Saturday, 17 September 2011

Making Mondays- yoghurt

I'm going to be crazy busy on Monday, so I am posting now.
Do you see that luscious goodness? Do you see how it stays in its spooned perfection? That is my homemade vanilla sheep yoghurt. If anyone is having trouble with yoghurt that is just too runny, try the sheep milk. Absolute perfection. Particularly with roast damsons.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Hugh Fearlessly Makes it all.

There is a new River Cottage book out: Veg. These are the Swede and Potato Pasties. I didn't have swede so used sweet potato. They are simply delicious.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Making the Most of Monday

Knitting. Home made blueberry muffins. Coffee. Balcony. Flowers.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Making Monday, September 5th

... except that I am posting this on the 4th!

Well, I am all tuckered out. Number Guy has been away in the US for 10 days and will be home on a few hours :0) I have missed him, but I have been busy. I had lots of social things to do, which is great. I have also been doing a huge amount of tidying. So that is really what making Monday this week is about....Making Things Tidy.

It all started with my laundry room. It isn't finished yet, but much of Mount Laundry has been put away and some of the floor has been Dysoned (remember what that would have been 'Hoovered'?). Then I started on My Stash. I am not sure if I should have taken a 'before' picture, it was..ahem...bad. Here is most of the yarn that lived in the living room:

That is plain scary. There is still some other yarn in the living room and I haven't touched what is upstairs. I 'had' to throw out some Rowan Calmer because I found a dead wasp in the bag. Yep, I know it was dead but the way I feel about wasps meant I would not have been able to use the yarn. Silly, but there we have it. As i photographed the yarn and added it to my Ravelry Stash page, I also noted which box it is in, that way when I want a yarn, I don't have to rummage.

I also sorted out the cupboard near the front door. I am sure everyone has one like this- you know, the one where you open, shove something in, then close the door as quickly as possible before all the crap falls out. Well, I haven't got oone of those any more :0)

I also made a bag yesterday. I was in the middle of a migraine- the pain had abated but my mind was not functioning properly. I am unhappy with the result, so 'don't sew with migraine' has been added to my list of 'must-nots'. It was frustrating at one point because I could not understand the instructions. I am fairly certain they were not written in Swahili, but my mind just refused to co-operate. I am posting a picture here and when I make the next bag (which WILL be up to scratch) I will post where I got the pattern from. I don't think this attempt does it justice:

It looks good like that, but believe me when I say I took it from the best side. This bag involved two firsts: The first time I used the walking foot in my sewing machine. It was a bit tricky to begin with, as the fabric really gets yanked in, but for sewing through several layers of fabric it is great. The second first: I used my new crafting/reading specs. What a difference. I could actually do the hand sewing required without looking under the lenses. Even when I finally give in and get varifocals I am going to keep a pair of specs specially for crafting.

Right-o. Enough blethering on, I have a just a little more tidying to do before Number Guy gets home.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Making Monday

Today it is more about making time.

Making time for a new project Stripes to Keep Me Warm , the yarn shown in the picture below

Making time for a new book The Invisible Ones . I do believe I actually squealed out loud when I saw this book in the shop today. I loved The Tenderness of Wolves

I have also made Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup, but I don't have a picture of that.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Making Monday

joining in with Natalie's Making Mondays theme.
OK, technically, this was Making Sunday...but well, let's not be too pedantic.

This is the Banana and pecan cake from Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly: Recipes from Southern Appalachia . The recipe is actually for a layer cake with cream cheese frosting. I added some sultanas, chucked it into a larger and a small loaf tin, gave the smaller away to one of my neighbours. It is totally delicious and about to be wrapped in slices and frozen for those times when emergency tea-and-cake is required. Like ...around 4 o'clock of any given day.

The view from my window

I thought this was Bluebell, Daisy and Buttercup. Closer inspection revealed them to be Tom, Dick and Harry

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Of things domestic

Nothing much happening around here at the moment. For which I am thankful :0)
We are pottering about and enjoying the weather. Yesterday we went to Zürich for lunch and happend to see this:

If you click this link you'll get a video. For some reason every year crazy people in Zürich jump in the Limmat River and float down it with a rubber duck :0)

Mundane news the first:

More yoghurt being made- this time I sweetened the batch and added vanilla. That should be really good.

