Sunday, October 26, 2008

Looking for links...

I was looking for a link to something else entirely when I came across this news report from the summer, featuring our local fire brigade.

Firemen are pretty good at lateral thinking, don't you agree?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Who needs electronics?

Though the kids do have all the usual bleepity electronic objects that the youth of today deem necessary, they can also make their own entertainment. For instance, Dining Table Football.

At the north end of the pitch, playing the Vinegar and Chilli Sauce team, Lad.

At the south end, Princess, as the HP-Ketchup.

As Centre Forward for both teams, Oliver.

Paws as (reluctant) sub.

And yes, the ball is a screwed up Toblerone wrapper. Ohh, we know how to have fun in this house, I can tell you. They got a good 45 minutes of entertainment out of that wrapper before Ollie lost it behind the dresser, lol.

"I izz too beautiful for to play nasty rough games. Would mezz up de fur."

Not doing well at this!!

I'm not doing well at this blogging malarky at the moment, am I? Perhaps I should join NaBloPoMo again for November and bore you all to tears. Sometimes blogging becomes just another thing to do at the end of the day and when you get to that point, you're just too tired or can't be bothered. It's good discipline though to ocassionally set yourself a firm target to do something, just to get out a rut.

I've had lots of things to blog about too, so it's a pity. Housey stuff, two big spinning days, holidays, new wheel, birthdays, Paws and the Annual Cake Making. So a month of catching up on these might be good, no?

In the meanwhile, I'm off to a one day craft gallery event in my neighbouring market town. A very artistic friend of mine, who does a lot of weaving as well as painting, is running a one day exhibition of local crafters and artists work. Now I'm not getting into the debate about art v. craft when it comes to spinning, but I regard myself as a craftswoman, not an artist. Full stop. So I normally never put things into exhibitions. I make stuff for me, not for others to look at. However my friend has a sugar coated tongue and has persuaded me to put a basket (made by me) of sample skeins into her exhibition. Lots of fancy trial stuff like beaded and snarled yarns. Plus I'm going along to sit outside the door and spin for a while, just to lure some of the passers-by in. (If it rains I'm going to be inside...!)

Anyway, if anyone is out and about at the Farmer's Market in Haddington today, they might like to pop into the "One Day Craft Gallery". It's at Flat 4 Alexandra Place, Haddington, between the library and St Mary's Church Hall neat Tesco.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


After a week of shifting furniture, school holidays, Princess's birthday and dejunking, I have lost the will to live. I am knackered......

However I did cheer up when I saw this on Ebay. I'm looking for a sewing machine cabinet..... I can't afford a modern Horn one so I'm looking for a treadle cabinet I can adapt. This is not it, however. What a fantastical monstrosity of a cabinet!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Big Swap.

About a year a go I incautiously mentioned to Princess that it might be an idea if she changed bedrooms with us parents. It's not that she's got a small bedroom as it's about 10' x 11' (that's a "good sized double" in new built houses!!) but ours is bigger at 12' x 15'. I feel that since kids not only sleep in their bedrooms but also play, need lots of toy storage room, floor room, have mass sleepovers etc then it's daft to have the parents hogging the second biggest bedroom in the house.

I forgot about this, but Princess did not. At the time when she asked "When???" I said "Oh, when you're seven or so." Her seventh birthday is on Saturday next. She had not forgotten. She is expecting this bedroom by then, so she tells me. Argh!!!

It is a good idea, but the thought of actually doing the swap makes me want to take up drinking. I am practically teetotal so this is a drastic step, you understand? It seems easier just to often is with Princess! Unfortunately though our bedroom also houses part of my vast stash and craft book collection, and there's not a lot of places left to put this unless it's up in the much-beloved attic. Oh day, that attic will be my studio. It will have to be, really. There is no other room in this house that could hold even half my stash and craft equipment.

So today being the start of the half term holiday I decide to get started given that I should have a ready supply of child slave labour availible. Currently the slave labour is lying on the floor of the lounge watching rubbish American kids sit-coms, but that at least gives me time to cram my stuff into boxes. Their time will come, hehehe.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thinking of packing it in...Pt2.

I've been thinking my last post over. Thanks to all who offered their thoughts and advice. Very useful! It's a way of "discussing" different points of view as I mentally run over what I would have said to each individual in response.

A few other points have occurred to me out of the course of this exercise.

1) It's a terrible time of year to be giving up an allotment, because it would take several days of work for me to remove plants, tools, hardware and landscaping bits and bobs. Not that I would strip the plot to its bones of course but I would want to take stuff like the coldframes and plant obelisks. And, belive it or not, a few dozen bags of compost. I make a LOT of compost and there's a cubic metre of compost just about to achieve the three year vintage. Yum. Not leaving that!

2) There are a lot of plants I would like to at least take cuttings or otherwise propagate from. Some of the plants have sentimental value and others would just be plain expensive to replace ie the raspberry canes and the new bed of fancy strawberry varieties I put in at great expense this year. Rhubarb. The roses. (One of which Robbie bought me.) The posh thornless dessert gooseberry bush.

