Saturday, 31 December 2005

Tube strike and *that* machine

First things first - did you know the starting salary for trainee tube drivers is more than the average for physics graduates in london? Guys, YOU'RE GETTING ENOUGH MONEY NOW - NO ONE BELIEVES ALL THIS "SAFETY REASONS" BOLLOCKS. At first I was sympathetic. But a strike on new years eve? I don't think so. So my party is ruined. I hope the government do legislate against tube strikes like new york but I know they won't have the balls.

Have been bashing away at the knitting machine again following advice from the newbritknits list. And has it worked? Has it, tubedrivers. Will have one final go tomorrow and then...where's my hammer?

Have spent the day making yet more pompoms for the cat protection league and crafting more of my beady stitch markers. I'll be putting them on ebay again soon so watch this space for new of when they do up. I am pretty chuffed with the star-kittens.
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And these ones with their little glass tails!
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Well, solitary guest (who lives next door) due to arrive in 10 mins so had better clear enough of the pompoms for them to sit down. See you all in 2006!

Friday, 30 December 2005

Machine knitter in distress

I have put the three images in this post as links so you can see them a a better size - I'd have had to shrink them for blogger.

Photo 1 - Initial cause of distress is that I can't get the machine to cast on. I have tried fiddling with the various settings but it just keeps missing loops. What am I doing wrong?

Photo 2 - These are the settings on the carriage. Can't find anywhere that tells me what the letters mean on the dial top right or whether the slider on the right should be on N or H. Also not sure whether the wheels at the bottom of the carriage should be engaged or not. Don't worry about the wool position - I was just moving it out the way to take the pic.

Photo 3 - I don't know what these two sliders are for either.

As you may have gathered I got the machine second hand and without a manual. I have downloaded the free brother 851 manual from online but despite reading and re-reading can't see where I'm going wrong. It is the casting on (or lack of) that is the main issue, obviously! So frustrating as the first time I got it out it worked fine except the knitting got stuck on the sinker posts. That'll no doubt be my next question!
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If anyone can help me please email THANKS x

At last - I'm knitting for cats!

Actually I'm not sure about this claim - does making pom poms count as knitting? I used my pom pom maker that blueadt bought me and that was an SP gift. It all started when I was feeling knitting withdrawal and so bought Jan's Knitting magazine. I don't know why - it's still rubish. There is a pair of shoes that are beyond belief. Anyway, there was an ad in there saying the year of the volunteer had made this month animal month and you could knit cat toys. Off I went to their website. And here is the result:
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I'm using up some leftovers and some dye experiments that frankly went soooooo wrong as I'm guessing the cats won't mind that much.

Yesterday was something of a monumental day for me as I ate only fresh fruit and vegetables ALL day. For example - four clementines for breakfast with almonds and raisons as a snack. Lunch was as pictured:
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Plus a banana and 2 clementines for pudding. OK there's some dip there but I can't eat celery without some form of lubricant. Then roast aubergine for dinner - divine - and stewed apples with honey and raisons. And can you believe I didn't cheat all day? PLUS I went out running in the morning. So fricking healthy.

In between all this I managed to finish the cursed socks. Here is the patch that I knitted in so that they would actually span my unexpectedly plump legs.
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Here is the 'good' side.
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And here they are in all their glory.
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They are terribly soft and comfy to wear - I'm really pleased with them even though I had to do the whole patch thing. Cherry tree hill on 2.75mm needles.

The other thing I finished in the last few days was the mitred square noro thing I started about 2 months ago. I had thought it would be some sort of modular-knit-esque top but I have realised over time that I really don't like noro yarn. I wish I had realised this earlier as it would have saved me some vast amount of wonga. I had all these squares laying about so I sewed them into a tube, knitted a bottom and i-corded the handles. This is it pre-felting...
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I have actually felted it but don't have a pic yet as it's drying so I'll post that tomorrow. It looks pretty effective and I'm thinking it will be a present for Charlie (baby's mother for those of you a post or two behind).

