Skyscrapers and String


Category Archive

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

I’m forcing myself to sit still for a bit…

I woke up, wide awake at 4.50am today which is wrong on so many levels.

My brain whirred and whizzed and after what seemed like hours I managed to doze off again.

I’m up now and showered and ready for the day and against all the advice you get I was making a to do list whilst eating my porridge.

I’m making myself sit for a while so I can at least digest my breakfast a while before I jump into the remainder of my chores.I’m also stressing because I still have one Of these to knit before Tuesday and I haven’t blocked any gift knitting yet and I have two pretty much completed sweaters for myself which are languishing in project bags under the bed.

I’m also stressing that one of the things I’ve knitted is going to be judged as too scratchy to wear by the intended recipient. Gah!

The kittehs are knocking down all the Christmas cards quicker than I can put them back up and the porch roof is leaking.

I had such a vivid dream last night about my Grandad, who passed several years ago, I could actually smell his old spice scented talcum powder as I woke up. The last thing I remember was seeing in the dream were the back of his trousers which were shiny and almost polished from sitting down in. There was talcum powder everywhere in the dream and I woke up coughing and couldn’t stop!

They’re never far away. Nanny’s ghost makes me bake and iron.

I wouldn’t mind if Grandad’s spirit visited me and suggested a winning horse I could place a bet on.

Much more civilised than making me choke!!!

Regardless of how much I might be enjoying knitting these socks I must put them aside to concentrate on gift knitting!

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Book making…

When I was growing up, bookmakers meant William Hill or Joe Coral.

I spent many hours standing outside the betting shop next to the Princess whilst Grandad put on a bet.

Nowadays it’s a different word, one that is intensely personal and pleasurable.

I’ve probably banged on about how Poetry has changed my life and one of the many brilliant things about mixing with extremely clever and diverse people is that you pick up so many great ideas.

My poetry teacher Anna Robinson has inspired me in so many ways. Ages ago, Anna started talking about making books at home, and binding them yourself.

My jaw gaped open as I had never considered the possibility of that.

I came home and waxed on to His Lordship and he was very matter of fact about the whole thing, having worked in printing industry his entire life and growing up the fourth or fifth generation of printers.

So that was it; the floodgates opened and since then I have been pleasing myself enormously making books of one kind or another.

This week I have been working on the first book in a set of four volumes of poetry.

I’m just back from a long walk and have done the cover. I still need to rearrange a couple of the internal pages but it’s almost done.

Whoever imagined my life could turn out so rich and full. I’m so incredibly lucky.

The picture on the cover is me and my mum on the beach at Leigh on Sea. I think Grandad is the person behind the camera, she’s pointing at him.


Planning and Rebellion…

Hello everyone

It’s Monday and the weather here is absolutely dismal.

Luckily for me I don’t actually have to leave the house today and I’m rather pleased because the rain is pelting down like nobody’s business.

It’s that time of year when people start asking about plans for next year and I haven’t got as far as thinking about that yet to be truthful.

And, looking honestly at myself I’m thinking that trying to do everything is a giant pain in the rear end, and surely I’d be better off cutting myself some slack.

I look around me and I see people trying so hard to be perfect and it’s exhausting just watching it.

By now I know what needs to be done and if I can’t be perfect then surely that’s okay.

If you can be POTUS and manage to loaf in front of 8 hours of tv and hack out several randomly punctuated tweets each day and still hold down your job then I surely can afford to lower the bar a bit and cut myself some slack.

The previous FLOTUS used to get up at 4am and work out because she was too busy doing good deeds to fit it in during normal hours.

Judging by the xmas decorations in the White House this year I imagine the current post holder wakes up at dusk and sinks several Bloody Mary’s before bathing in the tears of her enemies.

Anyhow I must get on with my day.

Here you can see my best cat, Spottie. She’s got her priorities straight.


Vlog pains…

Hi everyone!

After being out of action with a chest infection for several weeks I decided that Friday I was well enough to clean house.

However whilst finishing round, and stepping up to wipe the cupboard over the cooker I misjudged what I was doing and gave myself concussion.

Despite being useless Friday afternoon I went out yesterday as planned and was so exhausted afterwards I slept 12 hours straight and even needed a nap this afternoon.

Today has been really productive and we now have a Christmas cake cooling and some annoying jobs have been tackled successfully.

While His Lordship was pottering about in the kitchen I thought I would listen to a knitting video.

