Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas.

Against a tasteful background of partially stripped wallpaper and two poinsettias, a Playmobil Nativity as arranged by my children.

Three Kings, travelling from the lands of the Great Northern Hallway....

Sheep (merino, naturally) and Angora goats....

The Holy Family with their pets and friend. (Yes, doesn`t Mary look familiar? )

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cats:0 Tree:1

Two cats who do not like pointy, nasty, prickly, smelly evil realses treeses, noooooo we don`t, precioussssss....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cats:10, Tree:0.

Actually, the catlings won by a landslide. Poor tree, it never stood a chance. I put the lights on it but that was just one more thing to pull, as far they were concerned. By last night even Hubby was thinking the tree was looking a bit wrecked. And we hadn`t added one single bauble.

I was sad, because I really like a nice tree and we bought that one for Duncan`s first Christmas so it has done us proud over the last ten years. However after a brief consultation with the kids I have gone out and bought the spikiest, the prickliest, the most determinely piney smelling Norwegian Spruce in a pot that I could lay hands on. It`s only little and I suspect it won`t really survive being planted out on the allotment for next year but it`s a cute tree and the kids will like it.

Plus the catlings are gazing at it with extreme resentment. (Hehehe...) Oh well, chaps, give me time. There will be plenty of things to play with on it soon. Fortunately most of our decorations are childproof non-breakable ones, so the cats should safe from them if not me when they pull them off.

Picture to follow, once the kids have had their evil way.....ooopps, decorated it this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

In a word....

I don`t usually do memes, but...

Yourself: sleepy
Your boyfriend: who?
Your hair: long
Your mother: daft as brush
Your father: dead
Your favorite Item: Louet S10
Your dream last night: gone
Your favorite drink: port
Your dream car: camper
The room you are in: study
Your ex: who?
Your fear: ill heath
What you want to be in 10 years? healthy
Who you hung out with last night? computer
What you're not: awake
Muffins: yuck
One of your wish list items: time
Time: 07.45
The last thing you did: slept
What you are wearing: dressing gown
Your favorite weather: warm
Your favorite book: everything
The last thing you ate: bagel
Your life: stressed
Your mood: ditto
Your best friend: Shona
What are you thinking about right now? Haddington Planning Office
Your car: Ford Mondeo
What are you doing at this moment: waking up
Your summer: busy
Your relationship status: married
What is on your TV? The Faries
What is the weather like? raining
When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
Who do you tag? you?

Monday, December 11, 2006


You really have to be Scottish or at least British to "get" this ad fully, but belive me, it`s taking the p*** on so many levels it`s a pure delight if you know what`s going on.

(And for these who know, watch out for (amongst many other gems) Blackness Castle, the Monarch of the Glen and the Gresley A4 Pacific steaming over the Glenfinnin Viaduct is straight out of the 1959 version of The Thirty-Nine Steps.)

Coca-Cola, eat your heart out.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree.....

I usually put the Christmas tree up round about this time every year,but due to having too much to do as per usual I only managed to put the bare tree up this evening. I`ll do the lights tomorrow while the kids are at school, and then they can hang the baubles when they come home.


Here`s our bare tree.(Yes, it`s a fake.) Not very interesting yet, is it?

Or is it?????? (Click the picture..... ;-) )

I`m taking bets on how many times I`ll have to pick it up off the floor this coming festive season. But for the kittens Christmas has come early, and Santa has brought them a new toy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I can see daylight today. Good? Well, this is through some of my walls, so perhaps not. The workies are renewing the string course today. Wasssat? It`s the band of stone that trims off the top of the shop frontages and our front room walls sit on top of this. The only thing that now separates us here from the outside world is the skirting boards. (Wooden trim round base of walls inside, for our foreign readers.) There are gaps, top and bottom, where you can put your fingers out and wiggle them in the fresh air. Bit disconcerting, really. What`s keeping the walls up??????

I did stick my head out one of the windows and asked the foreman if this was the was it was supposed to look from the inside. He seemed most cheerfully confident that all was well. Hmm. Have I faith in this man? Maybe..... Are they a reputable building company. Yes, actually, appearances to the contrary. Shall I just go out shopping and try not to think about it? Possibly, yes.......

