Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The sign in the town center. I'm not sure but I think I remember the words on the banner as "Many minds, one heart". (I'll check on that the next time I walk into the town.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

A busy time at the moment as I am preparing to change my ISP and Broadband service. The new one says that it will take them 15 days to get everything set up with my new service; my old ISP says that my account with them comes to an end as soon as the Migration Access Code transfers my account to the new company. I just hope that I don't have a gap in between but if I do disappear offline you will now understand why.

I have a Hotmail account that I use only for buying from eBay (my own ISP doesn't like the site and e-mails never travel between here and there or vice versa) and at the moment I am Forwarding to that account any e-mails I want to keep, just in case.

Hopefully moving to a new ISP will reduce, at least for a while, some of the spam I receive. I deleted 68 spam e-mails this morning alone. I know my Internet Security package is good at filtering them out but I still go through them before deleting them, as very occasionally something I want to keep ends up in the Spam folder.

I will let friends and family know my new email address as soon as I know it.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Husband's attempts to lose weight have really worked and to date he has lost 4.5 stone (63 lbs) and is still aiming to lose some more. Most days he walks at least 10 miles. All his attempts really, really show and he looks so much better and so much healthier now.
Since the New Year he has also started morning exercises and today's pictures show part of this morning's session.

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Hebe has been flowering its socks off for weeks, despite us being in the middle of winter. Neither sun, frost, wind, rain, sleet or snow has stopped it being in full flower.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Waiting for Breakfast

I found out something about using the camera today. There is a slight timelag between pressing the button and the camera actually takes a picture. Now the timelag is only about 1-2 seconds but it is enough to make taking pictures of a cat as active as Nimrod the Mighty Hunter very difficult. The moment he moved into an attrective position I would press the button but by the time the camera actually took the picture he had moved. I deleted about 8 pictures like that. Also the minute I sat on the floor he came to investigate and sat too close to get other than a distorted picture. I'm certainly learning things about taking pictures.

Anyway, the pictures are of Nimrod and his sister Pickle outside the kitchen and waiting for their breakfast.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Thinking Meme

I pinched this from Buffy. The answers are mine though and I found thinking of some of the answers very difficult.

1. If you had to choose one vice in exclusion of all others what would it be? The odd thing is that this is one that has really fallen by the wayside since I gave up work: READING. I read all through my childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Then I retired and suddenly I no longer seem to have much time to read the way that I have always done throughout my life. No longer do I have a 4 hour commute to and from work when I would read to pass the time (and spend an absolute fortune on books). Now I read only what I really, really want to and am willing to make time for.

2. If you could change one specific thing about the world what would it be? Goodness, this is a difficult one. What would I ban: Cruelty.....bigotry.........sports commentators.....Diana Ross's singing.......

3. Name the cartoon character you identify with the most. I've absolutely no idea. I always liked Popeye and I love spinach but I don't look anything like him .

4. If you could live one day in your life over again which one would it be? Perhaps my wedding day. Or there were days wanding through the countryside in Summer that still stick in my mind and I think back on and they still make me happy. I can remember a day visiting the gardens at Cotehele - absolute magic!

5. If you could go back in history and spend a day with one person who would it be? Leonardo Da Vinci - his questioning mind has always fascinated and inspired me.

6. What is the one thing you lost, sold or threw away that you wish you could have back? A large pile of magazines and pamphlets on machine knitting. They were turned out in a clearout before I retired. Now I want to dig out my knitting machine and they would have been so useful now. Aargh!

7. What is your one most important contribution to this world? I haven't had one. When I was working I used to think to myself that what I did made a contribution to my employer but thinking back I know I was wrong. Now I have no contribution to make to the world.

8. What is your one hidden talent that nearly no one knows about? Ah, weirdo alert ahead....... I used to be a Spiritualist medium who used to give clairvoyant readings to people. Then I married, moved to a new area of the country and the whole thing came to an end as life got very busy. Also I am a fully registered (and insured) Spiritual Healer.

9. What is your most cherished possession? I have a large crystal pendant in a silver Edwardian setting that I always wear when doing the activities in the answer to 8 above. I also wear it on occasions that are very important to me or if I feel I need extra protection.

10. What one person influenced your life the most when growing up? A difficult question for me. I'm not sure.

11. What one word describes you better than any other? Kind, I hope. I asked the Husband and he said he didn't know. Then he said Adolescent (Adele- escent)


I sometimes feel it would be nice to take pictures every day of my life to give myself a real record of my life. So I think I am going to try this, I think, not as a New Year resolution (a bit late for that and I don't really believe in them anyway) but just as something new and, I hope, interesting in my life.

So here are two pictures of the garden as seen from the sitting room and taken 90 minutes apart. The forecast is for much more snow and ice over the next couple of days. What fun, I don't think.

My garden always looks unkempt during the winter because I work on the principle that if I leave all the old plant material in place until the Spring then the palnts get a little extra protection during frost and cold spells. (Well, that's my excuse anyway, .)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The last two days

Well, the last two days have been something else and Great Britain is still trying to recover from them.

