Tuesday 30 August 2016

Tuesday Ten

Carole and I are both back from our travels and this week she has prompted me to consider...

Ten things I miss about home when I'm away

1. The cat. She always plays up her minders if we're both away - when Mr Z and I were in Italy, she refused to come into the house from Wednesday onwards and Jo had to feed her al fresco. The tortoise ran away last year on Jo's watch she blames herself (I don't know why: that tortoise was Houdini incarnate) so she was a bit nervous. But Mitten did not run away. She waited until we got home and then yowled at us for the best part of an hour, in between hoovering up three packets of food. Little minx.

2. Mr Z. You'll have noticed I don't often take him away with me (at his request, it must be said). I missed him a lot while we were apart this year. Luckily everywhere had wifi. Even the taxis.

3. My home that is almost always the right temperature. It's always cool downstairs in the heat.

4. Being able to sleep with the window open, without any noise or worrying about the air conditioning.

5. Reliable wifi. I don't want to sound ungrateful because I'm almost always using free wifi when I'm away; but I am so used to Googling any little fact I can't instantly remember that it becomes irritating when I can't do this.

6. My routine, and the friends that fit into it. I miss seeing my friends for sushi, going to knitting group, catching up over coffee...

7. Having a wide variety of clothes to choose from. I try to pack light these days but then I end up terribly bored with all my clothes at the end of the fortnight.

8. Bacon and avocado sandwiches on those nice giraffe batons from Sainers. Nobody makes them like I do at home.

9. The tap. Weird, I know, but I never manage to drink enough when I'm on holiday, for some reason. When I can't just drink straight from the tap, it gets even worse. I think I was semi-dehydrated for my entire time in Vietnam.

10. The outdoor rocking chair I bought last year. I like to sit in it when I get home from somewhere feeling all hot and bothered, because it's in the shade from midday onwards.

Fun topic this week!

Also, this is my 1000th post on this iteration of this blog. Hurrah! In October it will be my 18th anniversary. Who knew I had so much to say?

Oh yes, just everyone who knows me, you're right.

Monday 29 August 2016

Blue Monday

On our first full day in Hanoi, I went for a wander by myself after it became clear that Tutt had little motivation to move from the hotel room. I was looking for the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum; it's probably lucky I didn't find it as I was not dressed conservatively enough to file past his body*

Instead I wandered towards a nearby body of water in desperate search of a cooling breeze (there was none to be had). I came across these rather fetching mosaic park benches on the way, in various hues:

There was a dark blue one as well, but someone was kipping on it and I was already attracting enough attention by being a sweating, gigantic westerner, wearing clothes made in Vietnam but shipped halfway around the world for me to buy and carry back there.

I sat by the lake for a while, avoiding several men who were trying to sell me motorbikes, until a young man dressed all in black (wtf) came over and asked me to fill in a survey about tourism. The survey was all about Saigon, which made me suspicious, but I didn't want to be rude so I did what I could. He then told me he worked for the Red Cross and was selling toothpicks for a blind man. It was a real mish-mash of charitable opportunity for me, but I was not in the mood. Eventually I managed to make him believe that I didn't have any cash of any currency on me - he had stated that he would happily take British pounds - and he went away in a huff.

If he'd told me he was desperate to buy some clothes that weren't black, I might have been in a more giving mood.

* not actually his body, if popular gossip is to be believed. And what is with ignoring the wishes of communist dictators when they die? Ho Chi Minh wanted to be burned. Lenin wanted to be buried next to his mother. Both (ostensibly) ended up embalmed in glass cases, being goggled at by ignorant tourists. It's like the ultimate revenge of capitalism.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Weekend WIP

I started this the day we went to Italy and have been working on it off and on over the summer. Mostly off, tbh - it was too hot in SE Asia to consider working on it much, and I have been trying to read up on the Tudors ready for new jobs next month.

In spite of that, it is getting there. The gradient kit is from Moonlight and I got it at Wonderwool in April; it was meant for a particular pattern but, unlike the Wingspan kit, she did not include the pattern and I didn't like it enough to pay for it. I LOVE this one: like polka dots, almost. The grey is maybe a little on the dark side (it looks lighter in the picture) but other than that I really like how it is knitting up.

Naturally, there's a mistake. In the first colour gradient section, the final few rows should have been worked in the grey. I missed this: the pattern instructions says, "In CC1, work x repeats of pattern 1. Work one repeat of pattern 2. In CC2..." etc. So, I just carried on in CC1, missing the instruction contained at the start of the pattern 2 instructions, which begin, "In MC..."


I realised when I started the grey section, which was on the flight home from Singapore, and I was in no mood at that point to pull out the entire summer's labour. I quite like the way the gradients stack against each other, anyway; my only concern is that I will run out of the colours.