Friday, November 27, 2009

Something Old...Something New.......

Something Old and wrecked....

Some thing shiny and new and not borrowed and definately Airforce Blue!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New tree and new-ish tree

We needed an new apple tree for our allotment. There was an open day at Ryton Organic centre last month and they were doing an apple tasting and showing lots of organic trees, so we went.

After much munching - purely for research purposes - we settled on a lovely eating apple called Red Devil. We picked it up a few days a go, and have now planted it:
It wont be ready to produce eatable fruit for a couple of years, but they are worth waiting for and we are keeping a heritage variety going at the same time.

Last year we bought a heritage crab apple tree. It is still very small, but, as you can see below, it has started to produce fruit already!!

I love our allotment : )

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mutant Flowers

Last year we had red nasturtiums and yellow nasturtiums........this year we have stripey ones too!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mitten Time

These are 2 pairs of bog standard mittens made on 2 needles. I finished them last night. The yarn is Artesano Alpaca inca cloud DK and I used 65g for each pair.
The pattern is Wendy DK 4008 and the mittens are adult sized for me and DS.

I'm feeling grumply today...lots of little things going wrong, nothing major, but irritating. It seems I can cope with major stuff like the car, but the daily niggles get to me. Especially when 99% of them seem to be avoidable if people just thought ahead, or thought of others when making their plans and decisions.
Hot, sweet tea...I need you !!!
Now I have nothing on my needles and should be thinking of what to knit next, but the black pit of depression beckons me and 'cant be bothered' is taking over.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fried Brains

Today my brains feel fried and I am lost for words verbally. We have spent 2 whole days going around Car dealerships and talking a bout cars. We have to have Citroen Berlingo because it is the only vehicle in existence which will carry a continuo organ, plus all 3 of us, plus has a seat low enough for DH to see out the windscreen, and is the right price bracket.

Knowing exactly what we want should be easy - right??? WRONG. We have 3 dealerships in the vicinity. All offer different prices, none of them seem capable of cutting the bull**it and actually discussing figures, none of them can answer a straightforward question and ALL of them are pushing extras and add-ons despite being told our specific requirements.

Its like going to the Supermarket for cheese and no-one will tell you the price without an hour long discussion. None of the car salesmen seem able to get out of the sales pitch loop so we have to sit there while they go through the presentations.

They also seem to be incapable of understanding words like - NO FRILLS, CASH PURCHASE, and WE NEED AN ACCURATE DELIVERY DATE PLEASE.

This morning, 25 miles from home, we actually found a salesman who cut out the cr*p. He did exactly what we asked, got the accurate prices we needed, found the model we want in the colour we want, and bypassed the PowerPoint presentations.

We bought the car from him.....after 2 wasted days. Why couldn't the other salesmen have been direct and helpful? It seems salesman training is still firmly rooted in the 70's before we could do our own research on the Internet.........and I wont even go into the salesman who quoted £1000 more than the book price, insisting his price was the book price, then offered a a £1000 'discount' salespeople really think the public are that stupid!!!

On a positive note, I have started spinning my Safflower and it is lovely : ) Spinning is great therapy and I'm sure it is stopping me throttling salespeople LOL

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cosmic Karma & Premium Bonds

OK, yesterday and Thurs were a disaster but today the vet gave my puddy-tat the all clear from her injuries in a dog/cat fight and I won some money on the Premium Bonds........

I accept that a £25 win isnt going to buy a new car, but it will buy some fibre therapy...

And 1 of the fish died so we are down to 3 now. Isnt cosmic karma wonderful, the chaos theory is my reality LOL

PS The new windows we ordered arrived and they are all too small - not our mistake but more hassle. Where is my duvet??

And it is so windy here I swear I just saw Mary Poppins fly past, but the sun is shining and the rain last night has made all the late blooming flowers sparkle : )

And we took DS out last night in the hire van and all had a lovely meal and a good (if slightly hysterical) giggle later watching HIGNFY and the other comedy programme that come after which I cant remember the name of.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Car Crash!!

Yep, the title says it all. Last night DH and DS were travelling to Leamington at 5.30pm and were in a collision with another vehicle. No-one was hurt, thank God, but both the other car and our car have been wrecked : (

DH managed to coax the car home somehow, it took ages as the radiator was cracked and we had to stop every 3 or 4 miles to fill it up with more water. The garage today said it would cost £3,500 to repair it and, as it has done 170,000 miles and is rather old, we arent going to even try. The insurance only covers third party, fire and theft so no joy there either. The chassis is twisted and the engine block cracked etc.

Next time I am going for fully comprehensive cover.

Anyone know of a Citroen Berlingo diesel going cheaply second hand?????

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Misleading Tension

Some of you may remember I was making a Forest Canopy Shawl. I did my tension square on 4mm needles as instructed and it was OK. I knitted the shawl and did 12 pattern repeats and 10 edging rows. Alarm bells started to tinkle when I realised I had only used 60g of Opal sock wool. They positively clanged when I looked at it and realised how small it seemed. I looked on Ravelry and everyone extolled the wonders of blocking - so I blocked it for all it was worth.

The result wasn't a Forest Canopy - more of a Thicket or Copse. It isn't even big enough for a headscarf.

So, after much musing and head scratching and unladylike language, I measure my tension on the shawl and it was 28 sts x 38 rows to 4" - much, much smaller than my tension square!!

After more thought I realised that my tension on 4mm Addi lace circular needles must be different to tension on the 4mm straight needles I used for my tension square. I went back and did another tension square using the circs and it was very different. I then did a tension square on dpn's and, lo and behold, my tension was different again. I have now frogged the shawl and will start again making a tension square on circs this time.

The moral of this story is: I must always do my tension square on the actual needles I will be using as different types of needles give different results.

On a positive note though, I have finished my spindle spun Alpaca. It weighs 100g and measures 350 yards - maybe I should use it for another Forest Canopy??????

Monday, November 2, 2009

Not Just Bread

Having watched various programs highlighting the horrors of commercial bread (emulsifiers, flour improvers etc) I thought it was about time I made my own.

I looked at Breadmakers, but they can only be used with yeast sachets containing flour improvers, and I want a natural loaf using ingredients that have been tried and tested for hundreds of years, so that ruled breadmakers out.

Then I looked at flour and discovered how the steel grinding method destroys so many vital vitamins in the flour, so I needed to find a supplier of stoneground flour which didn't cost the earth.

That lead me to Shipton Mill organic stoneground flour made from wheat grown in the UK. The price is competitive and they deliver.

Then I considered the time factor. It takes hours to make bread apparently.......well, it doesnt. It took no more time to mix and knead my loaves than it does to load my washing machine. The actual proving time is spent doing other things, just as I do other things while my washing machine is working. The knocking back took 5 mins and my oven was only on for 40 mins, 10 mins to warm up and 30 mins cooking time.

So 2 weeks after my inital decision to make my own bread, here we have traditional home made bread, no additives or extra chemicals. No machinery needed, not even a food mixer or processor. Just flour, Allinsons natural dried yeast, water, sugar and salt. The only equiptment needed is a bowl, scales, a teaspoon, a jug and a knife for slicing the cross on the top of the loaf (optional) and 2 baking trays. And it tastes fantastic too!!!

Meanwhile, during the first proving of my bread, I plied the Alpaca:

And whilst it proved the second time, I finished off the Belfalas merino and labelled it ready to put away for a special project.

All in all, a pretty good morning!!!