Friday, 31 October 2008

A Reading Catch-Up

Whilst we were away in the Lakes I got into the Ruth Rendell Wexford story 'Not In The Flesh' and as usual it became a page-turner and was finished shortly after we returned from the Lakes. I have to say I was a little disappointed in the book, I've not watched the series on TV so I didn't come to the book with any pre-conceived ideas but somehow the characters seemed too weak. Maybe the problem is that I met them when they have become well established in earlier books but should an author assume that their readers have met the characters before. There was one story line which came across as little more than the author using the book as a means of expressing an opinion about female circumcision which whilst I agree with the views expressed contributed nothing to the main storyline. I also found it very difficult to believe the main character was a top detective when I'd worked out many chapters before him what had happened. This is something Husband goes mad about me doing when we are watching films etc but it's very rare for me to do it in a book. An interesting read but I don't think I'll be buying another Ruth Rendell in a while, there are far better crime writers out there, in my opinion.

Some while back Karen offered a book she had just finished 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' free to a good home with one condition that the new owner promised to register their ownership with the Book Crossing website and then launch the book into the open for a new owner to find. I have done the first part but the launch into the open will be delayed as I promised to launch it in Cumbria which will be done on my next trip north.

As with most books that I read this turned out to be a bit of a page turner that has a great storyline which proves that children's books shouldn't be ignored by adults. The story is told by the main character Christoper who has Asperger's Syndrome which leaves you with a greater understanding of how other's who are different view the world. Don't make the mistake of thinking the book is using Asperger's Syndrome to make you sympathetic towards the lead character, it isn't and in my opinion would be a great read even if Christopher was 'ordinary'.

I have just raided Daughter's room and picked up The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker, one of the books I had to buy her when she was studying for her English Lit A Level. It is a thick book think Lord of the Rings and you'll not be far off, so I don't think this will be a quick read, but you never know.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

She Was Screaming To Be Let Out - Honest

At long last I have done some stitching and oh boy did I enjoy it.

Even though the weather has been turning increasingly colder I have been trying to avoid putting the heating on during the day but I was starting to suffer with arthritis. Last weekend it was in my neck and shoulders so stitching wasn't really possible, well not without considerable discomfort. Yesterday was so cold I gave in and put the heating on in the morning so as that house got nice and warm and then spent the afternoon and an hour in the evening stitching. Mind my toes were still cold so I sat sewing with my usual two pairs of socks on (one is a thick pair of walking socks) and a blanket folded over my toes. During the winter a blanket is frequently to be found in our living room often wrapped around me, sometimes even with the heating on I'm still cold. Husband, of course, is walking round moaning about how hot he is. I have always said we live in different climates. One day I'm going to have quilt to wrap around me like you see Amy doing in the TV program 'Judging Amy', until that day arrives I make do with a blanket.

How nice it was to get my needle and thread out. There was never any doubt in my mind as to which of the pieces I'm working on I was going to do. Celtic Autumn has been screaming at me to have some more stitches put into her dress. Last time I stitched on her I used gold braid for the first time and had real problems with it constantly coming off the needle. When I mentioned this on the Celtic Lady blog Valerie gave me a great tip which I was able to put into practice yesterday and it certainly solved my problem. Instead of dreading using the braid I quite enjoyed stitching with it so thank you very much Valerie.

I must have done a lot of stitching with it because Husband commented on how sparkly she looked and he rarely makes any comments on what I'm sewing other than to make a polite enquiry about what I'm doing.

Elsewhere I have decided that there is no way I'm going to get Love Songs finished in time for it to be my sisters' Christmas present so I now have another 12 months to complete it, in time for next Christmas. Even if I did finish it I couldn't, at this moment in time, justify spending the money getting it framed so there really is no point in rushing it.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A Sewing Update

This is a bit of a cheat as I haven't picked my needle up for what seems like an age but I thought I'd post a picture of the JA SAL that I was working on before my sewing went AWOL.

This is part 2 and some of part 3 of the SAL. I was really enjoying this piece and even though the SAL has long since finished I have every intention of finishing it, although I'll have to learn how to doing beading first.

Thanks for all the messages with regards to the last post. We are over the shock of it now and trying to make the best of it.

Yesterday Husband and I enjoyed a long day's walk on Eyam Moor and on Monday he joined me for an afternoon around Brassington when I was making notes for the next walk I'm publishing in All Things Local, a local publication I write for.

The one advantage of him working for himself is that we can often make the most of the good weather and get out walking when we want to. Yesterday despite it being cold and the paths being very muddy we did enjoy some great Autumn colours.

Highlow Brook

Bamford Edge

It does mean he then spends evenings and weekends working but it is the lifestyle we are hoping to achieve in the end, we just didn't plan on having to rely on the business to pay the mortgage just yet.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

How Not to End a Holiday

Husband and I had a long weekend in the Lakes starting on Saturday and returning on the Tuesday. Despite all the rain and wind that was about we managed to fit in 4 walks that were predominately done in the dry. Enjoyed 3 great meals out with excellent company on the Sunday night and a great night at the theatre on Monday night.

The drive back was good with no delays on the M6 and so at just gone 6:00 pm I was driving out of Stoke towards Derby when my mobile rang. Husband answered it find Daughter in tears on the other end as one of her friends from uni had died earlier that day. I felt so sick not only because I couldn't comfort my daughter but also for the lad's parents whom only a few weeks ago dropped their son off at uni for his final year to have him tragically die in what at this moment appears to be a side-effect of a broken leg. Needless to say I had very little sleep that night worrying about my daughter and also feeling so sorry for her friend's family.