Mundane news the second. Armed with The Bean Book, , the famous little number from Rose Elliot, I aim to to eat my way through the stock of oldish beans in the cellar. If you don't know, dried beans which are beyond their 'best before date' are fine to use. They just need longer cooking. LIke three hours longer...

Mundane news the third:I continue to wrestle a corner of the garden into submission, and actually planted an anemone (try saying that after a few) to celebrate.

See: mundane. But in a good way :0)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

There has been sone good 'stuff'

Like these:

Fancy one with a cuppa?

Blueberry Muffins

Friday, 12 August 2011

well....part II

I go to tell the manager that our ground floor room was broken into via the window. He seems totally unconcerned about us, the customers. I ask him to call the police. An officer comes and inspects the damage. The room was by no means small but the window was broken with such force that there was glass on the pillows, on the far side of the room. We discover that they had my husband's Nexus 1 and about £300.00 in cash. They had been through my handbag and had thankfully just tossed house keys and passports aside. The did not delve beneath the knitting in my rucksack- which was where my wallet with all of my 'plastic' and some other cash was.(Number Guy's was in his pocket.)

I go back to reception It is about 11.30pm by this point. I am not feeling at all well. They seemed totally bemused when I ask them to give us another room. Upon hearing that there was no other room I asked them to start phoning around hotels and finding us one. This seemed to be a totally unreasonable request. Suddenly there was another room available. About an hour later when we are finally finished with the police officer we take our suitcase, walk miles and miles (no offer of assistance from staff)...go up and down, up and down lots of steps- our room in in the old part of the hotel and the layout is bizarre to say the least. Not only is the room right above the disco, it has someone else's stuff in it. We trek back, up and down, up and down, back to reception. Only to be asked 'Are you sure?' by the receptionist. By this time I am feeling too unwell to say 'No, we are joking.' The manager appears and reassures us that there was a mistake, ours is the room next to that one and the disco will be off in 15 minutes.

We go back to the foyer. The manager joins us for a friendly chat. Finally thinks to ask if we might need something to drink. We ask for coffee and a soft drink and he then sits still for another half hour before finally going to organise it. In the meantime NUmber Guy had gone back to our room for something. He had a T-shirt with his employer's logo on it. As he came back I could hear someone being somewhat unpleasant about it. A scary-looking bloke then sits down with us and starts to pick NG's brains about search ratings :0( FFS- everyone now knows we have been burgled, it is after one in the morning and I look/feel like shit. But neither off us feels like telling this guy to take a hike. It was all very odd and we suspect quite strongly that he was the fucker who broke into our room...remember that NG had given our room number earlier in the evening when ordering a coffee. So this guy then starts going on about this online webshop of his friend blah blah blah. It is a sex toy shop (Oh, really? How uninteresting). We sit through as much of his stupid, inane burbling as we can manage until he offers to show me the site on my iPad. he makes a move to grab it but I get there first and just tell him 'No way!' He then starts getting very interested in whether it is the iPad 1 or 2....hmmm. But then he goes too far and makes a grab for Number Guy's laptop to show us the website on that. (what the fuck is wrong with this guy? I mean, how much more inappropriate could he get?). I've had enough by now.
'I don't mean to be rude,' says I. (For non-Brits that translates as 'I am being really rude, please fuck off and die.'). You can see we have had a bad night. I am ill and it is now after one in the morning. Goodnight.' He finally sods off. We drink our coffee/soft drink and go to bed.

We were supposed to fly back to Zürich later this same afternoon but I get worse and worse. After a really frustrating call to a doctor ('Did I need to be admitted?' Erm...wasn't that his job to decide?) I am finally admitted to hospital. Pyelonephritis is diagnosed and I am given IV antibiotics. I can't comment on other wards in the Countess of Chester Hospital but the two wards I was on were spotlessly clean and the staff had no problems with me self-medicating.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...the staff's attitude at the hotel, together with everything that had happened meant that NG did not feel happy staying there. He left and booked another hotel. We remain disgusted with both the standards in the hotel and with the very unhelpful attitude of the manager. We were burgled at his hotel yet he did not seem to think he needed to do anything to assist us.

