Thursday, May 31, 2007

This is me - apparently!

You know I'm rubbish at links and stuff - I did the personality thing from picperfic's blog and this is me. Pretty true I'd say (apart from the organised thing, organised chaos maybe!)

The Caregiver
You are sympathetic and caring, putting friends and family first.
A creature of habit, you prefer routines and have trouble with change.
You love being in groups - whether you're helping people or working on a project.
You are good at listening, laughing, and bringing out the best in people.
In love, you value harmony and mutual understanding.
You will apologize or give someone the benefit of the doubt, if it means getting over a fight sooner.
At work, you are good at building relationships and connecting with people.
You would make a great nurse, social worker, or teacher.

How you see yourself: Organized, dependable, co-operative
When other people don't get you, they see you as: Opinionated, critical, and know-it-all

Muddling along

Here's the sock I've been working on. I'm very pleased with myself that I've managed to do the heel - not quite like the pattern said as my stitches didn't line up like it said they should. Needle 1 was needle 3 and I got very confused, so just muddled my way through. Story of my life really. Confused and just muddling my way along.
My day off for relaxing didn't turn out as planned at all. Husband had the day off (as in working from 6 pm, not the whole day). I wanted to go house hunting for my parents and just bimble round villages seeing if they would be mum and dad's taste. Husband does not do bimbling. He likes things just so, organised, planned, time scales etc. I am far too scatty for that. We went out for a couple of hours in the morning, then came back for dinner. I spent the afternoon making sugar roses for a birthday cake. Not what I had planned at all, but never mind, at least I can knit tonight instead!
On the subject of knitting, dare I tell you that I have something else on the needles? Mum has made a lovely shawl with Kerrie's sock weight cashmere and I'm putting the border on it. So I haven't really cast something new on have I? I'm finishing something for once instead. I have never blocked anything, normally just plonk the steam iron on my knitting, but I feel this will need blocking. Come back another day and I promise to have a picture of it. Finished. Cast off. Completed. Done. The end. Prepare to be amazed....

Young Love

Sorry didn't get chance to post yesterday. I went to my mum's and when I returned, the evening was all about settling a little bunny into her new home. May I introduce Blossom to you all. (Visit Julie for more exciting bunnies - all of whom sold out in about 30 seconds - make more Julie, make more!) Alfie is of course smitten and Blossom looks quite pleased with the match too. I am hoping for the patter of tiny feet before long.
Alfie has spent the last few days, since hearing of the impending arrival of a girlfriend, tidying out the stash basket. He has rearranged it several times trying to find his favourite yarns for Blossom to sit on. Today I think I'll leave the two sweet hearts to themselves - I'm off out for the day (it's only 7.30 am). The boys are playing football so I have relative freedom until pick-up time. Hmm, where to go and what to do.... (will tell you what I decided later on)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Well at long last the rain stopped, but not until 2.30 pm. And the sun shone, but not until 3.30 pm. It has rained for pretty much 3 days solid. Now I know we needed the rain, but this has just been too much. We set about wondering whether to build an ark - living in the Fens we are pretty much at sea level, infact just a few hundred years ago, we were under the sea apparently. So this afternoon was spent looking round the garden - hadn't seen it for such a long time - and lo and behold, just look at all that rhubarb. Where did that all come from? I'm sure it wasn't that big on Saturday. Better get the apron on and start some cooking!

Spot the rhubarb amongst all the mint, sage and irises!

Ingredients all prepared.

Presenting Rhubarb Betty (and mighty fine she was too!)

Now I just need to start thinking of something to do with all the mint and sage - any ideas anyone?

Monday, May 28, 2007

You'll never guess what...

