Monday, 11 December 2017

Blue Monday

What delights must lie behind a blue door!


I spotted this one in Cusco in the summer. I like the matching windowsill.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Sunday Selfie

I was looking through Facebook posts last week for one my friend Vikki made one Christmas (never let it be said that I don't know how to procrastinate) and I came across this one of the two of us together. I saved it into my pictures folder and every time I open the folder up, it makes me smile.


I can't even remember where we were or what we were doing, but it looks like we were having fun. 

Strictly: My Dance of the Night

I missed watching this live, due to the carol concert, so I had to snatch it at intervals today. This was the bees knees.



I loved all of the lifts, but most especially the one at the end, obvs. I think Katya always does really interesting lifts. She worked so hard with Ed Balls that it is really pleasing to see her in the final and with a partner who dances well. The acting in this dance was really good as well. I think the character of the Argentine tango is meant to be between a gaucho and a hooker, and this version is sort of, drunk angry gaucho and woman he is pimping. Hmm. Maybe I'm over thinking it. Wouldn't be the first time.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Weeknote: 9/12

Knitting:
I have been picking away at the lace shawl and I'm getting into a rhythm with it. I really love knitting lace because it's like magic - I cannot understand how that combination of stitches results in that pattern. Alchemy.

Going to:
My 100th bikram! Woohoo!
Dinner with Team Humanities from school. We had a Christmas meal out on Thursday at the Canteen in Bristol, which does a really good meal and delicious local cider (ginger and chilli, this week). I had mussels and it came with a free bowl of soup. I am a fan.
With most of them same people, I've been to a carol concert this evening in Cotham, because N was singing in the choir. Mr Z came too and it was all very festive, and we went to a proper old man pub afterwards. Our colleague Z is pregnant and probably not coming back after her maternity leave, so we're doing quite a lot of hanging out at the moment.
I had the ski trip meeting on Wednesday, so now I am very excited about skiing.

Learning:
How to use a formula to get Excel to calculate an age on a certain date. It involves a lot of brackets. This is the formula: =INT(YEARFRAC(A1,DATE(2018,1,1))) where the date in the final set of brackets equals the date on which you want the age calculated.
Yes, I've been doing the ski trip spreadsheet.

Obsessed with:
My workload. ARGGGHHH!! Why did I avoid the mock papers last weekend? And the weekend before? Why didn't I use any of the three extra frees I had last week to actually mark something? This weekend is brutal, I have so much to do.
I cannot WAIT to break up next Friday.

Entertained by:
I enjoyed the end of Howard's End although it went very quickly.
I listened to a new podcast this week, thanks to Sib recommending it. It is the Joe Rogan Experience, episode 725: Graham Hancock and Russell Carlson. It is LONG and I am still only halfway through. It is very interesting though: it's all about a cataclysmic event that happened 12,000 years ago (possibly being hit by a meteor 100km wide) and the evidence there is that there was a significant human civilisation that pre-dates that, and possibly why 'the establishment' won't get on board with it. I am really interested in the topic but I am a bit over the academic posturing.

Feeling:
Fraught. Hurry up, holidays.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Bikram milestone

I made it to class number 100 today!











I nearly didn't go. My usual instructor was not teaching and it was a new-to-me person. I decided I didn't want class number 100 to be with a new person; but then I said it out loud and realised how stupid and unyoga it sounded, so I duly went. I forgot my contact lenses and it was a crowded class, so I ended up on the front row, for the first time. PRESSURE. And I have been feeling very giddy now and again for the past day or two, which came back in spades during any and all the backbends, but luckily I didn't fall over on anybody. Or at all.

The instructor had some kind of problem half way through and had to leave briefly; for a minute I thought the class was going to be cut short, which would have been ironic as I'd have got to 99 and a half, and who knows how that would have sat with my slightly obsessive brain.

I had to ask for permission to go on the front row (not officially, but for my own comfort) because there is still a lot I can't do. I think I will list here because, assuming I carry on going, this will be nice to look back on in the future. You may prefer to stop reading now.