Unfortunately...the new hotel is at the racetrack. It was Chester Race Day. The car park is shared by the hotel and the racetrack. NG can't get in until after 8.00pm....

My stay in hospital was largely uneventful, thankfully, but there was one funny incident. The morning that I was discharged I was in another ward and hadn't even said as much as 'Hello' to the other women, as I had been brought to that ward late the night before.The woman in the bed opposite me obviously didn't like the look of me- she was making mobile calls (that wasn't a problem on the wards at this hospital) with a disposable bed pan held up to her face. She was glaring at me over the top of the bedpan, holding the mobile in the bowl part of the pan and speaking into it in an obvious attempt to make sure I didn't hear what she was saying.It was SO funny. She kept glaring at me over the top, so I finally very ostentatiously put my ear buds in and turned my iTouch on...but kept laughing to myself....well, it was the only funny thing that had happened in a very long weekend.

So... discharged, get to the hotel. Grateful to see that there are two extra pillows in a clear case on top of the wardrobe. That meant I wouldn't have to ask for more.I take them out, arrange them on the bed, turn over...and put my face right into a pillow smelling of vomit. Well...that really was the imperfect end to an imperfect weekend

Thursday, 11 August 2011

There has been knitting

In amongst all the crap of late, I have been knitting.

This is the Sake sock from Cookie A's book Knit.Sock.Love

I also got some yarn from will find him on Ravelry.
Excuse the quality of this shaky photo. The yarn is gorgeous, go have a look at his stuff :0)


I am not sure where to start...this is a sorry tale, but I am going to share.

On the 29th of July we arrive in Chester at the end of a two week holiday/conference trip and check into the hotel. NUmber Guy had had reservations about this place but he was looking for somewhere that would be a treat for me while I stayed behind when he and his friends went walking ( This was my choice, as I really was not up to a ten mile hike). THis place had a spa...he said the hotel itself looked slightly shabby but the spa looked good. We didn't have much time to look, so we went with this one. When we were booking in a couple were complaining that their shower still was not working, despite having reported the problem in the morning.

We get our key and walk miles and miles of corridor to get to our room. Fair enough- we had asked for a quiet room. The key wouldn't work. We hiked back, miles and miles....'Are you sure?' asked the receptionist. 'No,'I said. 'we're joking'. Receptionist unimpressed, hikes back miles and miles with us and looks upon us in triumph as the new key opens the door.

The room is large, barren and cold. But very clean. Same with the bathroom. Number Guy had ordered some champagne and chocolates as a surprise. There they were- a big box of cheap chocolates, lukewarm bottle of champers sitting on the table. We go back to reception, are met with an astonished glance when we ask if a wine bucket with iced water could be provided for the champagne. We go into dinner. Complaints from diners are being fielded left, right and centre by the waiting staff. When our meal arrives it looks like someone had vomitted on Numer Guy's plate. No kidding. Mines was.... edible. We go back to the room. The champagne is in the water. We open the bottle and...clunk...the glasses together.

I was not feeling very confident about being left alone in the hotel so I decide to go out with everyone the next day. I go to bed and I slide under the covers plus extra blankets and several layers of clothes- it is cold and of course the heating doesn't work.

Breakfast next day- someone has taken the serving tongs for the eggs and burst all the yolks as the search for one which is just right. The woman in front of me sneezes all over the tomatoes. I go for some Weetabix.

We take all our valuables with us as the room has no safe. We have a lovely day with a fantastic lunch. My hip had been bothering me so D carried my rucksack (Number Guy had his) so that I could go for a walk around the lake at Delmere Forrest.

