Saturday, November 28, 2009

Funny Mishaps and Upsetting News

Our first Thanksgiving meal was a surprising success.  I managed to only miss something on a recipe once and realized it before it was too late so the pumpkin pie was delicious and not overly pumpkin-y due to a complete and utter lack of cream.  This is seriously a big deal for me because I'm terrible when it comes to reading directions and have screwed up more than one recipe by skipping something or adding too much or too little of something. 

We had one other near mishap that was quite funny.  I had bought double cream to make whipped cream but realized during dinner that not only do we not own a mixer but we don't even own a whisk!  Just the other day a contestant on Come Dine With Me had spent an hour mixing his whipped cream by hand.  We were in trouble because pumpkin pie - especially 'hard to come by in England' pumpkin pie - really needs whipped cream.  We tried using a fork for a little while but thank goodness my husband has a bit of MacGyver about him.  After a few minutes of rummaging through the utensil drawer, he came up with a tea strainer (not a tea ball but one like this) and attacked the bowl of cream again.  It worked!  So if you're in a pinch - no mixer, no whisk - we can attest that a tea strainer works. 

That night I also realized something a little upsetting when, thinking I would knit a few rows before bed,  I picked up my Gooseberry Cardigan.  It wasn't that my glaring mistake was still haunting me either - I finally ripped that back.  It was the discovery that when I knit, I hurt.  The muscles below my thumb start to burn after only a few inches of knitting.  It wasn't a sudden discovery - there's been faint pain for a little while now - but it had gotten to the point where I had to force myself to finish even one row and that was a real worry.  I cast on a Thorpe hat for my dad yesterday (because Christmas knitting stops at nothing) and knitting on large bamboo dpns didn't seem to bother me as much as I was able to get about a third of it done before I had to stop.  Thankfully it also seems that it doesn't effect crocheting at all.  It does effect typing on a keyboard, though, because it aches enough now that I'm not going to type much more. 

I'm knitting the cardigan on size six/4.00 metal needles and I know that metal needles have given me a little pain in the past - enough that I remember replacing a metal circular with bamboo on a project - but nothing like this.  I don't have a bamboo size six circular but ordered one yesterday because I'd really hate to send the cardigan to the UFO pile.  And, damn, I'm afraid of not being able to knit anymore.  I'm also going to watch some knitting videos and see if there's something I can change about my technique that might help.  It might be a really good reason to finally learn how to knit continental.

Hope that those of you who celebrate it had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Failed Wordless Wednesday

Keep Calm

I had originally taken this mediocre photo for Wordless Wednesday but found it hard to post without explanation.  This is our tiny upstairs half-bath which sits next to our bedroom on the second floor.  We have grand ideas for it but currently it's just functional and there's a large patch of destroyed wall and exposed pipe above the toilet where they were looking for a leak.  

The Keep Calm poster came free in a newspaper and has been hanging around the flat since my visit last November.  I found it in a desk drawer a few weeks ago and decided it would be a nice reminder as I walk up the steps and into the bedroom.  

These days it seems I need to be reminded a little more often....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


George & the spire

George - side
Geroge - head shot 

George would like nothing more than to be a security guard at the Salisbury Cathedral but, sadly, this position does not exist.

Big Blue by Roxycraft

4.00 mm (G) hook

Vanna's Choice in Pea Green

I don't think the top and bottom halves of his head are attached correctly but the pattern wasn't quite clear enough for me and the photos were, unfortunately, at an unhelpful angle. It makes him have less of an under bite and more of an all over alien look but it also makes him mine.  Otherwise, though, it's a great pattern and would make a cute Christmas gift for a little one (minus the plastic pellets he's stuffed with, of course).

Wow, I haven't crocheted much since I left Dainty Kitty to become Viking Tea Party - I had to create a "crochet" category for this post.