  • I can't catch my foot in standing head to knee, or standing bow
  • I can't catch both feet in bow
  • I can't reach my feet in camel, or rabbit...basically I don't know how I even cut my toenails sometimes
  • I can't get my hands to meet over my knees in wind removing pose
  • I can't get my leg in the right place in tree
  • I can't get my arms in the right place for locust, let alone do the legs
  • I can't get a full wrap in eagle, or get my hands looking vaguely right
  • I can't really manage all the bits of awkward because it makes my feet hurt too much
  • My bum still does not touch my feet when kneeling
  • My hips still don't reach the floor
  • I still need to stick one leg out in the twist at the end
  • My head has not touched my knee for at least a year, in any pose

That's quite a list. But there are lots of things that have improved and some of them are quite subtle. I remember when I started and I couldn't do the simplest of things. Standing with my feet together was uncomfortable. It was basically impossible to breathe in through my nose for a count of six (I used to fake it). I couldn't kneel for any length of time. These are all things I have conquered, along with the heat and the necessity of showering naked in front of a changing roomful of women.

My particular successes are in anything involving long hamstrings or backbends - I seem to be able to do those OK. I was astonished to find, being on the front row, that I was backbending further than most of the other people in my eyeline. I could almost see the floor. Pleasing. I also think I'm quite good at triangle, now I understand how to do it, and balancing stick.


I like to practise it. I think my standing knee is a bit bent here and I need to lift my other leg from the glute, but it's all good practice. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Blue Monday

Throwback all the way to summer 2016, when Tutt and I visited some of the Normandy D-day beaches on a long weekend in France.


Patriotic in three different countries, that picture is.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Sunday Selfie

I do like a good plane selfie when I'm jetting off. Here I am in the summer of 2016, enjoying a glass of fizz before take off on the way to Vietnam. Tutt had managed to get us a very reasonable upgrade to Premium Economy and I was feeling very pleased with myself.


Had my own footrest and everything.

Weekend WIP

Yesterday I cast on for a new shawl, from Victorian Lace Today. It will be the first pattern from that book that I've knitted for myself. I got through 12 rows at knitting group before realising that the mistakes I had made were not fixable by tinking and, although nobody else would have noticed, I would always have known that that fourth row of circles had a strike across the middle as though they were zeroes.

I've been working on it again today, having ripped back and cast on while still at knitting group. Row 1 is not fun: trying to K3tog on a cast on row is just maddening; doing it for the second time made it easier because I cast on very loosely.


The gorgeous confection is Artisan pure silk laceweight, dyed with cochineal and a tin mordaunt (I am repeating this straight from the label without a strong understanding of what I mean....how can a metal be used as a fixative?) I've written on Ravelry that I got it in 2009, at UK Rav Day, but I bought a purple one then and the red one later, possibly at Fibrefest. For some reason I never wrote about Fibrefest on my blog, so I can't be sure, but I definitely didn't get it at Wonderwool and I can't think where else it might have come from.

I might use the purple for the border, but will see how I feel when I get there.

I've also been blocking last weekend's FO. It has come out predictably large.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Strictly: My Dance of the Night

I love musicals week. I spent too long watching old video clips from musicals week on Thursday night this week, so I was pleased when I realised this weekend's show was also musicals.

Lots of choice here. I liked the Cabaret samba a lot. However, this was my winner - I love all that old-style Hollywood glamour. Look at her hair! How do you even get hair to do that? I thought it was impeccably choreographed, too. I know they didn't score very well and I fear she might be out this weekend, but if I have to watch her dance this again, I won't be sorry.

Weeknote: 2/12

Knitting:
I haven't done any knitting this week, since finishing Mother Hand's shawl. I did cast on for a new shawl today, but had to rip it all back when I realised my mistakes were too numerous and hidden to easily fix. I have cast on again but I think it's going to take a while.

Going to:
I caught up with friends for sushi on Monday night. Fun, as always.
I caught up with R, a fellow teacher friend, on Wednesday. He's been working extremely hard, having achieved a senior secondment for no extra money, so we haven't caught up for a couple of months. It was good to geek out.
On Wednesday I went back to Bath to see some old colleagues. The Christmas market was closing for the night so we just went to eat at Yum Yum Thai (well-named) and caught up on gossip.
I've managed yoga twice. My next class will be class number 100.

