Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Weaving...the final frontier...#2.

Well, I went to my weaving and spinning group today, empty loom in the back of my car, and confessed all. Yes, I told the truth...except, of course, I couldn`t bring myself to say I was relieved that I didn`t have to do any more. So Ayli (not Eileen as I`ve been calling her all this time...she`s Swedish and it always sounded like Eileen to my uncouth Scots ear) was terribly, terribly nice....and offered to help me warp up the loom again there and then.

I told her my nerves were too shattered by the experience to be able to think of starting again just yet.

She said that it was all obviously her fault because she started me off on something with such a fine yarn. Perhaps something more chunky this time so that I could get my confidence back? (She is SO nice.....)

I said I couldn`t quite bring myself to think about it just yet. (Very true, actually!)

She said it was such as shame as my piece (my tiny, tiny piece) was so perfect....

I said...oh, to cut a long story short I finally agreed to bring my elderly roller loom (yes, I own a loom, I bought it off Ebay when I thought I might like weaving) to the group in a couple of weeks time and she would put a nice chunky warp onto it for me, so that I could weave with strips of roving or very chunky natural handspun. Ulp.

Oh well...how could I say no? She`s so nice. I didn`t want to make her sad.

I thought some of you might like to see where the Haddington Spinners and Weavers group is based. We meet every Tuesday morning at the Poldrate Mill in Haddington. It`s a restored grain mill dating from the 18th C, but there`s been a mill here since medieval times. It`s partially used today by community craft groups which is why we`re here. I think it`s a wonderful setting for a group of spinners and weavers.

The mill wheel is still operational, btw...it does get run sometimes. East Lothian has big heritage open days when many otherwise private or restricted access historical sites are opened to the public.

We occupy the room directly behind the mill wheel. We share it with the mill machinery. It`s behind a barricade, of course, for public safety.

Beautiful room but with one huge disadvantage...the stone floor. And it was -5'C today in Haddington, and of course you can`t fill heritage sites with modern heating systems. It was cold. Note how all the spinners are still wearing jackets or double layers of sweaters.

Where am I? Well, that`s my Mazurka bottom left of the picture. The small looms are off to the left, the big looms are upstairs in the grain loft, which is a lot warmer but also houses the upholstery group so we can`t have the whole space. Bah. We`ll have to build a fire in the middle of the floor if it gets any colder.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Weaving...the final frontier.

Remember my description of how much I was enjoying learning to weave ?????

Well, fate has overtaken me.....

Yup, empty loom plus the world`s smallest piece of weaving. No, I didn`t finish my cushion cover. I screwed up BIG STYLE.

Eileen had said last week at Guild that she could do with some more of the wooden batons that you use to tension the warp on the rollers, and that she recalled she had put quite a lot into my warp and could I bring a few back if I`d finished with them? Oopps...I didn`t want to admit that I`d hardly got up to the first baton, let alone "a few". So I resolved to do some speed weaving before the next Guild meet...that`s tomorrow. Needless to say this did not happen so I decided the best thing to do to cover my shame would be to unroll the back tension roller thingie (sorry, can`t remember the proper names for any of the bits of the boring object) and filtch out a few of the batons...then rewind it.

Now anyone who weaves is doubtless going "Noooo!!!!" at this point. Not knowing any better, I did this thing. Then I discovered that if you take a tensioning device out of a warp...yes, you lose the tension. You can rewind it all, but as I discovered, you can rewind but you`ll never get even tension. 124 warp threads, all doing their own thing. It was a disaster.

Oh well, at least I hadn`t lost the shed...yet. Of course the most intelligent thing to do at this point would have been to take the whole sorry mess into Guild tomorrow and grovel to Eileen. I`m renowned for being the sort of person whose bloody-mindedness often triumphs over her common sense though. Ask my Hubby.
I kept trying. It got worse. I tried again. These warp threads were twenty feet long each, did I mention? You can get a lot of knots in 124 x 20 feet. Lots.

I decided to cut (I can hear your toes curl from here, Ms Weaver) my piece of weaving lose and retie the warp threads at this point. Hah...this was an act of desperation, I admit. Did it work? Did it heck. Did I break a shed stick at this point? Yup. Did I give up? Yup.

Did I cry? Are you serious? I rejoiced! The instrument of torture was dethreaded! No more weaving!

