Busy busy busy!

I really should have turned off my laptop by now, because I’ve got a thousand and one things to do, but I’ve been missing talking to you all so I thought I’d dive in with a quick hello! I’m just about to go off and dye up some of our new Stardust yarn, which is a yummy merino and nylon blend (perfect for socks) with the added bonus of a touch of silvery sparkle in there too (which makes it perfect for everything else in my book!). I’m having the hardest time not keeping all the yarn for myself, but I can’t knit fast enough to keep up with it all anyway, so I am just telling myself that I can always dye more for me when I have time to knit it!

I’ve already dyed up three skeins of the Stardust in purple and navy, and have sold all three, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be a popular yarn base. I also have some merino silk blend to play with today, as well as some laceweight yarn. I received a sample pack from one of our suppliers with the loveliest baby alpaca and silk blend laceweight, which I will definitely be keeping for me! So I’m thinking of dyeing up that skein today and trying to find time to knit with it sometime soon. Although, with Christmas looming, it may have to wait until January.

I’m off to Roath Market tomorrow morning, and am hoping that people’s thoughts will have turned to Christmas shopping when they come into the craft market. I will have my jewelry for sale, as well as a shawl knitted to my own design and of course our Jelliebean Yarns. I hope to have some more knitted items for sale in the next few weeks, but I’m working on a commission at the moment which really needs to take priority in my knitting time. However, hopefully that will be finished in the next couple of weeks, then I can really crack on with turning out some knitted gifts.

I don’t think I have much left to knit for my own Christmas gifting; I got the bigger items out of the way early on. There’s a few pairs of gloves and some hats to do, but other than that I think my home¬† made gifts yet to be made are mainly foodie ones which will have to be done nearer to Christmas anyway.

And a couple of photos to round off my update;

My first attempt at shawl design, and using my own yarn. I’m quite pleased with it, although there are a couple of points where I want to tweak the pattern before I publish it. Again, I think this will probably now have to wait until after Christmas – how that gets in the way of my creativity!

A cardigan for the baby daughter of one of my husband’s friends. I really need to get this in the post before C grows out of it, but I’m hoping to do a matching hat before I post it off, so I’ll wait a few more days.

Handsome (DS1) was ill at half term, and so I made him this bow tie to cheer him up. He is a massive fan of Doctor Who, but hasn’t dressed up as the eleventh doctor yet. I thought this might help him along!

So that’s a little insight into what I’ve been busy with in the last couple of weeks. I hope you’re all well, and that the approach of Christmas is filling you with glee rather than gloom!

I forgot to post again, didn’t I?

I keep doing it. I switch on the computer with every intention of blogging, but by the time I’ve done everything else I have to do online, it’s time for me to switch off and do something else. So yes, I’m rubbish and I know I am! It’s not that I don’t want to, and I can think of plenty of things to say! But I’m here now and that’s what really matters, right?!

First off, I took a picture on Tuesday with the sole purpose of posting it here;

Christmas chocolates. CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATES, on the SEVENTH OF SEPTEMBER!! This is unacceptable, and left me muttering furiously as I made my way around the rest of the supermarket. Thankfully the¬†sweets looked untouched, so I’m fairly certain every other shopper was as disenchanted with the display as I was. What made this even more incongruous was that right next to this budding Christmas section was a still active barbeque and summer garden section! They could at least wait until they’ve packed away the charcoal before wheeling out the selection boxes!!

In other news, I seem to have picked up a lovely pair of ear infections, which is filling my life with boundless joy at the moment. The one ear started off about ten days ago, but was just irritating so my GP prescribed the same drops I’ve had before for a form of exzema¬†in my ears called otitis externa. However, by Saturday and while I was at Roath¬†Market the pain levels had increased exponentially and so I called the doctor and made an appointment to go to the out of hours clinic at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary (which, on a totally unrelevant note, has featured in Doctor Who lots of times¬†including ‘Aliens of London’, ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’ and ‘Turn Left’). There I was prescribed some very strong antibiotics (flucloxacillin, anyone?) which, over the course of a few days made my ear slightly better (much less pain) but had a very detrimental effect on my tummy. So, back I went to the GP on Friday and now I have super-strong eardrops and an invitation to go back again next Wednesday if they haven’t worked. If my ears are still full of yuck then, I will be enjoying a trip to the Ear Nose and Throat people in the hospital. So much fun to look forward to! Oh, and then yesterday I woke up with both¬†ears aching, so I’m now using my superstrong drops in the one ear, and my weaker drops in the one that’s just started aching.