Learning:
How to make lemon cornmeal pancakes. So. good. I didn't even need syrup. The lemon in them makes them taste of the thin pancakes with lemon and sugar we used to have on pancake day when we were small. Squeezy-lemon-tastic.

Obsessed with:
Avoiding marking mock papers. I have managed this to such a degree that, on Friday, I planned all of my lessons for next week except for the year 11 ones. It's unprecedented. I even spent time I could have spent marking the mocks, making a marksheet to use while marking the mocks. I've marked two out of 39. I've had them for 10 days. Time really is up....guess what I'm doing tomorrow.
Tidying, and sorting, and throwing stuff away. I am determined to get rid of all the nooks and crannies full of stuff I never use and don't need. All this week I've been looking to buy a new blusher brush to use with my NARS palette and tonight I was going through an old bagful of bits from My Little Box subscriptions that I'd never used, when lo and behold - a perfect little blusher brush. So, I have boxed up a lot of it that I will never use and we will use it for prizes at the house charity even next week.

Entertained by:
Impending Christmas! I'm so excited about getting all the decorations up.
Mother Hand still sending me an advent calendar. A chocolate one. Perfect.

Feeling:
Oh so tired and clumsy. I scraped the back wing of my car on a pillar in the school car park on Tuesday. I fell asleep on the bus to Bath on Wednesday. And yet, still, I can't make myself get into bed at a reasonable time, not even on Thursday, when I had no work to do for the next day. This is definitely something I need to improve. I think getting more sleep would solve a lot of my problems.


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Throwback Thursday

I've got to stop dipping into my old diaries when I'm looking for a TBT post. They distract me for hours and are almost never anything I can cope with sharing.

Instead, I scoured through some old pictures and came across this, which is the class picture from our sixth form ball, in 1996. It wasn't a prom. We didn't use that word. And we didn't even have a Y11 version.


Some notables: on the right end of the front row, Caroline, and standing behind her, Beccy, in a dress her mum made for her (still love it). They were among my besties and we'd gone together. Third from the left in the teacher row, my long-suffering Latin teacher ("sloppy work") and, on her left, my endlessly patient, eternally cheerful and super-supportive form tutor, who Mother Hand still occasionally sees on the choir circuit in Portsmouth. The bearded man with glasses was my politics teacher.

This was a fun night but I was practically delirious. I'd suffered extreme sunburn the day before; flown back from Tenerife on one of those awful middle-of-the-night package holiday flights; got a taxi home from the airport to change and then on to school for the last day (I think my school is the only one that expected its leaver students to go back in for the last day of the school year); handed out yearbooks; been told off by the headteacher for not censoring the yearbooks (no faculty support = no censorship, was my point of view); had a laugh about how pointless the telling off was, coming as it did after I had left the school; got into this outfit and rushed off to the Holiday Inn. I was overtired and emotional and nearly burst into tears when Beccy's boyfriend made a mildly inappropriate comment. Luckily my boyfriend turned up later and we all got drunk and had lots of fun.

I think I might still have that dress somewhere. It was fabulously slinky.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Today I wish I was...

I was back in Bath for the second round of Christmas markets tonight, although they were all closing, so not much market-ing was done. However, I did get a couple of pictures, unlike last week.


Very festive.


A political message in the local M&S.

I am feeling very festive and wishing to be more Christmassy this week. I am excited about the carol services, getting the decorations out, doing some shopping and seeing lots of people. Also about getting dressed up and going out to drink festively. This isn't really wishful thinking because it is all on the way, and I don't particularly want to speed it up because it is such a fun time of year. I think I've been missing this for a couple of years because of being so flipping busy with a million non-work work projects, so hopefully this year I can take my time and enjoy it.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Travel Tuesday

It would be impossible to write a blog about the Galapagos that did it justice. I think it was my perfect holiday location. Since it's late I'm not even going to try; I'm just going to share another GoPro video, which doesn't quite have the surprise factor of last week's but is probably my favourite.

