Weblog (home)


Pattern of
the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



About the
Idle Hands

Archive Entries for May 2008

« April 2008 | Main | June 2008 »

Saturday May 31, 2008


Easter was early, we missed coming over on the May Bank holidays, and the weather has been effectively tropical. Net result: we arrived yesterday to be faced with the result of choosing to leave the French house on its own for so long. All the grass is a good 3 feet high, and the weeds growing through the paved area in front of the house made it look derelict.

Wilderness1.jpg Wilderness2.jpg
Wilderness3.jpg Wilderness4.jpg

However we had brought with us a couple of pensioned off pixies who seemed to effect a magic transformation in no time at all. They always remind me of clockwork toys in that they are methodical, steady and utterly relentless workers.

pixies1.jpg pixies2.jpg
pixies3.jpg pixies4.jpg

Finally a bit of a sit down (see the director of operations was keeping a low profile under the hedge).

sitdown1.jpg sitdown2.jpg

Posted on May 31, 2008 at 8:43 PM. Category: France.

Books in May

There weren't any...
I have been completing a lot of knitting projects, and have thus been listening extensively to my iPOD - however, sadly not to "proper" books. George told me that "there are a lot of MP3s of books out there on the internet" and to prove it downloaded a stack of BBC radio plays - all Miss Marple (portrayed by June Whitfield) and Poirot (played by John Moffat) - I'm afraid I am not keen on the latter - the French accent seems to consist of strangely pronounced "w" - as if there were extraneous "h"s present.
I have a love/hate relationship with these plays but they kept me well amused while concentrating on other things. However, one or two of the downloads are David Suchet reading some of the Poirot short stories, which I am looking forward to listening to in the future.

Posted on May 31, 2008 at 8:19 AM. Category: Books of the Month.

Thursday May 29, 2008

Tropical Storms

Given the terrible events that have happened elsewhere in the world recently, I use this term loosely of course. However, all things being relative, this warm wet weather has caused huge growth in the garden making for a pretty if somewhat wild look.


It's been quite hot today - I have been to a customer site north of London and am travelling down to Havant feeling hot and grubby in my crimplene* business suit. It is cooling down though, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for fine weather as we set off across the channel tonight.

*When I first joined my company as a graduate trainee we were given an induction course which included advice on business dress - delivered by a badly (or frumpily) dressed woman extolling the virtues of crimplene. It did not go down well with any members of the audience, regardless of age. Now of course - I am that woman.... and there has been a revival of interest in easy-care nylon suits (or was that last year?!).

Posted on May 29, 2008 at 12:04 PM. Category: The Garden.

Tuesday May 27, 2008

Soggy Monday

The weather has been just awful - we started the day with water pouring through the ceiling in the spare room. Not only the rain but the wind has been positively hurricane-like. How different from last weekend when all was tranquility as I snapped this butterfly (Speckled Wood?) in a patch of sun while George and I were out for walk on Sunday.


So the Bank Holiday weekend has been one of finishing projects.
I reworked the toes on the original socks I made for Terry a couple years ago, as he had worn them through, and my sister had got to the point where further darning was not possible.
I reworked the neck on the knitalong guernsey ready to take away with me to France next weekend.
I finally completed Pattern of the Month for May - just in time to post it before June starts! I was very satisfied with the result - the bamboo yarn is lovely.

So as my victories this weekend have not been very photogenic - I return to last weekend's walk: here is a little pond area - often dry, but now with all the recent rain looking quite pond-like.


A heron lands on Mere pond:
Heron2.jpg Heron1.jpg

Robert is planning to join the Africa Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square today but I imagine it will be rained off, the weather is really so bad.

Posted on May 27, 2008 at 12:47 AM. Category: Knitting.

Sunday May 18, 2008

No strings

I have fallen in love with some pretty unsuitable chaps in my time - but despite the obvious drawbacks, I am now thinking that I cannot understand why I did not see what a cool guy he was all those years ago was when I was 10.


Ah, the follies of youth. Unfortunately now, although we are about the same age, he has remained as youthful as ever, and probably I am a bit raggedy around the edges. Years ago when he was a nerd, maybe I would have stood a chance - but now... I am not the only one to have noticed him.

Next week they promise to tell us how it was done. I desperately wanted it to be pure puppetry - but of course it isn't.
Though I don't really think I should do Britvic's advertising for them - surely after this inspired work, they deserve it?

Brains then and now:

BrainsThen.jpg BrainsNow.jpg

Posted on May 18, 2008 at 7:35 PM. Category: Oddments and stray thoughts.

Saturday May 17, 2008


I am posting this very late - but have stuck with the original date of the Creative Fibres group meeting. This month was an Inkle Loom workshop - I did not join it but here are some photos of the group having fun with their looms.