Thursday saw the worst storm to hit the UK since 1990 with winds of between 75 and 95 miles per hour. At least 10 people died, buildings, fences and walls all over the country collapsed, as did thousands of trees., Air, road and rail travel was severely disrupted, especially as many, many lorries were just blown over by the gales. Power cuts were many, in our part of the country (East Anglia) at one stage 75,00 households were without electricity.

It was particularly horrible where we are although we personally were only slightly affected. We heard a clatter in the morning when the television arial was blown off the roof and was just hanging down in front of the window to the sitting room. The Husband quickly ran outside and disconnected the arial before the winds could blow it through the window - a real possibility given how strong the winds were. We also lost a few roof tiles, one of our fence panels on our back boundary blew out and two of our small conifers in the front garden, both about 3.5 feet high, are bent over. Fortunately we did not actually loose our electricity supply, although it was flickering on and off all day. The whole day was particularly unnerving, especially the winds and how helpless one feels in the face of uncontrollable nature.

The next day, Friday, the whole of Britain spent clearing some of the mess up, although I can imagine that some of the damage will take longer to clear up. The husband has managed to put back the loose fence panel, at least until we can replace it for one that isn't damaged. The water in the rivers is very, very high at the moment and the Husband came back from a walk in the afternoon to say that there is tree damage and trees down all over the place locally. I made the mistake of going out yesterday, not a good idea for me after any storm, and had an asthma attack. I'm feeling better now though.

The next task is to get the tv arial put back. The winds did not affect the satellite dish, though, so we still have access to tv channels.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

When I first saw this photo in the paper last week I thought that I'd got the date wrong and it was actually 1st April. But no, it's a real story which can be found here.

But I keep on thinking about that picture, and so I decided to past it here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Why do politicians come up with such crackpot ideas at times? Now is a case in point. The Labour party proposes that by 2013 the minimum age at which kids may leave secondary school should be increased from 16 years of age to 18. That means that every schoolchild will be forced to continue their education until they are 18.To say the least this proposal gives me pause for thought. Once again politicians seems to think that all 16-18 year olds are exactly alike, with the same academic abilities and ambitions to enter the university treadmill and come out the other end with a degree. They seem to forget that one of the wonders of humanity is how we are all different, with different skills and abilities, but together we form a community which benefits us all.

This proposal will do very little for those youngsters of an academic bent, who have the skills and motivation to thrive in a classroom, and who already leave school at 18 years of age with already developed ambition and motivation to go on to university. to study for a degree and to seek a future, perhaps in the professions.. But a huge proportion of kids in secondary school either not like that. They do not, and will not, thrive in an academic atmosphere. However on leaving school and entering a more adult environment where they will develop their own maturity as well as learning vocational skills and abilities that will be of benefit both to themselves and future employers. I know. I was one of them.

Even now I remember my schooldays with a haze of horror. I then did not have the maturity to see why I was at school and what was the benefit of education. All I wanted was to leave the school I hated as soon as I could, to get away from an atmosphere that at the time was totally antipathetic to me. I had no idea what I would do when I left school, the thought of having to support myself and to earn a living never even entered my mind. I just knew I wanted to get out. I was lucky. My father (who left school at 14 thinking exactly as I had done but as an adult took up further education himself and subsequently became a senior lecturer in an FE college) understood my point of view and so I left school at 16, once I had had my GCE “O” levels, then he pushed me into a job in the local County Council (he actually was in the room when I was interviewed for my first ever job). I started work there and over the next couple of years developed the maturity to see that I had the opportunity of a career, which I took up, moving to the civil service and ultimately into the profession that was right for me. But it took years and years of learning my own lessons in life to see what path I should take. I was just not the type to learn that during my schooldays.

Many, many school kids are the same and making them stay in a schoolroom for two more years after they are 16 will just be a complete waste of their time and will be a waste, ultimately, to the community and the country as a whole. They are likely just to feel demotivated and will not achieve anything valuable during the extra two years at school. They would be much better suited having to find a job or perhaps an apprenticeship. Supporting themselves would help them to discover their own maturity and the life that is right for them. Perhaps, then, there should not be unemployment benefit for kids, making them find a job to support themselves at 16 instead. They will soon grow up much more quickly and will become a benfit to us all.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dear Daughters

There is a piece posted today on the Yarn Harlot's site which is priceless, incredibly funny and absolutely true. As a stepmother, my goodness, I recognise and remember this.

Knit Geek Questionnaire Meme

OK, I'm feeling totally apathetic at this time of the year and have no idea what to write. So I've nicked a Meme (whatever that is) from one of the Groups I belong to (it also came from here) and will put my own comments in it.

1. What's your worst habit relating to your knitting? I have the habit at times of losing interest in what I am knitting - I have many UFOs (UnFinished Objects) in a cupboard waiting for me to develop interest in them again.

2. In what specific ways does your knitting make you a better person? Not at all, it's just something I do.

3. How might you or your life be different if you were suddenly unable to knit? I would probably destroy the tv set - many the time I have continued watching an uninspiring tv programme because I have some knitting to occupy me.