And a bloke came round to give us an estimate for the cavity wall insulation we`re thinking of getting installed if possible. He blinked a bit at our massive three and a half storey gable end and mighty rear elevation. Bit different from the usual three bedroom semi. We`ll have to see just how much it will cost before we decide but it would certainly be a good idea for our cold, draughty Thirties house with its three huge exposed sides. I just have this horrid vision of them pumping the powdery insulating material in and it coming straight through the cracks round the skirting boards. Then the rooms gradually filling up, and up, and up.....

Maybe I should ask Santa for a new Hoover for Christmas?

The Planning and Building Warrant applications went in yesterday, so that`s progress. I was getting pretty sick of sitting in the planning offices yet again, waiting for the long suffering but very helpful duty Planning Officer to tell me I was short of yet another piece of essential paper. It all takes time.

And it`s the 6th today, and that means nineteen days to Christmas. Argh!! I`ve bought some presents and put the Advent calendars up, but that`s all so far. Usually we do Christmas crafts and gluey stuff and all the rest, but who`s got time? The kids seem to have so many activities...swimming, ballet, judo, basketball, rugby, Cub Scouts, music practice, wargaming and homework. I have the building works clogging up so much of my time, and trying to keep some vague order in the house. (This last ain`t working, belive you me.)

I did however go to my spinning group yesterday. There`s something very soothing about a dozen women sitting around in the upper floor of an old historic mill room, weaving and spinning and knitting and talking. It`s tranquil, and also very timeless. If we had different clothes we could be in any time in the last three centuries and if we got rid of the wheels, longer than that. It was a glorious sunny day, we could see the swans down in the millstream guddling around and someone had brought home made cake. Well worth going to. We`re a very miscellaneous bunch of women with a lot of different interests besides spinning but we are a tight group and we all get on well. No personality clashes to disrupt the harmony.

And I`ve got them all knitting socks! For a couple of weeks I`d only been able to stay for an hour or so and it wasn`t worth lugging a wheel around for that so I`ve just been taking in knitting. All I`m making is another plain pair of socks from the eternal freebie Opal pattern, but the lure of the self-patterning yarn is strong and there are six people knitting socks now, including three sock virgins. I`m hardly any sort of expert given that I`ve only been knitting socks for eighteen months, but in some ways that`s an advantage when you`re demonstrating to a novice. You remember what bits you found so hard first time around.

Even thinking about knitting socks is soothing.....remember Nero who fiddled while rome burned? Perhaps I should just sit here and knit socks while the house gradually collapses into a heap of dusty bricks around me? And I found just the right sock pattern....The Sock of Doom.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Not Knitting.

I just don`t have time to knit these days, it seems. I don`t have evenings in front of the telly any more, evenings when I could crank out most of a sleeve or similar. Nope, my knitting is done two rows here, two rows there. It`s frustrating. Spin at home? Not a chance. I`ve got bobbins full of singles everywhere, just waiting for plying time. Not this side of Christmas, sadly.

Yesterday, for example, I went to the allotment. Had to really...I haven`t been there for weeks. Now if you`re going to neglect an allotment then November is an ideal time to do so, but there are limits. It was pouring with rain when I arrived so I was just going to dump the wood and compost things I`d taken up, grab some veg and run but then the sun came out and I decided to stay. I weeded five beds, pruned the hazelnut tree and was halfway through cutting down the autumn raspberries when the sky went black again and I ran. I got some lovely veg though...great fat carrots and leeks, parsnips, a neep and some winter cabbage.

After I`d defrosted in the shower I basically had to go straight back out again and hit two supermarkets to do the other part of the hunter-gathering thing. Yeah, I`m a glutton for punishment spreading my shopping over two supermarkets but money is tight at the moment so I have to shop by price, not convenience. I can shave £20 a week off my grocery bill by going to Lidl as well instead of just buying everything at Tesco like I used to do. And some of the Lidl produce is fantastic...real gourmet stuff at bargain prices. So if any of the UK readers here haven`t tried Lidl, go. Yes, the brands are German and often unfamiliar but once you`ve got past the brand loyalty thing (Heinz or nothing??) then it`s really going to be worth your while, I promise.

