Monday, 19 March 2018

Everyone's an expert

I was browsing Country Living magazine online recently and came across an article about how knitting is shown to lower blood pressure, tackle depression and help you cope with pain, the article was accompanied by the above image (for the uninitiated the lady is crocheting).  Presumably whoever uploaded it realised knitting involved yarn and needles and imagined this image met both criteria.  Certainly did nothing for my blood pressure.
I am sick to death of people voicing ill informed opinions and over estimating their own knowledge and capabilities.  I used to detest those radio phone in programmes when strange people often late at night rang in to broadcast a tirade of nonsense.   I thought they should be banned. 
Nowadays everyone types their own correspondence, we have so many masters of all trades.  I receive documents that make me laugh out loud at the appalling grammar, the shoddy layouts, the poor command of English.  Of course everyone jumps on the bandwagon of slapping in an apostrophe whenever they use capital letters or a plural or neither.  
Our garden communal garden is a great example of the idiots taking over the asylum.  We employ a gardener who has no idea when or how plants need to be pruned and does what he likes, he is not a gardener but the ill informed believe he is doing a great job and never wonder why there are so few summer blooms.  Likewise the council staff who come to tend the public gardens.  Every spring I watch them savagely prune the gorse before it can flower and cut back the catkins as they appear.  
Recently one of our management board, a fellow resident, was tasked with ordering bulbs for our lake garden, £500 worth.  He said he had ordered snowdrops, when they arrived they were erythronium, the dogs tooth violet which admittedly are lovely but not snowdrops.  He obviously had no idea of the Latin name for snowdrops (galanthus) and didn't bother to find out.  I pointed out his mistake when I helped with the planting and he replied well they look like snowdrops, they'll be fine.  Unfortunately the poor resident who had put up the money for the bulbs was not so pleased.
On our local Facebook chat page recently there was information about the upcoming annual business awards event.  Some one had written in the comments to the effect that those nominated were a bunch of rich snobs, he made a few spelling mistakes in his comments.  I'm sure he would be delighted if someone wrote on his page that he, his family and friends were a set of chavs.  When I checked this person out he didn't even live in our town so how he knows that everyone running their own business here has too much money or looks down on others is beyond me
The internet has a lot to answer for, my blood boils when I see blatant displays of ignorance.  I am careful what I post, I am not here to be contentious or to voice my political views. I stick to what I know and God forbid I should ever make a fool of myself my stepping outside my areas of expertise (obviously ranting is one of these).  It's such a pity that others don't do the same.  

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Big socks and Little socks

Mr FF was in hospital recently having a ganglion, a fluid filled swelling, removed from the top of his right foot.  He made his own way to and from the hospital, half an hour away, leaving at 11 am and returning around 9 pm by taxi.
He managed to text me and most people he knows at various intervals, everything went well and he returned to the hospital this week for a check, they didn't remove the stitches or bandages and he goes back next week when hopefully they will.
So life has become challenging, I've nursed him through man flu before, I knew it wouldn't be easy.  For a while the anaesthetic seemed to obliterate from his memory where anything was in the penthouse, he is recovering and locating essentials now although going a bit stir crazy as he can't walk far or drive at all.
He has taken to wearing a hand knit sock over his dressing, he says the sock was too big anyway, now its enormous but if it helps.
Meantime my niece told me that her littlest had spent a frustrating time trying to get a pair of the socks I'd made her on over her tights.  I knit them some time ago and she'd outgrown them but was pretty determined she would still wear them.  Strangely I was already knitting up little socks with left over yarn so I soon got on the case to stock up both my nieces.

I'm delighted that they love their hand knits and very willing to keep their sock drawers full, I can rustle up a pair quickly and reduce the stash at the same time.  We are all happy. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Snow and smugness

Wintery penthouse view
Now we are back in Yorkshire we don't have to endure the snowy conditions and hardship of winter in Scotland.  Although we did have our fair share of the white stuff the worse thing that  happened in Ilkley was that our local bus, we call it the collider but that's another story, hasn't been running.  So to descend the steep hill to town I've forced Mr FF to walk with me and hold onto me till we get to the flat.  The other day Ilkley was like a ghost town, the banks and post office didn't bother to open at all, trains were cancelled, even Marks and Spencer closed mid afternoon but we got supplies for ourselves and others in our building who didn't want to venture out.  It was no problem and nice to get some fresh air straight from the Baltic.
I spoke to my friend Pam who still lives in what was our village in Scotland, yes they'd had massive snow drifts, the A road to the motorway was closed at times and single track at best, no bread or milk to be had even if you could get to the local town.  Been there, done that, not doing it any more.
It has been a time for battening down and I resurrected a knitting project I started last year.  After I made my original Estuary scarf I loved it so much I planned to make several as Christmas presents, that didn't happen.  Last year I purchased 10 more balls of the lovely Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK , carted them out to Italy and carted them back again.  December in Ilkley I cast on, knitted a bit, put the scarf aside and then made many pairs of socks.  Whilst confined to the sofa by snow I forced myself to pick up the work again and last week finished another scarf which might be given away or might be mine.
I've also been devouring books this year, here is no 10 on my read list.  It is excellent but halfway through I'm not sure if it is going to end well.
How I am loving my local library, I have a long list of reservations that I add to when I have recommendations or like a review in the Sunday papers.  Fortunately the books don't all arrive at once, waiting times can vary, so generally when I pop down to return a book and pick up another.  
Can I just say that no yarn or book purchases have entered the penthouse this year though some of both have left.  I have been collecting 50p paperbacks from the charity shops to take out to Italy but that doesn't count because I keep them under the spare bed and they are destined to depart when we do.

