Methinks The Lady Doth Knit Too Much!

This is a distinct possibility.

Having pondered for the last week over the wool for my next project, I’ve been stuck on finding some alpaca wool because it’s warm and really soft. The only trouble is it’s also flipping expensive!

However, I stumbled upon some of this today:

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It’s Lima by Rowan which is an 80% baby alpaca blended with 9% merino & 9% nylon (who knows what the other 2% is…). I bought the dark purple at the bottom and IT’S SO FLUFFY!! Or rather it’s so soft. To the point where I have started following people around the house with a ball of it insisting that they rub their faces on my yarn. I’m pretty sure that’s not healthy behaviour.

What struck me is the way it is spun. It’s almost been plaited into a yarn.

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So this evening, I cast aside my monotonous ribbing of the aran tank top to indulge in some 6.5mm cabling of a cardigan. At £6.99 per 50g, or 170m this needs to be knitted up well, and two cables in, it’s growing well and rather shapely. This may take some weeks to complete, not because of the complexity, but because I’m only buying a few balls at a time to spread the cost if this project (and force me into finishing the Aran tank top).

LSH is not quite so impressed with my Saturday night antics, deciding to fall asleep on the chair in a yarn-widower huff. I’m not sure he’s up for the ‘if you can’t beat em, join em’ idea. I can’t really see him as a knitter.

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While The Sun Still Shines

It’s been a weird one today. It’s the final few days of the summer holidays and we’ve all got nearly September gitters. So, today was the final day spent in the open air with my friend (the wonderful Mrs GypsyTree and our tribe of kids before the kids go back to school and I go back to work and we go back to snatching a few hours together on the occasional weekend we’re both free. But for today, the sun was shining and we abandoned our homes for the top of a hill from where we can see all of our town and out to sea.

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We’ve said before that we don’t need to live in each others pockets to be close, and over the years we have sporadically lived in close proximity with patches of time where we are only contactable online. Despite this, we still parent each others children like we see them every day, and my girls see them as siblings rather than friends. The grown ups are given the title ‘Aunty & Uncle’ not just a respect thing, but because they are family in all but blood.

This summer has had it’s Enid Blyton moments.

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Although, in the background what you don’t see in these pictures is me and Mrs Gypsy huffing and puffing our way up the hill with picnic bags strapped to us venting our stresses at each other and eventually seeing what an amazing childhood we are giving the small scruffy wildlings in our care. We’re not meant to be the ones rolling down the hill. We’re there to provide the lashings of ginger beer (or shandy / water in their case), and we’ve done an admirable job of providing sustenance for tree climbing and hill rolling this year!

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We follow these tiny scruffians around with our cameras in the hope that we can capture just enough of this summer outside bliss for them to look back on and for us to hold on to (via rosé tinted glasses). All the time laughing at ourselves to remain sane. For the record, my walk is normal and I could teach an alien to walk very well!

These offspring of ours have spent most of this summer covered in dirt and either up a tree or rolling in long grass. I’ve never seen them so unkempt, or happy.

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Then there’s the tiny one. She’s nearly one. Wheasy is getting a real sense of humour and making her mum laugh. (You can see why I take lots of my parenting cues from this woman)

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And then Wheasy shows everyone who’s actually the boss here….

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This summer has been a blast. I’m mentally and physically recovered from the last term and ready for the new job and all the possibilities that come with it.

I also know that I’ve rejoined my family, immediate and extended. I’m sad that I won’t see Bam’s gorgeous smile, feel Spud charge in for a cuddle, chat with Boo about her knees, watch Bear idolize BeanPole or bore Wheasy to sleep for the next seven weeks, but half term looms and with it comes birthday parties and Halloween!

For now, thanks for making my summer guys. Don’t forget to shout BOGIES!! Xxx

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Woodies American Diner – Don’t Wait Ten Years to Go There!

Dear Americans, I don’t go too much on your politics, but OMG your food!

I had a total moment earlier after spending the whole day at the beach with the kids. That’s it! I’m not cooking! We’re going out for dinner, and I want to try American food!

I ought to explain that ever since LSH and I started dating ten years ago, we’ve driven countless times past a specific American style diner on the seafront and despite trying to go a couple of times (they were fully booked), we’ve never actually eaten there.

Well now we have.

If you live near Brighton, or actually happen to be in the UK (the hours of driving will all be worth it) Woodies Diner is somewhere you should not wait ten years to visit!

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The kids were mildly shocked that I’d suggested going out to get burgers and milkshakes and couldn’t quite believe their luck when they were given free reign with the kids menu (£5.95 for food, a drink and ice cream. Or £1 extra if they want milkshake).

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The staff were really friendly and we were kept entertained by looking at the various signed surf boards on the ceiling and the big TV with Grease playing on a continuous loop! (Ok, this is a very stereotypical 50s diner, but bear with me just wait til you see the food).

We started off with milkshakes (the kids ones are quite small) which were made without a hint of crusha. These were MILKSHAKES. LSH apparently makes weird faces when he drinks banoffee milkshake!

