Skyscrapers and String

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the House category.


Hello everyone!

I hope you are enjoying the lovely summer we are having here in the UK!

Life is good, I am working hard, at home we are such a good team, even running the home is minimal effort.

Tonight, I got home from work first and I cleaned and tidied round for a bit and folded some washing. Jon came home and we sat in the garden with a coffee and mulled over our respective days. Everything seems to be going just fine.

My dear friend Gaynor posted a Facebook link to a particular shade of paint, the link was on a blog I’d never encountered before called Gardenista.

Whilst having a quick scoot about I stumbled over this particular
Gardenista Post

In it are these garden design images below, well, I am totally smitten!

Although I don’t live in the same kind of house, the back yard somehow looks just like mine.

And I love the paved area and the different kinds of seating!

Jon is helping me plan, we are looking at how many slabs we need and where to get the furniture! Ooh! It is really exciting! Plans! Anticipation!





Seven Years Of Waiting

Why is it that all my favourite kinds of art portray yearning?

My go to cd is Jeff Buckley’s Grace. I can’t even describe to you the effect this music has on me, it is quite profound. If you haven’t heard it, buy it, take the music player into your bedroom and lie down and listen. Ethereal, sublime, transcendent. There are no words adequate to describe the wistful passion of lost love.

My favourite books are all filled with sorrowful longing for another person in various guises, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and of course, Persuasion. In Persuasion, the hero and heroine are kept apart for eight years!

Yesterday I watched “Notting Hill”; I have had a summer cold and was in the house by myself. It kept me company so I could knit. Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts star as divided lovers, she is thoroughly rotten to Hugh’s character, and he cannot help himself but long for her return. It is super, great cast, and both funny and poignant.

Back to the point of this post.

I am a greengage lover. So I know all about yearning!

You can buy them in the shops at this time of year for a few weeks, and when they’re gone, that’s your lot. They don’t grow them overseas and ship them in all year round like blueberries or mange tout peas.

Greengages are a rare type of plum, but they are more fragrant than plums, and in my opinion, quite divine. I read somewhere that they originated in France.

Seven years ago, after we bought this house, Jon and I walked over to our local garden centre and purchased a greengage sapling, thinking I would shortly be overcome by a glut of greengages and I would have to resort to pies, jams, chutneys and the like. My mouth watered at the prospect!

We had to walk the tree home, which is no mean feat as you’d be amazed at how much street furniture overhead needs to be negotiated whilst carrying an eight foot tall tree in a pot. We planted it, and I thought, right, that’s that! Now I’ll have greengages coming out of my ears for ever!

Hmmm. Yes, this post is about wanting, but not getting.

To the point, greengages only grow fruit under certain conditions:

1. If a neighbouring plum tree is in blossom at the same time (they don’t compare diaries so the same two trees might not blossom together and you watch your blossom drop off as next door’s tree just puts forth flowers – gah!).

2. If it is wet all spring to make the fruit flesh out. Dry weather=no plums.

3. If the tree is in a good mood.

In previous years, I have usually had one or two fruit, the most in one go once was about 9 greengages in total. Some years, nada, nothing, zippo, zilch.

This year I had loads of fruit. The fruit, if I get any, is usually ready the weekend after Amber’s birthday. The tree was literally dripping with fruit. All the conditions were favourable, and my hopes of a glut were very high!

The weekend after Amber’s birthday came, and I went into the garden and picked a beautiful golden green soft plum. Ooops! It was bitter! I tried a couple more, no, not ready.

The weather continued nice, I tried a few days after, but no still bitter.

Yesterday I tried again, the fruit were quite sweet, but a majority of the fruit had turned overripe and dropped from the branches. There would be none left if I waited any longer.

This evening, I harvested the twenty or so yellow plums and made a crumble. I waited for it to cook!

Here, my first crumble, it needed sugar in the fruit as they were not perfectly sweet. It will last me a couple of days, then will be gone for another year!


Caipirinha time!

Hello all!

Sorry I haven’t been here much, I am having a wonderful time, everything is going well and when I try to sit and write something, well it feels like I am either smug or boasting.

Regular readers know that in the past things have not always gone smoothly for me, and I’ve used this blog as a way of making sense to myself .

I suppose this is proof that it works.

My knitting is going well however I have about 5 shawls to block, so please expect a nice flourish when they’re done .

Do let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to write to you about. A bit of inspiration wouldn’t go amiss.

But in the UK we’re having a proper summer, the weather is lovely. I am walking home through the park, I have freckles and brown arms, and my feet have little X’s on them from the straps on my cheery lemon yellow sandals.

Work is mad but good if that isn’t a contradiction, and I am having fun most if the time.

It is funny, when you speak up and explain what you intend to do clearly and you communicate your priorities, you get respect, and even if you’re swamped with projects, you feel in charge, and that is satisfying.

