Wednesday, May 24, 2006

No posts for a fortnight

Sorry to deprive you of your favourite daily internet-based treat, but we are away on our hols for the next 2 weeks.

We will be in the middle of nowhere. There isn't even a loo in the cottage, so the probability of an internet connection is pretty much zero. Oooooh think how much quilting I can get done....

See you all soon x

Patchwork mania

I am fully aware that I have a slightly batty streak. It comes as part of the 'undiscovered genius' package I was dealt at birth. Let me explain.

I am currently addicted to constructing a full size patchwork quilt. One week on from going into the patchwork shop on a whim, I am now the proud owner of all the necessary tools, and have been clocking up approximately 6 hours a day bent over my sewing machine like a crazed lunatic, cutting up little squares of fabric and then sewing them back together in a different order.

The women in the patchwork shop find me hilarious, as does my husband. I have been in the shop 5 times this week buying more and more stuff I need to complete my huge project. Give me another 2 weeks and, not only will I have finished my quilt, but I will be an expert on the history of patchwork, have experimented with new techniques, and possess every bit of quilting paraphanalia known to man.

Then comes the crunch. I will be an expert. I will have mastered the art. Suddenly the challenge will become diminished and I will tire of staying up til 2 in the morning cutting up little squares of fabric and sewing them back together in a different order. I will discover a new craft. I will research the techniques and give it a go. I will buy the equipment. I will become an expert.

In the mean time, leave me to my quilting - I am perfectly content.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Eurovision song contest party

I had wondered if I was a bit mad driving for 6 hours to Sheffield with the sole purpose of watching the Eurovision Song contest, but no, it was well worth the effort.

Jane put on an excellent party for the girls. There was European themed food, including Greek salad, French brie, Italian ciabatta, and even ukranian rye bread. I got a bit confused in the supermarket and brought Mexican dips and onion bajis, but never mind.

Jane had also made little flags for us to wave, a giant score board and score cards, printed lyrics of all the songs, and biographies of the singers, and strung up flag bunting. The sangria flowed and a good time was had by all.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Thursday again

It's Thursday again, which means sheriff's court day. As usual the Neds are cavorting at the bus stop under my window, prompting Claire to remark 'There is nothing more unsightly than an aging Ned, is there?'

I have to agree. Especially one with large quantities of special brew swilling around his system at 11.00 in the morning.

(For those of you not familiar with the Scottish term Ned, it means pikey or chav, or similar. It's supposed to derive from the term 'Ne'r do well' or Non Educated delinquent.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Readers poll

Harbouring the sudden desire to make a patchwork quilt:

Totally sad or eccentrically creative?

Missing consonant

Spot the missing consonant in the sentence I have just sent out to a client:

We will need to arrange for temporary hoaring in front of the shop window.

This reminded me of my favourite office typo that was sent out to a client when I worked in York a few years ago. Our secretary, bless her, didn't seem to use much common sense, and had trouble reading our bosses handwriting. Instead of writing to our client called Mr O'Shaughnessy, she wrote to Mr Shag nasty.

I've been tittering about that for years.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Literary disappointment

I recently read The Time traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I loved it - it was brilliant and funny and sad and weird, although perhaps a bit long.

Towards the end if the book the narrative suddenly jumped - like I had turned 2 pages at once. I was bemused. I checked the page numbers and 50 pages were missing. I carried on reading and the story kind of sorted itself out, although I had to fill in a few blanks for myself.

A bit further on in the book the same 50 pages repeated themselves, not the missing pages - they never appeared at all, but the 50 that I had jumped to earlier.

Given the subject of the book, time traveling, and the nature of the story (the main character jumps about in time uncontrollably) I was unsure whether this was a publishing error or a clever twist by the author. I feel too shy to take the book back to the shop and demand a refund in case they say 'it's supposed to be like that, you ignorant dim-wit'.

Has anyone else read this book? Did you suffer the same nagging doubt?

P.S. I noticed the paperback version is now half price on Amazon. Is this due to the missing pages mistake?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Interesting fact

80% of all beer barrels in the UK are owned and maintained by one company in Beverly, East Yorkshire. The breweries just rent them. Bet you didn't know that.

idle ramblings

You can tell a folkie can't you. They have a certain look. It's essentially a kind of lolling posture combined with a self satisfied smirk.

That sounds derogatory, but really I am full of admiration for those guys who sit in the corner of the pub and play so loosely and freely. To be able to play like that would be the only reason I would ever take up the violin. I learnt to play my musical instruments from written music and I have never been able shake off those shackles and play from ear. It's a shame.

I was contemplating this after a very nice evening out in Glasgow with Steph and Rosie on Saturday. We sat for the majority of the night in a smoke-free pub with the afore-mentioned folkies noodling away in the background.