Can you believe it? Another finished object! And this is a pair of finished objects! Those needles are certainly clicking as fast as Mrs Weasley's. Infact they're going so fast that I seem to have split my right index finger on the impossibly sharp 2mm needles used for the glove. I never knew that I used that finger quite so much to knit with. Have put a plaster over it so that I can start on yet another project.
Yes. Another project. Why on earth can't I just finish something else first? I blame Dee . Too much temptation with all that gorgeous yarn. I'm making a pair of socks now in Emily. These socks had just so better work. The one and only previous pair were too small - but mum loves them. Will picture them another day. I decided against Monkey and Pomatamus and went for the Slip Up Socks on Dee's site. She says they're easy... the heel bit looks a bit hard to me, so expect troublesome blogs soon!
What about this weather eh? The children have tried so hard to be good, stuck inside all day. Hopefully we can get out for them to play a bit of football tomorrow. Cold. Wet. Windy. It's more like February today. Yuk, foul, horrid, cabin fever!!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007


Today we had a training day at school. Which means that I got the day off. Either they think that I am beyond training, or else I'm so fantastic just as I am that I don't need any more. I'm opting for the second, although I feel it's more like the first!
So on my day off, what should I do? Well there's the ironing to do. The shopping to get. The tea to cook. The cakes to bake. The flowers to make. Oh sod it, let's make marmalade instead! I love making the stuff. I love eating it too. My mum makes jam (good job as I can't do that - it never seems to set) and I make marmalade and chutney. This is our favourite flavour, plain, simple, delicious! Especially when served on thick toast with butter.
I then had a guilt trip at not working hard enough, so ironed, hoovered, dusted (me? dusting? my family will be so proud!) shopped, cleaned, scrubbed etc.
Having done all that, I think I deserve a spot of knitting, don't you?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Frogs, blackbirds and beans

More 'children' than I thought as it turns out. Today was a big day for Dang the tadpole - he became a frog! Thank goodness we had a lid on the tank as he was on the roof of it when I came downstairs this morning. The inside of the roof you understand. Anyway, he has now been released into the big wide world. Hope he doesn't go to next door's pond or else the fish will eat him.
The blackbirds have been busy again and they are already raising their second brood of the year. I think the previous youngsters are still around, it's getting difficult to tell anymore.
Want to hear something really horrid? Look away now if not. There's a lady at work who's on a diet. Today for her mid-morning snack, she had a dish of cold baked beans with a banana sliced into it. Honest. And she ate it too.
Kerrie, sorry your e-mail is messed up. Nothing to do with me though, I can't even leave comments on your blog, so something must be very wrong. Hope the little man you speak to is more helpful than the little man who dealt with me last week.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Keeping Up

Here are some of the irises in our garden. I love them. We have clumps growing all over the garden in lots of different shades, but this is my favourite. Apparently they do better if you split them up every year. These have never been split in 8 years and don't seem to be doing too badly.
Today was Sports Day in school. I have never liked this annual event, either as a participant, mother or member of staff. But today I finally understood the importance of it. Not all children are able to excel in the class room and for some, it becomes a daily torture and struggle just to keep up. I saw at least 4 of the children run today who are really never going to shine academically, they have trouble reading, writing and doing maths. But today, these children took part and loved it. They ran for all they were worth and each won their races. The look of delight on their faces was a lovely thing to behold. It was a case of 'look at me, see, I can do something well'.
I have always felt sorry for those children who didn't want to take part (indeed I was one of them), thinking it was cruel and unnecessary to put them through it all. But not today. So many children feel like that every day in school, unable to succeed and so very much out of their depth. These 4 have changed my mind. You were stars today - you didn't brag or boast, you were happy just to have crossed the line ahead of the field for once.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ding, Dong and Dang

So there I was this morning, 7.30, thinking that it was high time I went for a shower, but just one more round of the glove wouldn't make me so very late, when I heard my children talking to each other. Rather, whispering to each other.

'Come and see the tadpoles, they've grown.'

