Just call me the Original Party Animal!

I had a fabulous time last Thursday evening! I was in a pub, drinking a cup of tea, knitting and reading Winnie the Pooh! Let me explain…!

Thursday night is knit night for me. It’s my only regular social outing and so I always look forward to it. However, this week was a little different as my sore ear and the evil antibiotics were making me feel very poorly. I nearly didn’t go, but Ellie doesn’t really take no for an answer so off I went! This week’s meetup was in Copa, a bar on Wharton Street in Cardiff. I usually look forward to Copa weeks as they serve delicious toasted waffles with toffee sauce and ice cream, but as I hadn’t been feeling too clever I didn’t think that waffles were the way forward. Neither did a glass of wine feel like a sensible decision, so I decided on a cup of tea as a ‘comfort drink’! So there was I, knitting on my jacket and sipping my cup of tea for all the world like a very eccentric elderly lady who may have got a little lost on her way to her OAP’s coffee evening. Also, my loss of hearing meant that I was entirely isolated from the rest of the group except for when I had the opportunity to lip read! But then my friend J took pity on me/decided to show off (take your pick as to his motive!!) by letting me play with his brand new shiny Kindle! And oh my goodness how I want one NOW!!! I’d read all the blurb, and listened to the hype about the e-ink but it really didn’t compare with actually seeing one up close. At first glance, it looked like one of those display models you see in electrical equipment stores where they have a printed label on them to give an idea of how the display will look. The e-ink and the lack of reflection was really that good. The text size was variable, which was fab for me as I’m a fast reader with good eyesight so I was able to reduce the text size right down in order to get the minimum possible page turns!

Then J showed me the list of books which you could get for free and for incredibly cheap, which led me to Winnie the Pooh, which in turn led to my reading that for most of the rest of the evening! It was a very happy place for poor deaf little me! The easy click of a button to turn pages was ideal for a multi-tasking knitter – I was able to have the Kindle on the table in front of me and flick the page turn button between stitches for minimal knitterly disruption! And from a pattern point of view, it would be brilliant for storing patterns, even those with charts, rather than having to print them out.

So, in conclusion, I am fairly certain that the 3G Kindle will be a part of my (not too distant) future. The only problem then will be fighting for access with GG!

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Should I suggest ‘War and Peace’ for him??

Handsome, my eight year old son has taken to reading in bed. Due to the somewhat fiery nature of his younger brother, I asked Handsome if he would mind going to bed at the same time as his five year old sibling (there would be hell to pay from Cheeky if Handsome got to stay up later than him!). The compromise was that Handsome was given a reading light by his bed and is allowed to read for three quarters of an hour past their joint bedtime.

Since July, he has been reading the Harry Potter books. According to Yahoo Answers, there are 3407 pages when you add up the pages from all seven books. He finished the last book yesterday. So in approximately 180 days, he’s read an average of almost twenty pages each day. Not bad, for an eight year old.

He was looking forward to picking out a new bedtime book today. He spent some time after school choosing a book, then looked forward to it for the rest of the evening. So you can imagine his disappointment when it didn’t live up to expectations! He came into the lounge about ten minutes after he’d gone to bed, saying that the chapters were only a couple of pages long, and that he thought the whole book would only take him about as long as a ‘Harry Potter’ chapter, so could I please help him to choose another book which would take a little longer!

Bless him! I found him another book to try, but now I’m wondering whether he needs something a little meatier?! Thanks to the ‘Harry Potter’ books he’s an even more avid reader than he was before, so I don’t want him to be put off by a couple of less than enthusing books! At the moment he’s reading a treasury of boys’ stories including stories like ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘Just William’, ‘Flat Stanley’ etc. When I see which stories from there he likes, I’ll be able (hopefully) to make more helpful suggestions! However, all suggestions from you guys will be more than gratefully received!

And another thing…

…I finished reading ‘Gone With The Wind’! Yay me! So, two down and eight books to go in my 2009 book challenge! But what to read next. I can’t decide. I have Easter weekend coming up, so maybe a little more free time for reading than normal, but on the other hand I want to do more crafting as well. Hmm. I think I might give that new poll-widget-thingy a try. Come on, people, help me out here!

These are the books on my ‘to read’ list that I actually have in the house at the moment, and so could get started on right away. I really would appreciate your help, as well as any comments (hint hint) about the reason for your choice! Give me some good recommendations for a holiday read! Please!