So this means I have two finished WIP in 2 days. Plus the pom poms. And now this leaves me with a leetle problemo. What to do next? I got out the kaffe fasset v-neck yesterday and had a good look at it. The thing is.....I don't like the coloours. Here is a pic from the archives to remind people of it.
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What was I thinking when I chose all those pastels? So now what do I do? I've done a fair bit more of it since this pic but still not half-way. I could possibly stop there and make it into a bag or sachet or small cushion. Pooooooooooooo.

Even setting aside that project I'm wondering what to do next. I'm worried I might have knitting fatigue as I did those socks non-stop over xmas. I'm thinking today I'll have another bash at the knitting machine because that's more of a technical exercise than anything else.

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

Babies and bad knitting

It's been a while but the blogger is back and so here we go. Last Thurs (22nd) was a whopper of a day. Take a look at the cutest baby ever...
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Yes, that is me holding her and what I want to know is, if Charlie gave birth two weeks earlier how come her figure is so much better than mine? I'm sure it can have nothing to do with all the choc I've been scoffing. I held little Yoshimi for about 90 mins and she was amazingly good. And now I am seriously clucky. They loved the little baby clothes I made (fortunately they all fitted) although the hat was a bit big and kept falling off.
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Vitas insisted she war it admiral style! I was absolutely consumed by happiness for the rest of the day and had it stopped there that would have been enough to keep me beaming. BUT. It did not end there.
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I handed Louise her curly whirly in cherry tree hill peacock and she loved it - she thought she'd set me an impossible task when she laughingly asked for one in all those colours and by coincidence was wearing a fab monsoon top (slightly noro-ish in colours I thought) that went with it pretty well. We had a wicked afternoon catching up on girly chat and news before I headed off to meet el daddyo.

Indeed this was finally the night for the huge momentous family dinner. You see Sian and Dad have only made up this year really. Sian hadn't seen Freddie and P since they left nappies. Moira and el americano family hadn't seen Sian since she was about 10 and Moira hadn't seen Freddie and P since they were v young. So....this might give you an idea of how dysfunctional my family is. You could view me as the family uhu, holding things all together. I used to view myself as the family safety net as everyone would sound off to me about everyone else but then I went mad so that was obviously not a good way of viewing things...
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So from front left we have dad, Piers (14 - so hilarious), me, cousin mike (over here for a year so has featured here before), sian, sian's boyf Brown (also called Simon), Poochimus maximus in a rare good mood, Uncle doug and cousin kerry. Freddie and Becky were also there but weren't doing photos. Aunt Moira was taking the pic. It was a really good night - shame these get togethers are so rare. Especially when I hold them up against xmas at Pooch's where we had about 20 family members sitting about at one point who hadn't caught sight of each other since, ooo, at least last Tuesday. Anyway...It is the variety and diversity of the human interaction that makes life so interesting.

Xmas at Pooch's went very well again although I have eaten waaaaaaaaay too much. There is also the issue of the socks. I took my cherry trtee hill from ally pally up to Manchester with me and did some cable toe-up socks on 2-needles. Buggerations though because the leg part is too small. Ah, I can't be bothered to go into it again but I must have had chocolate inhibiting my brain function. Am knitting on a garter st patch which looks rubbish and will serve to remind me of a dumbass thing I once did. No I'm not ripping them. Because afterall then I might forget the lesson.

It would appear I've forgotten to upload the sock picture so here is one of Zoidberg knitting.
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Hope everyone out there had a great xmas xxx am starting my new years resolutions early by organising my stash and collating WIP and UFOs.

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

I appear to have changed time zone

Slightly disturbing - am gooing through a phase of early waking just as I get to the one point in the year when this is not convinient. I guess that's probab;y why it is though. 5.30 today which is the earlist so far. Means I am knackered by 9.30 so while my mornings are elongated it's put a crimp in my xmas socilialising. Not that I'm doing much of fricking that. Bloody thing. I refer of course to the final xmas knitted xmas present - now on a very sort deadline. In fact should stop blogging and get to it.