3) I could do this over the next month or so but where would they go once here? I have no beds cleared or places to put them.

4) Crops. I've got lots of crops on the plot at the moment. Overwintering greens, salads, broad beans, the willow.....

5)The pond. The kids like the pond and helped me make it. I can build another pond here of course but they wanted to see the frogs we were (hopefully) going to get next year.

6) And I'd like to leave the allotment in step-in condition, not a nasty guddle. Pride, you know?

So, I think I'm going to go with Rho's suggestion, which is to do both allotment and garden for a year. Keep my options open, gear up the garden for crops and do the necessary propagation to bring stock over. Grow less on the allotment but use the time saved there to straighten things up ready for handover. Aim to do this by autumn next year.

I estimate that if I turn about one third of the garden over to beds, plus the small greenhouse plus use the paved area for big planters I can achieve about 20% of the growing area I had in the allotment.That doesn't sound a lot, but the allotment had quite a bit of permanent planting like big raspberry beds, trees and the willow, so in real terms more like 25%. I won't be able to grow fields of spuds then! But there are ways of increasing the % crop return from a smaller area by better management, use of dwarf varieties, tighter spacing, vertical growing etc. It's a different way of doing things. Less wastage. I'm working on the theory that I should be able to achieve about one third of the crops I currently grow. Which is a lot, come to think of it, and I'm constantly giving produce away. I don't need that much!

The kids are going to have to lose their climbing frame though, unless I grow beans up it......and where am I going to be able to make a cubic metre of compost per year??? And the pear tree will have to go. And a shed...what will I do without a shed? And....and...and....maybe it would be easier just to give up gardening all together?

Edit: I made a start on clearing the garden today by persuading/bribing Princess to pick up the windfall apples for me at 2p per apple, while I pruned the honeysuckle. She picked up 250 apples (!!!) and then made me go up to Borders to buy her a comic and colouring book. This could get expensive! But on the plus side of the budget, I've decided to recycle the old climbing frame into a fruit cage.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thinking of packing it in....

I'm thinking of giving up my allotment. Why? Because I don't seem to have enough time to go there much these days, what with the weather, other commitments, erratic health and just generally not having enough time to do things. So when I do get round to going there, I'm working so hard to catch up with myself it ceases to be a pleasure and becomes a chore. Produce rots on the plant because I've not been there to pick it or I miss the seed sowing window for that particular crop, or the place gets overgrown with weeds. I keep saying to myself "One more year....." One more year to see if I can get the plot to the place I actually want it to be, rather than the rather untidy, less than optimally productive place it is at present. It's not happened yet, not in three or four years of "One more year...."

I do have a garden. It's not big, but I have three apple trees and a pear tree, a small greenhouse, a paved area and enough space that I could put three or four beds in and grow vegetables and soft fruit there. At the moment it's completely neglected because I spend my meagre gardening time at the allotment. The kids don't use it much these days either. It's got potential.

It would be sensible to give up the allotment and spend the time I do have down in the garden, growing less but having more fun doing it, don't you think? It would be easier to spend odd half hours in the garden rather than schedule two or three hours at a time for the allotment. But....I'm very loathe to give up the allotment. I've put a lot of time and effort into it, I've got a lot of good plants, I've spent a lot of happy hours there and it's a bolt-hole, a theraputic place for me to go. My place. But really, it's all getting a bit too much for me. Once upon a time I could spend a day there and come home knackered but happy. Now, two hours of work wipes me out for the next three days.

The reason I'm thinking of this now is that the AGM is coming up and that means the annual rent, seed and potato orders plus mushroom compost orders are due. It all adds up to a fair bit of money, which would be wasted if I gave the allotment up in January, say. But I'm still thinking "Should I give it just one more year????"

Any thoughts???

PS. in response to the first two comments: No, sharing is not an option, both from the rules point of view and my own very selfish lone wolf owner methods, lol. (My allotment is run on somewhat eccentric lines...) The waiting list for an allotment here is nine years long, btw, and priority goes to local residents.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Big Five-Oh.

It's my birthday today.....and I'm fifty. How did that happen?????

Thinking about it though, my forties were, with one exception (Princess being born) the shittiest decade of my life. So much for life beginning at forty, pah. We moved to this house the summer of 1998 when the boys were four and two, and Robbie got diagnosed the following summer with all that it entailed. And there have been other bad things as well, lots of stress, lots of tears. It's not been a happy decade.

So fifty is not as bad as all that, belive me. Here's to a better next ten years, eh?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Stop Press...Sirdar Balmoral.

When did this happen? Sirdar have brought back their best ever yarn, Balmoral.

And the price of this stuff????? Bargain! It's gorgeous, btw. Worth at least twice that.

Spinning fibre.

During the credit cruch, it's good to use what you've got to hand rather than spend money.

Huge fibre potential here, and not far to go for it either....

This is Lad. Excellent crimp but coarse quality so only for carpets and outerwear. It's wasted on a boy, really....

Princess would LOVE to have had the above hair but she's got my uberfine wispy locks instead. The staple length is impressive though.

Completely unspinnable. Sorry, Ollie!!!!