The next day Husband dropped his car of for an MOT (which it passed) walked into work only to walk out again 15 minutes later minus a job. Claiming a need to cut costs, Husband was 'let go' with one week's pay, very conveniently a week before he would have been employed there for a year and so have more rights than he does this week. Sadly despite the fact the company (and I am finding it very difficult here to not swear) has a long history of doing this and even worse the law allows them to do it, he can do nothing about what is in effect a case of unfair dismissal. The opinion of the lawyer we spoke to today, not mine. It should be noted here that the Managing Directors/owners of the company can still afford to buy second Ferrari's and second homes in the Lakes, take the senior management on jollies to London, amongst other things and only a couple of weeks ago were telling everyone how business was booming for them despite the looming recession. Any thoughts in my head about them at the moment are completely uncharitable and involve every unpleasant event that could occur to them occurring. Needless to say I had even less sleep last night than I did the night before.

Trying to stay cheerful, at least Husband's website design business is picking up orders and he has put in for 3 jobs already and is very hopeful, after speaking to the agency of an interview for at least one of them.

Strangely I haven't felt much like sewing and even less like sorting out the pictures for my website. When my head stops spinning hopefully I will be able to settle down to doing some of the things I enjoy. At least my stash means my sewing will remain free for some time to come.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Lists & Christmas

I have always been a bit of a list maker, usually of jobs to do but they do come in other forms as well. I have some lists that I keep permanently on my computer which I print off as and when they are needed:

1. A list for all the items we need when we go camping.
2. A list of everything we need when we go on a walking holiday that isn't in a tent.
3. A list of everything I need to buy for Christmas.
4. A list of possible birthday/Christmas presents for me.
5. A list of everyone to whom we send Christmas cards, with addresses. Very useful when you can't remember what someones child is called and haven't got the card of them yet.

It is of course that time of year when (well mine does) thoughts turn to Christmas. I start to prepare for Christmas once Son's birthday is over. Remember I hate shopping and it is always my mission to have all my Christmas shopping done by the first week of December. My sister-in-law isn't a list maker and Christmas always seems to be a big surprise to her and she ends up shopping for everything in December and then she wonders why she hates Christmas!! A few years ago, because she doesn't like driving into Derby, I took her in to finish her Christmas Shopping in the last few days before Christmas. It was manic, she couldn't get what she wanted and the shops were full to over-flowing, never, ever, again, in this lifetime will I be repeating that experience.

After 20 odd years of organising Christmas I know what food to buy so if it's on offer in Sainsburys and preservable it gets bought and stored away for the big event. Last week it was the Quality Street (reduced), the week before Terry's Chocolate Orange (3 for 2), one each for the kids and one for me when I'm wrapping presents. I reckon I save a fortune just by looking out for the various items early and only buying them when they are reduced. Mind maybe my Christmas list making does have one downside as both Son and Daughter have for a long time when opening their presents in the morning gone through them putting aside the items they know appear each year in favour of the ones they can't account for. Also if any item doesn't appear it is likely to be noticed. They are 20 and 19 and will still moan if a tub of Haribo doesn't appear but I am hopeful that this year I might be able to stop buying them selection boxes.

The one problem with making lists of jobs to do is that invariably they get half done but then new jobs come along so you either end up with two lists or making a new one. This at times can get disheartening because you don't get the delightful feeling of completing the list. Anyway this week I came up with a solution which I am amazed it has taken me so long to think of. I now have a To Do list on a spreadsheet on my computer. By using strikethrough I can still look at the list and see the jobs being completed, add new jobs as and when they need adding and if its one of those jobs that needs repeating remove the strikethrough. As my computer is on all day it's great for when your doing something and remember that job you have been meaning to do for ages and keep forgetting about, a quick entry on the computer and the job isn't forgotten. Mind maybe it's sad that one of the jobs on this list is to update my Christmas List but there again as everyone knows I make lists they always start asking around now what I want for Christmas so maybe I'd better get it done.

A sewing update will follow. I plan on watching the Olympic Parade either with my sewing or if I'm feeling good I'll do the ironing first, cross it off the list and do some sewing this afternoon.

Must remember to print out the walking list as we are heading to the Lakes again this weekend!!!!!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Still Here

A very short post to say I'm still about. I was so fed up with being so far behind on the walks on my website that I promised myself I wouldn't blog until my website was up-to-date. Yesterday I finally got it up-to-date and caught up with another couple of jobs that were starting to bug me. Mind we are heading back up to the Lakes for (hopefully) 4 days of walking so I'll have to be equally as disciplined when we get back.

There hasn't been much stitching since my last stitchy post but I'm hoping to correct that later today. Husband is out tonight and I feel a stitching session coming on. First though I need to get some other jobs done so I can have a really guilt free stitching session.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Yes, Yes, Yes

Anyone who knows me will know that gymnastics is my first love so when I heard the World Gymnastics Championship was coming to London next year I was determined not to miss out.

Over the last few months I have been Googling it to check out dates and when tickets went on sale. They went on sale today at 9:00 am and having already done my research I knew there was no point going via the Internet as I wouldn't get the location I wanted and Daughter had requested. It's the best location in front of the beam and floor. Armed with the phone number and the seating plan at 9:00 am I started dialling and hitting redial until I finally got through. I am now the owner of two front row, yes front row tickets right where I wanted to be in Block 402 for the Final of the Women's Overall Gymnastics Championship on 16th October 2009.

We couldn't get a good location on the lower tier and when I asked the gentleman on the phone to check availability in Block 402 and then asked which row when he came back and said Row A I snapped them up straight away. I can't wait, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning looking at all the presents with my name on them.

I can only hope I'll be so lucky when it's time to buy tickets for the Olympics in 2012.

Off to try and calm down.