I'd swum off a bit from the crowd: every time a sea lion showed up to play, everyone crowded around trying to take a selfie with it and I was a bit bored of that by this point, so I was off exploring by myself. That meant I was the only person to see this.




The quality isn't great; there's my surprised, 'OH!' at the start when I realised what I was looking at; and you have to put up with my, 'IS THIS THING DEFINITELY ON?!!??!!' face at the end, but that is still a video of a marine iguana being harassed by a sea lion on the shore of Los Lobos island. Yes, Blue Planet, I am available for your third series.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Blue Monday

It was such a hot, hot day, the day we went to the beach in Malaga, on the school trip in July. A hot, sunny, balmy day, where we lay under palm trees in the breeze and tried to avoid sunburn and I 'impressed' the students by knowing the words to a Tinie Tempah song.


November me is jealous of July me.


Smug July me. I'm glad you had a swollen eye. It serves you right for soaking your contact lens in soap and then trying to wear it.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Weekend FO

So excited to finally have a FO post!



Pattern: Serenity by Rachel Booker
Yarn: Fivemoons Luna 4-ply, 5 mini skeins
Needle: 4mm
Mods: This pattern was very easy for modifications and I adjusted the width of my stripes according to how much I had of each colour. I knitted a double wide lace panel in the first colour, then a one and a half times repeat in the next two; then I knitted one lace panel in colour four, followed by a panel and a half (roughly) in the last colour, using a lace bind off.

It needs a bloody good block, but I am pleased with how it looks, and with how quickly it went.

Selfie Sunday

Something from the summer today. This was our first evening on the Galapagos Islands. We'd been snorkelling in Darwin Bay and were walking back to the hotel, and came across all the sea lions hauled out on the beach, getting warm.


It was so exciting!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Strictly: My Dance of the Night

Debbie really does move in an impressive way. I know she's a trained dancer and she probably weighs very little, but this dance was just spectacular. I was also quite impressed that she talked about how hard she has been working. It must be exhausting. And she looks so chic, all in black.



Special mention for Joe's quickstep. I did love that too.

Weeknote: 26/11

Knitting:
I'm very close to being finished with Mother Hand's shawl. I have one more row and then the bind off. I am hopeful that I might finish it tomorrow, or at least this week.

Going to:
I went to see the English National Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet on Tuesday. It was stunning, of course. Amazing dancing and quite amusing choreography in parts. And, of course, there was a full, enormous orchestra, which made it even better.
Thursday night was the opening of Bath Christmas Markets, so I went down there, as is tradition. Most of my old colleagues let me down by not coming too, but I did catch up with Paul and Tom, who arrived just in time to catch me trying a gin sample at the Bath Gin shed. Timing. We went for dinner at the Stable after we'd wandered around the markets until we were bored. I bought some Christmas presents, some more glass robins (personal obsession) and the obligatory Christmas pudding. Oh, and some gin of course.
I caught up with my old friend Aliboo today. I haven't seen much of her for a few years and it was lovely to natter for a few hours and hear all her news.

Learning:
Not much learning has happened this week. I've marked all my books and entered all my data, so I've got the decks cleared for the year 11 mock papers, but there hasn't been much time for any personal learning.

Obsessed with:
Trying to get our home into some sort of order. Now the decorating has finished, we have started to move things back to where they came from, but the problem is that we don't have the shelving we used to and we don't necessarily want all of the objet that were on them. I'm trying to throw out as much as possible. I'd like an uncluttered Christmas.

Entertained by:
Snowfall. I've caught up now. It's quite depressing but also compelling.

Feeling:
It's been an interesting week for emotions. Everybody seems to be feeling short-tempered, so there's not a great deal of patience out there. I found someone else in yoga particularly annoying on Wednesday (though thankfully I refrained from telling him off) and the students have been snippy and over-sensitive, as have we. I am hoping everyone will be slightly more patient next week, myself included, since we will be another week closer to Christmas.


Friday, 24 November 2017

Fave Friday

I mentioned before that I enjoy country music more the older I get. My interest in Nashville (the TV series) might have waned quickly but country stations are still my first choice when driving around the States. It was quite comforting to find that the same old cliches are still doing the rounds in the charts when we were visiting in October.



