Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Done done done

OK, so I'm a bit late in posting this picture, but trust me, these were finished about 5 minutes after the closing ceremonies started at 19.00 GMT. I've been working on a redesign of the hotel website, and it's taking time.

Image hosting by Photobucket

They are now washed, dry, and waiting to be wrapped and posted off to Mom in sunny South Africa. They will be utterly useless for the next few months, but will come into their own in time for her birthday in June.

Thank you Franklin for designing the medal.
Image hosting by Photobucket

Thank you Image hosting by Photobucket Team Scotland for your support!

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Jean has put the feeling into words far more elegantly than I could ever manage, so I'll leave you to wander over and have a look.

Meantime, I'm up early to do breakfast for a family of five Americans, and waiting for my first cup of coffee.

As promised: progress photos of the Olympic Socks. Not because they look anything like the games, but because I'm working them as my entry into the Knitting Olympics.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Before the holiday

Image hosting by Photobucket
After the holiday

As of last night, I have one toe and one 3-needle-bindoff to do. Much to my surprise, I might actually meet the target of casting off before the closing ceremonies tonight. A photo will be forthcoming if I do.

If I don't, I will adopt the old maxim:
"If at first you don't succeed, deny having ever tried...."

I spent several hours yesterday (some during the rugby in fact, when it all got a bit much) working on an updated website for the hotel. It's not done yet, but the back is broken and I hope another few days' steady work will do it.

The ladies' toilet is still not done. My hands were just too sore, and I've four vinyl floor tiles to lay, and the wall fittings to refix.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

18 - 12

We did it. Scotland have the Calcutta Cup after a veryveryveryveryvery close game.

Jedburgh is empty today. Anyone that could go, has gone to Edinburgh in the hopes of being in on the party. Wish I was there!

Sorry for the brief posting. It's all I can do to keep my fingers from shaking for long enough to type....

Friday, February 24, 2006

I'm back

Yes, in case you hadn't guessed, we've been away. Our first holiday in several years, and it was wonderful.

We drove for MILES. The map below shows the basic route, but doesn't highlight the little detours, scenic (not) tour of Guildford when we couldn't quite find the right way to get off the A3 and onto the road to the B&B, and assorted side trips for coffee. About 550 miles each way.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Returning to work has been a bit of a shock to the system. More on that, and my progress with my entry for the Knitting Olympics, later in the weekend.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

It's started.

That would be the Knitting Olympics, then. I have my equipment (2mm dp Inox needles, sock yarn, pattern, yarn needle), In fact, I have everything I need bar a functioning brain.

I even have a few (semi-legal) performance enhancing substances.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Yes, I have a cold. I have been busily procrastinating today, and generally feeling sorry for myself rather than doing the 954 642 things which are shouting for my attention.

My olympic challenge is as follows:
  • find the completed (too long) sock knitted in 2004 for Mom
  • find the pattern (Heels & Toes Gazette, yarn, needles etc
  • fix sock no. 1 (first attempt to remember how much too long it was when it was tried on in July 2004)
  • knit sock no. 2 to match sock no. 1 (and I mean match, stripes and all)
  • get socks washed, dried & posted off to very patient Mom

From now on, Olympic knitting news will transfer to the Team Scotland group blog

Other knitting stuff
The pattern for Nudibranch MkIII has finally been put together and sent off to Jean for test knitting. I do hope it's understandable!

Hubby has done just about everything work-related for the past few days. Working in a smokey pub with a cold is just no fun at all, and I've been very well looked after indeed.

We are due to have a big meeting of everyone involved in the renovation project on Thursday 23 February, and hopefully things will finally get moving soon after that.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Where did you get that hat?

Without further ado, and before I go and turn the place upside-down to try and find the socks I'm supposed to be working on for the Knitting Olympics, here are some hurriedly edited pictures of the lace hat I've been working on.
Image hosting by Photobucket
From the back

Image hosting by Photobucket
Closeup of the top (the bit I really like!)

Yarn: Jaeger Baby Merino DK
Needles: 4mm dp (random assortment from the collection)
Time: 5 hours start-to-finish not including mucking about with the charts

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Knitting and gardening

Before we took on this hotel, we lived in Glasgow - just on the edge of Queen's Park. In the middle of Queens Park, and right at the top of the hill, are some allotments, and I managed to get a half plot. I really enjoyed growing veggies: I like to see a concrete return for my effort, and shrubs and flowers just don't do it for me.

Bear with me, this does have a (tenuous) knitting connection.

Jean has a house-with-garden at Strathardle. I no longer have either an allotment or time to keep a garden. I do, however, have a large collection of seeds, which I had left with family in Glasgow during the move. Today, Jean took over the seed collection, and we will see if any of them survive the Strathardle Rabbits. I'm with Jean on this, by the way: Rabbits have no Rights, other than, perhaps, the right to be eaten!

The new hat is finished. It's lovely in blue, and lovely in buttermilk yellow (Jaegar Baby Merino DK) for me. Photos later in the week, as tonight I have tousled hair due to a session of Aquafit at the local pool.

Nudibranch has been drafted, and awaits final editing and insertion of pictures before I can send it to Jean for testing. I'm debating on how many options to give the knitter: I suspect fewer is better, but will take advice from anyone who's willing to offer.

The plastering is really finished. I painted about half the wall area with a damp-proof paint, and then had to stop as the fumes were overpowering in that smallest of rooms. It was really hard work. A bit like trying to paint with treacle, in fact, and my wrists are complaining gently about their double workout today.