Also, being in demand is wonderful for your self esteem. Especially if you’re a geek.

I am wearing one of my summer holiday beach dresses and lolling about upstairs with the fan on. It is very relaxing!

Life is good. We’re all really happy.

So, let me share the recipe for a Caipirinha with you. These are my favourite cocktails, really refreshing.

Jon often makes these for me. Mmm!

Do not have more than 2 straight off as they make me really squiffy quickly, and you’ll blame me for leading you astray.

You can get the cachaca in Sainsburys.


1 lime, quartered
2 teaspoons fine sugar
2 ounces cachaca
Ice cubes


Place the lime wedges and sugar into an old-fashioned glass.
Muddle well.
Fill the glass with ice cubes.
Pour in the cachaca.
Stir well.

You can drink it in the garden when it’s sunny!


Noisy Coffee Machine!

Hello everyone!

After a fabulous and luxe weekend of deep happiness and much making, work today was like frog shock.

Even though I only do 4 days, it is all a bit much with the reorganisation. I feel a bit overwhelmed by whats going on.

Anyhow. Onto happy thoughts!

My little coffee machine is my friend. It makes the best coffee and I love using it. Unlike the old coffee machine which fired little grounds of coffee over the entire house.

The sticking point is for the three minutes it is switched on, the entire worksurface judders and it all makes a giant racket. I can hear it from my bed.

No more the noise, I have cured it!

4 crochet granny squares.

Silence. Well nearly.



Millifiore Patchwork Shawl – Ta Daah!

Hello everyone!

I have been knitting a lot, reading books a lot, and baking bread a lot and not blogging as much as usual. Plus three times a week swims and long walks and DIY kitchen tiling!

Here you can see the patchwork shawl I’ve been making over the last couple of weeks.

Inspired by a floral watercolour and driven by my love if vintage Americana, I wanted to create something rustic and homespun, that had a faded glory to it. And by using a toning rainbow of colours, to create a saturated neutral effect, so the shawl would go with anything.

And just a hint of sparkle.

It is a section of crochet patches sewn together with knitted on “wings”, the idea being that you can see the striped wings alongside the patches. This worked perfectly!

Lots of notepad scribblings. If this is going to be written up it’d better be soon lol!

Amber is modelling this for me, in the kitchen in front of the new tiles, so you can see both to good effect. It was very hot as the bread was baking in the oven directly behind us!









It’s Not The End Of The World

Hello everyone,

I hope you’ve had a super week. My week has not been so great, although my crafting has been good with lots of successes.

My nipper is a genius but is having a really tough time right now, so hassles at work and with difficult people are the last thing I need.

Swimming is great for soothing the mind, however this week I am short of a couple of swims, and there have been tube strikes, so no walks through the park either. Which doesn’t help, as these exercises keep me sane.

Everything at work and many things at home are conspiring to make me feel vexed, unhappy, undervalued, unappreciated and taken for granted. I feel let down and annoyed.

My nice boss has been made redundant, and I cried to see him go.

I am fed up of feeling used, and of endlessly trying to please people. Surely I have played that role for far too many years now!

It’s not the end of the world but I am frustrated at the total lack of respect.

Jon is my shining light and as I sit here with you he is marinating venison for my dinner.

Here you can see my faithful cat, she truly loves me and we enjoy each other’s company.


You can see from that picture how she has trashed the new settee I bought a few months ago.

The tiles are up, Jon has still to do the grouting, but with any luck that will be done by Sunday. We have a long weekend to enjoy, and I’ve had a nap but there are ashes in my mouth.

You can also see here my crochet shawl waiting to be blocked:




This was started and left unfinished for a year. To my shame it took about a day to finish. I have several more wips lurking about and I will attend to these now I have a head of steam.

The patchwork shawl is coming along. I’d like to get that finished too!


Good knitting but a horrible week. I want it all to stop!

Frantic Tidying To Attain Peace

Hello everyone!

We have eaten three eggs and a packet of cadbury easter egg cakes. Hope you are also surrounded by crumpled foil, torn boxes and have small brown splodges on your tshirt too!

Despite shopping delivery coming Thursday, and me trotting over to Asda for bread and pasta which I’d forgotten yesterday, I then had to go out again when I got in back to the corner shop for Jon’s spices as he was cooking dinner and had used everything up last time (forgetting to let me know). Hmm! Are you seeing a pattern energing here too?

Why is it we are so busy here we are always all in a muddle?

Everything you read advises that muddle is best resolved by decluttering. I think muddle is best resolved by being rich enough to not have to work.

This morning I got up at 7am, and the only reason I am sitting typing to you is because my vast list of weekend chores includes stopping for 5 minutes to paint my nails.

