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Thursday, 29 December 2011

holiday snapshot







Saturday, 24 December 2011

happy christmas eve

it's christmas eve morning. i woke up early, listening to the birds (robins, blackbirds, a song thrush, and the odd gull). lying snugly in bed, i thought i might get up and go for a walk in the dark morning out in the fields, but when i got out of bed - into a cold room and even colder jeans, the desire began to dissipate. and when i remembered that it had rained - poured - all day and most of the night last night - well, a slide through the mud is not quite so invigorating. coffee and snuggles with the hound won out.

later this morning we will go to the big farm shop and pick up our christmas turkey. these farmers only raise 100 birds, and the birds are out in the open all day and only brought in at night (foxes and turkeys do not mix). they hand pluck them and the turkeys are the most delicious i have ever had. we look forward to this bird all year long. all of our shopping is done now so we don't have to face the madness of any shops today, thank goodness. we'll probably have a pint in one of our locals later on though.

i'm thinking of my dad lots today. when i was young, christmas eve had specific and clearly defined rituals. first chores - the house had to be clean and ready for christmas. then lunch (in those days, something to be got through as quickly as possible in order to get to the good stuff). in the afternoon, dad and i would go out together and leave mom alone (at this point, something she was probably counting down to herself). often we'd go to movies, once, i remember, to a science museum. i remember illicit marshmallows, or baguettes and pepperoni sticks from granville island.

those afternoons were the start of christmas for me. when we got home, it was baths and getting dressed up, then a special supper and off to church. when we got home, we opened all of our presents, and for one night, i was allowed to stay up as long as i wanted, and (more importantly) eat as many chocolates, sweets and cookies as i wanted. how i didn't land up being sick late every christmas eve is a mystery, although i suppose there was wisdom in making sure i'd eaten three good meals before the sugar rush.

these days now have traditions of their own, but it's a time of year when yesterday seems closer than usual. part of me will always be hanging out with my dad on christmas eve, no matter how far apart we may be.

happy christmas eve everybody!

Monday, 19 December 2011

how very very british

from the southeastern website:

Christmas and New Year timetable arrangements -

Saturday 24 December – Normal timetable service with early finish
Sunday 25 December – No service
Monday 26 December – No service
Tuesday 27 December – Sunday timetable service
Wednesday 28 December – Sunday timetable service
Thursday 29 December – Saturday timetable service
Friday 30 December – Saturday timetable service
Saturday 31 December – Saturday timetable service
Sunday 1 January – Normal Saturday timetable service
Monday 2 January – Normal Sunday timetable service
Tuesday 3 January – Sunday timetable service


Please note, the days between Christmas and New Year are classed as normal working days, therefore normal peak and off-peak restrictions will apply between Monday 27 and Friday 31 December.


so - normal working days, with abnormal weekend service, at full rush hour prices. classic.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

deadlines

xmas comes early when you have overseas packages to post. last shipping day to canada from the uk is friday (and even that is optimistic - last year's parcels arrived sometime in the new year despite religious observance of the post office decree).

i'm nearly there - as always i wish i had (a lot) more money and more time, but that is in itself probably the essence of life, so who am i to argue?

the lovely bit comes after the parcels are posted, and it is just us and the turkey. (and the wine and the whiskey and the cheese and the olives and the special cake-slices of nougat from italy and the cheesy xmas films and the new murakami novel ....)

i love christmas

Thursday, 1 December 2011

my journey home

lazy knitting haiku from the fantastic panopticon:


"Sudden Awareness."

