Just to make it more official…

…Anyone care to join me?

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I not only listen, I also hear!

I’ve taken on board the comments about my less-than-perfect new header image, and have altered it accordingly. I’ve changed the text colour to a white tinged with blue, which I hope reflects the colour of the sky. In my fevered imagination, it looks like someone has either cut out the name of my blog through the Southerndown cliffs, or has installed large letter mirrors which are reflecting the colour of the sky. My imagination is far too active!

Update on the knitting; I’m still not altogether sure I’m going to survive to the end of the project, but I did manage to get a sizeable chunk of it done last night so I’m feeling a little more cheerful about it. I have about 82 rows left of this part of it, and I intend to knit twelve of them when I have my lunchbreak with the kids. Then I’m aiming to get a further twenty rows done over the weekend. I know none of this is of interest to any of you, especially when I can’t even tell you what it is I’m making, but trust me, it’s really helping to be able to tell you the little I can!

Stitch and Bitch was brilliant last night. Two of us seemed to be in the silly seats as we couldn’t stop giggling all evening. We even got told off by the man running the quiz in the cinema cafe where we had met up! We meet in Cineworld in Cardiff once a month, and they have a terrifically hard quiz about movie trivia, asking the most random questions. I really think that you would have had to watch and memorise all the credits from all the films, as well as having to have read all the gossip columns about all the celebs, before you stood a chance at the questions! However, that made us giggle even more, and earned us more glares from the quizmaster! I really enjoy my Thursday evening knitting meetings though, and am so glad that I got up the courage to go to that first one. None of my friends are into crafting with yarn, and I think most of them think I’m way older than my years for enjoying it so much, so it was lovely to go and join in with a group (lots of whom are around my age) who understand the enjoyment I get completely.

New header

Yesterday evening, I changed my header picture again. I’m not happy with it, but then the one of Valetta that I had before looked slightly wonky to me. Besides, that was so last May, darling, and the world has moved on! I need to keep up with the times (whatever!). So, I’ve put up a picture I took yesterday at Southerndown. Or at least, I’ve put up a sliver of it. I always mean to take pictures specifically with this in mind; pictures with interesting centres, and discardable edges, and I never remember. Then I get bored with my header picture and make do. Boo.

If I were still in school, my blog presentation card would definitely read “Must do better. Makes minimal effort”. Hmm. I really should look into some alternatives, taking a leaf from Jo‘s book and planning to buy a URL wouldn’t be a bad start. Hmm.

Maria, or Margo?

MariaThis is my best friend, Maria. She cooked me a sumptuous roast pork dinner yesterday evening, complete with home made cider gravy.

She also cooked the whole dinner wearing this very lovely cream patterned dress and kitten heeled sandals, no apron, and didn’t get a mark on her. As her mother said to me later on (and it applies to me too), if she had set out to cook a family roast dinner wearing something like that, she would have been head to foot gravy and flour by the end of the evening! I had to take this photo of her cutting up a pineapple, purely because I was so amazed at her pristine state after all that cooking. I was perched on a stool in her kitchen, watching her work, wishing that I wasn’t so clumsy as to have to carry a teatowel around (if I’m not wearing an apron) to clear up my messes as I go.

But this is very ‘Maria’. She is always beautifully turned out, taking the time to co-ordinate accessories with outfits. She would never be caught rushing to the supermarket for some deperately-needed-but-forgotten item wearing trackie bottoms and an old university t-shirt (I actually can’t remember the last time I saw her in a t-shirt!). When we go away on our jaunts every other year, she definitely makes me pick up my game when it comes to self-presentation, ensuring that I at least remember to pack make-up, something nice to wear in the evenings and a choice of handbags!

She is learning the violin at the moment, and having lessons with my dad. They always remark on how nicely presented she is when she visits their house.

We make fun of her a bit about the time it takes her to get ready to go anywhere, and the fact that she’s always immaculate, but I think most of it is probably just envy! She has a definite eye for what outfits will work for her (not harmed, probably, by her enviable figure!) and looks equally good in a dress bought in Coast or Tesco!

Added to this, she has a fabulous sense of humour, is generous to a fault and, it turns out, can cook really well. What more can you ask of a best friend! This winter will mark ten years of our being friends, and I only hope that we’ll still be close friends in another fifty. If we are, I just know that I’ll be thinking of her as the best dressed pensioner this side of Milan!

