Skyscrapers and String

Luxe, calm et volupte…

It’s a peaceful day here at the Maison des Volants de Chatons.

I celebrated my return with the purchase of a luxe stick with tassels in gold – it’s a cat toy, and I’m waiting for Sainsburys to deliver the shopping because you can imagine how bare the cupboards are with me being away and everyone foraging wildly for a week.

The washing machine is going round and I’m wearing damp trousers as the load in the dryer hadn’t been set long enough and I can’t open the door for the delivery in my underwear.

I’m drinking coffee and feeling contented to be home and fulfilled with my existence.

Even though it’s Mother’s Day here in the UK I’m going to log on to work today as I want to be prepared for next week.

I’m going to knit until the delivery arrives so this post is short.

I’m really happy with everything and I hope you’re enjoying some measure of contentment.

Mes chats are happy I’m here and their little faces are all smiles.

Here you can see Philippa, so happy she forgot to put her tongue back.


No Place Like Home…

Hello everyone

I’ve had more excitement this week than in the last 10 years.

Bearing in mind I am not a person who shies from doing new things and in the last two years I’ve crammed in as much fun as I could handle.

But going overseas by myself where I knew no one was a first.

When you book a holiday there’s always a tour company rep in the neighbourhood.

If it’s a business trip, you liaise with the people you’re visiting at work and you arrange it so it suits everyone.

But this time I was completely by myself.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so homesick.

But it shows you how wonderful my new colleagues are, that by the time I had to leave, I was sorry to go.

And Paris, what a city. What people.

It’s an amazing thing to be French. French people look different, behave different, sometimes men wear their glasses on their foreheads.

But they’re a beautiful people and I felt very much at home there.

At times when I was eating I was laughing with joy, purring and closing my eyes.

I’m not sure how I will survive without proper French mustard. Or Kir.

The coffee in the excellent hotel where I stayed was exactly like my coffee at home.

But my house is my roots.

I’m so proud that I went out alone on the trip and I met some amazing people and I’m very pleased to have found such a brilliant opportunity.

I’m excited to really work hard and make a difference.

It’s enjoyable work, but it doesn’t suit everyone to get into the details of a complex database and employ every shred of brainpower to make it do what you want. I enjoy it.

But now I’m home!

It took hours to unpack last night after my working day finished. The washing machine has been on continuously and I have a carrier bag of things still left to put away.

I’m very tired despite two sleeps in my lovely bed.

My little cats were delighted to see me and I’m overjoyed to be back with them and my family.

The cab driver thought it was funny when I told him I wanted so much to go home: ‘Ma maison, mes chats et mon lit’

We chanted it and laughed as we drove past all the shops I didn’t visit, the monuments and churches I never saw, and all the glorious knitting shops we passed and the restaurants I never got to try.

I must go again.

Paris, je t’aime!

But there’s no place like home…

Travel knitting…

When you have hobbies, and travel presents itself, the biggest stress is what to take.

I’m an avid reader, and a ferocious knitter, and I write, so this morning, the first things sorted into a heap for packing have been travel supplies so I can enjoy my journey.

For reading I have a new Library book: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. This was a book I found via Goodreads recommendation in the same way I found Artemis by Andy Weir, which I loved.

I’m not sure whether to take William Carlos Williams or Lorca for my poetry transfusion.

This morning I had to enlist His Lordship to wind the skein of yarn from my previous post into a ball, it was very tangled in the skein and wouldn’t wind on the usual swift.

Patient as always, he stood barefoot in the kitchen with his arms out for 20 minutes, as I cursed the skein happily into a glowing ball.

I’m yet to get a circular needle out, the pattern is slightly ambiguous about sizing and I’m thinking a 3.5mm needle should work.

From my chair, I can see incense, post it notes, fountain pen cartridges, manicure stuff, a pencil sharpener, a set of gym clothes, pajamas, tissues, a tea towel (of London) and a bobble hat and hand knitted mittens.

Various things are charging and I still feel unsettled.

It seems my hotel doesn’t have a restaurant or provide breakfast so I’m wondering how to work around this.

I’m not sure if Hanger is universally recognised however I suffer from it, and when you go on holiday you can feed yourself at will. Work is something else entirely however I am sure the lovely people I am working with will also like to eat at regular intervals and I can follow whatever they do.

I’m going to sit in a long bath and read some more of Marco Polo’s travels. I’m sure he wasn’t so pampered!

Here you can see my ball of wool, it looks like fizzy lemonade!

So here we are…

After a tumultuous couple of weeks here I am on the beginning of a new path.

I like change, and my life has taught me that destiny only ever brings me brilliant things and I have learned to leap up and grab my chances as they arise.

So here I am, mid air, and only a few breaths away from a whole new time.

Aside from my new job, and the new friends I’m going to make, I’m delighted because my orange tree is full of blossom, just a few weeks since I harvested all the oranges then made marmalade.

After the harvest, I gave the tree a good pruning and now it’s flowering!

My green shawl is progressing after the multiple ripping back episodes and now I’m nearly at the last few inches.

Paris will be wonderful but I need to come up with some travel knitting and I might try the new pattern from Loop – Tiny Tassels Shawlette.

Here you can see I have the perfect wool for it. I bought it ages ago at YAK Brighton.

Perfect don’t you think?

Making things happen…

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re having a good week so far.

My life is changing yet again, the phrase I think of is from ‘Southern Cross’ by Crosby Stills and Nash… it goes “spirits are using me, larger voices calling.”