I am calling all this a great result, the decluttering continues, speaking of which the unidentified Christmas gift from Taiwan was indeed a key ring, made in a traditional way.  MelindaJ got it right and I'd send it to her as a prize except its already gone to a better place, not saying where but they do sell paperbacks for 50p.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Too nice to use

Chatting to a friend recently I asked her if she had a collection of notes books that are too nice to use, fortunately she did otherwise I might have sounded a bit odd.  She even confessed she couldn't write in one of her books because the pages had such beautiful watermarks she would spoil them.
You can keep what you like on your phone or your pad or whatever, but me I prefer paper.  I like to read books made of paper and jot down on paper.  But I do have note books that are far too nice to use. 
I worked once for an architect who always used Moleskines, those favoured by the famous.  His books were crammed with jottings and little sketches all done in black ink, the written pages looks beautiful.  
My writing is not great, particularly since I now write so infrequently, though I often use a fountain pen.  My Moleskine is untouched apart from being taken from the shelf to be admired.
Nice to be able to tie this one up to keep out unwanted jottings

or have a band to keep the empty notebook closed and always handy to have a place to keep your pen that will never write on the pristine pages. 

The above was a lovely gift, I've no idea what I might record in that.
The second rate note books I use are tatty, that's what happens when you use things, the get used.   
My knitting notes are falling out, 

And before you start analysing this irrational attitude, I know its not good but I feel that mostly I live a well balanced life, I just like having a few unused books.  I don't have clothes I haven't worn, ok I haven't used my newest handbag yet but its mustard yellow, its for the summer I will definitely use it and one day I might decide to use my notebooks, but don't count on it.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Vanilla Latte

I like my coffee as I like my life, simple, straightforward. no fuss,  so I've never tried any of the flavoured coffees, the various milk or pseudo milk options, I don't even like latte but I am smitten by this pattern by Virginia Rose-Jeanes which is free to download on Ravelry.
I have made four pairs already, two have been gifted away but these below are still in the penthouse and Mr FF has his eye on the ones to the left

Another pair are on the needles.
The simple pattern, just two rows to remember the second being knit, offers a lot of options, three sizes, three different heel flaps , my favourite is Eye of Partridge
and two toe finishes, rounded wedge or star, I'm using star. 
How generous is that.  The pattern seems to suit all colourways from plain to fair isle.   If I could take only one pattern to my desert island this would be my choice, I can't imagine I would ever tire of it even when I had to resort to spinning coconut husks and seaweed as my yarn supply ran out.  Thank you Virginia.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018


Finally the bathroom is done, it looked like this
 Then this
 here it is now
The room is small with no window but now feels spacious and efficient

We already had the steel towel radiator which is on the wall opposite the units so difficult  to include in photos, how sharp are those tiles

Long  walk in shower with just a fixed piece of glass, big square overhead rain shower head and a small flexible hand unit on the wall, a simple black glass push button controller

The cabinet has white or warm lighting options and of course we can listen to radio 4 or music via Bluetooth
The fun part now after all the cleaning is selecting items to display on the counter top that complement the colour scheme and look beautiful, black seems to be the answer

I've filled the cupboards with things I don't want to see and not even used the cabinet as the shelves are not yet in place.  Makes me think I have plenty of room for more purchases, which is very wrong.  

Friday, 2 February 2018

Cat news, its not all good

We've been concerned about the three cats we left in Italy since Christmas.  We didn't have any news from Mario who has been feeding them and thought he might not be contacting us as he didn't have good news.  We sent several emails and texts and about 10 days ago received a note to say our cat is now living at his house, at first I thought it said cats and was delighted but then realised it was cat singular.  So we sent more messages asking which cat and if there were still others at our house being fed.  Today we received a note to say Grigio one of the kittens is living with Mario and Theo the shy black older cat is at our house.  That means Crema is missing.
Crema is a beautiful friendly girl and like the others a survivor. She may have been taken by someone, I can't imagine she would willingly leave her little family.  We were told last year after Marzio who looked very much like her disappeared that people like white cats and he might have been taken. If she has a good home that's fine but we will definitely be searching the village when we return, which could be as soon as next month, to see if she is still around.
I won't post any photos, it makes me too sad,  We knew we would be upset when we got more news but we had to know and the fact that two are safe and well isn't helping much today.