I saved the huge lengths of cut warp thread for my peg loom. I tied off the warp of half of the worlds smallest cushion cover too....amazingly I`d managed to weave almost a perfect square, 12" x12", so I may make it into a cushion yet. Or hang it on the wall to remind me never, never to try this again. Ever.

Oh, and what am I going to tell Eileen? Well, cravenly, I thought about telling her that the cat did it. Or one of the kids, or Hubby, or Santa Claus. But I`ve persuaded myself that the best plan is just to tell the truth and grovel a bit. She`d know I was lying anyway...she knows we don`t have a cat.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The week that went...

Well, due to a combination of PMT, catching some sort of D&V tummy bug and my dear sweet angel daughter (NOT!) deciding to wake me up every night at three am to tell me she`s lost her toy unicorn/needs the loo/has been to the loo/needs her bed made/she had a dream she can`t remember..............I have been part of the ranks of the not totally lucid this week and not getting a lot of blogging done either. I know I`ve been doing things because the piles of random objects on my floors have rearranged themselves, there is food in the fridge and knitting has been knitted, but for the life of me I can`t recall doing these things. (No, it can`t have been Hubby doing them...he doesn`t knit.)

It`s amazing what sleep deprivation can do to the finely-tuned human mind...or my mind, for that matter. Or is it the perimenopause? I wish we still had our old GP (family doctor)...she was a bit older than me, pragmatic, sympathetic and you could tell her any old dross that was bothering you and she`d come up with three practical and sensible solutions that worked. Selfishly, she retired, so though my current GP is a really nice, sensible pragmatic person who I`m quite happy to see about lots of things, he`s a man and younger than me, so it`s not quite the same going in for a good moan and complaining session. I may have to go in and see him if this tiredness drags on much more though...one minor infection after another and constant weariness is a total PIB. Especially with two lively kids to keep an eye on. Roll on summer and the great outdoors!

Normal blogging will be resumed as soon as possible, with pictures...if I can find the camera. Under one of the newly rearranged piles of whatever, I think?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hosting and fishwives.

I just discovered that the hosting site where I hosted the pix for my profile avatar only stores it for a week, ho-hum. So, to save further fuss, I`m going to host my avatar here...

There you are... Mistress Val, the Spinning Fishwife.

What`s a fishwife? They were women who greeted the returning fishing boats, gutted the fish on the quayside then carried the baskets of fish into the nearest town to sell the fish round the streets.

They were very common in Scotland in the past century, and up to recent times. The last surviving fishwife in my home town of Musselburgh here on the Firth of Forth died in the year 2000. It`s a six mile walk from Musselburgh to the centre of Edinburgh, btw, and their creels (the basket on the back) could weigh up to a hundredweight...that`s 112 pounds! I tried carrying an empty one once, and the strap over my shoulders was biting into me within a minute. Tough, independent, hardworking ladies. Ever heard the expression "She swears like a fishwife"?

Sometimes they even knitted while carrying their baskets. I suppose it might have taken their minds off the walk and the weight of fish on their backs?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Ouessant and beyond.

Hubby took the kids out this afternoon, so I had a rare four hours alone in the house by myself. I had intended to go to the allotment but guess what? It was raining. I could have gone to Tesco`s and done the weekly shop, but Hubby had taken my car (it has seven seats, and he was giving other folk a lift) and as the clutch in his car is on the point of death I didn`t feel like having this happen in the Tesco car park. So...very reluctantly (ho ho ho)...I spent my afternoon at home. ALONE.

So I did some laundry. Well, I started a load off in the washing machine......does that count as an afternoon`s housework? I briefly thought about going to bed with a pile of back editions of Spin Off and having a nice snooze. Then I remembered I was going along to the Edinburgh Spinner`s Guild tomorrow for the first time, and I had not a clue as to what I was going to take to spin. Or spin on. The Louet? The Other Louet? The Mazurka? Oh, the problems.....

I eventually decided on the Mazurka simply because I`m currently spinning Wensleydale on the big Louet and I needed to wash some more Wensleydale fibre. The Ouessant sock wool on the Mazurka felt like a better idea, and I had clean dry Ouessant fibre ready to card. So I got out mt beloved Louet Junior (Christmas pressie from Hubby) and spent a happy hour carding up four fat batts of Ouessant fibre to spin tomorrow.