My daughter enjoys various beauty blogs and you can often find her poring at her screen and watching mini broadcasts from bloggers she follows regularly.

At my Poetry Group we have been discussing making videos of our poems and I was thinking it would be fun to do some crafting ones as well.

So I turned on one that came up in my blog feed by a group of young knitting entrepreneurs who I know from the London scene and from the off it was not great viewing to be honest.

The lead broadcaster hadn’t brushed her hair or thought about what she was trying to communicate and so every other word was errrm! Or ummm!

The ones I watched last week by a successful yarn company in the states was so hastily pulled together it was equally awful to watch.

Is it too much to expect these videos to be a bit more polished?

I have been unable to find anything engaging so far, one I found discussing how to use Ravelry appeared interesting for a while and posed an intriguing question at the start however the author came to no conclusions.

In all truth, the person performing basically seemed to be admitting throughout the three videos I watched that she just had loads of equipment and didn’t really craft very much in her spare time as she does nothing but yarn related work for her job.

So I’m sticking to my knitting and will see if there’s something I can contribute to the genre.

But be assured, I will brush my hair first!


Pull, crack and aww!

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re better organised than I am at this point before Christmas!

Despite having all the ingredients and a new and very luxe deep red mixing bowl for some weeks I have felt too snortly to make the Christmas cake.

Some gift knitting has taken place but nothing is finished, I have ends to sew in, blocking is required and it took me three weeks to find the magazine I needed to make one of the presents and when I found it it was literally under my nose.

I haven’t started one major project at all which was supposed to be a gift but I can still make it and gift it after Christmas when it’s finished and I’m facing the prospect of going shopping for gifts because I have seen such lovely things browsing I’m tempted!

The problem with Christmas is that I begrudge some of the expenditures like Christmas crackers. If I don’t have them it’s just a roast dinner and the dearer crackers have just as boring things in them as the cheapest ones.

I’m a bit spoiled regarding cracker toys because the lady up the road from my Irish Nanny made crackers for a living and she had a little workroom tricked out with all the constituent elements all year round and we used to visit her and I would be open mouthed staring at the big glass sweetie jars filled with plastic toys, cellophane fortune telling fish and metal interlocking puzzles and the like.

And the smell of the gunpowder in the snapping strips that go bang when you pull them is one of my favourite memories of Christmas.

Nanny’s friend had vases full of them and we were allowed to have one each as a treat. Also we could rummage through the toys and examine the mottos and Jokes!

So seeing the scanty ones you get now and the boring gifts inside I’m hard to please.

I also am reminiscing now about the soft crepe paper they used to be made from and remembering that now I’m recalling the smell and feel of the soft wrinkles and the jewel bright colours.

Perhaps I should have a go next year of recreating my childhood crackers.


Dancing in the bathroom…

I’m still coughing but no longer feel unwell so a kind of euphoria has set in…

I’m up early and dressed today before everyone leaves because His Lordship is expecting a redelivery of a parcel, and I don’t want to miss the postman by being in the bathroom when he comes.

One of my regular chores is to make short Spotify playlists for listening to at top volume in the shower.

I have always made mix tapes and now there’s Spotify I can indulge my musical idiosyncrasies to the fullest.

The portable speaker does have power to it and it’s great to take my music with me to the shed or whilst hanging washing out or weeding the garden.

This morning as I gathered towels and headed towards the bathroom I remembered that as I’ve been immersed in the autobiography of Mick Fleetwood all weekend I’d made a new Fleetwood Mac playlist and happily turned it on.

Below you can see Beezer with his paw on the self same book.

Despite sounding like a frog I found myself under the water singing my heart out.

The playlist is all tracks off “the Dance” which is a live recording and the spontaneous quality adds so much to my overall enjoyment.

The one drawback to showers is that they’re over too soon and I was still halfway through Temporary One when I was on the towelling mat, so I found myself dancing furiously by myself and grinning like an idiot.

There are worse ways to start the day!


So what comes next?

Hello all,

I hope you’re having a relaxing weekend and have your feet up with a cup of tea (like me!)

My cough is on the way out and during my three weeks of Purdah I’m astonished at how many irritating odds and ends I’ve been able to sort out.

I’m finally in the position of being able to get up tomorrow and finish something I thought I’d be able to do in roughly a week during last Christmas holidays, in fact, I thought it would be just a couple of hours sitting down to type.

Still, better late than never!

The excel spreadsheet updates that was my last item of overdue procrastination got done this afternoon in so little time I could not believe it had featured on so many to do lists.

