Sunday, May 31, 2009

That's deviously convenient timing, that is...

We've been here for a week, surrounded by boxes, and The Limey has just left for a three-week training stint in the US. So who gets the pleasure of unpacking and moving shit around? That's right: me. The cat is useless- won't even move from her spot in the sun to make it easier for me to get at the boxes.

And I have no idea where my phone charger is. Oh, it's in one of these boxes, for sure, but which one?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

*contented sigh*

We've managed to move ourselves, the cat, and our stuff to Oxford, and have been here for almost a week. Other than the fact that we've been unpacking, yet still find ourselves surrounded by boxes (kinda like at the other end, where we kept packing and packing, yet the flat still looked the same), I'm pretty much loving it so far.

I'm sure I'll be sharing with you all the stuff I like about living here, in due course. But, for now, one pleasant bonus to having even a bit of outdoor space:

Stuff dries so much faster!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Even more progress?

Three guys.
One truck.
Two empty rooms.
One very suspicious cat.

Friday, May 22, 2009

More progress?

Another small detail sorted.

I bought my train tickets to go to UK Ravelry Day. The boxes and dust must be getting to me, because it didn't occur to me that I would - duh - need a return ticket. So I bought the Oxford-Coventry ticket, congratulating myself on catching the advance fare of only 12 quid. As soon as I hit 'enter' after all my credit card details, I thought, hang on... something's missing...

Luckily, for some strange reason, two separate singles are slightly cheaper than a return, so it all worked out.

I hope this spaciness goes away soon- I don't want to forget to bring my Fyberspates design sample with me!

I will buy the actual ticket for the festival itself in a bit. I'm trying to figure out if I want to take the 'Design your own lace project' workshop. £25 is not too dear, but I wonder if it's going to be more about how to put together different lace motifs, or how to invent your own?

Are you guys going to Rav day? Please say hi!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Three things


1. Pattern for sample to be knit: Done and sent to Jen. Can't wait to see it!

2. Scrumptious sample knitting: Going well. Hope I have enough yarn. I've already asked for more. If I've underestimated again, it'll be embarrassing. Scrumptious pattern: most of maths done.

3. Moving: why is it that I've packed boxes and boxes, and we've moved three carloads up to Oxford, and yet the flat still looks exactly the same? In fact, if possible, it looks like there's more stuff than before!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Knit knit knit

A while ago, I wrote to Jen at Fyberspates and sent her a few design ideas for her yarns, 'cause I love them. She was totally on board with the ideas, and sent me yarn to swatch. Everything went well, and I was sent yarn to start on the first project. Whee! So exciting. I got even more excited when I got back from Scotland to an e-mail saying she wanted at least one of the designs to go on the catwalk show at UK Ravelry Day.

This is great (you'll have to imagine to yourselves the little dance I did), but that means I must get them done before the 6th of June! I knit as much as I could while I had my houseguests, but now they're gone, so I can really focus.

This is the first project. I just can't get the colour right on camera. It's Scrumptious Chunky in "Biscuit", which actally is a dark-toned mossy grey-green. Never has a yarn been so aptly named- it really is scrumptious to work with. And with a name like "biscuit"! Mmmm... I think I need some tea...

I swatched and swatched to get a stitch pattern that matched what I had in my head (my problem is scale- I feel like I never know exactly what will happen once a pattern goes from a six inch swatch to a whole garment; however, this one translated perfectly). It's going quickly, and it will definitely be done in time for UK Ravelry Day, but I'd also like enough time to write the pattern and get it tech-edited. That last bit may be asking a bit much?

As well, there is a second project which I'd love to be able to put on the catwalk show. There is almost no way I'd get it knitted up in time, in addition to the Scrumptious one. Jen has suggested sending it out to get a sample knitted, but that means I have to write up the pattern. I've got most of the maths and charting done, actually, so this is a possibility. However, if I get the pattern out today, the knitter would only have three weeks to knit up a sample. Do-able, as it's not a big project, especially if done in one of the smaller sizes.