4. If money were no object, what one yarn, and what one tool or gadget would you run out and buy first? Absolutely no idea.

5. What knitting technique or project type are you most afraid of (if any)? What, specifically, do you fear will happen when you try it? Fair Isle or Intarsia. The only time I tried Fair Isle I knit it at much too tight a tension so the finished garment looked wrong. I've not had the courage subsequently to try again.

6. Who is/are your knitting hero(es), and why? I don't think I have any. I grew up surrounded by women who knit and just considered it a normal activity, so I don't think there is such a thing as a knitting hero(ine).

7. Do you consider knitting, for you personally, a mostly social activity, or a mostly solitary activity? A solitary activity, or at least something I do at home with the Husband and family.

8. Is there a particular regional tradition in knitting that you feel strongly drawn toward (e.g., Fair Isle, Scandinavian, Celtic, Orenburg lace)? Any theories as to why it calls to you? Aran knitting. Stocking Stitch is boring to do for any length of time but give me a jumper with lots of cables to do and I am a happy bunny.

9. If you were a yarn, which yarn would you be? No idea, probably something in pure wool.

10. Some statistics:
(a) How many years have passed since you FIRST learned to knit?
50 years, I think - I was about 5 years old.
(b) How many total years have you been actively, regularly knitting (i.e., they don't have to have been in a row)? I suppose since I left school and started work at 16. Up to then I just fiddled about, making dolls clothes as a child and then the odd jumper when I reached adolescence. After I started work I began to knit during my spare time. I still do so.
(c) how many people have you taught to knit? No-one.
(d) Roughly what percentage of your FOs do you give away (to anyone besides yourself, i.e., including your immediate family) I suppose 1 in 3 of the sweaters I knit is for the Husband.

11. How often do you KIP (knit in public)? Never. I am aware that many knitters enjoy doing this but to my mind knitting is something one does because you enjoy doing it on your own or to finish something you want to wear. It is not to become an exhibitionist and display to others how skilled you are. (Having said that when I was commuting to work in London I used to knit on the train and the tube to relax myself and stop myself from going mad at the commute.)

12. If a genie granted you one hour to stitch-n-bitch with any one knitter, living or dead, who would you choose and why? I'm not sure, probably Kathleen Kinder, not because of handknitting but to become fascinated once again at machine knitting and to dust off my own machine and find somewhere in the house to put it up.

13. What aspect or task in knitting makes you most impatient? Doing a tension square (so I don't do one: fortunately I always knit to tension).

14. What is it about knitting that never lets you get bored with it? Cables, lace patterns or anything patterned engages my interest.

15. Describe how and where you most often do your knitting - where do you sit, what is going on around you, what tools do you use and how are they (dis)organized? All the accutrements of whatever I am working on sits beside my chair in the sitting room, so I can pick up my knitting quickly and easily whenever I chose. The work I am not actually working on is packed away in a cupboard, as is the bag with spare knitting needles, stitch holders and other knitting bits and pieces.

16. Which one person is the recipient of more of your knitting than any other? Myself, I suppose. I do knit for the Husband, though, and I made a blanket for my hairdresser's new baby last year.

17. What's the oddest thing about your knitting, or yourself as a knitter? Nothing. I was raised to consider knitting an ordinary, everyday activity - and that is how I've always treated it.

18. What do you see yourself knitting - if anything - twenty years from now? Woolly bed socks: we'll both be in our 70's by then and will probably be feeling the cold at night.

19. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only ONE SKEIN of yarn, which yarn would it be and what would you do with it? Depends where the island was situated and how cold it was: if warm a shawl for cool nights; if cold then some warm socks for nighttime.

20. If you were allowed to own only one knitting-related book, which would it be? (you'd be free to browse others, but you couldn't keep them) My knitting bible, that tells me anything I need to know and that I've had for years is "The Handknitter's Handbook" by Montse Stanley.

21. Is knitting the new yoga? Why or why not? Knitting is knitting and something one just does. Why make a fashionable fuss of it?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Give Away of the Day

There is a website I discovered yesterday called Giveaway of the Day . This works on the principle that every day a new piece of software will be featured which you can download entirely free of charge. Beware though - you can only download the software for free on the day that it is featured on the sidebar. You can still click through and download previous days' software - but you will have to pay the manufacturer's normal price. These programs are not shareware and will not time expire, provided you activate them within the time scale shown.

Yesterday, I downloaded the Sticky Password software which is certainly turning out to be useful. Obviously, however, one needs to use a bit of discrimination with this site as you don't want to load your computer with 365 pieces of software which you don't need but if you are selective you can find things that really help you.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

4th January 2007

Today is the 4th January. The newspapers tell me this, as does the radio and my computer. However, here is a picture I took shortly at noon today of an iris in the flower bed at the end of the garden. I also took a picture of a Hebe in full flower for the second time since last summer, but the picture turned out to be too fuzzy to put here.

Temperatures are certainly mild for the beginning of January. Walking into town this morning I almost wished I wasn't wearing a coat. I've seen pictures of daffodills that came into flower in November. Global warming certainly seems to be upon us.