Knit knit knit knit wait
What? Damn! Rip rip rip rip rip
Rip rip rip rip rip


mine was more prose-y and not a haiku - it went- gosh, that thumb looks a little skinny knit knit purl knit knit purl etc etc holds up nearly finished thumb against first mitten to check length - that's funny - it really is a lot skinnier - sudden flashback of picking up thumb stitches and the full unbending knowledge that i was supposed to have my 18 original PLUS the 3 picked up, and was only to reduce the EXTRA picked up stitches. which i knew, of course. i sighed, put it away, and left the frogging for another day.

i now have a small pile of stuff i have to fix that i've knit for xmas. it's now bigger than the stuff i have to knit before xmas.

i suppose that's progress...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

a walk in the sun and other good things

i've been thinking of favourite smells this afternoon, mostly brought on by the crackling smell of potatoes hitting hot duck fat as we prepared our supper this evening. onions browning in butter has got to be right up there - always makes me happy. chicken stock simmering. cedar trees. the winter smell of faversham, which is a combination of chimney smoke, the sea and the brewery. brushing up against lavender bushes.

we went for a long walk along the marshes this afternoon. it was sunny, but windy. i had to be brave:

that, my friends, is almost certainly a killer cow ready to charge at the slightest smell of fear. n stopped to take closeups, but i was already halfway to the next gate shouting in that trying-not-to-arouse-the-cattle sotto-voice "for gods sake, don't hang about - go - go!"

work is too dull to even mention, and dad is not as well as we would like, but life goes on, and i have a lot to be grateful for. for one thing, the killer cow resisted attack and i am still here, in one piece, against obviously frightening odds!

oh yeah, and in other news, n and i are going to get married in may. we are both somewhat ambivalent, the patriarchal traditional aspects of marriage not really part of our world view, but it turns out that this is by far the cheapest and most effective way of making sure we are taking care of each other, come what may. and you get a good party to boot. we are nothing if not romantic.

Friday, 4 November 2011

whimpering and rallying

well.

well well well.

i mean, if you were to ask me this week how i liked my new job i would probably reply (in my head) 'i hate it'. which is true. but it is also true that i still think the move has a lot of merit and it has certainly been successful in some measures. it will make me a better project manager. it has brought a degree of security that we didn't have before. it has paid (PAID) holiday - uk holiday - proper holiday.

but dear god above - i am working for a bank! how did this happen? how could i be so - so - corrupted?!

(technically i am not working for a bank - i am working for a consultancy firm that works for the bank. i am pretty sure this distinction will be immaterial come the revolution but it goes some way to salving my injured conscience).

it's been a trying few weeks. the culture shock of going back to the city, although anticipated, has quite taken my breath away.

btw, i should perhaps at this juncture point out that when londoners refer to 'the city', they are not referring to london. they are referring to a district of london, also known as 'the square mile'. the city is one of the primary financial zones (canary wharf being the bratty younger brother), as well as being the oldest part of london. this makes for some fabulous architecture - you will find remnants of the old roman walls, the tower of london, the monument, and something like 10 churches designed by sir christopher wren including st pauls. there are up sides to working here. on the next sunny day i will endeavor to take pictures to share with you. unfortunately, this wonderful built environment is rather distempered by the hordes of suited-and-booted minions of the devil who have made this their spiritual home.

i've worked here before, which adds shades of nostalgia to the unique city mix of wonder at the history and architecture and nausea at many of the inhabitants. but it's been a long time, over 10 years, and i have changed considerably. i'm happy, for a start. that alone will surely set me apart from the hordes.

it is getting better. i am no longer consumed with depression when faced with my new environment. i will eventually get used to working long hours again, and probably even enjoy that to some degree. once i get 'properly trained' (is it just me who pictures rolled-up newspaper here?) i will be busy and i am happy when i'm busy.

but - but -

- being a responsible grownup really bites arse sometimes.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

new things

well i start my new job tomorrow. i wish now that i had taken a week off between jobs - liminal space and all that. my head is still at my old job to some extent and i keep remembering things and sending emails to my former colleagues that will confirm any lingering doubts they may have had about my sanity. this morning i woke up in a rush after dreaming that i'd gone to my old office and forgotten to go to my new office - only remembering when they rang to find out where i was.