Owning My Mistakes

If I were reading Cast Off by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee instead of listening to it, I might actually quote her word for word but it's one of those audiobooks so I'll have to paraphrase.  You know the part where she talks about the two kinds of knitters?  The ones that would painstakingly search for the mistake if she got to the end of a row and had an extra stitch and the others who would just knit two together?  Well, I'm kind of a combination of the two.  In that instance I would probably just knit two together because, most likely (in my mind anyway), it wouldn't be noticeable.  If, after a few rows, it did become noticeable, though, I would be forced to rip it out - cursing myself with every stitch for not fixing it right away - because I would see it every time I looked at it and it would drive me crazy.   

That said, I'm really struggling with a mistake I made last night.  I was working on my Gooseberry Cardigan and using these evil things to mark my increase stitches.

Evil Stitch Markers

I don't know what made me use them - they must have been handy when I cast on - because I usually only use them for crochet projects.  I hate that they get snagged in the knitting and some times trick you into thinking they belong one place when they really belong in another.  That's exactly what happened to me last night.  This little circle of doom got a little unruly so I pried it out and put it back, 99% sure, where it belonged.  I even made note to double check when I completed the next row which I totally did and things looked fine.  Several rows later, though, I realized I should have relied on that 1% of nagging doubt because the stitch maker was off by one stitch.

Errant Stitches copy

My Photoshop skillz are limited (but I'm learning!) and Matt is at work so I'm on my own but the errant stitches are kind of from one tip of the arrow to the other.  Note I'm now using snag-free stitch markers.

After agonizing over it for several minutes - looking up and down the needle at the multitude of stitches I would have to take out and wondering if I would end up loosing my increase row if I just took if off the needle to rip back four rows or if I would have to unknit each individual stitch - I decided to try just moving it back over where it should be.  After the first couple of rows I found that it was nearly imperceptible but, after a couple more, it became a little more obvious and it started to really bother me. 

I FettigGooseberyCardigan3almost pulled if off the needle, crossing my fingers that I wouldn't loose the increases, but it was nearly one a.m. and both Matt and I decided it was better to sleep on it and make a decision in the morning.  I also took a good look at the pictures of the finished sweater because I'm only a couple of inches into the yoke (it's top down) and, after you finish the body, you pick up stitches and knit the collar...which hangs down over the yoke by several inches (photo courtesy of Interweave Knits). 

See what I'm getting at?  The collar is, most likely, going to cover up my mistake.    

That said, I'm trying to convince myself to carry on.  After I few more inches I'll be far enough beyond the mistake that I won't be forced to view it/torture myself with each and every row.  Unfortunately, though, I can't be completely convinced and am going to let it rest for a day while I consider it/torture myself a little longer.

What would you do? 


Friday, November 20, 2009

A Strange Grocery "Trip" and a Few Thoughts About the Holidays

The other day fellow ex-pat, Phoe, kindly sent me a link to an online, UK based store that sells hard to find American groceries.  Strangely, just a few hours earlier, Matt and I had been discussing Thanksgiving and I was saying I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to find canned pumpkin.  I don't know how they make pumpkin pie here or if the whole UK has something against it (gasp) but pumpkin pie - my mother's pumpkin pie anyway - is one of my very favorite desserts.  I'd rather have it than birthday cake - birthday cake from Taste of Elegance/ele Cake Co. even (although it's a close tie).  Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie - even if it's a Thanksgiving that's being celebrated in a country that doesn't have Thanksgiving. 

Anyone that might be trailing us on a trip to Tesco knows that Matt and I are serious impulse shoppers so within minutes of perusing the website, we placed an order that arrived this morning (before I'd even had a chance to shower - I hate that).


We can now have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (and Christmas)!  We also ordered some barbecue sauce to make barbecue chicken pizzas because the sauce here is just too sweet.  It's not our favorite flavor but it is our favorite brand so I know it'll be good.  The Jello Instant Pudding is the not-so-secret ingredient in my chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Each batch takes a box but I think I may stretch it and use a half box for each.  The Junior Mints are just because I miss Junior Mints (even though After Eights are pretty close) and the candies are some UK sweets they threw in which is, um, sweet.