More painting tomorrow. It's John's turn to clean the beer lines, so I'll have time in the morning for mucky stuff after the guests have left and before the pub opens.

Knitting Olympics
We now have a Team Blog, so toddle over and leave a comment, and I'll get you signed in as a member.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Last year's cow parsley against a gorse hedge.
Just a little something at the top of the Lanton Road which I thought was pretty.

Bloggers (silent) poetry reading

I bumped into the link to this on Wendyknits this evening.

The Way Things Are
Roger McGough

No, the candle is not crying, it can not feel pain.
Even telescopes, like the rest of us, grow bored.
Bubblegum will not make the hair soft and shiny.
The duller the imagination, the faster the car,
I am your father and that is the way things are.

When the sky is looking the other way,
do not enter the forest. No, the wind
is not caused by the rushing of clouds.
An excuse is as good a reason as any.
A lighthouse, launched, will not go far,
I am your father and that is the way things are.

No, old people do not walk slowly
because they have plenty of time.
Gardening books when buried will not flower.
Though lightly worn, a crown may leave a scar,
I am your father and that is the way things are.

No, the red woolly hat has not been
put on the railing to keep it warm.
When one glove is missing, both are lost.
Today's craft fair is tomorrows boot sale.
The guitarist weeps gently, not the guitar
I am your father and that is the way things are.

Pebbles work best without batteries.
The deckchair will fail as a unit of currency.
Even though your shadow is shortening
it does not mean you are growing smaller.
Moonbeams sadly, will not survive in a jar,
I am your father and that is the way things are.

For centuries the bullet remained quietly confident
that the gun would be invented.
A drowning surrealist will not appreciate
the concrete lifebelt.
No guarantee my last goodbye is an au revoir,
I am your father and that is the way things are.

Do not become a prison officer unless you know
what you're letting someone else in for.
The thrill of being a shower curtain will soon pall.
No trusting hand awaits a falling star
I am your father, and I am sorry
but this is the way things are.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I managed to watch the last two episodes of 'Child of our time' (Sunday nights, BBC1) despite the fact that I was working. My regulars can be very understanding indeed! In the last-but-one Prof. Winston spoke about the concept of flow.
Flow: a mental state where you are totally absorbed in what you are doing, losing track of the progress of time; generally associated with a feeling of focus, full involvement, and a sense of progress.

More years ago than I am happy to admit, before I left home in fact, I was a pianist. Not a professional, but I did spend at least two hours a day practising. There were times when the brain and the sound seemed to be directly linked, without any of the frustration and fumbling that can occur when the fingers get in the way. I am amazed to report that I am starting to get the same sort of feeling with my knitting at the moment.

I mentioned Grumperina's lace hat in my last posting, and wondered if I could do something similar using one of Marianne Kinzel's lace cloth patterns as a basis. It worked. I thought it, I knitted it, and it worked! It's different enough from the original in appearance that I honestly think I can say that I've designed a piece of lace. Wow!

The original is in a mostly-white DK with small blue flecks, and really doesn't look as though it will photograph well. I'm going to make a second one, using 4-ply in blue, in the hopes that a)it will fit the baby girl I have in mind and b)I will be able to get a good picture of it.

Knitting Olympics
Thank you Fibredev, Minxxy and Dawn for your suggestions on Team Scotland. I have updated the criteria, and will add my project of choice to my sidebar over the next few days.

I suspect that I am going to tend more towards Jean's idea of the Special Knitting Olympics, in that I have a pair of socks which have been promised to my mom for about a year now. I will need to find the pattern, find the sock (completed but slightly too long), the yarn and needles, and then see how far I can get.

Thank you Jean for mentioning me in the same paragraph as Franklin. I must make it clear that I am not a photographer. I like to take pictures, and occasionally I take a good one, but I'm definitely not in the same league as Franklin.

We have parted company with our project managers. Actually, we sent them a letter which requested a new on-site project manager, and they let us know that they wouldn't be working with us any more.

Frankly, we were both getting so stressed at the way the project was being run (or rather, wasn't being run) that this is a Good Thing. We're in discussions with most of the people who had been working on the project to make sure they'll be able to continue with someone else doing the coordination.

Edinburgh yesterday was actually quite pleasant. The seminar was a bit of a waste of time - as usual very much focussed on the kind of operator who can afford to offer special deals to travel agents, go to trade shows in Moscow, employ staff who can speak foreign languages.... In our case that would be: German, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, Afrikaans, French and Geordie. Very funny. I don't have that many staff as it is.

I did, however, manage to finish that hat by dint of sitting right at the back of the seminar room, so at least some of the time was spent productively.

Useful info:
  • most people search the internet using their first language, so having a translation of your web page in the language of those who are likely to be visiting will get you more custom.
    We can probably arrange for German, Spanish, French and Polish without too much hassle, so that is an option
  • Visit Scotland will not promote direct flights into Newcastle Airport (our closest airport) or Newcastle Ferry Terminal because Newcastle isn't in Scotland. Sigh.
    About half of our guests entered the UK at Newcastle, and almost all are travelling between England and Scotland. I will be contacting Visit Britain (although it often sounds more like Visit England in practice) to see what they can do for us.

I walked from Haymarket to the Queen's Hall on my way back to get the car, and felt much better for it.