie.

We finished the day with a lovely homemade lasagna and a very chilled bottle of white wine - sitting out in the evening sun. A truly wonderful and a relaxing day.

Sunday - I gave M the entire day  off from chores and cooking. I thought it would be nice for him just to have a whole day to do whatever he wanted to do - as opposed to what happens most Sundays - he ends doing what 'needs' to be done. I enjoyed a chance to take over the kitchen - made a scrummy almond and cashew nut roast with a mixed salad and roast tatties. None left - they/we scoffed the lot.
 A couple of long dog walks and all day access to the garden had the above effect on Lottie.
And being chased by terriers (quite often initiated by him) even made Conkers dozy!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Sunshine babies

 "Glorious day. Warm sun, sniffies in the air, the possibility of killing the hose later. One is content."
 "Don't forget da birdies, there is lots of twirping birdies to examine."
 "Oh dear I must have nodded off there for a minute.....I didn't miss the hose did I?"
Yawns - "No, but you did miss 13 sparrows, 2 starlings, a great tit, a robin and two wood pigeons."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Wednesday Madhouse - Faux Pas.

Hmmm don't know about 'faux pas' but I could win prizes for my ability to insert my foot into my mouth. I could recount endless examples of this talent....but I would rather talk about the how.

Sometimes, if I'm really honest, I am totally aware of what I am saying and I make a vocal gaff to provoke reaction or to piss someone off. I am petty like that. I can garner immense pleasure of saying something that can be taken as an innocent mistake or a deliberate prod. I'm not proud of this (well not always) but it is a part of my make up and I never claimed to be anything other than an arsehole.

However, I do quite often say something that I have no idea could be read the wrong way, normally due to thoughtlessness on my part or my hatred of awkward silences and the overwhelming need I get to fill the gap, which results in a 'blurt out the first thing that pops into my head' moment. Quite often I am so unaware that what I've said could be taken the wrong way, because I've said it in all innocence, and it is not till we get home and M comments or points out how my 'blurt' could be misconstrued that I realise what I've done. This happened this weekend, I had no idea that I might have said something that could be seen as a slight or rude to my SIL but when M told me I was horrified, it hadn't crossed my mind that she could have seen it that way! Hopefully she's known me long enough to realise that along with sometimes being an arsehole I balance it with being an idiot. Whatever though, it will be a case of least said soonest mended.

Perhaps I should just learn two skills to solve these aspects of my flawed character - 1) learn to let opportunities pass and be a nicer person and 2) learn to let others fill the silence or to let the silence flow and be comfortable with the awkwardness.

p.s I think some peeps take my posts to heart - a lot of what I type is tongue in cheek and I love to take the piss out of myself within my blog writing. Also I quite often get stumped with the Madhouse topics and type a load of ole bollocks just to make a post because my OCD will not let me miss one!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Three early morning visitors

 Sadly,we only managed to photograph one of them. They were hopping around in this conifer for quite a while.
They are one of my favourite birds. I have a passion for the crow family; it coincided with moving here and them being so prolific. I was fascinated to see such big birds on the bird table. I still love watching the Jackdaws, Rooks, Carrion Crows and Magpies, they are all such wonderful birds.

Monday, April 04, 2011


 Looking up at Mike - "Where have you hidden my Wubba? I wants it back!"
 "Some of us are trying to catch some Zzzzz's - BTW these comfy clean towels.....mine."
"Look at the pretty birdies.....birds aren't just for cats you know."

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Your knitting and crochet time.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.

Day seven: 3rd April. Your knitting and crochet time.

Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. What items do you like to surround yourself with whilst you twirl your hook like a majorette’s baton or work those needles like a skilled set of samurai swords. Do you always have snacks to hand, or are you a strictly ‘no crumbs near my yarn!’ kind of knitter.

My 'crafting' time is dependent on what I feel like doing. If it is something complex then I will wait until I have peace and quiet (a fairly unusual occurrence around here) and sit undisturbed and concentrate. For this type of work, I either, sit, when the house is empty and next door are out, in the conservatory at the glass table, surrounded by dogs and kitties, listening and watching da birdies on the feeders or I hide away upstairs in my little corner of the bedroom with the door shut.

For everything else then it is happens wherever I happen to be - at home, travelling, waiting around for stuff and generally out and about. I do like a little outdoor knitting in good weather. Sewing and spinning tend to take place at home either in the craft/crap room or sitting at my desk upstairs. Embroidery and needlepoint tend to be in the conservatory - brilliant light and knitting and crochet - nothing better than my comfy leather recliner in the afternoon sun....though there is always the threat of a nap attack.

I don't 'craft' much in the evening as with a family and pets and life - I find it harder to settle and I like to read in the evenings. Afternoons are my favourite 'crafting' time and sometimes a little naughty 'crafting' (or it feels naughty to me as I should doing chores) on a weekend morning.

That's it. Managed to stick with it for a week - hurrah!

p.s The word 'crafting' makes me wanna puke.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Something to aspire to.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week;

Day six: 2nd April. Something to aspire to.Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make bu can admire the result of those that have.

I have two aspirations one is to keep my WIP's (works in progress) at a controlled level, which means also controlling my STARTITUS issues and finishing things once they start to bore the tits off me. Personally, I really don't think this will ever happen but it does need to to enable to achieve aspiration number two which is.........

this. From Jane Sowerby's 'Victorian Lace Today' book. I dream of completing this lovely bit of lace.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Sock Blast.

 Knitting and Crochet Blog week day 5.
 A selection of socks knitted in the last 12 months. Some are mine, some were gifts and some are yet to be worn.