Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Monday 30 November 2009

Sleet and ice

It’s been a long day and I’m glad I’m home.  Not only has it been freezing cold outside, but there have been sleet and hail showers all day long.  Driving home in sleet is at once both magical and scary.  I had to use my wipers at full speed to clear the windscreen enough for me to see through the sleet and spray.

It is the end of November and I suppose we’ve done fairly well to last this long without a frost, but at the same time, I am still dreading having to fight my way through frozen windscreens, bottles of de-icer and freezing fingertips – just to get to work!  Tne end of November also means that I have managed another year of NaBloPoMo and whilst it seems like it has flown by, it has given me the incentive to blog daily and regularly.  I’m even commenting a little again – it’s just finding the time to do it.

November hasn’t been that bad a month.  It started out a little scarily, but it has ended on a good note.  Mr. VP and I are looking forward to Christmas and new challenges*.  With a little over a month to go until the New Year (wow, how time flies) we both have a lot of preparing both personally and professionally for our new challenge* in the coming year.  I think 2010 is going to be a very good year indeed.  Life is changing.

Tonight I have no other agenda than to finish this blog post, wrap up in my pajamas and watch Twilight under a duvet.  You’re never too old to swoon at a couple of youngsters in love.  *sigh*

I’m working on my Christmas banner/ blog theme too.  I have a few ideas.  I like Christmas blog themes!

Goodbye NaBloPoMo, hello December!

Sunday 29 November 2009

‘Tis the season

If I wasn’t so tired I’d tell you that I have had an almost perfect day. I got up early-ish and went to Newcastle before the hoardes of people emerged. I bagged a good seat in Starbucks and drank a grande hazelnut latte with cinnamon and vanilla topping. All enjoyed whilst knitting. People looked at me as if they’d never seen someone knit before, it was quite strange. But I enjoyed sitting and thinking, drinking and knitting very much indeed.

We then went and did some of the last Christmas shopping bits and found that the continental market was on in the centre so we hot-footed it down there to enjoy poffertjes (Dutch pancake-like things) and to find the stall that sells the amazing Finnish knitwear. Honestly, the Finns are born knitters and their jumpers are artworks. I chose one, as an early Christmas present to myself. We really wanted one of their reindeer skins, but sadly our budget didn’t stretch that far, but they were beautiful.

Today was the day we put up our Christmas decorations, though I’m sure we’re missing a box or two of baubles somewhere, but that’s what happens when the house is in a state of upheaval! We listened to a lot of Christmas music and flung tinsel around with gay abandon. It was a really nice way to spend an afternoon, remembering each and every bauble, when it was bought and where it came from. Christmas is a time full of happy memories. I have failed to mention that we now have 4 trees to decorate. One real, large one and three smaller artificial trees.

I also got to make sushi for only the second time in my life. The first was some 6 years ago and was a bit of a failure, however this time it worked perfectly and dipped into mirin and soy sauce it was a delight to eat. I could eat masses of the pickled ginger that accompanies sushi so well but I managed to restrain myself. We’ll be making this again, methinks!

Saturday 28 November 2009

The Christmas Tree

We were too early when we visited the Christmas tree place yesterday.  Mistakenly we’d been told it opened on the 27th when it actually opened today.  We were the first people there at just-before-9am to watch a hoarde of staff un-netting trees of all shapes, types and sizes.  We walked around that place for an hour, in the freezing temperatures and freezing fog.  We ummed and aaahhed.  Then I set eyes on the tree I knew would be ours.

It’s not as big as last year’s.  We didn’t want it to be so big it engulfed the whole living room.  Ours is just right, large but not huge.  It even fitted in our car for the short journey home.

Tonight Mr. VP spent the best part of an hour with a very blunt saw taking the ring off the bottom to allow the tree to drink.  It’s standing, naked and unadorned, waiting to be lit and decorated.  That’ll happen tomorrow, methinks.  After a day at work, I’m plum-tuckered out. Especially when moving furniture around comes into it.

The cats are fascinated.  A little too fascinated for my liking.  Mr. H looked as if he was eyeing up the climbing potential, whilst Mme. D watched from a safe spot a little distance away.  Mr. VP said he’d do all manner of things to them if they climb the tree and knock it over in the night.

Tomorrow I will be playing a lot of Christmas music (there is a weekend-long free trial of Xbox Gold which allows you to stream last.fm over the TV – it’s excellent!) and decorating the tree(s).