I celebrated by having a nap!

So, now I’m reflecting on all this activity and thinking about the week ahead and feeling really happy that whatever tasks I choose to do will be fresh ones, free of guilt and obligation.

I’ve got some new designs to work on, using my stash of yarn, and the drawings I worked on this morning are pinned up in the kitchen.

His Lordship is happy and settled into his new job and everything else is going smoothly for the moment.

I’m just about to finish a project for myself, I’m literally on the last rows, it’s for a bandana cowl from the geniuses of elegance at Purl Soho.

It’s using the last skeins of variegated navy/grey/white yarn left over from another project and I already have a smashing hat to match plus an ear warmer headband if I have my hair up.

I have a few more Christmas gifts to make and quite a lot of blocking, but I’m going to get the knitting done first before I fiddle about blocking everything.

It’s all coming together nicely!


Putting things off…

Do you procrastinate?

Putting things off is a recipe for disaster.

Recently I was given far too much money back in a refund.

This is a typical scenario where manana must not apply.

I girded my loins, applied pen to paper and wrote off, and there have been letters back and forth and it’s not yet settled and quite irritating with the lack of initiative on the part of the other bodies I’m dealing with, but my conscience is clear because I have acted honestly and promptly to rectify the situation.

Also, over the last three weeks, where I have been too unwell to go out I have had to give apologies to friends and colleagues about various events and sit indoors watching endless episodes of Father Brown and knitting instead.

The other thing that puts me off doing things is the idea that it’s going to take too much time to do, or I haven’t got all the elements needed to carry it out.

So I’m busy nailing everything down.

One of the things I dislike is blow drying my hair in the cold weather.

My hair is long and thick and curly and in warmer months I wash it and it’s dry in no time.

Now the weather is frosty and I’ve had a chest infection I have had to muster myself to dry my hair as being cold with wet hair is a recipe for pneumonia.

So, this morning, I set a timer and patiently dried my hair, no faffing about with goopy hair products or anything and I was surprised that it’s less than 17 minutes from soaking to strawlike.

I’m surprised it takes so little time, I had assumed it took twice as long to dry!

So to cover my three bases of procrastination I have three rules or techniques:

  • Never put off anything official
  • Assemble everything you need before you start something, then get on with it
  • If you dread anything you have to do regularly, then time yourself; once you realise you’re not spending hours and hours on it, it’s more likely to get done!

So now my hair is done and I have cancelled all my plans for fun this weekend I will pick up my knitting and put Father Brown back on.

It’s rock and roll. Hmmph!

Here you can see a rare picture of my twin tabbies, Sherlock and Moriarty. They spend all their time together yet Moriarty is incredibly shy and I haven’t been able to take a picture of both of them together before. Moriarty is the smaller brother on the floor.


Yarn Chicken…

Hello everyone,

I was starting to feel better and so today I went out to the library.

It was a mistake to go outside and now all I can do is cough.

Having said that I played a mighty strong game of Chicken with the yarn for my cowl.

It was very much touch and go whether I had enough yarn to finish the cowl.

It’s a common sport with knitting.

I have previously gone to extreme lengths to avoid running out of yarn and my stash would be considerably smaller if it wasn’t stuffed with leftover yarn from previous projects.

Knitting can be very stressful.

However this time it wasn’t really a properly fearsome Chicken game because I had some fuzzy gold wool set aside if I ran out of yarn before the final row, but it was the most excitement I’ve had all week, which isn’t saying much.

I’m wearing the cowl now, even though it’s not blocked and the colour clashes horribly with my purple top. It’s very comfy.

So I’m sorry my knitting for today is finished and I cant be bothered to start something else, so I’m going to wait for dinner to cook and watch Sense and Sensibility on tv. Again.


Stick to what you know…

Still coughing, I feel like my entire life has become stuck.

You can’t get anything from the GP to ward off the cough, and all I can do is stay inside and keep warm.

Rain is pelting down the window beside my chair and my nose is running with equal vigour, you would think they were acting in concert.

I’m giving up on doing math and making my own stitch pattern for my cowl knitting, so yesterday I turned to a pattern I have used several times before Zuzu’s Petals, which is a superb design but I am using heavier yarn so still need to make sure I don’t end up with something that’s too big.

I cast on yesterday and noticed I need bigger needles so I’m unraveling yesterday’s work again.

I feel like Penelope and the Suitors!

Still, it’s keeping me occupied.