i knit because i can ...

Sunday, 29 November 2009

the good news ...

... or, as Maggie (Thatcher) might say, we are (going to be) a grandmother (again). I am so pleased, I could jump for joy. My baby, i.e., my youngest daughter, is expecting her second in July. That'll be five altogether, four little ones, as her eldest will be 4 by then, and the boy cousins will be respectively 3 and 2. Like organ pipes. And plenty of time to knit!!

Meanwhile, here it just rains and rains and rains. This morning we even had an inch of hail in five minutes. We now have a new stream running by the side of the house, and a new river further away. Thank goodness the car is parked on higher ground, just in case we need to make a quick get-away.

Yesterday we had the greatest fun. In a brief rain-free interlude, the farmer next door decided to bring a single-storey house in on a trailer drawn by a jeep. Now for the last month, said farmer has been carefully constructing a lovely, solid new three-bar fence out of thick posts and four-inch planks along one side of the drive. Along the other side towards us is mixed hedge and ditch. In full view of our house then, the farmer decides to bring in said house, which is some 9 feet wide and say 25 feet long. But somehow he seems to have overlooked the fact that thanks to his nice new fence, the drive is only maybe 7, maybe 7 and a half feet wide.

I fetch hubby to watch, pointing out, as the only woman around, and therefore, obviously, the only person who clearly sees the problem, that they will have to take the fence down. But no, the driver inches the house forward, doors, windows, curtains - yes, curtains, and for all I know, fully furnished - through the gateway, helpers lopping branches from the trees as he goes, until the inevitable happens, and he gets stuck. By this time several more men have come to help, while others including some passing children as well as ourselves, kibbitz, calling out friendly advice, or, in my husband's case, singing 'right, said Fred,' none too sotto voce , but then, tact never was his strong point!

By this time the farmer's wife is also there, arms folded across her chest, laudably silent, but her face as she watches speaks volumes. The driver inches backwards, until he gets stuck in that direction too. Long pause for consultation, examination and much head-shaking. Then, guess what, down comes part of the fence with the aid of a digger, the chainsaw and much brute force. Inch forward some more. Inch backward some more. Take down some more fence. And - repeat. Until finally, the house is down the drive and round the corner.

But my sides are still aching. Ah, the joys of life in the New Forest!!! And of being an expectant grandmama!! :)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

... a slapped wrist ...

... has again been administered, quite justifiably, it's true, for my failure to blog. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Well, I do have a bit of an excuse. I was brought low by something that if it was not swine 'flu, was certainly akin to. And very unpleasant it was too. Lasted for the best part of a fortnight, 3 days of which I spent entirely in bed, being ministered unto! I will spare the gory details of how it seemed to visit every part of my poor, ailing frame, and instead give you a lovely picture of New Forest pigs (swine - geddit???!!!) in pannage!

The pigs are loosed onto the forest floor to gobble up all the acorns, which are apparently very bad for the ponies. Their pork is said to have a superb flavour, which I shall put to the test very soon, and let you know the results of my research!

Work on our house renovation is proving very slow, as we struggle to find solutions we both like and can afford. Still, I have progress to report: we have wonderful new, automatic, garage doors! Now that may not seem much to you, but to us it signifies a beginning at last, and the opportunity to empty one of our hired storerooms thereby liberating a little more gelt for the project. So here - imagine big fanfare, tada!!! - proudly present, before:

and after:

Watch this space for the next thrilling installment, I promise it will not be so long a wait this time. I have some wonderful family pix, and some great news which I can't wait to spill. Oh, and I'm still knitting in and amongst, of course.

Monday, 19 October 2009

by popular request ....

or rather, one kind person - you know who you are! thanks very much :) - I take up my keyboard and edge back into print.

and readers, we made it! after many slips, hiccups and fears that our sale/purchase would fall through, it all fell into place in September, and we have moved from this:

to this:

and from this (the view from my London flat window):

to this (the view from my new home):

Now our days are one long saga of ploughing through the internet and brochures, visiting or being visited by tradesmen, and trying to make up our mind what we want/can afford (sadly, the two are not always synonymous) in renovating our new home.

but when we walk out of our front door we meet ponies, cows, donkeys and right now, pigs which have been turned out for pannage, that is, to eat up the acorns, thereby sparing the ponies who would be poisoned by them.*

the air is clear, the trees are gradually turning through all their colours before their leaves fall, and there is a definite tinge of winter in the air, in spite of the lovely weather we have been blessed with these last weeks.

watch this space ...

*New Forest Notes, q.v.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Pensioners in the New Forest ...

I have a confession to make: I have not been entirely honest with you all. But I have good reason, I promise.