i feel a bit anxious too, but i'm sure that will go fast enough. i also feel like i'm coming down with a cold which is seriously bad timing. hopefully the industrial levels of vitamin c, zinc and echinacea i'm necking will hold it at bay.

so - tally ho and what not (ahem) - wish me luck!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

in which things get a little crazy and emotional but all work out in the end (i hope)

actually, that about sums it up.

so, i have a new job, i start on monday, it's with a consultancy group in the city, and corporate corporate corporate. right now, today, this seems like a ludicrous move, but i did have a pro/con list and everything, and BOTH my mom and n agreed that it was a good idea. i can only trust that my decision-making process was sound and hope to god my new boss isn't a psychopath. if anyone knows how to squeeze a size 14 body into a size 10 suit please email me immediately. solutions must not exclude eating or (especially) drinking.

the imminent beginning of the new job necessarily involves extraction from the old job, and this is sad. i am sad to leave. i will miss my friends, and all of the lovely people (they're all lovely when you are about to leave). i keep getting emails saying how much i'll be missed, which is sweet, and appreciated, but does nothing for my willpower. i will have a good send off on thursday, and i will try not to cry.

i will try not to cry as i look ahead to actually working, hard again.

i will try not to cry as we go from being paid weekly to NOT BEING PAID AT ALL FOR 5 WEEKS. that's going to be fun and educational, if you think that getting creative with dried beans is educational. maybe those old size 10 suits in my closet aren't out of the question after all.

and i will try not to cry as during all of this, which is nothing, really, my dad in canada is not well. he's going to be ok, i think, but it's a tough time right now. i feel selfish, obsessing about work when there are so many bigger more important things, but then on the other hand, if i obsessed about the big stuff, i'd probably never get out of bed again.

this is yet another reason why knitting is so great. you can obsess and worry all you like about how your socks are turning out, but at the end of the day, they're just socks.

there's probably a moral in there somewhere.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

*sniff* i'm going to miss this job

going through old emails in preparation for leaving camden next week (i have a new shiny job - it's all good), i found this. it was in response to our manager asking us what we were working on so he knew what to write on our contract extension forms.

From: grapecat
Sent: 10 September 2010 15:58
To: manager
Subject: What I do

This is an interesting and multi-layered question. However, I assume that you are referring specifically to what I do at Camden and not, for instance, general physical manifestations such as the continual processing of oxygen into carbon dioxide or the existential angst that unfortunately stalks all sentient beings.

At Camden, I am one of four project managers who are tasked with delivering moves, office refurbishments, and the introduction of flexible working to a council that is – how do we say this politely - somewhat resistant to change. I am currently working with the xxxxx Directorate, where I am nearing the end of the planning stage and the beginning of the implementation stage of a large project. This project is designed to introduce hotdesking, modern records management, and a new and improved desking layout to the 6th floor of the Town Hall Extension, as well as balancing out desking, filing, and staff numbers throughout the floors occupied by the xxxxx directorate. I do this through a series of team meetings, staff consultations, coordination, planning, and, frankly, sheer blind optimism.

The implantation stage of this project begins on the weekend of 2-3 October, and will continue throughout the month. It is likely that there will be further work to complete throughout November as staff settle into their new environment and embrace (cough) new ways of working.

In addition to this, I have also been unofficially seconded to the xxxx team working with Procurement, although this may have unofficially drawn to a close.

I am also assisting in working with the new Removal contractor to establish ways of working and associated documentation that will carry us through the 4-year contract period.

On a personal note, I love to read, knit, prepare and eat good meals with great friends, and I am inordinately fond of puppies.

Yours most sincerely,

grapecat
Project Manager
Property Services

*****

From: manager
Sent: 10 September 2010 16:18
To: grapecat
Subject: RE: What I do

Thanks for this, however could you please expand on your general physical manifestations such as the continual processing of oxygen into carbon dioxide or the existential angst that is unfortunately stalking you?