I quite like the video, too. Apparently Gwen Stefani's kids are in it, because he's dating her. Yes, I went and read American gossip websites about him and Miranda Lambert (country star, now ex wife) and ended up reading far too much.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Throwback Thursday

It was Bath Christmas Markets opening night tonight. I like to go every year. Usually there's a big crowd of my (now ex) colleagues because it's inset day for them tomorrow; this year they were all a bit of a let-down, but I did get to have dinner with Paul and Tom, two of my faces who are both now SLT and therefore can't really hang out with big crowds of their staff anymore.

We were thinking back to year 1 of this tradition, which was 2014, when we also went wine tasting for a leaving do.





It was a really fun night, though it has merged in my head with a meal out we had for Tutt leaving, which involved a particularly epic picture of everyone standing on some steps and J holding hands with K in the front of the picture, while J's wife stood behind. Completely random, and neither of them even noticed until after the picture was shown around. Very funny memories. When we went back wine tasting for my leaving do, they re-enacted it.


I do miss hanging out with this group of friends, but it's nice to look back fondly.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Strictly Movie Week: My Dance of the Night

I know this was some weeks ago now but I am only just getting round to watching the earliest episodes (they're so long!) and I am quite missing Aston and Janette. Janette is my favourite, so perfect for #womancrushWednesday too. She is always so funny in the Claudatorium and she just exudes positivity all the time.



They're so cute! Like little pocket pals. I really enjoyed the closing dance to Stayin Alive, too, but this was just perfect.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Travel Tuesday: Bayeux

Last summer, Tutt and I had a couple of day trips to Bayeux. I was super excited to see the Tapestry. No pictures, obviously, but it was amazing to see it in the cloth, so to speak. I can't believe it has survived so well for so long. It was a bit frustrating to be herded through at someone else's pace; I would have preferred having time to pore over the most important scenes for minutes, rather than seconds, but then perhaps the summer holidays are not the best time for this.


Bayeux town was very pretty.


I had some kind of Normandy take on a croque monsieur for lunch. It included sausage and apple, and a big slice of melted cheese.

After that, we went off to the D-day museum. It was a history teachers' paradise. So much information, really well laid out and informative. After that, we had a wander around the cemetery.


I'm not that into this sort of dark tourism, but I found the memorials very moving.




An excellent day out. I'm not quite sure how I managed to fool Tutt into going to two History things on the same day, but I mark it as a triumph of 2016.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Blue Monday

A break from gratuitous shots of the sea and the sky this week. Over the summer I visited Durham for a teacher conference based at the university, which was excellent and, even better, afforded me the opportunity to (a) visit Durham, where I had never been before and (b) get to feel like a student again. I also visited their excellent Oriental museum which I can highly recommend. This beauty is from there:


It is a window screen in a Moorish design. I wish I had taken a picture of the accompanying information because I'm sure there was something about the spacing representing something, but I have forgotten. It reminded me of the conversation I had with Ignacio, the guide on the school trip to Spain, when we went to the Alhambra and saw similar screens. He waved his hand at them airily - 'Moorish, you see,' he said, 'because the Muslims prefer nobody looking in. You can always tell the Christian modifications - huge windows. The Moors were more private.'

I think I prefer this. This is way more beautiful than a net curtain. Just saying.

GoPro video of the summer

I had a bit of spare time this evening, so I finally got round to copying the pictures and videos I made on the GoPro when I was in the Galapagos. The pictures aren't up to much....definitely time for a new GoPro (what a pity). The videos are great, though. Here's my favourite.


We were warned they liked to do this before we got off the boat, so it wasn't wholly unexpected. Really cool!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Weekend WIP

Progress has been swift on this shawl for Mother Hand. I'm into the lace of the fourth colour now.


Eight more rows of that colour, then onto the last. I am shortening the lace panels as I go, to account for the extra width. The first one was 16 rows; the second two were 12 rows each, and I ran out of the third purple with about 12 stitches to go, so that was about right. Hopefully I will make eight rows in colour four.

I'm excited to see it off the needles. It's, of course, all squashed up on the needle so I can't get any idea of the scale of it or how it is shaped.