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The kids were delighted with their choices.

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TinyPants even waited until I’d taken the photo before demolishing the lot! (And some chili fries on the side)

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Then ours arrived.

Oh good god! How am I meant to eat that?! It was an 8oz handmade burger topped with onion rings, bbq sauce, bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, and salad. It came with fries and onion rings on the side too!

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LSH had an equally amazing chilli burger which was the same 8oz burger topped with home made chilli. I am pleased (and slightly ashamed) to report that we ate the lot. Well, nearly.

We did also share a bowl of chilli fries between us.

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I was full. Properly need a little nap now full. And BeanPole was staring blankly at the tv while TinyPants looked close to food induced coma. It was clearly time for ice cream!

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It turns put they did indeed have room for ice cream. But then we proclaimed to as well, and shared this. It’s a Fudge Funday (chocolate, fudge & rum raisin ice cream topped with cream, toffee sauce and nuts).

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When we paid the bill, BeanPole announced to the waitress that she had found the place that she wanted to come for her birthday. She’s got good taste! Everything was fresh, well prepared and the place was clean and beautiful.

To top it off, they gave us a car sticker for the car! (Went straight in)

We got back home nearly two hours past the kids bedtime, tired and feeling a teeny bit sick. Suffice to say, the kids went to bed with no fuss at all with very full tummies and Woodies is completely to blame for any lack of special cuddles with LSH later. Far too full for any of that nonsense!

Knit & Natter

There is very little that is more bizarre than sitting in the evening in a small yarn shop with a cup of tea, bread pudding, with other women directly opposite a rowdy pub where people walk past you as if they’d just walked past a coven meeting.

Well, that’s exactly what I did this evening at The Wool Bar. And it was fab.

I ribbed for a good few hours, thoroughly enjoying the conversation which ranged from our children, to belly dancing, to our favorite manga.

Next Tuesday is my first day back at school, but I’m definitely packing up my needles for another cup of tea and natter with these ladies next week. And I shall be arriving with a tiny little hat to add to the charity donation 🙂

(And I medically NEED that emerald silk yarn)

A Dig in the Ribs

I have a post about an amazing place with amazing people, but I’m waiting on photos… S you’ll have to make do with this.

I’m working on my first top down jumper. For someone who dislikes hates ribbing, it made total sense for me to select a pattern which uses two different types of ribbing for about 90% of the jumper. It is for this reason that it takes me nearly two hours to grow the pattern by an inch. It’s not quite wearable yet…

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It also meant that I had something monotonous to focus on while I sat and contemplated stuff while the sun went down this evening after some rather sad news.

Sometimes it’s there but for the grace of god we go. I hope the coffee is good up there. Xxx

Is middle class a state of mind or a wad of cash?

Ok, you people have brains, so here are the two posts that I am about to refer to. Make up your own minds.

Jilly Luke – http://www.leftfutures.org/2013/08/lentils-and-lager-why-we-forgive-tax-evaders-but-not-benefit-claimants/

A Girl Named Jack – http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/08/25/dear-jilly-luke-i-tried-to-top-myself-six-months-ago-in-my-beatrix-potter-cosy-poverty/

But here’s my two penneth…

Ms Luke appears to be trying to make an argument (and one that I agree with) that David Cameron and his media circus is attempting to portray the less well off sections of our society as undesirable, unlawful and the reason why our financial institutions have made most of us suffer. Not surprisingly, they are not likely to vote for him. However, the propaganda is extended further to beguile the middling to aspire to the ‘middle class’ which having met some of the ‘true middle class’, is out of reach of many of us. As a teacher, the chances of me earning enough to afford private education and ponies is laughable, however I do consider my family with their higher education, own home, use of cous cous and grasp of grammar (I’m sorry Internet) to be quite middle class. Middle class that teeters on a monthly paycheck.

So in essence, I agree.

But.

She worded her argument poorly. In trying to explain that the propaganda has led many people to judge the ‘poor’ by their outward appearance, she appears to have fallen into her own trap.

Jack is described as living in a Beatrice Potter-esq poverty because of the culinary choices she makes. Because she has made healthy choices, or those which have allowed her to stretch her money further by making use of certain ingredients that the poor couldn’t possibly understand like chickpeas and lentils, she is deemed ‘middle class’ (which is now a slur? I think.) Jack certainly writes with eloquence, which flies in the face of the illiterate picture that people on benefits are meant to be.

It seems the argument is unravelling. Or is it?

I think what Jilly was trying to say is that we love Jack because she’s openly trying. She’s found a way to live through the benefits system without becoming the Cameron stereotype. She’s not the scrounger that the government would like us to judge all claimants to be, but a mum doing her best in the worst of circumstances. There are people who just won’t try, or who don’t know how to, but making them villains won’t work (those in glass houses?)

I think Jilly was trying to say, suck it up Cameron, this woman is proving you wrong and is supported not just by the ‘proud working class’.

At least, I hope that’s what she’s saying.