All this talk of the holidays, along with the Christmas decorations that are popping up everywhere, is really Getting Me Down.  I checked ticket prices to go home for Thanksgiving the other day and they were reasonable enough (although,only two or three days later, they've already gone up £25) but I just didn't think it was a good idea for me to go home.  I've spoken the words "I might not come back" out loud without entirely meaning them but still meaning them a little bit.  I'm having a lot of trouble and a lot of that feeling is because I didn't take the decision to move here as seriously as I should.  Not that I wouldn't have done it anyway, I would (most likely), but I would have realized how important it was to give up my family and everything I've known for the past 35 years.  I spent the entire summer with this vague feeling that this was all happening to someone else (that's the only way I can explain how easy it was) but now I'm painfully aware that it was me all along.  Don't get me wrong, living here isn't "a jail sentence," as Matt kind of joked the other night as we talked about going home for Thanksgiving, it just isn't home yet. 

This topic of going home for Thanksgiving only came up because we're not going to Ohio for Christmas.  It was insanely expensive to ship my cats so it's just not possible this year.  This fact crushes me and is the reason I'm having so much trouble.  I think I'd be in a better state if I'd had more time to get used to my new life in general without having the most family oriented holiday come up within first few months.  I know eventually you have to start your own family and your own traditions but, after waking up at my parents' house (my house for a lot of those years) for 35 Christmases, waking up in an entirely different country, knowing that I'll only see my family on a video chat...I can't even think about it without fighting off tears or downright sobbing.   

That said, I should probably stop trying to ruin an otherwise perfectly good Friday, take a nice hot shower and start prepping the conservatory for the light but bright yellow paint we bought on Wednesday.  We'll give it a couple of coats tomorrow, finally unpack some of my decor and make it a nice cozy room in which to have a Thanksgiving dinner for two. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eureka! At Last, the Perfect Flapjack!


I was totally thrown the first time Matt ordered a flapjack at the Mill on my very first day in Salisbury last November.  In the US "flapjack" is just another term for "pancake" so I was surprised when they brought this strange little oat-y square to the table on a little plate.  It didn't take long for me to fall in love, though, and Matt not only brought several Chunky Chocolate flapjack bars (yum) from M&S when he came to visit but he even posted some to me.  I love flapjacks. 

I've tried making them several times and only twice did they turn out inedible.  Once when I made them when I still lived in the US and couldn't get my hands on any Golden Syrup and recently when I couldn't read my own recipe since I'd made so many changes and I doubled the brown sugar.  Little hockey pucks both times.  My other attempts were really good but a little too crumbly for my taste.  I tried a little more butter this time, a little more oats that time and a wee little bit more Golden Syrup another time.

Little did I know that I wouldn't find the right recipe until I made them with Matt who decided we should add a lot more Golden Syrup. 

Golden-syrup What is Golden Syrup?  Wikipedia calls it sugar syrup and a pale treacle; I call it heaven.  Whatever it is, there's nothing like it readily available in Ohio and it's what makes a flapjack a flapjack.

Matt just pointed out to me that that is a dead lion on the can.  I'd never taken a close look it it and thought it was just the side of a standing lion.  Nope, he's dead and surrounded by a swarm of bees.  I found this explanation on the Lyle's website:

Abram Lyle [the man who started the company in 1921] had strong religious beliefs, which is why the Lyle's
Golden Syrup trademark depicts a quotation from the Bible. In the Old
Testament (Book of Judges 14:14) Samson was travelling to the land of
the Philistines in search of a wife.  During the journey he killed a
lion, and on his return past the same spot he noticed that a swarm of
bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass.  Samson later turned
this into a riddle: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the
strong came forth sweetness". 

However, no-one knows why Abram chose the wording 'Out of the strong
came forth sweetness'.  Was he referring to the tin holding the syrup -
or the company producing it?