Sunday Selfie

Something family based from Sib's visit yesterday. It was quite drizzly and grey up by the suspension bridge, but the view is always impressive in some way, I think.


Also really excited that it is cold enough again to wear my favourite jumper.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Strictly: My Dance of the Night

It was really hard to choose tonight. I loved so many of them! The quickstep is always fun to watch on Blackpool week because you can see the floor flexing as they trot across it; and I loved the Ride of Time salsa too. But I have always loved Strictly Ballroom, and this dance was so good at referencing it. I wish Susan had danced it with a bit more attack - a bit more Fran - but I really enjoyed the performance, regardless.

Weeknote, 18/11

Knitting:
I have added another band to Mother Hand's shawl and started the 4th colour. I am really hopeful of having it finished by her birthday, and I've got two long bus journeys to knit during this week.

Going to:
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, performed by the Bath Light Opera Group at the Theatre Royal in Bath. An ex-colleague was in it, so I went with a bunch of my old colleagues and a bunch of students that I used to teach. Some of them were normal about it. Some of them stared at me, and one asked, 'Do we still need to call you Miss?'
The show was hilarious but very rude. Particularly the ping pong scene. I'm glad those weren't my pupils, but Caroline did remind me that I booked the Berlin trip students into a cabaret that turned out to be basically nude, apart from some very diminutive underwear and some strategically placed masking tape. Touche.
After the show, there was the obligatory visit to the Canary Bar, and the obligatory martini. Delightful.
Knitting group, this morning. It was a bijou crowd, but we had a nice time.
Lunch with Sib. I took him to Bocabar where I ate a pizza the size of a bicycle wheel, and then we went for a drive and a short walk to the suspension bridge. The foliage up there is very autumnal and lovely.


Learning:
Staff vs sixth form netball taught me that I am better at shooting when I am standing a bit away from the hoop.
How to contour - sort of. I'm not very good at it, but I've been trying to use the new NARS palette and prove myself wrong.

Obsessed with:
Getting the floor done, as mentioned on Wednesday. I just need to start ringing people.

Entertained by:
Priscilla, obviously.
Ugly House to Lovely House, a home improvement programme I can manage to watch, though I do wonder how a builder from Newcastle has come to be doing the luvvie kiss-on-both-cheeks thing.
Snowfall. It is pretty dark but I like it a lot.
Ujima radio. It's a local Bristol station. I have learned some things from them this week too: on Friday there was a good history of hip hop special during my long commute home.

Feeling:
So very tired. On Monday I fell asleep on the sofa for a long hour. On Friday I went to bed at 8.20, after falling asleep on the sofa again, and slept through until the alarm went off at 7.30, whereupon I turned it off, did NOT go to yoga and had another half hour snooze. Everyone seems very tired at present so I will blame it on the dark nights and the general mehness of the weather.
Cold. It has been cold this week. I might have to break out the tights if it continues, though Katt said at knitting group today that it is going to be warm next week. I might make it through another week, then.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Fave Friday


It has been a couple of years now since I stumbled into Kiehl's and impulse-purchased some lovely skin care. I've ditched the day serum now in favour of something that feels a bit less plasticky, but when they provided me with a generous sample of this at the same time, I became a fan very quickly. I used it during my holiday to Berlin that October and found it to be very soothing, and the scent is soporific to boot. A good combination.

I have recently finished the first bottle, after 18 months; that's not to say it lasted that long, because I do go through phases of not using it, and it doesn't always make it into my holiday washbag due to it being quite heavy and made of glass. However, a little really did go a long way and I think it makes my skin look sleeker the morning after I use it. Only a good thing, surely.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Throwback Thursday

Bear with me if I've told this one before.

When I was a brand new teacher, my childhood cat came to live with us. She had a variety of medical issues that required us to dose her with laxatives and pain pills, and she had to sit on a lap or she would yowl - Mr Z tested this once, she yowled for three hours. In January, she died. I was devastated, having had her in my life since I was 12. I took the day off school to mourn, having discovered her lifeless body curled up on the sofa and realised that, for the first time, she WASN'T just pretending to be asleep when I crept up on her.

Anyway.