Inkle1.jpg Inkle2.jpg
Wilderness3.jpg Inkle4.jpg

There was a jolly band of non-weavers closeted in the kitchen - handy for the tea and biscuits. Here is Clare - who makes me quite jealous but also inspires me - she has been spinning only since last September, but produces great quality work (to me) and has been experimentally dying and making socks with the results of her work. I am a long way from making anything from my efforts at spinning I fear.


She even spins on her train commute into work with a drop spindle - which I am sure amuses her fellow passengers no end.

Posted on May 17, 2008 at 6:24 PM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.

Sunday May 11, 2008

Seriously... I do have etchings...

It's been a fabulous warm and sunny weekend. Yesterday I did some more work in the garden, and today I met up with my sister in London and we went to the British Museum to see the American Scene - "prints from Hopper to Pollock". Most impressively, this exhibition comes from their own collection of American art - it's nice to see them make use of their wealth of buried treasures for special exhibitions.

This is Night on El Train, (Hopper etching from 1918), which my sister admired:


And this is the signature piece used on the posters - and it is very pleasing - there were others of similar style but this had an appealing sense of dynamism. It's Louis Lozowick view of Manhattan from around 1925.


I was most fascinated by the work of Louise Bourgeois. At Stanley Hayter’s workshop Atelier 17 in the late 30s and 40s, she produced "He disappeared into complete silence", an enigmatic series of prints which are a collection of little parables. The first one struck a chord - it was the first of about 9 plates:

Plate 1

   Once there was a girl and she
loved a man.
   They had a date next to the
eighth street station of the sixth
avenue subway.
   She had put on her good clothes
and a new hat. Somehow he could
not come. So the purpose of this
picture is to show how beautiful
she was. I really mean that she
was beautiful.

I like the flat understatement "somehow he could not come".
You can see why she moved into sculpture, given the forms that interested her.

Posted on May 11, 2008 at 6:43 PM. Category: Days Out.

Tuesday May 6, 2008

Later in Edinburgh

The weather is so lovely now, I decided to walk back to the station along Princes Street. Quite a different city in the afternoon - the sun had brought out the crowds. Here is a view of the castle from the gardens.


At the other end of the street, I took a picture of the (unfinished) National Monument and Nelsons Monument - it was much more romantic in silhouette in the early morning light but I found I could only get the right angle by standing in the middle of the road, and then the sun was right in the lens - so here it is with the sun shining on it.


And sure enough, on the other corner was the tourist's piper. Speaking as a tourist, the sound of the pipes is great - and he is very obliging in posing with tourists for photos.


The shine was taken off the day slightly by my train being cancelled - I just wish I had known before I got to the station so I could have spent another hour wandering around. However, finally here I am on the train home.

Posted on May 6, 2008 at 4:19 PM. Category: Days Out.

Early in Edinburgh

I got into Waverley at 6:30, and it was a good thing that the train actually split at this point, one part going on to Glasgow, the other (my part) resting in the station. My end of the train was so far out of the station, that I was calmly sitting on my berth, waiting for the train to go into the station for 10 minutes before I realised we had arrived.


The city was lovely and empty at this time of the morning - here's a view towards the castle from the station...


...and here the Scott monument


I picked up a coffee. Time was that our office boasted a cafeteria where wonderful breakfasts were available, but no more - probably best for our waistlines.... The office was deserted, and although it's impossible to park, the surrounding old buildings make for pleasing views.


Posted on May 6, 2008 at 8:18 AM. Category: Days Out.

Monday May 5, 2008

Weeds and weather

This morning, we walked into Walton to see the Antiques Fair, found nothing we wanted - my button lady was absent again, which is a shame - and so we came home empty handed. George did some negotiations and has headed off back there with some items he wants to sell to the dealers.


We have spent quite a lot of the holiday in the garden, actually working, as we haven't seen anything of the gardener yet this year. We spent Saturday touring garden centres and finally purchased a mower (all our equipment being resident in France). So George attacked the grass, while I started weeding the gravel drive. Yesterday, we continued pruning and tidying - as usual my method of working is slow and probably not very effective, so I suspect the work will continue all week - or all summer! The weather predictions are blazing sunshine after Tuesday, so I am sure I can manage a few hours of work a day in the garden.



Looking at the BBC weather report for my area for the past week, it was predicting the weekend would be "changeable" - rain and sun. As the weekend approached, it started to predict rain and more rain. Even this morning it staunchly predicted nothing but rain - and as I gazed at the sunshine outside the window, I fell to thinking that usually, even if the 5 day forecast is a bit dubious, they usually get it right on the actual day the weather is happening....
Now at 11am I am amused to see it's been updated to show sun.


Posted on May 5, 2008 at 11:41 AM. Category: The Garden.