Many thanks,

manager
Project Manager

Sunday, 2 October 2011

ps

so far no itching.

sailing day 3



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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

this woman is amazing


Miina Äkkijyrkkä


sculptures of cows made of old cars - beautiful, magical.

love the paintings as well. make sure you check out the models page.

wow. just wow.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

still crazy after all these...

pints? moves? hare-brained schemes? jobs?

jobs. oh yes. jobs.

i may have made a mistake today. ok let me re-phrase that. i undoubtedly made about a million mistakes today because i am so busy and so behind at work frankly it's amazing anyone gets moved at all but there you go. somehow it all gets done and we move on.

i have always been surfing for other jobs in a sort of well-you-never-know sort of vein - i love where i work but the job security is dicey and there is no holiday/sick pay so it leaves us a bit open should something nasty happen. it has been very quiet on the job front (ha ha - that must be one of the understatements of the year!), but, like buses, three showed up all at once. once was easily discounted, one has progressed to talking offers (no actual offer yet), and one was waiting for me to write a covering statement about why i was so fab for the role yada yada yada.

you know - i am actually so bored by this i can't even write about it. i can't imagine how bored you must be. suffice to say, i trashed one of them in before receiving a firm offer from another. perhaps this will come back to bite me, perhaps not. this afternoon, it was just a way of getting it off my to-do list. this evening, i am full of self doubt. how dull.

here's something that's not dull - ever since we went sailing last Sunday, my legs have been itchy, and they are coming up in weird hard lumps and welts that look just like some tiny sea parasite has laid dime-sized eggs under my skin and they are just waiting to hatch. i looked it up - there is a parasite like that, but it leaves wavy lines, and it's not in the sea. yet. what could it be? sand flies? wet-suit allergy? parasite in wetsuit? it's odd. and uncomfortable. and it's not getting any better.

by the way you wouldn't believe the google results you get from the search terms in the above paragraph. wow.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

sailing pics

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sailing day 2

wet suits - not so flattering actually...

we had our second day of sailing lessons today - and what a day for it! beautiful, crisp, sunny, and, in the morning at least, perfect wind. not too windy, not too calm. we headed out in the morning to practice tacking - turning the boat through the wind. the morning flew by - it was so beautiful out there - you could see the wind farm windmills turning lazily, and the old ww2 forts off in the distance.

in the afternoon, it was a different story all together - no wind! our instructor had to tow us out - "wait here" he commanded, to much laughter as there was no chance we were going anywhere! we learned how to gybe, and how to heel inside the boat, to the front, and make slight rudder adjustments to get movement - any movement. the wind did pick up, changed direction completely, and we got to sail into the wind to get back to shore.

i was nervous (ha ha - petrified!!) in the morning, but i did relax and i really enjoyed the day. you'd never guess it was the same thing - the morning we had a few weeks back in a high wind, and the lazy floating around buoys we did today. so many different faces to sailing. it's exhilarating being on the water, and this time, when the wind (finally) picked up, it was fun (mostly). and this time, i managed not to fall in.

we have another half day to complete for our level 1 certification, then we will want to complete our level two (another two days and more money than we have - but we will find it!). if we do that next spring, we can rent dinghies in the summer to practice.

when we got home i had what was probably the best, hottest bath ever, and now n is frying porkchops for our dinner. we are operating at about quarter speed - completely knackered, but happy.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

drunk on trains

leaving do in london this evening - stayed longer than i ought - on the way home - fun with dark train windows and flash...





and horror of horrors - caught at the end by someone walking through the train - and the look if - what the hell are you doing? ummmm - taking pictures of myself in the dark window? erm.....

