Thursday, March 29, 2007

Preparation for life after the birth...
(This one is for Dirk and Felicia because I'm thinking about them a lot these days)
I've just finished my last 'preparation for birth' antenatal class for a while. I'm not quite at my best, having been hauled out of my bed at 4am this morning to care for another Team's client in labour. (Despite being designated as 'high risk' because she is an insulin dependent diabetic, with all the prerequisite drips and continuous monitoring that entails, she had a lovely normal birth sat on a birthing stool - the first birth my student has witnessed in her training).
So, we're chatting about 'life after birth' - is there any? I always invite a couple of new parents to this session as the resident experts to be quizzed. We've just got on to the topic of crying babies and how to cope - and I'm saying that there are no parents in the world, ever, who have not felt like chucking the baby out the window in despair at some time or another, even if momentarily. And that, under these circumstances, it is OK to leave the baby in one room at one end of the house then take yourself to the other end of the house to calm down with a nice cup of tea (english way) or even nicer glass of wine (international) before venturing back to be with the baby again. Or taking a shower is a good way of relaxing and drowning out the sound of crying. There was a pause after I'd said this. Then one Dad says "so let me get this straight - you're saying a shower is a good place to put the crying baby to drown out the sound?!".

The entire class degenerates into helpless laughter.

Monday, March 26, 2007

March Socks are completed and Ribena Scarf on its way!

What a hassle these Snakey socks were - because of the couple of errors in the pattern (or maybe it was just my interpretation?) - but the end result was OK with a little bodging. As I've said, they're a bit too small for me - I think they'll fit a size 5 (UK) just right. I've mastered the magic cast on (which is on the same site as the patterns and is just that: magic! - thanks Judy!) and knitting two socks simultaneously on two circs so I'm well pleased. But I'm knitting something mindlessly simple for April's sockamonth!
Here's a close up of the faux cable pattern. As you can see, it's a lovely sunny morning in Devon today!

The pattern is basically a lace stitch without the yarn overs. Makes a lovely flat cable like twisty snake. BTW this is a much more accurate rendition of the colour than my previous post - less pink, more reddy-orange.
And this is the start of the fan and feather scarf for my secret pal on ISE4
Now - I'm NOT, repeat NOT a lace knitter. It takes far too much concentration and I'm liable to throw in an extra yarn over before you know it. Give my a gansey stitch, or fairisle (where you can SEE what you're doing) or even a cable stitch any day, over lace. But I'm up for a challenge. I just hope secret pal appreciates it!!! And I don't have to frog too many more times. (I've already frogged twice!). The colours are lovely - reminds me of Ribena! Berries and more berries - Summer Pudding!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Stash Enhancement!

I HAVE to boast about it on here, because there's no doubt I'll have to hide it from DH!. This is the lot in all its glory:

Isn't that just gorgeous! There should also be some Jitterbug in there - but its for my secretpal and its therefore a secret - shhhh!
Separately we have this, from Fyberspates. The last parcel in the sock club :-(

And very good value it has been. I added the eggs just because.

And this next is for the Karen's fairisle gloves knitalong that I've just joined - Just need the pattern now!

And finally we have this - a find from my lovely LYS. I've been debating and gnashing my teeth about what to knit the person who will get my scarf in the ISE4 - I've been swamped by the choice. Then I walked into Spin-a-Yarn and saw it: the lightest, softest, fan and feather scarf in this beautiful hand painted 2ply 100%merino yarn from New Zealand. (There isn't any white in it - that was just the camera). AND there should be enough for TWO scarves - ho ho. The person I'm knitting for likes wild colours...

Spotted this in Totnes last Monday. This could be defined as a classic double bind don't you think? It's the imperative nature of the notes that got me.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

and so it begins. I have a spoilee and a spoiler has me. My secret pal sent me a virtual postcard - thanks secret pal! JUMPS UP AND DOWN AND WAVES FRANTICALLY!
What a good idea, thinks me, so MY spoilee gets one too. From here.

I'm having a lot of fun deciding what to send in my first Easter special parcel. We're still waiting for a BUTTON for the side bar.
The picture is from Morocco (2004 paddling holiday) - quite arbitrary - I decided this post wanted brightening up and I took this from my archives.
A Mother's Day walk on Dartmoor:
DS offered to accompany me on a walk for Mother's Day. DH decided to join us - Wahey! a family outing. I decide to take us to Merrivale and King's Tor on Dartmoor:

Map from Ordinance Survey web site here

A funny thing happened on way through Postbridge:

We got held up by two highwaymen! That guy in the foreground is picking up pony poop! DS reckons that Postbridge was the actual location of the most incompetent highwayman ever - our highwayment requested our money or our wheelnuts..This was all in aid of Comic Relief - I went to quiz type event at the hospital yesterday - which was rednose day 2007 .

Starting off at Merrivale (the last Dartmoor granite quarry to be closed, in 1997) we headed off toward Feather Tor.
There are two leats which divide, marked by a granite way marker cross.

This is Vixen Tor.

This picture is really odd - DH looks really small - but then DS is HUUUGE! Syd in the stream in the foreground.