Nameless

This is to be such a ‘bits and pieces’ type post that I really couldn’t think of a name for it – hence the title!

I spent most of today in¬†Cardiff city centre¬†with my boys and mother in law, as she asked if she could buy them clothes for their birthday. It was like drawing teeth. Without anaesthetic! Neither child was really remotely interested in choosing clothes, but luckily remained polite for me. However, I ended up putting choices of clothes in front of them, and inviting them to pick their favourites. Cheeky got into it in the end, just as I was finishing the shopping, but never mind. We managed to get a couple of shirts and sweaters for them, so it wasn’t a complete disaster. And I bought a skirt for myself, which I absolutely love and changed into the second I got home. Yay, I can be a girl now and again!

Whilst shopping for shorts for Cheeky (for our holidays), he decided that he didn’t like any of the ones in the shops. He, happily conciding in opinion with me, dislikes the longer shorts that seem to be all that is on offer for boys at the moment. And so, in a spirit of frugality which is obviously being passed down through the generations, he and I decided that we will go through his clothes, find any trousers that are too short for him and we will then convert them into shorts – custom sewn to his preferred length! I love it! I’m happy because I get to reuse something rather than chucking out old clothes and buying new, and he’s happy because he gets the sort of¬† shorts he actually wants. Fabulous!

I’ve made a little progress on my works in progress, and I hope to carry on for half an hour once I’ve finished this post, although I’m very tempted to go to bed with the book I chose to follow on from ‘War and Peace’ – ‘Gone With The Wind’. I’m already a fair way through its 1050 pages, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. It’s not a chore to read at all, which makes a pleasant change from my last choice!

I’m dying to cast on for my O W L S jumper, but I’m determined to finish my dishcloths and kitchen towel first. I think I’ll leave starting the hot pads for next week, because I don’t want to rush them. I’ve still got a couple of weeks until the deadline. I do have a mystery project to do before then though, which I had forgotten all about until today. More details at a later date!

I’m sure I had more to type, but my eyes are getting heavier and heavier so I think I’ll leave anything else until tomorrow.

Another good day!

Despite the rainy start, today has been another good day. It started with an early morning visit from Jo for coffee and toast, followed by the school run and a somewhat soggy wait at the bus stop. My policy of crocheting on bus journeys actually encouraged a lady to talk to me this morning, asking me what I was making and developing into general conversation about her jury service. It made the journey pass quicker, anyway!

Work was really good again. I’m definitely enjoying working in the week and having the opportunity to do more than one task at work rather than being stuck on the same one for eight hours on a Saturday! I also get to mix with more people and, while the Saturday staff are all lovely people, they’re all students and so we have very little in common. On weekdays, I work with more people of my own age, and people who have¬†children, so more in common with me. Also, today my boss complimented me on my work, and the fact that I managed to achieve 101% productivity last month despite not having done lots of the¬†tasks for several years before that. She told me that I was a valued employee and that they are always glad to see me, which was lovely¬†to hear!

Handsome, especially, has been really happy since I’ve not been working at the weekends. He always meets me after school on a Thursday and Friday asking whether I’ve worked enough hours to stay home at the weekend. It’s very flattering to be so loved!

In HUGE news, last night I finished ‘War and Peace’! Yay!! 958 pages down, none to go!! I’ve not yet decided what I’ll be reading next. Maybe something a little shorter! I’m very glad though that for the rest of my life I’ll be able to say (with truth, honesty and conviction) that I have read ‘War and Peace’ all the way through!

I completed two more squares for my crocheted patchwork blanket today, in a sunny yellow colour. I was working on dark red yarn, but the ball was too big to fit in today’s choice of handbag, so I went for the 50g yellow ball instead. It was actually very cheering to be working with that yarn on the bus, when the rain and wind were conspiring outside to make it as miserable a March day as they knew how. I really need to work out how many squares I’ll need, although I had decided to crochet a huge pile before I made that calculation, so as not to put myself off the job.

I went to Shaws today and bought knitting needles for my Easter jumper project. I looked at their chunky weight yarn, but wasn’t grabbed by any of the colours so decided to do some online shopping instead. Does anyone have recommendations for online yarn shops for me? So far, my search has been more or less limited to Ebay, as I don’t have a lot of money to commit to the project and so I thought that might be my best bet for a bargain.