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

faversham hop festival

phew! what a weekend! here's a few pics from the hop festival to give you a flavour...

i love the hats of the morris dancers - such amazing feathers and costumes.


here's a traditional group dancing in front of the phoenix.


there are also not-so traditional groups - even biker and goth morris dancers! these guys have their faces in black to represent the coal mines (and probably for scary effect as well!)


the hop truck


the garden of the anchor. to the left is a large stage where great bands played. we were dancing here friday night and most of saturday afternoon.


yummy. hog roast at the railway.


this is the brewery stage, the band on the stage is sur les docks, an energetic french punk/folk band. the weather was beautiful all day saturday and the crowds were huge.


new year, new hops. we live in an oast house - hops are a requirement! this is our kitchen window. the old hops will be burned on the next fire. the smell of the new hops wafts through the whole house.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

still summer

sitting outside in shorts and a tshirt - lanterns lit, bbq alight and salmon on the grill. feet dirty (filthy!) from dancing barefoot in the pub garden. you know it's september only because it's dark (that, and the underlying smell of fungi and the slight rotting of autumn). if it were july it would still be light.

but there's something about the lanterns and torches flickering in the warm night - the smell of good food in the dark.

we've spent a decadent, delicious day at the hop festival today. this is the icing on the cake.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

sailing day 1





wow - sailing in a dinghy is a lot faster than i thought it would be! and exhausting - we are knackered. but fun. very very fun. the wind picked up while we were out and it got a little dicey - so much so they canceled this afternoon (we'll get a half day sailing later). tomorrow looks calmer so we should be good all day. we're not sorry - we need a rest after that!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

if this is sanity...

...we may be in trouble.

never mind that i've been working for the last 6 weeks straight. ok, there was that one weekend and the odd day, but still.

and not easy working, if there is such a thing. no - this is working-when-you-know-you're-bloody-working, with people who i would probably get fired for decking if i wasn't mainlining rioja every evening. no, it helps, really. i haven't been swimming, but i have lost 3 kilos just in headless-chicken running round. btw, i am not the headless chicken in this scenario, mostly i am just trying to run them down to try to convince them that it is all going to be all right even though i just want to scream FOR GODS SAKE IT'S ONLY HOTDESKING!!!!!!!!! it's FILING - not your CHILDREN - can you please just RELAX??????

i obviously need a vacation.

so i am about to stuff an entire (in my life anyways) summer's worth of vacation activity into one week, which sounded fun when i hatched this plan in july, and now sounds, well, exhausting.

the highlight of all this is that n and i are finally doing our level 1 sailing certification course in whitstable on thursday and friday - and actually, i am enormously excited about this.there's also dinner in london with friends, the hop festival (where we are both volunteering) and various other goodies.

i think i need a lie down just thinking about it.


Thursday, 25 August 2011

can anyone explain to me...

why this is so damn cute?!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

my yarn hates me

noro stripy socks are much harder to knit than they would appear. correction. nice-looking noro stripy socks are much harder. dog vomit stripes are remarkably easy, as it turns out. the idea is that you take this fabulous yarn that changes colour (dramatically but slowly) and you split the skein, then knit socks in 4-row stripes and the colours will magically stripe into stripy brilliance. there were no dog vomit stripes on the ravelry project pages, but dog vomit stripes were indeed what i achieved. so i frogged them. i don't think you could make socks that ugly if you tried.

which pretty much sums up my day.

it poured. my shoes leak. i have been looking at new shoes for (EVER) a few weeks but due to indecision and a pathological urge that only allows me to justify spending money on wine and yarn i did not buy any and now, in my hour of need, i am of wet and soggy feet. work is incredibly work-ish at the moment, and we are out of homemade wine. i read today that this is the 5th consecutive wet summer in the uk. london, london - why do you make it so hard to love you sometimes?

on the upside, it's thursday. and we still have port (*grin*)