So back home just in time to make the tea for the kids, quick pick up and a batch of laundry in, Mairi into bed then sat down with Duncan to watch The Santa Clause 2, which was okay in a very corny way. Yup, got some knitting time there. I did about six inches of the second sleeve for Duncan`s sweater.

Yeah, question about Duncan`s sweater. I am knitting it in the round, but the pattern (raglan sleeved) is written for flat. I`m quite confident about the knitting three seperate tubes (body, two sleeves) bit up to the armhole shaping, than putting them all onto one long circular needle and working up to the neck, including all the raglan decreases. But what I`m wondering ablout is the part at the start of the shaping, both for arm and body flat sections, when they tell you to cast off three stitches at the start of the next two rows of each flat piece to start the armholes. Yes, I know I`ll have to dump these stitches when knitting in the round as well. How? Cast them off, then sew up the little slots under the armholes at the end? Leave them on safety pins and graft them at the end? Do a three needle cast-off to join the armhole decreases to the body decreases? Anyone got a good descriptive website for this? Anyone just tell me?

Anyway, today I`m wrecked. This is the pattern for me these days...I do one day of what I would regard as normally busy mother activities, then the next day I can barely move, I`m so wrung out. But of course I can`t stop and have a day off because there`s far to much to do here, especially at the moment, and I just don`t have time. I`m sitting here with boxes of stuff from one end of the hall to the other, the cat tray and dishes need cleaned, the whole house need hooverd because the hoover has been up in the attic for a week now, the attic needs finished off and dust sheeted before the workmen come back (tomorrow??), I have ten loads of laundry to sort and wash and then there are the normal daily things like pick-up and make the beds. And I need a shower and we`re going out to see the Singing Kettles at five. Which means the kids will be back from rugby in an hour and a half, filthy and I`ll have to get them sorted out and bathed myself, as Hubby is going out Christmas shopping. Day off? Hah! One thing I do know, it will be fish and chips for dinner. I`m not cooking today, trust me.

And tomorrow? Back to the Planning Office....

Friday, December 01, 2006

Up at the coal face...

Good thing my ancestors were all miners, because I`ve been getting dirty enough for one. That attic!!! Yuck! I have hoovered up five...yes five...bags of grit and grot and dust from the attic. Doesn`t soiund much? Imagine it in a 5mm layer over every surface of every box or bag in a 45` x 15 ` attic. That`s 675 square feet...and that`s assuming I was cleaning it from a flat surface, which I wasn`t. There`s a lot of stuff up in the attic.

Yuck....I`m still sneezing soot. One good thing though was that the attic has been tidied up a bit and dejunked quite a lot. Who needs three bulky computer monitors when we`ve all switched to flatscreen? A 15 year old laptop? The empty boxes for every electrical appliance we`ve bought in the last five years? Both cars are full of bags of junk now...the big car is full of bags bound for the dump/electrical recycling depot, the little car has bags for the charity shops. It is refreshing. :-)

I also found a few things to put on Ebay (Anyone remember Psions? We`ve got two....) and some odds and sods that I probably bought last year for putting into the kids` Xmas stockings and then promptly forgot about. I also got the chance to revisit my world class collection of vintage Playmobil, fortunately all boxed up and dustproof. Actually, I was quite lucky in that a lot of stuff that was stored up in there was bagged or boxed up. My fleece and yarn stash, for example. Imagine the grot getting into fleeces! And I`ve got all the boxes of Christmas decorations and the tree out, ready for putting up next weekend.

In fact, I`m having quite a good time up in the attic, grot not withstanding. Once the two windows go in we`re going to have a big, usable space up there, not just storage. One end is going to become the main storage area for my fibre and wheels and the other is going to be used for playing. Scalectrix? Model railway? Wargames? Massive Playmobil city? All of this is possible, though not all at the same time. And of course we also have huge amounts of storage under the eaves, out the way.

Want to see some pictures? These ones were taken just after we had it floored but before we started filling it up.

I like it up there.