Not sure if I'll be able to blog again before I disappear ooop north for xmas so just in case happy christmas everyone xxx I'll be back on the 27th.


Monday, 19 December 2005


The intrepid gang more or less fill the handweavers studio - Nancy understandably got flustered at having so many customers at once.
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Knitting pub-style
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Reaping the rewards of Kerrie's clear out - yes that is a full hank of giotto on the left.
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The Giotto decidedly didn't want to be a pair of gauntlets - possibly because instead of 8mm needles I was using 4.5...
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Roving, roving, everywhere...
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Copper bag handles ahoy
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Knitting now in the Sunday Times Magazine as well as the National Geographic.
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Read for yourself
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Pooch at work
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Pooch about 5 hours later - note change of position - no carpel tunnel or repetitive strain for that boy.
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Actually Pooch was very lovely to me all weekend. The only other news is that I have rushed out and bought a "hot to...Punch and Judy" book from Abe Books. I can recommend Abe to anyone looking for soemthing a bit off beat and second hand. They do cross list on amazon quite a lot but they're still worth a look. I got my copy £5 cheaper than the current bidded price for one on ebay. Yaroo.

Sunday, 18 December 2005

Dreams, punch and judy, handweavers...just so much!

I think I need to do this starting from now and going backwards. I seem to have woken up ridiculously early at 6am but don't mind as I woke up at the end of a great dream. HHH and I were both extras in Emmerdale and to cut a long story short he gave me a hug when I told him I thought he was great! Woke up all smiley. NO THIS IS NOT REALLY SAD.

Was in canary Wharf doing some last minute shopping yesterday on the way back from the item I will get to in a minute. Was all ready to go home when I heard a Punch and Judy show round the corner. DUDE! I love Punch and Judy. And from all the adults sitting around it looks like it really does hotwire straight to your childhood. I was laughing so much. The crocodile was there stealing the sausages and the policeman was trying to catch Mr Punch. Mr Punch was telling the children (and me) that the crocodile was as gentale as a pussy cat and would thenstroke the crocodile which would purr and meow. Then everytime Mr Punch looked away the crocodile would open his mouth almost 180 degrees and be about to eat Mr Punch when all the children (and me) would shout "He's behind you" and then when Mr Punch turned round the crocodile would be acting all cutesy again. Then, in a stunning plot twist, the crocodile did bite Mr Punch but he just got him by the nose - that was a stroke of genius frankly. I heard the words "Oh no he wouldn't" and I drew a really deep breath to shout back "Oh yes he would" when I realised I am 27 and really shouldn't do that anymore. I wonder whether you can train as a punch and judy artiste?

So getting to the main bit I just have a small confession to make - have left my camera cable at work so there are no pics - sorry. We had a wicked UKHK trip to the Handweavers studio in Blackhorse Road. It was me, Ruth, Nikki, Ann, Sue and Gill and we had a ball. We definitely managed to boost Nancy's usual Saturday takings. I will post photos on Monday but for now you'll have to make use of your own imaginations! Lots of stuff to dye and lots of copper bag handles - circles and squares - as I want one of those bracelet handbags and now have enough bracelets for about 8! But will be covering them in fabric and wool and yummy stuff. We had a lovely pub lunch afterwards and Ruth was kind enough to share a stash clearout Kerrie from hipknits had given her. I have a whole skein of giotto in red plus a cone of machine knitting yarn to learn with after xmas. Hoorah hoorah.

Thursday, 15 December 2005

Hair, sock, mental birds and more

Well where to start? I guess with the hair - yes that's right, it's that time of year when Byrne gets a haircut. The lucky salon this time was J-hair with the frankly very easy on the eye KD at the wheel. It is, as some of you may have guessed, a japanese salon and is all funky but let's cut to the good bit - excellent haircut, wonderful wash, condition, head massage and highest level style and finish for....wait for it....£25. And they give you a card so if you get 10 haircuts you get the next one free. I highly recommend the place - and if you admire the snake-hipped-cutely-smiling-male ask for KD.
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But enough of these fripperies, let's talk socks. I was sorely tempted by some shiny sock yarn about 2 weeks ago and it has arrived and, frankly, I'm rather disappointed.
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It's sock yarn, it's got some lurex in it....
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...but the colours are very flat and the texture isn't that nice. Slap wrist for impulse buying.