I love my drum carder. I don`t think it saves a lot of time over using hand carders, but it gives a good consistant result and you can blend sections of several batts together to give a nicely homogenous batch of fibre. Drum carders are a shocking price though. The Louet Junior is one of the cheaper ones and though I shopped around for the lowest price I could find, it still cost £175 at Haldanes over in Fife. I even drove up to collect it to save the postage, which would have been a real saving except for the fact that Twist Fibre Craft Studio is only a few miles away from Haldanes. Oops...

I`m still having a bit of trouble with this Ouessant fleece, though. Not only was it filthy but it was also full of chaff and tiny bits of straw. Washing got a lot out, pulling the washed fibres apart by hand then fluffing them in the cold tumble drier helped a lot too. Three passes through the drum carder got rid of a lOT. But as you can see, there`s still some VM left...

The first batch of Ouessant that I processed was just as bad, but I did find that after giving it a final hand carding (I prefer to spin woolen from rolags) got rid of even more rubbish, then 99% of the rest fell off during drafting. So I`ll just have to have faith that this yarn will end up clean, won`t I?

Oh, I`ve been washing a lot of fleece this week while Hubby was away and just wanted to show you my excellent drying area for washed fleece.

It`s an old fireguard placed in front of and partially around our ancient Rayburn. The Rayburn is mostly used for running our central heating system now, not cooking, so while it doesn`t need to be accessable it does pump out a lovely warmth all day. Perfect for fleece drying.

Here`s a better pix of the Rayburn (a G33, original gas-fired model, nearly 40 years old) for Vi, who I know just loooves looking at stoves.

We keep talking about getting rid of the Rayburn and getting a modern boiler but the fact is the Rayburn is cheap to run, so it will get to stay a bit longer. And it`s a perfect home for Hubby`s ex butcher`s display cast iron Pig, which he rescued from a skip decades ago and is one of his most prized possessions. .

Finally, a little bit of knitting content! When I was taking pictures in the kitchen I noticed the knitted ...thing...I keep hanging on the door of the dresser..

Yup, it`s a knitted string of garlic. I made it over fifteen years ago as a housewarming present for my BIL, long before he became my BIL. Silly present I know, but I was really into knitting vegetables instead of growing them in these days! I`d forgotten about it long since, then it surfaced in my late SIL`s house, in a pile of things that were getting thrown out. Naturally I rescued it.

Oh, and finally I must thank everyone that`s been leaving comments and sending me emails via and about the blog. I`m really quite touched, because I only started blogging a week ago, and I didn`t expect as many (or any!) people to have read it! Really, it`s quite gratifying. Thanks all.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Housework...an unsatisfactory option.

Yesterday morning I was planned to go to the allotment. It rained. This morning I planned to go to the allotment. It rained. Tomorrow? Well, Mairi does not go to nursery on Fridays, and even a sunny January morning would be too cold for her. She would moan, she would complain there were no strawberries/peas/flowers to pick and the ground will be too hard to dig. Ten minutes later...we would have to leave. Too frustrating for both of us so w will go to the library instead...*sigh*. It`s annoying. Just when my brain has moved up a gear into allotmenting mode again...

Well, I might be able to go on Sunday. It`s a training day for Duncan at rugby, so Hubby can be persuaded to take Mairi along to watch. She can play around on the touchline with the other small siblings and get trampled occasionally by an over-enthusiastic pack of Primary five boys and girls. She loves it, really! But it might rain...

Oh well, the two days were not a total waste of time. I washed three fleeces...a mainly white Jacob, my Ouessant fleece and some Blue Faced Leicester. The Ouessant fleece, I have to say, was the filthiest fleece I have encountered yet. I had to put it through four washes of hot soapy water because the first two washes were the colour of tar. That little ewe was one filthy little sheep! She`s washed up nice and fluffy though, so all I have to do now is get rid of the rest of the amazing amount of chaff and vegetation in her fleece. If It wasn`t for the fact that it`s an unusual fleece and that the small amount I washed up and carded as a trial came out beautifully in the end, I might just have given up on this fleece by now. I`ve composted at least one fleece before now, when I decided that my time x the minimum wage would buy me twice the amount of pre-prepared roving.

What else did I do? I took Mairi to her first ballet lesson yesterday afternoon...move over, Darcy Bussell!