Here is DS (in his Alice Starmore jumper again) posing pensively (with sheep).
Strolling down a moorland road we could see Pew Tor lit up by sunlight in the distance -

The lane led us to Sampford Spinney (a small hamlet which can be seen at the bottom of the map). This is the church nestled amongst the trees.

Anenomes in the hedgerow:

Gratuitous picture of my favourite girl, Tilly.

We clambered down beside the Ward Bridge to sit on the bank of the River Walkham. Saw a mink running along the opposite bank. (That's no mink in an orange hat, that's me).

We then strolled back up on to the moors and along part of the disused railway line built by Tyrwhitt in 1822, past Swelltor quarries and King's Tor. We followed the old Princetown to Tavistock packhorse waymarkers which took up past the famous Merrivale antiquities consisting of three stone rows, stone circles, standing stones and kistvaens, to finally emerge half a mile down the road from Merrivale Quarry again. (Getting too dark for pics by this time).

Back in the car, a Dartmoor Pony (well, not technically a Dartmoor Pony as he was a grey, but a pony on Dartmoor shall we say) stuck his head in through the window to say goodbye. Or, more probably, checked us out for anything savoury. On our way home we stopped by the Warren House Inn for supper and a pint and a spot of knitting. Reputed to be the second highest Inn in England, the Warren House is also supposed to have a fire that has been burning continuously for over 100years - but since DS worked there the summer hols a few years back and saw it re-kindled several mornings, I know that's not true. Still - you can always guarantee a smouldering log in the grate what ever time of the year you go there.
March Socks, who gives a damn?

I've been battling with these darned snakey socks - and to cap it all they don't even fit!?*$
They are supposed to fit a 'medium' woman with no actual measurements - well, they're at least an inch too short for me. (I'm a UK size 7, continental size 41). I realised they weren't going to fit when I got into the main part of the foot- and the instructions told me to knit more garter rows after the toe shaping - far too late! Ah well, they'll make a nice pressie for a friend with small feet, and it's been fun deciding who I can bestow them on.

The pattern isn't quite right either - there's a P1 missing here and a K2 missing there which all mounts up to a deal of tinking and frogging. Not to mention the differences between the two socks - what with pooling and striping differently - all good lessons learned. There's been a heap of bodging but I'm on the final run now - just the ankle and cuff to finish... thank goodness!

A finished object from last year: Remember that Alice Starmore jumper I was knitting for DS? I've been trying to pin him down for a photograph since I gave it to him - here it is:

Pattern: 'Baltic' from Alice Starmore's Fisherman's Sweaters

yarn used: Sirdar Denim (which was far more economical and durable than the original Rowan magpie - I have loads left over!)

knitted on 4 1/2mm needles in the round... (no sewing up!)

The bottom keeps curling up despite blocking. DS loves it - it's comfortable and he can bung it in the washing machine and it's still looking good.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This illustration taken from here
A lovely little story from work (made my day, anyway).

I don't always work on Delivery Suite but this particular evening I was helping out as another Team was short. I had applied a cardiotocograph (or CTG as it's better known) to a woman's belly to monitor the baby's heartbeat and contractions on a strip of paper -not routine, but this woman had had complications. The baby's heartbeat was looking fairly flat, which is not desirable but sometimes occurs when the baby is less active. "Hmm",says I, "I think this baby needs to wake up..."
So the father-to-be then puts his face really close to Mum's belly and says "WAKEY WAKEY BABY!". Lo and behold the recording of the fetal heart immediately starts to jump and accelerate and look far more normal!

Monday, March 12, 2007


I found this on Lickmysticks blog and couldn't resist. (I could've finished those snakey socks and knitted half my stash up if I stopped p*****g about on the net!)

In the list of books below, bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of.

1. +The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. +Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. +To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. +Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) (or then again, maybe not)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) Or will I? since I've seen the film. But films are never as good, are they?
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) I've read 'The Way the Crow Flies' - brill!
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) Don't know, having seen the film...
28. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. *Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. *The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. *Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. *The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. *The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. +I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. +The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible (though think I'd skip the begats!)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) (well - nearly finished it. I threw it aside when she threw herself under a train).
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) (Would I read it?, wouldn't I?)
48. +Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. *Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. *The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) (I think I started this once!)
62. *The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) (but probably won't get round to reading)
64. Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. *One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. *The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) (Don't know if I'd get round to reading this really)
70. +The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. +Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. *Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) (not quite true - have heard of it vaguely)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) (started and didn't finish)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) (I'm not sure if I didn't read this as a kid)
76. *The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. *A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)7
9. *The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. *Not Wanted On the Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. *Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) Though never finished it.
88. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. *Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. *The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. *The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch) tried and failed to read this.
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. *The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. +Ulysses (James Joyce) Having seen my DH struggle with this (and he has the patience of Job) - I KNOW I wouldn't be able to crack it.

So where did this list of books come from? I shall have to investigate further! *
I've read 45% and I haven't heard of 23% which is quite a few books for me to look up. I knew Mount Toobie was teeteringly tall before this but is it possible to go higher? Always.
Also quite a number of classics and good reads missing, methinks.