Monday, 15 August 2011

plausability

i was walking home from the pool tonight, passing a house on the corner that i always notice for two reasons: one is it's strange mitred facade which is odd in a victorian terrace row. the other reason is that i have never seen the curtains opened. not once. not in years. sure enough, tonight was no exception, all curtains firmly shut. obviously vampires, right? i then half remembered a conversation with n about the same house, where n gave a plausible alternative motive. i couldn't remember what it was, and, trying to remember, thought, "harumph. what could possibly be more plausible than vampires?" i then remembered n's theory that the house was probably vacant. i guess he's probably right. that is more plausible than vampires.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

peoples, i have accomplished much on this glorious (unexpected) free weekend. the merit of said accomplishments will be left to the reader, of course, but i am content.

so, in no particular order:

- i finished n's socks which have been languishing, all for want of a kitchener stitch graft to the toe and heel. kitchener grafting, for me, takes fortitude and concentration, two things not forthcoming over the past two weeks (can something be forthcoming in the past?)

- i have started a cowl for myself which will require a full 58 stitch kitchener graft to finish. i am either hopelessly optimistic about my ability to pick up knitting skills or a complete idiot who doesn't mind wearing wonky cowls.

- we went to a play. and i remembered, yet again, that i far prefer reading or listening rather than watching. but still, am OBVIOUSLY more cultured now.

- i slept in till 8 o'clock yesterday morning and then had coffee in bed with a good book (bliss).

- i finished and blocked baby hat and blanket for a friend - and it looks lovely. (no kitchener stitch)

- we biked up to the shipwright and sat on the sea bank with our pints watching boats - and we saw a seal! first time :)

- this morning, i made two great omelets - gruyère and ham - usually i mess up the first one, but this morning - omelet utopia.

- i didn't get into a fight with anyone about the riots (considerably more difficult than it sounds).

- i sat outside in the garden, in the sunshine, feet up, glass of white port to hand, and read the papers (more bliss).

now, after a quick bath, we will wander down to the anchor to check out green diesel, the band of a friend of a friend's.

all hail the unexpected weekend!

Friday, 12 August 2011

awol

i know - busy and all that. but this weekend, i will make up for it.

at least that is my plan. it's a fluid plan though - i'll warn you now. it could very possibly get filled up with red wine and dancing. these things happen.

i was supposed to be working tomorrow, but we got so much done during the week it is no longer necessary. the number of times this has happened is probably comparable to - i don't know - catching a bus right away without three going by in the opposite direction every day for a month. or when you have exactly the amount of yarn in a skein for the hat you meant to make, every time. or the number of times humph does NOT bark when the people who walk their spaniels at 6 am in the park next to our house blow their dog whistles. (for reference, sleepiness descends and wakefulness ascends like dripping water torture with each bark, and screaming into a pillow, 'oh for gods sake humph put a sock in it' is futile. on the plus side, i've been at work at 8am every day for weeks).

or when you decide to have a thanksgiving dinner in england and you and your partner both invite loads of people, confident in the knowledge that at least a third of them will be busy and can't make it, and it's not until the night before that you are tallying up your guest list and you realise that suddenly you are cooking for 20 and you only have 6 plates. (this was years and years ago and it all worked out perfectly but the moment of heart-dropping realisation will stay with me for a lifetime).

unusual times.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

the quiet before...

it's sunday morning, 730 am. humph is snoozing on the sofa - he will begin his "time for my 8 oclock walk" routine in about 20 minutes. this involves oversized stretches, dramatic yawns, meaningful stares in the direction of the door, and eventually a full on choral accompaniment of whining. this all turns into miraculous, scampering, whimpering joy when we put our shoes on. if i am not putting on my shoes, and look like i will stay at the table drinking coffee, humph will come and stare at me from about 6 inches away, and if that fails, will actually prod me with his (cold, wet) nose. he has an unerring knack of finding that strip of skin between the waistband of my jeans and my t-shirt. it certainly gets your attention. he's right of course, the walks are lovely and the perfect way to start a day.

but this is all ahead. right now, we relax in a sunday morning ocean of calm (and coffee).

