Monday, 26 May 2014

Waddesdon Manor

Today's a public holiday, it's raining and my knee isn't happy. So we went to Waddesdon Manor! We sat in insanely heavy traffic outside Bicester (still no idea what all those people were trying to do getting into Bicester) and the rain got heavier and heavier. But we persevered and got there in the end, were ferried from the car park to the gates of the Manor by a very swish shuttle bus. This is what it looked like as we walked (I limped) down the drive:

that's the back of mum with her brolly, walking at normal, non-handicapped, pace

We pootled off for a cream tea, there were huge photographs of this building on the walls and I love the combination of English countryside and modern architecture. Nothing else of note except this poster (in the loos but ssshhh!)

Enjoy that picture because when we eventually found the real thing in the house it was sooooo tiny I couldn't get a good picture of it - but more about that later.

So, restored by scones, cream, jam and real-tea-out-of-a-pot, we walked (limped) back to the house. 
Waddesdon Manor, roughly speaking, was/is owned by the Rothschilds and holds Somebody Rothschild's collection of art. Which means it's an incredibly ornate manor house stuffed with art! You can't take flash photos and all the blinds are drawn to keep the sunlight out (hah!) so it was tricky to get good pictures. Except of the lighting:

see the crafty light effects I so deliberately worked into this one? or maybe I just started limping off before someone got in my shot - who can say?!?
Now, about the lace. In the first three pictures above you can just about see some lacy stuff hanging from the bottom of the amazing (1 tonne!) chandelier. It's part of the lace exhibition as advertised in the poster which I definitely didn't take a picture of in the loo (above). The exhibition meant bits of lace/art hiding in the rooms. Mum had the leaflet but I'm pretty sure they were meant to be artistic responses to the rooms, etc. The lace was pretty but didn't photograph well, probably because of the light. Here's what happened when we found the above (poster) roses as part of an incredibly elaborate dinner setting:

my camera don't do zoom

On we went. Marble chairs:

mmm, comfy
This green vase-thing which I took lots of photos of, mostly because it was near a window with un-drawn (?) blinds:

And here's the window!

And finally. Mum had been going on about this modern chandelier she saw last time they went, made of forks and spoons and stuff, which we hadn't seen. It was in The Last Room and very impressive it was too. For reasons which are a little dull, I had by this time been declared Immobile by the volunteers and taken to the first floor by the impressively old-fashioned lift. We were, at this point, on our way OUT of the Manor, which meant back down in the lift for me. To access the lift, you have to go through the room that the Amazing Chandelier is IN!!!

crap photo taken from outside the Room of the Amazing Chandelier
Amazeballs photo taken IN THE ACTUAL ROOM!!!!
 The grounds of the Manor looked absolutely gorgeous from the road, of course it was too rainy to explore them at all but I'd love to go back sometime.


Sunday, 18 May 2014

hawthorn blossom

Oh what a lovely day/weekend!! The sun sun sun is shining shining shining, the little tweety birds are singing their little tweety hearts out - the (ash? must check) tree outside my window that hasn't had any leaves yet even though all the other trees are in leaf is finally leafing - so fast I can almost see them opening with my bare eyes! 
I'm pretty sure I think this every Spring but Oxfordshire is sooo pretty when it's all green, blossomy & sunny. The hawthorn is ridiculous this year - most of the hedgerows looks like they've been iced - or turned into the fluffiest sheep ever by a benign Spring Fairy!
Bunny Mummy's lovely post has introduced me to some of David Hockney's work - I've heard of him, of course, but tbh the only work of his I knew about was the one with the splash in the swimming pool & now I'm not even sure if that's him. His colours are gorgeous and the above picture nicely encapsulates rural Oxfordshire at this precise moment. So, thank you.


Monday, 12 May 2014


I'm in love! I've started the CAL blanket I've had in my ravelry queue for ever & I'm in love with the Drops Karisma yarn I'm using, it's all soft & squishy & silky & mmmmmmm! +, unusually for me, I'm very taken with the slightly orangey bright red colour that was first out of the bag. Honestly, I'm not normally a big fan of reds but this is making my little <3 leap!!
And I'm sooooo grateful to the Utter GENIUS who invented the foundation hdc as not having to chain, & count, 194 has made starting this project even more wonderful. To be fair, it took me a couple of goes to master it, not helped by the fact I was trying to do an online child safeguarding course at the same time, but it's infinitely better than the wobbly old chain I would've produced and the miserable time I would've had trying to hdc into said chain.
Gush gush gush!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Best laid plans / hey, where'd Monday go? / a couple of FOs

I had such glorious plans for this bank holiday weekend. I made A List. Here it is:

[ ] Finish makeup pads [ ] Basin [ ] Bathroom floor [ ] Laundry: towels [ ] Loads of Reiki [ ] Nails [ ] Shower (clean!) [ ] Sort out bathroom cabinet [ ] Toilet [V] Finish cardigan [V] Look at size 16 jeans for fat betches & equivalent in men's [V] Buy 2 more baseball caps [V] Order more Argan Oil [V] Laundry: cottons [V] Laundry: delicates [V] Cleanse Amazon wishlist [V] Change bed [V] Finish 1st long sock [V] Hoover [V] Tidy room

The 'v's are ticked items. Except for 'finish cardigan', which I think I thumb-ticked by accident. Or maybe I was trying to make myself feel better because last night I 'finished' the first sleeve of said cardigan and It Don't Look Right, not at all. It's only elbow-length, not 3/4, and it's just, well, kinda short & goofy & not right at all and I'm very depressed about the whole thing. As with all projects that start to go wrong in mysterious ways, the whole thing's now sulking in a bag down by the side of my desk until I've mulled (obsessed?) over it long enough to think of a plan to fix it. At the moment I can only think of finish it & donate it to a charity shop, in a town I'll never visit again, but I think I'll be able to feel more +ve about it & come up with a better solution once I've had a bit of time away from it. 

It's Monday evening and I feel like I haven't achieved anything. I had these lovely plans that I would feel like I'd cleared through some of the backlog of half-finished WIPS and all I've got to show for it is a sock and a bunch of WIPs. Of course, this is because I was over-ambitious with the original plan, as always, but I still feel a bit down right now.

So. 'Finish cardigan' NOT achieved. And I was so determined not to start another new project, even though it'd make me feel better, that I went back to the reusable makeup pads. These will never be 'finished' as a girl can never have too many reusable makeup pads and the more I have the longer I can hold out between laundry days but I decided to stop at 24 (6 each of 4 colours) and call that done for now. No. 24 will be finished tonight then it's just 24x2 ends to weave in, pop them thru the washing machine (gives me the heebies that, what if they shrink / fall apart / turn into chocolate Easter bunnies & melt?) & I can declare another FO.

I have a couple of FOs to show off though.

1st: from a couple of weekends ago & this is a lousy photo but I need to record that I've achieved SOMETHING, the nested baskets:

I'm actually dead chuffed with these as I've loved making them & seeing how the structure of the stitches fits together to make something 3D. I have Absolutely No Idea what I'm going to do with them or who's problem I'm going to make them by giving them away. But apart from that I'm pleased with this FO.

2nd: the 1st Long Sock! YAYYYYYY! I'm so pleased with this, very very pleased. It's held together brilliantly, the wool makes me happy, especially the colours. Knitted up the fabric feels a bit scratchy but I'm sure a couple of washes will put paid to that. And it fits and it looks like a real sock & I'm generally chuffed! 

The challenge now is to make the 2nd Long Sock the same size as the first one. Mm-hm, that's a challenge. I've made what I hope are precise and detailed notes of the round-counts etc so I'm feeling confident but still slightly trepidatious.
+ I'm not allowing myself to start The 2nd Long Sock until I've cleared the current project list a bit more. Sigh.

OK, I feel slightly better about my lack of productivity and anyway it's nearly time for ebd or I'll be all grumpy and tired tomorrow! 


Sunday, 6 April 2014


Weather: grey, chilly, breezy, dry.

Mood: OK

Watched: Huddersfield vs. St Helens, The Musketeers & a couple of Dollhouse Season 2

Music: Lizzo

Reading: The Bridge by Iain Banks - still awesome!

On my hook/needles: finished earbuds bag, dead pleased with it + got past the heel of the 1st Long Sock, not without some stress. About halfway down the foot now.


Saturday, 5 April 2014


Mood: low

Weather: grey, bit windy, chilly

On my hook/needles: 1st Long Sock - I've got to the heel & boy is it giving me trouble! Decreases for the heel flap were fine but sorting out what to do next has been a headache. The pattern says to pick up stitches from the sides of the heel flap, slip the top-of-foot stitches off the stitch holder and then start knitting in rounds. It's taken me a while & a bit of interneting but I now think this means I should pick up but not knit the stitches from the heel flap, which I've now done. Still getting my head around the next stage ...

Music: Muse, lots of, loud.

Listened to: I've started The News: A User's Manual audiobook by Alain de Botton. 

Reading: I've also started The Bridge by Iain Banks, one of his that I hadn't read before he passed away last year & his own favourite, according to The Times. It's awesome so far. I've decided I'm going to try & finish it in a week. I'm worried that I'm not reading enough & my brain is going to shrivel up & I think setting myself targets and making sure I get through books at a reasonable pace is the way forward.

Watched: 1st half (!) of Return of the King.

Toodle pip!