For some considerable time now we have been endeavouring to turn ourselves from City slickers into country bumpkins. However, I have not been blogging about it, because under the peculiar way that property is bought and sold in England, the whole process is riddled with such uncertainty that one dassent think it's going to happen until it does happen! In fact it is enough to turn even me, who am the least superstitious person I know, into a fully paid up member of the ladder-avoiding, salt-over-shoulder-chucking, no-way-are-we-having-13-at-the-table died-in-the-wool crazy brigade!
Which is why I haven't been blogging about it. And I'm still not gonna! Except to say, that when it eventually comes good, we will be in the beautiful New Forest. And that is where we are now, in a cottage we are renting for reasons that will be explained all in good time. We are sitting in the living area, with the french door to the garden which is backed by the woods with nothing but green and birdsong and fresh, fresh air - marvellous. Oh, and the occasional braying of the donkey. And the New Forest ponies. And the deer. I could get used to this. In fact I intend to!

We are here until Tuesday, so I have brought lots of knitting: my Kimono jacket, which needs just a bit of stitching to finish it in time to wear for the English summer, i.e., slightly warmer rain than winter. In April we were promised a 'barbecue summer', but no sign yet. Unless of course one thinks of the usual English barbecue summer, whereby you set it all up and just as it is ready, the heavens open and everyone makes a dash for indoors!! ;)

Also, my Niebling tablecloth, Dahlie (on the left below)and a jumper for my granddaughter, when she gets back from France, in two shades of denim (the stuff that comes off all over your fingers as you knit, so you look like an Ancient Briton covered in woad - yuk - but it looks so good when it's finished and improves as it fades in the wash that it's worth the suffering). And finally some socks that I am knitting for Molly of the Celtic Swan Forge, for her Great Handknit Sock Trade 2009, in exchange for some of her lovely needles.

What with all that, and the Saturday papers, and no landline, and no mobile 'phone reception, life doesn't get much better than this - except if it becomes permanent, which I cross my fingers it soon will - watch this space!!! ;)

Sorry there are no pix, both our cameras are sick and at the menders. But you can look at the links for lovely pix, instead.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

following a new blog

found a new blog to follow - really floats my boat, so I'm sharing it in my links - 'wearing purple not dead yet ...'

Monday, 20 July 2009

3 beautiful things

Some time ago I referred to the principle of '3 beautiful things', as exemplified in Clare's wonderful blog of the same name.

Our recent trip to Ireland was mainly for the purpose of celebrating the birthdays of two of my wonderful grandchildren: Finn, who lives there and had his very first birthday on 24th June; and Ellie, who reached the grand old age of 3 on 26th. (This, she deemed, gave her the right to declare 'I'm in charge' at several junctures!!) Their cousin Luke, 2 1/2 was also present, which gave the opportunity for this photograph of my most favourite '3 beautiful things':

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

tempus fugit ...

... or, as one might say, doesn't time fly when you're having fun!

And fun we were having - good craic! We started our Irish sojourn in Dublin - where else? Another lifelong ambition realised. It was great fun. Sadly our camera decided to burst its one button, so we could take very few photos, for fear of destroying it completely.

But we managed to get round a good few things in our two days in Dublin, starting with Trinity College, and the Book of Kells. Oh glory, how wonderful it was. And Trinity College too. We had a wonderful tour guided by a student, who made it both interesting and amusing, not least by relating and then conforming to various superstitions in order not to jeopardize his exam results.

And then came, of course, Molly Malone (with Trinity College behind her):

My father used to sing Molly Malone and many other Irish songs whilst shaving, and there was a myth that there was Irish in our background - with not much foundation, I have since found. Although he, three of his brothers and his sister certainly had a celtic look about them, being small and wiry, with black wavy hair and piercing blue eyes. I grew up thinking/wishing/hoping that I might somehow be connected with that romantic land, and now I am - but only through my grandson Finn's Irish mother. Strange how our dreams can come true in ways we never dreamt of!

Then a swift visit to a hero of mine, James Joyce (and yes, I have read Ulysses, which puts me in good company, Marilyn Monroe, frinstance! And I saw Joseph Stick's film, when it first came out in 1967 - and scandalous it was thought too! Ah, sweet innocence, all gone now.):

Sadly, the Floozie in the Jaccuzzi (check out this website for some other equally scurrilous examples of Dublin humour in renaming their famous landmarks), i.e., the statue of the spirit of the Liffey River, Anna Livia, has had to make way for the Millenium Spire, but we were reliably informed a new space will be found for her soon.

Our next port of call was maybe more prosaic, but every bit as interesting: the Guinness Brewery or, as they now call it Guinness Storehouse. Oh my, oh my! The place is huge, the exhibition fantastic and, best bit of all, it ends high up in the new Gravity Bar with a free pint of the black nectar itself! And the view over Dublin is unsurpassed, especially through the bottom of a glass! ;)

Now, don't be misled by this next picture into thinking that my dearly beloved was converted from his wine-bibbing. It's all a ruse:

In fact, I had to make the ultimate sacrifice, and drink both pints. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it ...

And before I left Dublin, I just had to have a picture of these wonderful - what, exactly? Sea horses? Mersteeds? Any information/suggestions will be gratefully entertained.

More soon, I promise. Including knitting update - there has been quite a bit still.
And I think I can nominate three beautiful things: Guinness, the Book of Kells, and the Mersteeds!!