Alarm bells rang in my somewhat fuzzy head. What tadpoles? We don't have any tadpoles. Do we? I know, ask son number 2. He's very honest and would never tell fibs to his mum. Denial. Flat barefaced denial. Nobody mentioned tadpoles mum, you must have heard the tv. Hmm. Decided to try son number 1 who is capable of lying under the most severest interrogation, so really didn't hold out much hope there.

Please tell me darling children. Do you have any tadpoles in your room? No. If you did have any, I worry in case they tip over. No. If there were any, I wonder what they would eat. Bacteria in the water mum, dad said so. Aha, a crack in the defence. If there were any, they might become smelly. Silence. If there were any, I really wouldn't be cross, I would just like to know.

They're in the cupboard. WHAT?!!!! Tadpoles in the bloody cupboard? (I didn't swear. I kept calm). On opening the cupboard, I discovered a sweet jar with 3 very advanced tadpoles, nay, froglets, swimming happily round in the dark. Ooh look says honest son number 2 (honest did I say?) the torches have gone out. Torches? What torches? Turns out every torch in the house is in this cupboard and turned on - and every battery has run out - just in case the tadpoles didn't like the dark.

So I have spent a couple of hours this afternoon relocating them, finding a tank, some big stones and some food. They apparently have names - Ding is the one with just back legs, Dong is the one with back legs and small front legs and Dang is the one that looks about to make a bid for freedom at any minute. All 3 are in the photo - bottom left, look hard!

It was only this evening that I wondered how darling honest children had managed to get them from my neighbours pond into the sweet jar. I need to sieve some icing sugar for a cake, and seem unable to locate the sieve....

Monday, May 21, 2007


Can't have a picture-less post, so here's one of my other favourite cardigan. Eldest son took the picture - he missed off my head and the pretty sleeves (frills at the bottom of those too). Takes pictures just like his dad!

So here's the meme. Still don't know what it is, but consider yourself tagged if you want to be! Many thanks to my 2 willing volunteers! The particulars: each person tagged tells seven random facts about themselves in their blog (and at the same time, reiterate the rules). Then you tag seven others, naming them on your blog, and leaving a comment on their blog so they know that they have been tagged. Seven things you might not know about me:-

  1. I once had a golden retriever dog called Fennel. He was wonderful, when he died I was devastated. Vowed never to have another pet again, much to the disgust of my children. Can't go through that again.
  2. I hate buying shoes. If someone out there would do it for me, I'd jump at the chance!
  3. My first job after leaving Cookery School was to work for the Royal Family. Not a bad postal address ' Appartmant 1, Kensington Palace'! I signed the Official Secrets Act, so can't say much more than that!
  4. While in that job, I met my husband. We couldn't stand each other at first. He thought I was a snob (ha! me?) and I thought he was a fool. But eventually sense got the better of us. He propsed to me on a mountain top in Bavaria.
  5. I used to drink, but now can't. Even a sip of wine makes me feel ill.
  6. Controversial one this. I don't like cats. If you spent as much time as I do clearing cat poo and sick out of your garden, off the grass, off your children's bare feet and shoes, and off the front door mat, you wouldn't be too keen either.
  7. I knew with 100% certainty that my first born was a girl. When he was born, I felt sure the midwife had got it wrong!

OK now? Will that do Dee?

Sunday, May 20, 2007


OK people. It appears that I have been tagged for something called a meme and I now have to tag 7 others. I don't even know 7 people who blog so am opening this up to all of you. Are you willing to be tagged? Volunteer or be volunteered! Get me out of this mess and I'll offer a pressie from the stash basket for one of the lucky 7 to offer! I'm sure I'm breaking some rules here, but tough Dee, needs must!
Will try and do the meme thingy tomorrow....