Maria has been compared to Margo Leadbetter from 1970's sitcom, "The Good Life" more than once. Margo, on the right of the picture, was known for being immaculately turned out, with outfits for every occasion!

Maria has been compared to Margo Leadbetter from 1970's sitcom, "The Good Life", more than once. Margo, on the right of the picture, was known for being immaculately turned out, with outfits for every occasion!

A good day!

I forgot to tell you about my work ‘team building’ day out, or as my friend Maria puts it, “Group Hug Day”. Mine was on Tuesday, and fell some way short of the regular stereotypical team building day one generally hears about where colleagues struggle up hills together, or solve daft problems in a conference suite. Ours was a day at our local Bingo hall!

We had a budget of £20 per head, which meant that even after buying our bingo books, lunch and two drinks each, we had still fallen woefully short of spending all the money. So, we had a couple more drinks but, having reached the end of the afternoon session, we still had money left. So, six of us decided that we should return in the evening to try to increase the winnings (which had to be divided between twelve of us, just to make it fair!).

I was so so tired after a second session of bingo, and I’m sure that I ‘dabbed’ many numbers that hadn’t been called. However, at the evening session we managed to win a further £1 each, taking our total winnings up to a princely £5 each! I spent my winnings on lunch whilst at work yesterday, and still have a little left – no point in being too extravagant! Anyway, today, I had a phone call from my Senior at work, telling me that I’ve won £200 in shopping vouchers of my choice! I was out at Splott market when I got the call, and after jumping up and down shouting “I won, I won!” (as per instructions from my colleagues at the other end of the phone) I decided that maybe I should buy a lottery ticket this weekend. Maybe Lady Luck is giving me a nudge!

One strange thing though; not one person took the slightest bit of notice of me jumping and shouting. Isn’t that strange? If I had been passing by, I think I might have at least turned and looked at the mad woman cavorting and shrieking!

Splott market was…interesting. Mum and I had gone to size up the car boot possibilities, from a selling point of view, and decided that it wouldn’t be worth it. There were lots of trade stalls there, selling all the cheap household goods, cheap kids stuff, cheap sweets and biscuits – you get the idea. The people who had just gone there with stuff to sell from their houses didn’t really get a look in. However, I bought a treble recorder (something I’ve wanted for a few years now) for only £5, and a gorgeous pristine Royal Albert crystal bowl for £6. I’ve got Royal Doulton crystal water glasses, a jug and a vase which were wedding presents which are almost an exact match with this bowl, so when I have a proper dining room, it will be very elegant!

There’s another car boot sale in a different place which I plan to visit on Sunday for a recce, and I’ve got some stuff listed on Ebay at the moment, so I’ve not given up hope of finding a happy home for some of our excess stuff! It’s all the videos that are bugging me. I’ve got an aversion to putting stuff in the skips in the tip unless it is actually beyond redemption, but as VHS tapes are pretty much obsolete now, no-one will really want them. I’ve tried thinking of crafting ideas, but the tape is fairly hard to work with so I’ve given up on that for now. Any ideas?

Actually, I have a cute story to tell about when I was preparing my stuff for listing on Ebay. I took all the Happyland toys outside to photograph, unceremoniously dumped the cabinet door I was using as a base on the floor and plopped the tray of toys next to it. Next thing I knew, this little chap had hopped up to appraise the goods!

baby frog

Bless him! He didn’t stay very long; only long enough for a glance at the toys to establish that they weren’t to his taste and then he hopped off into the grass. But just look at the clover leaves beside the tray. That shows just how tiny he was! Sooo cute! And he came about an inch from being squashed by my cupboard door – God looks after fools, small children and baby frogs, so it seems!

Grasshopper

grasshopper

I had a grasshopper in my car the other day. It sat on my dashboard the whole way home. I’m glad it was only a short journey as it was very distracting! I was worried that it would jump towards me and make me jump myself! As it happened, the little guy seemed quite happy to sit looking forwards out of the windscreen until we got home, and then he turned to look at me as if to ask what he should do next! I managed to scoop him up onto a piece of paper and put him safely outside before I left the car. It was interesting being able to see the small creature at such close quarters though – usually they’re heard and not seen!

Nature in the snow!

Snowy snowdrops!

Snowy snowdrops!

Chilly daffodils struggling to bloom

Chilly daffodils struggling to bloom

Even on the coldest days, there are signs that Spring is on the way

Even on the coldest days, there are signs that Spring is on the way