Fill your Boots

October 23, 2009

It was, I suppose, inevitable after yesterday’s post, that I would set out today in what I hoped was ‘rain easing off’ weather, only to find that it was in fact ‘rain pausing in order to regroup for a more prolonged assault’ weather instead. Bleurgh. Sometimes those tin boxes have their advantages, like roofs.

Still, search hard enough on the internet, and you can always find someone who’s worse off than you.


Reasons to be Cycling

October 22, 2009

I’ve not been on the bike much this week – what with the weather, and being a bit under it, and being busy as well. But yesterday, I had to cycle down to the village in the evening, just as the last of the light was leaving the sky.

As I headed down the first hill, I became aware of something flying above me – a pipistrelle bat, jinking in and out of view as it hunted for insects in the dark. And then, as I turned the corner into the village itself, there was a great wild honking of geese, heading off to the reservoir to roost. They passed overhead, still calling to each other, only just visible against the sky, and then disappeared over the shoulder of the hill.

There’s a couple of people here who are puzzled by my insistence on cycling down to choir practice in the dark and who very kindly offer to give me a lift should I need one. I’m fully prepared to take them up on it, the next time that it rains. But when it’s dry, I wouldn’t be shut up in a tin box on that road for the world.


October 21, 2009

So it turns out – and I suppose, with a physics O-level I ought to have known this – that when electricians talk about the ‘earth’ wire, what they mean is a wire that, ultimately, ends up in the earth. Not some metaphorical earth, in some specialist electrical sense, but the actual earth. As in, the flowerbed outside our front door.

All of which would have been much better to know before I started digging the flowerbed and ended up holding a scary broken-off bit of important-looking electrical cable.

Fortunately, the other half knows about these things, in the way blokes do, O-levels or no O-levels, and was able to reattach it to its spike-thing with no harm done. Apparently (before you all rush to tell me in the comments box) it’s the belt part of a set of belt-and-braces and we probably weren’t facing imminent electrocution. But even so…

A Gentleman’s Tea Cosy

October 20, 2009

Non-knitters, look away now.

So recently*, my cousin – having lured me deep into the knitting habit with ‘free’ supplies of wool – suggested that I might want to do him a favour in return for keeping the supplies coming: he had a teapot that he wanted cosied. Well, I thought, that’s easy enough. Everybody knows what a tea cosy looks like.

But there was a catch. Several catches. First, there was the teapot itself:

The problem

The problem

You will notice that it is not arranged along the traditional ‘here’s a little teapot short and stout’ lines, and its handle was in the wrong place for easy cosy-fitting. Not only that, but the tea cosy must emphatically not be ‘ironic’, in the modern sense of ‘ironic’, meaning ‘a bit crap’. It had to not just keep the tea hot, but it had to do so in an elegant and fitting way. Anything quilted, with ribbons, a bobble, or in the shape of a christmas pudding was therefore out and that pretty much eliminated the entire world’s stock of tea cosy knitting patterns.

So I had to improvise. For a while, the teapot sat in the kitchen while I mused upon possible solutions. Finally, I decided that – this being a gentleman’s tea pot – a gentlemanly tea cosy would be in order. I settled on a sort of tea-pot-cardigan, the sort that might be stretched over a portly torso, in a tweedy sort of brown and grey. The end result (after a couple of false starts) was this:

the solutuion

the solutuion

Knitting afficionados should note that this is in slip stitch with a moss-stitch button band and there’s no pattern and I’m buggered if I can remember exactly what I did, but it was pretty complicated. Spherical objects are tricky to knit cosies for, I tell you. Even harder than space invaders.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the horizontal line around the middle is what we call in the software trade ‘a feature’. And is nothing at all to do with me forgetting what colour I was on in the middle.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll go back to knitting hats.

*that’s recently in knitting time, ie. months and months and months ago. I knit very slowly. Those of you looking for Christmas presents are already too late, although I’m accepting suggestions for the 2010 season if you’re quick.

Snails within Snails

October 19, 2009

Spotted in the garden:

snails within snails

Tragically, shortly after taking this photo I forgot about it, and there was a horrible crunch underfoot…

I know snails are just slugs with a better second home allowance, but I do hate treading on them.

A Mess of Potage

October 18, 2009


The autumn so far has been a miraculously fine one, but today dawned – in so far as it dawned at all – as the sort of day where soup was needed.

I had Jane Grigson’s recipe for Potage Esau in mind which is mostly bacon and lentils, although I’m guessing the bacon part is non-traditional. We had plenty of bacon (cheap soup cuts from the butcher) and the other half’s policy of buying big bags of lentils from the ethnic section of Tescos for pennies instead of small beautifully packaged bags of lentils from the posh ingredients section for pounds meant we also had plenty of lentils, but we had no onion and you can’t make soup without an onion*.

This meant only one thing:

Larry was for the chop.
deed_done trimmed chopped potage_esau

One quick forking later, and the deed was done, and the body dismembered and disposed of in time-honoured fashion. He didn’t exactly yield much (am I supposed to be earthing them up to get more of the white bit?) but his contribution was noted. And while the quantities of bacon used meant that the subtle home-grown flavour of leek wasn’t exactly to the fore, I’m sure he wasn’t sacrificed in vain.

*Although in my vegetable-fearing youth I regularly omitted the onions from recipies and I’m still here. I’m sure they’re necessary though.

Real Garden

October 16, 2009

It seems like, no matter what job I think I’m setting out to do these days…

I thought I was just going to plant a few bulbs...

I thought I would just plant a few bulbs...

… the job I end up doing is the one called ‘excavate the bloody great rock out of the ground.’

I’m saving them up, until I have enough for a wall.