Interesting but I could have done without realizing the lion was dead.  Thanks, honey.  ;)

The closest you could probably get to a flapjack in the US would probably be baked oatmeal.  In texture it's more like a granola bar than baked oatmeal but the taste is fairly close and I just love baked oatmeal.  I had a really great recipe but it's stored on my desktop computer and, unfortunately, it's still in a box on the floor behind me.  This seems like it might be close, though.

And here is my flapjack recipe (if you can call two lines a recipe, that is).  I'm sure it's like a million others out there but this is the one I like best.  Matt gives it his stamp of approval, too.  

Viking Flapjacks

Slowly melt 80g light brown sugar, 110g butter and 110g Golden Syrup over low heat and stir well.  Stir in 300g jumbo oats and press into a buttered tin and bake at 180 C/350 F for 25 minutes.

I've added dried apricots several times with yummy results and we bought some dried cranberries last night so I'm looking forward to throwing those in next time.  Not very surprisingly, though, we're out of oats.  I'll have to take care of that tomorrow for sure because there are only two flapjacks left in the kitchen!

Flapjack up close

P.S. Speaking of flapjacks - this is really cute!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Least Worn Garter in Wedding History

GarterI assumed it was fate when Matt brought this particular issue of Simply Knitting with him when he came to visit last February because by the time he left we were engaged and it just happened to have a pattern for a knitted wedding cake by Alan Dart as well as a sweet little garter. 

I couldn't really see any reason to knit a wedding cake but I had to make the garter.  It was a fairly simple pattern but when it came to wearing it on the big day I found that simply tying it together really didn't work out so well.  I guess I should have given it a trial run.  It had fallen nearly all the way down my leg by the time I came downstairs to take photos so I slipped it off and tucked it in Matt's pocket where it stayed for a very long time.  I had completely forgotten about it when we decided to ship his wedding suit with the rest of my things on a slow boat so it stayed there in his pocket until I unpacked that particular box a week or two ago.   Since I wasn't totally keen on posting a photo of my naked thighs as I slipped it on, no matter how wonderful the photo was (sorry, Lisa), I decided to wait to write about it when I could take a proper, non-half-naked photo. 

So, finally, the wedding posts are complete.  :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Books & Yarn: Two of My Favorite Things

I started the month secretly joining in on NaBloPoMo but, obviously, it didn't work out so well for me this year.  When it's eleven o'clock at night and you're thinking, "What the hell am I going to write about?" and you're wondering if you have a picture you can's time to give up.  It's about quality, not quantity.  Strangely, though, today I had all sorts of blog-worthy things pop up so now I have a week full of things to go on and on about. 

I was too preoccupied with Sookie Stackhouse books to post every day anyway.  What craziness that was.  I can't really explain why I tore through them with such speed - I think my brain needed a fun vacation.  For the first few books I made myself wait a day to start another but I soon gave up on that and just kept the next book beside me so I could dive right in.  What's really strange is that I don't think I even really like the main character.   It's the quick paced action and a few of the other characters that kept me going.  I've managed to keep my last one, Dead and Gone, unopened and am going to give myself a few weeks until I pick it up.  When I found myself thinking, as I was sorting something the other night, "If I were a vampire, I could do this really fast," I knew I need a little break.

I've also been listening to Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth.  I've been told by more than one person that this is a great book and someone even went so far as to say it was the best book they've ever read but the time period and, I have to admit, it's size put me off.  When Audible had it for less than five bucks, though, I bought it and I'm glad I did.  I mostly only listen to it while I'm cleaning the kitchen and it certainly makes me look forward to doing the dishes.  I'm also glad I'm having it read to me rather than reading it myself as I think I'm enjoying it more.  I'm not a fan at all of readers that try to act out the characters using different voices but this guy, John Lee, is subtle enough - even with his female characters - that it doesn't bother me at all.  

I also managed to finally finish my FLS.  Sadly, I’m not as happy with it as I thought I would be. Oh how I wish I'd only put in one button hole.  I’d
even be happy with two but that third button makes it a little less
flattering on my body type. I thought it would block better, too, and it still might. I’ve yet to unpack
all of my needles and the yoga mat I use for blocking so this was done
on towels with a limited amount of pins. A second blocking might make a
difference. I'm happy with it, though, it was a fun knit and I'm sure it'll get lots of wear.

