Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I've moved,... am very happy in my new home! This is a recent refurbishment but I have included some old unpublished posts.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Espace Killy - you kill me!

It's been a week since Gruff & I got back from Tignes/Val D'Isere (collectively known as Espace Killy) and the gloom of city life is beginning to encroach. It's a measure of how fabulous the holiday was that I could still feel happy and chilled for that long despite leaving it all behind. The Espace Killy region is just awesome, so much to ride and explore that we really burned our leg muscles trying to cover as much as we could. Gruff and I were almost thinking of foregoing our trip this year due to the crappy Pound to Euro exchange and the 'Credit Crunch' but our love of snow prevailed.

It dumped every single day, what we lacked in sunshine was more than made up for with fresh powder each morning. Two of the days were far too windy which meant that a third of the lifts were shut but having a full Espace Killy pass meant that it wasn't too much of an issue. I preferred the runs overs in Val D'Isere but hated the town itself - in all fairness, it was the World Ski championships so the place was especially busy.

I've waxed lyrical about previous holidays here and here but I really relished every minute of this one. Hovering above the tree-tops in your chair-lift, it's as if the passage of time is somehow suspended when you're in the mountains amidst the frozen landscape. The pristine whiteness of the scenery like a blank canvas waiting for a burst of color. There's something really pure about the environment that makes you feel somehow cleansed and the world looks somehow simpler without the messy chaos of colors vying for your attention.

On our last night which also happened to be the chalet staff's evening off, Gruff and I went off in search of our calorie-rich, artery clogging raclette (Lucy, you may wish to look away now).

Good thing we piled on the extra protein too because the next day, we decided to get another day's boarding in before catching our night train back to Paris. It turned out to be our best day yet.

The chair up to one of our favourite runs was shut that morning but I spied some preparations to reopen so we made a quick dash over to stand first in line. The minutes ticked by, a long queue started forming behind us and we were all chomping at the bit - all I could think about however were the fresh powder lines awaiting us. When the chairs finally started operating 45 minutes later, it was a complete bun fight at the top as everyone struggled to quickly strap onto their boards, each man for themselves. It was pretty windy too and you could hear some people losing their way but it was one of the best, most exhilarating runs I've ever done, even the sun made a brief appearance. It was so worth the wait, I love the feeling of riding on powder, it almost feels like you're floating. We bombed down that 850m whooping and cheering, I tumbled twice and it didn't matter - I was buzzing on such a high when we got to the bottom, it had us beaming like idiots for the rest of the day.

What a perfect way to end an already fabulous week - Gruff and I barely managed to stay awake to pack our stuff and make our train needless to say, I was out like a light when my head touched the pillow.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hello 2009!

I am crawling out of hibernation to say a quick 'Hello' - have tired unsuccessfully to ward off the nasty flu that's been going around but given that it's been the coldest winter for 30 years it was some what inevitable. So 2009 has started in a spate of sniffles and a mountain of soggy tissues - nice eh? But it's been great to have had such a peaceful break where all anxieties and worries were banished over the yule-tide and for once there was no need to fret about the phone not ringing. Will post a review of 2008 soon but I'm happy to report that amidst the frantic csstingons thus far (4 on the last count!) we already have our first FO for the year.

A heavenly collar knitted in double-seed stitch using 2 beautiful yarns - Shilasdair Luxury DK (Lambswool, Cashmere, Angora) & Windy Valley Muskox (Extrafine Merino, Qiviut, Silk). Despite my cold, it's a lovely kick-off to the New Year with such a beautiful item. Roll-on 2009!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Couldn't think of an apt title to convey how I feel. It's been a very strange week and my thoughts keep returning to 2 people who are no longer with us. Both were taken before their time and both deaths have launched me into the throes of introspection, a mixture of sadness, loss and such affection.

I found out on Tuesday that my old boss had been killed over the weekend. He was out in Norwich, saw a gang of youths pick on a young couple and went over to intervene. The gang turned on him and basically kicked his head in. His injuries were so severe he had to be taken to a specialist hospital in Cambridge where he later died leaving behind a devoted wife and 2 daughters aged 7 and 4. I saw the headlines, clicked on the story and was shocked to see his photograph. Frank was a Brixton boy made good who did a Law degree and worked his way up the ranks forging a glittering career in the city. He was extremely well-respected amongst his peers and a charismatic leader who inspired loyalty amongst his staff. We were willing to work our socks off for him because we knew at the end of the day that he would always stand behind us and support us if needed. He gave me a 10 grand payrise after my first 6 months in recognition of my hard work, he could be intimidating and brusque at times but at the end of the day, he was always fair. I'm somehow not surprised by his actions that night, he could persuade the most pig-headed city traders to see sense and he must have thought he could use his powers of reasoning to defuse the situation. And he had a a great sense of humor too - when yours truly here got far too blottoed at a team dinner (in her 3rd week of joining the firm) and called both her bosses 'losers', Frank took it in his stride and laughed it off the next day. At the time though, I was completely mortified and thought I'd be given my marching papers pretty pronto for showing an MD such blatant disrespect. I've been trying to process it all and it's just horrifying that someone who was trying to do the decent thing and protect some strangers could meet with such an undeserved end.