And talk about impulse buying. Let us consider what I was thinking when I purchased this:
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I started crocheting it into a 3rd jumper for the Vitas baby but then must have woken up or something because, dude, all it is saying to me now is "sanitary-towel-advert". Bit of a whoops there. Will be ripping that any minute now.

FRED FRED FRED looky here:
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I LOVE the colourway. I finished this one at the golders green group last night and decided on a whim to i-cord the toe and make it all pointy. I think it is terribly cute. Have already cast on the second one.

So what have I got to finish with this time? The MOST exciting news - Tom and Doug have started doing podcasts. You remember them....Tom and Doug. The Tom and Doug. The writers and performers of Gansta Knitter. This is quite possibly the best music video ever made. To cut a long story short I have ended up with Professor Doug (he actually is a professor - of child psychology as it turns out) as a penpal and we have been emailing back and forth for about a year (maybe?) now. Just every couple of weeks and writing silly emails where I'm hoping mine make him laugh as much as his do me. I know I've missed the last posting date for xmas but I have got these together rather last minute to send to the intrepid duo.
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The crazy orange bird is a pen, obviously. Then there are "zip-pals" - one each for Tom, Doug (Cool dude) and Doug's little daughter. (special little girl). I fear Doug will try and keep the girlie one and give his daughter the cool dude one but then that's a man's right to choose.

Right, must go and get ready for work. Pooch woke me up early so that he could get in at 8 to right the wrongs of programming so I thought a little blogging would be good. On saturday there is the group visit to the handweavers studio so expect a smidgen of stash enhancement news on sunday. Seasons greetings to y'all xx

Monday, 12 December 2005

New eyebrows

Never mind all this face transplant stuff - I've got new eyebrows. Apparently they were there in the undergrowth all this time but today they were revealed, pink and naked, to the world. But first, brace yourselves. How many fricking freckles?
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Where did they all come from? I was always under the impression there was just a smattering of main ones, not all these littl'uns. I look like a moon.

So back to some knitting stuff. Today I have finished the most amazing hot water bottle for Mr Joe Milner-Moore and Miss Elinore Lyons. Joe said "This is the best furry hot water bottle I've ever had" (he said that just now - I just gave it to him about 30 seconds ago.) It is knit out of one strand of stylecraft gypsy (Soooooo soft) and one of some machine wash wool that I hand dyed with the old kool aid.
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Have also been putting some more work in on the ladybird socks. Plus the never ending shawl. Oh, for post xmas wonderfulness. I need to start compiling a list of future projects. No time like the present...
  1. The tubey jumper from the current knitty.
  2. Cabled socks in the cherry tree hill yarn I got at ally pally
  3. (Finish) the leaf jumper from loop-d-loop
  4. (Finish) the kaffe fasset v-neck tank top in the 'small circles' pattern
  5. Patchwork something or other using the hexagon template Rob is making me.
  6. I really need to put these in the side bar...feel free to suggest others!

Sunday, 11 December 2005

More yodelling, this time in somerset

Yes, peeps, this weekend I was visiting the mother in deepest exmoor. Took the presents down and generally said hello as I'll be xmassing at Pooch's Mum's again this year. I have promised her a website (can you believe neither she nor my step-dad Rob have ever seen "the internet"?) so was taking lots of pics of the shop. Here is one...
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That is Pooch stage left, and mumsy in the middle with Rob doing a good impression of a customer. The shop is called "Shakespeare and Hall" and is in Dunster in Exmoor National Park.

Managed an escapade to Dulverton on saturday and combining my button haul from stratford with my one from there we get...
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I just love buttons. And you know I came across pencil rolls in the cheap art shop I found on charing-cross road. And you can hear it too right? "Circular needle holders" they scream at me.
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That's one rolled up and in it's wrapper on the left and unrolled and laid out on the right. I am thinking my golders green secret santa could be receiving one (decorated of course with a plethora of buttons). *Sigh* I just love those buttons.