Okay, this is all possible, but it means I have to FOCUS. No procrastination on Ravelry and other random internet shite. If you guys see me on Ravelry, send me a strongly-worded note!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another solution to the two-body problem?

Today we sent over the deposit for the little house in Oxford. Saturday, we will go up to hand over the rental agreement and get the keys.

It's a great teeny Victorian terrace, built for workers on the railroad and their families, and is right next to a river. Actually, it's on an island, so is surrounded by rivers. The estate agent assured us it *didn't* flood a few years ago; we'll see. It's probably smaller than our current flat, but there are two big plusses: 1. It's got a gas cooker!!!1!!1!! and 2. It has a small garden with the teensiest plot of plantable soil. Oh, and obviously, it's not Woking!

Actually, I kinda wish maybe it had flooded, because then they'd have had to replace the gross, totally hideous, decades-old carpet they have in there. I shudder at even the thought of walking over it barefoot, let alone sitting on it or laying on it. The floor under it is wooden- I'm really hoping the landlord will let us tear out the carpets; I'm going to ask on Saturday.

As I think about all this re-locating business and after a conversation with one of The Limey's co-workers tonight, I'm reminded of something I keep hearing about over here. I've met and heard of upteen people who solve the two-body problem by keeping two residences. One half of a couple would live in a bedsit or small flat at his/her place of work, and the other partner would live in their "real" home, with the kids/pets. At the weekends, the partner living "away" would come "home".

For The Limey's colleague, the commute between homes is a 2-3 hour affair, and she works four-day weeks, going home on Thursday night and coming back to work on Monday morning. When I first started working in Southampton, I chatted to a university worker at a bus stop who kept a flat in Southampton, but went home to London, to his wife and daughter, every Friday. They had decided not to move the family to Southampton because his daughter was enrolled in a very good school in London. It took him 3 hours, a train, tube and bus to get "home".

These arrangements are apparently not out of the ordinary. City workers do this a lot, supposedly: going "home" to the leafy suburbs or countryside only at the weekends. This seems very strange to me. One of the biggest stresses when I commuted was that I felt that I just was never home, that I had to cram all my actual living into the weekends: it was work work work cram cram cram. If I didn't even have the few hours in the evening with The Limey and the cat, I don't know how much *more* stressed I may have been. Without your pets and family, what is the point, then? Plus, you know I'd try to knit at one place or another, and wouldn't have the correct needles size or whatever. I would just never feel like I was at home, then.

Also, having to catch a train was one of best ways to keep myself from just spending all my time at work. Coming from academia, it was easy for me to stay in lab far into the evening and think nothing of it. But because I, and everyone else, knew that I had that train ride home, it was easier for me to justify leaving at 6 sharp.

A while back, The Limey and I had discussed such an arrangement, but we pretty quickly decided it wouldn't work for us. Just as well, the Home Office take a dim view of such unconventional arrangements, I think. As I'm here as a spouse, it's just as well to prevent any uncertainty on their part.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

::catches breath::

Whew! The last couple of weeks have been crazy, and it looks set to continue. Two Saturdays ago, The Limey and I took a lightening quick trip up to Oxford to look at potential places to live. Using the method of driving around looking for "To let" signs, we found a lovely teeny terraced house, with a teeny yard, in an awesome neighbourhood. We're sending in the application paperwork today.

Then the day after that, two college friends of mine flew in. We hung around London for a couple of days, then I trained it up to Edinburgh with them (Why, yes, I did stop into k1 yarns!). Rented a car, drove around Glen Coe and the Trossachs, drank a few foofy cocktails, had a great time. I took the train back down to London on Sunday, while they went on to Wales. They day after that (yesterday!), my sister and her friends arrived for a visit. They will be here for a few days, and the day they leave, my friends get back from Wales. We'll hang around London, with maybe a day trip to Brighton, and as soon as they leave, it's time to pack up and move.

Somewhere in there, I have to fit in the knitting of a couple of adult-sized garments and, oh, yeah, writing a couple of patterns as well.