Monday, 6 December 2010

The Run Down to Christmas

OMG! Less than 3 weeks to the dreaded Yuletide getmorepresentseatlotsafoodlayaroundanddonothing holiday period. Maybe you can tell that the only reason I like it at all is that it signals some time off?? I believe that the consumerfest that is Christmas is only truly fun when small (read: less than 5 years old) kids are involved. I really wouldn't mind not getting 'presents' but just seeing people and catching up. Taking some time to socialise and reclaim that side of life. You know? The side of life that gets trampled on while work and the whole 5 days a week rat race happens.

Anyhow, I have been progressing with things other than work - work which is currently marking time waiting for bean counters to release money to progress the project...- such as knitting and riding bicycles and such.
Presenting two shawls that were blocked this weekend, one a gift and the other for me.
The gift...

...and this for me which has been in my 'list of things to do' for some time.

Apart from these, I have two pairs of socks to finish - one pair a prize for a raffle run during the Relay for Life - and the other a trade for the spinning of a braid of nice BFL (blue faced leicester) fibre.  All good but now I want to do some more lace so I have caked some skeins of yarns ready and I hear their siren call every time I get close to them.  Oh woe!

On the cycling front, I finally managed to get together with BikeBoy following a 24 hour ride overnight last night and we cycled over to South Perth for tea.  I am now within a whisker of my 4000km for the year, a target I only reached on New Year's Eve last year by pedaling over to a friend's place for the evening.  And I have another three weeks to better it before commencing next year's total.  My buddy on will beat me this year unfortunately unless I can pull 1000km out of the bike between now and December 31.  I don't think so!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Back to work with me!

Well I have returned to work after a two week hiatus during which time I spent just over a week in Melbourne. I did NOT take Georgie with me but chose to rely on Griselda to see how she performed. I have to report that she did exceptionally well. I can actually hear people on the phone now - always a positive - and her alarms and other features have worked without a hiccough so far. The bookmark thing I'm still not on top of but they are at least synchronising with Ernest the netbook so are easily replaced if they fall off.
Knitting-wise - I suffered a bout of castonitis prior to travelling and cast on my Revontuli shawl - now finished - as well as a jumper in 2ply laceweight - Wollmeise at that! It is coming along famously and I have to be careful that my other projects continue to progress and that I don't start being an exclusive knitter on this. The yarn is truly gorgeous and keeps surprising me with the range and intensity of colour.
I was able to catch up with two friends and my cousin on separate days when I was first in Melbourne and before all the Pharmacy related things revved up. Preconference seminar, two-day conference, post conference meeting and a board meeting to round out my time before flying home for four days off.
I have to add that the four days off were when the temperature in Perth maxed out totally, peaking at 39 degrees with humidity on the Thursday. Very unhappy was I. Plans I made just couldn't be handled in this weather.
Still it cooled sufficiently for me to cycle in the Great Santos Bike Ride on Sunday 21st. In fact we had all weather that day - sun, cloud, wind, more wind and even some rain. I finished my fourth 53km ride in 2 hours 11 minutes and (apparently) 16 seconds.
More soon readers (or is that reader?)

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

PANIC! Problems already?

Griselda has issues! Apparently folks who call me on the phone or who I call are unable to hear what I say and think it sounds like my voice is being fed through a scrambler as it comes out deep and unintelligible. It is also said to drop out although the bars tell me I have plenty of signal. Things are not good in device-land. Stay tuned as we work through this.
On a positive note, Cookie A's new book is available for purchase as a downloadable pdf file. As well, you get a discount on it if you pre-order the SIGNED hard-copy. Well! How could I refuse? The book contains many of her well-loved patterns like the Monkey (any sock knitters out there NOT done these? You can't be a sock knitter then. These are the viral knit of the sock world - seriously!) as well as newbies. These can all be purchased from her website as separate patterns but I reckon it's cheaper to buy the whole book and get all the words behind... Just sayin'!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Bye, Bye Georgie!

Moving on from Georgie - who you'll remember held my life on a small but usefully sized hard drive and several finger nail chips they call microSD cards, I have now to welcome to the stable Griselda. Griselda is an HTC Desire and looks a bit like the i@@@@@ but definitely isn't. Means I am firmly in Google hands now as the operating system is a Google company, Android. On the whole, this works similarly to the ubiquitous Apple gadget but better! I am still studying its many facets so stay tuned. It also seems I am now much better able to 'Google' on the run - as you would expect, to the point that having a Gmail account is a prerequisite for setting up the device. Wha' evah!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Oh how could I have deserted you my blog!