The best thing that happened to me was that my knitting pal Gourdongirlcame round for a cuppa and a knit`n`natter. Her kids and my kids are pals too, which makes it easy. Amongst other things we discussed SkipNorth a weekend long shopping/knitting/talking/knitting/spinning/more shopping for stash event which we are both booked up for. We are also planning to go to Woolfest at the start of the summer. This is about as close as we get in the UK to one of the big USA events like Rhinebeck or the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival, so not to be missed. We both missed the first ever Woolfest last year, but this one promises to be even bigger and better. We need to get ourselves booked into a campsite nearby soon though. It promises to be busy in the area with all these knitters and spinners around.

We even managed some knitting...I carried on knitting my Opal sock.

I just love that purple faux-fairisle!

I`ve got to make a confession here, actually....I`m a terribly slow knitter. Not only do I have very limited spare time but I also just knit slowly. I suppose it`s because I`m a self taught hand-off thrower, and that`s about the slowest way to knit in the world. Not for me the Harlot speed-knitted-garment-per-weekend blogging! You`ll be lucky if you see one finished piece (that`s piece, not garment!) per month.

Oh, and I did some housework. Not a satisfactory option at all!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Harlot`s Knitting Olympics.

Yarn Harlot is holding the Knitting Olympics this year.

Somehow, I feel compelled to join in, though to be fair I`m not going to be watching much of the actual Olympics. So I have decided to attempt a pair of the notorious Jaywalker socks, from Magknits. After all, every knitter on the planet except me has knitted a pair of Jaywalkers. Th fact that I`ve only ever knitted one sock pattern in my life (plain stockinette top-down) does not deter me.

I felt I needed to do some research on Jaywalkers. What better place to start than the current Jaywalker KAL on January One`s blog ? And on there I found a link to this gallery of Jaywalkers, on Grumperina`s Knitblog

That gallery is seriously intimidating.....

However, useful information has been gleaned. I can use my favourite Opal yarn, of which I have several balls in the stash. I have the right needles...but I need to check my gauge over the pattern, and Harlot said that swatching was allowed because it was training. Good....because I`d better have a wee practice of the zigzag pattern too. More training!

(A small evil voice says that perhaps knitting an entire practice Jaywalker wouldn`t be regarded as legitimite training, perhaps. Oh well, never mind!)

I`m off to inspect the stash...and I`d better get on with the current socks on the needles, yes?

My Mazurka.

It seemed like a good idea at the time to buy No3 wheel, the Mazurka...it was dirt cheap, it was pretty and I really wanted to find how a double drive wheel felt to spin with. Also though my beloved old Louet will always remain my favourite wheel (maybe....) I wanted to spin finer yarns than it was comfortable with.

And the Mazurka was cheap, did I say? Utter bargain at £45...about $80. And that included a full set of bobbins and a pound of lovely silk/wool roving that the seller laughingly called "packaging" when she sent me the two bobbins that she`d forgotten to pack with the wheel.

So here she is...

Now sharp eyes will detect that this isn`t the Mazurka that`s currently on sale. Nope, this is the original model, the one that was imported before it was even called the Mazurka. It was just called a Polish castle wheel, I belive, back then. It was popular enough to spark off the entire Kromski range of imports.
The main differences, as far as I can make out, are that there are no leather bearings on the old Mazurka and that the bobbins are only single speed. The flyer is a different shape too, and won`t accomodate the new Mazurka bobbins which is a pity as the new bobbins have two ratios.

Still, I like wheels with character and this one is certainly beautiful, with the sort of patina that money can`t buy. Such a shame then that the Post Office broke the back leg during delivery.

I`ve glued it of course, and normally I have it whipped with thin cord for strength. So it`s strong enough to use normally. I just don`t like seing things get broken because of carelessness.

I must say, it`s taken me a while to get used to spinning on the Mazurka after learning on the Louet. A Louet is so simple....you thread, you treadle, you spin. This wheel you oil, you fiddle around with the bobbin which means you have to reset everything...then it grabs and snatches and it reverses on you because it has a dead spot which the Louet S10 does not.

However I persisted because I`m stubborn. I read up on the web about double drive wheels and I downloaded the instructions for the modern Mazurka and tried to use them to check that this wheel was set up right. Still the wheel fought back. I tightened, I loosened, I considered replacing the drive belt, I took the whole thing apart and re-waxed and re-oiled everything. Hmmmmm.....

