Monthly Archives: April 2013

We went to see the Queen

Well, we went to the Queen’s house anyway. She wasn’t there. I imagine she makes herself scarce when the hoi polloi have been given license to roam the grounds.

There’s an annual running event held at Queenie’s Scottish pad (Balmoral) which we’ve been to for the past few years. It’s a rather scenic spot; I can quite see why the royals like it.

Balmoral castle

The house (castle? palace?) is a bit of a strange one, you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been designed by an English architect who ‘made it Scottish’ by adding a rounded turret at every opportunity. The blinds were firmly shut so no opportunity for nosey parkers to have a peek inside.

Big littl’un would like to know why the Queen has several houses when some folk don’t have any. Answers on a postcard please; I failed miserably.

Run Balmoral has a mix of kids’ and adults’ races. The littl’uns ran first (a mile), then we had a couple of hours wait for the 10k in which the T-boy was running. Enough time for HOT TEA and HOT CHIPS with CHEESE (the food of champions, the littl’uns would have you believe). Very glad for the HOT food as it was a tad nippy, I believe there must have been an unspoken agreement not to mention that it very definitely snowed just a little bit at one point. Everyone just avoided looking at each other for a minute or so, then carried on like nothing had happened.

There was meant to be a minute silence in out of respect for the 3 people killed by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. The T-boy and I were both a little uncomfortable with this. It felt a lot like jumping on a bandwagon – I doubt there were many people at the event who knew any of the people directly affected. I did wonder, if the organisers were determined on showing their respect for something, whether it might have been more appropriate to hold a minute’s silence for the hundreds of people who were killed in the Dhaka factory collapse – I think it much more likely that runners or spectators would have been wearing clothes made in that factory complex, or another very like it. In the end the silence wasn’t particularly well announced and I don’t think the majority of people noticed it happening. I confess we were much more excited by the fire brigade’s demonstration of how not to put out a chip pan fire using water (Flames! smoke! heat!). (In case you happen to be cooking chips while reading, you need to know that you never ever put water on a chip pan fire. Official advice is to turn off the cooker and call the fire brigade. Unofficial advice (gleaned from me Mum) is to wet tea towels, wring them out and put them on the pan. Or the pan lid, if you can remember where you put it.)

My runners were all happy with their respective performances – they’d improved on their previous year’s times, which as we like to remind them, is all that matters. Beating other people isn’t the point.

Finally, to illustrate the oft quoted maxim that ‘money can’t buy taste’, I bring you Queenie’s equivalent of the garden gnome – the life-size plastic deer. There’s another one round the corner so it can’t have been a mistake. They amused me greatly (I am easily pleased).



Dashing from the garden

Far too glorious outside to be sitting indoors at a computer. Big littl’un declares that we’ve missed spring and gone straight to summer, and has been seen wearing a floaty frock. I’m not going that far – the voices in my head sound a lot like my Nanna, who would warn us ‘cast ne’er a clout ’til May be out’ – the inference being that if you were foolish enough to remove a layer and consequently caught a cold, don’t go crying to her about it. I did refrain from passing on those words of wisdom, but I didn’t take my jumper off.

I can’t get enough of my anemones. I thought I’d prefer the white ones (classy and understated, you know?), but secretly the rather garish purple blooms are the ones making me smile most.

The thing that made me smile most of all though was finding this little posy on the bathroom sink. It’s little littl’uns doing. She will be known, for the rest of the day, as Mrs Treasure.

posy of weeds

I have been pondering the size of things, hands in particular, more of which tomorrow if not the next day.


Wedding badger

Some old friends of ours are getting married today. The logistics of getting us all to England for the weekend proved impossible, so the T-boy set off on his own at an ungodly hour this morning.

I’m not an enormous fan of sending bought cards; they can be ridiculously expensive for a start and you know that they’re likely to be duplicated by other wedding guests. So I made our own. I had a phase of paper cutting a couple of years ago when it was all the rage in the online craft community, but haven’t done any for a while. This weekend’s wedding has a ‘vintage’ theme (eloquently described by the groom as ‘bunting and an old dress’) so paper cutting seemed like the perfect fit. I did it all with a craft knife but on reflection it might have been quicker to use scissors for some bits.

I should probably explain that the bride likes badgers.

Wedding badger

Congratulations guys.

Necessity being the mother of invention

It has been the most gloriously spring-like day. I have the aching body and ruddy face which only comes from spending the entire day outside and I am relishing it.

Spring has finally sprung; the snow in the Grampians is melting and flooding down by the river; I saw the first butterfly of the year (a red admiral); my anemones have opened all in a rush.

Mauve anemone

I weeded and cleared last year’s dead growth from my herbaceous borders, tidying up, splitting a few sprawling plants, remembering what I’ve planted in previous years and planning ahead. It always surprises me that I can happily clean and tidy for hours in the garden without getting restless, when half an hour doing housework inside can drive me to distraction.

The only slight irritation was the wet ground from recent rain. My knees were getting decidedly soggy, to the point where I almost regretted not buying a garden kneeler. In what can only be described as a moment of genius, I retrieved big littl’un’s leaky wellies from the bin and with nothing more than a pair of scissors, transformed them into my very own fully waterproof knee protectors. (The hardest part was hanging upside down in the wheelie bin trying to grab the wellies off the bottom.)

I doubt very much I’m the first person to upcycle wellies into kneelers so I shan’t claim to have invented them. Perhaps, to borrow the term from (my knitting hero) Elizabeth Zimmerman, I unvented them. They did the job anyway.

Goblin boy (not his real name)

I have a new victim person to knit for. No, he’s not mine; I am well and truly done with having babies. I think this baby’s mum might be too after the time she had bringing him into the world.

We had a thoroughly lovely time meeting our new great cousin last weekend. (Strictly speaking he’s a second cousin, but all the other relatives get to be ‘great-‘ or ‘grand-‘ so we are too.)

Knitting will resume shortly.

P.S. Did I mention how lovely he is?

Hers and hers fingerless gloves

The littl’uns’ school is out in the country surrounded by fields. An idyllic spot with plenty of fresh air; just sometimes there’s a bit much fresh air when the wind comes straight off the north sea and blasts across their playground. Big littl’un’s skin is suffering and her hands are splitting and bleeding, poor love. She’s not a big fan of full gloves, they impede climbing and playing on the monkey bars, so I’ve made her a pair of fingerless gloves to protect her wee hands a little bit. Made some for myself too in the hope that I’ll soon be out doing some gardening.

These are remnants of sock yarn – there’s some Regia in there but I can’t remember the others – bad bad knitter, must start project notebook and keep yarn bands. Mine were two semi-solid yarns but the littl’un wanted a semi-solid mixed with a variegated yarn.

Knit in the round, I started with corrugated rib cuffs; knit stripes for a wee while then increased for a thumb gusset. The ‘jog’ on the stripes on the small pair is pretty noticeable, so on the bigger pair I had a go at jogless stripes. It’ll work on stripes 2 rows or more deep – knit the first round as normal, then when you get back to the first stitch of the second round, slip it purlwise. Carry on as normal for any remaining rounds until your next colour change then repeat.

I continued stocking stitch stripes for a few rows above the thumbs then finished with corrugated rib on my pair, a standard 2×2 rib on the littlun’s for a bit more elasticity.

I think they’d be improved by a bit of palm shaping – whatever the opposite of a gusset would beĀ  – a pleat? A few stitches decreased between the cuff and the palm for a snugger fit anyway.

Little littl’un has suggested that it is her turn to be knitted for. Don’t let me forget. (She won’t.)