It may appear to some tat I have been totally slack and not up to much but I assure you good readers (if indeed there are any of you out there), that I have been turning over the stitches and moving on with the knitting projects as well as cycling up a storm.  I have also been working - yup that ole 4-letter word again but hey, it pays the bills and there's been a lot of those lately as well.
I hereby promise to post a little more often - maybe once a month even - and update you all on the movements Chez Harrow.  You will hear for instance of my acquiring clippy type cycling shoes for my birthday and of the spectacular fall - no speed involved - just a sideways OMG-I'm-going-over-splat type fall that has both my knees looking like one of those hand-dyed fibre plaits - purple, green tinged with yellow and there's a hint of blue-black as well.  Ouch!
I have also finished stuff - THE BLACK LACE for one and the Featherweight Cardigan for another.  Also several assorted shawls, scarves and hats some of which have gone to recipients of swap parcels and some that will be appearing at the Perth Royal Show (more on that later when I know how that's worked!) 
Went to the Australia Sheep and Wool Show for my birthday with a couple of knitting friends to meet many other of my knitting, spinning, dyeing and various other fibrey craft type friends (courtesy of the Rav).  It was an absolute blast and I'd go again in a heartbeat.  You can tell from these pictures how much fun it was and that was just dinner!
Anyhow - must be going to get some sleep so's I can get up in the morning and do it all again in preparation for next time....yaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnn!  Nighty, night!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Different Views of Toodyay - Queen's Birthday Long Weekend (June 5-7, 2010) - Part 2

To contrast with the previous post, on the first weekend of June the lovely HelenG and AnnL of Knitting Inspirations held their annual knitting retreat at Avalon Homestead in Toodyay.  Husband Perry rode the distance to Toodyay while I took everything else in the big car with my bike in the back - a great splitting of workload I thought.  I got to spend a little longer in town doing a few things I had deferred for far too long and then a weekend knitting - no downsides there at all.

We had a number of things planned into our weekend - a workshop on top down knitting, planning a sweater - how to change yarns and deal with differing gauge, knitting with beads and finishing techniques.  We had a yarn market on Friday afternoon and a parade of FOs (Finished Objects) before dinner that evening.  Saturday night was to be a pyjama party and on Sunday, lunch was planned at Pecan Hill, a short walk from the homestead.  I had asked attendees who would be interested in a bike ride to Rivermist Alpacas, about 18km away on the Northam-Toodyay Road.  A group of six including Perry and myself were to ride.

Evenings following dinner were taken up with the knit-a-long (KAL) for Ann's new top down pattern or finishing the never-ending stream of WIPs (works in progress) that seem to accumulate around the house.  I had at least six to eight going from scarves to socks and cardigans.  Much wine was consumed and chocolate was seen at various points around the 'comfy chair' room.  The coffee machine was also well patronised.  All fibre-y things were in evidence - spinning, knitting, crochet and also tapestry plus a bit of weaving on the gotta-have-it-now miniloom.

I managed to cast on and finish a cabled beanie on the Saturday.  Also made progress on several other projects that I seem to just carry around lately.  I have become convinced that some are being unravelled as I sleep as no amount of knitting time is making any of them closer to being finished.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Different Views of Toodyay - Anzac Day long weekend - Part 1

This year I have been privileged to visit Toodyay for two weekends with two very different groups of people and with two very different results on my sanity.  Firstly there was the cycling expedition on our Anzac Day long weekend.  The original plan of our illustrious leader Colin - he of the RED cycling nicks (no man should EVER wear these!) - was to ride to Gingin where we would stay on the Saturday evening.  From there, we would ride across to Toodyay to stay at the Freemasons Hotel on Sunday evening and then back to Perth on the Monday.  All good!  What we didn't find out until too late is that our accommodation for Saturday was organised over the bar with someone who didn't usually sort that kind of thing.  Result - no accommodation.  Changed plan involved staying in Toodyay both nights.  Problem - not enough accommodation for the entire group.  Our leader, of course, ensured his spot at the original hotel while some of us with shorter straws were to stay at the "top pub" - the Toodyay Tavern.  This wasn't a reference to it's quality as it turned out.
The first room I was shown seemed OK until I looked closely.  It was then I saw the large dead moth on the floor.  That was fine because the tiny ants surrounding it - and there were a lot - were working hard to remove the body.  I didn't look any further.  The next room, while not 5 star was at least almost acceptable by country pub standards.  I didn't pay up front as requested because I wanted Perry to see it and make sure he and his back were happy before we committed.

