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Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Grand Marnier Domestiqué

This is so much fun!  I have good brandy, a big, juicy organic orange, some light brown granulated sugar, a glass jar just big enough to take the orange, with a metal lid with 4 holes punched in it, some string and 4 tooth picks.  I’m going to make Grand Marnier domestiqué 🙂
Here’s the book I got the recipe from:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0895949903/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=0895949903&linkCode=as2&tag=alternknitt0e-21

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Blogging again

Blogging?  Haven’t done that for months.  However, I want to marvel again at what wondrous things shawls are.  To think that a mere 5 or 6 years ago I was anxious about starting a shawl lest I should appear (to myself rather than anyone else) of the grandmotherly nature and no good for anything except rocking in a chair.

Moving to Edinburgh has changed all that although I did start the shawl journey before I emigrated from Sussex.  Up here shawls are a wonderful way of ensuring that whatever the weather does, there is protection.  So many shawls have been born:  Victorian Lace, Forest Canopy, Shetland Triangle, Simple (with rather complex adjustments), Ishbel / Fishbel, Ulmus, Lace Shawl, Hamamelis, Day Break, Meandering Vines… and a variation on Day Break which is not on Ravelry yet.

I’m itching to start another one, not sure yet which, but I have in mind Shaelyn or Morlynn Shawl – or maybe Photosynthesis.  So many decisions, and so much yarn in the stash to knit up!

Talking about stash, I did clear out the stash cupboard and re-order my yarns into colour boxes, clear blues, duck egg blues, teals, pinks, oranges, reds, deep purples, dusty lilacs, whites blacks and greys, rich greens, sea greens, yellows and golds, browns, and finally sock yarns.  Yarns I have acquired in the last couple of years, from K1 in Edinburgh and earlier on this year in Stirling Knitcamp are in baskets rather than hidden away in the yarn cupboard.  Rather a lot of lace weight and 4ply appeared.  I’ll be knitting until I’m 303 to get through it all, but that’s fine by me.

Cats update:  they are both doing fine and enjoying being inside when it’s cold and outside when it’s sunny.  Lots of space to play and chase each other, and lots and lots of devoted admirers at our knitting group evenings 🙂

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Bringing the cats home

Joolz and I are off to London to pick up Phoebe and Cleo.  My ex-husband no longer wants them, so although they will miss the countryside, they are much better off where they will be loved and cherished, in the way those with an oriental feline persuasion like best.  We are working on Monday until mid-afternoon in London, then we’ll meet the cats (in their travel boxes, and accompanied by ex-husband) at King’s Cross for the 6pm train up to Edinburgh.  I’ve been informed that they are in very good voice, so the journey should be interesting 🙂  We have invested heavily in cat nip.

We are SOOOOO looking forward to having them with us, and despite my not having lived with them for over 18 months now, I’m hoping they’ll settle in fairly swiftly – the first week or so just in the flat, then we will have had cat flaps installed so they can make their first tentative steps out into the great beyond of masses and masses of back gardens back to back – two crescents effectively, all with small walled gardens.  They will encounter more cats than they have ever met before and absolutely no deer or badgers, but probably the odd fox here and there.  We shall endeavour to keep them away from the road at the front for as long as possible.  They haven’t seen 5 storey buildings yet, but I’ll wager Phoebe will give it a go.

Goodness knows how they will respond to a highly restricted outdoors playground in terms of space… but more interest per square inch than they have ever dreamed of.  At least they will be allowed in the house at night, which should probably go down very well.  We are thinking warm, soft, radiators, sofas, beds, airing cupboards, that sort of thing.  In fact I shall be encouraging them to lounge around in the flat as much as possible.  In terms of inside interest, I think the rope bannisters up the stairs will provide good climbing facilities, and the flat lends itself nicely to being developed as a race course 🙂

In the meantime we are sitting on the train on our way down to London, and I am revelling in the ability to mess around with my laptop, check out ravelry, and get some knitting in at the same time, all of which is impossible when flying.  It does bump around, though!

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Cats

My cats, Phoebe in the picture above, and Cleo, her sister, will be joining us in Edinburgh on February 1st.  My lovely ex-husband is not prepared to keep them and so they will have to get used to city living!!!  We have a small back garden which backs on to masses of other small back gardens… so they will have to work out their new territory.  Hopefully without too much ado.  There are also very large gated communal gardens for the crescent, but they will have to cross a road for those and I am reluctant to let them do that.

The flat, however, is rather more fun for cats than the house they are coming from.  It sports a very inviting, enormously thick rope as a banister along the wall down the stone stairway from ground to garden floor, so I expect they will have fun chasing each other at speed along it upside down.  They will also be able to hurl themselves off the iron banisters from the top hall down to the bottom hall.  Then there are the very high ceilings and equally high shutters inviting a climb and a rest atop to enjoy the view – bliss for orientals!  Raw mince and the promise of plentiful Edinburgh mice may well help too.

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We’ve moved!