Sunday, 24 July 2011

cognitive thinking - not so good

poor humph. n has taken out the rubbish, putting up the gate to keep humph from accompanying.

barred and trapped. oh the pathos, the cruelty, the whining.


but say humph, what's that to your right?

could that be a gap, do you suppose? could you be released from your unholy prison to take your right and proper place at your master's side?

perhaps it is too narrow?



no, not too narrow, but it IS on the scary scary floor - the bit with no life-saving, floor mat lily pads. and there, humph will not go. unless he forgets, which he does often, happily prancing back and forth, all four paws on the dreaded lino, until - something twigs deep in the recesses of his doggy brain, he looks down, and *whoosh*, scampers for safety.

one of these days he will figure it out and we will have to become considerably more conscientious with our behavioral controls.

until then, we do have a laugh, i'm afraid. poor old humph.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

bed transcendence

i will not be held back by your arbitrary definitions of bed...

Saturday, 16 July 2011

home alone*

*does the dog count?

i have a very unusual, luscious evening all to myself tonight. it's not often i get time here alone anymore, so when i do it's a bit of a treat. i am guessing that this is a treat that would wear off quickly and this post should in no way be read as tempting fate, but - you know - once in a while - it is nice.

i am listening to the tUnE-yArDs album, WHOKILL, and i'm enjoying it immensely. i read a review of it on a blog this morning, went onto spotify, and am now listening to the album. just like that. amazing.

n is playing a wedding this evening - a country-western themed lesbian wedding. they have a bull ride, a hog roast, and, apparently, more stetsons than you could shake a stick at. he was really looking forward to it -and you have to admit, it sounds like fun. were i the marrying type, that's the sort of thing i would go for. fingers crossed that it's all going well.

(if i were the marrying type, i'd skip everything but the entertainment and hire richard cheese and a great well stocked bar with bartender and we would all dance into oblivion to cheesy versions of so-called pop culture and even though i would still spend the same as those "this is the most wonderful day of my life" freaks we would have way. more. fun.)

when i told my mom about my evening of solitude (*) on our weekly phone call (we live far away but keep up remarkably - were we to live in the same country we would not converse with anything like this frequency. odd, no?), she laughed and said i'd probably be asleep in half an hour.

she's so misguided. it'll be at least 45 minutes.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

even the cat knows

too right.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

(not so) tidy

grapecat: hey - did you put the tool box away?
n: yeah - i thought you were done with it
grapecat (archly): no - of course not - if i were finished with it, i would have put it away!
n: (slight pause followed by hysterical laughter)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

random humph pic

another blissed-out doggy pic:



and in other news - happy birthday to n! who hates this sort of thing but was still able to be convinced to have a lovely bbq supper of t-bone steak, asparagus, grilled tomatoes, and a very good bottle of wine, followed by vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate salty cookies. i have also started socks for him, despite my protestations about foot size. i am a sucker for the puppy dog eyes, both canine and male, although we have compromised and they are aran weight yarn. the socks. the eyes are pure cashmere lace-weight - irresistible.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

potential



i received some unexpected money last week and promptly blew the lot on wool - so, so much more fun than work shirts which is what i meant to spend it on. who could resist? n is on skein-winding stand-by, poor sod.

there is so much delicious potential in that little pile - humph agrees, though his designs are nefarious and he must be carefully watched. needless to say, neither of our wool fetishes have diminished with time.

and happy summer solstice! hopefully yours has an accompanying summer. it is still cool and damp in the uk. but still - the light is beautiful and we biked up to the shipwright for a solstice pint, and mighty good it was too.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

smells like...

right now, our house is being devoured by amazing smells. there are three types of bacon smoking outside in the smoker - the door is open and a porky-smoky tang is filtering through, mixing with the smell of taragon and lemon roast chicken and the goose-fat silkiness of roast potatoes in the oven. it's times like this i really feel quite sorry for sir humph - who, with a sense of smell 600x ours, must really be suffering. sometimes, it is really really great to be human.