Half an hour before the end of the walk I started to feel vaguely unwell. It started in my leg muscles. I didn't say anything as my health is always a topic of conversation and even I am bored of it. By the time we finish I am feeling quite ill. It is happening so quickly I suspect flu. Number Guy has suggested finding a nice place for dinner, as we don't want to eat at the hotel. By the time we get back to Chester I am just not up to it. I suggest a supermarket visit for yoghurt and fruit. By the time we get to the supermarket (about an hour and a half after I started to feel ill) I have a fever. I go to buy a thermometer and some ibuprofen and Number Guy reluctantly levase me to get some yoghurt etc. By this time I have rigors (violent trembling/shaking associated with high temperatures). I am finding it hard to walk and I am shaking so much the store manage comes over and says I am vibrating with the shakes. I looked so ill he wanted to call an ambulance. My temperature is 38.5 (my normal temp is 36.5). I decline, Number Guy gets back and we get back to the hotel, leave most of our stuff in the room, take iPad and Laptop and go to foyer. Number Guy gets me a coffee, telling the bar staff (and incidentally other people in the bar/foyer area) our room number. I am on phone to NHS 24. After about an hour and 3 phone calls, a doctor says I need to be seen 'right now'. Because I was so unwell, we didn't go back to the room for our stuff.

I see the doctor, she says it is a urinary tract infection and told me to take the antibiotics but get back in touch if I get worse. We get back to the hotel to find our room had been burgled.

Next installment tomorrow...

Friday, 15 July 2011

Back on the horse

I have had an overlocker for more than a year but was too 'timid' to use it. When I finally remembered how to thread the thing (no mean feat, even withdiagrams/instructions), it wouldn't work properly. Turns out the solution was very simple....I needed to be more 'brutal' in putting the thread into the tension discs. Not only have I made five project bags....well, I do have rather a lot of knitting on the go at once, I made a fantastic pair of linen trousers. Well....they were fantastic eventually. You would not believe the number of basic errors that I made. The final error involved the hem. I was rather disheartened...lots of sewing hours, no wearable result. Then I had an idea...some rather lovely Amy Butler fabric was just right for some cuffs, which solved the problem. Solved it so well that some random stranger in Zürich complimented me on them :0)

Something a bit weightier than sewing has been on my mind of late. Friendship....or rather, the end thereof. When does one stop flogging a dead horse? How can one determine if said steed is dead? This isn't 'all about me'..well, it is, but I don't mean it in ' I am the most important person in the universe' kind of way. Other people have lives, sometimes very hectic ones. Sometimes they have much more important things to do than contact me. That's fine. I usually try to keep in touch anyway, keep the link open. But what happens when they are in touch with what seems to be the whole world and not me? At what point are they thinking,'FFS, Twelfthknit, can you not take a hint? YOu have emailed me/messaged me/etc and I.have.Not.Replied. TAKE A HINT!!' !! What do I do? Do I keep trying, keep sending messages? How do I know when there is a hint to be taken? I don't want to be friends with someone who wishes I would fuck off, on the other hand, I don't want to be a 'fairweather friend'. Sigh. At the moment I have taken a few people off my mental 'friends' list. It makes me sad, but I am getting to the point where I feel a right silly arse contacting them .

On a cheerier note, we ar off to Cyprus for a family wedding tomorrow (so why am I blogging and not packing, I ask myself).

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Writing group

We have the very first meeting of our writing group tomorrow. The task was to write about a couple in a shop buying a bed. But what they are discussing isn't really the bed, it's about some issue in their relationship/some argument that they have been having. Of courese, I have left my offering to the last minute. Here is what I have written so far, in its raw state, no revision:

The Goldilocks Bed

The Goldilocks Bed

‘And how can I help you both on this bright, sunny day?’
‘Got a knife, so I can cut my throat?’ muttered Sally..
‘Erm..sorry, I didn’t quite catch that...’
‘Oh don’t mind my wife,’ said Hal in a jocular tone.’She’s just kidding,aren’t you darling?’

Sally smiled brightly, trying to ignore Hal’s hand clasped none-too lightly around her upper arm. There would be a bruise later, for sure.
‘What we’re after,’ said Hal, with that same forced jocularity, ‘Is, quite simply, a bed.’
‘^Darling, don’t you mean The Goldilocks Bed?’