All you folk that have books on your bookshelf that you've read and would probably never read again - haven't you heard of bookcrossing?

* Followed the link back half a dozen blogs (like six degrees of separation!) and it appears to have started with Shana who just says "she borrowed it from someone cool". So there the trail goes cold.

If you have a go at this leave a comment so I can see the result, ta.

Sunday Afternoon stroll on Dartmoor

Couldn't go for as long a walk as I wanted as got an unexpected visit from Uncle Bob and Aunty Kay - which was a lovely surprise! So we went for just a couple of hours up to Bonehill Rocks on Dartmoor:

Those two little pimples right of centre on the horizon in this first picture are Haytor, in a South Easterly direction - not too far to walk but not today. WE parked at Bonehill rocks then strolled up to Bell Tor and across to Chinkwell and Honeybag Tors - great names to depict the piles of weathered granite littering the Moors. The processes resulting in the formation of Dartmoor Tors started about 280 million years ago (is that all?) as the granite forming Dartmoor cooled and solidified from molten rock to form these amazing shapes.

It was warm in the sun but incredibly windy and the dog's ears were flapping right out behind them and we flapped our arms and tried to fly. I spotted a soggy green handknit fingerless glove on a rock - if you've lost just one - it's still there, looking very forlorn.

Looking down on Bonehill Rocks from Bell Tor

To the right of this picture, which is South Westerly, we could see Widecombe in the Moor and St Pancras Church down in the valley, but I didn't take a pic as it was too hazy.

Tilly likes to find her own sticks for us to throw -here she's trying to disguise herself as a Deer.

DH relaxing on top of Chinkwell Tor! And this is me and the dogs at HoneyBag Tor
You can see Hound Tor through this gate, lying central on the horizon.
Beautiful Moss covering a tree...

Dartmoor is transformed in the sunshine.
Walking back down to Bonehill Rocks where the car was parked - see lots of Dartmoor Ponies grazing, still woolly in their winter coats.

Much later, at home, dogs are happy, full bellies after supper and hogging the fire...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

My first ever socks!

And DH is still wearing them!

This evening I looked over at the sofa and saw the first socks I ever knitted being proudly displayed by my man. They were a labour of love in 3ply and took me ages on dpns, I recall. Boring colours (don't remember any of these lovely handpainted yarns being available then) because DH doesn't like to stand out at all but the fairisle pattern kept me interested. They must be over 15 years old now - and still going strong - but then, he does tend to save them for 'best'. So why is he wearing them now, for lounging around on the sofa? Methinks he's dropping hints that it's about time he had another pair. Trouble is, he won't wear ankle socks - they'll have to be long or at least mid calf. So that means sock stash enhancement. OK, I'll do it!

I got DH to expose his manly calf to show 'em off for posterity:

As far as the latest socks are progressing: no pics, but I'm getting into the faux cable pattern nicely now. I'm just coming up to the heel flap - and it's great to be knitting the two simultaneously! I don't EVER want to knit just one sock again - no more one sock syndrome for me ha ha.

The handpainted yarn is striping on one sock and colour pooling on the other - but the overall colour (orangey-red) compensates somewhat for the imbalance. I can live with it. I'm such a lazy knitter - I often bodge rather than frog - is that wicked?

Yes, I know you're supposed to use one strand from one ball and then another from the other ball for the next row - but life's too short!

ON which note, I'm off to take the dogs for a decent walk and hope it doesn't rain. I'll take my camera.

I'm madly jealous of all those bloggers skipping NORTH this weekend - I did contemplate signing up but it's a huge distance from here to there for a weekend - next year maybe...

Friday, March 09, 2007

I am meandering through Susan's fascinating "My life is a Zoo" blog (she is a knitter who not only adores dogs but is a zoo keeper too!) and found this fun link for making cyborgs from names:

Transforming Electronic Replicant Responsible for Infiltration

Get Your Cyborg Name I think I'd spot her a mile off so she'd be rubbish at infiltration, unless she has some method of camouflage? Maybe she's see through...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Spring has sprung...
the grass has riz, I wonder where the birdies is.

Spring is in the air, or so it feels like when the sun finally emerges. Having returned from my stroll, here are gratuitous pictures of Sydney and Tilly. The Wray Brook is back in its box, you'll observe - Sydney had to jump in to show it who's boss. Well, he is a labrador after all, and he doesn't normally look so solemn.
Amazingly Tilly stayed dry! She's looking interested and smiling in anticipation because I'm waving a stick around. It was her birthday last week - she's ten years old (x7=70yrs old!) and a little bit arthritic, unless she's chasing sticks. The old gal is looking a bit gray around the muzzle.I just went around the block - across the field, up the old railway line and back down the road. Spotted this wonderful fungus - that colour really jumps out at you. And primroses and daffodils and even some violets tucked away in the hedgerows.
The penultimate pic is the bolting mispoona in my little veggie bed - that's miner's (or land) cress next to it - had loads of it growing all winter - tastes like watercress, hot and peppery and good in salads. And finally the last pic is of the lovely basket of pansies that I picked up from a place that sells cheap plants - usually half dead - but this lot enjoyed all that rain last week!