Update on my hands; my rheumatologist has decided he has no ideas (as I already said) and my GP has said I’ll learn to live with it over the next couple of years. I went back to work on Wednesday after my long summer break with the boys. By Thursday lunchtime my hands were aching despite the more accessible hardware my employers have provided. So, this week I should hopefully be trialling a touchscreen monitor with a new on-screen keyboard, and hopefully this will allow me to do my job pain-free. Otherwise I’m not really sure what I’ll do.

Knitting wise, I’m keeping myself busy, especially as it seems to be good physio¬†and pain relief for my hands. I’m knitting a jacket using some Lopi¬†yarn that my parents brought me back from Iceland, a shawl to go with my new winter coat (that I’ve not yet bought) and a short sleeved¬†thin sweater with a fairisle yoke (like this one, in fact). I’m thinking of changing the pattern on the yoke to something rather than paper dolls as the variations that the designer showed looked so cool, but I can’t decide which one I like the best. So I may well do a paper dolls one first, then another one with another design later on. Talk about glutton for punishment! The jumper involves an i-cord cast on, which I’ve never attempted before. Suffice it to say that I can generally cast on the stitches for a jumper in well under one episode of a favourite TV programme. Last night I watched two episodes of ‘Bones’ and I was still only about a third of the way to casting on enough stitches! This is going to be¬†a severe test of my patience!

So now you’re all updated, I’m off to do something else useful. I hope you’re all having a lovely sunny Sunday like us!

My son, the budding literary genius

When my elder son, Handsome, won the class merit cup recently it was suggested to him that maybe he’ll be a scriptwriter or an author when he grows up. He took this to heart and has started writing his first Doctor Who fan-fic.

As I’m a good and kind mother, I offered to type the ‘manuscript’ up for him. I started yesterday but gave up after the first page and a half, as it is something of a struggle to decipher.

As you can see, Handsome is in far too much of a rush to empty the contents of his brain onto the paper to bother about trifling things like legibility! So, my evening tonight will be spent typing up the remaining six and a bit chapters. Wish me luck! (I’ll be demanding commission if he ever gets published!)


Today, we had a rare day of nowhere-to-go and nothing-pressing-to-do, and as GG had taken a day off work, we decided to have a little outing. We wanted to go somewhere that we hadn’t been before, but that was cheap and fun for the kids. A beach seemed an obvious solution, and so I settled on Southerndown. It also needed to be somewhere quite close to home, as I’d been relaxing all morning and didn’t get round to deciding where to go¬†until nearly midday!¬†

Southerndown’s not too far from Cardiff. If you go past Barry, Cardiff Airport and Llantwit Major, you’re there in next to no time. It’s a lovely big sandy beach, and on a hot, sunny day I’d imagine it would be gorgeous. It was still very nice today, but as the day started off grey, the sand was still damp when we arrived. However, in jeans, t-shirts and trainers we weren’t dressed for sandcastles and paddling, so all was well!

Any ‘Doctor Who’ fans out there? If so, you might, as my elder son did, recognise this beach;

36. southerndown

Do you get it? Any idea? Imagine it deserted, wintry, TARDIS in the middle distance, Rose looking upset. Any clue yet? Handsome got it straight away – Bad Wolf Bay! I have to confess it was my main reason for visiting. I knew my kids would be thrilled to see this location. I think the moors above the cliffs have been used for a couple of things, including the opening of ‘New Earth’ and the stand off between the Master and the Doctor. But don’t quote me, I could have completely the wrong place!

We had a lovely picnic, the boys played ball and drew in the sand, had a walk to the cliffs with GG and then the tide started to come in really quite quickly. So we decided that it would be a good idea to go home.


You see? It really had raced in. Now I know why they issue so many warnings about being caught on cliffs when the tide comes in. Anyway, we ambled back to the car, but as we reached the top of the hill, we were caught in swarms of flying ants! Eurghhh! We had to race, mouths shut, eyes shut, into the car as fast as we could, swatting the irritating insects who had followed us into the car. What makes swarms of flying ants appear all of a sudden, anyway?

We had a lovely time, and Cheeky has decided that we’ll be going back next July! Not sure why he picked on that date so far in the future, but I’m glad to know he enjoyed his day!

