Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Change of Address


Sorry to have been absent for so long but there have been great changes in my life lately. I shall not be continuing with this blog. I shall get in touch with family and friends in other ways.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Is This Real Winter?

Before xmas, I went out to trim some greenery off the local hedges and when I came back I made a window frame rather than a tree to hold cards and other decorations.

As you can see from the first pic I have a low valuation of TV entertainment. The old machine in the pic goes back further than it is wide but still shows all five "old" channels. I have estimated its age at 27years. It even has a remote control but the gadget tends to change channels when you press volume control!!!

Yes it did snow this winter. This second pic is the view from the sitting room window which is on the third floor, looking east, the next pic is from the window looking west.

I must admit that a brolly does not help much in these conditions.

After the greenery was removed from the window it seemed very bare but then I went to the twice monthly auction at the local auction house and bought this lovely book case as a partial room divider. It now divides the main room space from an office space and houses some of the more attractive and valuable volumes.

I continue to knit socks. This pair are in a 5/6ply marly blue and I'm using a variation of the "Monkey" pattern. Well I thought that was what the picture would show but instead you have another view of the sitting room.

The wind is howling around outside and I wouldn't be surprised if the "winter" follows it.

Cheers to you all, Gillian

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Evidence of Endeavour During Blog Absence

At last!!! I finished the top which I started on the bus tour of Scotland. I had finished the actual knitting but I let it "rest" a while before I sewed it up so I only got to wear it for the first time yesterday. It is really comfortable and fits well, being just the right width and length. I so often get one of those wrong.

The pattern was from . This site has a great range of patterns to choose from. I did this with threex100gm balls of sock wool.

I'm settling into Darlington really happily and love being so near the centre of town and meeting people and getting out and about. I've loved my painting classes and hope to get to drawing classes next term and I have even been to the pictures for the first time in years, to see Elizabeth the Golden Age. I never miss my knit and natter club and was lucky enough to get a ride to the Knitting and Stitches Show. This is an annual highlight and thousands of women from the north of England descend on Harrogate over a period of four days. I went with Becky and her Mother Eunice who had come up from Hampshire. It was a grand day and I don't know where the six hours went. I came home with some recycled banana fibre, some wool and some mohair/silk and some sock wool and stuff like that. I shall do a separate post about it later.

And I have three pairs of socks on the needles at once. This demonstrates a lack of stamina and an attack of second sock syndrome.

There is a whole sock in the magenta colour but the brown and cream wool was a disappointing display of shades and has not yet reached the heel.

Also, I have decided to channel my hobby energies into starting a small business.I am buying and selling old and rare books. Mainly they are in the categories of Cats, Wool -crafts and the Wool-industry and sheep and Lace and Costume. A broad range but they are my own favourite areas. I have bought a couple of collections and have spent happy hours at the local antique auction house in town coming away with many boxes of mixed books. Some of these reveal a treasure or two and the rest mostly become piles of gardening, cricket and cookery books of no great renown or rarity. They seem to breed and are taking over the back bedroom.

So I have become Red Umbrella Books. Next weekend will be my first attempt to sell, at a bookfair in London. I shall be the one standing by my stall, knitting red socks.

More news when I return
Cheers Gillian

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Highlands and Islands

I managed to complete the cardigan while I was at Knit and Natter in Bishop Auckland on the Friday and Carrie Anne kindly took a photo of me in it to show you. Of course, dark grey does not photograph well but then, neither do I.
I wore it on the coach on the way up to Scotland on Monday and it was light, warm and comfortable. Sadly I now have to find a way to neatly darn up the large hole created by the kilt pin dragging on the soft wool!!!

To restore my spirits I have started on the football of tops I bought at the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop. It is a natural silvery brown and is so easy to spin. Yes that is my foot to the right to give you some idea of the size.

The journey to Scotland was long because we were based in the town of Garve and so we were well up into the Highlands. The hotel was very good and well organised to cater for the large numbers of people who all want to be fed at the same time. Our room is the top right in this picture and we looked over woodland and hills.

The nights were silent and black.
The days were spent visiting the Isle of Skye, lochs, castles, Culloden, Inverness and John O'Groats. We were very lucky with th eweather and were able to enjoy some lovely views and autumn colours.

This is a very small selection of the views.

I'm still searching for the best cheese scone and have a few to report on.
Since arriving in Darlington I have had a couple of local ones. The Arts Centre cafe does a formidable one for only a pound. It is the largest one I have ever seen and weighs in at quite a few ounces. It is tasty but hard going towards the end. Probably TOO BIG. 6/10
Coffee at Elliots did a pleasing-to-the-eye golden scone and I shared it with my sister ( that was so that we could fit in a slice of cheesecake as well). She declared it just right but I found it too salty and costly, so we gave it 6.5/10. We had one at Catkins too but I was a bit sconed-out and can't remember it so I will have to return soon.
Whilst in Scotland I had a towering, speckled orange one at a place where the coaches stop but I can't remember which one, so although it was surprisingly lovelier than it looked, it doesn't get a rating.

Cheers to all

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Finished Garment (Well Nearly)!