Sweater Sitting Sweater Buttons

February Lady Sweater

Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Amber Heather

Size 8/5.00 mm needles

We also finally took a photo of the Just Enough Ruffles Scarf I knitted last February out of yarn from my mother-in-law's alpacas.  

Alpaca Scarf
Okay, I'll stop here before I start going into the mushrooms, chickpeas, flapjacks, more knitting and even a little crochet that I'm dying to write about!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In the US I Loved Vera Bradley, Here I Love Just Radley


I gaze longingly at the Radley line of handbags in the window of Ingrams every time we walk into town.  Thanks to a certain squirrel and a great sale at the John Lewis in Southampton, I'm now the gleeful owner of this Dot to Dog bag!  It has the cutest lining fabric of little yellow daisies and more pockets than I have things to put in them but it's the little Scottie that got me hooked....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Very Lucky Woman

Salisbury - Cathedral Close 2

I took this photo - my very first in England - of the cathedral close one year ago today.  When I took it, I had no idea that I'd be living across the street in less than a year.  By the time I flew back to Ohio two weeks later I knew that I'd be living there eventually but could have never imagined it would all happen so fast. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Watching the Day Go By


I've been doing far too much of this - the equivalent of gazing out the window, watching the day go by - today.  I'm having trouble tying myself down to a routine here but I'm going to have try harder.  There are still boxes to unpack and rooms to work on, writing to do, emails to send and, because I do things like spend an entire day reading Sookie Stackhouse books and watching season one of True Blood, there's a lot of housework to be done as well.  I did finish Buddy's sweater, though, so I got something done at least.  

Seeing as how it's nearly midnight, though, today is a complete and utter wash which means I should just give up and go to bed with yet another Sookie Stackhouse book (I'm addicted).

P.S.  This time last year I was waiting to board my flight to meet Matt for the very first time.  I can't believe it's only been a year!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Polly's Tea Room

I have had tea at Polly's five times over the past two weeks, I think.  We stopped this afternoon and I took a couple of photos.  None of them turned out all that great but here's a the view from our table - complete with the flapjack and brownie Matt and I shared.  There's something a little odd about Polly's but I can't exactly put my finger on it.  The tea is good, though - especially the new Earl Grey they're using because it's strangely sweet and I like my tea like my men...sweet - and it beats always going to Cafe Nero, Starbucks or Costa. 


I'm finally branching out a bit when it comes to tea.  I've found that if I have a cup of Earl Grey near bedtime I have terrible heartburn.  At that hour I really should be going for a nice decaffeinated fruit tea or something but I 'm going to try English Breakfast (because, I will admit, I like to have a couple of digestive biscuits with my last cup).  If anyone has a tea suggestions - teas that aren't terribly strong, that is - I'd love to hear them! 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A New Favorite: Baked Eggs

I've been thinking a lot about eggs and cream ever since I saw the link to this Apartment Therapy baked egg article last week.  I love eggs any way you make them. In another life - the one I live that graces the pages of Country Living magazine - I have a backyard full of scratching chickens and fresh eggs every day (and, as if the chickens don't occupy enough of my time, I'm now thinking about beekeeping). 

Anyway, thanks to that whole getting married business, we actually own ramekins and I decided that tonight, while Matt - who is also known as The Husband Who Dislikes Eggs - was at work, I would use them for the very first time (being used as salsa dishes doesn't count) and try making baked eggs.

Because we had a couple of stray slices left from the weekend, I decided to go all out and add bacon in with my layer of shredded cheddar.  British bacon is completely different from American bacon and, while this is full of a different kind of wonderful flavor and I wouldn't turn it down, I do miss miss scrawny, crispy bacon from back home.  

Bacon Layer 

Two eggs, a few dollops of single cream and some more cheese and then baked in the oven in the closest thing I have to a bain marie - a glass pie plate.  