Photo updates

To finish off my updates from the past few days, I have some photos to share.

sulky pigs

This is of Pinky and Curly, sulking because we had taken their ark away from them while we were in the process of moving them to fresh grazing. They decided to nap on the straw that we had left behind and pretend that their pig ark was still there!tail

This wasn’t intended to be a picture of a pig’s bottom, but ended up being one by the very nature of what I wanted to show you. Isn’t the curl in Curly’s tail just gorgeous! He has the perfect pig tail, with the perfect twist! I love it, and couldn’t resist taking this picture!

black chick

Mama Silkie had three chicks recently, and this is one of them. Jo is hoping to get them to be friendlier and more approachable by handling them regularly as chicks, so this was me holding the black chick at feeding time one evening.

2 chicks

And here are the other two. Aren’t they just the cutest things? I really hope I don’t turn out to be allergic to feathers!

dark bay

Obviously, this wasn’t taken at the farm, it is of course Cardiff Bay at night. Ten o’clock last night actually, when Jo, handsome and I were on a wild goose chase, trying to find out where the Doctor Who filming was happening. We didn’t find it in the end, which was disappointing for us all. We had been given a tip that the crew were parking in a particular car park in the Bay, and we found all the trailers and suchlike, but no sign of filming. So we thought we’d check the actual Bay area and the ‘Torchwood Hub’, but no sign. Ah well, c’est la vie!


And finally, this gorgeous boy has been my constant companion for the past few days while I’ve been diggin the vegetable patch, never leaving my side! He’s a lovely dog and it has been lovely to have his company. His name is Fabulous, and I really think he lives up to it!

The Writer’s Tale

My mother gave me ‘The Writer’s Tale’ by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook for Christmas, and I started reading it a couple of days ago. It’s an account of a year in the creative process of Russell T Davies, told through a series of e-mails between the authors. It’s a very honest account, bones and all, and is completely fascinating and compelling (do those words both mean the same thing?) reading. I could spend all day, if I were able, working my way through it, devouring each little detail about the workings of his brain; finding out how the ideas developed. Some of his ideas for ‘Doctor Who‘ are new, inspired by other people, other ideas are those which have been hiding at the back of his mind for years.

But it is his struggle to get through the writing process that surprised me. Of course, I realised that working under pressure and to deadlines must be very hard, but it seems that he has these intense periods of, I can’t think what else to call it other than brain fog, where he is unable to write a thing. I identified¬† with him whilst reading that. Obviously (as you will know if you read this blog with any regularity!) I can’t aspire to call myself a writer, but I have known times where I have suffered a similar lethargy, where to do anything productive seems to be beyond my capabilities. Also similar to my own, past, situation, is his account of how he procrastinates by doing anything rather than his writing. In this, I am certain he is not alone. How many school children and students have spent unprecedented levels of time tidying bedrooms rather than revising for important exams? I know I have! Well, it is this same panic, diverting the mind from what is most concerning it, almost in a form of self-preservation, that leads him to delay the start of writing a script by hours, days, weeks sometimes.

I love the openness and authenticity of this book. I’m only half way through, but already I’m longing to finish and find out more of what he thinks. I love the intensity and directness of Ben Cook’s questions, and the willingness of Russell T Davies to answer them. I love the way RTD¬†still gets star struck. I love the lack of censorship of¬†the original e-mails which is so evident by the (sometimes surely uncomfortable!) honesty in the commentaries contained in the pages. And I love the way that he is so willing to lay his whole self open to scrutiny; his writing technique as well as his style; his previous successes and failures; his self doubts but at the same time his self confidence.

I think it’s safe to say I’d recommend it! I’m sorely tempted to take some late night walks around Cardiff Bay to see if I could spot him, and then let him know that I think he’s brilliant. And then the mother side of me wants to let him know that he’s not alone, and that other people feel the struggle he feels, even if in different areas, but that it is all worth it because so many people absolutely adore his work. How many people in the UK must have structured their Christmas Day around the screening of the Doctor Who Christmas Special for the last three Christmases?

I’m sad to see you leaving Doctor Who, RTD, but given the amount of stress you’ve been under, maybe it’s what you need? And I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with next. (If you could write something that could include David Tennant in a tuxedo, that would be great!)

Doctor Who Christmas special preview!!

Ooh! I REALLY can’t wait for Christmas now! I’ve just seen a special preview of the Christmas special of ‘Doctor Who’, and I really can’t wait to see the rest now!

There was another Doctor! With an assistant!! And a sonic screwdriver!!! Who mentioned the TARDIS!!!!!!! Ooooh!I’m very excited now!! And he said “Allons-y”!

The boys were also very excited and as intrigued by the taster as I was – bring on Christmas!!