Advice please

It's that old casting on problem again! I really want to make some socks. I've only ever made one pair and they didn't fit. My mum was very pleased about this as they fit her perfectly. I also had real trouble doing the heels, they were both very different, but mum didn't seem to mind! So the thing is this, I really fancy doing some socks, but which pattern? What's your favourite ? I don't like lacy ones, but am very tempted with Monkey or Pomotamus from Knitty. But are they too hard? I also love the cable ones from Yarn Forward this time. Any ideas anyone?
Or should I just finish something off for once?
Haven't treated you to a picture of the glove lately either, so here you are. And I'm a bit cross with it, as the needles have just impaled my hand - drew blood they did. Sharp little things that they are!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Casting Off!

Hey would you just look at this. I've actually cast something off! The Dobby Tea cosy (actually the book calls it an Elf Hat, but then describes it as a tea cosy that Dobby would like to wear!) It's modelled by Monkey - we live in a house of original names here - who was fed up of Alfie getting all the publicity.
Going to try and get some of the glove done this weekend, but have lots of school-related stuff to do. Also need to get in the garden and show willing to my husband by attempting some weeding. And need to do the mountain of ironing. Mustn't forget all the cooking and hoovering to do, as well as the football runs and yet more muddy washing. There are cakes to bake and flowers to make. Oh what a joyful weekend I have in store. Hope you manage more knitting than I will!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Casting on

Just what is it about Casting On? Why can't I just finish something before I start something else? Not sure if it's a low boredom threshold, a love of beautiful yarn, enthusiasm for new patterns or a mixture of all 3. This is the Dobby tea cosy hat from Charmed Knits for a friend who's just had a baby. The wool is from Daniela at . Go on then all you clever people, share the secret with me - how come you can all just type in a name and it forms a link? Why do I have to keep on typing in the whole blinking address every time? You're all eons ahead of me in the technology scale!
But back to the subject of casting on - have started on another lizard ridge square, the second glove, the front to a cardigan and this hat all in less than a week. Is there no hope for me?
Oh and the film on the machine tonight is a special treat for Barry!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Beads of Rain

So just where has all this rain come from? We hardly had a drop of the stuff in April and it's barely stopped tipping it down for the past fortnight. Forgive rubbish photo - the peonies really do look so pretty, but it was chucking it down and I was getting wet and cold. Sorry. I was supposed to be hunting for slugs and snails - we have loads of hostas and the pesky little beasties just love to munch on them. Didn't find a single one though - the hedgehogs and frogs must be doing their stuff. Maybe even the baby blackbird too. Oh, I saw her today looking for her own food, she obviously gave up on dad!
Question for you all again. You've done so well at solving my previous problems, I have high hopes for this one. Where is there a good on-line bead shop? I would prefer a UK based one if possible. Have a Wedding Cake to do and to cut a long story short, I need some royal blue beads. Anyone got any good ideas?
Thank-you to anyone who has tried to vote on the Joseph competition. Sadly the BBC have completely messed up and the site is down more often than it's running. To say they underestimated the response is a pretty poor excuse. Sort it out BBC. We are getting cross. And as the children in the class I was working in today will tell you, I'm not nice when I'm cross!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I have had my eyes on this baby blackbird since it was a sparkle in its fathers' eyes. I watched mum and dad tirelessly make the nest in the conifer hedge outside my kitchen window. I tiptoed as they sat on the eggs, trying not to disturb them. Once the proud parents started flying round catching worms and caterpillars and making frequent trips back to the nest, I knew congratulations were in order. It turns out that there were 3 babies - I saw them out of the nest last week chasing the poor exhausted parents round the garden, demanding more food.
Today I watched dad teaching this youngster how to get worms. It was hilarious. No way was this young lady going to get anything off the grass, least of all chop it up first. She wanted it to go straight into that enormous chasm that was her mouth, and blimey was she twittering about it. A very fussy child having a bit of a tantrum because things weren't going all her own way.
Hmm. Birds and people have more in common than I thought.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Voting will be allowed as from Tuesday apparently - please go along and vote for our school, they so deserve a chance! Tell the world about us, get us in the top 20 - please!
Thank-you. You are very nice people!