After 25 minutes I thought things still looked a little too runny and gave it another five which was a mistake because that baked the yolks all the way through, I could eat this everyday!  Creamy and cheesy with just a little salt from the bacon...fantastic. 

Baked Eggs

Considering how much bread and butter and other wonderful things I consume on a ridiculous daily basis, though, this should really be confined to weekend mornings...thank goodness there's one of those less than 48 hours away!  

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Airplane Ticket Home for Thanksgiving: $727 Understanding Husband: Priceless

Mile MarkerIf I had been five years old this morning rather than thirty-five, I might have laid down on the floor and thrown a fit.  Arms swinging and legs kicking and screaming through tears, "I want to go home!"

But I'm thirty-five so I had to settle with sulking crankiness and a few tears that welled up but never quite escaped.

In the shower I drew a vertical line in my mind and started a list of Pros and Cons with both words written in thick, black letters.  I tried to keep them even, too.  Under Cons I had, "Can't walk out my front door, get in my car and drive anywhere I want."  Under Pros, though, I had, "Can walk out my front door and walk to a multitude of shops and other things."  Other things like, "Can't have a burger and a fountain diet Coke at Wendy's" were harder to balance and I gave up.  It crossed my mind to actually sit down with a pen and paper and make a list, hoping that the Pros would outweigh the Cons but that really didn't seem like a very good idea.  Instead I continued on with my sulking crankiness.

Matt got the worst of it, I think.  I wrinkled my nose at anything he
suggested that we do with his day off.  I believed myself when I told him to pick something and that I would go along with it happily.  I think I even flashed a smile.  Until he actually suggested something.  More nose wrinkling and finally I just crawled back in bed.  I didn't want to go out and be
reminded that I live in an entirely different continent and yet I
didn't want to stay home.  I wanted to clean and unpack yet those were
also the absolute last things I wanted to do.  

I finally decided that laying in bed was about the worst way to deal with homesickness so I dragged myself out of bed and called up to Matt, "All right, let's go to Stourhead."

Unfortunately, we met a wall of dark clouds about ten minutes into the drive and decided a walk wasn't really such a great idea.  After a look at the map we decided to drive to Marlborough where we wandered around the shops.  I even came close to a fountain soda when I had a bottled diet Coke at Pizza Express where we talked about good things like Christmas and what kinds of traditions we wanted to start as a family.  

I know this isn't the last of my homesick days and the days I wake up feeling fine - when I wake up without thinking about the differences outside our front door - far outnumber the days of sulking crankiness; that's a fact that I need to keep in mind.  And I'm lucky to have an understanding husband.  I know I'm not fun to live with on these bad days.  I know even as I'm wrinkling my nose at suggestions for the day that I'm being difficult and I admit it freely with copious apologies.  He doesn't patronise me with statements like, "It'll get better," he just listens and lets me get through my mood no matter how long it lasts.  This morning he even suggested that I go home for Thanksgiving but that - surprise surprise - only merited more nose wrinkling from me.  Honestly, I have something better than an expensive ticket home for a short visit: I have a husband who is understanding and tolerant and I have him all of the time.  There's no longer a five hour time difference or unbearable 4,000 miles between us and I think that is worth more than a few rough days. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Duck Walk

It rained so hard this morning that my jeans were thoroughly soaked from the knee down by the time I got back from having tea with Sandy (my mother-in-law - it'll just be so much easier to call her by name from now on).  Within ten minutes of shedding my wet clothes and pulling on pajamas, the clouds parted and there was the blue sky I didn't think we'd see at all today. 

So I decided to go for a walk, feed some ducks and take a few pictures.  For this outing I packed the following:

A Bag Packed 

- a shopping bag in case I decided to stop at the Oxam bookshop in my way home.  I did and picked up Vanity Fair and the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I'm already two-thirds through it and am already thinking about hunting down the second. 

