An elegant sufficiency

Sunday, July 30, 2006

In case of boredom...

I've reached the stage of making piles of things to pack tomorrow, and simply have to have a supply of distractions in case I'm bored. The boredom threshold of a gnat is something I aspire to.

Here in the pile, there are
Four novels: The Kite Runner - started on the Como trip but not half way through, The Sea (John Banville) Booker prizewinner, State of the Union (Douglas Kennedy) and A Wedding in December - Anita Shreve (because we'll be in The Berkshires too)
My ipod loaded with music, talking books and podcasts, including Cast On and In Our Time , favourites I don't normally have time to listen to properly.
My ipaq PDA with my address book, diary and, most important, Bejeweled and Bubblet
Knitting - hoping to conquer that second sock syndrome
Sketchbook/Journal - will try to keep a record of what we do
Artpack - everything but the kitchen sink - crayons, paints, glue, pencils and more
Sudoku book - might have to share this with Mark since he's discovered Sudoku himself
General Knowledge crosswords - Mark's Mum cuts these from the Saturday Telegraph for me, but never includes the answers.

..and last but not least, our baby laptop, so that we can keep up with family and friends, upload our photographs and play spider solitaire.

No room for The Bible and Shakespeare!

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Saturday, July 29, 2006


Bleh. Don't you hate it when things don't go smoothly?

Preparing to go on holiday next week, I have a long list of things to do. OK, many of them are long standing commitments, things I ought to have done ages ago when the days or weeks stretched ahead of me. Instead, they are left till last minute and any glimpse of an item associated with the task brings on a spasm of conscience, which in this heat manifests itself as a cold sweat.

So, one item on the list was to make samples for a Christmas craft pack. Easy peasy - I'd volunteered to do this one, had even chosen the samples myself - no pressure from anyone. Had all the materials to make folksy "naive" felt peg-doll angels and elves, just needed to sit down and get on with it. Which I did yesterday. And failed.

Using red and white felt together is not to be recommended. The white felt is covered in fluff from the red felt, which makes the angels very grubby-looking indeed! The glue seeps through the felt in no time, however careful I am to use the tiniest amount. The pegs are too big to make the things look in any way classy or desirable...and what was supposed to be an easy, beginners no-sew item looks crummy and certainly anything but naive. If I can't get them to work right, then the innocent craft novice hardly stands a chance of achieving the guaranteed success these packs have to offer if they are to work well.

Wish me better luck today working on the other sample - a small gift box along the lines of a miniature American-style "takeout" box. Oh, and in making 200 macaroons, another fine mess I got myself into!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Perfect summer evening (part three)

I'm going to take myself outside with my book and a glass of something long and cold, and enjoy the cool evening air.

Coincidentally, I'm reading this at the moment - highly recommended. For the next week, you can listen to a reading here

Perfect summer evening (part two)

The cows are making their way up the hill opposite in single file (but you have to look hard to spot them behind the bush) Posted by Picasa

Perfect summer evening (part one)

Blogger is playing silly bloggers, so this post will come in three parts (three pictures, you see)
The roar of the burners on this hot air balloon led me to think it was rather nearer than it was - I had visions of it appearing just over the hedge! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hot Hot Hot

On the hottest day of the year (so far - today is forecast to be hotter still) we found ourselves in London. Though it was certainly rather warmer than we'd prefer, we managed to stay cool by taking advantage of various "air-conditioned environments". The lady above kept a close eye on our spending.

Our main reason for being in town was that we had tickets.

Superb show, well worth seeing, though we'd have preferred to have gone on a night that the M4 wasn't closed, making our journey home rather more of a pain than we'd bargained for.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sock in the loose

The latest sock is done and set free after a couple of cast offs because the top was too tight. Though it now looks a bit frilly, it's still not ever-so-loose (or maybe it's my fat calves that are the problem?) I have yet to be convinced that the toe up method is the one for me!