Knitting with ferrets

This is my most favourite ( sure that's bad grammar) thing I've ever knitted. The Abstract Jacket from Alterknits. I've used alpaca, silk, cashmere, various Colinette yarns and some wonderful buttons from Injabulo. It's so comfy, so soft and so very me. I've used some of Nicky Epstein's i-cord embellishments and I just love it! The only problem came when I first wore it. A work-colleague (it just had to be a man) said 'oh for a minute I thought you had dead ferrets round your arms'. Stupid, stupid, stupid. When has anyone seen bright orange ferrets?
Oh, and Alfie was upset as he's not had his picture taken for a while...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Anybody help me?

How do I get a button on the sidebar? I have spent the last hour trying to work this out with no luck. The blogger help pannel doesn't help - that's way too complicated for me to navigate. Easy peasy terms please anyone for a computer thicky?

Harry Potter

Sorry, too tired to post yesterday. The week of late nights (well, 1am early mornings) and 6.30am mornings finally did me in. Fell asleep.
Look what I got yesterday though. Nothing can do justice to the Posh Yarn colours. It's Garden Party and is possibly Dee's best ever. Little flecks of buttercup yellow, bright green, clover and apricot. It was destined for someone else, but no way am I giving this one up! Mine, all mine...
And have you seen this book? It is fantastic. Completely bonkers with all references towards Harry Potter. The patterns are wonderful. I want a wizard cloak! Sadly too small for me, but I could always try and lose about 4 stone... There's Mrs Weasley's bag, her housecoat (not even I am brave enough to wear that one!) The invisibility shawl (Kerrie it's beautiful) all the sweaters and socks. Damn, but I want to knit something of everything! For me though the first thing to go on the needles will be the Phoenix tears scarf. Truly inspired. I love scarves, wear one every day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chocs away, Joseph

So here's the Spitfire cake. Sorry to all you purists out there - I'm calling it a Spitfire, but it probably isn't really. But hey it's got 2 wings a propeller and a tail fin!
Now I need to ask you all a big favour. You know I work in a school yes? Well we've entered the Joseph choir competition and we need votes. I'm nothing to do with the singing bit (flat as a pancake me) but it would be so lovely for the children to have a chance at this, to sing on the telly! Unfortunately the bbc seems to be having some problems with their site ( think we may have sent it into meltdown). Go to and vote for Lionel Walden Primary school - 5 stars if you don't mind! The site has been very slow but please stick with it, we need every vote you can give us - mention it to your friends and relatives, please ! The top 20 schools will be judged by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself and he will then pick the best to sing at the final of the bbc competition and also to go to London and take part in a special Children in Need performance. When I voted this afternoon, we were in 142nd place, we're now up to 14. That's some leap!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Clever designers

OK so there's a long way to go with Lizard Ridge yet, but really, isn't it great? I tell everyone that this is clever knitting, and it so is. How on earth could anyone come up with the idea of so many short rows and produce something that looks like an egg box before blocking? Ah these designers are so very clever. Would that I had half their talent.
Have cast on for the second glove. Another example of very clever knitting. I don't mean that I'm clever to knit these you understand, Lizard Ridge is simplicity itself and the glove pattern is so perfectly explained, I feel a near beginner could manage it. Just how do these designers do it? I'm trying to come up with a design myself at the moment. Have hit my head so hard on the brick wall, there's now a big dent. Don't even have a clue what to do. Inspiration, come to me please!
Totally away from this subject, do any of you know how long peas take to germinate? We planted some in the school garden a couple of weeks ago, and nothing is showing yet. The cornflowers, lettuces, carrots, onions and beetroot are all poking their tiny green heads out, but no peas. Were they duff seeds? Shall I just give it up as a bad deal and go to Sainsburys instead and get Mr Bird's Eye to help us out? Or should I just cheat a little bit and buy some pea plants from the garden centre?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Long time no see (it was only 5 days)