- a teeny, tiny, bright green moleskine

- my Filofax wallet

- my everyday camera

- my mouse change purse

- my Canon camera.  When I turned it on I realized I'd left its SD card in my computer - thank goodness I had my little camera with me.

- bright pink Clarins lip gloss tossed in for some unknown reason

- camera lens

- duck food.  Unfortunately, this is really only for feeding ducks whilst they are on dry land (it sinks in water) and most ducks automatically start quacking like crazy and hop in the water when they think you have food.  Needless to say, a couple of pigeons were fed by me today but no ducks.

- my iPod.  Soundtrack to my walk: Strict Joy by The Swell Season.  If I were a little less sane, I might have thought I was really in a movie. 

Of course, by the time I got to the park, it started raining again but it was light enough that I stood under a giant willow and stayed dry.  


I took a lot of photos but only kept a couple.  It's hard to go wrong with the cathedral and blue sky.

Another Cathedral Photo

Or a cookie cutter cathedral...

Cathedral Cookie

I also really like the texture of the wall surrounding the cathedral....

Cathedral Wall

I'm listening to Pillars of the Earth right now and it was really interesting to hear the bits that took place in Salisbury as they were building the "new" cathedral (this one).  Even though a few people have recommended it, I've shied away from that book for a long time thinking it would be too slow and heavy like books about that time period sometimes tend to be.  I bought it for $5 on Audible a few months ago but I only started listening to it last week after I (finally) finished The Road.  I'm only a couple hours in (it's 41 hours long) but it's fantastic and not at all what I expected.  

Okay, some french fries (see?  I'm still an American!), a warm blanket and the rest of Dead Until Dark are waiting for me downstairs....

Monday, November 2, 2009

You'll Have That

It was "you'll have that" afternoon today.  We walked into town to buy National Trust memberships and then drove out to Stourhead for a nice, chilly, autumn walk.  Unfortunately, though, we were about ten miles away when Matt said, "I know this is a silly question but you do have our membership paper, right?" 

Argh.  No.  Instead of sticking it in my purse, I had dropped it in our shopping bag (a cute burlap one we'd actually purchased at the National Trust shop a few weeks ago that says "Truly Madly Greenly") and that shopping bag was sitting on the floor in our sitting room.  A few minutes later we saw a sign for Longleat and decided to salvage our day by taking a drive through the safari park.  Last year it closed the day before I came to visit Matt and we just assumed that it would be closing around the same time this year which would be next weekend. Unfortunately, we were wrong.  It closed this past weekend.  

So, yeah, you'll have that.

But Matt had spent the weekend at work and will be working a lot more this week so it was at least nice to spend the day together.  

And we got back just in time to have a fun little photo shoot by the cathedral.

Mitt on Stone 

Mitts with Tree 

Mitts with Cathedral Close Up

Susie's Reading Mitts

Poems Yarn

US 5 / 3.75 mm dpn needles

Very cosy!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

This Week I....

:: baked flapjacks.  Twice.  I'm tweaking a recipe I found online so both batches were radically different.  They only last about a day around here so I think I might make another attempt tonight.

:: finished my mitts.  I wasn't even going to try to take a photo by myself so I'll have Matt help me out tomorrow.

:: went to knit group - can't wait until next month.

:: finished my FLS at knit group.  It needs a serious blocking and buttons but I'm happy with it.  Now it's back to knitting Buddy's sweater.

:: read Revolutionary Road and loved it. 

:: got a haircut and love it.

:: toyed with the idea of doing NaNoWriMo.  Still haven't decided but if I were going to, this would be the year to do it.  The whole idea thing is a real hang up, though....

:: watched Gladiator for the first time and liked it.  I've wanted to watch it ever since we went to Rome.  It was good - a little gorier than I'd expected - but I wanted to see more of the Coliseum. 

:: had my first pasty - onion and cheese.  It was okay but I'm not in a real hurry to have another one or anything.

Yipes, just enough time to make a cup of tea - it's freezing in here and I turned the heat on at least an hour ago - before I do a Skype chat with Mom and Dad!