I have been sitting at the window shown in this picture, glancing at the town of Darlington while I knit. The urge to make a new garment came over me last Thursday and I searched the internet patterns and fell in love with "Montparnasse" by Berocco in their favourite free patterns section and then on Friday I headed off into town to find Becky at her stall at the craft market.

She had some fabulous wool from Wensleydale Longwool SheepShop.

I wanted it in the grey but there were only a couple of balls available so I headed off to visit the shop near Leyburn in North Yorkshire to get some.

You know what it's like when you want to start on something right away.

Luckily I found the place and they had a gorgeous dark grey called "Storm". It took half an hour to get there and an hour and a half to get home because school was out in Richmond (I did a little detour) and everyone in North Yorkshire seems to go to school in Richmond.

But at last I got back home with quite a few knitting hours left in the day and sat down and cast on. A couple of glitches.....My tension was up the spout and I had to start again after a few inches.....I was short by one ball of wool because I knitted it longer, but I phoned them and the shop had one to me the next day.....The armholes were too tight but instead of undoing the sleeves and re-knitting them, I knitted a gusset for each oxter.

There it is in the picture waiting for me to pick up and knit about 220 stitches around the opening. I managed to get some kilt pins and a circular needle in town. I love Darlington. It sells everything I want, on the doorstep.

With luck and a neat stitch pick-up I will be able to finish it in time to wear it next week on my holiday to the Highlands of Scotland. Highlands, Loch Ness, Skye and John O'Groats.

I would have finished it sooner but my waterclour painting lessons have taken up some time too. We've done a lot of trees, foliage and bark and some attempts at water. They look good from a distance!

The holiday is a bus tour so I shall take a couple of socks to finish to complete a couple of pairs as well as a sudoku book, a couple of paperbacks and a big map of the Highlands so that I can map-read all the way and keep a track of where we are going. I cannot travel without a map.

More news on my return.
Cheers Gillian

Monday, October 01, 2007

Moving Home

I am about to close down and pack up the computer and all its attachments. I go off line here at midnight and PIPEX have not promised me anything closer than 3-7 working days to re-connect at the new address. I have employed WATSON'S from Darlington. They come in big, dark, green lorries with two "blokes" to do the lifting and carrying at....50 pounds an hour. They start at 9am Tuesday. I shall be waiting for them.

I found some lovely bedroom furniture on the internet, through M&S and rang up first thing this morning to fix it.

IT WILL NOT BE DELIVERED UNTIL MID-DECEMBER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I want it. I don't want other I have no alternative but to wait. I could go on a long holiday and leave all my clothes lying on the floor.

I have packed everything and now wait for the Lorry to come

I shall sleep until about 3:30 or 4:30 am and then get up and make a cup of green tea with lotus flower and citrus.

Then I shall bathe and dress and climb up the step-ladder to take down the curtain rods and all the trimmings.

Then I shall move flats
Cheers Gillian

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pressure Makes Perfect

Life needs sorting. Time is running out before I move.
I have been having a quick look through the stash and these balls of yarn seemed to go well together. There's a dark green, a multi-blue/green and a black. So I decided to put them together to make a top. They aren't in the right quantities to make it match back and front but there is plenty overall so I will just keep changing one colour every two pattern depths till I get there.

I have chosen "Ladders of Elegance" from the Knitter's Stash. This is one of my favourite pattern books and I have knitted the "Daisy Shawl" in many yarns and sizes. The top I'm doing is a thick, two strand one. It's a good stash-buster and I'm the sort of person who will happily wear a sleeveless warmer. I like my arms free. I will try to do more of a "boat" neckline though.

Anyway I can boast about my knitting because I have done all the ironing!!!!!!!!!

I had to start because there was no space left to hang the next lot of washing. I did two weeks worth yesterday and then this weeks lot, today.
I also got lots of stuff out of the freezer so that I can get rid of it next week....probably to the Heart Foundation who have a new Furniture and White Goods Store opening soon in Bishop Auckland. Unless anyone wants to come round and fetch it this week from Wolsingham. Please let me know if you are able to collect a freezer from here or from central Darlington. I also need homes for an old dressing table with mirror, small glazed china cabinet,a tea trolley and small stuff. Email me on

I made Plum Butter and Spicey Plum Chutney. It's a while since I made preserves and such...

The plum butter is really tasty but a bit runny and the plum chutney is sweet and hot!. When I went to visit my sister in Bedfordshire, where I got all these plums, I made plum sorbet...a la Jamie Oliver and cordial. I still have a bag of plums left in the freezer so I will have to make myself some cordial if I can find a bottle.

I thought English was English!!! Particularly as I spoke it. The long period of time I have spent in Australia has not affected my accent but it has impacted on the pronunciation of some of the words and common words are so differently used.
Australian = Other
Op-Shop=Charity shop, Thrift shop etc. from....Opportunity Shop
Lollies =Sweeties, Candy
Icy pole= Ice lolly
Chips = Crisps
Hot chips =Chips
Zucchinis = Courgettes
Cordial= squash, fruit drink
and I'm sure there are so many more.
Please let me know how the words we use on our blogs vary from place to place. Unfortunately I can only cope with English. They tried hard at school to give me a "Language Base" but the only thing which I remember is the Latin that I failed.
Pronunciation is going to affect me mostly with food items eg Yoghurt! Ask me when you see me!
Cheers Gillian