I missed a year 11 lesson that day, and shortly after, one of my year 11s approached me about taking on a kitten. "I'd like you to have her, Miss," she said. "You were so sad when your old cat died."


The day I brought her home I was driving a rental car, after someone had driven into the back of me, and I rolled it into the back of another car on a hill because I was too busy looking at her. An auspicious start.

Here we are, getting on for 14 years later. She still likes that chair, but mostly sleeps on the back of it now, where she can catch the heat from the radiator. She's grumpy and almost blind. But she is our mitten.



FEET.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Today I wish I was...

...looking at a beautiful herringbone floor. I am obsessed.


The decorating project that Mr Z started in 2011 has finally been completed. We have a full replastered, painted and papered downstairs living space. It looks lovely. There are only two things left: sorting out the curtains (helloooo, John Lewis curtain department) and fixing up the floor. I have decided this is the floor for me. Maybe even in this colour.

I have been eyeing up the original flooring in the old block at school. Anybody got a crowbar they'd like to lend me?

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Travel Tuesday: Halong Bay


As part of our trip to Vietnam last summer, Tutt and I went on an overnight cruise around Halong Bay. I hadn't really heard of it before but Tutt, a fan of Top Gear, had seen the special where they turn their cars into watercraft and was keen to see it in person, so we included it in our itinerary.

It was a very swish boat.


We boarded around lunchtime and were swiftly whisked off into the other-worldly landscape. It is truly odd: huge limestone chunks jutting up out of emerald green water, usually with a bunch of birds sitting on them and staring. All different shapes and sizes, and seemingly at complete random. While I remember enough geology to know why they look like this, I've never really been satisfied with why it happens so randomly. Why did these chunks survive the weathering, I wonder.

Anyway.


We sat on this balcony after our multi-course fish banquet and Tutt taught me cribbage. I am a bad loser and she kept remembering rules she hadn't told me which only made me a worse loser, but we had fun and I didn't throw her overboard. The next morning, we woke up to this.


We were hustled onto little boats and taken around a floating village, wearing these hats to protect from the extremely strong sun. It was a bit like going on a camel ride in a Bedouin village - awkwardly touristy - but I loved floating around the village. What an interesting place it must be to live. Terrible wifi though, I'm sure.





Afterwards we had some beach time. Deliciously welcome after all the heat and humidity.


I can recommend going: it is something to behold. The cruise was quite touristy but my attitude to that is always - well, I am a tourist.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Blue Monday

Cusco. A sky so blue that it shows up all the specks on the camera lens...


Here is the Inca in context. Lovely fountain in the Plaza de Armas, which is (as far as I could tell) the Cusco equivalent of Leicester Square.


I have found I am a little too fond of shooting monuments against nothing but sky. Witness, here and here.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sunday Selfie

SHOE!


I took this in Las Vegas a fortnight ago. Fremont Street and Downtown is lovely to walk around since it has been all regenerated and spruced up. The shoe lit up in glittery splendour after the sun had gone down.

Weekend WIP

I got my knitting mojo back a bit this weekend by casting on a small shawl for Mother Hand for Christmas.

I'm knitting it in a set of Minimoons I picked out at Wonderwool in April. The colours are Drizzle, Lavender, French Lavender, Sweet Violet and Wistful. At the moment I can't quite decide which purple should come last; I'm leaning towards the semi-solid Wistful.


The lace pattern is an 8 row repeat, with an optional 8 row repeat addition for a wider panel. I started off with 16 rows of lace but have cut it back to 12 with the Lavender, to try to ensure I don't run out of yarn. I think I might have enough for 12 rows in the next colour, then 8 for the penultimate and maybe we'll see about the final colour.

It's knitting up quickly and easily and I'm cheerful, thinking about Mother Hand wearing it after Christmas. The scarves I've knitted for her so far have been fun fur or Big Softee, since I have not been a huge fan of scarf knitting, so this will be a bit of a departure. She does like a bit of fun fur, though.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Strictly: My Dance of the Night

I'm not usually a big waltz fan but I thought Gemma and Aljaz did a great job this week. The spinning! No wonder they just finished in a hug: I think I would have been sick on the floor. I was sad for them that they didn't get higher marks.