In my opinion the smoking ban in Scotland is excellent but for one major drawback. The absence of all that stinky smoke leaves opportunity for other noxious odours to creep forth. Think room full of men drinking beer and eating nuts... Not nice, I can tell you. Still, the odd burst of fart is miles better than constant cigarettes, and my clothes didn't smell all farty in the morning either.

On Sunday I went to watch Nick play his French horn in an orchestra concert in Stirling. It was nice to actually be able to see him as well as hear him. The last concert I went to, Nick was sitting right behind a big stone pillar and I could only see his left elbow.

Oh, and on Friday I sold my house in Sheffield. What a relief! No more worries about damp patches or leaky roofs or complaining tenants. Just a nice fat cheque in the bank. Thanks to everyone who helped out with the house while we were away, especially Jane and Phil - cheers guys, drinks are on me next weekend.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lunch by the loch

Today was boiling. I mean mid-summer boiling. I burnt the back of my neck at lunch time whilst sitting on a bench having this conversation:

Whiskery old lady: och it's a lovely day
Me: it certainly is.
Whiskery old lady: It's going to snow tomorrow
Me: Is it?
Whiskery old lady: So they say. Mind you, I can forecast better than those men off the telly. I just open my curtain and look outside. I could tell you the weather. It'll snow tomorrow.
Me: Oh dear.
Whiskery old lady: I don't mind though. I've some sewing jobs to get on with.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


solar gain 1 : 0 desk fan

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Stolen post

I have no qualms at all in telling you that I stole the links for this post from Phil.

I was reading his blog and followed the link to Pimp my Snack, where I spent a happy 10 minutes gfawing at the huge renditions of popular treats. This one made me laugh so much.

I hope to see your giant Iced Gem up there soon guys! If not, can we see a step-by-step photo strip of the construction process please?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Multiple-use gone mad

I'm all for the multiple use of buildings, you know what I mean, shops on the bottom, then a floor of offices, then some apartments above for example, but this is ridiculous.

My office is on the ground floor, there is a flat on the first floor and a drum teacher on the second floor. They are practicing as I speak. When they first started banging away I thought perhaps it was a joke, but no.

The only worse thing would be violin for beginners.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Supposedly true

One of the less glamorous jobs undertaken by my new practice is the refurbishment of a whole estate of council houses. (unglamorous maybe but it pays the wages) We are at the defects stage. These are genuine reports from the council tenants - allegedly. I think they are just a bit too good to be true.

1. I wish to report that tiles are missing from the toilet roof. I think it was the bad wind the other night that blew them off.

2. My lavatory seat is cracked. Where do I stand?

3. I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen.

4. I wish to complain that my father hurt his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage.

5. The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is cleared.

6. Would you please send a man to repair my spout? I am a pensioner and need it badly.

7. The man next door has a large erection in his back garden which is unsightly and dangerous.

8. This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broken and we can't get BBC2.

9. Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny colour and not fit to drink.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


This morning, horror of horrors, I found my first wirey grey hair.

This was a horrible shock for me because for as long as I can remember (well, since I was about 16) I have been dying my hair so have never spotted any grey.

I have been most colours over the years, but mainly on the blonde side. I have many home-hair-dye-jobs-gone-wrong storys I could tell you, like the time I bleached my hair with peroxide in attempt to get platinum white hair, but ended up with bright canary yellow straw-like hair falling out in clumps. I had to get in a taxi wearing a baseball cap and grovel to the hairdresser to help me dye it back and stop it breaking off, but those tales are for another day.

What I'm getting round to explaining is that I have never had any actual reason to colour my hair until today. Now if I don't keep it up I will look like an old woman. I must make a hair appointment immediately.

I am sad. My youth is fading.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Fish have got to be the most rubbish pets.

I bought Nick 5 goldfish for our garden pond last week. Knowing Nick was going to be late home, I decided that it was cruel to keep them in the bag for all those hours so released them into the pond.

All 5 of them immediately disappeared into the weeds and have not been seen since.

Poor Nick, he goes out every morning with his fish food and hopefully sprinkles some into the water, desperately searching for signs of the little buggers. Nothing. This morning he resorted to poking the plants with a stick to see if he could scare the fish into making an appearance. He thinks saw a flash of red, but that was it.

As I said before, rubbish pets.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Tips on achieving a healthy work/life balance

I am incredibly fortunate. I now work a 4 day week, and, after my first 3 day weekend of many, I can confirm is totally fantastic.

It just seems the ideal balance of time off/time on the office. I like my job, but I also treasure the time to do stuff of my own, and I finally feel as though I am getting the best of both worlds.

My 2 tips for achieving this nirvana are simple: Move to a better paid job, and decrease traveling expenses. I did both of these things and so despite only working 4 days instead of 5 I have only taken a £40 a month pay-cut. nifty eh? That Friday off is easily worth a tenner to me!
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