I had the day off on Friday and had a lovely time doing domestic thingys and popping into the knitting store in stratford (in the covered market). I came out with yet more yarn for baby clothes (and the aforementioned buttons - or at least about half of those in that picture.)
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I like the rainbow one on the right - it's a proper robust rainbow and they had some knitted up there and it looked nice. Going to start knitting the 3 month + sizes though as they seem to grow quite quickly.

Actually spoke to Vitas on Friday as well and the little lady has been born and, as some of you may have guessed knowing what I'm like, I've forgotten her name again. I will be getting my first sighting on the 22nd when I go down to Margate before going back to Canterbury to see Louise.

Then in the afternoon on Friday I went to the V&A which is amazingly what I planned to do so I was very pleased with myself to be that organised and efficient. And the main object for my attention was Kaffe Fasset's xmas tree. I admit when I got there I was in a right mood and so basically looked at it, looked at the chihuly glass over reception and made some sort of derisive snorting noise. BUT....after a choc brownie in the restaurant (and man, that thing was good - no nuts which is the way such things should be) I made my way back and actually it's exquisite.
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Here is a close up of some of the fans - his fabric glued onto cardboard.
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The photos don't do the colours justice as ever. I also got a good look at Queen Maud of Norway's wardrobe in the fashion section. It was f.a.b. and really inspiring. Although inspiring towards what I could not say. I feel like I am gradually filling up with inspiration - like one of those water barrels in hardcore-gardener's gardens - and at some point I will use it all in some cerative burst. I don't know what though. I did also fall in love with the Kaffe Fasset quilts for the V&A book which is divine. Have been meaning to start a wish list for Pooch's reference so will add this to it.

So to finish, those of you who are members of the knitting and crochet guild will have received your copy of SlipKnot and will undoubtedly have noticed......
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...on page twenty something. Yes folks, get your knitting holiday tickets here!

Sunday, 4 December 2005

Yippee yippee

Yo yodelers, let's yodel together in a fit of yodelosity. Yodeleh ee-hooo. Just felt I had to get that out there because I have had a really lovely weekend. Let's run it down in order...
  • Little sister came to stay with her girlfriend. Pooch got horrendously drunk and amused them with his nerdy ramblings - they'd never seen anything like it.
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(She is the one in green - this is the only photo I have of her from about the last 10 years as she Does Not Do Photos.
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(Byrne looks on, worrying about what nonsense will come out of Pooch's mouth next....)
  • Pooch was sick on saturday morning which meant he was then in a really humble mood all the rest of the weekend.
  • Got 20% off xmas shopping at bhs and saw some really lovely towels with ducks on I want to go back and get in the sales.
  • Joe's birthday dinner was very nice and we got a black cab home because Pooch was still feeling poorly.
  • Slept like a fricking log and woke up feeling wonderful.
  • Had a lovely natter natter down with Nickerjac in Barnes - got SkipNorth pinned down completely now and she handed over a ball of Opal she had been given at Harrogate by an unknown associate and I LOVE the colourway.
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  • Discovered my secret pal is Blueadt!! What a dude. She texted me to let me know. She's been really cool and I am really grateful. Thanks blue xxx
  • Got home to discover Pooch had written me a love poem! AND we are having yummy roast chicken for dinner.
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(The love of my life, pretending to read while his mind whirls away on an unfamilar romantic path. Who knows what poems are taking shape behind that magazine.....)

So basically yarooo yarooo life is good. There are also one or two little knitting matters to relate. The most annoying is that I still have a colossal amount of xmas knitting to do. Looking at it positively - I've almost finished the socka fortissima sock for my mother. Just a toe and the sewing up to do. Talking of socks Nickerjac showed me the sock yarn she got from curious yarns. She had the colourway 'faded' but I am pining for....candies, stone and bold. What I hadn't paid attention to was the smaller skein of solid colour for the heel and toe with the variegated skein for the main bit. And it is very soft and lovely.