Well, nearly… we’ve moved everything from Joolz’ flat and everything from my flat in Edinburgh, and tomorrow, Tuesday, the rest of my furniture and books arrive from Sussex.  Hmmm.  I’m not sure what my lovely ex-husband has put in the removal van for me … hopefully all the correct furniture and my books… he is saying that he has packed ‘some other stuff’ as well.  I don’t know quite what he means, but we’ll see what arrives.  I’m looking forward to the piano, the grandfather clock and the old Chesterfield sofa which will go straight off to be reupholstered.

The flat is beautiful and it is wonderful to have space again.  I haven’t even been out into the garden yet, and we moved on Friday!  I have taken this week off apart from today in London so I shall have time to explore.  There are interesting things to get to grips with, like the burglar alarm and, in reverse, the ‘exit system’… the vendors have a lovely little downs syndrome girl who used to go walkabout in the centre of Edinburgh, so they had an exit lock fitted so she couldn’t get out unaccompanied.  We have to key in the code to get out of our front door!  Then there’s a rather bizarre heating and hot water system and underfloor heating in the upstairs bathroom.  A quiet couple of hours with the instruction manuals will do wonders.

Drawing room and kitchen are as good as finished, so we now have somewhere to eat and collapse 🙂  It’s amazing how many jars of lentils, beans, rice and dark muscovado sugar one can accumulate when living out of two flats… somehow rather more than twice as many as in one flat.  (What on earth did we need all the sugar for?)  Joolz has worked out how the open fire in the drawing room is best lit and kept a) alive and b) from burning out in two minutes.  There are woodburners in the kitchen and the playroom (where Joolz will do her sculpture and furniture restoration and I shall do messy fabric stuff, and we shall try some mosaic soon).  I can’t wait to get the woodburners going – apparently they are dual fuel… not sure what that means exactly, I’m just used to logs, but we’ll find out.  Our bedroom is awash with clothes as the wardrobes we bought won’t be delivered until February!  Until then there are motley chests of drawers and my little old wardrobe donated by one of my sons.  Joolz has several boxes of shoes which are still looking for a home.

Joolz has started painting the spare bedroom which was in glorious shades of bubblegum pink stripes – her mother is arriving on Wednesday for a quick visit, so that gave us a deadline!  The office, which we shall be using as a clinic room for the while, is as yet untouched and full of boxes, but doesn’t need redecorating.  The two other bedrooms we shall be using for work, and the decorators turn up on the 15th, so we haven’t even been in there yet.

The books are spilling out everywhere.  Joolz packed 50 boxes of books for me from my flat and a few more from hers, and there are more arriving from Sussex, so we are having shelves made for the library.  All the other shelves have been distributed around the flat and the vendors left two very large bookcases behind which are now in the drawing room. 

The yarn boxes are in the downstairs hall hoping for a space in one of the storage cupboards, which we conveniently can’t get at because of the yarn boxes stacked neatly in front of the door 🙂  My yarn baskets are in the drawing room and in the playroom.  Bliss!  I really want to sit down with a cup of tea and get on with some knitting 🙂

Oh yes, and my divorce came through in the same week as we concluded missives (completed) on the flat, and all went very amicably and well.  Such a relief!  I need the Christmas break now.

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Well, I’ve been knitting and buying a flat with Joolz, getting my divorce through, knitting some more, commuting to London from Edinburgh, working, teaching, training, sleeping, not sleeping, getter fatter, getting thinner, learning to spin, not spending enough time in Edinburgh, wanting to own my own home again, worrying, not worrying, all the usual type of stuff.

Knitting:  see me on ravelry for knitting recently.  A couple of scarves and quite a large Susan Pandorf shawl.  Oh yes, and an Ulmus shawl.  It’s been a good knitting season.

Buying a flat:  yes, we finally bought one, the best of the bunch we’ve really wanted to live in, so it was meant to be.  Quite large, on a quiet crescent in the centre of Edinburgh, West End into New Town, just away from the drag with a small garden and very large private gardens owned by the two crescents in the middle.  Moving in on December 4th.

Learning to spin:  with the lovely Sue MacNiven.  She is amazing and taught us over one of the most stressful weekends (last weekend) I’ve experienced in recent times (divorce, buying property, selling property, family members dying, oh, we’ve had it all!).  Sue is a total joy and enormous fun.  She is chicksinrubber on ravelry because she is a fly fishing instructor 🙂

 

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More Donna Leon

Encouraged by the first Donna Leon I read, I went straight into ‘Uniform Justice’ and the ‘Suffer the Little Children’.  Both intriguing, character driven, and no straight answers.  I love the way she doesn’t feel it necessary to choose a one-dimensional ending, but leaves things much as they are in real life, I suspect.

Uniform Justice   At a military school in Venice a cadet is found hanged – Leon explores issues of justice, integrity and conspiracy within the military.

Suffer the Little children  Childless couples, babies for sale – justice or injustice in taking babies away from their ‘adoptive’ parents.  Social issues, plenty of mystery and a character driven story.

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