Expect an imminent bout of SSS (second sock syndrome)
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Fairford Sunday

Maggie mentioned the Fairford Air Tattoo in her weekend blog entries and we both hoped for a free air show at some point during the weekend. Well, this was it. At around 4.45pm, Sunday afternoon, there was a loud rumble and one solitary plane flew over. I suppose the wind was in the "other" direction and the residents of Oxford might have seen the show? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Yeah, right.....

Who Should Paint You: Pablo Picasso

You're an expressive soul who shows many emotions, with many subtleties

Only a master painter could represent your glorious contradictions

Shopping the world

A parcel arrived from for Edward this morning, containing something he'd ordered last week.

Unable to find what he wanted on the site, he placed his order through

The box arrived this morning, about 12 x 9 x 3". Inside the box was a similarly sized piece of card, shrinkwrapped in plastic. Sure enough, the bill is there, addressed "Lexington Kentucky", but oddly, the packet is postmarked "Deutsche Post".

There, in the middle of the card was his purchase - a single CD in a cardboard sleeve...

...with a "Made in Holland" sticker on it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dyeing for colour

Heaven knows what a child's insides look like after they've drunk this stuff, but I'm more than happy with the results of my test-run Kool-Aid dyeing this afternoon. I followed the recipe and concentrated on the primary focus - the samples of wool felt I have. Of course, I couldn't throw away some perfectly good dye liquor, so I dumped a few odds and ends of threads in. The wool works perfectly, the cotton not so - the three pink samples above are all cotton/rayon embroidery threads, but will tone with the wool felt on the little project I have planned. This test run used "Tropical Punch" flavour.

I have a collection of every Kool-Aid available in Manhattan, (thanks Jordi!) and some extras from California (thanks Mary!) I even have some "invisible" flavour, which I confess to buying myself. Not the brightest choice when I thought of it. I will soon have my hands on several yards of the wool felt, which is destined to be dyed in every colour and samples shared amongst friends in a bit-of-a-swap we've planned. Watch this space for the results.

Incidentally, half way through the microwave process, Edward wandered in, attracted by the sickly sweet fruit-drop scents which were wafting through the house. Once he found out the cause, he was appalled, but I think there was the tiniest hint of disappointment that something edible was not going to appear on the kitchen table this afternoon!
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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fun packed days

It's the time of the Cheltenham Music Festival and though we are both music people, we neither of us fancied much in the programme this time, except for a conducting masterclass on Sunday, at Pittville Pump Rooms, and a supper concert last night at The Daffodil.

This was particularly interesting, because the Daffodil used to be a cinema, where Mark's Uncle Tobe used to be the projectionist! It's a beautiful art-deco building with the most wonderful architectural details. We heard Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennet - smooth, velvety music for a well-fed audience, late on a summer's evening.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


In my WI capacity, I often need to send cards - thank yous in particular. But today I needed to send a couple of Congratulation cards to two ladies who have won prestigious competitions.
Stuck for an idea, I remembered I'd bought a new template last week and decided to try it out - fifteen minutes later, two cards done and dusted.

I'm sure that peel off "congratulations" sticker was straight - think I'd better hoik it off and get my pen out instead. Don't you hate those peel-offs really? I do!
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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Stroud Maternity Matters!

We just went to add Edward's name to the others posted to the fence outside our local maternity hospital, which, in spite of delivering hundreds of happy, healthy babies to contented and well-cared for Mums, is under threat of imminent closure. Stroud Maternity Hospital is financially viable but due to debts elsewhere in the PCT, women with a low-risk pregnancy in this area are to be denied the choice to give birth in this midwife led unit.
How can a decision to close such a remarkable place be given any consideration at all?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Is that it?!

OK, I know I've not been so creative recently - or at least, not in a way I can show here ;-)
I have been enjoying the Mason-Dixon knitting book though, and having received a parcel of Provence Cotton yarn from Texere last week, I set to work on some mindless dishcloth knitting. I thought the cotton yarn was very good value - just £3.90 for 250g - so perfect for dishcloths.

I hope to have something a little more interesting to show soon, with some wool felt and a few packets of kool-aid on hand, not to mention a "to do" list as long as my arm!
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