'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Sunday 31 May 2015

Taking advantage...

of Cheese Minor and family jetting off to sunnier climes, Wensleydale and I decided to do something similar. Well, a bit similar. They went to Tuscany, we went to Dorset. They had rain, we didn't, but it wasn't  warm enough here to sit by the pool, assuming our hotel had had a pool, which it didn't, and assuming I looked as good in a bikini as Mrs Cheese Minor, which I don't. Which is one reason I don't own a bikini.

Both holidays involved some ancient buildings however. Theirs were in Pisa, Florence and Sienna: ours weren't. (I may sound a little jealous, and indeed I am, but we had a good time, I hate flying, and their flight took about as long as our drive, which was door to door.)

We revisited Sherborne Abbey, which is a stunning building, with fan vaulting to rival King's College Chapel. It also had hands, with and without gloves.

We also revisited this gentleman, who was a bit more visible than last year - perhaps he'd had a wash and brush up. 

Last time we went west, we went to Montacute, but, to be honest I wasn't overwhelmed by it, and it was very busy, and we thought it would be worse this year because of the Wolf Hall connection. So we went to Barrington Court instead.

Two pieces of advice if you wish to follow in our footsteps:
1. Do not make the mistake of following the National Trust signed route off the A303, unless you enjoy driving along single track roads with high hedges, and maniacs and tractors driving the other way; and

2. Do not make the mistake of thinking Barrington Court does not have a Wolf Hall connection. It does. It appeared in many guises, including Thomas Cromwell's Privy Chamber and his stables. 

Unfortunately Mark Rylance was not in his Privy Chamber so Wensleydale stood sat in for him.

I also photographed a lot of other windows. Perhaps because there is very little furniture in the house, perhaps because the sun was shining, but mostly because they are lovely windows with lovely wonky glass. 

I also took a lot of flower photos, as the gardens are beautiful, but I will spare you those, as this post will be photo heavy enough anyway.

A new day, a new National Trust property, Lytes Cary Manor - got to get our money's worth from our memberships. This was my favourite of all the places we went. It's small, and cosy, with even more beautiful gardens than Barrington Manor. There was, unfortunately, what Worzel Gummidge described as 'fresh country air with a touch of pig', but I'm sure it's not permanent, and you couldn't smell it in the house. More garden photos, and more windows.

Finally, on the way home, we called in at Kingston Lacy for a cup of tea and a leg stretch. No windows this time, because we stayed outside. 

It was only when we got back to the car that I realised that the reason the car park was full and the gardens empty, was because on wet days, normal human beings go to N.T. properties to go round the house in the dry, not round the gardens in the rain. Well, it wasn't raining much, that came later... Along with traffic jams on the M3, but we managed to bypass those.

So, a good time, but as always, I'm glad to be home. I did manage to start some knitting, but I've just soaked it in white wine, so it's not photographable at the moment. (Not deliberately, obviously, it was a waste of good wine...)

Saturday 23 May 2015

All over, bar the buttons.

All 79 of them. I am procrastinating about them, as sewing buttons on is not my favourite activity.

Nor is crochet. Every time I decide to do some I think I'm going to enjoy it - until I actually start. I can never get into a rhythm like I do with knitting, and I get confused by the instructions. In knitting there's only knit and purl, in crochet there's doubles and trebles and halves and doubles of the same, and I keep having to check which is which. Which is one reason my attempts at Advent snowflakes look like this.

Even Wenslydale could spot the problem. Well, one of them. But they are staying as they are.

Expert crocheters will tell me I'd get better if I practiced more (and learned to count) and they are right, but I don't see a conversion to crochet happening around Cheese Acres anytime soon.

I shall stick to my knitting.

Even if I made a mistake, you'd be unlikely to spot it! This is another cuff sample. I didn't like it when I was doing it, but it's grown on me. Not literally, of course. 

I have enough of the bobbly yarn for four bands like this - or perhaps a little wider - so it's not going to be as long as the first glove (2.7 metres from finger tips to end), but still quite long. I think it might be a snowman's glove. 

Quiet week next week as the little guys are in Tuscany, after a somewhat stressful journey along the M4 where they spent more time stationary than moving. 

I think some knitting may be done.

Sunday 17 May 2015

Life goes on

as does knitting.

 The end is in sight, as there isn't much yarn left on the cone. 

Work on the HandBook continues too - and here is proof that I don't always work in orange. (Curse you, autocorrect, when I type 'orange' I mean 'orange', not 'Orange' or 'oranges'! And I don't mean 'means' either....          

There is a little more work that needs to be done, but not by me. Tiredness, plus stress, plus an unfamiliar car park equals  a scrape.

Sunday 10 May 2015

Updating: knitting, Advent decorations, and hands

Still knitting...

I think it will be about 3 metres long before I run out of wool. Then I shall have to start thinking about buttons - those little bumps you can see at regular intervals on the right side of the cuff are buttonholes. Fifty four of them and counting. I have a lot of buttons - I inherited 3 women's button boxes - but probably not enough of the right size and colour (whatever that is) even if I don't worry about them being all the same. I suspect EBay will be my friend.

 I've also got round to making another Advent decoration. I was sure she was going to end up a complete disaster, and I did make two bodices, two skirts and two pairs of wings, but in the end I quite like her. (Her wings aren't really wonky, though, and it reall life they curl back elegantly, as the sequin waste was on a roll.)

And I've been playing around with a pleasing discovery in a Staples sale bin. Half a dozen disembodied hands.
Photograph them and app them with Flip-o-matic and you get lovely patterns. (Flip-o-matic always sounds to me like some thing Gromit invented.)

The most entertaining part of the week, for my audience but not me, was me trying to scan my hands. (It might have been even more entertaining if I'd tried to scan other parts of my anatomy, but hands were a big enough challenge for one day.)  I wanted to scan to Big Mac (copying would have been too easy!) which is about two feet to the left of the scanner: getting them closer isn't feasible.

Scanning my right hand was relatively easy. Except that the overview scan kept cutting off my finger tips, so I had to adjust it, using the mouse with my left hand. Fine tuned click and drag it wasn't.

Scanning my left hand involved crossing my arms. It dawns on me now that as it's a wireless mouse I could have moved it - but I would still have had to turn to the left to see the screen, even after I'd remembered that I could rotate to see it better. 

I couldn't solve the other problems:
  1. My hand getting flattened on the platen, so it looks quite squelchy on the scans. (Good job I didn't try other parts of my anatomy...)
  2. Not being able to get the back of my hand flat to the glass, so my thumbs are just shadows on the scans.
However, a bit of playing around with my favourite app, iColorama, and I got some passable results. My hands aren't really this wrinkly, honest.

Sunday 3 May 2015

April may not be the cruellest month,

but it was pretty stressful. It started, sadly but not unexpectedly, with a funeral, of a family member, the first of our generation. Then, as I have mentioned before, there was the little matter of putting up and taking down an exhibition, which overlapped with the school holidays with all the extra grandparenting. And finally and joyfully, because we all really needed something good, there was a wedding! Cheese Major married his señorita, so she is now Señora Cheese - except that she has followed Spanis custom and kept her maiden name. 

 I rarely include photos of my family on this blog, but just for once...

And here is one of the beautiful bridesmaids, in her 'best dress ever!'

and her little brother, who enjoyed himself so much he didn't want to come home. All photos with a little help from Waterlogue.

Now we are coming down to earth, and hoping that May will be a little less eventful.

Knitting has continued. They may be unwearable gloves - or, on the other hand, they may be 

 a porcupine

 and a snake.