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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Year end musings.....

Seems popular with newspapers and the media to look back over the year now ending, so today my friends I am posting random thoughts. Have been making some notes, started with books, the pile bedside includes "The hundred year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson. This has to be finished by Monday when the reading group is meeting for Christmas lunch, I am just a quarter of the way through. this doesn't look good, have had the book since beginning of December, however was absorbed by "The mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's rebellious daughter" by Lucinda Hawksley. Now that is finished, also in the queue is Emma Bridgewater's Toast & Marmalade and other stories, Knitting yarns: writers on knitting edited by Ann Hood (gift from DD) and yesterday's purchase "Walk the lines: the London Underground  Overground" by Mark Mason. 

Usual time problem, knit or crochet against reading, just try to do both but not simultaneously! On the needles at present are granny squares, crocheting them to use up stash of double knitting; a pair of socks in self striping blue yarn from Lidl, I am still making the trim from Twilley's Lyscordet cotton for a plain lampshade it is such fine work that I need a good light and reading specs on. 

No new year resolutions, just to try and do my best in all things, try to treat all how I would wish to be treated, on the Ravelry forums I have turned off the dislike button as it is so easy to hit it in error. One of my notes I have written 'Older versus Elderly' because I'm not sure what the difference is. We have decided Older is under eighty, Elderly is over eighty. I wish the press and media could adopt this, I am not elderly :)

If the weather turns warmer, it is Ian's influence, he has found his quilted jacket that he purchased to wear on his trips to Finland so the cold weather should go and the jacket can go back into it's hiding place. It was so chilly last evening, we went to Kew Gardens to walk along their illuminated walk.

Ian wearing his fedora silhouetted outside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, 

Think this sums up our evening, fun, romantic, chilly but warmed by hot chocolate with marshmallow. Ended up in the shop, a cushion was purchased and the Mark Mason book mentioned above. 

It is with pleasure I note that smoking  was not allowed in the Gardens in 1856 when this notice was published, wish it were still so especially near entrances to the buildings. It is one of my pet hates that smokers congregate around doorways, then become angry when their presence is questioned, another is if I have a coughing fit complete strangers tell me to give up smoking, if I have enough breath to speak I tell them politely that I have never smoked. 

Thoughts of 2014 that I will bring to the New Year are my delight that I completed the Beekeeper's Quilt, failure to do so was not an option. The picture below shows the 'wrong' side but shows the way mattress stitch has been used to butt the hexis together. 

All best wishes for 2015 to all who read this, I look forward to reading your musings and blogs during the next year. 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Those on another shore.

I had been thinking about my father today, it is the anniversary of his unexpected death, 21st December 1986 was a Sunday too, coped well all day until the final prayers towards the end of the Nine Lessons and Carols when we remembered those on another shore. It is not only my father in our minds, Ian's father had died on Christmas Day two years previously, my Mother died on 9th January 1995 it was my father's birthday. It is a regret that our offspring were never able to develop that special bond with these grandparents and child as they were so young when their grandfathers died and my Mother was too ill. Fortunately Ian's mother lived long enough to see her grandchildren grow up and to enjoy a loving relationship with them. 

Remembering our parents is all part of family and Christmas, my Mother was very relaxed in her later life about Christmas, my parents would go to East Anglia to my father's relations, although she would decide finally very last minute, I would then spend the holiday with the family of which ever boyfriend was around at the time, especially if I was working up to Christmas Eve or immediately after the Bank Holiday. We have tried to be relaxed with our offspring, if they want to join us great, but we don't get upset if they feel drawn to be with their other half's family. No three line whip here, so it was with great joy that all six of us enjoyed a family day together last Saturday. Their Christmas  gift to us was lunch at Bibendum in the delightful Art Deco Michelin building, great food and surroundings and we have the memories and menu to remind us of a happy occasion. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Winning streak

Although there is a view that raffles lead on to full scale gambling we are happy to buy a few tickets at charitable events, considering such purchases as a donation without the gift aid, feeling pleased if we win something. Thus we were delighted to receive an email telling us both had won a prize at a church winter fair we attended - we hadn't stayed till the end so missed the prize giving. 

Ian's prize was an amazing, a genuine Mulberry travel wallet,

We know it is genuine, not fake, as we were told the provinance, my prize marked up as first prize was the foodie contents of a big basket, great presentation too.  

Apart from the big raffle came away with a owl mug and an amaryllis, but I think fairs are more than just fund raisers, it is the social interaction, making new acquaintances and a feeling of fellowship and acceptance. Prizes and purchases are secondary to this. 

Just in case you thought I had abandoned knitting and crochet news I have been using up stash of double knitting to crochet a blanket of granny squares, another portable project but much quicker than the hexipuff quilt. Felt very saddened this weekend when I found I had worn out the heel of my pink socks, one of the earliest pairs I knitted and the best fitting. I have pattern and yarn to make a replacement pair, but there will never be the satisfaction of first mastering turning a heel. The socks were finished in Augsut 2011 from bamboo yarn, not as hard wearing as I thought. 

Socks as WIP, there are further details in my Ravelry projects page. 

Right, now back to writing Christmas cards, may I send my best wishes for Christmas and for the new year to everyone who reads this, whether they are known to me in cyberspace or in real life. Thank you all for your kindness and comments. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Bond girl

I am not a great film buff so it was with great amusement this week that I learnt that one of James Bond girls has been given my names, both Christian name and surname and spelt correctly. I like Bond girl better than Bond lady, it sounds more ditzy and frivolous, not really me but one can pretend 

In one newspaper there were comments about the Proust connection, however I see it as fun, I have found as an adult having a slightly unusual Christian name has been an advantage although as a child I wasn't so keen, fortunately my married name goes well with it too.

What larks! No pictures of me, I am in PJs still, have to look the best for my public now. 

Madeleine Swann aka PixieMum aka Bond girl. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Out and about

Last week I travelled by train to Winchester to meet with a school friend, apart from that link she taught both my children at their different secondary schools so she's interested in their progress too. On our way to the cathedral we passed the public library, of course I had to have a peep inside, does this count as Continuing Professional Development? Very impressed, well arranged, also something new to me was the loan of periodicals like Ideal Home, Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Mollie Makes. 

Almost as expected there was a First World War exhibition, the display of poppies had become to me a thoughtful art work.

After refreshments in the Cathedral Refectory we spent a long time in the Cathedral, on my previous visit there hadn't been time for this, unfortunately it meant I didn't see the Winchester bible as there is much building and restoration work afoot and the library and its treasures won't be available for a couple of years. We joined a tour group led by the most knowledgeable Hugh, a trainee guide pointed out windows designed but not executed by William Morris, I could see the links with some of his wallpaper and fabric designs, especially the leaves here in in Arbutus. 

On the train home was amused by the announcements approaching Basingstoke when passengers were told to "change here for Oxford, [pause] The Midlands and [another pause] The North".  It made the last two destinations sound a long way off,  rather exotic and a strange country. Oh, no it shouldn't be passengers, we are all customers now. I was in a quiet carriage, but that didn't  exclude chatter and noisy conversations with colleagues and other travellers, these presumably are allowed as not phone calls or loud music. 

Still a preferable way to travel rather than driving in the dark on the M3 with attendant road works between junctions 1 and 4A for I managed to crochet quite a few granny squares.