It is good to pair up a dull job with a treat, so my treat for doing the boring mani -pedi is to sit and write to you.

Today so far I have tidied, filed and cleaned and dusted for 4 hours flat. And I’ve only done half what needs doing.

It is not like I let my house go to rack and ruin all week either.

Admittedly just finishing off my last Minion hat this morning has allowed me to focus on my surroundings a bit more. I have had my head down in the yellow Minion wool quite a bit lately!

It is nice to finally stop sewing on eyeballs it must be said!

Ahhh! Breathe! I can now relax a bit!

This morning, I found myself unable to tolerate the ghastly tissue box that had awful slogans typed on it and pictures of women wearing rollers.

So I found my bag of leftover crochet squares from this bag project:


So I sewed them up with some spare grey yarn:


And, Hey Presto! The ugly box became obscured from sight! Yaay!



Once my house is straightened I am sure I will find peace ! Lol!

Beyond Impressed! Tile Heaven!

Hello everyone!

It’s Thursday, I’ve got dishwash hands after washing up and tidying and chores all morning long; and I’m sitting down for a rest for the first time today, so I thought I’d say Hi!

By all rights I should be whinging about a bit of a hangover, but I’m chipper, after last nights dinner out with my Boss and the Team and the wine and the Capirinhas. We were at Rockit at Canary Wharf, the pretext was someone’s leaving do. It was fun.

On the way home I did a Facebook Word Cloud, it lists all the words you use most on Facebook Status updates. Mine was lovely, I was particularly pleased that the word “drunken” appeared in very small letters lol.

My most used words are Lol, Jon, Amber, pretty, knit, actually, doing, Train, Work, Home, xxx, mins, total and wonderful. I thought it gave off a positive and happy vibe!

Anyhow, enough of the rambling about! I wanted to share a fabulous company I have found online called Flekman Art Tiles.

This company specialises in wonderful art tiles. They have a range of tiles you can buy that feature famous art, or scenes from nature, I found them on eBay when looking for kitchen tiles to make a splash back feature for behind my cooker. Whilst reading the item details on eBay, I saw they make custom tiles from your own images.

I contacted Gena, and she helped me sort everything out, it was a breeze. The firm are based in New York, and I felt very glamorous having some custom tiles made just for me!

For $181, which includes postage, my best loved picture of Woozle became 16 six inch tiles. The quality is remarkable, and it took a couple of weeks. 5 days to make the tiles and post them, and another 5 days for them to arrive in the UK from the US.

Here, see the dull white kitchen wall space behind the cooker:


Here, see the cat tiles laid out on the kitchen table as made by Gena’s team, absolutely jaw droppingly fabulous! Well done Flekman Art Tiles!



Easter Knights and Difficult People

Hello everyone!

Today followed a wonderful weekend and I imagined that my peaceful attitude would coast me right through the day. As you know I do love my work.

Instead I had a selection of difficult conversations with really irritating people, and I still feel wound up by it. Never mind.

Jon and I went for a swim after work, it was very nice. I’d made a beef casserole yesterday, and Amber heated it up ready for us when we got in. It was very yummy!

Over the weekend I was randomly Googling and I came upon an Easter festival held in Berlin each year. It is all very Game of Thrones, with Knights on horseback jousting, sword fights, and other events, it all sounds very intriguing!

As far as I can tell, from using Google translate, the Citadel was rescued by these Easter Knights back in medieval times, and they remember these heroes each year, commemorating their bravery in this festival. Part of the re-enactment requires the Knights to fight over flames, so this must have been part of what happened back in time.

We have to go next year!!

The other exciting prospect is a company I discovered recently who make custom tiles from your own image. I am ordering a splashback of tiles for my kitchen using this picture, we’ll have our own dear Woozle, looking all neat and innocent, as a mural!


High Rise Cat!

Hello everybody!

I am pleased to report I am at last sitting in a warm house, my boiler is fixed and I am no longer shouting down the phone at either British Gas or Ideal Boilers.

The heart failure, palpitations and stress of earlier parts of today is best skirted over.

I can say that the pasta I cooked with Ragu tonight was splendid, and also that I very much enjoyed my impromptu karaoke session afterwards, including hits by Goldfrapp, Amy Winehouse, Counting Crows and T Rex.

Now I am knitting, cat on lap, everything is good humoured and bright. Jon is happily watching Independence Day on tv, the Americans have just blown up the aliens.

It has been funny today watching the cat on her high shelf, fast asleep. She sat there all day until the repairman came, then she woke up, ate, then she spotted I was wearing my cold weather blue cashmere jumper, and leapt up into my arms. I had the devil of a job when I was knitting it to keep her off my work.

Now I have 12 rows of my hat to knit, then I can do the shaping. So I will wish you a happy evening!