Then today I did what I should have done sooner...I took the Mazurka to my spinning Guild and sat down beside one of our most experienced spinners, the wonderful Debbie. Who has an old-style Mazurka, yeah! And who patiently explained to me exactly what I`d been doing wrong (without making me feel a complete idiot, which is one of Debbie`s gifts) and checked over the wheel and proclaimed it in perfect working order (so I was doing something right...) and within about five minutes I was finally spinning the thin, higher-twist singles I want for sock yarn. In fact, I`m struggling not to spin lace-weight which is fun after Mr "I`m-a-chunky-type-guy" Louet.

Just for Vi...here`s some sock-weight Ouessant yarn. A wee bit fuzzy, but it`s not been washed yet.

So it looks like the Mazurka will be staying for a while now. Before today I was seriously considering selling it to the first person who would pay me what I paid for it. I think this might have upset a certain someone, though, who considers it to be "her" Sleeping Beauty wheel.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Allotment in January.

For various reasons I didn`t go to the allotment much after about October of last year. The whole greyness and drearyness of the weather depressed me plus I knew it was a mess. A mess I would have to sort out, and I just didn`t want to. I felt so unwell over the last few months of the year (a combination of coming off my antidepressents and a lingering kidney problem, now mecifully sorted) that I just didn`t feel like gardening. At all. In fact for a while I was thinking of turning in my keys and forgetting about the allotment which considering how important it`s been to me over some very stressful periods of my life would have been a very, very bad idea.

This is what my allotment looked like at the start of January, when I hadn`t been near it for over three months.

Disgusting, isn`t it? Total shambles, weedy, crops not cleared...ugh. I`d be ashamed of myself if I didn`t know that I has some really, really good reasons for not having the time or inclination to go gardening.

Here`s what it should be like...well, this picture was taken in March a few years ago, so I`ve got time to catch up.

I`ve been up three times since the first picture was taken, btw, and spent about ten hours just tidying up and clearing rubbish. But of course it`s still January, there`s nothing growing except a few brave weeds and it`s still an extremely bleak place at the moment.

So this next picture is to show you and remind myself what the allotment is all about. No, it`s not picture-perfect, but it was cared for, productive and even, dare I say, quite pretty. This was taken in June 2004.

Mairi loves the allotment. This is last summer...

And this is what it feels like on a good day.

But you do occasionally have to do some work..

Of course, you get lots of nice food at the end...

...occasionally, a bit too much food.

(What`s the little Playmobil lady about? Well, as I said in my profile, I collect Playmobil, both modern and vintage. And they get everywhere.....)

Knitting...at last.

Thought it was about time I put in some knitting content. So, for the interested and otherwise, I currently have on the needles....

1) One pair of dead plain stocking stitch (stockinette to you furriners...we speak UK English on this blog) socks, knitted in self patterning Opal "Magic" in the purple colourway.

You can see I`ve done ever so much of these(not) but I only cast them on yesterday evening.

2) "Raindrop" in Rowan Plaid (Lavender Mist 161). I`m up to the armhole shaping in the back. This has been on the needles since November, but in my defence I got a scarf knitting gremlin in December and decided to knit scarves for my entire family for Christmas.

I love this yarn, it`s supersoft and knits up at the speed of light. Pity it`s so expensive at around £8 per ball. However "Raindrop" only takes eight balls and I did get five balls of this colourway in the reduced bin of Twist Fibre Craft Studio so can`t complain too much.

3) Three? Well, I`ve just amazed myself because that`s all folks, that`s all I`ve got on the knitting pins currently! I`m looking around the study, and I may even go and look round the knitting-n-spinning section of the bedroom just to check though. Two UFOs are an all time record low for me, I think.

(Nice feeling though....)

4) There is however this.......

Now, I`m not a weaver. This picture is of the one and only item I`ve ever woven. Technically it`s fine for a newbie piece. It is however as dull as ditchwater, isn`t it?

So why am I doing this? Why have I spent every Tuesday morning at spinning Guild last term learning the theory of warping up a loom, warping aforementioned loom and generally taking up several mornings of valuable spinning times creating this uninteresting object? Well, I`ve always rather fancied learning to weave (one day) so when the utterly charming Eileen at Guild volunteered to tutor some weaving lessons in the other side of the spinning Guild room I thought it would be nice to try.