Having ridden up from home to Toodyay, we ended up keeping our bike in the room (there was space) as there was no where else to store them that looked safe.  First evening - dinner at the Freemason's - went OK.  Sunday, the stronger riders went to Northam via Gigeganup and I sat at a local cafe having coffee and knitting.  I rode to Northam with Perry in the afternoon and we returned to our room to change for dinner.  We had noted boards advertising a Karaoke evening at the Toodyay Tavern and crowds were certainly gathering.

We at a a very good pizza place (Uncle Vinnie's) opposite the Freemasons and returned to sleep for the night in preparation for 100km ride home the next day.  The noise levels were loud but not excessive for the time of the evening.  I can't remember exactly what time things started going sour but I do remember calling the police at about 11.30pm after trying to get hold of the owner without success to report what seemed to be a riot.
I came up from the bathroom to inhale  a lung full of what I thought was smoke but which was actually the contents of most of the fire extinguishers on the floor. There were at least three rooms in which not a skerrick of bed linen or, in fact, any bedding at all (mattress, what mattress?) existed.  Glassware suffered as well with the sounds of breaking glass one of the counterpoints to the thudding of various people on the other side of our room door.  I was unsure whether the door would hold which I suspect was one of the reasons I started making calls for help.

At another stage in the evening, when we had to go outside the room for a comfort stop, there was blood on the floor in one of the rooms and someone talking of calling an ambulance.  Vacuum cleaners and electrical cables were all over the passageway down towards the bathroom.  Good job the light fittings in the hallway were not part of the "smashing" good time as tripping over that lot wouldn't have been fun!
After managing to get a little sleep, interrupted by the sounds of someone looking for a candle outside (No fire extinguishers - wooden building...), we packed and scurried.  No money was spent in this exercise but as we felt for the poor girl who had to clean the place before starting her 7 hour shift, we left our phone details and names for the owner to contact us if he felt hard done by so she wouldn't be penalised.  She had been the only sober person in the hotel apart from us the night before.

We had breakfast at the Freemasons upstairs kitchen - shaken but not stirred!  Our panniers were taken back to Midland train station by a friendly supporting person which was extremely nice given our tired state.  One hundred and five kilometres later - home and comfy bed with no evil party goers!!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Start of a New Year - Out of the Naughties and into the Twenties

OK!  Well in spite of setting myself rules about knitting lace and when I should and should not do it - broken them already!!  Not so much the black lace which is difficult to knit at the best of times but any lace knitted after 10pm seems to defeat me at the moment so the rule is:
  • NO lace after 10pm - which ever time zone you're in!
I have just returned from Bright, Victoria where DH rode in the Alpine Raid - a two day version of the Alpine Classic run by Audax Australia.  This is a particularly interesting form of torture involving 250km (this link shows you the profiles and distances travelled)  on a bicycle from Bright, up Mt Hotham, to Omeo (the Raid overnights here) then to Falls Creek, Mt Beauty and around the Tawonga Gap back to Bright.  After riding this, DH then cycled off up Mt Buffalo to finish the afternoon off - about 70km round trip.  All in all, he rode 675km and climbed over 10,000m up various mountains and hills - some more than once - over the week and a half we were there.
Needless to say, I didn't participate in this.  I was at the finish and took some pictures (to follow) but I only had one ride during the week, on a hired mountain bike - like driving a Mack truck after riding my hybrid.  I walked most places and was driven around the course in air-conditioned comfort, gasping at the gradients Sir had had to ride up.  He assured me that " was easy!  You just have to change to the right gear and keep pedalling."  Yeah, right!  It only took him one hour and forty minutes up Mt Hotham which made him quite proud as times vary from an hour and a half to well over two hours.  At no time did he walk the bike I have to say.
I did plenty of knitting and was totally chuffed that I could knit happily on the plane ride over to Melbourne without being viewed as a terrorist.  Still looked at as being not normal but I'm used to that!  Who needs to be normal?  It's over-rated!