Until then, it’s a case of barenaked tree.  It’s just as beautiful. I am also listening to more Christmas music. The faithful Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas albums come out every Christmas in their wonderous box. And again I am happy.

Friday 27 November 2009

Telly timeline

Some of the first memories of mine, the first hazy recollections were of television programmes. Whether it was Surgical Spirit that my grandmother liked to watch, or Playbus/Playdays for myself. I remember having had a bath in a cold, unfamiliar house (which we temporarily rented when we moved to the “cold, wet, frozen North” otherwise known as Lancashire) and drying my hair whilst watching ‘Allo ‘Allo (just as funny as it ever was).

But one of my most formative television memories were BBC Sunday afternoons. Just after teatime the house would fall silent. Sundays were usually spent visiting a National Trust property, going for long walks or visiting family. But in the afternoons when Mum would be doing some sort of work in preparation for the next day, I would eagerly anticipate the fall of darkness (it was inevitably a late-Autumn afternoon) and the start of either Narnia or The Borrowers. To this day I can still recall Lucy’s sweet round face and Aslan’s mighty mane – or little Arrietty’s dress with the big wooden buttons.

Of late I have been re-watching these classic bits of television history and with each episode other strange things come back to me. It’s like smelling a long-forgotten scent and remembering the time and place in which you last smelled it. For me, watching these wonderous programmes islike taking a trip down memory lane.  Call me nostalgic, but I love cuddling up with my knitting, a cup of tea and a cat on my lap to watch The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Borrowers.  It’s what Sunday afternoons were made for.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Getting knitty wid it

This is my current project.  Socks in DK (double knitting) wool instead of the usual 4-ply yarn that most patterns call for.  Not only does it give a slightly chunkier sock, it’s quicker to knit, and therefore less likely to get thrown into a heap and forgotten about.  I need to have something to keep my fingers busy, and whilst NaBloPoMo has been doing a good job, I can’t blog 24/7 so in my spare time I’ve picked up the needles again and am sock-knitting.

I am not half as daunted about knitting on four needles as I was when I first started.  It is just as simple on four as it is on two and I’m not fussy about the heel now, just the grafting on the toe which I haven’t yet perfected.

It seems that like a lot of things, as I do them, as I learn and make mistakes, I grow and move forwards.  I am a lot more confident than I was when I first moved “up north” 5 years ago.  170 miles from comfort.  But I learnt and with experience grew.  My skillset expanded and with it my horizons.

Tomorrow we look for our tree, and as I have the morning off, I will knit and listen to lovely music.  See below, notably used in the new Twilight film.  I liked Lykke Li before I saw Twilight, but Possibility is such a great song.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

New moon rising

I have a confession.  It’s a tad embarrassing.  Y’know.  I.. uh.. ok, I’ll come out with it.  I love the Twilight series.  There, I said it.  I devoured the first film, I do have a crush on *both* Edward and Jacob and I love it.  Tonight we went to see the second in the trilogy New Moon and it was different to the first but just as lovely.  The whole cinema (packed not just with tweens, but mostly) oooohed and aaaahhhhed at the love scenes and gasped at every scary scene.

It was fun.  The film is good and I enjoyed myself no end.  Mr. VP did too, but he won’t admit it ;)

Tuesday 24 November 2009

The calm after the visit

The Parents-in-law left this morning, having packed their car full of things* and taken themselves on a 5-hour drive back to where they come from.  It has been quiet since they left.  The cats, devoid of quite as much attention are both simultaneously relieved and bothered by the lack of constant cooing and petting (despite the MIL being allergic to cats!).

We have converted the back bedroom back into a study-come-boxroom and all is returning to calm.  I did a long day’s work and I have another four days before I can have a day off.  It’s not long until Christmas – a mere 30 days.  Though I’ve done most of the shopping, I find myself desperately waiting for the time when we can order our tree and have it delivered.  I don’t think I’ll wait until the beginning of December before I put it up.  I am very much ready for the season this year.  And more than ever, it’s going to be about family.  Being together with the ones you love.

I don’t have much else to say.  I am waiting for a long hot bath to cool enough for me to sit and luxuriate, and then I’ll start knitting a new sock.  I will take photos.  This sock is in DK wool on larger needles, so hopefully it won’t take as long to knit as the other 4-ply yarn.  Hopefully it’ll keep my hands busy in the long winter evenings.

The rain is beating on the window, forced ever onwards by gale-force winds.  But I am inside and I am lucky.

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