Monday, March 30, 2009

We survived

Yes, there were scenes such as this:

But there were also scenes such as this:
...from a car park in Bigbury-on-sea. I thought it looked familiar. Why yes, I'd seen it before, in "Evil Under the Sun" from TV's Agatha Christie's Poirot!

Other scenes:

Grimspound, a Bronze Age settlement in Dartmoor, where we stayed in a camping barn that not only came with its own dog...

...but also its own sheep!

If only it hadn't been so cold! The whole point of a camping barn is that you don't have to put up a tent, but I'm afraid a tent would have been warmer.

We also got to climb around the rocks on Lizard Point and do a bit of tidepooling:

Have any of you read Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series? Most of it is set in Cornwall, and the kids spend a lot of their time in and out of caves. I now know why!

There's lots of caves along the beach, and I knew exactly how they felt, going into little holes on the beach and expecting to discover something exciting just in that bit that I can't quite see...

It was actually a really good weekend. Yes, it rained in bits, particularly when we had to set up or take down the tents, and we did get hailed on at one point, but there were a few spectacular hours when the sun came out and we got to see glorious landscapes. Plus, in Padstow, we ate, like, a whole, sea's worth of seafood.

We never did manage a cream tea, but that just means it's saved for next time!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Who thought this was a good idea?

A few months ago, we planned a long weekend for a friend's 30th birthday. She wanted to go away and do something fun to forget about the big 3-0 instead of sitting around London stewing about it.

We planned a hiking/camping trip to Cornwall and Devon. None of us had ever been, or, if one of us had, like The Limey, it was ages ago when he was a kid. We'd heard great things about the West Country, and, in this day and age, a little road trip close to home sounded so much better than jetting off to a foreign beach somewhere. Who needs the carbon footprint, eh? Spend locally and all that. Also, cream teas!

The weekend has arrived for us, and, as we prepare to load gear into the car in the lashing rain, all I have to say is: Who the hell thought a camping trip in March in Britain would be a good idea?!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I need a kick in the ass

I started knitting a sweater ages ago. Okay, since mid-January. It's taking forever. I'm on the first sleeve. I've been on the first sleeve for, oh, a month.

The lace pattern, though pretty as all get out, is a royal pain in the ass to knit and hard to memorize, so I have to sit there with the chart in front of me. As for decreasing and increasing in pattern? Hahahaha! I have to count stitches, move markers, jiggle a decrease here so I can do a double increase there...ugh.

It's a design I was originally going to write up, before I decided it would be a nightmare to do so. I still wanted the sweater, though, so I started to knit one for me. Also, I want to make sure the whole concept works when I get around to maybe designing an easier version to turn into a pattern.

I really want some mindless knitting for sitting in the car, or waiting rooms, and other stuff (have some yarn for The Limey's next pair of socks) but I'm deathly afraid that if I have something else to work on, I may never get back to this sleeve.

As an aside, I don't suppose anyone knows of a LYS or something around London who needs some help? Or some sort of yarny business or gathering or whatever who may want a hand? I've got the sciencey work experience thingy going three days a week, which is great, but I'm kind of itching to meet more yarny/fibre-y people and get more involved in stuff happening in the area. I'd love to help organize a knittery gathering, for example. I don't even care about getting paid.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back to the drawing board

Whenever I remember to buy the Sunday papers, I look through the colour supplements and if stuff catches my eye, I'll put it up on my knitting design board, as inspiration. Last week, I took a look and obviously, I had ruffles on my mind:

I was all ready to scope out ways to design a cardi or pullover with a deep front slit and ruffles. Then I thought to myself, hang on...does that sound familiar? Of course it does! Kim Hargreaves has already done it! I loved Rosa when I saw it ages ago. Apparently it stuck. May have to knit it. So awesome.

Anyway, this brings me to something that's been on my mind lots. It's come to the forefront because the new Knitty came out today. Throughout my designing stint, I've submitted patterns to places (though not to Knitty for more than a year now), and been accepted as well as rejected. This is fine. Except every once in a while, I'll look at publications and think: What?! They publish that, but not my genius design?! What are they smoking?! And then, of course, I look at blogs and Ravelry, and people rave about the stuff I'm least excited about, proving that the editors know what they're doing.

And then I think, Holy crap, do I just have really bad taste?

So then I think, Aha! I've got it, I shall design stuff other people seem to like! That's it! Genius.

But, in sane moments, I know that's madness. It would be the easiest way to turn something I like doing into a chore. Plus, playing the game of trying to predict what other people like would be crazy-making. I knit for me.

I definitely don't envy the people who have to pick patterns and put together a magazine that makes sense.

Having said that, I'm off to give them more work.

Friday, March 06, 2009

O. M. G. W. T. F.?

Absolute true transcript of what The Limey is saying to some survey taker on the phone:

" the Republic of Ireland...yeah, southern Ireland...yes, south of Northern Ireland..."

I'd like to be an adult now, please

Near the end of last year, after much discussion and soul-searching, The Limey and I put in an offer for a garden flat in south London.

Two hours later, my work announced lay-offs.

Luckily, The Limey had been cheeky and put in an offer lower than what we'd agreed on, and the seller rejected it.

Here's the thing, though, all our thinking about buying a place centred around where we'd like to live vs. where we have to live to get to work. And all of a sudden, one big problem was eliminated (albeit along with the income needed to afford a mortgage).

I was relieved, but now I'm nervous. We'd still like to get out of Woking, but it seems silly to move without knowing where I'll be working next. The real problem is: what if it happens again? What if we buy a place within the holy triange of mywork-hiswork-livelyplacetolive, and then one of us, for any reason, changed jobs? Say The Limey gets offered something better elsewhere? Or I get laid off again, or one of us decides on a change in career? I mean, no one stays at their job forever anymore, right? And I only know a few people who have been at their jobs for more than a handful of years. And even if we managed to get new jobs "in London," commuting from the outskirts of SW London to north London, for example, would take forever.

I've been good, and played by the rules. I got myself an education, like you're supposed to; I've "paid my dues" by moving cities, states, countries, continents for different jobs and lived with the attendant social wreckage; I've started a pension; I've reigned in my spending; I've saved up money; I've been responsible. It seems only fair that Life should meet me half-way. Where's my guarantee, dammit?