Big fan of the Charleston too, of course. That lift at the end was epic. Perhaps I'll have to do a blog post of just the Charlestons at some point.

Weeknote, 11/11

Knitting:
I have got as far as putting the stitches for the back of the angora jumper onto a needle, but I've lost interest again; so today I cast on a new shawl to give to Mother Hand for Christmas.

Going to:
It's been a bit of an indoors week. I went to bikram twice, and I had a parents' evening one night. So, not much to report on this front.

Learning:
That I am not very good at catching a netball and it's best if I stay in defence - at staff vs sixth form netball on Friday.
About A-level politics - we're offering it as a new option next year so I attended an online training about it.

Obsessed with:
Wearing my new blue ombre stripe leggings at aforementioned netball.
The NARS Man Ray make up collection, since I saw a review pop up on YouTube. I hotfooted it out of parents' evening so I could buy some of it before House of Fraser shut on Thursday. It was an unnecessary purchase, particularly in light of the advent calendar, but so. pretty. Now must actually wear it.

Entertained by:
I caught up on Gunpowder this week, which was entertaining although not captivating. I read a review that said it was pro-Catholic because all the Catholics in it were gorgeous, while the Protestants weren't; I thought it was quite anti-Catholic, though, because there was no suggestion of them being set up.

Feeling:
Rested, after a fairly easy work week, a long night's sleep and a long nap today. Although slightly disconcerted by last night's dream, in which I was meant to be delivering two large presentations (one of which is a real thing I have to deliver in July) and hadn't planned either. Probably a sign I should spend part of tomorrow getting on with some non-work work.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Fave Friday

It is with find nostalgia that I remember the advent calendars of my youth. I am old enough to remember the ones that were just a picture behind a window. I was excited every day to find out what was going to be there. When I got one with glitter on it - even better!

At some point in my childhood chocolate advent calendars became A Thing. Now everybody thinks of advent calendars as made of chocolate and, more than any other Christmas tradition, the loss of this makes me really quite sad. There's surely enough chocolate around at Christmas without having to scoff a small piece every day leading up to it.

I mourn the loss of my tradition. But then some genius came up with the idea of the adult, luxury advent calendar, and I am on board with it - not really because it is a countdown to the festive fun, but because it is a treat every day. You might remember that a few years ago I splurged some of my marking money on a gin version; I've still got some of the miniatures, though, because I only got about halfway through before I started to worry what drinking gin every day was doing to my face (it made me very rosy).

This week, I found an extra payment from the exam board that I'd forgotten was coming, so I spent it on this.

The Clarins advent calendar. Not a great picture, but I am trying to avoid the website too much because there's a list and picture of the contents (??!!) and I want it to be a surprise. It wasn't eye-watering, like the one I lust over from Liberty most years, but this is a big step away from the picture only ones of my youth, even when they had glitter.

I'm looking forward to treating myself daily: something that I find very important in the dog days of term, when everything is so busy and sleep is in short supply. Also, I ordered it online and it came with seven free samples, a cosmetics purse, and some sort of loyalty points which mean that the next tube of cleanser I buy will cost me nothing. So basically, I saved money by buying this.



Thursday, 9 November 2017

Throwback Thursday

I had a good rummage for a diary entry for tonight. It went on for far too long and now it is far too late, but thankfully tomorrow is Friday. I didn't find anything much of interest. 1994 is the best diary but I was deep in lurve with my first boyfriend at this point in 1994 and some of that stuff is so excruciating I can barely read it myself, let alone share it.

I did, however, find all my A-level Latin books lurking at the back of the drawer, and one of them turned up this gem of feedback, roughly 22 years ago.


I have taken a special photograph of the top section, just in case you can't see it, because it's gold.


Savage. 

Also, a perfect find on a day when I've had to have conversations with parents about lazy year 13s. I was that lazy year 13. It mostly worked out OK for me, especially in Latin. I can probably get away with worrying a bit less. 

I'm impressed to see that we were made to go back and redraft our work, and correct the errors. This is a 'new' fad we're loving in teaching at the moment. Not so new.