Monday, 5 March 2018

Weekend WIP

Sorry for being absent for all of February but all my words were being poured into Word files for my new book, which is finally finished (in first draft). Three things:

1. Writing a book about your own practice is flipping hard. I was regularly paralysed by imagined scenes of people sneering, 'I can't believe she wrote that, how vapid/obvious/stupid/damaging/wrong!' I had to keep telling myself, in the style of JK Rowling, that as long as they'd bought it and I had their money, it didn't matter what they said. And as my friend ('friend') Lizzy said on the phone yesterday, I've already got a job I love...subtext, it doesn't matter if I ruin my professional reputation. Cheers then.
(She didn't mean it like that. She's lovely really.)

2. I knew I would leave it until the last minute and even with that knowledge, and working hard to mitigate against it, I did. I had 21,000 words by half term. 31,000 words by the end of half term. 43,000 words by yesterday. So, between contracting and deadline, it took me seven and a half months to write the first half, and three weeks to write the second. I am coming to the conclusion that I'm never going to be able to change this about myself.

3. Thank heavens for snow days. What I mess I would have been in without them.

Anyway. Onto the point of the blog. I have been working on my (Ooo) Wonderwoman jumper when my schedule permits. I managed to finish the body and the neckline during the Olympics, so just the sleeves to go.

Please ignore my utterly foul carpet. I know what new flooring I want, I just need to get round to buying it and finding someone to fit it. No I'm not doing it myself.

I'm really quite pleased with my work. I had to make the neckline about double the recommended width and it is still quite low, but I think it works for the style.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018


I've had one of those stupid 10 day events that occurs every so often in my working life. A four day marking meeting in London, followed immediately by a three day training event in Birmingham, followed immediately by a two day tour of the Battlefields with 38 teenagers. Around the middle of this sequence I came down with a horrible cough and so found myself huddled, napping on the coach as the students toured the site of Ypres in the capable hands of my colleagues. I was grateful to get home on Saturday night, but knew something was wrong, thanks to Mr Z's odd silence.

Very sadly, he had to take the mitten to be put down on Friday night. She had a saddle embolism which had cut the blood supply to her back legs. By the time he got home from his 4 day London meeting, 20 minutes after Sib Z had been in for the evening feeding, she was crouched between the radiator and the sofa, unable to move, and had wet herself. He took her to the emergency vets where a very tearful young woman gave him the bad news.

Her most recent favourite sleep spot.

I am really very sad. She was a present from someone in my first year 11 class and she's been with us for nearly 14 years. On Thursday night, when I did her eye drops, I petted her under the chin until she was sitting almost nose to nose with me, purring on my face, and I thought, 'You're not long for this world' because she would never normally let me have moments like that.

Well, she knew what she was about. She was almost 14, almost blind and had been off her food for a few weeks, so perhaps she really did know. I'm quite grateful it wasn't drawn out longer, but I am so sorry she is gone. Rest in peace, mitten. I hope there are endless bad-at-flying baby robins wherever you are now. 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Weeknote: 7/1


I managed to put a lot of rows onto (Ooo) Wonderwoman earlier in the week...indeed, it was all I could do to drag myself away from the project to do some much-needed work. You've seen the update in the previous post, so I won't say any more about it. I was very tempted to cast on a massive snuggly jumper in my leftover Lopi, after reading a KAL thread on Ravelry, but managed to resist the temptation.

Going to:

It was back to work on Wednesday, but (whisper it quietly) it's always something of a relief to get back to the routine after the Christmas holidays. I find them really chaotic.

I went and got my nails done in a new-to-me place. I couldn't manage the timing of an appointment at my usual salon. Well, they did a neat job of the manicure but I can't say the experience was wholly enjoyable. It smelled very strongly of nail chemicals and didn't seem to be very clean. The man (first time it's ever been a man) was working on me and another client at the same time, and was quite scruffy. And didn't talk - at least not to me. Made me realise how spoilt I've been with my usual salon.

On Friday I got the train the Sheffield to see Jen and celebrate her 40th birthday. We drank a LOT of Prosecco cocktails and danced around the kitchen to the greatest hits of our youth. It was a lot of fun.

I think we'd worked through 11 bottles of Prosecco between 6 of us by the end of the night. Strong work. The best cocktail included ginger wine and lime juice.

Entertained by:

I've been listening to a few more Joe Rogan podcasts. They're very long but really interesting. This weekend I listened to a Russell Brand one and a Megan Phelps Roper one - she's the granddaughter of the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, who left the church 4 years ago. Really interesting.

Over the end of the holidays I managed to finished watching the second season of Victoria - really enjoy this, although it is a bit revisionist in places, I fear. I'm not convinced the Queen's dresser would have manumitted 20 slaves instead of selling them and retiring, due to having a social conscience; but it may be true.

The other thing we watched last week was Mindhunter on Netflix. Creepy and quite disturbing, but compelling. Looking forward to the next series of that.


Keyed up. January has a crazy busy 10 days in the middle of it, during which I have to set 6 days of cover back to back. It's been about 7 years since I last had to do that. I'm looking forward to all the bits of the crazy 10 days, but I find myself slightly on edge about getting everything organised in time; this is made even worse by the looming book deadline. I'm making myself write 500 words a day, which seems to be working so far. If I can keep it up, I should be done on time.

Weekend WIP

Oooo! Wonderwoman. She continues apace.

I doggedly knit the colourwork on this all the way to Sheffield on the train and then most of Saturday afternoon while I hung out at Jen's, waiting for her 40th birthday party to start (like, how are we so old now?)

On the train home I knit the extra red rows on the back so I could join in the round, and here we are. It's all red from here, possibly with a blue ribbing band at the bottom. I've toyed with the idea of adding yellow around the waist, in the style of a belt, but I worry that the red would look a bit odd continued underneath, and I've got to stop being so literal about it. This is not her outfit. It is in the style of her outfit.

I am really thrilled with it so far. Some of my stars might need fixing with some Swiss darning but it's turning out better than I expected. I think I have been putting it off for so long in part because I didn't think it would look as good as I'd hoped, so it is a relief that the fear was unfounded. So far, at least.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Blue Monday

I took this out of the car window on the way back to LA from Vegas in October (hence the weird reflection thing). It's near the state line and we've driven past it a few times and always wondered what it was.

This time I had internet access, so I looked it up. It's essentially a sun farm. The panels on the ground are mirrors, all reflecting the sun to the central tower, causing it to heat up to a dizzying temperature and drive steam turbines, which generate electricity. Pretty cool, huh? It's called Ivanpah, and I think it might be the biggest of its kind in the world, though I can't remember where I read that.

We've only driven past it in the evening, previously, which is why I was so confused about what the towers were for. There's not mistaking what they're for in the daylight. You can't even look directly at them.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Sunday Selfie

The last picture of 2017. Covered in flour from croissant making, in my Galapagos t-shirt, full of cheese and Prosecco. Here's to 2018. Happy New Year!

Weekend WIP

I have completed 60 rows of the yoke.

This is meant to be where I stop knitting the yoke and cast on for the underarms/start knitting in the round. I'm not sure I'm quite there yet, though, even though it has reached the required 8 inches specified in the schematic. Might need a couple more rows....and then I need to figure out how I'm going to do the rest. My inspirational jumper has a tapered join between blue and red that I quite like, so I might try to do the same.

I am really pleased with how it's turning out so far, though. The colours are so good together.