Alan, 18, barely shaving, palms growing sticky and throat just a tad dry, glanced from one to the other.
‘I, I don’t think I follow you.’
‘Why young man, it’s perfectly simple. We want The Perfect Bed. Not too hard, not too soft, not too wide, not too narrow. Isn’t that right, darling? In fact, it must be Just. Right. We wouldn’t want it clashing with the carpet, it mustn’t look out of place amongst the...
‘Yes, yes, Sally. I think young....Alan, is it? Has the idea.’

Sally smiled sweetly again, although ‘young Alan’ thought he detected the slightest hint of, well, not malice, but something.....edgy.

‘...........and this is the same model, but King size...’
Sally smirked. Flicked at the side of her skirt. Clasped her hands neatly in front. Stole a glance at her watch. Gazed distractedly around the showroom.
‘I think you’ll find, young Alan, that you've shown us this before. Twice.’

Alan stumbled over an apology. Sally waved it away.
‘It’s OK,’ she said in a conspiratorial tone. ‘I expect that before this day is out, we will have seen all of the beds several times over. And what’s the betting that we end up with the first? If we’re lucky.......’

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Orange Prize 2011. Grace Williams Says it Out Loud.

The Orange Prize for Fiction Longlist was recently released, so I am hunkering down again in a bid to read my way through it.

I am finding this quite the challenge....the carbamazapine has really messed with my concentration and I find it really hard to actually absorb that which I have read. But...onwards and upwards.

Grace a hard story to read. Or I found it so. I thought it was well-written and believable. Believable is why I found it so hard. Set in the middle part of the 20th Century, it recounts the story of Grace, sent to an asylum when she was 11 - a doctor having decided it was best, damaged as she was at birth and subsequently by polio. But Grace and her companions are not the dumb animals that the staff assume them to be and what follows is a rich, and frequently brutal, account of her life 'inside', in particular with a young man called Daniel. In many ways this reminds me of what I can recall of Skallagrig, which I read many years ago.

I am sure that some people may think that the brutalities and abuse handed out in the book were over-stating the case.I don't think so, not for one minute.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Reducing meds.

On absolutely no advice from my doctor I have reduced my carbamazapine by 100mg daily. Last week the crazy itch that I have been having returned with enough ferocity to drive me tothe walk-in clinic at the station. Itching like that can be an indicator of liver problems, always a possibility with this drug. One of my results wasn't great but bilirubin levels were normal, and it is apparently bilirubin that causes the itch. That meant it was the drug itself driving me up the wall, not a side-effect. Anyway, a rash decided to join the itch. I am waiting to hear frommy doctor and hoping that this decrease does not leave me open to another seizure.

in the meantime I havebeen gently enjoying Salzburg. And by that I mean I have pottered about, eaten Sacher Torte, drunk coffee, had brunch and generally was not much of a tourist. The first couple of days were gorgeous and I pottered around the old town. The last two have been very, erm, Scottish in terms of wind and rain. I thought about doing a tour, visitng the 'must-see' places but other health issues were intruding so I just pulled back.

here are a few links to the Mirabell Gardens, which I spoke about above. They are from previous years.




Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Creative (?) writing

A club I'm a member of is running a week of workshops- all sorts of things from singing to cooking to fire-work ceramics. One of them was Creative Writing, which I thought I would give a go. The class was very enjoyable. One of the exercises was to think of an object and write about it. Three things had to be accomplished within the writing - tell the reader: what the object was; what it could see;how old it was.

Here's my contribution:

Yeah, I know, everyone says babies' bottoms are cute. But look at it from my point of view, will ya? It's all I get to see, day in, day out. And I know some of y'all are into body piercing, and that's fine- if it's a matter of choice. Any idea how it feels, waiting for the stab of that pin? They say hard and fast gets it over with, but I shudder every time.

And that's not the worst. No, I don't mean that. I can cope with the pee and the shit. I can cope with going through it all with the third child, even though my looks are fading and I'm getting a bit worn. The real torture is the wash cycle. Apparently water boarding is illegal now. Try telling that to Jimmy's mum....

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Ich habe ein Stein in meinem Hertz. Am Morgen, faerht meinen Sohn zurück nach Schottland.