Right, off now to do some online yarn searches. It’s not the same as actually being able to see the yarn before you buy though. I’ve no idea why South Wales, and Cardiff in particular are so poorly-supplied with yarn outlets. People obviously don’t knit and crochet in sufficient numbers to keep the businesses profitable. Ah, to be wealthy and to be able to afford all the lovely yarns that I see advertised! I’ve entered all sorts of yarn giveaways recently though, so keep your fingers crossed for me. x

Desert Island MP3s!

desert island mp3s

This is a meme I dreamed up in the car on the way back from the farm, whilst listening to Classic FM, because I was thinking about my favourite music and wondering what my friends would name as their favourite tunes. That made me think back to Sunday mornings as a child, when Desert Island Discs would be on the radio, regular as clockwork, before lunch.

So, the rules;

  1. Name five songs or pieces of music that you would take with you to a desert island for an extended/indefinite stay;
  2. Name the book you would take;
  3. And finally, name one luxury item that you simply couldn’t be without (this sort of assumes that you are dumped on the island with very limited resources and very little in the way of a set up camp).

Once you’ve done all that, tag at least three other people to take part, and link back here so that I can come and read your lists. Go for your life!

So, here are my favourite pieces of music;

  1. ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen – never fails to get me up, dancing and happy!
  2. Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ – obviously happy thoughts because of Torvill and Dean’s gold-winning ice dance in Sarajevo in 1984, but also I find it a really uplifting and energising piece of music.
  3. Beethoven’s ‘Egmont Overture’ – I studied this in school, so can pretty much sing every note, and yet I still absolutely adore it!
  4. Any of the songs from the ‘Mamma Mia’ soundtrack – again, I’ve seen the film and therefore have heard the songs many, many times, but each and every song from the film reliably makes me smile.
  5. Ummm, I should have only said four songs, I can’t think of a fifth! I can think of dozens, but it’s trying to narrow it down! OK, have to choose, have to choose; Katie Melua, ‘Closest thing to Crazy’, for those chilling out moments. Done!

My book; I’d choose ‘The Assassin’s Cloak’ which is an anthology of diary entries from dozens of famous diarists through the years. I’d be able to dip in and out, and it’s a good big book so it’d keep me going for a while!

My luxury; no contest. I’d have to have an internet enabled laptop with a wind-up charger! And yes, I know that theoretically a broadband connection is unlikely on a desert island, but this is my dream, and magic can happen! The internet is my single biggest source of information about almost any new thing that I attempt to do, so would be ideal if I were marooned and needed to build a house, find fresh water, dig a latrine etc etc!

As to the people I tag; I pick Jo, WelshPurpleTree, Mum, Dad, Sandie, and Marita. If any others of you want to take part, feel free, and post a comment and let me know so that I can be nosey!

Update on Tolstoy

Well, not exactly an update on Leo Tolstoy himself; as far as I’m aware he’s still ‘on the other side’; this isn’t a post claiming some newly found psychic ability! No, this is a brief update on my attempt to conquer “War and Peace”.

I (re)started at page 175 back on the 20th February, and this morning hit page 385! Yay me! I think that this is pretty good going, given that a) it’s incredibly long and hard to read; b) I had conjunctivitis and tonsillitis and was poorly bad for a whole week; and c) I’ve been exceedingly distracted over the past couple of weeks by Colin Firth in both “Mamma Mia” and “Pride and Prejudice”! So, given those three excuses reasons, I’m proud of my progress! I’m now 40% of my way through the book, and it’s definitely getting more interesting! I’m longing for Prince Andrew to be all better and married to Natasha, even though it looks like his father will have to die before that happens. And I want to see what happens to Pierre, and how he resolves his melancholic temperament!

Oh my goodness, readers, it looks like I’m hooked! Well, maybe it’s not such a bad book after all, although any book that takes 400 pages to warm up probably is on to a loser from the start, to be honest. I mean, other than those of us who read it as a labour of love, and those who are forced to read it as part of their academic courses, who would put up with that sort of a slow start?

Anyway, I’ve set myself the (relatively) easy target of finishing it by the end of the month. My husband is amazed; he says he can’t remember ever seeing me take more than a week to read a book before, so this is setting all sorts of new precedents!

Back to the reading then…see you in a month!

I LOVE W&P!