But I was wrong. The first day I set a finger on a spinning wheel, my life changed. The same has not happened with the loom. I find it all pretty tedious, plus it takes a lot of time and even a small loom like this borrowed one takes up too much space. My imagination is not fired. It`s taken me several weeks to get to this point and I can hardly bear to do any more because it`s boring. So sorry, Eileen! You have to know that it`s only because I really like you and I don`t want you to feel disappointed that I`m carrying on with this...thing.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Camping in Wales.

Yesterday I booked Part1 of our summer holidays. We`re dead lucky in that Hubby is a lecturer at Stirling University, so gets vast amounts of holiday time in the summer. Yes, he`s still supposed to be around for consultations etc , but that`s what the internet is for, isn`t it? Last year he spent a couple of hours per week at internet cafes in France over a four week period, and that was "work" sorted, lol! So really our only restrictions during the summer are Duncan`s school holidays, and this year they run from 30th June to 22nd August, so seven weeks to play with.

Anyway, we decided last year we were getting a bit bored with France so this year we`re staying in Britain. We`re going to Orkney at the beginning of the summer with another family we`re friends with, and yesterday I booked up two weeks in August at a very rural looking campsite in Wales.


Hubby wants to go and visit one of his fellow lecturers that he was friendly with in Preston and Huw lives nine miles down the valley from this site, he had a nine year old son so company for Duncan, we`ve been to this part of Wales before and loved it.

Camping? Oh, we`re mad keen campers, let me tell you. We spent seven and a half weeks in France two years ago, living in a trailer tent. It was brilliant, roomy, fabulous...this is it here, with a very small Mairi sitting in front eating lunch. Sadly we had to give it back to the friend we borrowed it from. And yes, it has bedrooms with double beds and a fitted kitchen...no en-suite though.

We`ve bought a normal tent since then and that was what we used on our trip last year. It`s a Vango Colorado 1200dlx, and we`d been lusting after one for a while to replace the old Litchfield, but just too expensive. Then I spotted them on clearance, 50% off!!!!!!

Are we tidy campers? No........

Do we take a lot of stuff? (Yes, that`s a kitchen tent off to the left, and we have a fridge.) Well yes, but it all fits in the car. I am very good at packing.

That picture was taken in France last year, in a campsite near Dol-de-Bretagne.

This is the Bayeux Tourist Information Office....

And this is a menhir. Anyone read the Asterix books? Yes? Then you`ll know what a menhir is.

On a different note, today is my mother`s birthday. She`s 81, and determined to make it to 100 just to annoy my sister by hanging around at family parties having too many sherries.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

That went as well as could be expected.

Okay, that went as well as could be expected, given that I don`t have one heck of an idea as to what I`m doing...

More pictures? Right you are...how about one of the kids?

This picture was actually taken last summer, about six months ago. But it`s a good one...shows Mairi in full Evil Imp mode, and Duncan trying ever so hard not to look like a proud big brother. He adores her and worships the ground she walks on, but on the other hand she`s a very small girl and his sister, so he`s got to look cool about this, lol!

And the Evil Imp herself? Well she`s feisty and bossy, full of self importance and a total show-off.....

Lemmie see if I can find one of Duncan, just to be fair...

And Hubby Derek...well, this one is with Duncan, because it`s hard to get pix of Hubby on his own. It was taken in Legoland last summer, if anyone is interested.

All three of them together..

And finally, one of Robbie and Duncan together. This picture was taken at the zoo in the summer of 2001, and the foot down at the bottom belongs to me. I was pregnant with Mairi at the time, and Duncan (left) was five, and Robbie was seven. It`s one of the few pictures of Robbie I have stored on the pc because four years ago we didn`t have a digicam, and this image was scanned from a real picture.

First post..

My first post...oh well, here comes the learning curve.

This blog is intended to be about me (Isabella), my family, friends, interests, hobbies, pets and anything else that takes my fancy.

First ...me. My name is Isabella and I`m married to Derek We have two kids....Duncan aged nine and Mairi aged four. Our first son, Robbie, would have been eleven by now but died four years ago from cancer. More about him another time, perhaps.

I`m 47, short, plump, brunette-going-grey and a bit unfit at present.