What I’m trying to explain is that sometimes you don’t have to burst yourself to get what is meant for you.

The last few years have been quiet, introspective times of thoughtful internal self examination, healing and growth and now I’m ready and all my teachers are showing up at once.

So today I’m on the bus thinking about all the amazing opportunities in front of me, places I idly thought ‘I wish I was going there’ and now I’m going!

It’s spooky how things fall into place. Things I have wished for. And thought no more about.

Seriously I’m worried because I’m reading ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ and loving the adventure, am I going to see the world and return home with diamonds, rubies and pearls sewn into the lining of my doublet?

I love freedom and being independent and brave, yet I’m content with my life and I’m surrounded by love, I truly want for nothing but here I am, despite everything, growing out of my little rut.

And I’m daunted and more than a bit nervous. I wish I’d never seen those ‘Taken’ films, I’m sure I would be less anxious about traveling.

I’m just going to have to take wing. The view is going to be amazing.

Poetry books…

Hello everyone,

I hope your Monday hasn’t been too bad.

Here in snowy London I’m sitting on the sofa in my pajamas and I’ve worked hard today. I’m a bit pooped to be honest and I don’t think I’ll be burning any midnight oil.

Rearranging some furniture has been my mission, that’s done plus I’ve written a new poem and by lunchtime tomorrow I should be halfway through my last book, preliminary title is ‘Love and Death.’

When I had a break this afternoon I watched an episode of ‘Modus’ which is proper scary Scandi serial killer tv but okay if you watch it in daylight.

Dinner tonight was pasta with tomato and basil sauce, with halloumi added.

Needless to say there’s none left and I’m hoping to make headway with my sea green shawl whilst watching Fast & Furious 8.

As a big fan of Vin Diesel I love these movies, the stunts and special effects are amazing. I enjoyed this one so much tonight is my second watching!

Anyhow, I’m going to leave you with a picture of my cats from this afternoon. There’s been lots of cold gusting winds and snow so they’re all homebodies tonight.

Raw fingers…

One of my friends at Poetry plays ukelele.

Yesterday we had a long discussion about performance poetry and it was food for thought.

On the bus home, listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash playing ‘Southern Cross’ it occurred to me that my natural performance style is singing, and playing guitar.

I thought about Dave and his ukelele, and about the ukelele in my shed, that I had utterly failed to master in the four years since I bought it.

Figuring I really should go back to the ukelele and have another go, this afternoon I sat down for about an hour and worked out how to put it in tune.

Then I looked at some ukelele chords and some tab, and pretty shortly I was playing ‘Soul Sister’ by Train.

It was not my finest performance and due to a week of filthy cold and feeling completely hoarse, I sounded pretty rubbish actually.

But having got this far is so exciting!

My fingers really hurt as it’s been a while since I played anything.

I’ve printed two lots of tab and after dinner I’m giving it another go.

Forwards and backwards…

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

I’m so busy knitting a few rows, spotting mistakes then ripping back I feel like it’s Groundhog Day.

Right now I’m watching one of the cats eating rice pudding. That will teach Jon to put the bowl down unattended.

Also, I’m trying to forget the sight of Donald Trump showing off his toupee earlier today. I’m scarred.

Here you can see Sherlock, he’s right on my lap and smiling broadly.

Knitted truths…

When you’re making something, there comes a point where you can see you’ve gone a bit wrong.

It’s the same with life generally I suppose, only you can’t unravel people and relationships and start again in the same way as knitting enables you to.

This week my knitting went a bit wrong and I carried on blithely.

Then the glaring errors started to display themselves and multiply.

Then they banded together holding a big ‘ban guns in America’ sign and started shouting at me, so they got my attention before I was embarrassed with my prompt notes reminding me to attempt some kind of empathy with the grieving families and students.

His Lordship was quite happily watching ‘Endeavour’ on the tv and I asked him to help me decide how badly I had gone wrong.

We put the 62 inches of knitting onto two long circular needles and laid the thing flat on the kitchen table.

You could see where I had made ugly mistakes with the stitch pattern and where the pattern called for way too many stitches to be picked up so it had made the whole thing ruffle up.

It was wrong in so many ways we had no alternative but to rip back.

We took the knitting off the needles and resumed the tv show and Jon pulled the knitting back and I wound the yarn back into a ball.

Yesterday I sat and started over and it seems to me that I need a third less stitches picked up than the pattern suggested.

I’m glad I listened to the knitting. It always, unforgivingly tells the truth.

Now for several long rows…

After at least four attempts, several dozen stitch markers and various calculations I finally cast on the 369 stitches along the edge of my shawl-in-progress.

At the point of starting, I then noticed the cable on my long needle had almost worn through.

It was nearly midnight at that point and the episode of Altered Carbon had finished, so I went to bed.

This morning, I got up and found my set of interchangeable needles and although they always come apart at the worst moment even if you diddle about with the little locking pin they supply with the set, beggars can’t be choosers I transferred the stitches over.

Already half way through the row, the fancy tips are loosening.

I went onto ebay and found a nice long fixed cable circular needle. It should come in a few days.

I should mention at this point, that I’m not certain where the rest of the yarn for the project has been stowed. And I’m starting to run short already!

Yesterday I mentioned I was catching cold. My knitting feels interminable. I have hot honey and lemon.

On the tv is the latest adaptation of the story of Troy. Characters who should be fair or red headed are all dark haired. Paris is charmless.

At least it’s a bit different. And all the cast are speaking English so there’s much to be said for that.

Here you can see Sherlock. He’s adorable.