it's a lazy sunday here at the oast - n had a gig at the elephant last night after that amazing lunch, and today we are somewhat subdued. hangover eating - the best kind. especially with bacon. and chicken. and cheese. and olives. and wine. and roast potatoes.

yup, it really is good to be human sometimes.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

ahh pleasure piggy

this afternoon we had a fabulous, looked-forward-to birthday lunch at the sportsman. we first found the sportsman on our bicycle explorations when we moved to kent in 2003. a weather-beaten, veranda'd pub in the middle of nowhere? must go in and explore further. then we saw the menu and fell head over heels in love. since then, they've won michelin stars, but it is still the pub/restaurant we fell in love with. i studied for many of my exams in their sunny veranda, and many times we've popped in for a drink when we couldn't afford lunch.

lunch, however, has always been special, and today was no exception. we took a taxi there, rather than biking, because "the weather outside is frightful" even though it's june. we were slightly early, and settled in at the bar, where we caught up with one of the owners over the merits and intricacies of home smoked bacon and the menu on offer today, written in chalk near the bar. n had slip sole in seaweed butter to start, folowed by aylesbury duck (breast roasted pink, leg confit). i had the pork terrine to start, and the turbot with smoked pork belly.
pudding was a chocolate mouse with milk sorbet and salty caramel.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

i'm not sure i can even write about lunch here - but what i can say is that i love it here more than any other restaurant, i think. i always feel comfortable here - even though the food is amazing (the guy makes his own sea salt for crying out loud!) i never feel like i don't belong - everyone is friendly, and more than than, happy to talk about THE FOOD, which, frankly, is the point. by the middle of the main course i have that soporific happy-food pleasure-pig feeling which just increases until, by the time we hit the dessert wine and salty caramel, i am pretty much ecstatic.

i also managed to get a lovely pic of my sweet:



isn't he lovely?

Friday, 17 June 2011

more knitting...

a stripy-sock photoshoot with added greyhound:







i'm not so crazy about these socks even though i love the colour - i used a different pattern that i won't use again - i find the toe a bit pointy and somehow i managed to make them a little big. they are, however, insanely comfortable and so warm i think i need to take them off now.

in other news, it's friday - yayyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

lazing on a sunday afternoon

it's been a quiet day. we've been racking wine: 4 gallons of elderflower, 1 gallon of rhubarb, and 3 litres of elderflower cordial. i have had quite enough of elderflowers for this year. i will scream if i have to pick another tiny finicky little flower off of another flower head. that said, i sure love the wine. we made a gluttonous mac and cheese for lunch, did a bit of knitting, wandered down to the pub at the end of the road to see what the band sounded like (3 wings songs in a row - down the pints and move on out). a movie, some popcorn, a bit more knitting...

a lazy pleasure-piggy day .

granted, we are still a bit subdued from n's excellent gig on friday night, then staying up till the wee hours drinking absurd amounts of red wine and laughing the night (and a good chunk of the morning) away with the most amazing (and very funny) m. m & his wife now complete the full set of all my (straight) friends in my age group are either having or have had snappers last year and this. i think it's awfully nice of them all to have lovely babies for me to play with and snuggle (and give back as soon as they cry/shit/pee/throw up). in my opinion, babies are delightful, up to a point (see previous). i do intend to be a great honorary auntie, however. any tips?

and, for your viewing pleasure, a very cute pup, encountered on the way to the anchor last weekend:




happy sunday - have a good week :)

Monday, 30 May 2011

spring weekend

biking down to luddenham farm - everything green despite the drought




a pint up at the shipwright arms on the way home


sitting in the garden: wine, bbq, newspapers, and a great view


one blissed-out doggie

Saturday, 28 May 2011

smoke'm, smoke'm, smoke'm if you got'm




probably not quite what the fun lovin' criminals were talking about...