Which brings me onto Tash - on Wednesday, in lieu of our usual Wednesday night knitting we all went over to Helen's to take care of Tash's stash. We managed to rehouse most of it but surveying her yarn collection and choices made me feel closer and yet so separated from her at the same time. Tash, you've left such a huge gaping hole in our hearts that all the yarn in Christendom could not fill.

At university, one of my favourite classes was one called 'Women & Poetry'. I had to write a paper on the thematic treatment of death and one of the poems I chose to analyse was this one by Christina Rossetti - I like to think it's some kind of message from the other side.


Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Blogday to me......

Hurray,.... it's been 2 years and so much has happened. I haven't been great at documenting the passing of time but I'm going to make more of an effort going forward. To celebrate, I made yet another cake from this book which was given to me by a vegetarian friend hoping to turn me over to the 'green' side. Most of the cakes I've made from this book have turned out fab which has made me more open to their savory stuff and that's been pretty good too. It's a good thing I'm working on my fitness given all the cake I've been making and eating!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Fabrications

I stumbled upon this book whilst surfing through blogsphere and bought it specifically to make the alphabet sorter - it's for a dear friend's little boy who is turning 3. She and I were housemates at university and I have been meaning to make him something for quite some time. (He has inspired the start of many projects but none of which have actually reached completion - oops!). We don't see each other very often but I have many fond memories of the late night chats we used to have in each other's rooms.

I have given up on garments as my projects for him tend to languish for too long in relation to his rate of growth. Hence the sorter - this book by the way is full of lovely things with pretty simple instructions.

My mastery of the sewing machine is still an on-going battle and I disliked the way the applique stitches came out. So I decided to go down the labour-intensive route of handsewing all the letters which has been fun but SLOW. My friend is the crafty type though so she will appreciate the effort.

I tried different types of edgings to give it some variety.

At least he won't grow out of it and will be able to use it for a good many years to come.

My typing is a little slow today due to an achey right arm which makes blogging a bit painful. It's not from excessive knitting but from yesterday's tennis session. I used to play loads when I was young but have not picked up a racket for a very long time. I walked the 3 miles to the tennis center, played 90 minutes of tennis and then walked back again. It's part of my new fitness regime to combat the inertia of too much crafting on my couch. But yesterday's spurt of exercise wiped me out so much I was in bed by 10!

When the membership lady at the leisure center asked me if I was working or a student, I said I was unemployed and she must have seen my crestfallen face because she gave me a huge concession without asking for proof. Hurray!! Right, I'm heading off to the pool now - I may blog-in on Sunday with a spinning update but in the meantime, have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Twist in the Tale

The slow creeping darkness into our days has sparked off a severe case of startitis in me. Perhaps it's the realisation that winter will soon be upon us that's made me want to rush into knitting overdrive. I started 3 new projects in the last week but can't say that I feel guilty about this one (given that it will go towards finishing a UFO) - do you remember it?

Yes, the infamous boob tube! I started this last year and had a few problems with the pattern. When I was next at Liberty's I asked the lovely Rowan lady about the decreases, she was also confused and remarked that I was the first person she knew who was knitting it. Although it is essentially a boob tube, I was seduced by the cables and the model made it look so chic. Hmmm, we shall see! It's coming along nicely and I've forgotten how addictive cables can be. Ended up having to frog the first 18 rows because I discovered that one cable was twisting the wrong way and my anal self was unwilling to let it rest.

There has also been some sock knitting, my 7th pair this summer but what's there not to like about socks? The gratification's quite instant and best of all there's no finishing involved or nasty sleeves which is 10 times worse than second sock syndrome in my book.

I had also made a vow to use up something from last year's Ally Pally haul before going to this years. Started out doing the Monkey pattern which is quite easy once you get over the initial fear factor but it was a little too busy for this yarn. Opted for the straight-forward Crusoe instead which is quite a fast knit. Apologies for the upside-down shot...

Before I go though, I thought I'd give you a quick update on how my orchids are doing...

Haaaannnng on.... WTF is that??

My little plant seems to have attracted a massive butterfly, is it some science experiment gone wrong, an alien insect from outer space or are my windows just very dirty?

It is in fact made from denim and a very clever, crafty ad from a well-known jeans company. I love living opposite a billboard but this one really took me by surprise - I guess it could serve as inspiration for my sewing tomorrow.