Sorry I've not been around for a few days, but I'm back now, so you can all come back out of the woodwork and say hello!
So here's the kangaroo on top of her cake complete with boomerang and the lyrics of the verse to 'My Boomerang Won't Come Back'. Spitfire cake is going out on Friday so call back later in the week for a picture of that.
Did you all have a good bank holiday? We did, plenty to eat (yes, the momentary blip of being sick of chocolate went away!) and drink and for once, well behaved children. We went out for a Chinese meal and to the cinema to see Spiderman 3. Took my knitting to the pictures of course, but kept dropping stitches, it was so dark. Must remember to take a torch next time and to have extra-mindless knitting, rather than just mindless. Or else ask them to turn the lights on. I'm sure they'd oblige.
Kerrie and I have been getting our heads together over some fundraising for Oliver. Surely you must all know Oliver? Still haven't worked out how to do links, so you'll have to forgive me - - he's been poorly over the weekend, so go and say hello. Reading Emma's blog makes you feel very humble. But back to the fundraising, last year's stash auctions raised about £1,000. Well it would have done if everyone had paid up. Not going to tell you about this years project, but it's very different to last year!
See you tomorrow - promise I'll be back then...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Making a kangaroo

The Spitfire is still drying - well it's dry, but I've not had time to stick it together and paint it. Today has been all about a kangaroo. I'm making a 40th birthday cake for a man who's Australian. That's the only help I got ' Oh we'll leave it up to you' is really not much help at all. David suggested a can of Fosters. Anyone out there got any great ideas?
Anyway, here's the before and after of Mrs Kangaroo. She looks a bit like someone sat on her, but that's just tough, she's just having a rest!
No knitting again today, just cakes. Perhaps will manage a few rows tomorrow. But I really need to get on with some other decorations. Anybody spot the film on the dvd player today? One of my favourites again.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I must be poorly...

I never thought I'd say this, but I am beginning to get fed up of chocolate cake. I know, strange as it seems, I just want a packet of salt and vinegar crisps or an HP sauce sandwich. I have overdosed on the sweet stuff today and will no doubt have the head ache to prove it tomorrow. As well as the added pounds. But let's not mention those eh? I don't even feel like eating any of the left-over chocolates. I am obviously ill.
Anyway, this is David's birthday cake. Today is his birthday and he has been away in London all week. Back tomorrow, so it's cake and cards a day late.
Thanks for the film recommendations - have put lots of those on the Amazon list. Looking forward to seeing the George Clooney one. Mmmm.
Any clever computer people out there care to tell me why I can't get double spaces between paragraphs on this blog. Explain in simple terms please.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

How to make a Spitfire - part 1

Having promised myself last week that I'd make the Spitfire, well, I sort of, um knitted instead. So now I've got an imminent deadline (10 days away, so it could be worse) and no Spitfire. I sat at my little table, got the Duxford booklet out and started to model away the evening. The basic parts are now made and just have to dry for a few days, then I can get painting it. Have to make a little man to go inside it yet, but am too tired tonight to fiddle with him (no smut intended!)
On the little DVD player I'm watching Stranger Than Fiction. My brother sent it for my birthday (along with a beautiful mini Faberge Egg to hang on a necklace - I'm so spoilt!). He said 'you'll probably like this film - it's crap'. We have never agreed on a film, with the exception of The Shawshank Redemption which is sitting in the background on the photo, waiting patiently for its turn in the machine. Anyway, he was right again, I love this film and have already watched it about 5 times.
I would be lost without my DVD player. I seem to live in the kitchen and just like to have the company of an easy to watch film. I rent them through Amazon - brilliant value for someone like me who can watch a film again and again. My list is now a bit short, I need to add more titles to it - any recommendations from you?
Ooh, it's now tomorrow so to speak. May 2nd. Happy birthday to my husband. Oh no, is that another cake I have to make?