Ahhh, life is good! Bit of an abrupt end to my blogging but Pooch wants the laptop (to write more poems probably!)

Friday, 2 December 2005


Let’s just stick to facts…

  • Pooch has got some sort of slow heart rate thing which the ECG identified. The blood tests all came back normal.
  • The doctor says he needs a 24-hour ECG to see whether the heart thing is something to worry about and is actually causing his head issues.

So he may not actually drop dead but we won’t know that for sure for a while. This has led to the two of us falling out because I’m getting all het up about founding out NOW and using his health insurance to shoulder through all the admin and he is annoying because I’m moaning at him to do more and do it now and get it sorted when he already is doing it, just a bit slower than I’d like. I know I’m being a bit of a bitch but I’m freaking worried about the stupid idiot.

So to move on….new job is still going well – just got my objectives for next year which are wide and politically intriguing as there is a load of change management stuff plus a load more I won’t be able to admit to working on. Quite exciting really as one project involves working with my previous boss who is Cunning and there’s a reason I put a capital letter there.

Knitting is going boringly. Xmas socks….also just remembered I need to do that shawl thing for sian so really need to get a move on with that. Dipped a toe into festive spirit last night by putting up and decorating the xmas tree – fake naturally as I don’t like harvesting real ones just for a month of use and then a trip to the tip.

Going to the Candy Bar tonight because Freddie and Becky are coming up to stay to celebrate their one year anniversary. Am slightly scared but should be good.

TFIFriday. Going to see Nic on Sunday – will be really good to catch up plus she just told me she has a package for me someone at Harrogate gave her to pass on. Also need to discuss more
SkipNorth plans.

Lastly, Pooch and I have started our own Secret Pal and sent each other a questionnaire of our own devising this morning. We have agreed to spoil each other to the value of £20 a month for the next three months, having parcels delivered to work addresses.

Here are his (edited!) answers so any suggestions just let me know!

  1. Are you a label snob. Or is it all the same to you?> Yes
  2. Would you want some personalised stationary?> No
  3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)> Cats and Dogs and Cats and Dogs The Film
  4. If you had to wear an identity bracelet, would it have "Simon" or> "Pooch" on it?> Pooch>
  5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?> Yes, amazon but it's poorly maintained
  6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)> L'eau D'Issey (which is Lavendar based)>
  7. Do you have a favourite food treat?> Eggs Benedict
  8. What sort of things do you like to do in your spare time?> programming, cooking>
  9. What kind of music do you like? > Classical, prog rock, early 90's Manchester>
  10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color> family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?> Favourite - Red, don't like Puce
  11. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)> To be happy
  12. What is/are your favorite things to play with?> My Byrne
  13. What is/are your current obsession/s?> Who will replace Roy Keane
  14. Who are your heros?> Eric Cantona, Gandhi
  15. What is your favourite film?> Star Wars Espiode V - The Empire Strikes Back
  16. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?> Yoda
  17. Where would you like to travel to in the future?> Antarctica, Scandinavia, America (later!)>
  18. Is there anything that you collect?> Belly-button fluff>
  19. What magazines do you regularly read?> Edge
  20. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?> Visual Complex Analysis
  21. Any objects you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one> reason or another?> Nah

Sunday, 27 November 2005

National Geographic

Oh I'm so excited (and so sad) I just got actually out of my lovely deep hot bath just to blog and am now too excited to use commas and everything.

National Geographic UK edition, about a third of the way in, Dec 2005 edition...
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And in that basket?
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And surely they must be talking about Colinette here?
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And the flshed out name is "Peru".
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And I'm pretty sure there is some regia ringels in there only the german arrow is pointing to some weird other stuff.
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I know I really shouldn't be so excited about this but....It's NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. This magazine rules the journalistic world. I am an avid fan and read *every* edition cover to cover even when the topic doesn't interest me. Wow, dude wowowowowowowowowow. Ahem. WOW.
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